The Drylands (Pathfinder)
It is widely known that different people have different amounts of potential. All people are not created equal. No matter how hard some people try, they will never become as skilled, or as powerful as others who spend a fraction of the effort.
Fortunately for a global sense of justice, these people for whom talent comes naturally are a minority. Different cultures tend to use a similar concept to describe them. They are said to either possess a Gleam, or that they are the Gleaming Ones, or similar words of that nature to denote that they have an inherent inner spark that propels them to greater heights.
For most people, it’s impossible to tell who has this Gleaming expect by examining their deeds and history. There are a few exceptions to this, and these are the Gleam Seers. They are able to look at a person at any stage of their life, and see how strong the Gleam is within them. Depending on where they are born, a Gleam Seer might be a talent scout, a fortune teller, a strategist, or a recruiter.
The Gleam Seers know the Gleaming has two dimensions, the brightness and the extent.
They say that how bright the Gleam is within a person marks how extraordinary they can become; how far beyond a common person’s abilities their own will be. The brightness manifests in sheer brilliance, but also in color and design, all of which has meaning to a Gleam Seer who can predict whether the Gleaming One will have a gift of magic, or be possessed of uncanny senses, or a intense bond with animals. People without a Gleam have a shadow of a Gleam which has similar distinctive qualities.
The extent indicates how powerful they will be. Even a person with only the shadow of a Gleam can increase their skill, ability, and general effectiveness in life. A Gleam Seer sees the extent as how much of a person’s aura is affected by their Gleam.
Both these aspects are, to some extent, mutable. The extent of a Gleam grows partially through overcoming conflict, but also through a self-aware nature that embraces life experiences one encounters. People with detached personalities seldom develop their Gleam to the full extent possible. There are limits to this, and even the most accomplished, self-aware person may reach a maximum extent of their Gleam which falls short of what other people can reach. Ways to increase the extent beyond their natural limits are often sought by proponents of self-improvement, although reliable methods are not known to exist.
The brightness is a more interesting case. People with a true Gleam can often alter their brightness by the actions they take and learning new skills. However, people with only a shadow possess no way to actually obtain a True Gleam. As with people trying to increase the extent of their Gleam, people without a Gleam but with ambition will often chase rumors promising a means to ignite their inner spark and obtain their Gleam. There are legends and songs of people succeeding, often through heroic quests or deals with dark forces, but attempts to duplicate the stories inevitably fail.