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The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

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  • The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

    In short: A Legacy of prophetic spymasters. Their Attainments and yantras focus on exposing the intentions of others, manipulating key pieces and resources strategically, all the while obscuring their own involvement. They cultivate a global information network, seeking artifacts and secrets that will help them uncover the plans of the Oracles, encoded in the glyphs of their mysterious manuscript. Where other prophets are mentors or counselors, they are subtle manipulors that flatten the roads for their champions from the shadows.

    Greeting everyone, this Legacy is an attempt to bring the secretive and prophecy driven Keepers from the Thief series into Mage. Like the Augurs, they seek to serve the cause of the Oracles, but with the signature penchant for manipulating and subtlety of the Guardians of the Veil. Hope you enjoy it, feedback is very welcome !


    Mystery Cult & Nameless Order: Szary Strażnik (• to •••••)

    "There is nothing as promising as the opening of a book.
    There is nothing as final as its shutting."
    - Strażnik Czytelnik Lessons, Part 4"



    Purpose: Initially a cabal dedicated to unveiling the secrets of a mysterious manuscript, a promising lead on the ancient practices of the Guardians. It has since evolved into a Nameless Order within the Guardians, one whose manipulations are as subtle as a whisper and precise as a surgeon's scalpel.




    Relic: The Voynich Manuscript, a codex of multifarious and cryptic insights. Ever since Voynich somehow activated it, its pages began shifting with Glyphs. The Strażnik believe it grants them guidance as the shadow agents of the Oracles, yet its ultimate purpose and full capabilities remain hidden even now.


    Doctrine: The methodologies of the Szary Strażnik focus on 3 pillars: information gathering, subtlety and precision. Advancement brings access to greater secrets of the Glyphs, along with more refined methods to conceal their actions.


    Initiation Benefits


    • Akolita


    The works of the Oracles are subtle, so the first thing Acolytes are taught is how to perceive and interpret all manners of portents, granting them a specialty in Occult (Omens).


    ••Tłumacz


    Translators are agents that seek out any data that may help clarify or act upon the insight of the Glyphs. Whether orchestrating a heist or hacking a system, they are trained to leave no loose ends, granting them the Untouchable merit.


    ••• Czytelnik


    Readers are keenly aware that the Manuscript occasionally points to ways to unlock more of its secrets, Voynich was simply the first to tease out that potential. Now they quest to find Artifacts, locales, rituals and keys to revealing more of its knowledge, expertly shielded from prying eyes. Awakened cultists gain 2 dots of the Occultation merit added to their current rating, which can allow them to exceed the three-dot limit. Sleepwalkers gain the Slippery merit instead.


    •••• Interpretator


    Interpreters are skilled manipulators, seeding ideas, securing resources and moving personnel. Their specialty is to flatten the road from the shadows, ensuring the path is clear for the champions of the Oracles. Developing the ability to use the Hidden High Speech, mage members become highly skilled in weaving mantras into mundane talk or hiding clues for the Awakened in seemingly normal documents. Sleepwalker members gain High Speech Perception, facilitating covert communication between members.

    In addition, having been recognized as a dutiful servant of the Oracles, the Manuscript manifests an entity from the angelic host of secrets to guide them on their duties. Mage members receive 2 dots in Supernal Watcher.

    These beings are known as Ophanim and are entities of Fate and Prime. Their profound knowledge of the Glyphs grants them great understanding of omens, prophecies, manipulation and cutting through to the truth. While their forms vary, they always incorporate the symbolism of a wheel ( representing the Diamond Wheel turning harmoniously), many eyes (for they are ever watchful against enemies of the Oracles) and divine fire (the divine flame that aids humanity and burns away evil). Their trial is usually to be summoned for a matter related to the Manuscript.

    Sleepwalkers are also graced by them, but lacking the Mage Sight, they cannot fully perceive them and instead are bestowed with visions. This grants 2 dots of the Daimon merit, which acts similarly to Dream, but can be used as an instant action, even while awake.

    ••••• Opiekun

    Wardens have received a revelation from the Glyphs, granting more clarity on their role in the Oracles' plans. Now bestowed with the Glyph that represents them, this powerful connection grants Awakened members 3 dots of Shadow Name, whereas Sleepwalkers derive the Loved merit from it.

    Having been invested with this new responsibility, the Manuscript unlocks the true form of their personal Ophanim, granting two more dots of Supernal Watcher. Common to all of them are streams of Glyphs flowing through them. Sleepwalker members instead receive 2 additional dots of Daimon.

    Szary Strażnik



    Origins


    "From each of us, the Glyphs will desire a different aspect. This is the balance we have struck."
    - Excerpt from The Interpretator's Codex, Vol 8


    Nicknames: Grey guard, glyptics, metatrons, seal bearers, raziels, glyph warders, enochians, midrashim
    Parentage: Obrimos, Guardians of the Veil


    Background: The Glyptics trace their recorded history to the start of the 20th century, when a Sleeper by the name of Wilfrid Voynich purchased a curious manuscript in 1912. The book was written in a script unlike anything the world had seen before and decorated with a myriad of esoteric diagrams.


    For 7 years did he seek out scholars to help unravel its mysteries, until he caught the eye of some Guardian scholars of Yale University. Their examination suggested the book to be an archaic form of the Labyrinth. So they oversaw his progress, providing just enough hints to guide his path.


    By the time Voynich descended from the Watchtower of the Golden Key, he had a new purpose. According to his account, he saw evidence of the will of the Oracles in the machinery of Fate. Set into motion by events great and small, by heroes and everymen. Yet the agents of the Throne were determined to sabotage it at every chance. Perhaps the Oracles needed a sharp sword, to make sure events stayed true to their design, to guide from shadows.


    Thereafter, the manuscript started to manifest Glyphs to direct this effort. Always cryptic, they would show prophecies, blueprints, journal entries, multi layered puzzles, amongst many others. Shifting to provide relevant insight, reveal new paths or adapt to closing avenues, not truly alive but rather appearing as a dossier constantly being updated by an ineffable scribe. Sometimes it was even provided glypthic Boons to support operations of great import.


    Voynich would go on to build a cabal focusing on unraveling the Mysteries of the Glyphs. In time they would understand why its revelations needed to be encoded. Not only did this prevent the plans from falling into the hands of the Exarchs and their servants, but also tested the capabilities of the agents to interpret its insights. The shadow hands of the Oracles were not meant to blindly follow the Manuscript, they needed to be inquisitive and independent, able to take initiative and make adjustments on the field. With the hard earned experience of faithful service, they sculpted their souls to embody their roles as the invisible hand that guides destiny.


    Appearances: Given the covert nature of their operations, Glyptics tend to dress plainly as to fade into the background as they go about their work. Befitting their name, they tend to have some element of their outfit posses a grey shield bearing an image from the Manuscript, such as on a suit, pin, ring or even a phone case, allowing members to wordlessly identify each other.


    Doctrine

    "To manipulate a man is a careful project.
    Too light a hand, and he follows his own whim;
    Too heavy a hand, and he will turn on you."
    - from The Eight Principles


    Prerequisites: Fate 2, Mystery Cult Initiation (Szary Strażnik ) 5


    Initiation: The Szary Strażnik is extremely cautious who they admit into the Legacy.

    Only those who have reached the highest echelon of the Mystery Cult and received their Glyph from the Manuscript are primed for membership.


    Final admission requires the forging of two keys. The first must be forged from silver and a token from someone whose life the mage has changed for the better. The second key is made of gold and an item the Manuscript bids them to retrieve. Once this is accomplished, the aspirant draws their Glyph upon a surface and uses the keys to unlock it, at which point the Glyph flows into the mage and finishes the soul shaping.


    Organization: Beyond the strata of the Mystery Cult, members of the Legacy further classify themselves into Illuminators and Librarians, depending on their current focus.


    Librarians seek out new information on the Manuscript, such as visiting ruins or Verges that could explain difficult passages, retrieve magical items that may reveal new secrets, classifying the data and make sure it reaches the right cult members.


    Illuminators steward situations to match the Oracle's plans. By making sure the right parties have access to specific resources, information or even shifting focus around, they guarantee a smoother road for their champions.


    Theory: Within the scrolls of fate is woven the plan of the Oracles. Like a grand narrative, every piece contributes to the final victory over the Exarchs and the Abyss, but the Lie obscures it. Therefore let us become their scribes in the shadows, underlining, highlighting and giving emphasis to key passages so that the actors can best play their parts.


    Magic

    "Holding a key, you may infer the existence of a lock. But do not make the mistake of assuming that yours is the only key.
    - Opiekun maxim


    Ruling Arcanum: Fate

    Yantras: Being another face in the crowd (+1); espionage tools (+1); giving a cryptic answer to an inquiry (+2); disguise or clothing appropriate for infiltration (+1); confronting but not appearing in front of the subject (+1, +2 if managing the confrontation without verbal interaction); keys, locks or items bearing these symbols (+1), undetected gaslighting (+2), subliminal messages (+1), succeeding on a manipulation roll related to the spell (+2)

    Oblations: Researching an insight of the Glyphs, drawing or crafting an emblem with an image from the Manuscript, compiling or encrypting a dossier, drawing a Glyph upon the mage's body, shadowing a target, researching or developing new methods of cryptography, creating or maintaining alternate identities, decrypting another's data, preparing for an infiltration or expedition, setting up or monitoring a surveillance network, encouraging action without direct leadership.



    Attainments


    First: Tracing the Glyphs
    Prerequisites: Initiation




    A Glyptic understands that small details can mean the difference between a smooth operation and abject failure, so they first learn to nudge probably in their favor. This allows them to create small, convenient twists of faith or fulfills a minor wish (up to $200). Doors are left unlocked, computers are found logged in admin mode, they can walk into a VIP room by being mistaken for part of the party of an important customer, get a free meal at a restaurant, find lodging for the night, etc. Reach is assigned to instant use.

    In addition, the Guard becomes especially attuned to their Legacy's glyphs, which now trigger their Peripheral Mage Sight, even when occluded by the other Attainments.


    Optional: Prime 1

    The Glyptics generally strive to act via subtle manipulations, however this is not always possible. By drawing upon the two keys of their Glyph, they are able to focus their Nimbus to coalesce into a mark of the Animus Glyph, which allows them to lock or unlock the potential of their subjects.

    When drawing upon the silver key of guidance, they can bestow the subject with the Steadfast Condition.

    When channeling the golden key of secrecy, the Strażnik rolls to inflict their Nimbus Tilt on a target, with a bonus of [Prime] to its potency. If successful, the subject is afflicted with the Amnesia Persistent Condition, affecting up to [Prime] days of memories of the Strażnik's choosing.

    This is a Compelling of the Nimbus Tilt, similar to the Imposing Nimbus merit. Reach is assigned to instant use.


    Second: Unrolling the Vellum
    Prerequisites: Fate 2

    The Fallen World is awash in falsehoods, snares that seek to lead the Strażnik astray. But to one versed in reading the glyphs, uncovering these secrets is simple indeed. After a scene painting themselves with the Aranides glyphs, they gain the ability to constantly know the intentions of those around them, their Aspiration for the scene, as well as anything connected to said intentions. This allows them to know when those intentions change and even when the the target is attempting to deceive someone, although they still need to puzzle out the truth based on the connections. By spending an action observing a subject, they can discern their Aspirations and Obsessions. This is an Unveiling of Fate with Reach assigned to advanced duration.

    Optional: Prime 2

    The work of the Strażnik is subtle, they may make themselves look like nothing more than Sleepwalkers, to make their magic leave no traces. After a scene reciting a litany of Amber Shroud glyphs, they may replicate Cloak Nimbus with Reach assigned to advanced duration. The first Attainment does not break this effect, rather its glyph becomes visible only to Active Mage Sight.

    In addition, an elevated understanding of the Glyphs confers the Strażnik with greater clarity when uncovering the Fallen World's lies. The main Attainment now benefits from Pierce Deception, which shows a symbolic representation of the truth. The unused Reach from the main Attainment is used here to give a symbolic representation of the truth.

    Third: Writing Between The Lines
    Prerequisites: Fate 3

    To see a Glyptic is not an easy thing, especially one who does not wish to be seen. By spending a point of mana, they can arrange for lucky coincidences to shield a target from detection.

    Evidence they leave behind gets accidentally destroyed, cameras are conveniently blocked or have malfunctions, they inadvertently position themselves just right to not get caught in a picture, people forget to search for a shielded item or simply turn their heads in the opposite direction just as it passes them by, etc.

    Should they wish it, they may specify a condition that allows them to be seen. With Prime 1, this condition may even be something only perceivable via Mage Sight.

    Any attempts to use Active Mage Sight or other supernatural powers to detect them cause a Clash of Will, in which they automatically score [Fate] successes. Reach is assigned to instant use and advanced duration.

    Optional: Prime 3

    The insights glimpsed from the Manuscript can be dangerous, those not versed in interpreting them can derive actions that are counterproductive to the Oracle's intent. The more people know about them, the greater the number of uncertainties introduced into an operation, not to mention a higher risk of enemy action being taken to counter them.

    In addition, while it is acceptable to provide some guidance to those that have steered off the path, certain choices are meaningless unless the Oracle's champions arrive at them of their own free will. In order to provide subtle guidance, the Strażnik have learned to inscribe their spells into invisible Glyphs, allowing them to prepare a safety net for critical moments.

    With but a touch they are able to inscribe a target with an invisible Bethisik Glyph, allowing them to store their spells and Attainments into it, priming them to come to the aid of their charges when the time is right. The mage becomes aware of when this happens.

    By spending a point of mana as they inscribe the Glyph, they can specify a condition that triggers the spell, even one only perceivable by Mage Sight.

    By skillfully combining this with their other Attainments, Strażnik are able to manipulate events without even leaving a hint of their involvement.

    However, should anything damage the Glyph, then this Attainment and the spell stored within it end.

    This is a variation of Stored Spell with elements of Oaths Fulfilled. Reach is assigned to instant use and advanced duration, with the restriction making up for the extra Reach. Incorporating Prime allows it to perceive conditions only visible by Mage Sight.

    Fourth: Highlighting The Text
    Prerequisites: Fate 4, Prime 3



    The Strażnik habitually study where their charges stand in the stage of the Oracles. Sometimes the Manuscript provides a forewarning, other times they use spells to study the target's archtype and its connections. Regardless, once an actor stumbles on their role, they step in like prompters, reminding them of their lines and cues from the shadows.

    To accomplish this, they first manifest their Book of Souls, a platonic form which has [Fate] Durability.

    Each time they wish to affect a target, they must spend a scene studying the needed changes. Each Strażnik has a preferred method. Some counsel the target while under a disguise, others prefer going over the clues of the Manuscript and their own intel, there are even some that debate with their cabal.

    Once they finish, the book manifests a hagiography of the new destiny and emits a profusion of invisible glyphs. They move by themselves, fate delivers them to the target and the Strażnik is aware when this happens. Once they arrive, they cover the target, rewriting their fate. This is a variation Strings of Fate, with Reach assigned to advanced duration and opportunities appearing every day.

    The book remains in existence so long as at least one target is affected by the Attainment. Should the page containing the hagiography of the target be destroyed, then the Attainment ends. Should the Strażnik not spend at least an hour per day within sensory range of the book, then it vanishes and all uses of the Attainment end.

    The Strażnik can do a scene long ritual to change the form of the book. When heading to a dangerous area, for example, they may change it into a thick tome with a handcuff they can lock to their wrist. Whereas those prioritizing infiltration change it into a notebook.


    Optional: Prime 4

    No matter how skilled, the Grey Guard cannot be everywhere and know everything. To this end, recruiting dependable allies is vital. By spending a scene on ritually commissioning the recruit and spending a point of mana, they may replicate Stealing Fire. Should the new Sleepwalker act against the Strażnik through betrayal, dishonesty, inaction or omission, then this Attainment ends. However, the mercy of the Oracles shields their minds from damage, providing [Prime] additional dice to roll against Breaking Points, potentially allowing the Quiescence to descend harmlessly upon them. Reach is assigned to indefinite duration, mana is spent on indefinite and conditional duration, truncated to one point as per Legacy rules.

    Fifth: Auspicious Intaglio
    Prerequisites: Fate 5

    Having internalized the power of their own Glyph, the Strażnik becomes able to impose its authority upon that of others. After a scene of conversation with a target (or meditating on their own Glyph name should they use it on themselves) , the Strażnik calls out their glyptic name using the Hidden High Speech, commanding it to reshape. This replicates Forge Destiny with Reach assigned to advanced duration. This can be used at the same time as the 4th optional Attainment and is indeed applied when recruiting more dubious allies.


    Optional: Prime 5



    The most revered masters of the Midrashim have achieved such an understanding of the Glyphs that they are able to create seals of the Oracles' authority, making them able to place an area under their patronage.

    After placing the item to be invested at the center of a room and spending a scene inscribing its walls with a 3D array of Glyphs, they are able to use their personal Glyph's authority to command them to flow into the item and anoint it, transforming it into a Horae.

    They function as soul stones, but able to be grant the benefits of a personal soul stone to any member of the Metatrons.

    When used in the construction of a Demesne, it transforms it into a Verge keyed to the power of the Glyphs, inhabited by Supernal Entities loyal to the Oracles.

    Furthermore, if three or more Demesnes created with a Horae are connected by ley lines, then the inside of the area delimited by them creates one of the Final Glyphs, a pure expression of the safeguarding power of the Oracles upon the land. Any Glyptid may then use a spell or Attainment on a Horae and choose to have it affect the entire area.

    In this way, the Glyph Wardens are able to secret away entire compounds or wipe the memory of an entire metropolis with ease. Together with their mastery of Fate, it allows them to precisely manipulate entire cities from the shadow and move all the pieces into place to guarantee the victory of the Oracles.

    A Seal Bearer can create up to [Prime] Horae at a time. If they create a new one after this limit is reached, then one of their choice ceases to function.



    What were you thinking design wise ?

    The first Fate Attainment adds some general utility. Its subtle enough to fly under the radar as occasional luck. It reflects the way secret agents don't have to worry about the small details, things just work out smoothly.

    The first Prime Attainment was more of a challenge to make. Unfortunately there aren't any spells that reinforce the idea of secrecy or glyphs. The exception is Pierce Deception, but it would be impossible to get a symbolic representation of the truth, which would be thematic.

    The Imposing Nimbus merit offered a possible solution. It could be replicated with a Compelling of Prime and inflict a Permanent Condition. Originally this would be Mesmerized from VtR, but that was so powerful as to beat dedicated Mind spells.

    So instead the focus was placed in resonating with the initiation. Two crossed keys over a keyhole are the symbol of the Keepers. In this case gold represents the Aether and silver Arcadia. When acting as guides, they could grant the Steadfast condition.

    When they focus on keeping their actions secret, they can cause Amnesia. This is far weaker than the Mind effect (covering days rather than months). Its also very easy to bypass with a Perfect Recall spell and its effects are obvious. But a discount Neuralizer is an immediately useful addition to the toolkit.

    The second Fate Attainment leverages its purview of intentions. Now the mage becomes aware of what a con artist, negotiator or similar is up to and can begin overturning the situation. If they add Prime 2, they can also detect lies and see a symbolic representation of the truth. This lets them cultivate an image of reading through a situation, but presenting their knowledge in a cryptic manner.

    The second Prime Attainment is Cloak Nimbus. The Strażnik do not want to stand out, much less leave their magical signature behind. When paired with the merits from the Mystery Cult, it makes them very hard to detect.

    The third Fate Attainment is based on the tutorial cutscene in Thief: The Dark Project. The protagonist, Garett, is initiated into the Keepers because he was able to detect one who does not want to be seen. This takes the idea of how vampires in VtR have an instinctual knack for not being recorded, then combines it with Incognito Presence to elevate it into a cloak of luck.This allows them to sneak themselves and resources in unnoticed.

    The third original Prime Attainment was used to send messages and packages to a named target with a combination of Words of Truth and Ruling of Fate. But that was extremely confusing and of questionable use. So I repurposed the original fifth Attainment (stored spell that could be triggered by spending mana and using Oaths Fulfilled to trigger it with a condition) and used a Knowing of Prime to allow it to trigger on a condition perceivable via Mage Sight. This presents a far more versatile option.

    The fourth Fate Attainment originally was a mess. It involved being able to perceive the archetype of the target, which was cool, but not very useful and certainly underwhelming for the fourth one.

    To revise it I turned to HunterxHunter, where Chrollo had to manifest a book and fulfill some strict conditions to use a potent ability. So this would have a powerful manipulation effect, Strings of Fate, delivered remotely to a target. The extra Reach is accounted for by tying the book to the Attainment, which is clearly incriminating evidence. In addition, the mage would have to spend time near it each day, preventing them from burying it, locking it away, etc.

    The book itself is also inspired by Destiny of the Endless and further connects them to the theme of stewards of a greater plan. The ritual to change its shape is to avoid ridiculous situations like carrying a giant, ancient tome to a hotel or battlefield. Making it look like a notebook allows measures like Light's trapped drawer from Death Note.

    The fourth Prime Attainment came from an old idea for a Legacy, a Mastigos Mind/Prime one focused on creating and leading Sleepwalkers. Their last known headquarters would have been Roanoke. When its members died, the Sleepwalkers suffered so many breaking points that many became Hunters or Slashers.

    While that idea didn't pan out, it could be adapted here. Imagine a scene where an accomplice had a breakdown and started to confess, he would go wide eyed as the Attainment ends and then become genuinely confused. Conditional duration could do that and a bonus against breaking points could be thematic.

    The fifth Fate Attainment allows them to stack the odds in their favor. By intensifying their stealth merits, they can become extremely difficult to track. It also allows them to offer council to key individuals, allowing for great versatility in how they tip the scales.

    The final optional Attainment is inspired by the Final Glyph from Thief. In this case, the soul stones represent the sentinel relics that create them and the ley lines are used to create them. The final result allows them to hide their compound like they do in the series or do things like MIB style memory wipes. It also creates Verges, drawing an uncomfortable parallel with Prelacies. In addition, this ability could be repurposed to explain the London Runewalks, which could lead to all sorts of interesting plot hooks. The name Horae is the Latin name for a Book of Hours, symbolizing how they beseech them to place the land under their patronage by inscribing the area with the most complex Glyphs yet.

    The idea for the Strażnik came from an interest in prophetic Legacies, specifically the Stewards of the Celestial Orrery. But I wanted to explore the more interpreative type of prophecy, rather than the more deterministic angle Time provides.

    When evaluating what this would look like, the first group that came to mind were the Keepers from the Thief series. Acting using a mix of glyph magic and prophecy left by their predecessors, they would influence events from the shadows in order to maintain the balance of power in the City. Never truly picking a side and observing from their hidden compounds.

    This came with a series of problems, the first is that the original Keepers are a True Neutral faction, agents of the status quo. But there is no reason to enforce it in the CofD, the supernatural in general is actively dangerous to humanity. It does not require the same kind of fine balancing act as The City.

    The second problem is that true neutrality can lead to either inconsistency or passivity, you want players to be proactive.

    The solution was to make their prophecy book into an Artifact, one at the very core of their beliefs. To this end I repurposed a real life mystery: The Voynich Manuscript, whose secrets have puzzled researchers since the start of the 20th century. Now this would give the GM more latitude delivering puzzles, hints and accounts for some of the more unusual abilities the Keepers display.

    Because the Manuscript doesn't present all the answers, this would divide them into the two main functions of the Keepers: some research and interpret the glyphs, others use subtlety to enact their insights on the field. The names of these sub-focuses were inspired by copyist monks.

    The Augurs are councilors, vizirs and leaders speaking for the Oracles, as is the way of the Silver Ladder. However, maintaining a low profile is paramount to the Keepers, so they naturally resonate with the ethos of the Guardians of the Veil.

    There was also the matter of how to achieve secrecy in a society as inquisitive as the Awakened. Fortunately the Secret Order of the Gate provided a framework for this. By making them into a secret society within the Order, I was able to flesh out their structure, open space for plot hooks and provide a suite of methods to remain undetected.

    Regarding yantras, I wanted ones that incentivized creative use of mundane methods of espionage. Mages tend to look into magical concealment and monitoring first, which means a simple tape recorder might accomplish the mission a scrying window cannot. The further they out of their way go to collect, compile and transmit information without leaving traces. The oblations are a way to begin fostering these habits.

    The ranks of the Strażnik were inspired by the Keepers and mixing in some copyist monk terms. The first Attainment invokes the idea of simply copying existing text illuminations. The second one shows how they are able to perceive and read the scroll of fate in real time.

    The third one harkens to the idea of subtle word choice and footnotes to help their charges. The fourth one shows how they progressed so far as to create the illuminations for the scrolls themselves.

    Lastly, the capstone one makes reference to the masters that engraved jewels into cameos or seals. This is an art that requires great finesse and craftsmanship, yet its masters were often kept secret so their clients could retain their exclusivity. These artisans were called glyptics, hence their nickname, because they quietly sculpt the rough diamonds that are their charges into seals that imprint the Oracle's designs upon the scroll.

    And that's it, hope you had as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Thanks in advance for the feedback.
    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 08-21-2020, 05:24 PM.


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

    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

  • #2
    As Pole, come to see topic with Polish terms. Still question why those names are in Polish in general English Legacy...


    My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
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    • #3
      Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
      As Pole, come to see topic with Polish terms. Still question why those names are in Polish in general English Legacy...
      Just for flavor. Since Wilfrid Voynich was Pole, I thought his native language would influence his structure for the Legacy. I didn't use it for naming the Attainments because the translation sounded very difficult to pronounce for non-speakers.


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

      The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
      The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

      Comment


      • #4
        The flavor is interesting, it almost seems like more of an Acanthus or Mastigos Legacy with Prime primary than an Obrimos Legacy with Fate primary, but I haven't played the Thief games, so I could be way off base.

        The first alternate attainment seems out of place, are they supposed to be magic item users?

        The second primary attainment is not a Fate attainment, it's a Prime attainment. I'd ditch the "symbolic representation of the truth" reach and move it to the first alternate. Maybe replace it with Warding Gesture? With the added benefit of any other Glyphtic being able to exclude them from a spell.

        How is the second alternate attainment not Invisible Runes? The added benefit could be that the sympathy is only one way, the Glyphtic has sympathy to the rune, but the rune doesn't have sympathy to the Glyphtic. The current one does work, however.

        The third primary attainment is just not a Fate effect, it's a Mind effect.

        The third alternate attainment is a bit of a mess. Subtly pushing through the information and/or having it coincidentally delivered is a Fate effect (this portion could replace the third primary). The restriction, that it must be objectively true, is part of Prime's Words of Truth but serves only as a needless restriction. I'd make the third alternate Wards and Signs with reach assigned to advanced duration and potency primary, and require a rune be placed on the subject for a +1 duration factor.

        The fourth attainment's first half is a one dot fate effect mixed with a one dot prime effect. Strings of Fate seems like a much better place to start for subtly manipulating things in the shadows. The second half is a Prime effect that impacts that non-thematic first alternate attainment.

        I like the fourth alternate attainment, being able to create and recruit Sleepwalkers is pretty cool.

        The fifth attainment and alternate are cool and flavorful.


        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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        • #5
          The Thief games are a ton of fun, they are very well written, immersive and full of attention to detail. Here are two quick examples of the Keepers at their most overt and the feel I am going for:

          https://youtu.be/lGZA-KDy87Q

          https://youtu.be/mhTDjCtAKRU


          The Keepers in Thief are a type of hidden True Neutral faction. They are experts in stealth and its said its nearly impossible to spot one who doesn't want to be seen. They covertly keep the balance between factions in the City.

          They employ a type of glyph based magic. The glyphs exist in prophecy books, but are also alive, sometimes changing and they are capable of corrupting those who are not balanced.

          They utilize all sorts of glyphs to hide their sanctums, ward secret portals or provide clues. Offensively, their most basic type of magic employs magic wands inscribed with glyphs.

          That is why Words of Command was the first Attainment. Higher ups could setup dead drops, messages and portals via the third and fifth Attainment, while members would be able to employ them at their own discretion via the first.

          The second primary is a case of an effect I really wanted for them but couldn't find a better place for. I wanted them to see through falsehood in a similar cryptic way as reading the Manuscript for clues. Warding Gesture sounds interesting, as does the idea of moving the part of the effect to the optional Attainment.

          The third primary Attainment is inspired by Incognito Presence, but its not quite it, it also works on technology. Imagine it like a stronger version of the way vampires instinctively know how to move in just the right way to avoid leaving identifying information, with a few lucky breaks covering any slip ups. Its inspired by the tutorial cutscene in Thief, where the Keeper knew how to step the right places in a crowd to be just outside their perception.

          The third alternate Attainment is all about covertly delivering information or resources to a target. Along with the third one, it means the important McGuffin will be carried away when no one is looking and arrives without a trace of a Nimbus.

          Paired with the other Attainments, it means the Glyptic could take a random piece of advertisement from his mail, mark it with an invisible glyph and have it delivered by fate. Somewhere else, an important general is looking through his mail, unaware that he will find just the right clues to make him learn about the Praetorian infiltrators and motivate him to drive them out. Luckily he is a Sleepwalker and therefore better equipped to deal with this. "Amazing how sometimes things just work out, isn't it ? What ? Smells like Glyptic shenanigans? That sounds paranoid even by your standards, Suspector, they were nowhere near that place"

          Due to the nature of invisible runes, they didn't seem the best way to manipulate Sleepers, a possibility I wished to leave open. But that too had the problem of the message being dismissed as a random coincidence. Words of Truth solved that. Not only can they be heard under any circumstance, but the target knows its true. The restriction sounded appropriate to their own type of manipulation. As opposed to the Architects of the Future or Subtle Ones, they will be cryptic, they will not tell you everything they know, but they will be honest. That subtle distinction brings a bit more trust, which sounds more resounding with agents of the Oracles.

          The fourth main Attainment is an idea I have been pondering even before designing this Legacy, which is how a Fate mage could try to view everyone as playing archtypes in a tale. Then I mixed it with Mace Windu's Shatterpoint ability from Star Wars Legends.

          So if they can't puzzle out what it means, they will not be able to effectively use their brilliant yet non-obvious insights, like the Malkavian protagonist in VtM:B.

          Based on how they interpret what they see, they could end up sounding like crazed conspiracy theorists. They methodically find the data, but don't always draw the right conclusions, like The Question in Justice League Unlimited. Thematically I see it as applying the methodology of the copyist monk reading the Manuscript (Librarians) to their espionage work (Illuminators).

          If they master these insights, it could be a powerful tool. It would allow precise, surgical strikes to change the course of fate.

          But I also wanted to give more mundane utility, which is why I added the imbuing effect. As much as Wards & Signs is both very thematic and powerful, I also wanted to balance the passive effects with some active ones that reward taking initiative in their stealthy work.

          Sorry for the wall of text, I just wanted to explain the feel I was going for and write my first thoughts.
          Last edited by KaiserAfini; 01-13-2020, 09:27 PM.


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

          The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
          The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

          Comment


          • #6
            If you want something similar to Pierce Deception note how Fate has intentions as part of its purview. So you could go for an attainment instead that reads a subject’s intentions. If they intend to sell you on a lie, you notice. You’ll also notice other stuff too obviously.

            Comment


            • #7
              Interesting, lets give it a try. Here is a rough draft, also incorporating proindrakenzol's feedback:

              New Fate 2 Attainment

              The Fallen World is awash in falsehoods, snares that seek to lead the Strażnik astray. But to one versed in reading the glyphs, uncovering these secrets is simple indeed. After a scene painting themselves with the Aranides glyphs, they gain the ability to constantly know the intentions of those around them, as well as anything connected to said intentions. This allows them to know when those intentions change and even when the the target is attempting to deceive someone, although they still need to puzzle out the truth based on the connections. Reach is assigned to advanced duration.

              Addendum to optional Attainment:

              In addition, an elevated understanding of the Glyphs confers the Strażnik with greater clarity when piercing the Falken World's deceptions. The main Attainment now benefits from Pierce Deception, which shows a symbolic representation of the truth. The unused Reach from the main Attainment is used here to give a symbolic representation of the truth.


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

              The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
              The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

              Comment


              • #8
                Yeah, that works. If you want a more mechanical hook you could say that it reveals the short term Aspiration a character has for the scene that is currently playing out.

                So say the Aspiration is, “Sell a car.”

                Then you’d know that, and the optional would ping when they tell you this car they’re trying to get you interested in is actually in great condition when it’s actually not.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just finished updating the second Attainment. Still pondering about the the fourth one. Strings of Fate sounds really cool, but I also want the archtype perception.

                  But I do have a new idea for the first optional one. It is inspired by the Imposing Nimbus merit, but toned down. When activated, the target rolls to resist the Nimbus tilt, with the power boosted by [Prime] (because normally the chances of inflicting it are not that great). However, if they cannot Withstand it, the Compelling of Prime transforms it into the Mesmerized condition, which only lasts for a scene.

                  In other words, its a type of manipulation that discourages dangerous situations, but is still potent. However, it requires direction by the mage and while it leaves less evidence by sealing the memory, it can still get the target in trouble. Because its a temporary condition, I think it barely falls into what Compelling could potentialize from the Nimbus.

                  When used under the Cloak Nimbus Attainment, rather than end it, it marks the target with a glyph. Should it be disturbed, the mesmerization ends.
                  Last edited by KaiserAfini; 01-15-2020, 09:50 AM.


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

                  The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
                  The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Tentaive new Prime 1 Attainment, with additional text explaning the condition (which originated from VtR):

                    The Glyptics generally strive to act via subtle manipulations, however this is not always possible and sometimes they need to exert their authority as agents of the Oracles. When this Attainment is used, the Strażnik rolls to inflict their Nimbus Tilt on a target, with a bonus of [Prime] to its potency. If successful, their Nimbus Tilt is coalesced into a mark of the Animus Glyph upon the subject, who is Mesmerized for the rest of the scene.

                    The Strażnik can command a Mesmerized target as an instant action. The commands can’t be longer than three or four words, and they have to be direct. The control doesn’t extend to issuing vague orders. “Follow me,” “Shoot your husband,” and “Repeat after me…” are all suitable commands, while “Forget,” "Submit,” and “Do my bidding” have too much room for interpretation.

                    They can even mess with the victim’s memory, making one statement about the current scene that victim will remember as truth. While she can still only use simple and unambiguous commands, she can pack a lot of changes into four words: “You killed that man” and “I was not here” combine to frame the victim for murder.

                    The condition resolves when the target takes any amount of damage or if they suffer a breaking point. Subjects appear quiet and reserved, but otherwise show no obvious signs of hypnosis. At most, they seem like they are sleepwalking, but otherwise act normally. Once the condition ends, subjects do not remember what they did while hypnotized.
                    Last edited by KaiserAfini; 01-17-2020, 09:56 AM.


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

                    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
                    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hmm, while I’m fine with Prime managing some social control via inflicting or hiding the truth, this seems like it may be crossing over into Mind. You’ve effectively got a potentially better Psychic Domination here.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The new attainment is a Mind 2 effect that cannot be replicated by Prime at any dot level. Vampire Discipline dots do not correlate to Arcana dots and should not be used as a guide.

                        I feel like you're trying to wedge too many powers into the Legacy. Not everything they can do in the game needs to be a Legacy attainment, rather the attainments should reinforce a particular theme with some useful core powers.

                        You keep adding what should be Mind effects to the various attainments, maybe Mind should be one of the Arcana?

                        Are you sure this is an Obrimos Legacy and not an Acanthus (manipulators of the future) or Mastigos (manipulators of the present) Legacy?

                        How important is the concept of using glyphs? If their magic specialization is glyph magic, then maybe a requirement that all their Attainments use the Runes yantra in exchange for a +1 spell factor would make sense; or make them masters of the Basilisk yantra, able to embed spells that last for longer than one turn.


                        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


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                          Hmm, while I’m fine with Prime managing some social control via inflicting or hiding the truth, this seems like it may be crossing over into Mind. You’ve effectively got a potentially better Psychic Domination here.
                          Yeah, I thought it was too much for a Imposing Nimbus created condition.


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

                          The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
                          The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by proindrakenzol View Post
                            The new attainment is a Mind 2 effect that cannot be replicated by Prime at any dot level. Vampire Discipline dots do not correlate to Arcana dots and should not be used as a guide.

                            I feel like you're trying to wedge too many powers into the Legacy. Not everything they can do in the game needs to be a Legacy attainment, rather the attainments should reinforce a particular theme with some useful core powers.

                            You keep adding what should be Mind effects to the various attainments, maybe Mind should be one of the Arcana?

                            Are you sure this is an Obrimos Legacy and not an Acanthus (manipulators of the future) or Mastigos (manipulators of the present) Legacy?

                            How important is the concept of using glyphs? If their magic specialization is glyph magic, then maybe a requirement that all their Attainments use the Runes yantra in exchange for a +1 spell factor would make sense; or make them masters of the Basilisk yantra, able to embed spells that last for longer than one turn.
                            Yeah, that is going too far into Mind, the problem is that there aren't many thematic options for the first Attainment.

                            Part of the inspiration was from the Keepers, and another part from the Stewards of the Celestial Orrery. Both groups see everything as a big clockwork of destiny, a giant and ineffable machine that they must keep calibrated. In seeing the mechanisms and striving to engineer it to work as intended is where they are Obrimos. But as you pointed out, one of their Arcana is always from the Acanthus and it influences their perspective.

                            So while the both groups are concerned with Truth/Prime, the Stewards are more concerned with certainty (Time based prophecy) and embodying that Truth (becoming a hallow or supernal power source).

                            The Glyptics know the mechanism has a lot of moving parts. So like the Keepers they focus on glyphs (Prime), secrecy and service to a higher purpose. But they need to interpret glyph prophecies and recalibrate destinies, so I thought Fate could be an interesting way to explore that.

                            Their themes are glyphs, secrecy and indirect manipulation. Glyphs are of great importance to the Keepers, its how they read prophecy, leave hints and use their magic. They are very stealthy manipulators that mostly aid the main character by providing guidance from the shadows.

                            What is a Basilisk yantra ? I am not familiar with the term.
                            Last edited by KaiserAfini; 01-17-2020, 09:58 PM.


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

                            The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists
                            The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post

                              Yeah, that is going too far into Mind, the problem is that there aren't many thematic options for the first Attainment.

                              Part of the inspiration was from the Keepers, and another part from the Stewards of the Celestial Orrery. Both groups see everything as a big clockwork of destiny, a giant and ineffable machine that they must keep calibrated. In seeing the mechanisms and striving to engineer it to work as intended is where they are Obrimos. But as you pointed out, one of their Arcana is always from the Acanthus and it influences their perspective.

                              So while the both groups are concerned with Truth/Prime, the Stewards are more concerned with certainty (Time based prophecy) and embodying that Truth (becoming a hallow or supernal power source).
                              There's a big thematic difference between keeping the machinery of the universe running properly (a very Obrimos thing) and manipulating humanity towards a desired outcome (not an Obrimos thing).

                              While an individual Obrimos might fall outside the stereotypes, and entire Legacy of them probably shouldn't.

                              The Glyptics know the mechanism has a lot of moving parts. So like the Keepers they focus on glyphs (Prime), secrecy and service to a higher purpose. But they need to interpret glyph prophecies and recalibrate destinies, so I thought Fate could be an interesting way to explore that.

                              Their themes are glyphs, secrecy and indirect manipulation. Glyphs are of great importance to the Keepers, its how they read prophecy, leave hints and use their magic. They are very stealthy manipulators that mostly aid the main character by providing guidance from the shadows.
                              Sounds Acanthus-y. Mastigos if you tweak it a bit.

                              What is a Basilisk yantra ? I am not familiar with the term.
                              It's from Signs of Sorcery. It makes a spell function like a warding rune, affecting the next person to disturb it.



                              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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