Monday, July 28, 2014

A fun look at Aspects: Creator

My first of a seven-part series in which I'll talk about how I see each aspect and some design philosophy behind them!

Remember that most Heroes also don't display only one aspect. A Hero is usually a good blend of a couple/several. Someone with only one Aspect would be like Q from James Bond, Yoda from original star wars, or The Mountain from Game of Thrones. They definitely are still characters, but they aren't "the Hero" and one of the reasons for that is that characters with minimal skillsets are less interesting over long periods of time. They're definitely not uninteresting, per se, but hard to follow and write for for long periods of time. For this series though, when I look at pop culture figures, I'll be highlighting characters who are exemplary at their Aspect, whether or not they are successful at other Aspects as well. Also, remember that I'm not as eloquent as my better half... by like leaps and bounds.

Without further ado, and by popular demand, I'll be starting with Creator.

(I'm gonna use "he" here cause I need a pronoun and it has less letters. I'll rotate my pronoun use for the Aspects and I sincerely hope that people of all genders find each Aspect fun and enjoyable.)

The Creator is the pinnacle of turning imagination into reality. Where there wasn't something, there is now something. Everyone has an imagination, but the creator has the unique ability to manifest his imagination into reality. Through the use of Art - this is technology or artwork - real physical representations of the creative process are worked on and toiled over and brought to life. Through Vision, it is more akin to illusion - quick bursts of imagination brought to life for others to see/hear/touch, but fleeting. And through Energy comes the pure force of creation; through sheer will the Creator uses energy to bring to existence what wasn't there before.

The Creator is often a difficult type of character for people to conceptualize. It's difficult to play someone who is constantly creating new things. And on the design side, its tough to balance all possibilities, but also poor design to leave that up to each individual GM. In the past, depending on the game, the GM and the player, a Creator type could run the gamut from completely useless to almost a god amongst his other comrades.

To most peopl,e the line between the smart guy and the Creator guy is very small and often blurred. However, mythologically, this definitely isn't the case, and we needed to find as many ways as possible to knock home that distinction while writing the Creator and his powers.

We gave Creator more specific things they can do. We love the idea of build/create anything, and we think that's incredibly important for the character. But mechanically, the outcomes are very fixed. You can forge your friend the perfect weapon to fight with, but we aren't going to quibble over how many successes makes a good sword vs a great sword. If you are a Creator and want to forge a sword, as long as you can achieve the rolls you can make a sword. However, if you use particular Blessings, that sword can mimic great weapons of myth. They can attach to the myth of the person you bestow it upon or they can be important parts in the framework of this particular story. The Creator is able to make the things they want, but the true power, the changes to the Saga that the Creator can make, come from his Blessings.

Through Energy, the Creator has healing, so off the bat, I don't think he'll ever be useless anymore no matter the player or GM. We also split Vision up a bit so that those Creators who want to come up with some cool uses for their illusions still have them, but we also have some concrete, direct-effect illusions that require no pre-planning (Aurora uses one in upcoming combat video). We also made sure that the Creator has some integral Blessings that really shape the Saga. Sometimes there are definitely problems that seem like they have no possible solution, but a Creator can find a way.

We made a full divorce between intelligence and creation. You can definitely still be a Creator/Sage, but you don't have to be. Just like no part of creating humanity required intelligence for Ra, no part of a Hero creating a biodiesel-powered rocket requires massive intellect. When we get to the Sage, we'll definitely see some stuff there that could help, but you'll find that being incredibly wise will seem to help with everything. As an aside, my mechanic is amazing and able to do things I couldn't attempt in a million years, but he did not do well in school. We all think of rocket scientists as needing doctorates from MIT (and in the real world, I guess I hope they do), but mythically, it's not a thing we want to worry about.

I am always loath to release powers before I'm completely certain I love everything about them and they're completely balanced with everything else. And since Creator hasn't gotten its final pass, some of the wording and balancing of stuff may be off. But that's on me, and I promised. So here are a couple I'm fairly confident about.

Fleeting Whisper
Labor: Episode
Roll: Vision
Speed: Dedicated
A Hero with this Blessing may conjure up sounds where none truly exist, blurring the line between what those around them truly hear and what they only pluck unwitting from the Hero's mind. When the Hero uses this Blessing, they may create a single sound or noise; it can be anything they can think of, from a singing voice to the sound of running feet to the blare of an air horn, but it is only a phantom impression of a sound and therefore cannot actually cause vibrations that damage objects or physically injure those who hear it, even if it seems loud enough to do so. The phantom noise lasts for a number of minutes equal to the Hero's successes and affects anyone in the area who cannot overcome the Hero's roll with their own Enlightenment, after which point it ceases.

Labor: Chapter
Roll: Energy
Action: Dedicated
No matter how grievously wounded the victim, a Hero with this Blessing may attempt to knit them back together. By physically touching an injured being and using this Blessing, the Hero may heal them of an amount of damage up to their successes on the roll; they may choose to heal any combination of their target's fatigue or lethal boxes that they wish.

As I had said earlier, finding Creator characters in pop culture can sometimes be difficult. But sometimes you remember that your favorite character is a Creator. My goal was to show a stratum of intelligence levels amongst them.

Morpheus: Sandman
Phoenix: X-men
Neo: The Matrix trilogy
Kaylee: Firefly
Dr. Frankenstein: Frankenstein
Iron Man: Marvel comics

I'm often very inspired by film/TV. There's a lot of bad, but sometimes there are some amazing moments. I also tried to do a scan of Creators in film/tv to find awesome moments where they are truly the star of the show. Here are a few of my favorites for Creator.

Neo realizing that he can control matter with his mind:

Tesla being a badass (in Italian, but its the best version I could find... o man, I think it's Ttalian...):

Kaylee explaining engineering. It's not the best, but I spent hours and eventually had to ask for Anne's help. It is incredibly hard to find female Creators in film and then EVEN harder to find YouTube videos of it. If anyone is able to find some, please send them our way.

B'Elanna Torres, chief engineer on Star Trek: Voyager, being a space engineering badass.

And some comedy relief, cause I'm exhausted from watching so many videos today. I need to keep a running list when I work so I dont have to try to find them all again.

Thank you, everyone. I hope this was insightful/helpful, and I'll be writing more in the coming weeks. We have a thread on the forum where you can vote for what's next. So far, Hunter is winning.