What is Heroes & Other Worlds?

Heroes & Other Worlds is a game of adventure inspired by Metagaming's classic Melee/Wizard/TFT system combined with inspiration from the Moldvay edited basic game. The rules are easy to learn and use standard six sided dice. The system is simple, sensible and flexible in the spirit of classic role playing games from the early 80's. Become a Hero, Other Worlds await!

Monday, May 4, 2020

The Void

Void, the spaces between galaxy filaments that contain no galaxies. Void, a pore that remains unoccupied in a composite material. Void, synonym for vacuum, a space containing no matter.

In Black Magic, the void is the mutating, magical, unliving force that creates the power of spells in this setting. Maybe it is sentient in a way a human cannot understand. It is not necessarily malevolent; it simply does not care. All that is known about the void for sure is, it can grant powers and it is always hungry.

The void thrives and grows by consuming the light and life of everything it can touch. By feeding the void—whether by chance, unfathomable sentient decision making, or simply as an excretion from being fed it gives strange abilities to those who know how to feed it.

Pulling beings from distant planets, or strange dimensions, filling the space between worlds and hungrily gnawing on the edges of your own world, the void takes away life in equal portion to the strange powers it grants.

For me, (YMMV)  I want my games to have some reason for what happens. Most fantasy games just have magic because 'the world is magical"  Some have "life pays for life" and though life force or blood or health or fatigue spells happen. That's part way to my thinking that there needs to be some sort of player give (a painful payment) to be able to take (cast a spell).

That;s good enough, but for me I wanted an actual force that is consuming the payment.Now here is where "pacts" with strange or demonic beings come into play. Black Magic does allow some sort of servant pact like that to gain access to powers--but what about"the guy behind the guy?"

Here in Black Magic, I wanted (needed) something that corrupts but is incorruptible and cannot be reasoned with.  It is just sort of there, everywhere around you. Something you know but is unknowable. The night, the dark of your room, the deep black of caves under mountain.  That strange feeling that something is moving around your but you cannot see it--but you sense it is there--and it is not at all kind. It is as primal a force that has haunted humanity from the beginning of time, FEAR OF THE DARK.

So the void represents that. The absence of light, the absence of life, that moving living inky blackness that owns the world for 8+ hours a day. By feeding the void you can gain some strange weird abilities or powers. Feeding the void unlocks things humans were not meant to know or see, and you allow them entry into your world. The void eats away at the barriers that keep our worlds or dimensions separate.

Feeding the void makes it stronger, hungrier for more and in doing so, for the strange spells and abilities it grants-- you are robbing your world of light and life until with enough power the void simply becomes a massive black hole draining your whole galaxy of light and life.

...and that's the reasoning behind the void being the power behind magic in Black Magic.


  1. I must say, I like the concept. It's not what I would have thought of (meaning, it never would have occurred to me), but it's very much a left-handed approach to the same kind of uncaring, unknowable universe that HPL and REH talked about in their stories. Perhaps it's simply a more "modern" or "scientific" take than what they COULD come up with back a century ago, but it works for me. And it helps to understand WHY magic is inherently both corrupting and ultimately dangerous -- because, in the end, it could utterly destroy all life as we know it. And if you think about it, wasn't that exactly what HPL and REH were talking about?

    I AM still hoping for some kind of "madness" mechanic, though...if for no other reason than to emphasize the "chaos" aspect of the void. :-)

  2. You know, this is TOTALLY off-topic, for which I sincerely apologize, but I was reading through some of last year's posts, and I ran across the one about the box set you created.

    And now I want to create my own. But I have some questions...

    I picked up a couple of extra empty pocket boxes from Steve Jackson Games (as a result of one of their Kickstarters from last year), and it turns out they are just a hair too small to use to store Blades in. So what kind of box did you use (and where did you get it)? I'd really like to have a box deep enough to store a copy of Blades, a copy of Black Magic (when it comes out) and a copy of Frostcrawl! So if you can send me to your box source, I might be able to score something deeper than anything I've got now...

    Second, I LOVED the art work you used for your box cover. How did you create that (more specifically, where did you find that kick-a** cover illustration, and how did you get the word "Blades" on there?

    Also, I just want to put in a vote for that hard-back version of Blades and Black Magic, with Blades, Black Magic, Frostcrawl (and maybe Mythic Ireland?) all in one volume that you were talking about back when, when you get Black Magic done and ready to launch. If you do that, I guarantee you at least a two-copy buy! (Not much of an incentive I know, but surely many of your other fans will chime in as well!) Plus, of course, I'll be buying a minimum of two copies of the paper-back version of Black Magic, just to complete my "pocket box" versions!

    Anyway, I apologize for taking this blog entry completely off the rails here! ;-)

  3. Hi Jeff--I used a Hubless VHS case box with a full sleeve, you can find them on ebay. The hubless box can fit Blades + Frostcrawl easily. Not sure it will fit all 3 books--time will tell.

    Box art--I think I just started looking up fantasy art work or fantasy book covers and saw something I thought was cool. Adding text was done in photoshop!

    Yup at some point there will be a complete hardback, my wife is working on alternate covers for Blades, Black Magic and then a "combined cover" for use on a combined edition book.

    Thanks for your patience and continued support!!