Monday, June 30, 2014

Domains in Hero's Journey: Powers of the Skies

All right, so we've gone through all the Aspects and Talents and talked about what they do, and we've done a quick surface run-through of the Domains and their attendant Spheres, but we haven't gotten in-depth with what those individual Spheres do. Since these are the magical powers that your Heroes will be wielding to shape the world, we figure it'd be nice to know what you can do with them, right?

Today we're going to start with the Celestial Domain, which contains the Heavens, Lunar and Solar Spheres. Celestial deities are traditionally concerned with the workings of the heavens and the powers that reside far above and beyond the world of humanity; they are associated with the skies and the faraway heavenly bodies contained within them, the phenomena of day and night or light and darkness, the powers that move the calendar and predict the future via astrology. The abodes of the gods themselves are often celestial in nature, and in many cultures the gods live in the heavens, among the stars, or otherwise in realms that are beyond the reach of mere mortal understanding.

The powers of the Heavens Sphere are concerned with the sky itself, in all the myriad forms that it was revered and regarded in various ancient religions. Its powers control the air and wind, ephemeral elements that belong to the world above humanity and cannot be truly controlled by them, as well as the clouds that drift through the sky and form its landscape. Many mythologies consider the sky to be a literal place or actual solid vault or construction that looms above humanity, so the Heavens Sphere also grants Heroes and gods the ability to interact with the sky itself in similar fashion to the ancient deities who built and maintained it. Heroes can be assured of being able to affect not only the sky but those things - birds, planes, missiles and so on - that pass through its domain and therefore become susceptible to its laws.

The powers of the Lunar Sphere instead have to do with the moon, and all the concepts that in mythology are part and parcel of it. The moon's greatest mythological function for most cultures is to be the comfort of humanity in the darkness; it is the light in the otherwise impenetrable night, and as a result those who wield powers from the Lunar Sphere may be able to pierce darkness and bring comfort and serenity to those around them. The moon also traditionally exerts its power over the world below it with the pull of the tides, its effect on the human body (particularly the female body that follows its rhythyms and the mind susceptible to its influence) and the turning of its phases, around which the first early calendars were constructed, so Heroes can look forward to using it to affect the flow of the world and the people in it in quintessentially lunar fashion.

The powers of the Solar Sphere, finally, are concerned with the sun, and in a broader sense with the day itself in all its bright and active glory. There are certainly a lot of powers that have to do with shedding light, illuminating darkness and destroying the ability for shadows to obscure or darken, but those are not the only things the sun was associated with in myth; it, too, has calendrical functions, and equally as important as the light it sheds to allow humanity to function and thrive during the day is the warmth it provides that allows crops to grow and mortals to flourish under its benevolent eye. In addition to these important concepts, Heroes are also able to tap into the sun's ability to overheat and burn those who are overexposed to it, and to draw upon its powers to find things that are hidden or that have no business under the clean light of day.

Now, these are not the only Spheres that the Celestial Domain will ever contain - we have more in mind for future expansion once the core rules are out, and we're sure you can think of a couple, too. The Spheres are potential paths of powers within the Domains, so while you have plenty of room to try different Spheres when you invest in a Domain, they aren't dependent on one another and there will be room to add to them later. For now, however, these are the three that are most widespread and mythically resonant across the world's mythologies, so they're the ones that we felt Heroes needed to be able to call upon from the first day they set out on their adventures.

We'll talk about the individual Spheres in the other Domains in coming posts, so check back in! In the meantime, feel free to hit the forums and talk about what kinds of Celestial Spheres you'd like to see in future game expansions - the sky is, literally, the limit.