I was reading the corruption rules in Blue Rose this morning and, while I still need to compare them to equivalent mechanics (such as “Taint”) from other potential sources, they look like they can pretty much be ported directly into Firmament. The only major change would be adjusting how they interact with the Light / Shadow Nature rules, which aren’t necessarily nuanced enough to support the kind of play I’m hoping Firmament supports. I’m expecting Firmament will have a set of personality mechanics that combine insights from Keys, Aspects, Nobilis‘ Restrictions, and Loresheets.
I was talking to Eric about my plans for the “big bad” of the setting, the Darkness Between the Stars, which is something like a mix between Azathoth, The Dark from Nighbane, and a psychological neurosis related to the fear of being alone in the dark forever. Leaving yourself open to the Darkness gains you points of corruption, which can be drawn on to do crazy corruption things but block you from absorbing as much stardust and aren’t easily gotten rid of.
Fully corrupted people are the only out-and-out antagonists, but my sense is that you don’t encounter them that frequently and normally deal with more mundane problems. There might be stories of lone travelers coming across mind-blowingly large dark cities floating through the void and only barely making it away, but I’m not 100% solid on that yet, since that moves a bit away from my original intentions. More likely, you just find a lone lost outpost containing one guy who’s long since been corrupted and is inscribing mad texts on the walls in his own blood, Cthulhu-style. It’s supposed to be like good Cthulhu play, not stupid Cthulhu play where you shoot at Cthulhuspawn with shotguns.
The Darkness itself is a force that talks to you when you’re alone in the dark, not in words, but in emotions. And it’s corrupted an unknown number of historical people, but nobody’s sure what happened to them. Maybe they’re out there. Maybe they dove into the heart of a star, to try to purge the Darkness from them. And each campaign explores it on their own terms. You could have a campaign that starts with your basecamp being scattered by the arrival of two ancient corrupted people, and then have your game be about stitching the remnants together, unsure whether those two are still out there, watching you. Or you could have a campaign where you see signs of ancient corrupted but never meet one, but fight against the corruption that tries to take control of you.