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Simplified Ephemeral Being Rules [You'll probably hate this!]

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  • Simplified Ephemeral Being Rules [You'll probably hate this!]

    One of my biggest problems with Ephemeral Beings, from the perspective of someone who prefers their games much closer to the mortal power level, is that they are too heavy mechanically for something where, as far as mortals are concerned, Rank becomes a "you can only get rid of this thing with special tricks". And there's the fact that, well...

    I prefer my spirits and ghosties to be a bit more of a break from reality - they're something that you drive off or propitiate in a psuedo-dream. Clearly, this means that these rules aren't going to work for, say, Werewolf or Geist. So, anyway...

    My Assumptions:
    1. Ephemeral Beings do not roll dice.
    2. Ephemeral Beings lack a "health bar" entirely.
    3. Ephemeral Beings are built entirely from Aspirations, Influences, Willpower, their Rank, and an Essence Capacity. Full stop - they can take Conditions and such, but otherwise? Nada. Tilts, especially, are entirely cosmetic on Ephemeral Beings.
    4. "Kill the thing" is not a valid solution to your problems. You need to work through a Ghost's issues, starve a Spirit, or render an Angel's mission impossible.

    The Basic Rules
    Each Ephemeral Being possesses the following traits:

    Rank: Every Ephemeral Being possesses a rank from 0 to 10; however, Ephemeral Beings with ranks beyond 5 fall entirely under the aegis of "plot device", so these rules only cover them from Rank 0 to Rank 5. They get additional benefits as given below:

    Rank Essence Capacity Influences Numinous Conditions
    0* Starving One at Low None
    1 Low One at Low None
    2 Low Two at Low, or One at Medium One
    3 Medium Two at Medium One
    4 Medium Three at Medium, or Two at High Two
    5 High Three at High Three
    *A side effect of a Rank 1 Ephemeral Being regaining Essence at an inappropriately aspected Locus; Ephemera do not normally fall this low.

    Essence Capacity: All Ephemeral Beings possess an Essence Capacity, which determines how often they can throw around their spiritual weight. There are five levels of Essence Capacity, of which only three are applied to healthy Ephemeral Beings:
    Dormant
    An Ephemeral Being reduced to this Essence Capacity is forced into dormancy. Over time, they will slowly slide back Elsewhere, unless they are bound to a Vessal. A dormant Ephemeral Being may recover lost Capacity normally.

    Starved
    An Ephemeral Being starved of Essence is on damage control. They cannot use their Influences for anything other than spending Willpower.

    Low
    The weakest of "healthy" Ephemera, Ephemeral Beings with this level of Essence Capacity can use one Low-cost Influence before needing to refresh Essence.

    Medium
    The majority of powerful Ephemera possess Medium Capacity - this allows them to use two Low-cost Influences or one Medium-cost Influence before needing to refresh Essence.

    High
    Reserved for spirit lords and the higher choirs of angels, High Capacity allows an Ephemeral Being to use three Low-cost Influence, two Medium-cost Influences, or one High-cost Influence before needing to refresh Essence.
    Influences: Influences come in three levels: Low, Medium, and High. Ephemera fail any action that is not at least tangentially related to their Influence. They receive one automatic Success on any action that is related to their Influences for each level they have (so a Ghost with a Medium Influence over Cats would have two Successes on any action involving cats). They lose one Success if the action is only tangentially related, but gain one Success if the action particularly resonates with their thematics.
    Alternatively, they may use a Low-Cost Influence to gain one additional Success, and can spend Willpower to add one Success to their total.
    Additionally, Influences decide the supernatural powers of an Ephemeral Being - see the next post for more details.

    Numinous Conditions: Some Ephemeral Beings are a bit more complex than just their Influences. As such, higher rank Ephemeral Beings possess a number of Numinous Conditions - a set of unique Persistent Conditions which define further traits of the Ephemeral Being. Due to the nature of Ephemeral Beings, Numinous Conditions rarely inflict any dice bonuses or penalties; instead, they redefine how the Ephemera gains or loses Willpower and Essence, and sometimes add additional powers not covered by their Influences.

    Willpower: Ephemeral Beings all possess a number of Aspirations equal to the highest level of Influences they have (so an Angel with two Influences at High would possess three Aspirations). Upon completing an Aspiration, the Ephemeral Being gains one Willpower; additionally, Ephemera gain one Willpower whenever they would take a Beat from a Numinous Condition, as well as one Willpower when they recover from Dormant Capacity.

    Bans and Banes: Ephemeral Beings possess Bans and Banes, limitations on their fundamental functionality. Ephemera cannot voluntarily take any actions that would break one of their Bans, and automatically resist any effect that would make them do so. Ephemeral Beings must spend one Willpower each turn they are in contact with their Bane or suffer the effects of spending a Scene in an area with Closed Essence.

    The Essence Economy
    Essence does not flow freely, and not all Essence is equally "tasty" to an Ephemeral Being. There are, effectively, four levels of appropriateness for Essence.
    Closed
    If Essence is closed, it implies that the Ephemera in question is incapable of processing the resonances. At the beginning of each Scene, the Ephemeral Being either loses the Essence Glut condition or "uses" a single Low-cost Influence. This use simply drains Essence from the Being - if there are no uses left, their Essence Capacity drops by one step. In addition, reduce the number of automatic successes an Ephemeral Being gets by one for any action it attempts while in a Closed area.

    Unlocked
    This actually covers an umbrella of different ways an Ephemeral Being can subsist on Essence flows - each type of Ephemera having a different name for it. At the beginning of each Scene, the Ephemeral Being either refreshes their Essence or raises their Essence Capacity by one step, to a maximum of Low. In addition, Ephemeral Beings with High Capacity treat the area as Closed - the Essence simply is not rich enough to sustain them.

    Open
    If the Essence is open, the Ephemera can gorge themselves on. An area Open to a particular type of Essence allows appropriate Ephemera to raise their Essence Capacity all the way to the normal Capacity for the Rank - besides also being able to sustain a High Capacity Ephemeral Being, Open areas are treated as if they were Unlocked. There isn't an infinite amount of Essence to go around, however; at the end of any Scene where an Ephemeral Being raised their Essence Capacity to Medium or simply refreshed their Essence Capacity (for being with High Capacity), the area reverts to being Unlocked. If an Ephemeral Being raises their Essence Capacity to High, the area reverts immediately.

    Locus
    Loci are wellsprings of a particular type of Essence, and are one of the few places powerful enough to fully sustain a High Capacity Ephemeral Being. A Locus is considered to be an Open area with a rating from one to five. Over the course of a full day, an number of "packets" of excess Essence accumulate within the Locus. Whenever the area would revert to Open from refreshing Essence or raising Essence Capacity, it instead loses one of the packets. In addition, Ephemeral Beings may "eat" a packet, gaining the Essence Glut condition.

    Inappropriate Loci
    An Ephemeral Being may refresh or increase their Essence Capacity at a Locus that contains inappropriate Essence. If they do so, their Rank is reduced by 1, and they must replace one of their Influences with one appropriate to the Locus in question. Their lost Rank regenerates slowly over time, though the now-warped being is probably only tangentially related to what they were before.
    Essence Glut
    You have just filled your metaphorical belly with delicious, delicious Essence. It's pretty much the opposite of when a non-ephemeral being overeats. Treat your Essence Capacity as if it were one step higher; if you were already at High Capacity, you may use a High-cost Influence twice before refreshing. You may choose to forgo refreshing your Essence at the beginning of each Scene.
    Beat: Spend a scene without spending any Essence.
    Resolution: Refresh your Essence; you are forced to do so if you possess no more uses for your Influences.
    Last edited by amechra; 02-08-2016, 08:00 PM.


    I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

    So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

  • #2
    Reserved for Revised Influence Rules and Ephemeral Being Types


    I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

    So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

    Comment


    • #3
      While I, at least, am fine with the ephemeral rules as they stand, I've never seen the problem with having yet another system. Do continue.


      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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      • #4
        This looks very interesting, please do continue.


        Darkframe - Crossover setting that puts Chronicles of Darkness in the far future that is Warframe.

        "The weeping in the world will not decrease if we do not weep together."

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        • #5
          Well, this has a lot of potential.

          I'm watching this.


          "My Homebrew Hub"
          Age of Azar
          The Kingdom of Yamatai

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          • #6
            I like where this is going. It's kinda like a Brief Nightmares system, but the purpose is very different. It's a good way to address the old "Lovecraftian monstrosities shouldn't have stats" problem.

            EDIT: I bet that Numinous Conditions will include the sort of powers that dramatically alter the course of the scene the moment they take effect. Strange Environmental Tilts and Amechra's Awful Presence Numen come to mind.
            Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 02-27-2016, 12:28 AM.


            "Fate is a cruel jester with a finely developed sense of irony." - Sir Night as portrayed by Leliel, The Horror Recognition Guide

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            • #7
              My thought on this system is that Werewolves get the least benefit from stateless spirits.

              It's harder to rend, tear, and devour spirits without a health bar afterall.
              They can Harry and whittle at the preys essence.. but actually harming it isn't doable.

              I suppose not every splat would find the same rules good.


              Mechs: Because even the Chronicles of Darkness needs robot fights.
              DarkFrame: Crossover setting that puts Chronicles of Darkness in the far future that is Warframe.
              Monarch: The Endless You are an alien ruler, charged with maintaining a people who you shape to suit your needs.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Almarck View Post
                My thought on this system is that Werewolves get the least benefit from stateless spirits.

                It's harder to rend, tear, and devour spirits without a health bar afterall.
                They can Harry and whittle at the preys essence.. but actually harming it isn't doable.

                I suppose not every splat would find the same rules good.
                Originally posted by amechra View Post
                Clearly, this means that these rules aren't going to work for, say, Werewolf or Geist.
                Already taken into consideration.


                I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

                So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by amechra View Post



                  Already taken into consideration.

                  My perception check failed


                  Mechs: Because even the Chronicles of Darkness needs robot fights.
                  DarkFrame: Crossover setting that puts Chronicles of Darkness in the far future that is Warframe.
                  Monarch: The Endless You are an alien ruler, charged with maintaining a people who you shape to suit your needs.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I.... don't understand the point. It seems to me that you are simply rewording the same rules. I'm not seeing any functional differences here other than being simpler. Hells, even with current ephemeral being rules, if you inflict all Health levels full of damage, the spirit simply reforms and no issue is resolved. Even in Werewolf, it won't be too much different, since the majority of spirits tend to be dealt with through draining all their essence and preventing new food soiurces, or sealing them away, or undoing their anchors, etc.

                    I feel like you're just making the same rules more abstract.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MCN View Post
                      I.... don't understand the point. It seems to me that you are simply rewording the same rules. I'm not seeing any functional differences here other than being simpler. Hells, even with current ephemeral being rules, if you inflict all Health levels full of damage, the spirit simply reforms and no issue is resolved. Even in Werewolf, it won't be too much different, since the majority of spirits tend to be dealt with through draining all their essence and preventing new food soiurces, or sealing them away, or undoing their anchors, etc.

                      I feel like you're just making the same rules more abstract.
                      Well, in Amechra's defense, the official rules could have had a bit more mechanical back-up for how to starve a spirit once you fill their Corpus with aggravated damage. You've got Gifts and Rites that help with that, sure, but it's nice to have guidelines that you can use even when you're not playing the games where those ephemeral beings are important to their part of the cosmology.

                      In simpler terms, I guess Amechra wants the conflicts with ephemeral beings to feel more like quests than fights.
                      Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 02-29-2016, 04:47 PM.


                      "Fate is a cruel jester with a finely developed sense of irony." - Sir Night as portrayed by Leliel, The Horror Recognition Guide

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MCN View Post
                        I feel like you're just making the same rules more abstract.
                        Yep!

                        I very seldom have a "point" to what I do. Most people come up with justifications for their actions after the fact, anyway, so while I could give you my reasons for doing this, they'd probably be lies.

                        But if I had to guess: I felt like doing it.


                        I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

                        So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by amechra View Post

                          Yep!

                          I very seldom have a "point" to what I do. Most people come up with justifications for their actions after the fact, anyway, so while I could give you my reasons for doing this, they'd probably be lies.

                          But if I had to guess: I felt like doing it.
                          I thought you were trying to discourage the bee-line resolution that some players always use as the first tactic when dealing with otherworldly terrors. You know how the first rule of Munchkinism goes: "any finite number can be reduced to zero" (i.e. "if it has stats, we can kill it"). I mean, you told me something very true a while ago when you saw one of my homebrewed Numina with drawbacks (which I have since corrected). Even a Rank 1 spirit is a tiny god, and you aren't supposed to think of gods as things you can just kill. I, for one, felt like there was something lacking in my sheet for The Stag, even when I made it Rank 7 and gave it loads of powers and house rules. I am pretty sure that was the same reasoning the developers of Changeling 2ED used when they focused on the Huntsmen instead of the Gentry.

                          I might be phrasing it wrong, but I still love the central idea behind this.


                          "Fate is a cruel jester with a finely developed sense of irony." - Sir Night as portrayed by Leliel, The Horror Recognition Guide

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                          • #14
                            But that's just it, Feast. Spirits reduced to zero health aren't killed. Unless you somehow drain all their essence, which, frankly, isn't going to happen. Spirits can "kill" themselves first.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MCN View Post
                              But that's just it, Feast. Spirits reduced to zero health aren't killed. Unless you somehow drain all their essence, which, frankly, isn't going to happen. Spirits can "kill" themselves first.
                              Agreed. What I'm trying to say is that this system, even if effectively the same as the official one, still takes the focus away from direct and reckless confrontation, with streamlined crunch to support it. I like that, but I can see where you're coming from.

                              I suppose we should wait until Amechra fills out the second post before continuing this discussion.


                              "Fate is a cruel jester with a finely developed sense of irony." - Sir Night as portrayed by Leliel, The Horror Recognition Guide

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