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Old 04-12-2021, 02:32 PM   #1
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

One variant of GURPS Horror's Specter (p27) is the Lilitu (p93). They have a disadvantage which removes the 'Doesn't Eat or Drink' advantage which Specters inherit from the Spirit template on B263.

This presumably means they need to materialize to eat (unless perhaps they can eat other insubstantial spirits? how plentiful would those be?) which Specters can do a bit more easily than other spirits: their -20% "difficult materialization" (H16) is merely 1 FP per minute instead of per second like the -40% "usually on" insubstantiality.

Lilitu have ST12/HT13 and presumably that much HP/FP. Thirteen minutes could be a rushed meal if you had to rely on consuming a substantial food source, but I guess you could just take breaks in between to recover FP?

Makes me wonder: when you've swallowed something, assuming that initially counts as "encumbrance", how long would it take to digest it enough that it's considered no longer to be encumbrance and instead part of you?

Same consideration for water too, I guess?

B62 requires "Can Carry Objects" and Spirits/Specters/Lilitu do not have that enhancement on their insubstantiality so time needed to incorporate food seems like a pretty important consideration. If you don't have enough time then whatever you're chewing on (or even swallowed/digesting) would presumably stay substantial when you stop paying FP and revert to insubstantial form.

- - -

Being creatures with the Noctural disadvantage (B146) they can't put this off getting their meals: they're completely immobile when the sun's risen until it sets, and I don't think turning insubstantial and hiding underground would prevent that, though maybe flying to the other side of the planet where it's night might work?
While "only at day" and "only at night" are -20% limitations (meant to be 44-56% of the time in Accessibility) and I figure probably meant to be 12-hour periods, I'm not sure if Nocturnal might be an even narrower range like 8 hours: do we have any guidelines for when sunset/sunrise occur?
- - -

Food/drink aside, the Lilitu have another thing they need to schedule during their night-active hours: a potentially deadly Dependency (Daily) which per B130 is going to make them lose 1 HP/hour if they don't fulfill a daily dose. That's a x3 multiplier so the base cost derived from -45 is -15, which if you knock off the -5 for Infants' Breath being illegal means it's -10: ranked Common (expensive, hard to find).

Do we ever get guidelines moneywise as to what the Dependency tiers require? You have Occasional (Very Expensive) or Common (Expensive) ... I was thinking maybe going by how B122 defines these terms for Addiction which is >0.5% average starting wealth for "very expensive" and >0.1% average starting wealth for "expensive".

This is pretty convenient since it uses a "cost per day" system too. So we have 1/1000 sw = "hard to find" and 1/200 sw = "somewhat hard to find" roughly.

I could see a dependency being "illegal" as perhaps a reason to perhaps apply some kind of cost-multiplier to buying the drugs though? Not sure.

If we assume that a Lilitu-equivalent with this Dependency lacking Leech could purchase "pre-bottled Infants' Breath" from some local mage for 1/200 sw per dose, then presumably "Leech" gives an alternate approach to spending money to get these "doses": in a sense manufacturing your own illegal drugs for free, using your own labor/abilities.

The question here then becomes : how do various levels of Leech translate into production capacity of Infants' Breath?

Leech in it's basic form steals 1 HP per attack, and every 3 attacks you make, you get back 1 HP. There's basically the requirement of some kind of tally system: sort of like you get a free energy reserve which stores up to 3 HP and then automatically heals you whenever you reach that. Without that, Leech 1 and Leech 2 wouldn't be able to recover HP without taking the Accelerated Healing enhancements which changes the heal-1-per-3-inflicted ratio to 'heal-what-you-inflict.

Lilitu happen to have that enhancement which makes for easier math for them. They have it at level 2 which means inflicting 2 HP per attack and recovering 2 HP per attack.

This would mean, if you're losing 1 HP per hour from missing a dependency, that 12 successful attacks should even things out.

It seems wrong to just say "while I'm getting full benefit of my Leech recovering HP lost to my missed doses, it's ALSO the dose" though.

Seems like maybe you'd need to choose one or the other: either the 2 HP you inflict heals 2 lost HP, or it counts towards your "dose requirement" to turn off the hourly HP loss.

So for example: you're at full HP and have no use for the stolen HP: it counts as a dose towards your daily quota to prevent the death spiral happening 24 hours later. Being at full HP first before dumping excess HP into dose-requirements seems like a good policy for simplicity.

But the question is: just how much excess should you need to qualify as a dose? What would the value of HP be when compared to money?

I was thinking maybe we could use Power-Ups 5 (Impulsve Buys) as a guideline, since you can buy money using character points, to get a rough guideline of equivalent values.

Trading Points for Money is 1 cp per 10% sw, which would buy 100 doses of an "expensive" substance (like ready-to-consume mage-bottled Infants' Breath).

You can also spend CP to reduce damage you take (pg 6 "Defense vs Effect") which involves controlling randomization to guarantee snake-eyes on 2d. This is incredibly useful when you're hit with a 2d Corrosion Attack 2 [20] because you're changing an average of 7 damage into merely 2 damage: a 2/7 multiplier is basically a 3.5 divisor.

It's not like a universal 3.5 divisor of course multiplier: you get less benefit if the roll would've come up low to begin with (2 stays 2), and more benefit if it would've rolled high (12 becoming 2 is a divisor of 6)

DVE is a much less useful option if you're hit with something like 1d+3 Corrosion Attack 1.9 [19] though: there's only 1 die to reduce so it will still do 4 damage.

Given the potential "adds problem" I wonder if instead one could take something like "1 cp buys a 3.5 divisor for up to 7 damage" as an alternate policy. Basically it will change 1-3 damage to 1 damage and 4-7 damage to 2 damage? The downside being: you're out of luck if it ends up doing 8-12 because then you'll be taking 3-5 damage instead of merely 2, but 'dice plus adds' doesn't cripple the ability to buy success even on less-random attacks.

Changing 7 damage to 2 damage is basically negating 5 damage for the price of 1 cp

So basically negating 5 damage = getting 100 doses of your expensive drug, or 1 damage = 20 doses.

I feel like the math is off though because this would mean a single Lilitu attack of 2 HP should give 40 days worth of Infants' Breath and I get the impression they need to feed more often than that...

Another approach instead of "Defense vs. Effect" might be "Second Winds" (pg 10) where 1 cp buys 100% fp. This creates a sliding value: FP has increasingly less CP: value the more FP you have.

Given the 5%/10% contrast between Costs Fatigue and Costs Hit Points (we also see this in the "FP only" version of Dependency elsewhere in horror) it might be reasonable to say 1 cp could recover 50% hit points, though there's no actual mechanic for that in impulse buys.

if 50% hp = 100 doses then 5% hp = 10 doses and 0.5% (1/200 hp) could give a dose, so it's still underwhelming... 2 HP is still a high % of the 13 HP that a Lilitu has (>15% which would be >30 doses per attack) so it still feels off.

I don't think Impulse Buys strategy works, instead maybe I'm thinking for simplicity that you could just treat Dependency like having an energy reserve of "drugs in my system feeding my dependency" and the reserve is only big enough so that it can only last up to your period (24 hours in this case) and it fades at the rate you'd lose HP once it runs out?

In that case, a Lilitu would have an ER for storing Baby's Breath of 24 FP which would drain at 1 FP/hour, and when they're at full HP any excess HP they steal converts into HP to fill the ER?

ER 24 divided by the rate of 2 hp per attack would work out to 12 attacks per day. Per B20 an infant would have ST 3 (so 3 HP) so suffering 2 HP would reduce them to 1/3 HP which is still healthy enough to avoid Move/Dodge penalties (B327: must drop below).

So a Lilitu could in theory feed on 6 babies per night to meet it's "dose" requirement while minimizing harm to them (let them recover HP to full before feeding again)... does that seem too extreme?

In practise, this won't actually happen of course: the Link+10% obligates Lilitu to also attack simultaneous with Affliction: Choking, which per B428 causes Suffocation (B436) losing 1 FP per second.

This is actually badness for HP economy: MoS minutes of Choking at 60 FP per minute is going to guarantee death pretty soon, which means your food source is non-renewable (no wonder they have an Odious Racial Habit).

I actually don't get how that's an advantage at all: the usual benefit of choking is to neutralize threats, but infants aren't threats that need neutralizing. The sole benefit only seems to be "cannot speak" preventing them from crying out and alerting people that the Lilitu is there...

But is crying out even that big a threat? Lilitu can instantaneously turn insubstantial to avoid threats, and even ghost-slaying weapons wielded by invisible-seers aren't particularly dangerous if you just hop through a wall (or just the ground) since the wall can function as cover against both sight and attacks.
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:46 PM   #2
Plane
 
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

About the only advantage of taking Link +10% is cutting down on time usage (2 attacks in 1 second instead of 2 seconds) but that's completely out the window since Affliction has "Preparation Required, 1 minute" on it, which would also delay activating your Leech.

Seems like a much fairer redesign for this might be to ignore the Link+10% and Affliction and just use a different approach to Leech:

use "Steal (Other Score)" at the +50% level (steal FP, then when FP is at 0 steal HP) and borrow the "Hazard" modifier from Innate Attack (Fatigue Attack) as Leech allows on P96

Suffocation+0% is one thing allowed for that (just bypass the "Choking" part: pretty sure you can't cry out if you're suffocating anyway). "Treat FP
lost to the attack identically to FP lost to the relevant hazard for all purposes" has a benefit and a drawback:
1) benefit A: if target is at 0 FP or less for >2 minutes they make a HT roll and suffer permanent -1 to IQ if it fails
2) benefit B: if target is at 0 FP or less for >2 minutes they die
3) drawback C: targets with "Doesn't Breathe" are immune to FP loss
The last part would make sense, how do you steal Infants' Breath from infants who don't need to breathe?

Another probably-useful feature (given that Leech functions similar to a touch-based Malediction) would probably be to treat it like a Respiratory Agent somehow... the closest I can think (since you can't combine Respiratory Agent with Malediction) is to call it Smell/Taste based as that's roughly equivalent to breathing through nose/mouth (cover them you're immune) and treat it like a -20% limitation for Leech if mouth/nose covering (like a baby wearing a helmet) would protect against the HP loss.

In terms of combat mechanics, I figure your grapple for setting up the Leech should need to target the head at -3 (half of -5) or else you didn't hit the nose/mouth to qualify for the Taste/Smell criteria (just as in sight-based Leech you should need to Eye-Gouge at -5 to hit, half of -9: MA71).

That would be less extreme a discount than Contact Agent (-30%) or Blood Agent (-40%) which are already allowed, so maybe the -20% should be in addition to one of them?

PU8p17's "You Got the Touch" uses a more extreme set of requirements for touch-based maledictions that get the -30% for Contact Agent (in addition to touching their skin as usual, you must also use your skin to do it, essentially bundling in Touch-Based Reversed) but "must touch mouth or nose" or "must touch left eye or right eye" or "must touch left hand or right hand" would be additional requirements on top of that probably worth something...
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Old 04-12-2021, 02:54 PM   #3
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

I suspect the dependency should be more like "Infant's Final Breath" to make it clear that this is about child-killing demons, and the benefit of strangling is that it prevents anyone from saving the baby's life. Requiring a rate of daily is pretty excessive.
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Old 04-13-2021, 05:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

A common trope amongst "hungry" supernaturals is that they can't actually starve to death, nor can they ever be sated - a lilitu simply feeds on infants whenever it has the chance, like a ghoul feasts on corpses.
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Old 04-13-2021, 06:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

For ghosts and the like that need to eat, I feel this is most appropriately handled as them staying insubstantial but causing food to rot, decay, or otherwise become ruined rapidly. They'd need to devote time and effort, rather than having this just happen passively, just as for material beings. What this looks like is up to the GM - maybe they simply stare and concentrate at the food, maybe they pantomime eating (which may not be pantomiming after all - they are pulling out the food's essence and consuming it), whatever. Note this is adding a minor form of Affects Substantial, but I suspect it's rare enough for this to be useful (outside of simply eating) that you don't need to worry about it. The main thing I can think of is that it allows the character to more readily steal food from an enemy (meeting his/her own dietary requirements while depriving a foe of rations), but as the spirit should only be able to eat what a comparable material character would, this probably isn't a huge deal.
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Old 04-15-2021, 07:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

One other thing interesting here... Lilitu are barren and can't give milk. If barren is a racial feature then how are Lilitu actually created if not through reproduction?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
I suspect the dependency should be more like "Infant's Final Breath" to make it clear that this is about child-killing demons, and the benefit of strangling is that it prevents anyone from saving the baby's life. Requiring a rate of daily is pretty excessive.
The daily rate is why I'm thinking:

1) maybe it's possible for it to be non-lethal?
2) or maybe it's lethal but multiple doses are gained per kill so it can last longer than a day?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
A common trope amongst "hungry" supernaturals is that they can't actually starve to death, nor can they ever be sated - a lilitu simply feeds on infants whenever it has the chance, like a ghoul feasts on corpses.
Maybe that could be some special Lens of an enhanced Lilitu who buys off both their Dependency and their "No Doesn't Eat Drink" disadvantage making them more like the traditional Spirit/Specter?

The "Material Lilitu" interestingly does remove this disadvantage, which means it does enjoy "Doesn't Eat or Drink"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
For ghosts and the like that need to eat, I feel this is most appropriately handled as them staying insubstantial but causing food to rot, decay, or otherwise become ruined rapidly. They'd need to devote time and effort, rather than having this just happen passively, just as for material beings.
Maybe anything alive that dies leaves some kind of ghost for other ghosts to eat? Reminds me of Hollows eating each other in Bleach.

In this case, maybe a Lilitu that turns into "Screech Owl" form could kill a mouse in substantial form, but what it actually eats (since it might not be able to retain substantial form longer enough to digest the food, however that works) is the "mouse ghost" produced from the fatality?

You might in theory have "plant ghosts" and the like too, although the idea of Lilitu feeding on an "apple ghost" is less apeeling.
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Old 04-15-2021, 09:38 AM   #7
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
One other thing interesting here... Lilitu are barren and can't give milk. If barren is a racial feature then how are Lilitu actually created if not through reproduction?
You do remember the thread started off talking about a mythological demonic spectral creature with raptor wings, a lion body, and scorpion tail from GURPS Horror? It's not obvious that they're mammals even with the lion bit, nor that they reproduce in any non-supernatural fashion. Their victims have bigger problems than whether or not they're going to be able to feed their young after they give live birth. Scholars of ancient mythology will get tangled up in five thousand years of overlapping variation and difficulties in translation.

But it's entirely possible they were just all created at the beginning and don't reproduce. Sumerian cosmogony isn't particular about like coming from like. The primeval sea Nammu (later Tiamat) gives birth to the sky and earth; the sky and earth give birth to Enlil, a god (and notice the "lil"). So not all births require partners, though maybe birthing gods do -- hard to tell from an example of one. Enlil claims all the earth while a creature named An carries off the sky, though "An" is also the name given to the sky, so it's carrying off itself (and if not, the other "An" appeared out of nowhere). If I look up the Gilgamesh story (which probably eventually gave us Lilith) then there's a "ki-sikil-lil-la-ke", and if we take the translation of "ki-sikil" as "sacred place", then "lil-la-ke" might mean "lil", spirit, "la-ke" "water", unless you ask the professor next door, in which case it means "owl" because it was building a nest in a sacred tree. It's just that kind of mythology, fragmented by time and our lack of knowledge.

They can reproduce however you like, and you probably couldn't be proven wrong, though there will be a score of derived stories that conflict with whatever you choose, along with the ones that are ambiguous or even agree.
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Old 04-15-2021, 11:21 AM   #8
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
One other thing interesting here... Lilitu are barren and can't give milk. If barren is a racial feature then how are Lilitu actually created if not through reproduction?
Up to the GM. Maybe, as Anaraxes suggests, they've always been around. Maybe they're actually the tortured souls of women who murdered their own children - or mothers who refused to sacrifice a child to some baby-eating evil god, and now are forced to harvest souls for said god as punishment. Maybe a portion of the energy they take when stealing an infant's breath is channeled down into Hell, and once enough is gathered it coalesces into a fully-formed Lilitu. Maybe they're the final stage of the (supernatural) life cycle of some creature that was fertile at a previous stage (say an egg hatches into a small, violent Imp, the Imp matures into an alluring and fertile Succubus, and eventually the Succubus withers into a Lilitu).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Maybe that could be some special Lens of an enhanced Lilitu who buys off both their Dependency and their "No Doesn't Eat Drink" disadvantage making them more like the traditional Spirit/Specter?
Perhaps add Gluttony and Unnatural Appetite, to represent the spirit's compulsion to consume food (and babies).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
The "Material Lilitu" interestingly does remove this disadvantage, which means it does enjoy "Doesn't Eat or Drink"
Yeah, it's rather odd that the spirit version of the Lilitu requires food and water, while the material version doesn't; seems like these should be reversed.

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Originally Posted by Plane View Post
Maybe anything alive that dies leaves some kind of ghost for other ghosts to eat?
That's kind of what I was thinking with the whole "pantomiming eating" thing. Perhaps the "soul" of something is trapped within its mortal shell, and the process of decay is actually the result of the soul slowly breaking free. The Lilitu can pull the soul out and consume it, causing the food to rapidly decay. Under such a paradigm, burning a body (or it being otherwise consumed, as in a sky burial) is done to release the soul more rapidly, and methods of body preservation would be seen as sadistic and ghoulish for trapping the soul for longer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
You might in theory have "plant ghosts" and the like too, although the idea of Lilitu feeding on an "apple ghost" is less apeeling.
If you want to require Lilitu to eat the ghosts/souls of recently-slain animals, adding Restricted Diet would be appropriate (it's roughly comparable to what cats have). And I see what you did there...
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Old 04-15-2021, 12:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
This presumably means they need to materialize to eat (unless perhaps they can eat other insubstantial spirits? how plentiful would those be?) which Specters can do a bit more easily than other spirits: their -20% "difficult materialization" (H16) is merely 1 FP per minute instead of per second like the -40% "usually on" insubstantiality.
Why would they need to materialize to eat?

In movies, TV, and written fiction, spirits that eat their victim's sleep often appear floating above their victim, usually as a shadowy ghostly form.

Though their leech should have "Affects Substantial".
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Old 04-15-2021, 12:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: what do Lilitu eat, and what is a Daily Dose of Infants' Breath?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
You do remember the thread started off talking about a mythological demonic spectral creature with raptor wings, a lion body, and scorpion tail from GURPS Horror? It's not obvious that they're mammals even with the lion bit, nor that they reproduce in any non-supernatural fashion. Their victims have bigger problems than whether or not they're going to be able to feed their young after they give live birth. Scholars of ancient mythology will get tangled up in five thousand years of overlapping variation and difficulties in translation.
Being able to produce milk could be an asset if it were possible to feed on Infants' Breath in a non-fatal fashion since you could kidnap them and become a surrogate mother instead of relying on human moms to feed your breath-source.


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Originally Posted by DangerousThing View Post
Why would they need to materialize to eat?

In movies, TV, and written fiction, spirits that eat their victim's sleep often appear floating above their victim, usually as a shadowy ghostly form.

Though their leech should have "Affects Substantial".
Usually to eat something as a food source you need to be able to Bite it and Lilitu don't have Affects Substantial on their ST-based damage so they do need to materialize to make kinetic attacks.

The Leech of the Lilitu does have "Affects Substantial" but AFAIK stealing HP via Leech doesn't inherently count as food.

When we look at stuff that effectively has Leech (like the Vampiric Bite of B262's Vampire template) there's only "Doesn't Breathe" not "Doesn't Eat or Drink" so Janos and co presumably still need to eat/drink but blood presumably could fill that role in many regards (well, water and sugar... might be a bit light on protein though...)

It seems like any blood consumed would need to be dedicated to one of the three things they use it for:

1) basic liquid/food nourishment
2) offsetting their Dependency on blood
3) restoring HP

I figure if you are counting blood as food/water then you don't count it as counter-dependency or vice versa: you should need the cumulative requirements of both per day.

Being able to simultaneously use Leech as well as do something else (like take dose of your Dependent-Substance, or get a drink) seems like a kind of bonus feature. Wondering if that should require All-Out Attack: Double to get that double-benefit?

After a bite you can "Worry" as of Martial Arts to do extra damage, so maybe "slurp" could be an alternative to worry where instead of doing extra cutting damage you do some kind of other damage reflecting blood loss?

I know that's sort of what Vampiric Bite / Leech is meant to be, but it's like 2 birds with one stone "I'm healing and drinking at the same time", seems weird.
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