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Advice on gauging the Strengths and Weaknesses between Splats.

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  • Satchel
    replied
    I will point out that there's an angle only barely touched on by bringing up Sybaris, which is:

    The Arisen's primary brain-scrambling effect is mechanically closest to Disquiet, with all that that implies; the main insulating factors against this tiered Condition that gives you Beats when its subject starts making trouble for you are that cultists in good standing are immune to Sybaris, joining a mummy's cult immediately ends a bout of Sybaris, you have a cult to insulate and protect you from casual exposure, and any level of Sybaris below the last one comes with Social bonuses, none of which changes the fact that outsiders touching you, poking around in your tomb, or seeing you engage with the terrifying god-magic that animates you too much is going to start drawing down some serious (possessed-by-demons, magic-gone-sour, you've-made-a-dedicated-enemy serious) negative consequences.

    I'd say that, at least, merits inclusion on the list of Weaknesses Of The Arisen — it's not contagious and doesn't start out wholly negative like the Created's hateful magnetism does, but it is a mechanism that expressly paints a target on your back.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Paradim View Post

    What confuses me about this position.... Is that a similar argument could be given for each and every splat. This doesn't seem unique to the Arisen, with stronger support for such themes found in other games. So it comes across to me as just not having something more appropriate to use?

    For example, something I feel as being more relevant for Mummy: The Curse is the problem of their Descent's being tied to purposes chosen not of their own will. Whether it's their Cult, their Judge, or circumstances beyond their control (graverobbing, Decree specific circumstances), Arisen have little control of their lives, despite how much power they can wield. It's something not really focused on by other splats at all.
    I would actually take this principle and expand it to the general point of the Struggle for Agency being the second main weakness of the Arisen. Between the catalyst of the First Purpose (Cult Summons, Judgment, Grave Robbing, Decree-Specific Summons), the Final Purpose (Judgment), and the fact the time you have to work with tends to slip away the more you assert yourself(the only real addition I have to what you suggested), an Arisen is often denied their freedom of self, which, even if you don't want to dwell on the big picture, existentialist affairs of that, means that there's a lot of time answers to problems and goals you need to deal with can end up locked behind the narrow spectrum of things you've got to focus on and do.
    Last edited by ArcaneArts; 10-26-2021, 12:35 AM.

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  • Paradim
    replied
    Originally posted by Darinas View Post
    That's similar with Mummies; yes, they can relatively easily avoid getting people to the second or third stage of Sybaris by avoiding too much direct contact with humans when they use their Utterances or spend Pillars and by not necessarily being too blatant. But that's still an issue they gotta work with and do a conscious effort to avoid. That's what I am arguing.

    Admittedly, yes, the masquerade or spy theme isn't as predominant in Mummy as it is in Demon or Vampire, but the fact remains that if you aren't careful with Sybaris and use your powers too openly without trying to cover your track, you will eventually get people fixated on disturbing your work. And in a game where you're literally on a timer, any inconvenience can matter.
    What confuses me about this position.... Is that a similar argument could be given for each and every splat. This doesn't seem unique to the Arisen, with stronger support for such themes found in other games. So it comes across to me as just not having something more appropriate to use?

    For example, something I feel as being more relevant for Mummy: The Curse is the problem of their Descent's being tied to purposes chosen not of their own will. Whether it's their Cult, their Judge, or circumstances beyond their control (graverobbing, Decree specific circumstances), Arisen have little control of their lives, despite how much power they can wield. It's something not really focused on by other splats at all.

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  • Darinas
    replied
    Originally posted by TyrannicalRabbit View Post
    Silver makes sense to mention in media derived from pop culture variations of the werewolf concept where a vulnerability to it remains as it's appropriate to mention as part of the setting.

    As it relates to the Deathless of Mummy the Curse, the Masquerade aspect is not only not a central aspect of them but again, directly at odds with how the setting works. If that secrecy was more central to the line like say the spy games theme was to Demon it would make sense.
    You're missing my point. Of course the two don't quite exactly match in theme of fitting thematically, but this is irrelevant to my argument. What I mean by that is that just because you can work around the problem/weakness doesn't nullifies it; you still gotta do the conscious effort of being careful to not be too blatant with it, in that case.

    I took the silver example because mechanically in the game, silver can be worked around with relative ease; people won't think about shooting you with silver unless they know/suspect you're a werewolf (not to mention this is only a issue with humans, who are otherwise weak against werewolves; spirits and idigam won't bring silver to a fight), so you won't have to deal with it unless you're blatant. Moreover, Werewolves can apply their Defense to Firearms, and because of their form bonus can easily get high Defense, so while silver bullets will hurt a lot if they hit, that requires hitting them first, which is easier said than done. So in practice, while silver most definitely is a weakness, you have many way to avoid it.

    That's similar with Mummies; yes, they can relatively easily avoid getting people to the second or third stage of Sybaris by avoiding too much direct contact with humans when they use their Utterances or spend Pillars and by not necessarily being too blatant. But that's still an issue they gotta work with and do a conscious effort to avoid. That's what I am arguing.

    Admittedly, yes, the masquerade or spy theme isn't as predominant in Mummy as it is in Demon or Vampire, but the fact remains that if you aren't careful with Sybaris and use your powers too openly without trying to cover your track, you will eventually get people fixated on disturbing your work. And in a game where you're literally on a timer, any inconvenience can matter.
    Last edited by Darinas; 10-24-2021, 06:48 AM.

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  • TyrannicalRabbit
    replied
    Silver makes sense to mention in media derived from pop culture variations of the werewolf concept where a vulnerability to it remains as it's appropriate to mention as part of the setting.

    As it relates to the Deathless of Mummy the Curse, the Masquerade aspect is not only not a central aspect of them but again, directly at odds with how the setting works. If that secrecy was more central to the line like say the spy games theme was to Demon it would make sense.

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  • Darinas
    replied
    Well for Second Edition, werewolves don't quite do Gifts in terms of high or low level.
    Mhm... now that you mention it, yes, they dropped that in 2E. I usually know it, I don't know why I forgot. My bad, and thanks for reminding me.

    There's literally an affinity that turns that off even with epic utterances as well as turning off the effect of physical contact as well as and utterances with subtle keyword (No Sybaris No Sahu revealed)
    I do not consider a single power in the list that you actually have to buy (thus costing either XP or previous slots for the powers you actually want) enough to nullify a weakness. If I did, I would have to remove weakness to fire and sunlight for vampires, since the Ordo Dracul has Coils dedicated to reduce their effect.

    Furthermore, while it's true that yes the use of a pillar will reveal the Sahu it only for a number of turns equal to the Pillar’s rating meaning that unless everyone was having their eyes on the middle eastern man when he cast that spell (Which of course depending on where he casts it as some utterances can last entire scenes like the meteorite or storm utterance) Not many people would realize the Arisen doing it unless said Arisen does it in front of a camera or decides to be bombastic about it.
    All very circumstantial things. Again, the weakness is still there, even if it can be avoided, and they have to make effort to avoid suffering consequences. That's like saying being vulnerable to silver isn't really a weakness for werewolves because they can dodge the bullets.

    Last edited by Darinas; 10-23-2021, 05:00 PM.

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  • reaperfrost8
    replied
    Originally posted by Darinas View Post
    Mummies reveal their Sahu no matter the power used if they chose to spend Pillars (though admittedly Affinities balance things a bit by using WP instead)
    There's literally an affinity that turns that off even with epic utterances as well as turning off the effect of physical contact as well as and utterances with subtle keyword (No Sybaris No Sahu revealed)

    Furthermore, while it's true that yes the use of a pillar will reveal the Sahu it only for a number of turns equal to the Pillar’s rating meaning that unless everyone was having their eyes on the middle eastern man when he cast that utterance (Which of course depending on where he casts it as some utterances can last entire scenes like the meteorite or storm utterance) Not many people would realize the Arisen doing it unless said Arisen does it in front of a camera or decides to be bombastic about it and intone it (Which isn't really needed you don't need to speak during use of an utterance).

    That's also not getting into other ways to avoid it beyond just an affinity or choosing to do it in some room and coming out ready to go Ashem for example have the power to just enter Neter-Khertet and hit people with utterances through there no Sahu no problem.

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  • Isator Levi
    replied
    I think as far as Second Edition Mummy goes, there's the option for letting consequences for given actions to only exist within the scope of a given Descent, and that the next time they get Called it could be to a different timeline.

    Originally posted by Darinas View Post
    The powers in these other splats either are only high-level powers (Uratha)
    Well for Second Edition, werewolves don't quite do Gifts in terms of high or low level.

    The reference to city wide powers makes me think of the Catastrophe Facet of the Gift of Elementals. You need at least one other Facet to make it work, but even a werewolf with the lowest Glory will be causing an effect with a two mile radius. The Strengthen Influence alone at that scale targeted at fire, earth, water or air can have pretty drastic effects.

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  • Darinas
    replied
    And of course, dealing with those consequences is part of the fun-the Masquerade ala the Shadow Law isn't idly there ot be restrictive, it's supposed to be fun crossing the boundary and then trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle.
    That applies to all the weaknesses I listed. These are meant to give players challenge and part of the fun, as far as I am concerned. I was analyzing their strength and weaknesses mechanic-wise, not the quality of their respective games.

    On the other hand though, Curse expects players who play Mummy and in particular buy Utterances with really big effects want to use them and are interested in the ramifications of their players-this isn't even unique, considering some of the city-wide powers available to the Uratha, the Lost, the Unchained, and the Begotten-and that the setting has room to accomodate that desire for use in gameplay without neccesarily ruining the setting.
    The powers in these other splats either are only high-level powers (Uratha), can be freely use in some alternate world the splat has access to (Uratha, Changeling, Begotten), or are counterbalanced by also having a lot of smaller more discreet powers (Unchained). Moreover, most of these splats can usually afford to use their powers without revealing themselves to mortals; Beast's aura is invisible to mortal when they use their Atavisms, for example, and Uratha trigger Lunacy. Mummies reveal their Sahu no matter the power used if they chose to spend Pillars (though admittedly Affinities balance things a bit by using WP instead). So yeah, of course you can accomodate the setting, but the fact remains that compared to other splats, Mummies are somewhat less Masquerade-friendly.


    Helpign this matter is that the mundane actors don't neccesarily have much to connect a freak meteor swarm or ghost-anchoring earthquake to that one Middle Eastern man who's started being more active in his company's business unless the cult gets really overt in being connective tissue between the two(usually as a result of abusing those powers and having your cult appear too ready to deal with those issues), and even supernaturally aware actors who might take issue with it aren't going to have pinpoint accuracy in responding.
    I bring you back to my comment about using Pillars causing a Mummy to reveal their true form. People might make a connection if the guy was sporting an animal head at the time.

    The big thing is that, in the model of Two Major Advantages and Two Major Weaknesses that can be used to help sell people on playing a game, I'm not sure the Masquerade Breaching Powers is a good one to list, because it comes across as saying "You have these really cool Big Bomb Powers, now don't use them" when there are other weaknesses that are much better for sounding like a story hook and problems you'd want to have fun engaging with.
    Well, I am not trying to sell people on these games (though I do love them). I am trying to provide an analysis and my thought on them regarding their strength and weaknesses. Of course, if you can think of a better weakness to list for Mummies, please go ahead.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Darinas View Post
    A fair point, and I will admit that this might be a personal feeling for me, because I honestly don't understand how the supernatural stays hidden if vampires are the only ones who care about the Masquerade. You'd think of Mummies were walking around abusing their biblical powers, humanity would have become aware of the supernatural a long time ago - even denial and superstitious fear can only work for so long when there are camera cellphones everywhere. My best explanation would be that Mummies either are rare, stick to places that are isolated from civilisations or know it's best to keep a low profile when in big cities.

    I would still argue it's a weakness, though, based on the description of Sybaris in 2E; while it indeed helps forming cults, on the long term it causes people to intrude into your business, actively hinders you, and eventually being obssessed with causing your demise. I am pretty sure it would cause hunters to go after you too.
    It's a litte bit of an unfair reading in a couple of ways, and it's important to balance your Watson(in universe perspective) with your Doyle(out of game perspective).

    One the one hand, no, the Arisen don't particularly abuse their biblical powers-as Satchel noted, there are consequences for doing so and the Arisen aren't going to be rewarded for making a shit show with the Thing THey Weren't Supposed To Have. Their relative rarity and freedom of action in Neter-Khertet assists with some of the secrecy, but they are aware if they keep unleashing plague after disaster after imposbility, eventually that's going to come back on them-if not by the rest of the supernatural community, then most assuredly their Judge. And of course, dealing with those consequences is part of the fun-the Masquerade ala the Shadow Law isn't idly there ot be restrictive, it's supposed to be fun crossing the boundary and then trying to stuff the genie back in the bottle.

    On the other hand though, Curse expects players who play Mummy and in particular buy Utterances with really big effects want to use them and are interested in the ramifications of their players-this isn't even unique, considering some of the city-wide powers available to the Uratha, the Lost, the Unchained, and the Begotten-and that the setting has room to accomodate that desire for use in gameplay without neccesarily ruining the setting. Helpign this matter is that the mundane actors don't neccesarily have much to connect a freak meteor swarm or ghost-anchoring earthquake to that one Middle Eastern man who's started being more active in his company's business unless the cult gets really overt in being connective tissue between the two(usually as a result of abusing those powers and having your cult appear too ready to deal with those issues), and even supernaturally aware actors who might take issue with it aren't going to have pinpoint accuracy in responding. Sybaris complicates things, but again, unless you're really pushing things too far, it's as much a boon as it is a risk. And again, with the Arisen not even being the only culprits in the affair, and a setting where everyone has at least one brush with the supernatural to try an drink away in their lifetime, the setting has some lattitude for that one time the Hurricane Was Bleeding or That Blackout What Had Shadows Rise Up to be quibbled over.

    The big thing is that, in the model of Two Major Advantages and Two Major Weaknesses that can be used to help sell people on playing a game, I'm not sure the Masquerade Breaching Powers is a good one to list, because it comes across as saying "You have these really cool Big Bomb Powers, now don't use them" when there are other weaknesses that are much better for sounding like a story hook and problems you'd want to have fun engaging with.

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  • Darinas
    replied
    A fair point, and I will admit that this might be a personal feeling for me, because I honestly don't understand how the supernatural stays hidden if vampires are the only ones who care about the Masquerade. You'd think of Mummies were walking around abusing their biblical powers, humanity would have become aware of the supernatural a long time ago - even denial and superstitious fear can only work for so long when there are camera cellphones everywhere. My best explanation would be that Mummies either are rare, stick to places that are isolated from civilisations or know it's best to keep a low profile when in big cities.

    I would still argue it's a weakness, though, based on the description of Sybaris in 2E; while it indeed helps forming cults, on the long term it causes people to intrude into your business, actively hinders you, and eventually being obssessed with causing your demise. I am pretty sure it would cause hunters to go after you too.

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  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Originally posted by Darinas View Post


    ... I am sorry, I am not sure I understand how that makes that weakness I listed confusing. Could you clarify please?
    Specifically building from what Rabbit said, The "Masquerading breaking powers" is often actually a perk for the Arisen and their purposes. A Mummy has only so much time to act and has potent foes, so the employ of their largest powers becomes a boon in that it basically throws any given setting into chaos and gives almost everyone Bigger Fish To Fry, keeping them on the wrong foot while the Arisen and their cult probably has a more ready response to these miracles. When playing chess, the Arisen flip the board and choke out the other player while they're still figuring out what the hell just happened.

    Also, because the cult is (probably) more ready to respond to an Arisen's powers, it also makes those big Masquerade breaking powers a boon for building the cult, because people are gonna attach quickly to anyone who is quickly responding to the crisis, and will be more open to trust the direction of such figures....and the Arisen's cult is definitely gonna be doing that.

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  • TyrannicalRabbit
    replied
    Originally posted by Darinas View Post


    ... I am sorry, I am not sure I understand how that makes that weakness I listed confusing. Could you clarify please?
    It doesn't feel like it's something that needs much clarification. People have remarked for years that the splats of some lines have much looser notions of "Masquerade" than other lines and this includes Mummy. You are perhaps not aware of these discussions but it's also in the game material itself, being why the discussions exist in the first place. Noting it as a weakness in this kind of format implies it's a central aspect of a particular game line. In this case not only is it not, it's directly contradictory to said game line. If anything needs clarification it's the original statement that needs it.

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  • Darinas
    replied
    Originally posted by TyrannicalRabbit View Post
    I'm still slightly confused over the second listed weakness on the Mummy write up. Mummy tends towards a much looser and cinematic attitude when it comes to swallowing up places with sandstorms or wrecking places with meteors, earthquakes, cursed eclipses or simply violently ending someone as you loudly declare in front of a crowd that the person is dying in the name of (insert elder god Judge name here)

    ... I am sorry, I am not sure I understand how that makes that weakness I listed confusing. Could you clarify please?

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  • monteparnas
    replied
    Originally posted by Satchel View Post
    Again: Deviants can jump to superhuman ratings for a single purchase without needing a particularly high rating in the Attribute from the start.
    And again I'm not saying it isn't particularly easy, I'm saying it isn't particularly relevant to point out in a short presentation of pros and cons.

    Short presentation is short, every splat have a lot of other nice advantages they didn't get to be presented or were mixed up in a simpler paragraph.

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