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Occult: What is it good for?

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  • Occult: What is it good for?

    I'm quite serious. What is Occult good for? How do you use it? Dealing with spirits uses the social influence system. Knowing about mundane things uses Lore. Virtually all magical things that aren't sorcery or artifacts are spirit dealings. So there's not much left for occult to do. No occultist can set wards, or influence the weather, or call upon spirits, or look into the future, unless it's by way of dealing a relevant spirit, which again uses the social system. So what's Occult good for?

  • #2
    The bits about spirits, fae, and the uncanny that doesn't consist of talking to them? You know, knowing about the not-mundane stuff, that wouldn't fall under Lore?

    If a player wanted to know which gods of the Ocean Court to call on to find a sunken ship, I'd call for an Occult roll. If he wanted to know which plants could repel mist-demons, I'd call for an Occult roll. If he wanted to look at the aftermath of a battle to figure out what spell a sorcerer cast during the battle, I'd call for an Occult roll.
    Last edited by TheCountAlucard; 04-28-2016, 09:31 PM.

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    • #3
      Actually, the Occult description mentions the word rapport, which is a social phenomena. Perhaps Occult should be considered to be the social ability for supernatural entities?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
        Actually, the Occult description mentions the word rapport, which is a social phenomena. Perhaps Occult should be considered to be the social ability for supernatural entities?
        Also a good point. In such situations, I'd likely consider it the spirit equivalent of the social cues you get with good Socialize.

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        • #5
          Off the top of my head:
          - Spotting the difference between fake talismans and real ones.
          - Identifying spirits by sight.
          - Identifying disguised spirits by their habits or quirks.
          - Spotting and analyzing sorcerous workings and spells.
          - Identifying the conditions attached to a sorcerous working.
          - Recognizing and manoeuvering paths to Malfeas, Yu-Shan, the Wyld or the Underworld.

          I think the last line of the description of Occult is most important:

          Occult is vital to the exorcist and the shaman, whose arts cannot be taught to those lacking proper sensitivity, and also to the sorcerer, whose senses pierce the veils of the universe.
          Occult is a very sensory skill. Lore will give you the general knowledge you need in order to approach spirits, but you'll need Occult to properly apply what you know and intuit their nature.



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          • #6
            I agree. I would think that Occult should also act as a maximum cap on other social skills in relation to supernatural entities.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
              I agree. I would think that Occult should also act as a maximum cap on other social skills in relation to supernatural entities.
              That's a bit clunky, especially since you can't do much without knowing Intimacies to exploit. So Occult being like Socialize for spirits would allow you to discern what they are, and use them with your influence of choice, independent of your rating in Occult.

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              • #8
                All that weird supernatural shit that permeates Creation needs Occult to figure out or know what it is. What does that flying glowing horse with fangs like to eat? What will pierce the bronze-colored skin of this animate statue, because steel sure doesn't work? What is causing that violet glow at the bottom of that well? What's that strange accent on the Old Realm those giant insects are talking in? What's keeping that floating island in the air? Why is that ice red and pulsing with a heartbeat?


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                • #9
                  I find Occult to be the mental skill rolled more than any other. It may even be the skill rolled more often than any non-combat skill but Awareness. Not sure about that, but maybe.


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

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                  • #10
                    Occult is not the social Ability for spirits because this puts an Eclipse or a Zenith at a disadvantage in the place where they should be really good. It also messes with normal depictions of the Exalted as a whole. In a game where your personal charisma and magnetism can push your persuasive ability so high that you can dissuade a Deathlord, or sing a song that breaks the heart of a Yozi, it makes no sense to gate that behind Occult, which measures neither persuasion nor musical talent.

                    You can roll Occult to know things about the spirit world, to identify thaumaturgy rituals, to figure out how a sorcerous working "works" (may require Essence sight Charms in some instances). Just like Larceny can be used to establish how much you know about the criminal element or the boryokudan or underground trafficking. You can technically read and know about those things by way of Lore, but Larceny accounts for hands on experience or first hand knowledge. Think of Occult in a similar fashion.

                    Hope that helps.



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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by John Mørke View Post
                      Occult is not the social Ability for spirits because this puts an Eclipse or a Zenith at a disadvantage in the place where they should be really good.
                      Minor quibble that occult can be an Eclipse caste ability, so it wouldn't likely be a limit for them, but I agree with your point 100%.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by satoshi View Post

                        Minor quibble that occult can be an Eclipse caste ability, so it wouldn't likely be a limit for them, but I agree with your point 100%.
                        Yes indeed. But they are giving up another Ability for Occult.


                        Exalted Developer
                        Currently writing: The Realm and Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought
                        Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/hatewheel/
                        If you like the work I am doing, please consider supporting my ability to work: https://www.patreon.com/emptyset?ty=h

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                        • #13
                          Occult tells you that a line of salt can stop ghosts. It tells you that Octavian once loved the earth. If your ST homebrews up a giant evil fire snail, it tells you that the snail's shell will inflict a drought upon any land it is buried under. And so on.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by LadyLens View Post
                            I'm quite serious. What is Occult good for? How do you use it? Dealing with spirits uses the social influence system. Knowing about mundane things uses Lore. Virtually all magical things that aren't sorcery or artifacts are spirit dealings. So there's not much left for occult to do. No occultist can set wards, or influence the weather, or call upon spirits, or look into the future, unless it's by way of dealing a relevant spirit, which again uses the social system. So what's Occult good for?


                            I'm not sorry. Also, I love Occult and like how John Morke said things.

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