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First circle demons as teachers and sensei?

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  • First circle demons as teachers and sensei?

    So basically, first circle demons act as thugs, construction equipment, cleaners, scribes, and instruments.

    Why not teachers?

    The question is... how should they teach? Since its a first circle, probably not more than a dozen at a time, or maybe just one at a time.

    And how fast should it be?

    Should they be allowed to grant merits? What about thaumaturgic rituals?

    Should they be allowed to teach anything? Or just give a specialty?

  • #2
    Originally posted by Accelerator
    Why not teachers?
    Sure, it's not even a stretch to imagine a Chrysogona in that role.

    Originally posted by Accelerator
    The question is... how should they teach? Since its a first circle, probably not more than a dozen at a time, or maybe just one at a time.

    And how fast should it be?

    Should they be allowed to grant merits? What about thaumaturgic rituals?

    Should they be allowed to teach anything? Or just give a specialty?
    Well for most it'd be satisfying the basic criteria of "has a teacher" so a reduction in training times + a context for you knowing the thing. If we're talking a First Circle demon species designed to be teachers I'd expect those charms to be relatively weak.


    The Freedom Stone is back, help it to live again.

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    • #3
      Well, of course they can teach, though most are probably pretty bad at it.

      Demonic marital arts, Initiation into terrestrial sorcery (celestial should require 2nd circle), spells and thaumatrugy are obvious things to learn from demons. Of course, you still need to pay the xp, this is just your means of learning it and giving your new abilities a cool origin.

      For teaching subjects skills, like having a demon teach people how to read, well. Sure. Make a custom demon that excel in that and go for it. Up to ST how to handle teaching NPCs.

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      • #4
        Maybe you could have a species of first circle designed to climb on your head and act like a VR headset.

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        • #5
          Demons also have the habit of teaching slightly flawed knowledges. Protection symbols that dont' work against demons, charms with backdoors that allows some demon lord to compel the student in doing something, teleportation spells that under specific conditions will lock the Exalted in Malfeas... many demons are very knowledgeable about ancient lore and techniques, but a player might find some unpleasant surprise when he doesn't expect one ; )

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post
            Demons also have the habit of teaching slightly flawed knowledges. Protection symbols that dont' work against demons, charms with backdoors that allows some demon lord to compel the student in doing something, teleportation spells that under specific conditions will lock the Exalted in Malfeas... many demons are very knowledgeable about ancient lore and techniques, but a player might find some unpleasant surprise when he doesn't expect one ; )
            Maris I think you're getting editions mixed up, since charms aren't really in universe concrete things anymore that one can build a backdoor into. Plus explicitely spelled out in the core that binding a demon makes it loyal to the task, so most of them are only screwing you over if its necessary, the ward works against one demon type but not another and they don't know one that covers both, or they don't think what they're doing is screwing you up because hey demons descended from Mara on the soul heirarchy are convinced love will screw you over eventually meaning its best to break you of that habit now. Though considering the value of being able to grab stuff from Malfeas a spell that sends you to Malfeas is probably valuable than a real teleportation spell would be.

            Really the bigger risk is that demons are slightly insane by normal standards, so the training might be intense due to things like the blood ape deciding to teach you by making you fight it till you show improvement as opposed to teaching you techniques.

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            • #7
              Generally, the answer to "can a demon do/be this?" will be "yes, but...".

              Keep in mind that the sheer number of demons ought to be pretty damn high (don't procreate normally but also usually don't have an expiration date). Unless you want these creatures to be in some way a comment on some type of human condition, I see no reason not to have them be individuals as well as inhuman things, though the two tend to be closer to each other than in other beings.

              The distinction certainly gets lost when the third <specific demon of it's kind> screeches at you like a maniac and attacks you. But once you understand why, you can try to get at the individual behind that.
              But who knew blue scarfs made that specific type of demon go crazy because obviously you'd wear it because it then is forced to serve you for a week?
              From the demon's view it was just trying to escape a band of slavers.
              After figuring that out and having a conversation with it, it might turn out there's nothing it wants to do more than eat human marrow. Or maybe it just wants to be a baker and see the world. Depends on the type of demon and the specific individual.

              Story time, skip it if you don't care:
              Having said all that, since Demon of the First Circle isn't especially well defined, we've settled on allowing the caster to ask for a couple of general things he wants the demon to be able to do and get the most fitting demon available. So when one of my players asked for a Stomach bottle bug who can resist his urges most of the time and was at least passingly familiar with Creation, he ended up summoning one that had taken a vow of abstinence from poisons and was basically a monk trying to achieve enlightenment. Excepting basic knowledge of the small part of Malfeas he came from he didn't know a lot a human monk that traveled a bit wouldn't.
              Being utterly useless to get rid of the poison he was supposed to, they tended to ask the demon his opinion on a lot of things. After about three sessions of that, the sorcerer decided that demon's character was perfect to help him improve himself as a person, resummoned him without binding him and persuaded him to become his sifu.

              What I'm trying to say is that I think it really depends on what you want them to be a teacher for (traits, advice or both) and how it would come about and how picky you can be when summoning them.


              Just a few off-the cuff thoughts to your questions:

              How much does a normal teacher improve learning in your games? That answer ought to be defined before you can answer it for a specific type of demon.
              In our group went with shaving off somewhere around 1/5 and 1/3 of the normal training times, depending on the teacher rounded down (so the best teacher would turn one week of learning into four days, or three months into two).

              Even if it's a demon's specialty, I'd be wary to let them teach things quicker than around x5. That'd be on par with the speed the Dragonblooded charm can reach, which is pretty quick.
              And even then I'd put some weird side effects in for the duration of the training and probably a few weeks afterwards, be it weird cravings to eat silk or to serenade at least one random person a day.

              How they teach could include everything from:
              -Hitting you with a stick and telling you how to do it wrong, until you do it right on your own... kinda?

              -(As has been suggested) A virtual space that makes you experience situations that teach the skills you want to.

              -Symbiotically melding with you and allowing you to roll it's pools rather than yours, until you've caught up to it.

              -It builds a weird contraption you can carry around with you, that shoots a needle full of juice you harvest from it's glands in your arm, and suddenly you know, for a few hours.

              -It stings your body, implanting it's brood in you. But instead of eating you to grow, it grows by teaching you. After the requisite period, it gets ejected from an inhuman orifice at the side of your body that formed at the last day of training. It'll be gone in a week or two. It really itches until then, and also smells weird.

              -While you sleep it hovers over your head while it transports you into a would-have-been timestream in which who you could have been learnt what you want to learn, and now you teach yourself. In the last minutes after you're done or when you're about to wake up the other you realizes his timestream is not real beyond the demon's doing and freaks out, losing his shit as much as another version of your character possible can, possibly even killing himself (no, not you) horribly in front of your eyes. But it's ok. He can't hurt you and the next one won't know a thing. (I know this is basically the same as virtual reality, but I thought I could spice it up a bit).

              How many? I'd always go for at least (amount of players + amount of really important npcs). Or half that, if you want them to train in two groups. Or singular if you want to give them the opportunity to have more drama around some part of the demon's training method.
              Just be aware that if you do limit it below what they expect or want, the players might just conjure more of the same type of demon, to get around such limitations, even though you might be trying to just give them more story. Can't really do anything about that, except informing them.

              Sure they might grant merits. Two ways to handle that:
              -If you want to keep it balanced and the demon is just an excuse to pick up something weird and be a bit infernally tainted, just allow them to buy the merit as per the normal rules, except that they might acquire Innate stuff (merit rating x 3 xp is what it costs if I am not misremembering it).
              -If you want them to run after demons and make themselves inhuman or weird, have them earn it in play, but don't charge them xp. IF you go this way, make sure you prepare ideas for a couple of merits for players who don't want to take you up on this opportunity. They just get lucky impressing the right people (followers, mentors, retainers, cult, maybe even artifacts). Just make sure to offer it to the player, not force it on them, expecting them to giddily accept. Some merits, as nice as they might be in general, just don't fit a player's narrative for his character.

              You're almost bound to find a demon who spent the First Age as a farmer and if he was exceptionally lucky he even still has his citizen pass from the Deliberative of that time. Considering even such an oddity might exist, I don't see any argument to disallow any ability or attribute from being taught by the right demon. I don't think "basically just a weird teacher" is going to do your game any harm.


              3EX Martial Arts basic overview (Weapons, Armor, Attributes & Abilities)

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              • #8
                Teaching feels like one of those things where it makes sense that there would be a demon to do it, and they would even be distinct and interesting, but I'm not really sure how to present it mechanically because the system doesn't exactly lend a lot of granularity to the idea of learning or becoming better at things that gives much room to develop downwards from the line established with Solars.

                Summoning a First Circle Demon to act as a tutor feels kind of like the thing one might do for their children, rather than to teach any more to a person that is already capable of summoning demons, and I feel as though that would kind of leave a lot of the associated powers as being heavily narrative focused.


                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 nalak42 View Post
                  Maris I think you're getting editions mixed up, since charms aren't really in universe concrete things anymore that one can build a backdoor into.
                  Ah, apologies, there weren't clear markers about a specific edition.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Maris Streck View Post
                    Ah, apologies, there weren't clear markers about a specific edition.
                    Even in 2e demon summoning was more The Phoenix on the Sword than The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, though. I don't think there's a version of Heaven Thunder Hammer that lets a demon slip into Creation each time you use it, and even if there was, I don't think that's something a First Circle Demon could teach.

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                    • #11
                      Okay, trying to think of something more useful...

                      I can't remember many of the demons from Compass: Malfeas in detail offhand, so I'll look at the example of the neomah as the demon courtesan. Being a courtesan is the centre of their schtick, but the primary manifestation of that is having a universal appeal; they're not the most attractive beings you'll ever see, but they can modify features and sexual characteristics to suit compatibility and individual preferences, with some pheromones to ease it along. The magic that gives them is a certain form of shapeshifting, and I think a simple seduction dice trick.

                      They also have a related power in the form of taking material from their clients or otherwise, and fashioning it into babies. That's a bit more invested, while results are still largely narrative (or to be defined in detail by the Storyteller), and still emerges from the courtesan thing.

                      So I think something in that model might be good to follow; the demon is fairly okay at the task you set them, kind of freaky in how they do it, and something weird ends up coming out of it.

                      Being able to provide hard mechanical bonuses to the summoner seems out of keeping with that, but might serve as a readily accessible and slightly quicker narrative justification for training to raise some more academically inclined Abilities that you're still paying the XP for. Like, a lone sorcerer wants to build up their Bureaucracy rating and doesn't plausibly have access to any teacher that would let them spend the XP to do so, they just conjure up somebody to do so. Maybe also expanding their backgrounds in Lore, letting them declare facts on a wider range of subjects.

                      Perhaps some freaky process by which the demon does it, like, say, inserting a proboscis in your head to suck out your ignorance, or they have these long, spindly fingers that they twine together in elaborate visual aides. And then something they'll want in exchange, some obsessive need or personality quirk that can cause complications while they're hanging around, or byproduct of the service they provide... say one went with the ignorance proboscis, and they had a sense of smell for that, and if they smell some rather significant ignorance it can send them running off in an indignant, hungry rage that sorcerous binding won't hold them against to suck it dry, resulting in a person who is rendered insensate from being unable to stop their mind from going a mile a minute (although how bad that is and how long it lasts depends a fair amount on the person initially targeted). They can be very dangerous to children for that reason, even if they can also be very useful as tutors for them, so sorcerers are advised to employ care in using them for that reason and to be very careful to keep them away from any children that they haven't been bound to instruct with care.


                      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
                        Demon summoning in Exalted has never been about Faustian bargains, but about the risks inherent in dealing with inhuman beings. It's like the novel Blindsighg where an intelligent, but not self-aware alien species concludes a communication from humans is an attempt at information warfare due to the huge amount of irrelevant data in it, like "hello, how are you?".

                        As for being a teacher, the 2e Malfeas compassbook had an Agata establish a small school, secretly teaching things displeasing to Orablis while openly teaching safe thaumaturgical rituals.

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                        • #13
                          I think the main thing would be figure out what a demon knows and what you would be learning from it. I mean I don't see anything against a demon with the appropriate skill ,and you know approximately human intelligence, and of course training attributes.

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                          • #14
                            Yeah guys. I mean, if there's a weaknes or loophole, the demon can't help it. The guy who created it probably made it as a trap. They're not evil, per se.

                            though I must admit, I think the weirdness part is... kinda overblown. i mean, the kettles do not like laughter. The Apes do not like cats. And the hopping puppeteers love children.

                            I'm sure there can be something niche that fits in for the teacher. Like.... dunno? No storybooks nearby, since it views them as lies?

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                            • #15
                              A question. What about specialties?

                              Maybe since its a first circle demon, it's powers are more narrow?

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