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Author Topic: [Lendrhald] Hostile fantasy setting  (Read 30679 times)
Telarus, KSC
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Posts: 9


« Reply #60 on: June 28, 2006, 12:06:22 PM »

Quote
Is all the cool stuff you mentioned in the FASA edition of Earthdawn?  A friend of mine has it.  I looked through it long ago, and don't remember any of this (though that could just be a reflection on my memory)...

Hey David!

If your friend has just the basic book, then there's some pretty good stuff at the end near the creatures/Horrors section. I'll dip into the RedBrick Compilation that I just got (two over 500 page books with just about all the important setting stuff, and a smoothed out rules set).
Quote
Foolish Name-givers! Knowledge is a powerful tool in this age of magic. Knowledge of the Horrors, however, invites their touch upon your mind and heart. The wise Name-giver will remember this and be wary.
• Vasdenjas, Great Dragon, Master of Secrets •
As Names are important to the magical nature of reality in the setting, reading the Name of a Horror in a book may open a channel to possible taint.

Here's a breakdown of some of the cool horror powers:

  • Animate Dead: Your basic trap the fleeing soul back into the body, and manipulate it to the Horror's ends. Many Horrors allow the trapped soul to retain almost total consciousness, just to get a buzz off the despair the soul feels at having to obey it's every whim. This can lead to situation such as an undead told, "Do not allow any living thing other than me to pass this gate." At this point, characters may in fact end up talking to the undead as it stands stoicly in front of them, learning back-story, etc, until one of them crosses the line of the door, when suddenly the face of the withered corpse collapses in despair, whispers "I'm sorry" and begins to thrash the characters.
  • Corrupt Reality: "Typical effects of Corrupt Reality include the everpresent "eye" images associated with Aazhvat Many-Eyes, as well as the fouling of food and drink, the creation of eerie sounds or changes in temperature, the transformation of mundane objects into slime-covered monstrosities, and the induced rapid decay
    of inanimate objects."
  • Damage Shift: Allows the Horror to transfer the damage it just took from one attack on-to anyone within touch or sight distance (range varies by horror). Icky thing in the system is that this doesn't take an action. May be used once or multiple times per round (again, caries by Horror).
  • Disrupt Magic: The ability to pick apart the astal patterns of spell/enchantments/powers.
  • Dream Shape: Ability to enter and control victims dreams. Can be used to plant false information, induce desired mental states/emotions, or just plain torture.
  • Forge Horror Construct: twist a living or dead being into a monstrocity that will follow it's masters bidding.
  • Karma Boost: Allows the horror to offer marked characters bits of it's own power to use. Each bit of power accepted allows for a change of further corruption into a Horro Construct. This usually translates into a whole lot of bonus dice available for the character to use on various things.
  • Skin Shift: One of the nastier attack powers, this rips the victims skin away from the muscles and ligaments, and rotates in around his/her body. This could leave the mouth somewhere on the side of the head for example. Lots of nasty dice penalties apply to the victim in addition to damage.
  • Though Worm: A type of mental domination, the Horror, once it has succeded in planting a thought worm, has the option to offer suggestions to the character. Failing to act on these suggestion allows the Horror a ranged damage test (1,000 mile radius). Acceptance of the suggestion earns the character (pc or npc) Legend Points (basically experience points). If they deny the suggenstion, in addition to damage, the next suggestion carries a greater reward of Legend Points.
  • Many horrors also cast spells, usually of the Nethermantic school.
These are listed as generic Horror powers, common to many types of horrors. Named or Unique horrors may get unique powers that related to their niche in the game.
For example, the Named Horror Fla Tra Lys, a Named Bloatform, has this description:

This slow, globular-shaped Horror has six short, thick tentacles. When it moves, bulky masses shift and rotate beneath its scabby hide. A shimmering haze rises from it, and it emits a cool, sterile smell like rubbing alcohol. Unlike other bloatforms, Fla Tra Lys cannot float. Survivors of Fla Tra Lys’s attacks named the Horror “the Eater of Music” for its horrible effect on music. The Horror uses a unique magical effect to turn music played in its vicinity into wretched, grating noises. Apparently the Horror delights in the disquiet this causes and often manifests where music is being played.

And is known for offering artistic suggestions to victims, which if acted upon create weird, unsettling, and horrifying peices of art. It also rewards those it acts as muse to by hinting at locations of legendery treasure.
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Joshua AE Fontany, KSC
David Berg
Member

Posts: 612


« Reply #61 on: June 28, 2006, 04:37:49 PM »

Joshua-

Thanks for taking the time to type all these powers up.  Some of them (Dream Shape, some of Corrupt Reality) are already on my lists, but many others I think I can adapt and add.

[li]Animate Dead: Your basic trap the fleeing soul back into the body[/li]
[li]Forge Horror Construct: twist a living or dead being into a monstrocity that will follow it's masters bidding.[/li]
[li]Thought Worm: A type of mental domination[/li]
[li]Karma Boost: Allows the horror to offer marked characters bits of it's own power to use.[/li]

I like this, as well as various other forms of "leave humans in a horrible state for some purpose" (most of these effects could be instant or gradual):
- rigging corpses to explode
- twisting the body into something the monster controls while the mind is unaltered and powerless
- trapping consciousness in a dead body that slowly rots
- mental control over actions
- implanted suggestions that take effect when somehow triggered (known or unknown)
- "marking" people, with ability to affect them in subtler ways over distance, including:
     - tempting them with offers of power
     - punishing them with pain if they resist commands

Various ways to accomplish these:
- coat person in something they can't entirely remove
- inject egg / organ / goo / poison / seed / thorn / worm into person
- prolonged visual contact
- prolonged physical contact
- burn mark into person
- pheromones / gas

the creation of eerie sounds or changes in temperature
the transformation of mundane objects into slime-covered monstrosities

I'll add these to my other "corrupt reality" effects...

This slow, globular-shaped Horror has six short, thick tentacles.
When it moves, bulky masses shift and rotate beneath its scabby hide.
A shimmering haze rises from it
it emits a cool, sterile smell like rubbing alcohol.

...and these to my "monster appearance" elements.

[li]Damage Shift: Allows the Horror to transfer the damage it just took from one attack on-to anyone within touch or sight distance[/li]

Described thus, this is too metagamey for my taste, but I bet there's an in-game way to achieve the same results:  Every time a PC strikes the monster with any hand-held weapon, the monster automatically delivers some attack via this touch connection.  It could be:
- some mystical version of an electric shock (cold / heat / fear / energy drain)
- an unavoidably fast physical response.

[li]Skin Shift: One of the nastier attack powers, this rips the victims skin away from the muscles and ligaments, and rotates in around his/her body.[/li]

This is a potentially cool version of the "mutilate characters" monster capability... I'll have to think about which kinds of effects will be effectively horrifying and which will seem nonsensical and contrived...

[li]Disrupt Magic: The ability to pick apart the astal patterns of spell/enchantments/powers.[/li]

Spells/powers may not come up, but enchantments definitely.

The Horror uses a unique magical effect to turn music played in its vicinity into wretched, grating noises. Apparently the Horror delights in the disquiet this causes and often manifests where music is being played.

Hmm...  The idea of monsters who appear where their powers can best be used is interesting:
- corrupted bits of the world might generate monsters in response to certain stimuli
- certain bodiless daemons might choose to take on physical forms when they find a situation to their liking

Destroying human knowledge or culture (e.g. music) nicely expresses the nature of the Evil Threat as long as this a) occurs incidentally (monsters going on raids to wipe out flutes is dumb) or b) occurs for an actual reason that benefits the monster (allows it to escape from the world or destroy the world, or at least brings it closer).
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #62 on: June 30, 2006, 02:24:54 AM »

Are you still looking to identify an Evil Threat, or do you have one in mind already?  The reason I ask is that I would expect ane vil intended to be thematic would need to be consistent and identifiable, have some sort of underlying logic that can be recognised.  Hodge-podge evil isn't very scary IMO, things need to have a sense of coherency to feel really dangerous I think.

I also wnated to suggest soemthing else, which is that you express some of the deapsir mechanically or grapically.  I once proposed a visual display of the characters soul, so the player could watch it descend and know that the character would go to hell when it died.  I think if you want players to keep something in mind, it has to appear before them in some form.  Call of Cthulhu is famous for its sense of attritional helplessness, although I did not enjoy this personally.
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"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
David Berg
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Posts: 612


« Reply #63 on: June 30, 2006, 01:13:47 PM »

Are you still looking to identify an Evil Threat, or do you have one in mind already?  The reason I ask is that I would expect an evil intended to be thematic would need to be consistent and identifiable, have some sort of underlying logic that can be recognised.

Right.  Recognition is not intended to be easy or definitive, but experience should show a general pattern. 

The Evil Threat is fundamentally alien and inimical to humanity, life, and our reality.  It is toxic, destroying without creating, melting stuff into formless sludge.  It comes from a state of perpetual flux of physical laws, and can sometimes produce similar localized effects within our reality.  It has no goals or desires other than those that contribute toward the destruction of humanity and the world (or, in the cases of highly intelligent individual daemons, escape from the world).

I also wnated to suggest soemthing else, which is that you express some of the deapsir mechanically or grapically.

If I can do that without being too heavy-handed, without making it the single dominant thematic concern of the game, without coercing players to play stuff they ain't feelin', then it might be cool.  Something that formally keeps track of the characters' reactions to evil as already played might be best.

"Despair" probably isn't even the right word to describe what the characters ought to take away from interacting with the world; I kind of expect they'll more encounter despair than be seriously burdened with it themselves.  Despair isn't much fun to play for more than a session or so.  Learning too much about Evil and where it comes from should drive them insane... learning lesser amounts might scar them in lesser ways...
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contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #64 on: July 02, 2006, 11:59:07 PM »

You have DECRIBED the Evil Threat, but you have not told me if you already have one in mind.  ASre yoiu asking us to comie up with an Evil Threat, or to expand upon yours?  If the latter, we will need to know what it is.
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"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
David Berg
Member

Posts: 612


« Reply #65 on: July 03, 2006, 01:00:05 PM »

You have DECRIBED the Evil Threat, but you have not told me if you already have one in mind. 

Uh... the one I have in mind is the one I've described.  If you want a name for it, call it Pandemonium, Chaos, or Cthulhu.  I've found it most constructive to refer to it by its role, "Evil Threat".

ASre yoiu asking us to comie up with an Evil Threat, or to expand upon yours?  If the latter, we will need to know what it is.

It is what it does.

I'm not really asking for people to expand upon the Evil Threat specifically.  I'm asking for people to expand upon the things in the world that will contribute to the desired aesthetic.  My second post describes some general areas for development that I feel might contribute to this.
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Michael Brazier
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Posts: 40


« Reply #66 on: July 03, 2006, 09:08:49 PM »

Have you read P. C. Hodgell's novels, Godstalk, Dark of the Moon, and Seeker's Mask?  The ultimate enemy in those is, conceptually, the same as yours: a being of primal chaos that attacks creation by corrupting the essences of things.  Dark of the Moon, specifically, focuses on servants of the enemy, called "changers", whose bodies have become plastic, to the point where they can impersonate almost anybody (though they need to drink blood from their victims.)  And in land under the enemy's influence, corpses that haven't been cremated reanimate to hunt the living.
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David Berg
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Posts: 612


« Reply #67 on: July 04, 2006, 06:44:13 PM »

servants of the enemy, called "changers", whose bodies have become plastic, to the point where they can impersonate almost anybody (though they need to drink blood from their victims.) 

I like the ominous and unnerving element to an enemy adept at infiltration.  Unfortunately, I don't like the idea of people not trusting their neighbors (cuz they might actually be Evil Doppelgangers!).  It's probably best if the in-game popular conception of such things includes a certain niche (powerful people?) which removes most of the populace from suspicion but nevertheless leaves the shapechangers considerable influence.  Maybe history includes a few memorable incidents of key officials or landowners being replaced by shapechangers, and then using their power for horrible ends...

And in land under the enemy's influence, corpses that haven't been cremated reanimate to hunt the living.

Burial practices designed specifically to stop such things would be a perfect addition to human culture.  Something memorable and interesting, without seeming wacky or silly (cremation obviously make sense, but players have seen that and may assume there's nothing more to know about it).  Maybe a burial where the body is restrained in some fashion that is mostly ornamental but also effective?  Chains running around the waist (plus maybe a decorative "buckle") and behind some sort of heavy bier that's interred with the dead?  There are probably some practical issues with that, I'll think more on this...

P.S.  No, I haven't read anything by Hodgell.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #68 on: July 06, 2006, 08:02:54 AM »

Interesting though it is, this thread has now reached the point where enough information has been posed and exchanged. If anyone wants to spawn daughter threads (preferably in Actual Play), that would be fine.

Best, Ron
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David Berg
Member

Posts: 612


« Reply #69 on: July 07, 2006, 10:52:33 AM »

this thread has now reached the point where enough information has been posed and exchanged. If anyone wants to spawn daughter threads (preferably in Actual Play), that would be fine.

I'm going to take some time, go through all the feedback in this thread, work on some lists, and eventually create some threads focused on more specific elements of "hostile fantasy setting."  I'm not sure how long this will take me.  In the meantime, anyone who wants to respond to my ideas and aims as expressed in this thread, feel free to PM me.

Thanks,
-David
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #70 on: July 08, 2006, 06:21:55 AM »

I should have been more clear. This thread is now closed.

Best, Ron
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