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Soulsteel "Stormcaller" Concept: Gravedigger

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  • Soulsteel "Stormcaller" Concept: Gravedigger

    Right now, my idea for a soulsteel Stormcaller is called Gravedigger, because the longer it is drawn, the deeper it sinks its surroundings towards the tombs of the Neverborn. Sheathing the weapon may return the sword's attuned owner back to his starting point if he wills it, but anyone within one range band of him can be left behind in the Underworld or Labyrinth, or hurled into the tombs of the Neverborn.

    The sword would work on the same intensity system as Stormcaller, but the closer one is to the tombs of the Neverborn, the higher Gravedigger's Intensity starts when drawn, because drawing the sword always affects its surroundings. It makes a weak shadowland into a stronger one, a stronger shadowland into a new pocket of the Underworld, drags a pocket of the Underworld into the Labyrinth, and drags a pocket of the Labyrinth into the tombs of the Neverborn. Drawing the sword while already standing in the presence of the tombs would cause something suitably awful to happen, not to mention the possibility of drawing the sword while physically inside one of those tombs.

    Naturally, the weapon makes the environment more dangerous for the living and more hospitable for the dead... at first. If used in normal Creation at night, your enemies can't escape farther than four range bands from you without entering the Underworld. If used during the day, your ghostly allies can physically join the fight without fear of the sun. Of course, even ghosts fear the Labyrinth and Neverborn, so the weapon is still useful when used against ghosts in the Underworld.

    I'm thinking Gravedigger's Evocations can let the sword dig up graves, metaphorically, by cutting holes between the worlds and letting Mortwrights out of the Labyrinth to assault your enemies, living or dead. Higher Evocations might let you summon and bind whole battlegroups of mortwrights, and coordinate them to combine their Thrashing Ghost Tantrum into a singular, powerful storm.

    A creature of death who attunes to Gravedigger becomes immune to the sun, as Gravedigger serves as a constant portal to the Neverborn tombs. A creature of life who attunes to Gravedigger becomes immune to the darkness conjured by a Mortwright’s Black Breath of the Abyss. Anyone who attunes to Gravedigger becomes immune to a Mortwright’s Thrashing Ghost Tantrum and also the environmental hazards of the Labyrinth, possibly including the mad dreams and whispers of the Neverborn.

    Its sheath would be made of orichalcum, to properly neutralize and contain its power.
    Last edited by Sunder the Gold; 04-02-2017, 10:09 AM.


    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

    My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

  • #2
    I think we should make an "I can't believe it's not Stormcaller!" topic to contain these.

    Also, dibs on making the black and blue jade versions.


    Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
    Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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    • #3
      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
      I think we should make an "I can't believe it's not Stormcaller!" topic to contain these.
      Can we get a moderator to change the title of this thread to match this proposal?


      EDIT: NOT the other thread! Heartbreaker is a failure to meet the concept, and I want to use that thread to pursue other ideas!
      Last edited by Sunder the Gold; 04-02-2017, 10:37 AM.


      Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

      My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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      • #4
        Your very own, personal way to go to and from the underworld, or trap people there does not feel like Artifact 5 to me, feels like it goes into the more nebulous N/A. That is my feeling, anyways. That was before we added the evocation getting into the upper tiers of necromancy (presumably) with the summoning. Immune to Neverborn tantrums?

        Nerf it down a bit, I would say, eyeballing it. Stormcaller has to deal with defenses and damage, and other variables, making its powers subject to the trials and tribulations of Exalted combat. As Keyword defenses are a little more difficult to get in this edition, I think this thing eats Stormcaller's lunch.

        That said, I -like- this one a lot more. I think the concept is cool, and thematic. Controlling the battlefield to your advantage is sword-adjacent type power, and there is definitely a flavor to savor to this. It is evocative and thematic. I feel it needs toned down, but balance often eludes me.

        In short, I like it, it just needs toned down a bit.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mister Lion View Post
          Your very own, personal way to go to and from the underworld, or trap people there does not feel like Artifact 5 to me, feels like it goes into the more nebulous N/A. That is my feeling, anyways.
          Hmm. Maybe make it harder for Gravedigger to increase Intensity? Like, you need to at least draw blood from a non-trivial enemy, if not outright kill them?

          Also, I felt that remaining in the Underworld after you sheathe the sword would be more appropriate for an Evocation than a basic ability, because I do recognize the power of being able to run from any fight in Creation by ducking into the Underworld.

          On top of that, I always imagined that successfully leaving non-trivial, properly-named opponents behind in the Underworld or worse would require that they lose some kind of saving throw. We're not talking about an unblockable (or undodgeable) final attack like with Stormbringer. Damage can be soaked, but getting trapped and lost in a hostile world is something else entirely.


          That was before we added the evocation getting into the upper tiers of necromancy (presumably) with the summoning.
          Stormcaller can mimic the effects of the Solar Circle Spell "Rain of Doom", with an Evocation gated off by a Solar Charm in an earlier Evocation. Summoning Mortwrights could be gated behind Abyssal Charms.


          Immune to Neverborn tantrums?
          Dreams and whispers; the passive effects of being near them, rather than the more drastic effects of when they wake up and thrash around. In any case, we don't have mechanics for either, yet, so we don't know how bad it is to stand near the tombs.


          That said, I -like- this one a lot more. I think the concept is cool, and thematic. Controlling the battlefield to your advantage is sword-adjacent type power, and there is definitely a flavor to savor to this. It is evocative and thematic.
          Cool. Glad you like it.


          Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

          My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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          • #6
            Yes. I like the idea of limiting intensity, or maybe it can only trap someone in the underworld that is has done a point of damage to? Then tie the attack to a keyword. At that point, your opponent has had two chances to defend, resolve the effect. I can get behind that as a powerful ability that fall into the Artifact 5 space in my head.

            I should put a caveat in just about everything I post about how I am viewing it as the character being struck by something. I can handle almost anything happening to my character so long as I had a chance, that might be the wrong way to view Artifacts. I will have to think about that some more. I may be holding onto a recent incident in Pathfinder where my GM sent me an email, and my character was given no save or die roll and essentially date-raped by his sister, who then escaped in a 'ninja vanish' sort of way. I might be too concerned with character agency.

            The Rain of Doom remark is 100 percent on point. Objection withdrawn.

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            • #7
              The starmetal version of Stormcaller would be Threadcutter, or Webcutter. It's more of a Getimian weapon than a Sidereal one, since the drawn blade cuts the strands of Fate.

              Rather than the intensity of a storm, Threadcutter simply inflicts cumulative damage to the laws of reality in the world surrounding it while also protecting the user against the wrath of the Pattern Spiders, and possibly also astrological curses. So even if the Spiders can restore the world to proper order as soon as the demon blade is sheathed, they cannot punish the owner... at least, not unless someone breaks his attunement to Threadcutter. All in all, this weapon is safest for users who are naturally Outside Of Fate.

              The errors introduced to the Loom of Fate will probably screw with space and time, making it more difficult for characters to cross range bands and possibly also causing people's turns to happen slightly later in the round than they should, even if their Initiative is greater than Threadcutter's user.

              The final attack caused by sheathing the sword -- or perhaps just one of its possible Evocations -- might erase its victims from the memories and recorded history of the world. For Sidereals, it would probably destroy their current Resplendent Destiny.

              Threadcutter's sheath might be made of adamant, which is not only cool because of giving adamant something to do, but also means that you've got this prismatically-tinted steel blade encased in a sheath of transparent diamond crystal.


              Ironically, this weapon rather than any moonsilver version is the one that makes parts of Creation essentially into Wyld Zones, since the Loom is what makes the difference between Order and Chaos. So Threadcutter could also possibly afflict people with mutations, including derangements and Wyld Addiction.

              Instead of "Rain of Doom" feats, Threadcutter might inflict enough damage to the battlefield's connections to the Loom that it becomes a permanent Wyld Zone.
              Last edited by Sunder the Gold; 04-02-2017, 12:10 PM.


              Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

              My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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              • #8
                Does this specifically work based on drawing people into shadowlands and the Underworld, or is the environment envisioned as having a more specific tactical effect than that? If it's just increasing intensity of the Underworld, what would be the benefit to the wielder of that? Is its offensive power purely from Evocations, with those dependent on how deep one has gone?

                ​Hmm, I can see you've partially answered the question with "if they run away at night they end up in the Underworld" and "ghost allies can help you", but that seems very situational and demanding of a lot of work apart from the weapon itself. I mean, if you are sans ghosts allies or an enemy who is likely to run from you (or fearful of the Underworld), it doesn't seem to help much.

                ​It's probably more a matter of personal taste, but I don't like the idea of daiklave evocations that don't really have much to do with hitting somebody with the sword myself. Even if I assume that the comparison to Stormcaller means that the increasing depth of death Essence is implicitly keyed to successful attacks on people, it still seems to have little to do with the image of a sword.


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                • #9
                  I'd consider starting the intensity ramp by driving a ghostly image of the sword into a convenient surface. This is the "true" Gravedigger, and it sinks deeper (i.e. intensity increases) as the wielder uses it's material reflection to sacrifice worthy foes to it. Whether opponents can interact with the ghost-version to help ameliorate the effects or not (maybe they can), it creates terrain around which a fight can center and other combatants can make choices.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                    Does this specifically work based on drawing people into shadowlands and the Underworld, or is the environment envisioned as having a more specific tactical effect than that? If it's just increasing intensity of the Underworld, what would be the benefit to the wielder of that? Is its offensive power purely from Evocations, with those dependent on how deep one has gone?

                    ​Hmm, I can see you've partially answered the question with "if they run away at night they end up in the Underworld" and "ghost allies can help you", but that seems very situational and demanding of a lot of work apart from the weapon itself. I mean, if you are sans ghosts allies or an enemy who is likely to run from you (or fearful of the Underworld), it doesn't seem to help much.

                    ​It's probably more a matter of personal taste, but I don't like the idea of daiklave evocations that don't really have much to do with hitting somebody with the sword myself. Even if I assume that the comparison to Stormcaller means that the increasing depth of death Essence is implicitly keyed to successful attacks on people, it still seems to have little to do with the image of a sword.
                    Fair complaints.


                    Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                    My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by aluminiumtrioxid View Post
                      I think we should make an "I can't believe it's not Stormcaller!" topic to contain these.

                      Also, dibs on making the black and blue jade versions.
                      If you don't mind an opinion, I think it would be cool if the black jade version is designed with the idea that it is usually used underwater, just as Stormcaller is intended to be used under the open sky.


                      Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                      My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post
                        If you don't mind an opinion, I think it would be cool if the black jade version is designed with the idea that it is usually used underwater, just as Stormcaller is intended to be used under the open sky.

                        I don't mind the opinion, but given that I spent the last... erm... definitely-more-than-reasonable hours on designing it around the idea that it lets you bring your own underwater stuff with you into combat, I certainly won't re-write it from scratch to accommodate it :P


                        Evocations for the demonic tattoos gained from the Pact with Mara sorcerous initiation || Pyre-Kindler (Soulsteel and Red Jade Grimscythe, Artifact 3) || Tenebrous Descent (Stormcaller's Black Jade Reaver Daiklave cousin, Artifact 5)
                        Advice for running the corebook shikari antagonists

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                        • #13
                          Should not a weapon called Gravedigger be more of a Soulsteel Longfang with a head shaped to resemble a shovel's spade, whose shadowland conjuring effect spreads every round that it is struck into new ground? Or something like that.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Greyman View Post
                            Should not a weapon called Gravedigger be more of a Soulsteel Longfang with a head shaped to resemble a shovel's spade, whose shadowland conjuring effect spreads every round that it is struck into new ground? Or something like that.
                            I was tempted to make it an actual SHOVEL, but I'm still trying to stick to Stormcaller's "you won't like it when I put my sword away" feature.

                            Also, artifacts that you stick into the ground and don't actually USE in a personal sense aren't supposed to be very fruitful with Evocations. You're not wielding them if you're just leaving them alone to do their thing without you.


                            In any case, this version of Gravedigger is another failure to meet the concept. Because it is more dependent on having a specific brand of allies (ghosts, in this case) to be useful than Stormcaller is, the magic needs a vessel other than a sword. The sheathing-attack feature may also need to be dropped, which helps for making the artifact anything but a sword.

                            Maybe if it's a flag/spear, and you plant it into the ground as people are suggesting. Again, this cuts off much Evocation potential, but it fits better with the themes of conquering/controlling territory and leading minions into battle.


                            Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

                            My RWBY Blog on Tumblr: Semblances, Kingdoms, Grimm, and more!

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                            • #15
                              I'd been contemplating a daiklave named Gravedigger for quite some time, but it was going to be white jade and very literal -- a spade-shaped tip, and Evocations centered around manipulating earth and stone. Sadly I hadn't made any real progress on writing Evocations, but the signature one was going to be a technique that makes the ground itself start trying to draw a crashed opponent in (and actually bury them if they become incapacitated).

                              The soulsteel thing is probably more fitting though.

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