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[Homebrew] Alternate Seeming Blessings

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  • [Homebrew] Alternate Seeming Blessings

    While I think the Seeming Blessings in 2nd Edition are a huge improvement from the 1st Edition ones, I feel like there are a some adjustments which are required. In some cases, the motivation is to better represent what I feel should be the core concept of the Seeming; in others, I wanted to provide more options and flexibility.


    Introduction: How I see Blessings
    Seeming Blessings are abilities that Changelings have gained during their time in Arcadia. In a sense, they’re the reason they have been able to survive and endure their Durance. In Faerie, these blessings were being used constantly.

    Beasts had a thoughtless existence, acting purely on primal pulses. Darklings are not even sure their stay in Arcadia had been a material one, or if they existed at all. Elemental bodies were made more of natural forces than flesh and bone. The Fairest’s life was always surrounded by followers, admirers, servants or voyeurs, without anyone having any say in the matter. Ogres had to either endure brutality or wield it against others. Wizened had their whole existences revolve around the mansions assigned to them, so much so that the very concept of work has filled their bones.

    Calling upon their Blessings can provide great benefits, but they’re also a painful reminder of their Durance if used too frequently. Blessings are a constant reminder of what they were in Arcadia, and that they're not human anymore.

    Beasts

    Attribute Bonus: Wits, Dexterity or Stamina

    Blessing: Animal Instinct
    During character creation, choose an animal or creature for which your character has affinity for, and two of the following abilities:
    • Spend 1 Glamour as a reflexive action to gain +3 Initiative and +3 Speed for the remainder of the scene.
    • Spend 1 Glamour as a reflexive action to deal Lethal damage with unarmed attacks for the remainder of the scene.
    • Spend 1 Glamour as a reflexive action to gain a supernatural survival instinct. This allows the player to ask one question to the Storyteller, like:
      • Is this food edible?
      • Who is the weakest prey?
      • Should I freeze, fight or flee?
      • Am I putting myself in danger?
    (This ability does not grant telepathy or prescience, or any form of supernatural investigation, and cannot pierce occultation powers. Rather, it greatly enhances the instinct for survival that an animal, either predator or prey, would have.)
    • Gain a free Animal Ken specialty related to the chosen animal. You can understand and speak to members of the chosen type of animals. This ability is always active.
    • Spend 1 Glamour as a reflexive action to gain a +2 bonus on a single roll for an action that the chosen animal is known for. These actions usually involve Athletics, Stealth, Survival or Animal Ken, but not necessarily. Example: moving silently for cat affinity, climbing for monkey affinity.
    Bonuses provided by Animal Instinct do not stack: that is, you cannot spend 2 Glamour to gain +6 Initiative or +4 to a single roll.

    Motivation:
    The Beast Blessing is pretty good as is in the book, but I wanted to provide more options for non-violent characters concepts (I can't see why a Pigeon or Clownfish Beast would deal lethal damage). Also, I am not a huge fan of tracking Initiative changes every turn: the benefit now have a Glamour cost but last the whole scene. I'm not entirely sure about the last two, but I'm throwing some ideas.



    Darklings

    Attribute Bonus: Wits, Manipulation or Composure

    Blessing: Merge with Shadows
    You can touch an insubstantial material (such as shadows, moonlight, smoke, sunbeam etc.) and spend 1 Glamour as an instant action to merge with it. Your character becomes in a state of Twilight [Darkling]. You can only move within the insubstantial patch. This effect lasts for 3 turns, and can be extended further by spending extra Glamour.


    Motivation:
    Nothing much to say. The Darkling Blessing is pretty good as is, I've switched the cost into Glamour, regardless of onlookers, instead of Willpower, to keep consistency with other Blessings which require Glamour expenditure.


    Elementals

    Attribute Bonus: Resolve, Strength or Presence

    Blessing: Elemental Healing
    During character creation, choose an element for which your character has affinity for.
    You can touch the chosen element and spend 1 Glamour as a reflexive action to heal yourself. Each Glamour spent either downgrades 1 Aggravated damage to Lethal, 1 Lethal to Bashing, or heals 1 Bashing damage. The Storyteller may limit the maximum amount of wounds that can be healed from a single source this way, depending on the Size and Intensity of the touched elemental source.

    Example: the Airtouched is severely wounded. As he senses a gentle breeze brushing his face, he takes a deep breath. The air flowing trough his veins feels like home. Since it’s nothing more than a breeze, however, he can only spend 1 Glamour to heal his wounds.


    Motivation:
    The motivation here is more flavor-based. Manipulating elements at distance is ok, but I think the focus should be more on the internal changes of the Elemental, to highlight the theme that their bodies are more alien. Also, the Blessing in the book seemed prone to debate and unbalance. Instead, I would simply allow an Elemental character to take the Psychokinesis Merit from the CofD rulebook.



    Fairest

    Attribute Bonus: Intelligence, Presence or Composure

    Blessing: Faerie Authority
    Your character can consider a stranger or group of strangers as a connection to temporary dots of Social Merits.
    By spending 1 Glamour as an instant action and a brief interaction to convince the person to perform favors for you, you gain a number of dots equal to half your Wyrd, rounding up, distributed as you choose among Allies, Contacts, Mentor, Retainer or Staff, for the remainder of the scene.

    The person must be a non-hostile mortal (i.e. with no supernatural template). Also, the chosen Merit must be consistent with the person in question.

    Example: as the Champion of the Duke of Thousand Leaves, she always had a squire by her side. She doesn’t remember if the squire always had the same face, but ever since she escaped, it felt wrong going on missions for the Freehold by herself. If she was to teach a lesson to the thugs that threatened the Freehold’s safety, she would need to bring some extra muscle with her. She looked at the construction workers across the street. One of them would become her squire for the day, she decided.


    Motivation:
    This ability is shamelessly taken from the Deviant manuscript. I just love it, and I believe it fits really well with the Fairest theme. Also, I feel like the 2nd Edition focuses too much on the "leader" role of Fairest. While this is certainly an option, it seems too forced upon characters through the Blessing as presented in the book. Seeming Blessings should be neutral per se, not intrinsically altruistic. It's how the character chooses to use them that makes Fairest inspiring leaders or megalomaniacs with the frightening power to take whatever they want.



    Ogre

    Attribute Bonus: Resolve, Srength or Stamina

    Blessing: Unrelenting Brute
    Your character gains both of the following abilities:
    • On a successful unarmed attack, you can spend 1 Glamour as a reflexive action to inflict one of the following Tilts to your target: Arm Wrack, Leg Wrack or Beaten Down. The Tilt lasts for 3 turns.
    • You can spend 1 Glamour as a reflexive action to ignore the Beaten Down, Arm Wrack or Leg Wrack Tilt for 1 turn.
    Motivation:
    As with Darklings, the Ogre Blessing already works well as presented in the book (except for the fact that they can get +1 Intelligence? Really?). I wanted to give them more options, and more of a "Tanky" role, which is also in line with their Shield Regalia.


    Wizened

    Attribute Bonus: Intelligence, Dexterity or Manipulation

    Blessing: Wonder Worker
    During character creation, choose a Skill Specialty or a specific work field for which your character has an affinity. Your character gains all of the following abilities:
    • You consider yourself as always having the necessary tools for building equipment within the chosen Skill Specialty or work field: perhaps the tools you need are conjured from thin air, or they mysteriously appear whenever needed, or are magically McGyvered from anything you have at hand. This ability is always active.
    • If, instead, your character has actually access to the necessary tools for building equipment within the chosen Skill Specialty or work field, you can spend 1 Glamour as a reflexive action to perform magical feats in your craft: for example, turning one material into another, or building an organization of stray dogs. The Storyteller can assign a value between 1 and 5 to the magical feat, that counts as extra bonus modifier for the purpose of assessing the difficulty of the build equipment action.
    • You can spend Glamour to gain +1 on your building equipment action within the chosen Skill Specialty or work field, up to a maximum of 5 Glamour.
    Example: “How are we going to convince the Goblin Queen to let us through?” asked Cinder John, the Flamekin.
    “Some good old-fashioned flattery, I guess. She’s a nine-year-old who claims to be the Empress of all Faerie, so perhaps a gift that speaks to her enormous ego may do the trick. Luckily, I have exactly what we need,” said Sarah, the Artist. She was used to the many impromptu painting sessions that her Keeper requested on a whim. As she started to pull paintbrushes, dozens of acrylic colors, and a whole canvas from her small purse, she tried to remember what Napoleon’s clothes looked like.


    Motivation:
    I like how the Wizened Blessing uses the Build Equipment mechanics, and material transformation is a cool idea; however, it is really too narrow in scope. It doesn't fit with many possible character concepts (think of the archetypal Wizened Chatelaine, Antiquarian, Notaries etc.). Instead, my attempt is to generalize the idea, especially since the Build Equipment rules can be used to create plans, data archives, organizations etc. Also, while 2nd Edition puts a lot of emphasis on the "planning" aspect, I would focus more on the idea that Wizened are workers. It's what they do. It's more than that: it's what they are, it's what defines them. As such, they're never really unprepared for their job.


    Other optional ideas

    Loopholes: for simplicity and consistency, I've made so that all blessings require Glamour expenditure for at least some of their effects. The "conditional costs" presented in the book are a nice touch that would be nice to keep, so perhaps they could be reworked as loopholes: under given circumstances, the Blessing costs no Glamour or is discounted. I still need to think about them, as they would need to be completely reworked to fit the new Blessing rules or the themes I want to focus on.
    For example, the Beast Loophole would be: the first Glamour you spend in a scene for this blessing is free if you’re acting on instinct and without thinking. In a sense, it's the opposite of what's in the book, where it costs more if the Beast is frightened and acts impulsively. To me, acting the same way they did in Arcadia is easier, but it has the drawback of potentially reminding their Durance, as I explained at the beginning of this post. Notice how such a Loophole would interact nicely with the Beast Curse, which I think could make for interesting gameplay.

    The rule of three: to better represent my idea of Blessings as I explained, I've been toying with ideas similar to this:
    • The first time a character uses a Blessing in a chapter, the first Glamour spent is free
    • The second time a character uses a Blessing in a chapter, it has a Glamour cost as normal
    • The third (and further) time a character uses a Blessing in a chapter, in addition to the Glamour cost, she suffers a Clarity attack with a dicepool equal to the number of times she has used the Blessing in the same chapter.
    Also, "things come in threes" is a common trope in fairy tales.


    Anyway, these are mostly a bunch of ideas I've been toying with which I'm throwing here. It's still a work in progress, so I would appreciate any feedback.
    Last edited by moonwhisper; 03-03-2021, 12:43 PM.

  • #2
    really like Wonder Worker

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    • #3
      I like the idea of players having alternate Blessings to choose from for their characters, since, as you noted with Wizened, they can be a little pigeonholed for certain builds. Beast in particular did this in the player’s guide. However, while you have some interesting ideas here, I am not so fond of Faerie Authority and Wonder Worker. I can see what you’re going for with them, but the Blessings make particular builds entirely redundant.

      Faerie Authority means that players don’t need to buy most social merits or even work in their constraints for getting a service - they find someone who can do a thing, and with a single glamour they now have a disposable asset. No need to spend experiences or trying to finangle existing Contacts/Allies/Retainers, etc, unless they’re particularly flexible already. My reading with Fairest is more that they’re desirable and loved for simply being there, which their existing Blessing does - having someone on hand who can bless you just by looking at you is extremely desirable, and thus a Fairest’s presence alone is a political power in its own right. That said, it does rely on having larger pools of Willpower to make it work.

      I agree with your statement that Wizened are too focused with the current Blessing. However, Wonder Worker in itself makes the Artist Kith pointless to take for a Wizened, since it’s basically their Trickery made innate, which is ironic considering that was a Kith that originated with Wizened to begin with. I also have to question going back to the model of “spend glamour to get a bonus to a die pool” that 1e professed to, which all the current Seemings have done so well to branch away from. Ideally an alternate Blessing would focus less on building and more on other fields, such as restoration or other investigation or somesuch.

      I appreciate that I am not offering much to replace or fix the problems I am bringing up, and I am sorry for that. I do look forward to what avenues this line of thinking will bring up.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
        Faerie Authority means that players don’t need to buy most social merits or even work in their constraints for getting a service - they find someone who can do a thing, and with a single glamour they now have a disposable asset. No need to spend experiences or trying to finangle existing Contacts/Allies/Retainers, etc, unless they’re particularly flexible already.
        You're right. It wouId make purchasing these Merits redundant.

        I realize that the same effect in Deviant is limited to once per chapter, and the Variation is tied to a Scar which is already a balancing factor (and perhaps, this effect may end up different in the final product).

        Demons also can create temporary dots through Legend, but this is fixed by having to roll Cover and by the Impostor Condition, which basically forces the player to acquire the desired dots through xp, fixing the Cover's improvised Merits in reality.
        I wouldn't create a Condition specifically for the Fairest. That would be unfair (pun intended) to the other Seemings.

        But yes, I guess I have to come up with something to balance it.

        Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
        My reading with Fairest is more that they’re desirable and loved for simply being there, which their existing Blessing does - having someone on hand who can bless you just by looking at you is extremely desirable, and thus a Fairest’s presence alone is a political power in its own right. That said, it does rely on having larger pools of Willpower to make it work.
        I'd argue that you could say the same thing about Wizeneds: having someone at hand who can turn everything into gold, diamond, or heck, **cking plutonium is extremely desirable. It's a very indirect way to represent the fact that they're desirable and loved. The Daeva's Majesty Discipline makes the vampire's presence intoxicating in a straightforward way, it doesn't provide bonuses to strangers so that they can like her.

        I appreciate that the designers wanted to move away from "they're the Ventrues/Daevas of Changeling", and that they wanted to focus on Fairest being "leaders" (which their Blessing actually captures really well), but personally I'm not convinced by this take on the Seeming.

        Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
        I agree with your statement that Wizened are too focused with the current Blessing. However, Wonder Worker in itself makes the Artist Kith pointless to take for a Wizened, since it’s basically their Trickery made innate, which is ironic considering that was a Kith that originated with Wizened to begin with. I also have to question going back to the model of “spend glamour to get a bonus to a die pool” that 1e professed to, which all the current Seemings have done so well to branch away from.
        Yes, it makes the Artist Kith pointless, but I believe it would be easier to make up a new Artist Trickery rather than changing the whole Seeming for a single Kith. I think players and Storytellers should be encouraged to come up with their own Kiths anyway, to best represent the character's concept. In my opinion, Kiths should be how players can best customize their own character.
        I wish Changeling had a better system for building your own Kith, instead of a limited choice of predefined Kiths and a pretty vague "if you want to create your own Kith, you have to come up with an Exceptional 3 Skill and a Trickery roll".
        (this should be probably discussed on its own thread, but I really love what they did with Deviant Variations. It's the system that allows for most customization I've seen so far, which would fit really well for the endless possibilities of changeling kiths. I think some of the first, or first two dots of Variations would work great as Kith Trickeries)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Taidragon View Post
          Faerie Authority means that players don’t need to buy most social merits or even work in their constraints for getting a service - they find someone who can do a thing, and with a single glamour they now have a disposable asset. No need to spend experiences or trying to finangle existing Contacts/Allies/Retainers, etc, unless they’re particularly flexible already.
          So, I've been thinking about fixing this issue, and here's how I've reworked Faerie Authority:

          Blessing: Faerie Authority
          Your character can consider a stranger or group of strangers as a connection to temporary dots of Social Merits.

          By spending 1 or more Glamour as an instant action and spending a brief interaction to convince the person to perform favors for you, you can temporarily replace dots you have among Allies, Contacts, Mentor, Retainer or Staff , with a Merit within the same list pertaining to the person in question. The person must be a non-hostile mortal (i.e. with no supernatural template).

          You can replace one dot per Glamour spent. All the Glamour however must be spent in the same turn: the number of dots replaced is therefore dependent on the Glamour per turn limit imposed by your Wyrd rating.

          For example, at Wyrd 3 you can spend 3 Glamour and renounce to 1 dot in Contacts and 2 dots in Mentor to gain 3 dots in Allies, (related to the stranger you’re interacting with).

          The temporary dots you gain last for the remainder of the scene. The dots that you have replaced, however, cannot be used for the remainder of the chapter.

          If your character has no dots in said Merits to replace, she can still spend 1 Glamour to gain 1 temporary dot, but she also gains one point of Goblin Debt with the Wyrd itself: Fate will make sure she pays the price, sooner or later. This Goblin Debt can be worked out by spending experience to acquire the relevant Social Merits.
          The in-game explanation would be that channeling a Fairest's blessing makes her fae heritage temporarily take over her human nature, as if remembering the authority, influence and charm she had in Arcadia made her forget her mortal connections. At the same time, in order to master this ability, she needs to blend both her human and fae experience.

          She remembered who she used to be in Arcadia. For a brief moment, she is not Sarah, the friendly nurse who chats with her colleagues at the General Hospital anymore. She's the Champion of the Duke of Thousand Leaves again. She used to always have a loyal squire by her side, and she WILL have a squire now. By renouncing to 2 dots in Allies (Nurses) for that chapter, Sarah's player temporarily gains a 2-dots Retainer.
          Last edited by moonwhisper; 03-06-2021, 12:02 PM.

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