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On Non-Iremite Mummies (v 4.0)

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  • On Non-Iremite Mummies (v 4.0)

    My last attempt to garner some interest in the idea of Non-Iremite Arisen (based on the conceit that Sekhem is a universal constant and thus the Rite of Return could conceivably happen anywhere) met with some modest success, but by and large, the consensus seems that any new types of mummy should be their own thing, separate from the concepts of the Arisen. So, now that the Dark Ages Companion is out (specifically the chapter on Cleopatra's Egypt, rich as it is with material on other immortal beings), I figured I'd give it another try along those lines.

    The first point of order: Should there be generic rules for these second string mummies, with any relevant names/mechanics altered to fit the origin culture; OR, should mummy types be built from the ground up for every culture, each type being its own special supernatural snowflake?

  • #2
    Hmm.

    Personally, I think non-Iremite mummies could be treated as either immortals or CoD Horrors. On a related note, would they also draw on Sekhem as an animating power?


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    • #3
      Ideally, yes, but technically so is everything else in existence.

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      • #4
        I realise that this isn't strictly related, but where is the Dark Ages Companion? I looked on DrivethruRPG and couldn't find it

        As to the point, I think the most important things are,firstly, don't have too many mummies. The rite took the death of thousands and the resources of an empire to pull off, and on a meta level it takes away the specialness of Irem if every backwater fiefdom was building its own mummies. I would argue that, at most, one major "type" of Arisen per continent is reasonable.

        Secondly, make the new mummies unique. Irem's use of the Rite was very much based on their ideologies, beliefs and culture, and another culture's use should produce something radically different. (also, if you just want the arisen but ,I dunno, Incan themed you can just refluff the terms in Mummy and use it as is anyway.). I would say that any non-Iremite mummies should be at least as different to the arisen as the Decived are.

        (A headcanon of mine is that the ritual was done at least one other time, in a city called Dis but using the Strix instead of the Judges and creating the first vampires (who are also deathless creatures that feed on life to avoid descending to the underworld). While that's obviously not canon, I would argue that any use of the ritual should be at least potentially as impressive in its effects on the world. No matter where you are, the Rite of Return isn't something you do casually or without major consequences)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Urbenmyth View Post
          I realise that this isn't strictly related, but where is the Dark Ages Companion? I looked on DrivethruRPG and couldn't find it
          Oops, I forgot, it's only been released to certain backers from the first book's Kickstarter. My bad.

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          • #6
            Seconding uniqueness. Maybe this could double as a Immortals 2e as well.


            MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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            • #7
              Originally posted by shkspr1048 View Post
              The first point of order: Should there be generic rules for these second string mummies, with any relevant names/mechanics altered to fit the origin culture; OR, should mummy types be built from the ground up for every culture, each type being its own special supernatural snowflake?
              I'm largely of the opinion that the Arisen as they are aren't an optimal design for what the Judges or Shan'iatu wanted - it seems to me that the Judges would be wanting Sekhem 10 horrors up 24/7 - the Shan'iatu might want them to sleep sometimes, if only to carry relics to Duat when they do, but would prefer nary a hint of memory of their former lives. They don't get that - such pure Sekhem demands significant recharge, while even the Rite can't stop memory trickling back.

              Ergo, there are trade-offs built into the nature of Sekhem - design constraints that even the Shan'iatu were stuck with. Decide what those are going to be in your setting - eg, Sekhem always drains out in something akin to the Descent - and make sure every "design" of mummy is stuck with them to at least the same degree. But let the rest be shaped by culture.

              Irem produced a few hundred mummies. No one else should have anything like that number - even a dozen might be the second-highest tally.

              Don't be ashamed to adapt Curse mechanics to represent them.

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              • #8
                I do think non-Iremite Mummies should be something completely different, both from Arisen and from each other. No Rite of Return transplanted into a different culture, or Arisen mechanics in a different flesh. Honestly, a somewhat semantic part of me gets annoyed that this conversation happens in the "Mummy" sub-forum rather than just in the general Chronicles of Darkness discussion, because I have never heard a satisfactory argument as to why any Mummy not from Irem would be part of this game line. So far as I can tell it's just confusion over the fact that the English language uses the same word, "Mummy", to describe preserved corpses from a variety of different cultures that were created via different methods for different reasons. There's no meaningful connection between Egyptian, Incan, Aboriginal, and Danish Mummies, to name a few examples. Some were ritual sacrifices, others were prepared as part of that culture's mortuary traditions, and some were criminals being put to death. Supernatural equivalents have similarly little reason to be discussed in relation to one another.

                A single non-Arisen "Mummy" template consequently feels like a gross generalisation, equating all traditions of preserving bodies as both the same regardless of culture and intent, while also treating them as "other" (in that it's not like typical Western burial customs) and thus inherently mystical in a way that reeks of a variant of Orientalism. The only way I can think of to do it satisfactorily, without those unpleasant undertones, would be to toss out any relation to mummified bodies specifically and to instead create a generic Revenant template that can be applied to absolutely any corpse, mummified or not.

                Edit: Oh wait, Mummy already has rules for generic Revenant templates. Well, that was easy

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Azahul View Post
                  I do think non-Iremite Mummies should be something completely different, both from Arisen and from each other. No Rite of Return transplanted into a different culture, or Arisen mechanics in a different flesh. Honestly, a somewhat semantic part of me gets annoyed that this conversation happens in the "Mummy" sub-forum rather than just in the general Chronicles of Darkness discussion, because I have never heard a satisfactory argument as to why any Mummy not from Irem would be part of this game line. So far as I can tell it's just confusion over the fact that the English language uses the same word, "Mummy", to describe preserved corpses from a variety of different cultures that were created via different methods for different reasons. There's no meaningful connection between Egyptian, Incan, Aboriginal, and Danish Mummies, to name a few examples. Some were ritual sacrifices, others were prepared as part of that culture's mortuary traditions, and some were criminals being put to death. Supernatural equivalents have similarly little reason to be discussed in relation to one another.

                  A single non-Arisen "Mummy" template consequently feels like a gross generalisation, equating all traditions of preserving bodies as both the same regardless of culture and intent, while also treating them as "other" (in that it's not like typical Western burial customs) and thus inherently mystical in a way that reeks of a variant of Orientalism. The only way I can think of to do it satisfactorily, without those unpleasant undertones, would be to toss out any relation to mummified bodies specifically and to instead create a generic Revenant template that can be applied to absolutely any corpse, mummified or not.

                  Edit: Oh wait, Mummy already has rules for generic Revenant templates. Well, that was easy
                  Perfectly understandable. Still, these discussion do often lead to some decent ideas regarding other critter types, even if they are only tangentally related to the Arisen.

                  For instance, I've recently gotten the idea for something that might look like a Rite of Return Mummy to cursory inspection. A Hybrid of Eternals (lives as long as their special-item does) and Soul-Forging Relic makers, with a bit of Sacred Geometry thrown in there. Basic summary is they forge their soul/spirit/whatever into a Relic, then set it up into a kind of proto/knock-off Life Web (with Vestiges and stuff) to accumulate energy/Sekhem. When it is "enough" (voluntary or triggered?), the being awakens to new life. Their powers all basically provoke Descent checks, bleeding off more of their mojo as they exert themselves, until they need to rest and recharge once more.

                  They hate Arisen, obviously, since the Iremites are stronger, tougher, can sniff out their sustaining Relic, and destroy it by sending it to the Judges.


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                  • #10
                    This is the fourth thread you've made about the same topic and the other threads are still on the front page of this subforum. Please do not make another thread about the same topic, it's poor forum etiquette and will be deleted. If you want to add something new to the topic or revisit the conversation then post in an existing thread. Thank you.


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                    • #11
                      My apologies, I never intended to do anything to make the moderators break out the red text. This will be the new Master Thread for this topic.

                      And in that spirit, here are links to the past threads, should anyone want to re-read them for new ideas:

                      First Thread: On Non-Iremite Mummies

                      Second Thread: On the Spontaneous Arising of Non-Iremite Mummies

                      Originally posted by Azahul View Post
                      I do think non-Iremite Mummies should be something completely different, both from Arisen and from each other. No Rite of Return transplanted into a different culture, or Arisen mechanics in a different flesh. Honestly, a somewhat semantic part of me gets annoyed that this conversation happens in the "Mummy" sub-forum rather than just in the general Chronicles of Darkness discussion, because I have never heard a satisfactory argument as to why any Mummy not from Irem would be part of this game line.
                      I can only speak for myself, but I included it here because I was hoping to explore the Themes of Mummy (memory, self-discovery, identity, purpose...) in new and different milieus. How might the story of one of the Arisen be different from, say, a bog-man originally sacrificed as an offering to the gods, rather than as a servant? The Arisen are yoked by the Judges, by their Cults (at least, nominally), and by the stars themselves, and are hounded by enemies both familiar (Shuankhsen, Deceived) and worldly (Last Dynasty); whereas our bog-man may only deal with one or two similar factors, or perhaps none of them at all!

                      Originally posted by Azahul
                      So far as I can tell it's just confusion over the fact that the English language uses the same word, "Mummy", to describe preserved corpses from a variety of different cultures that were created via different methods for different reasons. There's no meaningful connection between Egyptian, Incan, Aboriginal, and Danish Mummies, to name a few examples. Some were ritual sacrifices, others were prepared as part of that culture's mortuary traditions, and some were criminals being put to death. Supernatural equivalents have similarly little reason to be discussed in relation to one another.
                      Alright, so it seems here that the most major difference between the Arisen and any other potential mummy groups, aside from culture, would be their purpose. The Arisen, one and all, were sacrificed to be servants, not of the gods or even of their cults, but of the Shan'iatu (and yes, the Shan'iatu are possibly divine, but I think it's a whole other thing when the gods you're sacrificed to serve are the ones doing the sacrificing in the first place).

                      So these new mummies, beyond any in-game history/backstory we provide them, helps us answer the question of "In the absence of such definitive roles given to them and the leadership/programming of the Judges, how might the Arisen have turned out?"
                      Last edited by shkspr1048; 04-13-2017, 12:58 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by shkspr1048 View Post
                        Alright, so it seems here that the most major difference between the Arisen and any other potential mummy groups, aside from culture, would be their purpose. The Arisen, one and all, were sacrificed to be servants, not of the gods or even of their cults, but of the Shan'iatu (and yes, the Shan'iatu are possibly divine, but I think it's a whole other thing when the gods you're sacrificed to serve are the ones doing the sacrificing in the first place).

                        So these new mummies, beyond any in-game history/backstory we provide them, helps us answer the question of "In the absence of such definitive roles given to them and the leadership/programming of the Judges, how might the Arisen have turned out?"
                        Eugh. You're missing the point of the post, and not quoting the important second paragraph. Treating a bog mummy as like an Arisen without a purpose is fixating on their shared status as real-life preserved corpses and missing the fact that they differ in every other important respect. You may as well create an "Arisen" analogue for every single mortuary custom, because it makes as much sense as focussing only on those that result in (different kinds of) shrunken, withered bodies. They're all as different as each other.

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                        • #13
                          Well, shrunken heads would be a cool Uter relic, like braided onions or garlic

                          I'm trying to think of something substantial to contribute to the thread but I just want to copy/paste what I posted in eight other threads about this topic since the game released half a decade ago, so I'll get back to ya'll

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Azahul View Post
                            Eugh. You're missing the point of the post, and not quoting the important second paragraph. Treating a bog mummy as like an Arisen without a purpose is fixating on their shared status as real-life preserved corpses and missing the fact that they differ in every other important respect. You may as well create an "Arisen" analogue for every single mortuary custom, because it makes as much sense as focussing only on those that result in (different kinds of) shrunken, withered bodies. They're all as different as each other.
                            Alright, so we don't treat a bog mummy like an Arisen. What should we treat it like?

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                            • #15
                              I actually quite like the idea of every mortuary custom having it's own Arisan, or at least having that be what the different types are based on.

                              Having a deathless that is reborn as a fiery spirit possessing burnt ashes, or a rotten thing that lives deep beneath the earth, or a wild creature that's god of the wilderness it was left in could be interesting, and could help avoid both having them seem too much like just changing the words in mummy and accidentally othering cultures who actually make mummies.

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