PDA

View Full Version : Working Out the Kinks of a Gift-Based Magic System



Kadzar
2013-02-01, 04:14 PM
I came up with a cool idea for a magic system inspired by what I likely misunderstand of the Australian Aboriginal concept of Dreamtime.

So the way this works is, magic is a Gift, in a literal sense. Anyone who has magic has one or several powers or spells that they can freely give to whoever they please or trade it if they want. It's almost like a metaphysical item that can only exist in human (or demihuman, if they exist in the setting) bodies, needing close proximity to jump between bodies in an exchange. The one passing on a Gift doesn't even have to be alive to give it; if they will it to someone, that person can just stand near their remains for the exchange to happen.

Maybe there might be a way store a Gift outside of a body, probably only used for non-barter trade, since in that case anyone who has the thing that holds the power can just take it without its former owner's permission. It's much safer and easier, otherwise, to just transfer a Gift to a person, because thieves can't take gifts from bodies, dead or alive (this will be true in at least general sense, though probably not in an absolute one; there probably would be at least one thief in the world who is so skilled their craft that they can steal Gifts, but this would be a unique exception to the rule). Now I'm thinking professional merchants would need to either use these Gift storing items or hire people as holding bodies, as there would be a limit to how many Gifts one person can hold; either because so much power would be overwhelming or several gifts would come with certain taboos and restrictions attached to them that couldn't be followed simultaneously.

Now the reason these are called Gifts is that they were originally given to people by various powerful beings. So, for example, in the time before time, someone's great great great ect. grandfather helped some sort of spider spirit/god and she, in gratitude, gave him the Gifts of wall-climbing and talking to spiders. Then, somewhere down the line, another one of his ancestors catches and spares a magical fish and is given the Gift of water-breathing. And so, eventually, this great great great ect. grandson of these guys has kids, and, on his deathbed, he bequeaths the Gift of talking to spiders to his eldest, spider-climbing to the middle child, and water-breathing to the youngest, because they live in a desert now and the youngest child isnít supposed to inherit anything that seems immediately useful in these sorts of stories, instead finding a clever way to use what they have to become fantastically successful, but I digress.

And different families might have more or less Gifts available to them depending on how often they've come into contact with magic spirit animals. The Gifts given might also be more or less useful than these, depending on where they come from: there are some sprites that will give you the Gift to jump just a little bit higher if you just say hello to them; these make up the bulk of traded gifts. There are also some gifts that can either only be used a certain number of times before they're used up or ones that can only be used something like once a year or more.

I think this would be a pretty neat system, though I am worried about what would keep players from willing their powers to each other. I had considered the idea that players might either start out with no Gift and have to obtain them in game, or they might have to roll on a chart to find out what gift, if any, they get. I'm not too happy with either of those ideas, but they're the best I can come up with right now. Does anyone have any idea about how I can make this work?

JoshuaZ
2013-02-01, 04:45 PM
Assuming you are using 3.5- Gifts could just be spell-like abilities that are giveable. There are a few feats in Complete Arcane and Complete Mage that give spell-like abilities so that's a starting point for balance although most of those feats are on the weaker end of things.

BlckDv
2013-02-01, 04:58 PM
If you like reading for inspiration, you REALLY need to read Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson.

The magic system of Breath he uses lines up extremely well with the ideas you are expressing here as Gifts, reading it could give you lots of ideas on how to balance it, social and political implications, etc.

In short everyone starts with one Breath which you can give away, no artificial source of Breath. At Threshold levels of breath ( like 10/50/100/1000 or such ,forget the reals levels) you gain magical awareness and abilities, but many uses of magic involve sending your breath back out temporarily or permanently. So, for everyone with the sort of magic we think of as Wizards, they have had to buy/steal/trade to gain the Breaths of hundreds of normal people. While magic users can't imagine a Breathless life, many of the lower class folks see Breath as a valuable resource they can use to get something expensive or nice at one critical time in life. (Like affording a good doctor for a child, or sending your son to a college, etc.)

Edge of Dreams
2013-02-01, 05:08 PM
I think you've got a really great idea to work with here. I'd recommend looking into a more narrative-oriented game system to use this idea with, such as FATE (FATE Core or the Dresden Files RPG, which is based on FATE).

Letting players pick off a list of common, relatively balanced Gifts at character creation might be a good idea. You could even mix randomness with choice - create tables of "Lesser" and "Greater" Gifts (or more than 2 tiers), and let players choose 1 Greater Gift and random roll some number of Lesser Gifts, or something like that.

ReaderAt2046
2013-02-01, 06:51 PM
If you like reading for inspiration, you REALLY need to read Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson.

The magic system of Breath he uses lines up extremely well with the ideas you are expressing here as Gifts, reading it could give you lots of ideas on how to balance it, social and political implications, etc.

In short everyone starts with one Breath which you can give away, no artificial source of Breath. At Threshold levels of breath ( like 10/50/100/1000 or such ,forget the reals levels) you gain magical awareness and abilities, but many uses of magic involve sending your breath back out temporarily or permanently. So, for everyone with the sort of magic we think of as Wizards, they have had to buy/steal/trade to gain the Breaths of hundreds of normal people. While magic users can't imagine a Breathless life, many of the lower class folks see Breath as a valuable resource they can use to get something expensive or nice at one critical time in life. (Like affording a good doctor for a child, or sending your son to a college, etc.)

:smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbi ggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin: YOU ARE A GENIUS!!!! HOORAY FOR FELLOW SANDERSON FANS!!
:smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbi ggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

Kadzar
2013-02-01, 07:38 PM
@JoshuaZ I don't intend to use 3.5 for this. People are free to translate this idea to 3.5 if they want (or any system, really), but it's not really my system of choice.

@BlckDv I don't really read a lot of fiction these days, but I might have to chec that out.

@Edge of Dreams That's not a bad idea, though I was planning to run it PbP, and FATE doesn't seem like it would work to well for that (I've read through the Dresden Files RPG but haven't had a chance to play it). But, if I did go that route, I could make Gifts into stunts and, if you sold one, you could exchange it for either a temporary or permanent Resources boost, depending on what kind of deal you got.

Regardless, I'm not really looking for system advice so much as ideas about how to make things make sense within the game world. Now, the base idea was that people would have these powers and they would be inherited by their kids, but the method of inheritance would be more legal in nature rather than genetic. (At first I was considering whether or not passing on a Gift would mean the giver would lose it. Ultimately I decided have it be given away to simplify things.)

Then I considered the idea of passing on Gifts to non-relatives, and the idea of selling Gifts like selling old family heirlooms to make ends meet. That got me thinking of the idea of a Gift trade and that there might be some lesser Gifts that are not that useful that make up the bulk of the trade.

So I'm not really that tied down to any of the concept outside outside of legal inheritance of powers (I am fond of the idea of nature spirits and magical animals being the source of the powers, but I could be persuaded to reconsider if someone put up a good enough argument against it).

Joe the Rat
2013-02-01, 09:14 PM
So I'm not really that tied down to any of the concept outside outside of legal inheritance of powers (I am fond of the idea of nature spirits and magical animals being the source of the powers, but I could be persuaded to reconsider if someone put up a good enough argument against it).

Now there's something you can localize with - spirits. Inheritance or Passing of Gifts is entirely about moving this packet of magical ability from one place to another, yes? Have the Gifts become lesser spirits in transmission. So you have some sort of Seven League Stride Gift - massive leaps granted by the Rabbit spirit (not a rabbit, The Rabbit - the Platonic Ur manifestation of rabbits, or whatever). Internalized, the Gift is an ability, but when you transfer it, it takes the form of a rabbit spirit - following your command of whom to hop to. They are not fully independent entities, and only have the awareness to follow your Giving instructions (though I suppose a Gift could be freed back into the Dreamtime/Nevernever/Ether as well).

Assuming other spirit-creatures are running about, anything designed to hold or ward against spirits could be adapted to contain Gifts, or prevent their use. Gift-merchants carry little vials of sparkling mist, or crystals with oddly-dancing lights inside, or special animals that can act as Gift containers.

Having a Gift thief would be an interesting plot. It also raises the idea of incompatible gifts - certain Spirit Givers are too inimical to allow one person to hold a Gift from each.

Kadzar
2013-02-02, 01:08 AM
Hmm, well, I don't want the Gifts to be sentient or alive in any sense, or at least not all of them (I definitely will want to have a few around, though, because I actually do love that idea). Though as long as the Gifts are just the manifestation of the will of their original givers in a way it could work. Like they're not really thinking in any sense; they just do what they do, and there are a few things they will not do and they'll automatically clash with certain other Gifts (most likely those whose giver would eat their giver if they could). At the very least it would probably be a good balancing factor, since you couldn't have all the powers at once.

Oh, and I like your "Platonic Ur manifestation" description of the Rabbit spirit. :smallbiggrin: I think that pretty well describes what I was going for in my example (for the Spider, at least; the fish was just a magical fish).

Slipperychicken
2013-02-04, 02:44 PM
A mortal who gives a Gift loses it, and suffers a good chance of dying to boot. Mortals cannot replenish the spirit energy which powers Gifts, as mortals are not innately magical.

Spirits can give Gifts because they are overflowing with magical energy to spare, so they can afford to Give sometimes (once a decade?) without much trouble. If they Give too much they wither and die (they are "reborn" much smaller and weaker without any memories or personality, but spirit-death is very harmful to whatever the spirit represents. A nature spirit who dies will cease sustaining his grove and it will quickly blacken and die, giving way to all sorts of dark malevolence). Giving even one time weakens them considerably and leaves them quite vulnerable. Receiving a Gift is the highest possible honor which represents the Spirit's basic life energy, like giving an organ to someone. Spirits are highly selective of who they Give to, and will only bestow these incredible powers on their most exceptional and long-serving champions, and even these are quite lucky to receive them (almost none do, and for good reason).

A Spirit can replenish Gifts it has given, but this takes considerable time (many years) and effort. Giving more frequently places the Spirit in serious risk of death, even if its enemies do not immediately descend upon the Giver's weakened spirit-mass and destroy it.

Kadzar
2013-02-04, 10:16 PM
I don't think I'll do it that way, personally, but that definitely is a way to go. It only really solves the problem of why not to give away Gifts to your party if you have loved ones you'd want to give them to, and it almost completely obliterates any possibility of a Gift economy which, though not really a necessary component, was a thing I rather liked. I do thank you for your post, however, because it has made me consider that there should be a "no Gift backs" policy; once you've given a Gift, you can't hold that Gift again. Also, I've just now realized that I absolutely must work a white elephant pun into this game. :smalltongue:

Jack of Spades
2013-02-04, 10:49 PM
Well, NWoD's Werewolf system has a Gift system that works almost how you're describing, at least on the spirit end of things. Essentially, spirits will on occasion grant gifts to werewolves as repayment for a favor or great deed. This dynamic is based on the fact that in NWoD werewolves are the ones responsible for dealing with issues in the spirit world and are capable of storing and manipulating spiritual essence (which spirits need to survive and become more powerful). Spirits usually need to be given essence before they are willing to grant a Gift, which may be because granting gifts costs them essence (not entirely sure, don't know the intricacies).

In fact, the main event which allows one to gain a Gift from a spirit in WtF (yeah, that's the acronym-- Werewolf the Forsaken) is doing something which allows your character to gain a point of Renown. So, essentially, Gifts are only earned once per major plot point, and even then only one character will get one. I believe each new werewolf starts with two. Renown is a tangible, measurable thing in WtF and the ritual which allows you to gain the tangible kind of Renown after your great deed involves, in part, finding a spirit and convincing it to grant you a Gift.

So, as far as economies go, WtF doesn't have a Gift economy but it definitely has an economy of favors and essence. Essence can be gathered from places of power over time, but it is consumed when using gifts or when doing just about anything in the real world as a spirit.

So, yeah, that's an outline of how one system works it. Hopefully I was clear enough to help your ideas flow.

Dire Panda
2013-02-04, 11:07 PM
This is one of the more creative magic systems I've seen, and it has inherent roleplaying potential. Very interesting.

One balancing factor that could be applied to Gifts is that they're... well, gifts. As such, it is in their nature to keep being Given - they don't want to remain in one body for very long. If Gifts are common enough in society, exchange could be a part of any number of rituals - husband and wife swap Gifts on their wedding day, a parent passes a Gift on to their child when they come of age, when chiefs of different tribes come to an agreement they seal it with an exchange, and so on. Trying to keep a Gift in your body past its "expiration date" results in the power weakening or possibly twisting into a less desirable effect. Maybe holding multiple Gifts makes them want to leave even faster. The net result would be diffusion of Gifts among all of society, likely with a story behind each, which I think fits well with what you're trying to achieve.

Of course, there are always those greedy folks who want to keep a particular Gift, or just keep accumulating more and more new ones. And maybe they've found a way, perhaps through communing with malign spirits or simply strength of will. Perhaps holding Gifts long enough that they become completely twisted can turn one into a monster. Maybe tales are told of nightmarish creatures, once simple people like you and I, who feed upon the innocent to steal their Gifts and twist them to evil. Such creatures would hold greater magic powers than any mortal, and so would require the intervention of a powerful party...

Slipperychicken
2013-02-04, 11:25 PM
I don't think I'll do it that way, personally, but that definitely is a way to go. It only really solves the problem of why not to give away Gifts to your party if you have loved ones you'd want to give them to, and it almost completely obliterates any possibility of a Gift economy which, though not really a necessary component, was a thing I rather liked. I do thank you for your post, however, because it has made me consider that there should be a "no Gift backs" policy; once you've given a Gift, you can't hold that Gift again. Also, I've just now realized that I absolutely must work a white elephant pun into this game. :smalltongue:

I was mostly thinking of reasons that spirits wouldn't just dole out Gifts like candy in exchange for service. I imagine that PCs beginning with Gifts would give more of an X-Men feel.

Perhaps a Gifted can only pass it on to one child, triggering fierce competition for the inheritance, allegorical to how royal kids fight for it. Children of the Gifted (wow, sounds like a book title) are pitted against their siblings, working extremely hard to prove themselves worthy.

Killing a Gifted (and performing some gruesome ritual like eating his heart) allows you to steal his Gift. This can make you a target for the "Gift-hunters", mercenary-assassins who steal Gifts like trophies, and experienced ones often have 1d4-1d8 Gifts already, depending on how common they are. Some "Gift-hunters" will challenge the Gifted to mortal combat in hopes of taking these abilities. With great power comes great danger.

Gifts each use supernatural resonance (which the ignorant locals think of as "personality" or spirt-influence) to allow the Gifted's brain to properly access the granted powers. It bonds to the mind, clearing one's thoughts. Multiple Gifts, however, have clashing resonances which can drive a man insane. When two or more Gifts are present in the same body, the Gifted must make Will saves (or the equivalent) over the course of a weeks to balance and harmonize the competing forces. Success at 2-3 in a row indicates he has mastered them and they harmonize and he may use each Gift properly. Failure indicates he must take a round to attune himself to each power before use. Failure at 2-3 in a row means he is driven insane and is basically a gibbering crazy warlock (bossfight material). Before the 3rd failed save, the Gifted has an opportunity to cut his losses and expel one Gift without going insane.

Dire Panda
2013-02-05, 12:24 AM
Darn it, I have work tomorrow and I can't stop thinking about this. More potential setting consequences and ideas if you go with my continual re-Gifting scenario:


Continually trading Gifts might threaten to remove a character's identity, but what if they're organized into categories/archetypes, and a character can gain experience with each? Suppose Joe spent the past year with a Gift that allowed him to speak with reptiles, and the year before that he had one that granted telepathic communication with anyone whose eyes he could see. Now he's Joe the Speaker, and when he befriends a wind spirit and is Gifted the ability to send messages on the wind, he can send more words per message and send them a longer distance than a character without experience in the communication archetype could. Maybe experience with an archetype could also let you hold more Gifts at a time, or hold them longer. Now you have specialized characters without the rigidity of a class system.
In a similar vein, perhaps mastering an archetype requires using many Gifts, not simply using one often. This gives player characters an incentive to swap out frequently and contributes to the flux of the Gift economy. It also explains why not everybody in the world is a 'wizard' - to actually get good enough with an archetype to achieve PC-style exploits, you have to actively seek out and use new Gifts. Most folks just have one or two magic tricks that occasionally help out in their daily life.
Greedy Gift hoarders becoming monsters might also explain why some/most spirits are reluctant to grant Gifts - they fear what wicked men and women can do with them. Perhaps the strongest Gift-Eaters turn to hunting the spirits themselves. Receiving a Gift directly from a spirit, as opposed to from another mortal, is much rarer now than it was in the mythic past (before the rise of the Gift-Eaters) and anyone who achieves this feat is revered by his tribe.
Suppose tradition demands you accept the Gift's story along with it. Now society becomes tighter-knight - the guy in the next hut over isn't just Bob the Craftsman, he's the one you traded your great-grandfather's Gift - the one he got by catching a magic fish - to in exchange for the one his mother received from the spider spirits. You're carrying a part of Bob and his past, and he's carrying a part of you.

Kadzar
2013-02-05, 03:44 AM
So many ideas in my head right now.

@Jack of Spades At the very least your post made me consider how Gifts would be given out in play. Thank you.

@Dire Panda I'd rather not have Gifts flow too freely. They should be considered part of one's identity in most societies, and giving them should be a matter of personal sacrifice. However, your post has made me consider that different societies and cultures should have different ideas about when and with whom they exchange gifts.

I also really like the idea people who, through some dark means, have acquired the ability to take the Gifts of those they have slain. I'm thinking any Gifts taken in such a manner are twisted by the act of being taken against their former owner's will, becoming a tainted version of their former selves. Then these people would go on to sell them, leading to a common warning to be wary of good, cheap Gifts.

@Slipperychicken Gifts should be rather common. The thing is, though, is that gifts will have varying levels of usefulness. Your average person with Gifts will probably just have the ability to see the color brown a bit better than normal and the ability to make his eyelashes sparkle once every Tuesday. Most people won't have Gifts, and the majority of them will probably be these sort of pixie Gifts (which may just be given as their form of practical joke), and then a couple of people might have some useful gifts. The legitimately good Gifts are rarer simply because their givers aren't often seen (though not unheard of), and they don't always deem mortals worthy of their gifts or get into positions to be extorted for them.

The way things work now, it really is only possible for one child to receive a specific Gift, and, if it's a rather good one, siblings might have reason to fight over it.

I like the idea of the Gift-takers engaging in an act of cannibalism to be able to steal Gifts, that's going in.

I don't want insanity checks, since I'm going for a fairy tale feel rather than the Cthulhu mythos, but there's definitely going to be a limit on how many Gifts a person can have. The exact capacity will depend on the person and the power level of the Gifts in question. Also, maybe the way conflicting Gifts interact is that the stronger one will kick out the weaker one, though I don't like the idea that, by trying to pick up a new one, someone might accidentally get rid of their favorite Gift. My preference would be that you'd try to pick up a new Gift, and then you'd feel your old Gift reacting violently to the very attempt, so that you couldn't even try to pick it up until you released your old Gift into the wild.

ReaderAt2046
2013-02-05, 10:00 AM
In Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz series, the heroic Smedry line has Talents, which work a little like your Gifts. Now one of the quirks of the Talents system is that a Smedry-by-marriage instantly gains the spouse's Talent as soon as the marriage is official. So maybe you could have it that a husband and wife each get access to each other's Gifts, and that this is an exception to the usual interference between multiple Gifts.

Also, you could keep Gifts from becoming too common by fluffing it that granting a Gift requires a spirit to sacrifice a tiny fragment of their own essence, which can't be regenerated until the Gifted dies without passing the Gift on.

warty goblin
2013-02-05, 10:43 AM
If the Gifts are freely giveable, then the inevitable outcome is that players will share all their Gifts with each other ASAP. Not sure if you'd count that as a problem, mind.

ReaderAt2046
2013-02-05, 12:10 PM
If the Gifts are freely giveable, then the inevitable outcome is that players will share all their Gifts with each other ASAP. Not sure if you'd count that as a problem, mind.

I kind of got the impression that the Gifts were giveable, but not duplicateable. So you could give someone else your Gift, but then you wouldn't have it.

Kadzar
2013-02-05, 02:12 PM
I kind of got the impression that the Gifts were giveable, but not duplicateable. So you could give someone else your Gift, but then you wouldn't have it.Yeah, and you can't swap them back if you do, so no lending out gifts so that your teammates can just use them for a couple seconds.

Also, in response to your previous post, while that idea is romantic, it would lead to an odd situation where married people are individually more powerful than singles, along with it being the only situation where Gifts would be duplicated. Of course, there is still the possibility of matrimonial Gift exchanging customs, and, maybe if it worked with the rules, there could be the possibility of hybridizing the Gifts of married couples.

Ninjadeadbeard
2013-02-05, 04:26 PM
This is such a cool idea for a magic system!

When someone passes on a Gift, what if a part of them, like an imprint, is passed along as well? Like, if a Gift is held in a single family line for a number of generations, then the current Gift-holder would be able to remember things that happened to their Great-great-great-grandfather or something, all the way up to the Spirit that originally gifted the Gift.

It would also mean that Gift-Thieves would be employed as Spies, since they could steal a politically-powerful Gift-User's Gift and now know a number of important secrets as if they were their own.

Slipperychicken
2013-02-05, 06:40 PM
It would also mean that Gift-Thieves would be employed as Spies, since they could steal a politically-powerful Gift-User's Gift and now know a number of important secrets as if they were their own.

It seems like Gifts in general would be an important status symbol, especially for hereditary rulers. One could claim legitimacy through possession of the Royal Gift.

hiryuu
2013-02-05, 06:57 PM
Been doing this for years (my setting is based on Australian Aboriginal, Pacific, and NA mythologies >_>). The way I've been running it is to let you swap feats, spells, or skill points with the person in commensurate power to the person you're selling it to. This requires a lot of GM discretion, obviously, but it lets me reward spell-like abilities, feats, class features, and skills to people.

Kadzar
2013-02-05, 07:39 PM
It seems like Gifts in general would be an important status symbol, especially for hereditary rulers. One could claim legitimacy through possession of the Royal Gift.
Oh, yeah, that's a good idea. I'm a little leery of having Gifts contain the memories of their former owners; maybe there could be certain Gifts that let you do that (that is actually a pretty good idea), but not all of them automatically.

But I like the idea that the right to rule is a Gift; it reminds me of how monarchs were often said to receive their right to rule from God or the gods (those that weren't supposed to be gods or descendants of gods themselves, which could also possibly work), and you could have a system in place where they can choose anyone they deem worthy to be the heir to the throne, so a king with many wicked children might choose a pure-hearted beggar boy he finds on the street. Or, even in a system with mostly normal succession, as long as the rules of succession aren't strictly codified, the king might be assassinated, the Royal Gift stolen by a Gift-Eater and given to his jealous brother, and, since Gift-Eaters aren't widely known about in the world, they'll assume the king wanted his brother to have the throne, because Gifts can't be given against their master's will. Then, after that you resolve that plotline, you'll have to figure out what to do about the fact that your kingdom's Royal Gift is tainted.

Ninjadeadbeard
2013-02-05, 08:18 PM
But I like the idea that the right to rule is a Gift; it reminds me of how monarchs were often said to receive their right to rule from God or the gods (those that weren't supposed to be gods or descendants of gods themselves, which could also possibly work), and you could have a system in place where they can choose anyone they deem worthy to be the heir to the throne, so a king with many wicked children might choose a pure-hearted beggar boy he finds on the street. Or, even in a system with mostly normal succession, as long as the rules of succession aren't strictly codified, the king might be assassinated, the Royal Gift stolen by a Gift-Eater and given to his jealous brother, and, since Gift-Eaters aren't widely known about in the world, they'll assume the king wanted his brother to have the throne, because Gifts can't be given against their master's will. Then, after that you resolve that plotline, you'll have to figure out what to do about the fact that your kingdom's Royal Gift is tainted.

It could be that such a Royal Gift, or Gifts in general, tend to "magnetize" as it were to bloodlines.

Example: The King of Nowhere has two sons and a daughter, all of whom are legitimate possible heirs to his Royal Gift. The King also has an evil brother, the Duke. The Duke kills the King via poison in the ear, as you do, but didn't hire a Gift-Eater, so the Royal Gift jumps to the nearest heir (the Gift having an innate-though-not-sentient understanding of the Rules of Succession), the Eldest Son, let's say. To avoid this problem, The Duke would need to kill off his niece and nephews in entirety in order to get the Royal Gift that way.

And he would have to do it all at once, otherwise the last one with the Gift could just deny him it specifically and send it to the nearest worthy soul. Actually, it would be interesting to see a government that handles Succession in a "Whoever gets the Gift is the Ruler, no matter how he got it" sort of way.

NichG
2013-02-05, 09:14 PM
This thread has inspired me to use something like this for an upcoming campaign. Basically the players play two characters - one is an ancestral spirit that can't directly interact with the physical world, and the other is the current heir to a dynasty associated with their ancestral spirit. The spirit can basically collect and grant supernatural powers to the heir of the dynasty. Furthermore, if the heir dies or pisses off the spirit or whatever, those gifts can be moved on to a new heir.

Conceivably, the spirit and heir could have somewhat different goals, but there'd probably be some way that the heir's actions could acquire new gifts for the spirit.

ReaderAt2046
2013-02-05, 10:33 PM
Yeah, and you can't swap them back if you do, so no lending out gifts so that your teammates can just use them for a couple seconds.

Also, in response to your previous post, while that idea is romantic, it would lead to an odd situation where married people are individually more powerful than singles, along with it being the only situation where Gifts would be duplicated. Of course, there is still the possibility of matrimonial Gift exchanging customs, and, maybe if it worked with the rules, there could be the possibility of hybridizing the Gifts of married couples.

This plus the mention of "Royal Gifts" later on sparked an idea: a certain person ages and ages ago recieved a very bizare Gift from a very powerful spirit. Essentially, his Gift acted an "alignment matrix" for other Gifts, allowing him to hold several other Gifts at the same time. So this man's descendants are now Royals by virtue of being the only house around that has multiple Gifts.

On the quote, would it help at all if it were set up that the Gifts aren't exactly duplicated, they're jsut available to both (i.e. either member could use it, but they can't both use it at the same time) and/or this effect only works when they are in the same general area?

Also, what about "mass gifts" (lesser gifts given to a lot of people at once, stack with regular gifts.)? The specific idea I was thinking of was that some greater spirit/deity decided to give all married couples the ability to sense each other's emotions and sensations (something like the Ehretan pair bond from Firebird or the husband-wife bond used in the WoT Black Tower)

Slipperychicken
2013-02-05, 10:37 PM
And he would have to do it all at once, otherwise the last one with the Gift could just deny him it specifically and send it to the nearest worthy soul. Actually, it would be interesting to see a government that handles Succession in a "Whoever gets the Gift is the Ruler, no matter how he got it" sort of way.

Don't forget the possibility of intimidating, bribing, torturing, or otherwise coercing the King (or his heirs) into surrendering the Gift. Then the Evil brother may claim the King rightly handed rule over, or that the Gift itself chose him as the rightful King.

And any who seek the throne may say the Gift was wrongly taken through coercion or a Gift-eater. If you're only distantly-related, say someone farther up the family tree stole it, and you're the true rightful heir. Get enough politicking around this magical boon, and you can leave quite a mess indeed... :smallamused:

In this sense the Royal Gift can be used to represent political legitimacy in general. And can also serve as a huge McGuffin, where the fate of the Royally Gifted and the byzantine succession rules can potentially send the realm spiraling into chaos. Then you toss in the possibility of an illegitimate child getting the Gift (in which case one should be mindful that such a character may become a Mary Sue).

paddyfool
2013-02-16, 06:47 AM
Lots of mileage in this, and it'll be very interesting to see how it gets fleshed out and used. Also, you said you weren't interested in systems advice sp I won't offer any, but I've very curious: what system did you have in mind for this?

Kadzar
2013-02-16, 09:34 PM
Well, the reason I said that was that I didn't want to try to fit the game into a system until I knew how it would work in the setting and how the setting itself worked. I'd probably try to homebrew something if I didn't find something that worked really well, since GMs on the forum I planned to run this on usually make up their own rules for their games (or possibly just make up results for actions; if they don't post rules, no one really knows or cares).

And, yeah, I really haven't been working on this lately, though I plan to get back to it before not too long.