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  • #16
    I think it's implied, if not outright stated, that a great number of the elder gods the K'lashaa invoke are actually the dreams of the True Malfeans who slumber deep in the Labyrinths which surround Oblivion. So if you don't like the idea of elder gods taking much notice of humanity, this is how it can be explained away.


    Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running UPDATE Chapter 22: The Morning After

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
      If a Great Old One or Elder God grants powers, it should probably be handled similarly to Infernal Pacts (replacing Soul Points with Sanity Points and negotiation rolls with understanding rolls). When the practitioner reaches '0' Sanity, they die and their gibbering soul is drawn to their patron.
      I disagree with the idea that the Great Ones are always out to claim souls. Some of them might, as a kind of trophy. But to others, the souls of humans are more insignificant than the humans themselves. At least humans can be directed as pawns.

      Instead, I would have the loss of Sanity Points be exactly what they sound like. The character becomes more and more insane, accruing Derangements as they grow in power and understanding of the Eldritch Truth. And when they lose enough points that it tips them beneath the threshold that a regular Infernalist would lose controlling interest of their soul, the follower of the Great Ones becomes so stark-raving mad as to be incapable of independent action. Many of Lovecraft's characters didn't die (at least, at first), but were locked into sanitariums. Others might have their minds so broken that they are reduced to puppets, with only as much volition as their Master affords them (much like a regular infernalist does, if they sell their entire soul). That way, the Great One has an agent on Earth that can be directed at will, and through whose eyes the Great One can see.

      Still a different person, when they reach that tipping point, might be physically and mentally morphed into something inhuman. A twisted sort of evolution, that may indeed have been the Great One's objective all along (or at least a side benefit). Much of the plot of Bloodborne was built on attempts by humans to ascend to higher states, and how some (though not all) Great Ones seemed to relish that possibility. The Great Ones motivations are mysterious, as are their methods of reproduction (or animal husbandry).

      The key point I'm trying to make is that Eldritch Infernalism can work slightly differently to the familiar Infernalism, while having many of the same effects. Trying to gain power by channeling it from beings outside of normal reality is as bad an idea as trading away bits of the soul to a demon. Lose too much to the exchange, and the character is still rendered unfit to be a player character. In some ways, losing their Sanity can be far more troublesome to a character than losing parts of the soul, even in moderation. The pawn of a demon from hell usually at least has his wits about him.


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      • #18
        A good point, though I was thinking that the souls would be drawn to their patrons like a moth to light. I doubt that many patrons would bother to collect souls, though some may enjoy the gibbering adoration.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
          Well, Mages can be a game about hubris and insanity (both are major themes), which fits well with the Mythos. In the Mythos, some of the worst monsters are the equivalent of Mages, mortals who learned the secrets of reality at the expense of their humanity. The fact that the Great Old Ones and the Elder God's would be more powerful than Mages is no more of a factor in most Mage games than the fact that there are Archmages out there that can erase a Mage from ever existing or who can create a private torture Universe for Mages who displease them.
          Not really. That's not what Lovecraft is about. Going insane, sure. Why? Because humans are helpless. When they are exposed to the Truth, the human mind cannot encompass it. Mages aren't. Unless you wish to make dealing with, understanding or even perceiving things Lovecraftian to be beyond the power of any mage, then mages are going to understand everything pretty easily (as in Level 1 effects often), deal with things pretty effectively (Oh, a many-angled thing? Good thing I have Correspondence... A strange emmanation that wrinkles history? Good thing I have Time.... Dreamlands? Mind or Spirit, which flavor suits your palatte?) and understand them... Well... If you can see it and affect it you have some comprehension of it. So the "helpless" nature of Lovecraft's horror is very much lost. Mages aren't helpless. They are anti-helpless. Unless you completely nerf mage magic and say that Correspondence doesn't affect space alterations by Lovecraftian creatures at all or at an elevated level. Which you better lay right out there on the table, since you are effectively taking basic fundamental assumptions about the game being played. Most people don't go into Mage thinking "My mage magic is pretty much completely useless on everything we encounter because the ST has made the universe work that way....) If you make Mages into mortals with regard to Mythos-related matters, why not play the game designed for that? Call of Cthulhu, often voted the RPG of all time, is out there and handles all of this VERY well. With spin offs for different eras (Achtung Cthulhu!, etc.), different perspectives (Delta Green), different situations (the Laundry).

          Most of the protagonists in Mythos stories, the Lovecraftian ones, don't show much in the way of hubris. They cower before the uncaring cosmos about to obliterate them. (Even in Dreamquest, Carter, the most full of himself of Lovecraft's creations, ends up cowering in front of Nyarlathotep and the truth of his situation though being a Dreamlands story, it does all end relatively well.. then.... not for Carter ultimately). Most of the hubris is the hands of the bad guys. So, I guess there's hubris around.... as something of a spectator sport. Or as an effective "off switch" for a character who feels it, does something about it and gets obliterated by the uncaring cosmos he's not comprehending....

          The protagonists of Lovecraft stories aren't really the mages. Those are the enemies. They are either normal folks who get caught up in the mess or they might, just might, have a moldy book they can access to try to get the one spell off that will keep the world from ending.
          Last edited by Ajax; 02-12-2017, 09:20 PM.

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          • #20
            I don't think Aya Tari was trying to imply that the mages in Lovecraft's mythos were the protagonists, "some of the worst monsters are the equivalent of Mages". Also, I don't think I'd describe "helplessness" as the only element of horror that permeated Lovecraft's works. Fear of the other, corruption and the fragility of sanity all played major parts in what makes up the modern mythos.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Gullinbursti View Post
              I don't think Aya Tari was trying to imply that the mages in Lovecraft's mythos were the protagonists, "some of the worst monsters are the equivalent of Mages". Also, I don't think I'd describe "helplessness" as the only element of horror that permeated Lovecraft's works. Fear of the other, corruption and the fragility of sanity all played major parts in what makes up the modern mythos.
              There's also a recurring theme of protagonists realising that they either have been, or are becoming the very monster they once feared.


              Keepers of the Wyck: A Chronicle I'm running UPDATE Chapter 22: The Morning After

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              • #22
                Aye, there is a contradiction between the Lovecraftian theme of humanity being small in the face of the Eldritch, and the Mage theme that humanity is anything but helpless. But this incompatibility is, in this case, more of a Feature than a Bug. These cosmic horrors - these...Things from Outside - would see Humanity as insignificant, weak, and blind in their beastly idiocy. But the Mages - arguably the best Mankind has to offer - would rise to the occasion and declare their relevancy.

                As in all things Mage, the resulting conflict is a clash of ideology. A War of Paradigms.


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                • #23
                  I think an interesting avenue to explore is something from the Lovecraftean run of Dr. Strange stories in Marvel Premiere back in the 70s. Dr. Strange, being an extremely capable superheroic magician who could do almost anything, was not used to being helpless even if he might be overmatched by the opposition. But in that story arc he found himself confounded by mysteries and portents that didn't have immediate explanations, by attacks on him in his dreams, and when he went to Starksboro (aka Innsmouth) he found his spells failing him and leaving him at the mercy of corrupted New Englanders and subhuman hybrids that normally would have posed almost no challenge.

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                  • #24
                    I saw a Youtube video about the Nephandi that had a take I had never heard before. It takes the old "diabolists summon powers that they can't ultimately control, and become pawns to those powers"--and flips it on its head. In the interpretation presented, the Nephandi are the masters (sort of). In a limited way they can command the Elder Gods and force them to lend them power, because they have what those entities want and need: access to Earth. Nephandi can't be corrupted by eldritch beings. They are already corrupted to the utmost limit, having had their very souls inverted. Them being something that gives eldritch beings pause makes them a lot more terrifying. It fits the theme of limitless human capacity (in this case capacity for evil) while bringing in cosmic horror elements.

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                    • #25
                      D&D 5th edition has a Warlock class that can strike pacts with infernal or mythos like beings depending on their specialization and that works nicely, so handling powers from the Elder Gods with the same framework as for infernal pacts sounds like a good idea to me too.

                      Oops didn't notice page two before posting...

                      As mentioned there's a clash of themes between Mythos and Mage, much as their is a clash of paradigms, Technocracy vs Traditions, within Mage. Depending on what you want from a campaign that includes both elements you can treat the Mythos simply as another flavour of demon, which makes it less of a problem, or you can treat it as a difference in paradigm, effectively adding another faction, or treat it as a difference in being where the Mythos creatures are beings of spirit (or a variant flavour of spirit) that are unbound by physical rules, or even treat them as entirely incompatible and have your players roll up Call of Cthulhu versions of themselves that they have to use when the Mythos reality is imposed (sort of like being in a very odd Quiet).
                      Last edited by Dogstar; 02-15-2017, 05:47 AM.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Dogstar View Post
                        As mentioned there's a clash of themes between Mythos and Mage, much as their is a clash of paradigms, Technocracy vs Traditions, within Mage. Depending on what you want from a campaign that includes both elements you can treat the Mythos simply as another flavour of demon, which makes it less of a problem, or you can treat it as a difference in paradigm, effectively adding another faction.
                        Anders Sandberg's work on Fasoma Span is something along the lines of the bolded, and has really interesting potential for stories involving the Nephandi and their use of Qlippothic Correspondence.

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