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Crossover Cults and Stats--if, and how?

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  • Crossover Cults and Stats--if, and how?

    As anyone knows that has read my posts, I run a very crossover game, and was delighted that mystery religions, Conspiracies, packs, krewes, and the like we're all roughly using the same rules. Statted out like an ephemeral entity, doctrines, a Potency stat, a health stat, largely the same damage and action mechanics. Everything fit so perfectly.

    Until Mummy 2e used almost exactly the same systems, except attributes.

    I was genuinely hoping Mummy would join the bandwagon, and convert to the same systems. But alas, it did not. While I loved Reach and Grasp back in 1e, it's just... Hard to fit it in with Deviant and Geist, as well as all the other gamelines being able to roughly translate social groups into the same Power, Finesse, and Resistance style. I really wish Mummy had done the same, but it didn't. So, I'm trying to figure out how to make it work.

    Cults are such an innate part of a Mummy and part of their power base that directly adding a third attribute seems like it would nerf them a bit. I'm not sure how to balance it properly at all. It's easy enough to say Grasp is Power and Reach if Finesse, but mummy is balanced between those two, not a third. Can it directly translate? Should just giving a free dot in a given category balance things out, when facing other groups? How would you make mummy fit into that scheme?

  • #2
    My initial thought would be to allow mummy cults to use either Reach or Grasp to serve as Resistance, depending on how they’d be resisting.


    Jason Ross Inczauskis, Freelance Writer
    Projects: Dark Eras 2, Mummy: The Curse 2e, Book of Lasting Death, DtR The Clades Companion, 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
    Masculine pronouns preferred.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by White Oak Dragon View Post
      My initial thought would be to allow mummy cults to use either Reach or Grasp to serve as Resistance, depending on how they’d be resisting.
      Mechanically, would it throw off the balance of mummy cults to add the third trait, do away with reach and Grasp? Maybe start each cult with a dot in Power, Finesse, and Resistance, then add one attribute based on cult type (Enterprise gives Power, Conspiracy gives Finesse, Tribe gives Resistance?)

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Cleverest of Things View Post

        Mechanically, would it throw off the balance of mummy cults to add the third trait, do away with reach and Grasp? Maybe start each cult with a dot in Power, Finesse, and Resistance, then add one attribute based on cult type (Enterprise gives Power, Conspiracy gives Finesse, Tribe gives Resistance?)
        Honestly, if you wanted to just switch it over to the three and you were willing to convert anything requiring Reach or Grasp over, I don’t think it would hurt anything. I could be mistaken, of course. I haven’t yet pit organizations from different games against each other in the mechanical sense.


        Jason Ross Inczauskis, Freelance Writer
        Projects: Dark Eras 2, Mummy: The Curse 2e, Book of Lasting Death, DtR The Clades Companion, 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
        Masculine pronouns preferred.

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        • #5
          If you had to guess, should mummy cults be a bit stronger than krewes and conspiracies, if you were to crossover? Or would the loss of Cult power be easily explained by now having competition from non Scorpion based cults?

          At least Mummy has the framework, though. I cry at night trying to convert Mage cryptopolies and labyrinths, and vampire Shadow cults.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Cleverest of Things View Post
            If you had to guess, should mummy cults be a bit stronger than krewes and conspiracies, if you were to crossover? Or would the loss of Cult power be easily explained by now having competition from non Scorpion based cults?

            At least Mummy has the framework, though. I cry at night trying to convert Mage cryptopolies and labyrinths, and vampire Shadow cults.
            One important thing that distinguishes Scorpion Cults from krewes and conspiracies: Fidelity doesn't measure whether the cult holds together the way Congregation and Association do -- a cult that runs out of faith is still an organization, but out of the characters' control.

            That doesn't help much for modeling them as NPC groups once they go rogue, but it does somewhat mitigate the need for Resistance as a separate stat when Reach works as Power and Grasp fills in for Finesse -- like their masters, the cults of the Arisen are made to last.


            Resident Lore-Hound
            Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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            • #7
              The only balance concerns that stand out to me are whether to buff the Cult merit to account for needing to divide the dots it gives between more attributes, and for the same reason whether to make attributes cost less Cult XP.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Sith_Happens View Post
                The only balance concerns that stand out to me are whether to buff the Cult merit to account for needing to divide the dots it gives between more attributes, and for the same reason whether to make attributes cost less Cult XP.
                That's what I was thinking, because clearly dividing it between three stats would be different balance wise than two. It'd be especially messy since, in theory, a mummy's cult is supposed to be bigger/stronger than a krewes or pack. But maybe not as strong as a Deviant Conspiracy. But it's worth putting the thought into for a crossover game. It might be my ONLY complaint about 2e mummy (well actually, that and the lack of actually stating rotface exists during Sekhem 10-8 explicitly)

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                • #9
                  Hm...

                  1. Each attribute starts with one dot.
                  2. Each dot of the Cult merit including the first gives two attribute dots to spend.
                  3. Cult attributes cost 4 XP per dot.

                  Currently, with Cult 5 your cult can start at 4/4 or 5/3. With the adjustment in #2 above, with Cult 5 your cult can start at 5/4/4 or 5/5/3 which is a very slight buff. It also decouples starting attributes from archetype since the archetypes don’t map directly to Power/Finesse/Resistance like they do to Reach/Grasp.

                  #3, meanwhile, conserves the total cost of increasing every attribute by one (12 XP) and also happens to make cult attributes cost the same as character attributes which IMO has a pinch of elegance to it.
                  Last edited by Sith_Happens; 02-24-2021, 12:17 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Notable distinctions:

                    1. A cult's Fidelity has the same number of free boxes before Attributes as a krewe's Congregation, and more than a conspiracy's Association; it does not have to put dots into a separate Attribute to both raise its Fidelity and become better at tasks concerning external affairs.

                    2. A cult pays the same amount of Experience as a krewe for Attributes, but has fewer of them to pay for. A cult begins with four dots of Attributes for free and pays one Experience for each of the next four, while a krewe starts with nine dots of Attributes for free but gets no such cost break on subsequent dots. As NPC groups, conspiracies start with eight Attribute dots for free and get more as they rise in Standing, which is a function of more mystically potent/versatile Deviant opposition and/or absorbing/being behind other conspiracies.

                    3. Cults and krewe get the same number of starting Merit dots, but cults have a lot more published Cult Only Merits than krewes have published Krewe Only Merits, and Cult Only Merits include things like "once per story, you can resolve a mutiny without losing Attribute dots" and various direct bonuses to Cult Actions. (Cult Actions also specifically include rules for interfaith cooperation.) Conspiracies manage their assets through Nodes and Icons, which they can accumulate for free through downtime actions as long as they have enough Conspiracy Actions to spare.

                    4. As mentioned, Fidelity 0 and Congregation/Association 0 mean different things, but also: A cult headed by a Memory 8+ mummy has a means of ending a mutiny that does not reduce the cult's Attributes; a conspiracy likewise has three other options besides lowering its Attributes, all of which involve the destruction of Nodes; a krewe has no recourse but to lower its effectiveness in an Attribute to clear a schism, and doing so also inflicts a Condition on the krewe.

                    5. Cults only get Cult Beats from their Doctrines, while krewes have multiple alternative sources of Krewe Beats (including their Ceremonies and Regalia) and conspiracies only need time to allocate Effort from downtime actions to accumulate resources. A Wayward Cult loses one Doctrine or tags its third Doctrine (which already comes at the cost of a dot of Dominance) as a trigger for its mummy's Descent rolls, though it is also more effective at blocking the efforts of other cults.

                    6. Cults have no equivalent to Regalia and Icons/Nodes, instead having the benefit of immortal patronage and/or sorcerous knowledge — their core structure is more about having a lot of people able to help with tasks compared to the mystical clout of a krewe or the wholesale ability to tweak the game board of a conspiracy. Krewes are PC groups whose players are assumed to be core participants, and conspiracies are NPC groups that mostly serve as antagonists, but a cult mostly exists to extend a mummy's, well, Reach and Grasp.

                    7. Cults have the same basic outcome as krewes for openly violating their Doctrines, but where a leading member of a krewe secretly breaking Doctrine makes them less effective at everything other than hiding it, cults have one Doctrine whose violation serves as potential grounds for immediately kicking off a countdown to heresy and potentially manifesting a demon-god to punish them for their transgression. (Conspiracies' Principles are roleplaying/decision-making guides alone that largely do not change, and membership can be as seemingly hypocritical about them as they like, but instead damage to their holdings puts the group in greater disarray.)


                    Resident Lore-Hound
                    Currently Consuming: Hunter: the Vigil 1e

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                    • #11
                      Now the tough question; what if different splats share a group? Cult (in Mummy) is technically a shared pool merit, like Safe Place, but that isn't true of other options.

                      In "The Pack", it does reference a pack of werewolves who have what is probably an Arisen as a totem, implying that their pack is also a Cult. How would that work?

                      What does it look like if an Arisen recruits a number of Sin-Eaters to their Cult and they form a Krewe with it?

                      What if werewolves and Bound form a pack/Krewe together?


                      Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
                        Now the tough question; what if different splats share a group? Cult (in Mummy) is technically a shared pool merit, like Safe Place, but that isn't true of other options.

                        In "The Pack", it does reference a pack of werewolves who have what is probably an Arisen as a totem, implying that their pack is also a Cult. How would that work?

                        What does it look like if an Arisen recruits a number of Sin-Eaters to their Cult and they form a Krewe with it?

                        What if werewolves and Bound form a pack/Krewe together?
                        The simplest is to just use the rules from the game you're playing, and see if you can sprinkle in some stuff from the game you're borrowing from.
                        For example, when playing a pack of Uratha with an Arisen as a totem, just use the rules for it as a pack. From there you could phrase the extra Aspiration as a Doctrine, and have the Ban be to always uphold the Judge's Doctrine and failing to do so potentially leading to an emanation from that Judge.
                        And when playing an mummy whose cult happens to be full of werewolves, just treat it as a Scorpion Cult. Just phrase a Doctrine as "must uphold the Oath of the Moon" or "must perform the Sacred Hunt every so often" and maybe also give some advantages as if the Scorpion Cult Merit gave Totem points (but still only count the first dot for Wolf-Blooded and Endless members and not counting dots from any humans).


                        Bloodline: The Stygians
                        Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                        Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                        • #13
                          Thank you Tessie.
                          I was hoping for something more longer term, mixed group player rather than the quick fix for npcs. Will still work in a pinch though.


                          Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                          • #14
                            Since mixed games already has thrown out balance, it's really just a matter of mechanical cohesion. I think it's best to just take one of the more generic/standardised versions of the organisation rules and apply that to all organisations. Import relevant actions and Conditions from other games as needed. I think Krewes might be the best choice since it uses the regular stats and has rules for PC members, but since I'm not particularly into the organisational rules I might be wrong about which one to pick.


                            Bloodline: The Stygians
                            Ordo Dracul Mysteries: Mystery of Smoke, Revised Mystery of Živa
                            Mage The Awakening: Spell Quick Reference (single page and landscape for computer screens)

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                            • #15
                              Since a pack doesn’t have attributes or any of the traits and systems related to them it makes for a pretty easy “add-on” to a krewe or cult. If you want a mummy to be a pack totem though instead of the pack/cult having a mummy and a spirit totem then that’s where you need to start homebrewing things, for reasons including but not limited to how the mummy’s stats presumably don’t become a function of totem points.

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