22 April, 2016

Familiar Titles

Sammael, The Desolate One, Lord of the Shadows, Harbinger of Pestilence, Seed of Destruction, Hound of Resurrection.

I've been thinking more about the character edges in this game about familiars. What about giving the characters a series of arcane and esoteric titles? Such titles would give hints to the character's special abilities, but are also fairly vague and generalised.

Here's the first few that I've thought of...

  • Artisan of Primordial Flesh (Wood) – Bonus to transform the appearance of others
  • Diviner of Cosmic Vicissitudes (Air) – Bonus to manipulate probabilities and
  • Defender of the Ivory Citadel (Earth) – Bonus to prevent harm to places or people
  • Hierophant of the Blood (Water) – Bonus to command lesser minds
  • Hound of Resurrection (Wood) – Bonus to heal the injured or restore life to the dead
  • Inquisitor of Divine Radiance (Light) – Bonus to sense things invisible to others
  • Keeper of the Esoteric Library (Water) – Bonus to reveal knowledge through research
  • Oracle of Madness and Shadow (Darkness) – Bonus to confuse people or lose a pursuit
  • Scourge of the Hundredth Legion (Fire) – Bonus when outnumbered in conflict
  • Sentinel of the Ebony Sepulchre (Metal) – Bonus when dealing with spirits and the undead
  • Serpent of Cyclopean Granite (Earth) – Bonus to resist physical and psychological effects
  • The Celestial Troubadour (Air) – Bonus to mimic the appearance of others
  • The Defiant One (Fire) – Bonus to inspire emotions in others
  • The Immortal Artificer (Metal) – Bonus to create items
  • Walker between Nebulous Voids (Darkness) – Bonus to remain hidden
  • Warlord of Blinding Purity (Light) – Bonus to empower arcane objects

The aim would be to produce a sample list, maybe twice as long as this, and offer players the opportunity to make new ones of their own.

Characters would begin with an assortment of titles, some of which they have manifested in the world, some of which may require completed quests before they activate. Characters could even earn new titles through their actions in the story. In this format, a character's "level" is basically equivalent to the number of titles they have earned. They don't have money, don't have any items beyond what they can carry, so the only measure of power that they possess beyond these titles comes through the favour and influence network that centers around them. Actions where a single title might imply a bonus are the hallmarks of these characters, in these cases the familiars might be considered at the peak of human potential. Truly powerful effects may manifest when two or more titles grant benefits that might be applicable to a single action, in these cases supernatural and legendary outcomes might manifest.

These familiars are still spirits, but they exist as metaphysical entities, embodying concepts of power. This power can be shared with mages in the world to establish a connection to the physical realm. The familiars never die, but their physical forms can be temporarily disrupted by hunters and their links to the physical world can be weakened by destroying their favour and influence network.
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