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  • New Features For Incarnates

    I felt that Incarnates didn't really live up to the title of legendary monsters. I think I may have gone a bit too far. Please tell me what you think. The idea of Genesis Of Monsters comes from ajf115, with tweaks by me.

    Inviolate Fusion: Any supernatural attempt to alter the fundamental nature of the Horror/Lair or sever it from the Incarnate automatically fails, even if initiated by godlike beings (e.g. spirits of Rank 6+, Methuselahs and Archmages). The sole exception to this is the Dark Mother. Should the Incarnate suffer Destabilization, he becomes vulnerable to having his Horror/Lair ripped away or altered by said beings.

    Fearless Countenance: The Incarnate is considered to have an improved version of the Deadpan Merit (Mage: The Awakening 2ED, page 305). In other words, supernatural attempts to impose fear or revulsion on the Incarnate automatically fail. Should the supernatural attempt to frighten the Incarnate play off of Conditions or vices he already suffers from, he is vulnerable, but may initiate a Clash Of Wills against it with the Rote Quality. This Clash Of Wills is available even against godlike beings. To reiterate: this only applies to supernatural attempts.

    Primordial Sovereign: Whenever one of its Birthrights, Atavisms, Nightmares, Lair Traits or Kinship abilities is involved in a Clash Of Wills, count the Incarnate’s rolled Successes or its [Lair/2 round up], whichever is higher. Any attempt to remove or control any of its Lair Traits triggers a Clash Of Wills. In addition, it is considered to have the Sympathetic Defense Elder Transmutation.

    Genesis Of Monsters: There is a monster in everyone. Beasts know this better than most and Incarnates the best of all. They know that they are creatures of legend, and legends live in all who know the tale. In this way, there is a fraction, a seed of an Incarnate in all who know and tell their Myth, and this is a seed which can be induced to grow. This has a number of effects. Firstly, an Incarnate may expend dots of Satiety in order to force this metaphysical seed to bloom within a mortal, endowing them with a number of dots of Supernatural Merits suitable to the Incarnate's nature equal to [Lair/2 round up]. This comes at the cost of the mortal losing a dot of Integrity, though, as the monstrous flower within them spreads its roots into and draws sustenance from their soul. These Merit dots can be split among multiple powers, and even used to acquire Advanced and Epic versions if the mortal meets the prerequisites. Incarnates have been said to experiment with how far they can take this, creating legacies of powerful and often freakish servants in their image to carry out their will throughout the ages. Investigating these cults may be the key to discovering hints about how to Destabilize the Myth of certain Incarnates.

    Second, an Incarnate is aware of and may Devour any Primordial Dreamers who know of its Myth. They have no further control over them, but they do know where the nascent Beast's Lair is in the Dream. Lastly, an Incarnate can 'teach' Merits that modify Atavisms, Nightmares and Lair Traits, including Advanced and Epic versions (see this post for examples). Since they are Masters Of Pathways and often have Family Ties with powerful entities, whatever upgrades they can give are likely to equally powerful. However, normal Beasts that seek these blessings must still acquire the necessary prerequisites, including Family Ties. The Incarnate can act as a middleman, but does not help for free. Whatever the Incarnate may demand is up to the ST, but may include anything from beating it at its own game to helping it Destabilize the Myth of a rival.

    Legends Never Die: Even if killed while merged with his Horror, the Incarnate may return if his Myth has not been Destabilized. The details are up to the ST, but the time it takes for an Incarnate to return is proportional to how much his Myth has weakened, and they generally appear in places that resemble their most iconic Chambers. The resurrection may start with the Incarnate as a being similar to an Unfettered, deep in the Primordial Dream, and in order to truly come back they have to reclaim their Lair and then cement their return in their Myth to make it 'real', and not just a nightmare.

    Superior Atavism does not give a free Satiety Expenditure per chapter. Instead, when an Incarnate selects a Superior Atavism, they gain a pool of points equal to their [Lair x 2] to spend on improvisational, narrative effects for that Atavism based on their Myth. Greater effects cost more points, and they may recharge their Superior Atavism points once per scene by spending 1 Willpower point and rolling [Highest Resistance Attribute + Occult + Lair] with Rote Quality. Each Success restores one point of Superior Atavism (these points may be split among multiple instances of Superior Atavism if the Incarnate has them). They restore 1 point even if they fail the roll. When a Superior Atavism faces against another supernatural power, roll for a Clash Of Wills.

    Examples: Spending 1 point on Dragonfire allows the creation of a very long range and continuous beam or objects made of selectively harmful fire, 3 points clears a whole building or creates minor monsters of living fire, 5 points envelops a whole block or creates major monsters of living fire, 7 points covers the whole neighborhood in an inferno or creates a precise rain of fire over a large area, and 9 points endangers the whole city or annihilates one enemy through absolute immolation.
    Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 05-29-2017, 08:39 PM.


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

  • #2
    I want to point out that Incarnates are already presented as defined by their ability to break the rules and bend the narrative to their will, and their nature is fairly strong justification for a number of story-fiat level things that they might able to do.

    Some of these ideas are cool, but others kind of run into the problems of just being more numbers (something which they are already very much not lacking on) or specifically mechanizing things which are reasonably implicit to the level of importance and power they stand at. I don't find that approach to expanding them very interesting, because it seems to me like their legendary quality ought to manifest as very exception based showings and uniquely tailored powers.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by YeOfLittleFaith View Post
      I want to point out that Incarnates are already presented as defined by their ability to break the rules and bend the narrative to their will, and their nature is fairly strong justification for a number of story-fiat level things that they might able to do.

      Some of these ideas are cool, but others kind of run into the problems of just being more numbers (something which they are already very much not lacking on) or specifically mechanizing things which are reasonably implicit to the level of importance and power they stand at. I don't find that approach to expanding them very interesting, because it seems to me like their legendary quality ought to manifest as very exception based showings and uniquely tailored powers.
      I can see where you are coming from, but I prefer to have more concrete rules instead of having to rely solely on story-fiat.

      As for tailoring powers to each Incarnate, that can be arranged. I can even give examples, if you are interested.


      "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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      • #4
        These are suitably terrifying, shoring up some of the few areas where Incarnates weren't already legendarily strong

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
          I can see where you are coming from, but I prefer to have more concrete rules instead of having to rely solely on story-fiat.

          As for tailoring powers to each Incarnate, that can be arranged. I can even give examples, if you are interested.
          That's fair! I mostly, I'm sorry I got a bit off track there, wanted to suggest that making cool Incarnate powers might be easier by looking at discrete examples of such characters and extrapolating from their Myth, giving people who are interested plenty of examples to make unique tools for their own legendary monsters.

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          • #6
            YeOfLittleFaith OK, I gave this some more thought, and I believe the following is a good compromise.

            The Beast-Shape known as Superior Atavism does not give a free Satiety Expenditure per chapter. Instead, when an Incarnate selects a Superior Atavism, they gain a pool of points equal to their [Lair x 2] to spend on improvisational, narrative effects for that Atavism based on their Myth. Greater effects cost more points, and they may recharge their Superior Atavism points once per scene by spending 1 Willpower point and rolling [Highest Resistance Attribute + Occult + Lair] with Rote Quality. Each Success restores one point of Superior Atavism (these points may be split among multiple instances of Superior Atavism if the Incarnate has them). They restore 1 point even if they fail the roll. When a Superior Atavism faces against another supernatural power, roll for a Clash Of Wills.

            Examples: Spending 1 point on Dragonfire allows the creation of a very long range and continuous beam or objects made of selectively harmful fire, 3 points clears a whole building or creates minor monsters of living fire, 5 points envelops a whole block or creates major monsters of living fire, 7 points covers the whole neighborhood in an inferno or creates a precise rain of fire over a large area, and 9 points endangers the whole city or annihilates one enemy through absolute immolation.
            Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 05-29-2017, 11:27 AM.


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

            Comment


            • #7
              While I am more in line with what has been replied, I'm not against having more crunch if that's how you prefer it. I do tend to go story-fiat more often when not when it comes to "big" creatures but nothing wrong with more concrete rules.

              My doubt about these Incarnate feature is that the official ones we have are all rather physical and clear. They're the attainment of a life as a successfull Beast where you've triumphally gained control over the ephemeral monster within you that now you're able to manifest its features in a blatant and concrete way. These features, on the other hand, are more passive, wide and hidden benefits an Incarnate can have, which is not intrinsecally wrong but kinda does not really fit with the theme if you ask me. No More Heroes is an exception because it represents the whole point of getting Incarnate, where you subvert the heroic cycle and make it yours. That said, it's only a matter of my perspective, so they're absolutely not wrong by default. Let's get to each of them:

              Inviolate Fusion: Nice one. I can agree with "normal" creatures being unable to mess with the Horror/Lairs, but to gain absolute protection against everything not Dark Mother seems a bit too much. You're an Incarnate, incredibly strong, but the story is not over and Family has its top tiers as well. My personal suggestion is to not make them immune to "godlike" beings. Perhaps giving a cumulative -1 for each dot of Lair (like the one Spirits apply with Rank) when it comes to those beings rolling to alter the nature of the Horror? It's a big malus considering the minimun Lair Incarnate have but still leaves chances open​

              Fearless Countenance: Sure, why not? Makes sense

              Primordial Sovereign: The first part I don't have nothing against. It's strong, but that's what you're aiming for so not a problem. Even using the Elder Transmutation is fine, since it's fitting and appropriate for the degree of mastery over their powers Incarnate have. It's the last one that I disagree with: the automatical defense is not a thing I like. Incarnates have earned their shape by defending their Myth. If you grant them the ability to still do so effortlessly against everything, it kinda deprives them of the strength, making things too easy, if you ask me.

              Genesis Of Monsters: This is huge. The supernatural empowerment part is the one I like the most, both for mechanics and plot hooks. The other ones, I don't know, they offer such a huge number of benefits (even combined with the first part) that I'd argue this feature is not much different from the suggestions about how to use the Incarnate we already have in the book and, more generally, things that are more a prerogative of Storyteller's fiat than anything else.

              Legends Never Die: This is one I just don't agree with. As I mentioned before, I have my ideas about the Myth and the value defending it has. It's a cool idea in a vacuum, but I do believe that if a triumphant Beast is eventually defeated by something, it should stay dead. Or at least that specific iteration of mortal souls and Horror. The Incarnate might be absorbed by the Primordial Dream and perhaps return later in some shape, but I'm not on board with the resurrection idea. Destabilization or not.

              Don't mind much the criticism on this one. I don't like it just because it alters some of my personal notions about Beast, so I'm not an impartial critic for this feature

              Superior Atavism: this begins with giving shape and numbers to the actions and narrative powers of an Incarnate, which is ok if that's how you like to roll. It works and helps to have a firm grasp on things. I do like the starting idea and the various examples. But then it just goes on and on, adding what I think is definitely too much. I mean, if we go with your examples, each Incarnate has at least 16 points, enough to destroy a city and then some. Ok, fine, huge monsters of legend. But then you not only have this huge point pool each chapter but you can also recharge it, once per scene, with a Willpower expenditure and a dice pool that goes easily over ten and has the Rote quality? Plus the assurance you gain at least a point if you're so unlucky to not get a success with the dozen of dice you roll?

              Too much. It's not like with Archmasters, which are stuck against other Archmasters. Incarnates live here and interact with weaker beings frequently-

              Sorry about that, but while the others might be a case of mechanics stretched a bit to achieve the degree of power you're looking for, this one is just overpowered. It's more in line with what Third Circle Demons from Exalted and Gods and Titanspawn from Scion 1st Edition can automatically do. Which I guess is fine from a perspective that has the idea of legendary monsters in mind, but shakes things too much if applied to the mechanics of the CoD.



              Hope this does not sound too harsh. Most of the ideas are fine to me, just offered my two cents about how I'd change things to make things smoother. Overall, they alter the scale of the game and that's good if that's what you're looking for. I'm available to any further discussion and, obviously, you don't have to listen to my criticism.

              I sure am not more knowledgeable about the game than any other person around here, so feel free to tell me to go eat some tree bark if you disagree with me.
              Last edited by Cinder; 05-29-2017, 07:37 PM.


              Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
              Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

              I'm more friendly than I look, I'm just bad at showing it. Trying to improve about that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                While I am more in line with what has been replied, I'm not against having more crunch if that's how you prefer it. I do tend to go story-fiat more often when not when it comes to "big" creatures but nothing wrong with more concrete rules.

                My doubt about these Incarnate feature is that the official ones we have are all rather physical and clear. They're the attainment of a life as a successfull Beast where you've triumphally gained control over the ephemeral monster within you that now you're able to manifest its features in a blatant and concrete way. These features, on the other hand, are more passive, wide and hidden benefits an Incarnate can have, which is not intrinsecally wrong but kinda does not really fit with the theme if you ask me. No More Heroes is an exception because it represents the whole point of getting Incarnate, where you subvert the heroic cycle and make it yours. That said, it's only a matter of my perspective, so they're absolutely not wrong by default. Let's get to each of them.
                That's a more acurate way to look at it, I must admit. I will definitely keep that in mind.

                Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                Inviolate Fusion: Nice one. I can agree with "normal" creatures being unable to mess with the Horror/Lairs, but to gain absolute protection against everything not Dark Mother seems a bit too much. You're an Incarnate, incredibly strong, but the story is not over and Family has its top tiers as well. My personal suggestion is to not make them immune to "godlike" beings. Perhaps giving a cumulative -1 for each dot of Lair (like the one Spirits apply with Rank) when it comes to those beings rolling to alter the nature of the Horror? It's a big malus considering the minimun Lair Incarnate have but still leaves chances open​.
                Agreed. How about a Clash Of Wills against godlike beings?

                Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                Fearless Countenance: Sure, why not? Makes sense.
                Thank you.

                Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                Primordial Sovereign: The first part I don't have nothing against. It's strong, but that's what you're aiming for so not a problem. Even using the Elder Transmutation is fine, since it's fitting and appropriate for the degree of mastery over their powers Incarnate have. It's the last one that I disagree with: the automatical defense is not a thing I like. Incarnates have earned their shape by defending their Myth. If you grant them the ability to still do so effortlessly against everything, it kinda deprives them of the strength, making things too easy, if you ask me.
                Agreed, Incarnates should fight for their Myths, not sit on top of them forever.

                Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                Genesis Of Monsters: This is huge. The supernatural empowerment part is the one I like the most, both for mechanics and plot hooks. The other ones, I don't know, they offer such a huge number of benefits (even combined with the first part) that I'd argue this feature is not much different from the suggestions about how to use the Incarnate we already have in the book and, more generally, things that are more a prerogative of Storyteller's fiat than anything else.
                So to the other parts are essentially saying the same things as the book but with different words?

                Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                Legends Never Die: This is one I just don't agree with. As I mentioned before, I have my ideas about the Myth and the value defending it has. It's a cool idea in a vacuum, but I do believe that if a triumphant Beast is eventually defeated by something, it should stay dead. Or at least that specific iteration of mortal souls and Horror. The Incarnate might be absorbed by the Primordial Dream and perhaps return later in some shape, but I'm not on board with the resurrection idea. Destabilization or not.

                Don't mind much the criticism on this one. I don't like it just because it alters some of my personal notions about Beast, so I'm not an impartial critic for this feature
                What if I rephrased this feature to say that it is only activated if the Incarnate is defeated in ways that do not address the underlying Myth? If the Incarnate suffers Destabilization along with the process of its death, it stays dead. So a Mage trying to kill an Incarnate through Sympathetic Unraveling from their Sanctum will find that the Incarnate comes back because the Mage essentially cheated, and now the Incarnate has a Strong Sympathetic Connection to the Mage. However, should the Mage actually employ their investigative skills by infiltrating the Incarnate's Lair and Cult to find secret knowledge about it, perhaps risking Wisdom somehow along the way, the Incarnate could suffer Destabilization and therefore permanent death as its supposed invincibility is debunked by the cunning of the Mage.

                Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                Superior Atavism: this begins with giving shape and numbers to the actions and narrative powers of an Incarnate, which is ok if that's how you like to roll. It works and helps to have a firm grasp on things. I do like the starting idea and the various examples. But then it just goes on and on, adding what I think is definitely too much. I mean, if we go with your examples, each Incarnate has at least 16 points, enough to destroy a city and then some. Ok, fine, huge monsters of legend. But then you not only have this huge point pool each chapter but you can also recharge it, once per scene, with a Willpower expenditure and a dice pool that goes easily over ten and has the Rote quality? Plus the assurance you gain at least a point if you're so unlucky to not get a success with the dozen of dice you roll?

                Too much. It's not like with Archmasters, which are stuck against other Archmasters. Incarnates live here and interact with weaker beings frequently.
                Very good point. What if I limited the pool of points to [Lair] and only allowed one recharge per chapter per Superior Atavism?

                Originally posted by Cinder View Post
                Sorry about that, but while the others might be a case of mechanics stretched a bit to achieve the degree of power you're looking for, this one is just overpowered. It's more in line with what Third Circle Demons from Exalted and Gods and Titanspawn from Scion 1st Edition can automatically do. Which I guess is fine from a perspective that has the idea of legendary monsters in mind, but shakes things too much if applied to the mechanics of the CoD.

                Hope this does not sound too harsh. Most of the ideas are fine to me, just offered my two cents about how I'd change things to make things smoother. Overall, they alter the scale of the game and that's good if that's what you're looking for. I'm available to any further discussion and, obviously, you don't have to listen to my criticism.

                I sure am not more knowledgeable about the game than any other person around here, so feel free to tell me to go eat some tree bark if you disagree with me.
                Hey, no sweat. You were very helpful and polite. Thank you so much for taking the time to look over this!

                If you or anyone else ever has ideas for new Incarnate features, they can post them here.
                Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 05-29-2017, 08:59 PM.


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

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
                  Agreed. How about a Clash Of Wills against godlike beings?
                  Definitely better. Leaves it open but still defended


                  Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
                  So to the other parts are essentially saying the same things as the book but with different words?
                  Mostly the section about the roles Incarnates have, but yeah

                  Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
                  What if I rephrased this feature to say that it is only activated if the Incarnate is defeated in ways that do not address the underlying Myth? If the Incarnate suffers Destabilization along with the process of its death, it stays dead. So a Mage trying to kill an Incarnate through Sympathetic Unraveling from their Sanctum will find that the Incarnate comes back because the Mage essentially cheated, and now the Incarnate has a Strong Sympathetic Connection to the Mage. However, should the Mage actually employ their investigative skills by infiltrating the Incarnate's Lair and Cult to find secret knowledge about it, perhaps risking Wisdom somehow along the way, the Incarnate could suffer Destabilization and therefore permanent death as its supposed invincibility is debunked by the cunning of the Mage.
                  I'd say it's a big improvement which offers nice story hooks but I still don't get to 100% like the idea. But, as I said, I'm not reliable when it comes to judgment on this one


                  Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
                  Very good point. What if I limited the pool of points to [Lair] and only allowed one recharge per chapter per Superior Atavism?
                  Considering what you're trying to achieve I'd say that solves a lot of problems. I would personally still cut the chance to recharge it (mostly because it's a free ticket for out-of-parameters powers once per chapter), but that's me.


                  Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
                  Hey, no sweat. You were very helpful and polite. Thank you so much for taking the time to look over this!
                  Oh, don't mention it. I'm glad to help if possible, especially with Beast


                  Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                  Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

                  I'm more friendly than I look, I'm just bad at showing it. Trying to improve about that.

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