As I slowly inch towards the end of this second book I really think my collaborators would like a peak at House Paragon. I already have Passive and Reflexive Arcane Abilities for Tenebriomancy and it wouldn't take much to flesh that out, put some Stygian Gear in the book, and slip the rules for playing House Paragon in there. I hesitated because I wanted much of what they were about to be shrouded in mystery, but that hasn't always served the story or the telling of it particularly well.
I'd previously thought that allowing people to portray House Paragon characters at my table would be difficult to explain in the context of the Story sans other obvious issues. In the pursuit of building more social complexity into the Penumbral Society it has become increasingly evident that having loyal members of House Paragon involved is a necessity. It will give people a strong sense about how tragic losing Paragon and the majority of his followers to the Tenebrion was and why it was a groundbreaking event in the history of Dreams & Echoes.
My notes on House Paragon are extensive and I've revised their abilities several times. They are frighteningly powerful when roaming the Tenebrion but lose many of their abilities when they pass into the Penumbra or the Cities of Light. Indeed, they would feel pretty helpless in the Wraithsmarch, or anywhere the Tenebrion wasn't present. Most of their abilities have to do with the manipulation of Dreams or the Tenebrion. Aside from the obvious benefits, this makes them extremely different from the other Penumbral Houses who view the Tenebrion as an enemy to be destroyed.
When I spread my wrinkled and coffee stained notes in front of me I come up with a plethora of ideas but the ones I like best relate to two key elements.
They would likely have an additional Dream beyond that of other Shades and eventually be able to change which of the Greater Dreams they could draw power from.
House Paragon would be able to interpret, manipulate, and even repair the Dreams of others using the pure arcane force of the Void.
They would be able to make physically manifest certain elements of their Dreams gaining additional benefits.
As they increased in skill they could 'sleepwalk' allowing them to perform simple actions even while they slept.
Obviously, House Paragon would have extensive access to Tenebriomancy, the magic allowing one to manipulate and even command aspects of the Tenebrion.
They would be able to use Stygian Gear without suffering terrible consequences as other Shades would.
Members of House Paragon would not be allowed to have any Primordial Attunement other than the Void. Most of those who fell likely were not carrying any Attunement while those attuned to the Void would have possessed the will to resist the worst parts of the Curse.
Because of their more intimate interaction with Dreams they would need twice the sleep (8 hours) a normal Shade would need to maintain their powers. This would explain why members of the 6th House often sleep (and sleep walk) operating normally.
I've put together several ideas for mechanical language describing each of these abilities. Applying values to all these things has really helped me feel more confident writing fiction about these folks. It keeps things more constant from page to page allowing each protagonist and antagonist to interact in ways that are predictable, at least to the writer. I hate movies/books/comics where supernaturally powered individuals seem to garner abilities as it becomes appropriate to the story instead of showing a natural progression following the arc of the story.
My SS tables really have helped eliminate that from my writing. Thanks guys.