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  • Key of Time?

    So.. I went on here wanting to ask this already, and I saw Arc mentioning the idea that the existing keys are meant to be kinda.. set in stone, so to speak.. but this is a big question that I wonder about in 2e because it surely is something that people have thought of. Is there a Key of Time?

    Clearly, no Sin Eater unlocked it naturally in theory. Old age is one of the few things one of the Bound can die from. But their Geist, and other ghosts (and thus, Mementos and other in game mechanics) could theoretically be tied to just... Your expiration date came up.

    But as a former premed student, I also understand that dying of old age is highly abstract. When someone dies of "old age", it'd usually actually be the Plagued Key, the Silent Key, or maybe even the elemental or Primeval Keys. Time itself doesn't really kill anyone, just.. their body giving up in one way or another that matches up to existing keys but can easily be shrugged off as "natural causes" or just "it was their time to go".

    But it's not like science and medicine have a chokehold on the metaphysical resonance of death in the game. The idea of how someone died isn't always cut and dry and easily defined.

    So.. IS there a Key of Time? Are there Geists and Mementos reflecting death by old age? Is it more thematic to explore the idea that dying by old age is ACTUALLY one of the other already existing keys, or more fun for the Key of Time to be a separate entity that no Bound has naturally?
    Last edited by Cleverest of Things; 12-14-2020, 08:01 AM.

  • #2
    From a certain point of view, all of the keys are a key of time.
    In other words, as you said time cannot actually kill or damage, entropy does it.
    The keys are specific and singular aspects of entropy.
    So if you are intrigued by the concept of a Key of Time you could rule that once a Sin eater has access to all of the keys he can "forge" the legendary key of time

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    • #3
      Generally speaking, the Keys to the power of the Underworld deal with stuff that generates ghosts: traumatic sources of untimely death and their immediate surroundings, as opposed to the thing even a geist can't hold back that is, in mystical terms, your number being up.

      Thematically, a resonant deathly phenomenon tied to someone dying of old age is more likely to be associated with one of the subtler Keys — ghosts and their attached phenomena don't tend to form from death alone (though a lonely death is a different matter). Medical science may not have an ironclad grasp on the magic of "cause of death," but the associated narrative matters when it comes to the things that turn a ghost into a ghost story.


      Resident Lore-Hound
      Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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      • #4
        I agree with both of your thoughts, that time itself doesn't kill anyone directly per se, time just gives the other keys a chance to turn, and the older you get, the more of those thresholds you approach until one key inevitably turns

        I do like Neos' idea of a sort of "super key", representing time and entropy's inevitable hold on all things. While Sineaters would never have it innately, plenty of things die from the simple wear and tear of time, especially castoffs. I never precisely viewed the Keys as strictly ghostly related, but rather death itself. If there is a key of Time/entropy, it would be rare to find any remnant or ghost associated with it because it rarely leaves any "leftovers". But a Geist or Memento with a key like that wouldn't be impossible. Satchel's point is very good, as most ideas I had for even rudimentarily associated mementos could easily just be called Grave Dirt, Silent, or Primeval. But still, the idea would match nicely to the Void and 1e's Stygian key.

        If I were to design it, rather than a key "attribute", I'd go with it unlocking based on your current lower value of remaining health levels and temporary willpower. After all, if there is a key of Time, it'd fit that is temporary and fleeting rather than a set eternal, and having a key that is more useful (because health and willpower can go above 5 more easily than attributes) sometimes but not others seems fitting. It would resonate with things whose days are numbered--people with terminal illness or their last health in lethal damage marked off, buildings set to be condemned, supernatural phenomena with a set duration. No idea what it's Doom would be like, though.

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