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What Do Souls Really Give You?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
    Souls also seem important/tied to Sekhem... somehow.
    In my interpretation of Sekhem, it's the stuff left behind when a soul is released by death. Without a body and mind or some kind of arcane support (like, for instance, a soul jar or even the spell that ripped it out), the soul collapses like water without a cup. The 'collapsed' soul is Sekhem and, with a bit of arcane assistance, the 'soul-stuff' can be re-purposed into energy and used to do stuff. Like grease the wheels of the God-Machine or power Mummies or fuel Utterances or stuff.

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    • #47
      I'm going to do something a tad... unadvised.

      Namely, I'm going to make up some stuff regarding how souls fit.

      Assumption #1: Humans have a Socket
      I've called it a "soul hole" before - it's a place where ephemera can interface properly with a physical structure. It makes humans pretty vulnerable to being possessed and Claimed.

      Assumption #2: A Human soul plugs into that Socket
      A soul is made of ephemera (c.f. Werewolf); therefore, it logically plugs into the Socket.

      Assumption #3: Integrity Loss is mental damage
      Or, rather, it represents your mind running into situations that it was not designed to process - intense fear, revulsion, or the Supernatural. Lost Integrity is your mind literally shaking itself to pieces. Plus, Ghosts can only lose Integrity if they are somehow shaken out of their loop - which itself precludes processing information that falls outside the Ghost's operating specifications.

      Assumption #4: Ghosts are the leftovers of your mind, not your soul
      Think about it - nothing in either the soul loss or ephemeral entity sections mention anything about soul loss preventing you from leaving a Ghost. Ghosts also have a Vice and Virtue - which are not part of the soul (otherwise, you'd lose them when you lose your soul). By vague inference (my professor would murder me for these leaps of logic)... well, see the assumption.

      Assumption #5: Vice and Virtue being swapped is the human default, just like only recovering Willpower through Virtue and Vice
      You lose your soul? Your Virtue and Vice swap. You die and leave a Ghost? Virtue and Vice are swapped. Soulless people and Ghosts also can only gain Willpower through their Vice, Virtue, or a True Friend (see next).

      Flaw #1: True Friend?
      I'm not sure how True Friend recovering you Willpower works with this - mainly because it doesn't have any sort of explicit interaction with Soul Loss and I'm reasonably sure that they were written by different people. I dunno about this - so I'm going to ignore it for now.

      Assumption #6: Your Vice is "dirty"
      If we look at Assumption #3, actions in accordance with your Vice give you a penalty to your "prevent mentally damaging myself" rolls. Not having a Soul is actively worse - by analogy, it's like pumping salt water through your mental plumbing. So Willpower recovery through your Vice somehow contains some sort of gunk that ultimately stops up your Willpower recovery.

      Outcome #1: The soul is a patch
      The soul is designed to fix the whole "shake itself to pieces" flaw that the human mind has. It fits into the Socket, throttles your Vice recovery, and expands what you recover from your (cleaner) Virtue. It also patches in Willpower recovery through surrender, designed to prevent people from getting into situations that cause their minds to break.

      Outcome #2: The soul is a repair mechanism
      The soul also cleans out your mental tubing - that's why you rapidly recover Willpower dots and Integrity after getting a new one installed. That's what rest is - you can do more because your mind is squeaky clean.

      Outcome #3: The soul is a defensive mechanism
      For one, it fills up valuable Socket real-estate that other Ephemera might otherwise grab onto. It also acts like a transformer between your mind and Twilight, giving you limited control over that massive amount of resonance you create - hence, the reason you can fuck ephemeral beings up by believing in something really hard.

      Mage-Based Assumption: Supernal Magic is not within human operating parameters
      Supernal magic is a hella nope. Oh, sure, the mind gives off the symbols, but they're all basilisks. So you need a proper translator for your brain to process them without going "fuck it", shutting down for a few seconds, and booting from a previous save.

      Outcome #4: The soul protects you from the Supernal
      Much like how it lets you manipulate resonance, the soul lets you manipulate Supernal symbols defensively. That "shard of the Abyss" that's in there is attached to the transformer - so that Resonance you give off also fucks with the imago of anyone trying to Mage in the area.

      And What About The Gamelines?
      • As far as I can tell, the only Gamelines that can be Soulless are Mages - unless I'm wrong, in which case enlighten me.
      • For vampires, the Beast moved in and ate your soul. Good thing it can pull off the same functions! By extension, Diablerie is you eating another Vampire's Beast.
      • Werewolves have that Socket filled in and wallpapered over; or, arguably, they didn't have it in the first place.
      • A Changeling soul has extensive after-market modification so that it could work in Arcadia. Thank God Machine that thing has no warranty in the first place.
      • Mages? Easy. They essentially modified their soul to work properly with Supernal symbols, and have an emulator for the things installed in their minds.
      • Everyone else? *shrug*

      I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

      So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.


      • #48
        Originally posted by amechra View Post
        And What About The Gamelines?
        • Everyone else? *shrug*
        • Prometheans do not yet have a soul. They have a knock-off from Principal Co., which mostly functions the same way, but, well, sometimes it leaks battery acid where the water should go, and that's pretty bad for the system. Prometheans can slowly modify them, though, and ultimately can get them to a point where it stops being actively harmful.
        • Demons don't have sockets. Their Covers do, though. Instead of a soul, they put themselves in the socket. This mostly works, but it changes what counts as a shock to the system, as the Demon expands past the socket and mucks with the human system itself. (Can a Cover leave a ghost? These assumptions imply yes! But also that a Demon will not leave a ghost, because Demons are souls. Kinda.)
        • Expanding on Changelings: said after-market modifications tend to come with removals and a few leftover gegaws. Said gegaws, when combined, can function like a soul, but lack the elasticity and repair functions of a normal one, hence why Fetches tend to


        • #49
          I'm reasonably certain a Werewolf can be Soulless- idigam can tear out souls and eat them, but they need specialized Servant Forging in order to do it to a werewolf. If we go back to the old analogy of Soul = Jello and what you're terming a Socket = Jello Mould, I think we get the following.

          Mage Based Assumption #2- Gnosis (and/or other Power Stats?) allows you to shape the Socket.
          Attainments warp it, and Legacies more so. Getting a Sleeper soul shores up the loss of Gnosis and therefore the loss of Attainments, but it doesn't "grow back" unless you replace your lost soul with an Awakened one. So, thinking about that, if a Sleeper soul is Jello, then an Awakened Soul is a non-Newtonian fluid. The Jello gets roughly shoved into the Socket but can't fill it properly, while the non-Newtonian fluid conforms to the shape of the Socket and makes it a perfect fit.

          This seems to fit with what we know of Empty Wolves from Werewolf. You can shove a Spirit into a Werewolf's socket, but the Spirit's ephemera doesn't flow and conform to the Socket, so you can't carve new Gifts in there. A Werewolf Soul is fluid, like a Mage soul, so if you hammer out (or in this case, brutally carve) new shapes into the Socket it will flow into it.

          Outcome #5- Mage Souls (and other Esohuman Souls?) are more fluid than Human Souls
          This explains why Ghost Mages tend to be a little more lucid than regular Ghosts, and it explain how they're able to retain the use of Arcana. Without the "shard of the Abyss" attached to the transformer, the Ghost is still imprinted with the Supernal Symbolism that was pressed into the socket. I wonder what would happen if you shoved an Awakened soul into a Sleeper? Probably turn them Banisher, since the Socket doesn't conform to the shape of the Soul, and so all the patterns and symbols get smushed and misshapen. Alternatively, it's a shortcut, and the "shard of the Abyss" is still attached to the Socket.

          My Homebrew Hub


          • #50
            Something interesting you might want to consider about ghosts is that their Virtue/Vice don't invert, to my knowledge, as happens with soul loss. Make of that what you will.


            • #51
              It's entirely possible ghosts get to keep their souls. Do we know if the Soulless can make ghosts?

              My homebrew hub.


              • #52
                Originally posted by Axelgear View Post
                Something interesting you might want to consider about ghosts is that their Virtue/Vice don't invert, to my knowledge, as happens with soul loss. Make of that what you will.
                No, they quite explicitly do, and the similarity to soul loss was commented upon back when GMC was first released.

                Resident Lore-Hound
                Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e


                • #53
                  Just double-checked and, well, bugger my giddy aunt, you're right.


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Arcanist View Post

                    This explains why Ghost Mages tend to be a little more lucid than regular Ghosts, and it explain how they're able to retain the use of Arcana. Without the "shard of the Abyss" attached to the transformer, the Ghost is still imprinted with the Supernal Symbolism that was pressed into the socket.
                    If memory serves there are two types of ghost mage. The first is a ghost with numina and influences that mimic the mage's praxi. The other is a ghost that has the mage's soul attached to it by Death magic and thus has access to their arcana dots.


                    • #55
                      No one ever wants to cover Mummy.

                      They care about souls as much, if not more, than Mages. Here we go, right down the list:
                      • Mummies are immune to possession. Bam. Straight up.
                      • Pillars are literally categories of your 'soul rating'
                      • "...the Shan'iatu and their students did not believe in soul/body duality." Oh, interesting. Pillar expenditure enhances Attributes
                      • Pillar expenditure can activate relics and Utterances (cosmic powers they're not supposed to have access to)
                      • Mummies recover Pillar points by meditating, exercising that third soul-trait of enhancing your higher self
                      • The Soulsight Affinity reveals Virtue, Vice, Pillar ratings, and whether that person's possessed
                      Now, Mummies only exist in the world anymore because they're sheathed in Sekhem, which is a whole other topic of soul-related implications. So here's some interesting correlations:
                      • Sekhem can be spent to refresh Willpower
                      • Sekhem (that can refresh Willpower) can repair a Mummy's sahu (physical form, basically)
                      • Pillars can also be used to seal the flesh, kinda related to the above
                      • What the hell? Sekhem expenditure releases terror Sybaris!
                      So Mummies refine their souls to be better than mortals in all ways: metaphysical heft, emphasizes your higher nature...and...I've yet to figure out how it mitigates your lower nature. Mostly because I haven't looked.

                      It seems they're at least very full of soul, and Sekhem is like...extra soul? Mummies are souls. Maybe. Like, 'pure' souls, and Memory is the delusion (from the soul's point of view) that physical identity actually matters. Since this is a game about playing people but happen to have a supernatural template it's only natural that our Mummy PCs' end goals are reacquiring their sense of self and, ultimately, breaking the bonds of the Rite of Return. In fact, let's discuss Apotheosis:

                      It's literally described as "a soul's complete reclamation of itself. It remains infused with the power of the Rite, but now that power is much more firmly at the soul's command. No longer is the soul tethered by heavy chains to the throne of its master in Duat. The link is broken, the soul takes flight."
                      • Requires, coincidentally enough, high Memory and maximum Pillar ratings
                      • Can only be achieved by your Sekhem dropping to 1. So throwing out your extra soul, which is maybe superficial. Or tainted, at least when infusing a Duat-bound lich slave.
                      • Except now the Mummy uses Morality to fuel what Sekhem did previously. This implies that identity matters to a soul on some level. Maybe

                      Dreams of Avarice also has interesting implications related to all this:

                      I've yet to finish it, but it's something like, "Humans were damned dirty apes but were given the chance to deserve starry A'aru" so perhaps souls were given to them in order to suppress their vice-oriented natural state so that they could indeed see the realm's barren glory


                      • #56
                        On Dreams Of Avarice, possibly further than you've read:
                        The implication seems closer to "humans were given souls for the purpose of feeding the Devourer through the Law of Suffering". They are roughly called "sufferers with names". Of course, A'aru exists in defiance of the Law, and having a soul in the way they do is also implied to be why humans can reach it.

                        Identity is vital to souls in the context of Mummy, even before the consideration of Will and Memory as its defining pillars. Names are important for this reason too. And you may not be too far from the truth with the assertion that reducing your Sekhem to 1 for Apotheosis is "throwing out your extra soul". I don't think Sekhem should necessarily be conflated with soulstuff, but there are statements that the meaning behind that is to shave off all the life and power held in your soul that is under the dominion of the Judges, as opposed to being yours.

                        On the overall subject in the CofD: I think that when one traditionally thinks of the soul, it's more accurate to think of it as the "vessel", and not the force that when removed inflicts the Souless condition. (Or instead as both of them together.) It doesn't need to be your soul that's returned to remove the condition, after all. And this goes even for some references in gamelines where there is the capability to inflict that. The line between the meanings is there, but it's blurry (purposely so, given the themes and tone of the setting).

                        Someone in the forums previously used the metaphor of a hearth and its fire to explain the subject. The soul which can be removed, which grants drive and metaphysical weight to a person, is the fire. Even if you put it out, the hearth is still there. But how useful can it really be without the fire? Well, pretty sure it was put in a more clarifying way, but that was the gist of it.
                        Last edited by YeOfLittleFaith; 04-09-2016, 11:18 AM.


                        • #57
                          I like the hearth metaphor. Sounds like something a mystic in-world would say too.

                          Doesn't killing a mortal produce Sekhem? And Sekhem is described both as the raw prima materia of the Fallen World (likened to radioactive waste) and the stuff of life? As in, all that life is, all that life remembers, etc? So, maybe Sekhem isn't, strictly, Soul, but is 'soulstuff'. Soul strata? Whatever. The basis for the Soul, the thing that makes the socket.

                          How does Azoth fit into all this then? (Not in relation to Sekhem. Just in general)

                          My Homebrew Hub


                          • #58
                            Sekhem is essentially fundamental life force, with all its memory, emotional attachment, and resonance. The Soul seems to carry its Sekhem from the first moment of life to its passing into death, and Will can influence and shape Sekhem. I'm not sure what that means for the metaphor, but Mummies rise by the shape of their soul (and body) being filled by this energy.

                            I have no idea about Azoth, in no small part because I never read the entirety of Promethean and it was a while ago.
                            Last edited by YeOfLittleFaith; 04-10-2016, 03:23 PM.


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by YeOfLittleFaith View Post
                              I have no idea about Azoth, in no small part because I never read the entirety of Promethean and it was a while ago.
                              Azoth is a self-sustaining aggregator loop in the Divine Fire.

                              Resident Lore-Hound
                              Currently Consuming: Demon: the Descent 1e


                              • #60
                                Azoth is like a bootleg knock-off soul from China.