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Soul and Word: Mortal Mummy Magic

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  • Soul and Word: Mortal Mummy Magic

    Posting my current thoughts and notes on the subject here. Will edit this post as things are finalized.

    So, while we wait for the no doubt excellent rules for mortal Sekhem Sorcerers in the Dark Eras Companion, I thought I’d post my thoughts on this topic and see if we can’t get a decent work-around in the meantime.

    I see 3 main systems for “magic” in Mummy: the Curse. Affinities, Utterances, and Relics. Relics were already largely covered in Reliquary (though I have an odd idea to bring up here). Affinities and Utterances are both based upon the 5-Fold Soul nature of the Pillars. Utterances, secondly, are tied to Sekhem. First thing that needs to be dealt with is Pillars for Mortal characters.

    Champions of the Soul

    Ancient Irem knew (or at least saw) the soul is comprised of five parts - the Ab (Heart), Ba (Spirit), Ka (Essence), Ren (Name), and Sheut (Shadow). By understanding and employing these aspects of the soul, great feats of power were possible. And while Arisen fully understood and exemplified at least one facet of their soul during the Rite of Return, the soul’s nature and power are open to all who possess one. Using meditation, introspection, and ancient occult techniques, mortal can also unlock the mystical power of Pillars and Affinities.

    Risen Pillars (Supernatural, •••••)
    Effect: You’ve harnessed the five-fold energies of the Pillars of your soul. Determine your primary Pillar based on what best fits the core of your identity and personality. You can distribute effective Pillar dots equal to your Willpower among the five Pillars (Ab, Ba, Ka, Ren, and Sheut) when you first take this merit, allocating new dots whenever your permanent Willpower increases, and choosing which become dormant whenever your Willpower falls. No other Pillar can be rated higher than you primary Pillar at any time. If an ability or effect calls for expending a Pillar point, you may instead spend Willpower on a 1-for-1 basis. [Or no, and make such characters get the Advanced version of the Merit?]
    Notes: These effective Pillars allow you to acquire Soul and Miscellaneous Affinities just as the Deathless do, and even qualify for Utterance Tiers, if you otherwise possess such Utterances. Major life changes (such as completing long term Aspirations) may let you reallocate your effective Pillar dots.

    Risen Pillars (Advanced, Supernatural, •••••)
    Prerequisite: Risen Pillars •••••
    Effect: You have fortified your Pillars to the point where they can generate and store their own mystical energies. You can now store and spend actual Pillar points as if you possessed dots in your effective Pillars. Pillar points can be regained through Meditation - Once per 24-hour period, a character may spend a scene (or an hour) in meditation to recover Pillar points. They strengthens their soul by taking refuge in their identity and sense of self. Roll Morality/Integrity as a dice pool; each success regenerates one Pillar point of the character’s choice. (Willpower can’t be spent for extra dice.)
    Notes: These Pillar points can be spent on anything Pillar points can otherwise be spent on, such as activating certain Relics. At the Storyteller's option, these points might also be spent in place of Willpower for any Supernatural Merits the character might possess.

    Seal the Flesh (Supernatural, •••••)
    Prerequisite: Risen Pillars (Advanced)
    Effect: You can harness your spiritual energies to mend your flesh at an astonishing rate. If the player spends one point from any Pillar, their body continuously knits itself back together for a number of turns equal to the permanent rating of the Pillar used. During this period, the character heals three points of bashing damage and one point of lethal damage per turn. Furthermore, they can’t be killed while their flesh is sealing unless their heart has been destroyed. If they suffer enough damage to kill them, they die as soon as the sealing the flesh period ends—not before. This is true even if the character cannot heal fatal wounds. If they immediately switches Pillars to keep sealing the flesh, they can remain active, even if they are technically “dead” from aggravated wounds. A character may only Seal the Flesh once per Pillar per Scene. If a player spends a point of Ab to seal the flesh, for example, they can’t spend another point of Ab on healing during that scene, but could switch to Sheut if any Sheut points are available.
    Notes: Only Pillar points (not Willpower) can be spent to activate this ability. You cannot Seal the Flesh against Aggravated wounds, but may delay their effects by sealing the flesh. To truly heal aggravated damage you must heal over time, or through other magic.

    Soul's Might (Supernatural, • to •••)
    Prerequisite: Risen Pillars (Advanced)
    Effect: You can infuse your form and mind with the mystical energies of your Pillars. When a Pillar point is devoted to a Physical Attribute for the character, that raises the Attribute by a number of dots as listed, up to the maximum rating currently allowed: +1 to Strength or Stamina at 1 dot, +1 to Dexterity at 2 dots, +2 to Strength or Stamina (or +1 to both) at 3 dots. Any Pillar-earned raises that would push an Attribute beyond its current trait maximum are lost.
    In addition, your spiritual nature allows for an additional, non-Physical Attribute to be enhanced. In this case, Pillar points always raise the Attribute on a 1-for-1 basis, up to the maximum permitted. You may only increase one non-Physical Attribute (associated with the primary Pillar), and only with points from that defining Pillar, as follows:
    • Ab (Heart): Presence
    • Ba (Spirit): Wits
    • Ka (Essence): Resolve
    • Ren (Name): Manipulation
    • Sheut (Shadow): Composure
    All Pillar-based Attribute enhancements last for the scene.
    Notes: Only Pillar points (not Willpower) can be spent to activate this ability.

    Affinities
    Mortals can acquire Soul and Miscellaneous Affinities just as Mummies can. Lacking membership in Irem’s ancient Guilds, however, means they cannot learn Guild Affinities. It is up to the Storyteller to determine if certain forms of corruption may make them eligible for Bane Affinities. Any Affinities that would affect a Mummy’s Cult or followers (but would be redundant or nonsensical for the Mummy) may also affect the mortal user of the Affinity as well. Remember that a character can only possess as many Affinities tied to a particular Pillar as they have dots in that Pillar (and that Miscellaneous Affinities take up one of these "slots").
    Trait Experiences
    Affinity 3 XP
    Fated Affinity* 2 XP
    * = The Player spends the XP, but the Storyteller selects an appropriate Affinity for the character. After exposure to suitable corruption (such as Amkhat, Shuankhsen, Bane Relics, etc.), the character may even acquire a Bane Affinity.

    Sidebar: Tombs and Cults?
    Mortals wielding the power of Affinities don’t implicitly have the Tombs or Cults that some refer to. Many sorcerers and champions of the soul possess their own temples and geometrically specified chambers which can serve as a Tomb, however (this is modeled as a Mummy's Tomb, though certain additions may not make as much sense). And many also possess followers, or even Cults of their own (modeled just like Arisen cults, or through Cults here).

    Words of Power

    Embedded into the world and the stars, certain words of power can achieve tremendous effects. Through intensive training, hardened souls, ritual, and Relics, mortals too can grasp at the might of gods. Mortals can acquire knowledge of Utterances (using their Pillar or Effective Pillar ratings as above to determine eligibility), invoking them through the Sekhem of a Relic, the energies of their own soul, and potentially fellow ritualists and geomantic patterns.
    For a mortal sorcerer to Unleash an Utterance, they need to meet the following requirements: Knowing the Utterance to be used (itself a feat), meeting the Tier’s Pillar prerequisite (see above), and possessing enough Effective Sekhem to power it.

    Learning Utterances
    Uncovering the secret words to mold Sekhem into reality shaking magic is hardly easy. Some (potentially heretical) Mummies may have written down such secrets in some form that mortal occultists uncover, erstwhile sorcerers may have sacrificed and bargained with knowledgeable entities, or they may even have stumbled upon such secrets in the throes of Sybaris inflicted nightmares.
    Trait Experiances
    Utterance 3XP

    Sources of Effective Sekhem:
    • Being in your "Tomb" and using the Entombed Glory Affinity (Effective Sekhem equal to your highest Effective Pillar, maximum 5).
    • Temporarily draining a Relic (as per using a Mummy's personal Relic in The Call on pg. XX of Mummy: the Curse).
    • Holding a Talisman (Effective Sekhem 1).
    • Ritual Sacrifice of humans ([Use the proposed scaling chart below?]).
    • Wresting it from a controlled Greater Amkhat.
    Crafting a Talisman

    Crafting a dedicated Talisman for a sorcerers use takes time, preparations, occult lore, Sekhem, and a degree of madness and luck. First, the sorcerer needs to have knowledge of the occult techniques of ancient Irem (such as an Occult Specialty in Irem), usually. Second, they need a Relic. Thirdly, they need a Geometrically ideal configuration for their ritual chamber. Fourthly, they need another source of Sekhem to bind to the Relic and make it a Talisman. This Sekhem can come from the refined Sekhem held by a Mummy, Greater Amkhat, another Relic (which would need to be sacrificed), human sacrifice, or the sorcerers own soul.

    [Mechanics here; subject to debate and revision]
    Sekhem from another source is simple (one dot worth is enough), but when drawn from the sorcerers own soul, they need to pay 1 Willpower dot, and roll for a Breaking Point at a penalty equal to the Relic's dots. The Ritual to infuse the Relic requires a location of mystically aligned Geometry equivalent to the Relic's dots (so more potent Relics require more exacting layout and specifications). Performing the ritual is an Extended action, rolling Intelligence + Occult - the Relic’s dot rating, each roll taking 2 hours, with a target number of 2 * Relic dots. If the ritual fails, roll the Relic's dots. Each success on this roll generates one Lesser Amkhat, unless the roll is an "Exceptional Success", in which case a single Greater Amkhat is created. The source Sekhem is sacrificed regardless.
    [/Mechanics]

    Human Sacrifice


    Sekhem can also be found in the souls and life energy of the living. Through certain blasphemous practices, the most depraved of sorcerers can ritually sacrifice humans in a manner that harnesses their energies into Sekhem, though it fades after moments if not properly contained or harnessed. The numbers sacrificed increases depending upon the desired level of Sekhem required (see the table below). This is premeditated murder (if not serial murder) at least, and the spiritual and metaphysical implications can shake even the most hardened killer. The sorcerer always rolls for a Breaking Point, with a minimum penalty equal to that of the Sekhem harnessed.

    [Mechanics here; subject to debate and revision]
    Action: Instant*
    Dice Pool: Intelligence + Occult
    Roll Results
    Dramatic Failure: [Ghosts and Amkhat?]
    Failure: [Ghosts? Curses? Wasted life?]
    Success: [Sekhem]
    Exceptional Success: [Condition? Longer lasting Sekhem?]
    Note: Harnessing the Sekhem is a mere instant action, though the ritual sacrifice can take longer. For a sacrifice to be "valid" it must be done with a ritual tool, and inflict the last Health box of [Lethal|Aggravated?] damage.

    1 dot = 1 sacrifice
    2 dots = 3 sacrifices
    3 dots = 6 sacrifices
    4 dots = 10 sacrifices
    5 dots = 15 sacrifices
    6 dots = 21 sacrifices
    7 dots = 28 sacrifices
    8 dots = 36 sacrifices
    9 dots = 45 sacrifices
    10 dots = 55 sacrifices

    [/Mechanics]

    Unleashing an Utterance

    Firstly, the prospective sorcerer must uncover some of the profound secrets of Utterances. Even once they possess them, the Pillars of their soul must be strong enough to sustain and invoke such powers - a sorcerer only has access to Tiers they qualify for based upon their Effective Pillars. Even once that is done, and the sorcerer has a means to fuel such powers with spiritual energy, they still need a foundation of Sekhem through which to call forth the Utterance. This is provided via the various sources of Effective Sekhem, as previously detailed. Most Sekhem Sorcerers are limited to the modest levels of power (Sekhem 1) and are limited to the least Tier of their Utterances. At least, alone. Working together in a Choir Unleashing (see Guildhalls of the Deathless, pg XX), a cabal of sorcerers can bring forth power rarely seen in ages.

    Note that Unleashings trigger Sybaris due to their power - and if the sorcerer(s) are not immune to Sybaris, they suffer its effects even if they were the source. Such is the risk of wielding power.

    Living Relics

    While circumstance and occasionally training can lead mortals to create Relics of their own, some employ… more drastic methods in pursuit of such power. Using cobbled together stolen lore from ancient Irem and other occult practices, these desperate few have discovered how to transform souls (usually their own) into Sekhem-powered Relics.
    [Use Relic Creation rules in Reliquary]
    [Relic has dot level equal to half of Willpower? Use @Arcanist's rules for Relic making below?]
    [External - Soulless Condition is held in check as long as the person possesses their Soul-Relic. Makes the person an Eternal (Immortals)? Gives extra Health boxes, if their Soul-Relic is on their possession (like Excalibur's Scabbard (Dark Eras)?]
    [Internal - Person is Living Relic, though something important to them may become a Relic upon their death - their own body as an Uter, if nothing else is applicable.]


    [Sample Living Relic than can turn killed victims into other Relics or Relic powers that they incorporate. Process drops max Morality/Integrity and makes them utterly insane and horribly cursed. Effective Sekhem raises per Relic incorporated. Cap at 9 or 10? Sekhem leaks as per Descent or no? Definitely Antagonist material.]
    Last edited by Vent0; 07-05-2016, 12:40 PM.


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

  • #2
    Octavo had a thread on how to handle mortal Sekhem sorcerers here. And Arcanist and I worked out a few ideas on our own for our take on Sekhem Sorcerers. I'll try to see if I can dig them up.


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    • #3
      Here it is. Arcanist's notes for Sekhem Sorcery, which uses the 2E Forbidden Lore conversion done by Falco. If I were to use this system, though, I'd swap out all mention of Reason and substitute Integrity in.

      The Shan’iatu turned their people into an engine dedicated to craftsmanship and sorcery, a society built on the backs of slaves who more often than not ended up as simply fuel for the relic-makers or the dread sorceries of the Guilds long before they became Arisen. There are several ways to become a Sekhem Sorcerer, the safest being to bind certain Seba, in particular those that grant Pillars and the Uplifted Soul Grimoire. However, it is far more likely for Arisen cultists or ancient students of Irem to become Sorcerers through the loss of Reason and the acquisition of Affinities and Utterances.

      A Sekhem Sorcerer must either be an Arisen cultist, or possess Occult 3 with a Specialty in the Arisen, Irem, or Sekhem, preferably two or more. Most possess the Witness Merit, and/or an Unseen Sense Merit that allows them to detect sources of Sekhem. In order to start on the road to being a Sekhem Sorcerer, they must sacrifice a dot of Reason to gain either an Affinity or an Utterance. From there, things only become stranger and more terrifying for the would-be Sorcerer.

      Making Relics: It is no easy task creating a Relic. Anyone with the proper occult knowledge and some specialized training can make small magical trinkets, but true Sekhem-based Relics require sacrifice, plain and simple. There are two sources for this purified Sekhem. One is the sacrifice of a human being; the other is the sacrifice of the Sorcerer’s Reason. Generally speaking, more powerful Relics come from sacrificing Reason as opposed to people, but the most powerful come from a mingled sacrifice of both. The roll to make a Relic requires you make the vessel first, with appropriate Skill checks as necessary. This art must be made with a target number equal to the future dot rating of the Relic x 5. Each roll suffers a -3 penalty without appropriate Iremite tools.

      When the Relic is ready to be imbued, the sacrifice must be made. One person killed is the equivalent of a dot of Sekhem, and dots of Reason may be sacrificed for Sekhem on a one-to-one basis. Once that is done, roll Intelligence + Occult - the Relic’s dot rating, and Willpower cannot be spent on this roll. On a failure, roll a number of dice equal to the Relic’s dot rating, every success rolled becomes a Lesser Amkhata. If the Sorcerer succeeds, however, pay a dot of Willpower as well. The Relic is complete. For this reason, a Sorcerer may make one, maybe two, masterpieces in a lifetime. They simply cannot give enough of themselves to make more.

      For whatever reason, Seba are exempt from this, as many are cosmic artifacts, and still more come from masterpieces of art. Admittedly, lower Reason does make it easier to produce Seba (you gain a bonus equal to 10-Reason for making occult art explicitly for that particular purpose), but it is not strictly required. Making a Seba requires a roll for the specific art being produce, at least one Exceptional Success, and a target number equal to the dot rating of the Seba x 5.

      Unleashing Utterances: The Uplifted Soul’s Grimoire is the only known way to circumvent the sacrifice of Reason to use an Utterance. Following the rules of Forbidden Lore, the mortal is considered to have 3 dots in every necessary trait to use the Utterance, unless they spend two dots of Reason on the acquisition, at which point every trait is considered to possess 5 dots. This means that, normally, they cannot use the third Tier of an Utterance without spending two dots of Reason to begin with, or without making a sacrifice. If an Utterance calls for a dot of Sekhem to activate a certain ability, the Sorcerer may sacrifice a human, a dot of a Relic, or a dot of Reason.

      Pillar points are a little more difficult. To avoid gathering Insanity, the Sekhem Sorcerer must sacrifice Vestiges or, make a sacrifice of an animal appropriate to the Pillar that they need. An animal that is related to the Pillar’s sacred animal grants its Size-1 in Pillar points, the exact sacred animal grants its Size in Pillar points, and an animal of a lineage or species virtually identical to that the Iremites would have known grants its Size + 1 in Pillar points. Thus, an Utterance that calls for the 5 points of the Ka Pillar could be fuelled by ritually sacrificing a sacred bull calf.
      Last edited by Deionscribe; 06-15-2016, 02:04 PM.


      "My Homebrew Hub"
      Age of Azar
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      • #4
        Thanks. Yeah, I know a bunch of different ideas were floating around about filling in this gap. I don't think anything here conflicts with those, thus far. They could even all be used "at once", justified as different descendant methods. My main goal was to get Affinities and Utterances into mortal hands with as little changes as possible. The main issues are Pillars and Sekhem.

        I like the idea about sacrificing appropriate animals for temporary Pillar points.


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

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        • #5
          Okay, so fiddling around with systems and making clean hacks that can really push at the limits of what's possible in a game is something I really enjoy doing, and it's something I seem to be pretty good at, so this sort of thing makes me very happy. These are my thoughts, in the order listed above.

          Pillars: Dreams of Avarice says that Will is the foundation upon which Sekhem is laid and the Pillars are raised. This is represented quite well, mechanically, because even if you are Soulless in the CofD your Willpower persists, though it will eventually crumble and fall. So in Mummy terms, the Pillars are built on Sekhem, which protects your Will, but your Will cannot be stripped from you if you refuse to break (succeed Breaking Points, etc.) Mortals, by default, have one soul which isn't overly powerful because it's made of a lot of subtle ephemeral things, and not just pure undifferentiated Sekhem. I would say that you gain a number of Pillar dots equal to your Willpower, and there's a precedent for that, because if you spread all those dots out equally, you get a maximum of two dots per Pillar, which is equivalent to the maximum granted by the Stolen Pillars Numen (which is another thing I want to fiddle with). I would still hold the rule that only one Pillar cannot have any dots to be a reasonable yardstick. That being said, I would think it would require a special Merit, I'm thinking four or five dots, to essentially 'raise' your Pillars to prominence. Probably an Advanced Merit of equal value to enable you to actually store Pillar points. I would rule that you could spend Willpower instead of Pillars.

          Soul Affinities would be purchased as necessary, and I would rule that an encounter with an Amkhat or a Shuankshen would be enough contact with the Devourer to potentially merit a Bane Affinity. That would likely cap Integrity, but also inure you to a certain kind of Breaking Point. No idea as to whether they should also be able to spend Pillars to Seal the Flesh and other such things, though Dreams of Avarice talks about the Heretic watching a Sekhem Sorcerer get their face smashed in with a hammer and watching it twist back into shape.

          Effective Sekhem: I like the idea of using a Relic as a source of Sekhem- that fits with what we've heard of what Sekhem Sorcerers can do -but I don't think it should destroy the Relic, just temporarily suppress its power. In terms of spending Pillars to power Utterances, I imagine that you could either A) Spend Willpower, B) Destroy Vestiges, C) Make appropriate sacrifices, or D) Use the Utterance in a building of great Geometry and make a roll to gather Pillar points for the use of the Utterance. Utterances should always induce Breaking Points and cause Sybaris. I'm thinking that maybe Utterances require a longer ritual format to be used by Sekhem Sorcerers.

          Living Relics: Good way to grant effective Sekhem, should absolutely reduce maximum Integrity. Not sure how a Living Relic could be anything other than an Uter or a Seba (because Seba break basically all the rules), but if you have any suggestions that would be interesting to hear. The Curse of a Living Relic could easily be represented by some kind of Persistent Condition, and I think the maximum rating would have to be five- you don't see six dot Relics anywhere, not even in the case of something as powerful as the Heart of Re.

          Huh- this is making me want to go back and finish my Mummy 2E update.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
            Effective Sekhem: I like the idea of using a Relic as a source of Sekhem- that fits with what we've heard of what Sekhem Sorcerers can do -but I don't think it should destroy the Relic, just temporarily suppress its power. In terms of spending Pillars to power Utterances, I imagine that you could either A) Spend Willpower, B) Destroy Vestiges, C) Make appropriate sacrifices, or D) Use the Utterance in a building of great Geometry and make a roll to gather Pillar points for the use of the Utterance. Utterances should always induce Breaking Points and cause Sybaris. I'm thinking that maybe Utterances require a longer ritual format to be used by Sekhem Sorcerers.
            I'm of the opinion that a Mortal Sorcerer should use any or all of the above. Maybe make each one relatively safe but unreliable on its own, but have the effects stack up to be more effective but more fraught. So we can have the uninitiated newbie who dabbles and can make something useful once in a while (or the cautious scholar who uses only the minimum needed), or the guy who goes whole-hog at the cost of life, limb and sanity, and can perform terrible and amazing feats (compared to normal mortals).


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            • #7
              I really like the living relics idea, though it's a bit different than how I wrote it up, but I ah, can't go into that

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                Okay, so fiddling around with systems and making clean hacks that can really push at the limits of what's possible in a game is something I really enjoy doing, and it's something I seem to be pretty good at, so this sort of thing makes me very happy. These are my thoughts, in the order listed above.


                Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                Pillars: Dreams of Avarice says that Will is the foundation upon which Sekhem is laid and the Pillars are raised. This is represented quite well, mechanically, because even if you are Soulless in the CofD your Willpower persists, though it will eventually crumble and fall. So in Mummy terms, the Pillars are built on Sekhem, which protects your Will, but your Will cannot be stripped from you if you refuse to break (succeed Breaking Points, etc.) Mortals, by default, have one soul which isn't overly powerful because it's made of a lot of subtle ephemeral things, and not just pure undifferentiated Sekhem. I would say that you gain a number of Pillar dots equal to your Willpower, and there's a precedent for that, because if you spread all those dots out equally, you get a maximum of two dots per Pillar, which is equivalent to the maximum granted by the Stolen Pillars Numen (which is another thing I want to fiddle with). I would still hold the rule that only one Pillar cannot have any dots to be a reasonable yardstick. That being said, I would think it would require a special Merit, I'm thinking four or five dots, to essentially 'raise' your Pillars to prominence. Probably an Advanced Merit of equal value to enable you to actually store Pillar points. I would rule that you could spend Willpower instead of Pillars.
                So, Merit (of 4 or 5 dots) to allow a mortal to have Effective Pillars equal to their Willpower. Add note for mortals that don't possess such a merit can be treat the same or having Effective Pillars equal to half Willpower (for those cases where an external party harvests or steals Pillars)? I'm not sure about requiring all but one Pillar to have a dot - the average mortal has 4 Willpower, which mean 1 in all but 1 (fitting the requirement), but they can possess as low as 2 Willpower (which doesn't). Use Willpower points in place of Pillar points, though an Advanced form of the initial merit adds in Pillar point pools.

                Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                Soul Affinities would be purchased as necessary, and I would rule that an encounter with an Amkhat or a Shuankshen would be enough contact with the Devourer to potentially merit a Bane Affinity. That would likely cap Integrity, but also inure you to a certain kind of Breaking Point.
                Sounds fine.

                Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                No idea as to whether they should also be able to spend Pillars to Seal the Flesh and other such things, though Dreams of Avarice talks about the Heretic watching a Sekhem Sorcerer get their face smashed in with a hammer and watching it twist back into shape.
                Hmmm. Make it an additional Merit requiring the Advanced form of the previous Merit? So the character actual needs a Pillar pool first, and can then spend only Pillar points on it?

                Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                Effective Sekhem: I like the idea of using a Relic as a source of Sekhem- that fits with what we've heard of what Sekhem Sorcerers can do -but I don't think it should destroy the Relic, just temporarily suppress its power. In terms of spending Pillars to power Utterances, I imagine that you could either A) Spend Willpower, B) Destroy Vestiges, C) Make appropriate sacrifices, or D) Use the Utterance in a building of great Geometry and make a roll to gather Pillar points for the use of the Utterance. Utterances should always induce Breaking Points and cause Sybaris. I'm thinking that maybe Utterances require a longer ritual format to be used by Sekhem Sorcerers.
                So, drain the Relic as per Calling a Mummy back from Henet?

                As for powering Utterances:
                A) I'd say points need to be spent - either Willpower in place of Pillar points, or Pillar points directly.
                B) Make Vestiges count as the Pillars a Mummy would gain from destroying them? (So, Alternate Fueling method)
                C) Sacrifices - Animals for Pillars, People for Effective Sekhem? Scale it?
                D) Geometry - Bonus to the roll? Act doesn't drain Relic?
                E) Ritual casting - same as Geometry?

                Sample Proposed Scaling Example:
                10 dots = 55 sacrifices
                9 dots = 45 sacrifices
                8 dots = 36 sacrifices
                7 dots = 28 sacrifices
                6 dots = 21 sacrifices
                5 dots = 15 sacrifices
                4 dots = 10 sacrifices
                3 dots = 6 sacrifices
                2 dots = 3 sacrifices
                1 dot = 1 sacrifice
                I'm not sure about the Breaking Points, but definitely yes on the Sybaris.

                I'm thinking an Utterance/Sekhem Sorcerer should be capped at 1 Effective Sekhem, like Apotheosis Mummies, to encourage teamwork for Choir Unleashings.

                Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                Living Relics: Good way to grant effective Sekhem, should absolutely reduce maximum Integrity. Not sure how a Living Relic could be anything other than an Uter or a Seba (because Seba break basically all the rules), but if you have any suggestions that would be interesting to hear. The Curse of a Living Relic could easily be represented by some kind of Persistent Condition, and I think the maximum rating would have to be five- you don't see six dot Relics anywhere, not even in the case of something as powerful as the Heart of Re.
                Drop max Morality/Integrity, check. A Living Relic is a person, and thus not even technically an Uter, I think. But after their dead, their Relic-mojo might flow into one of their belongings, or even their own remains (which then becomes an Uter). Curses could be Persistent Conditions or Tilts, yes. As for Max Rating, I'm thinking half Willpower. The "average" practitioner would make a 2 dot Relic out of their soul, while the pinnacle of human Willpower would make a 5 dot Relic out of their soul.

                What I meant by capping at 9 or 10 was: Living Relic person has Effective Sekhem of 1 (due to being a Living Relic/Talisman). By killing others and making them Relics that they incorporate into themselves, they raise their Effective Sekhem per Relic incorporated. But since this reduces make Morality/Integrity, whether they can even hit 10 depends upon if the "first" Relic (their own soul) also lowers max Morality/Integrity, or merely additional ones do.

                And yeah, such a monster would be like a freshly awakened Mummy - albeit racked with insanity at Morality/Integrity 1, and burdened with 9-10 curses from all the Relics. Plus they are not immortal undead. Well, depending on the Relic powers I guess.

                Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                Huh- this is making me want to go back and finish my Mummy 2E update.
                Looking forward to it.

                Addendum: As an aside, if you are crafting your soul into an external Relic, I'd allow you to pick up the Eternal template/Condition at no cost / as the justification, to allow that whole One Ring feel.
                Last edited by Vent0; 06-16-2016, 09:29 AM.


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

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                  Pillars: Dreams of Avarice says that Will is the foundation upon which Sekhem is laid and the Pillars are raised. This is represented quite well, mechanically, because even if you are Soulless in the CofD your Willpower persists, though it will eventually crumble and fall. So in Mummy terms, the Pillars are built on Sekhem, which protects your Will, but your Will cannot be stripped from you if you refuse to break (succeed Breaking Points, etc.) Mortals, by default, have one soul which isn't overly powerful because it's made of a lot of subtle ephemeral things, and not just pure undifferentiated Sekhem. I would say that you gain a number of Pillar dots equal to your Willpower, and there's a precedent for that, because if you spread all those dots out equally, you get a maximum of two dots per Pillar, which is equivalent to the maximum granted by the Stolen Pillars Numen (which is another thing I want to fiddle with). I would still hold the rule that only one Pillar cannot have any dots to be a reasonable yardstick. That being said, I would think it would require a special Merit, I'm thinking four or five dots, to essentially 'raise' your Pillars to prominence. Probably an Advanced Merit of equal value to enable you to actually store Pillar points. I would rule that you could spend Willpower instead of Pillars.
                  I'd probably still go with Octavo's ruling that mortal Sorcerers have an effective Pillar and Sekhem rating of 1.

                  I would have suggested the Blessing of Thoth Merit found in the write-up of my Thothite Bloodline for working out the Pillar Merit, but I think the ones Vent0 put together work quite well.


                  Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                  Soul Affinities would be purchased as necessary, and I would rule that an encounter with an Amkhat or a Shuankshen would be enough contact with the Devourer to potentially merit a Bane Affinity. That would likely cap Integrity, but also inure you to a certain kind of Breaking Point. No idea as to whether they should also be able to spend Pillars to Seal the Flesh and other such things, though Dreams of Avarice talks about the Heretic watching a Sekhem Sorcerer get their face smashed in with a hammer and watching it twist back into shape.
                  Speaking of Bane Affinities, we really should have more of them out, whether as homebrew or as part of an official book. But I definitely agree that Bane Affinities should cap a sorcerer's Integrity in exchange for making him immune to breaking points.


                  Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                  Effective Sekhem: I like the idea of using a Relic as a source of Sekhem- that fits with what we've heard of what Sekhem Sorcerers can do -but I don't think it should destroy the Relic, just temporarily suppress its power. In terms of spending Pillars to power Utterances, I imagine that you could either A) Spend Willpower, B) Destroy Vestiges, C) Make appropriate sacrifices, or D) Use the Utterance in a building of great Geometry and make a roll to gather Pillar points for the use of the Utterance. Utterances should always induce Breaking Points and cause Sybaris. I'm thinking that maybe Utterances require a longer ritual format to be used by Sekhem Sorcerers.
                  Perhaps something like the ritual casting format for Awakened magic? But the base time required is instead tied to the level of the Utterance? Like, say, a number of hours equal to the Utterance's tier level? As for gathering Pillar points through invoking the Utterance at a site of great Geometry, I imagine the nature of the site would determine what Pillars can be gathered, and by extension what Utterances can be performed.

                  As for whether or not a Sekhem Sorcerer's use of Utterances would destroy a Relic or suppress its power, perhaps it depends on whether or not the Utterance requires the sacrifice of a dot of Sekhem? On a related note, I am also interested in hearing what people's thoughts are on such sorcerers using Talismans.


                  Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                  Living Relics: Good way to grant effective Sekhem, should absolutely reduce maximum Integrity. Not sure how a Living Relic could be anything other than an Uter or a Seba (because Seba break basically all the rules), but if you have any suggestions that would be interesting to hear. The Curse of a Living Relic could easily be represented by some kind of Persistent Condition, and I think the maximum rating would have to be five- you don't see six dot Relics anywhere, not even in the case of something as powerful as the Heart of Re.
                  How about a persistent Unease Condition? From your conversion of the Sybaris mechanics?
                  Last edited by Deionscribe; 06-16-2016, 07:46 AM.


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                  • #10
                    Note: I updated a few prior posts.


                    Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                    I'd probably still go with Octavo's ruling that mortal Sorcerers have an effective Pillar and Sekhem rating of 1.
                    Only problem with just treating Pillars as 1 is that it locks out most of the Affinities that could be picked up. Sekhem 1 is fine, though. Apotheosis Mummies have to deal with that, and there are ways around it.

                    Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                    Speaking of Bane Affinities, we really should have more of them out, whether as homebrew or as part of an official book. But I definitely agree that Bane Affinities should cap a sorcerer's Integrity in exchange for making him immune to breaking points.
                    More homebrew is good, especially since current options are so limited. Would the suppressed Sins/Breaking Points be tied directly to the Bane Affintity, or let the Character/Player pick for each Bane Affinity?

                    Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                    Perhaps something like the ritual casting format for Awakened magic? But the base time required is instead tied to the level of the Utterance? Like, say, a number of hours equal to the Utterance's tier level? As for gathering Pillar points through invoking the Utterance at a site of great Geometry, I imagine the nature of the site would determine what Pillars can be gathered, and by extension what Utterances can be performed.
                    Hmm. I think there should be at least some way to Unleash Utterances in a less time consuming manner, simply because some of them seem intended for more immediate use. I'd be fine with requiring a certain number of criteria to be met for that, though. Like - Unleashing an Utterance requires the Sorcerer to do at least 2 or 3 of 5 potential thing, one of those things being Unleashing it at Ritual speed. That way, if one has the time, it's easier to just do that. If you are in a hurry, more/other sacrifices are required.

                    Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                    As for whether or not a Sekhem Sorcerer's use of Utterances would destroy a Relic or suppress its power, perhaps it depends on whether or not the Utterance requires the sacrifice of a dot of Sekhem? On a related note, I am also interested in hearing what people's thoughts are on such sorcerers using Talismans.
                    Going with the suppression method works best, I think. How do the Relic's dots affect things? More dots = faster recovery? Or base it on Pillars Required vs Relic's dots?

                    What about making a/the entry feature/Merit for being a Sekhem/Utterance Sorcerer, being able to turn a Relic into your (knock-off) Talisman? That justifies the "Has Sekhem 1" when holding it. Makes such a Relic a bit more personal to the sorcerer as well, since not just any Relic will do in a pinch.

                    Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                    How about a persistent Unease Condition? From your conversion of the Sybaris mechanics?
                    Hmm? Could you replicate/copy it here, or link to it?


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

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                      Only problem with just treating Pillars as 1 is that it locks out most of the Affinities that could be picked up. Sekhem 1 is fine, though. Apotheosis Mummies have to deal with that, and there are ways around it.
                      That's true. Though that's the reason you have Risen Pillars, yes? Besides, Affinities are pretty potent powers. Not as devastating as Utterances, but still...


                      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                      More homebrew is good, especially since current options are so limited. Would the suppressed Sins/Breaking Points be tied directly to the Bane Affintity, or let the Character/Player pick for each Bane Affinity?
                      Hmm. I'd say they pick for each Bane Affinity, though I'd probably add that the Breaking Point has to 'resonate' somewhat with a given Affinity.


                      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                      Hmm. I think there should be at least some way to Unleash Utterances in a less time consuming manner, simply because some of them seem intended for more immediate use. I'd be fine with requiring a certain number of criteria to be met for that, though. Like - Unleashing an Utterance requires the Sorcerer to do at least 2 or 3 of 5 potential thing, one of those things being Unleashing it at Ritual speed. That way, if one has the time, it's easier to just do that. If you are in a hurry, more/other sacrifices are required.
                      I can see a system akin to the symbol requirements for Werewolf Rites being a good basis for that possibility.


                      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                      Going with the suppression method works best, I think. How do the Relic's dots affect things? More dots = faster recovery? Or base it on Pillars Required vs Relic's dots?
                      No clue on this, yet. But I'd probably look to the stuff on Vestiges for more ideas on how to handle suppression.

                      On a related note, I still think Utterances which require the expenditure of a dot of Sekhem should each cost one dot of the Relic used to invoke them. The Arisen sacrifice a dot of the Sekhem they have when using them, but mortal sorcerers will probably need to permanently weaken (or even destroy) a given vessel in their possession in order to make use of such power. Alternatively, they could take the Sekhem from different sources, such as....

                      • Human Sacrifice
                      • Lose a dot of Integrity
                      • Sekhem harvested from a Mummy (perhaps through a Greater Amkhat?)


                      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                      What about making a/the entry feature/Merit for being a Sekhem/Utterance Sorcerer, being able to turn a Relic into your (knock-off) Talisman? That justifies the "Has Sekhem 1" when holding it. Makes such a Relic a bit more personal to the sorcerer as well, since not just any Relic will do in a pinch.
                      Funny enough. I had something just like that for a sect of Kindred I made. Basically, they're Kemetic vampires whose advantages are Blood Sorcery and Sekhem Sorcery. And one of the Merits they have - The Rite of the Horizon - allowed them to craft Talismans for their own use.


                      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                      Hmm? Could you replicate/copy it here, or link to it?
                      Here you go.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                        No clue on this, yet. But I'd probably look to the stuff on Vestiges for more ideas on how to handle suppression.
                        I think there is already rules for what happens when a Cult uses one of the Mummy's personal Relic to revive them. Use those?

                        Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                        On a related note, I still think Utterances which require the expenditure of a dot of Sekhem should each cost one dot of the Relic used to invoke them. The Arisen sacrifice a dot of the Sekhem they have when using them, but mortal sorcerers will probably need to permanently weaken (or even destroy) a given vessel in their possession in order to make use of such power. Alternatively, they could take the Sekhem from different sources, such as....

                        • Human Sacrifice
                        • Lose a dot of Integrity
                        • Sekhem harvested from a Mummy (perhaps through a Greater Amkhat?)
                        Sure, makes sense for those that outright cost Sekhem.

                        Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                        Funny enough. I had something just like that for a sect of Kindred I made. Basically, they're Kemetic vampires whose advantages are Blood Sorcery and Sekhem Sorcery. And one of the Merits they have - The Rite of the Horizon - allowed them to craft Talismans for their own use.
                        So there is precedent.


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

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                          I think there is already rules for what happens when a Cult uses one of the Mummy's personal Relic to revive them. Use those?
                          Yeah. Though I'll probably need to revisit those rules to familiarize myself with them.

                          Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                          So there is precedent.
                          So, I assume the Rite of the Horizon works? Granted, it was conceived as a Merit for Kindred Sekhem Sorcerers in the Per Ankh. But I imagine you can make a version of it which applies for all sorcerers?


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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                            So, I assume the Rite of the Horizon works? Granted, it was conceived as a Merit for Kindred Sekhem Sorcerers in the Per Ankh. But I imagine you can make a version of it which applies for all sorcerers?
                            Some of the requirements don't work as is: Mortal Sorcerers need to be able to turn the Relic into a Talisman without Sekhem, since that is how they are gaining Sekhem. Well, unless they use one of the other methods I added above? (Entombed Glory probably won't work, since the Sekhem there is "virtual", but human sacrifice or a Greater Amkhata would be fine). I'm thinking a Willpower dot should be in the costs regardless (perhaps even one Willpower dot per Relic dot?).


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

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
                              Some of the requirements don't work as is: Mortal Sorcerers need to be able to turn the Relic into a Talisman without Sekhem, since that is how they are gaining Sekhem. Well, unless they use one of the other methods I added above? (Entombed Glory probably won't work, since the Sekhem there is "virtual", but human sacrifice or a Greater Amkhata would be fine). I'm thinking a Willpower dot should be in the costs regardless (perhaps even one Willpower dot per Relic dot?).
                              Let me repost the relevant step for making Talismans.

                              -=-

                              Artifact in hand, the mummy retreats to a tomb with a Geometry rating no less than the relic’s rating. Arisen who intend to bind and attune powerful relics may ask to enter the sacred space of a close ally. Every guild has traditions encouraging members to open their doors for this purpose, but a few Arisen, fearing betrayal, look outside the guild to friends who might perhaps be less tempted by the vessel. In that sacred space, the mummy begins a ceremony to bind her soul to the relic. This ritual draws upon the Arisen’s guild-based connection to the relic. She meditates and whispers the secret lore of her guild. After performing the ritual for [two hours per dot of the relic], she sacrifices a dot of Sekhem.
                              Going by this, I would suggest that a sorcerer who draws on himself for Sekhem should spend a dot of Integrity, along with Willpower points equal to the Relic's rating. Human sacrifice and Sekhem harvested via a Greater Amkhat might be effective shortcuts, but both have their respective drawbacks.


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