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Potentially politically problematic homebrew?

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  • Potentially politically problematic homebrew?

    Ok, um....

    Alright. Fine. I'm planning on writing several demons. They may be politically incorrect, or uncomfortable. Mind if you review them for me?

    1. A demon that can copy or imitate any ethnicity. Its purpose is to instigate strife and disunity amongst Creation's peoples. Basically, a terrorist. Random stabbings. Arson. Sabotage. Firedust explosives. Poisonings. Absurdly good at guerilla warfare, improvised weaponry and traps, inciting hate and fear, and has a larceny specialty in setting up incriminating evidence and false rumours
    2. A spell that summons a construct, or a first circle demon. A predator drone, basically. Good eyesight, good senses, and ranged weaponry that hits from miles. Roll a limit whenever it sees celebrations and joyous occasions, and doesn't attack it.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Accelerator View Post
    Ok, um....

    Alright. Fine. I'm planning on writing several demons. They may be politically incorrect, or uncomfortable. Mind if you review them for me?

    1. A demon that can copy or imitate any ethnicity. Its purpose is to instigate strife and disunity amongst Creation's peoples. Basically, a terrorist. Random stabbings. Arson. Sabotage. Firedust explosives. Poisonings. Absurdly good at guerilla warfare, improvised weaponry and traps, inciting hate and fear, and has a larceny specialty in setting up incriminating evidence and false rumours
    2. A spell that summons a construct, or a first circle demon. A predator drone, basically. Good eyesight, good senses, and ranged weaponry that hits from miles. Roll a limit whenever it sees celebrations and joyous occasions, and doesn't attack it.
    Lets work backwards.

    2--A misery seeking Agatae that has a ranged weapon is functionally fine. In fact, unless called out in someway as "this is a predator drone", it is likely to go unnoticed. I'm not sure people noticed that I put 3 XKCD references and 2 HS references in my demon book, for Jebus sake.

    1. Here we have to disect somethings. I guess the start is, what is the goal of the demon?
    A demon designed to sow racial tensions in creation is trick. I'm going to temporarily sidestep the "but would Creation even have those sorts of racial tensions without a European Colonial Power invested in generating them for it's own benefit/The REalm is a colonial empire and thus assuredly has some degree of racial structraling built in" point and say simply that "sow disunity by means of race" is a fairly limiting practice. I think a demon who's schtick is they can copy someone's appearance....runs face first into the ardent jaws of a Lunar. Making a non-lunar shapeshifter is ALSO possible, but generally it's by limiting their shape in some way.
    The powers also seem a bit split. Again, ignoring the bit in Compass : Malfeas where there are Blood Ape Supremacists, if the goal is "incite hate crimes against other mortals" gueriall warfare is unneccessary. You have mortals for that! You want rumor mongering and larceny. As written, the demon is both instigator and actor--I'd maybe focus on one more than the other.

    Now lets come back down to "is this a good idea". The answer is...not terribly. A demon meant to sow discord fits into the Yozi's standard operating procedure. However, I think this version is grounded in imitating modern problems that are not as prevalent during the Bronze Age. I'd suggest re-examining the goal of the demon, and considering what bizzare or alien ways it could approach that goal.


    I did a lot of homebrew over here. PEACH.

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    • #3
      Main driver should be: Will this upset anyone in your group and mess with your dynamic? You're not harming anyone off your table by writing these things after all.

      For the shapeshifting demon, I don't think demons that sow and feed on hatred and conflict are off limits, whether you want to have them work through this sort of "Pretend to be a bad Samaritan then commit terror" or not, sort of idea, or more like sowing stories, manipulating and co-opting people into wicked acts, etc.

      The only caution I would suggest is that this would seem to be giving a pretty wide ranging shapeshifting/disguise power to a First Circle(?) demon that can be summoned and bound by player characters and by setting NPCs, and you might want to think carefully through consequences for that.

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      • #4
        Alright, then. How about this? Remember all those rumour mongering that Kings did to Jews, so they didn't need to pay them debts? Remember the tales of sacrifice and cannibalism that religions tell of each other?

        How about... Not just ethnicities, but everything. The demon not only can copy appearance, but with a charm, can make it so that anyone that perceives him knows immediately what he is. Is he christian? Wiccan? Muslim? Worshipper of Ahlat? Worshipper of the Mammoth god? A member of the police? A worshipper of Dreaming Spice, goddess of cocaine?

        I'm trying to think about racia riots, the historical oppression of immigrants to the United States, and religious progroms and purges.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ghosthead View Post
          Main driver should be: Will this upset anyone in your group and mess with your dynamic? You're not harming anyone off your table by writing these things after all.

          For the shapeshifting demon, I don't think demons that sow and feed on hatred and conflict are off limits, whether you want to have them work through this sort of "Pretend to be a bad Samaritan then commit terror" or not, sort of idea, or more like sowing stories, manipulating and co-opting people into wicked acts, etc.

          The only caution I would suggest is that this would seem to be giving a pretty wide ranging shapeshifting/disguise power to a First Circle(?) demon that can be summoned and bound by player characters and by setting NPCs, and you might want to think carefully through consequences for that.
          Um, there are no players.

          Just lonely me, writing a demon.

          The shapeshifting part works, too. Perhaps a drawback?

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          • #6
            It seems a bit unnecessary tbh, you dont need any kind of magic to place blame on a particular social group, just scrawl a provocative message next to your crime scene and your pretty much done, i dont think you need a demon to specialize in doing that.

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            • #7
              Ranged weaponry with a range of literal miles strikes me as OP. I'd look at existing range-extending Charms for a benchmark on what is possible here. The fact that it's basically a predator drone is only a problem if you think someone at your table will have a problem with it.

              I don't see anything inherently wrong with the concept of "shapeshifting trickster demon that sows discord by posing as a human identifiable as belonging to a particular group and then committing crimes" but for godssake, don't make its default form reminiscent of any real-world groups associated in the public imagination with terrorism.

              I'd also add that if you really plan to make racism a central theme in any story then at least do some cursory research into the structural dimensions of racism and racial violence because shit be complicated and you don't want to cartoonify a sensitive issue. The same goes for terrorism and radicalisation if you want to explore those themes. It's not that any of this can't be done well, it's just that you have to know your stuff or you'll be opening a can of worms with more teeth than you expected.



              "Measure of Hope is right about everything." - Wise Old Guru

              Currently running an Exalted 2.5 Abyssals game in a homebrew modern shard because I value neither my time or my sanity, and I'm loving almost every minute of it.

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              • #8
                The concept of a demon that loves to cause strife and chaos, frame people for crimes, etc, is fine. Though it should be done in a sufficiently weird way, being a demon.

                Maybe it impersonates people, then carries out distinctly weird crimes that a demonologist would recognise. Cutting out the eyes of monks. Strangling professional singers. Etc.

                But "it can change ethnicity" seems a)too human, not demonic, and b)not something that would be as effective in most of Creation that it would be in the modern USA, which you are considering.

                The USA's social tensions are not the most racialised of any society ever, of course. But they are more-so than most societies, past or present.

                If you're in Arjuf, and start stabbing people as a dark-skinned guy, that's not going to make people think "black people are dangerous!" Because they don't categorise people into black and white (because, frankly, it's actually a weird way to categorise people for various complex reasons. I really don't understand why Americans have one category for people of Spanish descent, and another for every other European ethnicity). They categorise people by social caste and whether they are from the Realm or not. But 6000 years as the centre of Creation means that while a lot of people look like, essentially, tall Chinese people, there's plenty of people with all kinds of different features.

                And then of course, if you go to a peasant village in the far reaches of the Threshold... pretty much everyone's going to have the same ethnic features anyway. No-one in the deep South is going to have green or blue hair, it's all going to be black, dark brown, or red.

                There are places where this will work of course. Places with poorly-assimilated different ethnic groups, whose cultural identity is bound up in racial features*. Varang, with its Djala slaves. Greyfalls, with distinct-looking tribes (like, one is blue and has 6 fingers) who have different economic and political roles.

                *It's important to remember how similar many ethnic groups actually look. Like, if a Scottish person went on a rampage through my town, I could identify them as Scottish by their speech, but not by looks, because they look pretty similar to we English. Honestly, I probably couldn't even identify a killer as a Russian, or an Italian. If I see a big group of French people, I can tell, but not an individual. Similarly, I can tell a group of Koreans from a group of Japanese or a group of Chinese, but not individuals. Most Chinese people I knew thought my Japanese neighbour was Chinese until they heard him speaking. I've been mistaken as a Jew, a Pakistani, and a Turk twice (once by a Turkish guy). Identifying people's ethnic groups is not easy. That's why Americans use such ludicrously big categories as "White" and "Black", and even those are sometimes difficult to identify. It's also why a lot of ethnic groups use distinct clothing, jewelry or hair styles to identify themselves, because skin colour and face shape isn't good enough.

                So, maybe it'd be better to have a demon who's obsessed with, say, heraldry and clothes? Like they wrap themselves in a cloak with the symbols of House Ragara, when they go on their mad killing spree. Or they dress up in Ishvanti clothes when murdering people across Harborhead, and this makes people turn on the Ishvanti. Or they dress up as an Immaculate Monk while killing in Chiaroscoro, which makes people turn on the Realm. Or, similarly, they wear a Delzahn veil and people turn on the Tri-Khan.


                My characters:
                Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
                Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng

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                • #9
                  That's a wonderful idea. Maybe I can get inspiration from the Iz

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                  • #10
                    Maybe the predator drone demon's attack is like a bee's sting? A one-time weapon that's ultimately used at the cost of their life.



                    Simple Exigent Guidelines, a work in progress

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by The Hug Ninja View Post
                      Maybe the predator drone demon's attack is like a bee's sting? A one-time weapon that's ultimately used at the cost of their life.
                      Two attacks? One suicide launch, another one that lets it carry out harassment? I'm thinking of a massive metamorphosis into a missile for the first, and mouths that spit out death threats for the second.

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                      • #12
                        Your demon sounds a lot like a tulpa or doppelganger, further empowered by a set of specialized Charms for sowing discord.



                        Check out Momentum Exalted!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Simon Darkstep View Post
                          Your demon sounds a lot like a tulpa or doppelganger, further empowered by a set of specialized Charms for sowing discord.
                          It is. Meant for mischief and spreading chaos.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Simon Darkstep View Post
                            Your demon sounds a lot like a tulpa or doppelganger, further empowered by a set of specialized Charms for sowing discord.
                            It is. Meant for mischief and spreading chaos.

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                            • #15
                              You could refer to Twin Peaks for some ideas. Though they would be more creepy/horror themes than epic fantasy.


                              Check out Momentum Exalted!

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