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  • The Ugallu and The Invincible

    Has it really been a year since we did one of these? Hrm.
    The Ugallu, Nightmares of Exposure
    It's not that you can't run, or that you can't hide, not at first.

    It's simply that it hurts.

    Sometimes it's not surprising that it hurts, or is immediately obvious in retrospect-the sun jabs it's million, million needles into your skin to roast you and cook you for the earth, the knife greedily bites at your mistaken handling, the other kids are literally thinking of anything they can to make you flustered and upset. More often than not, though-more often then you remember-the surprise that it hurts is it's own additional layer of pain. The sand that blasts by scrapes at miles and miles and miles per hour across your flesh and you didn't know it could feel like when you grabbed the stove, the beloved dog's teeth rip at your comforting arms and your idea of trust, and why can she say that about me, I-why do I care so much about her being so mean? It's the suddenness of pain in all it's form, the autopsy you suddenly have to commit on your past self to make sense of the present world, how it's rough and coarse and suddenly everywhere. It's abrasive and forceful and unpleasant, the pain is.

    So you learn from it-on with the sunscreen and long sleeve shirts, forward with the careful fists to be sniffed and to move the vegetables, and the silence, or the jokes, or the violence that follows those words. You take your steps away from pain. Sometimes, you leave it behind, until a thin pane of glass separates you from the hurt.

    Other times though, it's pursuant. It's relentless. It emerges in new and frightening ways, it keeps slipping between the jokes and the laughter, it pierces as the unflinching gaze of sun and sky and wind and rain and cold and night continues to strip you to the muscle and then the bone.

    NOW it's that you can't run. NOW it's that you can't hide.

    You build a house to hide from the rain, but the wind and waves rip it away from you. No matter you safe you try to be, eventually you cut yourself, or a dog bites out. You work to hang out with people who appreciate you, but you mention her while idly talking about people you find hot, and now everybody knows-everybody's laughing, she's laughing and why can't I stop thinking about her regardless?

    At it's heart, the fear of exposure is the fear of being vulnerable, the fear of having weaknesses, of being soft, of being honest. It's the fear of being able to get hurt, to feel pain.

    And that's all right.

    Pain, like fear, is a warning, and for as unpleasant as it can be to experience it, it's there to stop to people from getting into more harm than is currently present-ah, but there is the first lesson to learn, that pain is not harm. Pain can come from getting cut by a knife, but it can also come from the tearing of muscles from a workout. The former warns you to not get stabbed, but the latter is just telling you be careful going forward, not to stop. Pain has it's textures, it's forms, it's particulars, and many are there to tell you how much danger you are in.

    As we go through life, we will always get hurt, but as our banquet of pains increases, we realize that variety and come to know what it says what it means. For some pains, we learn to fly away from them as quick as can be, to be light and allow of sensitivity to guide us away from the lasting consequences, and in so doing we learn to see and sense such harm more quickly, from father ahead than we needed before, and as that sensitivity reaches, we gain more time to plan our flight, our fight, accordingly-in fact, with our understanding of the many songs of pain, we may know how to act against forces, that sensitivity leading our eyes to the needle point that will cause it to recoil in their own dance of danger to the song their own sensitivity.

    Other times, we find pain that signifies adjustment and growth, that though it may hurt now, it will not always be so, and what we are by working with pain as we go forward is more than what we used to be. It hurts to get up and walk while recovering from a car crash, but under the advisement of the flesh, you will walk again. It can stab the eyes to come out of the dark of the closet, but as our eyes adjust, it may that we not only see finer and finer variations of colors, but may even see the invisible hues the heighten or darken all the world. We find that some things that used to hurt feel pleasant as we are now-sometimes even if it still hurts, like the memory of a girl you once knew, or the crack of a whip in the hands of a trusted lover, or in a well-had round in the fighting ring.

    As we learn to embrace that sensitivity that allows for pain, the world comes in more and more detail, and we begin to realize details we wouldn't have known before-the tang in the air that precedes the storm, the shape of the stars in the winter eve not listed on any constellation listing, or the only barely audible sigh of disappointment when a child is talked over again. We learn to see things, and in accordance to the weft and wave of naked information, spy how to swoop in and act on it how we will. In contrast, living free and comfortable with pain in hand, our presence pricks at others, our comfort in our own skin-with our pain- scraping away at the defenses and scratching the soft flesh and feelings underneath, til those around us, by our influence, are left raw, and open to the currents of life.

    The Forsworn of Exposure, The Invincible

    Why would you walk into a sandstorm naked? Why would you go to battle without armor? Why would you care what people say or think about you? We don't eat food and put on clothing and build houses and feed fires to let the world chew away at us bit by bit, day by day. If it hurts, don't touch it-and if you have to touch it, don't feel it.

    The Invincible often come into Heroism already equipped with this lesson. Most have accumulated a sense of hurt-whether unfairly ladened on them or hypochondriacally imagined-that has taught them that openness, sensitivity, being at ease and comfortable with one's self is only inviting a world of hurt, and so they've practiced to distance themselves from feeling. They callous their hands and numb their nerves, they close their hearts and stop thinking of people as beings they want to be themselves around. Hell, they shut up any of those desires to be something that invite getting hit or insulted. It's best to be the version of yourself that can't get hurt, who can't be touched-invincible not because they can't be cut, but because cutting them doesn't stop them. Untouchable, not because you can't put your hands on them, but in that punches and hugs are received with equal indifference. They bury all feeling in as deep as they can't be understood, mask all desire and fear and anger and sorrow until they become a wandering cipher in the world, a question that acts without an answer

    Of course, even with the great variation in how they handle such needs, humans are social creatures, and feeling in all senses is just a thing that can't be helped (made all the worse for their connection to the astral, where the thoughts, feelings, and truths of others flow in to coax the self out), but for the Invincible, who want to be nothing but numbness, this bubbling of sensitivity is excurciating. What can't be cast asides and made into a rock, then, gets aggressive action taken for. The Invincible start to see the world in terms of it's myriad forms of hurt, to develop an exquisite imagination for pain and it's infliction, and begin to take pre-emptive action. Sometimes, a good defense is the best offense, and so the Invincible takes a zero-stance of assumed hostility, striking first so others can't strike back, swooping in pre-emptively to deter threats before they even think to act. Most distressingly, whatever weaknesses they have that they can't become numb to is frequently weaponized, used to lure others into vulnerability for them to strike or just directly bludgeoning others with it.

    Even among other Heroes, the Invincible can be particularly alarming. Other Heroes may deny fear at it's root, but the Invincible's denial of feeling that accompanies that makes them inscrutable and threatening, and the determination to prove against reality goes double for a person who continually fights against themselves. To the Ugallu, who can so clearly see a soul so in pain where others might simply understand stoicism, dealing with the Invincible is like wrestling with a hedgehog with the gravitational density of a black hole-they're inexplicablly drawn, in malice or compassion, to pull away the armor, but in doing so get torn apart by the literal and metaphorical ball of spikes the Forsworn has built around themselves. As for the Invincible themselves, sometimes experiences can help to realize how vivacious the world can be even when it hurts, and slowly work against their own push and pull to become comfortable with themselves and other-but all too often, they aspire to become as hard as diamonds, and when they come to realize the ways in which diamonds are brittle, the resulting fracture cascades into absolute obliteration.


    Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
    Feminine pronouns, please.

  • #2
    Since it's been a hair bit over a really long period of time, this is the fifth in a set of essays discussing Families and a hypothetical version of Heroes who have forsworn their Families and are thusly called the Forsworn. The others so far have been the Anakim and the Victorious, the Eshmaki and the Enlightened, the Makara and the Plain, and the Namtaru and the Immortal.

    Also, hey you, do you like my boring predictability when it comes to providing relevant Gunnerkrigg Court chapters? If you do, then have I got a link for you, one that goes over to New Data. This one probably demands a little more context, but I still wager you should be able to make sense of it without reading the whole thing.


    Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
    The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
    Feminine pronouns, please.

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    • #3
      That's pretty good!

      Comment


      • #4
        There's a very obvious bit of Mummy metaphysics undergirding this writeup that is very good, but I'm still kind of reeling from the incorporation of That One Star Wars Meme, You Know The One, in the same way that I can't get over there being a The Room reference in Promethean 2e.

        Which is to say this is solid work reminding me I should probably get a bigger jacket to hide in.


        Resident Lore-Hound
        Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Satchel View Post
          There's a very obvious bit of Mummy metaphysics undergirding this writeup that is very good, but I'm still kind of reeling from the incorporation of That One Star Wars Meme, You Know The One, in the same way that I can't get over there being a The Room reference in Promethean 2e.

          Which is to say this is solid work reminding me I should probably get a bigger jacket to hide in.
          It's a decent way to describe the Law of Suffering, which did come in when I started applying death by exposure to the broader metaphors.

          That said, I might make the argument that the Ugallu point the precedent for the Way of Will rather than will directly. THe Families on the whole provide the seven keys to unlock the chains that allow one to step beyond Suffering.

          Also, unrelated to that: Being raised in a desert, you might imagine sun and sandstorm were my main vectors for understanding Exposure. And in similar fashion, it's very Beast to find ways to mesh archaic images, forms and stories with modern forms of the same. Neon Gothic Bronze, as it were.

          Probably more LED Gothic Bronze, but still.
          Last edited by ArcaneArts; 09-13-2022, 07:36 PM.


          Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
          The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
          Feminine pronouns, please.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
            Also, unrelated to that: Being raised in a desert, you might imagine sun and sandstorm were my main vectors for understanding Exposure. And in similar fashion, it's very Beast to find ways to mesh archaic images, forms and stories with modern forms of the same. Neon Gothic Bronze, as it were.

            Probably more LED Gothic Bronze, but still.
            For my part, maybe it's the Midwesterner in me, but despite the typical connotations of "exposure" my go-to imagery for the Ugallu is more thunderstorm-y.

            Much less conducive to Heroic contrast-imagery, admittedly, but now I find myself wondering how the various types* of Forsworn approach the prospect of that old Pratchett-ism about standing on a hilltop in wet copper armor and yelling AGAB.

            * Is there a generic term for the categories of Forsworn that I've just overlooked, or has that not been shared/devised yet?


            Resident Lore-Hound
            Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
              For my part, maybe it's the Midwesterner in me, but despite the typical connotations of "exposure" my go-to imagery for the Ugallu is more thunderstorm-y.

              Much less conducive to Heroic contrast-imagery, admittedly, but now I find myself wondering how the various types* of Forsworn approach the prospect of that old Pratchett-ism about standing on a hilltop in wet copper armor and yelling AGAB.

              * Is there a generic term for the categories of Forsworn that I've just overlooked, or has that not been shared/devised yet?
              I've mostly been using Forsworn as the equivalent of Families or Nightmares Of. In the endgame, it'd be various types of Heroes, but for now....I suppose Forsworn can be the overarching phrase and specifics can be things such as "Enemy of" or "Disavowed of"

              As for that quote, I imagine they see it more like being Dresden flipping off gods and monsters and not realizing the demons' name is "I".

              Of course, Dresden is a man who could do with understanding all that damn copper armor he's got on.


              Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
              The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
              Feminine pronouns, please.

              Comment


              • #8
                Awesome! May I inquire as to when you'll release the parts about the Inguma and Talasii, those born from the essence of nightmares that focus upon the Other and Confinement respectively? And what names you have given them, aside from Priests and Libertines respectively?

                Also, yes. Yes it has been a year. I've been patiently, and eagerly, awaiting this and its two follow-ups for that entire time.
                Last edited by TerrorCooper; 09-15-2022, 03:36 PM.


                Comment


                • #9
                  I release them when I get to them. Probably should hammer out Heroic Satiety.

                  Related, I have a tenative Forsworn set of names akin to the actual Family names, like Anakim, Eshmaki, Makara, the like. I'm not sold on them, per se-the principle was to find god/heroes/names that catch the idea or something adjacent in the same language as the original Family, and some of them are not quite the sound I would go for, but still. Let's see how y'all take to them.

                  The Daphna, The Victorious, Forsworn of Hopelessness
                  The Amiran*, The Enlightened, Forsworn of Darkness
                  The Balaram, The Plain, Forsworn of the Depths
                  The Ningizzida**, The Immortals, Forsworn of Revulsion
                  The Ishum***, the Invincible, Forsworn of Exposure
                  The Ehki, The Priests****, Forsworn of the Other
                  The Libertas, The Libertines****, Forsworn of Confinement

                  *Yes, I know the previous Fire Lineage of Promethean is also named the Amirani, but the best Georgian mythological figure to embody the idea of Enlightened Hero is their Prometheus figure, so I'm aiming at avoiding the confusion by dropping that last i and otherwise accepting that shit happens.
                  **I will also take the excuse to name them the Ishtari, but Ningizzida seems more appropriate for having actually gotten the root of life.
                  ***Shockingly, Mesopotamians have a a lot of deities who serve the role of protection that could apply. I thought about one that specifically geared against demons (Sebutti), but Ishum had connotations that seemed very anti-Ugallu.
                  ****Obviously subject to change if the writing hews for a better name, like the Enlightened and Invincible over the Bright and the Armored.
                  Last edited by ArcaneArts; 09-18-2022, 04:25 PM.


                  Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                  The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                  Feminine pronouns, please.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                    I release them when I get to them. Probably should hammer out Heroic Satiety.

                    Related, I have a tenative Forsworn set of names akin to the actual Family names, like Anakim, Eshmaki, Makara, the like. I'm not sold on them, per se-the principle was to find god/heroes/names that catch the idea or something adjacent in the same language as the original Family, and some of them are not quite the sound I would go for, but still. Let's see how y'all take to them.

                    The Daphna, The Victorious, Forsworn of Hopelessness
                    The Amiran*, The Enlightened, Forsworn of Darkness
                    The Balaram, The Plain, Forsworn of the Depths
                    The Ningizzida**, The Immortals, Forsworn of Revulsion
                    The Ishum***, the Invincible, Forsworn of Exposure
                    The Ehki, The Priests****, Forsworn of the Other
                    The Libertas, The Libertines****, Forsworn of Confinement

                    *Yes, I know the previous Fire Lineage of Promethean is also named the Amirani, but the best Georgian mythological figure to embody the idea of Enlightened Hero is their Prometheus figure, so I'm aiming at avoiding the confusion by dropping that last i and otherwise accepting that shit happens.
                    **I will also take the excuse to name them the Ishtari, but Ningizzida seems more appropriate for having actually gotten the root of life.
                    ***Shockingly, Mesopotamians have a a lot of deities who serve the role of protection that could apply. I thought about one that specifically geared against demons (Sebutti), but Ishum had connotations that seemed very anti-Ugallu.
                    ****Obviously subject to change if the writing hews for a better name, like the Enlightened and Invincible over the Bright and the Armored.
                    Are Forsworn tough enough to beat a beast on 1x1?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post

                      Are Forsworn tough enough to beat a beast on 1x1?
                      The general goal of the Forsworn design is to maintain their general player-character driven problem solving mentality, by which I mean I want them to maintain their tactics and method of approach is mostly informed by terrorists. The general vibe is that they'll isolate or otherwise strike at Beasts when they're alone and using group tactics against the one. As a general rule, the average idea is that they don't do 1x1 (and honestly, Chronicles is not a space where one designs under the assumption that 1x1, or that mano a mano is the way anything thinks or operates)-they're scary not because they're strong, but that their victory seems inevitable. So no. Heroic Lair, Satiety, and [REDACTED] are all meant to support from beneath, not directly empower them.

                      That said, High Lair Heroes probably could.


                      Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                      The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                      Feminine pronouns, please.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
                        The general goal of the Forsworn design is to maintain their general player-character driven problem solving mentality, by which I mean I want them to maintain their tactics and method of approach is mostly informed by terrorists. The general vibe is that they'll isolate or otherwise strike at Beasts when they're alone and using group tactics against the one. As a general rule, the average idea is that they don't do 1x1 (and honestly, Chronicles is not a space where one designs under the assumption that 1x1, or that mano a mano is the way anything thinks or operates)-they're scary not because they're strong, but that their victory seems inevitable. So no. Heroic Lair, Satiety, and [REDACTED] are all meant to support from beneath, not directly empower them.

                        That said, High Lair Heroes probably could.
                        interesting!

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                        • #13
                          I'd love to know,are Beasts still able to be based on any monster from any time and place? i'm pretty sure the answer is yes,but i thought asking would be a good idea just to be sure

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post

                            interesting!
                            We chat more about in the Heroic Lair thread, if you wanted to go over all the logic.

                            Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
                            I'd love to know,are Beasts still able to be based on any monster from any time and place? i'm pretty sure the answer is yes,but i thought asking would be a good idea just to be sure
                            Also see the Heroic Lair thread.


                            Kelly R.S. Steele, Freelance Writer(Feel free to call me Kelly, Arcane, or Arc)
                            The world is not beautiful, therefore it is.-Keiichi Sigsawa, Kino's Journey
                            Feminine pronouns, please.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Looks like i repeated myself,my bad.

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