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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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What’s a point worth?

Mulling a change to point costs in the character creation rules for G&F – the simplicity of Everway‘s approach is appealing, but I’ve been rereading Nobilis 2e for inspiration as well and I’m torn because Nobilis has a more robust ability creation method that would raise the prices on things. (In Everway, a power costs up to 3 points, or maybe 4 at the most if it’s really potent), whereas Nobilis can price some powers on a scale that goes up to something like 8 or 9 points. That would require refiguring what a point is worth in terms of character potential and how many to give a starting PC. I like games that start out with powerful characters, so I’m not averse to the idea, but I don’t want to break things by not giving the scale proper balance.

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Since Everway doesn’t have a hard advancement system for characters, I’m looking at existing tech to graft onto the game that won’t disrupt the feel too much. My leaning is toward goal-based advancement such as the Motivations in Exalted or the Keys in games like Lady Blackbird.

In Everway, as I mentioned before, you have a Motive for your character: the thing that drives them. You also have a Virtue and a Fault as well as a Fate that you are expected to eventually meet. For Glorious and Fearsome, the Virtue remains the same, the Fault becomes a Vice, and the Fate becomes your Destiny. Virtue and Vice are things you’re supposed to do during play; they should come up regularly, so it stands to reason that these would map well with Keys, which serve the same purpose. One downside is that Keys are tied to an “experience point” system, which doesn’t fit the feel of either Everway or Glorious and Fearsome – characters in both games, to me, feel cheapened if their routine actions translate into an economy or currency. On the upside, these Keys also have built-in mechanical incentives, like bonuses to actions, that encourage players to stick to those personality aspects in play, which I think I’m going to keep (especially since the law of karma gets highest priority for storyguides in Glorious and Fearsome when determining the outcome of actions – much like the Amber RPG, as it has been pointed out by others elsewhere).

Destiny and Ambition, by contrast, are infrequently met, even if they are acted upon regularly. They’re epic accomplishments and events, and should be rare so that they feel special. The reward should be correspondingly special as well; Exalted handles meeting a Motivation by allowing you to increase your Essence (the game’s “power stat”) immediately provided you can afford the experience cost, and then you can choose a new Motivation that is even grander in scale to reflect your character’s broadening influence on the setting. Since Glorious and Fearsome doesn’t have a corresponding “power stat”, this would be where you would receive new Mythic Points to spend on your character, the same as during character creation. There’s no intermediary “experience point” that has to be translated into a Mythic Point, it should be noted; you get the direct reward in the form you need it. The question I’m grappling with right now is whether these two goals should be on equal footing, or whether one is more likely to come up and be fulfilled during play than the other; my instinct is to say that a Mythic must confront their Destiny when its card is drawn from the Story Deck, but since Story Deck draws are comparatively rare, who knows when that will happen? Likewise, if a Mythic can accomplish their Ambition in a handful of sessions, it probably wasn’t the best choice of Ambition to begin with, and while they will replace it with a bigger one, should that be rewarded? Things to ponder.

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