Basically, at work, as is my wont, I just brainstormed things--in this instance, brainstorming for a project I should still technically actually be working on! I did multiple things for Red Hood Rider.
Starting with a basic of the Rubyverse.
Basically, in the Rubyverse, there's a few kinds of people:
-Soul-severed individuals (cursed, in a sense, with multiple downsides but among them being they are locked out of anything whatsoever positive when it comes to supernatural/magical/elemental things but are still vulnerable to negative consequences from those things).
-Immune Humans (cannot become supernatural beings for whatever reason; can be specific to one type or can be general)
-Bane Humans (actively serve as a bane to supernatural beings for whatever reason; can be specific to one type or can be general)
-Hybrid Humans (explicitly part supernatural but otherwise human)
-Dormant Humans (what a Hybrid Human's genealogy becomes when diluted enough--essentially, they still have the supernatural genes recessive within which can activate with specific triggers, but with those triggers absent, they are otherwise just normal humans)
-Magic-Numb Humans (cannot use magic of any kind)
-Anti-Magic Humans (various different ways where their very existence disrupts magic)
-Bloodline Humans (the magical equivalent of Hybrid Humans, this is humans who can use specific types of magic because their parents could use that type of magic)
-Recessive Humans (the magical equivalent of Dormant Humans; this is humans who have the recessive gene to use specific types of magic because their ancestors could use that type of magic, but they require specific triggers to activate)
-Universal Donors (humans who can use every type of magic be it elemental, magical, or supernatural in spite of them being human...but can use it only in such low doses that it is effectively worthless; these are the people who actively stockpile the...well, stockpiles of supplies that people involved in the supernatural/magical worlds have been using for hundreds of years, which I blogged about before)
-Supernatural Beings (self-explanatory)
-Magical Beings (self-explanatory; mostly humans)
-Elemental Beings (self-explanatory; mostly humans; mostly also explicitly magical)
And then, of course:
-Normal Humans. Normal Humans have no innate advantages or disadvantages.
They can become most types of supernatural beings.
They can become most types of magical beings.
They can become many types of elemental beings.
There's magical systems which exist that require nothing special other than knowledge in how to use them; a normal human can easily be trained in how to use them.
There's magical systems which require specific things to happen; humans often are sensitive to these things. Becoming a Rider is among these things.
All supernatural beings which can spread relatively easily have specific rituals involved in turning humans. (Because the only way supernatural beings gain population outside of biologically reproducing is via turning humans. Most supernatural beings capable of turning can also do biology, e.g. vampires can be born or turned and there's no real difference between the two other than potentially social standing.)
And so on and so forth.
Basically, normal humans are just the boilerplate "can have anything, good or bad, applied to them". They have no innate bias. They have no inherent advantage or disadvantage. They are the norm.
Keep in mind that normal humans make up only a fraction of the total human population, but that most kinds of human you either can't tell the difference between them and a normal human, or if you can, that they deliberately go out of their way to by and large look as if they are just normal humans.
Soul-severed individuals are born with a physical impossibility of ever knowing what they are. (They have to be told what's wrong with them, more or less.)
Immune humans only know if they either have an existing lineage (that being, the progeny of an immune human also being an immune human) or if they are actually exposed to the supernatural.
Bane humans, same as immune humans.
Dormant humans often have no way of knowing they have a gift until the gift is actually activated. (There are dormant human genealogies which track their gift, in order to better assess if/when to activate it though.)
Magic-numb humans would need to actually attempt magic to learn they cannot. (This is not something that there is existing lineages of that make a point of tracking it. Immune humans have reason to tell their children they are immune, for things like becoming a Hunter. Magic-numb humans have no such reason since most humans don't use magic anyway meaning it's not exactly a disability they'd make a point of remembering. As a result, they don't know.)
Anti-magic humans need to be exposed to magic to learn about their trait. Given that magic was scarce to the public eye until ~60 years ago in the Rubyverse and only in the modern day has begun to become more mainstream, this is something most wouldn't have known until relatively recently.
Most recessive humans know about their bloodline, but there are plenty of instances of them having for whatever reason lost this knowledge, and thus, lying dormant until an event necessitates the trigger of their powers.
Universal donors as a general rule do know (though some may not), but other than doing their extra job, they make it a point to not advertise who they are (other than using it to get immunity from being targeted for harm, because everyone both hero and villain and in-between has use for universal donors and it is a Very Bad Idea to hurt one because it screws you over; Universal Donors essentially have diplomatic immunity and are required to be neutral in conflict REGARDLESS of conflict type, but by and large they avoid making it known).
Bloodline and Hybrid humans tend to know about their powers for obvious reasons (because, well...they have powers), but while Magic and Supernatural beings in the Rubyverse haven't actually enforced a Masquerade...they HAVE kept their activities relatively low-key throughout history.
They have always existed. Some periods in time have been higher than others. (For instance, there was rather an explosion in supernatural/magical activity during the middle ages thereabouts, and beings of both kinds were fighting wars, both in the shadows secretly and out in the open flagrantly.) But until approximately the 1950s, activity was by and large not a notable thing. So to the world at large, they were just humans.
So when you put all of those together.
They pretty much mean that by and large, for all intents and purposes, unless specific criteria are met, most of the seven billion people in existence are just normal humans. This has always been the case, but I haven't really done much in the way of extrapolating all of this out into a more formal built world.
I also was just doing that as background for a fundamental part of the setting.
Beings exist as one of those three types--Supernatural, Magical, and Elemental.
Keep in mind by and large that all Elementals are either Supernatural or Magical, so are both considered a third category, and yet simultaneously, a subcategory of both the other two. (In that they are a separate entity altogether in that elemental things play by a set rulebook whereas magical and supernatural beings play by a set rulebook which is entirely different.)
And another thing to keep in mind is that these types? Not mutually exclusive. In fact, to some extent, they are almost inherently mutually inclusive.
Vampires are a go-to example. Not only are they creates of the night, they are considered the rulers of the night. Universal to them, this gives them access to Darkness-element Magic: both Elemental, and Magical, in nature. Whether it is the element or the magic or their supernatural powers which dominate depends on the individual, the method they were created, and their peers (i.e. what coven or clan if any they come from).
Riders are another. They are explicitly Magical beings, neither supernatural nor elemental...
...Except the eight elemental riders, which in the modern day, are eight of The Ruby Gang. Those eight not only have magic, but elemental abilities in addition to their magic. They are, in fact (as revealed by a time traveler from the future), the most powerful generation of elemental riders to exist in history, mostly because they exist in the glory days of superheroics. (In the past, there wasn't as much of a boon in the otherworldly; in the future, supes are less common because mostly they are born "when they need to be born" and the advancement of technology means that while most have the recessive genes of supes that few actually develop superpowers simply because technology means that 'why need a superpower when technology just serves the same function?'--in short, you can think of superpowers as a function of human pragmatism combined with laziness; no need for the powers = the powers exist less often.)
Ruby is an example of being all three, but she's not special because of it, she's not unusual because of it, her being all three is not such a rarity that it is a case of Protagonist Power. (You know, something I could also call Shonen Syndrome: the protagonist being half-everything and thus having access to every power.) I am explicitly saying, by Word Of God, that there are MANY such individuals across the world, existing all over the place.
It's seriously not that uncommon. Stating that she's suffering from Protagonist Power/Shonen Syndrome because of that trait is akin to stating that someone knowing how to repair a car has Protagonist Power/Shonen Syndrome--sure, not everyone can do that and it's a bit of a useful, pragmatic skill which not everyone has the talent for even if anyone can theoretically learn it, but it's nothing special.
That having been said, Ruby does have Protagonist Power/Shonen Syndrome. She just has it for reasons entirely unrelated to the above. (She is quite a bit of a Mary Sue, but in essence what I'm saying is she's not a Mary Sue for that reason, it's other things which make her one.)
Speaking of Ruby though, I also invented another power she of course doesn't really need given the amount of powers she already has, buthey. All the elemental riders have powers which are beyond-godly in strength, at least in theory. (I've rambled about some of the capacities for just about every element I believe. Air having access to all four fundamental forces of the universe, being the co-master of the domain of abstract thought and thus being able to materialize just about literally anything, and so on and so forth comes to mind. I could do the same for any rider's list of potential powers, not just Hannah.)
And comparatively speaking, this is actually not that strong of an ability compared to what I could be giving. It's just an ability which I felt made sense to give and which I feel would actually fit as a logical extension of her existing powers and actually serve as a way to tie them together.
Basically, Ruby's Super Mode (with a hint of Superpowered Evil Side initially, until she undergoes vampiric training and accepts her vampiric half full-time which makes her more at ease with herself essentially), Dark Messiah, is her full-vampire female form. (She has a full-vampire male form, which requires essentially no trigger at all, but for obvious reasons, she has a distaste for it.)
In her Black Ruby state, she specializes in Darkness Magic born from her vampiric powers--and otherwise, uses various super-powered claws for both melee/ranged attacks, among other weapons in her arsenal. (A common vampire dark magic trait is being able to materialize a weapon from thin air, as long as the sun isn't out. Black Ruby can do this even with the sun being out owing to her still being a Rider powered by light.)
However, her final vampiric form DOES have access to something I invented yesterday--the Black Bow. Basically, it's a darkness-based version of her normal bow, launching supercharged versions of her normal attacks: the same basic ones, except much more powerful, at a much accelerated speed, with the additional flexibility of her darkness magic being readily mixed in freestyle.
She can't use some techniques (like her Supernova Shot/Sunburst Shot or the Arbalest Arrow), but she can use most of her powers in this form. (Similar to how Arbalest Armor can use many but not all, and Arcangel can use many but not all. Each form has upsides and downsides to it.)
Now, granted. This is pretty similar to what she can do in her Arcangel form (she launches 'arrows' in the form of feathers from her wings, and those arrows have the capability of using whatever powers she has in her normal bow for the most part), but only when at least one of the Forbidden Arts is also active in her Arcangel form.
By which, I mean, when she turns essentially Dark Angel in that she is partially vampiric when as an Angel and summons darkness elemental/magical attacks from her feather/arrows. Which is basically half-way to her using the Dark Messiah super mode anyway.
Overall I thought that her having a bow in her vampiric final form would just be a way to tie her three super modes together. Arbalest Armor is an armor made from her bow, in that her bow is covering her whole body. (It gives great offensive capabilities, but it is still first and foremost an armor.) Arcangel is a bow made from her wings, or rather, her wings are made from her bow. So Black Ruby/Dark Messiah having a bow just felt like it should be there, and now it is.
The third thing I wanted to go into is a bit of a loophole/exploitation in how things work. One of the reasons the Ruby Gang is as effective as they are is because they live in the modern age of communication, and eight of their members have access to the ability I am about to describe.
An inherent established trait of spirit totems is that they are telepathic to their owner. Ruby communicates to Angel Wings mostly by thought (though she can communicate out loud if she wants to); Angel Wings communicates to Ruby exclusively by thought and cannot speak out loud.
An inherent established trait of spirit totems is that they cannot communicate with each other, per se, but they have a link to one another in that they know where one another is for the most part and are capable of sensing things about the situation each other are in. (That being, a spirit totem can tell if another rider is, saaay, losing a battle they are in, thanks to the link between them.)
An inherent established trait of riders is that they are in fact human--they themselves are not telepathic, so they can't communicate directly to one another's thoughts.
In spite of these above facts.
All riders in the modern world--not just the elemental eight, but the Ruby Gang is the only group I explicitly have made to exploit this--effectively are telepathic, just in a roundabout way, because there's one final trait which is inherently established to spirit totems relevant:
Spirit totems are capable of serving as any form of communication device that's not actually written on physical paper more or less.
Explicitly, spirit totems are capable of acting as phones; you can call a rider.
Explicitly, spirit totems are capable of acting as "Facechat" (Skype, Google Hangouts, whatever you want to call it, an equivalent service thereto) so long as the other side is capable of reciprocating. (You can't facechat with a rider if you're calling from a phone booth for instance, because it being a phonebooth, no duh there's nothing for you to see and no way for the rider to see you.) The rider's spirit totem simply projects a holographic display of the other side, and similarly projects a display of the rider TO the other side.
Explicitly, spirit totems are capable essentially of faxing. Now, it doesn't actually print a hard copy out on the rider's end, but what it does allow is for someone to fax to the rider, and the spirit totem essentially converts the fax to become what'd basically be an email attachment, able to be viewed with a holographic projection.
Explicitly, spirit totems are capable of sending/receiving texts. (Because they have the functionality of a modern smartphone; anything a smartphone can do, a spirit totem can do just as well.)
Explicitly, spirit totems are capable of sending/receiving emails.
Explicitly, spirit totems are capable of storing voicemail.
Explicitly, spirit totems are capable of even sending messages on things like CB Radio or a Walkie Talkie: the rider speaks into their spirit totem, the spirit totem transmits it, and the receiving device (or spirit totem) plays the audio.
You get the idea.
They can do just about everything except for snailmail.
And a function that they have which is similar to services like Cortana, Siri, Alexa, and the like is that they can 'write down' things either spoken or even just thought (think like a voice-to-text service; those exist now, and spirit totems are capable of perfect voice-to-text and even thought-to-text; this latter part is vital), and they are capable of 'speaking' written things.
I know for a fact at least one of those above services will speak out loud the contents of messages received. And computers have had the capability to read out loud text for something like at least 20 years by now (albeit, even to this day they are a bit glitchy). Spirit totems have essentially that, except as perfect as it can get (in that they will always pronounce it correctly though given it's written word they can only guess at the intended inflections).
From this, you might be able to guess how the riders pull off their effectively essentially telepathy. (It doesn't work for the members of the Ruby Gang outside the elemental eight riders, but even outside of the elemental eight they can use half of this by sending messages to a rider or receiving messages from a rider without it being as obvious as sending/receiving messages would normally be.)
The riders simply mentally instruct their spirit totem, "Send a text/email to..." and then, in their thoughts, they outline the contents of the message. When finished, the spirit totem sends the message. On the receiving end, the spirit totem will tell their rider, "You have a new message from [rider who sent the message]. Shall I speak it?", and if given an affirmative, the spirit totem will speak the contents of the message to the rider.
Given that rider's spirit totem's communication services cannot be compromised (you can't hack into a spirit totem like you can hack into a smartphone), nor can they be tapped, nor can they be monitored, nor can the telepathy be intercepted or read by an outside party. This gives the riders an absolutely secure way of transmitting information between one another.
Now, of course.
It's not a perfect system.
The communication is very fast, but it's not quite in real time because you have to 'speak' the words to be sent, send them, allow for the transmission to be received (admittedly this is near-instantaneous as just about any modern communication is), and then have the transmission be played.
The communication can be interfered with if the rider is compromised enough. (For instance, a badly-enough-wounded rider or otherwise-incapacitated rider might want to send something to other riders, but in their state are incapable of doing so.) This is why sometimes on more solo adventures, a rider can end up in trouble and be in a position where backup would save the day yet they can't get any because they can't get through.
Said interference usually will, of course, trigger the link I mentioned above where a spirit totem can tell if another rider is in danger...but this link is something that has a limited range (too far from one another and you get no status update as it were), and even when inside of the range is something which CAN be interfered with (albeit only with difficulty; you have to go out of your way to interfere with the link and only two or three villains over the entire course of Red Hood Rider bother doing this rather than just employing a method of stopping all the riders at once from helping one another).
Soyeah, this has always been a part of the setting, but I felt like fleshing out the details a bit more explicitly by blogging about them. It is, essentially, the way I can allow both for solo adventures and yet also for team affairs, as should be the case in a setting inspired by the elements I was inspired by. (It's a superhero thing to work as both a team and an individual; it's a magical girl thing to work together but to also have focus episodes revolving around an individual member of the team; etc.)
I just find the Rubyverse to be an incredibly neat setting overall. It's just that me being me (I honestly question if even the simplest of simple settings made by me, if even the simplest of simple narratives I craft, could ever actually be made reality thanks to my natural debilitating traits weighing down my creative side), I probably will never get to actually show off all this neat stuff I have planned.