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Godly Kryptonite?

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  • Godly Kryptonite?

    So as most of us are probably aware by now, 1E Scion featured a pretty substantial power creep as you made your way up the ranks. I don't actually mind all that much, since the plot of the game is to become a literal God and challenge the living embodiments of reality itself to a show down.

    But one downside is that minions and the like became cannon fodder towards the end of the game. Investing points in combat followers was pretty much a waste, since they get killed off within the first few rounds of combat.


    But then I started thinking, and I realized that although they held the position of 'God,' these pagan deities weren't necessarily omnipotent like the monotheistic religions of today. In other words, they were reported to have some vulnerabilities that others could take advantage of.


    During the run of the old Hercules series, they used something called Hind's Blood which served as a deadly poison to the otherwise invulnerable Gods of Olympus. However, I don't know if this was actually a part of Greek mythology, or just something they made up in the show.

    I understand that the Egyptian and Norse pantheons were still susceptible to the effects of time, although at a far slower rate than mortals. And they were apparently susceptible to violence, as well, since their mythology specifically mentions gods being killed and mutilated.


    If my interpretations are correct, then the Tuatha are the fairy lords of Ireland, and therefor might be susceptible to iron if you can't get them to break their geas. But I'd need more confirmation from somebody who knows more about Irish folk lore.


    So to reiterate my question: What are some weaknesses that the so called 'cannon fodder' might use to challenge the end game level players and actually have a chance at victory?

  • #2
    Maybe not direct kryptonite, but it probably wouldn't be too hard to learn who a now-deified Scion's mortal friends and family are, especially if their rise to godhood has been visible in the media. That might be a way to at least twist the Scion's arm.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by yukikaze View Post
      Maybe not direct kryptonite, but it probably wouldn't be too hard to learn who a now-deified Scion's mortal friends and family are, especially if their rise to godhood has been visible in the media. That might be a way to at least twist the Scion's arm.

      Not really. Remember, this is a God they're threatening, and the standard tactics don't apply to them. Friends and family could be very easily protected by offering them a place of residence within your sanctum. How exactly are you going to kidnap somebody who lives on the moon, or a different solar system, or even another plane of reality? And in the event that you did kill a hostage, you'd be sending their soul to the afterlife, where the Gods are waiting for them. A quick interrogation and the God has all the details they need about the culprit, where they would then deliver righteous vengeance upon them.


      That's why I'm asking for things that would threaten the Gods on a more personal level. What could directly challenge their superiority over the mortal World?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
        So to reiterate my question: What are some weaknesses that the so called 'cannon fodder' might use to challenge the end game level players and actually have a chance at victory?
        Good question! Just as you suspect Nyrufa, it depends Pantheon to Pantheon. For most Pantheons sadly the case will be, "No Dice," the Gods are just better than you, than me, than mortals. There are some work-around ideas though.

        For the Theoi, sadly, no dice. The Hind's Blood isn't as far as I know mythological cannon for the Theoi, and actually runs counter to the main premise of Grecian Godhood. The Gods are all perfectly immortal, they can't die. There's a reason they're always locking each other away within the depths of the world, they're literally incapable of killing each other. The Gods, Titans, Hundred Handed Ones, Primordials, all of them are perfect immortals. They will never, ever die. Even when The Son of Zeus Prophecy is fulfilled, Zeus will not be killed, he will be overthrown. The 'point' of the Theoi is they are better than humans, so far above them that humans are but gnats to them, so providing a source to weaken, or otherwise make the Theoi not these perfectly immortal, unaging, undying beings sort of makes them not Theoi.

        There are, of course, ways around this. There is one instance that comes to mind of an immortal being incapacitated to the point of more-or-less dead. When Charon is poisoned by one of Heracles' arrows envenomed by the Lernean Hydra. The passage in question can be read here.

        [Kheiron (Chiron)], you, immortal now and destined by your birthright to live on through all eternity, will long to die when you are tortured by the serpent's blood [i.e. poisoned by an arrow coated with Hydra's blood], that agonizing poison in your wounds; and, saved from immortality, the gods shall put you in death's power, and the three Goddesses [Moirai, Fates] shall unloose your threads of fate.
        So, while the Theoi themselves are perfect, undying beings, the immortality they grant to others (potentially any Scion who undergoes Apotheosis, anyone who isn't 'pure Theoi') can be reversed in the case of emergencies such as this. So, Adonis, Heracles, Endymion, Ganymede, and Asclepius are all vulnerable to this.

        For the Tuatha, it's actually way easier than making them break their Geasa and using Iron. Iron probably wouldn't be any more or less helpful to the Tuatha themselves, they use Iron weapons, the Cold Iron thing is more of a folkloric thing to the Sidhe themselves, not necessarily the Tuatha. Getting them to break their Geasa would be a method of killing them, but you can also just stab them a bunch. Almost all of the major figures of the Pantheon are dead, killed by mortals during the invasion by the Sons of Mil. For whatever reason, either the mortals or Ireland are very good at killing Gods, or the Tuatha are just very frail for Deities. Other than this they are perfect, ageless beings often imagined as being untouched by original sin by Christian authors, so aging doesn't bother them.

        So, yeah. Just stab them a bunch. Shoot them, poison them. The Tuatha die easy, but their friends will come and kill everyone you have ever known, loved, seen, steal all of your stuff, destroy your home, and then kill you in a very brutal, embarrassing, and public way.

        The Aesir are trickier since several of them are Fated to die elsewhen, so you won't have much luck killing them until Ragnarok. Unless of course they die, and get brought back to life before then somehow. As you note, they are vulnerable to having the apples of Idun taken away from them though. Those whose Fates are unknown, however, you could totally kill. Far harder to kill than the Tuatha though, mortals don't go around killing Gods for the Aesir, it's mostly God-on-God violence for them.

        So, while they are not quite as beyond the reach of mortals as the Theoi, I don't think the 'Cannon Fodder' will ever have much of a hope against the Aesir unless Fate has decided one of them's going to die by mortal hands.

        The Teotl are somewhat trickier since while they can be maimed, and they can die, it isn't the purview of mortals to do so. Also mortals probably wouldn't want to do so. Without the Teotl, the Fifth Sun is ending, and all of humanity is dying off in the blink of an eye. The Teotl are also rather good at not dying, or dying and coming back, so even if a mortal somehow managed to do the impossible (and the really stupid) and kill one of the Teotl, they could, and probably would bounce back very quickly thereafter.

        So, again. While not totally out of reach like the Theoi, 'Cannon Fodder' isn't going to have much of a hope in hell against the Teotl. Even if you try to starve them for power and cut off all blood sacrifice to their name, all that means is you are going to end up ending the Fifth Sun. The Teotl will be fine, but they just won't be able to defend the Fifth Sun and keep the world working. They will start again on The Sixth Sun, and maybe try giants again instead of humans.

        If your main concern is Followers and Creatures being weak at the Demigod and God tier, it might be easier to look for houserules to make the Birthright more balanced at those tiers. Sadly, for mortals, we can never hope to aspire to the greatness of the Divine, not but dust before ageless eyes. Except for the Tuatha who are very mortal.
        Last edited by Watcher; 10-07-2017, 01:14 PM.

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        • #5
          One possibility with the Hindu Gods is to borrow an Astra or gain a Boon from another God (or even the same one). Brahma has given out multiple Boons to people who've used them to kick Indra and his entire court out of Svarga, and Shiva at one point gave out a Boon to someone to be able to blow up anyone's head by touching it... which he promptly tried to use on Shiva himself. Vishnu had to save him from that mess by seducing the guy into touching his own head. Many of the wielder's of Astras and Boons are Asura titanspawn or Scion Heroes, but there's technically nothing stopping a mortal from impressing a God enough to acquire one.

          The other way would be to achieve Divine Enlightenment and become a Rishi... which any old mortal can technically do... Rishis have performed such varied feats as turning the Trimurti into babies in order to breast feed them, forced Sarasvati to become human for daring to correct their grammar, created a second Svarga and carbon copies of all the Gods because they didn't like the current ones, petrified Indra and his entire court and kept them around as lawn ornaments, and casually blown 60,000 people to smithereens for calling them a horse thief.

          The thing to remember about most Hindu Gods is that they are Duty bound to honor not just their own but their compatriot's promises as well... impress one of them enough to get them to agree to something stupid, and the entire Pantheon then has to back them up... which is why Vishnu and Durga spend half of mythology figuring out ways to kill the Boon given individuals without breaking any of the tenets of the Boons they've been given, irrespective of the fact that normally either of them could kill every single one of them ten ways to Tuesday without breaking a sweat.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Watcher View Post

            Good question! Just as you suspect Nyrufa, it depends Pantheon to Pantheon. For most Pantheons sadly the case will be, "No Dice," the Gods are just better than you, than me, than mortals. There are some work-around ideas though.

            For the Theoi, sadly, no dice. The Hind's Blood isn't as far as I know mythological cannon for the Theoi, and actually runs counter to the main premise of Grecian Godhood. The Gods are all perfectly immortal, they can't die. There's a reason they're always locking each other away within the depths of the world, they're literally incapable of killing each other. The Gods, Titans, Hundred Handed Ones, Primordials, all of them are perfect immortals. They will never, ever die. Even when The Son of Zeus Prophecy is fulfilled, Zeus will not be killed, he will be overthrown. The 'point' of the Theoi is they are better than humans, so far above them that humans are but gnats to them, so providing a source to weaken, or otherwise make the Theoi not these perfectly immortal, unaging, undying beings sort of makes them not Theoi.

            There are, of course, ways around this. There is one instance that comes to mind of an immortal being incapacitated to the point of more-or-less dead. When Charon is poisoned by one of Heracles' arrows envenomed by the Lernean Hydra. The passage in question can be read here.



            So, while the Theoi themselves are perfect, undying beings, the immortality they grant to others (potentially any Scion who undergoes Apotheosis, anyone who isn't 'pure Theoi') can be reversed in the case of emergencies such as this. So, Adonis, Heracles, Endymion, Ganymede, and Asclepius are all vulnerable to this.

            For the Tuatha, it's actually way easier than making them break their Geasa and using Iron. Iron probably wouldn't be any more or less helpful to the Tuatha themselves, they use Iron weapons, the Cold Iron thing is more of a folkloric thing to the Sidhe themselves, not necessarily the Tuatha. Getting them to break their Geasa would be a method of killing them, but you can also just stab them a bunch. Almost all of the major figures of the Pantheon are dead, killed by mortals during the invasion by the Sons of Mil. For whatever reason, either the mortals or Ireland are very good at killing Gods, or the Tuatha are just very frail for Deities. Other than this they are perfect, ageless beings often imagined as being untouched by original sin by Christian authors, so aging doesn't bother them.

            So, yeah. Just stab them a bunch. Shoot them, poison them. The Tuatha die easy, but their friends will come and kill everyone you have ever known, loved, seen, steal all of your stuff, destroy your home, and then kill you in a very brutal, embarrassing, and public way.

            The Aesir are trickier since several of them are Fated to die elsewhen, so you won't have much luck killing them until Ragnarok. Unless of course they die, and get brought back to life before then somehow. As you note, they are vulnerable to having the apples of Idun taken away from them though. Those whose Fates are unknown, however, you could totally kill. Far harder to kill than the Tuatha though, mortals don't go around killing Gods for the Aesir, it's mostly God-on-God violence for them.

            So, while they are not quite as beyond the reach of mortals as the Theoi, I don't think the 'Cannon Fodder' will ever have much of a hope against the Aesir unless Fate has decided one of them's going to die by mortal hands.

            The Teotl are somewhat trickier since while they can be maimed, and they can die, it isn't the purview of mortals to do so. Also mortals probably wouldn't want to do so. Without the Teotl, the Fifth Sun is ending, and all of humanity is dying off in the blink of an eye. The Teotl are also rather good at not dying, or dying and coming back, so even if a mortal somehow managed to do the impossible (and the really stupid) and kill one of the Teotl, they could, and probably would bounce back very quickly thereafter.

            So, again. While not totally out of reach like the Theoi, 'Cannon Fodder' isn't going to have much of a hope in hell against the Teotl. Even if you try to starve them for power and cut off all blood sacrifice to their name, all that means is you are going to end up ending the Fifth Sun. The Teotl will be fine, but they just won't be able to defend the Fifth Sun and keep the world working. They will start again on The Sixth Sun, and maybe try giants again instead of humans.

            If your main concern is Followers and Creatures being weak at the Demigod and God tier, it might be easier to look for houserules to make the Birthright more balanced at those tiers. Sadly, for mortals, we can never hope to aspire to the greatness of the Divine, not but dust before ageless eyes. Except for the Tuatha who are very mortal.
            Correct me if I'm wrong,but wasn't there two powerful gigantes that managed to weaken Ares until he was super powerless and stuck him in a pot?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
              Correct me if I'm wrong,but wasn't there two powerful gigantes that managed to weaken Ares until he was super powerless and stuck him in a pot?
              Yup! That's the imprisonment motif we see with the Theoi. No one can kill anyone else, but they can sure as hell put each other in 'boxes' of various sorts. Ares gets put in a pot, Zeus has all of his tendons torn out, Atlas has to hold up the sky, Prometheus is chained to the mountain, Typhon is trapped under a mountain (also sometimes in Tartarus), the majority of the Titans are in Tartarus, the Hundred Handed Ones and the Primordial Cyclopses were locked in Tartarus by Cronus, even the castration of Ouranos pretty much puts him in a 'box' making him no longer a threat. Thanatos gets trapped once too, by a mortal actually. Goes badly for him in the end.

              The Theoi can't kill each other, but they can be trapped, imprisoned, or rendered temporarily inert. It's a fun little theme! I'm always tempted to have God-tier Theoi have their health work differently from everyone else. Instead of dying, you just wind up imprisoned, rendered inert, or trapped somehow.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Watcher View Post
                The Theoi can't kill each other, but they can be trapped, imprisoned, or rendered temporarily inert. It's a fun little theme! I'm always tempted to have God-tier Theoi have their health work differently from everyone else. Instead of dying, you just wind up imprisoned, rendered inert, or trapped somehow.
                That actually sounds like it could be an interesting God level Metamorphosis Boon Can't speak for what kind of mechanical nightmare it would be to balance though

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Watcher View Post

                  Thanatos gets trapped once too, by a mortal actually. Goes badly for him in the end.

                  The Theoi can't kill each other, but they can be trapped, imprisoned, or rendered temporarily inert. It's a fun little theme! I'm always tempted to have God-tier Theoi have their health work differently from everyone else. Instead of dying, you just wind up imprisoned, rendered inert, or trapped somehow.

                  Isn't Thanatos the god of death itself?

                  Also, I like that idea of having their health work differently. Maybe when they run out, they just sort of fall unconscious while their bodies try to heal themselves.

                  But, even if they can't outright be killed, the fact they could be crippled or sealed away means that mortals would still have a fighting chance against them. Sure, you'd have to keep them under maximum security, because they'd be gunning for your ass in the event they escaped. But 'immortal' doesn't mean 'infallible.'


                  Originally posted by Samudra View Post

                  That actually sounds like it could be an interesting God level Metamorphosis Boon Can't speak for what kind of mechanical nightmare it would be to balance though

                  Wouldn't be too unbalanced, considering the enemy would have the same protection. Fights would turn into an endurance test of seeing who could take more punishment before collapsing.
                  Last edited by Nyrufa; 10-07-2017, 01:47 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    Isn't Thanatos the god of death itself?
                    He is their Death God! Specifically their, like, 'naturally occurring death' God... or 'Spirit' sort of because the Theoi really love being granularly specific about everything they do.

                    Theoretically a mortal could try to imprison one of the Theoi in that same way, but it might go badly for everyone, similarly to the problem we see with the Teotl. When Thanatos is locked away, things stop dying of natural causes IIRC, which throws everything out of whack and the Theoi have to look into what's causing their world to have gone funny. Lock up Apollo, and you've got eternal night, that sort of problem.

                    Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                    Also, I like that idea of having their health work differently. Maybe when they run out, they just sort of fall unconscious while their bodies try to heal themselves.
                    Originally posted by Samudra View Post
                    That actually sounds like it could be an interesting God level Metamorphosis Boon Can't speak for what kind of mechanical nightmare it would be to balance though
                    I am glad you both like the idea! I have always wanted to differentiate the Pantheons from each other more than just their PsPs, looking more at the different ideas of just what being a 'God' means to each culture in question. It is a huge pain to do in 1e, I tried, lots of wasted pencil lead on that. In 1e the best mechanical 'method' for it is making them sort-of-Relics, but it's a really clunky way to go about it that I didn't really like. With luck there 2e will provide a better method for pulling it off.
                    Last edited by Watcher; 10-07-2017, 01:55 PM.

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                    • #11
                      There is an obscure little creature from Greek myth referenced by only a single source called the ophiotaurus. Part serpent and part bull, whoever burnt the entrails of this creature would be granted the power to defeat the Gods.

                      Now...exactly what that means we don’t know. According to the myth, an ally of the Titans did manage to slay the ophiotaurus, but Zeus sent an eagle to snatch the entrails before they could be burnt.

                      Which means that if you want to include such a creature in your games, you have some freedom to determine what happens if the ritual is completed.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Watcher View Post
                        I am glad you both like the idea! I have always wanted to differentiate the Pantheons from each other more than just their PsPs, looking more at the different ideas of just what being a 'God' means to each culture in question. It is a huge pain to do in 1e, I tried, lots of wasted pencil lead on that. In 1e the best mechanical 'method' for it is making them sort-of-Relics, but it's a really clunky way to go about it that I didn't really like. With luck there 2e will provide a better method for pulling it off.
                        IIRC Neall once mentioned that the 2e PSPs are supposed to be wide enough to include all the quirks various Pantheons display... hence why so many of them are less 'power sets' and more 'power sources' (thematically speaking of course, obviously mechanically they all have powers). So, Egyptians have Heku, the sorcery of the soul, and isn't all power in and magic and miracle in Egyptian mythology fundamentally derived from the different parts of the soul and their sorcery? Similarly for the Deva, their PSP is Yoga, and all power in Hindu myth is derived from Yoga... it is the source of all miracles, and therefore you could fluff any random thing the Hindu Gods do that others don't as a Yoga boon.

                        For the Greeks the two things I'd love to see at God Level are firstly the whole absolute immortality thing, and secondly the whole 'you cannot grasp the true true form' thing they have going. IIRC, the Greek Gods never appear to mortals in their true forms because they'll burn to cinders. They always appear to mortals shape-shifted, even when they're not even remotely trying to hide their divinity (like the passage in the Aeneid I believe where Apollo appears to the Trojans as one of their comrades but is also floating in the air and making Godly pronouncements so no one is remotely that this is a God).

                        I admit Absolute Immortality might be a bit of a stretch for Metamorphosis, but the other thing, the idea of having a 'true form' that you can reveal to kill off any mortals in the area, sounds like an absolutely perfect God level Metamorphosis power.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Samudra View Post


                          For the Greeks the two things I'd love to see at God Level are firstly the whole absolute immortality thing, and secondly the whole 'you cannot grasp the true true form' thing they have going. IIRC, the Greek Gods never appear to mortals in their true forms because they'll burn to cinders. They always appear to mortals shape-shifted, even when they're not even remotely trying to hide their divinity (like the passage in the Aeneid I believe where Apollo appears to the Trojans as one of their comrades but is also floating in the air and making Godly pronouncements so no one is remotely that this is a God).

                          I admit Absolute Immortality might be a bit of a stretch for Metamorphosis, but the other thing, the idea of having a 'true form' that you can reveal to kill off any mortals in the area, sounds like an absolutely perfect God level Metamorphosis power.

                          Typhon was described as being comprised of hundreds of living animals and was so massive that his head reached the stars and his arms spanned across the horizon. In other words, he's a chimera the size of a planet!

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                          • #14
                            I am under the impression that without epic stamina,strength or dexterity or warrior knacks a god is vulnerable at battle. So if you shoot a god without this particular powerset,they can be hurt. Even if it's just a normal gun. I also got the impression that a god's power level is very flexible,Neall said that to create a powerful incarnation a god has to attach omens to the incarnation,that gave me the impression that the gods sometimes visit the World in weak incarnations,when they want just to eat McDonald's without worrying about their omens. Then it might be easier for a weaker being to get them
                            Last edited by Nicolas Milioni; 10-07-2017, 02:51 PM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
                              I am under the impression that without epic stamina,strength or dexterity or warrior knacks a god is vulnerable at battle. So if you shoot a god without this particular powerset,they can be hurt. Even if it's just a normal gun.


                              Well, technically, yes. But even without epic attributes, they can still raise their normal attributes far higher than any mortal can. Ordinary mortals cap out at 5, while Legendary beings can go upwards of like 15, or something like that.

                              That's roughly 3x as many attribute levels as your typical mortal who's achieved record holding status.

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