By Jonathan Janssen
Thc C|!y n! !hc |dqc Thc C|!y n! !hc |dqc
Tuko has heard that an old building has tumbled into the
wastes, a few miles from the abyss…. I must get there
quickly if I am to have any hope of finding something that
will help me becomeswhole. There is a stillness in the air… I
know the day is coming soon, the day the abyss spreads,
pulling us into its maw. My time is short and meaningful
pages are more scarce. If I leave the city too quickly, oth-
ers like me will become suspicious, other lost souls seeking
unity and a way to be spared from the end.
The travel into the sands is harsh… why did
the place have to appear in the middle of the
day? But, I have reached it… sweaty and
thirsty as I am… it is so strange to my eyes,
not the delicate round domes of the city, but
hard angles and panels of glass. Who knows
from where these places come, perhaps it is
other places swallowed by the abyss.
Immediately inside, the ceiling threatens to crush me, but I jump to the side…
I am rewarded for my quickness, for beneath some refuse lay a few torn pages
from a book. The pages are large and shiny, the faces are so alien to me, they
all look like young girls, wearing much eye make up and flamboyant hair
styles…though these images are not my concern. I scan the lines of text, my
heart beginning to sink as I see nothing… then, something seems to leap out at
me: Justin remains strong amidst various tawdry rumors. I live my life by
strength, especially when others oppose me. Justin must be a powerful hero,
like I hope to be… I have a bit of space on my left arm where this will fit per-
In!hs oï !hc Rcso|u!c In!hs oï !hc Rcso|u!c
Paths of the Resolute is a game about finding personal identity amidst chaos.
In this game, the players will play people who have lost their identity in a catas-
trophe, but struggle to create a new one in order to survive annihilation. These
characters are strong personalities who strive to uphold personal ideals. They
brave the dangers of the Edge to seek out the remnants of ancient texts,
searching for words that affirm their existence and ideals. If the player can find
enough texts to become whole before the Edge swallows the city, they will as-
cend to the supernal world and be spared utter destruction at the hands of
Iftiqad is a tiny desert city that has been lost. It has been outside of time for so
long, its home world does not even remember its existence. At one time it re-
sembled the mythical Middle East of Earth’s Arabian Nights tales, but it has
since degraded. Some now call it Nishkach, but no one can say how the name
One day the Edge appeared a few miles from the city. The shock of the bi-
zarre mass of churning realities nearly destroyed the place, the ground restless
and new landforms and buildings springing up out of nowhere . Besides the
devastation, a magical barrier running along a twenty-mile wide strip from the
Edge’s border isolated the city from all other realities. The cataclysm laid most
of the city to waste and the rippling static of warped reality twisted the peo-
ple’s minds, making them forget everything and instilling an uncaring passivity
about their fate. Daily life is a struggle of fear, survival and predation.
Thc |dqc Thc |dqc
The Edge is utter madness. It is raw, unstable reality given movement and an
appetite to consume all others. Looking into it will drive a person to insanity, for
all times and places swirl in a chaotic jumble, showing minds things they were
not meant to know. The people of Iftiqad call it the abyss, for those that fall in
are never seen again. Though terrified of it, the people live in a strange symbio-
sis with the Edge, for they would not be able to survive without the random
creatures, vegetation and buildings it spews out from its churning. The people
have all accepted that the abyss will swallow them, for they know it slowly
grows.. This game is set at the eve of a great surge of growth. One year from
beginning of the game, the Edge will increase in size greatly, swallowing Iftiqad
and all of its people.
Hnd|. !hc Rcso|u!c Hnd|. !hc Rcso|u!c
There is a legend circling around some of the people in the city. The
tale speaks of Hadj, the Resolute, who refused to die helpless with no
identity. He longed for a life which meant something. One day, while
scrounging for food amongst a newly spewed building from
the abyss, Hadj came across a torn sheet of paper. It was
very thin and most of the words did not have meaning.
He was about to cast it aside when something
caught his attention— a simple portion of a sen-
tence, reading: ...because he was righteous. Hadj
felt this was no coincidence. It was a sign to
him that living righteously was important.
He ran back home with the paper and used ink to permanently mark his skin
with the text. He wanted the wisdom to become one with him, the words to be
a focus for his life. When it was complete, Hadj felt changed,,, as if he had dis-
covered a new part of himself. He set out to other ruins, looking for texts that
affirmed his identity. Soon his body was filled with reaffirming messages, sym-
bols from other times that showed his ideals were true. The legend says that
when he found his final piece of wisdom, he no longer needed the world. He
was taken up in a flash of light and never seen again. As he ascended, his flesh
fell to the ground in the form of a scroll, printed with all the words of wisdom he
Thc Rcso|u!c Thc Rcso|u!c
A small number Iftiqadians are not as dull witted
as the majority have become. They long for
more than a pointless life, but they do not
know where to begin. Hopefully they will
run into someone who has heard the tale of
Hadj, the Resolute. Often, upon hearing
the story, the person will embark on a simi-
lar quest, in hopes of emulating Hadj and leaving
the world before destruction. These few souls are
known as the Resolute, named in honor of
Hadj, the first of them. They alone brave the
dangers of the Edge in order to seek out wis-
dom which will free them from their fate.
The most sacred part of a Resolute’s life is their tattoos. Not only do the tattoos
symbolize a validation of the Resolute’s personal code, this commitment to
higher ideals unlocks potential within them. Resolute often exhibit feats of great
stamina, swiftness, intelligence and artistry. When the Resolute leave the ma-
terial world for the next, their flesh too falls to the
ground, tattooed with the words that
brought them fulfillment. These
flesh scrolls are highly prized arti-
facts among the Resolute, who
treat them with great respect.
The scrolls are a testament to
the validity of the Resolutes’
spiritual practices and beliefs.
Though the people of Iftiqad are desperate for food and supplies, they are
nonetheless frightened by the strange buildings tossed out from the Edge. They
stick to what they can find on the periphery of the
crash site and even the bravest only venture a few
steps within the structure. The Resolute are the ex-
ception. They routinely brave the new ruins as they
arise, trying to be the first to get to a new building be-
fore other Resolute can plunder its secrets. They are
willing to risk their lives against any dangers lurking
inside in order to find precious identity documents.
Aside from deadly structural damage, such as collaps-
ing floors and falling beams, ruins are often filled with
toxic chemicals, wild animals or other humans made
mad by living in the Edge.
Idcn!|!y Docuncn!s. Idcn!|!y Docuncn!s.
These strange papers and pages are remnants of texts
from other places and other times. With no culture left of
their own to guide them, the Resolute must turn to the
multitude of other cultures that come to them from the Edge to
find words and ideas that resonate with their own beliefs.
When the perfect words are found, the page is taken back home
and the words are ritually tattooed onto their bodies. This act
reaffirms the path the Resolute has chosen to walk and fills
them with spiritual strength.
Wisdom is truth in text
Chnrnc!cr Crcn!|on Chnrnc!cr Crcn!|on
Characters in Paths of the Resolute are simple to create. They are primarily
made up of virtues and tattoos.
First and foremost, characters should choose a name. Though Arabic and Mid-
dle-Eastern type names are the most common in Iftiqad, people often have
names of animals or features of the natural world. Among the Resolute it is
customary to add titles to their name, to emulate the first of them, Hadj, the
Resolute. Some examples are Khemi of the Sun and Suli, Water Bringer.
Next are virtues, perhaps the most important aspect of playing one of the
Resolute. Each Resolute has chosen three virtues to live by; virtues which guide
their path as they search to make themselves whole. These virtues make up
the core of their identity and every action they take is dictated by them. In the
game when you come across new Identity Documents, your character’s virtues
will help you discover truth among the words and help you to decide which of
them belong on your skin.
Common virtues followed by the Resolute are Strength, Courage and Faith,
though there are many that espouse Kindness, Tolerance and Patience instead.
Do not let these few be a limit, but only suggestions for the many choices of vir-
tues. The Resolute run the gambit from warriors to rogues, not all of them hold
up traditionally ‘good’ virtues., following things like Selfishness or Romance. The
game master is the final arbiter of what virtues are appropriate. Choose three
and write them down.
Lastly, create your beginning tattoo. The game master will provide every player
with an Identity Document at this stage. Read the page and look for sentences
or phrases that seem to support one or more of your virtues. For example, if
you have a virtue of generosity and you stumble across the sentence ‘She was
rewarded for her goodwill’ this would be an excellent example of your virtue be-
ing praised by those from another place. It is a sign that your virtue has greater
meaning and deserves to be marked on your flesh.
Each Resolute has eight spaces on their body to put tattoos: two on the head,
two on the body, one on each arm and one on each leg. The placement of your
tattoo is very significant, for each body part grants a different bonus during cer-
tain scenes of the game. The head provides bonuses to solving puzzle traps, the
legs provide a bonus to reaching ruins before other players, the body adds a bo-
nus to escaping physical traps and the arms provide a bonus to inscribing new
tattoos on yourself during the game.
Chnrnc!cr Crcn!|on |xnnp|c Chnrnc!cr Crcn!|on |xnnp|c
Otis is getting ready to play Paths of the Resolute. After read-
ing up on the background, he is ready to make a character.
Otis is interested in playing a character that is a philosopher/
explorer, focused in seeing new sights and comparing ideas
that he finds there to his own. He goes with the name Ve-
lut, the Seeker.
Moving to Virtues, Otis thinks of the things Velut would
value and decides Wisdom is key to his quest to become
whole, it is why he seeks out new ideas. Next he believes
Courage is important, for Velut braves danger in his quest
for fulfillment. Lastly, Otis decides on Temperance, for he
wants to play someone who doesn’t fly off the handle.
Next, Otis is ready to choose Velut’s tattoo. The game
master hands Otis a single page torn from an old novel.
front and the
back, Velut finds the sentence:
You shouldn’t lose your temper.
Being that one of Velut’s Virtues
is Temperance, it fits perfectly.
A constant reminder to stay
Thinking about Velut, Otis de-
cides he will put this tattoo on
Velut’s body. Being an explorer,
Velut would certainly be heartier
than the average person and
need a physical boost to keep
Now Otis is ready to play.
Velut, the Seeker
YOU SHOULDN’T LOSE YOUR TEMPER
I|ny|nq !hc Onnc I|ny|nq !hc Onnc
Paths of the Resolute takes play four seasons before the apocalypse. At the
peak of the next winter, the Edge will expand, swallowing Iftiqad and its people.
That means the resolute only have a year to reach spiritual wholeness and avoid
destruction by ascending to the supernal world.
Play will take play in four rounds, one for each Season, beginning with Spring
and ending with Winter. Any player who has not scribed eight tattoos on their
body by the end of Winter is annihilated by the Edge.
Due to the chaotic nature of living in close proximity to the Edge, each Season
imposes an effect on game play.
Spring— + 1 to Tattooing rolls.
Summer— + 1 to all Swiftness rolls
Autumn— + 1d8 to all Trap rolls
Winter— - 1 to all rolls
Each round has two phases: Exploration and Tattooing.
At the start of the Exploration Phase, the game master describes a rumor
about the appearance of a ruin in the wastelands. Each player should take a
turn describing what they were doing when they hear the rumor and how they
Next, the players race to reach the ruins first with a Swiftness check. They
each roll 1d8 plus an additional d8 for each tattoo on their legs. The player
with the highest total arrives first, the next highest arrives second, and so on
until each player arrives. In the result of a tie, the players arrive at the same
time and attempt all traps together. Players should take a turn describing their
journey to the ruins appropriately.
The first Resolute to arrive gets the first trap all to themselves and gets a
chance at all following traps. The Resolute who arrived next gets a chance at
the second trap and all following traps. The last Resolute to arrive usually ends
up with only a chance at one trap.
There are two kinds of traps:
Physical traps usually represent some kind of bodily harm. The game master
will describe the details of the trap, whether it be boulders falling from above or
a pit of snakes.
The player describes their attempt at escaping or defeating the trap and rolls
1d8 + 1d8 for each tattoo on their body. If the total is equal to or greater than
the trap’s difficulty (set by the game master) then the player has survived the
trap and gets a precious Identity Document. The game master will describe
Example: While exploring a toppled brick structure full of large pipes, a wave of
sizzling, yellow liquid drenches Velut. His skin begins to burn. He tries to shake
it off, heading to dry ground to try to scrape the stuff off. The game master
tells Otis to roll his dice. He automatically gets one and he has a tattoo on his
Body, giving him an extra. He rolls a 2 and 6. The game master knows the diffi-
culty of the trap was 6. He describes Velut surviving the trap and discovering
Identity Documents in a drawer at the end of the hall.
Puzzle traps represent some kind of riddle or test that needs to be solved. The
game master will describe the details of the trap, whether it be a lock made of
glowing numbers or a stone gargoyle asking questions.
The player describes their attempt at the trap and rolls 1d8 + 1d8 for each
tattoo on their head. The trap has a target number, 1-8, determined by the
game master. To solve the trap, one of your dice must come up with that num-
ber exactly. If you successfully solve the trap you receive an Identity Document.
Example: While poking around an abandoned temple, Velut’s path is blocked
by a sphinx who holds a puzzle box in one hand and a deadly blade in the other.
Velut takes the puzzle box and the game master tell Otis to roll his dice. Since
Otis has no Head tattoos, he only has one die. He rolls it, 3. The target number
was 3 so the game master tells him that the sphinx disappears with a smile,
leaving an Identity Document behind.
Any time a player fails a trap roll, the game master describes their immediate
ejection from the ruins. They keep any documents found up until their ejection.
When all traps have been attempted or all players have been ejected from the
ruins, the Round moves to the next phase.
After exploring the ruins, the Resolute return to the city to tattoo their new
found wisdom on to their bodies.
Before their tattooing, the players may make one trade each, trading one Iden-
tity Document for another. Players are free to decline.
Players inspect their Identity Documents for phrases or sentences that reaffirm
their character’s virtues.
Next, each player attempts to scribe their tattoos. Each player gets 1d8 + 1d8
for each tattoo on their arms. These dice can be put towards scribing a single
tattoo or split up among several tattoos.
The difficulty of scribing a tattoo is 8 — the number of tattoos you possess.
Roll your dice and if the total is equal to above the difficulty, you may write the
phrase or sentence discovered on any open space you have on your body.
Players each take a turn describing scribing their tattoos and the significance it
has to their character,
When all players are finished scribing their tattoos, the Round ends and moves
to the next.
Thc |nd|nq Thc |nd|nq
Play continues until Winter. At the end of the Winter Round, the game master
describes the arrival of the Edge. Players with eight tattoos describe their as-
cension to the supernal world and read their tattoos out loud to the group as
their Flesh Scroll falls to the ground. Any players without eight tattoos are de-
Runn|nq Thc Onnc Runn|nq Thc Onnc
To run this game you only need a few things:
a character sheet for each player
Identity Documents (At least 5 per player)
Identity Documents are pages that the game master collects from random
books, documents and periodicals. They can be originals or copies. Good places
to find documents are old novels, left over newspapers, discarded magazines
and other kinds of books or pamphlets. These documents will be used by play-
ers to create their characters and create tattoos within the game.
At this stage, players may need guidance choosing virtues. If your game has a
certain theme or feeling you would like to evoke, feel free to suggest appropri-
Players will also need Identity Documents from you in order to create their be-
ginning tattoos. If you think a certain document is likely to contain references to
virtues you know a player has chosen, give them that one. It will make charac-
ter creation easier. If players complain that a given document contains no suit-
able text, look It over. If you agree, hand them another one.
Identity Documents given to players to make characters can be used again in
the same game, just make sure they are distributed to other players.
Beginning the Game
The game master begins the game by describing the latest Ruin that has ap-
peared in the wasteland. Use this opportunity to set the mood and tone. Is it a
creepy gothic cathedral or a primitive stone structure? After the characters
describe their reaction to the news.
After the players establish their order of arrival, describe what they see at the
ruins. Each ruin encountered should have its own style and feel, reflected in its
description and traps. Let the first player attempt the trap. If they succeed,
they get to attempt the next trap with the second player. This continues until
the last player attempts the last trap. Even though players attempt traps at the
same time, they each succeed or fail independently.
Mechanically, traps are very simple and easy. Their fun comes in the game
master’s description of them and the flavor they add to the game. No matter
what form traps take, they are resolved one of two ways.
Physical traps have a difficulty number set by the game master. Players must
roll that number or higher, combining the results of all their dice together. Diffi-
culties should range from 4 (easy) to 18 (hard). Physical traps in the Spring
Round should be easy and gradually increase in difficulty, with Winter having
the most difficult traps. Examples of physical traps are collapsing bridges, boul-
ders, wild animals, undead, acid pools and toxic vapors.
Instead of a difficulty number, puzzle traps have a target number from 1 to 8.
Players must roll that number exactly on at least one of their die. This is not a
combination of numbers like a physical trap. Each die is looked at separately.
Also, unlike physical traps, puzzle traps do not increase in difficulty. They are
already as difficult as they can get. Examples of puzzle traps are panels of
glowing stones, floor tiles with pictures on them, riddling statues and labyrinths.
Ending the Game
At the end of the Winter round, describe the horror that occurs when the Edge
swallows the city. Describe the players that have eight tattoos ascending into
the Supernal Realm. Let the players read their tattoos as their Flesh Scroll falls
to the ground. Describe how the chaos of the Edge tears the remaining players