My first assignment for the game our group is developing is to create 8 unique buffs, as a way of incorporating a card system into our product. I wanted the buffs to be more than just a random boon to a random trait. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that kind of a buff, some of the buffs I created are just that, but I also wanted to see what I could do outside of stat enhancers. So I started out by brainstorming what things I find useful if I was exploring a haunted house. Not worrying about how it would work mechanically, I went more for thinking about generic items you might find laying about in the real world or a explorer’s kit.
From there I whittled the list down to the eight things that I felt were the most distinctive of the bunch. I wanted the buffs to be things that, regardless of which class you decided to play as, would be beneficial in at least some way. I also liked the idea that certain classes should have a special affinity towards certain buffs, just like a pen means a different thing to an artist versus a writer. This is where I tried to differentiate between a buff that simply adds a stat boost from a buff that gives the player their own unique mechanic.
Anyone can pick up a knife and feel braver for being armed, but the demonologist, with their knowledge of the occult, might call upon some ancient ritual to grant them safe passage into the unknown. Some special buffs demonstrate a specific classes familiarity with the item, being able to use its benefits to gain either a faster or better result.