According to my recently purchased copy of The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols by Adele Nozedar, a wand is a symbol of power. Adele writes “The wand is an essential tool for anyone who aspires to a position of authority and power: witches and wizards, druids, bishops, and the monarchy”. I had always considered wands to be associated with wizards and fairies and the like, but had never carried that notion over to bishops and monarchs before. What an interesting idea. It made me wonder what modern day items would be considered wands based on this definition of a wand as a tool representing authority and power.
Modern day wands
The first that comes to my mind is the gavel. I can’t help but see this as a wand based on Nozedar’s description. Considering the authority we consider a judge to have, and certainly the authority considering they can hold your life in their hands. Though I must admit while I can easily tie a judge’s gavel to power and authority, I have trouble imagining it providing any sort of magical ability to the wielder in the way I typically visual a wand doing.
The next that comes to mind is a school teacher’s marker. This, of course, has changed over time and depends on the circumstances. In many cases today it is the dry erase marker or the greatly feared red pen. While teachers are not the figures of authority to adults that they are to school children, there is still power in the red pen that marks your mistakes and your grades on each paper you turn in. A small wand by most standards but perhaps a stronger level of magic due to that.
I am sure there are other great modern day wands out there, what can you think of?
Bring it to you RPG
So neat idea but how does it apply to your RPG game. I can see this being a great tie in either in a ShadowRun or Champions game. Any of your major NPC’s could be a closet magic user, implementing their wand as a focus item without letting on to the world their true nature or abilities. It could be used as a surprise for the characters who may not see it coming. Back in the day I played in a Champion campaign where many of the major politicians were magic users, they just used them to gain and keep their positions and only as much as needed so that it was not well known to the general population. Just goes to show that magic users can wield their power in a low-key, yet highly effective way.
What creative ways have you used wands or focus items in your games?
There are so many places to gain inspiration for the plots that a DM throws their character group into. For me I find much of my inspiration comes from the books have read as well as the movies I have watched, that combined with my own vivid and active imagination. Since I run primarily Fantasy Genre games there is not much from the modern day that I draw from. However, my husband has introduced me a show that, while a number of years old, would provide plenty of plot ideas for the modern or near future genre DM.
Our current old TV show on Netflix is Mission Impossible; which aired from 1966 to 1973. For me this puts the show airing before I was even born, but it is still awesome enough to deserve watching. I would dare say that we have all heard of it, especially the “this message will self destruct” quote, but many of us have not actually watched it; at least I hadn’t until this last month. The show definitely shows it age in the dress and manners of the actors, but the plot is top rate, as is the scripting. It is an excellent training for anyone looking to run a Shadowrun game or better yet a D20 modern game. The situations are great, and far better than what I could think up. And even if your players were complete Mission Impossible buffs the randomness of the dice rolls and character skill sets would prevent them from following the script of the show exactly. Heck, even in the show it often doesn’t go as planned and they have to fake it and fly off the cuff to get through and out again.
In the last episode we watched, the group of agents had to infiltrate a foreign group looking to do something in the way of an attack on America. To infiltrate the group to learn what it they were doing and stop it, they captured another group of people who were supposed to go to the training session and then pretended to be them. In the end this had he agents pretending to be foreigners in a training environment learning how to be American’s. I won’t give away the whole plot, but just this group of American agents pretending to be foreign agents who were to be pretending to be American’s was rather enjoyable to watch.
So if you are looking for new and fresh plot ideas for your games, then I suggest you take a look at some older TV shows and movies to see what they have to offer. Not everyone sitting at your table will be in the know of the show’s plot and you can add fuel to your creative GM imagination bringing your games to life.
So cruising my favorite Science News site tonight I stumbled on what is being dubbed the future of computers. Especially in regards to smart phone technology I can see this coming fast, but then doesn’t all the tech come fast these days?
A group has developed a flexible phone that duplicates the myriad of features that a smart phone has, though it adds another way to interact with the device in that you can bend it in a variety of ways and you can program the response the phone will have to these various bends. Here is the link to the article on Science Daily which first caught my eye.
Here are a couple of videos from You Tube that show off the tech. I can’t help but think the arm mounted one is the start of Shadowrun type arm computers. Another step closer to Shadowrun being our reality, what Corp will you work for?
As time passes I find that more and more of the Shadowrun universe comes to life in our reality. First there was run-flat tires, and now I am watching a Future Weapons episode that was showing helicopters that fly themselves based on a program. Can you say drone? And then there are the number of implantable electronics for hearing and now sight, the beginnings of implants. Shadowrun here we come!!
Anyone else seen any of the Shadowrun future coming true around us?
I have long been a fan of the one book wonder RPG. True that many of these games are not truly only one book, though many are, they still never quite made the big leagues. Over the years I have amassed a number of these books and now with this blog I have the perfect format in which to share the knowledge of these small time games with the masses. In this series of posts I plan to spend a full post each reviewing a game in my collection.
My fascination and love of the one book wonder game came after an encounter with Shadowrun. While I enjoy the genre and much of the game play of Shadowrun the group I was playing with was far into using every rule they had ever read and owning all the books as well. Game could come to a complete halt for 30+ minutes while everyone dug through book after book to determine just how far you could jump if you were a well built dwarf with a running start and were jumping down from a higher position. The waiting on this actual led me to take up not only games with limited books and therefore limited rule sets, but also cross stitching during games to pass the time during the lulls of rule mongering.
Later this week I will post with the first in this series, Lost Souls.