Replicating Golden Sun "Djinn" Mechanics

Hey everyone,

I wanted to get some feedback on an idea I have for an upcoming campaign I want to run this fall. I want to have a world and story based off my favorite childhood game series on the Game Boy Advance: Golden Sun. The setting in my mind is full of stories to be told, but there is one design choice to the RPG that I wanted to see if I could replicate. In Golden sun the biggest progression of a character’s power did not come from leveling up, instead it came from seeking out the elemental Djinn. These are “magical” creatures that are released into the world by the same inciting incident that send out the adventures. They are intelligent, sometimes talk, sometimes must be convinced to join your party by battling them. Once you find one, you assign it to a character on your team and they receive a specific buff exclusive to that Djinn. The creates are “absorbed” magically into the assigned character, and act as a resource instead of a “companion”. The Mechanics in the GBA game get very deep with Djinn, and many of those shouldn’t be replicated in OL. What I do want to replicate is the exploration and rewards that come from the design.

How I imagine this working is that the Djinn work as “legendary items” in a sense. Where each of them gives +1 to a specific attribute OR a feat. There would be no repeats in the world, so there would only ever be ONE Djinn the gives you +1 to agility, and one that gives you attack specialization, so there would be no stacking of overpowered buffs. Furthermore, Djinn are intelligent and social, and won’t all congregate on one player, they insist on being evenly distributed (that’s how they work in the GBA game as well) so everyone gets to share. There would be about 30 of these little guys hidden around the world, some are obvious, some require a puzzle to get to, others you won’t see unless you go looking for them.

The other mechanic I wanted to try and implement is to use collected Djinn to “summon” effects. This would mean that a player, or players enable a sudden dramatic effect (like invoke a high level boon or a massive AOE damage) in exchange for temporarily losing the buffs provided by those Djinn. For example, a player saves their teammate’s life by using her 5 Djinn to instantly heal them and invoke Barrier. For the next 10 in game minutes, she no longer has access to the attributes increases or feats provided by those 5 Djinn. These different “summons” are themselves something that must be sought out or eared as rewards.

I’m excited about the potential this kind of design has, but I wanted to know if anyone sees any potential conflicts or problems that is might introduce?

Copy pasting what I wrote in the discord

"Having tryied it in my own setting I can only agree with that sentiment,
I would give them special one off abilites or increases in attributes, in the video game they all give you passive boni and you can unleash them but that would be overkill in OL.

  • Zephyr, In the game it increases your initiative, have it be an item that says “As a major action you can unleash Zephyr’s power and add+5 to the initiative count of each of your allies”
    and let’s say, you can only use a djinn once per session/day.

  • Breeze, in the video game, it raises your resistence so it could be " When you are equiped with Breeze, increase your Guard by 3 against Energy attacks" or whatever"

As for summons, this would be a separate mechanic where players can do a special thing when they have a total of X djinns, but this would have to be very limited because as you might know in GS, you have the summon rush tactic that destroys everything, and you don’t want that to happen in OL.

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We made a bunch of temporary one-off powers like this in the form of “runes” for the Nordic feel in the Shores of Valhalla campaign setting, you might check that out: