The Vale

The Vale

Powered by the AI-pocalypse

Version 0.9

This is a fan hack, not officially connected with AI Dungeon in any way. It will probably date fast! AI Dungeon is changing all the time, and the developer aims include creating a more persistent world and a sense of progression. This document was written September 2020.

1. Tools

You will need:

  • AI Dungeon (play.aidungeon.io) *

  • Some six-sided dice

  • Some way to make notes

  • Recommended: A printed Character Sheet

  • Recommended: Three tokens (paperclips, anything) for your trackers

  • Optional: A print-out of the Moves List and other rules


* If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with AI Dungeon (AID), including the use of the /remember, /alter, and /revert commands, and the difference between Story, Say, and Do. To play The Vale, use this scenario, or any scenario you like. If you have a premium AI Dungeon account, make sure you’re using the Dragon model. In a traditional RPG, or an Infocom-style text adventure, you control your character’s action, and you are told what happens as a result. You may need to reset your expectations, because AID isn’t quite like that. In AID the storytelling is shared more fluidly and equally between you. 


2. Character Creation

Name, Background & People

Fill out the Character Sheet. First, choose a name and a Background: Alchemist, Barbarian, Cleric, Druid, Knight, Paladin, Ranger, Rogue, Warlock, Witch, Weaver.

If you wish, choose a People: Aandrisk, Bearborn, Birdborn, Borgborn, Chelgrian, Child-of-the-Woods, Dire Stroumph, Elfborn, Goblin, Nestmech, Normborn, Raptereon, Splinterwaif,  Snailborn, Sithborn, Talking Beast, Torndwarf, Troll, or Were Care Bear.

Aberration

Choose an Aberration, or roll a d6 to choose one at random:

  1. Pestilence. An enigmatic pestilence is spreading across the Vale, rupturing the fabric of reality itself. Time dilates and compresses, objects vanish or materialize without warning, shadows take on substance and color and ask you personal questions. You have sworn to find the source of the strangeness.

  2. Confusion. One month ago, you were one of the hottest young adventurers on the dungeoncrawl circuit. The world was your oyster. The oyster, alas, was booby-trapped. Ever since you were hit with that Wand of Bewilderment, you’ve been having strange Episodes …

  3. Dream. You have just completed your apprenticeship in the Worshipful Company of Dreamwalkers. Now begins your Wanderjahre, three years wandering the dreams of the sleeping denizens of the Vale.

  4. Foam. Philosophers say that the Vale is unreal, an epiphenomenon, like foam tossed on the surface of a wine-dark sea. They say What Lies Beneath is by definition incomprehensible. Never mind what the philosophers say. Your world feels real enough to you, and you intend to see it all.

  5. Glitch. The Vale has always been in a part of the multiverse where reality is a little frayed. You are a journeyman of the Guild of Stitchers, with the skill of repairing little rips and tears in the fabric of reality.

  6. Awry. You have always had your own unique perspective on things. They tell you you are different, that you are wired awry. But you are happy just the way you are.

Solace

The Aberration determines your Solace. Your Solace is what you do to assert stability and coherence. Your Solace lets you use /alter and /revert. 

Pestilence.

Decontaminate. A sprinkling of Compossibility Dust has proven effective against the reality plague, restoring normality. Use your supply wisely.

Confusion.

Coping Mechanisms. Use the exercises you have learned to center yourself, test reality, and not let the illusions get the better of you.

Dream.

Chimera. A dreamer’s mind is always playing with multiple possibilities. Use your Dreamwalker’s art to nudge them down a different path.  

Foam.

Worldwill. Ever since you were small, you’ve been able to bend reality to your will. But do you control your power, or does it control you … ?

Glitch. 

Glitch ’n’ Stitch. Your little steel wand, like a darning needle, lets you patch up the unravelling fabric of reality. 

Awry.

Daydream. You love to imagine what could have been. If we can’t love what’s possible, how can we love what’s real? Have another look around.

Free Continuity

This rule is optional, but recommended. Under this rule, you can always use /revert or /alter for free, if it’s to correct obvious narrative incoherence, AID gibberish, or spelling or grammar. However, as usual, if you use /revert or /alter to change a bit of the story that already makes sense, and you’re playing a weak hit or a miss, then it’s not free: move your Solace tracker down 1.

Stats

You have four stats. Distribute these scores: 0, +1, +1, +2.

Steel.

Warfare and all forms of physical prowess. Strength, endurance, quickness, weaponmastery. Sometimes also military tactics and strategy.

Guile.

Cunning, deceit, illusion, trickery, stealth, subtlety, finesse. Sometimes also alertness, vigilance, perceptiveness. Slip into the shadows …

Spirit.

Character, charm, empathy, existing social connections and the capacity to make new ones. Sometimes also courage, resilience, resolve.

Lore.

Accumulated knowledge, training, wisdom, and know-how. Recall rituals, reason through riddles, awaken and operate ancient technology …

You also have three tracks, which are Tempo, Solace, and Heart. Set each track to the shaded position (-3 Tempo, 0 Solace, 0 Heart). 

Tempo.

Tracks the best moment to complete one move and make a new move.

Solace.

Tracks your overall relationship with the frayed reality of your world.

Heart.

Tracks your wellbeing, both physical and emotional / spiritual / mental.

Fill in any additional notes, such as weapons, armor, equipment, powers, et cetera. Use World Information or /remember to tell AID anything else it should know about you.

3. Start Your Quest

Adventure Hooks

Use this scenario, or any scenario you like. Explore your environment. Make friends, have conversations. Describe your world through your eyes. Establish relationships with characters, places, and things. Develop some interim goals. You need x to do y. You need y to do z.

Maybe you’re an apprentice Alchemist, Druid, or Weaver, preparing for your big test next month?

Or are you an artifact-hunter seeking the fabled Tentacle Helmet of Brackley?

Are you looking to work your passage on a skyship to the Upper Upper Archipelago?

Are you making the hazardous voyage to Orist Traelar, to join in the rumored post-work revolution?

Do you secretly work for the Worshipful Company of Deniable Assets? Has Queen Duma commissioned you to deliver a vaccine to Ketchivan, or to spy on the new Bearborn prince in Winter River, or to assassinate the Golem King?

Have you awoken with no memory of who you are, pursued by shadowy strangers riding clockwork tigers?

Are you on a fact-finding mission to the Landgraviate of Sint Rickardsdjik, to ascertain certain facts about their distinctive magic-based democracy?

Are you part of a secret cell that wants to bring an end to the barbaric practice of the annual Prosperous Game?

Are you simply after the rumored loot of the ruins of Methorp Keep or the catacombs of Minas Elror?

Are you seeking revenge? Your beloved? The truth? Or a new home?

Game Loop: Quick Reference

  1. Choose a move from the Moves List.

  2. Roll 2d6 and add the relevant stat and tracker modifiers. On 6 or less narrate the move so that you suffer harm or setback. On 7-9, narrate the move so progress is complicated and costly.  On 10+, narrate the move however you like. 

  3. A turn passes each time you type something and press enter. Increase your Tempo tracker by 1 per turn. 

  4. Play one move till you decide to trigger the next move. Use the Moves List as a guide.

  5. On 9 or less each /revert or /alter moves your Solace tracker down 1. On 10+ it’s free. Optionally, you can make minor edits (to make things make more sense) for free no matter what.

  6. By the end of the move, on 6 or less, you must either mark a Status, or shift the Heart tracker down 1 (or down 2 if you are Doing Battle).

  7. By the end of the move, on 7-9 you may mark a Status, move the Heart tracker down, or be completely foiled by a Status, to get +1 Experience.

  8. By the end of the move, on 10+, mark +1 Experience, or +1 Heart if it suits the story. You also get a Heart or Solace tracker bonus if you have Contributed, Delivered Aid, Journeyed, Looked Within, or Sojourned: see Moves List.

  9. Chronicle the complete move using /remember.

  10. Start the next move. You can also spend experience at any time.

4. Making Moves

Choosing a Move

Let the story lead. Ask, “Where am I? What am I trying to do? What am I curious about? What obstacles, assets, and allies do I have? What’s the first step? What complications might arise?” Then select the closest fit from the Moves List.

When you choose the move that best describes what you’re doing …

1. Your previous move completes. Use /remember to chronicle story progress.

2. Roll 2d6. Add your most relevant stat (Guile, Lore, Spirit, or Steel). Add any relevant modifier (Tempo, Solace, or Heart: see Moves List).

  • On a 1-6, you’ll play the move as a miss. Let bad things happen.

  • On a 7-9, you’ll play the move as a weak hit. Let things get complicated.

  • On a 10+, you’ll play the move as a strong hit. Let things go well.

3. Reset your Tempo track to the start (-3). 

Playing a Move

A move is made up of many turns. When you tell the AI something, or press enter to let the AI continue the story, this counts as one turn. Every turn, increase your Tempo track by one. Each move lasts until the next move begins, when Tempo is reset again.

When you are playing out a miss, let things get out-of-control.

  • Every time you use your Solace to /revert or /alter, move the Solace tracker down by 1. 

  • You’ve also suffered harm or setback. At the end of the move, move your Heart down by 1 (or 2 if you are Doing Battle), or mark a Status (see Character Sheet).

When you are playing out a weak hit, make complicated, costly progress.

  • Every time you use your Solace, to /revert or /alter, move the Solace tracker down by 1.

  • If you move your Heart down, or if a Status completely prevents you from achieving a goal, or if you mark a new Status, you may mark +1 experience. (These don’t stack).

When you are playing out a strong hit, tell the story any way you like.

  • Use your Solace as often as you like. 

  • At the end of the move, mark +1 experience. Or, if the story segment includes healing, move the Heart tracker up 1 instead.

List of Moves

Move 

+ Mod

Examples

  1. Confront Perils

Tempo

When you’re in danger and it doesn’t fit elsewhere

  1. Gain an Edge

Tempo

When you’re preparing and it doesn’t fit elsewhere

  1. Spring into Action

Tempo

When you try something that doesn’t fit elsewhere

  1. Witchcraft

Tempo

Wield or weave a little magic

  1. Do Battle *

Heart

Defend yourself, spring an ambush, turn the tide

  1. Wreak Havoc

Heart

Make things weird, or just smash everything up

  1. Deliver Aid **

Heart

Solace, protect, rescue. Lucky you came along!

  1. Stunt

Heart

Any feat of acrobatics, athletics, or sleight of hand

  1. Learn

Solace

Study books, test an artifact, learn from a master

  1. Tinker

Solace

Mend, adapt, or operate machinery

  1. Journey ***

Solace

Travel across vast, hazardous or uncertain spaces

  1. Track & Hunt

Solace

Follow or locate someone or something specific

  1. Slip Free

Tempo

Escape imprisonment or pursuit

  1. Commerce

Tempo

Go shopping, trade, barter, haggle, negotiate a reward

  1. Gather Assets

Tempo

Hunt, forage, beg, call in favors, invoke gifts

  1. Craft Something

Tempo

Forge a spear, brew a potion, make a mech, bake a cake

  1. Prowl & Snoop

Heart

Explore a building or area to see what’s there

  1. Sojourn ***

Heart

Spend time resting and getting to know a place

  1. Sway

Heart

Charm, seduce, persuade, compel, con, get your way

  1. Ask Around

Heart

Gather information in the palace or the tavern

  1. Consort

Tempo

Spend time with people and see what happens

  1. Look Within **

Tempo

Alone or in company, transform yourself a little

  1. Nurture Nature

Tempo

Grow plants, commune with animals

  1. Contribute ***

Tempo

Lead or support a community in a project

* On a miss when you Do Battle, decrease your Heart tracker by 2 instead of 1.

** On a strong hit when you Deliver Aid or Look Within, increase your Solace tracker by 1.

*** On a strong hit when you Journey, Sojourn, or Contribute, increase your Heart tracker by 1.

The Vale RPG

Name

Notes

Background

Aberration & Solace

Experience:     ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 

Tempo

Solace

Heart

Stats

-3

+3

+3

Guile

-2

+3

+3

Lore

-2

+2

+2

Steel

-1

+2

+2

Spirit

-1

+1

+1

-1

+1

+1

Statuses

0

0

0

Burdened

+1

0

0

Exhausted

+1

-1

-1

Hangry

+1

-1

-1

Hexed

0

-2

-2

Hunted

-1

-2

-2

Injured

-2

-3

-3

Penniless

-3

-3

??

Shook

6. Healing, Experience, and Happy & Unhappy Endings

Healing

On a strong hit when you Journey, Sojourn, or Contribute, move your Heart tracker up by 1. Your wellbeing is improved.

On a strong hit when you Deliver Aid or Look Within, move your Solace tracker up by 1. Your ability to cope with the Aberration is refreshed.

On any strong hit where your story mentions healing, medicine, good rest, etc. you may choose to move your Heart tracker up by 1 instead of taking your experience gain.

Game Over: Heart Track

If your Heart track reaches the little skull, hmm, that can’t be good. Collaborate with the AI to narrate a grisly fate. Or cheat death, but give up adventuring forever.

Game Over: Status Conditions

If you have five Status conditions marked, and your move is a miss, collaborate with the AI to focus the story on one or more of your conditions. If you have six or more conditions marked, and your move is a miss, collaborate with AID to bring your story to a gory and/or ignominious ending.  

Special Move: End the Story

If it feels like the story is reaching a natural conclusion, you may if you wish use this special move. Roll 2d6. Roll equal or under your experience for a happy ending. Roll over your experience for an ambiguous, mixed, or tragic fate.

Special Move: Spend Experience

At any time, you can spend experience in the following ways. To do this, you can either simply update your Character Sheet without typing anything, or you can tell the AI about it without making an official move. You can use /alter and /revert for free when spending experience.

2 points: Recover!  — clear one Status.

3 points: Heal! — move the Heart tracker up 1.

3 points: Cope with the Aberration! — move the Solace tracker up 1.

4 points: Flourish! — play your next official move as an automatic strong hit.

5 points: Level Up!  — increase 1 stat by 1. Use /remember to tell AID a sentence that describes an aspect of your skills and expertise.

12 points: Complete the Quest! — collaborate with AID to tell a happy ending.

The Vale

The Heartlands: The Queen’s City and the Queen’s Peace. Queen Mzizi of House Duma rules, protected by the Empty Walls and the Silver Skyships. Prosperous provinces ruled by Houses long loyal to House Duma, and one or two recent upstarts. Most of the major cities and castles in the Vale are here. Cadun, Cawic, Orist Murra, Baham City of Broken Blades, Pewtertown, Castle Hamor, Castle Nete, Castle Ryde.

The North-East: The Protectorate of Orionia, the great lake Mora Bjerg. Thornshore, the village that forgot it was real. The Strandcastle Kraken. Little provincial towns like Butterhedge, fortified against Elfborn raids. Thabazimbi Vrystaat. In the far North, the Elfborn territory of the High Waste, and the Bladed Curtain.

The East: The Grand Duchy of High Kian, The Great Forest of Ket, the Remembry of Slumbering Monks, the Serpentriver, the City of Ketchivan, the Poor Coast, Darkfelde, the Thorn Coast, the Lower Archipelago. 

The South: The Duchy of Polokwane, the Duchy of Pencarrow, the Janbullagar Kingdom. The open ocean, including a scatter of islands, notably the Peace of the Worshipful Company of Auditors and Assurors. 

The West and South-West: Mianyuan, Ballywort, Brackley. Caravan Nomads. The Walking Folk. Burning deserts, bleached bones, plenteous Firstborn ruins. Few large settlements, many stockaded hamlets. Rich territory for artifact-hunting. A cup that can never be knocked over and spilled, a Belittling Ballroom, a Quickbridge, and other oddities built by the Firstborn for obscure purposes, have just been lying around and waiting for a thousand years or so. 

The North-West: Tundra, mountains, glaciers, the Bearborn Kingdoms of Winter River. Castle Wahyrst, the great city of Zeira.

The Skies Above: The Ice Ladder, the Both Ways Stairway, the Cloud Dungeon, the Moon Castle, the Upper Archipelago, the Upper Upper Archipelago, the Edge of Night.

Acknowledgements: This is a work-in-progress by Alice the Candle AKA Jo Lindsay Walton. Art by Tithi Luadhong with alterations. Map by Azgaar’s magic machine. Feedback and suggestions appreciated: josephclwalton@gmail.com.

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