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Leviathan: The Cult Chronicles

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  • Leviathan: The Cult Chronicles

    So some people have expressed interest in working on this. Lets start a thread and see if it goes anywhere

    And lets start with the core, an expanded Cult system. The goals of Cults in Leviathan 2e is of course to create plots. A Leviathan's Cult is an extreemly dysfunctional and arguably evil organisation that's going to do stupid fanatical things like march down Broadway in black robes sacrificing bystanders and get the Leviathan killed unless she manages them. And the only tools Leviathans have to manage their cults are bronze age tyranny.

    Cults are also strongly tied to the X-Splat. Your Strain isn't really what kind of sea mosnter are you, sure giant turtles are kinda a Bahamutan thing and sharks are more Tanninim. Rather, your Strain is what kind of god are you - and naturally your cult follows suit. Your strain is essentially a path of least resistance to a certain kind of cult; and that kind of cult synergies with the Strain's typical psychology. Though the path of least resistance is universal to the strain, psychology varies.

    Bahamatuan's are gods you worship for safety and comfort. It's less about physical blessings and more about being told what to think. Consequently their cults are basically whiny needy babies. (Honestly, that's probably the least bad Leviathan cult)

    Dagonite's are typical bronze age gods. Rain for your crops, plagues for your enemies. Their cults tend to be bronze age in mindset, with strong focus on blood ties, brutal politics and theology.

    Lahamin are secret manipulator gods. Probably closer to Tzeentch than any real mythology, and their cults tend to be secret soceities with agents in positions of power.

    Nu are the kind of god you'd see in modern Christianity. If you see theologians saying "it's a metaphor" a lot you're close to Nu. Just add in some evil. Their cults tend to resemble legitimate religions, but with an undercurrent of alien mysticism.

    Oceaneads are the gods you worship because because being a beliver makes you better than not being a believer. Consiquently their cults are social circles fighting for the Leviathan's attention with lots of passive aggression and subtle sabotage.

    Tanninim aren't gods you worship. They're gods you fear, terrible judges who punish sin without mercy. Their cults are military organisations who exist to enforce the God's will.

    Thalassans are gods of luxury and wealth. The sort of god you'd follow when survival is assured and you can think of acquiring luxuries. Consiquently their cults resemble merchants guilds, corporations and remain stable so long as the cash is flowing in. Cultists and Leviathans aren't that good at commerce though - so you'll have to use Leviathan powers (which aren't that suited either)


    Mechanically I was planning to do something like Mummy's Reach and Grasp; but with a lot more options, including one kind of cult for every Strain instead of Mummy's three (you don't have to pick the one that matches your strain). And with Leviathan cults being much better at violence than non-violence.

    Cults are also going to be tied into the Rituals system. Leviathans get a full Blood Sorcery style system but they need a cult to use it; and cults can use a Leviathan's power without permission. If you abandon them, they typically will start using it (usually to summon you)

    So lets leave it there for now. Thoughts, suggestions or questions?

    See this link for all current Leviathan documents.
    Last edited by The Kings Raven; 09-15-2015, 03:35 PM.


    “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
    My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
    Full length fan-books I contributed too: Princess: the Hopeful, Leviathan: the Tempest, Dream Catchers

  • #2
    Yes! This was an awesome idea when I first saw it, and I'm glad to see more love! I'm curious about how the Schools might change, in all honesty.

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    • #3
      I'd start with nailing down what the Cult types, actually are, given how it is now a part of Character Creation. Maybe the type can be called Dogma.

      I'd say none of the Mummy kinds are really Leviathan's forte-or rather, only one is, due to the effects of the Wake, and how it subconsciously modifies people into fundamentally Tribal groups.

      Other suggestions look great; I'd also add in the idea that getting minions from the Depths is something only the Cult can do, it adds to the Lovecraft aesthetic of Summoners of Alien Creatures.

      For my own offerings, I suggest we look at a soon-to-be-released game called Silent Legions for crunch inspiration involving Cults; it's a D&D retroclone, but thanks to the writer loving the idea of dice-generated plots that make actual sense, he also made a "cult-as-character" system. Given how much Leviathans depend on their Cults and are involved in day-to-day running of it, I'd say we could do worse than yank the Asset and Goal system, along with Cult Turns.

      (In case you were wondering, I backed the Kickstarter and have access to the final draft-not posting it, but I can legally describe what's in there and how it might help once the general public has it).

      EDIT: Also, Tranquility-I think we can use Harmony as a good baseline for it, in that one can "break upwards", gaining a point with a roll instead of an Experience. I would have it that 10 is good, 0 is unplayable, though; it keeps with the themes of trying desperately to keep above the Storm, you can actively find stabler ground and lose it just as easily.
      Last edited by Leliel; 03-09-2015, 05:19 PM.


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      • #4
        Maybe change their morality system to something that feels a bit more like 2E Werewolf? (so, for example Too high, and you have trouble accessing your bestial side, too low, and you have trouble maintaining your quasi-divine powers. Your sanity is best served by remaining in the middle)

        EDIT: Oh! Maybe a little focus on the whole Ego, Id, Superego thing going on in a Leviathan's head?


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        "Most of the current eras are too modern, we need 'Dark Eras: The electroweak epoch'."

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        • #5
          So Tranquility, yes it needs an update to a more 2e style morality system. I did think of a Werewolf style but there's a slight hitch that Leviathans have 3 sides to them not two.

          The current Tranquility concept is about building an identity you can live with despite being a monster, but I kinda prefer the old age metaphor to the puberty metaphor. So focusing more on how well you're coping with mad cults, hunters, and whatever else might work. Maybe base it more on Humanity than anything else, but with the ability to break upwards.

          The Ego, Id, Superego would be more Virtue/Vice than Tranquility under that system.

          BTW; it's Id (beast, fighting/feeding/fucking), Ego&Superego (man), Id again (god, domination and authoirty).

          Originally posted by ZealousChristian24 View Post
          Yes! This was an awesome idea when I first saw it, and I'm glad to see more love! I'm curious about how the Schools might change, in all honesty.
          I haven't thought much about Schools; beyond the fact that there needs to be seven of them.

          I was thinking that the new Schools would be Moon (copy other supernatural societies) and Sand (use Technology to overcome the limits of the Tribe)


          Leliel, Silent Legions sounds interesting. I can't really say more than that without reading it.


          “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
          My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
          Full length fan-books I contributed too: Princess: the Hopeful, Leviathan: the Tempest, Dream Catchers

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          • #6
            After reading your description I'm sold. Count me in if you are looking for co-writers.

            Also, I always saw it as Id (beast), Ego (man), Superego (God). With a Leviathan's superego encompassing not only their own mind, but that of their cult (and bystanders) as well.

            Edit: Perhaps Leviathans could have two morality stats, one to measure their descent towards bestiality and one to measure their ascent towards Godhood. That way it's possible to be very bestial, but nor particularly divine, or extremely composed and absolutely domineering...or a savage hungry god of slaughter and chaos
            Last edited by PenDragon; 03-09-2015, 06:02 PM.


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            • #7
              PenDragon you know I'm always glad to have you onboard


              Linking the Superego to the god part of the Leviathan's mind is interesting; because the divine part is more like an anti-superego. If the superego is the "internalization of cultural rules", a levithian's divine nature is about the "externalisation" of cultural rules. I don't like waking up early, therefore there will be a cultural rule against anyone else doing things that might wake me up (I didn't say they're good rules )

              If Leviathan could get away with two morality stats then it could work. So I guess the question is what's better. A morality stat based on how ethical you are, or a morality stat based on how well you're keeping your life in control.

              If we did go for the Beastal and Divine morality stats then Virtue and Vice should probably be around stress (and vice versa. Morality gets one, Virtue/Vice gets the other). In this system you can either get Willpower by solving a problem, or by hulking out and smashing stuff until the problem goes away - when you're cultists come to you and go "when you said you don't want human sacrifice, obviously you meant unless they're virgins" you can either come up with some elaborate scheme to distract them or start eating cultists until they finally get it through their thick skulls.

              Edit: It occurs to me that this system wouldn't have enough charachter customisation options to be the virtue/vice system.
              Last edited by The Kings Raven; 03-09-2015, 06:28 PM.


              “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
              My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
              Full length fan-books I contributed too: Princess: the Hopeful, Leviathan: the Tempest, Dream Catchers

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              • #8
                I think, you could make a very interesting reward/temptation system out of this.

                Two Morality Stats, Beast and Divine (working names). Each tied to a vice/virtue equivalent: Id and Ego (again, working titles). Fulfilling your Id recovers willpower, but also risks descent on the Beast path. While indulging your ego also grants willpower, but can push you further up the Divinity track.

                Naturally there'd need to be other ways to recover Willpower (though not enough that these wouldn't remain enticing choices.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by PenDragon View Post
                  I think, you could make a very interesting reward/temptation system out of this.

                  Two Morality Stats, Beast and Divine (working names). Each tied to a vice/virtue equivalent: Id and Ego (again, working titles). Fulfilling your Id recovers willpower, but also risks descent on the Beast path. While indulging your ego also grants willpower, but can push you further up the Divinity track.

                  Naturally there'd need to be other ways to recover Willpower (though not enough that these wouldn't remain enticing choices.

                  If that's the case, I'd still make it you could move away from the Threshold of No Return without spending XP, though-maybe by betraying said Anchors.

                  Otherwise, everything goes down the XP Sink.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Leliel View Post


                    If that's the case, I'd still make it you could move away from the Threshold of No Return without spending XP, though-maybe by betraying said Anchors.

                    Otherwise, everything goes down the XP Sink.
                    Thoroughly agreed. Frankly I dislike the use of XP to recover morality. It's substituting brownie points for roleplaying and a really boring expense.


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                    *All other colors should be read aloud in the voice of Don Knotts.
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                    • #11
                      Personally, I'd be borrowing the rules for Packs in Werewolf 2ed with Reach, Grasp & Benefits from Mummy. I'd say that the Strains begin with certain Benefits, much like the Deceived. The thing to remember is that the Leviathan functions as the Totem or the Relic in Mystery Cult Initiation terms. Or perhaps the Purpose, depending on how you want the Wake to work. Does the Leviathan ground the faith of the Cult, or if the Cult only needs the Wake and will exist as long as people are inside said Wake.
                      • Totems grant a 4th Aspiration, which seems to be a good start. Personally I'd let the ST pick which Aspiration the Cult picks up, barring silly choices...
                      "Why is everyone paving the streets in wood?"
                      "...I wanted to build a veranda & I haven't gotten around to it yet. So yeah, they've picked up my Wake. I've told them to stop, but I'm not a part of the Cult, so..."
                      • Cult Benefits describe how the group functions and the basic mentality there of. Also there is a lot more variation than just Reach & Grasp. Just a thought.


                      Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                      • #12
                        Will leviathans still be ocean based or can they finally leave the ocean and into land without penalties.
                        Last edited by reaperfrost8; 03-10-2015, 01:01 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by reaperfrost8 View Post
                          Will leviathans still be ocean based or can they finally leave land without penalties.
                          I'd be interested in seeing the fabled "Jormugandr" Strain brought into the rules, even as a sidebar.


                          Words of Wisdom from the Forums:
                          "Don't be unlucky and get dead by a wolf-man."
                          "Most of the current eras are too modern, we need 'Dark Eras: The electroweak epoch'."

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                          • #14
                            Ooh, I wish I could do more than my support. Unfortunately, all I have is Vampire 2E to go off of.

                            Split morality does add an extra layer to the Leviathans, in my opinion. Insofar, it could tie into the "puberty" aspect; maybe playing into the idea of having some sort of power fantasy to deal with the realization of the Leviathan's own nature (sorta like having the idea of "bullying the bully" work into the "Beastly" morality and have something like "being the popular kid" work into the "Godhood" morality, to use metaphors). To be entirely honest, I feel that "Beastly" and "Godhood" could be worked into one type of morality while the other is based around the Leviathan accepting its nature and taking responsibility, to continue the "puberty" idea.

                            For example, the original system Tranquility works through being able to accept difficulties and coping in an acceptable manner (thereby remaining Tranquil); high Tranquility represents an individual that is capable of existing beyond the walls of their cult, acting as their own free agent, low Tranquility represents an individual who is stuck in a delusion and is incapable of moving on in their own life. The "Beastly" and "Godhood" aspects work with how the individual conducts themselves through their Tranquility and I just translated D&D alignments into Leviathan, didn't I?

                            Does this sound like it would fit in Leviathan or am I entirely off the mark?

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                            • #15
                              Is the theme of stagnation still a major theme of the game?

                              How would that work mechanically?

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