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Vampires and Spell Drain

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3 hours ago, soltakss said:

For me the dancers in Darkness are corrupted Nymphs rather than Vampires, they are Marsh Nymphs, so have some crossover between Water and Earth Nymphs, but have been corrupted by Delecti.

They are written up as vampires, looking and acting as vampires do.  In what way are they not vampires?  That they don't steal spells?  I have yet to see a single gloranthan vampire which makes spell-stealing as a major cause for fear (let alone a minor one).  Rather than waste words and energy about how so-and-so aren't vampires, you would be better advised to describe how and why vampire spell stealing is scary.

"Oh no, Mazoo is a vampire.  He raises armies of undead and is so strong that he rips people's hearts out in front of them!  How can we fight such a monster?"

Compared with:

"Oh no, Mazoo is a vampire.  He kidnaps magicians and imprison them for lengthy periods of time so he can steal there magic.  If we act fast, we can rescue his latest victims!"

But as I've made similar arguments over the past two decades, I haven't seen anything more than special pleading from the usual suspects.

 

 

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On 1/11/2019 at 8:21 PM, metcalph said:

But as I've made similar arguments over the past two decades, I haven't seen anything more than special pleading from the usual suspects.

Usual suspects on both sides of the argument.

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FWIW on this one (fully aware that Peter considers me one of the usual suspects here):

- the idea that the gods get to decide what gets done with their rune magic after it has been granted seems to be the primary argument against vampires stealing Rune magic, and appears to have no basis in Gloranthan reality. Spell Trading exists, Atyar Consume Mind exists, etc. But not only that - even becoming an apostate might remove your ability to renew your Rune magic, but not the ability to cast it, and in many cults it appears that Spirits of Retribution exist for the purpose of removing Rune magic from apostates. And then, of course, Illumination makes it clear that it is the mind of the initiate that carries the magic, and there are no meaningful restrictions on the use of granted magic to someone who does not mentally alert Spirits of Retribution etc. It appears to be a pretty core part of Gloranthan metaphysics that once the power is granted to the cultist, the god has no active control over it after that point. In fact, vampires CAN use Rune points in RQG ("If a vampire already had Rune points from its former life, it would keep them."). 

- is it scary? For some of the same reasons Illuminates are scary, and Thanatar is scary. It makes an antagonists powers unknown and hard to predict and defend against. It also, like sanity in CoC or level drains in D&D, changes how the possible outcomes of a battle goes - Players are used to fights that leave them either dead or better off, and generally may not feel the latter that much, from expectations about how PC death may be handled. Rune Point drain is a mechanic that makes it very clear the encounter may leave characters alive, but permanently weakened. Players generally hate that. 

On 1/10/2019 at 3:22 PM, metcalph said:

Vampires were hardly mentioned in RQ3 - the sole exception being the Vampire in Sun County who was far more scary for his means of attack rather than the ability to steal rune magics.

Chopping people up with a scimitar is really really scary, or an (MP draining admittedly) punch? I don't quite understand what you are saying Peter. And MOBs notes here are pretty clear that for that particular vampire, the scary thing isn't that he can steal your spells (he is trying to kill you quickly, not feed), but that he already has stolen spells - and that gives him the edge that will likely let him defeat very powerful PCs, as he has a big array of stolen spells to use (many pointless in combat, but including a lot of useful combat magic like Shield, Truesword, Lightning, Madness, Crack, etc. )

- is it in myth or pop culture? It certainly occurs in pop culture (the idea of magical power being transferred between magical creatures by blood drain is present in properties like Anita Blake or True Blood), in myth we have sympathetic magic as a magical link - but it hardly matters. Gloranthan vampires are both blood drinkers, and separately psychic vampires, and the idea of taking magical power is arguably inherent in the psychic vampire concept, which isn't that connected to the mythic blood drinker. Besides, Rune spells are a more or less uniquely Rune Quest concept, why would we expect the idea of vampires draining Rune magic to even exist?

- Peter hasn't seen anything cool in many years of asking? Well yes, because he declares anything he doesn't like uncool. This is not a strong argument. 

- the Daughters of Darkness don't have the power? Well no. I do think the Daughters are vampires in most meaningful respects, but they also aren't quite the same as the vampires of Vivamort it appears. It may be a mystery of Delecti exactly how they differ. 

- claims its not represented in stories we have about vampires? Literally there are almost no stories about specific vampires in Glorantha, apart from the Vivamort writeup in Cults of Terror, and that writeup says "He used his demonic abilities to rip Power from the harried gods " which sounds ok to me. If you don't like the idea that the gods have limited control over Rune magic once it is granted, the worshipper must have an on ongoing magical connected to the gods, which could be used to 'rip power' from them. Either metaphysical justification works. 

Note that we have no myths that explain *most* vampire abilities, or anything other than second hand assumption of earth myths. Why can vampires turn into bats or wolves? Even though there are bat and wolf gods, we have no myth. Why basilisks? No myth. Why enthrallment? no myth. We have standards being applied to the spell stealing power that are applied to no other powers. 

You want myths? Perhaps it is related to the vampire lords of Tanisor being Nysaloran, and creating means to steal power in defiance of the gods will via means similar to that that allows Illuminates to use magic in ways their gods would hate. Or perhaps it is something to do with Nontraya being the Taker. Or it is a ritual the vampire kings learnt from ancient Vadeli grimoires (that the Vadeli never use, because it threatens their immortality). Or something awful the God Learners discovered. Whatever justification you like. 

On 1/10/2019 at 6:06 PM, Pentallion said:

Vampires lost the ability to drain rune magic in RQ2.  They never had it in RQ3 and they don't in RQG either. 

There was never a published RQ3 Vivamort cult - and there was a published vampire with piles of stolen Rune magic. So, it is unclear. Personally, I am inclined to think it isn't a default power of vampires, but then, the Vivamort cult (and presumably the Nontraya cult) are known to do plenty of things that aren't intrinsic vampire powers, such as creating Basilisks. 

So, I'm sticking with stealing Rune magic as not a power that all vampires have, but that some vampires might have in your game. Which ones we might never have an official answer to, but don't let that stop you - we might never have an official answer (unless the Forgotten Vampire Monograph mysteriously appears). 

 

Edited by davecake
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On 1/11/2019 at 9:21 PM, metcalph said:

They are written up as vampires, looking and acting as vampires do.  In what way are they not vampires?  That they don't steal spells?  I have yet to see a single gloranthan vampire which makes spell-stealing as a major cause for fear (let alone a minor one).  Rather than waste words and energy about how so-and-so aren't vampires, you would be better advised to describe how and why vampire spell stealing is scary.

"Oh no, Mazoo is a vampire.  He raises armies of undead and is so strong that he rips people's hearts out in front of them!  How can we fight such a monster?"

Compared with:

"Oh no, Mazoo is a vampire.  He kidnaps magicians and imprison them for lengthy periods of time so he can steal there magic.  If we act fast, we can rescue his latest victims!"

But as I've made similar arguments over the past two decades, I haven't seen anything more than special pleading from the usual suspects.

 

 

The Dancers in Darkness are vampires.

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I still have some trouble giving Nontraya the exact same powers as the Vivamort write-up (and that extends to me procrastinating about writing the final confrontation in the Norinel crypt between Norinevra's heirs and Norinevra's undead foe whose binding was dissolved upon her death).

The Nontraya undead surely is what other settings (e.g. Tekumel) call the "noble undead", an undead retaining much of their former personality and abilities in an altered, non-living body. Nontraya turns living people into undead minions of his, but there is no hint at all that an exchange of blood is involved, rather some soul-ripping in a modified Sever Spirit way.

Any other powers like "inheriting" powers his victims had when they were living aren't described anywhere, and I am not quite sure that Nontraya needs them.

On the whole, Nontraya is pretty much Humakt without the staying dead.

There's also the question whether Nontrayans are limited in their movements in the open from Dusk till Dawn.

Also, being an Esrolian phenomenon, there are bound to be a lot of ancestors of the Esrolians in his ranks of minions, not just from the Greater Darkness, and these may plague their (direct, or their siblings') distant offspring when tending to their honorably (but annually returning) dead ancestors. Worse, they may gain entry into otherwise protected houses when mingling with their truly dead kin and being invited in, wearing a layer of magical detection protection, or having achieved illumination.

There might even be an illuminated undead Grandmother or two in the council of Grandmothers ("so weak of body that she requires lots of magic to move about, but still sharp of mind"). Think about the Black Ajah paranoia in the Wheel of Time White Tower, and apply it to the government of Esrolia.

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3 minutes ago, Joerg said:

I still have some trouble giving Nontraya the exact same powers as the Vivamort write-up

Who says they have to? There are numerous examples of the same entity being magically approached through multiple names, with some differences. Nontraya has command of his talokan demons, who sound like a pretty different bunch of beings than Vivamorts normal tactics.

6 minutes ago, Joerg said:

The Nontraya undead surely is what other settings (e.g. Tekumel) call the "noble undead", an undead retaining much of their former personality and abilities in an altered, non-living body.

I don't get any particular hint of 'nobility' from Nontraya. He commands a horde of vicious demons. 

 

54 minutes ago, Joerg said:

Also, being an Esrolian phenomenon, there are bound to be a lot of ancestors of the Esrolians in his ranks of minions

He opens the door to the Underworld, but that doesn't mean the dead are all his minions. 

 

55 minutes ago, Joerg said:

There might even be an illuminated undead Grandmother or two in the council of Grandmothers ("so weak of body that she requires lots of magic to move about, but still sharp of mind").

It is part of Ty Kora Tek's role to send such back to where they belong. 

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50 minutes ago, davecake said:
1 hour ago, Joerg said:

I still have some trouble giving Nontraya the exact same powers as the Vivamort write-up

Who says they have to? There are numerous examples of the same entity being magically approached through multiple names, with some differences. Nontraya has command of his talokan demons, who sound like a pretty different bunch of beings than Vivamorts normal tactics.

I guess that's ongoing "trauma" from the Elmal/Yelmalio identity hiccup.

Command over underworld demons isn't anything that special - Ethilrist can do such a trick, too, and has a small zoo of them (the Hound, the Diokos Horse demons, the Black Cloak goblins).

Quote
1 hour ago, Joerg said:

The Nontraya undead surely is what other settings (e.g. Tekumel) call the "noble undead", an undead retaining much of their former personality and abilities in an altered, non-living body.

I don't get any particular hint of 'nobility' from Nontraya. He commands a horde of vicious demons. 

Undead who retain a functional sapience are generally regarded as the nobility of undead, compared to the mindless zombie or skeleton masses, or even your run of the mill ghoul. "Noble undead" does in no way imply gentleman behavior, land ownership, inherited wealth or inbreeding. You'd find that in undead nobles, but that's another topic.

 

50 minutes ago, davecake said:
1 hour ago, Joerg said:

Also, being an Esrolian phenomenon, there are bound to be a lot of ancestors of the Esrolians in his ranks of minions

He opens the door to the Underworld, but that doesn't mean the dead are all his minions. 

No, the normal dead are outside of his reach, he requires special rites now to make the dead his own. At least after Heort and others (even Vogarth, who built a dam) separated the Living from the Dead at the onset of the Silver Age.

Nontraya is something like the shadow of death, a missionary of his state of being willing and able to work on a non-volunteer crowd while accepting volunteers, and probably giving them plum assignments. Take a look at the Bat feeders for how such an approach works. Prior to the Silver Age, I think that the dead could be approached by him, too. Whether comparatively fresh ones can on the holy days of the walking dead I cannot say, but an occasional case would sure give a couple of scenarios worth of storylines.

IMO it is Nontraya who came to Prax and was tricked by Tada, but that would make him an evil that was not tainted by Chaos (yet). Humakt and Eurmal slaying Grandpa Mortal released him, and the subsequent deaths made him follow that stream of subjects to their source, but that's a Lesser Darkness event, not part of the Chaos Wars. His confrontation with Ernalda (after the one with Eiritha, or was it the same?) marked one onset of the Greater Darkness. (The Spike imploding obviously marks another one, courtesy of High King Elf and other non-Chaotics.)

50 minutes ago, davecake said:
1 hour ago, Joerg said:

There might even be an illuminated undead Grandmother or two in the council of Grandmothers ("so weak of body that she requires lots of magic to move about, but still sharp of mind").

It is part of Ty Kora Tek's role to send such back to where they belong. 

When the individual in question is officiating for TKT, there may be some problems with the proper procedure. And the time-tested precedent of assassination of such characters runs into unprecedented problems...

Edited by Joerg

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5 hours ago, PhilHibbs said:

Yes. We know. Canonical Gloranthan Vampires don't steal spells. You can stop saying it now, that point is perfectly clear to everyone.

The OP wants his Glorantha to vary, and I believe that is permitted. He wanted to discuss how that could be implemented in the RQG rules with Rune Points etc.

Can we please stop arguing against vampires having this power? He wants it, some other people also might, fine, I don't, but why can't we just get along with them without harping on like it's some kind of wrongfun?

Er, I just realized I replied to the wrong person. Sorry David!

You might also want to pay attention to the dates as well.  I said my piece over four weeks ago and have not responded since.  So take your moralizing elsewhere.  If you don't like the topic being extended, response to the person who saw fit to get the last word in.

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5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Command over underworld demons isn't anything that special - Ethilrist can do such a trick, too, and has a small zoo of them (the Hound, the Diokos Horse demons, the Black Cloak goblins).

It is pretty much Nontraya's defining power, and the talokans are a whole menagerie in themselves:

Quote

some look like men, some look like beasts, some are scorpions, others have wings. They torment the dead and the denizens of the Underworld with lashes of scorpion tails and thereby whipped the Unliving Horde into action.

If you don't think Nontraya's demon army is special, well that is pretty much all he has. 

 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

Nontraya is something like the shadow of death, a missionary of his state of being willing and able to work on a non-volunteer crowd while accepting volunteers, and probably giving them plum assignments.

He is able to work on a 'non-volunteer crowd' mostly by whipping them into action with his horde of demons. 

5 hours ago, Joerg said:

His confrontation with Ernalda (after the one with Eiritha, or was it the same?) marked one onset of the Greater Darkness.

Ernalda falling asleep is the Great Darkness myth, and so a core part of her mythology. Nontraya is a small part of that myth.

6 hours ago, Joerg said:

When the individual in question is officiating for TKT, there may be some problems with the proper procedure.

Ty Kora Tek opposes the creation of undead for the most part, and while the rites of her cult involve the dead occasionally the world of life, ghosts/spirits of the dead are not undead. A Ty Kora Tek priestess involved in undead summoning would normally be apostate. 

(though personally I think it becomes more common as the Hero Wars really kick in)

 

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14 hours ago, davecake said:

It is pretty much Nontraya's defining power, and the talokans are a whole menagerie in themselves:

Quote

some look like men, some look like beasts, some are scorpions, others have wings. They torment the dead and the denizens of the Underworld with lashes of scorpion tails and thereby whipped the Unliving Horde into action.

If you don't think Nontraya's demon army is special, well that is pretty much all he has. 

That, and the Unliving Horde. Which is bound to be massive.

But I am not so much thinking about the master undead but about his major agents, who would be party fodder. In case of doubt, lend them a few torturers of the dead to boost them.

Some of them may be more of the vampiric kind (psychic ones, maybe), whereas others should resemble lich or similar "high level undead" familiar from that other game.

14 hours ago, davecake said:

 

21 hours ago, Joerg said:

Nontraya is something like the shadow of death, a missionary of his state of being willing and able to work on a non-volunteer crowd while accepting volunteers, and probably giving them plum assignments.

He is able to work on a 'non-volunteer crowd' mostly by whipping them into action with his horde of demons. 

So, in your opinion, the majority of the Unliving Horde are regular dead who just don't have the luxury of having arrived in their prospected afterlife?

14 hours ago, davecake said:

Ernalda falling asleep is the Great Darkness myth, and so a core part of her mythology. Nontraya is a small part of that myth.

Nontraya's role in that myth is basically a re-run or parallel to Death being thwarted by Tada burying Eiritha alive, which has made me wonder whether there are common myths for Nontraya and Humakt (i.e. heroplane acts performed by heroes in either deity's name).

 

14 hours ago, davecake said:

Ty Kora Tek opposes the creation of undead for the most part, and while the rites of her cult involve the dead occasionally the world of life, ghosts/spirits of the dead are not undead. A Ty Kora Tek priestess involved in undead summoning would normally be apostate. 

True. That's where Illumination kicks in, before the transition is made after an offer that can't be refused.

Or some kind of body-change. Wait, what exactly was Belintar's nature?

 

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14 hours ago, Joerg said:

But I am not so much thinking about the master undead but about his major agents, who would be party fodder. In case of doubt, lend them a few torturers of the dead to boost them.

Some of them may be more of the vampiric kind (psychic ones, maybe), whereas others should resemble lich or similar "high level undead" familiar from that other game.

I haven't seen anything to indicate most of his major agents are anything other than Talokan demons or other underworld demons. Literally all we know about his the Unliving Horde is that they were dead and in the Underworld, and then they came back to the surface world. I think any information about the nature of his undead followers is highly speculative - but if I was to speculate, it would be that liches and mummies (Revenants according to the RQG Bestiary), which are essentially undead who never enter the Underworld due to being bound in their bodies, are the least appropriate. The Unliving army are beings who escape from the Underworld and return, and most would be bodiless ghosts IMO, or ghouls or zombies if embodies. Vampires would be those rare few who seek out serving Nontraya voluntarily, from fear of death, rather than the Unliving horde, most of whom are driven out of the Underworld by the Talokans. 

I would tend to link Nontraya with the vampiric abilities to create undead servants. 

14 hours ago, Joerg said:

in your opinion, the majority of the Unliving Horde are regular dead who just don't have the luxury of having arrived in their prospected afterlife?

Yes. The talokans 'whipped the Unliving Horde into action.' There are quite a few underworld monsters in there as well, but the majority are simply souls of the dead who are part of the army from fear of the Talokans. 

14 hours ago, Joerg said:

which has made me wonder whether there are common myths for Nontraya and Humakt (i.e. heroplane acts performed by heroes in either deity's name).

Humakt and Nontraya would seem to be opposites - Humakt wishes to keep the living and the dead separate, Nontraya wishes to intermingle them. The 'sleeping but not dead' aspect identifies the similarities of the goddesses, but not their opponents. 

And yes, you could postulate Ty Kora Tek priestesses who are Illuminated and literally spending their time doing the exact opposite of their cults sacred role - but that is going straight into the Dark side of Illumination I would think, and would still be opposed vehemently by other Illuminated . If it happens, it would be a hideous clan secret whose revelation would mark the clan as major villains, I would think. 

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On 1/11/2019 at 8:21 PM, metcalph said:
On 1/11/2019 at 4:54 PM, soltakss said:

For me the dancers in Darkness are corrupted Nymphs rather than Vampires, they are Marsh Nymphs, so have some crossover between Water and Earth Nymphs, but have been corrupted by Delecti.

They are written up as vampires, looking and acting as vampires do.  In what way are they not vampires?  

 

Sorry, I confused the Dancers in Darkness with the Pale Ladies, the Marsh Nymphs who can expand the marsh by placing magical staves in the ground and performing a ritual.

 

On 1/11/2019 at 8:21 PM, metcalph said:

 I have yet to see a single gloranthan vampire which makes spell-stealing as a major cause for fear (let alone a minor one).  Rather than waste words and energy about how so-and-so aren't vampires, you would be better advised to describe how and why vampire spell stealing is scary.

As a PC, having Vampire steal by magic is incredibly scary. Having them being able to use stolen magic against me is both blasphemous and scary.

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1 minute ago, soltakss said:

Sorry, I confused the Dancers in Darkness with the Pale Ladies, the Marsh Nymphs who can expand the marsh by placing magical staves in the ground and performing a ritual.

Please could you observe some basic common sense and not respond to month old postings?  I've already been snapped at because somebody else did something similar and I really don't appreciate being dragged back into a thread that I thought was dead,.

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17 minutes ago, metcalph said:

Please could you observe some basic common sense and not respond to month old postings? 

Sure, no problem.

What is the Site's policy on Necroing threads?

18 minutes ago, metcalph said:

I've already been snapped at because somebody else did something similar and I really don't appreciate being dragged back into a thread that I thought was dead,.

Perhaps we should add that to the Site Guidelines. Wouldn't want to annoy you unnecessarily, Peter.

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7 hours ago, soltakss said:

What is the Site's policy on Necroing threads?

Whatever it is, for this specific subject line, necroing a thread feels strangely appropriate.

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