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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 81 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Soul Mate  (Read 2764 times)
Rich F
Member

Posts: 20


« on: January 31, 2008, 03:01:51 PM »

I've been playing around with a TSOY variation, and came up with this Species Secret for Humans.
I'd be interested in peoples ideas on it as while I like the general concept, I'm not sure of my mechanics.

Secret of the Soul Mate
You have a soul mate, another person who is your everything.  You can obviously only have one soul mate, period.  Whenever you attempt an action that involves your soul-mate, you gain a bonus dice.  That could be anything from defending their honour to attempting to reach them before they marry another.
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shadowcourt
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2008, 06:28:13 AM »

Rich,

It makes sense, certainly, considering the love theme which runs through the human species. One thing to consider is whether this Secret provides you with a bonus die on actions to *oppose* your soul mate? Does this afford you a bonus die when you are in an argument with your soul mate, or dueling them to the death? It's all a personal flavor decision for what you want the Secret to do in your games--some Storyguides would say yes (the Secret represents obsession with the soul mate, which can just as easily be deadly as it can be defeated by them; in this case, this is the stalker's Secret, as well as the romantic lover's), others might lean towards no (in which case the Secret could have its language changed to represent that it doesn't work for opposing the soul mate). One interesting solution would be that it only provides a bonus die on actions which involve your soul mate and are appropriate for your Keys--which would encourage players to take this Secret in conjunction with Keys like Love, Guardian, Fraternity, Mission, and related ones.

I think its a cool idea, though. I've always wanted more human Secrets that play with aspects of the species that are "uniquely human." I've even thought about moving the Secret of Blessing to a purely Human Species Secret list, but have shied away in the past, for fear of missing out on interesting character concepts like ratkin shamans and goblin witches.

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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Rich F
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2008, 08:54:26 AM »

I think that humans tend to get short shrift in game design, even those that are human centric.  It's the downside of thinking up cool aspects of the other species, you need to keep going back and retro-fitting humanity (see Warhammer).

I'm tempted to split this into 2 secrets really, the devoted lover and the stalker / controller.  The stalker only gets the bonus in actions against their soul mate, seeking to control and dominate them.  It's not healthy, but its a form of love.

My original basis was Unknown Armies Noble passion, combined with the idea of the romantic hero, who uses the image of their love to help drive them through any obstacles between them and their love, granting them extra strength and a last bit of energy to reach their soul mate.  Another aspect would be the love of a parent for their child (and here I'm thinking of the film the Host).

I don't want to make it too restrictive, just have it as a springboard for play.  In theory, the romantic hero should suffer a penalty to actually oppose their soulmate, for they just can't say no to them, and would not be able to beat them in a fight (but then that may just be that their lover has the 'stalker' aspect?)
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shadowcourt
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2008, 08:50:18 PM »

Rich,

Well, this has been said upwards of a million times now, but its always been classic fantasy/sci fi shorthand to make humans the "baseline" race, and have all other species be "like humans, but angry" or "like humans, but coldly logical" or "like humans, but at peace with nature." TSOY at least goes the extra mile in that humans have something that other species don't (religion and love, and I always add warfare to that list, even though its not entirely canonical), and then removes those traits from then other non-human species. It at least lets you describe the human species from a non-human standpoint in interesting ways, the way you can't in some other games. Imagine a goblin talking about what humans or like: "So, they have absolutely no values of any kind. They hoard things they never use, and won't give them up when you ask to trade. Then, some person comes up that they think is attractive, and they give them EVERYTHING that's valuable, and want nothing in return! Crazy humans. When are they going to learn what's really important?"

I sometimes get miffed at myself for not coming up with more human species Secrets, but I so often hit the wall on inventive ones that aren't just rehash of other Secrets, and could just as easily have been made up by players when they needed them.

I did have one fun Human Secret (wish I had the text for it here with me) which basically let you spend a few points of Reason to drop a custom or superstition into your home Culture which other humans would abide by or take a penalty die. So, for instance, in a scene where someone in Maldor is getting angry at you around the dinner table, and picks up their sword, you could plunk down 2 Reason and say "Aha, but we have broken bread together just now--and is it not said that those who spill blood after breaking bread are cursed to fallow fields?" and force the opponent to either change what was about to happen in the scene or suffer a penalty die stigma.

Just me playing with superstition and custom as a type of religious faith.

Someone brilliant out there is going to come up with a handful of love, romance, and courtliness based Human Secrets which are going to bowl us all over. Its just a matter of time, I think.

Maybe if the thread on Bringing Down the Birthright really starts popping, it'll inform the "warfare Secrets" I've wanted for so long for humans, helping them build cities and empires, as a new fun axis for development of Secrets.

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2591


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2008, 04:42:49 AM »

Someone brilliant out there is going to come up with a handful of love, romance, and courtliness based Human Secrets which are going to bowl us all over. Its just a matter of time, I think.

In need of Human Secrets, hmmh? I haven't had any myself, but defining humans as beasts of love, religion and war certainly has appeal. Thinking about it like that, humanity certainly calls for Secrets - and the Secret of the Soul-mate is certainly a fine start for that!

If nobody posts anything interesting in a week or so, anybody feel free to prod me about it....
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