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The Liminal Exalted: Clearing up my Mental Scratchspace for them

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  • The Liminal Exalted: Clearing up my Mental Scratchspace for them

    Hey everyone,
    I've been thinking a lot about the Liminals a lot. I think they're pretty rad, I like the themes, I like that they've got a niche and job built in to the setting, which makes introducing them as NPCs easy and gives you a character motivation that's easily understandable if you want to play one. That said, unlike DBs or Sidereals, we don't have any basis or starting places to really look deep into how the liminals operate or what they do. I've had a number of thoughts and questions about the Liminals in light of a relative lack of information. I'm hoping each corresponding splat talks a little about the other splats in relation, but rather than waiting for DB and then waiting for Sidereals and Lunars and Exigents, I thought I should get some questions asked right out.

    Their Magical Material, like Abyssals, is Soulsteel, right? We know how the Abyssals get their hands on soulsteel, since it is more abundant in the plays they haunt (har har), but liminals, from their splat description, seem pretty keenly focused on Creation.

    Speaking of Abyssals, I imagine they have a deeply antagonistic relationship, right? An Abyssal is a dark servant warrior-god to a terrifying ghost monster. They seem right up their main thoroughfare for "Big Bads." (That being said...a campaign of liminals trying to take out high Essence Abyssals through long term planning, strategy, and trickery seems like a lot of fun.)

    While we're on the topic of other Exalted, what exactly is the liminal "power level" supposed to be? They can use up to Terrestrial Circle sorcery, so we know they're relegated to the "Terrestrial" pool. Do Liminals suffer the "Terrestrial" keyword for MAs? Are they pretty mediocre against most opponents (as far as exalts go) but completely wreck house when it comes to ghosts? I know they're supposed to be hyper durable, but I don't know exactly how to situate them.

    Other questions focus more on the lore aspect. 2e overexplained everything and I am not a fan of that, but trying to really get a feel for what the Liminal's role in the setting is. How many are there? We don't need even numbers, but my gut reaction is that their pretty rare; rare enough that your random villager is much more likely to think that the Liminal is some sort of ghost-demon, while almost everyone knows what a dragon blooded is, though most people have probably never met on in their lives. We also do know, though, that they're known about in Sijin, enough that they're viewed as a curiosity and a research topic. That kind of speaks to me that there are more than just a small handful, they just keep under the radar and are transient.

    On the topic of transientness, how do circles of the Liminal Exalted come about? Are circles of the Liminals common, or is it rare? Do they have turfs, but band together for a a common threat? I imagine there's a lot of amazing and really good roleplaying to be done in playing a circle of Liminals all piecing together their Self. Maybe at the campaign, they go their different ways, having become significantly different people. Maybe they don't. Either way, really interesting.

    What are your guys thoughts on who or what the Dark Mother is? Again, not looking for a 2e in depth explanation of who or what she is, more just open musings. We know that she's an artifact of the First Age somehow, and we know that these things are Exalted, which means she's got a pile of the magic holy kush that she can manipulate and use somehow. The implications for whatever she is are really interesting. As per the recent livestream. we know she hijacks people's processes in order to get them to fulfill the rituals she needs to make a liminal exalted. The ability to do something like that isn't something that's particularly common among any splats I can think of, and jives closer to some sort of Deathlord or God power. Whatever she is, I hope the Liminals splat book gives us hints, but is vague and contradictory enough to make speculation fun and interesting.

    Another thought that's on my mind right now: Do liminals "exist" to fight ghosts only, or are they a kind of anti-Creature of Darkness storm trooper? Do they wanna eat up some unbound demons and Raksha, or do they really not care about them? Do they make a distinction between the two, and if so, is that some sort of inborn ability for detecting ghosts? Or are they dark hunter kings, monsters who hunt other monsters while staying out of the sun?

  • #2
    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    Their Magical Material, like Abyssals, is Soulsteel, right?
    Why do they have to have a magical material associated with them?

    (I think the devs have gone on the record to say that soulsteel does not have any special resonance with them. I know at least that they said they weren't the "original soulsteel Exalted" implied to exist by 2e Alchemicals.)

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    Speaking of Abyssals, I imagine they have a deeply antagonistic relationship, right?
    I'd argue that it depends on the individuals involved first and foremost.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    An Abyssal is a dark servant warrior-god to a terrifying ghost monster.
    This assumes that the Liminal even knows this. Which isn't necessarily a given.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    While we're on the topic of other Exalted, what exactly is the liminal "power level" supposed to be?
    Hoo boy.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    They can use up to Terrestrial Circle sorcery, so we know they're relegated to the "Terrestrial" pool.
    We don't know that.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    Do Liminals suffer the "Terrestrial" keyword for MAs?
    I didn't see it mentioning Liminals during the description of the Terrestrial Keyword.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    I know they're supposed to be hyper durable, but I don't know exactly how to situate them.
    Working as intended; the devs' stated intent was to do away with 2e's rigid power levels.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    How many are there?
    "Not many."

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    We don't need even numbers, but my gut reaction is that their pretty rare; rare enough that your random villager is much more likely to think that the Liminal is some sort of ghost-demon, while almost everyone knows what a dragon blooded is, though most people have probably never met on in their lives.
    Considering that they only come about when someone tries to bring the dead back to life, I think this is reasonably accurate.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    We also do know, though, that they're known about in Sijin, enough that they're viewed as a curiosity and a research topic.
    "Known about" isn't really comprehensive enough to give us anything concrete.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    That kind of speaks to me that there are more than just a small handful, they just keep under the radar and are transient.
    I don't know that I'd agree on the first bit, there.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    On the topic of transientness, how do circles of the Liminal Exalted come about?
    I doubt that they do come about with any regularity.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    Are circles of the Liminals common, or is it rare?
    Again, I'm not inclined to think of anything regarding Liminals as "common," but I'd argue that given their rarity, forming some kind of group is something that occurs disproportionately often compared to their counterparts with larger and sturdier numbers.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    I imagine there's a lot of amazing and really good roleplaying to be done in playing a circle of Liminals all piecing together their Self. Maybe at the campaign, they go their different ways, having become significantly different people. Maybe they don't. Either way, really interesting.
    Maybe - we'll have to find out.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    …we know that these things are Exalted, which means she's got a pile of the magic holy kush that she can manipulate and use somehow.
    I'm not sure I get what you mean by "holy kush."

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    The ability to do something like that isn't something that's particularly common among any splats I can think of…
    That's pretty much how the entirety of the Bureau of Destiny works. They manipulate the world behind-the-scenes to shape the future.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    …and jives closer to some sort of Deathlord or God power.
    Um, yes, the setting has gods.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    Whatever she is, I hope the Liminals splat book gives us hints, but is vague and contradictory enough to make speculation fun and interesting.
    Agreed.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    Another thought that's on my mind right now: Do liminals "exist" to fight ghosts only, or are they a kind of anti-Creature of Darkness storm trooper?
    I doubt it's as cut-and-dried as either.

    Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
    Do they wanna eat up some unbound demons and Raksha, or do they really not care about them?
    See above.
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 12-27-2016, 03:09 PM.

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    • #3
      Probably not what was intended, but what if the Dark Mother is Gaia? At the end of the God War, she disappears...maybe one of the Titans/Yozis managed to nearly fatally wound her, and that's why she's been missing. She's been using the Liminals to slowly piece herself together, as they piece themselves together. Or maybe not. :-)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
        Why do they have to have a magical material associated with them?
        I mean, they don't have to have one, but the fiction and the QCs seem to imply that they have a natural affinity with Soulsteel?

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Deverash View Post
          Probably not what was intended, but what if the Dark Mother is Gaia?
          I think folks already speculated about that in another thread, though I don't recall if the devs ever weighed in one way or the other.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
            While we're on the topic of other Exalted, what exactly is the liminal "power level" supposed to be? They can use up to Terrestrial Circle sorcery, so we know they're relegated to the "Terrestrial" pool. Do Liminals suffer the "Terrestrial" keyword for MAs? Are they pretty mediocre against most opponents (as far as exalts go) but completely wreck house when it comes to ghosts? I know they're supposed to be hyper durable, but I don't know exactly how to situate them.
            Liminal Power Levels -

            In 1st and 2nd edition "power levels" were roughly based off of maximum Essence pool and the amount of dice you could add through Excellencies with a few other shenanigans that were important to consider (cheapness of Charms, Sidereal "lower target number" Charms, etc). Obviously that isn't necessarily true in 3rd edition, but even still, in the 3rd edition paradigm your Excellency cap and maximum Essence still play a large role in determining how strong you are, at least in combat for the most part (which is where I imagine most people are looking when they discuss "power levels.")

            If we were to examine Liminals in that light, they would roughly land somewhere between Dragon Blooded and Lunars/Sidereal. Liminals have a slightly larger Essence pool than Dragon Blooded, but lower than Sidereal and Lunar Exalted. Their Excellency cap is higher than Dragon Blooded - DB's are Ability+1, while Liminals are capped at their Attribute, but can go with Attribute + Essence at the cost of revealing their true nature to everyone (which presumably brings with it such negative consequences that there will be times when Liminals are capped by their Attribute). Still it takes awhile in-game to raise your Essence to 5, so for much of the game they will probably be rolling Attribute + 2 or 3 even if they go "all in" which is a bit worse than Solars or Lunars.

            At the same time though, Liminals have a unique capability in that they can "overcharge" their bodies but at the cost of burning out body parts (such as Clambering Horror Chase) which could prove an interesting mechanic of the Charm developer decides to play around with it - a Charm might typically give X bonus, but you could instead get an X + Y bonus at the cost of burning your body part out at the end of the scene, or even within just a few rounds allowing a Liminal to "exceed their limits" for a short period of time but also with a cost such that they probably couldn't use that Charm repeatedly.

            Overall, my guess is that Liminals will typically be around Dragon Blooded power level (or just a tiny bit higher) but are capable of temporarily exerting themselves such that they can compete with Celestials in power, but at the cost of burning out body parts and/or revealing their true nature. That's probably not something you are going to want to do (or even be able to do) every time you go to roll dice, so there will often be situations where the Liminals is a bit weaker than Celestial Exalted.

            Honestly I am rather reminded of the Alchemical Exalted.

            Alchemicals were roughly as strong as Celestial Exalted provided they had appropriate Charms installed, but this would often come at the cost of having Charms installed to be useful in other areas. So an Alchemical loaded out for combat could easily compare to a Celestial Exalt, but at the same time that Alchemical probably wouldn't have very many Charms installed for say, engaging in crafting or social situations or such. This put Alchemical Exalted in a weird position somewhere between Terrestrial Exalted and Celestial Exalted, and I can see shades of that in the Liminal design.

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            • #7
              I think I can kind of feel the contours of what they are from their corebook bit. On unknowns, I'm kind of interested more in the kind of space they play in, in terms of how much is there of it outside the ghost / monster hunter / badass fighter archetype. Social + Mental challenges, etc. The developers talk about them being a personal scale group so how specialised are they for personal "exploring what it means to be human while fighting monsters and human injustice" vs games about taking influential decisions or playing a part in a society or shaping the future?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PraxisCat View Post
                We also do know, though, that they're known about in Sijin, enough that they're viewed as a curiosity and a research topic. That kind of speaks to me that there are more than just a small handful, they just keep under the radar and are transient.
                ​The corebook establishes Sijan as a place that has a kind of standing alliance with the Liminal Exalted (which probably amounts to them offering friendship to any Liminal who happens by, a fact that becomes apparent to any given Liminal in one way or another on a long enough timeline), which has the mutual benefit of the necrosurgeons being able to study and venerate this unique marvel of the dead lands, and the Liminals a ready source of things like replacement body parts and people with the expertise to integrate them. Basically, at some point since they became a thing, one or more Liminals recognised that the proclivities of the city made it an ideal place to form a relationship with that was ultimately extended to the Chernozem at large.

                ​Even without that, I'd say the highly organized society of dedicated death scholars would be able to pick up on a wide variety of phenomena related to the Underworld, even if it was a wholly singular thing. That's part of the benefit of recording information and having people able to spend their lives dedicated to poring over it. Liminals probably aren't as rare as whatever was behind Brooke Greenberg not physically or mentally aging after the age of four up until she died at the age of twenty, and that's something that medical professionals can still look up.

                Originally posted by PraxisGhost
                Another thought that's on my mind right now: Do liminals "exist" to fight ghosts only, or are they a kind of anti-Creature of Darkness storm trooper?
                ​I think Liminals are born to engage with (not necessarily fight) a number of dreadful things that might rise out of the Underworld, that are not limited to ghosts.

                ​At the same time, it's been repeatedly emphasized that Liminals aren't strictly bound to this purpose even if they have certain strong incentives to follow it, and that many are going to be focused entirely on trying to find a place in the world despite their own sense of not belonging and being made from a life and memories that don't belong to them, and the revulsion they have a good chance of inspiring in other people.


                I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                  Why do they have to have a magical material associated with them?
                  From what I can tell, you can only use Evocations for a magical material that you resonate with. Without one, the Liminals will be unable to use Evocations.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Kunoichi View Post
                    From what I can tell, you can only use Evocations for a magical material that you resonate with. Without one, the Liminals will be unable to use Evocations.
                    Mind sourcing that, please?

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                    • #11
                      So, Liminal generally fight again Underworld things.

                      According to Nightwarden's backstory, Sijian has alliances with the Deathlord (or at least with the Walker). I wonder if the book will keep this piece of fluff or not now that Sijian and the Liminal has some kind of partnership going on ?


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                      • #12
                        I don't recall how the corebook ties magical materials to Exalted, and feel as though on this occasion it might be something as simple as "these materials have powers that are resonant to any given Exalt"; a Fire Aspect having a tendency towards red jade not because it's the only thing that Evocations can be gotten out of, but because it's familiar.

                        ​Although that might not be the best case, if Dragon Blooded have another exceptional relationship with Evocations.

                        ​Mind, whatever the association with, I don't think anything guarantees that Liminals will have much or any facility with Evocations at all.


                        I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                        Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                        https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TheCountAlucard View Post
                          Mind sourcing that, please?
                          Page 612, second bullet point.

                          Artifacts are generally designed to harmonize with a
                          certain sort of Essence. Few if any artifacts will yield up
                          the fullness of their Evocations equally to all wielders.
                          In particular, the Evocations found in this book are
                          designed for the use of the Solar Exalted unless
                          otherwise specified, and will yield up only fragments
                          of their power (if any) to non-Solar wielders.
                          I realize it's not at plain as I thought initially; I take that to mean that a Lunar (for example) can use Orichalcum artifacts just fine, but won't be able to make use of any of the item's evocations unless that particular artifact was made for it.

                          Edit: Also this, from a few paragraphs later. Still not plainly clear, but that's not something that the Core book often does.

                          The dominant magical material used in an artifact
                          has an enormous impact not only on its character, but on
                          who most strongly covets the item—for while the Solar
                          Exalted are equally adept with all magical materials, other
                          varieties of Exalted have powerful affinities for a particular
                          magical material, and limited aptitude in establishing a
                          bond with artifacts not of that substance.
                          Last edited by Kunoichi; 12-28-2016, 01:08 PM.

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                          • #14
                            "Not getting an artifact to yield up the fullness of their Evocations," "limited aptitude," "fragments of power," et cetera., is a darn sight short of "be unable to use Evocations."

                            But yeah, I'm leaning more towards Isator's viewpoint - we don't know that they'll even access Evocations. Considering how any given week they might be wearing a different hand or arm, it might be rather difficult for a Liminal to maintain the special bond required with his daiklave to draw Evocations from it!
                            Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 12-28-2016, 06:29 PM.

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                            • #15
                              It's hardly a stretch to make that connection.


                              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                              Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                              https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

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