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Non-Tech Biotech And Traditionalist Enhancements

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  • Non-Tech Biotech And Traditionalist Enhancements

    A topic I meant to bring up a while back, and that came to mind just now. Reading through M20's section on Biotech, it (re)-occurred to me that, while cybernetics and biomods and gene-engineering are all well and good, there's no reason why mystics couldn't develop their own analogues. The Cybernetics Practice shouldn't be limited to just modern technology, if we go by the description of the Practice in the book.

    What is a cybernetic Enhancement but the act of adding inert materials to the body? What are Biomods but the flesh being molded towards a different end? What are xenografts but the marrying of Bygone and human flesh? Are is a round of genetic engineering not merely an attempt to push the body's potential by altering it at the level of their innate being? You could do all of these things with mystic Practices, if you're creative enough.

    Here are some examples:

    - A Hermetic of House Verditus forges a hand of gold, that shifts and warps at the slightest thought. A Hollow One crafts a similar hand from jointed porcelen, like an articulate doll's hand, and animates it with poetic rituals. A Verbana witch does the same with wood from a sacred tree, in turn making their pointing finger also a wand. A Taftani Weaver, not to be outdone, crafts a fist of colorful glass, and displays is its movement for all to see. A Dreamspeaker chisels his own fist from a stone found deep within mother earth, and called upon the displaced spirit of his lost mortal hand to inhabit it.

    - A Wu Lung alchemist uses extreme acupuncture and complicated concoctions to permanently alter how his chi flows through his body, allowing him to convert it to one of the five elements at will.
    - An Akashic flies into the sky and inhales an entire cloud into her lungs, such that her every breath carries vapor in it, and her body easily becomes lighter than air.
    - A Hermetic chants in a circle during all the time that Venus is strong in the sky, until his body has been dedicated to that astrological sign, which presides over love.
    - A Euthanatoi obtains a bit of the Eternal Flame, and makes it take residence in the temple that is his body, allowing him to summon it at will.
    - An Ecstasy Cultist tattoos a sacred sign over her throat chakra, that it may more easily draw out its energy and give her an enchanting voice.

    - A Verbana witch obtains a flower from an Umbral forest, and plants it in her chest, such that the vegetation grows in her very flesh.
    - A Solificati crowned one alchemically perfects the blood of the green lion, then ingests it (for it is the closest thing to transfusion a mystic has), allowing him to devour light on command.
    - A half-mad Sister of Hippolyta plucks the eye from a gorgon, then sticks it in her own empty socket.
    - A Chorister revivifies the mummified finger of a saint, then grafts it to his own hand, giving him a healing touch.
    - A Ngoma of Egyptian style, having lost his head (as you do) and keeping his body and consciousness alive with magick, sews the head of an umbral beast to his own neck, so that he is as the gods.

    - A Euthanatoi of the Pomegranite Deme locates the sacred river in which Achilles was dunked as a baby, and bathes in it (this time fully, for he doesn't need to be help by the ankle), greatly increasing his Stamina.
    - A Solificati alchemist brews a potion of giant's strength, using the blood and ashes of actual giants, increasing his might.
    - A Hermetic emulates the feat by dressing and acting like fabled Hercules, for a year and a day, until the weight of that performance weaves the myth into his very bones, and he mantles the demi-god. Further still, a Jewish Chorister makes a vow to G-d, just as Samson did, to hold true to the prohibitions for all his days, in order to be blessed with Samson's Strength.
    - A Dreamspeaker tattoos images of deer, then gains the blessing from Deer, in order to gain the noble beast's swiftness.
    - An Ecstatic painter creates a portrait representing all possible hideosness he could ever evince, then burns the painting and consumes its ashes, that the ash may soak up his body's impurities and render him more beautiful than should be possible for a human.
    - An Akashic trains to control their chi for many years, driving it into their brain, until it unlocks vistas of cognitive potential even they never knew they could reach.
    - A Verbana blesses a child at birth, such that they will be keener of senses when they are grown than anyone else.

    All of these things could come with Permanent Paradox, or "genetic flaws", as appropriate. A hand of living metal is going to violate the Consensus, even when a similar metallic machine might be accepted. A mage that emulated Hercules so hard they began to channel them might also suffer his classical flaws, or seemingly inherit Hera's antipathy (in whatever "genetic" flaw might come from being scorned by the Queen of Olympus). An Akashic with breath of clouds is going to spit vapor at all times, drawing attention for its unnatural nature everywhere save in cold weather. The Ecstatic painter who drew away ugliness with ash might find other qualities - physical or mental - being drawn away too.

  • #2
    We need more of this in games. This is really something that sneaks by a lot of players.

    This also reminded me of DnD's Hand of Vecna and the Eye of Vecna.


    • #3
      We need more of this in games. This is really something that sneaks by a lot of players.
      Yup. Totally. Mythic Paradigms are much more that casting spells, doing potions, and wands.

      There's plenty about artificial limbs and things like that in myths, like the Irish Myth of Nuada.


      • #4
        Too bad no one in the WoD is likely to fall for a Head of Vecna prank... well, actually it's probably a good thing.


        • #5
          I actually use the Enhancement background in a Sorcerers Crusade chronicle.
          The Criamon mage (High Ritual, Shamanism and Crazy Wisdom Practices) has bonded with a spirit of Hermes/Mercury (travelling aspect) which resides as living ink inside his body. It serves as a Familiar and is simultaneously a Talisman like the Folding Gate of Armaghast (from Forged by Dragons Fire). Additionally it grants 2 extra health levels (Skeletal Enhancement M20 core) named Inscriptions of the Bones and 2 dice for some social dicepools (Pheromone Enhancement M20 core) named Inscriptions of the Soul.
          The Drawbacks are a permanent point of Scourge (SC equivalent of Paradox) and some “genetic“ flaws. Combined with the Geas to never again open the eyes.
          Hermes also is the 5 point Totem of said mage.

          So, this Zen Master walks up to a hot dog stand and says: "Make me one with everything!"


          • #6
            Some more Enhancements and bodily integrated Instruments:

            - A witch's glass eye, enchanted to not only give the them regular sight, but also can activate various sensory powers. Added bonus of being able to remove the eye, and use Correspondence 2 to see through its view, no matter where it is.

            - Chain coiled around the heart, that binds the mage's spirit to their body. Upon body death, the mage's astral self appears before their body (using Mind 5), prevented from being taken away to that undiscovered country. The disembodied spirit then has the opportunity to effect their own resurrection, with such magick as they can muster without physical tools. If not, they can simply wait for an ally to come and bring them back, with their mind and spirit already present.

            - Speaking of hearts, a Malfean Nephandus having replaced his own heart with that of the sickening black heart of a Wyrm-tainted Bygone. Not only is their heart strengthened, they may draw upon poisonous black blood by simply opening a vein, or sustaining lethal damage. The Wyrm-taint is such that it does not possess its own Bane spirit - the black heart is spiritually ruled by its new owner - and indeed makes them too "crowded" for any Banes to take residence. The evil is his and his alone.

            - Another Nephandus - this time a K'llashaa - goes full Provost Willem, and lines their brain with eyes, so as to better elevate their thoughts. It allows them to see Umbral entities and into people's thoughts. It may also act as a "Gene-engineering" bonus to Intelligence, with the Flaw of being ever beset by distracting sensations in the brain. "It tickles!"

            - A Chorister who had a second set of vocal chords surgically created in her throat, achieved by a combination of Alexandrian medical knowledge and a religious miracle. The product of a procedure the rest of the Tradition finds troubling, it provides her an extra voice, allowing her to sing in harmony with herself. Is fairly creeping, how her normal speech echoes...
            Last edited by Bluecho; 04-22-2017, 10:29 PM.


            • #7
              Oh damn, these are great Bluecho !

              -Virtual Adept who uses the base-12 number system in all of their math, which makes them more efficient at calculations and realizes new patterns exist beyond what we knew (not mystic, but through a mnemonic device "translates" all numbers into base-12 and gets a boost to their Intelligence and mathematics. Numerologists could do the same.)

              -Verbena who hangs themselves upside down from a tree for 3 days, as the Hangman tarot card and Odin's myth. Gain a boost to Stamina and knowledge of runes.

              -Ahl-i-Batin mage who has walked through a large maze, praying and meditating, and unlocked the secrets of how all places are one place. (Not really sure what to do with this mechanically, but I think it sounds good.)

              -Euthanatoi who does a great service to the Greek Fates and in exchange gets to see his most likely death for any major choice he makes. He doesn't seek to run from his death, but rather tries to ensure he has a good death.
              Last edited by OmegaZ; 04-23-2017, 08:54 PM.


              • #8
                - After the gunshot that first killed him (leading to Awakening), a Euthanatos finds that the bullet is lodged in his body years after the fact. Feeling a sense of import in it, he enchants the hunk of metal into a Wonder while it rests in his flesh, linking the pattern of the bullet with his own. It thrums with vibration in the presence of ghosts, lies, and hostile intent. A bullet, after all, would know such things intimately.

                - A Hermetic of House Tytalus undergoes surgery without anesthesia - the pain will make him stronger - that uncovers and etches a Seal of Solomon onto the surface of his skull. These etchings are then filled in with gold, creating an internal crown upon the head of this Magus Rex. A crown that cannot be wrested from him, unless they take the top of his head with it. It's a Seal dedicated to the Sun; between this and the application of gold, it resonates with the generative power of that astrological body. It is equipped with a Prime 5 effect, allowing him to draw Quintessence directly from the Tellurian, wherever he is, without a protracted ritual. Because he already performed one on his own body.

                - Pulling a straight Utena, a Renaissance follower of Ars Cupiditae and the refined art of fencing (probably a Hermetic or Verbana) decides to make sure they always have a sword on hand. But what blade exists is sharper than the human heart? On themselves or a close companion, they use magic to modify their heart. There are two variants of this. In the first, the chest is made capable of storing a separate (probably equally enchanted) blade; a pocket of space outside normal laws can be accessed through them, and the sword itself is weaved into the person's pattern. In the second variant, the person's heart itself is forged into a sword, metaphysically speaking. The physical organ itself should be left where it is, while its spiritual component - the seat of the person's passions and nobility - is fashioned into a blade. This, too, can be summoned by drawing it from the person's chest, as if they were a living sheath. The wielder of such a sword feels a living warmth, and a gentle pulse (or an excited one, depending on the situation). The sword in either case will almost certainly be endowed with additional Effects, and protected from destruction with Matter magics (preferably Matter 5). In the latter variant, if the sword breaks, so too will the heart of the one who acts as sheath to the blade.


                • #9
                  - A scorpion spirit, worked in the shape of the missing eye. It sees other spirits and ephemera, as well as the best places to sting... or shoot. If the owner dies, the eye transformed back into the creature, skittering away to offer its services to the new master. As expected Short Fuse drawback is mandatory.

                  - A paste made of starfish and ants fattened with quintessence, mushed with tass collected on the hallow. The cream should be applied to the whole body during 12 full moons and the recipient will gain strength of the ant and starfish's regeneration. Unfortunately, the skin tends to become either unnaturally glossy of covered in weird growths.

                  - Verbana believing in the Norse myth followed his dreams to the lands of the Aesir and Jotnar. Braving the frozen hell and monsters of legend he found his destination, a titanic wolf chained to the mountains with rope made of paradox. Managing to attract the being attention he stroke a bargain and bathed in Fenrir's blood (which took just a drop). Verbana had gained an infinitesimal fraction of the strength and stamina of the monster, as well as it's hunger and now has to sacrifice (gained dots * 10) heads of large cattle (or humans) every year to lessen his patron's torments.

                  - you baptized late, only after your awakening. During the ceremony, covered by the faithful sleeper priest an uninvited guest joined. Old man with long white beard, dressed in simple cloth and wooden walking staff walked past the closed doors and the priest himself, looked at you and gave his blessings, a knee of the wolf, strength of the bull and an eye of the eagle onto you. The elder vanished as mysteriously as he has appeared, but since then you felt stronger, tireless and can see with incredible detail. Obviously code of honor or true faith is a must, but otherwise this is appropriate for verbana, chorsiters and dreamspeakers.

                  - With iron will and heated wand of Jupiter Tytalus had burned the seal of the Angel of thunder onto his flesh and called onto the heavens. In response a Lightning flashed down striking the mage. Some would take it as a paradox, or literal divine punishment. That is if the mage wasn't able to channel lightning with a touch now.
                  Last edited by Warpwind; 04-24-2017, 06:13 AM.