Samek, A Magic Tradition for Tabletop or LARP Gaming

Continuing with my writing and creativity exercises channeled through gaming, I’m following up with an idea for a magical tradition concept for either tabletop roleplaying or LARP (live action roleplaying).  These may or may not be incorporated into a larger fantasy genre project sometime down the road but for the moment, I just want to get in the habit of fleshing out some of the random ideas that come to me. I feel like this one could use some more time “in the oven” so I’m going to put in my list of things to circle back on, but for now, blog or die…


The lore of the Samek maintains that every being has “moments of determinants”. During these times, individuals experience their greatest triumphs and most challenging adversity, and for brief periods can become the fulcrum of momentous events.  Their magic practices borrowing these crucial moments in their own personal continuum, and channeling it for immediate use when the Samek needs or desires it instead of waiting for events to unfold in accordance to what they claim is mute destiny.

Every Samek carries a small token, a focus if you will, to remind them of the tenets of their practice. These have changed over time to reflect whatever device was commonly used to measure time in a particular era or location, but each clearly bears some be able to denote the measurement of time in minutes and seconds. One might find an adjustable brass sundial or even an etched clay amulet in an old Samek grave, but a small pendant bearing a dial of numbers with arrows pointing to them is the norm in this age.

Samek eschew the arts of divination and prophecy, believing that they are traps that lock us passively into the flow of events. While seers claim that even the magics of Samek are just another manifestation of the winding path of Fate, the proud Samek dismiss this as patronizing rhetoric.


Samek, Phoenician letter corresponding to 60, alluding the minutes in an hour.

Obviously this will vary widely from system to system, so the following is only meant as guidelines to aim for when mapping mechanics to concepts, from the point of view of a generic LARP.

Each Samek is initiated into the magical order by undergoing a very personal trial which results in them borrowing a handful of pivotal “moments” from various points in their future.

With study and discipline, a Samek may increase the number of these Moments they can borrow from their future, but truly transformative growth requires new trials. These trials often take the form of challenges and ordeals, sometimes alone, sometimes with others from the past, present and future.  In rare cases, these can go awry with consequences rippling throughout the participants’ destinies.

Moments are the mana that fuel Samek magic.  Depending on the nature of the particular spell, these moments may be tied up, waiting to be used up (such as the case with a lingering enchantment or protective aura) or expanded dramatically as would be the case in an a direct magical attack on a foe. In either case, Moments slowly flow back to the Samek once expended (resetting with rest) and so are should not be used rashly.

There is danger in the “borrowing” of Samek, especially as they become more daring in tapping of their destiny.  Legends tell of Samek pushing the limits of fate’s sufferance, with some consequences so strange as to beggar belief.

If you enjoy reading fresh ideas in game content and design, you might also enjoy the professional work of my friend Brandes Stoddard at Harbinger of Doom.

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