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  • Castigation and Spectres

    Does Purify work on Spectres? I've never been sure if spectres count as shadows or not. They're described as "shadow-eaten wraiths," so they should be all shadow, right? But in that case, Castigation 3 is like a flamethrower on them. That's how I've been running it in my campaign, but it's so much damage. It's hard to see how spectres are much of a threat when two blasts of Purify will wipe most of them out of existence.

    Also, how do Dopplegangers work at all? The lore on them is like "they infilitrate the Hierarchy and bring corruption and ruin wherever they go," but the Pardoner in my group routinely Soulsights any NPC who talks to him, and I can't for the life of me figure out how he doesn't take one look and go "Oh, yeah, that's a spectre." So I'm having trouble figuring out how they get away with anything unless the Heirarchy is really dumb. Like really, really dumb. No internal security at all.

  • #2
    No, Spectres don't have Shadows. Spectres are Shadows finally given full control through attrition, or by Harrowing, or by simply being caught in a Maelstorm. Spectres have a Psyche, which is basically the inverse of what a Shadow is. Get the book pdf Wr20 or Spectes: Dark Reflections for more information. Castigation 3 isn't an offensive maneuver at all, you've been doing it wrong. It wouldn't affect a Spectre since as mentioned before, they don't have Shadows.

    On Soulsight- it depends. If your Pardoner in the Circle is incessantly Soulsighting EVERY single NPC your group encounters, they are going to get an extremely bad reputation for being rude by non-Doppelgangers they've used it on. The whole Circle may suffer face and gain unwanted attention. On top of that even with Soulsight you'd need more definitive proof and you have to also account that every Necropolis is extremely autonomous from Stygia and have entirely different standards on how the Necropolis is run.

    Not only that the average Wraith barring a very experienced ones don't have their Arcanoi that high. The average of 2-3 in most places only gives a faint inkling, but nothing definitive. Only when the specialists that get requested to a specific area are called in are when things get too obvious- but at that point the Doggelgangers of that area will probably shift house entirely. You have to understand that Doggelgangers are one of the most manipulative and stealthy of all Spectre castes because they've beat down the Psyche through a whittling pace with precision and patience. It isn't easy to out one out at all and they usually work their way up to high positions in a Necropolis where they get masks- which can be imbued with Arcanoi to either block out Soulsight or by general the masks don't allow the ability to happen.

    Also if your Pardoner continues to get notoriety of using Soulsight on everyone that is spoke to, all the Doggelgangers in the region will put you on priority. Unless the Circle is combat based, its probably the end because they'll focus all resources on destroying you.
    Last edited by Shakanaka; 10-23-2020, 06:00 AM.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
      No, Spectres don't have Shadows. Spectres are Shadows
      Well, yes, that's the point. Spectres are Shadows. If Purify damages Shadows and drains their angst, and Spectres are Shadows...I guess I don't understand why a Shadow is vulnerable to Purify when the Psyche is in charge, but suddenly becomes immune to it when it takes control.

      If your Pardoner in the Circle is incessantly Soulsighting EVERY single NPC your group encounters, they are going to get an extremely bad reputation for being rude by non-Doppelgangers they've used it on.
      ...how would anyone know? He's just looking at them. Nothing in the description of Soulsight gives any indication that it has any sort of visible manifestation.

      On top of that even with Soulsight you'd need more definitive proof and you have to also account that every Necropolis is extremely autonomous from Stygia and have entirely different standards on how the Necropolis is run.
      Why would you need more definitive proof? I mean, its not like there's some kind of shortage of wraiths eager to work for the Hierarchy. I would assume that a soulsight scan would just be standard procedure. And if a known Pardoner is saying "Hey, you guys know that dude is a Spectre, right? His shadow is totally controlling him." then.. I don't know, the Hierarchy is already pretty eager to turn every Tom, Dick and Harry into oboli, it seems like the bar for getting in trouble should be pretty low.

      I don't know, man, barring some ability to actually camouflage themselves and fool Soulsight, I just can't find Dopplegangers plausible. I tried introducing one in my chronicle in the last session, and immediately the player tried to hit them with Soulsight. The doppleganger managed to hide from getting scanned and came up with a plausible justification for its behavior that fooled the player, and I ended the session before he got a second chance -- but that's why I came to this forum to ask this question. Because I know the first time they have a face to face conversation, he'll soulsight her, and at this point I'm basically praying for him to botch the roll, but the reality is he usually hits 4 - 5 successes on Soulsight rolls. I've been looking through the books (sadly all I have is unsearchable pdfs with useless TOC, no indexes, and WW's terrible layouts) trying to figure out how Dopplegangers avoid getting caught by Pardoners, and it looks like they don't.

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      • #4
        Doggelgangers will generally avoid Pardoners like the plague and it generally comes down to how strong much Angst the Spectre has at the moment. At that point its up to you as ST on whether or not the Pardoner can out the Doppelganger out there and then- I recommend up to 6-8 successes for an absolute confirmation that someone is a Doppelganger for sure, anything lower than that would be the Pardoner being alarmed at how much Angst would be in that particular "Wraith." Even then the difficulty is high at 8 to boot too.

        On proof- it depends on who you are accusing. Average joe Doppelganger who hasn't infiltrated into a high position within a Necropolis can be accused more easily. The more higher up? Very unlikely considering the connections, possible sympathizers, and general power that Doppelganger would have. You'd be hard-pressed to have your accusation be supported outright if the Doppelganger has done nothing "loud" to outright out itself. This also assumes that none of them aren't wearing masks or some imbued with Arcanoi effects to block out Soulsight. Even if you were to take out one Doggelganger with the use of spamming Soulsight willy-nilly, you'd get noticed by all other Doggelgangers in the region and would be avoided, or worse, hunted down. The Pardoner would have to make a case anonymously, but even then you could scrutinized if its someone high-level your accusing compared to your own rep and could end up in the forges yourself.

        Also, no, Spectres don't have Shadows, they have something entirely different called a "Psyche."

        Originally posted by Dark Reflections - Spectres, pg. 55 ch. 3
        Just as wraiths have a Shadow, a separate and malign entity manifesting everything bad, weak and cruel about the character, spectres have their Psyches. A spectre's Psyche is the last remnant of anything kind or good about the character. Most times the Psyche is weak, its voice thin and sickly. However, employing the Dark Arcanos Larceny to offset the destruction of Oblivion can allow the Psyche to gain strength. At most times the Psyche is only an ever-present voice, whispering away like a guilty conscience, reminding the character of how she used to be and how kind and good she was before being corrupted by Oblivion. The Psyche is the flip-side of the Shadow, and should be played in a similar manner.
        Spectres at this point basically constituent a new entity since they have taken over. Purify won't "damage" them at all. Theoretically speaking going by how you do Purify, it still won't damage the Spectre, only drain their Angst reserve at best with each success and only do one corpus damage, which would only piss them off. That would primarily be it. It also isn't an offensive maneuver that you beam out like somesort of ray either, from a RP stand-point its a ritualized process that takes some time and concentration. Even with all this taken to account, the difficulty to even use Purify against a Spectre would be a flat diff 10 due to the permanent Angst score of the Doggelganger or any other caste.

        EDIT: Also the Doppelgangers do more than infiltrate the Hierarchy. They do many other things in the Shadowlands on behalf of Nephwracks or Onceborns that slowly seed the corruption greater and greater in a particular area so more Nihils can spring up. They don't "infiltrate" the Hierarchy directly in most cases- only the most experienced and spec ops style Doppelgangers do that, the ones who know how to definitively hide their true allegiance. The majority simply shift by in Hierarchy controlled Necropoli to spread corruption with their Dark Arcanoi in various places and gather Angst. They'd know what places to avoid and who not to speak with (in this case most definitely Pardoners).

        Also I wouldn't put off Doggelgangers so easily. They literally at one point heavily infiltrated the Doomslayers from top-to-bottom to where it was briefly self-abolished and fell apart. They aren't easy to root out whatsoever and are extremely intelligent due to the circumstance of having to outsmart/manipulate their way into existence.
        Last edited by Shakanaka; 10-23-2020, 04:19 PM.


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        • #5
          Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
          Also I wouldn't put off Doggelgangers so easily. They literally at one point heavily infiltrated the Doomslayers from top-to-bottom to where it was briefly self-abolished and fell apart. They aren't easy to root out whatsoever and are extremely intelligent due to the circumstance of having to outsmart/manipulate their way into existence.
          In addition, Doppelgangers, being Spectres, have the first dot of the Dark Arcanos Collogue, called Hive Mind. They can communicate telepathically with all other Spectres. This allows them to organize with surprising speed if they detect a snooping Pardoner. They may totally avoid him/her, or neutralize.

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          • #6
            Gailbraithe, I see your point about Spectres being, in some sense, "all Shadow", and a gaming group could certainly accept that interpretation and play a fun game that way.

            However, I disgree with the interpretation. As suggested above, Castigate is a ritual-based Arcanos modeled on therapeutic or religious soothing sessions, like a meeting with a therapist, a long, heavy talk with a close friend, or a confession with a priest. Spectres are not going to sit down and let you psychoanalyze them.

            But that's not the main reason I take a different approach. The main reason is that the Castigate rules refer to a Shadow (as the hidden part of the Wraith), not a Spectre (as a wholly re-created entity with a hidden Psyche). For example:

            "The Pardoner focuses her power on another wraith’s Shadow to weaken it through purification — but the process injures the wraith." (Wr20 156)
            The key terms here are "a wraith's Shadow". That language is telling, in my opinion. The power is about confronting and weakening the Shadow within a Wraith, who, after all, is considered a distinct entity, almost a different species from Spectres. The game devs could easily have written "A wraith's Shadow or a Spectre", but they notably do not do so.

            On the other hand, in the text for Get Thee Hence, we see this:

            "Just as a Pardoner can use her own purity to attack a Shadow, she can raise it as a shield against Spectres, barring them from entering an area (or forcing them to leave an area they already occupy). She doesn’t have to know the Spectres are present to affect them, but for some reason this art doesn’t work against Doppelgangers." (Wr20 256)
            A direct reference to Spectres. My take is that this is the only Art that works on Spectres. The other Arts are meant to help a Wraith deal with the Shadow within, to prevent becoming a Spectre.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Callishka View Post
              However, I disgree with the interpretation. As suggested above, Castigate is a ritual-based Arcanos modeled on therapeutic or religious soothing sessions, like a meeting with a therapist, a long, heavy talk with a close friend, or a confession with a priest. Spectres are not going to sit down and let you psychoanalyze them.
              Yeah, this part of the power drives me absolutely nuts. The character in my chronicle is a psychologist and uses a psychotherapy model for his Purifications...when he does it to someone who volunteers. But he also uses it as an attack in combat, and the rules are so absurdly vague and poorly written (remember, this is the game where they had to put the rules for using Passions, the single most important mechanic in the entire game, in an errata sheet because "d'oh, we're idiots!") that they totally allow for that. I mean there's no time requirement, so apparently all he has to do is point at someone and say "Sir, you have serious psychological issues!" in a serious voice, and boom, 7d10 unsoakable damage, capped only by the Angst they have. Likewise, the times he's got into violent conflicts with Wraiths, Purify has been basically a free mega-damage opening attack.

              The one time they fought a spectre, the party stabbed it twice for 4 damage, and then he purified for 6 damage, and the fight was over in one round. The power makes me feel like an asshole, because I hate being the Storyteller who is just "No, sorry, no, you can't, no." Makes me feel like Captain Buzzkill of the No Fun Police. But the rules are just so badly written...

              But that's not the main reason I take a different approach. The main reason is that the Castigate rules refer to a Shadow (as the hidden part of the Wraith), not a Spectre (as a wholly re-created entity with a hidden Psyche). For example:
              Right, but literally everywhere else in the game they make it clear that spectres are just wraiths whose shadow has taken control, so I don't see how they're really a different entity entirely. Could you purify a wraith undergoing catharsis? I mean their shadow is in control, so are they also immune to Purify?
              Originally posted by Shakanaka
              On proof- it depends on who you are accusing. Average joe Doppelganger who hasn't infiltrated into a high position within a Necropolis can be accused more easily.
              The point I'm making is that you would think that the Hierarchy checks every applicant and does routine interviews with high value targets. You know, basically operational security measures. The fact that Dopplegangers manage to get to any level of influence within the Hierarchy despite having absolute no ability to hide their true nature implies that the Hierarchy is dumber and worse organized than your average redneck militia group. It makes them seem comically inept, and begs the question of how they've managed to survive thousands of years.

              I mean the solution is as simple as giving Dopplegangers the ability to resist Soulsight with a Manipulation + Subterfuge roll and choosing what the Pardoner sees if they win a contested roll, but its like literally nobody stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, Dopplegangers should have some actual infiltration abilities that counter the rather commonplace detection means available to their enemy.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Gailbraithe
                Yeah, this part of the power drives me absolutely nuts. The character in my chronicle is a psychologist and uses a psychotherapy model for his Purifications...when he does it to someone who volunteers. But he also uses it as an attack in combat, and the rules are so absurdly vague and poorly written (remember, this is the game where they had to put the rules for using Passions, the single most important mechanic in the entire game, in an errata sheet because "d'oh, we're idiots!") that they totally allow for that. I mean there's no time requirement, so apparently all he has to do is point at someone and say "Sir, you have serious psychological issues!" in a serious voice, and boom, 7d10 unsoakable damage, capped only by the Angst they have. Likewise, the times he's got into violent conflicts with Wraiths, Purify has been basically a free mega-damage opening attack. The one time they fought a spectre, the party stabbed it twice for 4 damage, and then he purified for 6 damage, and the fight was over in one round. The power makes me feel like an asshole, because I hate being the Storyteller who is just "No, sorry, no, you can't, no." Makes me feel like Captain Buzzkill of the No Fun Police. But the rules are just so badly written...
                What type of game are you running and what made you think Purify would do THAT. Its no way shape or form an offensive ability, all it does is lower Angst with each success and only gives ONE corpus damage, but that's it. Even then its NOT supposed to be a ranged star wars-esque laser-beam whatsover. The rules aren't "badly written," as ST you have to lay down the law or scrap really bad ideas that really make no sense. Yes its good to have some leeway for general fun, but really stupid stuff like this needs to be handled. This is a really awkward situation and more of a situation of not taking the reigns when need be.

                Originally posted by Gailbraithe
                The point I'm making is that you would think that the Hierarchy checks every applicant and does routine interviews with high value targets. You know, basically operational security measures. The fact that Dopplegangers manage to get to any level of influence within the Hierarchy despite having absolute no ability to hide their true nature implies that the Hierarchy is dumber and worse organized than your average redneck militia group.
                You're somewhat right in this as each Necropolis is administrated wholly different from place-to-place depending on the Anacreons running it, so the competence varies. Stygia itself would be the hardest to infiltrate, but Doppelgangers due to their sheer nature and manipulation really know how to dig-in at the Hierarchy if they really want to- but as you put it, they mostly get caught due to inexperience, incompetence, or bad luck. The good ones are so specialized and skilled that you'd never know they'd be a Doppelganger until a local Maelstorm happens and they open the Citadel gates. However as I broached before, most Doppelgangers start off merely laying low in the Necropolis itself rather than attempting to INFILTRATE into Hierarchy institutions unless their REALLY GOOD.

                Most Doppelgangers act out their Dark Passions, sometimes get orders from a Nephwrack or Onceborn, travel the Tempest, or build up a large Doppelganger network in the Shadowlands while trying to not get outed away from central places where Hierarchy influence is highest (Byways leading into the Underworld, Legion barracks, Thrall processing centers, market places, etc).

                The Hierarchy for the most part HASN'T toppled and survived for thousands of years for the sheer fact that they're efficient, but only with enough duck-tape to get by; sort-of like the Emperor of Mankind from 40k. You have to understand its a very large off-stretched Empire in the Shadowlands and Underworld simultaneously, its not going to catch every little thing. Its more a fact that there are so many Wraiths in existence, 1 in 10 become a Doppelganger within only a few weeks of getting out their Caul. That's alot of Doppelgangers to rout out. They out and catch alot, but the ones who survive and continue gaining more skill and Arcanoi, become more harder to find. Some when becoming Doppelgangers simply leave the Hierarchy- some weren't even Hierarchy to begin with, either being a Renegade, Heretic, or simply independent before being shadow-eaten.

                EDIT: Also its to note that some of the most loyal Hierarchs who could have served Stygia for centuries or a few years could easily succumb to their Shadow at any point. Someone who gets turned when they were officiated waaay back and already background-checked is a VERY dangerous Doppelganger because they're already trusted and unsuspected. This is the other key reason how Doppelgangers can easily infiltrate even the Hierarchy because from there recently turned high echelon Hierarchs begin supporting disparate Doppelgangers and the networks' balance of power can suddenly shift in a mere day entirely.

                Originally posted by Gailbraithe
                Could you purify a wraith undergoing catharsis? I mean their shadow is in control, so are they also immune to Purify?
                All you can mostly do as I said is merely just drain their Angst reserves, but that's really it. I wouldn't say immune. Also again- Castigate by extension of the entire Arcanoi is a cerebral meditative ability focus on calmly reigning in the Shadow. In no way shape or form is it meant to be a combat ability.
                Last edited by Shakanaka; 10-23-2020, 09:30 PM.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                  What type of game are you running and what made you think Purify would do THAT.
                  Wraith 2nd Ed. There really isn't anything that indicates you can't do that. It doesn't define how long it takes, doesn't say it can't be used in combat, etc. It does say it's a "careful, involved process" but that's not the same as saying "it takes an entire scene" or "cannot be used in combat."

                  Its no way shape or form an offensive ability, all it does is lower Angst with each success and only gives ONE corpus damage, but that's it. Even then its NOT supposed to be a ranged star wars-esque laser-beam whatsover.
                  No, it deals 1 Corpus for every Angst removed. "Each success rolled reduces the subject's temporary angst by one, but also causes one Corpus Level of damage to the target." That's 1 damage per success, up to the target's current temporary angst. It's super effective as an attack. I mean there's no defense at all, so you can't soak any of the damage, and even if it doesn't kill them, it leaves them powerless to activate Thorns.

                  The rules aren't "badly written," as ST you have to lay down the law or scrap really bad ideas that really make no sense. Yes its good to have some leeway for general fun, but really stupid stuff like this needs to be handled. This is a really awkward situation and more of a situation of not taking the reigns when need be.
                  They forgot to include the mechanics for using Passions to recover Pathos, so the RAW offers you no possibility of ever regaining Pathos. The game is terribly written. It's sloppiest, most embarrassing product White Wolf ever released. I love it for the setting and the stories you can tell (in my current chronicle, we've had 15+ sessions, with a grand total of 3 combats, 2 of which the players were more witness to than participants, but every session has been exciting and full of drama), but its easily the worst written RPG I've ever actually played.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gailbraithe
                    "Each success rolled reduces the subject's temporary angst by one, but also causes ONE Corpus Level of damage to the target. That's 1 damage per success, up to the target's current temporary angst. It's super effective as an attack."
                    No, you misread this. It only does ONE measly corpus damage. 1, "not every success up to the target's current temporary angst;" If that were the case, NOBODY would want the services of a Pardoner since it would NEAR Harrow them and it would take alot of Pathos just to heal all those injuries. That is NOT how Purify works and its pretty clear cut it doesn't do what you say. This is literally your own houserule interpretations. The ONLY Arcanoi that does unsoakable damage (and its aggravated nonetheless) is level 5 Outrage. Level 3 Outrage is the beginning of what lets you damage other enemies outright. If an ability has the capability of doing some sort of devastating damage, it will TELL you that specifically as evidence by the two powers in Outrage I mentioned. Purify does nothing of what you say and its not a combat Arcanoi. It's just you misunderstanding it and blaming it on the game.

                    About Passions- yes, they forgot the specifications of gaining Pathos, but the amount of detailed information they give you about Passions and Fetters is alot. The sheet at the very end gives you dots and a rough guestimation of how it should work. Yes that was forgotten, but it was fixed with errata thereafter so I don't see what the big spiel is. Also to say Wraith is one of the most "worst written RPGs" is ludicrous. If just admit you love it for the setting and the stories you can do with it, saying that you had numerous good sessions with it, but then turn around with THAT? Hilarious.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                      No, you misread this. It only does ONE measly corpus damage. 1, "not every success up to the target's current temporary angst;" If that were the case, NOBODY would want the services of a Pardoner since it would NEAR Harrow them and it would take alot of Pathos just to heal all those injuries. That is NOT how Purify works and its pretty clear cut it doesn't do what you say. This is literally your own houserule interpretations. The ONLY Arcanoi that does unsoakable damage (and its aggravated nonetheless) is level 5 Outrage. Level 3 Outrage is the beginning of what lets you damage other enemies outright. If an ability has the capability of doing some sort of devastating damage, it will TELL you that specifically as evidence by the two powers in Outrage I mentioned. Purify does nothing of what you say and its not a combat Arcanoi. It's just you misunderstanding it and blaming it on the game.
                      That Is how 2nd edition purify works. It's on page 139 "Each success reduces the subject's temporary Angst by one, but also causes one Corpus Level of damage to the subject" being a direct quote.

                      The way that it's worded indicates that each level of damage is per success. The only way it can be understood as only doing one damage total is as an ST call/House-rule, which is a valid interpretation, but is still an interpretation.

                      Originally posted by Gailbraithe View Post
                      No, it deals 1 Corpus for every Angst removed. "Each success rolled reduces the subject's temporary angst by one, but also causes one Corpus Level of damage to the target." That's 1 damage per success, up to the target's current temporary angst. It's super effective as an attack. I mean there's no defense at all, so you can't soak any of the damage, and even if it doesn't kill them, it leaves them powerless to activate Thorns.
                      While "technically" accurate, the roll for purify is against the wraith's permanent Angst. As a spectre that permanent Angst is 10 automatically as that's the requirement to be a spectre in he first place. This player shouldn't be getting 6 successes consistently on a difficulty 10 roll unless they've got some seriously powerful difficulty reducing artifacts or loaded dice.

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                      • #12
                        Prometheas, the key word here is BUT in the article of the sentence, which separates it from the "Each success reduces the subject's temporary Angst by one". After that separation from that Article of the sentence, it says it only does ONE Corpus level to the person being Castigated- that's it. If the ability also entailed that it did Corpus damage per success along with reducing Angst per success, it'd specifically say that. No where is the sentence indicated to where it says Purify does x Corpus damage PER success. It literally tells you its 1 only. It's not meant to be a fighting ability or something that screws over the person being Castigated by damaging them near to Oblivion.

                        CASTIGATION IS MEANT TO BE A THERAPY ARCANOI.. where people specifically look to lower their Angst, why would people want ICly and from a meta stand-point take multiple levels of damage to their character, which will take a bunch of Pathos to heal, in the first place? This isn't a houserule at all interpretation but how the ability works.

                        Originally posted by Prometheas
                        As a spectre that permanent Angst is 10 automatically as that's the requirement to be a spectre in he first place. This player shouldn't be getting 6 successes consistently on a difficulty 10 roll unless they've got some seriously powerful difficulty reducing artifacts or loaded dice.
                        This is exactly what I mentioned to OP as well. Spectres have a whopping TEN permanent Angst and is a direct replacement of Pathos as the default energy reserve. The only way for how OP is putting out Purify "works" (and is totally wrong may I add) wouldn't be possible unless that PC in their chronicle is consistently getting multiple successes of 10 in one roll. It's ludicrous even if Castigate was ever supposed to be a combat Arcanoi or not.
                        Last edited by Shakanaka; 10-24-2020, 03:16 AM.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                          Prometheas, the key word here is BUT in the article of the sentence, which separates it from the "Each success reduces the subject's temporary Angst by one". After that separation from that Article of the sentence, it says it only does ONE Corpus level to the person being Castigated- that's it. If the ability also entailed that it did Corpus damage per success along with reducing Angst per success, it'd specifically say that. No where is the sentence indicated to where it says Purify does x Corpus damage PER success. It literally tells you its 1 only. It's not meant to be a fighting ability or something that screws over the person being Castigated by damaging them near to Oblivion.
                          The "but" is being used as an indicator of a negating element associated with the previous statement, so it can either be associated with the full use of the power itself or each success scored. It's still proper english to interpret the multiple corpus levels of damage proportional to successes rolled. The sentence is vague enough to be ruled either way with both being right.

                          This is really common and in other gaming communities this is what called the separation of the RAW(rules as written) from the RAI(rules as intended/interpreted). Authors aren't uncontested masters of the english language and don't always write rules in the way they intend to portray, so rules/lore/whatever aren't always going clear or consistent. As an ST, it's completely within your right to rule in favor of what works in your gaming group, but you should also understand that that doesn't make your way the Right and Only valid way to interpret the rules.

                          Originally posted by Shakanaka View Post
                          CASTIGATION IS MEANT TO BE A THERAPY ARCANOI.. where people specifically look to lower their Angst, why would people want ICly and from a meta stand-point take multiple levels of damage to their character, which will take a bunch of Pathos to heal, in the first place? This isn't a houserule at all interpretation but how the ability works.
                          This is also 2nd edition WoD, when the authors were still deciding what balance of grimdark drama vs campy action the tone of their gamelines were going to follow. Wraith's having a damaging and unreliable way to stave off Angst fits with the more grimdark tone wraith was going for in 2nd edition as compared to the other gamelines at the time. The same book descriptions of proctors flaying the corpus of wraiths in a manor that read more like religious flagellation to me than psychotherapy.

                          Besides, I'm more of the camp that thinks making purify only due 1 damage total is a bit overpowered. It makes Angst removal too easy for my taste and limits shadows in play. Granted, this discussion reminds me of the arguments around humanity degeneration in VTM boards when people would argue about how hard certain actions should affect characters. In this case I feel similar to a 1 damage purify as I do about the 1st dot of bardo in VTM.
                          Last edited by Prometheas; 10-24-2020, 04:32 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Prometheas
                            As an ST, it's completely within your right to rule in favor of what works in your gaming group, but you should also understand that that doesn't make your way the Right and Only valid way to interpret the rules.
                            You know what, I'll concede to this. Everyone runs their games differently and interprets it differently, so lets agree on that.

                            Originally posted by Prometheas
                            The same book descriptions of proctors flaying the corpus of wraiths in a manor that read more like religious flagellation to me than psychotherapy.
                            Where do you get this from? The exact description for Purify only mentions flagellation once at the end of the sentence, but that's primarily it.

                            Originally posted by Castigate 3, Purify, pg. 139, Wraith 2nd
                            The actual methods vary from Pardoner to Pardoner, and can entail sermons, song, esoteric chants, or even flagellation. This is an extended, careful process, and cannot and cannot be rushed without grave risk.
                            There are more non-physical ways descripted of doing Purify than physical as we can distinctly see. Not only that broaching of what I said previously as evidenced from this quote further- Purify is an EXTENDED RITUALIZED PROCESS and not some uber combat maneuver that you do on the fly. It's meant to be mental healing, not something that damages or hurts the client seeking his Angst lowered.

                            Also OVERPOWERED for only doing 1 Corpus damage (and at best if we go into specifications, the 1 damage is mostlikely only Bashing at best)? Really? The way OP is letting their player do Purify is LUDICROUSLY overpowered as somesort of psyker laser-beam when it isn't supposed to be like that at all. Unsoakable damage (only OUTRAGE does this), wut? Pulling off a huge cache of damage even theoretically against a Spectre with a flat 10 diff of permanent Angst, wut? That's overpowered, not the former. If users of Castigate were unreliable, the whole Underworld would've fell apart ages ago. The reason FOR their reliability is the reason why they are in the highest demand for services and why their subsequent Guild is given more leeway to show themselves out more "openly" than other Guilds.

                            And also users of Castigate are called Pardoners, not Proctors. Proctors are the ones are the ones that manifest into the Skinlands.

                            EDIT: And also flaying the corpuses of other Wraiths... Pardoners? No, definitely not. You must be referencing the Masquers because they specialize in Corpus modification.
                            Last edited by Shakanaka; 10-24-2020, 05:55 AM.


                            Jade Kingdom Warrior

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Prometheas View Post

                              The "but" is being used as an indicator of a negating element associated with the previous statement, so it can either be associated with the full use of the power itself or each success scored. It's still proper english to interpret the multiple corpus levels of damage proportional to successes rolled. The sentence is vague enough to be ruled either way with both being right.

                              This is really common and in other gaming communities this is what called the separation of the RAW(rules as written) from the RAI(rules as intended/interpreted). Authors aren't uncontested masters of the english language...
                              As the resident college English teacher 🤓, I agree that the wording is vague. While I am in the camp of people who believe that the power is not combat-oriented and does not cause one corpus damage per success, I also recognized that the sentence can be interpreted that way. I do think that the writers attempted to separate one clause from another, but they did not do so in a way that prevents readers from reading it the way the OP is reading it.

                              That said, the description of castigate, the pardoner's Guildbook, the fact that pardoners were so readily accepted into society, and the description of what specters are, leads me to believe that the OP's interpretation is incorrect, though it is a valid way of playing the game for a group that wants that kind of high octane castigate action.

                              And as others have pointed out, players with Outrage could be a little bit annoyed that castigate does insane damage even though it is not known as the damaging Arcanos.

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