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  • Mages As Monsters - Discussion, Examples, ThinkTank

    So, a few things before we start.
    To avoid flamewars and overall toxic atmosphere, I want to make one single rule that I ask everybody here to follow - please, no discussion about semantics of word "Monster" and attempts on Language Imperialism expressed in trying to enforce single, dominating definition of what Monster means. Thank you in advance.
    ***

    Inspired by a thread that asked a question about monstrosity of Mages, I want to talk about practical examples of Mages being Monsters. I want to ask you the following:
    - What makes Mage a Monster in your eyes?
    - Do you have any interesting examples of it? Double points for examples that come from actual play, and especially from player characters
    - What abilities, Arcanas, merits, and other gameplay mechanics do you feel make or could make Mages interesting Monsters?

    So, I'll start with an example of one of things that my Soon To Be Character does:
    She is a Mage with Time 3, who liked photography a lot even before her Awakening; not that she was very good at it (She has 0 in Expression, but Specialty in Photography to make it work). One of first things she used her new powers was rewinding time to take a shot when she realized that she wasted a good opportunity. However, as she explored the Time magic in context of her work, she found that "just" redoing photos was boring; after learning about ability to shield people and objects from effects of Time Magic, she decided to try out using it on her camera. And alas, it worked! So she started taking not only more photos, but also gathered confidence to do shots that she wouldn't normally do, because...well, she could always rewind time. So she started taking photos of her friends who were always mad that she is waving her camera at her, and rewinding it so they won't get annoyed; she started pulling out camera in her classes at college and captured the professor and his audience, because all of his scolding was never going to happen. And again, this soon became boring; step after step, she started taking more and more daring pictures. Weird questions started probing her mind; wouldn't this church be beautiful soaked in flames? How about taking photos of a car crash? Rewind after rewind, she started pushing her boundaries;
    Church was burned down to the earth, but it was fine, because it never happened. A cat drowned, but it was fine, because what really happened was that she saved it.
    This, coupled with her training as Guardian of the Veil, lead to some practical habits, too; a lot of her conversations never happened. Lot of books were never read. When somebody doesn't want to cooperate and tell you what you want, all you need to do is to break his legs and rewind. Which also makes a great occasion for a shot! Have you ever photographed a freshly dead person? It also works great as a blackmail material.
    But it's all fine. Because it never happened. And never will happen. The choices she leaves as "canon"? Always good ones. Always nice ones. She is a good person, and why does it matter that her photo album is pretty morbid? Photoshop, for sure!


    .

  • #2
    First off, I love your character. I had a similar Obrimos Libertine in a game a while back. She used to be a member of Network Zero, and she repeatedly found really good footage of non-Supernal supernatural stuff. Which she'd then basically force onto people. Integrity would have been nice to have back then, but she basically brute forced revelatory experiences into people's lives, sometimes setting up unavoidable encounters with the supernatural.

    Naturally, she watched from the sidelines, making sure nobody was physically injured. It got a lot of people hurt in the long term though, as she threatened to unveil various masquerades and by forcing people to look into the abyss, she was inviting the abyss to look back at her vict...offer..."apprentices." She was just trying to prime people for their own Awakenings!

    The thing that makes Mages monsters in my eyes is that they combine power with a sense of self-righteousness. Where the self-righteousness comes from is irrelevant: the mages think they know better (because it's arguable that they do), and then they express their power to try to make things like they "should" be.


    "Nihhina kalekal-zidu kal masun, kal manudanadu. Nihhina kalekal-zidu nukal shaghu-desasudu — nihhina kalekal-zidu kal innu-desasudu udhkal samm." Arthur Ashe
    Check out my tumblr for Chronicles of Darkness-related musings
    He/him pronouns, please

    Comment


    • #3
      Abuses of the Death Arcana are so stereotypical and obvious as to be barely worth saying.

      But I feel I should mention the "can-it-be-done" question I brought up before, regarding forcing a single individual to be used as a ghost template, again and again (reviving them after each "ghosting"). I feel this necromantic pioneer would get on wonderfully with your "never happened" photographer.


      Originally posted by WHW View Post
      - What makes Mage a Monster in your eyes?
      - Do you have any interesting examples of it? Double points for examples that come from actual play, and especially from player characters
      - What abilities, Arcanas, merits, and other gameplay mechanics do you feel make or could make Mages interesting Monsters?
      - When a Mage exploits their (relatively) superior power and knowledge in a way that treats others as "lesser". "They're only Sleepers, Ghosts, Spirits, etc.".
      - Fate-rigging things in your favor. Nothing's free - Everything you "won" cheated someone else out of their chance. Because you felt you deserved it.
      - See above with Death. Mind for brainwashing, obviously, though combo-ing it with Spirit(?) to make Goetic "sleeper agents/spies" to seed the area with is also a good example. I'd say the best uses for "interesting monster" stem from potentially benign intent taken to their full horrible implications.
      Last edited by Vent0; 02-17-2016, 02:00 PM.


      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

      Comment


      • #4
        One of the things that I did in my game is to codify what it means to be a monster. I drew a line between supernatural and the mundane, and used modifed and updated Atrocity mechanics from Danse Macabre to track what I term the "metaphysical weight" of very harmful deeds done that affect beings with souls. Mundane people lose the equivient of Integrity when their Temporary Atrocity would have caused a supernatural creature to have gained a Permanent Atrocity and indeed if they drop to what would be the equivilent of zero Integrity in my setting they gain a Greater Undertaking of a Slasher (at the equivient of one Integrity they gained the Lesser Undertaking, but this is loss if they rise in Integrity) and thus start track Permanent Atrocity exactly like a supernatural creature. Supernatural creatures in my chronicles also gain Slasher undertakings at the bottom of their Stability Advantages. For those unfamiliar with what Permanent Atrocity, it adds bonuses to supernatural Dicepools and penalties to hiding one's supernatural nature, and thus is a wonderful way to track increasing monstrousness. I tied it into the Personal Bane system to help balance the increase in power with additional weaknesses, because frequently the more monstrous and powerful a character becomes it also seems very thematically correct to have them more riddled with flaws and things that can counter them. Also since I am untethering Personal Banes from the Stability Advantage which now only reflect mental health instead of morality, this better tracks the journey from merely being supernatural to being a monster.

        This of course also applies to Mages, and even minor templates in my chronicles. Picture changing from being just a happy and caring midwife and herbalist with alternative fashion sense to a vile cackling green-skinned hag that devours sweets made from children to absorb their vital energies and souls to power her immortality. (a particular application of an Attainment gained from a very interesting alchemical Legacy which isn't neccisarily evil but is focused on potions and edibles that act as a way to transfer properties from the ingredient to the eater)

        Now mages can be driven to Atrocity most easily by pride and hubris, which certainly is different than being driven to Atrocity by rage and instinct to hunt, or even the undead thirst for blood and savage inner beast, but the slope is just as slippery and easy to fall down and is perhaps easier to start down because the consequences are initially less glaringly horrifying to human sensibilities.

        Yes, mages can be monsters.
        Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 02-17-2016, 02:10 PM.


        “Youth ages, immaturity is outgrown, ignorance can be educated, and drunkenness sobered, but stupid lasts forever.” ~ Aristophanes
        "Virescit Vulnere Virtus" ~ Stewart Clan Motto

        Comment


        • #5
          To me, Mages are monstrous for largely the same reasons as the True Fae. Horribly bloated egos, nigh-impenetrable certainty in their own superiority and godlike power. If you need good examples of how awful Mages can be, read about our dear vice-ridden Greek Gods, especially Zeus. The very word "Hubris" was coined by the Ancient Greeks.

          For more modern examples, take a look at Voldemort from Harry Potter, Kilgrave from Jessica Jones and Anthony Fremont from the Twilight Zone episode "It's A Good Life".

          To me, the scariest Arcana are Life, Mind and Death, because they can be used to permanently disfigure and defile people physically, mentally and spiritually.

          I mean, a Mage can straight up subject an innocent person to the same eternal torture that Ted suffers at the end of "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream". For even the tiniest perceived slight.

          All of this is perfectly summed up by Gildor in the Fellowship Of The Ring: "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger".

          EDIT: Also, in the section of the Beast preview about how the Anakim (who are nicknamed Giants and embody the fear of Powerlessness) view other denizens of the CoD, there is the following observation regarding Mages.

          "Remember when I said that not all giants tower physically? I'm talking about these guys."
          Last edited by GibberingEloquence; 02-17-2016, 02:24 PM.


          "Fate is a cruel jester with a finely developed sense of irony." - Sir Night as portrayed by Leliel, The Horror Recognition Guide

          Comment


          • #6
            In my LARP we brought in an NPC by the name of Adramelech to confront the players about the potential monstrosity they could become. He was an old doctor with a specialty in Child Psychology, member of the Free Council but truly hadn't attended Assembly once in the last 20 years. Awoken as a Mastigos, he became obsessed with determining the process through which children gain their Vices and Virtues. To do so, he took control of an orphanage and created a Demesne in a secret blocked off room behind his medical office. The first experiments weren't too unethical. He put kids to sleep and meditated to explore their Oneiros, noting the degree of development of their Vice and Virtue demons as they grew.

            He noticed that some kids had stronger demons than others, and made several attempts to manipulate their control over the subject. He understood that a Vice demon could be beaten in the Oneiros, and this caused beneficial effects in the children's conduct. However, the change was never permanent, either a new Vice would develop or the previous Vice would respawn like a cancer. He also noted that Vice demons could be defeated more easily the younger the kid was, as long as one had already developed. Finding the precise timing to attack the demon led to the best results, but as of yet, he could not make them permanent. He took up the study of Death, interested in examining the Integrity of his subjects after and before the experiments.

            By chance, he ran into a kid that had some particularly dark experiences from a dark age, probably due to supernatural possession of some sort couple with parental abuse. He observed a correlation between Integrity damage and Vices which had only be theoretical from his studies up to this point. He later learned to adjust his Mage Sight to see this correlation on any subject he wished. He used some influences to get his hands on some tomes of Reaper lore from the Mysterium, which contained detailed accounts on the effects of Soul damage. He decided that maybe he could more closely examine the Soul to figure out the connection he needed, as at this point Oneiros exploration seemed like a dead end.

            With a heavy heart at first, he began experimenting with the removal of children's souls, followed by thorough scrutiny, putting them back carefully and comparing observations with psychological profiles and Oneiros exploration. After several years of work, he compiled a lengthy thesis: he had found the part of the Soul in which Vices are anchored. This part of the soul could be intentionally damaged to prevent Vices from forming, but it must be performed at an early age, before the Vice fully becomes part of their personality. His very first attempt at the procedure was a complete success. He created human beings entirely free of Vice. He repeated his procedure more than 50 times and basically created a new Reaper Legacy.

            The procedure though had a few negative consequences, of course. Removing the damaged soul would allow the Vice to manifest (as per the normal soulless condition) but if this happened after several years of living without the Vice, it could dry the subject mad with an intense uncontrollable Vice, as they never had any practice resisting it. Inserting a new fresh soul at this stage didn't help much either, the personality would still be flawed. Of course, Adramelech considered this to be a minor flaw: after all, if you get your soul removed, you are probably already fucked. No reason to worry so much about that small corner case, where there could be such a great benefit to society to remove the Vices of potential rapists and assassins. There were other consequences which Adramelech probably noticed but chose to disregard, to the point of never even documenting, such as a higher suicide rate among subjects, irrational behavior when dealing with the Vices of others, strange phenomena in the Oneiros, and so far none of those kids have managed to Awaken or become Sleepwalkers.

            ---

            Now, even though people starting knowing about this guy for a few months, few Mages were interested in going up against him, they always had excuses about bigger fish to fry and so forth. However, he later became entangled in Concilium business for an entirely different reason: a suspected connection between Mysterium corruption (which was true) and the possesion of an Artifact which was believed stolen (which was a lie). After a couple of confrontations, the Adamantine Arrow took over his Demesne and expelled him from the city (the city Councilors wanted him dead of course, but the Arrow had a few issues with the Councilors at the time, and thus decided to just expel him to spite them). And then the Arrow took the Demesne as theirs as well as his library, including his masterpiece: the Grimoire which he transcribed after his many experiments, detailing not only the spells used, but the precise method in which they needed to be combined in order to permanently rid a small child of their Vice. A note found on the Grimoire indicated that this was a copy, and that it was intended as a gift to his old friend from the Mysterium which helped him learn more about Souls. The Arrow decided not to surrender the Grimoire to the Mysterium, and is still unsure on keeping it or destroying it, but a few members hope it might come useful. As to the previous patients, some have been found, many are dead, and one Mage who set out to investigate seems to be missing.

            Comment


            • #7
              With addition to agreeing pretty much with everyone's posts above me, I think mages suffer from a problem many comic superheroes often have to deal with as well. I'm talking about the individual/persona divide.

              Almost every superhero has a secret identity, but they are quite obviously individuals as well. Many stories have dealt with superheroes trying to find a sense of balance between their personal and "professional" life. Regardless of how it ends (or it doesn't), the biggest problem in this struggle I see is that while superheroes are individuals, the superhero personas are, well, symbols. No credit is given for guessing how a person becomes a mage. Yes, that's correct, by making their name a symbol etched into the foundation of reality itself.

              Their *name*. They don't just get a costume, that creates already enough identity trouble. No, they *are* an amalgam of a symbol and an individual, a bridge across the abyss between a man and something greater, with the purpose of their life being to cross to the other side, with steps across that bridge, across themselves, happening with every move, every thought they make and imagine. They cannot take comfort in taking off the mask, not really.

              They cannot *stop*, no matter what they tell themselves. It is no wonder many falter, many fall. Without knowing themselves, knowing who they are, what their true goal, true purpose, true name is, they cannot ever understand what they desire, to ever truly succeed. Their actions won't resonate with their name, and the bridge that they are will *shatter*, a slow death, one shard at the time until only a phantom of their true selves, a husk, a tulpa, will be all that's left.

              All of them fall. If only they understood. If only they remained true to themselves, they could cross. If they were true to their name, if one was, the bridge could be crossed, action and symbol, intent and name, united.

              And the world would be as they are. One again.
              Last edited by Prometheus; 02-17-2016, 03:33 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Prometheus View Post
                With addition to agreeing pretty much with everyone's posts above me, I think mages suffer from a problem many comic superheroes often have to deal with as well. I'm talking about the individual/persona divide.

                Almost every superhero has a secret identity, but they are quite obviously individuals as well. Many stories have dealt with superheroes trying to find a sense of balance between their personal and "professional" life. Regardless of how it ends (or it doesn't), the biggest problem in this struggle I see is that while superheroes are individuals, the superhero personas are, well, symbols. No credit is given for guessing how a person becomes a mage. Yes, that's correct, by making their name a symbol etched into the foundation of reality itself.

                Their *name*. They don't just get a costume, that creates already enough identity trouble. No, they *are* an amalgam of a symbol and an individual, a bridge across the abyss between a man and something greater, with the purpose of their life being to cross to the other side, with steps across that bridge, across themselves, happening with every move, every thought they make and imagine. They cannot take comfort in taking off the mask, not really.

                They cannot *stop*, no matter what they tell themselves. It is no wonder many falter, many fall. Without knowing themselves, knowing who they are, what their true goal, true purpose, true name is, they cannot ever understand what they desire, to ever truly succeed. Their actions won't resonate with their name, and the bridge that they are will *shatter*, a slow death, one shard at the time until only a phantom of their true selves, a husk, a tulpa, will be all that's left.

                All of them fall. If only they understood. If only they remained true to themselves, they could cross. If they were true to their name, if one was, the bridge could be crossed, action and symbol, intent and name, united.

                And the world would be as they are. One again.
                I like your choice of words. The use of Tulpa is interesting to me because that's the term used in 2ED for one of the many horrible drawbacks of being Mad. Was that intentional?


                "Fate is a cruel jester with a finely developed sense of irony." - Sir Night as portrayed by Leliel, The Horror Recognition Guide

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by GottaGoFeast View Post
                  I like your choice of words. The use of Tulpa is interesting to me because that's the term used in 2ED for one of the many horrible drawbacks of being Mad. Was that intentional?
                  Absolutely. Tulpa also means "phantom".

                  Comment


                  • #10

                    Originally posted by arthexis View Post
                    cool stuff
                    This is very interesting. My group is currently investigating a plot about Echo Walkers; to summarize it, they noticed increased suicide rate and found out that some souls were misaligned lately. Three Echo Walkers that are in the city are a Priest (who uses the dislodge soul at people during their confessions, as god's punishment in hope that they will feel smitten enough to change their behavior; then he realigns them), a Psychologist (who experiments upon his patients, but aligns their souls afterwards), and a hospital MD (who uses it on patients that are not going to wake up, or are under sedation, and also realigns them). Of the three, mr Psychologist is probably going to be the weakest link and one who will surrender if they find him out. Why I'm talking about this?
                    I'm kinda interested in using the plot you talked about later, and I will probably use the Psychologist as a potential link and clues-source for *that* investigation. Would you be mad if I borrowed ideas of Adramalech for my Chronicle?
                    ***
                    Serial-Ghoster sounds scary and creepy. I like it! One of our NPCs, Mr.Smith, does something similar; he uses *himself* as a template for Ghosts he creates using Making Death, and then incorporates them into dead bodies/zombies. This gives him minions that don't even need mind controlling, because they *are* copies of himself, so their interests are his interests! While they obviusly don't inherent his magical powers, they are still a pretty nice ghosts in terms of power.
                    It also amuses me greatly, because while one of my players made a deal with Mr.Smith and became kind of his ally, not all Ghost-Smiths know about it; I'm going to enjoy the confusion that will happen when she will run into one of projects overseen by GhostSmith who will not recognize her at all and will actually try to eradicate her.

                    ***
                    The "look THIS IS PROOF!" Obrimos is cool. It kinda inspired me for some thinking about Awakening Gambit and their possible projects and MO's. I love that Legacy, it can lead into massive Hubris. I don't care much about their Arcanas, because as a GM I will just handwave it as a "developed their own version of it", because I don't feel that their Arcanas and Attaiments are actually relevant to their core identity at all (YMMV).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by WHW View Post
                      Serial-Ghoster sounds scary and creepy. I like it! One of our NPCs, Mr.Smith, does something similar; he uses *himself* as a template for Ghosts he creates using Making Death, and then incorporates them into dead bodies/zombies. This gives him minions that don't even need mind controlling, because they *are* copies of himself, so their interests are his interests! While they obviusly don't inherent his magical powers, they are still a pretty nice ghosts in terms of power.
                      It also amuses me greatly, because while one of my players made a deal with Mr.Smith and became kind of his ally, not all Ghost-Smiths know about it; I'm going to enjoy the confusion that will happen when she will run into one of projects overseen by GhostSmith who will not recognize her at all and will actually try to eradicate her.
                      Thanks. It was a thought experiment developed after the discussion regarding "What are souls?" a while back. Before I knew Death could just create ghosts ex nihilo (sort of). The ideas was take the Template, cast Quicken Ghost, have a Demon kill them, then use Raise Dead for repeating the cycle. Memory editing recommended, though optional. Use additional editing with Death, to taste.

                      If you wanted to extend the madness, have them team up with an Idigam and see what happens when you have a person Hive-Claimed by a bunch of their own ghosts. Bound to be something interesting.


                      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by WHW View Post

                        Would you be mad if I borrowed ideas of Adramalech for my Chronicle?
                        Sure, go crazy.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WHW View Post
                          So, a few things before we start.
                          To avoid flamewars and overall toxic atmosphere, I want to make one single rule that I ask everybody here to follow - please, no discussion about semantics of word "Monster" and attempts on Language Imperialism expressed in trying to enforce single, dominating definition of what Monster means. Thank you in advance.
                          ***

                          Inspired by a thread that asked a question about monstrosity of Mages, I want to talk about practical examples of Mages being Monsters. I want to ask you the following:
                          - What makes Mage a Monster in your eyes?
                          - Do you have any interesting examples of it? Double points for examples that come from actual play, and especially from player characters
                          - What abilities, Arcanas, merits, and other gameplay mechanics do you feel make or could make Mages interesting Monsters?

                          So, I'll start with an example of one of things that my Soon To Be Character does:
                          She is a Mage with Time 3, who liked photography a lot even before her Awakening; not that she was very good at it (She has 0 in Expression, but Specialty in Photography to make it work). One of first things she used her new powers was rewinding time to take a shot when she realized that she wasted a good opportunity. However, as she explored the Time magic in context of her work, she found that "just" redoing photos was boring; after learning about ability to shield people and objects from effects of Time Magic, she decided to try out using it on her camera. And alas, it worked! So she started taking not only more photos, but also gathered confidence to do shots that she wouldn't normally do, because...well, she could always rewind time. So she started taking photos of her friends who were always mad that she is waving her camera at her, and rewinding it so they won't get annoyed; she started pulling out camera in her classes at college and captured the professor and his audience, because all of his scolding was never going to happen. And again, this soon became boring; step after step, she started taking more and more daring pictures. Weird questions started probing her mind; wouldn't this church be beautiful soaked in flames? How about taking photos of a car crash? Rewind after rewind, she started pushing her boundaries;
                          Church was burned down to the earth, but it was fine, because it never happened. A cat drowned, but it was fine, because what really happened was that she saved it.
                          This, coupled with her training as Guardian of the Veil, lead to some practical habits, too; a lot of her conversations never happened. Lot of books were never read. When somebody doesn't want to cooperate and tell you what you want, all you need to do is to break his legs and rewind. Which also makes a great occasion for a shot! Have you ever photographed a freshly dead person? It also works great as a blackmail material.
                          But it's all fine. Because it never happened. And never will happen. The choices she leaves as "canon"? Always good ones. Always nice ones. She is a good person, and why does it matter that her photo album is pretty morbid? Photoshop, for sure!


                          .
                          Nice monster, now add in Fate to make sure your girl gets the picture she wants perfectly right on the spot. Who cares about that curse she did on the crowd. Imagine it's my Sasha, Obrimos Forces/Prime/Fate with a bit of Time/Space and Mind. She gets the perfect photo and much more anytime. Is it bad to make the audience's actual desires be the truth? She's what I call a classic witch and how I built both my Verbena and Obrimos.
                          Last edited by Kumiko; 02-18-2016, 01:56 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ah, but she cares. She would never ever cast a curse on random people with intent of letting it stay. She finds it horrible and repulsive. It's kind of a denial mechanism here; she thinks that because she rewinds, it's harmless and not-wrong. And because she can slip into her Mask during the "Interrogation Rewind Session", her Wisdom can be maintained, too.
                            If it was ever revealed that each Rewind leaves a standalone, still continuing timeline, she would be *devastated*.

                            Another spell I want to work with is possibly Words of Truth from Prime 2 (which means I might end up having Acanthus with Prime 2, or Obrimos with Time 3, or get either Shifting Sands or Words of Truth as artifact, unless something in other Arcanas will catch my eye). I really like write ups of spells in Mage, because while yeah it's all about improvisation yada yada, pre-estabilished spells often provide me with instant inspiration, just add mana .
                            EDIT
                            Or Moros with camera loaded with Shifting Sands, Words of Truth and considered to be shield-of-chronosed. Depends on rules, but I kinda like idea of artifact that allows you to say TRUE TRUTH OF TRUTHNESS if you have photo evidence to back it up.

                            So, Words of Truth: as long as statement is true, and you believe it to be true, you can channel the true-ness so hard it cannot be refused. I feel that this spell, even if it's effectively certain kind of mind control, is distinct enough to make a character who considers mind control immoral, consider this spell O-K.
                            Basically, it helps others see the truth. It can help people! Finally, you can tell your little brother that eating veggies IS GOOD FOR HIS HEALTH, you can persuade the cop that they *should* investigate this person, and of course there is potential for classical detective showdown where our mage gathers all the suspects, explains her reasoning, and then points a finger at the criminal speaking the Words of Truth that yes, you are the murderer!
                            I can see this spells as a great temptation for those that are not very good in social matters, who feel that their words need extra weight and who feel small. This spell allows them to rely on outside authority, and might transform a shrinking violet into righteous knight.
                            There is a plethora of situations in everyday life where this spell can really help - it can help you to show your sister that her boyfriend is a cheating bastard, it can comfort someone who is afraid that their friend died mad at them for words they said during their last meeting, it can win you arguments and help other people see the truth. Which, of course, can and will cause breaking points, and the "righteous use" and "abuse" are really hard to distinguish with this spell.
                            For my character, she will probably be the shrinking violet kind, one who uses it to make herself sure of her own words and to compensate for lacking self confidence. But with the Mask and Time-Fuckery of photos...a very nasty usage of Words of Truth I imagine could work:
                            Make impossible photos. Then state that YES, THIS PHOTO IS UNTAMPERED WITH IN ANY WAY. I MADE IT WITH MY OWN CAMERA, AND IT CAPTURED A REAL THING. NO PHOTOSHOP OR OTHER TRICKERY INCLUDED. Which, of course, can boost her prestige as a photographer, but also allows for a very, very horrible perversion that might evolve from her guardian mask:
                            "This is a picture of your dead body. I took it myself and there was no tampering included with the photo, it really is real. This is your blood, and this is your bone; I took them out with my tools. [insert a lot of descriptions that confirm reality of different wounds, different icky details, and their source] This photo is real and it really captures a scene where I mercilessly killed you. "
                            I really love the fact that if you figure out a signature behavior like this, you can put it into a mask and be like ka-tching! Wisdom saved!
                            Last edited by WHW; 02-22-2016, 11:34 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Some more brainstorming on the Words of Truth.
                              Having ability to cast this spell should create a cascade of potential Breaking Points. Good thing Mages don't bother with Integrity! But, you ask - why?
                              Hear me out.

                              Words of Truth gives you ability to speak a sentence that is absolutely, objectively true. All you need is to fully believe that it's true, and it to be true. Simple as that. So, logically, it also means that you may not, as part of this spell, speak a sentence that is either:
                              a) objectively not-true
                              b) in which you don't fully, truly believe.
                              So, as long as you have absolute certainity and something and are right, you can say it out loud. If you are not certain, or it is untrue, you may not say it. This allows you to check certain things...for example, can you say things like:
                              "My significant other loves me", "My parents are happy that I was born", "My life has meaning", "I love my boyfriend", "I would never betray my friends", "I'm a good person", "I did everything I could to save him", and so on?
                              If you they are true and you believe, you can say it. If it's untrue and you believe it, you can't say it. If it's true and you don't believe hard enough, you can't say it. Would you have guts to try answering questions that would pop up in dark corners of your mind?
                              I don't know about you, but if I had such ability, it would drive me insane with anxiety and fear. The fact that you can't really know if the statement failed because it's false, or because you are of little faith nails the coffin for me.

                              EDIT
                              Spell text for easy access
                              Originally posted by Tambov View Post
                              Prime


                              Words of Truth (Prime •• )

                              Practice: Ruling
                              Primary Spell Factor: Scale (Targets)
                              Rote Skills: Expression, Intimidation. Persuasion
                              The mage speaks with tongues of fire, and the world listens. So long as the words the mage speaks are objectively true and the mage herself believes them whole-heartedly, all subjects of this spell can hear and understand her clearly, regardless of distance, noise, or language barriers. Moreover, all subjects know, on a soul-deep level, that what the mage says is true. This doesn’t necessarily compel them to act on that information, but ignoring or refuting this Supernal truth may be grounds for a Breaking Point. In a Social Maneuvering action, this spell may remove one door or improve reaction level by one step per level of Potency.
                              +1 Reach: The mage’s words don’t merely ring with truth, but call to action. If a subject goes along with what the mage said, they gain the Inspired Condition. If they ignore it, they gain the Guilty Condition.
                              Last edited by WHW; 03-01-2016, 07:43 PM.

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