Those who followed the design posts for Ghosts of Atlantis may recall some of the basic mechanical components: keyword-based traits, and investing dice and/or elemental energy in actions. I’ve put together a rough partial character sheet to demonstrate how these would work.
Starting at the top, we have basic character premise info, along with a general note about how the character’s particular magical approach functions. Remember, every character in Ghosts of Atlantis uses magic, but their styles vary significantly from practical, tool-like magic to grand ritual workings. This example, a Stone-Born noble, has inherent physical magic that enhances her physical attributes and actions, with the advantage of being immune to suppression or countering by another character, but with the disadvantage of functioning on a limited scale. This character will have to change the world with her deeds, not her spells!
The three traits on the left side, Ethos, Logos, and Pathos, are most important for personal interaction and internal matters such as a character’s emotional or intellectual aptitudes. Each form of magic derives from one of these traits. Our Stone-Born is best at personal conviction and integrity (Ethos), which also projects well as leadership, but has a rather limited range of education (Logos) which she makes up for with an average emotional perceptivity and empathy (Pathos).
Next to those are her personality and social traits: whenever the player can benefit from one of these, they can be charged, either with a die (for effort and skill) or an elemental token (for magical enhancement) and provide an automatic margin of success to the relevant action. These traits come from several different categories – Stoic is a Personality trait, Stone-Born is a Heritage, and Noble is a Status trait. Just know for now that there are limits on how many traits characters can have from each category.
The defense shields are each marked with the player’s assigned choices: the number of sides on the shield indicates the additional threshold to affect the character in that way while the shield is charged. For instance, her social defense is highest at 7, as her high status and unwavering demeanor make it difficult to assail her socially when she’s trying to hold fast.
At the bottom is the character’s elemental pentacle, naturally highest in Stone, as befits her Heritage. Taking actions aligned with an element, magical or not, may allow the character to include the corresponding element to their action result. Each character gets two Talent traits, in different elements, that represent minor elementally-related abilities. Our noble took the Ethereal trait Aegis, which can grant an additional measure of magical defense, and the Stone trait Rooted, which allows her to bond with the earth below her feet and become temporarily immovable.
Want to see more? There will be playtesting at Metatopia next week!