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TOPIC: Lesser Mys­tery: Sigil

Lesser Mys­tery: Sigil 2 years 6 months ago #3628

  • Tamer­lin
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Hello Folks,

Hav­ing some knowl­edge on the mat­ter of witch­craft as it was prac­tised and con­ceived through­out his­tory in var­i­ous cul­tures, I have added a cou­ple of Mys­ter­ies to the ones already avail­able in Blade.

Please feel free to com­ment and give me your feed­back. These are “first drafts” and descrip­tions might be devel­opped.




SIGIL
Sig­ils are sym­bols drawn by sor­cerer to attract luck or ben­e­fit from tem­po­rary, spe­cific effects. They are drawn, painted or carved on objects. Should the object bear­ing the sigil be destroyed, the ben­e­fit from the sor­cery is also lost. Those objects may be used by other peo­ple than the actual sor­cerer cast­ing the sor­cery, though any sigil must be designed for a spe­cific per­son. Hence, steal­ing an object on which a sigil has been drawn will not ben­e­fit the thief.
Sig­ils can be used either as generic lucky charms or as spe­cific seals.
To cre­ate a lucky charm, the sor­cerer must write the sigil on a sup­port then place it in some kind of con­tainer, unless the mate­r­ial being used for the charm can itself be used as a con­tainer. The con­tainer must then be worn close to the bearer’s skin. Half the sorcerer’s Cast­ing Suc­cesses trans­late into a luck rat­ing, which works like a Pas­sion Attribute. Every time the bearer of the lucky charm calls for this Pas­sion Attribute, its level is reduced by one.
Spe­cific seals have a more tar­geted effect, like pro­tect­ing against a spe­cific demon, help­ing in com­bat against a par­tic­u­lar oppo­nent, etc. They also trans­late into a Pas­sion Attribute, the descrip­tion of which shall be exact and pre­cise.
Their effects may last for a longer period of time as well. Indeed, the Qual­ity of Suc­cess of the Cast­ing Check is split between dura­tion and effect. Accord­ing to the num­ber of Suc­cesses the sor­cerer spends on dura­tion, the seal will last accord­ing to the fol­low­ing table. Remem­ber that if the object on which the seal is writ­ten is destroyed, so is the sigil.

Desired seal dura­tion
Suc­cesses required
A scene
1
A week
2
A month
3
A year
4
A decade
5

Every Suc­cess of the Cast­ing Check spent on effects trans­lates into a direct +1 level in the Pas­sion Attribute describ­ing the seal.
Any char­ac­ter can only have one sigil of each type (lucky charm and seal) active at any time. Indeed, a char­ac­ter tak­ing an object engraved with a sigil com­mits him­self to this object as he places some faith in the power it gives. This ded­i­ca­tion comes at a price: bind­ing one­self to a sigil implies one point of Taint, even if the bearer is not a sor­cerer. The Taint van­ishes as per the stan­dard rules. One char­ac­ter can bind him­self to a sigil only once per day. This process requires a short, men­tal com­mit­ment like a prayer. It is there­fore not pos­si­ble to switch sig­ils at will dur­ing or before an encounter.
Last Edit: 2 years 6 months ago by Tamer­lin.
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Lesser Mys­tery: Sigil 2 years 6 months ago #3633

  • Michael
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Thank you for the use­ful addi­tion!

Some design remarks, as requested:

I am not entirely sure that the Mys­tery is pow­er­ful enough when com­pared to the exist­ing ones. Maybe do away with the need to split the CP again or at least the need to state a desired dura­tion before­hand, and also lower the fad­ing of the Sigil PA to 1 per use. Soercery is pow­er­ful and so should be new Mys­ter­ies to make tak­ing them attrac­tive.

You need some way how a spe­cific Sigil, which is less widely applic­a­ble than a gen­eral one, is in its own area more effec­tive.

Sigil’s shouldn’t be cumu­la­tive (I think), and that should be clearly spelt out.

Finally I’d like to point you toward my gen­eral obser­va­tions on Prophecy in this thread here, as Prophecy effec­tively already does part of what Sigil is intended to do.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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Lesser Mys­tery: Sigil 2 years 6 months ago #3638

  • Tamer­lin
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Thanks Michael for your insights and remarks. I have taken them into account to com­ple­ment the Mys­tery and edited it.

A believe that a spe­cific Sigil is quite pow­er­ful as it is, hav­ing a PA level which can be higher than 1 (com­pared to the Omen from the Prophecy Mys­tery) which can also be long last­ing, espe­cially now that I have taken your remarks on dura­tion into account.

I added the note about not being able to cumu­late sev­eral sig­ils, and added a slight coun­ter­part on bind­ing with a sigil.

I believe that it can after­all be quite pow­er­ful, espe­cially con­sid­er­ing that sig­ilized items can be given to some­one else.

What are your thoughts now these few cor­rec­tions and adjust­ments have been made?
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Lesser Mys­tery: Sigil 2 years 6 months ago #3639

  • Aghori
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If you ask me, Sigil is a won­der­ful addi­tion. Thank you for that. I was think­ing of giv­ing the sor­cerer the option to install bad luck within the sign. But this would be quite sim­i­lar to a curse, wouldn’t it?
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Lesser Mys­tery: Sigil 2 years 6 months ago #3642

  • Michael
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Tamer­lin wrote:
What are your thoughts now these few cor­rec­tions and adjust­ments have been made?

Nice! I like it bet­ter now, but I still think you need to make spe­cific sig­ils clearly more pow­er­ful than generic ones. A sug­ges­tion would be reduc­ing the value of the PA from spe­cific sig­ils by 1 only at the end of every scene in which it is used, no mat­ter how often, not every sin­gle time it is used.

Tamer­lin wrote:
A believe that a spe­cific Sigil is quite pow­er­ful as it is, hav­ing a PA level which can be higher than 1 (com­pared to the Omen from the Prophecy Mys­tery) which can also be long last­ing, espe­cially now that I have taken your remarks on dura­tion into account.

True. But con­sider that:

1) The bonus from Prophecy works indef­i­nitely, until the pre­dic­tion is either ful­filled or a state is reached where it is clear that it never will be.

2) Prophecy can also be used to actu­ally find out facts – a very con­sid­er­able power in its own right.

In view of that I still find that Sigil is not pow­er­ful enough, com­pared to other Lesser Mys­ter­ies. Con­sider a sor­cerer with Sigil SP 12. Let’s say he uses 4 for Con­tain­ment and 8 for Cast­ing, aim­ing for a one week dura­tion. Sup­pos­ing he achieves sta­tis­ti­cally aver­age QoS 4 a dura­tion of one week will leave him with 2 Suc­cesses for the Luck Pas­sion, trans­lat­ing into 1 die – usable exactly once. A sin­gle +1 die on one roll as ben­e­fit of a Mys­tery seems to me a bit lame, com­pared to what a sor­cerer can achieve with SP 12 in Enslave­ment or Witch­fire or Prophecy or Scry­ing…

Con­sid­er­ing that the Luck PA is spent down very quickly by use in any case I sug­gest you rethink the dura­tion mechanic, maybe dis­card it entirely and have every sigil work indef­i­nitely, or else require the expen­di­ture of 1 Suc­cess on dura­tion only if the dura­tion is meant to be extremely long; up to the next equinox or so might be free.

As I would do some­thing about dura­tion I would in turn intro­duce some check to pre­vent sor­cer­ers from poten­tially stock­pil­ing dozens or even hun­dreds of items with sig­ils. Maybe every sigil the sor­cerer has in exis­tence for some­body else than him­self deducts 1 from his Sigil SP; some­thing like that.

Tamer­lin wrote:
I believe that it can after­all be quite pow­er­ful, espe­cially con­sid­er­ing that sig­ilized items can be given to some­one else.

Actu­ally this is the one thing that is wor­ry­ing me some­what about Sigil.

From a design view­point it is wor­ry­ing me as the game has delib­er­ately been designed to on the one hand keep sor­cery out of the hands of those who aren’t sor­cer­ers, to keep sor­cery rare and spe­cial, and on the other hand to avoid turn­ing sor­cer­ers into mere performance-​boosters for non-​sorcerers. No effects like D&D’s Haste, which exists merely to aid war­riortype char­ac­ters, in Blade, thank you very much.

Then, from a purely per­sonal player view­point – and espe­cially a player who has mostly been play­ing mag­i­cus­ing types – I can say that I have never under­stood why magic users should cre­ate mag­i­cal items for the use of non­mag­i­cal char­ac­ter types; the way I saw and see it, they are thereby weak­en­ing their own posi­tion, their own monop­oly on super­nat­ural pow­ers. I mean, in the fan­tasy lit­er­a­ture that isn’t in turn inspired by rpg-​tropes, mag­i­cal items are very rare, the way arti­facts are rare. It is only in the wake of D&D that mag­i­cal items abound and wiz­ards often seem like weapon­smiths for war­riors. I have never liked that, and once actu­ally played a magi­cian who made it his mis­sion to track down and destroy each and every mag­i­cal item in exis­tence that could be used by non-​magicians, so as to return magic into the hands of those to whom it right­fully belonged (in his opin­ion).

But the lat­ter is of course only a per­sonal pref­er­ence. The for­mer is more of a gen­er­ally valid state­ment, a design fea­ture to pre­clude any risk of sor­cer­ers ful­fill­ing the role of mere aids to non-​sorcerers. Blade believes in all PCs shin­ing – in them­selves, not through aid­ing other PCs to shine. That said, degrad­ing sor­cer­ers cer­tainly won’t fol­low with­out a fault from Sigil by any means – all that is needed is a bit of watchfulness.
Bow down: I am the emperor of dreams;
I crown me with the million-​colored sun
Of secret worlds incred­i­ble, and take
Their trail­ing skies for vest­ment when I soar.

Clark Ash­ton Smith, The Hashish Eater or The Apoc­a­lypse of Evil
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Lesser Mys­tery: Sigil 2 years 6 months ago #3650

  • Tamer­lin
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Thanks for you won­der­ful remarks. I will amend the text and edit when I have some time.
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