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Beginning Attempt at Converting Tianpan Xiao

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  • Beginning Attempt at Converting Tianpan Xiao

    Largely because I need to know if I'm facing the right direction. The idea is that in 2E, rather than "just" trying to fight the Beast, the founder was deliberately attempting to teach it more positive emotions, empathy, and emulate the Humanity he lost. He didn't exactly fail, to be fair; Siren Beasts are distinctly better at aping the Man than other Daeva. Problem is, it's not the Man, it's the Beast wearing a Man mask, and ultimately, it is still fundamentally a creature of predatory relationships; an example of what happens when the Daeva think Majesty is a perfect substitute for the connection with mortals they crave.

    So, without further ado:

    Tianpan Xiao

    The ones who make you part of them.

    Why you want to be us:

    Ever want to not just be the center of the room, but the center of the world? That's what Sirens do; we don't just draw crowds, we assimilate them, make them extensions of our own feelings. You happy? You've made the world a brighter place just by smiling. You sad? Even the most self-absorbed idiot will cry with and for you. You genuinely, righteously pissed about something? Not only do you have a ready-made mob, you've got them all facing the right direction. You're the teacher and god, and the planet is your temple and classroom.

    Why you should fear us:

    Mob psychology is terrifying for anyone attached to individuality; knowing that, there's a part of your brain, part of your soul, that shuts down your own thoughts to match the thoughts of the group? That's the stuff dystopias are made of. Sirens are walking embodiments of that; everything a Siren feels, you feel, a basic part of your mind that treats the Xiao with the fawning devotion of a mirror. Call them demons, call them tyrants, they're almost as surprised as you after they make small talk to you, and you end up calling them "master."

    Why we should fear ourselves:

    It's easy to forget that just because we supply the feelings does not mean there was a surfeit of them. We just added our own idle passions to the mix; you add anger to someone, that doesn't fundamentally change who they are, it just means they're steaming pissed about something - which, if someone already had motive to murder someone, means we just supplied motive without thinking about it. Consequences matter, but what matters even more is when we're so used to people being extensions of us that we start viewing them as tools and toys. You can't find wholeness or control in a planet of dolls, and if you've forgotten that other people are human, it's not exactly much of a stretch for you to be right behind them.

    Parent Clan: Daeva

    Disciplines: Celerity, Majesty, Nightmare, Vigor

    Bloodline Bane: The Sirens were founded, essentially, because one Serpent started viewing his Clan Weakness as a strength, a drive to connect to the people he had left behind with his discarded mortality. Naturally, they still suffer the Daeva curse of obsessing over repeated subjects of feeding.

    In addition, the Xiao are extremely emotional and prone to mood swings, a side effect of their grandsire's own desperate attempts to teach the Beast more emotions than hunger, fear, and anger. He did, and many a Siren has cursed his name after she makes a fool of herself at Elysium with her maudlin antics for the fifth time. The Tianpan suffer from the Passionate Curse; as their Humanity falls, more and more of the Beast's attempts to ape the Man's emotional complexity come to the fore, and the Beast has never understood the meaning of "restraint" in its unlife and finds the fact that the vampire denies either her comfort or her hidden side laughable. When faced with an opportunity to regain Willpower from the Mask or Dirge and does not spend significant effort working towards it (she does not need to regain Willpower, but must at least make an honest attempt), the Xiao must roll Humanity; success means that the Siren can continue on her merry way, failure indicates that the Siren must spend a point of Willpower to avoid acting on impulse or she must indulge; she regains Willpower as normal, but cannot moderate in any way in the process. While, say, a Rebel Xiao willingly following her nature can subtly insult the Prince in a way she knows only he and his resentful advisors will get, not making a scene and impressing potential allies in the process, that same Rebel following the Curse is likely to launch into a profanity-laden polemic in the middle of a crowded street more likely to amuse him than anything else. The ST is encouraged to give Beats if the player can RP this Curse as being self-destructive in some way.

    As a side effect, when undergoing the Passionate Curse, the Sirens have a +2 bonus to any rolls to invoke Xinyao techniques. Fear the inhuman Siren who feels her dreams and identity threatened. Especially if you're on her side.

    Bloodline Gift:

    Xinyao, Chinese for "heart-biting", is the set of meditative and performative techniques that essentially allow the Xiao to transfer his own raging emotions to somebody else. When a Serpent comes into the bloodline, it starts with, depending on who you ask, the most useless or potent ability of the entire bloodline; because a Siren's Beast actually does feel (feral, insane) versions of human passions, the Siren can deliberately cause mortals he meets to mimic his own state of mind to the point where they don't notice anything's wrong. Nothing in the subject of this ability actually changes in any noticeable way, but given how her emotions are currently tuned to the Siren's, she may write off the predatory glare and pallid skin as being completely normal. When conversing with or singing to mortals, roll the Siren's Presence + Empathy or Expression (respectively) - the highest Composure of the mortals in the group. Every success raises the vampire's effective Humanity by one when interacting socially with these mortals for the rest of the night; it's not uncommon that elder Xiao have been mistaken as ancilla or even neonates given the ease of how they interact with kine. This roll can only be attempted once per night per mortal (so if the Xiao meets a tough crowd and rolls no successes, and one of the creeped out mortals ends up in a different room with the same Xiao that night when he rolls an exceptional success, she will still view him as that weirdo and be unaffected by his charisma, likely wondering why everyone seems to not notice the slightly yellowed eyes and him glancing at healthy people's necks).

    Xiao-Exclusive Devotions:

    Stoke the Flames (Nightmare *, Majesty *): What many consider to be the defining ability of Xinyao, any Siren who has tapped into her natural potential learns how the Predatory Aura can inflame more passions than just base animal instincts. When Lashing Out, the Xiao may instead chose to inflame an emotion the target is already feeling into a sudden outburst not dissimilar to the Xiao's own Bloodline Weakness. It doesn't last very long, but it usually leaves the victim more than open to the "advice" Xiao are known for. This is identical to a normal Lashing Out attempt, except the Xiao rolls Presence + Empathy + (Majesty for a positive emotion, Nightmare for a negative) vs. Resolve + Blood Potency. Should the Xiao win, every success she scores results in a turn of a distracting emotional outburst of an emotion chosen by the Xiao, with the limitation the Siren must be aware the target was feeling that emotion when she Lashed Out. Any action to resolve that outburst (fighting an enemy for anger, cheering up for sadness) gains a +3 bonus while other actions suffer a -2 penalty. This affects both the victim himself and anything that directly relates to him; the stereotypical Siren feeding strategy is to induce minor feelings of lust or fear, then spike them with this Devotion and suggest the food source retreat to somewhere private with the Xiao. More importantly, it makes the Xiao's suggestions sound very, very reasonable; people have a tendency to find logical reasoning for their decisions or plans after the fact.

    Guiding the Conflagration (Majesty ****): The Xiao find the idea of merely inspiring "Serve me" to be laughably simplistic. The real flexibility of Majesty is not to briefly turn a person into a fawning sycophant, it's to turn many persons into a single cadre all working towards the same thing. When having line of sight to at least 10 people (which can be mortals, Kindred, or stranger things) who are aware of each other, the Siren spends 2 Vitae and unleashes an emotional impulse she is currently feeling upon them, rolling Manipulation + Expression + Majesty as an extended action, each roll taking a single turn of the Siren making an emotional display of that feeling (such as laughter for joy, painful crying for grief, or an impassioned speech for rage). Should the Siren accumulate the highest Composure + Blood Potency in the crowd in successes, the emotion settles itself deep within the crowd, and they develop the Mob Psychology Condition; all members of the group gain an extra Aspiration chosen by the Xiao (the Storyteller decides whether or not it matches the feeling drawn on by the Siren and may veto it if it seems unrelated or contradictory), gaining a +2 bonus to any Teamwork rolls to pursue that Aspiration and the Xiao's Majesty in a penalty to resist attempts to spur them into actions based on the Aspiration; the Condition fades when the Aspiration is completed or the end of the scene, whichever comes first. Please note the Xiao does not actually control the crowd, only sets its goal; more than one Siren has met her Final Death when an enemy proved a better orator than her.

    Shackle the Burning (Nightmare ****): The greatest fear of the Xiao is to lose his mind to his raging passion. An instinctive fear of humanity is to lose their own mental autonomy. This gives both fears a synchronicity the original Xiao Tianpan learned to exploit to give his mind a measure of its lost inner peace when he needed all of his reason, at the cost of another's. Spend 2 Vitae and 1 Willpower and roll Presence + Empathy + Nightmare vs. Composure + Blood Potency. Success indicates the Xiao has successfully transferred the passions alien to his Beast to his victim, and with it, his capacity to be controlled by said emotions at all. The victim gains the Moat of Chaos Condition; any attempt to influence the triggering Xiao socially (whether through mundane Skills or Disciplines) instead targets the victim, any external social provocation to frenzy instead affects the victim (if the victim is a mortal, then the attempt is simply wasted), and should the Xiao fail an attempt to resist the Passionate Curse, it is instead the victim who acts on his impulses. This is obviously very traumatic and often provokes detachment rolls in the Siren should the victim suffer long-term problems from his brief use as a shield against the Xiao's own emotions (the Sirens tend to favor their own ghouls for this, who willingly put themselves in an area where they won't suffer criminal charges). The Condition, and the beneficial effects (which do not include the Siren frenzying on his own), is resolved at the end of a scene, and only one person can be subject to this treatment at one time.
    Last edited by Leliel; 06-05-2018, 06:40 PM.



  • #2
    look's good!


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    • #3
      Aside from the bane (and I like yours a lot better), this is pretty much exactly how I converted them for a game I ran, so I highly approve.

      Xiao are one of the many bloodlines that had a cool concept and kind of a redundant power. Reading Xinyo, it feels a bit beside the point compared to Majesty and/or Nightmare, though in fairness, that's with the benefit of hindsight. 1e bloodline disciplines often favored specificity over utility, so it is what it is.



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      • #4
        Originally posted by Yossarian View Post
        Aside from the bane (and I like yours a lot better), this is pretty much exactly how I converted them for a game I ran, so I highly approve.

        Xiao are one of the many bloodlines that had a cool concept and kind of a redundant power. Reading Xinyo, it feels a bit beside the point compared to Majesty and/or Nightmare, though in fairness, that's with the benefit of hindsight. 1e bloodline disciplines often favored specificity over utility, so it is what it is.

        Yep, that's why I gave them Nightmare; for them, they begin by simply learning to "exhale" their fear in the form of Nightmare, it's with Xinyao they learn Devotions that allow them to unleash other emotions; the Tianpan Xiao are masters at spinning humans to follow their will, the problem is that in order to do that, they can't just put on a facade; they have to humanity what hyperreality is to reality, seeking meaning and emotional depth where they can't find it in themselves. So they make it brick by bloody brick.


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        • #5
          Alright, did their Devotions. Tell me what you think!


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