I'm always looking for a good super-hero RPG.
I ran a good super-hero RPG a few years ago. My girlfriend was a player.
My girlfriend likes fairies.
You don't see any fairy super-heroes.
My group would be villians, not heroes if they had powers.
How do you stop players from being something the setting doesn't intend?
What if super-powers were bound to an oath or a promise?
What if they were gifts from the fey?
What if they were ancestoral?
Thus came Oath Sworn. Here's my early idea...
Nearly one-thousand years ago, the worlds of man and fey existed side by side and those with the correct knowledge could cross from one realm to the next. The Arcadian Host, known to the common man as the fey, had existed since long before mankind came into the world. Most members of the Arcadian Host looked on mankind as younger siblings to be nurtured and guided gently. Mankind was taught to live in harmony with the world and by extension, the fey.
But not all members of the Arcadian Host were happy with simply watching mankind flourish across an Earth that had once solely been the province of the fey. These angry fey, known to some as the Dark Host or the Unseelie, began to strike against mankind and his growth. They murdered villages and cities in perfect silence in a single night as a sign of their displeasure. They tortured entire nations.
But the Dark Host did not go unchecked. The reminants of the Arcadian Host (sometimes known as the Seelie) stood up to defend mankind. When came next was known as the War for Humanity. Both sides became terribly absorbed in this conflict, so much so, that they forgot what they were fighting for and more often than not mankind found himself a casualty of a war for their very survival.
Before the War for Humanity could completely destroy mankind, two men came forth. Romulus and Remus went to both the Seelie and Unseelie Host and cried out for a truce. Initally the Arcadian Host was reluctant, fearful mankind could not "take care of itself" and the Dark Host was suspitious of a trap. Eventually, though, a truce was reached. Both the Dark and Arcadian Host agreed to retreat into their own realm and to never again directly wage war in the realm of Earth. This became known as the First Oath.
Mankind flourished for generations, without the intervention of the Arcadian or Dark Host. Memories of the fey became confused and twisted, memories of Host becoming retold as divine myths and legends. Then, the Dark Host discovered a loop-hole in the First Oath. Though they could not cross into the Earthly Realm, they discovered that as creators the human world they could influence it from the Fey Realm. Their first attempt at this was Pompeii. With hundreds dead, the Dark Host was pleased with their new discovery. But such a cataclysmic event weakened the Dark Host deeply.
The Arcadian Host realised there was no way they could retaliate without endangering mankind once more. Nor could they allow such devistating assaults against humanity go unchecked. Soon, the Arcadian Host discovered their own loop-hole in the First Oath. They too began to reach out to mankind. To the best and the brightest, they called. They beconed. They appeared to these chosen men and women in their dreams, offering them visions of what the world would become at the hands of the Dark Host. They also offered magical gifts from across the Fey Realm to help defend against the Dark Host.
These new agents of the Arcadian Host, known as the Dream Forged, possessed powers never before known. Suddenly men could fly, shrug off sword blows, move with lightning speed, and control the very elements of the world. Heroes of myth: Herakles, Gilgamesh, Jesus, were Dream Forged and once again their exploits were remembered as legends and stories - not remembered for the truthes they are.
But such greatness would not last. With false promises and seductive words, the Dark Host was able to draw many Dream Forged to their cause. Suddenly the Dream Forged clashed with one another, destroying not only each other, but those around them. Again, apocalypse threatened the world.
The Arcadian Host responded by enacting the Eternal Pact. Those chosen to be Dream Forged would swear an oath to the Fey Host (Arcadian or Dark), and their gifts would forever be tied to this oath, bound eternally by blood. Each Dream Forged would swear a seperate oath and receive seperate gifts. This second generation would be known as the Oath Bound. The Dark Host agreed to participate in the Eternal Pact, and of course twisted it to their own
Twisted and manipulating the memory of one of the greatest Dream Forged ever, the Dark Host planted the seeds of what would one day become the Inquisition and later they helped unleash the Black Plague. But soon this evil plan back-fired, and though oaths were fulfilled, the Oath Bound who were sworn to the Dark Host turned against their masters. Eventually, all fey were condemed as heresy and witchcraft.
Both the Arcadian and the Dark Host were forced to flee into into the deepest recesses of the Fey Realm and mankind went spiralling into the Dark Ages. They swore to return in one-thousand years, believing that mankind would see the error of his ways after a millenia without the fey to guid them. Ages passed as humanity displaced its faith from the Host into both corrupt religions and monarchs. Soon, the fey were all but forgotten, dismissed as myth and legend as mankind is known to do.
One thousand years have now passed and the fey, both Arcadian and Dark, have returned. Through the ebb and flow of the Fey Realm they have felt humanity as it spiralled ever-downward into the modern day. Now mankind is now at a cross-roads. Surrounded by a world of murder, apathy, hate, and malice, humanity has lost its way. In this weak and desperate era, they can rise to the face the darkness they have created, thus fulfilling the Arcadian Host's faith in them, or they can surrender to the base, vile desires in their soul and give in to the darkness harvested by the Dark Host.
Both sides have tapped the ancestors of the Dream Forged, the modern Oath Sworn to decide the fate of mankind. Gifted with these powers and burdened by oaths sworn by their forebarers they never knew, they decide the fate of mankind.
What Are the PCs?
The PCs are the first generation of Oath Sworn in one-thousand years. The ancient oaths of their legacy has gifted them both powers and responsibilities. In addition, the PCs have a connection to the Fey Realm, and can speak to the Host members who have awakened them - often looking for guidance or advice.
[b]What do the PCs do?[/b]
The Arcadian Host & Dark Host are at war for the future of humanity. As examples of the virtues (and vices) of each cause, they show the truth of each side of the Host, though they are sworn to never reveal who they truly serve. So they lead and show by example. Basically, the idea is that that members of the Arcadian Host are given reasons why they would 'act like super heroes' and Dark Host Oath Sworn are given reasont to 'act like super villians.'
I don't have any specific mechanic ideas yet. The only thing I know for certain is that a character's powers and oaths are tied together tightly. As a character acts more in accordance with his oath, his power increases and as he breaks his oath more and more, his powers diminish. As a character's powers diminsh perhaps he can might be able to forge a new oath with the Dark Host, to gain new powers.
My basic thoughts are a set of default attributes and an "open" skill list. Basically there is no offical list of skills, the PC gets to pick or spend a certain number of points on skills of choice. If they want to take something typical like 'pistols' or something more fitting like 'free-style walking', whatever fits the concept. If they don't have a skill, use the old stand-by of "default to related attribute."
I'm debating between a "sliding scale" Oath/Super-Power system or a GM Reward-Penalty method. I've got vague ideas for either.
I'm thinking diceless or dice light, but have no specifics yet. All I know is I definately don't want d20.