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  • Softening Mummy

    I have a question, and it's one I've been mulling over for a while now. How could one make Mummy slightly less hopeless to play, without unduly compromising the themes and mood of the thing. Just... lessening it a little. Just to be clear, I don't want to make the Arisen not​ be immortal monsters wandering the earth with little in the way of memory at the whims of dead gods, but I want the players to feel that they have a hope​, something which they can work towards (and which isn't as, frankly, underwhelming as Apotheosis as-written).

    ​Perhaps this is somewhat against the spirit of the thing, but I've always preferred to see WoD and CoD games as stories of goodness in the face of horror, both the horror of a crapsack world and the horror of being​ a monster, rather than just an avenue for misery porn.

    ​Some of my ideas so far were:
    • Make the Shan'iatu (the ones who were trapped in Duat, not the ones which are bonded to the Decieved) a more active force in the world, able to subtly influence events and, perhaps, serve as allies or patrons to the Arisen who are willing to act against the Judges who betrayed the Shan'iatu.
      • Perhaps the force which the Arisen call Fate is the action of the Shan'iatu, doing their best to act from within their prison?
    • Make it so that, although achieving Apotheosis requires Sekhem 1, it is possible to 'build back up' to higher Sekhem once Apotheosis is achieved, possibly through the use of large-scale geomancy or careful creation and placement of relics so that they feed back into the mummy.
      • Perhaps this process involves creating Relics which drain the life of their users, feeding it back to the creator as a 'tithe', so to speak.
    • Make those mummies who have achieved Apotheosis a faction in their own right, albeit far smaller in number than the Guilds and far more secretive, thanks to the fragility of their power
    ​Any other suggestions, and more importantly thoughts on what's here, would be most appreciated. Please tell me if you think I'm just being an idiot.
    Last edited by ajf115; 02-28-2017, 09:43 AM.


    Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

  • #2
    Originally posted by ajf115 View Post

    ​Some of my ideas so far were:
    • Make the Shan'iatu (the ones who were trapped in Duat, not the ones which are bonded to the Decieved) a more active force in the world, able to subtly influence events and, perhaps, serve as allies or patrons to the Arisen who are willing to act against the Judges who betrayed the Shan'iatu.
      • Perhaps the force which the Arisen call Fate is the action of the Shan'iatu, doing their best to act from within their prison?
    • Make it so that, although achieving Apotheosis requires Sekhem 1, it is possible to 'build back up' to higher Sekhem once Apotheosis is achieved, possibly through the use of large-scale geomancy or careful creation and placement of relics so that they feed back into the mummy.
      • Perhaps this process involves creating Relics which drain the life of their users, feeding it back to the creator as a 'tithe', so to speak.
    • Make those mummies who have achieved Apotheosis a faction in their own right, albeit far smaller in number than the Guilds and far more secretive, thanks to the fragility of their power
    ​Any other suggestions, and more importantly thoughts on what's here, would be most appreciated. Please tell me if you think I'm just being an idiot.
    Problem: The Shan'iatu were assholes, so their actions still affecting the word is hardly hopeful.
    Problem: This kinda goes against the entire principle/purpose of Apotheosis - what with "power is a chain you wrap around yourself" and all. Apotheosis mummies can still achieve higher tier Utterances, though, through Choir Unleashings. Just gotta leverage that Power of Teamwork.

    Apotheosis mummies can make Relics. This really does dramatically expand the powers they have access to, even if it does require items and such.

    As for them as a group: why not? That's just setting details. The Heretic was the first, but they don't have to be the only one by now.


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

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
      Problem: The Shan'iatu were assholes, so their actions still affecting the word is hardly hopeful.
      Point, but they would at least be allies. Enemy of my enemy and all that. I suspect that the Shan'iatu would be quite happy to screw the Judges over, and what better way than helping their slaves rebel against them? This might be the wrong tree to bark up, though. I can agree with that.

      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
      Problem: This kinda goes against the entire principle/purpose of Apotheosis - what with "power is a chain you wrap around yourself" and all. Apotheosis mummies can still achieve higher tier Utterances, though, through Choir Unleashings. Just gotta leverage that Power of Teamwork.
      Huh. I'd forgotten. I'm reasonably new to Mummy - I've been kept from really delving into it by any number of other things - and I guess this slipped me by.

      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
      Apotheosis mummies can make Relics. This really does dramatically expand the powers they have access to, even if it does require items and such.
      When you say that they can make Relics, do you mean that they can make literally any relic they like, provided they can work out how? Because if so... Wow. I hadn't thought they could do that. I was under the impression that they could only re-create and 'recharge' existing Relics, still lacking the ability to 'inscribe' new patterns of Sekhem.

      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
      As for them as a group: why not? That's just setting details. The Heretic was the first, but they don't have to be the only one by now.
      ​Point. I don't suppose you have any other suggestions for changes that could be made? It might just be a matter of storytelling, I guess. I confess that I'm honestly not really sure how one would run a Mummy chronicle beyond a oneshot, but that's probably just a matter of my inexperience.


      Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
        Huh. I'd forgotten. I'm reasonably new to Mummy - I've been kept from really delving into it by any number of other things - and I guess this slipped me by.
        Guildhalls of the Deathless covers it, I think. Mummies can work together to unleash a stronger Utterance. Bonus effects, higher effective Sekhem, etc.
        Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
        When you say that they can make Relics, do you mean that they can make literally any relic they like, provided they can work out how? Because if so... Wow. I hadn't thought they could do that. I was under the impression that they could only re-create and 'recharge' existing Relics, still lacking the ability to 'inscribe' new patterns of Sekhem.
        I don't think the details/mechanics are clear, but they can create new Relics again, whereas normal Mummies can't. I'd probably limit it to their former Guild's type, at least to start. Maybe keep notes of the Relics they've encountered, and let them reproduce those?

        But the in In-Universe Dreams of Avarice is a Relic Book that the Heretic has been creating/mass producing.
        Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
        ​Point. I don't suppose you have any other suggestions for changes that could be made? It might just be a matter of storytelling, I guess. I confess that I'm honestly not really sure how one would run a Mummy chronicle beyond a oneshot, but that's probably just a matter of my inexperience.
        Maybe add some some other high end Powers (that be) that are trying to help the mummies achieve freedom? Fate, agents of Fate (like Quashmallim, but different, obviously), other Gods/Judges like Anpu or Azar, a return of the Sha (or Sha-like beings). Instead of making it so a Mummy has to stumble upon Apotheosis, have hidden allies trying to lead them there.


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

        Comment


        • #5
          Make the Judges a little nicer. They were a force for justice in the mythology that spawned Mummy's mythos, and while they don't have to be in the game, they don't need to show malice. Play up how many of the crimes they demand punishment for are still crimes by our own modern sensibilities (even more so in a couple of cases, like those who abuse their power). Ie, mummies can be rewarded for doing actual good in the world.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
            Make the Judges a little nicer. They were a force for justice in the mythology that spawned Mummy's mythos, and while they don't have to be in the game, they don't need to show malice. Play up how many of the crimes they demand punishment for are still crimes by our own modern sensibilities (even more so in a couple of cases, like those who abuse their power). Ie, mummies can be rewarded for doing actual good in the world.
            Now that I think about this, that could actually be played for some drama and - dirty word I know - angst on the characters' parts. They have the opportunity to escape the slavery of the Judges, but what if the Judges are good masters, both in how they treat their slaves and the tasks they set them (at least a point)? It would make it harder to see the chains of the Arisen's condition, too.


            Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

            Comment


            • #7
              The first question you have to think about is, "What makes Mummy too dark?"

              Some of your initial solutions seem contradictory to me. For example, if the Shan'iatu are allies and patrons of the Arisen then there doesn't seem to be a point to Apotheosis (in my mind, at least, because it seems to be freedom from the Judges as much as from the Shan'iatu), so why would there be a faction of mummies who have achieved that? Do note that, IIRC, there is a mummy in the Rio city source-book that has achieved Apotheosis, separate from the Heretic.

              Yet based on your solutions it seems the enslavement by the cruel Shan'iatu is something you want to change. Let's take a look at this.

              Later Mummy material revealed the Shan'iatu acted against the Judges and Azar, but perhaps in this 'softer' interpretation they were unjustly imprisoned by the latter. Perhaps here they are divinities of goodness and their Deathless servants are actually champions of justice and righteousness, their mission to fight demons, blasphemous sorcerers, and the monsters of the Devourer. This might require altering some back-end stuff, like Azar, Anpu, Sutek, and the Judges, but really they're such distant characters they don't influence a mummy's daily life at all.

              This is interesting because it actually begins to sound like Mummy the Resurrection.

              However this does raise the question of why mummies lose Memory. Perhaps it is a splinter, a spiritual void, a talon of Ammut dug into the soul of every Arisen, a seed that She hopes to sprout so she can grow her Shuankhsen army. Then why do the Deceived have Memory but cannot become Shuankhsen? Then why do the Arisen seek out relics to deliver to Duat? I don't know; I have some ideas, but you can answer that for your games if it comes up. Perhaps Apotheosis is only for Shuankhsen, as a story of redemption for the gutter soldiers of the Devourer softens things up, too, and because the Arisen have already achieved the pinnacle of spiritual entitlement.

              That's interesting because it's probably how the Deathless look at Heretics in-universe in the published material. They see themselves as the champions of the Judges and the gods, worthy enough mortals to be blessed by the gods themselves, and cannot fathom why any mummy would seek Apotheosis as they should be grateful for the honors they have already received.

              Anyway, I do like an above suggestion about utilizing Anpu and Sutek more. You could run a pretty standard game of Mummy but with those figures involved it becomes more about redemption and goodness, on some level. Sutek is already the patron of the Deathless and hopes the best for them; Anpu, I think, works with them often but I think that's coincidence of his other, more mysterious motives.


              PS. I'm a Mummy purist, "Stop having fun, guys" kind of fan and your initial post was so blasphemous to me I could barely read it! But I was thinking about it some more and came up with this despite my reservations

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              • #8
                I second the motion for more specific details on what makes Mummy "hopeless". I have my own ideas about what that might mean and so solutions to suggest, but I'd rather hear more details on what's rubbing you the wrong way first.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by nothri View Post
                  I second the motion for more specific details on what makes Mummy "hopeless". I have my own ideas about what that might mean and so solutions to suggest, but I'd rather hear more details on what's rubbing you the wrong way first.
                  I suppose that a large part of it is the fact that, in comparison to the other gamelines (Promethean to a lesser extent, admittedly) Mummy kind of feels like there's no respite whatsoever for the PCs - or rather that the only respite is death. Even the Unchained have human lives they can pretend at, if they want to. If a mummy wants freedom, they have literally no-one they can trust, not really. The majority of their own kind would repeatedly murder them for considering Apotheosis, their gods have enslaved them, they cannot live as humans until Apotheosis is achieved, thanks to the time limit of the Descent. Not only is the modern world unfamiliar to them, they and their ways have literally no place in it. In every Descent, they have been monsters and slaves, to the Judges and to their conventions, and with every Descent humanity becomes more and more removed from them.

                  I'm pretty sure that there are other things as well, but I'm not sure how to articulate them.


                  Is it presumptuous of me to ask for alternating male/female pronouns?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                    they cannot live as humans until Apotheosis is achieved, thanks to the time limit of the Descent.
                    The time limit of the Descent gives them at least a couple months to a year of nonblasphemous "living" even when they've stopped making rolls to check if they don't lose Sekhem and both formal and informal resets remain available to them.


                    Resident Sanguinary Analyst
                    Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Satchel View Post
                      The time limit of the Descent gives them at least a couple months to a year of nonblasphemous "living" even when they've stopped making rolls to check if they don't lose Sekhem and both formal and informal resets remain available to them.
                      And even that sets aside the Sothic Turns where you get to basically live a normal life. Potentially for much, much longer than a human would, if you're careful.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                        I suppose that a large part of it is the fact that, in comparison to the other gamelines (Promethean to a lesser extent, admittedly) Mummy kind of feels like there's no respite whatsoever for the PCs - or rather that the only respite is death. Even the Unchained have human lives they can pretend at, if they want to. If a mummy wants freedom, they have literally no-one they can trust, not really. The majority of their own kind would repeatedly murder them for considering Apotheosis, their gods have enslaved them, they cannot live as humans until Apotheosis is achieved, thanks to the time limit of the Descent. Not only is the modern world unfamiliar to them, they and their ways have literally no place in it. In every Descent, they have been monsters and slaves, to the Judges and to their conventions, and with every Descent humanity becomes more and more removed from them.

                        I'm pretty sure that there are other things as well, but I'm not sure how to articulate them.

                        Well, there's a few ways to handle this. You can find a way to increase the frequency that they arise (my Nome likes to have a gathering of all the Mummies in the city three times a year and in fact has a special position set aside to do go from cult to cult to ensure that each Mummy is awoken on the appropriate date- they are called the Opener of the Mouth after the ritual said to allow a ka and ba to leave the physical remains and proceed to the afterlife). Or you can invent ways to lengthen the time a Mummy stays awake. Make your own list of ways a Judge will reward a Mummy, equip a tomb with a Djed or two to slow down the Descent (See Rio), or introduce "mini-Sothic Turns" as events that happen with greater frequency that only impact individual mummies at individual times, often poetically based on their history. Finally....make death more important. Let the mummies walk around as incorporeal entities. Populate Twilight with more than empty space and the occasional spook. Keep the character sheets from flashbacks around and have popular characters from a couple centuries back show back up as restless spirits.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                          Not only is the modern world unfamiliar to them, they and their ways have literally no place in it. In every Descent, they have been monsters and slaves, to the Judges and to their conventions, and with every Descent humanity becomes more and more removed from them.
                          Yes and no.

                          Yes, mummies are byproducts of a sorcerous age that predates history, and even their own Memories fail them. They are walking anachronisms. Once, mortal sorcerers, demons, amkhata, and stranger things besides walked openly on the earth, but those days are gone and only they remain. The fourth Sothic Turn is the most alien yet as everyday technologies parallel their own basic Affinities.

                          Still, they wake up and see the same themes century after century. The strong abuse the weak. The rich steal from the poor. Flags wave above palaces and cities proclaiming the duty of patriotism. Men turn technology towards destruction rather than liberation. The Arisen invented civilization. They remember the earliest seedling when they see the rotted fruits.

                          They're walking through a house they grew up in as a child, but new tenants have rearranged furniture and wallpaper. The walls are the same. Your Memories are the same. It's still home, no matter how different it is

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                          • #14
                            On the memory issue....remember that the Greeks believed that the river lethe made the souls of the dead forget about their living days. Far eastern legends tell of a similar potion given to reincarnating souls so that they were not bound by their past life memories. It could just be a consequence of the occult mechanisms by which a Mummy's life is "recycled" without falling to the Devourer.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ajf115 View Post
                              If a mummy wants freedom, they have literally no-one they can trust, not really. The majority of their own kind would repeatedly murder them for considering Apotheosis,
                              I get the impression that most Arisen if told that you'd read Dreams of Avarice would ask you for a copy. Purely for research, obviously.


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