Welcome to the End
In Hope Inhumanity, you play characters bound together on a journey through the desolation of a post-apocalyptic landscape toward a destination where hope still exists.
What You Need to Play
Aside from two to four other people, all you need to play are an understanding of these rules, the Hope Inhumanity cards, and a bunch of six-sided dice.
You need five (5) dice per player. These are each individual player’s Humanity dice. A further five (5) dice are required for the communal Hope dice pool. It helps to have multiple colors for the dice. Each player ought to have a distinct dice color, size, or style for their Humanity, and the Hope dice should also be a unique color, size, et cetera. Many hosts will not have that many six-sided dice, so players should bring their own if possible.
Within the card deck are Scene cards, Personality cards, Trait cards, Asset cards, Hunted Cards (Martial Law Expansion), and Hunger and Harm condition cards (Hungry/Starving and Hurt/Crippled, respectively). Separate these card types into their own decks. Printed on the back of each Scene card is a terrain type: Urban, Mountainous, Wilderness, Coastal, or Any Terrain. Sort these into individually shuffled mini-decks and place them within reach of everyone.
Rule Cards, Humanity Cards, and the Hope Dice Pool Card
Included in the Hope Inhumanity card deck are some rules summary cards that provide references to the most common rules. One card summarizes character creation and death rules; another card lays out the rules for turn sequence and how to play a Scene. There are also Humanity dice cards for each player that provide a place to keep Humanity dice while also summarizing important rules regarding Humanity dice and the Last Hope Rule. Finally, there is a Hope dice card that lists rules for the Hope dice pool, a spot to place the Hope dice, and a round counter reference to help you track the game’s progress.
Humanity is a personal pool of dice used to resolve the situations described on your Scene cards and support others when they resolve theirs. Hope is a shared pool of dice from which players may draw. Harm and Hunger are rubric terms under which two tiers of negative conditions can (and will) be foisted upon the characters during the course of the game. Hardship is a measure of a Scene’s difficulty or danger. Assets can be used to affect the hardship of Scenes and alter outcomes. Personality is a mechanic that can limit or enhance the characters, as well as possibly impacting how players interact with the game. Relationships have mechanics that affect how players choose to interact with one another, and Traits are single-use game-altering advantages or abilities.
In a devastated environment where every decision can be a matter of life and death, it’s a battle to maintain your humanity. Your Humanity is represented by a pool of dice that you keep in the open in front of you on the table. During your Scenes, you’ll commit a chosen number of your Humanity dice and roll those to determine the outcome. You lose those dice regardless of the results of the roll. You also commit (and lose) Humanity dice when you support other players during their Scenes.
You begin the game with five (5) Humanity, which is also the maximum number of Humanity dice you can have. You can stay in the game with zero Humanity, but if your Humanity dice are reduced below zero, your character is out of the game at the beginning of the next player’s turn. Your character has caused or suffered too much harm, witnessed too many horrors, and has been overcome by guilt and shame. You may narrate how your character departs the game.
Hope dice represent the group’s collective optimism about their chances for survival. When the game begins, seed the Hope dice pool with as many dice as there are players. Choose a color or size of dice that is different than those used for the players’ Humanity dice. Remove a Hope die each time a character is removed from the game, as each loss of human life during the game reduces the collective expectancy of survival. At the beginning of each new round, add one (1) Hope die to represent the rise in hope as the group nears their destination. There can never be more than five (5) Hope dice, so do not add a die if there are already five Hope dice in play.
A player can take dice from the Hope dice pool during their turn to boost the amount of dice they’re rolling. When used, Hope dice are considered spent and are not returned to the pool.
Many Scene cards list a hardship rating, written as “H” followed by a number, such as H1, H2, et cetera. These are noted in the upper right-hand corner of Scene cards. Hardship is a measure of how difficult or dangerous it is to achieve success if you decide to act on the Scene card. More specifically, it represents how many successes you must roll in order to prevail. When you roll the dice, each die is considered a success if you roll a 4, 5, or 6. To succeed, you must roll a number of successes equal to or higher than the hardship for the Scene. Anything less is a failure. Note that additional successes beyond the hardship do not grant a greater degree of success, unless noted on a particular card.
Scenes without a hardship rating are special and might not require you to commit any Humanity dice. These Scenes don’t require a roll at all and specify what actions you can choose from.
Various factors may increase or decrease the hardship. Most often, condition penalties you’ve incurred are the most notable modifier, increasing the hardship of a Scene. For instance, if you are Hungry (+1 H) and Crippled (+2 H), your H2 Scene becomes H5, requiring you to roll five or more successes. Other modifiers may apply, based on character Traits, Personality, Relationships, or other factors.
The hardship of a Scene could be reduced to zero through the use of various Traits or Relationships. An H0, whether noted on the Scene card or as modified, simply means you cannot possibly fail. However, each player who doesn’t Refuse must still commit one (1) Humanity to the acting player. Those Humanity dice are discarded as though they had been rolled. There’s no such thing as a free lunch after the apocalypse.
Hunger and Harm
Hunger is represented by the successively worse conditions Hungry and Starving, while Harm is represented by Hurt and Crippled. Your character starts the game without conditions, so you won’t have any condition cards in front of you. Scene failure and refusal to support another player’s Scenes can result in you suffering one or both of these conditions. In such a case, take the appropriate condition card and place it openly in front of you. Being Hungry or Hurt makes it more difficult for you to succeed during your Scene, as represented by the +1 H (for hardship) printed on the card. It is important to note that your own conditions do not affect another player when you’re supporting them.
If you already have a condition and you suffer an additional condition penalty of the same type (Hunger or Harm), flip the card over to reveal the more severe condition, which carries the increased penalty of +2 H. Your life just got a lot worse. If you’re unlucky enough to incur additional Hunger when you’re Starving or additional Harm when you’re Crippled, your character dies and you are out of the game.
Some Scene cards, Traits, or Assets allow you to remove or outright avoid Hunger conditions. Being Hurt can be also alleviated or avoided, but once you’re Crippled, it’s permanent; you cannot recover from it, even if an event in the game would otherwise remove a Harm condition.
Condition hardships are cumulative, so if you’re Hungry and Crippled, you incur +3 H to your rolls.
Hunted Condition (Martial Law Expansion Only)
In the Martial Law expansion deck, some Scene cards instruct you to take the Hunted condition. This condition represents your group being pursued by an armed group. It could be what’s left of your own government, a foreign force, or a ragtag militia group that you aggravated enough to warrant them putting a price on your heads.
The Hunted condition applies a hardship penalty to the entire group. This means every player will have an extra +1 H applied to their Scene in addition to any Harm or Hunger conditions they already have. The group can suffer multiple Hunted conditions, and their effects stack. For example, if the players upset enough people, they could have a +3 H penalty from the Hunted condition alone, which would definitely put a crimp in their plans to survive.
There are some Traits and Assets in the Martial Law expansion that can remove Hunted conditions. Otherwise, once you have a Hunted condition, you are stuck with it for the remainder of the game.
Some Scene cards provide an Asset as a reward. Each Asset includes a description of the benefit(s) it provides, whether it is a personal or group item, and the number of times it can be used. Use a token such as a glass bead or coin to track an Asset’s capacity or remaining uses. An Asset card marked as “personal” is owned by the player whose Scene yielded it as a reward. Only the personal Asset’s owner can use it, though it can be used by that player during other players’ turns, subject to the rules on the card. (Optionally, a player may lend a personal Asset to another player). An Asset card marked as “group” is collectively owned by all the players; any player may use a group Asset during a Scene, even if it’s another player’s turn.
Stealing an Asset – During their turn, a player may steal another player’s personal Asset card. To steal the Asset and become its new owner, the thief gives up one (1) Humanity. They may then use the Asset card immediately or save it for later in the game.