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Abyssals: A Shadow Falls

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  • Abyssals: A Shadow Falls

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    Full sized homebrew complete with all the basic rules for your spooky needs and upwards of 500 charms.
    Last edited by Lanaya; 09-25-2018, 04:57 PM.


    My homebrew: Abyssals, Infernals, Dragon Kings, martial arts.

  • #2
    This looks really fucking cool! I'll give it a closer pass tonight (and you're inspiring me to do my own update of thr Alchemical charmset lmao)

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    • #3
      Interesting and flavorful Bureaucracy charms? Count me interested.
      EDIT: And Craft, and Larceny, and Linguistics, and Medicine.
      Last edited by Beans; 08-16-2018, 03:19 PM.


      Abyssals: Whom Death Has Called, a PEACH-as-heck attempt to make an Abyssal 3E holdover.

      Where I try to make Artifacts. When I finish them I'll probably post them in the Artifact Workshop thread so people can help me hammer them into shape.

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      • #4
        While I have no idea if these charms are balanced or not, the fact that you made interesting bureaucracy charms has certainly gotten my attention!

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        • #5
          Thanks for the kind words!

          I've just added a selection of new charms, mostly filling out archery and thrown to the same degree as melee and brawl and giving investigation some cool tricks to play with. New charms are all in the doc.
          Last edited by Lanaya; 09-02-2018, 04:25 AM.


          My homebrew: Abyssals, Infernals, Dragon Kings, martial arts.

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          • #6
            In your estimation, would Medicine charms alone be sufficient for a technician of necrotic military hardware, or would Craft also be needed?
            (I mean, it'd vary ST to ST, but given you're the one who wrote the Herbert West charms...)


            Abyssals: Whom Death Has Called, a PEACH-as-heck attempt to make an Abyssal 3E holdover.

            Where I try to make Artifacts. When I finish them I'll probably post them in the Artifact Workshop thread so people can help me hammer them into shape.

            Comment


            • #7
              The paradigm I'm working under is that medicine is used to make anything that gets its own statblock, whereas craft is used to make equipment wielded by others. There's a bit of grey area/overlap there, like if you want to make a parasitic monster that attaches itself to a person and becomes a weapon they can wield until they die, but it's the basic underlying logic of medicine and craft. So if your necrotic military hardware consists of things like unliving siege engines that crawl around on a bunch of tiny little hands, medicine alone is fine for that.


              My homebrew: Abyssals, Infernals, Dragon Kings, martial arts.

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              • #8
                The charms are good, but if you'll pardon me saying, I have some misgivings about the rest.

                Resonance seems really easy to get and really hard to lose - as in, "roll one die, and because you're not mirroring the sin you're repenting for, reroll if it succeeds." That's enough for me to want the supposed Great Curse back, it's kinder and gentler.

                Also, if you're spending a month in the Underworld as a Minor Penance, you're probably not killing a living, intelligent being for a month (there not being any), which is a Major Sin.

                Midnights being able to hear and answer prayers..How? Can they use their Charms through petitioners, or..?

                Dusks getting Abyssal XP for killing..Anybody at all, seems a bit off, especially given that all Abyssals have to commit murder on the regular or risk Resonance.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Amayad View Post
                  Resonance seems really easy to get and really hard to lose - as in, "roll one die, and because you're not mirroring the sin you're repenting for, reroll if it succeeds." That's enough for me to want the supposed Great Curse back, it's kinder and gentler.
                  It's supposed to be much easier to get than it is to lose. Penance is difficult because it's being placed in contrast to limit, which can barely be removed at all, and it's supposed to mirror the sin in question because you're meant to actually be seeing the error of your ways and changing. It's supposed to be a case of "acknowledging my former life was a mistake, I will now cut my ties to it to prove I'm really not that person any more", not "acknowledging my former life was a mistake, guess I'll kill a few people or something". I still wanted the latter to be possible, but it's deliberately way less efficient than the statistically one-for-one removal of resonance you get from proper penance.

                  I'd like to make it clear that the point of penance is not "resonance is terrible and if you get any you have Failed At Abyssals, so quick, have a bunch of ways to get rid of it". Resonance is meant to be like limit. It's inevitable that Solars will accumulate limit if they live long enough, and once they have it it's not going away. Resonance, likewise, is easier to accumulate than it is to lose, because it's meant to be something you'll build up in the course of playing an Abyssal. I expect a Solar to limit break once or twice throughout the course of an average-length campaign, and I'd likewise expect an Abyssal to hit one or two resonance eruptions during that time. And when you do hit 10, that's not a punishment, it's a big dramatic event that puts your character in the spotlight for a session. Managing - and wanting - to remove all the resonance you ever pick up through penance is meant to be a weird outlier, not the expected play experience.

                  As for the rate of resonance gain, I guess that's something very dependent on personal experiences and playstyles. I don't think any of the Solars I've played would have gained resonance faster than they gained limit if they'd been Abyssals instead, except perhaps the radiant Hero of the People Zenith, and even she would have been able to mitigate a lot of the resonance gain because sometimes when she punched bad people so they would stop hurting good people, those bad people were fragile enough to die from it. Some of the resonance triggers are really easy to avoid; answering to your old name, spurning the trappings of death and having children are all things you'd have to intentionally do. The ones that are usually going to get you are saving lives, not killing people and developing intimacies.

                  The intimacies bit is going to happen, but if you're not playing someone with a warm and open heart who feels things for everyone you meet (and such a character will struggle against their Dark Fate, that's deliberate), you probably only ping a few dice for that. Worst case scenario you're the only Abyssal in a mixed circle, and you gain an average of one resonance per other PC getting major ties to them all (in my experience ties towards other PCs average out there). So that's four resonance ever in the worst case, plus the occasional bit when you make NPC friends. Saving lives happens a lot, but usually (again, in my experience of playing Exalted) it involves big fight scenes or is something that you can pretty trivially do by flexing your Exalted might, and neither of those things ping resonance.

                  So the last thing is that you note Abyssals have to murder regularly, and that's the big thing I'd like to stress as not true. You have to kill occasionally or you gain an average of one resonance a month. That's a huge difference, and I'd like to stress the difference with a comparison to our cousin splat the vampire. The V:tR rulebook doesn't just say "you gotta drink peoples' blood, enjoy being a murderer I guess", it says "you gotta drink peoples' blood, how are you going to do that without being a murderous monster?" It encourages you to think about how you could satisfy those needs without being a bad person, though of course the option of being an evil murderer is always there, and sometimes it seems awfully tempting.

                  That's exactly how I'd like people to view Abyssals and the need to take lives. Yes, you need to kill people sometimes or face consequences (which you can just choose to face if that's what you're about), but that doesn't remotely mean you have to run around murdering random people and giggling. Does your circle roll join battle at least once per month? Be on the front lines, or ask them to leave one person for you to finish off. Be an edgy antihero who finds evil people preying on the weak and executes them to end their reign of terror. Play a totally non-edgy straight up hero who helps the common folk by deposing tyrants and slaying monsters. Wander through recent battlefields or sickhouses, finding people who are too far gone to be saved and giving them quick and merciful ends. Spend time in places like Skullstone where the living want to join the ranks of the dead, and give a rare few that privilege. Be a state-appointed executioner who comforts those who've committed capital crimes in their final hours, and gives them instant and painless deaths.

                  Point is, there are so many ways to have your Abyssal avoid that particular source of resonance gain, and, at least in my opinion, it's much more interesting to consider how your character deals with that aspect of themselves than, to carry on the former analogy, to want to play a vegan vampire who can get by just fine on soy milk. And yeah, sometimes (certainly not often, Creation is no utopia) there'll be a month where everything is fine, nobody deserves to die and nobody will die without your intervention, and then you have to consider whether you'll turn to less ethical means to satisfy this particular need. Stuff like that should be rare enough that it's a fun sources of drama rather than "oh no, not this crap again", and if you do end up deciding that you refuse to murder someone in cold blood, well, that's probably a single point of resonance for a whole month. Not the end of the world - unless you were already on 9, in which case the drama of the whole situation amps up a few notches.

                  EDIT: Added a sidebar to the section explaining this logic and making it explicit that working around the resonance triggers in this way is the intended mode of play, not sneaky despicable rules lawyering.

                  Originally posted by Amayad View Post
                  Also, if you're spending a month in the Underworld as a Minor Penance, you're probably not killing a living, intelligent being for a month (there not being any), which is a Major Sin.
                  This is a good point, whoops. And it occurs to me that Abyssals should be able to stay in the Underworld and deal with ghosts full time without any problems, so I'll change the "kill once a month" thing so it doesn't trigger if you were in the Underworld during that time.

                  Originally posted by Amayad View Post
                  Midnights being able to hear and answer prayers..How? Can they use their Charms through petitioners, or..?
                  Answer in the sense that when they talk to you, you can talk back. Doesn't involve any divine miracle-granting, it's just to let you tend your cult - and, of course, social at them. Changed the wording to make that clearer.
                  Last edited by Lanaya; 08-18-2018, 05:49 PM.


                  My homebrew: Abyssals, Infernals, Dragon Kings, martial arts.

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                  • #10
                    Added more new charms, mostly fleshing out brawl and lore. They're in the main doc, or here if you just want to see the new stuff.


                    My homebrew: Abyssals, Infernals, Dragon Kings, martial arts.

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                    • #11
                      More fun charms!

                      Also re: Resonance, I was a little iffy on it at first, but your explanation up there helps a good deal. I don't know about anyone else, but for me the instinct to see Resonance gain as punishment probably comes from 2e/2.5e Resonance where it felt as if it was a mechanic for the Neverborn to scissor-kick you in the head every time you didn't make a puppy sad (and, admittedly, I could be off on how bad old Resonance was anyway).

                      Presenting it more like Limit where it's just kind of Going To Happen (but with both more triggers and a bit more ability to mitigate it) makes it feel more like a tool to reinforce Abyssal flavor as other than "Solars with 'but spooooooky' scrawled in the margins every four pages and also skull stickers".


                      Abyssals: Whom Death Has Called, a PEACH-as-heck attempt to make an Abyssal 3E holdover.

                      Where I try to make Artifacts. When I finish them I'll probably post them in the Artifact Workshop thread so people can help me hammer them into shape.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The idea of resonance as a leash placed on you by your unquestionable Neverborn masters was reeeeaaaaally bad, and I absolutely get why people have been scarred by it and don't like the whole concept of resonance as a result. It's why that was the one section that I wrote meaningful amounts of lore for, there was no way I'd include resonance if I didn't make it clear and explicit that it's something that comes from the nature of the Black Exaltation rather than an outside force placed upon Abyssals.

                        In other news, I added a section on anima banners, as well as little bits in each caste writeup describing what their animas look like.


                        My homebrew: Abyssals, Infernals, Dragon Kings, martial arts.

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                        • #13
                          I'm really not a fan of losing Resonance by spending a month in the Underworld.

                          To me that's a big incentive for the Abyssal player to bring the game's momentum to a screeching halt, you're comparing it to Solar limit but imagine if they had a chance to lose a point of limit for meditating on top of a mountain for a month. I'd foresee a non-zero number of seemingly pointless diversions to mountains.
                          Last edited by Lioness; 09-11-2018, 09:17 AM.


                          The Freedom Stone is back

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                          • #14
                            Oh hmm, damn. I didn't think about it from that angle. It's not a very valuable source of resonance reduction so I'll just cut it.


                            My homebrew: Abyssals, Infernals, Dragon Kings, martial arts.

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                            • #15
                              If you want to encourage Abyssals who don't get their own hands dirty so much I'd consider charms that make your actions count as killing someone for the sake of Resonance if you leave someone a broken shell of their former self (think Broken Heart's Triumph) or lets you claim the body count for something you undeiniably put in motion with your dark gifts i.e. the army of zombies that you literally put in motion.



                              The Freedom Stone is back

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