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[2E Legacy] Priests of the Watchful Eternity

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  • [2E Legacy] Priests of the Watchful Eternity

    Dangerous is the Fallen World, its threats many and varied. Some, such as the baleful presence of the Exarchs, are threats only the Awakened can truly face; others, especially the ever encroaching Abyss, are more of a mixed bag, Mages both stymie and exacerbate the Abyss’s influence on the world; most can be faced by a myriad of entities; but a few resist direct Awakened efforts to combat them.
    Those in the know call these entities the Sidereal and the portals they come through Baleful Stars. The strangest thing (to Mages) about Sidereals is that the more puissant a Mage is, the less capable they are of affecting, and being affected by, Sidereals. The same holds true for Spirits, Goetia, and the Spirit/Flesh hybrid Werewolves.
    But the Awakened must still shepherd the Sleepers, and so the Priests of the Watchful Eternity hone themselves into a support role that turns select Sleeper sheep into Sleepwalker sheep dogs, capable of protecting the herd of humanity… both in Life and in Death. And so the Cult of the Watchful Eternity was born, a Mystery Cult (p. 106 of M:tAw) of Sleepers cum Sleepwalkers that devote themselves to protecting the rest of humanity from this strange threat.

    Origins
    Parentage
    : Silver Ladder, Moros
    Nicknames: Priests, Enhancers, Juicers (mildly derogatory), Recyclers (extremely derogatory)
    Background: Clergy, occultists, and those with knowledge of how to enhance or heal the human body (such as medical doctors) are the most likely to be recruited into the ranks of the Enhancers.
    Appearance: Priests of the Watchful Eternity present themselves as priests to the members of the Cult and tend to dress the part: robes, mantles, hoods, &c.

    Doctrine
    Prerequisites: Life 2, Occult 2, Mystery Cult Influence (Watchful Eternity) 3
    Initiation: The initiation into the Priesthood is both simple and horrifying. Initiates are brought to a Baleful Star and must watch as the Sleepwalkers battle the strange entities that stumble forth. They must then take an oath to do all in their power to help the Mortals stymie the flow of these monsters.

    Magic
    Ruling Arcanum: Life
    Yantras: ecclesiastic trappings (+1 if handheld or wearable, +2 if environmental), consecrated temple of the Watchful Eternity (+3), holy oils (+1)
    Oblations: recruiting Sleepers to the cause, enhancing members of the Cult of the Watchful Eternity

    Attainments

    First: Bestow Vigilance
    Prerequisites: Initiation
    To be forewarned is to be forearmed. With his attainment the Priest can spend an hour to bless the recipient with heightened senses, granting a bonus to perception rolls (+1 at 1 or 2 dots in Life, +2 at 3 or 4, and +3 at 5). This functions as the spell Heightened Senses with reach assigned to Advanced Duration. If the recipient is a Mortal with at least one dot in Mystery Cult Initiation (Watchful Eye) they also gain the instinctive ability to track by scent.
    Optional: Death 1
    Fighting the Sidereal takes its toll on a Mortal’s soul and the Priests must know what damage has been done to properly tend to those damaged in the fight. Using this attainment the Priest can replicate the effects of Soul Marks with reach assigned to instant casting. Also the primary portion of this Attainment can now affect willing undead with factors using the lower of Life or Death.

    Second: Sanctified Body
    Prerequisites: Life 2, Medicine 1 or Expression 1
    The Sidereal pollute the environment around them and the Mortals who fight them need ways to survive. With an hour of ritual the Priest replicates the effects of Body Control with reach assigned to advanced duration; at Life 1 or 2 the subject has 1 rank, 3 or 4 the subject has 2 ranks, and at 5 the subject has 3 ranks. If the recipient is a Mortal with at least two dots in Mystery Cult Initiation (Watchful Eye) they also gain 1/0 armor.
    Optional: Death 2
    Displays of power can be necessary to entice Mortals into joining the cult; to facilitate this Priests develop the ability to manipulate shadows as the spell Shadow Sculpting with reach assigned to instant casting and animation. In addition, the primary portion of this Attainment can now affect undead with factors using the lower of Life or Death.

    Third: Blessing of the Beasts
    Prerequisite: Life 3, Medicine 2 or Expression 2, Mystery Cult Influence (Watchful Eternity) 4
    The adaptations provided by Sanctified Body are not always enough, sometimes more exotic alterations are necessary in the fight against the denizens of the Baleful Stars. By spending an hour bathing the subject and anointing their body with oils the Priest imparts the effects of Transform Life with reach assigned to Advanced Duration. If the recipient is a Mortal with at least three dots of Mystery Cult Initiation (Watchful Eye), and an expenditure of 1 mana by the Priest, the traits become permanent and heritable. Once the effects are made permanent subsequent uses of this attainment only take effect if used with a higher potency, and only to add traits equal to the excess potency (i.e. if made permanent with 3 traits and then used with potency 4 only one trait is gained).
    Optional: Death 3
    Sometimes the Priest, or the Mortals the Priest is supporting, need weapons or armor now; with this attainment the Priest replicates the effects of Shadow Crafting with reach assigned to instant casting. Also, the Priest can now use the effects of the primary portion of this attainment on undead with factors using the lower of Life or Death.

    Fourth: Form of the Beast
    Prerequisite: Life 4, Occult 3, Medicine 3 or Expression 3, specialization in Occult (Sidereals)
    Humans are weak and squishy compared to many other animals, our advantages are cerebral not physical. With this attainment the Priest can briefly grant the recipient the physical form of an animal. With a touch this attainment replicates the effects of Shapechanging with reach assigned to instant casting. If the recipient is a Mortal with at least four dots in Mystery Cult Initiation (Watchful Eye) the duration becomes advanced duration and the recipient can transform between their human form and the granted animal form as an action any time during the duration of the spell.
    Optional Death 4
    Death is unfortunate but unavoidable, and the incursion of Sidereals is relentless. With this attainment the Priest can spend an hour ritually preparing a corpse to rise and continue fighting. This replicates the effects of Quicken Corpse, with reach for advanced duration and combat ability. If the Priest expends one point of mana and uses this attainment on a corpse of a Mortal that had at least one dot of Mystery Cult Initiation (Watchful Eternity) the corpse instead has exceptional physical prowess as per the +2 reach option of the Quicken Corpse spell. This optional attainment also unlocks the ability to use the primary portion of this attainment on undead with factors limited by the lower of Life or Death.

    Fifth: Sculpted Perfection
    Prerequisite: Life 5, Occult 4, Medicine 3 and Expression 2 or Medicine 2 and Expression 3, Mystery Cult Influence (Watchful Eternity) 5
    With an hour long ritual the Priest sculpts the subject’s body to greater physical heights. This spell replicates the effects of Honing the Form with reach assigned to changing the primary factor to potency, advanced duration, and the ability to raise two different physical attributes. If the recipient has five dots in Mystery Cult Initiation (Watchful Eye) their attributes can be raised above their normal maximum.
    Optional: Death 5
    The final ability the Priests of the Watchful Eternity unlock is the ability to reverse the effects of entropy with a ritual. This attainment replicates the effects of Deny the Reaper with reach assigned to advanced duration. If used on a corpse of someone that had five dots in Mystery Cult Initiation (Watchful Eye) they are returned to life; they suffer from soul loss as normal and gain an additional Vice to slay Sidereals, they die at the end of the spell’s duration as normal. Finally the Priest can now affect undead with the primary portion of this attainment, with factors limited by the lower of Life or Death.

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________

    What are Sidereal? The short answer is “Mages don’t know”. Some speculate that they are entities from some Abyssal version of the Lower Depths, but so far Mages have not discovered any way they might find out.
    Mages and Werewolves suffer twice their Gnosis or Primal Urge as a dice penalty to any mundane rolls to directly interact with Sidereals, and any supernatural ability used by either on a sidereal automatically fails. Goetia and Spirits have even less ability to interact with these creatures, suffering four times their rank as dice penalties to mundane rolls in addition to their supernatural abilities simply failing against them. Luckily Sidereals suffer the same penalties the Mage, Werewolf, Goetia, or Spirit suffers; for whatever reason they’re mutually incompatible. Supernal entities cannot perceive or interact with Sidereals in any way, nor can they perceive or interact with the Baleful Stars; the converse is true, Sidereals cannot perceive or interact with Supernal entities either.
    Sidereals attempt to abduct Mortals and drag them back to the Baleful Stars they emerged from. A Sidereal will always attempt to return to its Baleful Star and will never go to another, even if it is physically closer. Any entity other than a Supernal entity, Mage, Werewolf, Spirit, or Goetia that comes in contact with a Baleful Star disappears, and no magic or other supernatural ability (from any source) can track them, nor have there been any reports of victims returning.
    Sidereals have been observed to range from size 0 to size 30. As far as can be determined they have no ability to engage in social or mental interaction that humanity would recognize, essentially having only physical stats. Their attribute and skill maximum is ten and will often have combat merits and/or the supernatural merits available to Mortals (these do not require Willpower for the Sidereal to activate). Natural armor and weapons are also common, as are exotic forms of movement.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________

    The Cult of the Watchful Eternity itself has not been designed yet, but I plan on basing the different dot level boons directly on the Attainments of the Priests, having Mystery Cult Initiation (Watchful Eternity) X gives that person access to a Priest willing and able to apply the appropriate buff. Part of the Cult of the Watchful Eye's initiation is to ritually expose the initiate to a Baleful Star in such a way that it burns the Abyss from their soul, rendering them a Sleepwalker. Unfortunately it apparently reduces the potential to Awaken, no Sleepwalker that became a Sleepwalker because of their exposure to a Baleful Star has subsequently Awakened.

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________

    I created this Legacy for a player that wants a Life/Death Legacy. I thought it'd be cool to have a Legacy that had abilities that were generally good, but became better when used on Mortals that were part of the relevant cult (grants an extra Reach for relevant targets).

    But what could justify a Pentacle aligned Legacy that put Sleepers directly in harm's way? Hence the Sidereals being difficult for Mages to affect. From a political standpoint Mages would also be incentivized to seek out Vampires for assistance; the Ordo Dracul might consider the Baleful Stars to be a strange sort of Dragon's Nest, or one of the other factions might have some interest in them.

    Spirits and Goetia were excluded from interacting with Sidereals for the same reason as Mages, to make it easier to narratively justify putting Sleepers/Sleepwalkers in harm's way. Werewolves having difficulty interacting with Sidereals is an offshoot of Spirits' difficulty.

    Thoughts? Comments? Ridicule? I'd love to hear what everyone else has to say about this Legacy and the lore around it.
    Last edited by proindrakenzol; 05-24-2018, 04:02 AM.


    Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

  • #2
    Sidereals sound a lot like void spirits from Werewolf, or the more physical extraterrestrial horrors alluded to exist in Mummy.

    Or the Septentriones from Devil Survivor 2.

    Why the focus on vampires/undead as potential allies, though? With spirits and Goetia unable to affect the Sidereals and proficiency over Death, turning to ghosts sound just as reasonable. (Which would also aesthetically tie the Legacy to Mummy if we go this way.)

    Why do some of the Attainments’ effects cap out at three ranks, instead of scaling like the others?

    Why the focus on animal shapeshifting as the means of empowerment?


    MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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    • #3
      Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
      Sidereals sound a lot like void spirits from Werewolf, or the more physical extraterrestrial horrors alluded to exist in Mummy.

      Or the Septentriones from Devil Survivor 2.
      They're a little like Void Spirits in that they're alien, but this is for Mage so I'm not worried about stepping on any paws. I have not read Mummy or played Devil Survivor 2.

      Why the focus on vampires/undead as potential allies, though? With spirits and Goetia unable to affect the Sidereals and proficiency over Death, turning to ghosts sound just as reasonable. (Which would also aesthetically tie the Legacy to Mummy if we go this way.)
      Ghosts are viable, and I almost included a Ghost summoning attainment, but the focus on Vampires comes from the party already being allied with some Vampires, it's purely out of convenience to existing story threads.

      Why do some of the Attainments’ effects cap out at three ranks, instead of scaling like the others?
      Technically they don't cap, I just don't expect them to become Archmages. the +1/2/3 comes from the appropriate dice penalty being levied, e.g. at five dots of Life secondary factors automatically get moved up 2 steps because there can be a -4 dice penalty levied; I wrote it out to avoid confusing the player.

      Why the focus on animal shapeshifting as the means of empowerment?
      Mainly because it's cool, though there's only one actual "shapeshifting" power, it also provides for a wide range of adaptability. If you have any ideas on something that would make more sense I'd be happy to hear it, recommendations are why I posted this.


      Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

      Comment


      • #4
        How about Knit (or another healing Spell)? To keep the Sleepwalker agents alive in and after their combats?

        I mean, the Keeper should have something they can do in a direct conflict with Sidereals - so sitting on the sidelines and playing "healer" seems like a fit.
        Last edited by Vent0; 05-24-2018, 06:31 AM.


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

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
          How about Knit (or another healing Spell)? To keep the Sleepwalker agents alive in and after their combats?

          I mean, the Keeper should have something they can do in a direct conflict with Sidereals - so sitting on the sidelines and playing "healer" seems like a fit.
          They still have Life whatever and can cast it as a spell. But neither Knit nor Mend gain much from being Attainments vs spells: casting in front of Sleepers isn't usually a major concern when fighting Sidereals, both Knit and Mend have Lasting effects and thus don't benefit from Legacy Attainments bypassing Spell Control, and both have several Reach options that want to be used flexibly (which you can't do with Legacy Attainments).


          Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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          • #6
            Hmm... so any example Sidereal, perhaps?


            MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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            • #7
              Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post

              They still have Life whatever and can cast it as a spell. But neither Knit nor Mend gain much from being Attainments vs spells: casting in front of Sleepers isn't usually a major concern when fighting Sidereals, both Knit and Mend have Lasting effects and thus don't benefit from Legacy Attainments bypassing Spell Control, and both have several Reach options that want to be used flexibly (which you can't do with Legacy Attainments).
              Lasting effects cast with Advanced Duration repeat their effects each Ritual Time interval. a 3rd Attainment has a minimum Gnosis of 4 (so, 1 Hour). Unless they use the Attainment Ritual Time (a Scene), but that often gets equated to an hour anyways. So an Attainment Knit (Reach -> Advanced Duration) would grant 6-10 Bashing every hour, for a day or week. Immune to dispelling. Yeah, still sub-optimal, but nothing to sneer at.

              I'm assuming even the Legacy-derived effects are subject to degradation? So dropping a Lure or Repel (Sidereals) on the Sleepwalker agent wouldn't have any effect?


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

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

                Lasting effects cast with Advanced Duration repeat their effects each Ritual Time interval. a 3rd Attainment has a minimum Gnosis of 4 (so, 1 Hour). Unless they use the Attainment Ritual Time (a Scene), but that often gets equated to an hour anyways. So an Attainment Knit (Reach -> Advanced Duration) would grant 6-10 Bashing every hour, for a day or week. Immune to dispelling. Yeah, still sub-optimal, but nothing to sneer at.

                I'm assuming even the Legacy-derived effects are subject to degradation? So dropping a Lure or Repel (Sidereals) on the Sleepwalker agent wouldn't have any effect?
                Body Control doubles the rate at which Bashing damage is healed per rank of potency already, but I'm now thinking I'll change the fourth attainment to the recipient heals (non-resistant) Lethal damage at an accelerated rate, twice as fast per Potency, Potency primary, reach for Advanced Duration. Undead that don't normally heal with time can heal lethal at the same rate with Death 4. How does that sound?

                @21C Hermit: I will work on a few example Sidereals.


                Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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                • #9
                  A few questions come to mind. First, how do the mortals keep this secret ? Having animal traits is about as subtle as a Tzimisce in Zulo Form, plus even if they were subtle, slip ups could happen that reveal supernatural ability, with zero Quiescence to safeguard the secret. Even if they were living in an isolated community of supermutants, that wouldn't be psychologically healthy. There is also the matter of mutations in future generations, either from natural causes or from combining the DNA of two families of mutants.

                  Second, what stops them from turning on the mages ? They could go to the Promethean Brotherhood or Faithful of Shulpae to quietly wipe the legacy out and then have their own secret society of megalomaniacs.

                  Lastly, what stops the mages from using both achievements over generations to make an army of Alex Mercers ? It would create perfectly adaptable predators, at that point, wouldn't they be a way bigger threat to humanity than the Siderals ? Especially if the transformed people don't see themselves as humans anymore.

                  I like the idea of fighting extra dimensional beings with an army of mutants a lot. But there are so many ways this can backfire that the Ladder would probably declare the Legacy left handed and the Guardians and Arrow would descend upon them with extermination orders. I feel the only thing this Legacy lacks is failsafes.
                  Last edited by KaiserAfini; 06-13-2018, 09:46 PM.


                  New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.


                  The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
                    A few questions come to mind. First, how do the mortals keep this secret ? Having animal traits is about as subtle as a Tzimisce in Zulo Form, plus even if they were subtle, slip ups could happen that reveal supernatural ability, with zero Quiescence to safeguard the secret.
                    They keep it a secret about as well as any supernaturally touched entity keeps their existence secret: well enough that humanity as a whole prefers to pretend like they don't exist. Network Zero would probably know of them, for example.

                    Even if they were living in an isolated community of supermutants, that wouldn't be psychologically healthy.
                    I mean, neither is fighting horrible entities from outside standard reality. They die, drop to Integrity 0, or breakdown and quit.

                    Or they become Deviants.

                    There is also the matter of mutations in future generations, either from natural causes or from combining the DNA of two families of mutants.
                    Yep, probably happens. The question is "is it often enough (and obvious enough) that it becomes a problem" and the answer is "probably not", Priests that made noticeable external changes heritable would be sanctioned or punished in some way. The few that slip through the cracks... well, weird shit is out there and has to come from somewhere.

                    Second, what stops them from turning on the mages ? They could go to the Promethean Brotherhood or Faithful of Shulpae to quietly wipe the legacy out and then have their own secret society of megalomaniacs.
                    The Mages are still Mages. Without the Priests the Mortal Cultists don't get most of their powers, only the permanent adaptations are permanent. Also, they're organized into cells around specific Baleful Stars, the Mortal Cultists in Belize don't necessarily have any contact with the Mortal Cultists in Nevada.

                    Lastly, what stops the mages from using both achievements over generations to make an army of Alex Mercers ? It would create perfectly adaptable predators, at that point, wouldn't they be a way bigger threat to humanity than the Siderals ? Especially if the transformed people don't see themselves as humans anymore.
                    Nothing is stopping them from engaging in multi-generational eugenics programs. And an Alex Mercer would be a Deviant, and they probably have some. As far as being a bigger threat to humanity? Eh, no more so than Vampires, Werewolves, Mages, or any other supernatural entity.

                    I like the idea of fighting extra dimensional beings with an army of mutants a lot. But there are so many ways this can backfire that the Ladder would probably declare the Legacy left handed and the Guardians and Arrow would descend upon them with extermination orders. I feel the only thing this Legacy lacks is failsafes.
                    Maybe. The only one that could get out of hand is the inheritable trait power, but that's a spell any Mage could learn and abuse in the same way as the inherited traits are Lasting and not subject to Quiessence.



                    I haven't forgotten about coming up with example Sidereals, I just haven't done so yet. >_>


                    Mentats - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Mind/Forces) built around being a human computer; Thaumatech Engineers - a 2e Free Council Obrimos Legacy (Matter/Prime) focusing on the creation of Imbued items and the enhancement of Sleeper technology

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                    • #11
                      I gotta say, your mages sound a lot like the Wizard Shazam and his Rock of Eternity thing. Also that whole gimmick of empowering mere mortals ala Captain Marvel (the fun one).

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