Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Spells Define a Culture

Hey, everybody, I'm getting ready to lay out Closed: Monsters of the Army of God. This book somewhat reignited my passion for Otherverse America- I had mostly let the setting lie fallow for 2013, while I concentrated on Black Tokyo and Heavy Future and generic fantasy products.

As I'm preparing the layout for Closed, I'm also working on a new Otherverse America product, a collection of Modern Spellcaster spells and magic items, specifically
designed for the setting.

This sourcebook will focus on magic used by the Choicer Covenant, so in addition to a bunch of O.A.-specific spells I'm putting together, I've also been finding the best, most pagan-flavored spells from other sources, including one game book I keep going back to: Green Ronin's Testament: Roleplaying in the Biblical Era. I seriously love that book, and reference it often. Several Lifer Object Philosophies in the core book came from Isrealite powers from Testament, and I've borrowed Egyptian powers for use by the Bastians. It's such a well-written, impeccably researched and intelligent sourcebook and probably one of my top ten favorite RPG products of all time, BTW. 

Anyway, one of the things I've realized is that in gaming, spells really help define a culture. What does the culture especially value, what does it want to be able to do perfectly, do instantly? Because that's what the culture will design spells to do. Right now, I'm building a pretty good baseline of spells for the Choicer neo-pagans to use- a ton of defensive and divinatory spells, because the Choicers have always been more of the defender than the attacker in the setting fiction, but with a few really nasty direct damage spells. Plus a lot of social and romantic spells- I'm not pulling in the x-rated, sexually oriented spells from Heavy Future or Black Tokyo (for the most part), but the Choicer Covenant are a people who have sex often and really like it. I figure in a setting where abortion, reproductive rights and reproduction play such a core role, a few mature-readers spells aren't out of bounds.

Anyway, I can't wait to get started on the magic items and weapons for the setting; that should be fucking fun, designing magic items for a society of advanced, pagan transhumanists. Anyway, sometime this year, I'll do a similar magic sourcebook for the Lifers that should be equally fun to write, because the Lifers are always very entertaining antagonists for me to write about.

Anyway, look for Closed soon, as well as the Trans Galactic Bestiary for Heavy Future.


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