The first time was before I worked out any of the current stable game systems I'm utilising, then I looked at a game of modern magic revolving around familiars, and the spirits certainly overlapped that paradigm.
Now I'm thinking... "to hell with it, just do it".
It all links back into other projects at the moment, and I'm just felling like I need to spin things a bit while other elements of my life are in flux.
So here's the idea...
A campaign focusing around a bunch of limited duration playbooks. Each playbook written into a pockemod, a standard set of rules written into a single pocketmod, and a bunch of story arcs written into pocketmods.
Playbooks each describe a specific type of spirit, at the moment I can think of 9 types of spirit. Some might end up getting bundled together, some new types might be generated if there are noticeable gaps in play. The aim is that these playbooks define roughly a third of the character with specific mandatory elements, then provide some specific options to define another third, and the remaining third is basically given free rein from a variety of standard options that all characters can choose from. We'd be looking at a base range of attributes, a few skills, and some advantages that specifically reflect the type of spiritual entity portrayed by the book.
- The Ghost - A character who was once a part of the central realm of existence, they retain a connection to it through their descendants and the legacy they have left behind. They are unable to enter the central realm except through possession and through limited gifts that allow them to manipulate or communicate with it.
- The Familiar - A character spawned of magical power, drawn to those in the central realm who are able to instinctively manipulate these energies and who act as catalysts for true magic among those who are willing to make bargains. They traverse the spirit realms looking for new ways to manipulate reality and retain stability as they are inherently unstable beings.
- The Godling - A character born of the fractured avatar essence of a famous deity, they may be known in legend as a lesser god or demigod, but are more likely forgotten by mythlore, or have simply yet to make their mark. They need the beliefs of the central realm to sustain them, and have a specific sphere of influence related to their celestial parent(s).
- The Dreamer - A character who lives in the central realm but may be comatose, or capable of astral projection. Such a character is unable to enter the central realm, because their body already exists there, they have more stability than other character types, but less power also.
- The Elemental - A character who exists as a personification of a fundamental force underlying reality. They are somewhat alien in their thought patterns and hardwired into certain instinctive actions due to the elemental force that comprises their essence, but this also grants them significant powers within a specific sphere of influence.
- The Fragment - A character of the dream realms who feeds on the phantasms of mortal dreamers, but who is also shaped by those phantasms. Such a character might find it easier to manipulate the central realm by interacting with those who are asleep, hoping that any requests or information are capable to surviving the lucid barrier between sleeping and waking worlds when the dreamer regains consciousness.
- The Nightmare - Like the fragment, but drawing power from darker emotions. Such a character finds it easier to manipulate the central realm, but is always considered an enemy by those who live there.
- The Immortal - A character who transcended the mortal state, perhaps through alchemy or some dark pact. They have outlived their natural cycle in the central realm, and whenever they choose to visit the realm their mere presence sets up psychic ripples that alert the guardians of order to their presence. The have little in the way of magical power, but their knowledge and range of skills are incredible.
- The Alien - A character who has come from an entirely different collection of spirit worlds. What they consider normal may be very different to what entities from this realm consider normal. They may be completely missing certain abilities that most members of our collective realities consider second nature, but may have powers totally unfathomable to locals.
The Core rules pocketmod would basically be a stripped back version of the rules found in The Law. In fact this whole system idea could be used to create mysterious otherworldly entities capable of being portrayed as characters in that game.
Story Arc pocketmods would each provide a range of ideas for story elements that would build toward a narrative arc including things that character would need to do within the context of their story, ideas for the types of actions that might be useful to that story, and ways for a character to gain experience within the scope of that story. These would also have specific thresholds to indicate when the story has moved from its introduction to its main body, and then climax, and finally a series of potential end conditions because no story lasts forever. Once a character has completed their story, they may choose to embrace a new story, but for these purposes I'm thinking that there should probably be levels of story (maybe something as simple as "basic"/"intermediate"/"advanced"), and a player will need to pick a higher difficulty of story if they wish to continue with this character. If I'm using the base system from The Law (The SNAFU system), then a character might have to complete a story arc before they are able to increase their hero die.
This all feels like it could work, but I'm worried about how much effort it will be to get the whole thing working smoothly.