I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#1
Okay so I've been working on this story for a while now and I've got pretty much everything worked out except the power system, so I wanted to get some advice and help with sorting it out and making it at least decent. I'm really sorry for not giving any details on the power system in the original post, it honestly didn't even occur to me to do that so I've edited the info in.

Okay so the setting is just a typical adventure setting with guilds, monster hunts, and dungeons but I wanted to do something a little different from your typical magic power system. So first off everybody in this world uses prana as a power source for their abilities, and as for the abilities themselves I plan on having a few broad categories that the powers will fall under. Such as a 'physical' category for characters who have abilites that greatly enhance their physical abilities or augment their body in some way, for instance think of a character who can transform into a dragon or take on a dragon's traits. As for the specific abilites themselves I plan to call them tokens, so basically instead of someone asking you "what type of magic do you use" they'll ask you "what's the name of your token and how does it work". I also plan to have the amount of prana a character has be dependent on how much their parent's have but also be something that can be increased through meditation or other means. 

Actually while I was writing this I thought of a way for the categories to work, okay so the categories would be seperated like party classes such as having a healer or support category for tokens that can heal or buff up their teammates. That being said I want the abilities to remain pretty abstract for example you can have one healer be able to heal people by covering their wounds in a slime they create where as another healer could say the word "reverse" and make the wound disappear. But that leaves the question of how the other categories that aren't as specific in function will work, such as a swordsman category and for that I think it'll be fine as long as the ability compliments the category itself. It could also be heavily dependent on your parents abilities and categories, such as both your parents using fire or heat based tokens with a sword and then you end up with a token that uses lava so instead of using a sword you use a club or hammer maybe you even use molten armour and act as the vanguard. 

I think that setting it up that way could really work and be kinda unique but all of this is still up in the air, so with that being said I hope explained things well and gave enough information so that we can iron things out. 
 

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#6
So this sounds like "Prana" or in a more general term mana or the energy in your power system works as a fuel for tokens or abilities. Are tokens just spells or techniques that someone can learn or are they limited? For example do they need to absorb or integrate them or can they just remember a pattern and learn endless amounts of abilities. If they are limited, why and how? And why does cultivating prana increase your capacities? i think asking whys rather than hows will answer alot of questions you never knew you would ask and will prevent plotholes later on, or the need to add something you forgot! But im a reader not a writer! But im also trying writing currently. 

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#7
Are the amount of tokens one can wield limited? I believe they should be, since it would create a power gap between the rich and the poor. The rich would just hoard tokens for themselves, so that they can be incredibly versatile.

Is integrating with a token easy? Like, are there no criteria? Like, a physical fighter token can only be used by a person who is above a certain level when it comes to physical stats. And a magic based token can only be used by someone who is relatively smart or witty.

Is obtaining a token easy? Like, can they be created? Or are they found though serendipity or something? Or maybe each person is born with a token, then when they die or they're killed, the token just falls to the ground or something?

DrakanThinking

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#8
Yes prana is basically just mana, as for tokens they're not techniques there abilities that your born with but you need prana to use them and as you cultivate and increase your prana it allows you to use more powerful variations of your token. For example if your token lets you transform into a humanoid lion you'd only be able to gain claws, sharp teeth and maybe a bit of a boost to your strength but if you increase how much prana you have then you'd be able to gain access to your full transformation. You could also pratice controlling the flow of your prana in order to do more difficult or dilicate things with your token. For instance maybe you don't want to fully transform but you want access to the sharper senses that being transformed gives you, well you'd only be able to do that by praticing how to control your prana. 

So with all that established I'd like to say thank you for the response and it's perfectly okay that your not necessarily a writer yet, it means that your perspective will be different from mine which increases the chance of you shining a light on something I didn't think about. Which you did since I hadn't actually been thinking about the why's of my power system. 

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#9

Ah ok so if you had unlimited prana you had godlike levels of powers with your tokens. I see the problem, think it would be cool to add another use for prana. Not mainly connected to the tokens but also capable of being influenced by them. i dont know the rules and laws of prana but for example you can manifest prana by expelling it out of your body, but you can also influence this exact manifestation with your token giving diffrent effects. like a dragon transformation token giving you the abilitie to not expell prana but prana imitating fire or any other element a dragon has. Or with a lion token which would be less obvious what a manifestation would entail. Maybe the fear of a predator like an aura. Or extending hands, forming them into claws or expelling it on your legs to enhance these specific muscle areas! Its definetly a lot harder to think about something like that with such small information and not having read the novel.

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#11
There are a few world building considerations that a hereditary system like this implies.
1) extremely unequal division of power where a few families control the vast majority of wealth and resources is likely since over the years powerful individuals (high prana and his tokens) consolidate their power and optimize there cultivation techniques while also stealing talent to either join their family or off them.
2) tokens that help gather resources like food water building supplies etc should be highly valued unless killing monsters somehow provides an influx of resources. Like Iron Beetle Carapace that can be further refined into weapons but also building studs or roof shingles.
3) what you've described so far sounds like a hereditary version of He Who Fights With Monsters. Perhaps you can get further inspiration from that book?

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#12
I agree with the social implications mentioned by Flamebeard, but I will go one step further: generational growth and compound interest. 

If the amount of prana you start with is dependent on that of your parents, and how much you have cultivated, then each successive generation will start at a higher power level than the previous. 

Additionally, children born from older parents will also be stronger/have more potential. This could lead to a rather imbalanced marriage culture, especially among the elite: if you stick with basic biology, there's a hard limit on how old a woman can be and still have children. On the other hand there's no such hard limits with men. As such, to ensure heirs with the most potential, serious age gaps would happen: women close to menopause and men as old as they can get would be considered the ideal pairing to procreate.

What's the balance between individual and collective power like in your society? What are the hard and soft limits of power? 

As for the powers themselves: the token system you mentioned is way too convenient. Unless you are fine with handwaving it, you need to do the logic behind them. How do tokens form, in the first place? Are they an expression of some sort of absolute idea (see Platon), do they come from some kind of shared knowledge base (a Jungian idea of shared consciousness, Hellinger's field, some kind of Akashic Scrolls) or were they intentionally created (gods, an ancient civilisation, an experiment gone wrong)?

How much instinctive knowledge do the tokens confer? Do people know what they can currently do, are they aware of their potential power, does the knowledge of cultivating prana come with the tokens? Is the cultivation universal or dependent on the token itself? 

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#13
Now that you've brought it to my attention someone getting access to a limitless supply of prana would be a big problem, so I think I'll make it so that your body will start to break down and you won't be able to actually control the prana which would also mean that you can't control your token abilites so bascially you'll self-destruct. You also mentioned giving prana another purpose and I think connecting prana with weaponry and equipment would be a good idea. Such as prana powered communication devices or weapons made of a material that's really good at conducting prana and allows you to use your tokens ability from afar. For example if your token ability is fire you could focus prana into an arrow then once you shoot the arrow and it hits something you could activate your token so that it bursts into flames, but that's just one idea.

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#15
Do you have a core or a batter of sorts to store prana or is it, idk, in the body constantly passively cycling around? Either way you can use this to improve on your capacity, usage speed and maybe more power behind each Prana applications. This would give a great risk vs reward in cultivation. You have to push your limits to get on the power level of breeded royal bloodlines or super nations bloodlines. And yet you run the risk of destroying your core and therefore crippling you. An even worse ending then just death. It would also limit rich people from just having limitless amounts of prana and have commoners catch up with enough time and dedication!

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#16
Flamebeard Wrote: There are a few world building considerations that a hereditary system like this implies.
1) extremely unequal division of power where a few families control the vast majority of wealth and resources is likely since over the years powerful individuals (high prana and his tokens) consolidate their power and optimize there cultivation techniques while also stealing talent to either join their family or off them.
2) tokens that help gather resources like food water building supplies etc should be highly valued unless killing monsters somehow provides an influx of resources. Like Iron Beetle Carapace that can be further refined into weapons but also building studs or roof shingles.
3) what you've described so far sounds like a hereditary version of He Who Fights With Monsters. Perhaps you can get further inspiration from that book?
 

Okay so in regards to the first point I was playing on leaning into that by having families who've done exactly that have a lot of influence and control when it comes to guilds and the like, I even made it so that two of my main characters backstories were deeply rooted in that. It's also why I brought up the idea of different classes like healers and tanks being important for things like dungeons so that it can balance things out a bit more. Of course that doesn't by any means fix the power imbalance but I think it'll help mitigate things. As for the second point I hadn't even thought about that, so I think I'll just respectfully steal your idea of having monsters and dungeons providing invaluable resources in order to counteract that, as for the third point I'll check up on that book thanks for the recommendation.   

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#17
SamHaine Wrote: I agree with the social implications mentioned by Flamebeard, but I will go one step further: generational growth and compound interest. 

If the amount of prana you start with is dependent on that of your parents, and how much you have cultivated, then each successive generation will start at a higher power level than the previous. 

Additionally, children born from older parents will also be stronger/have more potential. This could lead to a rather imbalanced marriage culture, especially among the elite: if you stick with basic biology, there's a hard limit on how old a woman can be and still have children. On the other hand there's no such hard limits with men. As such, to ensure heirs with the most potential, serious age gaps would happen: women close to menopause and men as old as they can get would be considered the ideal pairing to procreate.

What's the balance between individual and collective power like in your society? What are the hard and soft limits of power? 

As for the powers themselves: the token system you mentioned is way too convenient. Unless you are fine with handwaving it, you need to do the logic behind them. How do tokens form, in the first place? Are they an expression of some sort of absolute idea (see Platon), do they come from some kind of shared knowledge base (a Jungian idea of shared consciousness, Hellinger's field, some kind of Akashic Scrolls) or were they intentionally created (gods, an ancient civilisation, an experiment gone wrong)?

How much instinctive knowledge do the tokens confer? Do people know what they can currently do, are they aware of their potential power, does the knowledge of cultivating prana come with the tokens? Is the cultivation universal or dependent on the token itself?

Alright so in regards to your first point, when I said that the amount of prana you have is dependent on your parents I meant only in terms of your max amount, say for instance your dad had a max of 100 and your mom had a max of 110 then you'd have a max anywhere between 115-135, I think I should also add the stipulation that you can't increase your max prana without potentially damaging your body. Which I mentioned in my response to bradur but that's also assuming your actually able to reach your maximum potential in the first place, since regardless of that I'll have it so that everyone starts at a very similar base line amount of prana and have the journey to increaese it take longer the older you get. I should also make it so that you can overexert yourself by using more prana than your body is capable of handeling at that time. Hopefully that will take care of that age gap thing since I don't really feel comfortable writing that, so with that being said I want the focus to be more on how fast you manage to increase your prana to your max amount(assuming you can) and your control over it. 

As for the next thing you mentioned that being the social power of the individual and the collective, now for that I'll reference what I said to flamebeard as well as another one of his ideas. So I think indiviual power is gonna be pretty weak in my society because of the existance of guilds and powerful families who've built themselves up, as for collective power I think it'll be really strong but not overly oppressive for two reasons. For one the differnt classes will try to keep each other in check by constantly trying to overtake one another and secondly(here comes flamebeards idea) the existence of large very high level dungeons, where monsters could escape from and threathen to over take things if any one of the major guilds/families disappears without a proper replacement. I think this answers your question but if not I'd like to ask for further clarification so that I can hopefully give a better answer.

Now for your last point I hadn't actually put much thought into the origin of tokens and prana, so now that I'm thinking of it I'm not quite sure of how I want that to work but I do know that I'd like to have it relate back to the dungeons and monsters. But using what you listed I think the closest thing to what I'm going for is the Hellingers field, since it remains abstract and rather open-ended but hints to something deeper/higher and I think that would work well for my story. That being said outside of the quick google search I did and the surface level info that I remember from different stories that seemingly used those concept's, I don't actually know alot about them. I'd also like to add that I'm not sure if I should do heavy research on them and others to see what works or simply gleam information and try to come up with my own framework based off one or all of them. So any guidance you could give on that would be great.  

Moving on to the last thing you mentioned I think I'd like to set it up so that your body and mind would instinctively realize that you've gained access to your token upon your initial awakening but you wouldn't know exactly what it was or how it worked, you'd simply know that you could use it. This same thing would apply whenever you gain access to another aspect of your tokens ability, for instance going from only being able to conjure a fireball to being able to cloak yourself in armor made of fire. But of course you wouldn't know that you could cloak yourself in flaming armor nor would you be able to use it properly without praticing it first. As for people being aware of their potential power that would only apply to those whose tokens have existed in the world before(you can reference my previous response to bradur for an explanation on repeat tokens) and those whose token ability is shown to be either very destructive or deadly after using it for the first time. 

Lastly I don't plan to make how you cultivate your prana be all that important and instead just focus on actully doing it and doing it often, as for how the cultivation process would even work. I plan to make it similar to training your cardiovascular system where you try exhausting all of your prana but not to a unhealth or taxing degree, just enough to put some stress on it and then let your body rest and reset. It will also be important to practice manipulating your prana so that you can perfom more difficult moves and techniques with your token abilities as well as learning how to use them in ways that conserve prana. 

Okay I think I covered every point you raised also sorry for the super late response I had business to take care of and it honestly took me a while to come up with and write all this.   

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#18
Funny thing, your last paragraph is something i completly obliterated with my second chapter. With a 350 word count explanation of cultivation in a mass produced book. I know it will scare people off but thats what i wanted to do! Set baselines that will enable YOU, the reader, to cultivate. And thats exactly what i do. I cultivate what i write in my book, so i had to set my own baselines. And i did that in writing and publlishing. But thank's A LOT (something i learned a few days ago...) for this post! Helped me quite a bit to think about my own stories!

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#19
Bradur-iwnl- Wrote: Funny thing, your last paragraph is something i completly obliterated with my second chapter. With a 350 word count explanation of cultivation in a mass produced book. I know it will scare people off but thats what i wanted to do! Set baselines that will enable YOU, the reader, to cultivate. And thats exactly what i do. I cultivate what i write in my book, so i had to set my own baselines. And i did that in writing and publlishing. But thank's A LOT (something i learned a few days ago...) for this post! Helped me quite a bit to think about my own stories!

I'm not a hundred percent sure that your talking to me but thank you for responding and helping me, also it sounds like you put alot of effort into the cultivation for your story which was a really ballsy move I might add. I also really like the mindsight you expressed along with it but regardless of if you were talking to me or not I'm glad that the thread I started ended being of help to you. I also want to just quickly touch on what you said in your post before this one, the prana would be flowing around within essentially blood vessels of there own and weirdly enough I ended up structuring my cultivation system similarly to what how you said you would do it.  

Re: I would very much appreciate it if I could get some help ironing out the power system of my story.

#20
I'd grade the tokens into categories of some sort. You can increase it by using the token, but at the end of every category (or at least high ones), there should be a bottleneck, such as, for a levitation token, "Levitate something 15 meters." Each grade should be a massive power increase (for example, an F-grade token for breathing fire has the fire at 100 degrees Celsius, an E-grade token is 1000 Celsius, a D-grade token is 10000 Celsius, and so on). You don't have to use letters, but use letters, gems/metals, or something like that, which group levels, which are a minor power increase (in the fire breathing example, an F-grade token level gives 1 Celsius, an E-grade 10 Celsius, a D-grade 100 Celsius, and so on). Don't make levels go the full way (in the fire breathing example, a grade should be 50-75 levels), to make the grade up better than levels. I'm fine if you use this exact system, but don't make it too different, that is how most good ones do (there are a few that don't do something like that, but as always, don't emulate the outliers). I'd make it so you can regenerate prana and it is kind of like mana. In the high grades, make it so levels take years, but in early grades, they take weeks. Make levels harder throughout a grade. Also, a grade shouldn't only make the token and its powers better. It should, at the least, increase prana, lifespan, and strength.