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The Paths to Lichdom

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  • GreenKitty
    started a topic The Paths to Lichdom

    The Paths to Lichdom

    I have a character who is a Moros mage who secretly seeks immortality. He isn't just seeking agelessness, he wants to go pretty far with it, being nigh indestructible and possibly being a sort of "perfected undead". Unlike most who wish to take this left-handed path, he isn't selfish or evil so he wouldn't want to harm anyone by doing it.

    So far I've looked at Left-Handed Path and Immortals guide and there does seem to be a lot to borrow from. Left-Handed path details Tremere Liches, and Immortals presents two interesting options but they might not be mage-friendly-the Purified but their souls become too warped to use Awakened magic, and Eternals but any damage to the physical object damages the eternal too.

    The 2e book mentions some other options but they are pretty vague: binding one's ghost back into one's body-but has the drawback of becoming obsessed with a single purpose like ghosts, becoming a ghost mage who lives in the Temenos or Underworld, become a Morphean(but that doesn't seem like a very nice option), using runes on the body, but they can be easily ruined.

    Someone else suggested to fray death, but this comes at the cost of cellular overproduction and cancer cells going amuck-hence one may have to also fray life at the same time (which may result in undeath if both are frayed). If my mage is crazy enough and wants to become like a D&D style lich and use a phylactery, he could use prime + death to possibly anchor his consciousness to another vessel in case his body is destroyed, then maybe use life to create a clone. I'm pretty sure at least 5 arcanum in life, death, and prime might be able to pull a great magical feat as this.

    Then I looked into Mage: The Ascension which does have a lich path, but I'm not sure how to adapt it narratively and mechanically to Mage: The Awakening.

    In-character what he plans to do (but this after a huge timejump) is seek out and study immortals of any kind he can run into, and it may be possible to turn his into a homebrew legacy.

    So I am posting this for suggestions on how to go about it, and also I'd like to know more about those vaguer options presented in the 2e book, and maybe if the Ascension liche can be adapted to Awakening.

  • Corrigan
    replied
    I don't know if you are familiar with the Cherokee witches known as raven mockers -- they torture and kill people, adding the lost years of the victims to their own lifespan. In some versions, their bodies continue to age in appearance, so an ancient witch can look terribly wizened and frailer than they actually are.

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  • Pale_Crusader
    replied
    So in my Homebrew I rule that Minor Templates fill the same power equivalence as Bloodlines, Legacies, Entitlements and Lodges, which is roughly equivalent to a Potency 1 Horror in scope of power, and that Major and Minor Templates fill different "slots" so to speak meaning someone have be a both a major and minor template, they simply fill up the slot where they'd get a Legacy if they were a Mage or a Bloodline if they were a Vampire, ect... I further sort them by Supernatural Fuel Source capability and associated Skills

    tl:dr versions I made a Tremere Reaper Minor Template which in my home brew would be available for the Mage character in question which has a favored version of the Immortal Dread Power and is listed here:

    Originally posted by Pale_Crusader View Post
    Tremere Reaper
    The existence of the Tremere Reaper casts a dark shadow over the presumption of innate goodness of sapient beings. Few things are as awful as the devouring of souls, and yet that is exactly what Tremere Reapers do. Souls are immortal and thus can be used to defy death, both of the Tremere and those they care about and the fact these aspects of creation were meant to be everlasting doesn't cause them to stop from snuffing them out for the power over life and death. Reviled by all those that know what they do, the Tremere Reapers still are quite powerful because replenishing their numbers after even well planned attacks them is as easy as the survivors eating some souls to bring back their fallen comrades.
    Becoming a Tremere Reaper:
    An Tremere Reaper requires studing the medical arts with the drive to find the secret of immortality at any cost. Acquiring their first soul for this Template is always the hardest. The Tremere Reaper-to-be (which uses the equipment building rules page CoD 100, Resolve + Medicine if the crafting is done under pressure in downtime) must vivisect an Non-Template with a soul and extract it. This process can only be done once for that Tremere Reaper-to-be as part of their transformation. The process leaves the victim with the Soulless Condition, if the Tremere Reaper allows them to survive, at the climax of the Procedure the Tremere Reaper-to-be spends a Willpower Dot and immediately loses a Dot of their Stability Advantage as he devours his own soul and replaces it with that of his victim.
    The mechanical prerequisites to become a Tremere Reaper vary in the following ways
    They standardly require a Social Merit representing the relationship to the person who is already a Tremere Reaper which is instructing the character in how to become a Tremere Reaper (even if the Tremere Reaper is another Player Character or Support, though this is often done as a Mentor relationship, there is flexibility in which social merit is most appropriate), Medicine 3 and a Skill Specialization Immortality. Someone who has no relationship to guide them may still stumble across the methods of becoming a Tremere Reaper but require Medicine 4 and a Skill Specialization Immortality.
    Tags Gained: Erudite, Vampire
    Willful Mana: May spend Mana instead of Willpower to use Dread Powers, and may spend Willpower instead of Mana when called for in spellcasting. This does not grant a Mana Pool, which must be acquired from another source for this to be applicable for the character.
    Potency: The character gains one dot of Potency as if he were a Horror, this affect Willpower Capacity, and Supernatural Tolerance. For those with a Major Template the Supernatural Tolerance does stack with that granted by the Major Template’s Power Stat.
    Hollow Hunger: Every month a Tremere Reaper goes without fulfilling their Appetite they lose access to a Willpower Dot, but upon fulfilling the Tremere Reaper’s Appetite he regains access to all the Willpower Dots they lost access to, in the state they were lost in (filled with Willpower Points or empty). Tremere Reapers also gain Willpower points by fulfilling their Appetite. Unlike Aspirations, Appetite does not grant Beats.
    Appetite: Dissolving a soul for nourishment.
    Bane: Not fulfilling Appetite to the point that invokes Hollow Hunger's loss of access to Willpower Dots.
    Dread Powers:
    Immortal: The Tremere Reaper isn’t bound by mortal laws of life and death. He’s not indestructible, per se, but if he’s killed by anything other than one of his Banes, he just comes back in a later scene like nothing happened. Even if he’s destroyed with one of his Banes, he’s never really gone — another Tremere Reaper that knows of them and their death can consume a soul they have for the purpose of invoking the dead Tremere Reaper's Immortal resurrection clause, which causes the dead Tremere Reaper to reform alive and well as if they never died in the presence of the one resurrecting them.
    Soul-Eater: The Tremere Reaper is capable of stealing human souls for sustenance and to use via the Essential Salts Dread Power or any other ability to harness a soul he may have. He has to trick the victim into offering it up willingly without Hard Leverage, then the Tremere Reaper may spend 3 Willpower and roll Intelligence + Medicine, contested by the victim’s Resolve. If the Tremere Reaper succeeds, it steals the victim’s soul and inflicts the Soulless Condition. The victim (or her friends) may be able to find a way to restore her soul by killing the Tremere Reaper with any Bane he may have, if the soul is still in possession of the Tremere Reaper. The Tremere Reaper may hold as many souls as he has in Potency + any other Supernatural Tolerance + their own soul and may consume any specific one as an Instant Action to fulfill his Appetite, or to invoke the Resurrection clause of any dead Tremere they know of (both of which annihilates the soul in question). Using his own soul leaves the Tremere Reaper with the Soulless Condition. He may move any soul he is holding to where his soul should be to resolve this Condition as a Reflexive action. This grants no Beats.
    Essential Salts: This Dread Power literally raises the dead. The Dread Power costs 10 Souls to use, the activation roll of Intelligence + Medicine with access to the remains of the deceased which is reduced to its essential salts, and is penalized by one die per week the subject has been dead. Supernatural beings that have already died as part of their transformation — vampires, mummies, and Sin-Eaters — can’t be resurrected, nor can anyone who died of natural causes. Other supernatural beings lose their powers when resurrected, becoming a Non-Template. Additionally those brought back have the Soulless Condition.
    Actually there is at least several Minor Templates that offer something equivalent to the Immortal Dread Power, some to the point they could easily flavor a whole venue making social maneuvering, interconnected dealing and continued existence a cliche based political game instead of something where mere combat puissance dictates the hierarchy.

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  • Asaram
    replied
    Also, lets not forget that souls actually go off to somewhere specific and do so at the moment of death. You might very well, probably in fact, do some serious harm by stealing a soul even if the person currently in possession of it is about to die and once they're dead, as far as I know, the soul is already gone.
    Not knowing how critical the 'soul' is to the afterlife process, only knowing it is somehow critical for all sorts of things and seemingly an integral part of 'death', I think most mages would consider *any* theft of souls, even from the already dying, the act of a reaper.

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  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post
    But not necessary without the house rule that souls degrade over time. I haven't seen the thread's creator weigh in on that yet.

    But if you do play with degrading souls you could face the complication that people dying of natural causes do that because their soul is reaching the end of its shelf life. If you have to reap a new soul every 50 years it's impossible to notice a pattern unless you have a reason to look for one, but if you have to do it almost every year because you want to be a humane Reaper, you'll either end up creating both a pattern and a routine (both of which are what leads to serial killers being caught) or having to devote a noticeable amount of time travelling to different hospices in order to avoid creating a pattern.
    Going off the Biblical references, you could assume an average soul longevity of 70 years, plus/minus quite a bit based on other factors that could constitute a mystery. That age limit plus "tainting" of the soul from experiences and a certain inflexibility acquired with age could help explain the fascination with virgin/infant sacrifice in some deplorable magical traditions.

    Sure, the life is in the blood, but the power is in the soul, right?

    Kinda related: my operating assumption is that the soul serves as the motivating power source for the spirit, and functions as a kind of boatman's coin as the spirit passes on to some truly outside existence. Therefore, snatching the soul away at death is an excellent way of engendering a ghost, should the spirit be sufficiently potent, or at least annoying someone in the underworld, somewhere.

    Always consequences....

    --Khanwulf

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  • Tessie
    replied
    But not necessary without the house rule that souls degrade over time. I haven't seen the thread's creator weigh in on that yet.

    But if you do play with degrading souls you could face the complication that people dying of natural causes do that because their soul is reaching the end of its shelf life. If you have to reap a new soul every 50 years it's impossible to notice a pattern unless you have a reason to look for one, but if you have to do it almost every year because you want to be a humane Reaper, you'll either end up creating both a pattern and a routine (both of which are what leads to serial killers being caught) or having to devote a noticeable amount of time travelling to different hospices in order to avoid creating a pattern.

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  • Margul
    replied
    Yes. So it is possible to do it somewhat humanly but it still tows the line is my point. It basically amounts to the soul version of an organ transplant.

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  • Dusksage
    replied
    Yeah, outside of Archmastery or inscrutable means beyond the preview of the Arcana, Souls can't be created by Mages. The closest thing one could do is stay near terminally ill or hospice patients and wait for them to die of natural causes and then snatch their soul before it departs into the unknown. This is considered the only humane way to acquire souls, and that's barely accepted as it is (some hard liners would still call it Reaping.)

    Point is, there's always a cost to extending one's life. And what cost you're willing to accept and the consequences of such actions is the name of the game for such a story.
    Last edited by Dusksage; 05-02-2018, 04:49 AM. Reason: Spellcheck

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  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Originally posted by Margul View Post
    Souls are transferable. Even if you don't consume the soul you could do the aforementioned time lord thing and give the person a new souls after a while. It's still kinda reaperish but you skip the tremere lichdom stuff.
    Well, no Supernal magic (outside that of Archmastery) has been confirmed to be able to create souls, so to give a new soul to someone whose soul you took, you need to take that soul from someone...

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  • Margul
    replied
    Souls are transferable. Even if you don't consume the soul you could do the aforementioned time lord thing and give the person a new souls after a while. It's still kinda reaperish but you skip the tremere lichdom stuff.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    That's the thing; they consume souls rather than just using them normally.

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  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    All we know for now is that the Tremere Liches consume souls to feed their Hollow, but they're a specific (and nasty) form of immortality rather than a general rule.

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  • Mrmdubois
    replied
    Originally posted by Dusksage View Post
    I don't see why soul degradation couldn't be a thing.
    Not that it couldn't be a thing, but that there isn't any thing I'm aware of that says it is a thing.

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  • Dusksage
    replied
    I don't see why soul degradation couldn't be a thing. Like most most things in the Fallen World it could still be bound to the laws of Entropy. I'd just work off the concept that it would be similar to how you can't extend your life forever without having to give up something in exchange. The accumulative Reach that would be needed for a millennia old Mage to hard cast a lifespan extension spell would be neigh impossible for anything outside of Archmastery. That's why stealing someone else's life or soul is far more easier and appealing for the desperate Willworker.

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  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
    I don't think there's anything specifically in Mage that would back up the idea that a soul eventually gives out.
    It was somewhat implied by the original Death rules. A lot of spells quantified a 'lifespan' implying that it's a discreet entity rather than an abstract measure.

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