Monday, May 31, 2010
Sorry 'bout that. I'll get to novels, novellas, and shorts when the RPG is done. :)
As always, this is the unedited work from several years back.
The magic of death and pain. Its color is black, and its users must be able to kill without rage or remorse.
* At rank One, the caster can wound one target ½ a health box per success rolled, vs.6.
** At rank Two, the magic becomes stronger, wounding the target 1 full box per success.
*** Rank Three Destructive magic creates a black bubble that starts within the caster and then rapidly expands to a 5’ radius circle, with the caster in the center. Anyone hit by the expanding bubble receives ½ a box of damage per success rolled by the caster, vs. 6.
**** At rank Four, the caster may form a large ‘ball’ of attack magic that flies through the air and hits an area of 5’ diameter. Anyone in this area takes 1 box of damage per caster’s success. Alternatively, the caster may form a black bubble as in rank Three, but the bubble now has a 10’ radius.
***** The magic strengthens again at rank Five, making the ‘ball’ attack do 2 boxes of damage per success and the ‘bubble’ attack do a full box instead of ½.
This magic can also cause other types of destruction, such as: causing decay in crops or machinery, causing poison or sickness to become worse, causing pain without actual injury, or causing everyone within a certain vicinity to feel momentarily sickened; whatever the Game Master and player agree upon as balanced and appropriate.
Some people channel the magic of rage, with incredible, devastating results. Red is the color of Fury, and this magic demands sacrifice; it will destroy the caster faster than any other type of magic. The caster must give in to rage before channeling Fury magic.
* Rank One Fury magic costs two magical resistance points to cast, but it is more powerful than destructive magic, doing a full box of damage to its target per caster’s success.
** At rank Two, Fury magic costs 3 magical resistance points and grants the caster two options. They may either wound a single target for 1and1/2 boxes of damage per success (vs.6), or heal themselves for ½ a box per success. This healing, however, comes from the caster’s rage, and when the rage dissipates, half the boxes of healing that were created abandon the caster.
*** At rank Three, the caster calls forth a red ‘bubble’ of rage that begins within the caster’s heart and then quickly expands, causing damage to anyone it contacts (other than the caster themselves). This bubble either expands to a 5’ radius and does a full box of damage per success, or it expands to a 10’ radius and does ½ box of damage per success. This costs the caster 4 magical resistance points.
**** At rank Four, Fury magic costs 5 magical resistance points, but the ‘bubble’ mentioned in rank Four becomes even larger and stronger. If it has a 10’ radius, it does 1 full box of damage per success; if it’s radius is 15’, it can do ½ a box of damage (per success, of course).
***** Rank Five Fury magic costs 7 magical resistance points. It can cause a massive explosion anywhere within the caster’s vision that does 2 boxes of damage (per success rolled vs.7) to an area up to 10’ in diameter. Alternatively, the caster may heal themselves 1 full box per success rolls, vs. 6.
This magic is often dramatic, more showy than any other form. It can be used to do such things as levitate the caster or a specified target, cause pain without actual injury, cause a swirling wind around the caster (perhaps even hard enough to part water), or grant temporary immunity to a natural element, such as allowing the caster to walk through fire (note that this will not work against a direct attack from an Elemental magic user). The Game Master should work with the player to generate a list of specific spells, but should also allow some leeway when the caster is particularly enraged. In extreme cases, the Game Master may even allow certain Fury users to cast at a level higher than they have actually earned; in such cases, the magic costs its usual resistance points plus two.
The magic of the natural world, the color of Elemental magic is green. This magic allows control over the elements and grants an affinity for plants and animals.
* At rank One, the caster chooses one element (fire, wind, water, or earth) to gain control of. The caster is resistant to this element in its natural state; for example, it will take them much longer than is natural to drown in water, be smothered by earth, or be burned by fire; if they have chosen wind, they can withstand a hurricane or tornado unharmed. They can also control the element in a natural way (a way that the element naturally behaves). If they wish, they may call upon nature itself to do direct damage to an opponent, doing 1/3 a box of damage per success. The Game Master should determine this attack’s appearance.
** At rank Two, the caster becomes immune to Elemental magic of the same element. They can also cause plants to grow at a tremendous rate, and animals to become larger, stronger, and healthier.
*** Rank Three allows the caster to conjure up to one square foot of their element per success. They also gain an affinity with green Nuameii and Nuameii that have been ‘pulled through’. This does not necessarily mean the Nuameii will not attack them, it only means that they are more inclined to recognize the caster as friendly. At this point, the caster can cause all plants within a 10’ radius to develop to maturity, become healthy, or wither and die.
**** At rank Four, the caster may conjure their chosen element and then manipulate that element in any way that they see fit, unconstrained by the ways that the element normally behaves. See Weapons Chart, Part Three for damages.
***** At rank Five, the caster gains a resistance (as listed in Rank one) to all four elements. The caster also gains an affinity with all natural animals, and the ability to sense disease in plants or animals. They can attack using their chosen element, and because they have such an affinity with nature, they gain one extra dot in one of the following Skills: herbalism (either type), animal handling, or hunting/gathering.
Special: if the player wishes, they may replace one or more other types of magic with Elemental, eliminating access to the replaced magic and giving them the chance to master a second, third, or fourth element.
This magic also allows the caster to do other “nature” type magics, such as: magically locating edibles, reading the stars (get cryptic hints from the Game Master), calling rain, or causing the weather to change slightly.
Specific magic abilities for each element should be agreed upon by the Game Master and player.
Next time, I'll give the final three magics; Artifice, Subterfuge, and Anti-Magic. See you then. :)
Friday, May 28, 2010
A few days ago, I posted the first section, meant to give the reader an idea of the relationship between the Gieden and the Roian. Here are two more bits from later chapters; the first on additional magical abilities, the second explaining Taints. Together, they make a decent bit of flash fiction...
Hope House was an orphanage of sorts, where Roian parents dropped off their magic-using children and never looked back. We never bathed, we slept three or more to a bed, and we got up before the sun, hoping to get a bite of breakfast before it disappeared. The elderly couple that ran the place couldn't even remember all our names; they did the best they could by us, but it was never enough.
It was a hard life, but it was there that I learned the art of Healing, honing my skills on the bumps and bruises of my new brothers and sisters. I had other talents, too; I could feel the emotions of those around me, and knew when someone was lying to me. I could see auras, and sense the presence of others in the dark. None of the others could do these things, and when they discovered that I could, some of them stopped meeting my eyes. Some even worried that it was a Taint.
As word of my abilities spread, people from across Unity City came to visit me. Most were Gieden who were unable to use Healing magic; some of them had injuries so minor that I turned them away rather than exhausting myself over a cut toe. But there were Roian, too, who came to me when death was the only other option, or who came bearing the dead in their arms. The latter of those were turned away as well. There were some things that even I could not heal.
There were many times when I cursed my ability to sense the emotions of others, but none so much as when the dark-haired mother of a dead baby boy showed up on the front steps of Hope House. Her anguish found me even before the door was opened, and by the time she came to make her plea, I was a sobbing mess, kneeling on the floor of my room. I couldn't imagine how she managed to stand.
She begged me to save him, and I knew it was too late, but looking down at his lifeless body, flooded with empathic grief, I couldn't say no. I came to him, and put my hands on his chest, and summoned the magic up through the ground and into my body. I could feel it burning like electric fire as it travelled through my shins, my knees, my thighs…The magic flowed through my abdomen and welled up in my chest, forcing out all air and causing my heart to pound so hard it nearly burst, so hard my throat throbbed with it, and then I channeled all that power down my arms, through my hands, and into the baby boy.
His body shuddered. And then, nothing. My healing was so tiny compared to what he needed; I felt like I'd thrown a tiny pebble into a gaping black well, and would never even hear the splash.
I knew what I had to do. I pulled upon the magic until my whole body shook and the mother was forced to leave her baby in order to hold me upright. She knew my body was suffering, but I felt no sympathy from her, no remorse, just need, as deep and unending as that well.
I channeled the magic through my fingers, tempering it as I released it into the body of the infant; it felt as though I were slowly reaching into a fire to grab the burning logs within. My fingertips were melting away to the bone. I closed my eyes and screamed through the pain, and channeled until I collapsed, unconscious on the floor.
I woke to the sound of a baby crying, and the feeling that my baby was alive. I pushed myself onto hands and knees, and I reached out toward him, but his mother recoiled, horrified. She threw a blanket across her son's face and scurried out of the room, glancing back only once, a quick, wide-eyed look over her shoulder. I stared at my outstretched hand. The fingers were translucent and faintly glowing. I was Tainted.
I never even knew his name.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Today's entry will be a portion of chapter two. Next time, I'll post another short story; a continuation of the one posted yesterday. :)
I'm going to summarize the first part...
In Gieden, a character's magic is a direct outpouring of their personality. It determines both the type of magic they use and the Nuameii they will link to when they use that magic. It will also play a part in whether they choose to use magic at all, and how strongly they resist being transformed by it.
A shy, unobtrusive girl who wants safety but has a self-destructive streak might find that Subterfuge magic comes easily. She might use it to keep herself safe from lurkers in the night, but at the same time let herself get carried away by the power, despite its inherent danger.
This character would be Gieden, a Subterfuge user, possibly linked to a Spirit Cat Nuameii, and might accept the fact that the magic may very well destroy her some day.
Because of this close connection between personality and magic, it's important to think about it early, even if you plan on playing Roian. The first three of the nine magics are:
The magic of defense. Its color is blue, and it typically manifests as a circle or bubble that forms around the caster and those nearest to them.
* At rank One, Protection magic will reduce or eliminate damage to one or two targets (one of which must be the caster, and the other may be no further than 5’ from the caster). It does this through ‘shadow’ health boxes. The caster rolls as many dice as they have ranks in Protection magic. For each success (vs. 6), one extra health rank is added to each target. These health ranks disappear when the caster stops focusing.
** At rank Two, Protection magic will allow the caster to grant ‘shadow’ health boxes to everyone within a 5’ radius, or to grant one target complete immunity to all magics. If the second option is chosen, it manifests as a blue bubble and will completely protect against Nuameii who have not yet been ‘pulled through’.
*** At rank Three, the caster may grant 2 ‘shadow’ health boxes per success rolled to everyone within a 5’ radius. Alternatively, the caster may grant complete protection from magical and physical attack to themselves and one other target within two feet. If this alternative is chosen, no one inside the ‘bubble’ can interact with anyone outside of it by any means other than speech.
**** At rank Four, the caster may grant 2 ‘shadow’ health boxes per success rolled to everyone within a 5’ radius, but the magical resistance cost is only 2 per round. The caster could also grant complete magical and physical protection as described in rank Three, but at a magical resistance cost of 2.
***** At rank Five, the caster can call forth a shimmering blue bubble of protection that will protect everyone within a 5’ radius from any physical or magical attack. It only costs 2 magical resistance points per round to maintain, and any magical attack that contacts it will dissipate immediately. It will prevent entry by but not cause damage to people, natural animals or ‘pulled-through’ Nuameii. Nuameii that have not been ‘pulled through’ will actually sustain damage upon contact with the barrier (1 box per round).
This magic can also be used for other protective actions, such as: slowing a fall, blessing someone who is going into battle (raising the hit difficulty for those who attack them), granting protection from certain kinds of magic (reducing the damage those magics do), giving someone a temporary protective boon (such as “no one with red hair may touch you”), or any other action deemed appropriate by the Game Master.
The magic of salvation. Its color is white, and it has the power to restore health, or even life, to those whom the caster believes deserve redemption.
* At rank One, Healing magic grants the target ½ box of health per success rolled (vs. 6). Note that this means that character who has only one dot in healing will have to work multiple rounds to heal a full box of damage. If they stop channeling before a full box is healed, then no healing is received.
** At rank Two, Healing magic becomes stronger and heals a full box of health per success. However, this magic will not re-attach severed limbs, heal magical Taints, heal disease, or cure poison.
*** At rank Three, the magic still only heals one box per success, but now it will re-attach or re-grow limbs, heal diseases, and reduce the effect of poison. It also leaves the target feeling rested and at peace.
**** Rank Four Healing magic grants the same healing effect as the rank Three magic, and it will also revive someone who died less than 10 minutes (two turns) before.
***** Rank Five Healing magic will either heal 2 boxes of damage per success rolled (vs. 6), or it can revive someone who died less than twenty minutes beforehand. If used to heal damage, it will restore or re-grow lost body parts, heal disease, cure poison, and leave the target feeling rested and at peace. Those who use Fury magic can not cast without extreme provocation for a minimum of one hour. Most impressively, rank Five Healing magic will allow the caster a ‘Final Act’. If the caster’s body is destroyed, they may attempt to resurrect themselves at a magical resistance cost of ten. No caster ever revives themselves from death without receiving a Taint, regardless of whether or not they have magical resistance to spare.
This magic may also be used in other curative ways, such as: lessening the pain of childbirth, curing diseases, restoring vitality, healing birth defects, restoring sight to the blind, removing someone from a potentially fatal position by way of levitation, or any other action the Game Master deems appropriate.
The art of channeling and shaping magic itself. Its color is silver, and it can be used in more ways than any other magical discipline. It can even gain control over Nuameii.
* At rank One, the caster has two options. They can either disrupt the magical flows of another caster, or channel the magic directly into a target, causing damage. If disrupting magic, the caster reduces the opposing caster’s successes by ½ of a success for every success rolled. This means it will take two rounds to reduce the opponent’s magic by one success. If doing damage, the target takes 1/2 box of damage for each success vs. a 7. This damage is almost impossible for the target to avoid. The caster is also automatically aware of anyone casting in the near vicinity, whether or not they are actively trying. This last ability costs 0 Magical Resistance.
** At rank Two, Pure Magic can mimic rank One Protection magic, the only difference being that it grants only ½ a ‘shadow’ box of health per success. It can also be used to deal direct damage as described in rank One, but now it does 1 box of damage to Nuameii that have not yet been ‘pulled through’. A caster who knows rank Two Pure Magic often has insightful dreams, which may provide valuable information or clues.
*** At rank Three, the capabilities of Pure Magic become more varied as well as stronger. The caster can now sense the presence of Nuameii without effort. By expending 1 magical resistance point, the caster can speak to a Nuameii or cause it to be repulsed by the caster’s presence. This is not an absolute deterrent, but it does make the caster an unattractive target. Resisting magic becomes easier, reducing the opposing caster’s successes at a 1 to 1 ratio. Damage now does 1 box per success to normal targets, and 1 box to a Nuameii that is not yet ‘pulled through’(roll vs. 7) . They can also hear the voice of someone who lost theirs through excessive use of magic, although others cannot.
**** Rank Four Pure Magic allows the caster to bind any willing creature, including Nuameii (‘pulled through’ or not), to a single oath. Failing to at least attempt to honor this oath kills the oath breaker. The caster may also channel Pure Magic into any artifice, causing it direct damage.
***** At rank Five, the Pure Magic caster controls the flows of magic itself. They can banish it from an area, creating a ‘dead magic zone’, or call it into a previously dead zone. This does not supersede magical barriers, it just re-creates the naturally occurring fluctuations of magic. The caster may also use this power to ‘pull through’ a Nuameii, although it is recommended to bind them to an oath first.
This magic may also allow the caster to: find the direction of their true love, call out for a lost soul, revive someone who is unconscious, recognize who a Nuameii used to be, or form a temporary link between their mind and another’s. Any additional abilities the Game Master allows should be intangible; this magic deals with the strings of fate and fabric of dreams.
Note: "Pulling Through" a Nuameii means making the spirit form physical. Nuameii of all types seem vicious, or at the very least, indifferent to human life, but giving them a physical body mitigates these tendencies (usually).
And that's it for the first three magics. The Game Master and player determine most of what a character can do; the listed ranks are meant as guidelines and base abilities for all users of that type. But magic is a highly personal thing, based on the character and their beliefs/background, and should be different for every individual. Just because two players use Healing doesn't mean they'll have the exact same abilities. It's up to the Game Master to make sure that the abilities are appropriate and balanced.
See you in two days. :)
Monday, May 24, 2010
I was born in Unity City, the youngest daughter of Roian parents. My life was normal, idyllic even, and I spent my days going to school or church, or else sitting in grandpa’s big old rocking chair, relaxing on our back porch.
My memories of that time are fragmented; I remember the cobblestone streets and white fountains, my mother’s eyes and my father’s hands, even the laugh of my big sister, whose golden curls bounced as she ran. I have forgotten the face I had back then, and have no recollection of my name, though I'm sure I had one.
I also remember the first time I saw one of The Tainted. How could I forget? That was the day I lost everything, starting with my mother…
She had taken me shopping in the Trade District. It was to be a quick trip, and since my sisters were at school and my father was busy in the garden, Mother decided to take me along. I forget what we were after.
The streets were surprisingly quiet; for some reason, I remember expecting a loud, bustling place, and being surprised at how few people were there. Mother led me to a small pavilion and began talking to the shopkeeper. I remember squeezing her hand tightly, wide-eyed and excited, and then seeing the strange man with glowing red eyes. He smiled at me. His face was twisted and strange, with a pointed nose and unnaturally sharp teeth; he looked exactly how I'd always imagined the Tainted, and my whole body trembled with the fear of him.
I scurried around behind Mother's legs, peering at him as much as I dared, tugging at the hem of her skirt. Finally, fear got the better of me; I buried my face in Mother's skirt and didn't look out for a long time. When I finally did, he was gone.
There was another man, though. This one was too skinny, with greasy black hair and long smudge of dirt across his cheek.
He held a dagger close against his thigh. I tugged at Mother and asked if we could go home. "Hush," she said, as she gathered her purchases into her shoulder bag, "it's almost time." Then she hefted me into her arms, settled me onto her hip, and turned to go. Within a few short steps, there was a dagger in Mother's side.
I heard the man's harsh whisper. "Act casually," he said, then he pressed himself against her back--my leg was pinned between the two of them--and pushed us through the heavy door that separated the Roian District from the trading alley. Once inside, he asked her for her money, and said awful things; I remember them, but they were too awful to say. Mother’s face turned red and her breath quickened; she pried my hands from her shoulders, put me on the street and shoved me away, yelling, “Run, run home!”
I was an obedient child, and confused. I started to run.
But then I heard Mother scream. It was an awful sound; the moment I heard it, something deep inside of me broke, and whatever it was, it's the one thing I can never heal. My legs failed, my knees buckled, my breath caught in my throat, and I collapsed to the ground, crying even though I didn't yet understand why. Mother was lying on the ground, a red stain growing across her white dress.
I gathered my strength and ran to her. By the time I got there, the man that had stabbed her was already gone, and her eyes, Mother's loving eyes, were becoming glazed and distant. She was leaving, and I needed her to stay. I threw myself across her chest and willed her to live. I was ready to give anything, do anything, I just wanted her to stay.
My hands tingled with strange energies, and instinctively, I willed them into Mother. Her chest shuddered. Her eyes grew wide and I heard her gasp, filling her ruined lungs with air. Light returned to her face. I smiled down at her, still crying. Mother. My mother. I loved her so much…
But Mother didn't seem to see me. She ran her fingers through the dark stain on her dress and held them up, examining them. Then she looked at me the same way she did when I hit my sister. She pushed me away from her, held me by the shoulders and asked, in a horrified half-whisper, “What did you do?”
I didn’t know. I remember trying to tell her that I had wanted her to stay, and she did, and everything was okay now. I just wanted to go home. “No,” she told me, her voice strange and wooden. “You can't go home. Not ever again. You're going to have to go to a new home, now." I tried to deny it, I tried to argue, I begged and pleaded, but no matter how hard I tried, Mother wouldn’t take her awful words back. She wouldn't even look at me. She grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me back into the trade alley, then through it and into The Commons. From there, we went to a large house, full of people I didn’t know, most of them young. Mother told the harried, unkempt woman at the door what had happened and said that she would bring my things in the morning. I was never to see Mother, or any of my other family members, ever again. I had become a magic-wielder. I had become Gieden.
So, if you want to run a Gieden game, you have to choose your flavor. You could have your players start in the ruins of a city (or even your home town), at which point, there will be plenty of lost technology but also plenty of Nuameii. Your players may be part of a tribe or agricultural village, or they could live in a newly-built city, like the character in the story above.
There are lots of ways to go about creating a character. You might start with their natural abilities; is your character strong? Attractive? Smart? Are they particularly magically gifted? Remember that even Roian characters can use magic; what separates Gieden from Roian is choice.
Another way to go about it is to start with the Nuameii that the character is linked to or has the potential to be linked to, should they ever touch magic. One chapter of the RPG is dedicated to Nuameii, but any fantasy creature you can imagine will work: dragons, fairies, werewolves, trolls...you name it. You can also use real animals, or more powerful versions of real animals.
A person's Nuameii should be a reflection of their true nature, no matter how different that is from their outside persona. It might also give you an idea of what kind of magic the character wields: werewolves are often associated with rage, for instance.
Another way to begin is to think of a Taint for your character, although Roian won't have them and Gieden who do are generally shunned. Taints are parts of the body that were destroyed by the character's own magic, and are now replaced with the corresponding part of their Nuameii. A character might have glowing eyes, or an arm that ends in a hoof, or a serpent's tongue. These phantom limbs act physical but look magical; they are almost see-through and glow faintly with the color of the magic that created them.
The nine magical spheres are: Protection, Healing, Pure Magic, Destruction, Fury, Elemental, Artifice, Subterfuge, and Counter Magic. They each have their own color and their own uses, and they're covered in the next chapter, which I'll be putting up next time. :)
Friday, May 21, 2010
It was afternoon, and everywhere, people were busy going about the daily routines of their lives. In cities, people honked horns and waited irritably for the traffic to resume its normal, break-neck pace, and in the country, kids ran around barefoot playing ‘Cops and Robbers’. People fought. People loved. They cried tears of joy and pain, of loss and fear.
Spirituality was largely set aside, or else dogmatized or ritualized into nothingness. Science ruled, and most worshipped the twin gods of Money and Technology. Without them, the people knew, they would die.
Emotions were wielded like swords, the pen became mighty, the insult mortally wounding. People casually used the word ‘hate’, wished others would die, or promised eternal love. All these emotions, all these strong intentions, and very few understood the consequences.
No one saw it coming. No one realized that destruction would come, not from their own wanton abuses of their planet or as wrath from the heavens, but from their own wills, their own unchecked emotions and desires. They had forgotten their own power long ago, and it was that power, the power of man, that would destroy them.
Suddenly, when one wished to lash out in rage, or wanted another to die, it was so. When one reached out for their source of strength, they found it made manifest. The creatures of Nightmares and Dreams were let loose upon the world of man.
All this wrought fear, and fear wrought death and pain. The world, which only moments ago had seemed ordinary and stable, governed by science and reason, was suddenly a place of magic and terror. Each individual’s destruction caused hurt and fear to all those who saw; most of those witnesses reacted in ways that brought about their own deaths, and thus it spread like fire in the wind.
The survivors were forced to run to places wild and isolated, or else to scurry around the ruins of their old homes, living like rats, searching for food and hiding from predators.
Money was useless. Technology was dying. And what was left of the human race faced a future where they must rely on themselves and one another.
Welcome to the world of Gieden.
The Gieden are the ones who choose to use magic; many of them will show physical signs of the Nuameii that lurks just below the surface. Those who refuse to touch magic are called Roian. Some of them live near ruined cities, surviving on the last dregs of technology; others have turned to tribal or agricultural lifestyles. A couple of small cities have been cobbled together, but these cities tend to be highly segregated to prevent undue intermingling of Gieden and Roian.