After making several games using the LUMEN system and the Caltrop Core, it is time for a game jam for both of those systems! If you follow me on social media, you have likely heard about Perilous Voyages. A Caltrop Core & Carta SRD hybrid, it builds on my work on Run Villein, Run! to create an Age of Sail game with elements of potential Player v Player action built in. If you want to learn more, I shared some in this Twitter thread.

However, Perilous Voyages is not what we are going to be focusing on today. Instead, I wanted to introduce you to something new.

Old Ideas, New Tools

When I originally created Sageuk! Roleplay in Joseon, I had in my mind that I wanted to it as a prototype, practice for using the Harmony Drive SRD to build a game. The future game was intended to be a period City Guardians game. That is why Sageuk! doesn’t use Harmony Drive’s magic system, because I wanted to experiment with resolution mechanics before adding the complexity of the magic system on top of it. Another part of the mechanics for this future City Guardians game I was experimenting with I sneakily prototyped in Heliopolis because I knew there was a market for NOVA at the time.

However, I think I want to go in a bit of a different direction with this City Guardians game. I think it would benefit from a looser structure than the crunchy Harmony Drive would allow. This is why, at least for resolution mechanics, I think I would like to rely on the LUMEN engine. That said, I want to be a bit more inventive with the development of powers to allow for classless play.

The Blossom

That is where the Blossom comes in. The Blossom is strongly influenced by the Ven6 SRD that I discussed here, in that it uses overlapping 2d shapes to create the building foundations of a character’s skills or their powers & special abilities.

Below is a graphic example of what I mean. In the first image, I used octagons, but you could a number of other shapes like hexagons (in the other two images) or circles. The 5 overlapping portions that make a star shape in the center are the core traits or key elements of the game’s power system. They then combine in pairs in the outer portion of the blossoms.

Using the Blossom

In the Power or Magic System example in the second picture, I selected a group of 5 keys from the Harmony Drive system. These elements then combine together in pairs to create the powers or spells the character can use in play. For example, “Sky” and “Searing” combine together to create the spell “Burning Light,” similar to the “Sunburst” spell from D&D. Meanwhile, “Sky” also combines with “Heart” to create “Celestial Hope.” My idea for this spell is that it causes a positive celestial sign or omen to appear like a shooting star that boosts the morale of the character’s allies who view it.

The character creation example follows much more closely with the Blossom’s VEN6 origins. In our Age of Sail Example in the third picture, the character identifies as a “Math Wiz” due to their training and abilities with numbers. If the player wants their character to do something with math, then they would have a bonus or roll an extra dice. “Math Wiz” combines with the identity trait “Enjoys Firearms” to create the skill “Gunnery” and “Artistic Soul” to create the skill “Cartography.” If the player has their character use these skills, the bonus would be even greater or maybe roll 2 extra dice instead of just one extra dice.

The New Game for the Game Jam

Now I guess it is time to give you some details for the City Guardians game!

The current name of the game is The Tutelary Society. In The Tutelary Society, the player characters are guardian spirits of small villages that have now grown and merged together to a large city. They now have to work together to protect their charges from physical and supernatural sources of danger. As the city grew, the spirits needed to take on physical forms to travel about and influence the people in their city. They disguise themselves with a human identity so they can (hopefully) fulfill their duties without revealing their true powers to the human population.

The players start in Session 0 by using my original City Creation system similar to Heliopolis. They grow the city and show their characters’ past influences and current connections. Then the spirits themselves act using the LUMEN & Blossom system to protect the city, keep their secrets, and influence the people of the city to improve their communities.

These guardian spirits have some tinges of superhero tropes like the secret identity, but were most strongly inspired by the Korean village guardian spirits like Seonangsin [Village Guardian Deities], Seonghwangsin [God of the Boundary], and Sansin [Mountain Gods]. These are spirits who resided in village shrines, small mound or tower-style stone cairns at the base of the mountain, or a sacred tree within the village. As their names advertise, these spirits were supposed to look after the well-being of the people who live within nearby settlements and protect them from supernatural harm. They were often consulted and celebrated by shamans in special gut [rituals] and honored by the community in seonang je [communal Confucian rites].

A digital painting of young woman in traditional Korean clothing praying at a small wooden shrine standing at the foot of a large, ancient holy tree. The tree also has cloth ribbons in many colors hanging from its branches and a rope tied around its trunk to show its sacred status.
A young woman prays at a Seonangdang [shrine] and sacred tree (Artist: Chang Min Son)

Thanks for joining me on this little discussion on the evolution of The Tutelary Society. If you found it interesting, then you might want to keep an eye on the blog to see how it develops from here!

Another way to easily keep up to date is to sign up for my Substack. It is the best place to keep up with the goings on of Hessan’s County and myself released on a bi-weekly basis.

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