What is … Royal Games?

Royal Games by Suzi9mm… the question „What is … what we see in that picture?“ was once more raised by Shadom, this time after raiding the deviantart gallery of suzi9mm back in November of last year (thanks for the permission to use your work, even though it took us ages to get done with it!). Hasran and blut_und_glas went back and forth over Royal Games, coming up with ideas what this could mean in the context of Unknown Armies (twice), Warhammer 40,000’s Dark Heresy, Changeling: the Dreaming, Blue Planet, Nobilis and SLA Industries.

Update 10 March 2012: yennico joined in and added another three of his own takes on the image.

Royal Games shows:

Dark Heresy (blut_und_glas)

A Regicide board.

A game within a game – rules for playing Regicide

Regicide is an ancient intellectual game of move and counter move played the Imperium over.
A game of Regicide requires an Opposed Extended Skill Test involving multiple skills – one Test each for Awareness, Deceive, Logic and Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis). Degrees of Success and Failure are totalled from all these Tests and then compared to the opponents total.

Regicide Adept (Elite Advance)

Regicide is used in the education of many an Imperial Guard officer to teach them the basics of command and sharpen their tactical skills.

Prerequisites: Deceive, Logic, Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis), Scrutiny

Cost: 100 XP

Effects: After winning a game of Regicide, you receive a +10 modifier to your next Skill Test on either Deceive, Logic, Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis) or Scrutiny, due to insights gleaned from the game.

Regicide Initiate (Elite Advance)

The true meaning of the game is known only to a few. To the initiate, regicide is not a game of tactics and skill at all it is a game of ruthlessness, where anything goes. Anything. Regicide is a blood sport, an act of sacrifice, a literal weapon.

Prerequisites: Deceive +10, Logic +10, Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis), Scrutiny +10, Regicide Adept and an Obsession with playing regicide of at least minor severity

Cost: 300 XP

Effects: While playing a game of regicide, you may at any time opt to make a melee attack against your opponent (either unarmed or using one of the playing pieces (treat as brass knuckles) or the board (treat as improvised)). Your target automatically counts as unaware against this attack. If you succeed at a Challenging (+0) Deceive or Logic Test, your target counts as helpless instead.


Unknown Armies (Hasran)

The Uncatchables

Power: minor

Cost: 7 minor charges

Effect: This crude, yet elaborate ritual allows the caster to locate any person, who has completed a match of chess at least once in their life.
If successful, the caster will know the exact latitude and longitude of the searched for person. Should the caster fail, the intended target will gain similar knowledge of the caster’s location.

Ritual Action: Eat 7 white pieces of your chess set and take a nap for at least 30 minutes. After the nap, vomit them back up within the next hour.


D&D (yennico)

The Chessboard

Before becoming a wizard and later a war weaver (prestige class from Heroes of Battle) the dwarf Durrak was a craftsman and learned the crafts stonemasonry and glassblowing.

After a great victory with his help the war weaver Durrak was invited to an audience with the king. During his audience he saw a chessboard and was fascinated by the “game of kings”. He learned the game and became a great chess player. As a gift for his king he created a magical stone chessboard out of different colored marble and matching figures out of glass. After the death of the king the chessboard and the figures got separated and lost in the inheritance wars.

The chessboard works as permanent tapestry for a persons who is a war weaver.

The wielder must be attuned to the chessboard in a ritual lasting half an hour. Only one wielder can be attuned to the chessboard at any time. Up to 16 willing persons can be connected to the chessboard as figures. The wielder represents the king, each additional person represents a figure from queen to pawn. Each person connected to the chessboard gets the benefit of Telepathic Bond and Status.

Unknown to everybody except the wielder is the dark secret of the chessboard: Three times a day the wielder can dominate any person which is connected with the board. Because of the connection to the chessboard the connected person gets a penalty of -4 on the save against any compulsion spells from the wielder.

Rumors exist that each glass figure created by Durrak has some unique magical properties. Because none of the figures have been found the rumors cannot be substantiated. A legend attributes the king figure with the power of damage transfer from the wielder to any other connected person.


Unknown Armies (blut_und_glas)

Soul Check Mate

Power: significant

Cost: 3 significant charges

Effect: This ritual comes as close as possible to the impossibility of a Blast ritual. It involves demons, blood, chess and has a nasty tendency to backfire.

The ritual summons a demon and forces it to play a game of chess against you.

This involves an appropriate Mind-based check with a minimum roll equal to the demon’s Mind (unfortunately, you do not have any control over what demon responds to the ritual’s call and it generally tends to attract the clever type).
If you succeed, the target (wherever he or she might be) starts to hemorrhage and suffers damage equal to the total of your dice.

If you get a critical success, the target suffers damage equal to the percentile number you rolled.

If you fail, it is you who starts to bleed profusely, taking damage equal to the total of the dice.

If you get a matched failure, you take damage equal to the percentile number you rolled.

If you get a critical failure, you take damage as for a matched failure above and, should you survive, find yourself transported to the Room of Pawns.

Ritual Action: Get a chess set. Get a list of things with all items crossed off, a shopping list will do nicely. It has to be a genuine list though, not something you scribbled together just for the purpose of the ritual (it is perfectly permissible, though, to go for groceries right before committing to the ritual, then using that list). Write the name of your target below the last of the crossed off items, write the name of the world chess champion from your target’s year of birth above the first item. Glue the list to the backside of the chess board. Smear the white king of the set with three drops of your own blood and the black king with three drops of blood from the target. Play.


Generic (yennico)


This image can be used as a sandbox scenario for police player characters. The game master decides which of the pieces of evidence are correct and which are only red herrings.

The image is a photo sent anonymously to the police. The police force takes this photo seriously. The player characters get the job to find out if the photo shows a crime that happened or if it shows a premonition about a crime in the future.


Is the photograph a murderer or is he/she only inspired in his/her or in his/her future crime by the movie “Knight Moves”? Is it real or artificial blood shown on the photo? The position of the chess figures is arranged because the shown position is not possible in chess. A big chess tournament will be held in the city in the near future.

Only two kings, several pawns and two rooks are depicted. Do these figure types have a connotation for the photographer?


Are the kings really male royal persons? A royal family will visit the city in the near future.

Does the photographer wants to kill very powerful persons (billionaires, CEOs, generals, etc.) which he/she sees as kings?


Are the rooks castles, houses of the kings? One rook on the photo is lying. Is this evidence that one house will be destroyed?


In the middle ages each pawn was pictured differently. The first pawn (over the left rook) was a peasant, the second a blacksmith for horses, the third a weaver, the fourth a merchant, the fifth a doctor, the sixth an innkeeper, the seventh a constable and the last a gambler.

Other figures

Is the absence of queens evidence for lacking influence of females on the photographer? Or is the photographer a female who does not like powerful women or ladies who are rivals for her king?

There are also no bishops and no knights depicted. Is the absence of bishops and knights evidence for lacking faith and chivalry?


Changeling: the Dreaming (Hasran)

The literal battlefield of two Sidhe generals, who regularly meet at a small cafe to command their chimeric forces on a bloody and extended campaign of conquest, with no quarter being asked or given.


SLA Industries (blut_und_glas)

A modified (“memovore”) Vevaphon-class biogenetic polymorph preparing to absorb the chess skills of its late (and latest) “teacher”.


Generic (yennico)

Royal Gambit

The image shows the possible preview cover of the upcoming book „Royal Gambit“. In the book the author describes explicit intrigues, dark secrets, etc. from royal families and other powerful persons. The named persons in the book do not want this book published.

The player characters are either engaged to steal the manuscript of the book and all notes from the author or they have to protect the author from the actions the powerful persons take to prevent the publication of the book.


Nobilis (Hasran)

The coat of arms of a large family of Nobles, including the Nobles of Kings, Queens, Knights, …


Blue Planet (blut_und_glas)

The results of a freshly arrived newcomer chess master colonist unwisely checkmating Vladimir Gorchoff


Das Bild Royal Games wurde direkt aus der deviantart Gallerie von suzi9mm entnommen.
Auf ihrer eigenen Seite könnt ihr noch viele weitere großartige Bilder anschauen.
Genutzt mit freundlicher Genehmigung der Künstlerin.

The picture Royal Games was taken from the deviantart page of suzi9mm.
Check out her other great artwork.
Used with kind permission of the artist.

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