Imagine a world in which there are four kingdoms, each associated with one of four elements. Let’s call them Wind, Stone, Flame, and Sea. People of each kingdom have an affinity for one such element and can manifest powers using that element.
… there, that should cover my tracks well enough. You all know what this is, right?
I’ve put a bit of thought into it, and it looks like it will be pretty easy to implement in Echelon.
I am sometimes stymied when I think about how magic is to be implemented in Echelon because there are so many ways I can do it. The Av… Incarnation setting has magic based primarily around the elements, so let’s roll with that for now.
Each of the elements — Wind, Stone, Flame, and Sea — can be manipulated to achieve certain effects appropriate to the element. Let’s call this ‘shaping’. I don’t know everything about it yet, I think it’s safe to assume that some degree of training and skill is needed. How can it be learned?
- First, each kingdom has an affinity for a particular element. It seems reasonable that there could be a ‘kingdom talent’ that gives advantage to checks for that element.
- This seems to me to be a good choice for a cornerstone talent. Your kingdom of birth could be considered “something you are”, and I want it to stack with common talents. It could be a capstone, but it doesn’t feel specific enough to be a prestige class, my usual test for ‘capstone’ worthiness.
- Second, there are many ways to ‘learn’ shaping. Domains (domain of fire), combat styles (Cutting Wind style), and spell specializations could all apply.
- Common talents, obviously.
- Third, I can easily imagine ‘prestige classes’ for each of the kingdoms, or possibly based around the shaping learned.
- A ‘stormshaper’ capstone might have prerequisites of “Windshaping, Seashaping”. That is, one talent for each, but it’s possible to have two. A wind kingdom character (windshaping) with Water domain could qualify, as could a sea kingdom character with the Cutting Wind or Lightning Spear combat style. I expect that these would give advantage to all related shaping checks, obviously.
- Of course, a character with Windshaping, Seashaping, Stoneshaping, and Flameshaping could qualify as an Incarnation. Four talents is pretty steep for a capstone, but given the nature of the setting and the assumed rarity of such characters there might be another requirement (possibly “for plot device use only”).
So, cornerstone for kingdom, commons for domains and combat styles and the like, and capstones to mark specific achievement in the shaping.
All in all, this gives a lot of flexibility in building ‘shapers’. There are many paths to learning shaping, but they can all be applied to the same checks and capstones. A windshaper could come by it natively (i.e. kingdom of origin cornerstone) or through one of several types of training (Air domain, Cutting Wind combat style).
The qualitative effects of the various talents will all differ, but the underlying checks that I use in play and for determining prerequisites are interchangeable.
This feels right.