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Quiescence (2E House Rules)

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  • Quiescence (2E House Rules)

    The universe isn’t only the Supernal, defining concepts, and the Fallen, embodying them. When Mages use their Sight, they frequently see signs of corruption, warped or nonsensical symbols infecting the world. If the symbols of the Supernal Realms represent everything that’s True, providing meaning to the platonic concepts the Fallen World embodies, then the Abyss is everything that can’t be. Every so often, part of the Fallen World becomes so overwhelmed by the poisonous anti-symbols of the Abyss that impossibility breaks through to become real, an intruding Paradox that damages the world around it. On rare occassions, these intrusions happen “naturally.” More often, Mages overextend themselves or fall to a moment’s weakness when casting spells, accidentally allowing something of the Abyss through. Both are drops in the ocean, though, compared to the Lie.

    The Lie is a curse, a spiritual affliction affecting every human soul. It closes the eyes of humanity to their potential, makes them ignore or rationalize away the supernatural and suppresses magic when their souls near it. Deep in his soul, every human knows that he is powerless and insignificant, without the ability to affect the universe’s laws. It’s all-pervasive, written into the fabric of reality. No matter how confident or successful the person, the Lie is always there, worming away at her. Telling her she’s only human, as if there’s anything “only” about it.

    The Lie is the combination of harsh Supernal truths – the symbols of tyranny, oppression, slavery, and control – and the paradoxical energies of the Abyss, making Sleepers simultaneously vulnerable to those occult symbols’ influence and masking that influence from them. When confronted with the Supernal, whether its rare natural manifestations or, more often, obvious magical effects caused by spells, the Abyss in Sleeper witness’ souls attempts to lull them, forcing them to forget. Other supernatural occurrences don’t provoke the Abyss that obviously, but the Lie still has a subtle effect, predisposing the inhabitants of the World of Darkness to silence, putting the thought of the monsters among them out of mind.

    --=--

    The Curse Hurts
    There’s no right answer for the Sleeper when she is confronted with Supernal forces. Any time she is faced with this painful non-choice, as her mind and soul wrestle with conflicting and impossible messages, it hurts her deep inside. Some part of her breaks under the strain of wrestling with the impossible, and recovery from that may be an uphill struggle or frankly, never happen.

    Sleepers witnessing an obvious manifestation of the Supernal or Abyssal always experience a breaking point against Integrity.


    Before Curse, Comes Hubris
    It is possible, depending on whom you ask, that the existence of the Curse is itself caused by hubris, a conscious and targeted desire to keep the masses ignorant. To believe the Diamond stories of the Exarchs entering the Supernal and closing the way behind them is to believe that the Curse comes from arrogance and pride itself. So it’s no wonder that any time a mage afflicts the Curse’s painful manifestation on a Sleeper, it violates his Wisdom as well as the Sleeper’s Integrity.

    Causing a Sleeper to risk losing Integrity because of your magic is an Act of Hubris for Enlightened and Understanding Wisdom characters.


    The Curse Feeds Paradox
    Exposing a Sleeper to the Supernal means she must give thought to the twisted symbols from the Abyss, even if the symbol is pure and perfect (and therefore risks little or no Paradox on its own). By her inability to separate what the Supernal says from the alternate Lie the Abyss suggests, she brings a part of the Abyss with her, corrupting what the Awakened hope to do.

    To make things worse, this effect grows stronger the more Sleepers are present. Humanity shares the suffering of the Lie, and though most Sleepers do not realize it and cannot discuss it, they share the burden soul to soul, and in the collective unconscious. This is how the Abyss is as strong as it is. Human interconnectedness powers, strengthens, and complicates the Lie. Without the ability to spread the burden around, though, the Lie would likely crush humanity one individual at a time.

    Sleeper witnesses to an obvious spell increases Paradox risk by a die, up to a maximum of +5. Any group larger than a handful subsequently inflicts dice tricks. A small gathering makes it 9-Again, urban foot traffic 8-Again, and a crowd gives it the rote action quality. This may cause a spell that would otherwise not risk Paradox to do so.


    Dissonance Made Manifest
    When a Sleeper struggles with the non-choice she’s been given by reality, it creates internal conflict, and that cycles back into the system. This conflict, this discord between what can and can’t be real, degrades not just her own soul and mind, but also symbols of the Supernal when she is exposed to them. The Awakened call it Dissonance, and it is the brutal aftereffect of the Curse on the magics they attempt to create. Dissonance does not only affect the spells of mages, but any exposure to the Supernal. Worse, it makes Abyssal entities stronger.

    At the end of a scene in which a Sleeper witnesses obvious Supernal magic, roll a dice pool of [10 - her Integrity] as a dice pool, Withstood by the spell’s dots, the Rank of a Supernal entity, or a number set by the Storyteller for other magical phenomena. Dissonance against Demesnes is Withstood by the number of soul stones creating the Demesne. If the penalties would reduce the dice pool to zero, roll a chance die instead. Multiple Sleepers do not roll more than once, but apply bonuses and tricks to the roll in the same way as Paradox.

    Failure: The phenomenon is unaffected.

    Success: If the roll achieves successes beyond the phenomenon’s Withstand rating, it triggers a breaking point for the Sleeper in addition to an effect based on the magical phenomenon affected:

    ---=---
    Spells: Each success reduces one spell factor by a level, primary factor last, to a minimum of the lowest level of each factor table. If all factors have been reduced to minimum, any further success destroys the spell.

    Supernal Entities: The entity suffers lethal damage equal to successes.

    Demesnes: The Demesne is suppressed, ceasing to function until no Sleepers have been present for the roll’s successes in weeks.
    ---=---

    Exceptional Success: As above, and also;

    ---=---
    Spells: One Reach effect incorporated into the spell is removed.

    Supernal Entities: A point of aggravated damage is inflicted.

    Demesnes: The Demesne is permanently destroyed. This does not affect the soul stones, which can be used to build a new Demesne
    ---=---

    Legacy Attainments and Emanation Realms are immune to Dissonance. Treat Abyssal beings as Supernal for the dice roll, but they do not Withstand successes or take damage from Dissonance. Rather, they add their Rank as a dice bonus to the Dissonance roll, which heals the Abyssal entity and grants it points of Essence equal to the successes scored.


    Letting Go
    Simply put, a Sleeper often cannot remember witnessing the Supernal and Abyssal after the fact. If there is grace written into the Curse of Quiescence, it’s here. The mercy of forgetting is bittersweet. It means that the Sleeper protects the Lie and even feeds into it, preventing her own ability to Awaken. The alternative is too awful for her and most other people, though. If she could remember the event, she would be confronted with her conflict and suffer it all over again.

    This would mean each time she thought about the day, the people, the time, those symbols too painful to understand would cause her to break all over again. Forgetting entirely, or more commonly, self-editing the memories to remove Supernal and Abyssal influence, saves the Sleeper a quick trip to total mental collapse. Those mages who work closely with Sleepers sometimes argue that this forgetting is not a part of the Curse, but the resilient human mind finding a way to survive it.

    In the scene directly following exposure to the Supernal or Abyssal, a Sleeper forgets what she saw, or else changes how she remembers it toward the mundane unless she scored successes in the breaking point equal to half of [11 - Integrity], rounded up. Any serious attempt to prod at those false memories, bring them into question, or correct them with magic triggers a breaking point as if she were witnessing the traumatic event again for the first time, followed by the memory likely being removed again. It is as harrowing in memory is it is in reality.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 08-13-2016, 11:30 AM.


    "My Homebrew Hub"
    Age of Azar
    The Kingdom of Yamatai

  • #2
    Just a slight tweaking of the mechanics for Dissonance, Paradox, and Quiescence for Sleepers. This rule hack is built on the idea that the Abyss - being a realm of impossible and stillborn realities - exerts a stronger influence on those people who have - for one reason or another - suffered deterioration to their souls and a loss in their sense of self. In other words, the lower a Sleeper's Integrity, the more the Abyss can act through him.

    There were a few games and novels - several of which are of the fantasy genre - which inspired this. But right now, I can't name even one of them. As always, critique is welcome.


    "My Homebrew Hub"
    Age of Azar
    The Kingdom of Yamatai

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    • #3
      Why so some of you keep trying to shoehorn MtAw into MtAs? Quiessence and Paradox are central to why mages aren't normal.
      Last edited by Kumiko; 06-10-2016, 02:30 AM.

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      • #4
        Uh, the OP isn't trying to do that at all. They just buffed Paradox, and Dissonance.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
          Uh, the OP isn't trying to do that at all. They just buffed Paradox, and Dissonance.
          Buffed up in some points, and watered down in others. Like I said, this is a system hack for those who want to frame the Abyss (and its associated phenomena) as being stronger in people of weaker Integrity.


          "My Homebrew Hub"
          Age of Azar
          The Kingdom of Yamatai

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          • #6
            Fair enough. Kumiko's comment still didn't make any sense.

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            • #7
              Yeah, pretty sure Kumiko didn't actually read the post.


              Going by Willow now, or Wil for short. She/Her/Hers.

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              • #8
                So, to protect yourself from Supernal magic, surround yourself with the insane, unbalanced, and broken? Their lower Integrity scores will aggravate Paradox more than "average".


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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mrmdubois View Post
                  Fair enough. Kumiko's comment still didn't make any sense.
                  They seldom do.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                    So, to protect yourself from Supernal magic, surround yourself with the insane, unbalanced, and broken? Their lower Integrity scores will aggravate Paradox more than "average".
                    Which would work in the favor of Scelesti Mages, if you think about it. More malleable thralls who double as ideal vectors for Abyssal influence.


                    "My Homebrew Hub"
                    Age of Azar
                    The Kingdom of Yamatai

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                    • #11
                      Hmm. I wonder if you could even have the a "split personality" like effect/merit/power/Endowment where you have one low Integrity side/identity for dealing with Paradoxing the Crap out of Supernal magic, and another, higher "stable" side/identity that the person uses in general? Or would that not work due to Integrity being Soul-based as opposed to Mind-based?


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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                        Hmm. I wonder if you could even have the a "split personality" like effect/merit/power/Endowment where you have one low Integrity side/identity for dealing with Paradoxing the Crap out of Supernal magic, and another, higher "stable" side/identity that the person uses in general? Or would that not work due to Integrity being Soul-based as opposed to Mind-based?
                        Hmm. This is a tricky one. But I have to admit it would be interesting to see a Supernatural Merit or Endowment that does something like that.
                        :3


                        "My Homebrew Hub"
                        Age of Azar
                        The Kingdom of Yamatai

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post

                          Hmm. This is a tricky one. But I have to admit it would be interesting to see a Supernatural Merit or Endowment that does something like that.
                          :3
                          Probably more appropriate to an Anti-Mage Hunter Compact/Conspiracy. I was thinking something like (•••) or (• to •••••), where it lets you "toggle" to an alternate mind/personality/identity. It would let a Hunter have a split personality of up to 5 Integrity different from the "main" personality. The lower one could be brought out for the hunt, letting its lower Integrity screw over Mages via Paradox and helpfully contain some of the trauma of the Vigil, and then the "main" personality could come back afterwards, with no memory of what happened. It's not really advisable, but then, neither is the Vigil.

                          Heh. If you wanted to expand on it to a ludicrous degree, you might even have the two personalities with wildly different Virtues, Vices, Merits (funny if one has Supernatural merits), etc. I think Hurt Locker also has some other sort of "buried memories" micro-template.
                          Last edited by Vent0; 06-22-2016, 02:06 PM.


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

                          Comment

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