July 3, 2016

Your Spirit is Loaded!

Many Filipino players of Hari Ragat may be surprised to find that a key character resource is named Bala, which in our vernacular means ‘bullet.’

Now how in the world did a stat representing spiritual power get named after bullets? I’m actually using Bala in its far older sense, which as so many Southeast Asian religious ideas comes from Hindu India. Bala in Sanskrit means strength, strong or powerful, and is the root of names like Balarama and Baladeva, probably also Ballava. I’m guessing bullets got named ‘bala’ because of their seemingly mysterious killing power, given the noise of a gun and the invisibility of a bullet in flight.

Spiritual  power was a key concept in Southeast Asian myth. Anybody could be a muscle-bound strongman, but the title heroes had much more. Our epics and folktales are replete with themes of the hero’s invincibility, magnetic charisma, luck, and innate magical powers. Similarly, East Asians have the concept of Chi, which in fully developed form also enabled wondrous feats.

Thus the Bala resource in Hari Ragat. It can be spent to power feats of strength or speed, or the luck to evade a blow, to survive wounds that would kill an ordinary man, or even the magnetism to overcome an opponent in social contests.

Because Bala is a spiritual quality, it’s not increasable by normal means. Instead, the way to gain more is to take Bala from powerful creatures. Spiritual power in this milieu resides in the viscera, and is most concentrated in the liver. Eating the livers of certain monsters can instantly raise your characther’s Bala – if he survives.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...