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Old 02-19-2020, 06:16 PM   #311
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Default Re: What Kind of Attribute, Skill or Self-Control Roll Would You Allow Cultists?

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Also, even if she somehow manages a rescue and then follows up by killing all the annoying occultists interfering with her plan, how would she escape police pursuit?
Do the ritual on the spot, and perfect the world.
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Old 02-19-2020, 06:28 PM   #312
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Default Re: What Kind of Attribute, Skill or Self-Control Roll Would You Allow Cultists?

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Do the ritual on the spot, and perfect the world.
Aside from rituals needing Places of Power or other areas of higher Mana to have a chance of working, it also takes hours, fails if disturbed and releases all the energy built up so far in a catastrophic backlash on a failure.
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Old 02-19-2020, 10:42 PM   #313
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Default Will the Cultists Live to Scheme Again?

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I'd be tempted to roll for Self Control, and on a success she gets a roughly accurate estimate (based on how well she does on relevant "knowledge" rolls) of how likely the ritual is to succeed, how likely it is to suffer a terminal failure (that is, a failure that will make her unable to ever attempt again, say by cheerfully painting Indianola with her entrails), and how likely it is that opting to wait will prevent her from ever being able to attempt the ritual (say, due to being arrested, assassinated, or effectively barred from entering the US and any extradition country ever again). If she fails on the Self Control roll, she'll still get to make her knowledge rolls, but she will markedly overestimate the chance of success, underestimate the chance of a terminal failure, and overestimate the chance that waiting will prevent her from making another attempt.
Her odds of success are roughly 0.05% and if she cancels, her odds of being linked to a criminal act by legal authorities are about 5%. However, the odds of someone with access to a wide range of information combined with a lack of Mundane Background and high Intelligence Analysis managing to suspect that one or more people with connections to her are involved in occult shenanigans are maybe 40%.

Sister Marķa can accurately estimate the odds of the first if she can manage to look at the situation rationally and objectively. Lack of formal Criminology skill and Cultural Familiarity for the US makes her underestimate the second, down to about 1-2%.

However, her imperfect and erraneous information about the nature and capabilities of Kessler's people cause her to be more or less guessing about that, ranging from 'they could already know about me' down to 'there is absolutely no way'. She'll probably guess that there is a 20% chance that someone will come to suspect her or someone she cares about and be able to do anything about it, increasing by about 5-10% per year she'd have to wait.

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She could also save face (and justify things to herself) by stating that, while she was indeed correct that now is the absolute best time for the ritual, the fact they have no access to important aspects of it (Galveston Killing Fields, appropriate sacrifices, the Girl with the Kaleidoscope Eyes, etc) mean they will be forced to try at a less-optimal time. Going with the 100% chance she thought they had with everything in place, perhaps the second-best time (but with everything again in place) has a 90% chance. She wasn't wrong, but events beyond her control changed things enough that her initial assessment could not longer apply. It's like if someone asks you how much volume of water is in a glass, and then after you answer someone takes a gulp of it before it gets measured - your initial estimate may well be correct, but by the time you got a chance to test it some of the water was gone.
Indeed she could.

The main weakness of that plan is the wild card of what the Girl with the Kaleidoscope Eyes would do if she were simply left behind. Would she tell somebody all her secrets, which would be quite a bit of cult secrets?
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Old 02-20-2020, 02:51 AM   #314
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

This is the campaign in which HM has prophetic dreams, right? Is She Who Must Be Obeyed in touch with Kessler?
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:30 AM   #315
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Default Her Majesty the Queen

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This is the campaign in which HM has prophetic dreams, right? Is She Who Must Be Obeyed in touch with Kessler?
As far as the PCs know, they are not personally acquinted, but several cautiously friendly contacts have been made between representatives of the Shadow Court concerned with Bermuda and the British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean.

Let's say that any relationship depends heavily on the speciific people involved, but at best, it is probably analogous to the relationship between certain Western intelligence agencies during the Cold War and certain anti-Communist underworld organizations in the US, Italy and elsewhere. That is, the Shadow Court regards Kessler's people as criminals, no doubt, but as criminals potentially on their side.*

These cautiously friendly contacts date back to the cataclysm on Montserrat on July 18, 1995, when a group of Shadow Court occultists accompanied by (proto-) Rangers were saved from fiery doom by a scientific expedition accompanied by 'Night Rider' security funded by Kessler. Neither side revealed too much about who was behind them, but Kessler's people could clearly see in the aftermath that these Brits had enough official pull to be associated in some way with a powerful faction within the UK, and in turn, the Shadow Court was able to tell that these Americans seemed to represent a private group, but have goals that included preventing harm to unaware civilians.

In the years since, Shadow Court members with intelligence connections have thoroughly investigated the secret source of funds for all sorts of occult research in America and various Caribbean islanda and concluded to their satisfaction that J.R. Kessler's holdings are deeply invested in investigating, monitoring and researching the supernatural, but that there is no evidence that he has any particularly nefarious plans. Not that they've been able to find. Which, of course, doesn't stop some among the Shadow Court from regarding Kessler's extragovernmental organization of occult influence as a dire potential threat, but the new world of hidden magic is dangerous enough without picking fights with any and all occult power groups you come across just because they look suspicious.

*By a strict reading of the law, the Shadow Court are criminals themselves, but few of them see if that way. In any case, by 2018, the Shadow Court have infiltrated the Civil Service, armed forces, intelligence and security services to the point that the UK carries out a fairly coherent anti-supernatural threat policy without the carousel of politicians, who are busy with other matters in any case, needing to be aware of it. The UK and those Commonwealth countries closely aligned are among the safest places in the world from the supernatural threat, because for all its illegality, Her Majesty's patriotic conspiracy of the Shadow Court mostly works.
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:37 AM   #316
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Default Re: Will the Cultists Live to Scheme Again?

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The main weakness of that plan is the wild card of what the Girl with the Kaleidoscope Eyes would do if she were simply left behind. Would she tell somebody all her secrets, which would be quite a bit of cult secrets?
Can Gwen's mind be attacked via her mystical connections to the cult? If what she says afterwards genuinely makes no sense, any cult information in her testimony is less of a risk.
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Old 02-20-2020, 03:58 AM   #317
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Default Re: Will the Cultists Live to Scheme Again?

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Can Gwen's mind be attacked via her mystical connections to the cult? If what she says afterwards genuinely makes no sense, any cult information in her testimony is less of a risk.
She ought to be theoretically vulnerable to a Path of Mind ritual (or a Path of Nonexistence one affecting the mind) from a distance, but the PCs have arranged for the authorities to keep her under observation in a hospital room full of the newest medical equipment, as well as being fitted with high-tech monitoring equipment. The hospital room was solidly No Mana during the day and will only be Very Low Mana (-10) around the most mystical times of night.

Meaning that any divination rituals performed during the day to locate her, even if only done for curiosity's sake, would only yield the information that she was somewhere on Galveston island surrounded by too much interference to pinpoint, likely causing the cultists to correctly assume that the authorities have her somewhere without Mana (as much of the world is, during the day, especially in modern urban areas full of technology and secular skeptics). They can try again once it gets dark and the spirits come out, but it would be hard to affect her, given that the Mana around the caster and the target are both taken into account.

Also, 'Gwen Delvano' was given a small Charm that provides a measure of protection from curses and spiritual influences, as well as having ashes and holy water discreetly sprinkled around the secure wing where she's housed. Kessler has assigned numerous retired 'Night Riders', friendly ex-cops and Sheriff's Office Reserve Deputies who live around the Galveston area to keep an eye out for her in the hospital and two of her doctors are Kessler's men and aware of both the supernatural and that this girl might be targeted by rituals from afar. So even during the night, when rituals might work, there will be significant penalties.

An occultist (without magical ability, but familiar with the Laws of Magic) friendly to Kessler among the nursing staff will also discreetly place as many apotropes around Ms. Delvano's room as she can without drawing attention; bells, wind chimes, mirrors, the right herbs, scented candles and incense, a dreamcatcher and the like. All good for some penalties to anyone trying to send remote curses or spiritual influences. Granted, Ms. Delvano would be even safer from remote magical effects inside the Threshold of the Penemue, but Raul Sandoval and his Merry Men made that impossible by getting the authorities so thoroughly involved.

That being said, if the cultists abandon their planned ritual and instead use the dark spiritual energy around Indianola, as well as some of their pre-made magical energy sources, to power an all-out psychic assault on 'Gwen Delvano' instead of a more ambitious ritual, they have a fair chance of success.
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Old 02-20-2020, 09:30 AM   #318
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Default Sister Marķa Teresa's Relevant Mental Traits to Making Decision

After reviewing the description of Fanaticism and Obsession, I've come to the conclusion that the motivation of Sister Marķa Teresa is best modeled with Fanaticism (Bring About Oblivion; Extreme) [-15].

She also has IQ 12, Will 15 and while she doesn't have full-blown Stubbornness, she definitely has Quirk-level unshakable self-confidence that doesn't play well with admitting error or that anyone else might know something really important that she doesn't. She's also Single-Minded and all in all a pretty forceful personality (she also has her Leadership floated to Will with Attribute Substitution).

She generally isn't delusional, but she has bought into her interpretation of the alleged prophecy* to the extent that it might well count as a Quirk-level Delusion.

Now, what does she have to roll against in order to be able to make a reliable judgment about her odds and review her options?

Do her traits simply penalize the relevant skill or attribute checks and if so, how much should I penalize them?

*She doesn't believe in benevolent divine intervention, but she has come to believe that some mechanism allows predicting future events through sufficient thaumic expertise and views the prophecy as a very reliable calculation, which she's reluctant to admit might be wrong.
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Old 02-20-2020, 10:22 AM   #319
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Default Re: [MH] Caribbean by Night

Her disadvantages don't have self-control rolls. What she has is a conflict between disadvantages: Fanaticism, to accomplish the goal, versus a belief that the best time is now, which is a little ill-defined, but is definitely on a smaller scale than Fanaticism.

What isn't clear to me is how much she still thinks in the patterns of a Catholic nun - methodical, un-egotistical, certain that the purpose will be achieved in the end - versus her tendency to cling to the prophecy.
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Old 02-20-2020, 10:39 AM   #320
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Default Sister Marķa Teresa

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Her disadvantages don't have self-control rolls. What she has is a conflict between disadvantages: Fanaticism, to accomplish the goal, versus a belief that the best time is now, which is a little ill-defined, but is definitely on a smaller scale than Fanaticism.
This is true, but even people with no Disadvantages or only Quirks often make sub-optimal choices when it comes to things they have strong feelings about. And Extreme Fanaticism is pretty much the definition of 'strong feelings about', as well as a [-15] Disadvantage meant to produce characters that will, in matters related to their Fanaticism, do very stupid things.

I'm just not sure how stupid should be my benchmark here.

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What isn't clear to me is how much she still thinks in the patterns of a Catholic nun - methodical, un-egotistical, certain that the purpose will be achieved in the end - versus her tendency to cling to the prophecy.
Sister Marķa Teresa was never a very good nun. That is, except for her creative interpretation of the Vow of Obedience (she doesn't tell her superiors what she is doing and no one has specifically told her not do end the world), she hasn't actually violated any of her vows, but even before she lost her faith, she never quite succeeded in being humble, self-effacing or to place her faith in God's plan.

She spent decades doing the best she could to help people, but she definitely didn't so so in the ideal mindset of humility and perfect trust in God's divine plan. As an adult, but before the events that served to embitter her so dramatically against the Church and God, Sister Marķa Teresa was the kind of nun who kept her vows while not knowing exactly why, except that she felt a point of honour might be involved, in that she gave her word, regardless of whether the entity to which she gave it is worthy of following or even exists.

Her strong sense of compassion, which while calloused and chafed by her experiences, still exists, was usually hidden behind her acerbic wit, exasperation with how much of the suffering she saw resulted from some stupidity or another, and a cynical detachment she cultivated as a self-defence mechanism.
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