In the wild wilderness of the end of the year, when the earth is sleeping beneath the winter snows and the nights huddle jealously over the days, the year is ending. It's another year with the game not yet complete, which is sad and sobering; but it's also closer than ever before, so we take heart.
NYE party aftermath at HJ Headquarters
Also, this update is going to be very funny because of this thing that I said in the LAST update:
This section is slightly embarrassing to write, given that we did none of the things we said we'd do last time and instead did entirely different things we didn't even mention, but I can confidently say that we will be finishing the next Devotionals before we do anything else, since we're already in the middle of them.
It's HILARIOUS because, can you guess? We did not do Devotionals. But we did do other things and they were excellent.
I won't repost the checklist this time as it hasn't changed - our decisions have placed us midstream on TWO big things on the list, so neither is finished but both are a lot further along. Here's the scoop!
First of all, these are pending a name change. This is a mechanic regarding new powers and gifts Heroes get as a result of their renown and to aid them in their adventures; originally, we called them "divine favor(s)" because they were often literally signs of favor from a god, like when Zeus hands off a sword to Perseus and sends him off to go do heroic things, or when the Norns hit Hodr over the head and tell him to wear the magic gear already.
But it isn't ALWAYS a favor from a god, and we found that the name caused confusion about this. For one thing, not every Hero gets that kind of direct attention from a god, and even if they do, every culture doesn't conceptualize divine favor the same way. We often point at swords and armor and magic necklaces because some mythologies (Greek, for example, or Babylonian) are lousy with them and they're popular in general culture and fantasy as a result, too, but a looooot of mythologies simply don't hand out magic items (or even have a concept OF magic items - not every culture thinks of magic that way!).
And besides, we wanted other options for Heroes, too. Some things are great rewards for success or results of heroism that don't need a god involved - for example, a Hero's fame and fortune from saving a local town, or their heritage as a descendant of a previous great Hero. So a rework was in order from the name on down.
Have y'all seen my Hat of +2 Water because let me tell you, it's rad
We haven't finalized a name, but the concept is closer to the idea of having an Epithet, which is what I'll use for the rest of these notes. There are eight kinds of Epithets a Hero can get through the course of their adventures, and over the course of the past few weeks, we've worked on just under half of them! Here are the in-progress updates:
Half of the Epithets involve a physical item or element (armor, weaponry, enchanted items, and descent/heritage); half of them do not (fame, luxury, office, and priesthood), allowing Heroes to choose which one makes most sense for them and their background.
Epithets now have both passive and active effects that Heroes can use. A non-real example would be an Epithet that gives you +2 Defense all the time, and also lets you later spend a Labor in order to get a bigger buff for short periods of time.
All Titles can be taken up to three times; Heroes can choose to either get several different Titles with different effects over the course of their adventures, or can get the same Title three times, increasing its potency to powerful levels.
And here are the updated forms of the three completed ones. Bask in the glory of their messy Working Draft Names.
Luxury Epithet: This Hero is well-known in their community for being wealthy or owning luxuries. They gain higher levels in the Wealth system as well as becoming immune to some of the effects of Wealth decay.
Examples: Nero Julius, the Golden Prince, or Corsario Ramirez, Dread Quartermaster.
Magical Epithet: This Hero is associated with a specific Domain or Sphere and has an enchanted item that represents their power. While they bear their enchanted item, they gain bonuses to their Sphere powers as well as gaining the ability to occasionally use them to spectacular levels.
Examples: Islande Chery, Celestial Princess, or Thomas Jefferson, Bearer of the Scepter of the Sun.
Reputation Epithet: This Hero has a reputation in the area and is considered something of a celebrity. They are especially skilled at specific Talents and Aspects and can occasionally get shockingly high rolls on them in moments of crisis.
Examples: Valencia Rosales, the Rose of Miami, or Gunther Brunn, the Possum King.
As I write this, there are ten minutes left in the year, we have half of both the Aggressive and Protective Epithets completed next to us, and we can't wait to lob them at the playtesters in the next week or two.
Okay, so if we did Divine Favor first but we had half a Devotional but we didn't finish the Steps Graphic... wait, what time is it?
We hope to finish off these here Epithets/Divine Favors/Whatevers this week, and then move back to the Devotionals still dangling, after which we'll head back to the checklist again. We suspect we might not have as much work time as usual this month, since we're about to move, but we'll be back with more updates, and in the meantime newly completed mechanics usually show up over on Twitch before they get posted about here.
To a new and better year full of wonderful things to you all. Good night!