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Demigod: the Empyrean [Fansplat]

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  • Demigod: the Empyrean [Fansplat]

    I was looking at the Totem beasts thread earlier today and it struck me that the idea of the thing - that a being of power could bind itself to a community in a mutually beneficial relationship - would make an interesting idea for a fansplat. This then led to a brainstorm of how that fansplat could be arranged and thence to a melting pot of themes from several different book series, films, games and a couple of unfinished fansplats (namely Giant the Perfidious) and I arrived at this, a kind of antithesis to Beasts.

    Demigod: the Empyrean

    A Storytelling game of divine might and earthly attachment


    You were mortal, once. What you are now, you're not quite certain but one thing is certain: You are more than you once were. And with the vast power that you might one day command comes equally vast responsibility. You are half-divine now, of the ilk of the great heroes of myth and legend. What will you do with the power of a god at your fingertips?.

    Introduction

    In Demigod: the Empyrean, you play as an Empyrean, a person who grew up thinking that you were mortal until, during a moment of transcendent understanding and passion, you Ascended and became a being more than human but less than divine: a demigod. You are granted power, though from what source you do not know. Now you must decide what to do with your newfound might. Will you lord over mortals as a god among men? Will you deny your divine heritage and attempt to return to a normal life? Will you crusade into the branches of the world-tree and try to discover your origins?
    What will you make of yourself? The future is uncertain but no matter what your destiny is, it will be glorious.

    Themes:

    Responsibility for Subordinates

    Demigods are naturally charismatic creatures, to the point that cliques, cults and other self-glorifying organisations spring up around them almost naturally. However, as pleasing as this might be for the ego, it also comes with responsibility for those who depend upon your power, both in terms of their protection and in ensuring that they do not do things in your name that betray both you and themselves.

    Abuse of Power

    It is easy, almost effortless, for a demigod to abuse those around him. The effects of Halysis make it so that all but a rare few cannot spend long in his presence without coming to see him as a higher being, someone to be obeyed. Eventually, they will perceive him as a physical god, no matter his actual power, and will do anything that he asks of them, even to the point of suicide or atrocity. Even beyond this, demigods are virtually immune to the laws and constrictions of mortals. After all, what prison could hold one? Even if deprived of their power source, Potentia, within a few weeks a demigod could have the prisoners and even the wardens worshipping him and providing him with such. Even weapons of mortal make are severely weakened against a demigod as his very nature rejects the concept of being harmed by such artifices. The only authority that a demigod is truly beholden to is himself, his kind and the other creatures which slink in the shadows of the World of Darkness.

    The Divide Between Mundane and Divine

    Divine power is not of this world. It does not belong here and it can only express itself in limited, stunted ways here. Mighty still, but confined by the constraints of flesh and matter. The divine is pure, unrestrained possibility. By contrast, where the divine is bright, the mundane is dim. Where the divine is loud, the mundane is quiet. Where the divine is dramatic, the mundane is subtle. there is beauty in its subtlety though. In the mundane world, a demigod can experience familial love where in the divine there is jealousy, hatred, true love and epic romance. In the mundane world the demigod can witness the beauty of a quiet day while in the divine there are dragons and monsters to battle. For demigods, the mundane world is a place of refuge where they can rest from the tumult of god-wars and pretend, for a time, that they are still human.

    Mood:

    Terrible Glory

    Divine beings in legends are rarely pleasant beings. They might favour a hero or grant him boons but they never do so out of the goodness of their heart. They want something in return. Also, the power of the divine is not something mortals are fit to look upon. Just as the seraph covered their bodies with their wings lest the mortals they conferred with be turned to ash, so too must the power of demigods be concealed from the world lest it burn it to a cinder or drown it in a second Deluge.

    Uncertainty

    For all their power, the Empyrean have almost no idea where it comes from. What chooses them for this power and denies it to others? Are they all descendants of true gods, like the demigods in Greek mythology? Are their heirs to a divine bloodline? Are they ordained by God or some other being of similar power? Were they ever human or are they beings of power cast down into human form? They have questions enough to fill libraries and precious few answers.

    Power Stat:


    Luminance

    In a demigod’s Ascension, his former soul is retooled, shaped into a vessel and a gateway for the power of the divine. The infinite light and cold fire of the divine pour through the hole that used to be the demigod’s soul, filling them up with possibility incarnate. As the gateway grows and more of the flame supernal burns through, it permeates the demigod’s mind and body ever more fully, allowing them to wield ever-greater amounts of Potentia and to work Miracles which rival those told of in myth and legend.
    Luminance Max. Attribute Potentia/Turn Numinous Form Traits Number of Icons/maximum dots of imbued Miracles Sources of faith* Fading intervals
    1 5 10/3 3 1/3 Any 1 month
    2 5 13/5 4 1/5 Any 3 weeks
    3 5 15/7 5 1/7 Any 2 week
    4 5 18/9 6 2/9 Aligned 1 week
    5 5 20/11 7 2/12 Aligned 5 days
    6 6 25/13 9 3/15 Aligned 3 days
    7 7 30/15 10 3/18 Aligned 2 days
    8 8 35/17 12 4/22 Singular 1 day
    9 9 45/20 13 4/24 Singular 12 hours
    10 10 60/25 15 5/30 Singular 6 hours
    *See Disadvantages of Luminance

    Advantages of Luminance
    • As a demigod’s Luminance grows, he becomes able to safely use and contain more Potentia.
    • Demigods with Luminance of more than 5 dots find that the power of the divine suffuses even their mortal forms, allowing them to surpass human limits and purchase Attributes of more than 5 dots.
    • As a Demigod’s Luminance grows, his Numinous Form grows ever more powerful, increasing in Size and the number of Form Traits that it can support.
    • Many aspects of a demigod’s power, most notably Miracles, are affected by Luminance. The greater a demigod’s Luminance, the easier it is to manifest more powerful miracles.
    • Luminance is used as a resistance trait when resisting supernatural powers, both those of other demigods and of other, stranger, creatures.
    • Luminance determines how many Icons a demigod can have, as well as the amount of Miracles that can be imbued into them.
    Disadvantages of Luminance
    • The greater a demigod’s Luminance, the more potent the effects of his Halysis and Rapture. Whether this is strictly a disadvantage depends on which demigod you ask.
    • As a demigod’s Luminance grows, along with the amount of Potentia that that Luminance creates, he ‘burns through’ faith that much quicker, shortening the time over which the phenomenon known as the Fading takes place (see P. XX).
    • As a demigod’s Luminance becomes greater, the ‘tastes’ of his divine soul for faith become ever more rarefied. At first, a demigod can sustain himself upon any form of faith, in an ideal, in a person, in another god. Later, a demigod will find himself only able to fuel his Luminance with faith in those things that he agrees with and supports himself. Eventually, only faith in the demigod himself will satisfy, driving elder demigods to maintain well-kept and populous cults and religions centred around themselves; not only out of narcissism and hubris but as a necessity.
      • Any means exactly that: that a demigod may reap faith (see P. XX) from any person with honest faith in anything, as well as any place where people with this honest faith gather regularly to perform activities relating to their faith.Such locations become impregnated with this faith and are often called Temples by demigods.
      • Aligned means that the source of faith must be aligned to the demigod's own view of the world in order to be viable. An example would be a demigod who believes himself to be a fallen angel who rebelled against God. He would likely be able to harvest faith from that of revolutionaries in their leader, from monotheistic churches and possibly from satanists. However, the faith of a buddhist would almost certainly be unpalatable to him.
      • Singular means that a demigod may only harvest faith from worship of and faith in himself. This usually means that a demigod who wishes to attain the highest levels of Luminance must have some kind of following or cult, or else be a popular figure who people have faith in. Many demigods who attain this level of power tend to legitimise their religions and try to spread them as far as they can, so as to allow them to travel relatively freely without having to bring a bunch of followers along with them.


    Fuel Stat:

    Potentia
    Potentia is the power that arises from a demigod’s Luminance, the heat to its flame. It is the energy of the divine, that which allows the demigod to work Miracles and to manifest his Numinous Form in the mortal world. It is the very lifeblood of a demigod, the divine ichor that flows in their veins and sustains them.

    However, Potentia, like all energy, does not simply spring into existence from nothing. In order to produce heat, a flame needs fuel and as fuel is to a furnace, so is faith to a demigod’s divine soul. Without the faith of mortals to sustain them, demigods will fade into nothingness, lessening in power and divine might first, before their body withers and eventually they even fade from memory itself.

    Unlike other character resources in the Chronicles of Darkness, such as Willpower and the various supernatural fuels used by other varieties of supernatural creatures (Vitae for vampires, Essence for werewolves, spirits and ghosts, Mana for mages and so on), Potentia is not harvested from outside sources and spent. Rather, it arises within the demigod himself, emanating from his own Luminance and instead of being spent it is committed for a given length of time, the exact time in question being determined by the purpose to which the Potentia is being put.


    Morality Splat(s)

    Attachment

    Attachment is a measure of how connected the demigod is to both the mortal and divine worlds. High Attachment signifies a close connection to mortality but makes it harder to manifest divine power while making it easier to control. Low Attachment makes it easier to defy the limits of the corporeal world but simultaneously makes it harder to control those miracles. Attachment is not all that closely connected with morality as humans understand it although actions that show a disregard for mortals and the human condition are generally breaking points towards low Attachment.
    Attachment Bonus/penalty to Invocation Bonus/penalty to control
    10 -4 4
    9 -3 3
    8 -2 2
    7 -1 1
    6 0 0
    5 0 0
    4 1 -1
    3 2 -2
    2 3 -3
    1 4 -4


    Virtue/Vice Equivalent


    Myth is a demigod's equivalent to a Virtue. A demigod's Myth is the kind of god that he is, it's what people would tell myths about. Regardless of the form they take, Myths are always, well, mythic. You don't get demigods with a Myth of Environmentally Aware.

    Example Myths would be: Benevolent, Wrathful, Demanding, Manipulative, Proud

    Impulse is the part of the demigod that is decidedly not divine. It's a human failing taken to epic levels. It's the Impulse that drove Zeus' promiscuity, Hera's jealousy and Aphrodite's vanity.

    Example Impulses would be: Jealous, Promiscuous, Vain, Narcissist, Impatient, Lazy


    X Splat:


    Aspect

    Upon their Ascension to demigodhood, all demigods become aligned to an aspect of reality, within which they hold dominion. The four Aspects are:

    Chaos: Anarchists and revolutionaries, Chaos-aspected demigods are avatars of the changing and unpredictable nature of reality. These Empyrean commonly hold domain over powerful natural forces such fire, storms, the sky or the seas, as well as conflict or war.

    Order: Order-aspected demigods are of the kind of Thoth or Athena, teachers and builders.They feel the need to beget structure and are the legendary progenitors of civilisation. They usually rule over things such as fate, time, space, knowledge, wisdom, law and other structured things, although some also embody darker inevitabilities such as death or old age.

    Destruction: The demigods who rule under the Aspect of Destruction are typically quiet and contemplative and are driven to the dissolution and destruction of that which is. Unsurprisingly, they often rule over domains such as death, rot, corruption, cold, water and so on, as well as inevitabilities such as time or fate.

    Creation: The Aspect of Creation seems at first to be more benevolent than the others, but there is a reason why, in myths, fertility gods were often dangerous. Demigods under the Aspect of Creation often hold Domains such as light, animals, plants, health earth and water. Those who think that these Empyrean are weak, though, have never experienced the terror of a flood.




    Y Splat:


    Following

    A combination of a philosophy on the divine, a support network and a church, a Following is an organisation of demigods that believe in a particular way the world works. There are hundreds of Followings worldwide, believing in everything from a One God whom all demigods serve to an animistic world full of Kami and Yokai. Within a given area there may be anything from one to dozens of Followings.


    Inherent Powers:



    Icons
    Upon a demigod’s Ascension, an item with particular emotional importance to the nascent divinity invariably becomes infused with a fragment of their power and twists into a shape fitting for the demigod’s Purview. A demigod of war will find that his trusty rifle has become an exemplar of its kind, never rusting or jamming and inscribing itself with symbols of its master’s power while an Empyrean of knowledge finds that his notebook has become a leather-bound tome with seemingly infinite pages.

    Beyond these petty marvels, a demigod’s Icon is a vessel for his power, allowing him to imbue true Miracles into it and allowing him to call upon those powers with little or no expenditure of Potentia.

    On the other hand, an icon can be lost, stolen or given away and retains its powers even while not in the hands of its master. Even mortals can call upon their power with an expenditure of Willpower.

    Ageless

    Following their Ascension, demigods age no further unless they are not yet mature, in which case they age to maturity. Demigods who Ascend at an advanced age (rare but possible) have the same limits on their physical Attributes as those who Ascend at any other age. An Empyrean who Ascended at the age of 70 can be as spry and strong as one who Ascended in the prime of youth.

    Numinous Form

    All demigods have a semi-divine form which they can take on in order to access more of their power, as well as enjoying the benefits that come with a superhuman body. Numinous Forms use the simplified rules for Ephemeral entities (that is, they use Power/Resistance/Finesse for stats, calculated from the highest of Power, Resistance and Finesse Attributes) except they are permanently Manifested (unless a Domain is used to vanish) and each possesses a number of Form Traits determined by their Luminance.

    The player is free to design the look of his Numinous Form for the most part, limited only by what Form traits he can purchase. Thus, a feathered serpent god with wings of iridescent feathers is just as valid as a statuesque figure with muscles befitting a bodybuilder.


    Halysis

    Halysis is the name that demigods give to the effect that their inner divinity has upon the minds of mortals around him. It causes them to see the demigod through a lens of their own beliefs and values, making them see the Empyrean as an exemplar of virtue and rightness, someone who deserves respect. The kind of person one would follow. However, it also causes mortals to see the demigod as a symbol, a vindication of their opinions and prejudices. In much the same way as religions throughout history have used divine patronage as justification for reprehensible acts, so too does Halysis cause the unfortunate mortal to use the Empyrean's presence and patronage (or 'patronage') of them to justify their actions, even as they take them to greater and greater lengths. People who once quietly disagreed with atheism now brandish hateful slogans and yell obscenities at those who don't go to church on Sundays. People who were brought up with a distrust of beggars and homeless people now sneer at them and spit as they walk past, blaming them for their own misfortunes. A scientist trying to prove that his method of gene therapy works kidnaps people off the streets and experiments on them, secure in the knowledge that this is for the 'greater good'.

    Whenever a demigod spends an entire scene in the presence of a mortal, roll the Empyrean's Presence + Luminance vs the mortal's Composure + Resolve. If the demigod scores more successes than the mortal, the mortal gains 1 level of Halysis. If the mortal beats the demigod, he gains no levels of Halysis, except if he scored 5 more successes than the demigod, in which he loses a number of levels of Halysis equal to (Composure). If the demigod is in Numinous Form for any period of time during the scene and is seen by the mortal in question, roll with Power + Luminance instead of Presence.

    Halysis effects mortals according to 'Thresholds', mental breaking points at which point the Halysis cause greater and greater effects. Each mortal can withstand a number of Halysis levels per Threshold equal to (Resolve + Composure + 2). This is her Halysis Tolerance. When a mortal has suffered a number of levels of Halysis equal to her Tolerance, she moves on to the next threshold and begins to suffer its effects.

    If a mortal affected b Halysis has no contact with the demigod for a number of days equal to the demigod's Luminance, he may roll Resolve + Composure. On a success, the mortal goes down by one Threshold. An exceptional success removes (Resolve) Thresholds and a failure means that nothing is lost. A dramatic failure causes the mortal to roll again as if he had spent a scene in the presence of the demigod.

    Seeing is Believing (Paragon Threshold)
    Your character has been in the presence of a Demigod and failed to withstand his glory, giving the impression that the Demigod is someone to look up to. However, the character also sees the Demigod as an excuse to lash out with their prejudices. Your character automatically gains a good impression in the case of the Demigod, and wherever it would be appropriate to lash out with the character's prejudices, the character must roll Resolve + Composure and succeed not to do so.
    Beat: Take a Beat every time your character fails to withhold their prejudice due to this condition.
    Causing the Condition: The character gains enough Halysis to reach this threshold.
    Ending the Condition: The Character moves up to the Hero threshold or sheds the Threshold by rolling Resolve + Composure after (Luminance) days have passed.

    Hero Worshipper (Hero Threshold)
    Your character has spent more time in the presence of a Demigod, and now is laid low by their awe towards the Demigod. They see him as someone to be respected and every request fulfilled. Your character loses a Door in Social Maneuvering with the Demigod opening them, and your character does not get 10 Again in any rolls that would go against the Demigod. Their prejudices also become more justified by their faith, your character is considered to fail any roll where they would resist acting on their prejudice unless it would cause a Breaking Point.
    Beat: Take a beat when your character suffers a hardship due to their prejudice caused by this condition.
    Causing the Condition: The character gains enough Halysis to reach this threshold.
    Ending the Condition: The Character moves up to the Archetype Threshold or sheds the Threshold by rolling Resolve + Composure after (Luminance) days have passed.

    Yes Man (Archetype Threshold)
    Your character has spent so much time in the Demigod's presence that he's basically basking in it whenever the Demigod is known. To them, the Demigod is without reproach, every act is done for the greater good. Your character loses 3 Doors when engaging in Social Maneuvering with the Demigod, and the Demigod gains 9 Again in speaking with them. Also, your character no longer has the restraint in their opinions, making them able to commit Breaking Points so long as they will not be discovered. Any attempt to restrain themselves from acting on their opinions or prejudices where they can commit a Breaking Point and get away with it automatically fails.
    Beat: Take a Beat when your character commits a breaking point in the name of their own opinions or prejudices.
    Beat: Take a Beat whenever your character suffers a hardship at the Demigod's request or as a result of their requests.
    Causing the Condition: The Character gains enough Halysis to reach this Threshold.
    Ending the Condition: The character moves up to the Symbol Threshold or sheds the Threshold by rolling Resolve + Composure after (Luminance) days have passed.

    Sycophant (Symbol Threshold)
    Your character barely even resists the Demigod's glory, such that it flows into him and makes him more willing to act in favor of that glory. Perhaps by serving him, the Demigod may be pleased to give some of that glory to the servant...? Your character loses 5 doors when engaging in Social Maneuvering with the Demigod, and the Demigod gains 8 Again against your character. Your character also loses regard of other people's opinions, adding a penalty of half the Demigod's Luminance to all rolls any other character would try to reason with them.
    Beat: Take a Beat when your character suffers a significant hardship due to their prejudices.
    Beat: Take a Beat whenever your character suffers a significant hardship due to the Demigod's request or as a result of their requests.
    Causing the Condition: Your character gains enough Halysis to reach this Threshold.
    Ending the Condition: The Character moves up to the God Threshold or sheds the Threshold by rolling Resolve + Composure after (Luminance) days have passed.

    Fanatic (God Threshold)
    Your character is now fully open to the awe of a Demigod, worshipping them as the god they are and losing what little restraint they had left against acting on their prejudices and opinions. The only restraint that remains is perhaps the Demigod's own demands. Your character loses 7 Doors when engaging in Social Maneuvering with the Demigod, and the Demigod gains Rote Quality in their rolls of Social Maneuvering against your character. Your character also doesn't care about committing Breaking points in the name of the Demigod, being fanatical as they are. However, the word of the Demigod is law, and if the Demigod forbids your characters actions, then they will not act upon it. This doesn't mean your character can't think of ways to get around it or act in other ways of course.
    Beat: Take a beat whenever your character suffers a Breaking Point in the name of their Demigod.
    Beat: Take a beat whenever your character acts out in favor of the Demigod at a cost to themselves.
    Causing the Condition: Your Character gains enough Halysis to reach this Threshold or sheds the Threshold by rolling Resolve + Composure after (Luminance) days have passed.

    The Rapture

    The divine nature of a demigod is not a quiet or subtle thing. Even beyond its direct effects, divinity is a difficult thing for mortals to handle. Divinity wants to be recognised as such. Divinity wants to be praised. Divinity is not content to sit in a corner office processing files.

    The Rapture is the manifestation of this desire. When it is allowed an escape through the use of Miracles or is made manifest in Numinous Form, the divine power seeps into the minds of mortals looking upon it and twists them. Any mortal that witnesses an obvious Miracle or a demigod in Numinous Form must roll Resolve + Composure, suffering a penalty equal to the demigod’s Luminance rating. Mortals with Supernatural merits add a number of dice equal to the highest-rated Supernatural merit they possess to the roll. Mortals with the Disciple Merit are immune to the Rapture. Mortals must roll again for each successive Miracle they witness, although numinous Form only causes one roll. Mortals must roll separately for each demigod they witness using Miracles or in Numinous Form.

    Roll Results:

    Dramatic Failure: The mortal falls to their knees, covering their eyes huddling away from the demigod. The mortal suffers Lethal damage equal to the demigod’s Luminance rating as unrestrained divinity sears his mind and gains the Beaten Down Tilt. Once the scene ends, the mortal falls unconscious and awakes with only fuzzy memories of the event. In addition, he immediately gains a Halysis Threshold. He will recall only that he saw something that shook his faith in the way the world works and suffers nightmares that he can never quite remember about the event.

    Failure: The mortal gains the Beaten Down Tilt and retains only fuzzy memories of the event. He automatically gains a number of levels in Halysis equal to the number of failed dice + the demigod's Luminance.

    Success: The mortal continues to function as normal, for the most part, gaining the Shaken Condition and retaining only fuzzy memories of the event. He automatically gains a number of levels in Halysis equal to the number of failed dice.

    Exceptional Success: The mortal continues to function normally and retains his memories of the event. He is considered to be immune to the Rapture and Halysis for the rest of the scene and gains no levels of Halysis.

    Eternal Flesh

    Who’s ever heard of gods being destroyed by mortals using mortal weapons? The flesh of the divine is impervious to the works of mortals. A demigod is treated as having Armour equal to (½ Luminance rounded up) in mortal form and equal to (Luminance) in Numinous Form against all non-supernatural weapons. Demigods can reflexively commit 1 Potentia for the scene to count this armour against supernatural attacks as well. Each attack requires a separate expenditure of Potentia.


    Powers:

    Domains
    When creating Domains, whether at character creation or later, there are several steps that must be followed. Indeed, a Domain is not unlike a miniature character in themselves.

    1. First, the basic concept of a Domain must be agreed between Storyteller and player. As a rough rule of thumb, a Domain can be anything that can be said to exist, even conceptually, but should not be vastly broad. ‘Life’ is far too broad, while ‘Plants’ or ‘Animals’ is pushing it somewhat. ‘Trees’ or ‘Canines’ are well within acceptable bounds. Also, nothing kills the feeling of divine power quicker than a useless or silly Domain, so try to steer clear of ‘Earthworms’ or ‘Teddy Bears’, no matter how cool an army of animated, evil teddy bears might seem to you.Example: Joshua is creating a character who was a soldier before his Ascension and has become a kind of vigilante. He decides that he wants his primary Domain to be based around conflict and proposes that to the Storyteller. The Storyteller is a bit leery of such a broad Domain, able to be applied to all forms of conflict and asks Joshua to narrow it down a bit. After some thinking, He comes up with the Domain of War, which the Storyteller deems more appropriate.

    2. Once the basic concept has been established, the Domain’s Attributes should be decided upon. Domain attributes are not numerically-defined, but rather serve as a narrative description of what that Domain does. These are important, as they define your character’s understanding of that Domain and dictate what kind of things he can do with it. Attributes are also your opportunity to add conceptual elements to concrete Domains, such as saying ‘Fire purifies’. Each Domain can have up to five attributes, and these may be altered during play with the expenditure of Experience and an altered point of view.

    Example: Having come to a decision on his Domain of War, Joshua now needs to come up with some attributes for it. He decides on
    • War hurts people
    • War is ugly
    • War divides winners from losers
    • War drives progress
    • War makes people less than they would be
    3. Assign your Domains a numerical value, from 1 to 5 dots. This defines the power of the Miracles which you can invoke with this Domain, from 1-dot miracles which might conjure a small flame to 5-dot miracles which call down rains of fire and sulfur.

    Example: After assigning his Domain attributes, Joshua decides that his character’s power over War is, while not vast, significant and so decides to give him 3 dots in the Domain.



    Antagonists


    Gigantes

    Gigantes are those demigods who have lost all connection to the mortal world and, having no human nature to shield them from the demands of their Aspect, have become its avatars, acting out its agenda in the world with no regard for the wants or lives of others. They are powerful and unpredictable beings, the only certainty in their behaviour is that they are always working towards their Aspect. Destroyers destroy, creators create, chaotes bring chaos and the lords of order seek to build monuments to their glory and make the world a clockwork paradise.

    Typhons

    Should a demigod become too attached to his human life, however, his two natures will find themselves unable to reconcile in any fashion and will tear a ‘rift’ of sorts within the demigod’s mind and Luminance. Not unlike multiple personality disorder, becoming a Typhon splits the personality of a demigod, often into three parts. One personality is, to all intents and purposes, mortal, having no supernatural abilities or memories of his activites as a demigod. Another is a ‘pure’ demigod, not unlike a Gigante and holds the demigod’s Luminance and powers.

    The last one seems to be an entirely new personality, created at the moment of the split. To those who can perceive auras, it is obvious when this personality is in control, as instead of the blinding radiance of a demigod’s aura or the human aura of the mortal personality, the aura of the aptly-named ‘Hollow’ personality is like a black hole, consuming any supernatural energies near it, especially Potentia. It can leech the magical fuel straight from the bodies of demigods, Teras, or even creatures like werewolves or mages and has its own powers based on the rejection of reality and the nihilistic urges to which the Hollow is slave.

    Teras or Titanspawn

    Populating the Drasil are countless outlandish creatures, seemingly sprang straight from myth and legend, from chimeras to dragons to dwarves to evil spirits. While not all are malicious, many are and take great delight in making mischief for Empyrean visitors. Many claim Gardr of their won and a few have even set up their own petty kingdoms in the branches of the Great Tree, populated with human slaves taken from the phenomenal world or by lesser races such as dwarves or gremlins.

    While few Teras have the ability to enter the phenomenal world, those who can are greatly valued and are often vicious creatures more than capable of creating havoc in the phenomenal world for the short duration of their stay. Fortunately for the mortals populating the physical world, no Teras can regain Essence to sustain themselves there with ease, being forced to steal it from others or from demigods.

    Titans

    In the branches of the Great Tree, hidden away in dark corners and upon the furthest reaches, sometimes one can find what seem to be cages or prisons grown out of the Tree itself, the bars (or ropes or chains) so numerous and close-together that one can scarcely see between them. Should you try, though, you might catch a glimpse of something inside, writhing and beating at the walls of its prison or perhaps attempting to wrench its way out of its mummifying chains.

    These are the so-called Titans, fragments of primordial gods who were defeated and shattered by the first gods of humanity. Or so some say. Others say that these ‘shards’ are in fact the gods birthed by the hopes and fears of Neanderthals and early humanity, thus explaining why they seem to have, for all their power, so little understanding of the world around them.

    When a rare Titan manages to escape its bonds, they bring ruin with them. Each Titan embodies a single thing, whether water or storms or fire or fury or war and possesses and aura of sorts which imposes its nature on the world around it. Where a Titan of storms walks, hurricanes and tornadoes follow. When a Titan of fire is abroad, the world burns. They have almost absolute control over their purview and, perhaps most terrifyingly of all, can enter the mortal world, should they think to attempt it. One thing common to all Titans is that they are almost childlike, with an enormous curiosity for the world around them. Many simply wish to see and experience what is, but bring destruction by their presence. Few understand that they are actually hurting people or things with their strange Miracles. Some demigods even say that they try to help people, not comprehending that burning or drowning hem harms them.

    In a way, Titans are pitiable, but that does not make them any less powerful or dangerous. Even the greatest of demigods would have little chance to defeat a Titan on their own, let alone kill one. In fact, no method has been discovered to permanently destroy them. If their bodies are killed, they simply re-form in their prisons.

    Egregores

    In the study of the occult, an egregore is a thoughtform, a ‘being’ of sorts created from the will and collective identity of a group. In fact, it would not be incorrect to say that it is the will of a group, in the same way that if a country was attacked, it would be the will of the country to retaliate.

    In the World of Darkness, these strange quasi-beings do exist, but for the most part are ‘asleep’, so to speak, inseparable from the will that spawned them. Should a nascent egregore find itself able to feed upon the Potentia that gathers in Temples, though, they can become something more. They awake and become able to think, reason, consider and, to an extent, act. An awakened egregore is, in a way, similar to other ephemeral beings such as angels, ghosts or spirits, but has has little direct power. What power they have can only be used upon those who acknowledge or are a part of the group which spawned the egregore. An egregore born from the collective identity of a small town's churchgoers can only use its Influences or Numina upon its parishioners. They would have little in the way of direct Manifestations either, with the closest they would likely get to a Materialisation being teh Image Manifestation. They are able to Possess or Claim those under their aegis and many are more than cunning enough to use the powers they have to strengthen their organisation and therefore increase their influence and power.

    The interests of egregore and demigods align as much as they are at odds depending on the organisations that the egregore are patron for. An egregore of a demigod’s own cult is significantly more likely to work with him than that of an opposing cult or a major corporation. One perennial source of conflict is over the Temples that both egregore and demigods covet, as it is rare that both can draw from a single source without quickly damaging or destroying it.

    Other Demigods


    Hunters


    Other Worlds


    The Drasil

    The Drasil is the realm from which the power of the demigods flows. Always taking the form of some kind of skyward-reaching structure, be it some kind of vast tree, a skeletal skyscraper tall enough to reach into space or a network of caves and passages leading ever-upwards, the Drasil is the manifestation of the climb of humanity towards what it considers to be divine.

    Or at least, that’s what demigods think it is. In truth, they know very little about the realm that their greatest enemies reside within its branches and while they are within it they experience a surge of power. Artefacts of legend appear there, as do hideous monsters and even stranger beings. The Drasil is a place of great reward and great danger, even for those who are more than mortal.

    Demigods familiar with Kabbalah often compare the Drasil to the great Tree of Life, likening the lowest of the Sephirot, Malchut (the Realm) to the physical world while Yesod (the Foundation) is the Astral through which the Tree connects to human consciousness and thence to the world.

    Mechanics

    In order to enter the Drasil, a demigod must be within a Temple, in Numinous Form and obscured from the view of any mortals not possessing the Disciple Merit (although a mortal may simply avert their eyes or be asleep). The demigod then spends a point of Potentia as well as one more for each individual he or she wishes to carry into the Tree and rolls (Resolve + Luminance + Current Potentia). On a success, the demigod makes his way into the Drasil, arriving at the base of the Tree or – with a point of Willpower – at a place the demigod has been before.

    While within the Drasil, a demigod cannot leave Numinous Form.

    Sidebar: Dreams and Divinity

    Where in the greater cosmology of the World of Darkness is the Drasil? Demigods themselves mostly believe it to be an independent realm but this is as false as it is true. In truth, the Drasil has its roots in the deeper Temenos (the parts closer to the Primordial Dream) but stretches up and out of that realm. The Drasil could be called an offshoot of the Astral Realms, partially of them and yet partially not. Its 'roots' reach into the mortal realm through places of faith such as churches and temples. Mages who know of the demigods are often fascinated with the possibilities presented by the Tree. They wonder what could be found at the top and whether the secrets of true Ascension might be found within its spreading branches. After all, where better to find the secrets to attaining divinity than in a realm populated by half-divines?

    Gardr

    Within the Drasil, there are countless Gardr or ‘realms’ in old Norse. Indeed, many demigods journey to the Tree for the sake of claiming a Gard for themselves. Each Gard is a world unto itself, a pocket-dimension of sorts and each realm has a ‘patron’, an entity which shapes it. This can be a demigod, a Gigante, an Eriniye or any number of strange creatures. Gardr range in size from about the size of a medium-sized apartment to a small city. Claiming a Gard is a difficult feat, requiring the personal defeat of the previous patron and a sizable investiture of Potentia. Not many demigods can claim one on their own and most Gardr are shared among a Pantheon.


    Other Splats


    Mummies

    To the Arisen, demigods are an enigma. They can come to possess power that matches the greatest of Utterances and yet there is no evidence to suggest that they are beholden to the Judges or any other higher power. Some mummies see the Empyrean as pretender-gods, creatures that stand as a mockery of the 42 Judges. Others see them as some kind of divine messenger. Those among the Arisen who seek Apotheosis sometimes come to view demigods as something approaching a bodhisattva or perhaps what they might one day become.

    Mages

    Demigods intrigue mages, both for the mystery surrounding the source of their power but also for the similarity that the Domains of the Empyrean bear to the Arcana that mages practice. The symbolism of the Drasil is not lost on them either and among those mages privy to knowledge of the Empyrean a popular theory is that the Luminance of a demigod is an emanation of the Supernal in a similar way to the way that Yantras bear reflections of the higher Realms. In this way, demigods are living symbols of Supernal concepts. The Second Ascension is a subject of fierce debate as well and, perhaps inevitably, the most common conclusion is that it is exactly that: Ascension.

    Beasts

    To Beasts, demigods are familiar in ways both comforting and worrying. On one hand, gods are a great part of the same stories of monsters and heroes that they are so familiar with. On the other, the gods are most often on the side of the Heroes, something that, considering the potential power of a demigod, is understandably worrying. Further compacting that worry is the way in which, due to their Myths and Impulses as well as their need for Potentia, Empyrean all too often end up acting unsettlingly like Heroes. Those Beasts that befriend demigods find that their powers complement each other well, not to mention that fear of the divine is extremely easy to feed on and makes for an excellent Nightmare.

    Demigods count as being descended from the Dark Mother for the purposes of Kinship, although the feeling of having Kinship with one of them is quite different to other supernaturals.

    Sin-Eaters

    While Sin-Eaters and Empyrean rarely encounter one another save when the demigod in question is utilising the Death Domain, they generally get on reasonably well. The Sin-Eater's usual blase acceptance of things out of the ordinary as well as the powerful mythologies that they build up regarding death and the figures that rule it may be a contributing factor but the fact remains that unless the demigod in question is doing something with the dead or living that the Sin-Eater in question finds reprehensible relations between the two groups are usually at least affable.

    Prometheans

    To Prometheans, the source of a demigod's power is fairly obvious: the Divine Fire. However, the way in which it manifests in Empyrean is almost counter to its manifestation in Prometheans. Where Prometheans drive others away with their Disquiet, demigods attract with their Halysis. Where Prometheans journey towards humanity, Empyreans reach for the divine. The way that demigods seem to be perfected reflections of themselves fascinates Prometheans.

    Werewolves

    For the most part, werewolves' opinion on demigods is a simple one: they're unusual and powerful Claimed. This opinion is further supported by the way that demigods often gather cults around themselves and have an oft-monstrous Numinous Form which is superficially similar to that of a Claimed or other spirit. If the werewolves can get past their initial distrust, however, powerful alliances can sometimes be formed between Packs and Pantheons, with each aiding the other.

    Changeling

    Changelings and demigods are wary around each other, and for good reason. For the changeling's part, the powers of Empyrean are uncomfortably close to the way that the Gentry can mould their domains with ease and on the part of the demigods the way that changelings can make pledges and promises with virtually anything is quite unsettling, never mind that Pledges cannot be made with them. The way that demigods can effortlessly and accidentally abuse others with their Halysis does not sit well with Changelings either. When they are allies, however, the Drasil makes for an excellent hiding place from the True Fae, not to mention that a demigod's protection is nothing to sneeze at.

    Hunters

    To a Hunter, demigods are usually judged on a case-by-case basis and how they are judged depends on the hunter doing the judging as well as the Empyrean's view on their own divine nature. For example, a hunter of the Malleus Maleficarum is much more likely to battle a demigod who believes that he is the offspring of a demon and that gathers a self-glorifying cult than one who believes herself to be an angel sent on a mission from God and who gathers Potentia from going to church on Sundays. Sometimes hunters and Empyrean ally to battle a greater threat but it is rare nonetheless.


    Vampires

    A demigod can be a vampire's greatest ally or most formidable enemy. On one hand, an Empyrean who can create sunlight is obviously a terrifying foe for any in the Danse Macabre. Similarly, a demigod who wields fire as if it were nothing is an asset that no vampire would pass up if they could. However, no matter whether a demigod is on with or against a given vampire, they will always be treated with respect and a little fear, given that their powers are far beyond the understanding of most all of the Kindred.

    Demons

    Demons and demigods, on the rare occasions that they meet, are often at each others throats. An Empyrean cult is often difficult to distinguish from that engendered by a Messenger after all and many demigods at least superficially resemble angels. Worse, the fact that demigods can be gods of modern things such as technology or electricity can make their resemblance to agents of the God-Machine.

    Geniuses

    To a Genius, demigods are a mystery. At first glance they appear to be simply another kind of Mane and the Drasil a Bardo created by the disproof of the World Tree. Upon closer examination though, they retain their similarity but the differences and inconsistencies in that theory begin to show. Where a Mane must harvest Mania from geniuses or Wonders in order to continue their existence, a demigod feeds upon the faith of mortals. Where a Bardo usually requires energy in the form of mania to exist, the Drasil feeds demigods instead of requiring them to do the reverse. Geniuses find demigods fascinating and demigods return the favour, especially considering the fact that the wonders a Genius can create come close to he divine power that the Empyrean wield. Some Geniuses wonder if the 'heaven' at the top of the Tree is perhaps the realm from which Mania and Inspiration originate.

    Leviathan

    To demigods, Leviathans are everything wrong with the divine. They cannot help but abuse their followers, driving mortals mad with their very presence. likewise, their Depths and transformations seem like some kind of perverse mockery of the Numinous form. On the Leviathan's part, demigods are at once something to loathe and something to envy. They seem to be servants of messengers of the new Gods who so despise the Leviathans, yet they have so much freedom. They have the potential to gain vast power and do not have to pay the steep price for it that leviathans do (or at least not such a steep price).


    Google Drive Folder



    Demigod Images
    Last edited by ajf115; 10-11-2016, 03:47 AM.


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  • #2
    I see a lot of Dragon: The Hunted influence in this!

    I like the ideas you're exploring here. While they may superficially appear to flirt with some of the themes of other gamelines (such as Mage or Mummy), this feels firmly anchored in the world of mortals and their relationship with the divine, rather than on external cosmologies.

    I quite like this, and I'd definitely like to see more.


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    • #3
      Originally posted by ShadowKnight1224 View Post
      I see a lot of Dragon: The Hunted influence in this!

      I like the ideas you're exploring here. While they may superficially appear to flirt with some of the themes of other gamelines (such as Mage or Mummy), this feels firmly anchored in the world of mortals and their relationship with the divine, rather than on external cosmologies.

      I quite like this, and I'd definitely like to see more.
      The rest of the concept work is coming.

      This is kind of why I've given up on Dragon for the moment. It felt too disconnected with humanity. With this I'm hoping to capture some of the same themes with a more human element. A lot of the inspiration is coming from the old Demon: the Fallen and from Demon: the Return.

      As for the stuff about external cosmologies, there's not a great deal of that, at least no more than in Werewolf. There is an alternate world that demigods can visit called the Drasil (yes, it has to do with Yggdrasil) and that realm sort of exists within the Temenos (sorta, kinda, not really) but it is very much focussed on action within the mortal world. Expect plenty of cults and cult-wars.

      Sneak peek: there's a mechanic called the Rapture which the demigods can't turn off. Care to hazard a guess at what it does?
      Last edited by ajf115; 03-27-2016, 09:51 AM.


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      • #4
        Might I perhaps suggest perhaps if looking for more inspiration into this, perhaps using Skullgirls? The Parasites (those that aren't living weapons) were mentioned to once have been worshipped like Gods and they need to be bound to a human host to use their powers. The best examples are Filia, Squigly and Eliza (especially Eliza).


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        • #5
          Originally posted by SaulottheGentle View Post
          Might I perhaps suggest perhaps if looking for more inspiration into this, perhaps using Skullgirls? The Parasites (those that aren't living weapons) were mentioned to once have been worshipped like Gods and they need to be bound to a human host to use their powers. The best examples are Filia, Squigly and Eliza (especially Eliza).

          thanks, I'll look into it. never come across the Skullgirls before.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
            The rest of the concept work is coming.

            This is kind of why I've given up on Dragon for the moment. It felt too disconnected with humanity. With this I'm hoping to capture some of the same themes with a more human element. A lot of the inspiration is coming from the old Demon: the Fallen and from Demon: the Return.

            As for the stuff about external cosmologies, there's not a great deal of that, at least no more than in Werewolf. There is an alternate world that demigods can visit called the Drasil (yes, it has to do with Yggdrasil) and that realm sort of exists within the Temenos (sorta, kinda, not really) but it is very much focussed on action within the mortal world. Expect plenty of cults and cult-wars.

            Sneak peek: there's a mechanic called the Rapture which the demigods can't turn off. Care to hazard a guess at what it does?
            Ahh, I know exactly what you mean. I had a feeling that Dragon could've benefited from the titular dragons being more invested in humanity. IMO that's the beauty of Touchstones. With the CoD's talent for cosmologies, supernatural weirdness and metaphysical philosophy, there needs to be something that grounds the characters to the mortal world we can all relate to.

            Drasil sounds very interesting, as does the focus on action and cult-wars. It definitely fits the themes and mood you're going for in a way no other game has really touched (except maybe Geist with the Krewes, but that's a completely different flavour).

            Hmmm. The traditional meanings of Rapture involve joyful ecstasy and carrying someone to another plane of existence. So if I had to guess, then I'd say that Demigods either provoke ecstasy on onlookers when they use their powers (or perhaps only their cultists?) or can inadvertently carry mortals with them when they travel to another plane.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by ShadowKnight1224 View Post

              Hmmm. The traditional meanings of Rapture involve joyful ecstasy and carrying someone to another plane of existence. So if I had to guess, then I'd say that Demigods either provoke ecstasy on onlookers when they use their powers (or perhaps only their cultists?) or can inadvertently carry mortals with them when they travel to another plane.
              Close, but I've named with my penchant for irony very much in evidence.


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              • #8
                I'm a bit stuck on what to do for the Virtue/Vice equivalents. I'd kind of like it to be something a little like Beast's Legend/Life without being too close. Any suggestions would be welcome.


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                • #9
                  The concept work is mostly up. The Introduction is coming next.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                    I'm a bit stuck on what to do for the Virtue/Vice equivalents. I'd kind of like it to be something a little like Beast's Legend/Life without being too close. Any suggestions would be welcome.
                    Well, I'd say "Myth" and "Impulse". The Myth is the Demigod reaching for the divine, regaining Willpower when they act towards the mythology they've built up for themselves. Their Impulse, instead, rewards them for giving into that one weakness they have. Zeus was promiscuous, Hera was jealous, and so on.

                    Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                    The concept work is mostly up. The Introduction is coming next.
                    All really good stuff! I very much like the Domain ideas (*eyes the Cold Domain with interest*), and I find it interesting you chose to make the Y-Splat so varied. I think it lends a cool uniqueness to the splat. I think the Rapture mechanics are very intriguing. The Drasil sidebar about the Supernal Realms is a bit outdated. In 2E, the Supernal Realms are not actual places that can be reached, but rather they are qualities/aspects of reality.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ShadowKnight1224 View Post
                      The Drasil sidebar about the Supernal Realms is a bit outdated. In 2E, the Supernal Realms are not actual places that can be reached, but rather they are qualities/aspects of reality.
                      Ok. I was running off of the Mage 1e corebook for that part.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ShadowKnight1224 View Post

                        Well, I'd say "Myth" and "Impulse". The Myth is the Demigod reaching for the divine, regaining Willpower when they act towards the mythology they've built up for themselves. Their Impulse, instead, rewards them for giving into that one weakness they have. Zeus was promiscuous, Hera was jealous, and so on.



                        All really good stuff! I very much like the Domain ideas (*eyes the Cold Domain with interest*), and I find it interesting you chose to make the Y-Splat so varied. I think it lends a cool uniqueness to the splat. I think the Rapture mechanics are very intriguing. The Drasil sidebar about the Supernal Realms is a bit outdated. In 2E, the Supernal Realms are not actual places that can be reached, but rather they are qualities/aspects of reality.
                        I was trying to make it as open and customisable as I could without compromising playability. Something I've always liked with magic systems is being able to be creative with spells. It's one of the big reasons why I like Mage and Ars Magica so much.


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                          Ok. I was running off of the Mage 1e corebook for that part.
                          Well, you have the 2e development blogs to keep you up to date if you want to take a read!

                          For example:

                          http://theonyxpath.com/revelations/

                          "Mage Sight is now also tied up with the Supernal World — while the “Supernal Realms” have been described as other dimensions in the past, we’re going to be much clearer in this edition that the Supernal is everywhere. The Aether is in every thunderclap, every wire, and every time a human approaches the divine."

                          Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                          I was trying to make it as open and customisable as I could without compromising playability. Something I've always liked with magic systems is being able to be creative with spells. It's one of the big reasons why I like Mage and Ars Magica so much.
                          And I am a huge fan of customisable mechanics like that. So long as they're approachable, I'll be the #1 fan.


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                          • #14
                            Having just written up the bit on Impulses and Myths, i can't help but want to play a narcissistic demigod.


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                            • #15
                              Hah! I think the contrast between the Myth and the Impulse is going to both evoke the classical stories of old while simultaneously giving the players something to aspire to and something to keep them grounded into their more human nature.

                              And yes, I bet the narcissistic demigod is going to be a popular archetype. :P


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