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Old 01-14-2019, 04:11 AM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

From the viewpoint of a medaeval peasant (who were mostly the ones telling the stories), or a medaeval preist or monk (who were mostly the ones writing them down), what difference is there between a regular werewolf, a Gadget-user with a magic wolf-pelt that lets him turn into a wolf on the full moon, and a ritual magician with Skinchange (Wolf) and Moon-Aspected Magery? Not a lot, really, which is kind of the point of this thread: attempting to determine which creatures from folklore and fantasy could plausibly be ritual magicians, which might be spirits, and which don't seem to fit well as either.

The one that I've thought the most about recently is the werewolf (and to a lesser degree, other werecreatures), so I've come up with a sort of worked example:

The Book of the Wolf

Often, this work is not a physical book at all (as the practitioners are frequently illiterate), but a set of oral traditions passed down from master to apprentice. Many practitioners who have Magery above 0 will have Moon-Aspected Magery, and some have Path/Book Adept with either Moon-Aspected, Book of the Wolf Only, or both.

Ritual Magic (Book of the Wolf)

Seek Wolf [Book of the Wolf-0] (Thaumatology p156)
Summon Wolf [Book of the Wolf-1] (Thaumatology p156)
Command Wolf [Book of the Wolf-2] (Thaumatology p155)
Hunter's Blessing [Book of the Wolf-3] (Thaumatology p156)
Gentle Wolf [Book of the Wolf-3] (Thaumatology p156)
Speak with Wolves [Book of the Wolf-3] (Thaumatology p156)
Lick The Wounds [Book of the Wolf-4]
Locate [Book of the Wolf-4] (Thaumatology p151)
Ghost Fur [Book of the Wolf-6]
Skinchange (Wolf) [Book of the Wolf-6] (Thaumatology p145)

Some versions of the Book of the Wolf replace Skinchange (Wolf) with a variant of Astral Projection (Thaumatology p159) which shapes the user's astral body into that of a wolf, and allows the user to manifest in the physical world as a spirit-wolf. The base penalty is Book of the Wolf-7. Other versions that use Astral Projection (Book of the Wolf-5) include a ritual to possess a living wolf (also Book of the Wolf-5).

Seek Wolf, Summon Wolf, Command Wolf, Gentle Wolf, and Speak with Wolves are specializations of the similarly named rituals on the pages given. These rituals work on dogs with a further penalty of -1 (save for wolf-dog hybrids, which are treated as wolves), and other canids like foxes and coyotes with a further penalty of -2. The less similar a creature is to a wolf, the greater the penalty. In general, I suggest that these rituals are useless on species outside the canidae family.

Lick The Wounds works exactly like Succor (Thaumatology p150), save that the ritual literally consists of licking the target's wounds while in beast-form, and is useless for healing wounds inflicted by silver (50% silver or greater). The caster may be the target.

Ghost Fur works exactly like Ghost Shirt (Thaumatology p158), save that it is useless against silver weapons (50% silver or greater).

Similar books exist for other sorts of animals, with species-appropriate modifications (such as the Book of the Seal (for selkies) replacing Wolf and Wolves with Seal and Seals; some Books will add or remove rituals to better fit with what was believed about that species, or about that type of werebeast).


I've thought about vampires also, but in less detail. The myths vary a fair bit, but a vampire could plausibly be a living ritual magician who uses a style in which blood (human and freshly injected, perhaps) is an especially common material or symbolic component, or one who frequently practices a Path or Book similar to the Psychic Vampirism power from GURPS Psionic Powers (pp49-52); a Path/Book magic version of the Steal Youth spell (GURPS Magic p158) is plausible for either. One might likewise be a lich-like being that had in life practiced either of the above arts, and continues to do so after death (this is somewhat consistent with the version of Dracula depicted in Bram Stoker's eponymous book, though he'd have needed to prepare an appropriate ritual to raise Lucy Westenra, and was most likely doing the same for Mina). Vampires might also be ghosts or demons (possessing corpses or not), some other form of undead, or victims of a strange disease, but in general, they don't absolutely need to be.


In settings where faeries exist at all, I tend to imagine them as spirits, but I could see a lot of 'fae activity' really being ritual magicians playing pranks on other folk, whether out of immaturity, hostility, or even a desire to teach.


Thoughts? Suggestions for other monsters/creatures, or expansion on the above?
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Old 01-14-2019, 03:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

Yeah, that's sort of what I'm planning for my Monster Hunting campaign. The line between fey, demons, spirits and humans assisted or possessed by such things is thin indeed. And it's not as if there are reliable ways to determine beforehand whether reports of uncanny beings and disappearing people are reports about rogue human magic-users or something originating in another world.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:04 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Yeah, that's sort of what I'm planning for my Monster Hunting campaign. The line between fey, demons, spirits and humans assisted or possessed by such things is thin indeed. And it's not as if there are reliable ways to determine beforehand whether reports of uncanny beings and disappearing people are reports about rogue human magic-users or something originating in another world.
I sort of thought I wouldn't be the only one thinking along these lines, but it's nice to have confirmation.

Thinking more about the lich concept, above, the Embody ritual (Thaumatology p160) is perfect for it with no real need for modification, just specifics. In general, I would guess that it would be cast as a conditional ritual, triggered upon the subject's death (with the subject possibly being the caster), or the next sunset after the subject's death, or something similar. This aspect would be the same whether the spirit is the soul that originally inhabited the body, or some other being, such as a demon or other evil spirit.

For vampires, the various advantages and disadvantages they have are fairly consistent with the rule that a prepared body can grant various abilities to the spirit as long as the spirit inhabits it. Dracula would likely have either taken a lot of extra time and resources to be sure that he would rise as a powerful vampire, or grew in power over time, or more likely, both. He would probably have done something similar for the Three Sisters (though perhaps not taking as much extra time or resources), and then when preparing Lucy and Mina, but the latter were rather effectively interrupted by Van Helsing (which doesn't necessarily mean that Mina won't rise after her eventual death, as that's outside the scope of the novel). If the spirit in the body is also a ritual magician, of course (as Dracula is in this setting), other powers can simply be prepared spells (though Dracula might have developed Path-Book Adept by the time of the novel, thus rarely needing much in the way of preparation).

For the 'classic movie monster' Mummy, I would guess that the ritual would be conditional upon the tomb being robbed, with the mummy or mummies being Embodied in order to pursue the thieves - though if the ritual is open-ended, the mummy might then decide to remain in the modern world, and seek power. This is especially true if the mummy prepared a ritual before his death, knowing that tomb-robbers always come, and not expecting his (or her) tomb to have been so well-hidden. A large group of ancient mummies (or animated terracotta soldiers) could be an interesting opponent even for powerful monster-hunters and superheroes.

A technomagic-based version of Embody is very consistent with the poor fellow Dr. Frankenstein raised from the dead, and the mad doctor himself (the real monster of the story) need not even realise that what he did was a form of ritual magic. The same is true for the Bride in those settings where she actually exists as more than a body that Dr. Frankenstein mostly put together, but then destroyed, and for the other creatures various incarnations of Dr. Frankenstein have made.

EDIT: Stepping away from the undead, the Golem is the classic theurgical use of Embody, though some, like the famous Golem of Prague, seem likely to have been far more dangerous than the standard golem of role-playing games and some fantasy novels. Another possible example is the night-troll which 'turns to stone' (possibly permanently) when exposed to sunlight. This could be an Embodied spirit, and/or some variety of hostile Earth Elemental, with a very serious disad related to sunlight (which does not necessarily mean that it's vulnerable to ultraviolet light).

(Basically, Embody is really useful & versatile, and potentially quite powerful, to the point that the book warns GMs about letting PCs use it.)

Thoughts? Anyone have additional monsters or creatures that could fit?
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Old 01-19-2019, 11:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

Let us consider the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. In the original work, at first Dr Jekyll drinks a serum to turn into Mr Hyde, and Hyde drinks either a different serum, or another dose of the same serum to change back; said serum was apparently intended to disguise Jekyll so that he could indulge in unstated vices without being caught, rather than 'bring out the evil in Man' or something like that, which many later works claim variants of. Later, though, Jekyll finds himself changing involuntarily into Hyde, first while asleep, and then while awake. Edward Hyde in the original work does not seem to be any more physically powerful or durable than Henry Jekyll, rather being an ugly hunchback and/or dwarf with various nasty mental disads, while Jekyll is described as tall and handsome (and probably has the same disads, just with higher self-control numbers). Hyde might be more strong-willed than Jekyll, though. In some later adaptations (though not all), Hyde is sometimes larger than Jekyll, and inhumanly strong and durable. One of these might be more famous than the original, and even if not, has certainly spawned his own wide range of variants.

For this sort of setting, Dr Jekyll is most likely a ritual alchemist, which is to say, a ritual magician using a style with Alchemy as the core skill, rather than Thaumatology or Ritual Magic. Learned men looking into alchemy rather than (or as well as) chemistry was oddly more common than you might expect in Real Life in the 19th century, so it seems likely that it would be even more common in a world where Alchemy could actually get concrete results. Jekyll does not appear to have been a very versatile alchemist, but then, we only see fairly little of him in the original novella, and not much from his own point of view. The specific serum we know he made seems to be a Skinchange variant that also (whether due to the formula itself or due to Jekyll's existing psychological flaws) includes a change in personality, but that does not involve a particularly great physical change in comparison to the standard 'man changes into animal and back' version. For both of these reasons, I suggest that Skinchange (Hyde) should have a lower penalty than the usual, though by how much, I am uncertain. The variants with a more powerful Hyde would of course fall under the usual rules... mostly. The Incredible Hulk, even just the TV version (which is fairly close to the Mr Hyde from Alan Moore's The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, albeit less intelligent than that Hyde) would be really quite expensive, both as a character and as a ritual, but is the result of an accident, and usually not the intended goal (though the TV version is pretty close).


The Hollywood Wolf-Man is another plausible example of a Skinchange variant that shows minimal physical changes, as the Wolf-Man looks pretty much like a hairy guy with fangs, claws, and sometimes a dog-like nose (in other cases, the nose and mouth become a wolf's snout, and the ears become much like those of a wolf). The abilities displayed by the Wolf-Man vary a bit, some seemingly being no stronger than the human form, and others being both quite strong and having an excellent sense of smell. The Wolf-Man, and some other types of werewolf (or other werecreature), also exemplify another variant of the Skinchange ritual, which was mentioned (but not given much detail) in Thaumatology:

Skinchange Curse
Effect Shaping: Path of Form-8*; 20 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 11 points*.
* Adjusted for form, as per Skinchange.

A class of rituals based on Skinchange (Thaumatology p145), but the target is not in control of the change; instead, when the target changes into their new form, and when they change back, is set by the caster, or may be inherent to that specific ritual. For example, Skinchange Curse (Newt) changes a human into a newt, but the victim will change back if they live to see the sunrise (or something like that, the source material didn't say how he got better). The classic example is a prince transformed into a talking toad, until he is kissed by a princess, and such a highly specialzed ritual might not have such a strict default. This is a simple, one-shot curse: the target changes into an animal once, and when he changes back to his human form, the curse is over. Another option is the cyclic curse (you change back and forth with the right trigger conditions, but it never stops until you die), which I would suggest has a penalty of at least -10, or an energy cost of at least 13 points. This would be the Path/Book Magic origin of the classic werewolf curse; for example, a young knight spurns the advances of a powerful witch, so she gathers up the components (including a lock of his hair, which she braids with a lock of wolf's fur), performs the ritual, and places a curse upon him that after the sun has set and the full moon has risen, he will become a wolf, and when the sun rises he is restored to his human form... until the next night with a full moon, when the cycle repeats itself. As with Mr Hyde, above, this curse often seems to come with a personality change. Breaking such a curse most often appears to be impossible in fiction, but it need not be.

A literally permanent version of the Skinchange Curse (as in, you get changed into the new form and cannot change back) is probably impossible, but transformation that only ends at death might be an option (and seems to be the case in some horror movies); speaking as a GM, I would be reluctant to allow it as a curse the PCs can cast, but it's plausible. This could be the origin of various monsters and other fantastic creatures, being either permanently transformed themselves, or descended from people or creatures who were transformed and had offspring in their transformed state. This is one of the possibilities I had considered for the origin of the Gill-man, as his fascination with human women suggests a connection to humanity. Perhaps some of the inhabitants of lost Atlantis transformed themselves into creatures that could breathe and drink seawater, but could also survive for some time in the air (this also being a possible origin of merfolk in some accounts), or he might be a relative of the Deep Ones, as he has roughly the right look for it.


Embody is another possible origin of many such creatures. A skilled taxidermist with the right resources could create a pretty convincing (to someone who is willing to believe that they might exist) dragon, gryphon, or other such being, and if the taxidermist is also a magician (or is working with one, or their work is obtained by one), the spirit animating it could convince people that it's alive. Making the result grow and produce offspring is almost certainly beyond Embody (unless the spirit has the right powers for that), but that's only a problem if you want it to reproduce.


The Invisible Man is another one who could be a ritual alchemist who had an interesting critical failure. His invisibility does not match the Obscurity ritual (Thaumatology p141) at all, as the description directly points out that it isn't an invisibility spell, it just makes the target that much harder to notice. I would place the Invisibility serum in the Path of Elements, if it were in a standard Path at all, or in a specific Book that Griffin was developing (his notebooks, which at least in the book were written in code). Given that Griffin is apparently not blind, it seems to work like the usual Invisibility spell or power, rather than literally making his body perfectly transparent (as that would have made his eyes transparent, as well).


Thoughts?
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Old 01-21-2019, 05:45 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

A character that might be of interest and/or use to some of you:

Herr Doktor Wilhelm Klaus Freiherr von Frankenstein, 1816

Age: 27

Attributes

ST 10 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 13 [60]; HT 11 [10]

Secondary Characteristics

HP 10; Will 13; Per 13; FP 11

Social Background

Languages: 18th-19th century German (Native) [0]; Latin (Native) [6]; Ancient Greek (Accented/Native) [5]; French (Accented/Native) [5]; English (Accented) [4].

TL: 5^ (early)

Cultural Familiarity: 19th century Western Europe [0].

Subtotal: 90


Advantages

Attractive [4]
Independent Income 5 [5]
Leyden Jars (Energy Reserve (Magic); Breakable machine, DR1, -25%; SM0, -25%; Can Be Stolen by ST, -30%; Special Recharge (Electricity), -70%) 20 [12]
Lightning Calculator [2]
Path/Book Adept (Time; Requires electricity, -20%) 1 [8]
Magery 0 [5]
Magery (Storm-Aspected, -60%) 3 [12]
Status 3 [10]
Very Wealthy [30]

Perks

Dirty Fighting. [1]
Dramatic Death. [1]
Forecast. [1]
Penetrating Voice. [1]

Subtotal: 92


Disadvantages

Bad Temper (12) [-10]
Callous [-5]
Delusion (Minor: "My esoteric workings are the product of SCIENCE!, not magic!") [-5]
Obsession ("I'll show those fools who laughed at me that I was right! I'll show them ALL!") (12) [-5]
Overconfidence (6) [-10]
Reputation (Mad scientist, like his late cousin; large class (Academia); 10 or less) -2 [-2]
Stubbornness [-5]

Quirks

Beer snob. [-1]
Cackles, but is embarrassed about it afterwards. [-1]
Loves lightning storms. [-1]
Mild lecherousness. [-1]

Subtotal: -46


Features

Esoteric Medicine (Electomagnetic) is a complementary skill for the Book of Frankenstein. [0]

Skills

Accounting [IQ/H] [1] 11
Administration [IQ/A] [1] 12
Animal Handling (Equines) [IQ/A] [1] 12
Astronomy/TL5^ [IQ/H] [1] 11
Biology (Earthlike)/TL5^ [IQ/VH] [2] 11
Brawling [DX/E] [1] 10
Chemistry/TL5^ [IQ/H] [1] 11
Cryptography/TL5^ [IQ/H] [2] 12
Diagnosis/TL5^ [IQ/H] [2] 12
Electrician/TL5^ [IQ/A] [2] 13
Engineer (Electrical)/TL5^ [IQ/H] [4] 13
First Aid/TL5^ [IQ/E] [0] 13
Gambling [IQ/A] [1] 12
Games (Chess) [IQ/E] [1] 13
Games (Tennis) [IQ/E] [1] 13
Hypnotism [IQ/H] [2] 12
Mathematics (Applied)/TL5^ [IQ/H] [4] 13
Mathematics (Statistics)/TL5^ [IQ/H] [2] 12
Meteorology (Earthlike)/TL5^ [IQ/A] [1] 12
Pharmacy (Herbal)/TL5^ [IQ/H] [1] 11
Pharmacy (Synthetic)/TL5^ [IQ/H] [2] 12
Physician/TL5^ [IQ/H] [4] 13
Physiology/TL5^ [IQ/H] [1] 11
Poisons/TL5^ [IQ/H] [1] 11
Riding (Horse) [DX/A] [1] 9
Sports (Tennis) [DX/A] [2] 10
Surgery/TL5^ [IQ/VH] [8] 13
Veterinary/TL5^ [IQ/H] [2] 12

Book of Frankenstein [IQ/VH] [8] 13(16*)
Esoteric Medicine (Electomagnetic)/TL5^ [Per/H] [4] 13(16*)
Ritual Magic (Technurgy)/TL5^ [IQ/VH] [8] 13(16*)

Techniques

Book of Frankenstein:
Dose
Embody
Empower
Halt Decay
Know Fault
Reverse Decay
Succor

*Includes +3 from Magery (Storm-Aspected); listed separately because the advantage applies somewhat rarely.

Subtotal: 72

Total: 208


Equipment

Notes

This Dr. Frankenstein is inspired by the various 'decendent or other relative of the infamous Mad Doctor' found in several horror movies. In this case, he's a younger cousin of the one from the novel, and inherited his estate, including those notes that Dr. Victor Frankenstein did not destroy, and which his own research has expanded upon. I've set his present in the Year Without a Summer, the same year that the future Mary Shelley (then still Mary Godwin, as the year was almost over before they actually married) wrote 'Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus' while on holiday in Switzerland.

Wilhelm's style of technurgy (technological thaumaturgy) is Energy Accumulating, based on electricity (he unknowingly converts electrical energy into spiritual energy, which is also how Empower works: it doesn't transfer FP to a spirit, it converts electricity into a form that would be useful to an Embodied spirit). The Book of Frankenstein does not include a spirit summoning ritual, nor any other way to determine what spirit will be Embodied (nor does Wilhelm know that it would be an option, any more than his late cousin Victor did). This can be a serious problem for Herr Doktor von Frankenstein, as the body is taken by whatever spirit is both nearby and strong enough to get in before another spirit does.

Storm-Aspected Magery, in this context, only works when the weather is bad enough that the GM is willing to call it a storm. In what most would call good weather, he is limited to Magery 0.

The Leyden Jars are not terribly portable, but then he doesn't intend to use them outside of his laboratory (which serves as his prepared ritual space), anyway. The jars are recharged by electricity, frequently but not exclusively by tapping the castle's lightning rods (which also supply power for his use of Embody).

Halt Decay
Effect Shaping: Book of Frankenstein-2*; 15 minutes; this effect lasts for days equal to margin of success (minimum 1).
Energy Accumulating: 4 points*, +1 per day for which the effect continues.
* Adjusted by Size Modifier.

Known as 'Preserve Food' in some other styles. When cast on a carcass or other single quantity of formerly-living matter, the process of decay ceases as noted above. The base cost is adjusted according to the SM of the target, with SM greater than zero increasing the penalty or energy cost equal to SM, and SM less than zero decreasing it in the same manner; note that the minimum energy cost is 1, though the minimum skill penalty is 0. If Embody is cast on the target while this effect is also on it, the spirit inhabiting the body can maintain it with no penalty, as if it were alive.

Reverse Decay
Effect Shaping: Book of Frankenstein-4*; 30 minutes.
Energy Accumulating: 8 points*, +1 per extra day worth of decay to be lost.
* Adjusted by Size Modifier.

This ritual, as the name suggests, reverses the process of decay on one carcass or other single quantity of formerly-living matter, by a number of days equal to the margin of success (minimum 1), or days equal to 1 plus the number of points over 8 spent on the ritual (e.g. 12 points spent removes five days worth of decay). As above, the Size Modifier of the target increases or decreases the difficulty. Not that this ritual cannot reverse death. It can bring a carcass to the point of having been freshly killed, but the dead remain dead (or undead), even if CPR is performed by an expert with the best tools for the job. Depending on the setting, this ritual might only be able to be cast on a target once, or only once per day, or is may be not limited like that at all. However, if the GM determines that a carcass has fully decayed (generally meaning reduced to marrowless bones, though this too varies), the ritual is useless.

As written, Wilhelm could be played as the villain of a one-shot or short campaign, a red herring (I mean, once the players hear the name 'Frankenstein,' deeply ingrained player knowledge is almost certain to bleed into the PCs' behavior, especially if they know his Reputation), a recurring Enemy, an Ally, a Contact, a Patron, or even one of the PCs (albeit one who should not be in combat). This version is too young to have a beautiful daughter for one of the PCs to fall in love with (and has been written without Dependents), but a sister, cousin, or Embodied spirit would certaily be possible... and he's easily young enough to become obsessed with one of the PCs, or an Ally or Dependent thereof, as long as the player involved is comfortable with that. If he's to be a long-term Enemy, I suggest replacing Overconfidence with Megalomania, and if you're going into a Hammer Horror sort of genre, perhaps giving him Unkillable with a limitation like 'must have a vaguely-plausible explanation for how he survived' (though given some of the explanations in horror movies, this may only be a -5% Nuisance Effect). If he's to be a hero, replacing Callous with some sort of Code of Honor would help, and you might want to add some combat skills and a higher DX (and Appearance, if you're going into the Hollywood Horror genre). Having both Callous and a Code of Honor could work for a Byronic hero, though.


Thoughts?
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Old 01-21-2019, 07:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

Frankenstein's monster could be considered an example of Embody that gave the spirit Amnesia. Ritual Magic (Technology), of which the Book of Animation (a better generic name), would be a form of Ritual Mage that would take advantage of technology trappings and storms as additional elements. As an element, technological trappings would that add (TL/2, rounded down) bonus to skill when present while rituals performed without technological trappings would suffer -5 to skill. As an element, storms would give a bonus to skill equal to their wind speed in yards/10, rounded down, with a minimum bonus of '0', while rituals performed without a storm would suffer -5 to skill

The Book of Animation would have Embody, Predict Weather, Summon, Tirelessness, Vitality, and Weatherworking, plus Halt Decay and Reverse Decay (though I would change them to use standard time parameters). Embody and Summon would gain the spirit required for animation, Halt Decay and Reverse Decay would create the vessel for animation, Predict Weather and Weatherworking would allow the practitioner to know (or create) the ideal environment for animation, and Tirelessness and Vitality would keep the practitioner going. While it would be a highly specialized Book, the ability of its practitioners to seemingly reanimated the dead would make them sought after by the desperate, as well as by authorities for violating corpses.
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Frankenstein's monster could be considered an example of Embody that gave the spirit Amnesia.
I hadn't considered that, but it's absolutely consistent with his behavior in the novel. Thank you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Ritual Magic (Technology), of which the Book of Animation (a better generic name), would be a form of Ritual Mage that would take advantage of technology trappings and storms as additional elements. As an element, technological trappings would that add (TL/2, rounded down) bonus to skill when present while rituals performed without technological trappings would suffer -5 to skill. As an element, storms would give a bonus to skill equal to their wind speed in yards/10, rounded down, with a minimum bonus of '0', while rituals performed without a storm would suffer -5 to skill
I'd still call it 'technurgy' (which means 'skill-working,' while 'technology' means roughly 'study of skill'), but I generally agree with you on the bonuses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
The Book of Animation would have Embody, Predict Weather, Summon, Tirelessness, Vitality, and Weatherworking, plus Halt Decay and Reverse Decay (though I would change them to use standard time parameters). Embody and Summon would gain the spirit required for animation, Halt Decay and Reverse Decay would create the vessel for animation, Predict Weather and Weatherworking would allow the practitioner to know (or create) the ideal environment for animation, and Tirelessness and Vitality would keep the practitioner going. While it would be a highly specialized Book, the ability of its practitioners to seemingly reanimated the dead would make them sought after by the desperate, as well as by authorities for violating corpses.
That is a better generic version, at least for a technonecromancer (that term really sounds like a band name) that knows he's doing magic. The list of rituals is good for that, as well. Not sure what you mean by 'standard time parameters,' though. I was basing them off of Succor, just modifying the phrasing to fit better.

My thought process when coming up with the Book of Frankenstein was pretty much 'OK, what could Wilhelm Klaus learn from Victor's notes, and what might he come up with through his own experiments?' I thought about adding Tirelessness and/or Vitality, but decided that he didn't have those yet, and I left off Summon, Predict Weather, and Weatherworking because they wouldn't fit into the mindset he's in, where he's not doing magic, he's working with the relationship between biology and electricity. At best, he might be able to come up with something like Predict Weather by 'detecting the level of electricity in the air' or something like that.
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:30 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

I guess I should have said standard duration effect parameters (Thaumotology, p. 243). Succor is an odd case, but I guess that is because it is meant to augment healing, which stops when someone recovers from injury. In the case of Reverse Decay, I would have the process reverse one day of decay for every day of duration, though the ritual would require a minimum of 50% of the intact corpse to serve as a template and a bath of biological fluid, treated with Halt Decay, with a mass twice that of the final mass of the corpse to provide the required materials.
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Old 01-22-2019, 09:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

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Frankenstein's monster could be considered an example of Embody that gave the spirit Amnesia.
Has anyone read the Monster Hunters International series by Larry Correia?
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Old 01-22-2019, 05:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Path/Book Magic] Monsters as Magicians... or vice versa

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
I guess I should have said standard duration effect parameters (Thaumotology, p. 243). Succor is an odd case, but I guess that is because it is meant to augment healing, which stops when someone recovers from injury. In the case of Reverse Decay, I would have the process reverse one day of decay for every day of duration, though the ritual would require a minimum of 50% of the intact corpse to serve as a template and a bath of biological fluid, treated with Halt Decay, with a mass twice that of the final mass of the corpse to provide the required materials.
Interesting. Hadn't really thought about the specifics of the ritual, beyond 'involves electricity.' (EDIT: Wilhelm would be a big believer in shock therapy if he'd ever heard of it, but would be highly suspicious of lobotomies, as he believes that brains that have bits missing won't work as well.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Has anyone read the Monster Hunters International series by Larry Correia?
No, but now I'm curious about it.

Apropos of nothing much, I'm now wondering what sort of band 'Technonecromancer' would be. Is a fusion of Techno and Death Metal even plausible? Might they be the disguise of a group of wandering monster hunters (the PCs)?

More relevant to the thread:

The colonists inhabiting the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey gave birst to the legend of the Jersey Devil - in one case literally, if you believe the folklore: A woman called Mother Leeds had twelve children, and it seems was heartily sick of them (or perhaps simply of childbirth, in an era when the birthing bed was compared to a battlefield). In a moment of frustration, she declared that the next one would be a devil! Lo and behold, one dark and stormy night (yes, really) in 1735, she gave birth to a creature said to resemble an upright goat with batwings and clawed hands (descriptions vary, as you might expect from folklore). Until the twentieth century, this was called the Leeds Devil. Was the creature a devil that possessed Mother Leeds's thirteenth child? Was Mother Leeds a witch, as some accounts claim, who Embodied the spirit in her child? Was this a stillbirth blown ridiculously out of proportion, or a complete fabrication, made up by the many anti-monarchists in the area to malign the emphatically pro-monarchist Leeds family?

I have a game-plot for this one: I suggest that there was no singular Jersey Devil, or if there was, it is long gone. It is reasonably well-known to the magical community in the area (though of course not to the public) that most 'reliable' sightings of the creature have been pranks by young ritual magicians, with varying degrees of maliciousness. Embodied or disembodied spirits, illusions and carefully-crafted dreams, and the occasional elemental effect all conspired to make the Jersey Devil seem real.

Recently, though, several deaths in and around the Pine Barrens appear to be done by the Jersey Devil. Is the latest magician a serial killer, or did they make the mistake of Embodying a demon? Is it the 'original' Leeds Devil finally returned, or released from some mystical prison? Can it be just a clever mundane serial killer with a talent for special effects? How many more will die before the heroes track this monster down?
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