Religion in Fantasy Worlds
This post was inspired by a post at the KORE rpg blog about the topic.…
In the beginning, there were wizards with spellbooks and monsters with special abilities. Then there were superheroes and villains with powers. But I never played in a campaign where there was a mix of traditional fantasy and super powers – so we created one.
Immortals’ Wake is a world in which magic, both arcane and divine, worked together to create a being with magical abilities – the power to control raw elemental energy. Why would they do such a thing you might ask? And why not stop with one experiment? A thirst for knowledge sometimes leads down some interesting roads.
However, these “Changed” as they came to be known, gained the ability to collect and manipulate the forces of water, fire, earth, air, and spirit. Think for a second about someone who could control these elements. Can you imagine the damage they could do? Then think about the good that could be done as well… You’re really introducing traditional comic book hero abilities into a fantasy world.
And as such, these powerful individuals are often called Demons by those who mistrust the destruction the Changed often bring with them. Initially, newly Changed have little control over their abilities. Freakish fires or floods may cause huge swaths of damage during the Change. Or whole buildings may be swallowed by the Earth. What do you tell the innocents who may have lost their lives or property after such an event? “Sorry” barely scratches the surface.
What can they do with Fire? Destruction comes to mind. Simply redirecting the power of a campfire or torch to set other objects aflame, take the heat and warm up an opponent’s metal weapons or armor, or simply launch a ball of fire at an opponent to do as much damage as possible. Then reverse it. Imagine a powerful elemental Fire mage who could draw the flames from a housefire or forest fire, or draws the heat from a room to lower the temperature.
The scariest of these elemental abilities for me comes with those who can control Spirit. During one campaign, we had a character take the spirit of a person and place it in a plant, just to prove a point. During another, we had a character speak to the spirits in a haunted area and provide a shell for one of them to communicate with others. And in yet another instance, a character used Spirit abilities to travel in an Astral form and manipulate the dreams of an NPC. Remember Anne Rices’s novel The Body Thief? It’s no wonder mortals would be scared of these individuals.
Depending on the element, there may be physical changes as opposed to psychological changes in the individual as well. For example, an Earth Changed might become more angular or stony, with skin color adjusting to be more like the prevalent stones in the surrounding area. Fire Changed may simply have more anger management issues or attack their passions with more energy.
Each Changed individual may have a slightly different strength for their abilities as well. Some may be little changed by the experience, while others would then have the ability to speak with powerful Elemental beings in their own plane of existence. What would you chat about with a being made of pure Water? or Earth?
Like any fields of magic in the Moebius Adventures system, there are few limits – which leaves the power in the hands of the GM and his or her players. And like in all things, there are repercussions to holding such abilities.
Would you choose to be Changed? Or will you let the Fates make the decision for you? What would it cost you to become Changed? What would you pay to lose the abilities? These are all crunchy topics ripe for roleplaying.