14 September, 2015

Darkhive Worldbuilding (Part 23) - My Blood


One of the aims of this setting is to set the stage for a skirmish miniatures game. This kind of game might see conflicts between small teams, each with a single heroine, an offsider or two, and a group of lackeys. Three or four at least, fifteen to twenty at most. Power levels of the figures would roughly go off the power levels discussed in earlier posts in this series, with a roughly exponential increase. Level 1 is a typical person, Level 2 is roughly the equivalent of two people, Level 3 is double that, etc. The leaders of such teams would start at level 3, the offsiders at level 2, and the lackeys at level 1 (any males on the team would generally be a level or two behind their male counterparts). Over the course of half a dozen games, a lucky character might develop their skills well enough to become a match for someone at the next power level, an unlucky character might have dropped a level over the same space of time due to long term injuries and scars sustained by their adventures.

The problem with the last post in this context is that strangely mutated characters would be hard to easily find miniatures for. Maybe it would be better to have fairly generic characters who are able to transform into "war forms" when they go into battle against one another. Or we say that characters look generally normal unless they voluntarily enter a battle form, or trigger something that reveals a monstrous form from within. Character's inner forms are more mutable, and may look quite outlandish, like some of the villains in "Power Rangers" or other "Live Action Anime", and it's only when these forms become too inhuman that the alterations start leaking across to their "natural form". 

This is reminding me a bit of the demon forms in "Kindred of the East", and maybe a bit like the Vessen in "Grimm", so I like it. 

I'm also drifting back to the idea that the regenerative factors cancel out the worst physiological manifestations of power. Perhaps the possession of a trait adds a success to a corresponding power's effect, and a character has to keep using the power to maintain possession of the trait. A positive feedback loop for the purposes of the power, but a deliberate distancing from the wider community. As a corollary, many of the monsters in the depths of the hive might simply be people who've lost the need to socialise with others, and have pushed themselves to limits of inhumanity that others wouldn't dare.

With this in mind, I'm thinking that the different types of physiological changes might need to be reigned in a bit. 

Perhaps psychic powers manipulate the aura, the emotions, and the eventually the hair and eyes due to their closeness to the brain (which is presumably where psychic power is focused). When powers are manifest, the aura flickers into mundane existence, and maybe hair and eyes temporarily shift to their most unnatural state for a minute or so before the regenerative factor fades them back away.

Fungal powers are infusions in the bloodstream, first changing blood colour, then tinting the skin of the extremities (and gradually working their way inward), before eventually making changes to the appearance of the flesh as the fungal symbiote(s) completely subsume the host body. Since the regenerative factor is a common fungal effect across virtually everyone in the hives, these effects might compete with the regeneration, lasting longer or temporarily countering the regeneration factor while they manifest in the host. Such effects might for several minutes as their powers subside.

Mutations are consider the most dangerous because they dramatically rewrite the hosts DNA. Once a mutation kicks in, it does not get healed in a hurry, it might takes weeks or months for a character's regenerative powers to restore their "natural" form, and in the meantime they'd have to avoid any use of power derived from those mutations. The simplest mutations might be shifts in skin tone or eye colour. These might be followed by horns, bone spurs, tail, hardened skin, gills, or changes that could be concealed by appropriate clothing. Then finally we'd see dramatic changes that are hard to conceal like tentacles, additional limbs, exoskeletal armour, or other strangeness. 

With that change...
Psychic
Element
Basic - 
Aura Shift
Intermediate - 
Emotional Shift
Advanced - 
Hair and Eyes
Air
White Clouds
Dreamy
White hair, Glowing blue eyes
Earth
Swirling Dust
Grounded
Green hair like vine tendrils, Glistening amber eyes
Fire
Golden Flames
Passionate
Red hair blending to black at the ends, Glowing red ember eyes.
Water
Blue Ripples
Detached
Blue/Grey hair, Inky black eyes
Light
Sparkling Silver
Protective
Silver/Grey hair, Metallic silver eyes
Dark
Inky Black Ripples
Secretive
No hair, Cold dead eyes

Fungal
Element
Basic - 
Blood
Intermediate - 
Extremities
Advanced - 
Skin Texture
Air
Clear
Pale Whte
Smooth Alabaster
Earth
Black
Veined and Green
Covered in Lichen
Fire
Yellow
Red hot metallic
Cracked
Water
Green
Soft and Rubbery
Slick
Light
Milky White
Faintly Glowing
Smooth Porcelain
Dark
Purple
Black Patches
Hard Chitinous

Mutation
Element
Basic - 
Skin and Eyes
Intermediate - 
Metamorphosis
Advanced - 
Transfiguration
Air
Feathers, White or Segmented Eyes
Wings, wooden looking body parts
Partially phased out of reality
Earth
Fur covered skin, Slitted or Black Eyes
Animalistic facial features, metallic looking body parts
Body seems made of living stone
Fire
Abnormally high temperature, Reflective or Metallic Eyes
Claws, armoured body parts
Parts of the body are always on fire
Water
Abnormally low temperature,
Shifting Eyes
Gills, webbing, slippery skin
Body flows as though liquid 
Light
Translucent Skin, Third Eye or Bleeding Eyes
Looks vigorously young
Body is made of lights
Dark
Mottled Skin, Glowing or Sparkling Eyes
Looks prematurely aged
Body is like a translucent shadow

Note that these are just the general physiological changes, some specific signature powers (such as transformation into animals) may have specific changes associated with them.  

To pull back an idea I had many years ago, a character might have 8 slots in a row. These slots cover their genetic heritage at first, but also reflect the ways they have been changed by the power flowing through them. 










Every time they try to push things further with a special power, they roll a d8. (P for Psychic, F for Fungal, M for Mutation).

eg. When using a mutant earth power, the player rolls a 4 to push it further. On later actions they roll a 6, then a 7.




M(E)

M(E) 
M(E) 


It comes to a time when the play rolls to push their power, and they get a 6 again.




M(E) 

M(E) 
M(E) 


When this happens, they might automatically gain the benefit without needing to acquire a new mutation. Or maybe the mutation affecting the character's "War Form" bleeds over into their mundane appearance.

Similarly, during a healing period the character would roll a d8, if the result matches a slot where there is a mutation, that mutation is eliminated as a result of the healing process.

eg. The same character is resting up after a voyage into the dark parts of the hive. After a day she heals quite a few wounds and rolls to see if her body is restored to a non-mutated state. The result is a 3...no mutations are eliminated. Later, after more adventures, the character is being attended to by a psychic healer in a major town. All of her wounds are healed and she rolls a die. The result is 7.  




M(E)

M(E) 
M(E) 


This mutation slot (and any benefits or penalties it may have applied) is eliminated.




M(E) 

M(E) 


I expect more characters to end up with a mix of slots describing various sources of power flowing through them.

For example...

 M(W)
(P(W) 
M(E) 
 P(E)
M(E) 


3 Mutations, 2 Psychic changes, 3 Earth effects, 2 Water effects.
Characters with a genetic heritage that predisposes them toward specific power types would gain certain modifications to the die rolls used in this system. 

If we were running a miniatures game in this setting, we might roll a die with each activation of power to see if the body transforms. Then roll a single die at the end of each game to see which effects are regenerated away, Still lots to think about here, but that's starting to shift away from worldbuilding and more toward game mechanisms. 


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