So, World of Near - I've been waiting for some new art before we publish a pdf version. Who knows how long that'll be, yet. Meanwhile the paper book has sold some copies through the last six months - somewhat under a hundred copies, perhaps? The thing is, I haven't really heard back from anybody concerning the book, at least not a lot. As far as I know, the only people playing the game are in Helsinki, where a couple of crews are using it. This is obviously somewhat sad, as the feedback is really the thing in this rpg publishing business.
But anyway, I got my first payoff instalment for publishing the thing this week, when I heard about the shit they're doing in Helsinki. Check this out, it's based on what I've been told:
Moonblade of Absolon
This sword is rumoured to be the personal weapon of the late Emperor himself. Today it's in the possession of one of his forsaken knights, the guys who contracted vampirism when they forsook His tomb. Really tragic stuff, gothic romance. The sword itself used to be just a dress blade, but now it is a translucent twist on the black runeblade theme, check it out:
Secret of Mighty Blow
Add other things to taste, as per the artifact guidelines in chapter 32.
Cost: 1 Vigor introduction cost to wield the blade per scene.
The amazing choice the anonymous player (I don't know his name, heard about this second-hand) who made this thing did was to put the Moonman Secret, perhaps the weirdest thing in the whole book, into the sword:
This character's death is always a valid stake in conflict, regardless of propriety. When the character dies, the player gets to narrate how one part of Near fails; might be right here, might be far away, but something was depending on him. A part of the setting is now dead. Treat this as a Transcendence narration insofar as the rest of the campaign is concerned. Requirement: only at character creation.
I have no idea how the group is interpreting that in the context of a weapon, but it's going to be awesome anyway. Apparently anybody who picks up the blade (and one well might; that's a pretty efficient and deadly weapon) forgoes their plot immunity to death. But does the second part apply to the death of the owner or the destruction of the blade itself? Where and what is the part of Near that is relying on this sword and the dark fate of its owner?
Wow, they just hit their "Awesome" key like, 20 times!
I'm the story guide for this group. We thought up that sword in our last session when one of the players (Timo) wanted to switch his character for a cursed thief with a magic sword. The dice said that the sword would have the quality of 5 and we began leafing through the book to find some cool secrets to imbue the sword with and the blade of Absolon formed in a sort of ex tempore fashion. :-) The character has taken upon himself to find Absolon because he alone could rid him from the curse of vampirism that the sword or the act of stealing it brought him.
I'm leaning towards applying the second part of the moonman secret to the sword breaking. Although a sword that could eventually destroy the whole of Near piece by piece sounds awsome as well.
As I read the secret, which part of Near will die is determined when the character dies and narrated by the character's player. Could the dependant place be determined or decided beforehand? There could be some interesting play regarding the people living on the doomed site.
The way I'd play this would be to do plenty of foreshadowing about the character's (or sword's, perhaps) dark fate in advance. You can certainly "decide" in advance where the Moonman connection is in the world, definitely, but the player still can twist the ending when the push comes to shove by narrating things differently. Good ways for foreshadowing are things like dark omens or outright prophecies, but also just simply displaying parts of the setting that are very much dependent on the character: if the Moonman character has a poor family he's supporting, for example, then it doesn't take much thinking at the end to tie the Moonman death into a grim epilogue for his family as well. Just remember that while the SG can suggest and push for interpretations, the final word is with the player who chose this grim, grim Secret for his character. Even if the character's poor family is the obvious choice, the player might describe how it's actually the evil taxman who wilts to irrelevance and nothingness without the character to foil him. Whatever is cool, the narration is essentially just like a Transcendence narration.
I'm leaning towards the idea that it's the character who's death has the grim consequences with this sword. Or it could be both, of course. It's just that much cooler to have the sword cut a swath of ruin throughout the world in the hands of multiple owners...