Baking Your Noodle – Perks, Power-Ups, Spells & Magic Items In The Real World?

What would an RPG be without things like perks and power-ups? Magic items and spells?

Not a very interesting one, for sure.

Now…I know what you’re thinking. “Vel…that’s a bridge too far. Sure, sure, it’s one thing to construct Quests that can “change stuff” in the real world, but spells? Magic items? Now you’re just being silly.”

But…am I?

First, let’s define what a magic item is:
A magic item must be earned via a quest. It cannot be purchased. It must be “keyed to” a specific, named individual, and of course, it must actually “DO something” tangible in the real world. Otherwise, it’s just a game concept. It has to be able to bridge the gap between the worlds, just like the player does.

Here’s the first magic item I’ve developed – The Ring of Persuasion.

Remember before, when I was describing the difference between the Free and Paid accounts? Paid members can create votables, which everyone can vote on. Votables are essentially fund raisers that raise awareness, and ultimately money for Holon-specific social goals (an industrial washer/dryer for the local homeless shelter, more warehouse space for the local Salvation Army, etc).

The rule is – one account per user, one vote per account.

So – one day, you complete a quest, and you get a rather cryptic email from the Quest Admin. It informs you that you can complete the Quest you’re working on as-is, or, you can perform a bit of extra work (as outlined in the email). In addition to the extra work, you also need to secure an RFID tag, a biometric sensor, and 1.5 ounces of silver, delivering these items to your Holon’s FabLab (Fabrication Laboratory).

No further explanation is given.

If you choose to do these things, you’ll get a call from the FabLab managers a day or two after you drop off the materials. On your return to the Lab, you are greeted by a man who is wearing surgical gloves and holding an ornate silver ring.

It’s powered by…you. When you put it on, the biometric sensor bonds to you, and creates a unique account for the ring that is slaved to your account. If you’re wearing the ring when you vote on a votable, the ring’s account automatically votes the same way you did.

End result: You get two votes. The votes can and will impact which projects are given priority in terms of funding, and funded projects are the real world impact.

Magic item.

Spells are done in the same way. I’ve only created a few of these so far, but here are two examples:

Blessing: Reserved for high level characters, each character starts with one blessing “counter” and earns more with each new level (starting at level 7). Blessings cannot be given to yourself, but they may be stacked (a player can receive multiple blessings). Blessing counters automatically generate a small number of GC, every month. So if you, for instance, see a homeless man and want to help, you can simply give him a blessing. There’s a verbal component, so you’ll be wearing your open source equivalent to Google Glasses, etc., and speaking loudly enough that the mic can pick up your words.

The blessing creates a new account for the homeless person (if he doesn’t already have one), then attaches to the new account. The person so blessed can immediately use the Gc award to buy food or other essentials.

In a similar vein, players can “Invoke Aid,” which is designed to allow players to accomplish ever-larger tasks solo, if no allies are readily available. Invoking Aid is basically a way of “hiring” help from the network, with the network paying Gc for their assistance. Other players can volunteer (or not) to be put on the Invocations list (specifying a maximum range they’re willing to help in).

When the call is made, all those within range on the invocation list are notified, and given a numeric value (how many people are needed, WHAT is needed, etc). They can send a response signal via the Network, and enter an ETA. Each person who does this reduces the need counter by one, until zero is reached. The person making the Invocation is in charge. He or she is the one who directs the effort in question. It’s an ad hoc organizational structure, specific to the task at hand.

And there you have it. We can now introduce magic back into the world.


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