I like the tone and I like the way this is written. You present the piece as rumor and heresay about rumors and heresay...so you have achieved a mysterious tone. But beyond on that this offers very little in the way of story.
You say you have stories "Jaroth may take the form of a rogue military general drawing artillery power from a new-found source, or a master thief who's grown weary of picking through the belongings of wealthy humans. He may, in fact, be an avatar or high-ranking cleric of some dragon god, exacting vengeance for some misdeed; or a tormented land baron, cursed to be hunted mercilessly for all time (alternatively, the dragon could be the one who's cursed, forever bound to frustratedly hunt Jaroth, a construct specifically designed to perpetually evade pursuit)."
But then you don't tell us the stories. Yes we could fill in the details ourselves, but then why bother writing this at all?
A post on an entirely extraneous game mechanic like this, for me, forces the issue of what these types of rules bring to the game. I am personally conflicted on things like this. Using this in game does not add a new narrative tools, not really, it could potentially slow the action done and it is more details with which to argue. Why do we need spell mishap tables and do we need to invent new constraints on players ability? Does adding these sorts of specific constraints improve the versatility of the playing experience? Do we need more rules?
Yet at the same time, I like these things that add to the “realistic feel” of the game. Saying I cast a spell, has an empty feel to do it, if you can describe the process by which a spell is cast and by extension how that spell can be miss cast you make the game world richer. The gaming group paints a better picture for the collective imagination when the process by which a character acts is more detailed then swing and miss. Also these details give the players more tools with which to exploit the world. When there are more strings attached to in game concepts and items; the more likely a player can unravel it and that is a good thing. So I am torn on what the net result of these types of things will be on the game. Further study is no doubt needed.....
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Okay, about this post: It is well written and straight forward. Chaosmark assumse so much about the nature of magic and casting that this almost seems like a system specific expansion. We may as well pull back the curtain and post some casting time and spell per day numbers. Yet the general concepts are developed enough, each type of casting, that player can easily envision them and use them. A well organized and useful post
I wager there were a few smirks from the author when he wrote this one (the sad onions). Okay excuse me for one moment
*walks over to a lop sided shed haphazardly leaning against the splendid walls of the Citadel. Axle addresses shed, "One soap box please"*
But why again do we have to have a rape as the awful crime and tragedy?! It always smacks of mysogeny when a story teller has to rape somebody to motivate characters or to add emotional weight to an event or story. I understand it is a terrible event that is all too common, and people are right to enraged by it. But I think it gets overused in fantasy fiction. Plus the response to the rape in stories and plot line is often about the male character's desire for revenge. I think the rape-motivation story broke a threshold for me when an author named Ken Scholes published a story about a 50 some year old alternate time Hilter finding the courage to stand against french facists (with the help of Charlie Chaplin and Earnest Hemingway) when he wittnessed the rape of a jewish girl. A liberal mild mannered Hilter I could stand...but when the author couldn't find another way to explore the importance of political action and the horrors of facism then graphic sexual violence...well I didn't finish the story. I get that mister Scholes was trying to ruffle some feathers with goatee Hitler, but wasn't the alternate time line enough?
*Thank you, just place this back in the Citadel's soap box shed please. Oh the shed is full? Alright well I guess we can toss this one out*
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Okay moving on, this is great, it is really nice when you can have the NPCs doing stuff in your game world, besides serving beers, getting kidnapped and telling vague tales of forgotten swords. I would love to play in a game world that had this stuff going in the background.
IN GAME STATS! How brazen, how shamelss, my hands are shaking I felt so dirty reading this. (And GURPS too, you are such a rebel) Everyone else has been posting softcore, just beneath the sheets we can see the outlines of movement bonuses, esoteric and specific in game benifets such as "iron stomach" and stat details such as low willpower but high dexterity. WARNING INFESTED-JERK JUST BROUGHT US A FULL FRONTAL RPG CHARACTER!
I agree with CM a decent cult leader, if it were my idea I would like to hear about his childhood or time prior to to his demon-joined cult leader and a little more about his inter personal style but the theme of his behavior comes through. And the disadvantages tell us a lot about the mechanics of dealing with him.
How do you want the player characters to feel about him?
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A nice item most would like to have on their character sheet, and the extras are also items that creative PCs could use to come up with novel solutions to problems. Somebody once said for every uber saga and quest sword he need ten of these simple, easy, ulitiarin magic items
Okay I can see how this could be used ;)
Reasonable PC :Hey META PC #1 do you still have that goat milk we got at the halfling village before the banshee encounter outside the Temple of Vulsadoom
Excitable PC: And I am Priest! I place a rag in my pants and start jumping up and down.
Meta PC #1: I am sure I don't still have that with me, that was like a 4 years ago in game time.
Meta PC #2: *snatch* You still have it on your character sheet. So we are a good.
Roleplaying PC: What type of strange and wonderous item could this be....surely we must use it for the good of the people allow me to veiw these ancient tomes. *a moment later after viewing the hand outs "seriously Ted?"*
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GM (TED): And the Hyperion mines are beneath Vulsadoom's temple, looks like I will get to use the map after all.
Seriously I think this a nice write up and a fun read. Plus players tend to like magical stuff they can manipulate and fetishize. But my the luke warm response to these types of items is that they bestow things on the character without bestowing or coming with any character growth. Yes the character may have wings or can see ghost afters a swig from this safe bottle, but that ability is dissjointed from his person. While questing for these items and having the manual for this item will increase the player's connection to it, it does not itself justify this things exsistance.
Other items like your crown for example, have existance and a personality the player can manipulate and use but won't change the player unless they want it to. Perhaps I am wrong about this and it would be a really fun item, but I think it might be overly complex and with too little a story hook to justify the dramatic effects (even positive) that it will have a player's character.
Also technical: how will the players know what powers they are removing with out a meta-game pick the item
I had been thinking about this, not specific co-dependant brother builders, but a post that doesn't just present a moment in time to be used. Your story gives us the all the information we need to understand the ambition of the character, the social view of thier works and the evntual consequences of what will happen. But your plots hooks suggest a use of the general concepts. By providing us with a complete time line, you give us the option to insert the characters at any point during the time. The magic itself is like an item.
Plot Hook: To aid in a rebellion, the hero must try and sow a rift between Sid and Jir in order make the evil over lord vunerable
I have played and GMed with these types of lists before. Most recently with women who insisted she have a "wild magic misshap list". I find that these things tend to be show stoppers. (Aside from Echo's point that the game play should be about heroic choices....which I completely argee with and thought was well said.) You have to stop the scene, roll on the list bring about the results and when the results are this powerful it can really structure the whole scene. I guess you could do this as something the PCs do to NPCs, as a joke or cruel trick.
But as everyone has said, these thing have been around since GG gave us the deck of many things. There is a place for them in the gaming world, and this is simply your take on it.