THE GIFTED SAGA
Rodford E. Smith
The Gifted Saga is a long-term project which involves both a role-playing game and works of
fiction. It is intended that this exercise cause the participants to consider three questions:
1) What would happen in the real world if magic suddenly started working again?
2) If you could choose your appearance, what would you look like?
3) What if you suddenly discovered that you could fly? Walk through walls? Start fires with a glance? C'mon, what would you really do?
Permission is given for others to use the concept, as long as their characters follow the rules laid down and I am given credit for creating the background.
How it Starts
At 5:28 PM, EST, on Monday, April 10, 1990, a strange event took place in the Florida Keys which would affect the entire world. A nuclear-intensity flash was spotted by people in the area
on the ground, at sea and in aircraft. It was also detected by orbiting satellites. Strangely, no hard radiation or fallout were detected during or afterwards, but there was now a new island at the location of the flash. On the island was the remains of what looked like a military base, of
unknown nationality. There was also a crater, matching what would be left by a ten-kiloton ground burst.
At the same instant as the flash, several hundred people had something strange happen to them. This strangeness had many manifestations; for most of the victims nothing was immediately
obvious aside from a moment of dizziness. Some suddenly exhibited strange powers. A few experienced a dramatic physical change. They all had one thing in common; gone forever was any hope of a normal life, as the fantastic entered their world. They had been Gifted. The magic was unleashed.
Anyone Gifted may have an altered appearance which may be transformed into at will, unless the character has the disadvantage of being stuck in a new form. For these people, the change in appearance may be radical. For instance, a person may have look like a humanoid wolf in armor. Unless "Power Works Only in Alternate Form" has been acquired as a disadvantage, all powers
work whether the person is in normal or alternate form. Altered or additional appendages acquired through a power, such as wings or a tail, may be manifested in either form. Changing into an
altered form also allows the character to change into another set of clothing, either normal-looking or a costume. All clothing, even costumes, is made of normal fabrics, unless a special costume is acquired as part of the powers. There is a 33% chance that the alternate form comes complete with
an appropriate set of identification. (Driver's license, credit cards, dog tags, Thoroughbred
Note that if a character is stuck in an alternate form as a disadvantage, that is now the character's base form.
People are urged to be imaginative with this. The Gift is, in large amount, instant wish
fulfillment. Note that most alternate forms, either voluntary or the result of a disadvantage, leave the character's DNA unchanged.
Important note: Unlike we mortals, Gifted are not limited in how high their characteristics can
go! A Gifted person who does not obtain superhuman strength as part of his powers may do so
The tradition of giving Gifted descriptive (or otherwise) nicknames began in the early days of the Center for Gifted Research. In order to assure the anonymity of their study subjects, the administrators at the Center began assigning short pseudonyms to the people who volunteered for
the project. Even those who didn't mind folks knowing who they were often went by their nickname. As the efforts of the Center and the activities of some of the Gifted became public knowledge, many of those Gifted who had never been part of the project also took or were given nicknames.
After the Center moved into the building in northern Cincinnati and hired additional employees, Pinky became the person who assigned the nicknames. Since she was the receptionist at the Center, and therefore the one who first entered the data for the new subjects, this was both convenient and logical. A few Gifted don't like the names she gives them. If there is enough of a fuss, Pinky will
reluctantly change it. If a character already has a satisfactory nickname, Pinky will normally use it. A nickname doesn't have to be descriptive, but that is the usual practice.
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR GIFTED
The Gifted are immune to disease and aging, and they heal completely from any injury which
does not kill them. Most Gifted have no scars or birthmarks, although blemishes which are psychologically important to a Gifted person may remain. Gifted who wore corrective lenses
before the Gifting can now see perfectly well with or without them, after a few seconds of adjustment. Because the accumulated damage of a lifetime that results in hearing loss and so forth has been repaired, Gifted have more acute senses than most normals. Characters who are old
enough to have experienced some reduction in characteristics will discover that they have been rejuvenated. Although there will not usually be a change in appearance due to this, the character will have all the deterioration due to age healed. Gifted heal several times faster than normals, and more completely, even to regenerating lost body parts. (Gifted heal the standard rate per day
instead of per week.)
This rapid, thorough healing initially causes some awkward and disturbing (and potentially
hazardous) problems. The newly-Gifted person may wake the next morning with a mouthful of
loose fillings. Pierced ears heal closed in a matter of hours. Artificial body parts, such as heart valves and corneal implants, are rejected, pushed out of the body. All imperfections are healed,
with the exceptions noted.
Physical problems caused by genetic faults may not be corrected. Indeed, only a few such handicaps are healed by a Gift. In these cases, most attempts at corrections - through magic, surgery or medicine - will be "repaired" by the healing that comes with a Gift. However, a disability that the Gifted person profoundly wishes to be corrected often will be at the moment of Gifting, as part of the initial empowering.
Gifted are more tolerant of damage than normals. A Gifted person who has been injured in a
fight may not even realize it until the fight is over, or may notice the wound and decide to ignore it. They automatically gain the Special Abilities of Toughness and Temperature Insensitive; they
never suffer from shock, and severe blood loss is rare. They can even recover from apparent
death, though at the cost of much of their gained ability with their Gift.
Gifted who become parents contribute part of their Gift to the child, who will be born Gifted. If both parents are Gifted, they will each donate one-third of their Gift. The parents will operate at two-thirds their normal potential until they gain 30 Experience Points, at which time they will recover. A child with a single Gifted parent receives half that parent's Gift, leaving the Gifted father or mother to operate at one-half potential until they can recover from their investment.
Gifted children normally do not have overt powers, disadvantages or alternate forms. Instead,
after their characteristics have been determined as usual for randomly created characters, they automatically have the abilities of spellcaster, gadgeteer and alchemist, though with no initial skills.