Sand and Dreams VII: Barakah Vestiges

Vestiges are physical traces of the Barakah’s jinn ancestry. They have little to no mechanical effect on the game (and thus are optional), but they add valuable atmosphere to a character and game. The strength and obviousness of a character’s vestiges depend on two things: how powerful her jinn parent was, and how powerful she is.

Vestiges should affect nothing in game other than how recognizable a Barakah is as something other than human. Because of this, no system is required for their use. A player simply takes a few vestiges that match his conception of his character. A character with particularly strong and noticeable vestiges, however, may take a few points in influences to represent this.

Obviousness

In many games, not everyone can notice and easily identify the supernatural. In a game where “normal” humans don’t tend to see the supernatural things around them, humans won’t see (or otherwise notice) vestiges unless the Barakah is particularly powerful. In a game where everyone can see the supernatural and they’re used to doing so, everyone should be able to see them. The percentage of the population that can detect a Barakah’s vestiges is entirely up to your genre and style of game-play.

Triggers

Some vestiges may be “always-on” sorts of things. Others may be activated by a trigger. A player can specify “Feverish, triggered by emotion.” Or “Heat, triggered by use of her powers;” come up with something that suits the character and go with that. Vestiges indicate a Barakah’s heritage, but they can also provide a clue to her personality.

Sample Vestiges

  • Attendants: The children of particularly powerful jinn may have very minor fire spirits as “attendants.” These spirits mostly provide light. They can watch over a place, but they can do little more than notify the Barakah of an intruder’s presence — they have few ways to communicate and very low intelligence.
  • Aura of Strangeness: Animals (and some people) notice something odd about the Barakah, and avoid her if possible.
  • Breeze: A hot, dry breeze accompanies the Barakah wherever he goes. (At high levels it may follow him indoors or provoke mild wind or dust storms.)
  • Climate: Whenever the Barakah lives or works in one place for a while, the climate there gradually becomes warmer and drier.
  • Color of Fire: Some part of the Barakah (eyes, hair, skin) reflects his firey heritage in its color. (The color could be reddish, yellow-orange, dusty, or the black of coal. The stronger the vestige the more unusual the color.)
  • Dusty Skin: The Barakah’s skin feels dry and dusty.
  • Exotic Appearance: The Barakah has inherited an exotic appearance from his jinn parent. Whether this is positive or negative depends on how attractive the character is (vestiges do not alter stats, but they could be used as a justification for an existing stat).
  • Eyes of Fire: The Barakah’s eyes smolder with fire.
  • Feverish: The Barakah seems to run a constant fever, although she doesn’t suffer any ill effects from it.
  • Fire-Bound: To a certain extent the Barakah’s personality mirrors the weather around her. Cold makes her sluggish and drowsy; heat and fire make her energetic.
  • Fire-Tracks: Wherever the Barakah walks, traces of fire flicker in his footsteps. At lower levels they die after a few seconds without burning anything. At very high levels they give off sparks that can light flammable materials.
  • Fire’s Attention: The Barakah is energetic and hyper, and has a short attention span. It is difficult for him to sit still or study one thing for very long. Captivity would be a terrible blow to him.
  • Fire’s Wakefulness: This Barakah requires only a little sleep each night (a couple of hours) in order to feel rested and wakeful in the morning.
  • Heat: The Barakah heats up the air around her, perhaps melting snow and ice or wilting delicate flowers if she stands still too long.
  • Hot Skin: The Barakah’s skin is hot to the touch.
  • Hot Water: Whenever the Barakah touches water it grows hot. Depending on the Barakah’s power level the water may steam or even boil. (The amount of water tends to be small, but depends on the Barakah’s power level.)
  • Sand: Bits of sand collect wherever the Barakah goes.
  • Scorch-Marks: This Barakah leaves faint scorch-marks whenever she stands in one place for too long.
  • Smoke: At low levels of power a faint scent of smoke clings to the Barakah. At high levels observers will see visible wisps of smoke coming off of her.
  • Strength of Flame: Flames burn higher and more healthily in the Barakah’s presence.
  • Sunshine: The weather seems to improve whenever the Barakah arrives.
  • Whispers: Faint whispers seem to ride the breezes wherever the Barakah goes.
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