Monday, February 13, 2012

Birthsigns

In The Elderscrolls: Morrowind, a computer rpg, characters are born under a particular sign.  Like the real life Zodiac.  But, based on in game lore and mechanics.  I've long thought this was a pretty cool idea to implement in my campaigns.



I'm fairly obsessed with "The Sword".  They have a song "Mother, Maiden, Cone" which inspired me to include a trio of "witches" in my games.  If the trio can be found, characters can gaze into their pool and have their birth sign revealed.  i.e roll d4 and consult the following table [I use five color based "alignment" and some of the effects might not make whole lot of sense unless you're using my house rules.]:


Red 
  Brute STR raised to 18.
  Beast Increased weapon / spell Damage Die size.
  Warrior +2 Attack Bonus.
  Wall of Fire  2x fire spell damage or immolate weapon for +d4 fire.

Green
  Fairy Immune fairy magic. Fey invisibility.
  Yggridsil Natural, slow (1hp/turn) regeneration.  Sense Ley Lines.
  Beastform Lycanthrope.
  Egg of Life Automatically reincarnate after death.

Blue
  Sage INT raised to 18. Gain sagely knowledge on d6 topics.
  River Reroll(best) saves.  Will never drown, wakes up on shore instead.
  Zephyr Wind walk.
  Ship of Stars +d6x Ancient genes per failed tech use. Find more tech.

White
  Tower  +1 Armor Category. Reroll(best) Death & Dismemberment.
  Temple Immune to all level/stat drains, diseases, poisons, and mental afflictions
  Warden May transfer hitpoints to another, at will.
  Champion CHA raised to 18.  Gain followers.

Black
  Cloak Magically undetectable. Unlikely to be target of attacks.
  Death Your victims go straight to demons who then "owe" you.
  Leech When alive and < max hitpoints drain 1hp/rnd from each creature with in 10'r.
  Master CHA raised to 18.  Gain subjects.

4 comments:

  1. I quite like the idea, as well, and would enjoy employing a similar notion in my own games. Having an astrological system existing in the game-world sounds to me like one more way in which the DM can convey details about his setting to the players that they'll actually care about (because choosing a star-sign means getting a bonus). And then, of course, you can throw in all of that prophetic stuff concerning the PCs' destiny/fate, etc.

    Something interesting that your post suggests is the notion that the PCs don't get the benefits of their star-signs until they learn what their star-signs are. Was that intentional? It reminded me of the whole notion of "knowledge is power" and "know thyself" bundled up with the power of True Names and mystic stuff like that...

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Devin

    Yep, birthsigns is something you discover. My games tend to have lots of new players, one time players, etc. So, I try to limit char gen to 10 min or less, and push background, history, things like birthsigns into actual game play. A favorite quote

    "A character’s background is what happens between levels 1-3"

    -- G. Gygax.

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  3. I did a similar thing in my 4e game, though it was at character creation, not a quest. I had made up constellations for each of the major deities, and their portfolio invested some power into the character. Since the rolls were random, we got some fun combinations.
    Rogue: "Why is the paladin marked by Vecna?"
    Paladin: "It's a secret."

    ReplyDelete
  4. You may want to look into the old game Chivalry and Sorcery, which went into great detail at the start of character creation on using the signs of the Zodiac's effects on your starting character.

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