Today I’m going to discuss a bit about what I’m working on as a Patreon side project using the Cypher System – a superhero setting built around the concept that until recently the world was as we know it, followed by the arrival of strange creatures known as eidolons that bond to a person and grant them superpowers.
The premise is that recently, another reality rolled into an overlap with ours, as it has in the past, and this overlap allows creatures from that reality to cross over into ours if they can find an anchor point and a source of sustenance. As they feed on mental and emotional energy, this means bonding to a person in a way that excites that person’s emotions. Eidolons, as a result, prefer people with deep-rooted personal doubts and fears, tailing the powers they offer and the form they take to that person.
It’s the normal world that these powers enter into, each person at first thinking that they must be the only one or the only group with these strange creatures and stranger powers. Do they decide to try to be heroes, or act to use their new powers solely for their own benefit? Or, perhaps, do they try to live life as if nothing had changed, trying to be who they were before their eidolon joined them?
It’s a world full of shades of grey; did that super-speedy thief rob a bakery because they were after a thrill, or because they needed to feed their family? Does the man grandstanding with his inhuman strength mean to inspire others, or just show off and try to patch up his insecurity with fame? And when someone tries to be a hero with their new powers, what happens when they misjudge what they’re doing and accidentally injure or kill someone instead of saving them?
Eidolon will include a significant number of ‘negative’ Descriptors, to represent the portion of a character’s personality that drew their eidolon in the first place, as well as a small subsystem for generating the eidolons themselves. During play, an eidolon will either be under the control of the GM as a NPC or (perhaps more interestingly) under the control of another PC at the table. Depending on the nature of the eidolon, it may want to help the PC improve themselves, excite the character’s shortcomings to feed off their emotions more heavily, or encourage them to act out in denial of their flaws and refutations of their mistakes and accidents.
Lastly, there’s fiction being set in the Eidolon universe; Patreon backers will get it as it gets past alpha readers, and the fiction will be included with anything released for the setting once it eventually makes it that far. The iconic characters of the setting will be in the fiction and included as NPCs for use by GMs; these include Morningstar, an insecure young man whose eidolon takes the form of a black stormcrow with powers of flight, strength, and invulnerability; Dusk, a woman whose eidolon is ferret-like with the ability to manipulate her own shadow and use it as a solid object; Meta, a man whose eidolon manifests as a translucent moth with augmented comprehension and intuition; and several others, including a speedster who wants nothing to do with his powers and someone who sees their eidolon and powers as an outgrowth of their faith.
If this interests you, do feel free to drop by my Patreon to offer a vote for work being done on it – and check out the Cypher System Rulebook at the Monte Cook Games site; it comes with a free preview!