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Tarnishing Cloud (Supernal Being)

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  • Tarnishing Cloud (Supernal Being)

    Another one of my creations originally posted on Patreon... Happy Halloween!

    Pollution corrupts and twists the environment. That isn’t a moral judgment, it's a statement of fact. Change the environment too much, even with the best intentions, and the life that existed there can no longer survive. Their homes twist into something new and different, so by their standards, that is corruption. Sleeper ecologists understand this fact, but mages and werewolves know it runs even deeper, for changes in the material also impact the Shadow.

    The Tarnishing Cloud represents the pollution of material and ephemeral ecological. It is well known to both the Pentacle and Seers, having appeared in many forms over the last three centuries. To some, it manifests as an enormous peppered moth that fluctuates between a white and black coat. For others, it is a gas-masked WWI soldier marching through the poisonous cloud. One day it appears as a silver statue befouled by verdigris, the next it is a factory worker covered in caustic grime.

    Most often, it manifests as a cloying cloud of smog, a horrendous mixture of ash, soot, exhaust, chlorine, and ozone. It speaks with a wheezing, consumptive voice that makes all animals and spirits fall silent. It is not a malicious entity, but it obsesses over ecological change and has no regard for individuals such massive shifts impact.

    Mages summon the Tarnishing Cloud to learn about the Shadow’s ecology, change an environment, or disrupt a rival’s Sanctum. No records exist of this Supernal before the Industrial Revolution, but since then it has become well known. While useful, both sides of the war between the Pentacle and Exarchs treat this Apeiron with caution. It is bit too unconcerned with collateral damage to be a natural ally for the Pentacle, but it is too disruptive to fit into the box the Exarchs want it in. Many mages have found, to their great chagrin, that the Cloud has no problem tearing down the new order it helped create once it becomes the new norm.

    Despite the fears of the very few werewolves who learned of the Cloud through their Wise allies, the Apeiron has no particular affinity in magath or the maeljin, caring far more about corruption in the Sleeping world. Pointing this out is unlikely to lower any hackles. The Tarnishing Cloud is disruptive by nature, which is an intolerable insult to the People and their territory.

    Tarnishing Cloud
    Rank 4 Stygian Apeiron
    Attributes: Power 8 Finesse 12 Resistance 11
    Virtue: Disruptive. The Tarnishing Cloud's actions change old routines, preventing stagnation and complacency.
    Vice: Destructive. All the Tarnishing Cloud cares about is change, not who gets in the way or what gets destroyed.
    Ban: The Cloud can only use its powers in ways that disrupt existing systems, it cannot use them restoratively.
    Bane: Water from a stream that has never been polluted.
    Arcana: Death 2, Matter 4, Prime 2, Spirit 4
    Mana: 25
    Corpus: 18
    Willpower: 10
    Initiative: +23
    Defence: 8
    Speed: 20
    Size: 7
    Trial: Pollute something you hold dear


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

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

  • #2
    That's really freaking cool! I've never portrayed supernal beings before, how are they different from spirits in what they represent? Like what characteristics would I need to make the tarnished cloud seem like a supernal being rather than spirit being?

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    • #3
      The way I look at it, spirits represent specific emotions, objects, or living things. Supernal Beings represent capital T Truths. You could easily have a pollution spirit too, but when I wrote the Tarnishing Cloud, it was more based around the truth that things change and change isn't always for the better. That's different than the spiritual manifestation of pollution you'd get out of a spirit (or the way people percieve pollution you'd get out of Goetia in the Temenos).


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

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

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Second Chances View Post
        The way I look at it, spirits represent specific emotions, objects, or living things.
        Mind, there are conceptual spirits, formed from more abstract resonance. Book of Spirits gives examples of things like maths, numbers, procedure, and even such specifics as Christmas Charity or Going West.

        Originally posted by Second Chances
        Supernal Beings represent capital T Truths. You could easily have a pollution spirit too, but when I wrote the Tarnishing Cloud, it was more based around the truth that things change and change isn't always for the better.
        I think that idea of a detail about the concept of change is fitting to what Supernal entities are, and even specifically for an Apeiron, but I don't feel entirely sold on representing that in the particular form that's been written. I'd feel as though it would be a case where "change can be harmful" is the Symbol, and pollution is one of its Phenomenal expressions. As it is, it still ends up feeling a bit too much like a spirit to me.

        I'm trying to think of a standard that can be derived from the Black Angel, being as it is a symbol of inevitable death through the specific nuance of undoing the prevention of death by supernatural power... I might also look back on Summoners and Imperial Mysteries. I like Supernal entities a lot as an idea, but feel compelled to have very exact standards for what sets them apart from ephemeral entities, as well as helping to give a particular flavour to the Supernal rather than encompassing everything under the sun.

        Hmm... I guess if the Black Angel can atomize inevitable death down to the specificity of countering healing miracles, it could fit to have caustic transitions in matter or ways it intrudes upon itself down to the human perception of pollution, but... I'd have to think about it.

        Although even then, I'd feel as though the Virtue would end up being a bit too sentimental. I'd think something like this would end up being more abstract and alien; Disruptive still seems like a good name for it, but explained not in terms as a means to an end but just the pure essence of "fouling things up is right and fulfilling".

        On top of that, I feel as though associating this concept with the Shadow to the point of Spirit being its secondary Arcanum and being described as a reason to summon it ends up making the concept a bit too diffuse. Certainly I think it would be appropriate to have a Shade that embodies the capacity of material circumstances to result in change in the Shadow, but I think that would be its own thing rather than being part of a symbol of negative change and/or pollution. I think putting the two together (particularly in the form of the whole "Spirit is equal to Matter" element) ends up giving it a... complexity in form and function that feels off to me if Supernal entities are supposed to be like bringing up purified Platonic Forms.


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

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        • #5
          Although I found the concept interesting, I'm with Isator Levi here.

          One thing I thought is that instead of Change, this entity could represent some form of Accumulation.

          What we understand as pollution is basically the accumulation of residue in a faster rate than the system's capacity to reallocate it. It isn't Change, but the specific change brought by clogging a dynamic system with refuse of any kind.

          That could wrap up the concept in a similar package that makes sense for a Supernal entity, with some tweaks here and there. And it would make the Arcana spread fitting.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
            Mind, there are conceptual spirits, formed from more abstract resonance. Book of Spirits gives examples of things like maths, numbers, procedure, and even such specifics as Christmas Charity or Going West.
            The thing is, those spirits are still temporal phenomena that are formed in specific circumstances — the category is born from actions and reactions and contains the entire choir of emotional spirits.


            Resident Lore-Hound
            Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Satchel View Post
              The thing is, those spirits are still temporal phenomena that are formed in specific circumstances — the category is born from actions and reactions and contains the entire choir of emotional spirits.
              Mostly I just meant that statement to point out that there's another category of things spirits might represent which means the distinction needs a bit more.


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

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                Mostly I just meant that statement to point out that there's another category of things spirits might represent which means the distinction needs a bit more.
                And mostly I just meant that statement to point out that the operative word in the quote is "specific" rather than anything in the list that followed, which is sufficiently non-exhaustive that most elementals also aren't covered by any of the three items therein.


                Resident Lore-Hound
                Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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                • #9
                  Considering how Supernals apparently get purer in concept as they Rank up, maybe the idea works as a lower Ranked entity?

                  Hmm… to make the Cloud more Supernal-ish, I’d emphasize its transcendental nature; it doesn’t belong in an ecosystem, nor does it reflect anybody’s ideas. It just Is.

                  Yes, easier said than done, but still!


                  MtAw Homebrew:
                  Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
                  New 2E Legacies, expanded

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                  • #10
                    Most of this info is from from the summoners supplement right?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                      the operative word in the quote is "specific"
                      That's an area where I feel as though it's not quite an accurate description of spirits, as it matters to drawing the line between them and Supernals.

                      Animal and object spirits are the kinds that remain attached to their original material reflection (before they start increasing their Rank), but when we get something like a gluttony spirit it doesn't tend to be the spirit of one particular person's gluttony, and it can become more encompassing as it grows stronger.

                      Now that being said, I do find myself thinking that something like gluttony wouldn't really come out of the Supernal like that, even as I find something like pollution could. So I'm getting a bit closer,


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

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                      • #12
                        For me the core distinction between Shadow and Supernal entities is one of "particular" vs "general".

                        A Shadow spirit is made of particular instances/perceptions, as they are made from the Essence they consume, and Essence is generated by particular instances. Even if they grew in Rank to be god-like, they are not a general concept, but the collection of particular views that formed them over time.

                        Supernal entities are General Concepts. They may manifest colored by some perceptions, but they're not the perception. They're the concept. Even when they're a facet of it, they come from the concept itself and not from any particular experience or opinion on it.

                        Then what distinguishes a Pollution Spirit from a Pollution Supernal? The Supernal manifests one concept of pollution as people can rationalize it, but regardless of how people and animals can experience or feel about it, while the Spirit manifests numerous experiences and feelings about pollution. Now what does this entity looks like?

                        I tend to agree here that, as written, this entity seems to derive more from the experience of Pollution as a vector of destructive change than from the concept of Change as Pollution, even if it is general enough to derive from multiple experiences.


                        #NothingAboutUsWithoutUs
                        #AutismPride
                        She/her pronouns

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Isator Levi View Post
                          That's an area where I feel as though it's not quite an accurate description of spirits, as it matters to drawing the line between them and Supernals.

                          Animal and object spirits are the kinds that remain attached to their original material reflection (before they start increasing their Rank), but when we get something like a gluttony spirit it doesn't tend to be the spirit of one particular person's gluttony, and it can become more encompassing as it grows stronger.
                          A gluttony spirit is born from a specific instance of gluttony even if the event that spawned it involved more than one person.

                          Conceptual spirits are uncommon relative to the other categories of spirits precisely because their "cradle" is very temporary before they have to scramble to adapt, but the same thing would happen with artificial spirits in an environment of single-use tools or nature spirits in a setting dominated by r-strategists.

                          The spirit of a famine still starts from someone going hungry or a field being salted or the price of grain in a market being prohibitively high rather than a nonspecific sense of famine — resonance doesn't exist in a vacuum.


                          Resident Lore-Hound
                          Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e

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                          • #14
                            I think the core is that Spirits are individuals. They have a history and quirks resulting from the very particular circumstances of their existences, from the original resonance that brought them into being to however it adapted to survive after it was gone. A Spirit of Loyalty was born as the Spirit of a very loyal dog, and it still looks and behaves like it.

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                            • #15
                              There's also the fact that Spirits, above all, want to survive and prosper. They have to generate more of the phenomena they feed off to generate more motes to consume. A spirit of pollution first and foremost, will try to pollute more or urge humans to do it. It will also very rarely stay a pure spirit of pollution for too long, because it can feed off the spirits of stuff it makes unclean. As it grows, it will inevitably become a spirit of a polluted river or a junkyard (which will tie it to a particular place), or specialize (like becoming a spirit of ash and soot, after years of feeding off a chimney in an old factory during Industrial Revolution).

                              Supernal Beings represent an abstract concept. They have no interest in spreading it, because even if no one pollutes anything anymore, it means nothing for that particular Symbol. There's also more symbolism involved: pollution may be figurative as much as literal. Tarnishing Cloud here is a good example: it represents disruption of a stable environment, introduction of an element that doesn't belong and changes everything. Pollution here is a metaphor to describe itd purview.

                              I could also imagine a goetia of pollution, but it would be much more concrete and never neutral. There would be goetia of bad pollution (resembling a typical Captain Planet villain), of pollution as something to clean up (passive, but harmful and hard to dislodge), of pollution in London during XIX century (also a Captain Planet villain, but in trappings of the era). Its form would largely depends of the area of Temenos or Oneiros where it spawned.

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