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Mutilating the Awakened Soul

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  • Mutilating the Awakened Soul

    One of the more intriguing (to me anyway) parts of Nameless & Accursed is the positing that parts of the Awakened template might be altered to create what otherwise seem like impossible beings: Tremere replace their Gnosis with Hollow, allowing them to wield the Arcana despite their lack of soul, while Scelesti partake in the anti-Wisdom of Joining, and the Rapt have become essentially shells for their ever-leaking magic, a Supernal symbol burning its way into the Fallen World.

    To that end, I've been thinking of other ways that mages might warp themselves (or find themselves warped), for the pursuit of power, esoteric enlightenment, or because that's what they were told to do before they knew any better, to transform into beings that are still recognizable as mages, though as seen through a twisted, broken mirror.

    My first idea involves mages who have delved too deeply and too long into the Hedge, their bodies and minds pricked away at by the Thorns until the Wyrd takes hold, their tattered souls scarring over with Glamour, becoming fae-like entities who impose not Supernal truth with their spells but instead Arcadian fancy. Their magic doesn't draw from the Arcana but instead the Regalia (and in a way, wary Lost note, not dissimilar to that of the Gentry themselves), still ordered by the ten Practices, still ostensibly in pursuit of the Mysteries, but filtered through a new symbolic lens of beautiful lies and bittersweet truths.

    Actually I guess that's the only idea I have so far. I like seeing how weird the standard PC templates can get as they stray farther afield from basic concepts though, so be sure to post your own visions.

  • #2
    They aren't quite the same thing, but I wrote the Crones and the Wyrms way back when before I became a freelancer (actually, I think I'd gotten the job on DE2 by then, but was waiting for the contract). I might do them differently now, but another way of creating might be someone fucking up their Awakened Soul badly enough. What I wrote wasn't technically a mage who got screwed up, but a Proximi.

    They 100% do not work according to canon, but they are fun little "What the fuck?" to throw at mages who get complacent about their place in the world.
    Last edited by Second Chances; 12-08-2020, 10:08 PM.

    Patreon | He/His Pronouns | Currently writing: Tome of the Pentacle (OPP), The Hedge (OPP)

    CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon | Deviant (WIP) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf


    • #3
      An idea I've stewed on for a while now: basically a Werewolf Banisher (oh no template stacking how naughty )

      So what happens is someone is busy having their standard Awakening to Watchtower, when Luna abruptly decides she wants them instead, and yoinks the unfortunate right out of the Supernal and into her loving embrace. Mechanically, whereas a normal Harrowed Banisher has Integrity instead of Wisdom and suffers Breaking Points from experiencing magic, this one has Harmony, and flies into Death Rage when experiencing magic (in Werewolf parlance, it counts as an additional Personal Trigger).

      My approach has been to assume a normal Uratha as a starting point, and to try and add Supernal magic as elegantly as possible. Though I'm constantly waffling on how that would actually work. Problems include determining the casting pool (Willpower? Arcana + Primal Urge? Arcana + Effective Rank?), do they gain a Mana pool (or just use Essence instead?), what happens when they trigger Paradox (use [distance from Harmony 5] x 2 in place of Wisdom?).

      Since this is mostly just a theoretical exercise (I don't have any plans to actually run a game with such a character), the precise mechanics don't matter that much (or so I keep telling myself), but if anyone has clever ideas, I'm open to them.

      The longer I study science the more I am convinced that it is functionally indistinguishable from what our ancestors would refer to as sorcery. And I would know, being both scientist and sorcerer.


      • #4
        Have I ever told you of the Urshanabi ? Some mages have the bright idea of turning Deathmasks into soul stones. They seek to transcend mortality by harnessing its power and seeking to be invested with the authority to wield it by a Kerberoi, modeled by a Status (Dread Domain) merit.

        This grants them Rapacity, similar to an Eater of the Dead of similar Rank, fueling Dread Powers and immortality with mana.

        However, prolonged use also runs a risk of creating a split personality. Every time they use a Dread Power, they roll a chance dice. Success means nothing happens, failure means their patron Kerberos levies a Mystery Command (if none had been granted this chapter). If not carried out, they lose a Rank, with the soul stone being reabsorbed if they drop to zero. Success grants a Rank (up to Rank 5).

        Dramatic failure levies a vague trigger the first time or specific one a second time. These act as keys for a variation of the Fugue condition, in which the personality takes over to pursue the Mystery Command.

        One should be very careful on terminating their mortality, the Kerberoi reward faithful service. If the Urshanabi has not completely detoxed from the power of the Underworld (reached Rank 0), they are raised into Reaper Ghost Mages, one of the Hamar-tabal. All the power of the echoing Supernal, all the hubris of the broken mage and all the mad zealotry of a Reaper, all directed against their unfortunate slayer. So why am I telling you all this ? Because the slayer was your mentor and now we are not sure what havock she will wreck now, since her Obsession is directed elsewhere
        Last edited by KaiserAfini; 12-19-2020, 04:32 PM.

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

        The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
        The Szary Stra┼╝nik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)


        • #5
          Joggle the mind, lean into the homebrew and think about crossover and the potential is infinite, just to think a few:

          Supernal infrastructure reactors: Obrimos mages who the god machine has manipulated to awakening and then without them knowing, creating an infrastructure designed to use their souls as a power socket to the supernal Aether for near infinite power. Mages who might have access to some demons imbedded or exploits having infrastructure built around them like demons for the low low price of... you know... having an eldritch machine sucking your soul like a athlete squeezing the last ketchup from the bottle, making you spread mana and Aether (in terms of demons version of mana) like hell, "detect" as a raptured and indeed maybe even have a rapid decay of wisdom ACTUALLY becoming a raptured. A variant is those who actively pledge themselves to the god machines and have been "gifted" a suit of infrastructure with useful capabilities for fulfilling the god machine will (but expected to fullfill said duty like a demon thats angel jacked).

          The ones who betray arcadia... for arcadia: People who are mid way through their durance and awaken to SUPERNAL Arcadia and escape, they are more mage then changelings but might still have considerable tells of their durance, not enough for full glamour but still noticeable if the acanthus doesn't hide them mundanely or magically, they ca use contracts and loop holes and clever acanthus can even make use of loop holes of their own arcana, on the down side, "wisdom" is both mage wisdom and changeling clarity with clarity damage counting as "acts of hubris" for the purpose of rolling meaning they are VERY likely to go raptured quickly... on the bright side if your st is not an asshole you also have a way to regain the "wisdom" back that isnt a herculean task, even if only to wisdom lost via clarity effects.

          Prophets of the sun god: Some thyseus, obrimos and even less likely paths make a pact with Helios, shadow god of the sun and big bro to Luna for power by pulling upon the cosmological power of the sun in the shadow instead of the supernal. The prophets use a stat more like primal urge then gnosis (including how much essence they consume), essence instead of mana (but can channel mana via prime as usual) and their "spells" are Numina (SCREW YOU SUPERNAL DISPELLATION HAHAHA) and "maybe" a sun spirit form, they have "harmony" but their spirit side is about obligation and duty to pushing down the essence of the world and keeping a status quo (and maybe set the local packs tails on fire... brother Helios never forgot, and never forgave) while squishing any who would breach the order and "human" is their mage obsessions. A similar idea could be done with Luna if you wanted a mage with a tint of werewolf, such as using essence, primal urge and can use gift, but instead has arcana over forms.

          the EIGTH tower: Of course one simple way is to add more towers like the 6th and 7th (hell a mage who make a deal with tower of fallen blood could be interesting, maybe they can fit in disturbingly well with other supernatural creatures?) Either being retconned into the chronicle, or maybe have "come online" only recently because of some event.


          • #6
            I'm imagining something like an event in one of DaveB's games where a character had to manipulate the Lambton Worm (which was actually an imprisoned Angel) into inhabiting his soul until they could try to properly send it back to the Aether, which started getting really messy when the creature became aware that the conditions for its possession hadn't genuinely been fulfilled and it started writhing around inside of him.

            So something like a mage forming a symbiotic relationship with an entity, either from summoning or encountering one of the Bound, but it has issues and the mage constantly hovers on the edge of becoming parasitized or puppeted.

            Off-hand... I'm imagining it working like a kind of reversal of the Rapt, where instead of magic leaking out of them unconstrained by their will it's more like the mage becomes a kind of black hole for Mysteries and spells. But it's only the end stage of them being fully drained out of the world (excepting maybe in the case of weak spells), and requires a whole preceding process in which the functions and procedures of the target become co-opted to the Supernal being in question. An inherent property of the mage, but one that they can develop techniques to refine in specific ways to their benefit, and maybe skim a bit off the top to empower their normal spellcasting.

            I guess they would still have Wisdom, but maybe of a kind that reorients itself to adhere to the values of the being they're playing host to. I suddenly have a tentative idea that it works in some way where actually adhering too much to those values can also cause the Wisdom to drop, but I'm not sure if such a thing would be able to work consistently.

            I really need to actually buy Second Edition soon.

            I have approximate knowledge of many things.
            Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.


            • #7
              I've considered some possible follow-up ideas.

              For one, mages in that state think they're still running on Gnosis, but a more accurate term for the stat would be something like Ecstasy; magic arising from the writhing dance of a god nestled in their soul. Such mages tend to think that feeding their inhabitant is granting them knowledge, but it's really only just bloating the creature, which is fully hooked into the parts of their soul that apply Supernal knowledge; in other words, arcane experience can no longer be acquired by solving Mysteries, only by consuming them.

              I've decided that the idea of the mage being at risk of becoming hollowed out is too obvious. More interesting to me is that as they feed their resident god, it takes up ever more space within them, and in addition to this making it hungrier it twines its existence ever more into the mage (hence the altered parameters of Wisdom). The end point for a mage who doesn't take on something too big for them or draw the ire of others who put them down is eventually passing a point of sustainability, where it's simply not possible to feed on Mysteries large enough or frequently enough and both mage and Bound ultimately starve to death.

              Or, something like it. The Supernal entity can't really die conventionally, so the whole procedure ends up ensuring that it's a form of Bound tied down by the immobilised body of the mage (which might still transform in some manner rather than decay naturally). Being held down as a cage for a Supernal being means that the mage doesn't really properly die either, although it's not a state that they'll ever recover from.

              If I were to introduce such a thing, I'd be inclined to a portrayal of relative obscurity mostly as a result of most mages not being crazy enough to even try inviting such an entity in them or encountering one in a state of vulnerability to being invaded, but there might be just enough for somebody toying with the idea to be able to put together what the inevitable end result should be, so they can then be certain that surely they can beat the system.

              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
              Write up as I play Xenoblade Chronicles.