We encourage players to come up with gift ideas. Here's some guidance on how to go about doing so.
Remember what we said when we talked about character concepts: Yes, you really are that awesome! Tell us what you really want to do, and we'll try to find a way to make it work, within the constraints of the genre.
That said, there are a few hard-and-fast rules:
- This is a swords-and-sorcery fantasy genre. Avoid powers that would be more at home in a superheroes genre.
- No "psi" powers, such as mind-reading, mental domination, possession, telekinesis, and telepathy.
- No "superscience" powers, such as molecular manipulation.
- No instant "I win" powers that cannot be reasonably defended against, including powers oriented towards surprise attacks.
- No ability to pinpoint the locations of people or things, either locally or in shadow.
- No instant teleportation to arbitrary places.
- No spying-from-afar, "I sit in my room and listen to other people" abilities, or similar interaction-discouraging things.
- No unlimited shadow-travel for anything not based in Pattern.
- No direct manipulation of Shadow for anything not based in Pattern.
- There is no shadow to manipulate in Amber. No one can shape Amber, shadow-walk into or out of it, etc.
Narrative and Rules
When you ask about a new gift, we are interested first and foremost in what a gift's scene and color effects are, and NOT its mechanics. Put another way, we're interested in the question of, "If this were a movie, and your character used this gift, what would that look like to the viewer?" This is about color, drama, and impact. It's about what's shown or implied, narratively, when this gift is used. In other words, this is the "cinematic".
Ultimately, the staff writes gifts with narrative in mind. We try to articulate each individual gift in such a way that they are easily interpreted and not readily abused, but we are very much "spirit of the rule" rather than "letter of the rule". Your fellow players don't want to deal with rules-lawyering, and they shouldn't have to put up with it. When you think about your gifts, keep in mind that they need to be as fun for other players to experience as they are for you to play.
To that end, gift descriptions are living entities. The staff can and will clarify gift descriptions as we get feedback about how they're used in play, as we look at gifts as a whole, and as we think things through a little more thoroughly. (A gift, after all, is essentially a special rule; it's almost guaranteed to be imperfect right out the gate.) Such clarifications usually cover questions raised by players who have those gifts, and people who see a +declare of them, but modifications may also be made as a result of unintended use, complaints of abuse, or the realization that the gift as written invites problems in play. Gifts may also get additional abilities or expansion of existing ones, as new possible uses are raised or their power level is increased to bring them in line with other abilities of similar cost.
If you are trying to get a unique set of gifts for a new character, we encourage you to discuss this interactively with one or more GMs. Describe your general concept and the kind of things you see your character doing. (For example: Something that was a little too anime to be in-theme, and was turned down, but is nevertheless an interesting idea that makes a good example of a color concept, was someone who wanted to be a paper-mage — someone who made origami and then could use the paper creations to accomplish magical effects.) We can and will create entirely new gift trees for brand-new characters. We generally discourage new players from writing formal gift proposals; just talk it over with the GMs and you should get taken care of.
If you are an experienced player and are wanting to write a gift proposal, you can use:
+submit gift = very short summary
to create a proposal. You'll be put in the editor automatically to write up the details.
The elements of a good proposal answer the following questions, directly or indirectly:
- How does this gift fit into the narrative of a scene, dramatically?
- What is this gift's cinematic?
- What does this gift actually do?
- What elements of this gift are important to you?
Please do not propose any mechanics. The GMs will worry about that. We mean that. Don't propose any mechanics. Don't propose prerequisites, bonuses or tokens, powerbits, etc.; focus entirely on how you expect to use it in play. However, if you would like some guidance as to what you can expect your gift to cost, and what kinds of things are reasonable in a gift, see our Gift Examples.
When you propose a gift, you will be asked to commit to buying it if it is created. The only exception is for propcos who are asking for things that other people in their prop will be buying.