In addition to the core rule book, we have released an introductory adventure, Seeds of Rage.
You can grab both books in our Abandon All Hope Starter Bundle+
Abandon All Hope is a science-fiction/supernatural horror role-playing game in which players take on the role of the condemned aboard an automated spaceship that has plunged over the edge of the known universe. Here, in another dimension, they must contend with escaped lunatics, robotic controllers, and monstrous aliens who feed off of their fear and suffering. Former convicts are now the heroes, and every day is a fight for survival. For those who seek it there will be chances to escape, to gain power, embrace damnation, or seek redemption...
Download High Resolution PDF: Gehenna PDF
In addition to worrying about demons, the pathetic inhabitants of the lost prison ship Gehenna must also contend with their robotic controllers, the vast legion of “custodians”. Designed and programmed for a wide range of missions, the custodians were responsible for monitoring the population’s behavior, seeing to their needs, enforcing the restrictions and regulations of the prison, tracking down escapees, confiscating contraband, and, when necessary, carrying out punishment for offenders who continued to endanger their fellow prisoners through their unrepentant crimes.
Let's look at one example:
Enforcers are the Gehenna's equivalent of prison guards. Each Enforcer is an enormous armored contraption that hovers along on a gravity wave emitter at a height of seven to ten feet. The task of the ship's Enforcers is to respond to unlawful activity reported by Narcs and Monitors and deal with the problem. Envisioned as peacekeepers and law officers, Enforcers were given surprisingly simple and strict programming, so that when they are called on to act, they do so decisively (and often lethally).
Prowess 10 Social 1 Reflexes 5 Intimidation 10 Wits 3 Movement 8 Willpower 7 Health 75
ENFORCER SPECIAL RULES
Large Size: This machine is larger than a man and takes up four spaces (square) on a standard battle grid.
Authoritarian: To face down an enforcer, an unarmed human opponent must succeed at a Despair check. If she fails she is unable to resist the custodian's commands.
Cattle Prod: An enforcer is equipped with a cattle prod. Its internal power source allows it to use this weapon indefinitely.
Sonic Beamer: An enforcer is equipped with a sonic beamer that affects not only the target, but anyone adjacent to the target as well. Its internal power source allows it to use this weapon indefinitely.
Armor: Due to its metal construction a monitor reduces the damage from all physical attacks by -4 (minimum 0).
Call Backup: Instead of attacking, an enforcer can communicate a distress call to a range of 500 ft. which will draw the attention of all nearby Enforcers to its aid.
Gehenna has wandered into a dimension of unimaginable terror, a place so far beyond the outer limit of the known universe that it can only be described as “Hell itself“. Still as yet unexplained, the hatred, fear, guilt, and madness of the inmates aboard causes the frequent manifestation of monstrous beings that are hideous to behold and terrible to confront. These creatures have come to be known as “demons”.
The demons of Abandon All Hope come in three varies linked directly to Ludovico Gauges: Despair, Guilt, and Insanity. Let's look at one from the Despair family:
Seen in the shadows of an abandoned cell or moving through a darkened passage, a Death Slither might be mistaken for a snake as it slinks sinuously across the floor, moving side to side with quick and powerful swings of its tail. This strange form of demon resembles the skull and spine of a human cadaver, hung with rotten flesh and patches of hair, with white, dead eyes and a bisected lower jaw rimmed with jagged, alien teeth. Death Slithers are typically lone hunters, stalking the darkness of deep halls and corridors for isolated victims, playing cat-and-mouse with potential prey. Since they can literally "taste" their victims' growing fear, these creatures appear to delight in tormenting prey before an actual confrontation. When the sensation of intense fear becomes too much for the demon to resist any longer, it finally ambushes its prey, moving in for the satisfying climax of the kill.
Typical Manifestation: When manifested, a Death Slither generally reanimates scattered bones, which slowly come together to take on a serpentine shape and life of their own.
Prowess 6 Social 1 Reflexes 9 Intimidation 6 Wits 3 Movement 6 Willpower 3 Health 10
DEATH SLITHER SPECIAL RULES
Small Size: This creature is small. Two creatures of its kind can occupy the same square on a standard battle grid.
Frightening: Characters beholding a death slither must make a Despair check or accumulate +1D2 Despair.
Hopelessness: Hope points cannot be used during encounters with this creature.
Bite: A death slither's bite attack does 1D6 Health damage.
Tail Lash: Instead of biting, a death slither can attack with its tail, using Reflexes instead of Prowess for its attack roll; a successful hit does 1D3 Health damage and also ignores all Armor (except for a helmet, which offers normal protection).
Latch: If a death slither's bite is successful, it latches onto the target. It must maintain this hold (i.e. remain alive) for three turns to use its Choke ability (see below).
Choke: If a death slither remains latched onto a target for three turns, on the fourth turn it automatically deals 1D4 Health damage; if a natural 4 is rolled, another D4 is rolled and added to the total (and again if another 4 is rolled, etc.). A victim killed by this ability is decapitated (no Recovery possible) and the head will rise as a death slither in 1D10 turns.
JAILHOUSE GIANTS (Pre-/Post-Perdition)
The “Jailhouse Giants” were one of the more formidable factions aboard the ship before Perdition, appealing to a diverse slice of the prison population - namely, those victimized, hounded, or otherwise ostracized by the other gangs. Formed in response to attacks on minorities, the weak, and the isolated, the Jailhouse Giants gave a voice (and violent support when needed) to those prisoners who, alone, had very little chance of surviving. The ’Giants, being relatively small, earned a nasty reputation for well-coordinated attacks on other gangs, clandestine assassinations, etc. that ultimately set them up as a respectable gang few gangs took on lightly.
Probationary: To join the Jailhouse Giants one must possess the Tortured trait.
Junior Standing: All members of Junior Standing gain the Boxing trait for free (if the character already has this trait, she gains 50 BPs instead). The ’Giants make sure their members can fight for themselves.
Senior Standing: Senior members gain their choice of either +1 Prowess or Intimidation.
Inner Circle: Inner Circle members gain a +100 Build Point bonus whenever they complete a mission that furthers their gang’s goals.
A Personal goals reflect either your character’s own ambitions, or a driving force behind her actions, or simply something she hopes to accomplish before she dies.
Personal goals do more than give flavor to your character; depending on your personal goal, certain actions during the game may lead to bonus Build Points if you act in accordance to your goal.
There are five goal: Redemption, Power, Survival, Escape, and Damnation. Here's one example:
A character seeking redemption searches for a way to amend for her crimes, a proverbial “cleaning of the slate”, through embracing a new sense of honor and self-sacrifice. A character with this personal goal sees the situation on the Gehenna as a chance to save fellow prisoners, protect others, and generally make up for the evils of her sordid past.
• Guilty of terrible murders, you have come to seek redemption, if not in God’s eyes than at least in your fellow man’s. You try to protect your comrades and, if necessary, will die for them.
• Having been party to the slaughter of innocents during the last war, and condemned for your service, you have come to regret the death and destruction once waged by your hands. You search for redemption leads you to care for the weak, the innocent, and fight for a common good.
Role-Playing Suggestions: Be a leader. Lead by example; be brave, inspire heroics in others. Do the right thing when you get the chance, even to your own detriment. Share with others, gain their trust.
BP Awards: Characters with this goal gain bonus BP awards for saving the lives of other characters, making “good” moral choices, sacrificing themselves for the greater good, etc.
Players will spend most of the build points they accumulate on Traits. Traits consist of everything from natural talents to skills learned in prison, abnormal mental qualities to psychological quirks, past training to quirky abilities picked up in the past before being sentenced to the Gehenna.
The cost of a Trait depends on a characters Conviction Record. Here's a few examples:
You smoke like a demon, but a drag now and then helps take the edge off your nerves.
Benefit: You begin play with a lighter. In addition, you may consume 1D4x10 smokes to reduce your current Despair by -1.
Penalty: You suffer a +2 penalty to Prowess checks when checking for success at feats of endurance.
Your reputation in prison precedes you; few are bold enough to challenge you.
Prerequisites: Intimidation 10.
Benefit: In combat, individual convicts must succeed at a Will test to attack you (unless you attack them first, in which case they are free to fight back). Player-controlled characters are immune to the effects of this trait.
You are an intimidating foe to confront in combat, whether its because of your size, the impressive scars, your reputation, or merely that maniacal, far-off look in your eyes.
Prerequisites: Intimidation 3.
Benefit: Instead of attacking you may, on your turn, select one opponent and force her to make an opposed Intimidation check. If she fails, she takes either a -1 penalty to all Attack or Defense rolls (your choice) for the rest of the combat.
CONVICTION RECORDThere are four convictions: Murderer, Vice Offender, Dissident, and Anarchists. Let's look at one, the Murderer
In Abandon All Hope, a character’s “Conviction Record” is basically a descriptor that defines the category of lawbreaker/deviant that character was in Terran society during the Purge. A character’s Conviction determines how, in general, a character is used to solving problems and dealing with others; through violence and intimidation, social interaction and deal-making, manipulation and playing to the custodians, or turning inward and developing self-sufficiency.
Depending on her Conviction a character will have certain Traits available to her at the start of the game, and she will also receive discounts on specific categories of Traits should she choose to buy them during the course of play.
MURDERER While society did have its share of violent offenders throughout human history, during the era of chaos preceding the Unification Movement constant warfare led to a cheapened view of the sanctity of life. War was waged almost constantly, and Man became jaded to suffering. When the New Regime took power, scarred by memories of infamous despots (such as the 20th century’s Hitler and Pol Pot, the 22nd century’s Lee Kamao, and De Dios of the late 2330s), paramount to the creation of Utopia was a rooting out of all violent offenders. This included not only killers, but also those deemed “pre-disposed” for killing, and anyone or anything that glorified the use of violence in any form. Similarly, soldiers who fought in the last war were decommissioned and sent to holding camps, only to be labeled as killers and thrown in with common thugs, psychopaths, and serial killers as the New Regime took control.
Attribute Bonus (Player‘s Choice): +1 Prowess or Intimidation.
Free Trait (Pick One): Cold-Blooded, Military Training, Obsession, Psychopath, Public Menace
I haven't covered Traits yet, so that last line has little meaning right now, but you know you want to take that Public Menace trait don't you!
As indicated in the previous preview, I'm going to cover Attributes and Gauges. Once again, I'm going to let Dominic do the taking with an excerpt.
Attributes and Gauges In an effort to better understand human predisposition for violence and deviancy, the Pan-Terran Meritocracy developed a system of categorization in which all humans could be classified by certain attributes. In game terms, these same dehumanizing statistics are used to define a character’s abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
First are Attributes. Attributes correspond to the Pan-Terran Meritocracy’s “standardized categorization system”; in Abandon All Hope they are used to quantify the physical and mental abilities (as well as limitations) of each character. Since every character is, like humans themselves, different, each character’s attributes are likely to vary considerably.
Second are Gauges. As with attributes, the Pan-Terran Meritocracy attempted to predict the likelihood of potential offenders through measuring predispositions for deviant behavior. These psychological gauges were known as the “Ludovico Gauges”, and gave a specific portrait of an individual’s despair, guilt, and insanity. In game terms these “Gauges” are measured a little differently than Attributes, as will be explained later.
Attributes are rated from 1-10. Gauges range from 0-10. These characteristics are determined by a dice roll, linked to a character’s Prison Status (see last preview).
The important thing to keep in mind here is that Attributes more permanent (although not completely) and the Gauges are constantly changing depending on events in the adventure. I'm a huge fan of Gauges. I think they are good mechanic for encouraging role-playing.
The complete list of Attributes are as follows:
The Meritocracy’s measure of fitness, skill in a fight, and the ability to perform feats of strength.
A measure of quickness, ability to dodge, seize the initiative, perform sleight of hand and feats that require dexterity.
A measure of intellect, technical aptitude, cunning, and especially survival sense.
A measure of mental resistance, as well as resilience against fear and insanity, and the ability to withstand primal instincts and conscience.
A measure of a character’s ability to interact; the ability to get along with others, to persuade, to blend in, or rise to prominence.
A measure of a character’s reputation, specifically her ability to impress her will on others through force or coercion.
As you can see, they are fairly straight forward and streamline.
And now the complete list of Gauges:
Despair is a measure of a character’s level of tension, anxiety, and terror.
Guilt is a measure of a character’s conscience. Many characters in this game begin with high levels of Guilt, since most were guilty of some crime or another back on Terra.
Insanity is a measure of a character’s mental stability.
Of those three, I personally find Guilt the most interesting. I find when I play games (both locally and at conventions), people have a tendency to perform some fairly violent and evil acts even if their characters are not. This mechanic does a nice job of giving consequences for such acts. All 3 gauges work well in this way. If you put yourself in desperate spots, your despair will rise. If you steal or murder, your guilt will rise. And as a result, you'll suffer a game mechanical hindrance. I think it's a brilliant way to handle things.