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Harvesting Gnosis from Banes

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  • Harvesting Gnosis from Banes

    When a spirit has been reduced to zero Essence shapeshifters can permanently destroy them by harvesting their Gnosis. Has anyone used this option in their games? If so, do you check the character for Wyrm taint when doing this to a bane or do anything similar? My headcannon is that the characters can harvest up to the spirit's Gnosis rating is gnosis points. If they harvest at least half of them the spirit is permanently destroyed. If they harvest less than half it is crippled when it comes out of slumber and is severely angry at the offender.

    Any suggestions for expanding on this option are greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Yes, we use it frequently in our LARP game.
    Yes, and there is usually taint there.
    In our LARP game garou can harvest half the spirits Gnosis rating, at a rate of one per round. Contact is needed and in the most cases consumption of the spirit's body (although this might not be applicable to, let's say, wind spirits).
    We never thought about what happens if a garou didn't consume all Gnosis, but from the top of my head the spirit's body would lie there until the scene ends and then Reform, if not all Gnosis was taken. If the spirit doesn't possess the Reform charm, possibly other predatory spirits might kill the wounded spirit of, or it might Slumber there until Essence returns (which might be a long time, if the spirits essence is not found at that place).

    Englings, in our game, have only one Gnosis to give and die happily if killed outside of the Sacred Hunt Rite. With the Rite all Gnosis of a hunters in restored. We have a public list where players mark of Englings their character hunted near the caern (the primary game location). The list also informs how long a player has to leave the game to hunt one Gnosis (meaning one Engling). So, there is a line for 10 Minutes with 6 boxes to check. Then a line for 15 minutes/10 boxes and a line for 20 minutes with 12 boxes and so on. The times and boxes vary from game to game, depending on the Moot in the previous game and how much the Gnosis 'gifted' into the Moot Rite exceeded the required minimum.
    It's also affected by a longrunning plot we run, involving Weaver agents mapping migration of Englings and poisoning them to dry out the spiritual energy in the region, making Englings more time-consuming to find...
    We generally ignore the "urban engling" and it's stats (from Book of the City) and only use the Englings and their chraracteristics in the game...

    In game, Theurges have debated if it is okay to permanently kill banes for they are part of Creation and permanently killing them might upset some balance. But consenus today is, that a bane isn't really defeated until killed. The "tainted" Gnosis gained often leads to shortterm character quirks, thematically tied to the type of bane responsible.

    Killing other spirits is frowned upon and rarely happens, but would be the way to go, if a garou in frenzy beats a spirit into slumber and has no new target, meaning he is continuing to deal damage to the spirit....
    Last edited by heinrich; 03-02-2021, 12:50 PM.

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    • #3
      Other than the brief mention in the Spirits in Combat section, is harvesting Gnosis in this way ever addressed in the rules or other sourcebooks? I admit I have overlooked this section.

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      • #4
        @heinrich: thank you very much - that is good information.

        @Black Fox: that mention in the Spriits in Combat section is the only one of which I am aware. It was similar in earlier editions - an almost throw-away line with nothing to support it.

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        • #5
          Thanks for clarifying that. I am usually a detailed reader or text and notice things others ignore, but I completely overlooked this. I'll start including this in my chronicles. It answers a lot of questions - "how can we permanently destroy Banes" is an ongoing player concern. But I'll need to figure what approach I like in terms of how much Gnosis can be harvested, if any rolls are required, and how to handle the flavor text. And that leads directly to your post!

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          • #6
            I'd love to hear what you come up with. Heinrich's LARP rules sound good for that setting and having input from the tabletop setting would be great.

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            • #7
              The main concerns that appear to me is that 1) this may be too much a source of ready Gnosis, and that 2) there should not be a 100% ease of permanently destroying Banes as a result. Once it is implemented that by harvesting Gnosis of defeated Banes, every PC is going to do so. It either becomes something assumed to happen in the game (boring), or has a chance of failure (a little more interesting).

              I like Heinrich's LARP rules that it is limited to half the Gnosis trait of the spirit, and that the harvest is limited to one per round. I also believe the Garou need to be at the physical proximity in the Umbra where the spirit was "slain".

              But I think we need to figure out how quickly the spirit fades away (are there rules for this?). And I think there needs to be some mechanic to determine how much harvesting can occur in that time. Roll well and the spirit is destroyed and all Gnosis harvested. Roll poor and the spirit fades away before all Gnosis is harvested (though some may be partially harvested). This should be easy to adjudicate so the game can move on. But what trait or traits to use? The difficulty to roll against? And what would multiple successes mean?

              Also need to decide if more than one Garou can harvest the same spirit at the same time. If so, it is limited to something like a pack stepping sideways using the Opener of the Way rules. So you have to be part of the same pack to do so, but Garou from other packs can't. This may impact the above roll by decreasing its difficulty or increasing the rate of harvest.

              And if Garou can destroy spirits by harvesting Gnosis, then other spiritual creatures should be able to as well. Other Changing Breeds, and spirits as well as Black Spiral Dancers. Perhaps even Fomori who have Gnosis or other umbral powers. So we need to determine how often do these creatures harvest Gnosis from Gaian spirits? This is more of a setting issue. Should BSDs or other enemies be constantly defeating and harvesting spirits? Or do we want that to be left for special story purposes? It impacts the depiction of the setting, and would influence the response of Garou.

              Also, what about spirits not from the Middle Umbra? But wraiths and plasmic creatures from the Dark Umbra, or astral spirits from the High Umbra? I think the best thing would be to say that this does not happen. Even if such creatures possibly have a Gnosis trait (Astral spirits do, but wraiths and plasmics do not), I would say they are too different for Middle Umbra creatures to do. I am bringing this up only to be a completionist because otherwise the issue will come up.

              I'll have to ponder on this more.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                The main concerns that appear to me is that 1) this may be too much a source of ready Gnosis, and that 2) there should not be a 100% ease of permanently destroying Banes as a result. Once it is implemented that by harvesting Gnosis of defeated Banes, every PC is going to do so. It either becomes something assumed to happen in the game (boring), or has a chance of failure (a little more interesting).
                Well, in the LARP game, we have short term derangements of sorts as a drawback.
                If the fight is part of a longer campaign, also the taint makes most uses of "Sense Wyrm" meaningless until a "Rite of Cleansing" can be performed.
                Also, we have some spawns of larger banes, that do not allow to for gnosis harvest.

                But, you are right, in umbral fights regaining Gnosis is usually easy for the PCs.

                If you don't want to have harvesting automatically killing a bane (or be successful for that matter), make it a roll. Each round the PC rolls Gnosis against the Gnosis of the bane. Each uneven success gets him a Gnosis and harvests one of the bane's Gnosis. But, also the Bane is allowed to roll Gnosis and reform eventually.

                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                But I think we need to figure out how quickly the spirit fades away (are there rules for this?). And I think there needs to be some mechanic to determine how much harvesting can occur in that time. Roll well and the spirit is destroyed and all Gnosis harvested. Roll poor and the spirit fades away before all Gnosis is harvested (though some may be partially harvested). This should be easy to adjudicate so the game can move on. But what trait or traits to use? The difficulty to roll against? And what would multiple successes mean?
                My suggestion for the mechanics if the Spirit has "Re-Form" (why is the Charm entry with a '-'. All the spirit stats are copy&paste from other sources and don't have a dash. Is it to troll people using PDF search?)

                The "fading" has no time given in my recollection, but it should not be in the scope of rounds, imo. Especially since garou are seemingly able to harvest bane bodyparts for ritual sacrifice or fetish creation (Fang dagger). So, I see it happen, when a scene ends, after minutes.
                Re-Form is said to take a full round. Is that D&D talk? Meaning, I roll now but reform when it would be my turn again?
                Obviously, no rules are given if the process is stopped if the bane is attacked or even slain (but not harvested) in the meantime...
                Does this mean, a bane can't split dicepools to Re-Form and dodge?

                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                Also need to decide if more than one Garou can harvest the same spirit at the same time. If so, it is limited to something like a pack stepping sideways using the Opener of the Way rules. So you have to be part of the same pack to do so, but Garou from other packs can't. This may impact the above roll by decreasing its difficulty or increasing the rate of harvest.
                We allow for multiple garou to harvest the gnosis. There is an obvious limit, for players have to step next to the NPC actor, who is either cowering or lying on the ground when defeated. Usually, there is only one garou feeding from the spirit/bane, though.

                In most cases, garou will point out a bane that is lying on the battlefield and can be harvested to theurges in their group. They need the gnosis to fuel "mother's touch". Also, if the bane NPC actors hands out tokens with each Gnosis harvested (to determine the severity of the short term derangements), they are often put into relation to permanent Gnosis scores, so theurges are on average less affected.

                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                And if Garou can destroy spirits by harvesting Gnosis, then other spiritual creatures should be able to as well. Other Changing Breeds, and spirits as well as Black Spiral Dancers. Perhaps even Fomori who have Gnosis or other umbral powers. So we need to determine how often do these creatures harvest Gnosis from Gaian spirits? This is more of a setting issue. Should BSDs or other enemies be constantly defeating and harvesting spirits? Or do we want that to be left for special story purposes? It impacts the depiction of the setting, and would influence the response of Garou.
                Fera should absolutely be able to do so, as should BSD, obviously. Mages have their own rules. Fomori, maybe, if they have adequate powers.

                In our LARP we use my favorit approach that spirits are rare in the umbrascape of the penumbra. So, running about and trying to slai and harvest gaffelings just isn't as much an impact as toremting/torturing/killing humans or other things a BSD could do. However, especially a fallen garou who has some knowledge about the garou of a sept could use the Rite of Summoning to summon the pack totem avatar of a specific pack, attack and permanently kill it. There are no clear rules what a garou needs to know to summon a specific spirlt (But 'naming the spirit' should work, as well as possibly some parapernalia). This certainly is a plot, not an everyday's means of BSDvsGarou combat.

                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                Also, what about spirits not from the Middle Umbra? But wraiths and plasmic creatures from the Dark Umbra, or astral spirits from the High Umbra? I think the best thing would be to say that this does not happen. Even if such creatures possibly have a Gnosis trait (Astral spirits do, but wraiths and plasmics do not), I would say they are too different for Middle Umbra creatures to do. I am bringing this up only to be a completionist because otherwise the issue will come up.
                I agree. We rarely come into this in our LARP, though.
                Also, even an enchanted garou should not be able to harvest Gnosis form Chimera
                Last edited by heinrich; 03-03-2021, 06:55 AM.

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                • #9
                  This was always a bit of a stickler in our games. For most players the idea of getting Wyrm taint was enough not to resort to this casually. However, we did discuss it as an option, and we concluded that you could only attempt that on a Spirit with lower gnosis than yours, and that it would involve a contested roll between your gnosis and theirs and you could harvest the net successes from the Spirit you're killing. Afterwards you would experience strong emotions and dreams connected to the bane you devoured for a number of days equal to its gnosis, and you would have to keep performing rites of cleansing through that period and be monitored for how sane you are.

                  So it's more sin eating, and less Gnosis Buffet.


                  What doesn't kill you, makes you... stranger.

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                  • #10
                    Those are some nice ideas.

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                    • #11
                      I had no idea this was an option without the Ghost Eating Technique Gift (in CB20). So what's the difference between doing it this way for free, vs. learning and using that Gift?

                      But I think the Theurges' concerns are legit. Reformation, reincarnation, and rebirth are the natural cycles of the Triat. Death caused by the Balance Wyrm always led to rebirth of some kind. Permanently destroying something forever may be unnatural. It's probably necessary with the unbalanced, unnatural situation of the World of Darkness, but it should still have serious spiritual repercussions for the Garou (and Fera) who do it often, or repeatedly, for a while. Essentially, instead of letting the Bane reform, they are incorporating that Bane's essence and perversion into their own souls. Maybe Grondr could do this without any spiritual peril, but they're extinct.

                      That said, as for the ecological or cosmic repercussions of consuming those Banes... well which is better? To [help the Weaver] keep the Wyrm bound, or to destroy pieces of it? The one probably strengthens the Weaver's grip on the cosmos. The other... might strengthen the Balance Wyrm? Or maybe it actually strengthens the Defiler? The last emotions of the Bane as it's spiritually devoured probably go somewhere... and do ... something.

                      Obviously, if they do this to Gaian or Wyld Spirits, it would probably screw up the local spirit world. The novel Breathe Deeply mentioned that removing large numbers of natural spirits from the local Umbra all at once damages the spiritual and physical ecosystem. And it pisses off the local spirits, up to Incarnae.
                      Last edited by Erinys; 03-06-2021, 12:01 AM.


                      She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                      My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                      Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                        I had no idea this was an option without the Ghost Eating Technique Gift (in CB20).
                        Yes. I completely overlooked this and until now never heard anyone mention this. And ThomasM is right. This has been in every edition of the game, but very easy to overlook. I just looked in my copy of the first edition corebook. It's right there, albeit in different form to reflect the rules back then.

                        "A Garou who reduces a spirit's Power to 0 may also elect to take up to five points of Gnosis from the spirit in order to recharge his own Gnosis (this kills the spirit if it has less than six Gnosis); this is a good way to make lots of spirits very angry, however." - Werewolf: the Apocalypse (1st edition), pg 157.

                        This has some important restrictions that I think would be good to incorporate into people's own rules.

                        Originally posted by Erinys View Post
                        But I think the Theurges' concerns are legit. Reformation, reincarnation, and rebirth are the natural cycles of the Triat.
                        There should definitely be some consequences as spirits react negatively to you. At least if you harvest enough Gnosis to actually destroy the spirit.

                        As I see it there are two basic approaches. First, killing any spirit (including Banes) angers ALL spirits because that is just how they are. Second, it depends on the type of spirit you destroy, and the type of spirits who are angered by that. I think either approach can be justified, but each has their own consequences in game.

                        For my own chronicles, I am thinking about going with the second approach and using these groups to generate different reactions.

                        1) Gaian spirits
                        2) Corrupted Gaian spirits
                        3) "Normal" Banes/Triatic Spirits
                        3) Truly alien Bane spirits

                        From a Garou perspective, you don't destroy Gaian spirits ever. You will anger all your natural spirit allies including pack, caern, and tribal totems.

                        You also don't destroy corrupted Gaian spirits either. Those can always be redeemed, and can still be filling an important role for Gaia. However, the rare and exceptional destruction might be overcome with appropriate contrition and chiminage. Likewise for BSDs, they would anger Bat or Whippoorwill or other spirits by destroying Gaian spirits, because those could be corrupted. There is still some affinity.

                        Then there are ordinary Triatic Spirits: spirits like Pattern Spiders, Sparks, Scrags. They serve important metaphysical functions outside/above the Gaian Realm. Gaian spirits might not care if such high level spirits are destroyed, but Triatic Spirits sense a kinship with each other even if not an allegiance. Destroying one of them won't affect a spirit of one of the other groups, but among the Triatic spirit category you will piss them all off as their danger senses go off.

                        By truly alien Banes I mean things that clearly are not part of Earth's order. These would be bizarre Deep Umbral spirits or similar out of place spirits that should not be on Gaia. I would put Nexus Crawlers here. These could be destroyed and not anger other spirits. Maybe upset other Wyrm spirits to lesser degrees.

                        This is just my current thoughts, and they may not be what I go with. So I am very open to changing my mind. Other people might prefer a greater or lesser number of types, and different levels of notoriety for doing so.

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                        • #13
                          My guess is, that the 'Ghost Eating Technique' Gift was written by someone, who also didn't realise the ability to destroy spirits, who were defeated, was already present. Or, it was realised, which is why the Gift has additional usage against wraiths and possession.

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                          • #14
                            I reread Ghost-Eating Technique. It only gains the character 1-3 Gnosis, but it allows the user to defeat spirits faster than they could otherwise, and guarantees the spirit is permanently destroyed regardless of how much Gnosis or Essence it had. It also makes no mention of taint from ghost-eating a Bane or Spectre.


                            She/Her. I am very literal-minded and write very literally. If I don't say something explicitly, please never assume I implied it. The only exception is if I try to joke.
                            My point of view may be different from yours but is equally valid.
                            Exalted and cWoD book list. Exalted name-generators, Infernal and 1E-2.5E homebrew from many authors.

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                            • #15
                              Well, taint is a difficult thing. If you do something that generates taint, the taint is on you, the place the deed is performed and the vicitim, as well as possibly tools used. So, killing people should taint the person doing it, regardless of the person being a psychopathic miller, a soldier in combat or a garou. It also doesn't make a difference who the dead people were.
                              The difference in these scenarios is how the taint dissipates again. For garou part-taking in Rites and especially Rites of Cleansing and Moots is important to remove taint. Which is why it usually doesn't accumulate - which is a danger to, for example, Ronin.

                              So, destroying a spirit, even banes or spectres, might bring forth taint in any case. But, it might not be a big deal after all....

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