Just a quick tip-of-the-hat to Frank Brunner’s Spellbound Kingdoms, which has some really neat stuff in it.
One idea I particularly like is ‘Inspirations’
Characters have inspirations such as “love of Isabella the miller’s daughter”, “fear of rejection” or “loyal to the king”. A relevant inspiration can be used once per scene to add the character’s HEART die as a bonus, or to magnify a roll (i.e. increase the size of the die being used). I won’t go into the details here, as this is pretty similar to various drive and belief mechanics used in other games.
Now the really neat bit in Spellbound Kingdoms is that a character can never be killed while they have an inspiration of 4 or more (3 if it’s a love inspiration). They can plunge over a cliff or be left for dead in a pool of their own blood but when all is said and done they will have miraculously survived. The only way to finish them for good is to harry them and break them, perhaps by forcing them to watch their loved ones die one by one before moving in for the kill.
Play is set up to revolve around character inspirations rather than direct conflict. Scenes are devoted to raising inspirations or assaulting them. A villain might kidnap and murder a son, torture a friend or set fire to a home; while a player might devote a scene to wooing his love in order to increase his associated inspiration.
You can also:
- Exploit other character’s inspirations
- Impose or suffer inspiration penalties in conflicts as a result of inspirations being mocked or threatened
- Force inspirations upon other characters as a condition of beating them in a contest
- Inflict or suffer mood damage
- Find True love
- Acquire fear inspirations, which are the easiest inspirations to gain but also the easiest for enemies to exploit.
This all looks like really good stuff to me and I’m very interested to see how it works in actual play. Though, given that my home-life is almost entirely focused on baby-care at the moment, it may be some time before I can try it out.
Anyway, if you like the sound of this I’d recommend you go take a gander. Based on what I’ve read it looks like a good buy. Even more so if a mix of zeppelins, courtesans, feral children, alchemy, sorcery, engineering, politics, dragons and slavering undead appeals to you. The pdf is currently on sale at DriveThruRPG for $7.99