Monday, March 30, 2015

World-Building *Sigh*

The Epic Dark Apocalyptic Fantasy game I'm in is just super awesome. Not only do we have the main plot going on but we have side adventures with side characters as well. I really like that concept because worlds exist outside our main characters. The world does not exist for the characters. It is frequently the opposite. The stories I love the most and the characters I love the most are those in which we have a world that exists outside the main character. And the characters that come into the story? Are not just for the main character. They have their own goals and ambitions that just happen to cross the path of the lead. To me, that is fantastic storytelling.

And kudos to my GM who managed to run a side session from one of my characters in which his story was inward. He had to figure some things out about himself to conquer his inner demons (which also happened to be an outer demon-ish). So on the scale of things, that is quite small.

Yep. This.

Then this passed Sunday, we played pretty much a rebels. We were all barbarians of the north (not our class but just our... nature I guess?) and we gathered around another PC, a badass named Anneira in her quest to take over the north. She was the general of this rebellion and it was on such a larger scale than my character's little inward journey. We had armies. We negotiated for more armies. We looted an artifact. We became soul bound. And we almost defeated the big bad!
I kinda picture it like this. Although I see Anneira being like, "Why do I have to change outfits to become stronger?"

What was kind of awesome was we played three female humans and a dwarf. I kind of wish that was a thing. My character was a pyromancer who worshiped the sun named Sunniva, nicknamed Sunny. I kinda based her after Kimmy Schmidt ...

Her story in a nutshell

Anyways, I just felt amazed at those two side sessions. Such good storytelling all around.

I'm also excited that the one shots are going to be a thing but any of us can run a setting using any system. Looking at my BESM book which I hoped to use eventually to run an eventual Avatar: The Last Airbender game. Then I thought, why not? Why don't I tap into my strengths which is draw inspiration from anime, have it set in the land of the forest elves (which is this world's answer to Japan) and do something like a magic school. And the idea took off.

Kinda like Harry Potter and Ao no Exorcist tbh

I... just get absorbed into world building. I don't know why. I get a big thrill out of just creating something. I have to build. I have to create or else I am just not happy with myself. I know it is just a one shot but I just had so much fun writing up this little elven magic school.

Below is what I have so far. DON'T JUDGE ME! Also this is more of a second draft and things MAY change before then. I apologize in advance for horrible Japanese. I'm no good at making up languages so I will just make babble of existing ones.


The Elves called it Uminomori -- Sea of Trees in the common tongue -- although now it is more of a lake than a sea. And not a literal lake. It has its streams and ponds but is a vast forest which was--is-- a place of great magical power nestled in the southern corner of Osako forest. The elves used to say that it was a place that existed outside time and space in pockets which constantly moved, aided by a whimsical mist. These mists show visions of the past, present, and future. It took a skilled ranger or druid to walk through it once when it was an ocean but for an elf, it was simply a sacred place of power. They even say that Alethea discovered the link between the languages of the gods and magic here as she communed with nature.

The cataclysm destroyed most of the elven lands along with most of the Uminomori. That which wasn't destroyed completely or protected by magic was instead twisted from hallow ground to cursed. Uminomori exists as two separate forests -- the cursed, blighted part and the sacred, protected part. 
The ancient keepers of the sacred forest, the Aoki'miya clan, fought the blight and managed to save part of it. An ancient shrine honoring the forest contained the sacred seed, the First Seed, as a relic within its walls. It is said the relic is what keeps the blight at bay from completely destroying the forest and into Osako. The act of protecting the forest was said to decimate the once large clan -- the most prevalent of elven spell casters.

Since they lost so much in the cataclysm, the Aoki'miya opened up a magic school near the edge of Uminomori open to second and third elven children of Arisho in order to train protectors. They taught their pupils how to channel the positive energy of nature (particularly what was left of Uminomori) and the language Alethea developed to conduct magic. Those who mastered the art and chose to stay and keep watch over the shrine and the forest often took the name Aoki'miya.

The school soon developed over the years, adopting different types of magic. Students chose specialties and were tested and placed into classes that best suited their abilities. And the school grew to be a well-known center of learning which attracted outsiders (although very few are given the privilege to study).

Still, though the shrine is strong and the relic of the first seed is powerful, every 50 years, the ritual must be recast and the shrine rededicated to protect the Lake of Trees from becoming a dry bed filled with demons and prowlers. The ritual involves the destruction and rebuilding of the structure and the handing off of the seed from grandparents to grandchildren. Traditionally, it was the Aoki'miya (the skipped generation called the latent generation) who did this but with the shrinking of the family and the development of the school, the brightest students from each house of the graduating class are chosen to be the new generation to lead the order of protectors.

You will play those students -- 18 year olds about to graduate, given the honor of a lifetime. You have to make sure the ceremony goes perfectly or else the forest dies or worse, you are expelled.

This Setting was inspired by the following media:
Harry Potter
Blue Exorcist
Spirited Away
Changeling: The Lost (Mostly the concept of the Hedge)
Final Fantasy X
Final Fantasy VII
Final Fantasy Type-0
Aoki'miya School of Magics is a Boarding School lying on the edge of Osako. It started as one single building in one massive oak tree. Now, it is a sprawling campus with many buildings -- both classrooms, training grounds, and dormitories.

Aoki'miya accepts anyone who applies who is a Forest Elf or a River Elf. They sometimes accept outsiders but students in this context must show magical promise. Students are accepted at the age of 11 and they all live together in the 1st -2nd Year Dorm which has a Yellow Roof. For the first year, they learn basic spells which continue for their second year in which they prepare for the end of the year exam. The exam will tell their magical strengths and based on the exam, the student can choose which house to focus on their magical specialty if they scored high enough.

From there, they retire their yellow hats and don the color of the other houses -- which matches the color of the roof. Some of the houses have sub-tracks which are indicated by a pin on their hat. Students are often called COLOR Cap to indicate they are a member of each house.
Even though each student has a focus to study for the next six years, they can take electives from other tracks.

Aoie (Green House)
House Head: Shizuka Aoki'miya
Green House is the oldest house on campus. At its heart, it encompasses much of what one considers as "Elf Magic" and is especially tied to the forest itself. As a result, the members of this house often embody tradition and take themselves and their heritage as elves very seriously. They know the forest best and least likely to fall victim to its tricks. Some see them as aloof and some see them as stuck up but mostly the Green House understand that in today's world, nature must be preserved at all costs.
Aoie has two academic tracks -- flora empathy (indicated by the flower pin) and animal empathy (indicated by the foxhead pin).

The House Head Shizuka is the daughter of the headmistress, Masami Aoki'miya. She is a lady through and through, often compared to a willow as she will bend but never break.
Crunch Rules:
+2 to resisting Magic Intoxication of the Forest
- Plant Control Attribute
- Companion (Animal)
- Divine Relationship (optional; relationship with the forest)

Shiroie (White House)
House Head: Yuri (Kurokita) Aoki'miya
Although not quite as old as Green House, Shiroie is one of the "original three" added only five years after the Aoki'miya started the school. White House rituals used to be a close guarded secret but when it became clear the family could possibly be wiped out, they made the decision to share. Shiroie magic deals with healing, purification, and summoning. Because of the beneficial nature of the magic involved, White Caps get a reputation of being apple polishers and goody-two-shoes. Those drawn to this magical path tend to be white knights who want to improve the world one step at a time and follow the rules and seek to bring justice. It is no surprise second only to Red House, many White Caps join the Arishoan Hunters. And most end up going off as Shepherds. There are no subtracks for Shiroie and as a result, the house is pretty close and tight.

The house head, Yuri Aoki'miya, is the husband of the headmistress. He is extremely serious and strict. If anyone breaks the rules of his house, he will send them faster to Purple House than it takes a Renny to crow at the rising sun. He's not completely heartless and will give aid to those students who struggle... and ask for help.
Crunch Rules:
Detect Impurities. You can sense the impure closeby
- Healing
- Exorcism
- Companion (Ancestral Spirit)

Kuroie (Black House)
House Head: Takumi Hoshimi'yama
Introduced to the school the same time as Shiroie, Kuroie is the first house to introduce magic from another culture -- elvenized of course. Black Magic deals specifically with offensive magic, specifically still elemental magic. Those who do well and are drawn to the Kuroie, tend to be those who are quick and enjoy excitement and maybe blowing things up. Also, tattoos because often Black Caps will get runic tattoos of ink made up of ingredients in the forest to honor both the origin of elemental magic and its nature focus.

 Because of the nature of the magic studied in this house, Black House gets something of a reputation, some of it earned some of it not. For one, they tend to have a reputation for partying as hard as they study. The other is more dark. Probably because of its origins of a house on foreign magic, rumors have sprung up that they experiment with hexes similar to the witches of the deep. A couple students were expelled in recent years because they did just that. But clearly, one or two bad eggs doesn't define the whole house!

Kuroie has four tracks depending on the element. Everyone has a strong element that they will discover their first year in Black House. In their fourth year, they wear a color pin matching that element (Red for Fire, Blue for Water, Grey for Air, and Brown for Earth). Black caps can envoke other elements but they will not be as strong as their strong element and they may have difficulty controlling it.

Takumi Hoshimi'yama, the house head is a jovial sort of person. Some call him a fox in elf form especially since he is known for surprising his students with scenarios in which they have to use what they learned at some time unknown to them. He also has the back of all his students and his big rule is, "Don't get caught." His strong element is fire.

Crunch Rules:
+2 Resistence on Stong Element attacks.
- Dynamic Powers (Focus Element). Rank the other elements with a -1, -2, and -3.
- Companion (Elemental)

Akaie (Red House)
House Head: Yumi Makishima
One of the newer houses, Red House was created by a Shiroie alum who thought the Hunters could use some elemental fighters. Akaie is focused primarily on combining elemental magic with martial skills. Those who go down this path tend to be children of hunters who want to be a little different or more physically minded students. The house itself is that of strict discipline and run like a small military unit complete with early morning formations and PT schedules. When a student chooses this path, they choose a favored weapon and may learn a secondary element their fifth year. Like Kuroie, Red Cap's third year is spent figuring out their strong element. In their fourth year, they wear the corresponding pin. Also because of the elemental origin, some Red Caps get runic tattoos but most just have it written on their favored weapon instead.

Yumi Makishima is the house head of Akaie. She is a former hunter who decided to settle down. She is known for being especially fierce. Her weapon of choice is the bow and arrow but she is quite skilled with a rapier. Her favored element is ice/water.

Crunch Rules
Take a free level in Combat Mastery or Defense Combat Mastery

Daidaiie (Orange House)
House Head: Rin Shirakura
The newest house and the first to participate in the rededication ceremony, the Orange House came in to being about 15 years ago. It all began with Rin Shirakura, one of the bardic families, had a battle of the bards with the pathetic dwevlish Rhys Hayashi'kami and lost. He decided that instead, he would break from tradition of bards learning materials from their parents and train his own. He brought the idea to the Aoki'miya, spinning it that Music Magic is part of the elvish experience and was eventually allowed to create his own house.

Students who choose to go into the Orange House are those who always liked music but didn't learn the magic because they weren't born in the right families. Not only do students have to pass the initial exam but an additional try-out to get into this house. And once they get in, it is harder to stay in. Not only do they have to perform flawlessly, but there is so much lore to memorize. Many do not graduate and just end up in Purple House. Those who do make it to graduation have become a new type of bard -- Orange Caps. The traditional bards see them as mass produced nobodies.

Shirakura is a harsh teacher and has made more than one student cry. He is a perfectionist first and foremost.

Crunch Rules
+2 against charm effects and spells
- Dynamic Power (Music)

Murasakie (Purple House)
House Head: Yuzuyu Tsuzurahara
The fourth house added, Murasakie came into being out of necessity. After there was more than one type of magic being studied, there first came some volunteers who wanted to archive it and study theory. They weren't bards -- keeper of history of the Arishoans -- not really, anyway although they do intersect. They were people who studied magic theory and magic history. Usually, these were students who weren't all that talented at spellcasting. Eventually, the school decided to develop another house to train those who wanted to be magical scholars. Additionally, deciding that it counted as knowledge seeking, those in Shiroie who studied precognition and clairvoyance broke off and were placed in this house. The best way to describe the type of magic studied here is "knowledge magic".

The house has three separate tracks. One is precognition (pin of an eye) which has a combination of gifted individuals and those who are just really good at bullshitting. The second path is clairvoyance (shown by a crystal) in which those people study astral projection and scrying. The last are the loremasters (shown by a book pin) who study and write magical theory.

Murasakie has a reputation as being a dumping ground of the untalented failures. This is partially true due to students from other houses failing out and getting reassigned as Loremasters. Some students also witness "burnout" in that for some reason, their magic is blocked by either a curse or a disease or just from casting too large a spell than they can handle. These students become loremasters too. Also, those with the lowest test scores in their second year tend to be assigned here. Regardless, those who want to be a loremaster are loyal to their cause even if people are presumptuous about them.

House Head Yuzuyu Tsuzurahara is a talented seer who claims to commune with the forest when she has her visions. She is an old elf but appears to be all knowing, maybe a little bored every once in a while. She has a rather silly sense of humor, though.
Crunch Rules
Skills cost 1 less 
- Precognition
- Astral Projection
- Extra Skill Points
Magic System
I'll be honest, I am not wild about the magic system in BESM and I don't feel it matches with how magic works in the ITSOTA universe. It doesn't have enough of a downside and is not dangerous enough. Due to that, I'm throwing out the magic rules and applying my own. Same is true for how Energy Points work in the system as well.

Energy Points will be used in the way described below. I wanted to reflect the chaotic nature of magic.
When you cast a spell and it is successful, roll a d6. You minus that much from your energy points. If you roll a 6, you roll another 6 and add the results together. Roll three sixes in a row, you will become burned out (see below).
Additionally, if the GM feels what you're trying to do is extremely massive, an additional amount may be added.
EP can also be used to reroll by spending 5 EP. But you have to take your reroll, even if it is worse than the first one.
You can use EP to add onto damage but you must declare doing so before your roll. And you cannot add more than your magic attribute level!
I want to make magic have downsides so I am adding the following rules :

Uminomori is a powerful but dangerous place. The school is almost at the edge of this magical wood. It is a place of power, a place where planes blur and sometimes even time itself. It is where your focus comes from and where the shrine is built. In general, it is positive energy that flows through here but it can be too much of a good thing.

A subtle mist covers the forest floor and is heavier in some areas than others. The mist is magical energy. It can warp creatures into aberrations or it can bring to life inanimate objects if exposed to the mist long enough, and it can confuse travelers -- giving them the effect of feeling high. Aoie can usually fight off the intoxicating effects. But there are some who purposefully find thick patches of mist and get recreationally intoxicated. Sometimes people have a soul changing experience, others it can be a bad trip. Usually these students who are caught doing this are forbidden from the forest and kicked to Murasakie.

There is also a portion not too far from the shrine called the Scar and it is where the positive energy turns negative and the forest becomes blighted and cursed. The mist here takes on a reddish tint as it mixed more so with the miasma. Sometimes the red mist manages to float on in along with other creatures, like imps, to the uncursed portion of Uminomori.

This is why patrols happen frequently -- usually with one teacher, one Green Cap, and one other. The students are placed into the patrol rotation in their 6th year.

You need your focus. After a few months discussing magical theory, yellow caps are brought into the forest to choose their focus. It is something that is connected to the forest whether it is a stone, a stick, a vial of dirt, a flower, and create a trinket often carving the magical runes into them. Some make rings out of a gem stone, or a staff from a stick, a crown of flowers, some make ink for tattoos Focuses can only be given to maintain their power. Some students choose to use heirlooms instead of making their own. And two mages in love may exchange focuses. It is also tradition for 6th year Black Caps to choose tattoos and give their kid focus to an incoming 3rd year.

The only problem is you need your focus to cast properly. If you try to cast magic without your focus, either nothing happens or something happens out of control. Additionally, like the addictive nature of the forest, your focus falls into that. Think of it like Linus and his security blanket. If you do not have it in your direct vicinity for a long period of time, you will begin to feel a little sick and it gets worse.
Mechanically, every day without your focus, you roll Soul MINUS the level of your Focus. If you fail, you take a -1 to one of your Tri-Stats which will stack. If you succeed, nothing happens. If you succeed twice in two days, you recover one level. It is negated if you find your focus or someone gives you a focus.

When you create your character, you must allocate points to Item of Power and assign only energy points to it.

Burnout is not just for tests. Sometimes people push themselves so far that they lose the ability to cast magic. It can be temporary or permanent.

Mechanically, when you use more energy points than you have energy points, your power shuts down. You roll your soul and if you succeed, it will come back within a few hours. If you fail, it is shut off for the rest of the day. The next day, you roll your soul. If you pass, your magic comes back. If you fail, it is still shut down for the rest of the day. Three failed soul rolls means it is permanently lost.

This can be avoided by watching your Energy Points or taking Damage Conversion Attribute which can exchange EP loss to HP loss. 
Mary. This is a one shot. Why did you write so much!? And there is also more I won't be posting. XD

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