Monday, February 14, 2011

Magical Items

Magic items. What fantasy game doesn't have magic items? I say quite a few, but most my crew wouldn't believe  me if I said that, so Heroes of Destiny needs to include them. Like mundane equipment, though, I'm looking to avoid the catalog effect of powerful equipment. Magical gear, however, needs to have more pizazz if it's to feel magical at all, and not just a souped up version of the mundane stuff. What I've come up with are three ways of granting abilities to pieces of equipment that I hope makes them feel like special, powerful items without making the game all about them.

Bonus Effort
This one's easy. The item grants a pool of bonus effort. The personality of the item comes in establishing the conditions under which this bonus is granted, and the restrictions on its use. Just because your sword gives you 5 extra effort points to use every exchange doesn't mean you can use them for anything, and it doesn't mean you get them automatically. Said sword might only offer them in an exchange after you kill something. Maybe you can only use the effort toward attacks, not damage or defense. Etc.

Bonus Potency
The item gives you access to a potency. A swift sword grants you use of Flashing Blade, for example, so that you can attack your opponent twice in an exchange. You can only use this potency with the item in question, however. That swift sword does nothing for the dagger in your other hand.

Narrative Magic
This is the catchall for other powers not directly covered by the two above. This is the wild stuff. Flight, becoming ghostly, seeing the future, all that stuff. Rather than make rules in excruciating detail, I'm leaving this to the fate of collective storytelling. I don't picture scenes in Heroes of Destiny going the same way that they do in D&D, for example, with everyone flying around firing bolts of energy at one another. I think more of classical legends like Theseus and Perseus, where magic items might play a part in the story, but they're not the mainstay of all action.

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