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  • #31
    It's true that non-Nephandi villans aren't so prevalent as one would think. Voormas it's the poster figure, but other than him...Well, we know they exist: There are whole factions depicted as "evil by our standards" out there, but few members of note. And it doesn't help that most of these factions are offensive stereotypes that one wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole, like the Aghori and Wu Keng

    It's also true that Nephandi could use a revision.

    I think that a paralel with Marauders it's a good idea: Rather than a cohesive faction with a very specific initiation ritual, Nephandi could trully be fallen mages. Usualy to fall, in a mystic sense, doesn't mean to join a nasty faction but rather to sucumb to risks or temptations inherent to being human while you're in the path of Ascencion. It's something that should be a risk regardless of your personal associations.

    Mages that face too much supernatural evil could end having a Marauder-like offering from their Avatars - one that wouldn't separate them from reality but rather adapt them to the evil of the world.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Aleph View Post
      It's true that non-Nephandi villans aren't so prevalent as one would think. Voormas it's the poster figure, but other than him...Well, we know they exist: There are whole factions depicted as "evil by our standards" out there, but few members of note. And it doesn't help that most of these factions are offensive stereotypes that one wouldn't want to touch with a ten foot pole, like the Aghori and Wu Keng

      It's also true that Nephandi could use a revision.

      I think that a paralel with Marauders it's a good idea: Rather than a cohesive faction with a very specific initiation ritual, Nephandi could trully be fallen mages. Usualy to fall, in a mystic sense, doesn't mean to join a nasty faction but rather to sucumb to risks or temptations inherent to being human while you're in the path of Ascencion. It's something that should be a risk regardless of your personal associations.

      Mages that face too much supernatural evil could end having a Marauder-like offering from their Avatars - one that wouldn't separate them from reality but rather adapt them to the evil of the world.
      M5 could talk about organized Nephandi, the ones who collaborate to try and subvert sects and governments and try to cause mass descension, and the ones who operate alone or in small groups.

      Falling, going to the Cauls, should be demystified somewhat. You don't need an Evil Mentor to tell you to go to the Cauls, it's just something the Avatar tends to slip towards if you corrupt yourself enough. The idea would be that *any* Mage who behaves in a Nephandic manner can find the Cauls and choose to enter them, with their Avatar acting as a guide. It could even occur during a seeking or a quiet; if the Mage has become pessimistic about humanity and the state of the world, and has acted in a despicable and evil way, then it's possible a seeking or quiet might end up bringing them to the Cauls and giving them the opportunity to invert their Avatar.

      This is a almost a moot point since Nephandi are meant to be NPCs, but falling could grant a """free""" dot of Arete, Entropy or Spirit, or even all three. Actual tangible power should come from falling, to underline a key tragedy of Mage (power being a complete red herring when it comes to Ascension, and Archmages being people who have lost their way and become too obsessed with power over enlightenment).

      It could add in a bit about Fallen mages tending to recognize eachother (a unique Perception + Awareness roll might be a good trait to represent this advantage) to explain how Nephandi organize and form societies in the first place.
      Last edited by 11twiggins; 07-04-2018, 10:34 AM.

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      • #33
        Book of Secrets mentions a new kind of Marauder that's based on Denial rather than Madness (the Negation Men). I wouldn't mind seeing the Nephandi redefined in terms of Morbidity in a somewhat similar manner, and saying that the business about going to the Cauls is just a means of forcing someone into a state of permanent Morbidity. So going to the Cauls still makes you a Nephandus, but it's no longer the only way to become one.


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        • #34
          Indeed, albeit the Negation Men themselves could use a little more development, I would like the Static mages to be, if not as diverse, at least as developed as their Dynamic counterparts. Right now they're kinda boring

          Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

          M5 could talk about organized Nephandi, the ones who collaborate to try and subvert sects and governments and try to cause mass descension, and the ones who operate alone or in small groups.

          Falling, going to the Cauls, should be demystified somewhat. You don't need an Evil Mentor to tell you to go to the Cauls, it's just something the Avatar tends to slip towards if you corrupt yourself enough. The idea would be that *any* Mage who behaves in a Nephandic manner can find the Cauls and choose to enter them, with their Avatar acting as a guide. It could even occur during a seeking or a quiet; if the Mage has become pessimistic about humanity and the state of the world, and has acted in a despicable and evil way, then it's possible a seeking or quiet might end up bringing them to the Cauls and giving them the opportunity to invert their Avatar.

          This is a almost a moot point since Nephandi are meant to be NPCs, but falling could grant a """free""" dot of Arete, Entropy or Spirit, or even all three. Actual tangible power should come from falling, to underline a key tragedy of Mage (power being a complete red herring when it comes to Ascension, and Archmages being people who have lost their way and become too obsessed with power over enlightenment).

          It could add in a bit about Fallen mages tending to recognize eachother (a unique Perception + Awareness roll might be a good trait to represent this advantage) to explain how Nephandi organize and form societies in the first place.
          Indeed.

          Inverted Avatars may also have a special affinity for evil spirits and spooks, allowing to recognize them and their urges with the same Awareness roll. Perhaps demons and specters could treat them as "kindred spirits" / "one of us".
          That way the fallen mages would have an easier time seeking knowledge and power on dark places (and surviving to tell the tale). This would explain why Nephandi always seem to be related to demons and other spooks when they aren't more prone to make pacts than any other mage (actually, they're less inclined to do so - but then, having insight on demonic agendas may also help at avoiding unwanted bonds)

          Fallen "Traditions", like the adorers of the Wyrm or Cthulhu cultists, could be merely factions that favor falling. Perhaps even worshiping the Fallen among their members. They would make a point in indulging in every nasty practice rumored to get you there, but most of their members would be normal non-Nephandi dark/bad mages (much like most of the Sabbat follows Humanity).
          This would preserve the idea of "fake Nephandi wanabe" and also the idea that old and potent Nephandi Cthulhu cults do, indeed, exist (even if they sometimes embarrass the Aswadim).

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          • #35
            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
            Book of Secrets mentions a new kind of Marauder that's based on Denial rather than Madness (the Negation Men). I wouldn't mind seeing the Nephandi redefined in terms of Morbidity in a somewhat similar manner, and saying that the business about going to the Cauls is just a means of forcing someone into a state of permanent Morbidity. So going to the Cauls still makes you a Nephandus, but it's no longer the only way to become one.
            I adore the Negation Men. I really want to have a plot about a powerful Mage manipulating and creating Negation men using extensive and subtle psychic conditioning, as a weapon against the Technocracy and the Traditions.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Aleph View Post
              Indeed.

              Inverted Avatars may also have a special affinity for evil spirits and spooks, allowing to recognize them and their urges with the same Awareness roll. Perhaps demons and specters could treat them as "kindred spirits" / "one of us".
              That way the fallen mages would have an easier time seeking knowledge and power on dark places (and surviving to tell the tale). This would explain why Nephandi always seem to be related to demons and other spooks when they aren't more prone to make pacts than any other mage (actually, they're less inclined to do so - but then, having insight on demonic agendas may also help at avoiding unwanted bonds)

              Fallen "Traditions", like the adorers of the Wyrm or Cthulhu cultists, could be merely factions that favor falling. Perhaps even worshiping the Fallen among their members. They would make a point in indulging in every nasty practice rumored to get you there, but most of their members would be normal non-Nephandi dark/bad mages (much like most of the Sabbat follows Humanity).
              This would preserve the idea of "fake Nephandi wanabe" and also the idea that old and potent Nephandi Cthulhu cults do, indeed, exist (even if they sometimes embarrass the Aswadim).
              Well, imagine if you introduced the idea from a Hermetic perspective, someone with a big focus on Angels vs. Fallen Angels.

              "Mages have a shard of the divine in them. A little bit of The One. An angel, or something like that. That's the Avatar, our magickal core, the spiritual force that allows us to change reality. And we all know that angels have fallen before. Spirits can become corrupted and broken. The Nephandi are Mages whose wickedness and selfishness has caused their own inner angel to fall, along with those unfortunate enough to inherit such broken Avatars. They become inverted, seeking Descension rather than Ascension, and they form some of the most formidable and terrible foes a Magus can face."

              Then introduce mechanics for Nephandi recognising Demons (fallen angels), other Nephandi (those with inverted Avatars), Banes and similar (dark spirits which they have an affinity for), and mechanics for them bonding more easily socially.

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              • #37
                Now, these are some great ideas, take all the 'likes' XD
                Although, I propose making Caul a specific type of Mystery Play that mage undergoes rather then an actual place. A true damnation is always within you after all.

                on the other hand, this way it gives a better foundation for naphandi infiltration of the Technocracy. Science after all doesn't really give the moral bedrock necessary to resist the fall that comes from within the mage himself, rather then objective outside sources.
                As Traditions often suffer from not being practical enough, so must the technocracy for having no spirituality.
                Last edited by Warpwind; 07-05-2018, 03:17 AM.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                  Agreed, but M20 does point out that there are plenty of """nephandi""" who aren't truly Nephandi. Mages and sorcerers who serve some Nephandus, or are being controlled by them, but don't quite fit the dictionary definition if you will. These are the Nephandi that most Mages will interact with and fight, if the real Nephandi are playing carefully and avoiding confrontation.
                  ( Sorcerers can't be Nephandi. A person needs to be a Mage to be a Nephandus. ) If a Nephandus or a group of Nephandi manipulate or deal with some persons to the point of having them as ( for example ) retainers, this does not make those persons Nephandi in any sense ; such retainers aren't part of the Nephandi at all.

                  Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                  Falling, going to the Cauls, should be demystified somewhat. You don't need an Evil Mentor to tell you to go to the Cauls (...)
                  According to what is written in the Book of Madness 2nd edition, only Nephandi can initiate others into the Nephandi - only they have the means to do so.
                  Also, there are various ways of being initiated into the Nephandi - those that choose to be part of the Malfean Nephandi walk ( or dance ) the Black Spiral ; while potential Infernal Nephandi make infernal pacts and/or deals.
                  Last edited by Muad'Dib; 07-05-2018, 06:19 AM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by Warpwind View Post
                    Although, I propose making Caul a specific type of Mystery Play that mage undergoes rather then an actual place. A true damnation is always within you after all.

                    on the other hand, this way it gives a better foundation for naphandi infiltration of the Technocracy. Science after all doesn't really give the moral bedrock necessary to resist the fall that comes from within the mage himself, rather then objective outside sources.
                    As Traditions often suffer from not being practical enough, so must the technocracy for having no spirituality.
                    Yeah...that would be good.

                    Albeit I would still keep places that are sacred for the anti-initiation - so to speak. Like the Black Spiral. They would be rare and dangeous places where the chances of falling (or dying while resisting the fall) become almost certain.

                    Originally posted by Muad'Did
                    According to what is written in the Book of Madness 2nd edition, only Nephandi can initiate others into the Nephandi - only they have the means to do so.
                    Yeah, the idea would be to change that in order to make Damnation more personal and the Fall something that can happen to anyone regardless of personal relationships with evil mages of evil.

                    Of course, Nephandi would still work to utterly corrupt mages, and corrupt mages would have a tendency to fall. Even if they don't, they would still be eroding the foundations of their own factions with their corruption, which also helps Nephandi.

                    The way Cauls are right now, they work as a "Nephandic room 101". They're a standard item included in every Labyrinth worth it's salt That way they become just another iteration of: "mage has been sequestered - let's rescue him before the enemy converts them". To make descent a "room 101 situation, just worse 'cause this it's forever" impedes to trully play with all the dark concepts of a damnation story:
                    If you got pushed, then all there's to your falling it's that someone pushed you and you weren't able to avoid it. If you fall by your own merit there's a lot of things that could have influenced the fall, lots of potential motives for your ultimate choice, and a lot of influences that could have saved your soul but didn't. I feel stories about damnation/salvation get cheapened if they are literal rescue missions...
                    Last edited by Aleph; 07-05-2018, 10:11 AM.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                      ( Sorcerers can't be Nephandi. A person needs to be a Mage to be a Nephandus. ) If a Nephandus or a group of Nephandi manipulate or deal with some persons to the point of having them as ( for example ) retainers, this does not make those persons Nephandi in any sense ; such retainers aren't part of the Nephandi at all.


                      According to what is written in the Book of Madness 2nd edition, only Nephandi can initiate others into the Nephandi - only they have the means to do so.
                      Also, there are various ways of being initiated into the Nephandi - those that choose to be part of the Malfean Nephandi walk ( or dance ) the Black Spiral ; while potential Infernal Nephandi make infernal pacts and/or deals.
                      M20, when talking about the Nephandi, makes it clear that many so-called Nephandi aren't truly Nephandi; the pawns of Nephandi are often misinterpreted as those who are pulling the strings. These puppets include infernalists of all stripes.

                      That's true; this thread is about potential changes being made in M5 which would improve the system. Personally I think that Falling should always be a risk, and that any Mage should have the potential to enter the Cauls. This shouldn't require a Sith Lord tempting you to go skinny dipping in an anti-reality jacuzzi.

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                      • #41
                        I also think that Foci, Blatancy and use of Mythic Threads should be united in one coherent system.

                        It is quite logical. If you learn some subject you also know what constitutes popular perception of it and with some quick think (Wits + Ability roll?) could mask magic under it.

                        So you, a hermetic, have Art: Painting as foci, 3 Mind and want to make a picture that entrances the audience.

                        Roll 1: Intelligence + Occult for proper mystic designs
                        Roll 2: Wits + Art for hiding occult features under appropriate painting features
                        Roll 3: Dexterity + Art for Actually painting it.

                        Result: an entrancing picture that may make you look at it for hours lost in thought. Need to overcome second roll successes to determine it's supernatural without magical senses.

                        This is just an approximate proposition. I just think these features should be integrated in some way.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by Warpwind View Post
                          I also think that Foci, Blatancy and use of Mythic Threads should be united in one coherent system.

                          It is quite logical. If you learn some subject you also know what constitutes popular perception of it and with some quick think (Wits + Ability roll?) could mask magic under it.

                          So you, a hermetic, have Art: Painting as foci, 3 Mind and want to make a picture that entrances the audience.

                          Roll 1: Intelligence + Occult for proper mystic designs
                          Roll 2: Wits + Art for hiding occult features under appropriate painting features
                          Roll 3: Dexterity + Art for Actually painting it.

                          Result: an entrancing picture that may make you look at it for hours lost in thought. Need to overcome second roll successes to determine it's supernatural without magical senses.

                          This is just an approximate proposition. I just think these features should be integrated in some way.
                          Shouldn't Roll 1 be somehow made together with rolling the casting Mage's Arete ? I think that it is inseparateable for at the very least most Mages.

                          Originally posted by Aleph View Post
                          Yeah, the idea would be to change that in order to make Damnation more personal and the Fall something that can happen to anyone regardless of personal relationships with evil mages of evil.

                          Of course, Nephandi would still work to utterly corrupt mages, and corrupt mages would have a tendency to fall. Even if they don't, they would still be eroding the foundations of their own factions with their corruption, which also helps Nephandi.

                          The way Cauls are right now, they work as a "Nephandic room 101". They're a standard item included in every Labyrinth worth it's salt That way they become just another iteration of: "mage has been sequestered - let's rescue him before the enemy converts them". To make descent a "room 101 situation, just worse 'cause this it's forever" impedes to trully play with all the dark concepts of a damnation story:
                          If you got pushed, then all there's to your falling it's that someone pushed you and you weren't able to avoid it. If you fall by your own merit there's a lot of things that could have influenced the fall, lots of potential motives for your ultimate choice, and a lot of influences that could have saved your soul but didn't. I feel stories about damnation/salvation get cheapened if they are literal rescue missions...
                          Within this idea that you have, would becoming a Nephandi Mage be a decision that can't be turned back, as it is suggested in some parts of what is currently written about the Nephandi in M:tA books ?

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Muad'Dib View Post
                            Shouldn't Roll 1 be somehow made together with rolling the casting Mage's Arete ? I think that it is inseparateable for at the very least most Mages.
                            you are right. I think it should be on roll 3 though. because it's then when you actually create the effect. so it would be
                            Dexterity + Art
                            + Arete?

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                            • #44
                              Within this idea that you have, would becoming a Nephandi Mage be a decision that can't be turned back, as it is suggested in some parts of what is currently written about the Nephandi in M:tA books ?
                              Probably. This alternate view of Nephandi is similar to the Marauders; and once you’ve gone Marauder, there’s no going back. Likewise, once a mage takes that crucial step into Nephandi-hood, the equivalent of picking up your first point of perma-Madness, that’s it.


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                              • #45
                                I'd like Ascension to move away from presenting the Technocracy as obviously wrong and evil. The whole setting of the Ascension War is based on the premise that reality is a clash of differing ideas. Presenting one of the main parties as "bad" invalidates the entire premise for me. Focus less on TU atrocities (though they should still be there) and highlight all the good they are doing some more. At the same time devote some word count to why the Traditions are in their way horrible people sometimes aswell. The base assumption of MtA should not be "here are the traditions, those are the good guys" it should be "many mages strive to make the world better but no two of them can agree how to do it. Where do you stand?". Crafts, Traditions, Orphans and Technocrats should be designed as equally player appealing options, their organizations all having good and bad aspects.


                                My Mage 2e Homebrew

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