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Old 11-21-2008, 12:43 AM   #1
ISNorden
 
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Default New Ethereal Discord

Behind the Times

A character afflicted with Behind the Times is mentally "stuck" in his culture's past--utterly clueless about newer technology and attitudes, despite his best efforts to learn. He will forget any skills inconsistent with his "apparent" time: for instance, a character who thinks he's in the 1950s will not know how to use a microwave or a cell phone, and have an outdated Area Knowledge for any places that have changed since then. His speech patterns will resemble those common in the 1950s, and his social behavior matches the norms of that time.

The level of this Discord, of course, indicates just how far its victim lives Behind the Times. For obvious reasons, it usually affects older celestials or ethereals: other beings can't remember that far back personally. A mortal might take ONE level of Behind the Times, however, to represent long-term memory loss.

  1. A generation or two (fifty years at most)
  2. Three to five generations (100 years at most)
  3. 200 to 500 years
  4. 500 to 1000 years
  5. 1000 to 2000 years
  6. The VERY distant past, with limits decided by the GM or the circumstances that inflicted this Discord. Could be the Stone Age or even the beginning of Creation...

Reaction Penalty: -1 per level of Discord (with a further -2 from servitors of Lightning or Technology). Two characters who BOTH have this discord at the same level may react to each other normally, at the GM's option.

Any good estimates for how many points this Discord is worth? I'd appreciate any help I can get.
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Last edited by ISNorden; 11-21-2008 at 12:57 AM. Reason: penalty clarified
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

I wouldn't make it worth that much. In GURPS, it'd be levels of Primitive, and go by Tech Level.

Heck, I might allow this Discord to add a bonus to resistance rolls against various powers of demons of Technology...
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Old 11-22-2008, 10:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

Quote:
Originally Posted by William
I wouldn't make it worth that much. In GURPS, it'd be levels of Primitive, and go by Tech Level.

Heck, I might allow this Discord to add a bonus to resistance rolls against various powers of demons of Technology...
As someone who's never played GURPS, I'm a little confused...what does that Disadvantage do in plain English? (Making "Behind the Times" a mixed blessing, with the help against Tech demons, is still a great idea in theory...)
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:36 PM   #4
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

Quote:
Originally Posted by ISNorden
As someone who's never played GURPS, I'm a little confused...what does that Disadvantage do in plain English? (Making "Behind the Times" a mixed blessing, with the help against Tech demons, is still a great idea in theory...)
Primitive, or "Low TL" as it's now called, means that your technological understanding is behind everyone else's. For example, maybe you're used to Age of Sail technology and ideas on a world where everyone else has WWII-era tools. In practical terms, you can learn the physical skills of the higher "tech level" if you have a good teacher, but you can't learn the mental ones without buying off the disadvantage ... representing a shift in your world view.

So Cap'n Renaissance Man taken to the 1940s could learn to drive a Jeep and fire a gun -- but might well be confounded on the turns that Physics, Biology and Chemistry had taken.
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

*nods in understanding* So my "Behind the Times" would work like GURPS' "Low TL" Disadvantage, with the following additions:
  • The afflicted character also uses language and behavior consistent with "his" time period (dangerously confusing at higher levels)
  • The afflicted gains a bonus to resist resonances and attunements (but not Songs) used by servitors of Technology.
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Old 11-23-2008, 11:59 AM   #6
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

Right. It's not high-point, as GURPS Disadvantages go; the character can still be reasonably effective with non-technological skills like Songs or martial arts. Now, your description suggests this would extend to penalizing social skills like fast-talk or diplomacy, due to language and cultural differences. That would make the Disadvantage worse, but the benefit of resistance against Technology powers would balance that out somewhat. Low TL is -5 points in GURPS 4e, and 5 in GURPS is roughly -1 or -2 points in standard IN, as a rule of thumb.
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Old 11-23-2008, 12:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

Quote:
Originally Posted by William
Right. It's not high-point, as GURPS Disadvantages go; the character can still be reasonably effective with non-technological skills like Songs or martial arts. Now, your description suggests this would extend to penalizing social skills like fast-talk or diplomacy, due to language and cultural differences. That would make the Disadvantage worse, but the benefit of resistance against Technology powers would balance that out somewhat. Low TL is -5 points in GURPS 4e, and 5 in GURPS is roughly -1 or -2 points in standard IN, as a rule of thumb.
I did indeed mean for "Behind the Times" to penalize cultural skills, not just technological ones--say, -2 per Discord level to "dated" social rolls. (A character who thinks he's living in the 1980s won't make huge social blunders in 2008, but one who thinks he's living in the 1780s would have a hard time understanding just how much the local language and moral standards have changed!) If -2 per level seems excessive, consider Area Knowledge as an example; how many important sites in a 200-year-old city have disappeared, moved, or come under different celestial influence? Even somebody whose mental map is "only" 25 years old will probably get lost and confused enough for others to notice.

With that skill penalty and the NPC reaction penalty (-1 per Discord level) balancing the bonus against Technology demons, how severe is "Behind the Times" in a typical IN campaign? I'd personally rate it at 2 points per level in my own...the "older celestial with culture shock" scenario has landed the party in trouble with the law at least once.
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Old 11-23-2008, 04:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

I'd say there's a huge problem here - roleplaying the dated language patterns. IN is very much a feeling RPG and it's hard to capture the feeling without actually doing it. In the end, it could also be very confusing for the PC's those kind of mistranslations and misunderstandings are fun for a few sessions, but in the end, it would be verym very annoying.
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Old 11-23-2008, 06:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edman
I'd say there's a huge problem here - roleplaying the dated language patterns. IN is very much a feeling RPG and it's hard to capture the feeling without actually doing it. In the end, it could also be very confusing for the PC's those kind of mistranslations and misunderstandings are fun for a few sessions, but in the end, it would be verym very annoying.
Depends on how you do it, I suppose. The stereotypical example of this Discord would be Aziraphale from Pratchett & Gaiman's "Good Omens" who has a very Victorian sensibility and speech pattern in a 1990s world. As an In Nomine character, I suspect that other characters might find him annoying (as indeed, they often do in the book) but that the players would find him rather amusing.

You're right, though -- playing this kind of character can be a challenge for the player or GM that attempts it. But not an insurmountable one -- the character that the OP has mentioned above last had contact with Earth during the days of Joshua, and the group feels pretty protective of her. Her language patterns are formal in an archaic way and she often has to have basic things explained to her (such as how "that Gladiator picture" is a performance, not a portrait), but she's generally well-liked.

So no, it's not easy. But considering that players may also choose to play a humorless Malakite, a Seraph who's out of touch with pop culture, or a Kyriotate who changes identities like other people change their socks, this type of character may not be as far off the beaten path as it may seem.
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Old 11-23-2008, 09:00 PM   #10
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Default Re: New Ethereal Discord

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocket Man
Depends on how you do it, I suppose. The stereotypical example of this Discord would be Aziraphale from Pratchett & Gaiman's "Good Omens" who has a very Victorian sensibility and speech pattern in a 1990s world. As an In Nomine character, I suspect that other characters might find him annoying (as indeed, they often do in the book) but that the players would find him rather amusing.
Aziraphale is indeed one of the characters who inspired this Discord; I'd personally say he has Behind the Times at level 1 or 2. (His idea of modern music being "bebop" is a perfect example of the cultural confusion I had in mind.)

Quote:
You're right, though -- playing this kind of character can be a challenge for the player or GM that attempts it. But not an insurmountable one -- the character that the OP has mentioned above last had contact with Earth during the days of Joshua, and the group feels pretty protective of her.
*nods* It's hard to role-play that kind of confusion without letting it define a character completely, or dominate a campaign. Still, player characters probably wouldn't take more than two levels of Behind the Times at the start of a campaign...unless they were history buffs, linguists, or both. (Playing someone stuck in Great Grandpa's day isn't too hard or distracting...) Someone with three or more levels--an ancient celestial who just can't learn--is usually an NPC created for one specific story. As long as the GM doesn't become obsessed with the Discord, it should be usable once in a while.

Quote:
Her language patterns are formal in an archaic way and she often has to have basic things explained to her (such as how "that Gladiator picture" is a performance, not a portrait), but she's generally well-liked.
Another great example of historical culture shock--and of how a Behind the Times character could be handled without needing to read a history book cover to cover. :-)

Quote:
So no, it's not easy. But considering that players may also choose to play a humorless Malakite, a Seraph who's out of touch with pop culture, or a Kyriotate who changes identities like other people change their socks, this type of character may not be as far off the beaten path as it may seem.
Exactly...trying to role-play extreme literal-mindedness, a legitimately split personality, or strong identification with another species is challenging too. But in a game that sees those personalities as "normal" in the right context...why not let some 2000-year-old angel act confused about the way things have changed since her last visit to Earth? ;-)
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