Each player takes the role of an archon, a being of great power who shapes the world. You exist in a world beyond this one, one that is only partially connected, and so your influence is limited. At times you will use miracles to influence the world. At other times you'll send champions, monsters, and followers to do your bidding. At other times you will use factions under your influence to shape the world in a broader way.
The first thing you'll need as an archon is a concept. What are you the archon of? What are you good at? What aren't you good at? What's important to you? What do you stand for? What do you oppose? What are your symbols and favorite things?
Let's say we want to pattern your archon after Hades, Greek god of death and the underworld. That's a good high concept; we can do more later.
First, pick a name. We'll be as uncreative as possible and go with Hades.
You'll want to fill in some characteristics as you go. They're not crucial to gameplay, but they will help you flesh out your character. They are as follows:
Concept: You are an archon of __________.
Symbol: What your symbol looks like. Draw it if you can.
Your symbol is your true name, a visualization of the essence of all that you are. That symbol may be marked on anything. The more precisely it is drawn, and the larger it is drawn, the more effective it is and the broader your influence extends from that symbol. In game terms, assume that anywhere your followers have been extensively bears your symbol. Not only can you enact miracles near your symbols, you can be aware of anything going on near any of your symbols, though you are only aware of one thing at any given point in time.
Domains: What natural forces you govern. You will likely pick several.
Given our concept, we already know we're playing Hades, an archon of the underworld. So that's our concept. We pick a cairn as a symbol. We associate the underworld with death, earth, dogs, money, guarding the dead, and fear, so we pick all of those as domains.
Next, aspects. Archons have 5 aspects, representing the spectrum of abilities they possess. These aspects are combat, stealth, charisma, labor, and lore. You get 10 aspect points to distribute among these. An aspect at a particular rating costs aspect points equal to that rating. So charisma of 3 costs 3 aspect points while stealth 2 costs 2 aspect points. Aspects cannot go below 0 or above 4.
Your aspects will determine how effective you as an archon are in those 5 categories as well as the effectiveness of your followers.
Archons also get a power. One to start with, and possibly others as the archon develops.
The 5 AspectsEdit
The aspects that archons use are as follows:
Combat represents your archon's mastery of the body and physical potential. Archons with high combat have followers who are fast, strong, and deadly as well as competent at healing the injuries they take.
Stealth represents your archon's mastery of perception and distraction. Archons with high stealth have followers who are able to move unseen while seeing everything around them.
Charisma represents your archon's mastery of social interaction and beauty. Archons with high charisma have followers who are excellent leaders, manipulators, orators, and deceivers.
Labor represents your archon's mastery of trade and work. Archons with high labor have followers who are excellent smiths, carpenters, weavers, writers, painters, merchants, and masons.
Lore represents your archon's mastery of knowledge and magic, mostly magic. Archons with high lore have followers who are researchers, intellectuals, priests, and mages.
These aspects both represent your ability to constantly support your followers in small ways in everything they do and your ability to perform major miracles in those areas. Beyond that, it also represents your followers learning your ways and your drawing the people who are most talented in the areas you specialize in. Say a strong warrior joins with an archon with a combat aspect rank 4. That warrior will have the archon's power flowing slowly, imperceptibly through him. He'll be a bit stronger, a bit faster, a bit healthier. He'll be inspired to train harder and push his body to the limits. The strictures of the archon will encourage him to be a better fighter. If he switches to serve an archon with combat at 0, suddenly things change. The power he had grown accustomed to no longer aids him in any way. He'll be inspired to develop in ways outside of combat, as his archon and that archon's followers push him into developing things the archon values more. And the moral system the archon expects means that the warrior will be hampered by taboos and obligations that leave him unable to fight effectively.