The Nine Coyns are items of destiny. They are not magic items to throw into a campaign. These items define the campaign. If these items are “in play”, it means a great conflict must be resolved, with the key players being empowered by The Coyns.
Full Item Descriptions
The Nine Coyns appear to be items of some antiquity and artistry. They are made of an electrum (1*), so they have an exotic look. Each will have a color to its patina, (reddish, yellowish, bluish, etc) They are about an inch across (3cms) and a bit thicker than most coins(2*) from a ancient legendary time. They will have a stylized but beautiful engraving of totem animals(3*). They feel of power when touched. For everyone, a coyn feels warmer to the touch than it actually is. (Paradoxically, it does not give off a greater heat signature when viewed with IR or thermoscopic vision). To those with a destiny, The Coyns have the warmth, plus a feeling of greater weight (the burden of destiny- feeling heavier than it actually is when weighted) and an almost electric feel, like a tiny current passes through them. They do not “detect” as normal power. They are not a mere magical item, nor are they clerical (so no detect Good or Evil). These tools are of cosmic energies and forces.
a. an amber-colored alloy of gold and silver used in ancient times.
b. an alloy composed of about 50 percent copper, 30 percent nickel, and 20 percent zinc.
Either way, the metal is extremely shiny, with an amber look and a polychromic patina.
*2 As appropriate for the world, they could be tals, or coins with holes, or octagonal.
*3 The engravings can be elemental force or symbolic forces Fantastic elemental forces, if that fits your campaign. I have used elemental like the Baggu once and animals another.
The origin of the First Coyns has miraculously not been lost of the sea of time. However, the story begins far away, in another aspect of the ‘verse and does not impact “our story”.
On the Sphere called Tallus, the great polar forces of Quann and Thasak kept on an ongoing skirmish. Champions (Heroes and Villains) most great would rise from time to time to take their time on the stage of the world. The repeated conflicts nearly destroyed Tallus time and time again. To end the Endless Conflict before it destroyed his world, the Great Tymor Wizard-Scholar Thorask’ll (and his partner Kon’nelba) create The Tool of Resolution, the Item of Final Destiny. The Coyn focused destiny, creating great power to resolve The Great Conflict.
To quote the Wizard-Scholar Shenek’ll, his biographer, “...bleeding the karmic ties of great events, pulling their power flows to the focal nexus, to drain conflict future and past, but generating conflict present.”.
However, destiny is not a thing to be controlled by mortals.
His partner stole the great tool in a frenzy of greed and grief. He knew better than his friend, who was all about abstract theories and vague generalities, about how to save the Sphere. He sought to make the world over in his own image, where no one would die (thus creating undead in various forms in an attempt to full reanimate people). The wrath of Kon’nelba was great, he wrecked great destruction to establish his new order. In desperation, Thorask’ll attempted to create another “great tool”. However, his new forged coyn shattered into seven other lesser coyns. Kon’nelba became the first Black Coyn Bearer, while Thorask’ll became the White Coyn Master. An odd assortment of people began to wield the other coyns. While things seemed bleak, The first Grey Master appeared bearing gifts, many items from previous Great Conflicts. After a few short years, the conflicted ended and the world was safe. The Grey Master collected the Coyns in a simple wooden box, taking them and the dangerous toys he had created, and hiding them away only to be found in another time of need.
On Tallus, the Great Conflict was no more.
These items have “the weight of destiny” associated with them. They, like any great item or person, cast shadows across spheres of the ‘Verse. These “echos” are similarities in the patterns of the Tapestry of Existence. On worlds where polar forces (Life vs Death, Freedom vs Slavery, Good vs Evil, Chaos vs Order, Quann vs Thasak) conflict in their own Eternal Conflicts, a box of Coyns appear. Sometimes they are made, other times they are gifted from a traveller from far away, and in times mysterious - the box and coyns just appears. The Coyns find their way to the important players in a key conflict. The One Great Conflict occurs and ends, making The Sphere safe from the “Great Games” of cosmic forces.
In the Spheres of the Tallus Realm Cluster, these coyns ended the great karmic conflicts. No great conflict has occurred since, being finally played out.
In nearly every Sphere thought the ‘Verse, cosmic forces clash. In those with conflict most potent, Coyns appear at dramatically appropriate times. However, as the Coyns’ shadows spread across the Realm Clusters, they thinned. In some spheres, especially those with lesser parts to play in cosmic interplay of forces, they still resolve the conflict. In others, especially spheres with the risk of Doom in their Great Conflict, they bleed the conflict down, creating several notable great conflicts, insisted of one “Sphere Destroying Great Conflict”. The Coyns help weave the pattern of Existence, ensuring the safety of the ‘Verse and the Spheres.
On The Sphere of your Drama (Game), you will need to define a few things.
0) What is your conflict? This determines the goals of the campaign, as well as the available special effects.
1) How did the Coyns come to be? Make, Found, Gift from? This determines how The Coyns can come into the hands of barers and the basic history.
2) How long ago did they arrive? Sometimes they arrive as a traveller from another realm walks into a room and gives them to you. Sometimes they are lost to time, as they came to the world long long ago. Determines how much history they should have.
3) Has there been a Great Conflict in the past? If so, what were the results? (Atlantis blew up, but the world was saved.)
4) Where are they in the history of the world? Do people know about the Coyn Bearers, or they just “the champions of the past?” or was it a “secret war”. Are they part of history or myth? If people know about them about them, they usually won’t know about the coyns themselves.
My Notes I
: The two times I have used The Coyns have been Martial Arts oriented games, both modern (though one was a time travel game). One had a set of college students. The other was a group of actors and movie crew. Both had a Great Conflict in the Atlantean Era. Thus only scholars with obscure knowledge and legends skills (a requisite normally), will know anything about them. The Black Coyn is found by someone unscrupulous and powerful (note: it is never a good sign when some rich selfish person is directing an archeological dig). They, of course, use the power to achieve their personal goals and eventually try to “take over the world”. Soon after, the other Coyns are found by those that will resist it. As they conflict grows, their coyns lead them to caches of Atlantean technology and items empowered by the Coyns, left to them by the Grey Scribe of Atlantis (the Grey Coyn wielder for the world - who is in Stasis in one of these caches).
I have done the ground work for running this campaign two other times. One was a total fantasy world with Fey and such. The other was a world of floating islands, flying ships, and dragons. While those would of been great games, the campaigns never took off for various reasons.
Side note: I usually have the PCs running big players on the “antagonist” side, as well as the expect protagonist role. That way there is always deep and powerful intrigue going on the Evil Side. (The Evil Intrigue usually is responsible for the evil plans being so easy to thwart.)
There are Nine Coyns. Each one has a purpose in the tapestry of destiny. To that end, it grants the user “abilities” to meet that destiny. While most find them in possessions of powers and skills, it will also grant insights and enhance personality traits as well.
A Coyn has its own identity reflected by its color: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, White, Grey, and Black. Each coyn has its own emphasis, destiny hook, and specialize “toys”. See the scroll for listing.
Game Note: The destiny hook usually is either a required emphasis OR required flaws/ disadvantage to be the wielder of that coyn. Three of the Coyns are destined for NPCs only. As for the toys, those are items from the Grey Coyn wielder that are empowered by The Coyns. As each character should has its own shtick, these items will be similar but different.
You are The One…
In some ways, the Coyns are cursed. Once one falls into your possession, the “weight of destiny” is upon your shoulders. You are the chosen one (or the chosen barer until the real chosen one arises- a handy caveat in case someone dies early). Thus “Small World Syndrome” keeps occurring, as people you directly know are involved in these world shattering events. (Or if the players are really dense, directly to them). Eventually the Coyn Barers come to terms and deal with the issue.
Possession is 9/10ths…
Except for the various destiny related powers, a barer must possess their coyn to utilize its empowered abilities. Some keep their coyn in their pockets or just about their person. Wisers barers incorporate them into bracelets, belt buckles, necklaces, or headpieces. One insane soul has heated it to an extreme and embedded it in their chest’s flesh. The Coyn must be “Activated” some way, usually with an act of will or an mystic phrase.
All The Coyns grant their barers some “basic abilities”, powers and abilities that every coyn barer will have. These can be modified to your personal tastes and the campaign themes, but some of the common possibilities are:
*Attribute Boost: This power grants pluses to each stat, allowing the barer appropriate bonuses. It can also shift your “Scale”. (To use Burning Wheel, they become Grey boxes) or that they has new baselines (usually quite impressive) that are far above the norm (so an 11 stat on a new scale might be so impressively powers in comparison to a normal 18). These also include a “transformation” into a more empowered form.
*Equipment Call: The character can call forth their equipment from a connivent null space in an action. Thus a character can go from “street clothes” to a fully armored warrior with magic sword in an action. And they can be “sent back”.
*Equipment Empowerment: They can utilize their power to enhance items. A Barer with “Sword Abilities” will grant a “magic weapon” status (with bonuses based on the barer’s power level) to any sword they choose to empower. One of my people was the “master rider”. He could stat boost and enhance any mount he rode. He also managed to do it with his motorcycle eventually.
Note: Certain items produced by a Grey Coyn Barer will be made to be “empowered”. So every barer might have an “enhanced” weapon.
*Skill Level Mastery: These are not just a bump to certain skills (Combative or Athletic or Riding/Driving skills). This effect grants a certain level of competence. If the character has a lower level of skill, they have that level. If the character has a higher level of skill, they have that higher level.
*Transformation: Related to Attribute Bonus, Equipment Call, and various masteries, The Coyn Barer might physically change into another form. This is great for hiding your identity and protecting your loved ones. Usually there is a ritual associated with it using the coyn.
*Toys: Grey Coyn bearers in ages past (or in the current age) make things for Coyn Barers. That is their power and their destiny. What they make is based on the theme and look of the campaign. Most commonly these are weapons (swords and other things), shields, armor, enhanced armor (that augments the person’s abilities more so), dragons tamed (Clockwork dragons with the spirits of the real things to ride), other vehicles (Sky ships, skimmers, etc) My PCs have a thing for motorcycles, so there were enhanced hover cycles in an Atlantean Cache., hover disks (flying shields), animal companions, titan, and other a host of other things. Most of these items are empowered by the Coyns. Many will not work without a coyn barer using them. Combine this with the Equipment Call and Transformation, and you can give crunchy bits to your barers.
Flavor to choice
Some less general, but abilities I have used.
*Flight: Always a handy power. Teleport could be another handy movement ability.
*Elemental magics: If your coyns have elemental associations, they could produce elemental powers. Bolts of fire, walls of earth, blowing winds, or healing waters, what ever is appropriate for the elemental association. (Gurps have great colleges of elemental magics).
*Animals Abilities: If your coyns have animal associations, they could produce animal like abilities. These would be enhanced movement, senses, and physical traits like claws. These usually only work in relations with a transformation. )
*Elemental or animal transformation: The coyn barer transforms into an elemental being OR an actual animal
*Invisibility: Another handy power.
*Communication: Ability to converse telepathically with other Coyn Barers over almost any distance.
*Gateway: Ability to open portals to other realms. Most of these portals are pre-made by someone or thing.
While the Coyns seem quite powerful, they have limits. The most noted and most limiting factor for the Coyns (except the Black Coyn and possibly the Green Coyn), is called by some “Power of Engagement”. A Coyn Barer can only activate and wield their powers a limited number of times a day. The duration of this “charge” is for one “scene” or long dramatic moment (15 minutes to one hour or longer if the GM sees fit) Each barer starts out with one. This number grows as the character becomes more experienced as a barer (either one additional time per 2 levels, or 15% of barer skill, or skill dot, or three hero point perk). This bucket of charges becomes renewed when coyn barers come into conflict with others coyn barers. So if a new coyn barer utilizes their powers to “save someone” or “some personal act”, they can not utilize their powers until again until the next day or they are confronted by an antagonistic coyn barer (or created agent of the Black Coyn). One character figured out his uncle was a minion of the Black Coyn Barer when his power renewed after arguing with him. By the time a Coyns based campaign comes towards its big climax, most barers can utilize their powers outside the conflict for much of the day.
Remember, their “charge” is constantly renewed when in conflict with the opposition. So if the “conflict” is a running battle that lasts most of the day, their abilities remain fully charged (though the barers might be fatigued or injured).
For the Scrolls
The Scroll discusses each Coyn and its flavor.
Additional Ideas (9)
The Black Coyn Wielder is the Eternal Antagonist. The Black Coyn is the active coyn, the one on attack, the agent of change, usually aligned with the force that "people" find less desirable. The Black Coyn wielder is the center of his/ her/its power, with others in orbit around it.
This is the original coyn and the most powerful. It became the Black with the creation of the opposing White Coyn. It has no limited of enagement, the wielder can utilize its powers all the time. And what powers it has. It allows the wielder "Great Power" - the abilities strong enough to keep three to five coyn barers busy in combat at one time - it has the ability to grant. Its greatest power is the ability to "grant" or lend powers to those allied with the Coyn Wielder. Thus a number highly powered minion can be created (usually one for each White Sided Coyn in Play). These can be minions of a power equal or greater than a Coyn Barer. Periodically they can create a powerful monster or temporary creature to engage a number of wielders. Once those things are vanquished their power returns to the Coyn Barer to be "reused". They also can make a number of minor monstrous minions (mooks) to do the lesser dirty work.
Its powers seem to be balanced by the White Side Pieces. Thus the "Swing Coyns (Purple and Green) become important to it.
Note: Always an NPC Coyn.
The White Coyn Wielder is the Eternal Protagonist, opposing the Black Coyn's machinations. The White Coyn is a leader, guiding people to oppose the Black side's forces AND to support change towards its force. The Coyn Wielder is the guide and organizer for all the other Coyn Wielders, advising and occasionally leading its side.
The White Coyn Wielder becomes the Keeper of The Box for a time, usually just for a time including just before the Great Conflict. The White Coyn wielder does not gain most of the more "tactical" powers that most Coyn barers receive. However, they gain the ability to "see", (spotting danger in the future and sometimes seeing other places), and longevity (as sometimes healing of self and others). This helps them find and guide those Coyn Barers on their side. Widsom is supposed to be a gift that is gifted by the Coyn, but that becomes harder to "grant".
The White Coyn Wielder promotes its force's side in the conflict by eliminating the opposition drawn to the other side.
Note: Most often an NPC position.
The Three, Red, Yellow, and Blue, are always on the White Coyn's side. The Red Coyn's emphasis is Strength and Drive (emotional strength). They are tough, capable, and driven (to succeed usually). The world is often "black and white" to them. This can make them seem one dimensional, but they would never let anyone see them doubt themselves, as that shows weakness to their mind. They are normally the best warriors of the White Side.
The Three, Red, Yellow, and Blue, are always on the White Coyn's side. The Yellow Coyn's emphasis is Wit and Speed. Yellow Coyn Barers tend to be witty, friendly, social, and the life of the party. As warriors, they emphasize speed and tricks over stand up fighting. They will tend towards the impulsive, until they mature some. If someone will have a movement related basic ability, it will be the Yellow Coyn Barer.
The Three, Red, Yellow, and Blue, are always on the White Coyn's side. The Blue Coyn's emphasis is Mind and Skills. While a competent and highly skilled warrior, the Blue Barer is always cerebral on some level, either wise or educated or street smart. They tend to have dozens of useful non combat related skills and abilities. They are the opposite of impulse, sometimes too calm and too analytical for their own good. The Blue Warrior is often the one helping the White Barer in the background, doing non combat orriented things in their "off hours".
If there is a square peg among the round holes of the White Side, the Orange Coyn Barer is it. The Barer is the anti-social member or the one that is very different than the rest (perhaps having a different chivalric or moral code) or a reluctant member of the White Side. The Orange Barer can cause dissent among the White side barers. They may even sympathize with the Black Coyn Barer. However, he will never defect. He is dedicated to the forces behind the White Coyn in his/her/its own way.
This Coyn is not always "in play". Sometimes it will be in the hands of the Black Coyn Wielder who is holding it to prevent another warrior for the White Side. Sometimes, the White Coyn Wielder will not bring it "out of the box" or there may not be a person who can accept its destiny. It all depends on the number of players you have
This Coyn is often lost from the Box, floating about the world. When the Black or White Coyn becomes active, the Coyn will be found by a barer. This wielder is something of a wild card in the beginning as it could go to either side. While they might be an ally for a time of one side, when they finally commit to a side, it will be for life. Thus this Coyn is on either side.
Frequently this has ended up in the hands of the "significant other" or "main minion" of the Dark Coyn Barer. Even though they might of changed side, they would never betray their previous ally.
Note: The Purple Coyn is not always "in play". It may be an "NPC" coyn or not active at all, depending on the number of players.
The life of a Green Coyn Barer is an odd one. It is not as powerful as the Black Coyn or White Coyn, as it can not split its powers or lead, it is the most powerful lesser coyn. It grants abilities equal to three coyns, or makes the wielder tough enough to take on (and usually win) against three Coyn Wielders. The wielder will also have items that only it can use, created long ago by a lost Grey Coyn Barer. While they can seem to be an indepent power, things never stay that way.
Though filled with power, their life is complicated by tangled destiny. The Coyn Wielder is always either betrayed or controlled (and in some cases both). The Coyn wielder can start as an independent power, or as a minion of the Black or White Coyn side, or as a late joiner to any group. However things will happen. Some tragedy (usually a betrayal) or freedom from control (breaking mind control or getting out from under the blackmail) will cause them to change sides. Usually they will join the side that is apparent losing the struggle, only to help them become victorious. Nothing will ever come easy to the Green Coyn Wielder (except power), as their life is a tortured one.
This is the Coyn given to the best roleplayer in the crew, as they tend to like "tragic heroes". While I see this character as a pawn or minion of Evil, only to be turned to good after being betrayed by Evil or freed from its control, one of my campaigns had the Green and Purple Coyn barers be a couple. They started as a third power, then allied themselves with the Black Coyn wielder, only to break up with Purple going to Black and Green to the White. A couple of battles and scenarios passed. It came to a climactic moment, in a thunderstorm, on top of a running train, the two confronted each other. After professing their undying love to each other, but bound by their ideals and loyalties, the Green Coyn Barer had to kill his Purple lover to "save the world".
The Grey Coyn is the maintainer of Coyns and their Powers. It is the only coyn that may be active at anytime, before, during, or after an Eternal Battle. The Grey Coyn Wielder becomes a builder, able to design and eventually build items of power. These items are inspired by the Coyn and become the "toys" of future Coyn Barers. The Coyn Barer just begins to understand "cosmic technologies" that allow them to make items of incredible power and complexity. The things that are built are normally hidden away in secret caches or given to near immortal White Coyn Wielders for future users. They know that eventually a worthy being will find the item they are destined for.
during the conflict, the Coyn Barer will attach themselves to either of the Primary Coyns, providing that side items, minions, and assistance. The
At the end of a conflict, the Grey Coyn Barer will often scoop the box up with all The Coyns, holding them until destiny spreads them to the world again.
The Grey Coyn Barer must always be an NPC, as it is not an interesting position.