Another Setting Idea

Sorry for the huge length of time since my last RPG post but I’ve been quite busy with university. Hopefully I’ll have more time for this blog once my work term starts in January. –I’ve been hired by a large drug company to work on an HIV vaccine, which means I’ll be working 5 days a week, 8 hours a day (or thereabouts) but I don’t have to work long into the night or all weekend! (At least not on a regular basis)

Anyway, I worked out a lot of the details for this back in September and actually wrote out a 1st draft on paper. I started retyping it but then got busy with uni and forgot about it.

Years ago when I was younger I watched digimon. I was never a big fan but I liked a couple of the ideas: In the first season the aesthetic of the environment they were exploring the world I liked the post-apocalyptic undertones with the abandoned traffic signs and streetcars and such. I love post-apocalyptic games but really, there are lots of those around and I don’t have much to add (aside from telling you to go read: A Canticle For Lebowitz, The Postman, and Damnation Ally. Ok, so I do have some ideas on that, but that will be another post)

Anyway at the start of the 3rd season they did a restart with new characters & digimon and whatnot. This was the point at which I started being able to see through the plots of most kids TV shows so I only saw a couple episodes of it, but there was one cool idea. Each digimon when killed released ‘data’ that others could absorb to become more powerful. So unethical people go around fighting duels just for the sake of getting more data and becoming more powerful. I’d already started playing D&D with my Dad so I instantly made the link to XP.

Later on reading a couple of Birthright books this idea returned: In this setting various people that fought at a great battle where the gods died absorbed some of their power. This has been passed down to their children. Those with the most power have become the kings and rulers, those with dark power monsters. When slain the power passes to the slayer.

While listing such settings I can’t avoid mentioning Highlander, with its immortals running around killing one another trying to gather all of the quickenings power.

So that lays out my original inspiration, which was the XP is actually power stolen from the slain. The more powerful the thing you slay the more XP you get.

This idea lay dormant in my mind for years until the very creepy commercials for a show on the zodiac killer started airing (named was I think ‘Zodiac’) which gave me the second piece. What if instead of being a select group of people that go around killing each other for power everyone has a little power? Some people get addicted to it and will do anything to get more.

Enter the heroes, who have somehow gained a fragment of power: They fight to stop such monsters from harming innocents in the quest for more of this power. In doing so they themselves gain large amounts of the power and become targets for those seeking power.

Why try and gain this power? This power is the very power of life itself. Those with large amounts of it can live for hundreds of years. Gain enough of it and one could live forever. If this is not temptation enough in itself as one gains more of this power they become able to transcend the limits of normal mortals. It begins by making the individual faster, stronger, tougher. As they gain more the power becomes more obvious. Some gain the power to shift form giving rise to the legends of werewolves and vampires. Some gain the power to bedevil others minds, or see distant places. From these rise the tales of wizards, sorceress and warlocks.

Should enough power be gained one would become what could easily be mistaken for a god: able to throw lightning, change shape and live for many generations. It is suspected that this is where the legends of the ancient world came from: The petty and violent greek gods, obsessed with hedonism. The powerful and violent norse gods, and the many gods of the Egyptians.

Now I’ve been thinking about how to include more opponents then just other seekers, and this idea struck me:

Where do the great monsters they fight come from? The hydra? the mighty titans? The dragons? Mortals are not meant to hold onto such great amounts of power. Those that do so often find their forms changing. Some who let the power master them take on bestial forms, others become what are vaguely remember as angels and demons.

I’m not entirely happy with it, but it works pretty well. All PCs would have the strength of will to stave off such changes of course. Alternatively some creatures such as Angels, Demons could be pure incarnations of the power of life. Elementals are what happens when a natural material is infused with the power. Golems are wizards way of doing this themselves.

Classes work pretty well with this model: Wizards try and learn the laws and rules of the power and apply them, fighters focus the power into martial skills through training and experience or natural instinct. Clerics believe that it is a divine gift, druids think it is the power of life and so on.

It has been theorized that there is a finite amount of this power, and that in modern times when it is spread over 6-7 billion people each person has far less of it then when it was spread over only a few million. This makes it much harder for any one person to gain large amounts of the power. That is why extraordinary events are so much rarer and we don’t see self-proclaimed gods running around feuding and demanding worship.

Next time I’ll outline a sample party & background to give a feel for the setting.

Sorry if there are any inconsistencies or errors, I wrote this over a long period of time in spare minutes while profs were handing things back or setting up projectors. I’m not really sure where to go with it now other then setting up an adventure idea or two, so please, ask questions and suggest ideas. I’ve been thinking of moving these over to RPG.net where I’ve been posting more since it gets way more hits then my blog, but I kinda like having my own place. Is anyone familiar enough with that place to know if crossposting is allowed?

Until Next time, Stay Geeky.

–Canageek

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