What are Abilities?

Abilities are akin to spells or techniques. These can range from smaller more subtle things, like a spell that makes an ally move a little faster, to something more notable like a blast of magical fire or a powerful charged sword attack. The possibilities are very vast, but almost all abilities grant active abilities rather than passive ones. In other words, they can't typically be "always-on"; they need to be something you use, rather than something you just have. For example, an ability might grant you the power to lift heavy objects with magic or punch super hard, but it won't just "increase your strength". Think of them as techniques. And, like a standard technique, they always do roughly the same thing.

Balancing Abilities

Powerful abilities might not be able to be used by the average mortal. As such, more powerful abilities have more potent drawbacks. While your stats can make abilities stronger to an extent, the main way to get a more powerful ability is to expand your selection to include something with more drawbacks. This section will go over positive and negative aspects of abilities, and what we consider to be valid drawbacks.

Positive aspects of abilities might include its raw strength and power, its duration, its incredible range, or perhaps even its ease of use. Other good features could be the area it covers or how many people it can target at once, or simply how much effect it has on the narrative.

Negative aspects could include how long it takes to charge up or cast, it being weak or hard to use, or perhaps its short range. Another particularly common drawback is the toll an ability inflicts on the user. Be it fatigue, damage, or a 'self-debuff'. Having to focus to use an ability is another solid drawback. Note that we don't consider arbitrary cooldowns as viable drawbacks, both because they make little sense within the narrative, and because they don't actually inconvenience the user directly.

In short, if two abilities are compared, we'll say the stronger one is the one with the more drawbacks. As the general focus of this roleplay is on the writing, we have no intention of officially quantifying drawbacks and benefits or making an 'ability builder' as we feel it would be too complicated given the flexibility we want to achieve, and dissolve into a mess of min-maxed powergaming. Note that, for simplicity, abilities that affect your other abilities are not allowed. For a full list of the disallowed abilities, see the FAQ.

Pricing Abilities

All simple abilities cost 300 Spirit. A simple ability is something that does the same thing every time it's used (i.e. it has one main use). Note that simple abilities may still have multiple effects. For example, it could hurt an enemy and heal an ally. The drawback of this is that the more things an ability does, the weaker each of those things will be, or the greater toll the ability will take on the user.

Additionally, we do allow some more complex abilities. Complex abilities work by adjusting one or more of the core mechanics of an ability to produce a different outcome. For example, a mage might have the ability to vary the radius of their explosive fireball spell. This might let them cause the explosion to be more compact and thus do more harm in a focused area. Alternatively, another wizard that can channel lightning might have the ability to charge up their lightning strikes and spend more time accumulating magic before releasing it, which would allow them to have the choice of hitting harder at the cost of spending more time casting the spell. As a general rule of thumb, complex abilities tend to take one favourable aspect of an ability (such as its potency or blast radius) and then increase it at the cost of added drawbacks or other positive statistics being reduced, or vice versa.

Complex abilities cost an extra 300 Spirit per variable, although we tend to cap the number of variables off at a maximum of 3 to prevent anything from being too complex for other players to understand. What counts as a variable and what doesn't is ultimately down to the admins and staff. If you're unsure how much to price your ability at, or if it should be two separate abilities, let us know when you submit it for approval and a mod will help you out. As a general rule of thumb, if it makes the ability do something notably different (such as shoot a shard of ice instead of a bolt of fire), it should be a new separate ability. But, if it just alters the original ability a little, such as adjusting the range at the cost of fatigue, then it's a variable. There are also some examples of abilities on [INSERT PAGE HERE].

Writing Abilities

You may format your abilities however you wish, so long as all the information is there. We require a comprehensive list of the required skills (if any), a name for it, a price, and a description of the ability itself. This description should explain what the ability does, even if this is made obvious by the name, and should ideally clarify why it requires the skills it does if not obvious. You may wish to consider some of the following questions when writing an ability's description if they're not things that can be deduced from the context. For example, we all know roughly how far and fast the average javelin can be thrown - no need to elaborate on that unless your ability lets you throw is super far/fast.

How quick is it to use? Is it instant? Does it have to charge up? Can it be used at will?

Can you multitask while using/charging it? Can you move around while charging up your magical laser beam, or do you have to stand still and focus?

How fast does your projectile travel? For magic-based ranged abilities, we expect this to be added. A rough estimate is fine, or a comparison. E.g. 'as fast as a bullet' or 'as fast as a thrown baseball'.

Does it have a limited range? How far can it travel, roughly? What's the effective range?

How powerful is it? Estimate. Give a rough scale, like 'very powerful' or 'somewhat weak'. This isn't strictly required as it can be determined by your stats and the drawbacks, but it is recommended as it can let mods gauge what you're going for.

How big is it? For summoned magical weapons, objects, or projectiles, we like to have a rough size for comparison. Does your magic missile attack shoot little ethereal bullets or larger baseball-sized projectiles?

What does it look like? How is it performed? How does it feel to get hit? These are mostly 'fluff' details, but we recommend you include them if they're not obvious. That way, other players may write your character using the ability in fights.

← Previous Page (Skills) Rules Index Next Page (Legacy Perks) →