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  • #46
    Originally posted by Cynic01 View Post

    Nothing in V20 Rites of Blood implies anything as low as single digit numbers, especially since it repeatedly mentions the plural and seems to imply an organization large enough to warrant the Inquisition's attention and powerful/well connected enough to avoid immediate charges.
    I'll start taking Rites of Blood seriously when some other author remembers that all schools of blood magic are the same and can be cross-trained now. I mean, the writers of Black Hand book clearly didn't give a shit about Rites of Blood and wrote about Krainas instead.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
      I'll start taking Rites of Blood seriously when some other author remembers that all schools of blood magic are the same and can be cross-trained now. I mean, the writers of Black Hand book clearly didn't give a shit about Rites of Blood and wrote about Krainas instead.
      In that case what source are you using for your determination of single digit numbers for Abyss Mystics?

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
        I think most of the Abyss Mystic embraces are just long-term experiments. Rather than imperil themselves in finding out more about some fragment of Abyss lore or discover some new ritual, some power-hungry Lasombra neonate is nudged into the task. When the experiment inevitably fails and the Mystic disintegrates, the Lasombra elders who have been watching from afar all along go oh, so that's how you DON'T invoke this ritual. They take notes, and nudge another neonate into the process.
        That's an intriguing idea. Like the nice Tremere, you keep detailed notes of your Abyss experiments, and when you eventually die gruesomely your (successful) experiments and theories will be passed on and strengthen the clan.

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        • #49
          As for Abyss Mystic numbers, my guess is that the active number of Mystics is somewhere between 50 and 100, excluding those who know Abyss Mysticism but don't necessarily pursue it exclusively, such as Methuselahs and political elders. A decent-sized clan would have several thousand members, and a conservative estimate would be that less than 1 in 30 or 40 Lasombra are Mystics.

          The Lasombra have a vested interest in keeping Mystic numbers low, but not too low. Every clan seems to have a 'nuclear option', something that would prevent any all-out attack on them and that can be used for leverage when things get really tense. For the Lasombra, it's Abyss Mysticism: poorly-understood, difficult to control, and extremely destructive sorcery that is nigh-on impossible to counter except by other, highly experienced Lasombra. Keeping a small but potent number of Mystics around is like keeping a few ICBMs around and a few reactors operational, as a pretty impressive deterrent.

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
            The Lasombra have a vested interest in keeping Mystic numbers low, but not too low. Every clan seems to have a 'nuclear option', something that would prevent any all-out attack on them and that can be used for leverage when things get really tense. For the Lasombra, it's Abyss Mysticism: poorly-understood, difficult to control, and extremely destructive sorcery that is nigh-on impossible to counter except by other, highly experienced Lasombra. Keeping a small but potent number of Mystics around is like keeping a few ICBMs around and a few reactors operational, as a pretty impressive deterrent.
            The problem with that analogy is that there is no deterrence value to a secret weapon. The fewer people practice AM, the rarer it is. The rarer it is, the less is known about it, up to and including the fact of its existence in the first place. If no one knows what AMs can do or if there even is an AM that one would need to factor into their battle plans, they're not going to be deterred by it.

            In the real world, missile tests were publicized to an extent so that the capability of a military force equipped with them was understood and clearly demonstrated (and note that ICBMs were designed for nuclear warhead delivery, the effects of which were clearly demonstrated in both WW2 and in island and desert tests following the wars). Shining that kind of sunlight on their abilities (pun intended) is very much at odds with your typical AM's need for secrecy and privacy in practice.

            Does the average Camarilla justicar hunting party even know what Abyss Mysticism is? And even if they did, how good is their intelligence about whether or not a particular target or objective is likely to put them in contact with an Abyss Mystic? If the answer to the first is no or the second is 'spotty', then they aren't going to cancel an attack or abort an operation on the basis that there 'might' be an Abyss Mystic present.


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            • #51
              Abyss Mysticism is in no way a nuclear option. It can give you some minions, it can buff you personally, it can be an amazing intelligence device. But AM doesn't actually have any offensive options worth a damn, and the ones it does are countered by commonly available disciplines and weapons.

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              • #52
                Originally posted by BenjCano View Post

                The problem with that analogy is that there is no deterrence value to a secret weapon. The fewer people practice AM, the rarer it is. The rarer it is, the less is known about it, up to and including the fact of its existence in the first place. If no one knows what AMs can do or if there even is an AM that one would need to factor into their battle plans, they're not going to be deterred by it.
                Even the average Justicar knows practically nothing about Abyss Mysticism ... but it's not they who rule the Camarilla. The capabilities of the power are no secret from the Methuselahs, the ones who go all the way back to Rome, and back even further to the ancient world. Abyss Mysticism was deployed in its fullest extent multiple times during the Baali Wars, and a few times during the Roman period. It's the top guys, who know all about the capabilities of Mysticism if not the practices that invoke those powers, who are deterred by it.

                Both you guys are talking from a position of ignorance. A neonate with a few dots is limited in offensive options, but group rituals by elders and Methuselahs can unleash monstrosities that can take down other elders and even Methuselahs, and remotely too. You need to do more reading than a couple of V20 books to speak so decisively on this matter.

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                • #53
                  You are most welcome to provide a reference to a published ritual that:
                  A) Can be cast by a group
                  B) Is a nuclear option you describe

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                    Both you guys are talking from a position of ignorance. A neonate with a few dots is limited in offensive options, but group rituals by elders and Methuselahs can unleash monstrosities that can take down other elders and even Methuselahs, and remotely too. You need to do more reading than a couple of V20 books to speak so decisively on this matter.
                    Are there any example cases of said rituals? Because if not, then you are literally talking about "plot device" which is every undocumented power above 5 dots. Mechanically speaking a seventh gen elder can use 6 dot "plot device" to kill an antediluvian "cause the ST said so", not really anything impressive by itself.

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                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Kammerer View Post
                      You are most welcome to provide a reference to a published ritual that:
                      A) Can be cast by a group
                      B) Is a nuclear option you describe
                      I knew that you would go by this route.

                      Gee, I checked all the books, and I couldn't find any Tremere Assamite-cursing ritual anywhere. It's written about throughout the setting, but it's not published with mechanics, so better not go with it, and pick an argument with anybody who brings it up.

                      Likewise, it is mentioned multiple times that the Lasombra were brought in against the Baali, that they used Mysticism to kill all the people and vampires in their city in a great ritual. But it doesn't come with any mechanics, right? and is not published as a Level X ritual, right? Therefore, feel free to argue.

                      Also, hadn't Moncada, a single powerful elder, summoned a great Abyssal creature called the Leviathan to guard his haven? Welp, couldn't find a 'Summon Leviathan' ritual anywhere, guess it's better to discard that too.

                      My point is, you need to bring to the table a consistent manner in which Abyss Mysticism works, both for players and for the greater setting. Examples abound for how powerful and dangerous it is, and how it can be abused, and what the consequences are. I've offered a great deal of what's been written, especially in terms of the plot and setting and how it fits. Sure, Abyss Mysticism doesn't have a lot of oomph the way each dot is written for neonates, but Abyss Mystics are greatly feared by those who know about them - how do you justify this fear? These one-sentence disses don't cut it, because while you pretend to be the "Do You Even Have A Single Fact To Back That Up?" type, you're really picking and choosing your way through the setting.

                      I didn't see you reply to your own replies to backing up your assertion that there are only a handful of Mystics, by the way. Citations are only for other people.

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Prometheas View Post

                        Are there any example cases of said rituals? Because if not, then you are literally talking about "plot device" which is every undocumented power above 5 dots. Mechanically speaking a seventh gen elder can use 6 dot "plot device" to kill an antediluvian "cause the ST said so", not really anything impressive by itself.
                        A fair point ... except that there's literally only one or two powers mechanically described for each dot of Abyss Mysticism above 5. The elder-level powers really are left as plot devices, which ties into my previous point that elder Abyss Mystics are about as playable as elder Baali, and will only come up as terrifying antagonists at best, in a pretty special chronicle. That's why I feel relatively unconstrained in referring to the fluff (which is extensive), because otherwise there's not much to go on, is there?

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                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                          I didn't see you reply to your own replies to backing up your assertion that there are only a handful of Mystics, by the way. Citations are only for other people.


                          Last edited by BenjCano; 11-04-2017, 01:08 PM.


                          I seem to have acquired a site for running play by post games. This is unexpected and frightening and come watch either the glorious play or the magnificent train wreck:

                          The Malkavian Madness Network

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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                            Both you guys are talking from a position of ignorance. A neonate with a few dots is limited in offensive options, but group rituals by elders and Methuselahs can unleash monstrosities that can take down other elders and even Methuselahs, and remotely too. You need to do more reading than a couple of V20 books to speak so decisively on this matter.
                            You're welcome to disagree with people and you started out representing your ideas well, but there's no need to follow effective discourse up with an insult like this or the confrontational tone you've effected in subsequent posts.
                            Originally posted by Rule 1: Respect other people
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                            Don’t try to incite others to break the rules, or distract from the subject at hand. This includes threadcrapping, the posting of short messages or images which add nothing to a thread and serve only to express a user’s displeasure with it.
                            Since this is your first offense, I'm banning you from the thread since you seem to be taking personal offense from people disagreeing with you. Next time you disagree with someone on how things should work in practice, just stick to things like this.
                            Originally posted by Sultanabdal View Post
                            Even the average Justicar knows practically nothing about Abyss Mysticism ... but it's not they who rule the Camarilla. The capabilities of the power are no secret from the Methuselahs, the ones who go all the way back to Rome, and back even further to the ancient world. Abyss Mysticism was deployed in its fullest extent multiple times during the Baali Wars, and a few times during the Roman period. It's the top guys, who know all about the capabilities of Mysticism if not the practices that invoke those powers, who are deterred by it.


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                            • #59
                              While not a Nuclear Option there is an Abyssal Ritual that allows for multiple participants. From Calling the Hungry Shade DAV20 pg.
                              Upon completion, the Mystic rolls Intelligence + Occult, difficulty 9. The difficulty may be lowered by 1 for each additional Mystic that assists in the ritual, with a maximum number of participants equal to the caster’s Occult rating.
                              So while there may not be many published rituals that allow for multiple participants there is now precedent for Abyss Mysticism Rituals to allow multiple participants to assist.

                              Though in my eyes Abyss Mysticism's strength lies less in overt Nuclear Option powers and more its amazingly useful information gathering abilities.
                              • Eyes of the Abyss Level 1 (DAV20) - Creates a small talon of the abyss that can spy (with Dex 5 Stealth 5 or 6 if in a shadow). It can also communicate messages by entering a creature's shadow.
                              • One with the Dark Level 3 (DAV20 Tome of Secrets) - Discover a Cainite's secret.
                              • Reflections of Hollow Revelation Level 4 (DAV20) / Vision of Shadow Level 4 (V20 Lore of the Clans) - Scry on a person, place, or object the Abyss Mystic has seen.
                              • Whispers in the Dark Level 5 (DAV20) / Commune with the Abyss Level 5 (V20 Lore of the Clans) - Get an answer to any conceivable question.

                              There are two Abyss Mysticism Rituals I would describe as Nuclear Options; both are major breaches of the Masquerade and one can wipe out a population center.
                              • Cry that Slays the Light Level 8 (DAV20) - Blot out the sun for one hour also allowing vampires to move about and immune to Rotschreck.
                              • Boukephos' Chosen Oubliette Level 9 (DAV20 Tome of Secrets) - Consume an entire community sending them to the Abyss for nights based on the caster's Obtenebration rating (which is at least 9 to cast the ritual in the first place) unless they succeed at a Willpower difficulty 9 roll. Based on the rules for mortals in an oubliette most of these mortals will be dead upon their return to the world.
                                • Admittedly keeping a child from crossing the pitch circle isn't easy (people with True Faith are rare enough to be less of a concern) in the modern nights. However the Ritual goes off when the final success is accrued. A huge population center (the highest level) requires 22 successes on an extended Intelligence + Occult Roll Difficulty 8 which with a likely die pool between 14 (since you would need an Occult of 9 to be able to buy the Ritual) and 18 in theory its possible to get in a single roll with a Specialty in Abyss Mysticism.
                                  • Given the amount of traffic that flows out of cities will likely prohibit success of the ritual, an affluent suburb should be possible. Imagine the brick the Camarilla would shit as stories of the wave of shadow poured across the town consuming almost everyone within, especially when days later all the dead bodies suddenly return (and those who are alive bear horrific mental scars).
                                • I would suspect that a variant on this Ritual was used in the story of the Lasombra that destroyed the Baali labyrinth with a tidal wave of shadow.

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                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Cynic01 View Post
                                [*]Boukephos' Chosen Oubliette Level 9 (DAV20 Tome of Secrets) - Consume an entire community sending them to the Abyss for nights based on the caster's Obtenebration rating (which is at least 9 to cast the ritual in the first place) unless they succeed at a Willpower difficulty 9 roll. Based on the rules for mortals in an oubliette most of these mortals will be dead upon their return to the world.
                                • Admittedly keeping a child from crossing the pitch circle isn't easy (people with True Faith are rare enough to be less of a concern) in the modern nights. However the Ritual goes off when the final success is accrued. A huge population center (the highest level) requires 22 successes on an extended Intelligence + Occult Roll Difficulty 8 which with a likely die pool between 14 (since you would need an Occult of 9 to be able to buy the Ritual) and 18 in theory its possible to get in a single roll with a Specialty in Abyss Mysticism.
                                  • Given the amount of traffic that flows out of cities will likely prohibit success of the ritual, an affluent suburb should be possible. Imagine the brick the Camarilla would shit as stories of the wave of shadow poured across the town consuming almost everyone within, especially when days later all the dead bodies suddenly return (and those who are alive bear horrific mental scars).
                                • I would suspect that a variant on this Ritual was used in the story of the Lasombra that destroyed the Baali labyrinth with a tidal wave of shadow.
                                [/LIST]
                                This one can't actually be used against pretty much anything.

                                Originally posted by BenjCano View Post
                                in order to enact this ritual, you have to paint a line of pitch in a circle around the entirety of the city. Just for fun, I used math again. Suppose Boukephos was pissed at the entire village of Bolingbroke after he hears about Patricia diablerzing Hardestadt. Boukephos wanted to kill Hardie using the ‘fuck ‘em to death’ power (which, interestingly, would make Boukephos the bottom).

                                Bolingbroke is a smallish village in Lincolnshire, with a total area of about 25 square miles. Assuming a perfectly circular village, that means that the circumference of the line of pitch Boukephos would have to draw is 17.72 miles long. A human being can average 4 miles per hour over uneven terrain, but you can’t realistically expect to make it that far because you’re painting a fucking line of pitch. 2 miles an hour is being generous.

                                Do the math with me…17.72 miles….2 miles per hour…how long will it take to draw that entire line? Yeah…almost 9 hours. Hope the ritual lets you stop to find a place to hide for the day.

                                Oh, and painting a line of pitch 17.72 miles long, half an inch wide, one tenth of an inch thick will require 18,400 gallons of pitch. That’s about 70,000 liters for those of you that use metric.

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