14 March 2013

Cats and Dogs, Cold and Hot... and Magic?

It came to me in a dream last night.

I had escaped; from what I don't remember, and it didn't really matter. I was in a verdant green place with a couple of my companions- it was composed of a wide grassy field interbroken with thick forests. A sort of path lie ahead of me, but the thinning treeline let me see further. Ahead of me was a tree missing chunks as though plucked. I wondered at it, briefly, before the culprit was made clear. It was a huge herbivorous dinosaur with an elongated neck, standing on what looked like a stone temple, casually tearing huge tree chunks out before retreating its head behind the temple with its bite in tow.

I drew my bow; my companions readied their steel. Where there are herbivore dinos, there are carnivores, and surely enough, here they came. Smaller than the herbivores but still larger than me, no more than five or six uncoordinated dinosaurs rushed at us from behind stonework. We had a fighting retreat, doing our best to keep their jaws from our skin as we tried to make for a more convenient spot. A purple-skinned fairy attempted to trick me, but I shot an arrow through its chest with simple ease. I wondered "Why did that work so well, when I remembered: Fairies and Men are opposites, just like cats and dogs, and hot and cold."

And then I realized- that is the entirety of a person's personality. It was such a striking idea that I startled my wife by waking up and writing it down at four in the morning. I wanted to use it immediately.

Here's how it works: You have a rating of Magic, Temperament, and Personality. They go from -5 to 5, for a total range of ten or so. You probably start with 0 in each, as a completely normal person.

A low magic means you're on the side of Iron. You're resistant to spellcraft, and magic items are completely useless to you. But on the plus side, you're more durable and tough. It's as though you're taking on the attributes of Iron yourself.

High magic, on the other hand, means that you're a flighty, elfin sort of person. You are capable of wielding powerful magic, and magic items are useful to you. But your spells don't affect iron, or those with an affinity towards Iron, so you try and keep away from them if you are able. Most high-magic people stay away from civilization, forming their own secret societies in the wilderness.

Low Temperament means that you're cool, collected, and calm. You can even be described as icy. Having a cool temperament means you're harder to surprise, and you're probably the one with the ambushes. You probably take a while to get up to steam, but once you get there, you're there. You're like the ocean- slow and steady to build up, but a crashing tsunami when ready.

High Temperament means that you're active and ready to go. You rush on in there, all crazy-like, and smash whoever's around. You stumble into traps because you don't care, and you're generally the one being ambushes (because you charged instead of waited). You're the active element in most battles. You tend to be impatient, but brave, grandiose but honest, aggressive but direct. You can run out of steam if foiled. You're pure fire.

Low personality is a bit of a catlike thing. You're more reserved, and quiet. You tend to be aloof, free spirited, and unemotional about most things. People just can't get your dander up, but when they do, it can often be catastrophic. They've got to get you right in the things you care about, because there really are only a couple of things that get to you. Those things you do care about, you care about deeply. You are a person of deep passion.

High personality is a dog person, for sure. They're not too bright, but they're dependable and solid. They're there for you, no matter what you need. They need security, and they can be a bit emotional and attached. If a high personality person thinks you're their friend, they'll be with you for good.

Here's the way it works: Things that you want to do have a rating attached to them. Something like forging a sword is a pure Iron thing- although you need heat and creativity, you also need to be persistent and intelligent. So if you've got high Iron, you're good at working with metal. It doesn't matter about your Personality or Temperament too much.

Laying an ambush might be a Cool Cat thing to do. Shooting lightning? Hot Magic. Charging into battle? Hot Iron. Arguing on behalf of a friend? Pure Dog. Slipping poison into a political enemy's drink? Now that's a Cat, and a Warm one, too. A Cool Dog would be better at preparing oratory, or working with his community.

Pretty neat, right?

I want to use this for something.

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