Rise: Cogito

The Rise World

Some key ideas behind the world of Rise and Cogito

Some key conceits to this game that are important to realize before playing:

1. No one is infallible. The notion that all sentient beings are capable of error is a strong theme throughout the game world. There are no clearly cut heroes and villains, but the world is not without good and evil. In fact, it is rife with it, and the exchange between these concepts is a powerful factor that can drive the game. However, unlike in most games, the idea of good and evil are less of a dividing factor. While the PCs may encounter many different adversaries, it never feels like a case of “us” versus “them”. All characters in the world are capable of using their power for great good and for great evil, and they may be forced to do both at any given time. One of the dramatic elements in the storytelling is developing the characters through this dichotomy.

In order to preserve this conceit, it is imperative to avoid painting any particular PC or organization as being wholly right or wrong- merely appropriate or inappropriate depending on the circumstances surrounding it. While the PCs are likely to act in a way that favors a certain morality, it is important keep them from becoming too comfortable with what they do. On occasion, it may be necessary for them to do something that doesn’t feel right, be it for a greater purpose, or merely to preserve themselves. However, it is also important for them to feel like protagonists, as well, so avoid pitting them against difficult moral dilemmas every session- too many difficult choices make the players feel as if they are set up to fail no matter what they do, which is no fun for anyone.

2. There is a great and secret history to this world that we among the living are not to know. Powerful demons and angels manipulate wide arrays of world events, vengeful ghosts exact their wills on the world, and secretive heroes move in shadows to prevent the world from falling apart around us while we go about our business, working and living as if everything was fine.

Because of this, it is important that the PCs move discreetly. If the knowledge of what was happening behind the scenes of the living world became common knowledge, the world would fall apart very quickly. Because of this, players need to carefully evaluate their courses of action- while it may be easier to deal with some challenges directly, they have to be wary of exposing themselves and drawing too many questions. The authorities of this world don’t recognize the authority of the Estate, so suspicious activity of any kind can be very dangerous to both the PCs and those around them. It may be necessary to circumvent legal challenges by way of illegal activities, but then the characters run the risk of becoming enemies of their respective law enforcement agencies. Furthermore, there is always the concern of drawing the attention of higher powers, such as The Talmudic Regency, or the Cocytal Seat. Navigating the game world is a task that requires much forethought. You need to encourage players to plan and consider all their options, but at the same time, players are prone to making poor choices on occasion. In this case, the character should face some adversity, but you want to avoid overly punishing the players for the odd offense. After all, the game primarily about non-action obstacles. Characters may go session after session without ever taking HP damage, but they shouldn’t be impervious- but just as you wouldn’t drop a CR 20 enemy against a ECL 7 party, you shouldn’t propose obstacles so great that a player cannot bypass them on their own merits.

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