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Souls Evolving into Malfeans, what do their powers and limitations look like?

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  • Souls Evolving into Malfeans, what do their powers and limitations look like?

    One of the big missing spots I feel Wraith should take advantage of is the fact that Onceborn actually grow from Wraiths. They are Specters that swell in power and then cannibalize other Specters as they evolve. They swell in might and lose their minds becoming the Giant Monstrous Hekhatonhires, but eventually they re-evolve and become more cunning and intelligent Onceborn.

    But we don't get a look at this and are just told ignore it it is all happening in the Labyrinthe. But its interesting and its a boatload of npcs that could add flavor to games. We limit Arcanoi to just five dots, a mistake in my opinion as it would be cool to have a Sixth special Capstone Dot. But we can't use just Arcanoi that we have to represent the Inhuman Godlike power these types of beings grow into. So at what point do they swell beyond Arcanoi? Should they have a new category of Powers? Or just shrug and use something akin to ST controlled Dread Powers like in Hunter the Vigil to represent random Ghost Monster powers and Evolutions.

    I feel Hekatonhires are ripe for potential and need a book detailing them. Do we have anything beyond vague details of them? I know I need to read my copy of Doomslayers.

    But beyond random Arcanoi and inhumanly large Dicepools what are some thoughts on how their powers and limitations change as they evolve?

  • #2
    To note, Onceborn at just that, Onceborn. They can't ever become Malfeans because Malfeans are entities purely removed from any form of mortality since they spawned at the cusp of Life separating from Death.

    Barring this however, I agree with you that the limitation of Arcanoi was a big blunder since it doesn't adequately represent long-existed Wraiths and Spectres who have been "dead" longer than they have alive. They should have made Arcanoi that actually displays the insight and better manipulation of the Low Umbra such beings would have over time. Onceborn of all being at the height of the Spectre caste system directly below the Malfeans should definitely have unique or beyond 6+ Dark Arcanoi as you say. Alas however the paradigm of the new writers are different and they are taking all the gamelines down a different route; Wraith especially being hammered down by the philosophy that they should be "the weakest" splat. All you can do is homebrew your own 6+ Arcanoi as its unlikely they're going to do anything with Wraith for awhile- and even if they did, they'll probably scrap a bunch of stuff and have little push-back since Wraith has had such a low fanbase.

    EDIT: Also Hekatonkires are Nephwracks who failed to become Onceborn; or Onceborn who have lost their minds to become one. There is no way to "re-evolve" once you get to the Hekatonkire state, you're completely mindless at that point and presumably DIRECTED by Onceborn or Malfeans directly through their dreams.
    Last edited by Shakanaka; 11-23-2020, 01:45 AM.


    Jade Kingdom Warrior

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    • #3
      I believe you are wrong. Malfeans refer to both Onceborn, the lesser beings that evolved from Ghosts into Demigods, and Neverborn beings not native to the lands of the living and are unspeakable godlike monstrosities. And Onceborn are the result of Specters eating other ghosts and slowly evolve into gigantic beings which is maybe like a pupil stage, but some never move past Hekatonhiredom.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
        I believe you are wrong. Malfeans refer to both Onceborn, the lesser beings that evolved from Ghosts into Demigods, and Neverborn beings not native to the lands of the living and are unspeakable godlike monstrosities. And Onceborn are the result of Specters eating other ghosts and slowly evolve into gigantic beings which is maybe like a pupil stage, but some never move past Hekatonhiredom.
        The terminology is correct. The word for malfeans who had never been alive is neverborn.

        I haven't looked into the hekatonkhire thing, although the wiki says they're onceborn who have lost their minds.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
          I believe you are wrong. Malfeans refer to both Onceborn, the lesser beings that evolved from Ghosts into Demigods, and Neverborn beings not native to the lands of the living and are unspeakable godlike monstrosities. And Onceborn are the result of Specters eating other ghosts and slowly evolve into gigantic beings which is maybe like a pupil stage, but some never move past Hekatonhiredom.
          Malfeans ARE the Neverborn. Onceborns aren't Neverborn since they used to be alive, so they aren't and can never be Malfeans. Also Onceborns don't become Onceborn by eating other ghosts- I think you have that confused with the Dark Arcanoi Larceny. Larceny just helps you stave off the decay of Oblivion so you can survive long enough to be Onceborn. You gradually become a Onceborn as time spent as Nephwrack for a long time. You have to understand that in the Spectre caste system, Nephwracks and Onceborns are the "bureaucrats", priests, and nobility of the Labyrinth- they are extremely intelligent and extremely evil. Hekatonktires are just brutes who've lost all sense of intelligence and are stuck that way. They mostlikely come from Shades, the less powerful version of them who are also dumb brutes; or they come from Onceborn who've degenerated or Nephwracks who have failed to become a Onceborn.

          Being a Onceborn is as top as you can get because you can't become a Neverborn- those are the Malfeans and the practical Gods of the Low Umbra.
          Last edited by Shakanaka; 11-23-2020, 06:22 AM.


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          • #6
            I believe you are mistaken sir, Malfeans are divided into two types Onceborn the lesser Malfeans and Neverborn the Greater/Original Malfeans. And Hekatonhires are a mystery but it is believed they are a step in the evolution between Specter and Onceborn.

            I can look up the page numbers I guess later but I'm going to slumber now.

            But even if you go to the Wiki it shows the Malfeans are divided into the two types.

            Malfean (WTO) - White Wolf Wiki Wiki - World of Darkness, Exalted, Trinity Universe and Sword & Sorcery (fandom.com)

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            • #7
              Wraith 20, page 364:

              The mightiest of all Spectres, Malfeans fall into two types: The Neverborn, great beasts that were never human; and the so-called Onceborn, former wraiths who have become godlike in their enduring evil.
              Malfeans have always included both the Neverborn and the Onceborn.

              Hekatonkhire per Doomslayers pg 86 says

              Hekatonkhire are what could be regarded as failed attempts at achieving Onceborn status, or alternately as Malfeans more like Shades than Nephwracks.
              Last edited by Resplendent Fire; 11-23-2020, 06:53 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Doomslayers - Into the Labyrinth pg.96
                The Onceborn, Malfeans and Hekatonkhire alike, vary both in power and intelligence. The weakest, who have just begun the process of metamorphosis, are little more than large Spectres with enough self-possession to avoid service to some greater will. But however mighty they grow in strength and ambition, the Onceborn can never rise to displace the Neverborn, no more than a dog, however clever, can put on its master's clothes and go to work as an accountant
                The column directly focusing on Onceborn at the very bottom seems to list out three separate things here for whatever reason, with Malfeans being listed as if separate from both Onceborn and Hekatonkhire- though they ARE described as such in the book. Though its at a lesser basis where they presumably are claimed Malfeans for their sheer dark might, but definitely aren't the real thing compared to the actual Neverborn Malfeans. They also very in intelligence as this portion of the column suggests, but the Hekatonkhire are where they are finally gone for good in the mind- being basically dumb and deeply chilling brutes of evil.


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                • #9
                  Yeah, that says: "The Onceborn, Malfeans and Hekatonkhire alike" didn't use the Oxford comma, which was required per the WW style guide at the time. So to me it appears to be saying "The Onceborn, whether Malfeans or Hekatonkhire, vary in both power and intelligence."

                  The Onceborn can't ever displace the Neverborn, but they're both Malfeans. Hekatonkhire, per page 86, can be considered as Malfeans more like Shades than Nephwracks. Wraith 20th is the latest word, and it defines Onceborn as Malfeans.

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                  • #10
                    Yep that seems correct. Though my confusion stems for whether Onceborn are more Nephwrack-like; I always thought them as essentially the highest pinnacle of the Spectre caste system being the most deadly and intelligent of the Labyrinth brood. I just thought Hekatonkhires to be failed Onceborn for the very fact for them being "Shade-like".


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                    • #11
                      Yeah, the failed Onceborn seems to be the thing. Not so much a step as a misstep in spectre evolution.

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                      • #12
                        Wraith has changed the naming of things over time. No surprise there.

                        I think it is a mistake to call Hekatonkhires a type of failed Onceborn unless the Nephwrack in question was actively pursuing one over the other. Both are mad titans that have had their identities largely torn away by Oblivion and replaced with stranger identities of their own choosing, Onceborn just happen to have rational coherent vaguely understandable thoughts and motivations included in those identities.

                        Also, there is no cap on how powerful a Onceborn can be.. The reason the Neverborn will forever be ahead of them is that the Neverborn aren't subject to the same rules. The Onceborn can get all the properties, railroads, and utilities, but the Neverborn are just eating the hotels and stabbing the other players. The Hekatonkhires are doing that too, but they are trying to do it as the dog token. The Neverborn are doing it as themselves.
                        Last edited by Ramnesis; 11-23-2020, 11:31 AM.


                        Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                        • #13
                          Doomslayers says as quoted above they can be regarded as failed Onceborn. I'm pretty sure it's not a mistake to reference a primary source.

                          Plus, I think "the Onceborn can never rise to displace the Neverborn" is fairly clearly a stated cap on their power, whatever the reason for that cap.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Resplendent Fire View Post
                            Doomslayers says as quoted above they can be regarded as failed Onceborn. I'm pretty sure it's not a mistake to reference a primary source.
                            This is Wraith, definitions change. Also my point is not that the books didn't say it, my point is that in my opinion it isn't the best understanding. Remember that Spectres are not a stable and well adjusted lot. Giving up their coherent and rational thought, such as it is, might be a legitimate goal for some. Depending on the Nephwrack in question, becoming a Hekatonkhire might be the intended destination.


                            Plus, I think "the Onceborn can never rise to displace the Neverborn" is fairly clearly a stated cap on their power, whatever the reason for that cap.
                            What I was saying is that there is no cap on Onceborn power and they will still never seriously challenge the Neverborn. The Neverborn aren't more powerful because of any kind of linear power gap, they are more powerful because they play by a different set of rules. Here's one example: The Onceborn both resist and crave Oblivion and sooner or later their craving will overcome their other desires and they will fall. Their every step towards power risks dissolution. The Neverborn don't have any of that. They neither need to step towards power nor can they risk dissolution.

                            In that, then, I see one way that a Onceborn could beat a Neverborn. If the two feuded and the spite grew intense enough, the Onceborn could throw itself into Oblivion just to show that it could have what its Neverborn rival never could. Even then, that assumes a lot about why the Neverborn want to return to Oblivion.


                            Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                            • #15
                              I always imagined the neverborn aren't even spiritual constructs like wraiths or spectres in the first place. Instead I like the idea of them being more like extensions of the spectre hive-mind or a kind of lovecraftian sentient idea than spirits. In that interpretation, of course onceborn wouldn't be able to become stronger than neverborn, they're basically free real estate as far as the neverborn are concerned.

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