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  • Originally posted by Ben Linus View Post
    You really have very little material on South America.

    There is a whole literature and horror film involving things like mummies in Paraguay and Argentina derived from Andean sources like Mummies.
    These are, as far as I've managed to study the topic, localized remakes of the European and American stuff that shoehorn the pre-Columbian mummies in the same roles that originally starred the Egyptian dead. They are also extremely niche, with no noticeable cultural impact outside their points of origin.

    We also have pre-civilizational records of more than four millennia of burials with ritual mummification in the Andes.
    Which is, again, irrelevant, because of the different meanings of the term "mummy" that have been discussed to death.

    - Nothing prevents the information that Iremitas have are lies of their Gods / Judges and other Gods as terrible as they have done different but so powerful rituals as in 2 or 3 parts of the world, with its advantages and disadvantages in relation to ritual Namaless.
    And doesn't that strike you as terribly contrived that not one, but several ancient civilizations have not only sought to make immortal servants for their horrible gods, but all chose a preserved corpses to be the physical vessels of said servants?

    More generally speaking, doesn't that strike you as terribly contrived and symmetrical for the sole sake of symmetry to force a horrible magical predecessor empire worshiping horrible gods and dabbling with forces beyond human ken on every ancient civilization that happened to produce preserved corpses more or less consciously?

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    • Here's something that occurred to me: the Shan'iatu created the Rite of Return from first principles. Nothing like it had vbeen tried before, ever. As such, who is to say that the Rite may not have had unintended side effects, effects that other civiliations (or perhaps Fate Itself) could take advantage of, however unwittingly? That way it isn't because a given civilization had the backing of UltraTerrestrial Beings that immortal living/dead beings have been made; Fate ordains that such beings are possible, just as such had been ordained to Fate.

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      • Originally posted by shkspr1048 View Post
        Here's something that occurred to me: the Shan'iatu created the Rite of Return from first principles.
        Well, no, they were given the Rite by an intermediary and executed it according to those instructions.

        You may recall who that intermediary spoke for.

        Go forth! You are not the only one to have dreamed thus.
        Last edited by Satchel; 06-09-2016, 02:13 PM.


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

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        • "These are, as far as I've managed to study the topic, localized remakes of the European and American stuff that shoehorn the pre-Columbian mummies in the same roles that originally starred the Egyptian dead. They are also extremely niche, with no noticeable cultural impact outside their points of origin."

          I don't think we should be counting that against such movies. If we do, we have to reject any number of other horror films for 'borrowing' some or all of their tropes from earlier classics, after all. Nosferatu, for instance, is pretty much the story of Dracula with the names changed and an uglier face for the monster. In fact, I'd argue that the entire reason we have iconic monsters is because many directors become inspired (or get lazy) and adapt their films to match the most famous examples.

          "Which is, again, irrelevant, because of the different meanings of the term "mummy" that have been discussed to death."

          Discussed to death, indeed. But to my mind one of the scariest aspects of The Mummy as a monster is the age. It is a being from another lost time, one which we know of only it glimpses and guesses. Everything about it, from its gods to its history and culture and its desires and agendas are lost to time. It alone remembers what came before, and unfortunately for modern men the key to sending it back to death often in the scraps of knowledge gleaned from that same ancient civilization. This is Lovecraft before Lovecraft was cool.
          What I'm saying, in my long winded way, is that The Mummy SHOULD be ancient, on the scale of thousands of years. And can you tell what kind of corpse tends to survive for thousands of years without turning to dust? The answer is (drum roll please)....ones that are mummified. My point is, whatever you want to name your monster- if you are telling a story about something truly ancient rising from its grave to terrorize the living (as opposed to something dormant or ageless, mind you) the kind of walking corpse you are most likely to describe is a preserved one. E.G.- a mummy. Its hardly a big leap in logic to make your mummy into The Mummy. If you get my meaning.

          "And doesn't that strike you as terribly contrived that not one, but several ancient civilizations have not only sought to make immortal servants for their horrible gods, but all chose a preserved corpses to be the physical vessels of said servants?"

          That specifically? Sure. But the reasons behind the creation of the ritual don't have to be that specific. Death is terrifying in its finality. Unsurprisingly, it has thus occupied the minds and myths of civilizations for as long as we have had them. The ways in which early man dealt with his dead are many and varied, but they all held that singular fascination and dread of what came next. We already know of at least one great ancient empire that rivaled Irem- Ubar the proto-Mesopotamian civilization. There is no reason to assume there were not others. Not all of them have to have crafted a Rite of Return for the reasons Irem did. In fact, I'd say any competing Rite should have a purpose unique to the civilization it came from. But the idea that Death would occupy their lives as much as it did Irem's people, enough to turn their magics and studies to the dead, the afterlife, and methods for circumnavigating or circumventing both? Why is that implausible?
          "More generally speaking, doesn't that strike you as terribly contrived and symmetrical for the sole sake of symmetry to force a horrible magical predecessor empire worshiping horrible gods and dabbling with forces beyond human ken on every ancient civilization that happened to produce preserved corpses more or less consciously?"

          Humans in every civilization have prayed to gods for protection and guidance. Every time, every place. Does it strike me as surprising that in the World of Darkness, especially the ancient world where the barriers between life, death, and spirit were not as constraining as they are in the modern age, that the things most likely to listen and respond to those ancient prayers are scary and terrible and unknowable? Is that a trick question?

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          • Originally posted by nothri View Post
            Snip
            It feels like we're getting a bit carried away here. It's perfectly easy to justify monsters based on the mummified remains of other cultures. That's never been an issue. Even the Mummy core book references the existence of non-Arisen Mummies. Read the Blasphemous Depiction's write-up. It basically says, "Hey, if you want Bog Mummies in your chronicle, this thing is a good justification".

            Where most people seem to actually disagree though is on the subject of using the Arisen template as the basis for non-Arisen Mummies. It's a template that is pretty unique by the standards of WoD. It includes a range of culturally specific and internally justified mechanics, which leads to issues of adapting it to other types of Mummies. You have to justify either using culturally specific mechanics outside the origin culture or continuing to use the Arisen template as the basis of your new being despite the fact that you have to change a raft of mechanics. For those elements (particularly the Descent and Memory mechanics) that are internally justified by the story of Irem, you need to justify why such specific similarities were the result of convergent evolution.

            Thus far, the best argument I've heard is "Mummies should be ancient horrors, and the Arisen template has mechanics like Sybaris that emphasise this horror". Which is fine, but I'm not sure it's enough on its own. Whether it be because the relevant age of Iremite Mummies is considerably greater than Incan ones, or that Sybaris on its own seems easier to add to Revenant mechanics than changing Pillars, Utterances, Affinities, and justifying the Descent on the Arisen template, or simply that Arisen have already done the Sybaris thing, and it may be more interesting to create a wholly new mechanic for emphasising the weight of ages on others, I can think of many arguments that weaken the strength of the initial point. Particularly the latter. The impact Arisen have on others is a relatively minor part of their template. The impact of their age is mostly felt internally, through the Descent and Memory.

            I don't think the contentiousness of non-Iremite Mummies has ever been over whether or not they should exist. Rather, the objection is that people latch on to Mummy: The Curse as the best place to create them, when (as argued by others in this thread) Prometheans, Vampires, Geists, and the ghost mechanics all present equally good, even better places to start from. I'm sure a "non-Egyptian Mummy" topic would be embraced with open arms, including by many in this thread, if it were posted in the general forums rather than here.

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            • What makes non-Arisen Mummies interesting to see in Mummy the Curse to see how the themes challenge the Deathless in their elitist perspective, you know? Or for people that don't include crossover in their games; I don't include very much, for example, so I don't want to have to dig through Geist which I have zero interest in

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              • "It feels like we're getting a bit carried away here. It's perfectly easy to justify monsters based on the mummified remains of other cultures. That's never been an issue. Even the Mummy core book references the existence of non-Arisen Mummies. Read the Blasphemous Depiction's write-up. It basically says, "Hey, if you want Bog Mummies in your chronicle, this thing is a good justification". "

                Well, that's one way to interpret the text. Another is 'you know all those other bog mummies? Yeah, none of them are actually alive. Its only the ones enchanted by this thing that are real.' But I get your point.

                "Where most people seem to actually disagree though is on the subject of using the Arisen template as the basis for non-Arisen Mummies. It's a template that is pretty unique by the standards of WoD. It includes a range of culturally specific and internally justified mechanics, which leads to issues of adapting it to other types of Mummies. You have to justify either using culturally specific mechanics outside the origin culture or continuing to use the Arisen template as the basis of your new being despite the fact that you have to change a raft of mechanics. For those elements (particularly the Descent and Memory mechanics) that are internally justified by the story of Irem, you need to justify why such specific similarities were the result of convergent evolution."

                I admit the task is more daunting than in other games (I'll leave aside the discussion about whether this is a flaw of the game or not- though I will once again voice my opinion that the tool kit approach has worked marvelously in other games and I miss the lack of it here). However, I don't think the problem is insurmountable. If we were willing to take the template apart and look at it piece by piece I think we could identify the working parts that don't need changing and those that do. The concept of the Pillars, for instance, is something I think could remain broadly the same (piece of a mummy's 'soul' ranked from one to five that powers his supernatural abilities) while specifically distinct (for instance, perhaps a mummy derived from a Chinese culture has a 'Po' pillar and a 'Hun' pillar since some of their philosophies divided a person's being into those two pieces). Yes, this idea is basically a take off of Mummy: The Resurrection and the non-Egyptian 'Decrees' seen in that setting. But you get the idea. I think we can keep many of the broad aspects and change many of the specific details. As for Descent and Memory I'm utterly failing to see the problem. Memory has been around as far back as WOD: Mummy. Each edition has a slightly different version of the concept, yeah, but overall it functions the same. I mean, look- broadly speaking we are presumably talking about an entity at least several thousand years old that oscillates between life and death and has seen endless successions of friends and lovers live and die. Remembering what it was like to live, why morality mattered to it, and the indescribable horrors of the underworld alone justify a mummy's shaky grasp on what has come before in my mind. Sure, the Judges place a greater emphasis on shutting down a Mummy's memories than others might- perhaps non-iremites should start with more than 3 dots of Memory to reflect this? Just spit balling here. All I'm saying is that you can have your story elements and still keep Memory for more alien Mummies. The Descent is even easier in my opinion. Returning what was dead back to life is taxing. Allowing that thing to appear human? More so. Allowing it to return again and again when killed? More so still. It makes sense that what allows a Mummy to walk in the living world would slowly ebb away- the underworld might simply not be equipped to keep such an entity going indefinitely like that. I mean, the Shuankhsen have a limited span too, and unlike the Judges I don't see Ammut having any real qualms about letting her servants reek havoc amongst the living indefinitely if she had a choice in the matter. Again, the specifics should change a little, especially what offenses will cause a Mummy's descent roll to activate sooner and what actions will help prolong their existence. But again, the broad concepts don't really need rearranging in my mind. If you disagree please share with me your reasoning.


                "Thus far, the best argument I've heard is "Mummies should be ancient horrors, and the Arisen template has mechanics like Sybaris that emphasise this horror". Which is fine, but I'm not sure it's enough on its own. Whether it be because the relevant age of Iremite Mummies is considerably greater than Incan ones, or that Sybaris on its own seems easier to add to Revenant mechanics than changing Pillars, Utterances, Affinities, and justifying the Descent on the Arisen template, or simply that Arisen have already done the Sybaris thing, and it may be more interesting to create a wholly new mechanic for emphasising the weight of ages on others, I can think of many arguments that weaken the strength of the initial point. Particularly the latter. The impact Arisen have on others is a relatively minor part of their template. The impact of their age is mostly felt internally, through the Descent and Memory."

                Why is it necessary to "argue" the point at all? This is what some of the fans of this community are interested in doing. There was a time I could jump into one of these forums and offer up my idea and get suggestions and support back from the community. Now it feels like doing so is asking to be slapped in the face. Maybe Mummy is a victim of its own success. Maybe it took the isolated concept of Egyptian style immortals and did so well with it that we're now afraid to go in new directions lest we somehow shatter the apparently fragile foundations of the core game. I dunno. I just feel like a lot of energy has been lost solely to shoot down suggestions like this one. And that sucks.

                "I don't think the contentiousness of non-Iremite Mummies has ever been over whether or not they should exist. Rather, the objection is that people latch on to Mummy: The Curse as the best place to create them, when (as argued by others in this thread) Prometheans, Vampires, Geists, and the ghost mechanics all present equally good, even better places to start from. I'm sure a "non-Egyptian Mummy" topic would be embraced with open arms, including by many in this thread, if it were posted in the general forums rather than here."

                Doesn't it strike you as just a LITTLE fucked up that a thread about how to create a mummy from culture X is expected to be better received in practically any other forum than the one that has MUMMY written in the title of the game? We should be able to freely discuss new ideas and concepts for THIS game and THESE mechanics without receiving a barrage of hostility in return.

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                • Originally posted by nothri View Post
                  Doesn't it strike you as just a LITTLE fucked up that a thread about how to create a mummy from culture X is expected to be better received in practically any other forum than the one that has MUMMY written in the title of the game? We should be able to freely discuss new ideas and concepts for THIS game and THESE mechanics without receiving a barrage of hostility in return.
                  I'm addressing this one first, because it's kind of the driving impetus behind this entire topic. If you look back in this thread, you will see a quote from one of Mummy's own writers about, essentially, the fact that the only link between an Iremite Mummy and any other Mummy is that English uses the same word to describe these highly distinct phenomena. This means that, no, I don't think it's fucked up that creating a Mummy from Culture X is better received in a forum that lacks a specific link to Egyptian culture. Similarly, I don't think there's anything wrong with saying "These Mummy mechanics were intended solely for use with the specifically Egyptian iteration of preserved corpses". Just because two things are called "Mummies" doesn't mean that they're even remotely the same thing.

                  And that is why these topics generate calls to take them elsewhere. A lot of the traditions and mythology around Incan Mummies actually make them better represented by the likes of Ulgan Prometheans than by Arisen with some name swapping.

                  Originally posted by nothri View Post
                  I admit the task is more daunting than in other games (I'll leave aside the discussion about whether this is a flaw of the game or not- though I will once again voice my opinion that the tool kit approach has worked marvelously in other games and I miss the lack of it here). However, I don't think the problem is insurmountable. If we were willing to take the template apart and look at it piece by piece I think we could identify the working parts that don't need changing and those that do. The concept of the Pillars, for instance, is something I think could remain broadly the same (piece of a mummy's 'soul' ranked from one to five that powers his supernatural abilities) while specifically distinct (for instance, perhaps a mummy derived from a Chinese culture has a 'Po' pillar and a 'Hun' pillar since some of their philosophies divided a person's being into those two pieces). Yes, this idea is basically a take off of Mummy: The Resurrection and the non-Egyptian 'Decrees' seen in that setting. But you get the idea. I think we can keep many of the broad aspects and change many of the specific details.
                  At a certain point, you have to ask yourself why you are doing such a thing. Is it because you genuinely believe that this better suits your idea of what a non-Egyptian Mummy is than, say, a variant on the Essence/Vitae/Glamour/Plasm/whatever rules that all other beings in the World of Darkness use? Or is it because you've seen the word "Mummy" in the game's title and, because the word "Mummy" is also used to describe the flavour of supernatural being you want to create, you've decided that it has to mirror as many elements of existing mummies as possible?

                  When the rituals used to create a thing are so different, the reasons behind creating them so different, the circumstances of their creation so removed, the question that needs to be answered is, "Why are they so similar?"

                  Originally posted by nothri View Post
                  As for Descent and Memory I'm utterly failing to see the problem. Memory has been around as far back as WOD: Mummy. Each edition has a slightly different version of the concept, yeah, but overall it functions the same. I mean, look- broadly speaking we are presumably talking about an entity at least several thousand years old that oscillates between life and death and has seen endless successions of friends and lovers live and die. Remembering what it was like to live, why morality mattered to it, and the indescribable horrors of the underworld alone justify a mummy's shaky grasp on what has come before in my mind. Sure, the Judges place a greater emphasis on shutting down a Mummy's memories than others might- perhaps non-iremites should start with more than 3 dots of Memory to reflect this? Just spit balling here. All I'm saying is that you can have your story elements and still keep Memory for more alien Mummies. The Descent is even easier in my opinion. Returning what was dead back to life is taxing. Allowing that thing to appear human? More so. Allowing it to return again and again when killed? More so still. It makes sense that what allows a Mummy to walk in the living world would slowly ebb away- the underworld might simply not be equipped to keep such an entity going indefinitely like that. I mean, the Shuankhsen have a limited span too, and unlike the Judges I don't see Ammut having any real qualms about letting her servants reek havoc amongst the living indefinitely if she had a choice in the matter. Again, the specifics should change a little, especially what offenses will cause a Mummy's descent roll to activate sooner and what actions will help prolong their existence. But again, the broad concepts don't really need rearranging in my mind. If you disagree please share with me your reasoning.
                  My primary "disagreement" is that you've just made a refluffed Arisen. That's... honestly kind of boring. Arisen are unique in the World of Darkness, almost a direct inversion of a standard World of Darkness template. By mimicking them, it feels like you feel constrained by the term "Mummy". Your comment about the name of this forum really gives the impression that you aren't able to get past the fact that, because these two things share a name, they should share mechanics. Why? We already have a game for players experiencing immortality from the perspective of a slowly-weakening amnesiacs. I've been suggesting Revenants as a good starting point for something new, because they're exceptionally generic and consequently easy to mod. You don't need to remove much, only add.

                  If in-universe lore matters (I'm never sure if it does in these conversations, fanon doesn't need to adhere to canon for obvious reasons) then there are admittedly quite a few obvious points to argue. The Rite created exceptionally powerful creatures, ones that have been beyond the reach of successor cultures, hence the whole "start at 10 and descend" mechanic for Sekhem. Having creatures with equivalent power dilutes that. Similarly, you say that "Returning what was dead back to life is taxing". Sure. Please note the dozen different species of undead in the World of Darkness that use completely different mechanics from Arisen. Some of these types even have variations on hibernation/returning from being killed. They don't all use the Descent. Logically, this means there are a variety of techniques for creating undead. Not all need to follow the same rituals and limitations chosen by ancient necromancers in pre-dynastic Egypt. In fact, the more similarities there are to this Rite that has never been replicated, the more suspension of disbelief is stretched.

                  Originally posted by nothri View Post
                  Why is it necessary to "argue" the point at all? This is what some of the fans of this community are interested in doing. There was a time I could jump into one of these forums and offer up my idea and get suggestions and support back from the community. Now it feels like doing so is asking to be slapped in the face. Maybe Mummy is a victim of its own success. Maybe it took the isolated concept of Egyptian style immortals and did so well with it that we're now afraid to go in new directions lest we somehow shatter the apparently fragile foundations of the core game. I dunno. I just feel like a lot of energy has been lost solely to shoot down suggestions like this one. And that sucks.
                  Mummy was an intentionally limited game. It's extremely focussed. It works very well within that focus. You can make veiled accusations of cowardice among its fans all you want, but that's the reality we're working with.

                  Personally, part of the frustration I have with making non-Egyptian Mummies based on Mummy: The Curse is because it feels like the writers of such attempts are getting caught up on the name. It feels like a lot of potential design space is squandered the moment that happens, meaning we get a cavalcade of pseudo-Arisen instead of anything new.

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                  • I like that "shards" idea, tbh. It's something I wish ChroD had more of in general.

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