We have been busting our behinds here over at Ludology Lab with all manner of projects. February has been a good month so far, but it has been busy. One of the processes I have started is the collection of deluxe edition Project ALPACA dominance tokens (available on Kickstarter now till Feb 21! #noshame). The dominance token in the game is a simple marker denoting who currently has “dominance,” which is the tie-breaker mechanic in Project ALPACA. I wanted to make the Kickstarter exclusive deluxe editions of the game special (only 14 left as of this posting! #stillnoshame). This includes an enumerated, larger box with custom art, a letter from the team, and a unique dominance token. The idea of a challenge coin was brought up by a backer for this token. I love this idea, but we might not be able to afford it with our current budget. After some soul searching and brain scratching, I realized the answer might be in a VERY early printing of the rules that didn’t make the final cut:
So I figured why not try out an actual “symbol of power”?
A few months ago before this project launched, I was discussing business-type things with my entrepreneurial buddy. I apparently uttered something that she got a lot of insight from, which is rare for me. I said: “the world only has as much magic as you allow it to have.” It’s the idea that things can exist and be wondrous or magical through the power of personal belief. Now I don’t want to throw this into the realm of the metaphysical, that’s not meant to be the point here. The point is: if you have a pair of underwear you wear for good luck, you now have a pair of lucky boxers. They have magic and power, because you said they do. This idea is what drives me forward. It’s also why I write my ideas in a really cool looking journal I call The Book of Madness.
We give our ideas and our artifacts a certain level of power. We are the ones the imbue magic into our worlds. I try to buy into this whenever I’m feeling down and out. I have to remember that I have lucky underwear and socks, that I have a lucky number, that I have a desk full of charms that have the power to turn things around in my favor. And you know what? It usually works. When I wear the lucky undergarments to D&D sessions, I usually have a couple amazing, over the top rolls. Is it because I believed in myself and the magic was in me all along if only I had the confidence to succeed? Of course not! It was my magical boxers! I know this is a post hoc fallacy, but this is why it’s magic. We have to suspend our disbelief and give in to the irrational for the sake of wholesome goodness in our lives. Even when we can rationally explain the psychology or science behind some of the modern wonders of the world, I think labeling something as mystical can make everything feel a little more enchanting.
Enter: the symbols of power.
Why not put a little piece of magic in each deluxe box? So that’s what I’m starting to do. I’m going around collecting trinkets and baubles of power. I feel it fits into the theme of the game quite nicely. Each card in Project ALPACA has a little something crammed into it beyond it’s text, especially the Strength deck. I mean heck, we even gave our blue and red colors enigmatic names (“The Architect’s Eyes”, “The Architect’s Blood”) because why not be ridiculous? Inserting another layer to the puzzle seems like the right idea! (Plus, we’ll add a brief description of what exactly your special token does to add a little extra magic.) This solution also appeals very heavily to my tabletop RPG side; including bits of mystery for the players in an attempt to make a richer experience. It doesn’t matter if players never talk to a storied and fully fleshed-out NPC, at least I know the the depths of fantasy and wonder that could be potentially plumbed.
So I invite you to bring some magic into your world. Your life will only have as much as you let it. If you want good things to start happening, find yourself a magic rock or a lucky penny. Forfeit a little bit of your reason and know that you have imbued something with power. I think we could all use a little more magic in our lives.