For a campaign setting to have allure, it should have something unique, something you can’t get somewhere else. In our case, that’s obviously the Crystals. In order to keep the allure, it’s important to keep the uniqueness of the Crystals, which is why Nadav (and I) have created this list of guidelines, things we should keep in mind to maintain the spirit of the setting.

Crystals are old

So old, we don’t know where they came from. They’ve been here before any of us, and it seems as if the people of the Bygone Age have used them for various means. Perhaps even created them? (We know almost nothing on the Bygone Age, we barely know anything about our own 800 years of history) You can find them deep in the wilds, or within ancient ruins; they’ve had enough time to influence their environment, to create entire ecosystems around them. This includes entire societies, in some places.

Using Crystals is new

You might be the first to master yours, the first person ever to properly use its powers. You can name any new Crystal you discover – no one has seen them before! (Or at least, no one important. They aren’t considered “discovered” until a Syn Agent has them catalogued) If someone not from Syn uses a Crystal, they probably don’t know what they’re doing. Syn has the most advanced knowledge of Crystals, and even so, they’ve only been doing this for about 30 years. If you don’t have Syn training or equipment, it’s quite probable that the Crystal uses you, it’s Hindrance taking over, it’s powers getting out of control.

Anything supernatural can be traced back to a Crystal

Except (perhaps!) the flying mountains of Masea. A rain of frogs? Probably a Crystal in the lake. Someone’s spirit coming back from beyond the grave? They probably died next to a Crystal with death powers. Syn Agents can use their Crystals in a direct, mostly-understood method, to create several specific effects – but Crystals can also influence their environment in a sort of “radiation”, and thus create strange new things. If you see something that isn’t natural, there must be a Crystal behind it, even if that Crystal isn’t here right now – you can trace a link to a Crystal somewhere.

Trappings are more important than the powers

Each Crystal has a concept, a theme, and its three powers (or Edges) are the most well-practiced ways to express this theme mechanically. Using the Crystal in any other way is very, very hard, and probably unpredictable; over-straining yourself can cause a de-sync ,(so it stops functioning as your heart) but pushing your Crystal beyond its normal uses can make it go feral. If you’d like to do something that corresponds to the theme and trappings of your Crystal, you should be able to at least try it. Circumstances might affect it. (Fire Crystal might be easier to use in a fire cave). And you should probably have a Benny ready.

Crystals go around

You might use a Crystal for an entire adventure, only to switch to a different one for the next one. It might be taken from you by Syn, for use in a different mission, or to help in training new Agents. The Crystal you’re now facing, the one being used maliciously by someone else, might be known to you – or the other way around, they might know your Crystal! The Crystals and the information regarding them are not public knowledge, but people in and around Syn, in circles of power, might know more than they should. Everyone in positions of power is quite aware that Crystals can be either a huge advantage or a huge obstacle.

Crystals are mysterious

We don’t know why they have a demeanour. We don’t understand how they’re able to hold unnatural powers. If there’s a pattern to their colours and shapes, no one in Syn knows about it… or at least, no one told the Agents about it. But we still use them, because, as just said, Crystals give power. Syn, as the main provider of Crystals, is just as mysterious as they are. And Syn knows more than you do.

Shards

Not all Crystals are… whole. To be continued.


Two Players and Up is a weekly podcast in which we talk about the gaming highlights of our lives, with Aviv’s Factoid of the Week, the Patron Song, and discuss Bennies at legnth.

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