Tales from the Great Isles: The Fire Within

Tales from the Great Isles is a tabletop role-playing game about complex characters and their unique stories. It’s more than an adventure—your character confronts their past and changes over time before you discover their ultimate fate.

I want to share some of the design progress with you. Each character has a rating in five different elements that determine their competencies, not based on what they are doing but on how they are doing it. The first element I want to explore is fire: your fire rating is used when you act with bravery and passion, when you let your emotions swell and dictate your decisions.

The Heat Rises

When you create your character, you’ll choose one of eight archetypes that all tell different kinds of stories and define your backstory. Each archetype has two elements that it favours and one it lacks experience with.

Three of the archetypes favor fire, combing it with other elements to give it new meaning:

The Champion is a disgraced hero, someone who fought for a cause but fell from glory. The passion they once had lives on in their heart, but it has been tempered by the realistic and grounded nature of earth.

Fire might burn brightest in The Lotus is a performer and artist whose entire life is driven forward by the expression of deep emotions. They temper this with air, an element of logic and practice that represents the techniques they’ve mastered.

Those that mix the four natural elements with the otherworldly essence of aether are often touched by forces they can’t discern. None of the other archetypes feel this as strongly as The Lantern, an oracle plagued by visions and omens they must interpret. The fire within drives them to find answers.

Burning Out

Two archetypes are weak in fire, which indicates a closed-off attitude toward strong emotions:

The Hierophant, a chosen healer and spiritual icon, has seen hurt and pain and tries their best to reduce it whenever possible. They know the destruction that anger and passion can cause, and might even fear it.

The Rose has led a life hiding their frustrations and emotions to fit in, but has now run from their past after those emotions boiled over. Dealing with intense feelings is still new to them.

The Flame Spreads

Fire is a fickle element. When you use it, you are harnessing the powers of inner emotion and letting them out untamed. You might be making a desperate plea for help, releasing your wrath on a sworn enemy, or throwing yourself at the mercy of a lover. It has the potential to dramatically change the situation for good or bad—when you take these actions, you risk the fire spreading to others. You might cause a scene or draw someone’s ire. Fire can create love and joy, but it is also the element most responsible for death and harm.

I hope this has been a fun preview into what I’m working on. Keep an eye out for the next element and more insights into the different archetypes, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Want more info? Check out the post about earth here.