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A hierarchy of powers

I’m becoming more and more enamored of the idea of adapting Nobilis‘ basic attribute system to this game, so let’s look at how that might work.

In Nobilis, you build a starting Sovereign from a blank slate, using 25 character points to buy your four Attributes as well as Gifts (custom special powers that don’t fall under the Miracles that all Nobles can perform with their Attributes). My vision of building angels already builds in five starting Gifts based on Sphere-Element combinations, but five Attributes, so at first glance, it doesn’t look like the character point totals would necessarily need to be adjusted, but upon further instruction, there’s a problem. See, the Nobilis scale for attributes goes from 0 to 5, and because you probably want to buy some nifty Gifts, you won’t end up spending all of the points on your Attributes. My angelic model would automatically result in scores of 5 across the board for every stat if there weren’t another place to spend points. I think I might thus want to either (a) lower the number of available points, or (b) allow angels to buy more Gifts and other traits to introduce a meaningful decision.

One of the things I was thinking of also introducing to the game, which becomes relevant at this point, would be affiliation with the existing Archons. Angels are used to following orders, not operating under their own volition, so angels would start with ties to one or more of the Archons and work to advance that Archon’s Name in the world. (Each Archon has a Name which reflects the abstract ideal they represent and advance in the world: Michael is kindness, Gabriel is justice, etc.) An angel can devote themselves to funneling the remaining spiritual light to their Archon, raising their Immanence and earning the ability to invoke Miracles in return. So that would be a logical place for a starting angel to devote some of their starting focus.

PS: I have a name for the game now! As you’ve probably seen already, the game is tentatively titled A Silence in Heaven.

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Numbers? Or not?

I’m debating whether or not Sphere/Element combinations should have a numerical rating as well, in the tradition of standard RPG attributes, or whether the system should be completely verbally descriptive instead of using mathematical comparisons. It’s not necessary when dealing with angel versus mortal interactions – angels always win – but there is obviously an opportunity for celestial beings to conflict in a meaningful way, and there needs to be a way to resolve that.

Thoughts?

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Okay, so I’m just throwing ideas at the wall right now to see what sticks.

Angels are made up of five Spheres, each of which has an associated Element. These Elements are neither the scientific elements nor the classical elements, but a descriptor that elaborates on what that Sphere is composed of (both literally and metaphorically) and grants a special Gift based on the combination. Let me demonstrate.

The five Spheres are Crown, Eyes, Wings, Sword, and Trumpet. Each governs essential aspects of the angel’s existence. The player assigns an Element to each Sphere, as follows (I’m just picking five arbitrary examples):

  • Crown of Flame
  • Eyes of Wrath
  • Wings of Shadow
  • Sword of Adamant
  • Trumpet of Gold

The rules then tell you what Gift those combinations give you, so you have five starting powers based on your choices. You could assign any of the listed Elements in the rules to any of your Spheres, but you can’t duplicate an Element. That means, say, you could make any one of your Spheres “of Flame” or “of Adamant”, but no doubling up.

Another idea I have is that your Spheres are either hidden (in which case you just appear to be a normal person) or you can “don” your Spheres. Each Sphere would have a Subtle power that is always on, and a Manifest power for when you’ve actually donned your angelic nature. It would cost you power to do so, though, so you’re probably not running around at all times as a blazing beacon of celestial presence. When the Creator was still filling the world with Light, you could afford to do that, but these days you have to be more sparing with your precious Halo and its reserves of Light.

Thoughts?

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New game jam, new game!

I’ve decided to jump in on the Roll to Craft game jam over at itch.io. I’ll be posting blog updates here and over on itch as I work on my entry. So far, I have a rough premise in mind: the Creator has disappeared, and you play angels trying to find their own path in a world where the divine Light is slowly fading and the Archons are squabbling among themselves over which of them (if any) should claim Heaven’s throne.

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An important statement

I believe women. I believe Mandy Morbid, Hannah, Jennifer, Vivka, and the others who have come forward. Their abuser cannot debate, intimidate, or manipulate me into silence. There is no place for abusers among us.

#AbuseIsNotAGame #OSR

If you don’t know what this is in reference to, read this: https://m.facebook.com/amandapatricianagy/posts/10215845527064252

and then this: https://m.facebook.com/VivkaCriesWolf/posts/2478145012257909

 

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New Fate tech for Corona

If you haven’t gotten your hands on Uprising: the Dystopian Universe RPG yet, it’s got some great innovations in various facets of the Fate engine (some of which I’m planning to adapt for Corona). Just from a first read-through, here are the highlights:

  • The approaches from Fate Accelerated and the four actions are replaced with means and ends (four of each). This will probably not serve Corona very well, since using the skills puts the hyper-competency of Corona‘s agents at the forefront of players’ minds. It’s an interesting twist, though, that could streamline Fate derivatives even more than FAE already does.
  • The betrayal mechanic, on the other hand, meets a design need that Corona has been looking for for years. Every character has a secret, and some of them are actively opposing the goals and actions of the others. Who is loyal to the cause, and who is an assassin, or mole, or simply self-serving?
  • Augmentations in Paris Nouveau are much more of a double-edged sword than the enhancements agents receive in Corona: they have a shorter lifespan, as well as other drawbacks. This is primarily a setting-driven detail, but an important distinction nonetheless — the Dystopian Universe wants to shine a light on the dysfunctional relationship its inhabitants have with technology, whereas Corona presumes a positive net gain to society from self-improving implants.

 

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A mostly inconsequential name change

It’s been brought to my attention that a game called Spectrum has been released, and in the interest of not causing any confusion, I’ve renamed my open-source game system to Spectra. It’s been a dormant project for years, but I think I want to revive it, and this would head off any potential miscommunication.

The updated document is still incomplete and looking for contributors; you can access the latest edition here (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1y2WLB14sFRVsndtI0pu7VRCQdtVHi9N8)

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