Following up on Semiurge's suggestions, I'm going to try to come up with some ways of doing magic (e.g. Vancian, divine/prayer, mana, etc.). This is more conceptual than explicitly mechanical, but there is still sort of an inherently mechanical component and I often struggle with combining those things, so I have a feeling this is going to be a rough one...
- Morse code eye blink magic
- Magic as code
- Magic as machine learning (playing off the idea of magic as metaphysical entities, except instead of spirit creatures, magical beings are trained neural networks)
- Libertarian self-actualization paladin
- Magic where you gain power by defeating monsters, and can summon the monsters to serve you temporarily, but then you lose their power (XP/levels) after expending the summon
- Magic that breaks the logic of the game (magic that involves using mechanics from other games, swapping character sheets, in other ways breaking the meta and fiction of the game)
- Magic that comes from the player having to sing / karaoke (or dance- I recommend including alcohol)
- Magic that comes from the player being drunk and/or high
Ok, that turned out alright. Some of these are ideas I've talked about before but it's a decent set.
And next we have an unrelated idea I came up with, for Shaolin-style martial arts based on odd animals (no serpent, crane, or monkey here...)
- Pistol Shrimp style: Gun-kata
- Mantis Shrimp style: SMASH!
- Hyena style: Laughing, banter, using noises as a way of manipulating your opponent
- Squid style: Use liquids (when present) or in some other way try to blind your opponent
- Ostrich style: Emphasis on strong kicks
- Walrus style: Sumo-like style
- Orca style: Rhythmic cycling of open-palm strikes based on harmonics
I think 6 months ago or so when I was watching a ton of David Attenborough documentaries this one would have been better, but I think it still turned out alright. It would also be fun to follow up on this with martial arts styles based specifically on D&D / fantasy monsters.