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Obsession: Rehabilitating a negative spirit.

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  • Obsession: Rehabilitating a negative spirit.

    Currently starting a one-on-one mage game with a Mysterium Thyrsus PC. He has a rank 1 familiar and we went with a Shadowraith from Book of Spirits (a Death spirit not satisfied with merely waiting for death to naturally occur). This is my first experience with the second edition so Aspirations and Obsessions is a new thing to wrap my head around. We did discuss when choosing the familiar if it was possible to "rehabilitate" it and that might be a good choice for an Obsession.

    Does it work as an Obsession? How do you see it playing out?

    What are the options considering the nature of spirits? One way I see of doing it is turning it into a Magath, with the new aspect hopefully balancing out the unsavory parts of its death aspect. What about feeding it more positive versions of Death essence like solemn remembrance at a funeral? How realistic are these options? What sort of time frame might it entail?

  • #2
    I think, it's depend on the interpretation you use. If it is specifically the spirit then there a chanses that you can "rehabilitate" it. In quotes because if the spirit is the spirit of something, then, as a canon, it reflects the essence of this something. Therefore, in order to change the spirit, it is necessary to change this something. But if you'll change the essense of this simething then spirit become the spirit of thiw new something - it will never be the same spirit. But for Obession it's will work either way: in counclusion your PC will learn that spirits can be changed or not.

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    • #3
      Turning it into a magath (i.e. introducing an unrelated concept to its nature, rather than just shifting it a bit) might work, but in the end it'll probably create more problems that are even harder to fix (unless you opt to just destroy the spirit). So, a terrible idea for the character but a great idea for the player.


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      • #4
        Magath are tortured by their very existence.

        Gonna agree though that a spirit is what it is, there isn't really anything to rehabilitate, it's not like a convict who shows remorse for their actions later on, or a person going sober who feels so much better after ten years clean. You can change it, but you're not really doing anything objectively better for the spirit itself, just your own convenience.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by september View Post
          Currently starting a one-on-one mage game with a Mysterium Thyrsus PC. He has a rank 1 familiar and we went with a Shadowraith from Book of Spirits (a Death spirit not satisfied with merely waiting for death to naturally occur). This is my first experience with the second edition so Aspirations and Obsessions is a new thing to wrap my head around. We did discuss when choosing the familiar if it was possible to "rehabilitate" it and that might be a good choice for an Obsession.

          Does it work as an Obsession? How do you see it playing out?
          As I'm sure you know Death on its own is pretty natural, so isn't the 'negative' aspect of this spirit. Here you'd want to curb it being not satisfied with merely waiting for death to naturally occur, which suggests it would eventually become a murder spirit, or untimely death spirit, or something else like that. Making sure it has death essence and not murder Essence, and bending its nature towards the 'regular' dead and death seem like the way to go. Finding a graveyard for it to feed from, not going around killing people or having it kill people. That sort of thing could help, and would be worth studying to fulfill an obsession.

          It sort of becomes a nonissue a few dots into Spirit, as you can just alter the spirit as you want.

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          • #6
            Obsessions can also change and escalate.

            If you succeed in making an Obession "solved" because the object of your Obsession is no longer a mystery, you just go to the next obsession, such as perhaps magaths in general or Obsessing over changing how Essence flows or becoming obsessed with the Underworle or Obsessed with reforming ALL death spirits you can find. The lower or higher the wisdom at the time of change might be a good inspiration for what kind of new, bigger badder obsession to have!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tessie View Post
              Turning it into a magath (i.e. introducing an unrelated concept to its nature, rather than just shifting it a bit) might work, but in the end it'll probably create more problems that are even harder to fix (unless you opt to just destroy the spirit). So, a terrible idea for the character but a great idea for the player.
              to add on to that last part, tessie is on point with that assessment. obsessions are notable for being ambitious and dangerous. while they should be achievable, they also should have pretty big fallout (unless your player manages to get a "golden ending" to his obsession). for example, if the obsession next became "reform all spirits" as Scarlet Witch said, werewolves would probably be VERY pissed off (if you have them in your game, of course)

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              • #8
                I think the underlying issue is the Shadowraith write-up itself. Like, it states that most death spirits 'are content to await the inevitable' but these ones aren't, suggesting that there's something aberrant about their behaviour. However, the behaviour of the Shadowraiths is pretty much exactly what you'd expect a death spirit to do.


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                • #9
                  When I'm judging player obsessions as an ST my first priority is 'can I imagine 3-5 interesting scenarios we can play out to explore the question/grant beats.' With your suggestion I can easily imagine giving beats for

                  1. Hunting down and observing the behaviour of the more patient death spirits. A second beat for using magic or negotiation to get one to sit still long enough for you to apply Focused Mage Sight.

                  2. Tracking down reliable sources of the correct essence and introducing your familiar to them. Maybe a second beat if the player uses influence, force or magic to encourage the creation/strengthening of such a source.

                  3. Actually talking to the spirit, spend a scene trying to understand the psychology behind its unusual, aggressive behaviour. Further beats could be earned by using the social maneuvering system to convince the spirit it *wants* to change.

                  4. Spirits grow by devouring lesser spirits, use spirit summonings to call up the rank 0 motes of emotion created at a particularly teary funeral and feed them to your familar. Bonus if you can throw in some witchy ritual into the process, something like gathering the sodden tissues and hankerchiefs of the mourners and brewing them into something you feed the spirit in its manifest form. Double bonus if you go so far as to try feeding one of the mourners souls to the spirit, just to see if it helps.

                  Long story short, Sounds like a good Obsession to me, lots of potential story threads in their!

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                  • #10
                    Thanks for all the "It's not a good idea but it could be a good story" comments. Sounds like we're on the right track

                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    Magath are tortured by their very existence.
                    I didn't get the impression that that was always the case? Doesn't it depend on the mix (and to be fair, most random/natural mashups will probably not be good)

                    Originally posted by OsuNeko View Post
                    I think, it's depend on the interpretation you use. If it is specifically the spirit then there a chanses that you can "rehabilitate" it. In quotes because if the spirit is the spirit of something, then, as a canon, it reflects the essence of this something. Therefore, in order to change the spirit, it is necessary to change this something. But if you'll change the essense of this simething then spirit become the spirit of thiw new something - it will never be the same spirit. But for Obession it's will work either way: in counclusion your PC will learn that spirits can be changed or not.
                    Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                    Gonna agree though that a spirit is what it is, there isn't really anything to rehabilitate, it's not like a convict who shows remorse for their actions later on, or a person going sober who feels so much better after ten years clean. You can change it, but you're not really doing anything objectively better for the spirit itself, just your own convenience.
                    Thanks, those are great points for the character to learn

                    Originally posted by nofather View Post
                    Making sure it has death essence and not murder Essence
                    Speaking of that, if a Death-spirit claims a corpse and uses it to kill someone, that's murder essence, right? Even if the spirit is the culprit? So most likely any "Greater Shadowraiths" have evolved into Murder-spirits?

                    Originally posted by Michael View Post
                    I think the underlying issue is the Shadowraith write-up itself. Like, it states that most death spirits 'are content to await the inevitable' but these ones aren't, suggesting that there's something aberrant about their behaviour. However, the behaviour of the Shadowraiths is pretty much exactly what you'd expect a death spirit to do.
                    The write-up does paint a bit of a rosy picture of death spirits but I'm thinking that they are at least more likely to subtly push the dying over the edge than claim a corpse and go on a killing spree like the Shadowraith. Maybe a more nuanced take that he will end up having is that they aren't abberant, merely reckless in pursuit of their nature.

                    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
                    werewolves would probably be VERY pissed off
                    Because of the meddling in general? It seem like there could be worse things than turning troublesome spirits prone to trespass in the Material Realm more docile.

                    Originally posted by Katana1515 View Post
                    When I'm judging player obsessions as an ST my first priority is 'can I imagine 3-5 interesting scenarios we can play out to explore the question/grant beats.' With your suggestion I can easily imagine giving beats for [...]
                    Thanks! Seeing it like that helps a lot.

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                    • #11
                      september, I was referring to if his next obsession become "reform all spirits". even then, it should be noted that mages tend to think they know more than they really do. what may be good to their perspective could ONLY be good in their perspective. they simply dont have the same connection to the shadow werewolves have

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by september View Post
                        Speaking of that, if a Death-spirit claims a corpse and uses it to kill someone, that's murder essence, right? Even if the spirit is the culprit? So most likely any "Greater Shadowraiths" have evolved into Murder-spirits?
                        It could be, it could also be just Death Essence (as in, causing Death) or Violence, or Fear of Death (from the victim), Last Moments before Death, and on and on. There's a lot of ways for these spirits to go, including possibly never escaping beyond just a Death spirit. While spirits do evolve as they feast on Essence and learn about themselves, they usually just expand understanding of their original Influence, so if it did gather enough Murder Essence it could become a normal Death-by-Murder spirit, encompassing both its Influences.

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                        • #13
                          Magath are specifically a kind of spirit created by things that don’t mesh well. When two things do blend well it results in just a normal spirit of a new type.

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