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How complicated should Infernals be?

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  • #31
    It'd be interesting, but not really gameable (because it's basically Every Infernal an Exigent), for something like Devil Tigers (but not actually on the power scale of devil tigers - just a way of creating a being that has a primordial-like mindset and what are probably not actually second or third circle demons expressing them) to be the point of Infernals -
    The purpose of the infernal exaltation in this scenario is to shove a big fuck you up the asses of the Incarnae by creating fifty unbound quasi-yozi exalts who's powers are mostly drawn from their own themes and personalities, and their unique way of relating to the various spheres of sapient activity (Skills). They share only the most basic framework, because the primary purpose of the infernal exaltation is to deliver mostly unflavored primordial essence into a human soul along with the power of exaltation. From that only slightly influenced base, the nature of their exaltation is entirely flavored by the content of their character - and gradually becomes divorced from human aesthetics as a feedback loop forms between their identity and the power they receive from it.

    "Fuck your god kings, have a bunch of self-defined titan kings, on roughly the same power level as those god kings."
    Last edited by PlotVitalNPC; 11-12-2017, 10:11 PM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
      Perfect stealth while blind is strange.
      While I still have some issues with the degree to which Second Edition made Adorjan a kind of murder Buddha (and the extensions given to this by fans), I do still see something a bit intriguing in the idea of a certain disruption of consciousness, and playing off of the idea that Adorjan is a notably wounded Yozi, and that being so might empower her in a way.

      ​That actually reminds me of a consideration I once had that a unifying theme for Infernals could be an idea of being empowered by your proverbial wounds. Certainly, I think it would be a logical extension of the idea of Infernals as Chosen from the deprived and the crushed, with a notion that part of what lets the coopted Solar resonate with the Yozis is that combination of overwhelming power and having been severely put down.

      ​So you've got something powerful that also handicaps you in a manner, and is intrinsically tied to violence.

      Originally posted by Epee102
      Fourth one is something I have less reference for (I don't know what forcing people into stealth would mean?)​
      ​I think that might be a turn of phrase from an earlier iteration of the rules. Either that or a more complete version would elaborate on how it forces people to make rolls to go into stealth.

      ​The combination of that and the idea that they forget what they were doing does strike me as having an application in avoiding detection, though; the image of being able to pass through a place undetected because you made everybody else hide and then go into a slight fugue state.

      Originally posted by Epee102
      And fourth one in is again the weird one, with the most overt Yozi-ness.
      ​I find the Stealth element in that one to be how it makes the people and things you destroy with it forgotten.

      Looking back at those Charms, it makes me think a bit of the Exarch from Mage: the Awakening. I won't go into too much detail about them, but suffice to say that they're antagonistic deities who rules the world, with one corresponding to each of the Arcana (fundamental aspects of reality as controlled by magic).

      ​But they're not as straightforward as the Exarch of Forces being the one in charge of the universe's energy and things, because they correspond to the Arcana by interpreting them through a lens of control and tyranny. So the Exarch of Forces is all about violence and warfare, the Exarch of Mind is all about conformity, the Exarch of Space is about surveillance and paranoia.

      ​It makes me think about what the symbolic associations of a Yozi might be, and then interpreting an Ability through that lens. So while there are probably Stealth Charms associated with the Silent Wind because of the association with being silent and invisible, it extends into this place of interpreting Stealth through things like applications of violence.

      ​Still, on the subject of how they might have cohesion: Anubis made the point about Solar Charm cascades having distinct paths even when they weren't specifically divided into categories, and now I'm wondering how a similar thing for Infernals might work. In comparison to the Solars, where they're something like different styles or tactical avenues, you get Abilities delineated by interpretations of them through the symbolic associations of Yozis who resonate with those Abilities, and the commonality that makes them feel like part of the same Charm set are in structural elements such as including handicaps or weaknesses, empowering a wounded state, or imposing conditions on people or things around you.

      ​While I've expressed concern over the possibility for very many Yozis to add excessive complication, I should also note that I feel that a variety of aesthetics and applications even within a single Ability would be a worthwhile means of expressing Infernal themes and distinguishing them. I would view that variety as a feature, and a means of making them eldritch, in much the same way as a sorcerer with a variety of spells would be expressing power through a number of aesthetics. I would be inclined to encourage drawing on that variety, both as a way of making them look weirded and emphasizing that theme of excess, and in distancing them from any specific Yozi.


      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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      • #33
        Based on the tidbits Neall and Vance have dropped (including the completely reimagined Caste names and marks), I anticipate Infernals in 3e being more like Solars than not, varying from them to a similar degree that Abyssals do.

        That is, they will still generally be about doing human things, just better than mortals, with a twist of lime.

        The way their Castes are mirrors of Solars from an external perspective suggests that they may have a theme of winning through hampering, e.g., you won the foot race because you made everyone else slower; as contrasted with a Solar, who won just because they were faster.

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        • #34
          To actually answer the thread question now (kind of, in a roundabout ranty way), I'm quite fond of the idea that in any charmset you should, in a perfect world, be able to point at a charm and say that this is what [Splat] is. If the world were ending and you were tasked with leaving behind a record of Exalted for future generations to rediscover, but due to space constraints you could only show them one charm per splat, which one would you pick as a blueprint for this whole Exalt? And I love Avoidance Kata as an example of this. It's a wonderful, iconic Sidereal charm that sums up what the Sidereals are and what they do. It's a weird effect that you wouldn't expect out of the dodge tree, but it is clearly a dodge charm, it's just approaching the concept of dodging from an unexpected direction. There's a lot of other stuff that Sidereals do which you couldn't reverse-engineer from Avoidance Kata, but if future civilisations saw that oddly lateral, powerful but very specific, mysterious reality-warping charm and tried to build a whole splat from it, what they made would capture the essence of the splat and feel like Sidereals even if it was markedly different in a lot of ways.

          For Solars I'd similarly go with a dodge charm in the form of Seven Shadow Evasion. It's a demonstration of ridiculously superhuman ability - you're so good at dodging that if everything everywhere exploded all at once, you'd comfortably slide off to the side and somehow come out of it unharmed. If you start with a clear and direct expression of unimaginable prowess, whatever our wasteland-dwelling descendents make is going to feel a lot like the Solars of today. Trying to come up with these splat-defining charms obviously isn't a perfect test of a charmset by any means, but I like it as a fun thought experiment that helps with mapping out the essential themes of a splat.

          Infernals don't have anything like this, and that, even more than anything in the first two chapters of their book, has always been my least favourite part of them. I'm perfectly fine with a splat being complex, but having a clear concept to tie all of that complexity together and turn it into a distinct thing with its own character matters a lot to me. The basic conceit of drawing from a bunch of entirely different, self-contained charmsets makes it all but impossible to have an answer to the question of "what do Infernals do?", but even within individual Yozi trees there isn't always a clear theme. It's really hard to find some connecting concept between sandbending and drawing power from prayer.

          What could be the underlying theme of the Infernals is our old friend Triumphant Howl of the Devil-Tiger. The idea of reforging yourself and the world around you with your own force of will and becoming your own legend is very cool, and might be something you can try to build a charmset around. That said, despite the prominence it has in internet discourse around the Infernals, it's not and never was the theme of Infernals outside of fanon. Devil-Tigering only exists in the last few pages of the Broken-Winged Crane, it isn't even hinted at anywhere else in the Infernal charmset, so making it a central theme would require extensive rejiggering. It'd be really hard to build an actual charmset centred around the concept, as opposed to making it a free pass for people to go make up their own charms, but my ideal 3e Infernals would be somehow based around the Devil-Tiger idea or some other thematically resonant concept appropriate to Infernals, rather than based around the Yozis. The themes of the Yozis would then be seen in the charmset through that lens, being the awesome embodiment of your own legend in Malfean or Cecelynian ways, for instance. Or maybe taking the backer preview approach and being a gloriously degenerate returned god-king in Malfean or Cecelynian ways, if that's the central Infernal theme you decide to pursue. Absolutely no idea how you would actually do that, though, so this may all be a wildly unrealistic dream.
          Last edited by Lanaya; 11-12-2017, 11:21 PM.


          Infernals - To Rule in Hell
          Simple Solar > Abyssal conversion rules
          3e Dragon Kings
          My martial arts

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Lanaya View Post
            What could be the underlying theme of the Infernals is our old friend Triumphant Howl of the Devil-Tiger. The idea of reforging yourself and the world around you with your own force of will and becoming your own legend is very cool, and might be something you can try to build a charmset around. That said, despite the prominence it has in internet discourse around the Infernals, it's not and never was the theme of Infernals outside of fanon. Devil-Tigering only exists in the last few pages of the Broken-Winged Crane, it isn't even hinted at anywhere else in the Infernal charmset. It'd be really hard to build an actual charmset centred around the concept, as opposed to making it a free pass for people to go make up their own charms, but my ideal 3e Infernals would be somehow based around the Devil-Tiger idea or some other thematically resonant concept appropriate to Infernals, rather than based around the Yozis. The themes of the Yozis would then be seen in the charmset through that lens, being the awesome embodiment of your own legend in Malfean or Cecelynian ways, for instance. Or maybe taking the backer preview approach and being a gloriously degenerate returned god-king in Malfean or Cecelynian ways, if that's the central Infernal theme you decide to pursue. Absolutely no idea how you would actually do that, though, so this may all be a wildly unrealistic dream.
            I don't know how crazy of a dream it is, given the description of making a paradise out of the depths of your soul.

            ​Honestly, I think this and the above mentioned by PlotVitalNPC are a tad more probable then theorized. Not exactly the same, mind, but given that Infernals have Shintais, a unique-to-them-as-people boss form, and that Infernal charms have a history of shaping their users(Although Vance has said those would be opt-in charms), and the idea of making demons out of you and warping reality to fit your soul, I'd say it's a decent subtheme there.


            I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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            • #36
              (hmm, to keep it on topic...)

              ​If I have concerns that a large number and variety of Yozis would make Infernals too complicated, then I definitely think adding in stuff to do with some highly empowered self-definition would.

              ​I also feel that whatever Infernals are, they should feel as though they warrant the term.

              ​That's part of why I like the association with green fire; it's just familiar enough for the necessary association, but hints at something a bit weird and different.

              ​Although that does put me in mind of a possible flaw in ParanoiaCombo's point; excessive familiarity with the Yozis being required is an issue, but I suspect that one needs to be at least a bit familiar with the game's take on Hell to be able to make full sense of what is hellish in these Exalted.


              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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              • #37
                Although, even if I'm one who thinks that a certain degree of complexity is a feature, I wonder if there's only so much room in a given character for a number of them, and if there should be a restraining mechanism similar to Second Edition with its repurchasing Excellencies.

                ​Or would that be as simple as just being limited in how many Charms you could ever really afford?


                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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                • #38
                  ...I have trouble seeing how this is complicated.
                  You list the themes of the Yozi in question, develop charms for them, then divide them into charm trees based on Abilities.Rinse and repeat for the next Yozi. Trim the fat after you are done (so you don't have 6 charms that do the same thing), check that certain Abilities are not neglected after the fact.

                  Yes, this could well be very complex but hardly more so than Solars. The more esoteric charms are locked behind Shintai keywords, and having more than one Yozi contribute to an Ability can give us a taste of the weird mutant demon kings that 2nd introduced us too.


                  Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
                    Rinse and repeat for the next Yozi.
                    ​And the next one, and the next one, and the next, until there are what? 15, 23, more?


                    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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                    • #40
                      The book could present a few yozi trees for each ability while making it clear that other such trees exist for different yozi, including those you homebrew yourself.

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                      • #41
                        I'll note that an answer of "in practice, don't actually write very many Yozis into the Infernal Charm set" constitutes a stand on how complex they ought to be all its own.

                        ​On the other hand, I'd say it needs to be reconciled with a statement from a developer that making them Ability based opens up the exciting possibility of being able to add things like inspiration from Isidoros or Szoreny. Add those two to the five that definitely need to be there from the outset, and one is already dealing with the possibility of significant complication.


                        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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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                          I'll note that an answer of "in practice, don't actually write very many Yozis into the Infernal Charm set" constitutes a stand on how complex they ought to be all its own.

                          ​On the other hand, I'd say it needs to be reconciled with a statement from a developer that making them Ability based opens up the exciting possibility of being able to add things like inspiration from Isidoros or Szoreny. Add those two to the five that definitely need to be there from the outset, and one is already dealing with the possibility of significant complication.

                          So I thought on this a bit, specifically adding more Yozi's when we have so much of the big 5+1.
                          I think we're not getting more Yozis, which sets us to 15 Yozis.(Malfeas, Ceceylne, SWLIHN, Adjoran, Ebon Dragon, Kimbery, Qaf, Isodoros, Szorney, Cytherea, Oramous, Metagagos, Elloge, Sachrevall, Hegera).
                          I also think that there needs to be more equilbirium of themes. We had a whole charm set built on 5+1 of these guys. Either the other 9~ need to be expanded into just as wide a conceptual space...or the 5(And maybe the +1 kimbery) need to shrink and become more tight and focused.

                          Going back to the Abyssal comparison, I think that shrinking and focusing the Big 5 might be the way to go. Malfeas doesn't need to show up in every combat tree. Ceclyne can maybe cede some conceptual space to Qaf as spiritual leader of the Yozi. Etc. Of course, you'd still want a common theme to their charms, an identiy shared by the Infernals that links all the concepts of the Yozi together. But that's a space that's kinda wide open it seems to me. I'd like something about hubris or decadence or self-motivation/definition or the like.


                          I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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                          • #43
                            I'm considering the possibility in something that might create incentives for actual Infernal player characters to limit the number of Abilities that they might go heavily into.

                            Solars have a fairly good balance between generalisation and specialisation between Supernal Ability and a lot of powerful, inviting Essence 1 Charms, so a Solar's player generally always has room to expand vertically or laterally as suits them and their character concept.

                            ​I think the idea of the expansive, multifaceted Charm set might be an argument against Infernals having anything like Supernal, and would complicate making the roots of every Ability inviting to them. So I wonder if instead, they might benefit from some kind of system in which the expansive nature of each Ability means that they get a decent amount of breadth even if they're only developing a comparatively small number of them.


                            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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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Epee102 View Post

                              or the 5(And maybe the +1 kimbery) need to shrink and become more tight and focused.
                              That would be part of why I've asked around dropping the part of Malfeas designating him as king of the Primordials.

                              ​The description in the preview gave me that sense of themes in Abilities resonating with themes in Yozis when it talked about Brawl having Charms resembling Malfeas through the idea of that fighting channelling the character's rage, so I think that might be a decent basis for deciding which combat does and does not resonate with Malfeas. Brawl and Melee are good candidates, while Archery, Thrown and War feel a bit less so.

                              Originally posted by Epee102
                              self-motivation/definition
                              ​I feel as though self-definition is a bit of a vague and circular parameter, and doesn't really feel like part of the Yozis if they're being divested of aspects that were added in the first place to create that narrative of turning into them.

                              ​It's like... the metaphysical concept behind the Ebon Dragon having a Charm whose function is to state "I am the Ebon Dragon" is kind of neat, but still primarily serves as a means for a theoretical Essence 10 character to become the Ebon Dragon. In a system and setting that has set aside both the idea of such elaboration on a Yozi, and the idea of providing such a hard mechanical road map to the upper end of character possibilities, does it really make as much sense?

                              I'm speaking primarily in terms of argument against it as a unifying foundation.


                              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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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post

                                ​I feel as though self-definition is a bit of a vague and circular parameter, and doesn't really feel like part of the Yozis if they're being divested of aspects that were added in the first place to create that narrative of turning into them.

                                ​It's like... the metaphysical concept behind the Ebon Dragon having a Charm whose function is to state "I am the Ebon Dragon" is kind of neat, but still primarily serves as a means for a theoretical Essence 10 character to become the Ebon Dragon. In a system and setting that has set aside both the idea of such elaboration on a Yozi, and the idea of providing such a hard mechanical road map to the upper end of character possibilities, does it really make as much sense?

                                I'm speaking primarily in terms of argument against it as a unifying foundation.
                                Hm...I can see that. I guess the sorta-Ubermensch sounding charms from 2e are still changing my thinking. I'm re-reading Ink Monkeys today to look for a better foundation.
                                I'd suggest Shintai might provide the hook Supernal did, especially with it granting weird/cool powers early.


                                I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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