Rejected Options

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option one:

this one has a very scifi feel to me, but is a bit too dry and shallow. one of the appeals of the Everway Elements to me is the way in which they work synergetically and symbolically, and the interrelational meanings that come of that.

option two:

this comes of giving the Element wheel an eighth of a turn, and using the old hemispheres as the new attributes. done this way, the new hemispheres become thought, action, might, and feelings, which don't derive quite so nicely from the attributes--they feel like they're really the primary ones. but maybe if i come up with a new set of attribute, um, well, attributes, it'll make more sense. (IOW, not "silent wisdom" is feeling (the current reads more like "feeling is silent wisdom") but "________ wisdom" is feeling.) in any case, you lose a layer of meaning by having the attributes named, rather than symbolized, but it's a pretty good set of attributes, and certainly workable. only problem i see is they seem a bit less obvious when determining which to use for a task.

After some thought, here's a start at working this set of stats out. Sample Quality character sheet.

option three:

this is just keeping exactly the same attributes and correspondences as the Elements, but giving them more-scifi names.

option four:

currently, i'm going with this set, sorta, until we can playtest and see how they work.

LIZARD (your reptilian heritage): Governs the "four Fs" of fundamental biology: fighting, fleeing, feeding, and mating. Strength, endurance, brutality. How you do in a toe-to-toe fights depends on your lizard score. (We all know people who are long on "lizard.")

RAT (your mammalian heritage): Governs mammalian trickiness: cunning, stealth, curiosity. Whether you can get through the security system depends on your rat score.

MONKEY (your primate heritage): Governs social interaction, pair-bonding, and personality. Whether you can impress the constabulary depends on your monkey score.

Next (your destiny): Humanity is diverging along different evolutionary paths. This score (which may be 0) defines how far down your path you've gone, and thus how "inhuman" you are. Possible paths include "Psychic" (for the line that's heading toward the Star Trek "energy being" cliche), "Machine" (for the line that's cyborging), "Transcendent" (for the spiritual unity, mystic stuff crowd), "Symbiote" (for those who are forming a symbiotic relationship with another species, on the way to eventual merger), etc. . . You can make up your own "Next."


Design Notes

LIZARD [snip Lizard, Rat, Monkey, Next descriptions, from JoT]

this is my favorite set of stats, except for the last one. partly, it's just name. we're tempted to call it "Vorlon" around here, but that too-specifically connotes a couple of the paths it should represent. the best i've come up with yet is "Dragon". it connotes something more than any "mere animal", and the evolution seen in the progression of the first 3 is carried through in it, sorta, while still bringing it full-circle 'round due to the reptillian associations of a dragon. dragon's are often seen as transcendent beings, and a dragon doesn't seem overly-fantasyish (like a lot of other fantastic creatures) due to the frequency with which the trope is expanded, adapted, or twisted to fit into scifi. and, like the first three, it's a sign of the Chinese Zodiac. sadly, those 4 don't make a nice quartet around the circle, but, nonetheless, i think i can extract secondary meanings (the hemispheres, opposed pairs, etc.) quite handily from there, giving the holistic feel of the Everway Elements.

I went out and did my research, and i have a preliminary set of stats. Lest anybody bitch, i played fast and loose with Chinese Zodiac, alchemy, and assorted beliefs, also drawing upon both Chinese and Western ascribed qualities, and evolutionary psychology, as well as just plain making some stuff up. So I know this doesn't match actual Chinese occult or folk beliefs very well. Deal.

The four new "Aspects" are Snake, Rat, Monkey, and Dragon, which correspond fairly well with Physical, Mental, Social, and Spiritual, respectively. they are also associated each with an element (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, respectively), but i so far haven't found anything to do with those associations, and they may get dropped. The best way of explaining the various primary and secondary associations is to take a look at the character sheet i've worked up. you'll note that each attribute has it's primary area of influence (physical, mental, etc.) identified, as well as the aspects of each hemisphere it represents. the spiral serves as a symbolic reminder of the evolutionary path traced, with more than a complete loop before Snake and after Dragon--humanity still has far to go. for now, the hemispheres and qualities will have to explain themselves--i'll get a thorough explanation up here when it's not 4AM and i'm not sick.

the hemispheres/pairs, oppositions, etc., should not only reflect the chinese elements and yin/yang, but should be expressed in terms of archetypes Trickster, Healer, Creator, etc.) or other zodiacal animals (hare is cunning like rat and biological like snake, frex).

Other Character Stuff

Name, Motive, and Virtue, Fault, & Fate remain the same in name and function--and import--though the new Fortune Deck will of course be used for the last set.

"Magic" gets renamed "Psionics", as the most genre-appropriate and universal of the powers in scifi. for some settings, it might be essentially unavailable, but for most it seems about as common as magery in the usual Everway setting. Note that, just as "Magic" might not be magery, depending on the setting, "Psychic" might not be psionic abilities. The game-world explanation could be psionics, or magic, or uber-tech, or biology, or whatever.

"Powers" needs a new name, is renamed "Edges", as it now encompasses such things as cyberware, companions, signature possessions (possibly including spaceships and the like) mutant powers, and exceptional (but "normal") abilities, such as aliens might inherently have.

A couple of other changes are made to the basic structure of things. A new category of Special Stuff(TM) is added: the Hindrance. Every character has exactly one Hindrance, which is priced analogously to Edges: is it versatile, frequent, and/or major? Thus, the value of the Hindrance will be from 0 to 3, possibly more. A Hindrance is something that is a special drawback to the character, just as an Edge is a special advantage. It is distinct from the Fault in much the same way that Edges and Psychic are distinct from the Virtue: it is more concrete, rather than karmic or symbolic. A number of additional points equal to the value of the Hindrance are gained to spend on Edges, Psychic, and Aspects.

A similar addition is made to the Aspects/Qualities: in addition to picking a Specialty for each Aspect/Quality, you may pick a Deficiency, which is an area governed by that attribute which you are particularly poor at. There is no need to balance the two--you may have a Deficiency, a Specialty, both, or neither, for any of the Aspects.