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Wondering About Lunar Eugenics (2E)

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  • Wondering About Lunar Eugenics (2E)

    So,
    I was recently re-reading MoEP: Lunars, the CoCD: Wyld, and Lords of Creation, and noticed something. Longevity is a Mutation Pox, which can be doubled-down on (for quadruple total lifespan, total 480-510 years, the range dependent on Stamina) by making it into a Blight. It recommends Storytellers require a linked Deficiency (recommending the Diet or the require +25% more food Deficiencies either/or) when dealing with doubled-up Longevity...but this seems like an INCREDIBLY small price to pay for a lifespan that will exceed that of many Dragonblooded.

    Further, Lords of Creation indicated it was a Resources 3 expenditure for the Longevity Pox, and an additional Resources 5 expense to bump Longevity to Blight-level. Something only done for 1 in 10,000 mortals, and of those only the most favored and valuable of Deliberative retainers.

    Now, Burgeoning Wyld Infliction is an Essence 4 Charm. It allows the Lunar to give *specific* Wyld-mutations to targets. Now, yes...at THIS level it requires a) The Lunar take said mortal into at least the Bordermarches...which didn't really exist, as the layer before hitting Deep Wyld was vastly thinner in the First Age, and b) For the mortal to spend either Bonus Points or experience as a Training effect if they want the Mutations to stick...but once the Lunar hits Essence 6 and acquires the Burgeoning Wyld Infliction upgrade, Eternal Wyld Gift, mutations granted won't even cost the subject Bonus/Experience points anymore to make the mutations permanent.

    So...how in the name of Gaia did Lunars like Tammuz, Ingosh Silverclaws, and Silver Python (on the sane/positive side), and Ma-ha-suchi (on the specific Super-Beastmen-of-Destruction side) let this one slip past them? Using the same Charm, granting Awakened Essence becomes trivial (not to say Lunars don't have two OTHER Charm-based means of enlightening mortals speedily). Wouldn't a society of people with the Longevity Blight (which obviated the need to awaken their Essence with another Blight they may not have a high enough permanent willpower to allow them to remain Creation-viable, since people who are going to live nearly 500 years have plenty of time to put in the five years to gain enlightenment slowly and safely) be pretty much the PERFECT base-stock from which to start a society?

    Longevity mutations don't leave a visible mark. You can also take this one step further for any of your Heroic mortals who hit Willpower 8 (vanishingly rare, but the option is there) and give them the Regeneration Blight...yet another Mutation without visible sign. Or split your society into social sub-strata (trying to avoid use of the word caste casually), and give say, your warriors Regeneration and your thinkers Longevity. With the added advantage of creating social impetus to strengthen one's Willpower/Virtues, in order to be able to ascend to About As Good As It Gets For a Mortal In Creation, and possess BOTH the lifespan of a Dragon Blooded and a constitution so strong only a TRULY determined effort by a mortal, or a supernatural threat is likely to cut that long life short.

    Dangling virtual immortality before the wealthy would also seem to be a lever of social influence too powerful to pass up. Guild Hiearchs spend mountains of silver and jade to prolong their time outside the Underworld with anagathics like age-staving cordial, for a measly +25% increase in lifespan. The Yozis snatch up who knows how many souls with promises of immortality. How could social engineers somehow not even HAVE a stance on being able to create a Dragon Blooded lifespan in a mortal with a snap of their fingers and a few motes?

    I really don't believe I'm overstating the advantages to be gained by increasing the lifespan of one's followers on a societal scale. Those extra centuries give humans time to master thaumaturgical disciplines, more than one Terrestrial Martial Art, or become a truly exceptional Terrestrial Circle Sorcerer. Lack of lifespan is cited as the CHIEF reason as to why truly accomplished mortal sorcerers are so rare in Creation. When it takes you 4-8 years to master a SINGLE spell, AFTER the years spent devoted to awakening one's essence AND THEN becoming initiated into Sorcery in the first place, of course the accomplished sorcerers are going to be wizened old wizards or deeply-wrinkled witches. Even simply granting Longevity at the Pox-level to all the worthies of a society would have PROFOUND benefits. 100 years +20 years per point of Stamina, with middle-age not ensuing until *80*, and the character not becoming elderly until *120*!

    I truly believe the chief reason mortal essence-users were much more common in the First Age had nothing to do with access, and everything to do with lifespan. Everyone but the very poor could scrimp and save enough for the Resources 2 purchase of Pox-level life-extension treatments, and as a result of being consciously aware of their increased expected lifespan, often chose to make decisions they might not have with a shorter life. (Spending five years of a 60-80 lifespan is weighty. Five years of a 160+ year lifespan? Not so much.)

    More mortal essence users directly correlates to increased society-level benefits through more powerful/more efficient thaumaturgy. Look at what wide-scale use of thaumaturgy has done for Paragon, as an example of what I'm talking about. The conditions (however dubiously achieved) the Perfect has created have lead to more people becoming thaumaturges, and the benefits to Paragon are PROFOUND.

    Even simply "ennobling the noteworthy" of a society, if the Lunar didn't want to get so ambitious, has potential benefits that merit very serious consideration.

    All of this would be moot, given the attendant stigma among all civilized peoples upon those perceived to be Wyld-tainted...except for the fact Longevity doesn't leave any discernible marks like claws or bizarre hair/eye colors. Even members of a society blessed with such who subsequently moved beyond the Lunar's influence aren't really at risk in other places if people notice they're only aging half as fast as they should. Being the descendant of a God-Blood could easily explain away such, and particularly in the East and West such people are pretty common.

    I also wonder if it would be possible to take increased Longevity to the absurd, and combine a Wyld-mutation-induced Longevity Blight, with the non-Mutation-based Bio-Thaumaturgic Procedure which grants in effect the same thing.

    Lastly, use of Burgeoning Wyld Infliction/Eternal Wyld Gift to customize one's Beastfolk in innumerable ways...Well, it's a potent argument for the transhuman potential of Lunar societies.

    So, thoughts?

  • #2
    I think I'm glad for 3e.

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    • #3
      Yeah, this is a symptom of the "Lunars were kinda shoehorned in without anyone really thinking about the consequences" problem 2e had.

      Comment


      • #4
        So...how in the name of Gaia did Lunars like Tammuz, Ingosh Silverclaws, and Silver Python (on the sane/positive side), and Ma-ha-suchi (on the specific Super-Beastmen-of-Destruction side) let this one slip past them?
        Well first, they probably didn't have the Essence 6 version of that charm.

        Secondly, it costs a wp. So you're probably going to do less than one a day, or you'll burn yourself out (mentally).
        So, sure, in a year you might give a couple of hundred people extended lifespan. In 10 years, a couple of thousand. In 100 years, a couple of ten thousand.

        That's not actually very many people in a world of billions.


        And finally... so some Lunars could grant extended lifespan to people.
        Well... maybe they did? Maybe the Lunar elders didn't let that slip past them?
        Maybe that's why the First Age was great, because those who pleased a Lunar could have their lives extended? Yet that also gives them a lot of power over people... do what I say if you want to live for 150 years. Do whatever I want, or you won't get this blessing.

        That's the sort of thing that might make people resent the Lunars.


        "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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        • #5
          Can sorcerous workings restore youth, and reverse aging?

          Cause I can see the same thing happening..

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          • #6
            I imagine so. It would potentially be a form of granting immortality though, and thus subject to the same restrictions.

            Although I guess "needs to be periodically re-applied" counts as a "catch" in and of itself.

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            • #7
              In response,
              Taking it to the Eternal Wyld Gift-level is simply a logistical benefit. If the mortal subjects don't have to pay experience for the Longevity, you can grant it to more of them than you otherwise could. (Although I find it difficult to imagine many mortals wouldn't be willing to make whatever effort those experience points represent, given the obvious benefit.)

              The costs-a-willpower-point-to-use argument is fairly compelling, but conversely the bestowing of mighty blessings like very long life is EXACTLY the sort of thing a Lunar interested in raising his Cult Background Rating would do. Mortals worship small gods who make rocks and stumps disappear from their fields, or boost their fish-catching, and such Gods are often regional influences. Hitting a level 2 Cult of hundreds wouldn't take long, if the Lunar was so inclined, so he/she could do two people a day without burnout...and likely three, if he/she turned granting the Longevity into an exceptionally flashy, interesting ritual (a two or three-die stunt, and choose regaining a temporary willpower.) Were I the Storyteller in question, so long as my player stayed reasonably descriptive and fairly showman-like in his descriptions, I'd give some latitude on ritual-stunts done for that purpose.

              A few thousand people with such lifespans in a population of 35-50,000 could become a class of enlightened thaumaturges. Paragon is my recurring example, because it's the closest in-canon example I can draw of a powerful being whose chosen to actively create the environment and civic inducements which has lead to wide-scale societal use of thaumaturgy in city-level public works projects. Except, the vast majority of the Perfect's citizen-thaumaturges don't have awakened essence. A similar percentage of people choosing to become thaumaturges, in a similar sized population who WERE enlightened would be an order of magnitude more potent.

              It just seems to me like that's the sort of thing at least some of the Winding Path Lunars would have jumped all over. All of which says very little about the elephant in the room. Longer lifespans among the sorcerously-inclined would make a huge difference in Creation. If a single Lunar did nothing but wander Creation and give a Longevity-Pox to already-existing mortal sorcerers, it would change Creation ENORMOUSLY.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Wyldwraith View Post
                Longer lifespans among the sorcerously-inclined would make a huge difference in Creation. If a single Lunar did nothing but wander Creation and give a Longevity-Pox to already-existing mortal sorcerers, it would change Creation ENORMOUSLY.
                I kind of assume that most sorcerers have done some stuff to extend their lifespan to a degree anyway, and that Creation is wild and weird enough that such people kind of disappear into it.

                Are these sorcerers distantly patronised by a Lunar any better at defying the status quo of the reigning Terrestrial Exalted, with their Sidereal backers?


                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 Isator Levi View Post

                  I kind of assume that most sorcerers have done some stuff to extend their lifespan to a degree anyway, and that Creation is wild and weird enough that such people kind of disappear into it.

                  Are these sorcerers distantly patronised by a Lunar any better at defying the status quo of the reigning Terrestrial Exalted, with their Sidereal backers?
                  You may be thinking of Third Edition, where mortal sorcerers can change themselves with workings.

                  Second Edition was not so permissive.


                  Formerly Inugami, formerly Tornado Wolf.

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

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Wyldwraith View Post
                    In response,
                    Taking it to the Eternal Wyld Gift-level is simply a logistical benefit. If the mortal subjects don't have to pay experience for the Longevity, you can grant it to more of them than you otherwise could. (Although I find it difficult to imagine many mortals wouldn't be willing to make whatever effort those experience points represent, given the obvious benefit.)
                    Yes, but that's very abuseable. "Become my slave if you want to live over a century" is going to attract some people, but others will hate the Lunar for not giving it out for free.
                    I mean, just imagine; you're an insane decadent god-beast with the power of life and death. You have the (mentally exhausting) power to grant a small number of people a long lifespan. Your family and friends will come first. Then people you think are deserving.
                    But how long does it take before you offer it for huge amounts of money? Or (and I hesitate to bring it up, but we know it'd happen) offer it to hot men/women with serious illnesses if they join your harem?

                    A few thousand people with such lifespans in a population of 35-50,000 could become a class of enlightened thaumaturges. Paragon is my recurring example, because it's the closest in-canon example I can draw of a powerful being whose chosen to actively create the environment and civic inducements which has lead to wide-scale societal use of thaumaturgy in city-level public works projects. Except, the vast majority of the Perfect's citizen-thaumaturges don't have awakened essence. A similar percentage of people choosing to become thaumaturges, in a similar sized population who WERE enlightened would be an order of magnitude more potent.
                    Sure, but this isn't really surprising; 2nd ed Dreams of the First Age seemed to be chock full of enlightened mortals.

                    It just seems to me like that's the sort of thing at least some of the Winding Path Lunars would have jumped all over. All of which says very little about the elephant in the room. Longer lifespans among the sorcerously-inclined would make a huge difference in Creation. If a single Lunar did nothing but wander Creation and give a Longevity-Pox to already-existing mortal sorcerers, it would change Creation ENORMOUSLY.
                    Yeah, but most sorcerers are dodgy dudes that live in evil towers. Everyone knows that.
                    You'd be better off granting it to righteous rulers, or great scholars, or something like that.


                    It may be worth pointing out at this point that I realised I could do this with my Lunar, as he had Burgeoning Wyld Infliction (and a combo of it+excellency, though that's 2wp)... and I granted a grand sum of 0 people the extended lifespan merit. I did consider giving it to my character's grandson, but the bit where the mutation often causes them horrible pain as they mutate turned me off. I didn't imagine his Night father and Changing Moon Lunar would be happy if I made their baby scream in hideous pain and claimed he'd benefit in, like, 50 years.

                    The thing is, I knew I could spend all my wp to benefit people in 50 years... but I needed WP now for stuff (and was constantly out of WP) and didn't want to constantly exhaust myself helping others. (You mention 2-3 pt stunts, but could you really do that several times a day for the exact same process?)
                    Which is pretty selfish (and not the most selfish thing he did), but I thought, hey, I can do when I've got a free year with no pressing disasters... that never happened. (And then he lost his memory because he mutated too much).


                    "Wizard of Oz, you really are a wizard!"

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sunder the Gold View Post

                      Second Edition was not so permissive.
                      Second Edition would ascribe it to a spell or something, which would kind of suck but was still there.

                      Workings are really just a way of systemizing things that the game has always said that sorcerers can do (in a more accommodating manner than needing to buy a spell for it, and a more clear manner than it just being hand waved).

                      Especially with the Dragon Blooded; sorcery has always been cited among the things that let certain Dragon Blooded live longer.


                      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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                      • #12
                        Although some of this is on 2e making it too easy for players to scale their powers up, it's worth pointing out that there are lots of factors limiting the Lunar ability to build infrastructure. Mortals can't really live in the bordermarches for extended periods of time, so all these long-lived mortals are going to be settling down in Creation. And Sidereals (or even just DBs) are going to notice a bunch of mortals who are receiving obvious, dramatic life-changing gifts in large numbers from someone who might be Anathema. Striking at the edges of Creation is costly and annoying for them, but they'd totally do it if they felt a Lunar had invested a large amount into building up something that might threaten them.

                        So basically, for most Lunars your plan is an excellent way to waste a large amount of time, energy, and resources on building up a settlement of mildly-empowered mortals that will eventually get stomped by the Wyld Hunt. (The Lunar will probably be able to escape, but they can't easily bring their mortals with them or protect them at the same time, not over an extended period of time against aggressive hunters who know the general contours and weaknesses of Lunar power and who are determined to crush anything that could become a Lunar power-center in the future.)

                        That isn't to say a Lunar couldn't have pulled it off somewhere (eg. by finding a place where the DBs can't easily project power), but there's a reason this doesn't happen all over the place. If you're going to do something that is likely to call the Wyld Hunt down on your head while also investing your time and energy in fragile infrastructure that will be hard to hide and which the Wyld Hunt can easily smash to bits, there are probably better options than this anyway.

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                        • #13
                          Not sure I buy the Sidereal/Wyld Hunt restriction in this context, for three reasons:
                          1) Since the Empress disappeared, the Wyld Hunt is in the crapper. ESPECIALLY in the almost Sidereal-absent West (Bronzies looted the West to counterbalance their doubling-down on the Blessed Isle Capitol Convention), and the Gold-DOMINATED East. Controlling the Sub-Convention on Essence Users, in addition to control of the Convention of Wood means the Bronzies have precious little pull in the East. Terrestrial Gods loyal to the Hundred Gods Heresy in principle default to preferring Lunars to Dynast DBs and their Immaculate BS. Furthermore, looking at the in-canon Eastern Lunars, I notice almost all of them are at LEAST Terrestrial Circle Sorcerers. Celestine Pacts with the Heaven-crapped-upon Elementals goes a long, LONG way to early warning against the rare Eastern Wyld Hunt. There are numerous Lunar Charms designed to move groups with Magnitude. With a nearby patch of Wyld-taint, it's possible for an Essence 4 Lunar to literally TELEPORT a Magnitude 3 group up to 1,000 miles in any direction. (Mist-Walking Prana says absolutely nothing about needing to end one's travel in the Wyld.)

                          2) From a Looking-at-the-Loom perspective, the East and West are both rife with tribes of Wyld Barbarians. How do you pick out one cluster of Lunar-blessed mutants from fourteen clusters of barbarian tribes who have the infuriating-from-a-Sidereal-logistical-perspective penchant for power-questing for matching Mutations? If the Bloody Talons barbarian tribe sends all its young men to power-quest for the Claws mutation, while murdering off those who fail and get mutated in undesirable ways...how do they look all that different in the Loom from a group of the same size with the same percentage of people tainted with the same AMOUNT of Wyld-taint?

                          3) The Sidereals and DBs have done nothing about the Rutting Pens. They've done nothing about Luthe. They haven't even done anything about Halta, and if HALTA doesn't *scream* massive Lunar influence with the masses of Ata-beasts that suspiciously match the results of Lunars using Intelligence-increasing Charms like Beast-Mind Erudition, I don't know what does. Ma-Ha-Suchi has rabid Beastfolk grabbing people by dozens and visibly carrying them off alive. These are huge Lunar operations, and they haven't had the Wrath of Heaven descend. I'd think a quiet takeover of a small duchy in the Hundred Kingdoms would be nearly invisible.

                          Especially if the Lunar in question is Loom-savvy, and makes extensive use of things like Flickering Star Infusion and Evading the Spider's Eye. Were a Lunar to rig for permanent silent-running and simply STAY under Flickering Star Infusion and Evading the Spider's Eye 24/7, a Sidereal would be hard-pressed to even know the latest regime-change in the Hundred Kingdoms has jack-all to do with a Lunar...and again, we're not even getting above Essence 4 here. If the Lunar in question was smart enough to get amorous with sufficient disenfranchised Elementals and Terrestrial Gods to litter his new land with God-bloods (not exactly hard to do when Twin Faced Hero + Tiger and Seahorse Dynasty means s/he can punch out triplets per pregnancy). The abundant God-bloods would further be additional camo for the long-lived citizenry.

                          I don't dispute such a project could be squashed by the DBs/Sidereals...IF they learned about it. Even then, if the Lunar is close to home, the entire community can be evacuated by the most efficient form of supernatural group transportation in Creation. (Mist-Walking Prana is arguably the most powerful transportation-related Charm in the game)

                          You're probably right about there being better options Aquillon, but increased lifespan just seems to open up a lot of opportunities that are mainly gated away from mortals by lengthy learning times.

                          At any rate, thought it was an interesting idea, and wondered what others thought of it. Suppose the question's been answered

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                          • #14
                            What does the presence or absence of the Gold Faction in the East have anything to do with not being able to deal with Lunars? The Gold Faction isn't siding with the Lunars; nor do I think Lunars would particularly feel particularly inclined to check a Sidereal's allegiances before killing them.

                            Also, the Gold Faction only relatively recently started being a big thing again, with the resurgence of the Solars. Prior to that, there were surely Sidereals that said, "Man, it sure would have been great if we could have steered the Solars so we could have a world that is both glorious and stable. But since that's off the table, I'm gonna join the guys who are at least trying to keep the world still working."
                            Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 07-12-2018, 09:15 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Huh. I just realized.

                              Lunars have sucky training charms.... but gift of knowledge is there, and they can just as easily start up a school of Thaumaturges with just a few days of nonstop spelling.

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