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Where I Read: Mummy the Curse 2e

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Azahul View Post
    Yeah, I had much the same reaction to this section. I loved that I now have a much better idea of how Judges inform the Arisen who serve them, what they actually stand for, and how to use them in a game. That's all awesome. But I have mixed feelings about Judges allowing Arisen the freedom to swap between patrons when the very idea of that kind of choice seems antithetical to the idea of Mummy, and the exclusion of the remaining 35 Judges feels strange. They wouldn't need to have the same level of write-ups, the seven super detailed ones work pretty well as examples that I can pretty easily use to extrapolate how the remaining 35 would work, but having those 35 missing entirely bothers me. The explanation that they are excluded because they concern themselves with narrow or conceptual transgressions is particularly strange in light of some of the Judges they opted not to include. I mean, setting aside the question of whether or not sexual violence should be so explicitly part of a game's fabric, one of the Judges that I can think of that they didn't include was Uamenti. Is rape considered narrow or conceptual when some of the Judges that did make the cut include non-state sanctioned acts of mass slaughter (that feels pretty narrow in scope to me) or simply "pride" (surely the definition of conceptual?). No significant percentage of Arisen consider it worthwhile pursuing such a serious crime that impacts a considerable portion of the population? Had they included the other 35 in shorter write-ups they could have reframed Uamenti if they weren't comfortable with the nature of that Judge, but its omission entirely creates the worst of both worlds in my head where its existence is presumed but the crime it stands against is minimalised by its exclusion from the list of important Judges.

    There are surely other examples of worthwhile Judges that I would need to actually look at my book to recall, but I'm assuming that the presumption is that people will come to the second edition without any baggage from the first edition. That is 100% fair and I don't mind setting aside my prior knowledge, but it's nevertheless jarring on a certain level as someone who did spend a lot of time in first edition (presumably a reasonably sized portion of the target demographic of this book). I think my preferred route will be to reference the first edition book in my game for an expanded list of Judges
    The seven detailed in Chapter 1 are the most active, but the others still exist. Not detailing them allows a lot of design space to address them later, giving them the same attention that the first seven received. It allows writers of later supplements to flex their creative muscles without being beholden to a one paragraph entry (which would also necessitate getting rid of other content to make room in the core, and I can’t think of any of it that would be expendable).


    Jason Ross Inczauskis, Freelance Writer
    Projects: Dark Eras 2, Mummy: The Curse 2e, Book of Lasting Death, Pirates of Pugmire, They Came From Beyond the Grave!, TC Aeon: Mission Statements, TC In Media Res, DtD Night Horrors: Enemy Action, C20 Anthology of Dreams
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    • #32
      Originally posted by White Oak Dragon View Post

      The seven detailed in Chapter 1 are the most active, but the others still exist. Not detailing them allows a lot of design space to address them later, giving them the same attention that the first seven received. It allows writers of later supplements to flex their creative muscles without being beholden to a one paragraph entry (which would also necessitate getting rid of other content to make room in the core, and I can’t think of any of it that would be expendable).
      Weeeeeeeeeeell my view might be that the Judges are less expendable than the Minor Guilds, but like I said I have my first edition book to fall back on. It's not the end of the world for me.

      I do think that the "narrow and conceptual" language used to address why the other Judges aren't as powerful could be rephrased though. While my feelings are obviously informed by the fact that I know the purviews of some of the remaining Judges from the first edition and don't feel that they fall into those categories, I think more importantly that the language there holds future supplement writers beholden to another one paragraph entry... this time implying that whatever crimes the remaining Judges oversee, they are necessarily less important than the ones in the core. If this justification is removed and the core's seven Judges are just considered more powerful for unknown or esoteric reasons, that goes a long way to removing the potentially problematic implications from that line.

      Again, it is only one line really, not the hardest thing to overlook if I have to. But it's also just one line, so it's pretty easy to change. Easier than adding 35 more paragraphs on Judges at least

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      • #33
        The exclusion of the remaining Judges isn't a hill I'll die on, and while I like the Minor Guilds I can certainly wonder at the necessity of their inclusion in the new core. Including just the Deceived and describing them as a minor Guild at least sets up the idea for future material, and I think the writers have done well to include ritual sorcerers and Immortals in the core to expand the setting and provide new character and antagonist types, so also having minor Guilds might've been too much, if it's between that and the remaining Judges.

        Still, it's all kind of "eh" to me. I think I reluctantly have to admit this was probably the better way to go: it gives new players fleshed out Judges to get attached to, and gives old players new toys to play with.

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        • #34
          The remaining Judges can show up in later material anyway. I look forward to seeing them.


          Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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          • #35
            I'm glad we don't have all 42 judges in the core book. Trying to choose just the right judge out of 42 would probably take me about 42 years. However, choosing the best of 7 is pretty easy for me.

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            • #36
              Chapter 2
              I'm a little behind, and I'm sad because I see everyone talking about this week's preview but it takes me a lot of time to read this stuff! I'm a busy guy, apparently.

              I like the history of the Nameless Empire and the rise and fall of the Shan'iatu, but it seems like a lot of the mythos expanded on in Dreams of Avarice crept its way in here, or maybe it's really not that visible except to those who read that, and then it becomes a special treat! I liked the mystery previously, but yeah separating the players' section and the GM's section wasn't the best idea. I wonder if anything will come of discussing Ubar so much, though. It's interesting, but what's the point if there aren't any ramifications of it to come haunt the PCs? Maybe a group of Immortals are from there or something.

              I like the special attention to how mummies maintain their Cults and Deathless relationships when they're not active all the time - another commendation for this book's priority on approachability; same with the sidebar on why merets form.

              The description of Duat is very evocative. I admit I am excited to see what players can do there now. I also like going into the Decrees more and how the mummies were tested. The Decrees are probably one of the harder splats to get behind and work with, but they're also something people should be able to relate to intrinsically, so it's nice to see the extra attention.

              I'm still really apprehensive about changing Judges, and now you can have Pillars changed? These are pillars (lower case) in that they're the foundation of your soul and your being, immovable, tall, and sturdy. They're how you not only define yourself, but how you faced the Judges themselves. Maybe I'm reading about this wrong, or I'll see how this works mechanically later, but I'm skeptical.

              The Sarcophagus Awakening sounds cool. I hope it's just that the mummy doesn't react super violently and not about, like, retaining more Memory or something. I'd hate to see the game's themes diluted in favor of convenience towards approachability. Necromantic Awakenings are very cool and very appropriate.

              I wonder if some of the minor Guilds are technically Lifeless.

              Okay. So. Timelessness. I mean, it's fucking cool. How can it not be?

              I feared it'd be gimmicky but ultimately it serves to screw around with Memory even more, which only serves the game's themes; and even if it is gimmicky it's really unabashedly cool. Sothis Ascends and Dreams of Avarice teased the idea of the Rite of Return "breaking time" and there were only little hints and barely whispered story hooks before, but this is really clear here, and it further emphasizes what makes this splat unique to that game's splat.

              I do wonder if, to use the book's example, if you're awake in the 14th century and wake up in the 21st as your "next" event, does that mean, if you awoke during the World Wars, the Descents in between didn't happen or you just haven't remembered them yet? Oh, I see; they do happen but you don't recall.


              I'm going to hold off on finishing the stuff about cults and antagonists. To otherwise conclude, though, I really like what I see here.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by reseru View Post
                I'm still really apprehensive about changing Judges, and now you can have Pillars changed? These are pillars (lower case) in that they're the foundation of your soul and your being, immovable, tall, and sturdy. They're how you not only define yourself, but how you faced the Judges themselves. Maybe I'm reading about this wrong, or I'll see how this works mechanically later, but I'm skeptical.
                I'm having much the same reaction. The mechanics chapter caught a lot of my attention, and I think that's right because ultimately I believe it's the most important chapter to get right, but a lot of the first two chapters bothers me. Being able to change Judges weirds me out because it's a slave being able to change their master, but the Judges then being able to change your pillars...

                To me, a central theme of Mummy was this idea of mastery of the self while yoked to the whims of an alien master. That was the point of Decrees and Pillars, that your core could be declared and preserved and slowly refashioned over your thousand lives until you had the strength to seize your Apotheosis and break free of slavery. It was empowering and beautiful.

                Second edition has done weird things to this. The slavery dynamic has been watered down, because now you have gained the agency to swap to a different master if you have to. But at the same time, those masters can now mess around with who you fundamentally are, when 1e made such a big deal about how that was the one thing the Arisen had to cling to. Throw that sidebar about Apotheosis now apparently being viewed as self-aggrandisement rather than self-actualisation on top and that core theme feels like it's all but disappeared.

                I get that the Decree being separate from the Pillars means that your character still gets to have that "I am" moment and the Judges are unable to take it away from you, and your pillars weren't entirely safe in 1e either (the rationale for the low starting number was that the Rite of Return damaged your soul in the first place, and Shuankhsen were always on hand to take a nibble out of your soul), but the Rite wasn't a recurring thing in 1e and Shuankhsen were a trial you had every chance of overcoming. I'm genuinely wondering if the empowering elements of Mummy have just been... disregarded in this edition. It may still be there as an undercurrent, but if it's intended as a theme it certainly feels less coherent than it used to.

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                • #38
                  FWIW, I believe Matthew has said that the changing Decree/Pillar bit will be corrected in the final book. Don’t remember if that was on here or RPG net though. I think it was the latter.

                  Edit: found it. Matthew said that aforementioned section would be clarified. Starts here, ends top of the next page. http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/m...93#post1347093
                  Last edited by Second Chances; 11-14-2019, 09:55 PM.


                  Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn; Scion - Mysteries of the World

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by reseru View Post
                    I do wonder if, to use the book's example, if you're awake in the 14th century and wake up in the 21st as your "next" event, does that mean, if you awoke during the World Wars, the Descents in between didn't happen or you just haven't remembered them yet? Oh, I see; they do happen but you don't recall.
                    If you’re awake in the 14th century and then the 21st, *you* haven’t been awake in between the World Wars yet. Other people might remember you being there, but that’s you of your future and their past. It’s not that you’ve simply forgotten it, it hasn’t happened for you yet.

                    Presumably it will at some point. Try to act surprised. 😉

                    Edit: To be clear, from the mummy’s point of view, it’s entirely possible for their life to run 1300s, 2000s, 1920s, 1100s, 2000BC etc. That’s the order of events for them.
                    Or, it could be a case of 1300s, 1920s, 2000s - but vagueness of Memory might mean they’ve completely forgotten about the time between World Wars, but for some reason remember the 1300s.

                    Both can be true for different mummies. And those mummies may be close friends who frequently reconnect during awakenings. But they’re living their unlives in very different orders.
                    Last edited by Bunyip; 11-15-2019, 12:51 AM. Reason: Fixing stupid autocorrect-inserted errors.


                    Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Azahul View Post
                      I'm having much the same reaction. The mechanics chapter caught a lot of my attention, and I think that's right because ultimately I believe it's the most important chapter to get right, but a lot of the first two chapters bothers me. Being able to change Judges weirds me out because it's a slave being able to change their master, but the Judges then being able to change your pillars...

                      To me, a central theme of Mummy was this idea of mastery of the self while yoked to the whims of an alien master. That was the point of Decrees and Pillars, that your core could be declared and preserved and slowly refashioned over your thousand lives until you had the strength to seize your Apotheosis and break free of slavery. It was empowering and beautiful.

                      Second edition has done weird things to this. The slavery dynamic has been watered down, because now you have gained the agency to swap to a different master if you have to. But at the same time, those masters can now mess around with who you fundamentally are, when 1e made such a big deal about how that was the one thing the Arisen had to cling to. Throw that sidebar about Apotheosis now apparently being viewed as self-aggrandisement rather than self-actualisation on top and that core theme feels like it's all but disappeared.
                      I'm with you on this, and what's strange is how a lot of the themes and narrative elements got changed (maybe not on a surface level, but dig just a little and you get all of this) while a lot of the powers mechanically just got carried over (haven't done more than skim the next preview, though). I personally would've wanted the reverse: I felt we just needed the mechanical update to second edition is all. Immortals and Minor Guilds are good for the long-term health of the game, timelessness is quirky and interesting, the Guild refocuses are good, but I don't know what changing your Judge or re-allocating Pillars is supposed to accomplish thematically or mechanically.

                      I don't know. There's not much for me to say that you haven't. You're supposed to be a slave who only has their own heart and soul to hold on to, as fleeting as their Memory is, and they're forever a mummy whom most can only daydream of freedom through Apotheosis.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by reseru View Post
                        I'm with you on this, and what's strange is how a lot of the themes and narrative elements got changed (maybe not on a surface level, but dig just a little and you get all of this) while a lot of the powers mechanically just got carried over (haven't done more than skim the next preview, though). I personally would've wanted the reverse: I felt we just needed the mechanical update to second edition is all. Immortals and Minor Guilds are good for the long-term health of the game, timelessness is quirky and interesting, the Guild refocuses are good, but I don't know what changing your Judge or re-allocating Pillars is supposed to accomplish thematically or mechanically.

                        I don't know. There's not much for me to say that you haven't. You're supposed to be a slave who only has their own heart and soul to hold on to, as fleeting as their Memory is, and they're forever a mummy whom most can only daydream of freedom through Apotheosis.
                        Given certain rules revealed just today?

                        Not much. You have a choice in who your leash is held by, but the Judges are not forgiving. If anyone breaks their required Doctrine in the cult, no matter how unintentionally, the cult is going to face a very annoyed emanation of their patron. A single gander at the Condition Appendix pretty much confirms that all of humanity has a gun to its head to make Arisen play along, because an emanation patrolling the area is really bad for everyone nearby.


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                        • #42
                          Note that while we say an Arisen can change their allegiance from one Judge to another, that's not to imply it's just something that happens regularly, or that it's easy, or that the Judges are even slightly forgiving of it.

                          It's the sort of thing that tends to happen because you get back to your tomb and findsomething that makes the underpinnings of reality buckle and twitch at its presence, waiting amid the spilled entrails and skinned corpses of your cult, and it makes you an offer you could refuse - and you're gonna need to think carefully and quickly because a Judge has gone to the trouble of a full-bore emanation for this and there's no way out that doesn't result in grief.


                          - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer & Developer

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                          • #43
                            Or, indeed, just get told by your Judge that you're being traded to another one for services rendered. Arisen are resources to the Judges - slaves who are things, not people.


                            - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer & Developer

                            ​Like my work? Feel like helping me stay supplied with tea? Check out my Patreon

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post
                              Or, indeed, just get told by your Judge that you're being traded to another one for services rendered. Arisen are resources to the Judges - slaves who are things, not people.
                              I would probably find that annoying as a player, since I went to some effort to pick the Judge best suited to the cult and character concept.

                              From a story perspective it's appropriately horrifying.


                              Revlid wrote:
                              Yes, hollowing out your humanity to become an utterly utilitarian asura is the exact suggestion I would expect from you, Aiden.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Aiden View Post

                                I would probably find that annoying as a player, since I went to some effort to pick the Judge best suited to the cult and character concept.

                                From a story perspective it's appropriately horrifying.
                                Absolutely - it's not the sort of thing I'd recommend you do without talking the potential idea through with the player out-of-character and getting their buy-in, and it's likely a rare event regardless, rather than the Judges holding regular swap weekends.

                                But in-setting, the possibility for changing allegiance doesn't relieve the Arisen of their position as slaves; it often just reinforces it.
                                Last edited by Acrozatarim; 11-15-2019, 10:45 AM.


                                - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer & Developer

                                ​Like my work? Feel like helping me stay supplied with tea? Check out my Patreon

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