I came back from my holidays last week with a desire to start working on my Lost Heroes RPG again. I think I worked myself into a rut last time, but learning a little about design over the holidays seemed to have opened the way again.
There was something that, I think, +Greg posted just before the holidays, asking for RPG designers to say what the characters do, not what their RPG world is about. It got stuck in my head. (I’m paraphrasing because I can no longer find the original post – four weeks of G+ stuff is just too much stuff to wade through to find it).
There are some subtle themes of conflict in the premise of Lost Heroes and I was leaving a lot of work up to the GM to use them. It occurred to me to make it more explicit. To give it a _face_. When you have someone (or a group) to fight against, it’s much more obvious.
I don’t want to spend time here regurgitating the metaphysics of Lost Heroes world, except to say there is the Veil. The Veil is home to spirits and is like a form of ether that flows in tides all around. It keeps the Gods and more powerful supernatural out. But it also oppresses the supernatural that exist in the mundane world.
The Veil in part represents the conflict between the supernatural and the mundane world. Mundane/normal weighs heavily and even burns the supernatural (via the Veil). The PCs, who are Chosen of the Gods, are especially powerful which causes waves in the Veil. This can cause the mundane world to react, unknowingly but not explicitly. But there is no explicit mundane “enemy” though. Mundane world is as it is. There are no shadowy groups of supernatural hunters employed by the church or government and if they do exist, they probably know so little about the supernatural that they are easily ignored.
But what if there was?
The PCs are powerful beings, being Chosen of the Gods and so on. What if them forming a group and simply existing in the world caused a reaction in the Veil and created spirit-like beings that watched over the PCs and kept the PCs in line (or at least keeping the mundane line). I only have scribbled notes about the idea, but potentially as you pick your supernatural gifts during character creation, you drop a few points into this “shadow”. The player or the GM could then build up this spirit being. They could merge it into one being for the entire group or one for each PC, whichever is more interesting for the players.
These beings could control mundane forces by, for example, influencing large bureaucracies, controlling people who are asleep, controlling the dead or objects. They could stop magic out right. They could even have their own mortal agents (probably the mad) to act for them. Their purpose is simply to keep the sanctity of the Veil and therefore the mundane world. The PCs could have supernatural battles in underground car parks or cast magic while buried in the mountains and they wouldn’t care, but try to convince the entire world that Zeus is real by a demonstration of your power… this would cause these spirits to react quickly and unforgivingly.
And they can have personalities. They may even approach the PCs and offer deals or ways for the PCs to atone for problems they caused. These would make excellent story hooks and force the PCs right into the mundane world. They could force the PCs to take mundane jobs, or achieve some goal not using any supernatural powers or to hunt down a serial killer (who could be supernatural or not).
Is this an interesting idea? Would it add flavour to the setting or is it just over the top?