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Sidereals, Resplendent Destinies, and Demon: the Descent Covers

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  • Sidereals, Resplendent Destinies, and Demon: the Descent Covers

    Let's take one of the new dev's quotes and pick it to the bones until Ex3 Sidereals comes out or we grow bored:

    Originally posted by Robert Vance View Post
    Astrology rules are still a ways off, but when I was reading Demon: The Descent, I was struck by how well the mechanical implementation of Cover would fit resplendent destinies.
    As I know nothing about Demon: the Descent, I had to google what a Demon's cover was.

    Originally posted by White Wolf Wiki
    A Cover is a human identity used by the Unchained. Much more than a simple human disguise, when she first Falls a demon's Cover is the remnants of the Infrastructure that supported her as an angel. A Cover is much more than a backstory and a few props, though. When she Fell, the demon interfaced with reality rather than the God-Machine and wrote her disguise into the world.
    Demons have entirely human bodies, fully-detailed backgrounds, relationships, possessions, jobs-whatever was needed for their Cover. The people "related" to the demon don't realize that anything's wrong. In some cases, they didn't even exist until she Fell.
    This is what I want with a Resplendent Destiny. I want my PC to slip into an existing social group and not have to come up with weird excuses as to why they suddenly showed up. I want the Social group to believe the Sidereals has been there for years. Yes, I know Sidereals get a dice bonus for those situations, but that isn't the same as "What are you talking about? Lin and I grew up together." The idea of people not even existing until a cover is created is kind of cool, but I imagine this part of Cover won't make it into game. If it does, the Sidereal will most likely accrue paradox for creating new people on the Loom.

    Originally posted by White Wolf Wiki
    Cover can be damaged if a demon deviates too sharply from her human life. The most powerful demonic magical abilities shake Cover, risking exposure. As a demon grows in power, becoming more connected to the universe, her Cover may develop glitches — obviously inhuman traits like metallic skin or a need to drink mercury, strange emanations of power such as damping radio signals, or bizarre behavioral tics and compulsions like a need to remove the eyes from photographs in case the God-Machine sees her through them.
    I like this idea SO much better than the paradox table. Strange things happen around the Sidereal with high levels of paradox. A shattered cup lies on the floor, but is still in the Sidereal's hand unbroken. A strange child follows the Sidereal around. No one knows where she came from.


    Originally posted by White Wolf Wiki
    Cover can be replaced. Demons can learn to steal the Infrastructure of angels or take a human soul and "move into" the life it vacated. Demons grow to the point that they can maintain more than one Cover simultaneously, switching between disguises. If Cover is stripped away entirely, the demon has to run. Trapped in her true form, desperate to find a new Cover she can move into, the fugitive has to face groups of angels attempting to capture her before she can go to ground once more.
    Identity stealing has always been in the Lunar's wheelhouse more than the Sidereals. With each splat growing to take up more narrative space, maybe a Sidereal can take over an Innkeeper's place for a week until the Solar Circle has passed.


    Originally posted by White Wolf Wiki
    Demons, as the result of having been created by an unfeeling, nearly all-encompassing machine, have as much moral sense after the Fall as a copper gear. A human’s grossest sin could be something a demon considers laudable in himself, and he isn’t wrong. However, by taking Covers, a Demon slowly forms a semblance of Morality thanks to residues of their former owners. Demons often integrate aspects of their human façade into themselves whether they want to or not.
    As a result, most demons have no clear Morality score. It depends instead on their defining Virtue or Vice that they have adopted during their Descent, as well as their chosen Aspiration, and is thus highly individual.
    While Sidereals aren't unfeeling inhuman monsters like Demons, I wonder if a Resplendent Destiny could carry intimacies with it. For example, the Sidereal who took the Innkeeper's place now has a temporary intimacy for the Innkeeper's children.
    Last edited by wonderandawe; 04-10-2017, 04:18 PM. Reason: Removing Wiki Links


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  • #2
    Yes! It reappeared! Note to self: When copying from Wiki, remove all the links to avoid the forum spam trap.


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    • #3
      DtD note: demons aren't inherently unfeeling or amoral. In fact, a lot of them fall because the God-Machine wants them to do something they can't stomach. Their morality (small m) is largely accumulated by observation and lived experience, rather than as a mystical effect of Cover.


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      • #4
        It sounds a bit invasive into people's lives and selves in a way that I'm not totally comfortable with being the Sidereal baselines... (Though I think is a thing they could do.)

        I mean, for a game of being a demon (of sorts), I can see you can go straight to the level of warping people's lives, or casually writing their soul and memories into being, with all the existential horror those implies, all for a cover identity. But to play a Sidereal is not to play some transcendent horror-wonder from a higher heaven-hell dimension who has intruded into our reality and seeks to conceal itself from that which would hunt and discover it. Sidereals are human men and women. That's the baseline.

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        • #5
          *screaming internally*
          Oh gods yes!

          I've been rolling DtD Covers in my head in relation to Sidereals for a while now, except I'm not in a position to do anything about it.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post
            DtD note: demons aren't inherently unfeeling or amoral. In fact, a lot of them fall because the God-Machine wants them to do something they can't stomach. Their morality (small m) is largely accumulated by observation and lived experience, rather than as a mystical effect of Cover.
            Thanks for the clarification! I'll admit I wrote from ignorance of the DtD setting.

            Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
            It sounds a bit invasive into people's lives and selves in a way that I'm not totally comfortable with being the Sidereal baselines... (Though I think is a thing they could do.)

            I mean, for a game of being a demon (of sorts), I can see you can go straight to the level of warping people's lives, or casually writing their soul and memories into being, with all the existential horror those implies, all for a cover identity. But to play a Sidereal is not to play some transcendent horror-wonder from a higher heaven-hell dimension who has intruded into our reality and seeks to conceal itself from that which would hunt and discover it. Sidereals are human men and women. That's the baseline.
            I assume you are talking about the "insert yourself into a social group" idea. As Sidereals are human, I imagine it is heartbreaking to have all these people love you as a friend and to know that it is all false. Your friendship is a lie. When the RD ends, you will be forgotten. You could go back and start over, but Arcane Fate makes developing friendships so difficult.


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            • #7
              Being familiar with both Demon: the Descent and Exalted, it's impossible to miss the parallels and the way the two concepts might inform one another. Demon is the CofD gameline which straight up has Avoidance Kata in the corebook power list (as Four Minutes Ago), not to mention various other powers like Force Relationship.

              They're obviously not the exact same, nor should they be, but I'm pretty comfortable to hear the Demon book is passing under Vance's eyes.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                I assume you are talking about the "insert yourself into a social group" idea. As Sidereals are human, I imagine it is heartbreaking to have all these people love you as a friend and to know that it is all false. Your friendship is a lie. When the RD ends, you will be forgotten. You could go back and start over, but Arcane Fate makes developing friendships so difficult.
                Trying to articulate a little better, my image of the Sidereals is more that...

                In the first and highest age of man, the Sidereals saw a threat which would burn their world to ash and bone. They broke the fates, and removed themselves from identity and history, to give them the matchless disguise and stealth to baffle and defeat an enemy that could, would, see anything coming.

                The legacy of that is a curse and exile. What Resplendent Destinies do is give them a choice and an option of how to respond to that; they can choose to use them to lead a rootless existence, conning humanity, living through mask under mask, building false selves to live a semblance of a human life, using identities only as a means to an ends.. or they can choose to build an identity that's as close as they can to true, and build relationships around that which are close to genuine and real as they can.

                There's a question there; How do you respond when you lose who you are, and you can rebuild identity, with effort, but never truly be known by others for who you are? What path do you embrace? With a wrinkle that makes this whole dilemma much more interesting, if your work calls on you to be a spy, to be a cipher, is the moral choice necessarily the one that we would think is closest to authenticity and honesty?

                Crucially, in either sense it's a response that they choose and which we can respect in that they've worked to build it. They've made those relationships from ground up.

                I think what I don't like so much in the excerpts in the OP is it feels like there is the suggestion of taking away the choice, and the effort and sweat, from them - the equivalent idea seems more like it would be one where Resplendent Destiny reaches out and reforms reality to create an identity for them. If that means it takes people's lives and selves from them, reforms them in different patterns, they can choose how they feel about it, but they're not really choosing at root in the same way. There's a rather passive aspect of personal horror to that (of the experience of being a reality disruptive horror against your will) that seems quite different to me than what I'd think Sidereals are going for.

                (I'm sure this is a little pretentious. More than a little. Quite a lot, even.).

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                • #9
                  As someone who has played and read a lot of Demon, I think that Cover is a really excellent inspiration for how to make Resplendent Destinies make sense and be cool.

                  That it's slightly flawed is also an important part of it, though. I think that part is definitely something to keep for the Exalted version, not to make Sidereals jump through hoops but to give it some interesting impetus in gameplay and to highlight the unreality of the Resplendent Destiny in a fun sort of way.


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                  • #10
                    As it happens, Sidereals were a loose inspiration for demons. I don't think I ever considered Resplendent Destinies specifically, but I probably should have. But agents of the Heaven-establishment whose abilities work on backdoors in the infrastructure of reality has obvious overlap....

                    I think Destinies having Intimacies would be a pretty cool idea. One thing I didn't have time to make work in DtD was giving Covers their own Aspirations, but I think it would have worked nicely with a bit more development.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post
                      As it happens, Sidereals were a loose inspiration for demons. I don't think I ever considered Resplendent Destinies specifically, but I probably should have. But agents of the Heaven-establishment whose abilities work on backdoors in the infrastructure of reality has obvious overlap....
                      Somehow, this reminds of The Adjustment Bureau, which could have been such a good movie if only it actually focused on the agents instead of being a by-the-numbers love story.
                      I think Destinies having Intimacies would be a pretty cool idea.
                      Personally I really like the idea of Sidereals keeping (at least) the Ties they make as a reinforcement of the isolation RDs create (also as a distinction from Solar Personae). You have within you lifetimes of experiences with real people, but those experiences never "really" happened, because the person you were never "really" existed.

                      I think it lessens the humanity of Sidereals if they can simply cast off e.g. a Defining Tie by taking off a RD. I mean, they should be able to do it through Charms, sure, but maybe not as a base power. I like stories of undercover agents that form real bonds of loyalty / love / friendship, against their "better judgement", that cause them to question their superiors, their associations and stuff. ( come to think of it, I just described the Fall, didn't I? )

                      At least, that with my current working model of Sidereals. For all I know their implementation (and/or that of RDs) will change enough for the opposite to be just as compelling.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post
                        As it happens, Sidereals were a loose inspiration for demons. I don't think I ever considered Resplendent Destinies specifically, but I probably should have. But agents of the Heaven-establishment whose abilities work on backdoors in the infrastructure of reality has obvious overlap....
                        Suddenly Demon: the Descent is way more interesting to me.

                        Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post
                        I think Destinies having Intimacies would be a pretty cool idea. One thing I didn't have time to make work in DtD was giving Covers their own Aspirations, but I think it would have worked nicely with a bit more development.
                        Resplendent Destinies with Intimacies would have interesting implications for Ex3's Social Combat System. You do read intentions and get the false RD intimacy instead of one of the Sidereal's real Intimacies. A Sidereal on a Mission to save a town may not care about the town itself. Yet, the Sidereal could create a RD that does care about the town and use that intimacy to boost their Resolve.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fata-Ku View Post
                          I think it lessens the humanity of Sidereals if they can simply cast off e.g. a Defining Tie by taking off a RD. I mean, they should be able to do it through Charms, sure, but maybe not as a base power. I like stories of undercover agents that form real bonds of loyalty / love / friendship, against their "better judgement", that cause them to question their superiors, their associations and stuff. ( come to think of it, I just described the Fall, didn't I? )
                          Ideally, a Sidereal should be able to cast off Intimacies built into an RD. It is what the Elder Sidereals expect a Sidereal to do when they are done with the mission. Or when a Mission changes and now the Sidereal has to help the invaders pillage the village.

                          However, there should be a risk of an intimacy bleeding over into the Sidereal's real Intimacies. Maybe the longer the Sidereal wears the RD, the more likely they start to identify with the people the interact with. It should be a risk, not something that happens by default. Otherwise you'd get Sidereals abandoning the Bureau of Destiny on their first mission.

                          Now that I have written this out, I realize this is what the majority of the Sidereal Integrity Charms do. It ties a Sidereal to a cause and allow them to follow though without all those "annoying" emotional entanglements. I'll have to think about this more.


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                          The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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                          • #14
                            What if a RD-specific Intimacies could only be created at the RD's inception (and were unalterable maybe?) while any further intimacies went directly to the Sidereal?
                            Would have that on-the-job advantage of caring about your goal while keeping the human getting-too-attached aspect.

                            ninja-edit:
                            Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post

                            Ideally, a Sidereal should be able to cast off Intimacies built into an RD. It is what the Elder Sidereals expect a Sidereal to do when they are done with the mission.
                            I agree, but I also think that it shouldn't be a realistic expectation for a starting Sidereal. I see it as one of those "my spy-master boss that's been doing this for 300 years expects me to be a cold-hearted monster" situations where you eventually get there, but is really hard at first (unless you spec for it).
                            Last edited by Fata-Ku; 04-11-2017, 10:48 AM.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Fata-Ku View Post
                              What if a RD-specific Intimacies could only be created at the RD's inception (and were unalterable maybe?) while any further intimacies went directly to the Sidereal?
                              Would have that on-the-job advantage of caring about your goal while keeping the human getting-too-attached aspect.
                              This is actually the senario I was thinking of. You set intimacies at the creation of the RD and can use those Intimacies to bump up your Resolve. But if you get swayed by an argument that is better than your resolve, then YOU get a new intimacy.


                              Originally posted by Fata-Ku View Post
                              I agree, but I also think that it shouldn't be a realistic expectation for a starting Sidereal. I see it as one of those "my spy-master boss that's been doing this for 300 years expects me to be a cold-hearted monster" situations where you eventually get there, but is really hard at first (unless you spec for it).
                              Agreed. Got to start with easy missions about saving orphans first. Then you find out your spy-master boss has been killing orphans for the Bureau, but for reasons of Fate. Then you get to decide if those reasons are the right reasons or the Bureau is full of bullshit.

                              Good times.


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                              The Werewolf: the Apocalypse Quest updates on Mondays. All are welcome to vote.

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