Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

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Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Leo » Wed Jan 22, 2014 12:13 pm

I have been working for some time to create good improvised magic rules for lores. You created the universe, and yet you can do 5 set things with powers. Even in OWOD, Angels can only use demon lores. Which is silly. So here is what I came up with:

You no longer have dots in a lore. You are granted access to a cosmic power. You have automatic access to your primary lore. You may pick up access to your other house and the common lores. You can do ANYTHING that falls within that lore, any aspect of reality, any power that is within that lore can be done. At a cost. Powers are divided into two categories, for discussions sake lets call them Subtle and Vulgar (Though I like Subtle and Warping).

Subtle: Subtle uses of a lore represent going through back door means to very covertly manipulating the fabric of reality. This represents basic powers that don't overtly warp reality such as sensing powers, very basic protections and healings. These powers don't cost anything and don't set off unseen senses.

Vulgar: These are incredibly powerful uses of lores. Obvious warping of reality, it holds the risk of revealing the true nature of the demon to nearby mortals, and acting as a beacon to other supernaturals. They always cost a conviction to use. When building a power, it has aspects.

Lesser (+/-1): These aspects are things such as touch range. Lethal damage. Trivial warpings.
Medial (+/- 2): Ranged abilities. Aggravated damage.
Greater (+/-3): Double range. Mass area effect.

These multipliers add up when determining a power. They will affect the demon in one of these ways:
1. It can be released as a beacon. Those in the vacinity can make a draw to gain sylables of the demons true name. The total modifier decreases the number of successes to get a sylable. (Remember that people have a number of syllables equal to 10+ faith. It takes an exceptional success to get a syllable). The more powerful your lore, the more likely people will learn your true name.
2. Take it instead as a penalty to your lore activation.
3 (Maybe, debating this one.) Take it as resistant lethal

This modifier can be bought down with conviction points on a one per one basis. The dice pool of lores will be decided at the time, they will consist of Attribute+Skill+Faith. The Attribute will be measure in Power, Finesse, Resistance and you may use any stat from that category you wish. Ex: If it is deemed a power uses a Resistance trait for the dice pool, you could use Stamina, Resolve or Composure.

Example:
Tyriel comes up to a demon attacking a mortal. He cannot reach them in time, but knows the lore of decay. Tyriel decides to use his knowledge of death to destroy the demons host body. He reaches out with a hand. He is using a medial power for range, and then another medial for aggravated damage. This brings the multiplier up to 4. Tyriel decides to spend 3 conviction (1 for the vulgarity, and 2 for modifier) bringing it down to 1. He decides he will take the -1 to his dice pool activation. It is decided that the dice pool will be Resistance + Medicine+ Faith, Tyriel decides to use Resolve for his trait.

You can stack modifiers. For instance if I wanted to quadruple my range, I could take two Greater aspects to my ability. You can stack as high as you want, just remember that unless you take it as a minus to your roll, people will be learning your true name very very quickly.
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Fetch » Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:04 pm

Treating Lores as binary (you either have it or you don't) certainly simplifies some things and the idea of the casting system is interesting, especially the trade off between risk of true name exposure, penalty, or cost. However I do foresee some difficulties you might want to consider.

Making everything the same difficulty tends to lead to players just hammering every problem with the highest power level they can manage. You don't need to separate things into dot levels but without some drawback you tend to get AOE agg fire (or equivalent) every single fight because "why not?". You have a little separation now in terms of Lethal vs Agg but I think it needs to be expanded upon, especially as dealing damage is the least of what most Lores can do.

Second, I think you want a clear mechanical line between subtle and vulgar. This is another reason I think you want to expand the penalties/power building aspect of the improvised system.

Third, when dice pool is only tangentially related to power (at best) there's no reason not to always pick highest Attribute + highest Skill. This problem is double for improvised powers. In Changeling there is a thematic connection between power and pool which can seem arbitrary to some players. However changelings only create Contracts once and a while so the ST has time to hammer down a pool when that happens and the ruling then stands. However when PC's are improvising new powers all the time there isn't likely to be a chance to consider thematic relevance and as such pools are likely to arrive at highest + highest with a minimum of BS to justify it. As such you'll probably be happier either using a set pool or guidelines for pool creation.

Finally, I'm not clear on exactly where you want the lines between Lores drawn. For example creating a flaming sword seems to fit in "ANYTHING that falls within" Lore of Flame. So are burning swords Crafts or Flame or both? If you want firm lines you'll need to add more restrictions because right now it looks like you're aiming at Arcana style "do anything."

My recommendation would be the following refinement of your system:

Lores
Demons, by their divine right, have access to the Lores they once used to create the world. Each Demon has instinctive use of their primary Lore and can learn to access others. Once a Demon understands a given Lore they can incorporate it into their Evocations at any level. Demons can even combine Lores to create fantastic effects, such as breathing life into a rock to form a golem. Demons can always incorporate themselves into their Lores. For example it would take Lore of Storms and Lore of Flesh to turn a human body into water but only Lore of Storms to turn one's self into water.

When preparing an Evocation the Demon first choses the factors they will use. The sum of these factors determines the Potency of the Evocation. Demons may spend Conviction to buy down the Potency of an Evocation on a one-for-one basis.

If the Potency of the Evocation is above 0 it costs 1 Conviction to cast, otherwise it is free. If the Potency is below 0 it is subtle enough not to set off Unseen Senses.

* Note: A Potency 0 Evocation is free but still sets off Unseen Senses. 1 Conviction can be spent to drop the Potency to -1 making it invisible to Unseen Senses.

The demon has a few options as to how to invoke the Lore(s) for their Evocation.

• They can release the full glory of the Lore as a beacon into the world. With positive Potency this creates dramatic effects related to the Lore and increases the chance of Revelation in mortals while negative Potency subtly masks the magic such that mortals are less likely to notice anything out of the ordinary happened and reduces chance of Revelation. In either case this provides a bonus/penalty equal to the Potency to anyone attempting to discern the demon's true name from the Evocation.

• They can contain the Lore internally, inverting the Potency and taking it as a bonus/penalty to the Lore activation pool. For example a potency -1 Evocation would give +1 to the casting pool while a Potency 5 Evocation would give -5.

(Maybe, Maybe not option)
• They can ground the power of the Lore in their host (or a thrall?), suffering(inflicting?) resistance Lethal damage equal to the absolute value of the Evocation.

Next the player determines the Test Pool, consisting of Attribute + Skill + Faith. If the Evocation's Attribute is Power for Evocations with Potency above 0, Finesse for those with Potency of 0 or less. Resistance can be used when using and Evocation on one's self. When in a host body the Demon uses the highest Attribute of the appropriate category.

* Skill could be replaced with Lore if Lores have dots that determine dice pool instead of power. Each Lore could be associated with a Skill but that's likely to get strained if we try not to double up. Maybe Skill is based on the Skill used to create or use the subject of the Evocation. You can enchant (or fireball) a gun with Crafts or Firearms but not Persuasion.

Additionally a second pool is used equal to the Demon's Torment to determine if the Evocation becomes dominated by the demon's torment.

If the standard pool gains equal or more successes than the high torment pool the demon retains control of their Evocation and allocates successes as per the power being evoked. If the torment pool dominates then the Evocation is twisted by the demon's Torment, replacing one of the Evocation factors with an equal but more destructive option. Often this means the Effect of the Evocation is changed to a similar but corrupted version from the same body of Lore. In the case of damaging or corrupting Evocations often another factor is changed to make them more indiscriminate in their destruction, such as changing the range on a fireball to area of effect instead, harming all allies and enemies alike.

Lastly, if the demon successfully invoked their Evocation they can spend a Willpower to make the effect permanent. With an Exceptional Success they can chose to instead spend a Willpower Dot to make the effect permanent and part of the natural world. For example a wall of water thus treated would count as mundane to someone sensing magic and after the original water dries up if more is spilled there it will naturally flow up into the same wall as that is the natural shape water flows to in the area.

* A bunch of Lores have "spend a WP to make it permanent" so you want to add that to these rules. I like the exceptional success option as it allows for some really cool synergy and for truly remaking the world.

Effect
-1 Sensory Power, detecting or understanding something of the Lore, such as analyzing a soul for supernatural nature
0 Mundane Manipulations, changing or shaping a thing in ways it could naturally be changed, forcing water to flow in a given direction
1 Supernatural Manipulations, changeling or shaping a thing in ways it could not naturally be changed, forcing water to form a wall
1 Mundane Modification, changing the properties of a thing in natural ways, such as honing Attributes or changing facial features
2 Supernat Modifications, changeling things in clearly unnatural ways, such as giving a human cat claws or enchanting an item as a relic
2 Mundane Making, creating or transforming mundane things of the Lore, summoning a wolf
3 Supernatural Making, creating or transforming supernatural things, shapeshifting into a fire-breathing hell hound

Range
-1 Self
0 Touch
1 Line of Sight/Perception
* Sympathetic Evocations require appropriate Lore Effects included?

Targets (Targets can be used to specify targets or to except targets from AoE)
0 One Target
1 Ten Targets
2 Hundred Targets
so on

Area of Effect
0 None
1 Faith Radius Yards
2 Faith Radius Miles?

Duration
-1 Instant
0 Scene
1 Day
2 Moon
3 Year

Environment
-1 Resonance (if the demon makes use of symbolism of the Lore(s) they are using)
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Grreg » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:03 pm

If we go with using this new approach I would suggest that people sit down and work out a number of effects that they think they will be using often and hammering out with staff what pool it would be with what penalties and costs. Otherwise I am concerned that combat or even some more active RP will be bogged down with questions about what people want to do, what they can do, at what costs and eventually complaints that the pools should be different or why is it so hard to do X simple thing?
I feel Having a bunch of example power effects already made and agreed on will help this immensely and players can take the examples and modify them to fit by increasing range, damage type, or what not.
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Leo » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:13 pm

Those exist. They are the lore from the book. We just have to write up the potency of them. Which won't be hard.
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Leo » Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:21 pm

I like this write up. I really do, but I do have a concern about the area of effect radius. Miles As potency two might be a bit much. Maybe double yards?
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Fetch » Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:58 pm

I haven't exactly memorized all the Lores but from what I see there's a trend that most of the Demon powers are personal scale (single target) and a few are square yards but those that are bigger are allot bigger. We can see this especially in the size of Earthquake which is square feet (effectively single target), square yards, or square miles.

Yards -> Miles is a big jump but I think that's simply reflecting the source.
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Leo » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:05 pm

fair enough. I am just imagining Iblis fireballing a 3 mile radius
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Ovid » Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:07 pm

Needs a way of intentionally invoking torment. The temptation of giving in to your hate and pain of your own volition is kinda the point Torment, after all.

Easiest would probably using it in place of Faith in the formula.

Obviously, with an associated degeneration roll and probably some constraints on what kind of thing you can do with a Tormented Lore. Off the cuff, I'd say you can't use Torment to benefit a person other than yourself at all, and probably can't use it to benefit yourself in any kind of long term way.
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Fetch » Thu Jan 23, 2014 10:05 pm

Lores
Demons, by their divine right, have access to the Lores they once used to create the world. Each Demon has instinctive use of their primary Lore and can learn to access others. Once a Demon understands a given Lore they can incorporate it into their Evocations at any level. Demons can even combine Lores to create fantastic effects, such as breathing life into a rock to form a golem. Demons can always incorporate themselves into their Lores. For example it would take Lore of Storms and Lore of Flesh to turn a human body into water but only Lore of Storms to turn one's self into water.

When preparing an Evocation the Demon first choses the factors they will use. The sum of these factors determines the Potency of the Evocation. Demons may spend Conviction to buy down the Potency of an Evocation on a one-for-one basis.

If the Potency of the Evocation is above 0 it costs 1 Conviction to cast, otherwise it is free. If the Potency is below 0 it is subtle enough not to set off Unseen Senses.

* Note: A Potency 0 Evocation is free but still sets off Unseen Senses. 1 Conviction can be spent to drop the Potency to -1 making it invisible to Unseen Senses.

The demon has a few options as to how to invoke the Lore(s) for their Evocation.

• They can release the full glory of the Lore as a beacon into the world. With positive Potency this creates dramatic effects related to the Lore and increases the chance of Revelation in mortals while negative Potency subtly masks the magic such that mortals are less likely to notice anything out of the ordinary happened and reduces chance of Revelation. In either case this provides a bonus/penalty equal to the Potency to anyone attempting to discern the demon's true name from the Evocation.

• They can contain the Lore internally, inverting the Potency and taking it as a bonus/penalty to the Lore activation pool. For example a potency -1 Evocation would give +1 to the casting pool while a Potency 5 Evocation would give -5.

• They can ground the power of the Lore in their host, suffering resistance Lethal damage equal to the absolute value of the Evocation.

Next the player determines the Test Pool, consisting of Attribute + Lore + Faith. If the Evocation's Attribute is Power for Evocations with Potency above 0, Finesse for those with Potency of 0 or less. Resistance can be used when using and Evocation on one's self. When in a host body the Demon uses the highest Attribute of the appropriate category.

Additionally a second pool is used equal to the Demon's Torment to determine if the Evocation becomes dominated by the demon's torment.

If the standard pool gains equal or more successes than the high torment pool the demon retains control of their Evocation and allocates successes as per the power being evoked. If the torment pool dominates then the Evocation is twisted by the demon's Torment, replacing one of the Evocation factors with an equal but more destructive option. Often this means the Effect of the Evocation is changed to a similar but corrupted version from the same body of Lore. In the case of damaging or corrupting Evocations often another factor is changed to make them more indiscriminate in their destruction, such as changing the range on a fireball to area of effect instead, harming all allies and enemies alike.

Lastly, if the demon successfully invoked their Evocation they can spend a Willpower to make the effect permanent.* With an Exceptional Success they can chose to instead spend a Willpower Dot to make the effect permanent and part of the natural world.* For example a wall of water thus treated would count as mundane to someone sensing magic and after the original water dries up if more is spilled there it will naturally flow up into the same wall as that is the natural shape water flows to in the area.

* Willpower cannot be spent to make an Instant Evocation permanent.

Effect
-1 Sensory Power, detecting or understanding something of the Lore, such as analyzing a soul for supernatural nature
0 Mundane Manipulations, changing or shaping a thing in ways it could naturally be changed, forcing water to flow in a given direction
1 Supernatural Manipulations, changeling or shaping a thing in ways it could not naturally be changed, forcing water to form a wall
1 Mundane Modification, changing the properties of a thing in natural ways, such as honing Attributes or changing facial features
2 Supernatural Modifications, changeling things in clearly unnatural ways, such as giving a human cat claws or enchanting an item as a relic
2 Mundane Making, creating or transforming mundane things of the Lore, summoning a wolf
3 Supernatural Making, creating or transforming supernatural things, shapeshifting into a fire-breathing hell hound

Range
-1 Self
0 Touch
1 Line of Sight/Perception
* Sympathetic Evocations require appropriate Lore Effects

Targets (Targets can be used to specify targets or to except targets from AoE)
0 One Target
1 Ten Targets
2 Hundred Targets
so on

Area of Effect
0 None
1 Faith Radius Yards
2 Faith Radius Miles

Duration
-1 Instant
0 Scene
1 Day
2 Moon
3 Year

Mitigation
-1 Resonance (if the demon makes use of symbolism of the Lore(s) they are using)
-1 per Conviction spent
-1 House Lore
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Re: Suggested Improvised Demon Lores

Postby Fetch » Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:59 pm

Ok, so we saw some room for improvements at game. I will/have already (depending when you are reading) edited the one's I already discussed with Jon above. The other's I'll need Staff comment on:

The multi-buff problem. We don't want people spam-casting to boost, say, Strength to over 9,000. Proposed solution: Multiple Evocations applying the same bonus/penalty don't stack, only the most potent applies. So if I have a Potency 3 +2 Strength and a Potency 4 +1 Strength I only get the +1. This prevents spam stacking and makes sense that the most powerful magic overrides lesser versions. I would count the bonus to a stat and the penalty to a stat as two different effects so you could have one +Strength magic and one -Strength magic.

It also opens room for some interesting attacks. If you've buffed your own Strength for +7 with a Potency 3 Evocation I can override that if I can cast a more Potent +1 Strength to knock you down a peg.


The other big idea, brought to you by Bryce, is that the Conviction one can spend to lower Potency is capped by one's Lore dots. If I only have <Lore> • I can only spend 1 Conviction to buy down potency. This dose strike me as a good way to give a little more oomph to Lore dots since Fait his likely to be the preferred dice pool booster.


I'd like to add an example bonuses and penalties chart. Something like the following but it could use some more examples.
+2 Demon is Beaconing their primary Lore
+1 to +3 Demon takes at least a minute/10 min/hour
-1 Area is completely inappropriate for the Lore (Lore of the Forge in the middle of the forest)
-1 Attempting an Evocation in the presence of 0 Faith mortal?
-2 Attempting to overwrite an already present Evocation (replace +Strength with better + Strength)
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