Old System for Gifts

The method used to lure characters to games are the "Gifts" presented by the Harbingers. These also represent the primary means of advancement for high-rollers. Each gift empowers a character based on their core concept and ambition. While these rewards will vary wildly from character to character, some generalities can be observed.

Ideally Gifts should be evocative as possible as well as internally consistent. Characters should be able to understand how their Powers function, as well as be able to to discuss the "metaphysics" of their Powers to some degree.

Common Gifts

  • Powers: The most powerful and common gifts are Powers, typically represented as 1 to 5 paths. These should be tailored to the individual, and should avoid replication of sourced abilities or Powers possessed by other players except in the most generic circumstances. A major point of these Games is to develop characters that are utterly unique from all others.
  • Magic: There are three dominant types of magic - Mythos, Sorcery, and Legacy magic. Magical tomes, teachers, and spells can be awarded to casters. Such characters will often have spells that only they can cast in lieu of very unique powers.
  • Generic Gifts: Various generic bonuses and effects; this includes Advantages, Ability Masteries, and rarely Merits
  • Mythic Attributes: Receiving a Mythic Attribute as a gift allows you to use experience to advance an attribute as high as 8. Each level after 5 comes with a standard power as well. Mythic attributes are fitting for characters that could be described as having otherworldly "super" attributes. For example, Superman and Hercules would qualify for mythic strength, whereas an extra-strong cyborg generally wouldn't. There are ways to advance attribute scores above 5 without mythic attributes.
  • Items: Enchanted or superior items (such as Black Tech) are perfectly acceptable Gifts. A few Items may be so powerful that they require "attunement" before their full abilities can be unlocked. Such artifacts are usually represented by a Background rating.
  • Augmentation: Be it in the form of cybernetics, genetic manipulation, or magical tattoos, Augmentation covers any integral enhancement to a character that does not come with an XP cost. While typically limited in scope, these Gifts allow conservation of points. However, there is a "Humanity" cost to Augmentation. Players familiar with Cyberpunk can guess what this entails.
  • Pools: Supernatural Pools are often used to activate Powers, and can have effects of their own.
  • Templates: The rarest of all, Templates redefine the base nature of the character (e.g. becomes a vampire). They cannot typically be achieved in a single Gift, and will usually be assigned a "rating" of Gifts and quests dedicated before they can be attained (3 to 10 being average). Once attained, the Template applies in full.

Gift Guidelines and Limitations

While Gifts can achieve almost any effect, some things are not possible, either because the Powers that be will not grant them, or because they rely on systems/templates that are outlawed.

  • All gifts must enhance a character's core concept. For example, a private eye character is unlikely to get healing powers out of left field, while a military commando character is unlikely to learn mythos magic. These restrictions are relaxed (but never removed) for high seasoned and vet characters.
  • A Gift cannot be used to resurrect a dead character. By definition, the Harbingers consider dead characters to be "losers" not worth the effort, regardless of what the players want.
  • An integral weakness of a Template or concept can never be entirely eliminated (vampires will never become Immune to Sunlight as a Gift).
  • Sphere Magick (as per Mage: The Ascension) is not possible. Sorcery is used instead.
  • Gifts should never solve problems directly. Rather, characters should be given abilities that give them a chance to solve their own problems (if they're good enough).
  • Don't request Gifts based on your character's perceived weaknesses, or on what you need to be able to do something. Rather, request Gifts based on what your Concept should logically have.

Refusing Gifts

Players are NOT required to accept a Gift they feel damages their Concept. In the event this comes up, contact an impartial GM and discuss it with them. You always have the option to receive no Gift for that Game, but GMs should make an extreme effort to grant a fitting gift when a character is owed one.

Characters are typically revised after their first 10 successful Games and again if they reach Veteran status. Revisions are intended to weed out early Gifts that were either poorly thought out or no longer match the emerging pursuits of the character.

Learning Powers

In certain circumstances it may be possible for a character to teach a Power to another character, but they cannot do so as well as a Harbinger; the character learning the Power will begin at level 0 and must spend 10 XP for the first level. In most cases, the cost of further developing the Power will be one higher than normal. (A cost of Current Rating x6 becomes Current Rating x7; a cost of Current Rating x7 becomes Current Rating x8; and so forth.)

With the exception of Psychic Powers, a student can only learn a Power to the level the instructor is willing to teach, and only to the level the instructor currently possesses. The student must immediately spend XP to advance the Power at least one level. A student who later wishes to further advance the Power must either return for further instruction, with Instruction rolls as normal, or remain in regular contact with the teacher, who can choose to terminate instruction at any time. (If they remain in regular contact, further Instruction rolls are not needed; it's assumed they frequently discuss the subject matter.) If the instructor dies or does not continue teaching, the student probably will not be able to advance the Power any further.

Whether one character can teach a Power to another must be judged on a case-by-case basis. Generally, whether there is any possibility of success depends on two factors: Pool and paradigm.

If two characters have different paradigms, they won't be able to teach each other Powers, even if they have the same Pool. If their paradigms overlap but don't match precisely, they may be able to teach each other Powers, but only inefficiently, and only with considerable difficulty.

Anyone can theoretically learn sorcery. Sorcerers can, of course, belong to different paradigms. For example, a scientific sorcerer and an arcane sorcerer wouldn't be able to teach Sorcery Paths to each other. Sorcerers whose paradigms overlap at least partially can teach each other Sorcery Paths. Those whose paradigms are closely aligned can teach each other Sorcery Paths quite efficiently, with further development costing Current Rating x7 rather than Current Rating x8. The 10 XP cost for the first level must still be paid.

Anyone can learn any Mythos spell to which they have access, so long as they have Mythos Lore equal to the Complexity of the spell.

You can only learn Legacy Magic if you have the associated Pool and a similar bloodline, lineage, or Template (an essentially identical paradigm).

Psychic Powers can only be learned by potential Psychics (those who have a Psychic Power or somehow gain Latent Psychic potential). Psychics may teach each other Powers as they like; they are generally considered to belong to a common paradigm. The cost of further development is not increased by one (and thus is normally the standard cost of Current Rating x6), but the 10 XP cost for the first level must be paid. Also, the student will suffer a -2 die penalty on all rolls with the new Power until it is advanced to level 3.

Anyone with a Willpower of at least 5 can learn Will-Shaper Powers. However, Will-Shapers never have the same paradigm. Will-Shaper Powers are more specific than most because they are almost always highly customized. For one Will-Shaper to successfully teach a Power to another requires a detailed written explanation by the player of how the Power works and of the method of instruction being used.

Powers based on Chi (by any name) can be taught to anyone. Chi users whose paradigms overlap at least partially can teach Powers to each other. Those whose paradigms are closely aligned can teach each other Powers quite efficiently, without an increase in the cost of further development (which is thus typically Current Rating x6). The 10 XP cost for the first level must still be paid.

Powers which require a specific Pool other than Psion or Chi are usually character-specific; check with an Admin before you start trading them: It may not be as simple as it seems. Most of these powers are Template-specific, and can only be learned by characters with a particular Template. (E.g., Vampires may teach each other Vampires Disciplines, but no one else, not even a "Blood Mage" or carnivorous plant that used Blood Points, since they don't have Vampiric Blood Points.)

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