Author Topic: Lore: Acquisition Process  (Read 1229 times)

Offline d4rko

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Lore: Acquisition Process
« on: October 20, 2017, 12:55:53 PM »
Even if he's not actually doing anything, a demon is a still a being like no other on Earth. A marriage of celestial and mortal souls, the demon's spiritual nature allows him a wide range of passive abilities; the power to see through illusions, resistance to disease and poison, the capacity to hear his name being invoked and a memory that covers untold aeons of time. The demon also has a number of more active abilities, such as capability to repair the injuries of his host body and the power to manifest his apocalyptic form.

But one facet of demonkind most clearly shows their difference from humans -- the power to govern the forces of Creation itself with no more than a word, a breath or a thought. These are the evocations of a demon's lore, his knowledge of the secret mechanisms of the universe. The power to evoke his lore is the flashiest and most impressive of a demon's abilities, but it's a power that's far more impressive and complex than it might appear.

It's important to remember that your character's lore is more than a simple collection of magic spell or super powers. The character's lore -- particularly his primary and House lore -- is an intrinsic part of his very nature. The demon has the power to evoke lore because, in the core of his being, he is that lore -- or, more clearly, he's a reflection of that lore. Yes, lore is a knowledge, but it's a knowledge of the soul, not the mind, and that knowledge reshapes your character's soul in its image.

Nothing illustrates this point more strongly than your character's visage, the apocalyptic form related to his primary lore. When your character manifests his apocalyptic form, his lore is more than just knowledge, it's the substance of his being. A Devourer manifesting his Zaltu visage isn't just taking on a different form, he is a beast, an amalgam of all creatures of the wild. Similarly, a Malefactor manifesting the Kishar visage infuses his body and soul with the power of Earth. Even though his flesh doesn't become stone, it takes on the spiritual essence of stone. When Torment warps a character's nature and personality, his soul becomes corrupted, and the visage of his revelatory form becomes corrupted in turn, just as the evocations of his lore become warped and destructive.

Because lore is more than just knowledge, it can't simply be learned like any mundane skill. Your character doesn't just learn a new formula or pick up a new trick. Instead, gaining lore requires making changes to the very soul and nature of your character. These changes might be due to the character slowly regaining the memories and energies of his demonic soul, suppressed by his confinement to a human host. Alternatively, the changes could be very new. It's possible for a demon to gain new lore from a teacher, altering the shape of his soul to take on new spiritual knowledge. No matter how the character's lore improves, though, a wealth of roleplaying potential lies in the improvement process, and many ways exist to explore the ramifications of the changes in your character's abilities.

Before being imprisoned in the Abyss, most demons were masters of their lore. Such a virtuoso receives a great shock when arriving in the mortal world -- she finds she's forgotten how to evoke much of her store of knowledge! Long aeons in Hell, unable to manipulate Creation, have served to dull her abilities. What's more, though, the fabric of Creation has changed so much since the Age of Wrath that the demon must relearn much of her reformer knowledge. This hampered even further by the problems of living in a mortal host. Most of the demon's memories are inaccessible, too great to contain in her host's brain, and without the immediate memory of her lore, relearning her skills will be even more difficult.

Difficult, but not impossible, that is. With time and practice -- and expenditure of experience points -- your character can remember or relearn any lore she once knew. It's up to you to decide what lore your character actually knew before her time in Hell, depending on the character concept and your vision of how skilled the character is/was. You can increase the lore that your character once knew in the normal manner, by spending experience points. Doing so represents the character remembering the evocations of old or learning how to perform those evocations in the changed environment of the modern world.

Your character's primary lore is a given -- all demons were masters of their primary lore before their time in Hell. Many demons also mastered their other House lore, and you can assume that your character  can eventually recall all the evocations of her House unless you feel that she should have been deficient in that lore for some reason. Your character might have been skilled in the Common lore, or she might not -- that's a decision you should make based on your character concept. Mastery of lore from other Houses is rarer, and few demons could evoke powerful effects from other lore even during the Age of Wrath. If you feel that your character should have known a particular non-house lore, talk to your Storyteller. He might allow the character access to that lore, or he could prohibit access. He might rule that your character can remember that lore, but perhaps on a certain level, with the more powerful evocations only available if the character seeks training.

For demons with the Legacy Background, another options exists for relearning the forgotten evocations of their past. Your character can enter a fugue -- a catatonic state -- in which she relives ancient memories of the Age of Wrath, when she was at the height of her power. When she finally emerges from her reverie, she brings with her greater recollection of her primary lore, and she might even be able to perform new evocations immediately.

The following optional system allows characters to enter a fugue and gain greater facility with their primary lore. This system is available for use only with Storyteller permission. Only characters with the Legacy Background can enter a fugue, and only their primary lore can be improved in this way.

To enter a fugue, your character must deliberately retreat deep into her buried memories, first retrieving a specific memory, then reliving it in great detail. Doing so takes a significant amount of time -- from hours to even days, depending on the memory accessed. Once in fugue, your character relives the memory of having used a specific evocation -- the next one on her primary lore path. So if your character has three dots in her primary lore, she recalls a time when she used the fourth-dot evocation of her lore.

This memory is so vivid and enthralling that, for the duration of the memory, the character doesn't even realize she's reliving a memory! For all intents and purposes, the character is taking part in a scene from her past. The Storyteller can use this as an opportunity for roleplay, assigning new roles to the other players and playing out the scene in detail. It can be a fun cut-scene that adds new dimension to the game, and it can even be used to introduce new story elements. If the Storyteller or other players don't feel like doing so, the remembrance process can simply be abstracted while your character bows out of the story for a scene.

Once the fugue ends, the character emerges with a new grasp on her primary lore. Make a roll (difficulty 6) using your Legacy Background as the dice pool. Each success on this roll gives you an experience point that can be spent only on improving your character's primary lore. Thus it becomes that little bit cheaper to purchase another dot in your character's primary lore. Furthermore, if your character entered a fugue in the middle of a story, and you have enough experience points available to improve her primary lore, you can do so immediately, rather than in downtime! (this option is currently unavailable)

Entering fugue is a useful way of improving lore, but it has limits. During play, the character must spend a complete scene in this fugue state, unable to react to the world around her or defend herself from attack. If she takes damage, the fugue ends prematurely. She not only gains no benefit from the recollection attempt, but she'll be groggy and unfocused for the rest of the scene (increase the difficulty of all tasks by one). Fugues can also be entered during downtime, which is generally safer. In this case, the Storyteller decides how much time is required for the attempt. The character can enter a fugue only once per story, or once per period of downtime. And finally, you can never gain more bonus experience points at one time more than your Legacy rating. Only once those points are spent on a new dot you can benefit from entering fugue once again.

Many demons can recall their past mastery of lore without undue difficulty, but some feel that they need to learn the evocations of another House's lore in order to survive and thrive in this strange new world. These demons need teachers -- other demons who have mastered the lore in question and can impart their knowledge to others. Teaching can also be useful if a demon wantts help in recalling lore that he has forgotten.

It's usually up to the Storyteller whether your character needs training and a teacher in order to learn a new evocation. Your Storyteller may rule that all characters require teaching if they want to gain lore from another house, or even common lore. She may decide that a teacher is useful but not essential, or she could decide on a case-by-case basis, depending on the character. Similarly, she might decide that your character can't seek teaching for a lore, and must either recall old knowledge or learn the lore from scratch.

Finding A Teacher
Before your character can be taught by another demon, he needs to find a teacher. Any demon with a greater knowledge of the lore in question can serve as a teacher. If your character has no dots in a particular lore, then someone with just a single dot in that lore could teach him basic evocations. Once your character's knowledge of the lore equals that of his teacher, he must find another, more skilled, instructor or attempt to improve his capabilities on his own. Ideally, the teacher should be a demon who possesses that lore as her primary lore, or a House lore. These demons have the best understanding of that lore, and they make the best instructors. It's not essential, though. A Scourge could teach a Malefactor the Lore of Radiance if needs be, although she'll be less skilled teacher than a Devil of the Qingu visage.

While finding a teacher can be a simple task, it might be more difficult for your character to persuade her to teach him the lore. Even if a suitable demon is willing to teach your character, she's not going to do it for free. To get tutelage, your character will have to pay some kind of price or seek out another (perhaps less suitable) instructor. The character's price might be cash, but that's unlikely -- demons have lots of ways of getting money if thats what they want. It's more likely that the demon will demand a favor from your character, perhaps a task he must complete or a relic he must retrieve. Fulfilling the teacher's demands may be a story in itself, one in which the rest of the  troupe can participate.

The Learning Process
Once your character has found a teacher and fulfilled her demands, it's time to knuckle down to the process of actually learning the new evocation. This is harder than it sounds. As stated earlier, lore isn't just a normal skill that can be learned through practice or rote memorization - it's a spiritual power that demands the character's very nature change in learning it.

To a mortal observer, the act of learning lore from another would look very different from learning how to drive from an instructor. After all, the student can't perform the evocation he's trying to learn until he's learned it -- he can't even make clumsy attempts to perform it. The best he can do is perform a lesser evocation from the same lore. Similarly, the teacher can't just perform the evocation a few times and expect her student to pick it up (although that probably will play a part in the process). Instead, the student must increase his intuitive understanding of the lore in question, and reshape his spiritual nature (and perhaps even his personality) in order to truly see the part the lore plays in Creation. Only then he can come to understand how to command that facet on Creation in a new way.

Many things increase a character's understanding of a lore path. Here are some suggestions for tasks or lessons a teacher might set her student; your Storyteller will come up with other tasks your character might need to perform.
  • The teacher performs the evocation several times, while the student uses his supernatural awareness to feel how Creation is manipulated.
  • The student watches others perform the evocation, looking for how their methods differ from those of his teacher.
  • The student observes the apocalyptic form of a demon whose primary lore is the lore in question, and he ponders how this form reflects the lore.
  • The student undergoes a remembrance ritual (if he has the Legacy Background) to recall instances where he saw others performing the evocation.
  • The student evokes lesser effects of the lore in new ways and ponders on how Creation is changed by the evocation -- and how Creation resists the change.
  • If he is low in Torment, the student deliberately evokes high-Torment effects of the lore. If he is high in Torment, the student tries hard to evoke low-Torment effects. He then ponders the difference between effects and how the effects are related.
  • The student surrounds himself with a resonance of the lore and meditates on how that resonance affects reality.
  • The student acts as if he had different personality, one more in tune with the lore - altering his Demeanor in accordance with the lore's resonance)

Benefits of Teaching
If the character works hard, he should eventually learn the new evocation from his teacher. This is likely to take some time, usually the length of a story -- weeks to months, depending on the flow the chronicle. It's up to the Storyteller to decide when your character has learned enough and whether you can finally spend experience points on improving your character's lore. If your  character has spent a significant amount of time working on improving his lore -- practicing or learning at least once a chapter over the length of a story -- the Storyteller will generally allow you to spend the experience points.

Your Storyteller might rule that the lore costs just as many experience points to learn from a teacher as it would learn from memory. After all, if your character never knew the evocation, he wouldn't be able to learn it at all without a teacher's assistance. Alternatively, the Storyteller might decide to allow you to purchase a new dot of lore at a slightly reduced cost.

After all, your character took a lot more time learning it than he would have spent simply remembering a forgotten evocation. The following optional system may be used at the Storyteller's discretion to reduce the cost of the new dot (do not use this without moderator permission).

At the end of a story in which your character has been learning the new lore, the Storyteller rolls a dice pool equal to the teacher's rating in the relevant lore during downtime. The difficulty of this roll depends on the lore that was being taught.

  • If the Storyteller character was teaching her primary lore, the difficulty is 6.
  • If she was teaching a House lore (but not her primary lore), or teaching common lore, the difficulty is 7.
  • If she was teaching lore from a different House, the difficulty is 8.
Spoiler for "Example":
Gary's character is attempting to learn from a Scourge of the Anshar visage. If his character was attempting to learn the Lore of the Firmament (his teacher's primary lore), the Storyteller would roll against difficulty 6. If the character was learning the Lore of Humanity or the Lore of Awakening from hr, the Storyteller would roll against difficulty 7. If the character was trying to learn the Lore of the Earth, the difficulty would be 8.

Each success on the roll gives you a bonus experience point that can be spent only only improving the appropriate lore. Your character can spend several stories learning from a teacher, amassing more bonus experience points in each period of downtime, but he can never have more bonus points at one time than his teacher's rating in the lore. Once you reach that point, any excess points are lost. Only once you spend the bonus points on improving the character's lore can he benefit from further teaching.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2017, 08:57:44 PM by d4rko »