OOC - The Nature of Being Soulcharged and Awakened

The fact that our heroes are Soulcharged, and will become Awakened fairly soon, is a very important concept in the Engines of Chaos super-setting that I will try to explain to you guys before we get too far into this game. Most of this was ripped from something I posted in the original Engines of Chaos, so there may be a detail or two that looks off, but for the most part, everything here should be applicable to this game as well.

The following 5 values were considered desirable for the original Engines of Chaos, and although many of my goals have changed since then, I believe these values are still things that will enhance the quality of Engines of Chaos Redux:

Allow characters from all different kinds of genres and settings to be capable of participating in the game.

Enable all characters to be able to be valuable in the narratives that they are a part of.

Encourage character development by having the hero(ine) characters start weaker and get stronger as the narratives progress.

Provide a large variety of villains and situations in order to keep the narratives fresh.

Setting, character, and plot details should make sense to a certain degree and should have a reason/justification for why they are the way they are.

At some point, I think it would be good to have a complete list of values and goals for this game, which might help people understand the decisions we make. If anyone wants to help with that, let me know.

Anyway, the reason the whole Soulcharged/Awakened concept is a thing in Engines of Chaos is because we can use it to accomplish a fair number of those goals.

As many of us have probably experienced growing up, becoming important and special is hard to achieve. To quote Tyler Durden from Fight Club:

"You are not special. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else."

While this is rather harsh, the truth of the matter is that most of us will never do anything remarkable enough to get our names into a textbook; two hundred years from now, nobody will care about any of the things that we did. We realize this, and I think this is one of the appeals to roleplaying. When roleplaying, we become important in the world that we are participating in, and thus we fulfill our desire to be somebody special.

The reason I went on that depressing tangent is because the same reality would probably hold true for our heroes. In a multiverse with trillions upon trillions of people, why would the Being choose our heroes in particular to do his work?

In order to enable people to use whatever character they want and still have them be special and valuable in the eyes of the Being, I decided to justify the significance of the heroes by saying that those chosen are "Soulcharged". In order to account for the fact that many of the heroes would be characters pulled from old games, being Soulcharged needed to have little-to-no noticeable effect on the character. However, having a trait that doesn't actually do much of anything practical is not enough of a reason for the Being to summon someone and put them on a dangerous quest. Thus, being Soulcharged only gives the rare person gifted with the trait latent powers that only become available to the Soulcharged person until they become "Awakened" by someone or something capable of unlocking that power.

This system ideally accomplishes 4 of the 5 goals listed above.

Allow characters from all different kinds of genres and settings to be capable of participating in the game.

Enable all characters to be able to be valuable in the narratives that they are a part of.

- This system allows the Being to pull characters from any universe of any genre, and unlock powers within them that make them valuable to the group they are a part of.

Encourage character development by having the hero(ine) characters start weaker and get stronger as the narratives progress.

- The Awakened characters won't have an immediate understanding of what all their new powers are, and they will discover new powers as the story progresses. Please do not abuse this to make an Awakened character good at everything, as we want other people's characters to be able to contribute as well.

Setting, character, and plot details should make sense to a certain degree and should have a reason/justification for why they are the way they are.

- And as mentioned above, this justifies why the Being seeks out our heroes in particular. Becoming Awakened also gives people the ability to understand, speak, and write in every language, so we don't have to say that everyone in the multiverse speaks English.

A Little Bit of Lore and What it Means to be Soulcharged and Awakened.

How exactly people become Soulcharged is unknown (meaning I haven't thought of an explanation yet and may throw it in as a plot twist later), however, the existence of the phenomenon has been known in various circles for some time. What is known is that Soulcharged are extremely rare, but there is some evidence that the Soulcharged trait can be passed on genetically.

Other than granting the Soulcharged person a little bit of plot armor and making them particularly juicy treats for creeps who sacrifice people for arcane rituals, being Soulcharged does not do much. However, a latent power resides within all Soulcharged. Unlocking this power is very difficult, and very few things are capable of initiating the process of "Awakening" a Soulcharged. Once a Soulcharged has been "Awakened", they gain a number of useful skills, acquire valuable knowledge, and other such boons.

Among the first things that an Awakened will learn is that they now understand (and can communicate with) every language in the multiverse. This alone makes Awakened extraordinarily valuable, and the knowledge of all spoken and written language is the only asset that every Awakened get (well, and an immunity to viruses, bacterias, and stuff. We wouldn't want our heroes to wind up like the Martians in War of the Worlds, would we?) Awakened will gain other powers as well, and these powers vary by the individual. Some of these powers will amplify existing skills, such as increasing the potency of one's magic, making a warrior stronger and faster, or improving one's eyesight and reflexes. Other's powers give the Awakened further knowledge, such as extending the language ability to include computer programming languages as well, an uncanny sense of direction and knowledge of geography, or an instinctual understanding of the mechanics of every vehicle in the multiverse and how to fix them. Some of the more sensitive Awakened may gain the ability to be able to sense the presense of other Awakened or Soulcharged.

To any group with multiversal aspirations, Awakened are extraordinarily valuable assets, and their rarity makes this even more so.

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