Aesoptinum is Phlebotinum with a moral component, designed so the author of the story can communicate a metaphor.
Game and Story Use
- Sometimes ethics, morality and character alignment dictate the aesoptinum, or are dictated by the aesoptinum.
- Like, the villains will have access to some power the PCs can't have, because it turns you evil, or destroys the environment, or with great power comes great insanity.
- One common version is: it makes you all-powerful, but it's also terribly addictive and will ruin your life.
- Which can serve as a way to establish game balance. Yes, you can have the big powers, but other stuff will suck because of it.
- Of course, there's some need to be careful with this, as the players/characters that won't care about drawbacks like a ruined social life and estranged family may be just the sort of munchkins you want to restrict. So, charging hit points to fuel the power may be more effective than applying a charisma penalty the power-gamer will just rely on the other PCs to overcome.
- Other times, the aesoptinum is a metaphor for some cultural phenomena, societal pressure, etc, that's not as black-and-white.