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By Jonathan Janssen
 
 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-
Tuko has heard that an old building has tumbled into the sembled the mythical Middle East of Earth’s Arabian Nights tales, but it has
wastes, a few miles from the abyss… . I must get there since degraded. Some now call it Nishkach, but no one can say how the name
quickly if I am to have any hope of finding something that started.
will help me becomeswhole. There is a stillness in the air… I One day the Edge appeared a few miles from the city. The shock of the bi-
know the day is coming soon, the day the abyss spreads, zarre mass of churning realities nearly destroyed the place, the ground restless
pulling us into its maw. My time is short and meaningful and new landforms and buildings springing up out of nowhere . Besides the
pages are more scarce. If I leave the city too quickly, oth- devastation, a magical barrier running along a twenty-mile wide strip from the
ers like me will become suspicious, other lost souls seeking Edge’s border isolated the city from all other realities. The cataclysm laid most
unity and a way to be spared from the end. 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
The travel into the sands is harsh… why did about their fate. Daily life is a struggle of fear, survival and predation.
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 The Edge is utter madness. It is raw, unstable reality given movement and an
from where these places come, perhaps it is appetite to consume all others. Looking into it will drive a person to insanity, for
other places swallowed by the abyss. 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
Immediately inside, the ceiling threatens to crush me, but I jump to the side… are never seen again. Though terrified of it, the people live in a strange symbio-
I am rewarded for my quickness, for beneath some refuse lay a few torn pages sis with the Edge, for they would not be able to survive without the random
from a book. The pages are large and shiny, the faces are so alien to me, they creatures, vegetation and buildings it spews out from its churning. The people
all look like young girls, wearing much eye make up and flamboyant hair have all accepted that the abyss will swallow them, for they know it slowly
styles… though these images are not my concern. I scan the lines of text, my grows.. This game is set at the eve of a great surge of growth. One year from
heart beginning to sink as I see nothing… then, something seems to leap out at beginning of the game, the Edge will increase in size greatly, swallowing Iftiqad
me: Justin remains strong amidst various tawdry rumors. I live my life by and all of its people.
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- 
fectly… 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
Paths of the Resolute is a game about finding personal identity amidst chaos. identity. He longed for a life which meant something. One day, while
In this game, the players will play people who have lost their identity in a catas- scrounging for food amongst a newly spewed building from
trophe, but struggle to create a new one in order to survive annihilation. These the abyss, Hadj came across a torn sheet of paper. It was
characters are strong personalities who strive to uphold personal ideals. They very thin and most of the words did not have meaning.
brave the dangers of the Edge to seek out the remnants of ancient texts, He was about to cast it aside when something
searching for words that affirm their existence and ideals. If the player can find caught his attention— a simple portion of a sen-
enough texts to become whole before the Edge swallows the city, they will as- tence, reading: ...because he was righteous. Hadj
cend to the supernal world and be spared utter destruction at the hands of felt this was no coincidence. It was a sign to
chaos. 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- Though the people of Iftiqad are desperate for food and supplies, they are
covered a new part of himself. He set out to other ruins, looking for texts that nonetheless frightened by the strange buildings tossed out from the Edge. They
affirmed his identity. Soon his body was filled with reaffirming messages, sym- stick to what they can find on the periphery of the
bols from other times that showed his ideals were true. The legend says that crash site and even the bravest only venture a few
when he found his final piece of wisdom, he no longer needed the world. He steps within the structure. The Resolute are the ex-
was taken up in a flash of light and never seen again. As he ascended, his flesh ception. They routinely brave the new ruins as they
fell to the ground in the form of a scroll, printed with all the words of wisdom he arise, trying to be the first to get to a new building be-
had collected. 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
A small number Iftiqadians are not as dull witted toxic chemicals, wild animals or other humans made
as the majority have become. They long for mad by living in the Edge.
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 These strange papers and pages are remnants of texts
the story, the person will embark on a simi- from other places and other times. With no culture left of
lar quest, in hopes of emulating Hadj and leaving their own to guide them, the Resolute must turn to the
the world before destruction. These few souls are multitude of other cultures that come to them from the Edge to
known as the Resolute, named in honor of find words and ideas that resonate with their own beliefs.
Hadj, the first of them. They alone brave the When the perfect words are found, the page is taken back home
dangers of the Edge in order to seek out wis- and the words are ritually tattooed onto their bodies. This act
dom which will free them from their fate. reaffirms the path the Resolute has chosen to walk and fills
 them with spiritual strength.

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 Wisdom is truth in text
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.
 
Characters in Paths of the Resolute are simple to create. They are primarily Otis is getting ready to play Paths of the Resolute. After read-
made up of virtues and tattoos. ing up on the background, he is ready to make a character.
Otis is interested in playing a character that is a philosopher/
First and foremost, characters should choose a name. Though Arabic and Mid- explorer, focused in seeing new sights and comparing ideas
dle-Eastern type names are the most common in Iftiqad, people often have that he finds there to his own. He goes with the name Ve-
names of animals or features of the natural world. Among the Resolute it is lut, the Seeker.
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. Moving to Virtues, Otis thinks of the things Velut would
value and decides Wisdom is key to his quest to become
Next are virtues, perhaps the most important aspect of playing one of the whole, it is why he seeks out new ideas. Next he believes
Resolute. Each Resolute has chosen three virtues to live by; virtues which guide Courage is important, for Velut braves danger in his quest
their path as they search to make themselves whole. These virtues make up for fulfillment. Lastly, Otis decides on Temperance, for he
the core of their identity and every action they take is dictated by them. In the wants to play someone who doesn’t fly off the handle.
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 Next, Otis is ready to choose Velut’s tattoo. The game
them belong on your skin. master hands Otis a single page torn from an old novel.
Common virtues followed by the Resolute are Strength, Courage and Faith, both the
though there are many that espouse Kindness, Tolerance and Patience instead. Velut, the Seeker Otis front and the
Do not let these few be a limit, but only suggestions for the many choices of vir- Wisdom Courage Temperance
back, Velut finds the sentence:
tues. The Resolute run the gambit from warriors to rogues, not all of them hold You shouldn’t lose your temper.
up traditionally ‘good’ virtues., following things like Selfishness or Romance. The Being that one of Velut’s Virtues
game master is the final arbiter of what virtues are appropriate. Choose three is Temperance, it fits perfectly.
and write them down. A constant reminder to stay
level headed.
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 Thinking about Velut, Otis de-
or phrases that seem to support one or more of your virtues. For example, if YOU SHOULDN’T LOSE YOUR TEMPER
cides he will put this tattoo on
you have a virtue of generosity and you stumble across the sentence ‘She was Velut’s body. Being an explorer,
rewarded for her goodwill’ this would be an excellent example of your virtue be- Velut would certainly be heartier
ing praised by those from another place. It is a sign that your virtue has greater than the average person and
meaning and deserves to be marked on your flesh. need a physical boost to keep
him safe.
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 Now Otis is ready to play.
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.
 Physical Traps
Physical traps usually represent some kind of bodily harm. The game master
Paths of the Resolute takes play four seasons before the apocalypse. At the will describe the details of the trap, whether it be boulders falling from above or
peak of the next winter, the Edge will expand, swallowing Iftiqad and its people. a pit of snakes.
That means the resolute only have a year to reach spiritual wholeness and avoid
destruction by ascending to the supernal world. 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
Rounds the trap’s difficulty (set by the game master) then the player has survived the
Play will take play in four rounds, one for each Season, beginning with Spring trap and gets a precious Identity Document. The game master will describe
and ending with Winter. Any player who has not scribed eight tattoos on their their success.
body by the end of Winter is annihilated by the Edge.
Example: While exploring a toppled brick structure full of large pipes, a wave of
Due to the chaotic nature of living in close proximity to the Edge, each Season sizzling, yellow liquid drenches Velut. His skin begins to burn. He tries to shake
imposes an effect on game play. 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
Spring— + 1 to Tattooing rolls. Body, giving him an extra. He rolls a 2 and 6. The game master knows the diffi-
Summer— + 1 to all Swiftness rolls culty of the trap was 6. He describes Velut surviving the trap and discovering
Autumn— + 1d8 to all Trap rolls Identity Documents in a drawer at the end of the hall.
Winter— - 1 to all rolls
Puzzle Traps
Phases Puzzle traps represent some kind of riddle or test that needs to be solved. The
Each round has two phases: Exploration and Tattooing. game master will describe the details of the trap, whether it be a lock made of
glowing numbers or a stone gargoyle asking questions.
Exploration Phase
At the start of the Exploration Phase, the game master describes a rumor The player describes their attempt at the trap and rolls 1d8 + 1d8 for each
about the appearance of a ruin in the wastelands. Each player should take a tattoo on their head. The trap has a target number, 1-8, determined by the
turn describing what they were doing when they hear the rumor and how they game master. To solve the trap, one of your dice must come up with that num-
react. ber exactly. If you successfully solve the trap you receive an Identity Document.
Next, the players race to reach the ruins first with a Swiftness check. They Example: While poking around an abandoned temple, Velut’s path is blocked
each roll 1d8 plus an additional d8 for each tattoo on their legs. The player by a sphinx who holds a puzzle box in one hand and a deadly blade in the other.
with the highest total arrives first, the next highest arrives second, and so on Velut takes the puzzle box and the game master tell Otis to roll his dice. Since
until each player arrives. In the result of a tie, the players arrive at the same Otis has no Head tattoos, he only has one die. He rolls it, 3. The target number
time and attempt all traps together. Players should take a turn describing their was 3 so the game master tells him that the sphinx disappears with a smile,
journey to the ruins appropriately. leaving an Identity Document behind.
The first Resolute to arrive gets the first trap all to themselves and gets a Any time a player fails a trap roll, the game master describes their immediate
chance at all following traps. The Resolute who arrived next gets a chance at ejection from the ruins. They keep any documents found up until their ejection.
the second trap and all following traps. The last Resolute to arrive usually ends
up with only a chance at one trap. When all traps have been attempted or all players have been ejected from the
ruins, the Round moves to the next phase.
There are two kinds of traps:
Tattooing Phase
After exploring the ruins, the Resolute return to the city to tattoo their new
found wisdom on to their bodies. To run this game you only need a few things:
 some d8s 
Before their tattooing, the players may make one trade each, trading one Iden-  pencils 
tity Document for another. Players are free to decline.  a character sheet for each player 
 Identity Documents (At least 5 per player) 
Players inspect their Identity Documents for phrases or sentences that reaffirm
their character’s virtues. Identity Documents are pages that the game master collects from random
books, documents and periodicals. They can be originals or copies. Good places
Next, each player attempts to scribe their tattoos. Each player gets 1d8 + 1d8 to find documents are old novels, left over newspapers, discarded magazines
for each tattoo on their arms. These dice can be put towards scribing a single and other kinds of books or pamphlets. These documents will be used by play-
tattoo or split up among several tattoos. ers to create their characters and create tattoos within the game.

The difficulty of scribing a tattoo is 8 — the number of tattoos you possess. Character Creation
Roll your dice and if the total is equal to above the difficulty, you may write the At this stage, players may need guidance choosing virtues. If your game has a
phrase or sentence discovered on any open space you have on your body. certain theme or feeling you would like to evoke, feel free to suggest appropri-
ate virtues.
Players each take a turn describing scribing their tattoos and the significance it
has to their character, 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
When all players are finished scribing their tattoos, the Round ends and moves virtues you know a player has chosen, give them that one. It will make charac-
to the next. 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.

 Exploration
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
Play continues until Winter. At the end of the Winter Round, the game master description and traps. Let the first player attempt the trap. If they succeed,
describes the arrival of the Edge. Players with eight tattoos describe their as- they get to attempt the next trap with the second player. This continues until
cension to the supernal world and read their tattoos out loud to the group as the last player attempts the last trap. Even though players attempt traps at the
their Flesh Scroll falls to the ground. Any players without eight tattoos are de- 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
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.

Puzzle Traps
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

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