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  • Abyssal Neighbors

    So I'm having a little ST block and could use some brainstorming help. So lets say you're a new Awakened and you recently watched a couple of your neighbors get taken by a Gulmoth or something from the Abyss like that. A few days later you see one of them at your local bar acting very oddly and of course you are suspicious because of what happened to them. So you follow your neighbor back to his apartment and use your magic to spy on him through the door. Inside you see the other neighbor who was taken and he seems really sick and might have some tentacles growing and collapsing back into his flesh at times. The first neighbor soothes the second and says its not time yet.

    What could be going on? What sort of Intrusion from the Abyss could this be? One that wouldn't totally overlap with Spirit Claimings and highlight the bizarre, alien nature of the Abyss.

  • #2
    Its an Abyssal Real Invisible that is yet to be born. It "eats" people by sending them to a new phase of reality, which only exists in the Fallen as sound. In the realm itself, sounds in our world correspond to objects in it, sound from the Fallen side can also be used to create living and non-living things everywhere this growing "Real Invisible" overlaps with the Fallen. Inside the phase, the Fallen is only perceived as smells.

    Basically this: https://lovecraft.fandom.com/wiki/Gulf_of_S%27glhuo

    For the inhabitants, you can adapt the Gree: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Gree_(species)/Legends

    Their civilization is ancient and shows all signs of this being true (even Time magic will be able to pick up evidence), but that is impossible since it was born just as the realm came into existence. This Intruder grows with every person it sends over, it also replaces them with a doppelganger that is a copy of the original, but with certain glitches. All the copies are programmed to be Abyssal cultists or to found such cults, in the case of the Awakened, it makes the clone seek out Abyssal power, the ones without Legacies show a high rating of becoming Scelestus and all of them seek to infiltrate the Orders and Seers.

    So now you have a new "Real Invisible" to explore, an entire civilization whose progress is frozen in time, obsessing over their "glory days", with some interesting tech. But are they real advancements ? Do they only work within the Realm or is that knowledge a new kind of Invader ? That is up for you to decide.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 01-09-2019, 03:52 PM.


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

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    • #3
      A bit of wild brainstorming: PC's neighbours are Gulmoth who experience days in the opposite direction.

      They are eager to return home - the mutations were a sign of their composure cracking. The abduction consisted of a Gulmoth "ferryman" taking them back. Everything else the PC remembers about them is a Time forgery. Reality is desperately trying to somehow incorporate them into a narrative. From now on, every day his neighbors know less and less about surrounding reality - including how to function in it properly. They did figure out how to exploit the normal timestram to leave themselves messages from their "future". Killing them could cause a massive Paradox - their already established "future" growing rancid. To banish them, the PC must summon them from the Abyss and survive until their first day ends. He must make sure he didn't meet them that day, because all things considered, they can't be in two places at the same time. At the same time they must be summoned in a location realistic for them to be in.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Teatime View Post
        A bit of wild brainstorming: PC's neighbours are Gulmoth who experience days in the opposite direction.

        They are eager to return home - the mutations were a sign of their composure cracking. The abduction consisted of a Gulmoth "ferryman" taking them back. Everything else the PC remembers about them is a Time forgery. Reality is desperately trying to somehow incorporate them into a narrative. From now on, every day his neighbors know less and less about surrounding reality - including how to function in it properly. They did figure out how to exploit the normal timestram to leave themselves messages from their "future". Killing them could cause a massive Paradox - their already established "future" growing rancid. To banish them, the PC must summon them from the Abyss and survive until their first day ends. He must make sure he didn't meet them that day, because all things considered, they can't be in two places at the same time. At the same time they must be summoned in a location realistic for them to be in.


        I am really trying to figure out how I could incorporate a version of this idea into it. I'm just springboarding from the Nightmare on Hill Manor scenario that we used to learn the rules.

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        • #5
          I see how it would be difficult. Things you might choose to include are:

          • Choose the exact moment their day ends. Every day at this hour they will disappear and appear (one day less experienced) in a different location. You can figure out this location, because the neighbours will arrange for their messages to get there. They know where to send them, because they remember being in that location. Discovering their seeming teleportation and content of the messages are important clues.
          • They might be working towards summoning their "ferryman", to take them back. The PC might reverse-engineer the ritual and summon the "ferryman" to bring them in, closing the time anomaly. Realizing the ritual is meant to accomplish what the PC already witnessed is a clue.
          • Are the messages in a human language? If so, they could be interfered with to mislead the Gulmoth. If the PC removes all warnings of his interference, this will explain why they didn't act against him before and work towards stabilizing the anomaly. If the PC convinces the Gulmoth of his friendliness, that might explain their harmlessness as well.
          • The more mutually consistent the timelines are, the less damage is caused to reality by the time the anomaly closes. If the PC's actions cause the Gulmoth timeline to be logically disjointed, that's not ideal. That's why the PC needs to figure out where they appeared on day X, and make sure they are in the same place to disappear on day X+1. The Gulmoth will message themselves to do that as well, but they're less experiences as time goes on. Eventually, they will no longer function as intelligent beings.
          • Think of the damage the Gulmoth cause. Is it something they're doing because of inexperience, is it because the ritual, or is reality glitching because of their presence?

          The PC has a choice between studying the ritual, fixing the damage, stabilizing the timelines or brute-forcing his fix. If he's clever, he might do several.
          The Gulmoth can be negotiated with, especially if they're told they will succeed or if they're offered help with the ritual (Bad for Wisdom. Be gentle - it's for a good cause). They might even share tidbits from the future. However, the further in time you go, the less they remember because of poor acclimatization. You also have to convince them of your good intentions anew every day - something that gets more difficult as they get less lucid.
          Last edited by Teatime; 01-09-2019, 06:40 PM.


          Find my Homebrew Fangs of Mara 2ed update Here

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          • #6
            Ugh, a big chunk of my post got deleted when I quoted. The idea I'm working with currently is that magic flung part of the building though the Abyss temporarily exposing it to those entities which infested several occupants. It also lead to the Awakening of the PCs as well as making almost everyone into Sleepwalkers. How exactly that happened is a Mystery that will attract other Awakened. Eventually they might try to repeat the incident. But the original incident should be the catalyst for some terrible Abyssal dominoes falling. I am planning to do some weird time loops and stuff in the game though so this seems like it would be a great thing to include somehow, but possibly as something that happens as the Intrusions escalate.

            Some ideas I had in the meantime but not exactly sure where they would lead: The first neighbor is cutting off meat from the second neighbors body and taking it to his restaurant job where hes feeding it to customers which does....something. Or is attaching a computer and the internet to the second neighbor to send something out there.

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            • #7
              Did you read "Intruders: Encounters with the Abyss"? The opening fiction involves a Meat God, and is one of the best stories written for Mage. One of the writeups includes a pair of connected Tai Chi systems possessed by a cabal of cultists. The one they teach to common people infects them with Abyssal energies. The one they keep to themselves steals those people's lifeforce. And if organ transplants get involved thigs get gross fast.


              Find my Homebrew Fangs of Mara 2ed update Here

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Teatime View Post
                Did you read "Intruders: Encounters with the Abyss"? The opening fiction involves a Meat God, and is one of the best stories written for Mage. One of the writeups includes a pair of connected Tai Chi systems possessed by a cabal of cultists. The one they teach to common people infects them with Abyssal energies. The one they keep to themselves steals those people's lifeforce. And if organ transplants get involved thigs get gross fast.
                Its one of the books I picked up lately. I read the advice chapter and some of the intruders but hadn't read the intro fiction. I'll have to do that. While we're on the subject, any other standout fiction in the previous books?

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                • #9
                  I'll have to leave that question to others. My fondness for "The Storyteller" is a result of hitting my preferences square in the middle.


                  Find my Homebrew Fangs of Mara 2ed update Here

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Teatime View Post
                    I'll have to leave that question to others. My fondness for "The Storyteller" is a result of hitting my preferences square in the middle.
                    Yeah, so that’s probably the most disturbing thing I’ve read in rpg book and I agree it’s a great story. The end is pretty haunting.

                    I wonder how you’d implement that into a game mechanically.

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                    • #11
                      The biggest hurdle is that much of the punch of the story happens because we do not know the plan before the end.

                      Think of it in terms of heist stories (which it kind of is): if the characters state their plan up front you know things are going to go wrong. It's necessary because there's no tension in seeing the characters do exactly what they say they are going to do without resistance. If you want to tell stories of intricate plans that work perfectly, the reveal of the plan has to come at the end.

                      That's a problem for RPGs since the players are both the audience and the characters so they can't hide their plans from themselves. It doesn't matter that devising an intricate plan is an amazing accomplishment, it doesn't feel rewarding. There are a few games that try to get around this by allowing the characters to retroactively add to the plan through flashback scenes, but I don't think any of them can make it seem like everything went according to plan.

                      Which is all a complicated way of saying that in game the emphasis wouldn't be on the nature of the stories going into the kid's head, it would necessarily be on all of the hoops the characters had to jump through to get them there, to keep them from being altered, and to keep the entity from seeing what was coming.


                      Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post
                        The biggest hurdle is that much of the punch of the story happens because we do not know the plan before the end.

                        Think of it in terms of heist stories (which it kind of is): if the characters state their plan up front you know things are going to go wrong. It's necessary because there's no tension in seeing the characters do exactly what they say they are going to do without resistance. If you want to tell stories of intricate plans that work perfectly, the reveal of the plan has to come at the end.

                        That's a problem for RPGs since the players are both the audience and the characters so they can't hide their plans from themselves. It doesn't matter that devising an intricate plan is an amazing accomplishment, it doesn't feel rewarding. There are a few games that try to get around this by allowing the characters to retroactively add to the plan through flashback scenes, but I don't think any of them can make it seem like everything went according to plan.

                        Which is all a complicated way of saying that in game the emphasis wouldn't be on the nature of the stories going into the kid's head, it would necessarily be on all of the hoops the characters had to jump through to get them there, to keep them from being altered, and to keep the entity from seeing what was coming.

                        Agreed. When I was wondering about the implementation it wasn't so much about how to recreate that story as how the Meat God would work, why it would be impossible to fight it in any conventional manner, and how your players would ever get the the point of coming up with a solution like the one Fox did.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Therian View Post


                          Agreed. When I was wondering about the implementation it wasn't so much about how to recreate that story as how the Meat God would work, why it would be impossible to fight it in any conventional manner, and how your players would ever get the the point of coming up with a solution like the one Fox did.

                          Fair enough. It's been a while since I read the story so I may have a few details wrong. The impression I got from the story is that the boy is the door the entity slipped in through and it took much of its form based on his developing mind and his relationship to his family. That's why the first people it had him infect were his family members, it got its foothold by replacing that relationship. In a strange way, then, it defined itself as both a parental figure (and then into a godly parental figure) and the boy's child. The stories attacked that connection by altering it in vicious and self destructive ways. It's not fully clear why this worked, but one possibility is that they altered the boy's idea of family and thus the entity's link. By the end, the only way the creature could maintain its foothold was to destroy itself or the boy.

                          Now the method of attack itself is strange, but the weakness is not. As the only uncorrupted person in town the boy is a very obvious point of investigation, and as the epicenter of the incursion he will reveal a lot. It shouldn't take too long before the characters realize he has a special relationship with the meat god. If the threat of infection is high enough that the characters don't dare risk going into the First Church of St Meaty, the boy becomes an obvious method of attack.


                          Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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                          • #14
                            I am curious and first time I have learned about this possibility of resolving the conflict. Based on your analysis what do you think happens to the 2 Mages that let the boy venture into meet the meat god?


                            "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

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