Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Question for Dean Shomshak


  • Please log in to reply
58 replies to this topic

#41 Lawnmower Boy

Lawnmower Boy

    On the bench

  • HERO Member
  • 2,252 posts

Posted 12 October 2012 - 11:58 AM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak

Since I've never read The Turakian Age, I don't know what it says about Krim. Still, if you want Krim to be powerful and (potentially) active despite the Ban, the Crowns are a good excuse for this.

One possibility is that Krim placed himself entirely in the Crowns. You could give the Crowns an AI to represent Krim's will, with a Mind Link between them to represent that Krim possesses all the Crowns at once while remaining a single will, and an IPE Psychic Bond to the wearer. Even if Dark Seraph et al. aren't sock puppets for Krim, he could still be influencing their minds and choices beyond a generic "Be Evil."

Dean Shomshak


When the Crowns come to Therakiel.... On a metagaming note, it seems to me that far too much has been made of Krim already not to make fuller use of him, while far too much rides on Therakiel. Call me crazy, but it seems like it would be hard to keep your campaign on the rails after the End of the World. (Plus, there comes a point where an homage to a key plot point for a well known novel by a fairly-well known fantasy writer turns into a simple ripoff.*) So it has always to me more practical if it turns out that Therakiel is in some way the cover identity of someone older and more sinister.


*Vagueness for multivalent spoiler potential!
Spoiler


#42 Matt the Bruins

Matt the Bruins

    Cosmically Powerful Superhero

  • HERO Member
  • 928 posts

Posted 12 October 2012 - 03:07 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak

There's at least one other god-level entity active on Earth, and I'm surprised no one brought him up: Mephistopheles is active and powerful enough to provide origins on short notice, as he did with Hell Rider. How does he evade the Ban? Simple. He cheats.


I'd always assumed that in such cases he was coming to Earth as a fairly minor avatar that didn't run afoul of the Ban. I mean, if it's normal people he's cutting deals with, even a 400-point demonic manifestation would seem pretty impressive. Get their name on the contract in blood, zap 'em with a couple hits of a 6d6 Major Transform, and Bob's your infernally-powered agent spreading mayhem.

#43 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:40 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak

Since I've never read The Turakian Age, I don't know what it says about Krim.


Very little, actually, aside from his familial relation to Kal-turak. Nothing about his true nature, goals, interactions with the gods of the age, not even when or why he created his Crowns, aside from generic "spreading evil." That was one omission from the book that disappointed me. Ironically, your own blurb about Krim in TMW said more about him than TA.

One possibility is that Krim placed himself entirely in the Crowns. You could give the Crowns an AI to represent Krim's will, with a Mind Link between them to represent that Krim possesses all the Crowns at once while remaining a single will, and an IPE Psychic Bond to the wearer. Even if Dark Seraph et al. aren't sock puppets for Krim, he could still be influencing their minds and choices beyond a generic "Be Evil."


While all of the Crowns of Krim (the wearers, that is --- it really does get awkward to keep making that distinction) have been deeply corrupted by their artifacts' influence, some, but not all, of the the villains are described as having "sold their souls" to Krim. By their textual descriptions this results in even greater power for them, but also less humanity and more profound evil in their personalities and motivations. It's interesting that while all of them are described as more or less devoted to Krim, and to Dark Seraph as the "lead Crown," only Eclipse has an actual Psychological Limitation/ Complication reflecting this.

#44 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 12 October 2012 - 09:56 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak

I'd always assumed that in such cases he was coming to Earth as a fairly minor avatar that didn't run afoul of the Ban. I mean, if it's normal people he's cutting deals with, even a 400-point demonic manifestation would seem pretty impressive. Get their name on the contract in blood, zap 'em with a couple hits of a 6d6 Major Transform, and Bob's your infernally-powered agent spreading mayhem.


I'm with Matt on this one. A number of mythic gods have avatars on Earth with power not much greater than most superheroes (and corresponding HERO write-ups); or have empowered humans to be their champions. A good-sized Transform is potentially within their capabilities. OTOH the old (un)reliable demon-summoning ritual could allow a major demon to manifest with much more of his full power, in a confined location for a limited time. Rather than physically bringing the demon to Earth, perhaps the typical summoning circle is more like a gate between the Netherworld and Earth. The Mystic World points out that a god standing within such a gate is technically within his own dimension, and so can project all his power through it at something on the other side.

BTW Mephistopheles isn't the only "name" demon to have a hand in supervillain creation in the official CU. Baphomet, Lord of Strong Wrath, has become patron to the Black Paladin, increasing his already formidable powers so that he can spread more violence and evil in Baphomet's name (I know, not particularly onerous for BP). ;) The great Belial is responsible for swapping the soul of the sorceror Josiah Brimstone with that of a demon, which Brimstone must struggle to control lest it possess his body and work evil. While Valerian Scarlet of Vibora Bay gained her magic through a bargain with a summoned demon named Kerathios.

#45 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 13 October 2012 - 12:26 AM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak

When the Crowns come to Therakiel.... On a metagaming note, it seems to me that far too much has been made of Krim already not to make fuller use of him, while far too much rides on Therakiel. Call me crazy, but it seems like it would be hard to keep your campaign on the rails after the End of the World. (Plus, there comes a point where an homage to a key plot point for a well known novel by a fairly-well known fantasy writer turns into a simple ripoff.*) So it has always to me more practical if it turns out that Therakiel is in some way the cover identity of someone older and more sinister.


*Vagueness for multivalent spoiler potential!

Spoiler


It occurs to me that books about the past ages of the Hero Universe have stated and illustrated that the gods themselves have mutated over time, changing their names and/or attributes as people's beliefs in them have evolved. However, the gods' own memories of their pasts change as well to conform to the new belief system. In the case of Therakiel, it wouldn't be unprecedented to say that although he remembers, and believes in, his Fall from angelic grace, his true history involves him having once been another type of being.

The Turakian Age in particular describes several powerful supernatural entities of varied nature who were trapped or imprisoned beneath the surface of the Earth.

#46 GestaltBennie

GestaltBennie

    Champion of the North

  • HERO Member
  • 1,643 posts

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:04 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak Another Q. "I have a question regarding the knowledge that the Imaginal Realms are known to be imaginal. Who would know that, and how prevalent would that knowledge be? Would anyone studying the Astral Plane know?"

#47 DShomshak

DShomshak

    Skilled Normal

  • HERO Member
  • 159 posts

Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:40 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak Best guide is probably what level of the Mystic World a character occupies. People in the Pop Occult World don't know the Imaginal Worlds really exist: They may believe in Heaven, Hell, an Astral Plane, etc., but they don't know how they actually work or how they fit together. People in the serious, hard-core Mystic World might know about the Imaginal Realms and how humanity created them if they have high ratings in an appropriate KS such as Metaphysics or Occult Lore, or an 11- rating in a KS such as Other Realms of Existence. People in the Magic World, such as super-mages, routinely know about the Imaginal Realms if they have any sort of KS about spirits, other planes, etc. With a KS: Inner Planes, they know in detail how the Imaginal Realms grew from mortal thought, and continue to grow. (Story hook: Somebody is trying to create a myth and spread belief in it as a way to build a new province in an Imaginal Realm: a new Hell, a new district in Babylon, or the like.) People in the Supernatural World vary. Just because you're a ghost, elf or vampire doesn't mean you know a lot of arcane lore outside your personal experience. Ask yourself what level of the Mystic World they'd be on if they were mortal. Also, many of the potent and knowledgeable entities in the Parterres might know in an abstract sense that they exist because humans made them up, but they don't like to think about it or insist that it's "just a theory" without any real evidence to back it up. Dean Shomshak

#48 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:45 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak I could see a major mythic god deeply in denial over the origin of its kind, let alone all the competing pantheons' claims to having created the world, attempting to prove that his/her claim is the true one by unmaking the Earth and then creating a new one to replace it.

#49 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 11 January 2013 - 09:51 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak I have a question for Dean, based on an inquiry that another forumite posted: Where do you see "elementals" fitting in the CU cosmology? It doesn't really specify particular elemental planes, like many other game settings do. Steve Long has mentioned such planes in passing, but without any details -- probably just following the cliche that such things exist in mystic game worlds.

#50 DShomshak

DShomshak

    Skilled Normal

  • HERO Member
  • 159 posts

Posted 12 January 2013 - 12:27 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak Good question. In brief, I saw elementals as synthetic entities created by sorcerers as needed, or occasionally generated by accident when powerful magic interacts with ambient elemental phenomena. (Say, a sorcerer blows a control/activation roll on a weather-control spell and generates an air elemental, or blows a spell of any sort out on the ocean and generates a water elemental. Makes Side Effects more interesting.) There are no "natural" elementals, but some of these spirits were created so long ago their origins are forgotten. There are also Outer Planes with strong "elemental" character, and the entities that dwell on them could be called "elementals." But those entities have no connection to Earth. If someone wanted to postulate elemental planes for the CU, I'd make them very abstract and arcane, like Yggdrasil or the Blood Tide -- accessible through the Lower Astral but difficult to reach and even more difficult to comprehend. Visiting the Plane of Fire would be like visiting, I don't know, the Higgs Field. Not "It looks like Earth but everything's made of fire." You want that, look in the Outer Planes. Dean Shomshak

#51 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 12 January 2013 - 06:08 PM

Re: Question for Dean Shomshak Would the Burning Sky, dimensional domain of Fuzon, Prince of Fire, be an appropriate example of an "elemental" Outer Plane? For my part, I would have located such planes either in Netzach under the control of appropriate Lords of Nature, or in Briah among the dimensions of pure concept. But an Inner Plane elemental counterpart to Yggdrasil never occurred to me as a possibility.

#52 GestaltBennie

GestaltBennie

    Champion of the North

  • HERO Member
  • 1,643 posts

Posted 30 July 2013 - 07:41 AM

A couple of esoteric ones to throw at you, Dean. The Jewelled Spider talisman things, they're only described as cut quartz with magnetite and thorium in it, and electrified. There is nothing to suggest that they have some-magical element to them, merely said to repel the Q. What if someone reproduced one physically? I meen cut the quartz identically and then inset the two elements and electrify it? Would it work? The Elder Worms seem to have broken some version of the Ban before the terrestrial one was put in place. How? Does every race just has its own ban or lack thereof that only affects its own gods?

#53 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:41 PM



A couple of esoteric ones to throw at you, Dean. The Jewelled Spider talisman things, they're only described as cut quartz with magnetite and thorium in it, and electrified. There is nothing to suggest that they have some-magical element to them, merely said to repel the Q. What if someone reproduced one physically? I meen cut the quartz identically and then inset the two elements and electrify it? Would it work? The Elder Worms seem to have broken some version of the Ban before the terrestrial one was put in place. How? Does every race just has its own ban or lack thereof that only affects its own gods?

 

I apologise for the thread necromancy, especially since I'm clearly not Dean. :o  However, having brought up this thread as a side-effect of an unrelated Search, and having information relevant to the questions -- and Dean not having gotten to answer them -- I thought I'd offer what I found.

 

Regarding the Spider Sign talismans, there's a little more about them on Arcane Adversaries p. 57 sidebar: "This symbol has no Power of its own. Rather, some Edomites suffer a Physical Limitation to the glyph. Any rendition of the Spider Sign repels certain Edomite creatures, such as mind thieves and squrms: they fear it, but can approach it if they must. (This symbol has no effect on anglers, hands of Deizzhorath, or Vulshoth-spawn.)  Such creatures are psychologically incapable of coming within 2" [probably meaning two 5E game inches or four meters] of a Spider Sign properly inlaid in crystal. Forcing an Edomite any closer may drive it berserk or make it leave for another dimension." From this I infer that anyone who knows the proper method of crafting a crystal Spider Sign can make one with the same effect. The Limitation (or Complication under 6E) of Edomites toward it may have come about as a result of the Lords of the Jewelled Spider being among the alliance of great powers who defeated and bound the Kings of Edom billions of years ago.

 

As to the Ban and other races, there is this data from the "multiversal" discussion in Book Of The Empress, p. 99: "Furthermore, other species, both within Earth's dimension and from other dimensions that are home to sentient life, have their own Parterres based on their cultures, their perspectives on Reality, and so forth. Typically dimensional travelers (of any sort) are only aware of the Imaginal Realms pertaining to their own species; they can't perceive (much less travel to) other species's Parterres. That's why Humans don't find Perseids, Mon'dabi, V'hanians, or Ka-ree in Faerie or Babylon, and why those realms don't reflect other species's thoughts and beliefs. However, some powerful mystics (including Skarn and Tyrannon) can visit any Parterre they know of."  I think this implies that other races may have their own versions of the Ban affecting their gods, or may not, depending on their distinct theologies. I'm unclear as to whether humanity's Ban would prevent the mythic gods of other races from coming to Earth if they knew how to get here or were summoned; but given the clear separation between the spheres of races' gods, I'm guessing it wouldn't.


The most important quality is sincerity. Once you learn to fake that you've got it made.


#54 DShomshak

DShomshak

    Skilled Normal

  • HERO Member
  • 159 posts

Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:11 AM

Thank you for answering, LL. I never answered because I never saw the question: For the last 6 months, my forum access has ranged from Extremely Limited, to None.


But yes, no magic is required to craft a working Spider Sign. The line between science and magic becomes very blurry when you deal with Edomites: The creatures just don't fit within the categories that humans understand. (Or *think* they understand.)


I'm not sure of the context for the Elder Worm question. AFAIK (from Champions Beyond), the only gods they summoned were Edomite and Qliphothic horrors, which do not occupy the same metaphysical category as the gods of Earth such as Tezcatlipoca, Mephistopheles, St. Albert or the Emperor of Babylon. The Ban has no effect on creatures from the Outer Planes, and Qliphothic entities qualify.


I haven't read the Book of the Empress, so thank you for the quoted passage, LL.


I would imagine that whether alien races have a Ban depends entirely on how they imagine their gods and spirits -- if any. Quite possibly, some species never imagined spiritual entities, and so never created any. At the opposite extreme, some species may never have pushed their concepts of divinity into Otherworlds and sealed them away. In the new campaign setting I'm building, one of the more powerful alien races, the Cryons, possess a hybrid theotechnology: Their starships run on psalm drives, all species can live comfortably on their space stations and communicate without impediment through a continuous miracle, and they restructured their planetary system into a ringworld that's the biggest goddamn prayer wheel in the universe, giving their pantheon sufficient power to drop-kick the likes of Tyrannon into a black hol if he showed his mug around them. Fortunately for the rest of the Galaxy, Cryons are very nice people.

Dean Shomshak
  • assault likes this

#55 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 10 October 2013 - 09:30 AM

You're welcome, Dean. I'm a little relieved you don't feel like I stepped on your toes for piping up in your stead.

 

Whether or not you had unique problems with forum access, I imagine a lot of former regular posters were frustrated with the quirks the previous software inflicted on all of us for several months, so I wouldn't blame you for not being around.

 

And as typical for a Shomshak creation, the Cryons sound awesome! :cool:


The most important quality is sincerity. Once you learn to fake that you've got it made.


#56 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 10 October 2013 - 10:07 AM

In brief, I saw elementals as synthetic entities created by sorcerers as needed, or occasionally generated by accident when powerful magic interacts with ambient elemental phenomena. (Say, a sorcerer blows a control/activation roll on a weather-control spell and generates an air elemental, or blows a spell of any sort out on the ocean and generates a water elemental. Makes Side Effects more interesting.) There are no "natural" elementals, but some of these spirits were created so long ago their origins are forgotten. There are also Outer Planes with strong "elemental" character, and the entities that dwell on them could be called "elementals." But those entities have no connection to Earth. If someone wanted to postulate elemental planes for the CU, I'd make them very abstract and arcane, like Yggdrasil or the Blood Tide -- accessible through the Lower Astral but difficult to reach and even more difficult to comprehend. Visiting the Plane of Fire would be like visiting, I don't know, the Higgs Field. Not "It looks like Earth but everything's made of fire." You want that, look in the Outer Planes. Dean Shomshak

 

I happened to be reading through a non-Champions Hero Games book, The Valdorian Age by Allen Thomas, and came across something quite interesting and potentially relevant to this issue. For those who are unaware, the Champions Universe of the present-day era is officially part of a much longer timeline, the "Hero Universe," spanning many millennia and ages of civilization, from the prehistoric past to the far future. The Atlanteans, Lemurians, VIPER's patron Nama, the Archlich Takofanes and the Crowns of Krim, all have their origins in these past ages. The Valdorian Age is Hero's "sword and sorcery" setting, evocative of the fantasy fiction of Robert E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, or Michael Moorcock.

 

Part of the VA sourcebook describes the sorcery of summoning and controlling elementals, and presents an interesting conception of the Elemental Realms. Note that this is only as Earthly sorcerors of this era understood cosmology, and it's perceived through the lens of creation-myths of the day. That day was also more than 40,000 years in the past, so even on other planes the conditions might have changed:

 

"The god Pythos created the world, but like any craftsman, he only shaped it -- the materials for his work came from elsewhere. The source of these materials were the Elemental Realms, the first source of Fire, Air, Water, and Earth, where the Primal Lords rule: the Scorched Lands (fire), ruled by the Kiss of Flame; the Howling Void (air), ruled by the Voice of Wind; the Infinite Depths (water), ruled by the Roar of Waves; and the Vaulted Warrens (earth), ruled by the Groan of Stone. The priests say Pythos struck bargains with the Primal Lords to obtain the materials; others say Pythos tricked and swindled the Primal Lords out of the materials.

 

... Unlike demons, elementals are not separate entities (at least according to most sorcerors) -- an entire Elemental Realm is an entity unto itself, with its Primal Lord as its "mind." The elementals are simply parts of a "body" -- facets of a composite being. While individual elementals are intelligent, their mentality is wholly alien to mankind. They view flora and fauna like a man would view a cancerous growth, mines and tunnels as deep cuts and stabs into a man's flesh, water in a cup or bowl as a man in a cage, trapping the wind in a sail as a man in chains, smelting ore as maiming, alloying metals as rape. The concept of property baffles them, for in the Elemental Realms everything is part of the whole -- can a man's right hand own his left?"

 

- The Valdorian Age p. 131

 

There's another passage from the VA page I quoted above relating to elementals and how they would view our world, which suggests a unique and interesting potential motivation for a "supervillain" or villain team:

 

"... when a sorceror causes an elemental to manifest, it violently struggles to break free from the sorceror's constraints and rage across the world. It pleads with the sorceror to allow it into the world unchecked so it can free the substances trapped in the forms and shapes that comprise the world -- forms and shapes the elemental considers a corruption of elemental purity."

 

Imagine a powerful elemental, or a group of them, with this mindset, loose on Earth. They would level buildings, smash machinery, tear up roads and railways, shatter dams, cave-in mines; but also uproot forests, ravage farmers' fields, slaughter domestic and wild animals. To humans these beings would seem like total nihilists, or insane berserkers, but from their perspective they would be fighting to heal the wounds of violence, and purge the infections and parasites, that are destroying this world.

 

Trying to communicate with these creatures, and reach an understanding, could make for a fun roleplaying challenge.


The most important quality is sincerity. Once you learn to fake that you've got it made.


#57 Lord Liaden

Lord Liaden

    Epic Morning Breath

  • HERO Member
  • 16,568 posts

Posted 18 December 2013 - 01:23 PM

Dean, I know that The Mystic World p. 61 notes that Earth's gods' magic powers don't work against any creatures from the Outer Planes. Does that restriction also apply to less-than-godly beings who are products of human imagination, such as the faerie-folk?

The most important quality is sincerity. Once you learn to fake that you've got it made.


#58 DShomshak

DShomshak

    Skilled Normal

  • HERO Member
  • 159 posts

Posted 19 December 2013 - 03:37 PM

(Note: If you see a lot of “brs” in angle brackets, it’s because the forum software eliminates my paragraph breaks. I’m trying to restore them by hand using HTML markers. If that doesn’t work I’ll try something else.)

That’s a good question, LL, because it touches on how I created the metaphysical underpinnings for the Mystic World. I did not start with a set of metaphysical premises and work out the necessary consequences. When you make up a fictional universe, no consequences are “necessary.” Instead I start with the kind of story I want and backfill the metaphysics to provide pseudo-justification.

In this case, the reason is to preserve the threat of dimensional conquerors when humanity’s Imaginal Realms include hundreds of entities built on thousands of points each, who by a strict accounting of game mechanics could squash Skarn or Tyrannon like bugs. Like the Ban, the gods’ inability to affect Outer Planes entities through their magic is a bit of hand-waving to explain why they don’t dominate the CU setting. It’s to keep the focus on humanity and its heroes.

So the question is, what story do you want? Then adjust the reasoning to fit.

For instance, suppose you want the Land of Legends to be hosed if Tyrannon invades. In that case, Tyrannon and his soldiers are immune to all the magic of the mythic entities, from the high sorcery of Isis to the little glamors of dewdrop fairies. The creatures of myth can only fight the invasion physically. Okay, so “physically” includes dragon-fire and the strength of Heracles, so maybe they aren’t completely hosed, but the Land of Legends probably still needs help from the heroes of Earth. Cue the PCs!

But that kind of sucks if the PCs include a faerie knight, a warrior angel or some other mythic entity. Only an idiot GM would declare that most of a PC’s powers, which they paid good character points for, don’t work against a major foe because of mere internal consistency and logic! But lucky for you, Logic is a slut who’ll do anything for anyone.

In that case, maybe the inability is specifically limited to gods. The strongest spells of Vainamoinen, Isis and Hermes splash off the Signifers swarming into the Land of Legends, but tengu illusions, satyr panics and troll-hag curses work just fine and Tyrannon has a real fight on his hands. Why should this be so? Umm... It’s the downside of receiving power from worship. This binds the gods to humanity, and the realms of human imagination, to a greater degree than the lesser entities. Ironically, the lesser entities receive greater metaphysical freedom precisely because humans don’t care about them as much.

Don’t like that? Okay, go back to the first option, but observe the ways that gods work around the Ban. Gods and other spiritual entities can use similar means to work around their inability to act beyond the Inner Planes. Like, the West African god Ogun can’t fight Tyrannon, but his empowered namesake the hero Ogun can. A projected avatar such as Dion Bach can affect Tyrannon because he’s a quasi-mortal creation of Dionysus, not Dionysus himself. The demigod Chrysaor can fight Tyrannon because he’s a new entity who never received worship or became the subject of myths. Really, any circumstance that can turn a creature from myth to PC can be twisted into a justification for why the character can affect Outer Planes creatures. Even having a Secret Identity as a mortal, or acknowledged membership in a hero team in the mortal world (or a villain team!), might “humanize” a mythic entity enough.

Play around with options, see what fits your campaign. Any “official” answer would certainly be wrong for someone’s campaign, so there isn’t one.

Dean Shomshak
  • Lord Liaden likes this

#59 csyphrett

csyphrett

    double millenial master

  • HERO Member
  • 5,958 posts

Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:06 PM

I like the gods are dominant on their home areas, and not so great elsewhere myself. That's a good reason for Tyrannon not to invade Olympus and for Zeus not to throw lightning across barriers

CES






0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users