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Vampires, Werewolves, Mages and other Physical Beings in the Shadowlands

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  • Vampires, Werewolves, Mages and other Physical Beings in the Shadowlands

    So, several other gamelines include powers that allow entry to the "Dark Umbra". In the Tempest and its contained Realms that's all well and good, and even the Labyrinth I can wrap my head around without problem. My question is, when one of the Quick uses a power to physically enter the Shadowlands, how do they interact with the physical forms in the Skinlands that make up most of the Shadowland terrain (just warped in appearance)? To Wraiths those structures/bodies are unmovable unless they use Arcanoi, and they can pass through them by spending Corpus. Is the living supernatural completely trapped if they're in a room with a closed door in the Shadowlands?


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  • #2
    There were three instances (two as ST) where we had to make rulings about that. Here’s what I (and the other ST) did. It’s a little long-winded for what should be a short answer, but I think the context is important.

    My rulings were for an “extradimensional researcher” that made two appearances. The first time the Circle encountered him, had used “science” to send his consciousness into the Shadowlands. I treated the character just like a Wraith.

    The second time the Circle encountered him – a few years down the road – the scientist had built a device to create an artificial Shallowing that allowed him (and some buddies) to physically enter the Shadowlands.

    Before running this game, I thought about the wonkiness of Shadowland physics. What would be the mechanical consequences of making characters that were unable to lose Corpus go into a Skinlands crowd? Instead of doping out what to do with the crowd, I just removed the crowd.

    I ruled that because these were still living humans that did not possess Wraith characteristics, they did not possess Lifesight, which in turn affected how they perceived the Shadowlands, which in turn affected how the Shadowlands affected them. Basically, they couldn’t interact (or be interacted with) anything on the Skinlands side. My overall thought was, since they don’t have anything to spend for the RoO, remove the RoO.

    Another player, this time as the ST, introduced an “Anubis-like creature” that possessed rare knowledge of the Underworld (read: werewolf, Silent Strider iirc). This ST reasoned that since Garou were half-spirit when they cross into the Dark Umbra they become ‘sorta like’ a wraith. I *think* that he gave the NPC Corpus Levels and something about regeneration. I’m not sure if I agree with his ruling, but I see the logic behind it.

    Hopefully this added some perspective.


    This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
    (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
    ").

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    • #3
      I think how they arrive in the Shadowlands is important. A vampire using Auspex swaps Mental attributes for Physical and uses Willpower for Corpus (as per V20). They're generating a plasmic body through will alone.

      On the other hand, a mage who transports himself bodily into the Dark Umbra is actually converting his body to a type of plasm to do so. There's no air in the Underworld, after all, because the dead don't need to breathe; a human body would quickly perish otherwise. But we know mortals can travel to the Umbra and that they don't (usually) suffocate despite a lack of terrestrial atmosphere. This implies the mortal changes to fit in with their surroundings. They obey the physics of the Underworld, rather than the other way around. So unlike the vampire who's generated his own plasm using Willpower, the mage has just translated his body to plasm (i.e., Health Levels to Corpus).

      In either case, if the Rule of Ouch applies, the character would lose Willpower or Health Levels when called to lose a point of Corpus, depending on whether they're projecting or entering the Underworld bodily. If they lose Health Levels, it's up to the ST whether they would still take wound penalties or not, because they're now plasmic and so may not feel pain the same way.

      You could, however, rule that because they don't have Lifesight, they don't bother with the Rule of Ouch. That leads to the question of whether spectres lose Corpus from Skinlands objects. It would suggest they don't, as they generally can't see the Skinlands. I'm not quite sure whether that fits the intentions of the designers, however. If spectres still take damage from Skinlands objects, theoretically so should mortals who've also travelled there. Both beings are (for now, at least) made of plasm and both can't see the Skinlands.

      The final option is to just rule that they must temporarily become wraiths to travel there, and thus all wraithly rules apply. That's the simplest option.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by adambeyoncelowe View Post
        That leads to the question of whether spectres lose Corpus from Skinlands objects.
        I’ve done a few one-shot spectre games. They’re fun with the right players and that’s how I’ve run the Shadowlands. Even with Shroud-Rending, spectres are just eavesdropping (to one extent or the other) in the Skinlands. I think it’s unfair for players to lose Corpus Levels to things/objects they can’t perceive [without Arcanoi]. As NPCs, it doesn’t really matter, unless a ST is desperate for a deus ex machina.

        To your point about game design, yeah, I have no idea if that was the original intent. We’re using rules that are two decades old, so I’m hoping Wr20 will “clear the nihil” on some of the mechanical wonkiness.




        This is what happens when an Abyssal Exalted ends up in H.o.L.
        (Also known as "Derpwraith" and "PretentiousFontsGuy
        ").

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        • #5
          Physically entering the realm of the dead (as opposed to simply projecting an astral or ethereal body - which is foolhardy enough) should be one of the stupidest things one can do. In most cases, I'd let it be a harsh lesson, even if they lose their character. If characters want to physically enter the Shadowlands, it should be part of a careful exploration where they learn the dangers and such things can be avoided.

          However, I'd probably be willing to allow them to spend Willpower combined with appropriate attributes/abilities (Strength and Occult?) to free themselves.

          But more likely, I'd have a Spectre pass by and offer assistance to escape in exchange for them doing something (which will eventually make them a Consort or something else so the spectre can spread Oblivion into the Skinlands).

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          • #6
            I think I lean toward the converting-physical-matter-to-plasm-by-stepping-sideways approach. It mirrors the process for doing so into the Middle Umbra, and as the Underworld is supposed to be a psychic landscape composed mainly of memories and skewed perceptions of the world of the living, it feels really weird to have something still be made of matter once it makes the transition into an environment that's ethereal and highly subjective.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Matt the Bruins fan View Post
              I think I lean toward the converting-physical-matter-to-plasm-by-stepping-sideways approach.
              I agree with you which presents another option I didn't mention. Instead of spending Corpus, the person does the equivalent - they loose health levels. That may not have much affect while they are in the Shadowlands, but will display the negatives associated with that when they leave. There won't be any physical marks on them, but they'll appear closer to death depending on how many health levels they lost.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Black Fox View Post

                I agree with you which presents another option I didn't mention. Instead of spending Corpus, the person does the equivalent - they loose health levels. That may not have much affect while they are in the Shadowlands, but will display the negatives associated with that when they leave. There won't be any physical marks on them, but they'll appear closer to death depending on how many health levels they lost.
                That's essentially how I handled it a couple of weeks ago when a character (a mage) was temporarily converted to a sort of 'half-wraith' (The conversion wasn't an application of the character doing magic. More like being open to letting something else do it TO him and then having to manage the consequences. And, no, there was no compelling reason to let what the players called "the Big Black Book of Evil" do that to the PC, it was just something that seemed interesting to the player for some reason...).

                I changed the "Rule of Ouch" to the "Rule of AAAAAARGH!". Going through things HURT. I played it up. Every attempt to go through a door was an excrutiating experience and described vividly, with a 1 lethal level of damage assessed. (The Book was more than happy to flip to some pages that would help out with that... Finally the player/character decided enough was enough, for some reason and said, "No.") Effectively the Verbena detected minor amounts of damage to effectively every part of his body, sorta like severe internal bruising. Along with symptoms of exhaustion, dehydration, confusion, etc.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ajax View Post

                  That's essentially how I handled it a couple of weeks ago when a character (a mage) was temporarily converted to a sort of 'half-wraith' (The conversion wasn't an application of the character doing magic. More like being open to letting something else do it TO him and then having to manage the consequences. And, no, there was no compelling reason to let what the players called "the Big Black Book of Evil" do that to the PC, it was just something that seemed interesting to the player for some reason...).

                  I changed the "Rule of Ouch" to the "Rule of AAAAAARGH!". Going through things HURT. I played it up. Every attempt to go through a door was an excrutiating experience and described vividly, with a 1 lethal level of damage assessed. (The Book was more than happy to flip to some pages that would help out with that... Finally the player/character decided enough was enough, for some reason and said, "No.&quot Effectively the Verbena detected minor amounts of damage to effectively every part of his body, sorta like severe internal bruising. Along with symptoms of exhaustion, dehydration, confusion, etc.
                  Interesting...

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                  • #10
                    Think Doomslayers, would accept outsiders as honorary members?


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Prince of the Night View Post
                      Think Doomslayers, would accept outsiders as honorary members?
                      Probably not. But why would those outsiders do it anyway? It's suicide.

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                      • #12
                        Garou would, because it looks like an awesome quest worthy of warriors, sound like a good reason?

                        On Changelings, Trolls might do so for the same reason

                        Mages, might do so as part of the quid pro quo

                        Ditto with Giovonni... not sure on others...
                        Last edited by Prince of the Night; 04-15-2016, 02:08 PM.


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                        • #13
                          Yep, totally dying in the underworld because it sounds awesome is what werewolves were meant to do.

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                          • #14
                            Edit Ninja'd you am sorry, And dont forget Camazotz

                            Oh speaking of the garou... any benefit a wraithly ally would be, that a friendly spirit couldnt provide just as well?


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                            • #15
                              What spirits would be around in the lands of the dead and why would they be friendly?

                              Also my last post was sarcasm, what great deeds are to be sung about in the lands of the dead? Gaia and all her works are in the land of the living, where you know the garou are supposed to be. Unless you are a strider they really have no business being there.

                              I mean common, "awesome quest" what is this d&d, what loot drops do we get? Roll that random Labyrinth encounter chart!
                              Last edited by Dwight; 04-15-2016, 04:18 PM.

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