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The Lord Sages of the Unknown Reaches (2E)

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  • The Lord Sages of the Unknown Reaches (2E)

    Changelings have learned that they live in a world far richer and stranger than the mortals around them know. Ghosts haunt the sites of their deaths, vampires and werewolves stalk the night, and a few strange and deadly mortals wield fearsome magic. The Lord Sages of the Unknown Reaches are a small and eccentric noble order dedicated to learning about the other supernatural beings that live in or occasionally visit the World of Darkness. Most Lord Sages specialize in a single field of endeavor -- ghosts, vampires, werewolves, mages, spirits, cryptids, necromancers -- while a few attempt to become supernatural polymaths. Some are scholars and relic hunters, while others are diplomats and spies, but all Lord Sages are dedicated to protecting either their freehold or all changelings from other supernatural menaces. Along the way, though, they have a strong interest in acquiring, often by any means necessary, allies and objects that can help changelings in their battles against the fae.

    Most other changelings regard the Lord Sages as somewhat eccentric. Many don't even fully believe in the order's purpose. Some changelings remain convinced that the True Fae are at the heart of all other supernatural creatures and manifestations; others feel that the Lord Sages are investigating things best left alone. To many changelings, this noble order is nothing more than a macabre and somewhat silly waste of time, and so members aren't accorded much respect by the rest of their Court or freehold just on the principle of their order. However, occasionally a Lord Sage will come up with a useful artifact, a binding treaty or a powerful ally that awes and impresses their critics. Of course, other Lord Sages simply vanish or are found messily dead, their coes a brutal testament to forms of violence that are not easily attributed to mortal or fae hand.

    Most Lost distrust the supernatural beings the Lord Sages search out or attempt to make alliances with -- the fae realm is full of potential dangers and treachery in the guise of trustworthiness. Why seek out new, lesser-known threats to add to the tally? And who's to say that the violent man-beasts who are rumored to live around the abandoned train yard aren't themselves fae or monstrous hunting hounds of the Others? Few changelings are willing to violate the safety of the freehold by inviting some new unknown factor in, and so the Lord Sages typically abide under powerful and binding oaths that they will not betray the secrets of the Lost to those that might destroy or enslave them. Membership in this order can erode some of the bonds of trust between a Lord Sage and his fellows.

    And yet, their successes -- rare and fleeting though they may be -- are encouraging. Certainly they justify the order's continued existence, at least to themselves, if not to their sternest critics. If they find a potent supernatural artifact, it does carry a certain amount of prestige. If other changelings find themselves troubled by ghosts, spirits, or some other type of supernatural being, Lord Sages are often the only ones who both believe them and can offer useful advice or aid. And thus the Lord Sages of the Unknown Reaches continue their work -- as carefully as they can.

    Titles: Lord or Lady Sage
    Prerequisites: Wyrd 2, Occult 3, two Occult specialties

    Joining: The order invites any changeling who has had experience with other supernatural beings to join. Changelings who have had experiences that significantly add to the Lord Sages' knowledge of some other type of supernatural being are invited to become members. Those who are fascinated by other supernatural beings and phenomena but lack any direct experience with such may also apply, but must convince the members of this noble order that they have something to offer the order. Those who succeed are given a mentor who teaches them the path of the Lord Sage.

    The formal end of the apprenticeship occurs when the mentor allows the apprentice to demonstrate her mastery of knowledge before at least one other member of the order apart from himself (three is an ideal number, but difficult to achieve, given that this order is usually rare in any location). In addition to her studies, an apprentice also acts as a general assistant to her mentor, and can be asked to do everything from search large stacks of aging tomes for specific pieces of information to accompanying the mentor into the lairs and dens of other supernatural beings. Having an apprentice who does well gains her mentor significant praise and status, but some mentors enjoy having an unpaid assistant and can be reluctant to release their apprentice.

    Approach: A Lord Sage exposes himself to unknown threats when dealing with other supernaturals, as any one of them may be associated with the Others in one form or another. Huntsmen abiding by the Approach must attack through the use of such beings. One may manipulate a werewolf pack to declare Siskur-Dah on the Sage and his motley, while another sways a vampire Prince to turn the changeling's fae-touched and mortal friends into her thralls.

    Mien: The Mien of a Lord Sage changes in a number of ways. The most obvious is that their eyes seem to enlarge slightly and take on a permanent glow. In addition, their clothing, and occasionally their skin becomes decorated with various occult and esoteric symbols. These symbols come from all cultures and mythologies, but most are associated with the supernatural beings the Lord Sage studies and talks to. These symbols change every time the changeling wakes up. As a Lord Sage's Wyrd rises, the number of symbols increase somewhat or the symbols grow larger. A typical Lord Sage has between half a dozen and several dozen such symbols on his clothing. Lord Sages with Wyrd scores above four also typically appear to have one or more of these occult symbols tattooed on their skin.

    Background: A few who join the Lord Sages either had an interest in or encounter with the occult before they were taken by the fae. Some saw a ghost, others were fascinated by, and perhaps attempted to learn magic and a few may have had some brief and fleeting contact with a vampire, werewolf or spirit. The majority didn't have such prior contact, though; it was only when they re-emerged from the Thorns that they began to move in circles where their paths would cross... other paths. Some say it's the power of Wyrd that alters their fates so now they meet these other entities. Some Lord Sages outright fear and distrust most other supernatural beings. Their goal is to keep watch on the outsiders lest they become a danger. When possible, these changelings also attempt to steal the secrets of these entities. But even if their attraction comes from fear and paranoia, all Lord Sages are deeply fascinated by other supernatural beings. They wouldn't take the risks they do otherwise.

    In addition to usually having some previous contact with other supernatural beings, many members of this order also tend to be outsiders in the changeling community. For many, they feel somewhat ill at ease among their own kind and no longer fully belong to the mortal world. These feelings cause them to long for and seek out contact with other supernatural beings in the often-vain hope of finding others they will feel more connected to, perhaps closer kin.

    [For more information, see p. 147 of Lords of Summer.]

    Organization: As an order largely administered by eccentric scholars who work with equally peculiar spies and diplomats, the degree of formal structure is less than in most noble orders. There is a loose division by field of study, with students of ghostly lore have a hierarchy separate from that of the students of magic. Like different departments within a university, there is a natural rivalry between those who study different beings. While a few Lord Sages study more than one sort of being, other Lord Sages usually regard them as dilettantes. How much can they be expected to know, given how difficult it usually is to attain just one single verifiable scrap of information?

    Cutting across these disciplinary lines there are the noble order's libraries, which contain the documents and artifacts written and collected by the members of this order. Although each Lord Sage is responsible for maintaining her own library of notes and artifacts, all are also required to share their research with their nearest official Library. There are only a few dozen official libraries in the United States, usually located in the largest freeholds. Administering one of these formal libraries is a job given only to the most respected members of this order, including both retired diplomats and spies and the finest scholars. These librarians hold a great deal of political and social power among the Lord Sages. They control access to the most sensitive information and are in the best position to understand trends and potential problems caused by other supernatural beings.

    Lord Sages hold regular gatherings, with the largest being on Halloween and Beltane, where they all gather at their nearest library to discuss their work and share questions and observations. While these gatherings are largely a mixture of intellectual party and informal academic discussion, those attending also have a short formal meeting to discuss matters of important to the Lord Sages as a whole. The local librarian is in charge of these discussions, as well as being the host for the entire gathering.

    Privilege: ???? ?????
    The Lord Sage may invoke the magical items of other supernaturals by spending a Willpower point and their original cost in Glamour. He also adds half his Wyrd to his effective Clarity for the purpose of Kenning. Whenever a supernatural would use an ability, he may reflexively spend Glamour and roll Wits + Wyrd to scrutinize it. Each point spent grants a piece of insight such as the power's cost, effects (based on a dramatic failure, success, or exceptional success), duration, and target. An exceptional success also reveals what knowledge fuels the power, based on its dice pool.

    Rumors of the Lord Sages

    Some of the Lord Sages are secretly agents or possibly unwilling thralls of the vampires, spirit or other inhuman beings they make contact with. Occasionally, these beings transform Lord Sages into one of their own and convince them to reveal everything they know about changelings. When that happens, you have to move the whole freehold or it's lost.

    Many of the beings the Lord Sages make contact with are either disguised fae or secretly in league with the fae and are making contact solely to betray any changelings they encounter. Some of the Lord Sages are their dupes; others work with them willing in return for knowledge and magical trinkets.

    Many Lord Sages poorly understand the occult knowledge or magical wonders they possess, and either care more about knowledge and power than the safety of those around them or are simply careless. As a result, they occasionally unleash dire forces and ancient powers upon the world.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 05-08-2018, 04:04 PM. Reason: Added the Privilege writeup.


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

  • #2
    I am having a bit of trouble working out the Privilege for the Lord Sages, especially since it could vary based on what splat they specialize in.


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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
      I am having a bit of trouble working out the Privilege for the Lord Sages, especially since it could vary based on what splat they specialize in.

      Try to make it generalized or modular, then? Maybe the ability to treat Wyrd as the target being's Power Stat, and Glamour as their Fuel Stat? That would let them use things like Fetishes and Artifacts, maybe even Rites and Blood Sorcery? Or maybe give them a Contract like Demon's Show of Power - they can roughly emulate another power or trait they observe? That would encourage them to research on what other beings are capable of.

      EDIT: Thought on the Contract. You could just copy most of Show of Power. Maybe the Catch could be "a written and signed contract with the being whose power you are emulating on your person". That would encourage the Sage to open up friendly (or at least mercenary) contact with others, though if they needed to, they could just force Glamour through the Contract and copy the abilities of foes.
      Last edited by Vent0; 10-10-2016, 02:24 PM.


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

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      • #4
        Taken the Envoy merit from the Honsu Freehold as a starting point, but obviously tied to the Sages instead of the Honsu Freehold.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Omegaphallic View Post
          Taken the Envoy merit from the Honsu Freehold as a starting point, but obviously tied to the Sages instead of the Honsu Freehold.
          How about something close to Vent0's suggestion? Like being able to convert the energy of other splats into Glamour when it's offered to them? And vice versa?


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

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          • #6
            I like that, but I'd still have the best effect of having access to supernatural alles, contacts, ect...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Omegaphallic View Post
              I like that, but I'd still have the best effect of having access to supernatural alles, contacts, ect...

              I'm not sure Envoy really encompasses their nature completely. They seem more students and scholars than diplomats and deal-makers that Envoy would imply.


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

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm not sure what exactly changelings cannot contract with in 2E but here's a thought. What if you made it so that they can identify their specialty when they see it with a roll against supernatural obscuration. Thus they know the guy siting at the bar is a vampire although he might not be so thrilled to be called out on it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dreaming Cat View Post
                  I'm not sure what exactly changelings cannot contract with in 2E but here's a thought. What if you made it so that they can identify their specialty when they see it with a roll against supernatural obscuration. Thus they know the guy siting at the bar is a vampire although he might not be so thrilled to be called out on it.
                  Hmm. That seems like a good place to start. And I can probably weave that into the Kenning mechanics somehow.


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Tentative draft for the Entitlement's privilege.

                    -=-

                    Privilege: The Lord Sage chooses a given type of supernatural to specialize in. Upon initiation, he is treated as having the Unseen Sense Merit with regards to such supernatural beings. If he makes a kenning roll, he adds half his Wyrd to his effective Clarity for the purpose of Kenning. Any Clash of Wills made against the powers of his favored supernatural gain the 8-again quality.


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

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                      Tentative draft for the Entitlement's privilege.

                      -=-

                      Privilege: The Lord Sage chooses a given type of supernatural to specialize in. Upon initiation, he is treated as having the Unseen Sense Merit with regards to such supernatural beings. If he makes a kenning roll, he adds half his Wyrd to his effective Clarity for the purpose of Kenning. Any Clash of Wills made against the powers of his favored supernatural gain the 8-again quality.
                      The Clash of Will effect is kinda nice, but seems more defender-ish or hunter themed, as opposed to studious. The Unseen Sense is very meh. You could enlist a mortal for that, if Kenning doesn't allow it normally.

                      What about they can use Kenning to deduce the what and how of the target supernatural's powers? Not just "Magic here", but "A Vampire has used their shape-changing power to assume the form of mist. This lasts [duration of the 5 dot Protean ability] and costs [whatever the Vitae cost is]." Makes them scary knowledgeable about their subjects. And knowledge is power.
                      Last edited by Vent0; 11-18-2016, 01:30 PM.


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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

                        The Clash of Will effect is kinda nice, but seems more defender-ish or hunter themed, as opposed to studious. The Unseen Sense is very meh. You could enlist a mortal for that, if Kenning doesn't allow it normally.

                        What about they can use Kenning to deduce the what and how of the target supernatural's powers? Not just "Magic here", but "A Vampire has used their shape-changing power to assume the form of mist. This lasts [duration of the 5 dot Protean ability] and costs [whatever the Vitae cost is]." Makes them scary knowledgeable about their subjects. And knowledge is power.
                        That sounds good. I can imagine the information that can be acquired is based on how many successes the Sage gets. Like, say, one piece of info per success?


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

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post

                          That sounds good. I can imagine the information that can be acquired is based on how many successes the Sage gets. Like, say, one piece of info per success?
                          Sure? But what are the scope of the questions?
                          • Power Type?
                          • Power Target?
                          • Cost?
                          • Duration?


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

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

                            Sure? But what are the scope of the questions?
                            • Power Type?
                            • Power Target?
                            • Cost?
                            • Duration?
                            See the revision below.

                            -=-


                            Privileges: The Lord Sage may invoke the magical items of other supernaturals by spending a Willpower point and their original cost in Glamour. He also adds half his Wyrd to his effective Clarity for the purpose of Kenning. Whenever a supernatural would use an ability, he may reflexively spend Glamour and roll Wits + Wyrd to scrutinize it. Each point spent grants a piece of insight such as the power's cost, effects (based on a dramatic failure, success, or exceptional success), duration, and target. An exceptional success also reveals what knowledge fuels the power, based on its dice pool.

                            -=-

                            For focusing on a given supernatural, I imagine a given Lord Sage having the appropriate Specialties and Merits, as well as Contracts and equipment suitable for confronting them.
                            Last edited by Deionscribe; 11-19-2016, 10:31 AM.


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

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              In tandem with me updating the main post with the Privilege I settled on, may I ask if there were any updates to designing the Entitlements? Last I checked, Approaches were no longer a thing for the courts, so I can assume the same for Entitlements?


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

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