Attribute Enhancements in World Tree:
This particular topic came up fairly often in our games: it seemed like every single character had at least two or three attributes they’d like to have just a bit higher. While this is possible, there are far more restrictions than most of the players had hoped.
Spell-Based Attribute Enhancements:
Most of the personal enhancement spells given in the book are unsafe to use too often (Usually more then once per day). While this could be due to S’s getting “overdosed” with the relevant magics (usually Co, Mu and/or Su) the fact that other spells which make far more drastic changes – such as Hands For The Cat or Form Of Fire – do not suffer such limits makes it seem unlikely.
Given that the spells do seem to provide potentially-massive bonuses at relatively low complexities, the simplest reason which comes to mind is overstrain; their designs simply don’t include enough buffer factors for the user’s bodies to handle the bonuses they grant safely.
The most obvious way to fix this is to design spells offering lesser bonuses at higher complexities. On the plus side, such spells can have considerably longer durations. This is the approach used for the Grace, Focus, and The Splendid Gift spells described below.
-The following spells are mostly generic; each attribute usually has it’s own variation on each of them – with their own 99 names. I simply don’t feel like naming them all.
“Physical” Attributes (Str, Sta, Dex, Agi, Per, Cha) are manipulable by (Mu Su Co) magic. In general;
“X” Of Madness; (Ru Mu Su Me Co, 15). +P/20 to attribute – partly by enhancement, partly by “overriding” the body’s usual safety mechanisms. At least a 1 in 6 chance to injure yourself. See Pg 241.
Grace Of “X” (10, 20, 35 for +1/ +2/+3). Provides a safe, if fairly minor, boost to an attribute. Range Short, Speed Build, Dur. P/5 Hours, Resist Auto. Providing more then a +3 bonus safely appears impossible.
Shining Splendor Of “X” (20). Temporarily grants an attribute of (+P/10), Max +9, replacing the normal value if the result is higher than that normal value. Short R, Build, P/5 Actions, MR. See Pg 218. This might be somewhat less complex if equipment was not affected.
The Dubious Gift Of “X” (30/40 and 55 for +1/+2/+3). Provides a bonus to X until S botches her resistance versus a Mu Co spell, which cancels it, and costs a permanent Att point as well See Pg 221.
The Splendid Gift Of “X” (45/65/ 90 for +1/+2/+3). Provides a bonus to attribute “X” that lasts until S botches resistance versus a (Mu Co) spell, which cancels it with no ill effect. Range; Short, Speed Build, Dur Sp, Resist Auto.
The Mental Attributes (Fai, Mem, Wit, Wil) are harder to manipulate, and no known technique works on Faith at all. The other attributes employ (Mu Su Me Sp) magic. In general;
Focus Of “X” (15, 30, 50 for +1/ +2/+3). Provides a safe, if fairly minor, boost to an attribute. Range Short, Speed Build, Dur. P/5 Hours, Resist Auto. Providing more then a +3 bonus safely appears impossible.
“X” Of Madness; (Ru Mu Su Me Sp, 20). +P/15 to attribute – partly by enhancement, partly by “overriding” the mind’s usual safety mechanisms. At least a 1 in 6 chance to go temporarily insane on “coming down”. Range Touch, Speed; Fast, Dur P/3 Min, and Resist; MR.
Force Of Insanity (30). +P/15 to Will to a maximum total of +9. S is impossibly pigheaded for the time and is usually very reluctant to change any decisions made while “under the influence” later on. It can be used with fair safety once a day. Range; Short, Speed; Build, Duration; P/5 Actions, and Resist; MR.
Insights Of Insanity (30). +P/15 to Will to a maximum total of +9. S may – especially on a botch or when the spell is overused – have sudden flashes of insight about the world, gods, pure mathematics, or whatever the GM feels like. These may or may not be accurate, are often severely disturbing, and are near-impossible to disprove, since you’ll no longer understand how you arrived at them. Range Short, Speed; Build, Duration P/5 Actions, and Resist; MR.
Hysterical Memory (30). +P/15 to memory to a maximum total of +9. If used more then once per day – or if botched – it tends to cause “flash-backs”, usually to childhood, often to traumatic events – and very rarely to prior lives or possibly simply to fantasies of what those might have been. Range Short, Speed; Build, Duration P/5 Actions, Resist MR.
The Dubious Gift Of “X” (45/65 and 90 for +1/+2/+3). Provides a bonus to X until S botches her resistance versus a Mu Me spell, which cancels it, and costs a permanent Att point as well See Pg 221.
The Splendid Gift Of “X” (55/75/ 120 for +1/+2/+3). Provides a bonus to attribute “X” that lasts until S botches resistance versus a (Mu Co) spell, which cancels it with no ill effect. Range; Short, Speed Build, Dur Sp, Resist Auto.
Enchantment-Based Attribute Enhancement:
“Attribute-boosting” Enchantments are quite straightforward; most are simply “continuous-use” versions of one of the “safe” enhancing-spells. In general, these only work for the person carrying the device and must be carried for at least one hour to take effect. Treat as 3x per day. Physical Enhancements run about 4000 for +1, and 40,000 for +2. +1 on a mental attribute runs about 10,000. Enhancements beyond this are beyond the chart for “Minor Magic Items” and are generally unique.
-It is, of course, possible that the limitations listed on Pg 193, and in many of the spells, are due to a unique “law of nature”, are somehow based on the S’s stamina (Sta+1 per day?), or have something to do with the total duration over which these spells are applied, but these ideas need additional rules to cover them and eliminate possibilities instead of expanding them – and if I didn’t like expanding on things, why would I be writing supplemental rules?
Training Based Attribute Enhancement:
Attribute Training is possible: Enough hard work can raise your Str (QV; Smith Experience) and presumably other attributes can be “exercised” similarily. In game terms, this can be represented as acquiring special skills. In general, these add a +1 bonus to the relevant attributes at specific thresholds – most commonly levels 8, 12, 18, and 26 for physical attributes and 9, 13, 19, and 30, for mental ones – as set by the GM. The procedure is, of course, subject to upper limits – usually +1 or +2 for practical purposes, +3 for masters, and – possibly – +4 for the utterly dedicated. Those stressing combat and attribute-intensive activities over puzzle-scenarios and diceless role- playing will probably decide to use higher thresholds – otherwise these skills may be overly useful.
-For reference, these thresholds correspond to 36, 78, 171, and 351, Exp for the physical skills, and to 45, 91, 190 and 465, Exp for mental ones. Buying a few +1 or +2 boosts may be worthwhile, but trying to go beyond that rarely is.
The usual set of skills includes Athletics (Weightlifting/Str, Gymnastics/Agi, Endurance Training/Sta, and Tai Chi /Dex), Rogue Arts (Alertness/Per, and Mnemonics/Mem), Social (Stoicism / Wil, Assertiveness/Cha) and Knowledge (Religion/Fai and Riddlemastery/Wit). Unlike most skills, these require a lot of upkeep time; character’s may not gain bonuses totaling more then +6 from any combination of them.
Advantage-Based Attribute Enhancement:
Characters may buy advantages after character creation. It normally costs at least 30 XP per point of cost of the advantage and, in general, only “innate” advantages may be purchased: anything that can normally be acquired in play – such as property, experience advantages, families, and social connections – cannot be bought with XP in this fashion. Characters may, in most games, buy up to ten points worth of additional advantages without difficulty. They may buy up to another ten points worth, but will be assigned compensating disadvantages by the game master to counterbalance those benefits. Such intense focus is bound to leave a character vulnerable in other areas.
Such limitations do not apply to advantages acquired in play. If you get granted a social position by a noble, buy a store, become rich, or are granted an enhancement by a god, than so be it.