There’s an old ritual. The rules were simple, regulated, but harsh: kill to survive and if you die you belong to the Emblems. It was a constant for a long time, but now it’s changed.
The city, cold and abandoned by most people, but some life still remains. It is a great crescent with all entrances deep underground, and stretches on and on. At least the emblems have less control there than in other places. However there are still games to be played and the ritual continues in its own way. There’s comfort though, because even with the emblems at the back of your mind, even with the living conditions as they are, each win in the games reveals new information about the world and what you do here adds to it.
Seven Hides is a game focusing on games and player interaction, all to find out the past of the world and add onto it.
The world, or what’s left of it, isn’t in great shape. Snow blankets the land and blizzards make travel or settlement aboveground near-impossible without the aid of the emblems. Because of this, most travel consists of underground metro systems and most of the population centers are densely packed together under the surface. The city where the game takes place is an anomaly: all the entrances and exits are underground, but all the buildings are aboveground and sprawl out in this crescent-shaped mess of steel, glass, and concrete.
The city also seems lifeless at first glance, and most characters can wander for hours without any sign of other living beings. While animals prowl the buildings and trees have grown in and through the buildings, a lot of the place is still abandoned. Escape is also next to impossible, the windows either have glass that’s too strong to break, or the shattered sections of glass are too small to fit through. On top of that, the train station has been caved in and there’s evidence that the location hasn’t been in use for a long time.
Weather-wise, the place is a bit warmer than the outside blizzard, but the overall lack of heating sources and broken glass means that some buildings are far closer to freezing than others. This isn’t helped by the fact that some buildings have little to no natural light, while others are flooded with sunbeams and moonlight.
Characters aren’t assigned housing, but there is a building nearby that is better suited for habitation than most. It has beds, doors that lock, electricity, hot water, and is a pretty livable apartment building. Okay yeah there’s the occasional pile of animal remains, the water sometimes comes out black, the lights flicker, and the walls are an ugly, peeling, washed-out teal, but what more do you want for free?
Of course the world is not truly empty. In each building there is always something, even if the residents are long gone. For all the time that has passed, many individuals have made their home here and each building shows signs of their existence. There’s unique keepsakes and decorations which all differently dated, indicating at least four groups of people made their home here. In addition if a character looks out a window they can see something shift out of sight a few buildings away. Someone might still live here, but who knows how hostile they are.
As for the wildlife, with enough searching characters can find everything from typical north eurasian animals to a few creatures that seem out of place. They can be hunted for food, but it’s best to do that in groups. The predators here are far more aggressive than their non-city counterparts.
Somewhere between spirits and deities lie the Emblems, bundles of spirit-stuff, spite, power, and issues shoved into vaguely animalistic forms. In the rest of the world an emblem and a living being have a much more amicable situation (due to respect being traded for the emblem calming the weather), the seven emblems of the city are just kind of dicks. Each emblem has domain over individual abilities they can grant, services they can provide, and other forms of aid. But the cost for their aid is always high. In addition, they require a monthly Ritual similar to Cry Wolf (otherwise known as werewolf or mafia), where blood is actually spilled.
Each character coming to the city either chooses or is chosen by an emblem, though up until their first game some may be lucky enough to not be aligned. Characters who are not aligned to an emblem will not suffer the effects that others do, but they also can't use any abilities- from either the emblems or the ones from their own world. In addition, they may even not remember large chunks of their pasts or they will have false memories instead. The moment they become aligned to an emblem, the abilities and memories come rushing back as much as the player wants them to. Any memories and abilities not recovered through alignment with an emblem can be returned through winning games.
Life isn't easy for the characters in the city. Even though the emblems grant abilities to help with survival, that also comes at a cost. Long story short, people can hit their breaking point, and when they do bad things happen.
If a character hits their mental limit, the aspect of their emblem takes over. The short version is that the person's mindset temporarily gets laid over with their emblems'. They see the world through their emblem’s eyes and become a danger to themselves or others. After some time the effect fades and the person is no longer at risk of succumbing to their emblem’s personality for the time being. They remember everything they do during that period and have to deal with the aftermath.
Quests and Questing
The characters aren’t going to find everything they need out on their own, and that’s where quests come in. Characters can ask their emblem for something, and if the emblem can or wants to help they will… for a price.
A quest can be anything from bringing the emblem a number of items, doing a certain task, or even accepting that the emblem is going to take something away from them. Worse still, they can inflict a condition or false memories on the character as a payment, however all of these scale with how big the request is.
Memories and False memories
Memories are fragile little things in the game, they can be manipulated, lost, found, or simply not even true in the first place. Characters can lose memories from dying, losing a game, or as part of the cost for an emblems help. Characters can gain them back from winning games, doing quests for them, or even sometimes as a part of an event.
And then there’s false memories. These memories feel just as real as the actual thing, and can happen in place of losing a memory. False memories present an alternative universe, one where a character went right instead of left, where they chose to take revenge instead of forgiving someone, or where they might’ve even made a better choice in life than they did. They don’t even cover up the true memories of an event, making a character wonder how much of the life they know is real. False memories can be lost the same way that characters can gain their real ones back, but this can be bittersweet. Sometimes a fake memory was a happier time than the real thing.
The Game and Injuries
The monthly ritual consists of three roles, relatively simple rules, and the goal is simple: survive until the end.
Much like in mafia or werewolf there are two groups of people, wolves and sheep. The wolves will kill one person a night and it's up to the sheep to hopefully find and kill all the wolves before they win. In addition there's the neutral shepherd who can give the group clues, but can't tell people who the wolves are outside of that. In the end one can hope for a small body count as a best case scenario, and it tends to stay with everyone involved long after the ritual is over.
However outside of that the emblems may hold games that are less serious or at least dangerous in a different way. The reward is the same for either type: information about the world and what happened, and memories lost or gained by the participants.
Injury and Death
Injuries are handled just like in the real world and heal about as quickly. If there is someone with abilities to heal faster or an emblem willing to help, it can speed up the process. In the case of death, it gets a little more complicated. When death occurs characters lose something, a memory, a skill, or they gain a false memory. After this point they’re little more than a ghost and have to go talk to their emblem. The emblems are glad to return the character to the land of the living, but they make the character go on a quest for the emblem first.
While they’re without a living body, characters don’t need to worry about suffering the madness that can affect them during stressful times, but they also don’t have any access to special abilities. While they are incorporeal, they still can’t exit the city and are restricted to a normal walking/running speed.
Activity and rewards
Seven Hides is a game that encourages activity through reward, not high requirements. The basic activity requirement is only ten comments a month. However the more you do, the more change you can affect on the world and the more your character can gain.
Game participation and unlocks
A character must participate in a game once per two months, but this can either be the monthly kill game, or some of the player run or less serious games as well. In general there’s no forcing people to get involved with the more serious games if they don’t want to, although if the monthly kill game can’t occur because of low numbers, the Emblems will be upset indeed.
But on the upside, characters who participate in the games get something good out of the whole deal. People who win can get one of their own memories back, have a false memory removed, or gain back something else they’ve lost. In addition, depending on who wins and how well they win, a memory of the events in the world will be revealed, which provide clues to what happened, or even ways to make everyone’s stay just a little bit better.
Player activity and game rewards/expansion
For every comment over the minimum of ten, the character gets a point which you can then use to gain effects or new additions to the game. Small rewards might be little things for your character, while larger rewards might be the unveiling of a new building, a npc species, abilities, and even possibly new emblems.
Dropping and hiatus
Sometimes stuff happens and you might need to hiatus or drop, it's cool! Don't take a hiatus to dodge a strike, but in general we know that real life can hit pretty hard and don't be afraid to contact us if something comes up.
As for what happens to a character on a hiatus, the result is the same. One night they just... leave into the dark and unexplored. This can happen either when no one is around to see, or if loose ends need to be tied up, can happen while others are close by.
The person starts to lose focus slowly, as a low howl becomes audible. At first only the character can hear and has to resist following the sound out into the darkness. But in the end they'll break away from everyone else and go toward the cacophony of howling, snarls, and growls in the distance. Others can follow them and even keep up a conversation or try to hold them back, but something gives the character the strength to calmly resist and keep moving forward. At the end they'll go silent, and anyone near them will hear the mess of noise as well. By this time visibility will be zero, and even if someone is holding onto the persons hand, it'll slip out of theirs. And then they will be gone.
When they come back off of hiatus or get re-apped, they will not have any memory of what happened while they were away, just strange fever-dreams of an ocean of coils, white bristling snow-fur around grey walls, a stone room that lowers into a basin, and something viscous and black in the center.