In Monkey all the player characters are innately magically because of their immortality. They can all fly and shape-change into human form by default. Every magic power is broad in its scope defined by its name/description but with a critical limitation where the power fails. For example everyone knows that an Immortal they can not carry mortals while flying because they are as heavy as a mountain.
Mostly the system is free form, with players coming up with powers during character generation, but there are also examples in the text to inspire players new to the wacky fun of magic in Chinese Mythology 🙂
Each character has three professions that they draw their skills from, and three of them provide magic. Taoist Sages get to create Paper Talismans to ward of evil, do I-Ching Divination with Yarrow sticks, and practice the art of Feng-Shui. Buddhist Priests use Sutras to drive off evil spirits and demons. Wu Shamans, talk to the dead, call up nature spirits and practice ecstatic dancing.
Each player character has a magical weapon or tool. This follows the book; Monkey has his Iron Staff, Pigsy has his Rake, Sandy has necklace of Buddhist pilgrims skulls. Even Tripitaka has his golden headband which Monkey wears and can be made to painfully contract when Tripitaka recites the correct Sutra. Examples of other magical weapons from Chinese Mythology are given: Such as magic mirrors that reveal disguised demons and fans that send currents of healing air when they are waved.
I’ve not overhauled this system of cheerfully improvisational magic in Monkey 2nd Incarnation, but I will be adding rules to help you handle and encourage improvised magic. In the book for example monkey is able to change his hair into a copy of himself. Its not one of his major powers, but it does crop up occasionally.
The new version will have more examples from visual research that I’ve done this time round, such as this fight scene between The Jade Warlord and Monkey from the film The Forbidden Kingdom.
Day 6 of 23 Days of Monkey, Kickstarter in 17 days on 8th January 2017.