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The Vaettir [Modified Template/Antagonist]

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  • The Vaettir [Modified Template/Antagonist]

    So while I did enjoyed the treatment that sorcerers got in Dark Eras, I've always wanted to see a full sorcerer template taking place in Mummy's setting- a breed of beings which can meld Sekhem in their bare hands, and speak dread secrets known only for the gods themselves. You know, something to shake and frighten even the Deathless god kings of the world. You know, something like Imhotep, Gilgamesh and even Moses. After watching some episodes in Mahotsuaki no Yome, I've felt inspired to adapt some of the materials shown in the anime to the setting, and it felt to me like an excellent opportunity to throw two hearts to Ammut's maw in the same time. While writing, I've noticed that some ideas from Magi have also leaked into the writeup, something which I've found both appropriate and fun. The finale result stands before you in the form of the Vaettir, immortal sorcerers which are one with the flow of Sekhem, and which are both loved and hated by the world. While I do know it may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I hope you'll like it, as I do enjoy adding some new, rare critters to challenge and expand Mummy's setting. Let me know what you think! :P


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  • #2
    Fluff

    So Mummies but not Undead. Instead they just have Raw Sekhem coursing through them. Okay. Some decent tie ins. More specific references might be nice (since this is Fan material, there doesn't need to be the "but what if they don't have that gameline/book" consideration), such as to Vampires (also ageless), Mages (occult interested individuals), and Sin-Eaters (death and/or bling interested individuals). No real complaints (other than a generalized feeling of "Mummies, but without the downsides").

    Mechanics

    Commentary:

    The problem with turning Pillars into the standard fuel pool of Soul Points, is that it causes conflict with a few mechanics. Sealing the Flesh can only be done once per Pillar. Since Vaettir don't have Pillars to switch between, can they only do this once? Since it looks like they don't have Pillar equivalent rankings at all, how does this interact with Utterance pre-requisites? A generalized pool also means that Pillar strengthening can't boost non-physical Attributes (except their Element?). It also trivializes the restrictions for certain Relics costing specific Pillar points.

    The Influence mechanics seem a bit cumbersome, especially with it being tracked to Life (which goes up to 10 - do they get the 10-dot Influences of God-like Ephemerals?). I'm also not sure why they gain so many of the same qualities as the Arisen, when many of those seem more tied to the Mummies' undead/Deathless nature (or the Rite), as opposed to having Sekhem.

    In review and comparison to Mummies:
    Have In Common: Most Template Traits, Utterances, Most Merits, Memory, Sekhem
    New: Full Rite Access, Create Relics, No Descent, No Fire Bane, No Henet, Soul Point (more general and plentiful than Pillar Points), Influences (up to 10!?), Full Utterance Access, Can Create More Of Themselves
    Missing: Affinities, True Immortality

    Suggestions:

    I'd trim the various undead perks from the template (damage reduction, inedible flesh, possibly Possession Immunity), and switch back to using Pillar equivalents for the ease of interacting with mechanics. If you did so, you could also tie the Influences back to the Pillars/Elements (capping the max rating at a more workable 5).



    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
      Fluff

      So Mummies but not Undead. Instead they just have Raw Sekhem coursing through them. Okay. Some decent tie ins. More specific references might be nice (since this is Fan material, there doesn't need to be the "but what if they don't have that gameline/book" consideration), such as to Vampires (also ageless), Mages (occult interested individuals), and Sin-Eaters (death and/or bling interested individuals). No real complaints (other than a generalized feeling of "Mummies, but without the downsides").
      "Mummies but not Undead" may be a good way to describe them, as they are an "hacked template". I do think that the lack of Judge equivalent and greater emphasis on maintaining the natural order of the world making them different enough than the Deathless, but it is still a matter of experience and flavor. I've also kinda felt they lack some downsides, but nothing thematic came to my mind other than making them less immortal than the Arisen and removing Affinities.

      Mechanics

      Commentary:

      The problem with turning Pillars into the standard fuel pool of Soul Points, is that it causes conflict with a few mechanics. Sealing the Flesh can only be done once per Pillar. Since Vaettir don't have Pillars to switch between, can they only do this once? Since it looks like they don't have Pillar equivalent rankings at all, how does this interact with Utterance pre-requisites? A generalized pool also means that Pillar strengthening can't boost non-physical Attributes (except their Element?). It also trivializes the restrictions for certain Relics costing specific Pillar points.
      They actually do have Pillar rating in the form of the Element rating, which goes from 1 to 5 (hence their Influences can't go above 5, so not Royal Avatar level of reality manipulation). Their permanent Element rating is equivalent to Pillar rating for Utterances and relics, as well as Attribute enhancement. As for Sealing the Flesh, good point. I need to think about it and return to you.

      The Influence mechanics seem a bit cumbersome, especially with it being tracked to Life (which goes up to 10 - do they get the 10-dot Influences of God-like Ephemerals?). I'm also not sure why they gain so many of the same qualities as the Arisen, when many of those seem more tied to the Mummies' undead/Deathless nature (or the Rite), as opposed to having Sekhem.
      It seems I wasn't clear in the writeup, or perhaps I made a mistake- the intention was that Influences are tied to the permanent Element rating, not Life. Some of the mummy traits which I used were mostly out of thinking whether they would have "enough juice" to survive a meeting with an Arisen, so I may drop them. The reduced magic came mostly from the source material, where mages can survive fatal injuries, but the regeneration may cover for it. Again, something to think about.

      In review and comparison to Mummies:
      Have In Common: Most Template Traits, Utterances, Most Merits, Memory, Sekhem
      New: Full Rite Access, Create Relics, No Descent, No Fire Bane, No Henet, Soul Point (more general and plentiful than Pillar Points), Influences (up to 10!?), Full Utterance Access, Can Create More Of Themselves
      Missing: Affinities, True Immortality
      Just to mention that the relics they make aren't permanent, and that they have their own personal Bane instead of fire (I've thought about making it tied to their element, but then I've thought about a Vaettr which can't shower, or a Walker which can be in the dark, and it was too absurd so I dropped it). Again, Influences are up to 5, and they can't really create more of their kind as much as they allow those chosen by the Life of the world to fulfill their potential. Also, they have a familiar as something "New". I've thought about adding them a Descent equivalent, but I didn't came up with interesting enough mechanics. I've also thought about adding certain downsides for them, but nothing thematic came to mind.

      Suggestions:

      I'd trim the various undead perks from the template (damage reduction, inedible flesh, possibly Possession Immunity), and switch back to using Pillar equivalents for the ease of interacting with mechanics. If you did so, you could also tie the Influences back to the Pillars/Elements (capping the max rating at a more workable 5).
      inedible flesh I'll probably remove. I'll reexamine damage reduction, but I'll probably maintain Possession Immunity, as it is a part of how their body and soul have been mixed together as a result of the Initiation. As there are permanent Elemental ratings as equivalents, I don't think the change is needed.

      Anyway, thanks for reading the document and the suggestions for improvement! I do appreciate it!


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      On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
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      • #4
        I’m not well versed in Mummy mechanics, so can’t account for that, but...

        Being the masters of the soul, the Vaettir have also recognized its fivefold nature, even though they have described it through the system of the elements- Ab is Fire, Ba is Air, Ka is Earth, Ren is Water and Sheut is Darkness
        What’s the rationale for this alignment, may I ask? Just curious.


        MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post

          What’s the rationale for this alignment, may I ask? Just curious.
          I had five aspects of the soul, there are four classical elements, and Sheut has to be something about Darkness. Ab, the heart, makes sense as Fire, and Ba, which is connected to Mind, makes sense as Air, not to mention the connection to Falcon Headed. Ka is Essence, so something physical and solid and related to Bull Headed, so Earth seemed natural. Water took what is left, and as language and names flow and change together with the connection to Serpent Headed it made sense.

          I've thought about using the Chinese Elements, but that would put them in the territory of the "chinese mummies", which is something I wished to avoid. The four elements are more or less widespread through the world, and darkness is not that out of the picture to view as the elusive "fifth element" in the style of "soul" or "void", or even "ether", IMO.


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          • #6
            I was thinking of how the Pillars and the Subtle Arcana correspond, and how the Paths correspond with an Element, as the Dark Era books have shown. Which would place Ab as Water, Ba as Ether/Light/Spirit, Ka as Fire, Ren as Wind, and Sheut as Earth.


            MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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            • #7
              Well, when deciding the elemental association, I've turned to Mummy instead of Mage- Lion Headed are connected to the Sun, which has to be represented by fire and can't be anything like Water. Ba is Falcon, so Air was natural. Same for Ka and Bulls, Ren with Serpent and Sheut with Jackal. I intentionally avoided the Mage association of the elements in order to create difference between the magic of the Awakened and the magic of the Walkers. Mages gain their power from the ideal world of symbolism, where the Sun may share traits with Water and Darkness is tied to Earth. The Vaettir draw their power from the world itself, with all of its broken and shattered meanings, hence why "metaphorical Influence" is harder for them than physical one. Tell them that the heart is water is like saying to them that the sun is wet. Also, the elemental associations that mages use have changed through place and time- Water water was once death, and Wood was mind. Still, the Walker society is far from a unified culture, and just as a Tudigong is likely to use the chinese elements and name Life as Qi, a Walker which has good working relationship with mages may use their elemental association instead of the presented one.


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              • #8
                Ah, so it was a flexible system? Then it’s a good setup.

                If you do include Asian/Taoist Walkers, I suggest the following associations; Wood for Ab, Fire for Ren, Earth for Ka, Metal for Ba, and Water for Sheut. Just for future references.


                MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                  "Mummies but not Undead" may be a good way to describe them, as they are an "hacked template". I do think that the lack of Judge equivalent and greater emphasis on maintaining the natural order of the world making them different enough than the Deathless, but it is still a matter of experience and flavor. I've also kinda felt they lack some downsides, but nothing thematic came to my mind other than making them less immortal than the Arisen and removing Affinities.
                  What about being given "missions" by Life/Nature/Fate? Similar to an Arisen, they must work to complete them, or suffer consequences.

                  Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                  They actually do have Pillar rating in the form of the Element rating, which goes from 1 to 5 (hence their Influences can't go above 5, so not Royal Avatar level of reality manipulation). Their permanent Element rating is equivalent to Pillar rating for Utterances and relics, as well as Attribute enhancement. As for Sealing the Flesh, good point. I need to think about it and return to you.


                  It seems I wasn't clear in the writeup, or perhaps I made a mistake- the intention was that Influences are tied to the permanent Element rating, not Life. Some of the mummy traits which I used were mostly out of thinking whether they would have "enough juice" to survive a meeting with an Arisen, so I may drop them. The reduced magic came mostly from the source material, where mages can survive fatal injuries, but the regeneration may cover for it. Again, something to think about.


                  Just to mention that the relics they make aren't permanent, and that they have their own personal Bane instead of fire (I've thought about making it tied to their element, but then I've thought about a Vaettr which can't shower, or a Walker which can be in the dark, and it was too absurd so I dropped it). Again, Influences are up to 5, and they can't really create more of their kind as much as they allow those chosen by the Life of the world to fulfill their potential. Also, they have a familiar as something "New". I've thought about adding them a Descent equivalent, but I didn't came up with interesting enough mechanics. I've also thought about adding certain downsides for them, but nothing thematic came to mind.


                  inedible flesh I'll probably remove. I'll reexamine damage reduction, but I'll probably maintain Possession Immunity, as it is a part of how their body and soul have been mixed together as a result of the Initiation. As there are permanent Elemental ratings as equivalents, I don't think the change is needed.

                  Anyway, thanks for reading the document and the suggestions for improvement! I do appreciate it!
                  From my read through, while they picked a Mystery to serve as their Decree, it wasn't clear they were also tracking them by 1-5 dot ranking separately as well.

                  As for a Bane... well, it probably is too severe, but since they are so tied to Life, maybe Death is their Bane? Remains of a once alive thing (wood, bone, etc.) if you want it material, or whenever a vital being (I'd restrict to humans, for simplicity's sake) dies in X range, they take damage. Would make them inherently pacifist/non-Lethal, and vulnerable to mass sacrifice (or war) in their vicinity.


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                    Ah, so it was a flexible system? Then it’s a good setup.

                    If you do include Asian/Taoist Walkers, I suggest the following associations; Wood for Ab, Fire for Ren, Earth for Ka, Metal for Ba, and Water for Sheut. Just for future references.
                    yeah, I've always meant for it to be flexible. Perhaps I'll add a sidebar about the subject, something about optional rules for tying the powers of the Vaettir to the culture from which they came or something like that. It may also help to distance them from mummies, for while all the Deathless come from the same place in history and have their abilities and sorceries tied to the religion of Irem, the Vaettir are universal phenomena tied to civilizations all over the world, each serving as a zeitgeist of that culture, or something like that.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

                      What about being given "missions" by Life/Nature/Fate? Similar to an Arisen, they must work to complete them, or suffer consequences.
                      If anything, I think that I would put Fate as an antagonist force in the life of the Vaettir, while Life (which is the manifestation of the world's Sekhem, or Khepera as the Arisen know it) is the power that bless them. Fate has its own plans to the Walkers, and it would not kindly accept a Vaettr which would turn his back upon their Fate- unless they become a Cartaphilus, and then they are fully freed from Fate's meddling, even though they have a new master to serve. It may also help to give a reason for Walkers to become Cartaphili. I'll work on it.


                      From my read through, while they picked a Mystery to serve as their Decree, it wasn't clear they were also tracking them by 1-5 dot ranking separately as well.
                      I'll clarify the subject, for apparently it wasn't clear enough

                      As for a Bane... well, it probably is too severe, but since they are so tied to Life, maybe Death is their Bane? Remains of a once alive thing (wood, bone, etc.) if you want it material, or whenever a vital being (I'd restrict to humans, for simplicity's sake) dies in X range, they take damage. Would make them inherently pacifist/non-Lethal, and vulnerable to mass sacrifice (or war) in their vicinity.
                      The problem is that the Darkness Mystery does deal with Death, and it is kinda weird for a certain sub splat to be weak to their own powers. The idea does still have a potential, and would encourage them to be hermits and the like. Perhaps a better bane would be tied somehow to the representation of the Devourer in the world, and Cartaphili would no longer have that bane- something which would make them even more dangerous.


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                      On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        It may also help to distance them from mummies, for while all the Deathless come from the same place in history and have their abilities and sorceries tied to the religion of Irem, the Vaettir are universal phenomena tied to civilizations all over the world, each serving as a zeitgeist of that culture, or something like that.
                        This has potential, what with the Deathless in a sense already being the zeitgeist of the Nameless Empire. Looking forward to how this develops.


                        MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                        • #13
                          Update: I removed the inedible flesh trait, turned the damage reduction into an active power instead of a passive one (they need to spend a Soul for it, and it last for a scene, creating a some sort of "shield" out of the Walker's Life), added a section about Fate and how it interacts with the Vaettir and added a sidebar about optional rules meant to make the Walkers into "pillars of civilization" in some way.


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