11 August, 2012

Spirits, Creatures and other Strangeness

One of the key aspects of the Walkabout system is the nature of relationships. Player characters have relationships to the people they come from, the spheres of influence relating to their powers, and most importantly relationships to each other.

The spirits and other creatures they encounter are built up with the same relationships.

This is a part of the game that has been simmering in my head for a long time, it's a core aspect of the premise and it need to be addressed correctly. Not all encounters will focus around creatures, and it is definitely possible to have a game in which no creatures or spirits appear, but they are so integral to the setting that they need to be done right. These beings need to be a natural part of the world and need to be integrated into the most fundamental aspects of the system; rather than supernatural beings that feel like they belong somewhere else.

No that's not really right...I think I men to say that spirits in this setting exist as a part of a wider natural order. If you don't understand the spirits you don't really understand nature; and if you don't understand nature, you can't really understand your place in it.

So at this stage I'm working with a system that create spirits and other creatures with the same building blocks that develop characters.

Characters have the core traits:

  1. a "people"; which defines who they group up with and who they identify as family. 
  2. an "edge"; which defines what benefits they rely upon in order to survive the post apocalyptic world.
  3. a "dance"; which defines the way they move, their attitudes and how they act within the world.

Since the characters are charged with the duty of bringing balance to the spiritual post apocalypse, it makes sense to use three reflections of these concepts to define the spirits:

  1. a "manifestation"; (people) this defines the general type of creature/spirit. It is a spectral form, a parasitic possession, a natural totem, a traditional supernatural creature, a fragmented essence of a god, a magical anomaly, an alien presence.
  2. an "affinity"; (edge) this defines the metaphysical connections of the creature to the greater universe. Is it bear elemental powers of a specific type, does it commune with animals (or plants), is it linked to darkness and shadows, light, illusions, the dead??? There would be quite a range of possible affinities and many creatures would possess more than one of these.  
  3. an "agenda"; (dance) this defines the spirits imbalance in the world. What has caused the spirit to be out-of-sync with the cycles of nature, are they trying to restore themselves but something is getting in the way...have they found that the imbalance has granted them new powers and they don't want to go back to the cycle. 

Each trait has a relationship with positive and negative aspects.

As an example, a traditional "vampire" might be written up as a parasitic possession (positive: manifest demonic form[fangs]/ negative: unstable hunger[blood]), with an affinity for darkness (positive: power at night / negative: harmed by sunlight) and an agenda of gaining more power in the physical realm (positive: natural appearance / negative: power hungry). Certain subspecies of vampire might have additional affinities or variant agendas.

This part of the system is very much a work in progress. But the descriptions provided here are basically settling into place.
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