'Ey everyone. I've had this concept floating around my head for a while now, and since it's about half a year since I GM'd my last group RP, I figure it couldn't hurt to see if I could gather interest for it.
Basically, the RP takes place in the late 21st Century after the ice caps melted. Supernatural powers not only exist, but could be considered a daily part of life. Naturally, something that allows humanity to surpass their natural limitations and potentially gain psuedo-godlike heights of power can, did, and will eventually be used for the force of evil. To put a stop to this, the governments of the world decided to set aside a location for something known as the 'Ability Research and Education Area'. Located in, and consisting of the entirety of what used to be the British Isles, the Area/A.R.E.A. was established with the dual purpose of 'holding a neutral monopoly over all supernatural resources' and 'providing a safe and suitable environment in which young ability users can hone their abilities'. Within the confines of AREA lies a sort of 'academic paradise' for the population of approximately 2 million students and researchers/teachers; a veritable collection of schools and research facilities dedicated to the study of the occult abilities of its students, as well as the development of new technologies based off of the research gained from study these abilities.
Now it probably sounds like your average academy roleplay, just with minimal background. I understand your concern. However, the usage of a setting that's more than just the school provides a lot more possibilities for plots and subplots. For example, we could have a bunch of underground groups consisting of students battling to the death, or have an uprising of the bullied weak against the strong that pick on them, or even just plain slice of life if that's your thing.
Okay, to be completely honest, that last paragraph was my excuse for not having a 'real' plot for this. Besides, I'm not really too fond of/good at railroading players into a plot set in stone, and I figure other people have good ideas, so I'd be fine with user-submitted arcs going on and such while I work out the kinks for an overarching plot, and occasionally initiate a major event.
Now I figure you guys want to know about the power system I have planned for this. To be truthful, I have two different systems (that are loosely modeled off of each other) we could use:
In AREA, several new and improved advances have been created; miracle drugs, power armor, advanced robotics and prosthesis, among other things to be shared with the rest of the world. However, the exclusive scientific advancement within AREA that became the reason that many have flocked to its shores, is the ability to bestow upon humans psychic abilities. Unlike magic, which is hard to even learn and much harder to master, the procedure that grants these psychic abilities is faster and much more accessible, given that you live within the only place that it is available. While the exact details of the procedure in question are highly classified, but the primary consensus is that it rewires the 'circuits' of one's brain to create brainwave patterns different from those of regular people, allowing one to utilize the latent abilities they have. The powers gained by people who have gone through this procedure are dubbed 'Advancements'.
In its most basic description, Advancements can be described as minor, extremely specialized reality warping facilitated by using altered brainwaves to reject reality as normal people see it, and replace it with one where their power can manifest. However, this doesn't allow an Advancement to go around doing whatever willy-nilly, the user still needs to know exactly how their power works in the way they're going to use it. To provide an example, imagine an Electrokinesist who puts all his time into learning about how use his Advancement for physical purposes like throwing lightning bolts. Because he devoted all of that time into excelling at throwing lightning, he didn't get any time to figure out how to hack into a computer. Similarly, the reverse also applies; an Electrokinesist who studies how to hack can hack almost anything, given necessary personal skill at using his power, but probably could only be able to produce unstable sparks. Furthermore, a person can only have one kind of Advancement because, despite the fact that an Advancement user has an altered brain, their brain is still human and cannot handle processing too many abilities. In addition, all Advancements are calculation-based and require a sufficient mental processing capacity to even use their most basic function. While visualization does work for certain types of abilities' functions, such as moving a stone with Telekinesis, other abilities require precise calculations in order to avoid catastrophic consequences. In addition, familiarity is a problem for 'visualizers' because Advancements are all about what you believe and think, associate giant balls of napalm too closely with 'fire' and your Pyrokinesist is going to be in a lot of trouble.
If the previous system could be described as using one's 'personal belief' to change the environment, this could be described as using the 'collective belief' to change the environment. Essentially, this means that this form of power is based off organized belief in a concept, whether it be a god, a mythology, or any other form of concept. Though it isn't necessary for the user to believe in the concept they're using. What's really important is that enough people held a belief in something and created rituals, spells, etc. dedicated to its power. Although, this doesn't mean that a widely used spell is more powerful or easier to cast, in fact it's quite the opposite. The 'cost' of a spell, or the amount of magical energy that it takes to get it up to base power, directly correlates with the rarity of the casting method, e.g. casting a spell nobody uses anymore will be both cheaper to cast and probably more powerful, but using a spell everyone uses will be more expensive and probably less powerful.
To put it simply, imagine that a spell is a bank full of beliefs invested into it. Every time you cast that spell, you're making a small withdrawal. It's a very large resource for sure, but if people are casting/withdrawing from it tens of thousands of times a day, it'll never build up to useful levels.
Incidentally, when casting the spell, the letter of the rules matter less than the spirit, e.g. a spell is based off of the Aztec practice of wearing jaguar skins to gain the animal's abilities doesn't have to use an entire jaguar skin, one could use a little jaguar skin wallet/belt, or even a different animal entirely to gain that animal's abilities. As long as you have the skin of something other than yourself, you're fine.
Earlier I described the spells 'costing' something. That something is... Nope not Mana. Well, not only Mana, to be specific. To cast spells, one needs to refine raw magical energy into usable energy. To get raw magical energy, one can look for one or more of the three sources:
While everyone does have Mana within them, this doesn't mean that everyone can use magic. If the magical talent is rejected for more than 13 years, one loses the ability to refine magic altogether, and loses the ability to pass it on to their children, though this doesn't bar the untalented to have magical children with a talented individual of the opposite gender. Incidentally, the current probability of being born a magic user is 1-in-7000
- Mana, previously known as chi, life force, or vital energy but referred to as 'Mana' since the term is in vogue within fictional works. Mana reserves vary from person to person.
- Leylines and Landmarks. Leylines are invisible conduits of magical energy that flow between alignments between Landmarks, while Landmarks describes locations of religious, mythological, folkloric, or otherwise legendary significance that amplify spells connected to them when nearby.
- Artifacts and Replicas. Artifacts are very similar to Landmarks in that they are objects of religious, mythological, or otherwise legendary significance capable of the powers that they are traditionally described of doing and are amplified by Landmarks generally associated with them. Replicas, on the other hand, are objects similar to Artifacts, but with toned down abilities because they were created and enchanted by humans, rather than... Whatever makes these things. These Replicas only receive a minuscule fraction of the power that the Artifacts they were modeled off of. The process is much like that of the Sun and solar panels. The Sun/Artifacts provides energy to solar panels/Replicas, but the solar panels cannot reach or store the same amount of energy that the actual Sun provides.
Now, I figure there's three ways we could go about this.
1. Use Power System 1 (Experiment-based) for the RP.
2. Use Power System 2 (Magic) for the RP.
3. Use both for the RP (and possibly build some sort of plot from it)
Yeah, I know it seems pretty long, but that's the concept of it. If enough people are interested I'll throw up the OOC. Questions are welcome, as are Title suggestions since I'm absolute shit at making them.