Good solid start to a magic system. Would be even more awesome if you had a graphic with the different symbols on it to use as reference. But a somewhat normal rune system.
Where does the magic for the runes come from would be good to see. And can anybody draw the runes once they know them? This isn't that complex so not hard to memorize. What keeps others from using it, what needs to be done to complete the rune to make it active...stuff like that.
Palladium uses a system very similar to this and is Extremely detailed... to much so IMHO. But just to get a better idea on how they implemented it you should look that up for what to do, and what NOT to do. Go to Comment
As it is, it still feels somewhat less comprehensive than it could have been. For example, there is no information on how to tune magnitude of spells or is there no way of doing so? This sub doesn't really say. Can one craft something more complex from using more than 1 rune?
Overall, though, I do like this particular rune system and the way you have written it up, I esp. like the history section. Go to Comment
I think the most useful part of this is the clear separation of responsibility between the runelets -- the "noun" + "verb" + "trigger" idea is rather nifty, and gives me some ideas to use in the future. I don't think this is really a full system as it stands, but it's definitely a great start.
I would also like the graphics, but that's because I'm a sadistic GM, and would actually make my players memorize and draw them if they wanted to cast spells. Go to Comment
I thought about doing graphics for each runelet, but decided against it. The players would just say that they draw this outer circle runelet with this noun runelet, and that verb. They wouldn't bother with picture, just the names. So I saved some work. If a DM sees this and decides to make some graphics for it for there game, they can.
Though I had originally thought that only wizards can do it (actually, it was more like a 'common knowledge' or assume thing- I never actually thought which class it should to), now I think that anyone could do it. I would say that if you arean't a wizard, you should have to dedicate a certain amount of time (maybe 2-3 months, to practice art, and to memorize the basics), and not do anything in that time frame. A wizard would just start with the knowledge, because it would be assumed that they had taken a class on it at some point.
And where the magic comes from... I'll ponder on that. Go to Comment
Well, from a compositional perspective this is not a bad submission. There is plenty of detail, and the majority of the bases have been covered. The subject matter is going to be provocative, but that is probably the intent. If the intent was to be provocative, I think it needs to go further into the matter. Why do they milk humans? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to milk cattle or some other herbivore ruminant? The amount of milk produced is decidedly greater that what a human can produce. What do they do with the gathered milk? Drink it like whiskey, make tiny cheeses out of it? Do they eat humans, use human vellum to make their scrolls and books?
The logic behind this is flawed.
a) humans treat cows as animals, as cows show no evidence of intelligence not culture, just a herd. You specifically state that Yothats breed out intelligence from their flock, hence are aware of that trait.
b) As described, Yothats lack the capacity to stand against humanity for long. Sure, they are big, but organized into tribes 50 strong - which will fall one by one; their social structure does not support acting in unison for any extended period of time.
c) societies with units of 50 will not have bankers, or even guilds. These rely on a large number of individuals living in a society to support their existence. Go to Comment
I like this one. As a concept: a race of tall humoniod beings that treats us human as live stock is old school satire. There are numerous examples of this through out literature, and many of them lacked specific details because they were more focused on ramming a lot messages down your throat. I think though the message, about what is life and intelligence will inevitably forces a bit a self-assessment even if presented in an absurd of humorous fashion. In the case of the Yohats, the fact that they are humanoid and their society resembles human society with the bankers and craftsmen makes the "inhumanity" of their actions all the more striking. Because this seems like satire I don't think it is important to iron out the economic details of these cultures. I think that the goal of this piece is to draw out a response in the readers/gamers by forcing them to a) witness human suffering b) view a society which parallels their own but is also offensive to the human's values. The crass disgusting nature of this one, where they keep women in pits and milk them just add to the striking and "provocative" nature of the piece. I don't think this idea needs to deal with all the details: how much milk do they drink and so on. In "The Time Machine" the Morlock's economy struck me as really unsustainable. Yet audiences were able to accept the concept enough that the Morlocks made it into two movies and a musical (three movies if you count Ransom). The twilight zone episode that dealt with this exact same subject one was really just dark comedy (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ne5eP0OAsTs ). The message and purpose of this piece is clear and it is effective. It strikes me as banal to harp on whether Yohat society would be sustainable.
One thing that nags me about this is the lack of perspective in the write up. Who is writing this, if it is a GM writing for other GMs you should share with us some of you thought processes. You chose a society that was small and isolated why? If the write up is done from the game world perspective you should drop the comparison's to the olympics and other Earth bound facts. If you are going to take third person perspective, than you should make it a description of things and not series of statements. Example
"Yothats will never fight a battle inside a village. If they did, then all the tribes would gang together against the perpetrating tribe."
If they never done it, how do we know it will happen? We know it because you are the writer and you say it will happen. We may be able to intuit your meaning or extrapolate information about the society form these statements, but you have cut out of a lot of the process by just giving us statements. A statement is not something another writer or a GM could access as easily.
You could try something,
"Combat among Yohat's is dictated by strong mores and taboos. Combat never occurs within the villages or one worked land. Yohats that have suggested a course of action that could cause collateral damage or disrupt day to day life have been quickly corrected or shunned."
In this way your discussion become more about values that result in the behavior and not the behavior itself. By describing the values or the pieces that help build the conclusion you have reached, I believe, gives the reader more to work with
Because I don't feel like making two replies to both echo's and scras's comments, I'll just do it here.
First, echo: I originally wrote this as a piece about a society that raises humans for milk like we do cows. Everything else I added with little thought towards to whole. So, yes, they pr obably wouldn't have bankers and such, and just farmers and basic craftsmen. Just the jobs that self-sufficiency requires. As for the breeding out intelligence, what I meant by that was more breeding out free-will. The Yothats did not develop with smart humans. The smart humans came across the geographical boundaries to meet them. At that point, culture and might just added the new humans to the flock. They have never witnessed a human culture, or society, and it never occurred to them that humans could create such a thing. And for war, the Yothats are big, strong, and organized. Think giants with military training. Assuming that a tribe of 50 would have 25 males, and thus 25 soldiers, they could fend off quite a lot. It would probably take upwards of 5 soldiers of mid level to one down. 25 soldiers could defeat an army of 125 mid level soldiers, or (probably) 200 low levels. And if the humans defeated two or three solitary tribes, then they might call a war meeting, or discuss it at the next Culmination, and send all the soldiers to crush the pests
Scras: The Yothats do not need milk. They only need to eat once a week, and they have Freats and large mammals to do the job. Instead, milk is a luxury. Yothats love the taste of it, which is why they raise humans. They drink it. Go to Comment
The ancient Empire of the Golden Crystal fell so long ago that little is known of them besides their legendary magical power. Supposedly, in the Golden Age of the Crystal Empire, cities were filled with enchantment, spells far beyong the ability of modern magi.
A tomb robber has returned to civilization with something never seen before: Ceramic vials of reddish dust that supposedly enhance a magician's power tremendously when the dust is sprinkled upon the floor of his workroom. The rogue selling the vials claims that they were recovered from a ruin of the Crystal Empire, but can he be believed?