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Draxar
2011-08-26, 05:11 PM
On his Twitter, The Demented One Said "Every time Cracked does an article on animals, Lunars get cooler." about this article: The 5 Creepiest Ways Animals Have Mastered Mind Control. After a conversation about that artcle on the #Exalted IRC channel, I had an idea for a Lunar charm brewing...

Instinct Twisting Parasite Infliction
Cost: 10m, 1wp, 1lhl
Mins: Manipulation 5, Essence 3
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Compulsion, Social, Sickness, Touch.
Duration: Indefinite.
Prerequisite Charms: Perfection of the Mockingbird

Instincts are powerful tools of survival. But the way they are built into the body, the nature of beings leaves them open to manipulation through the body itself.

The Lunar activates this charm during contact with the target — this contact can be an attack with hand or claw in combat, shaking hands, in the midsts of sex, or many other ways. A small part of the lunar's body stays upon the target, sinking into their flesh and taking on some kind of parasitic form; worms, weevils, whatever.

The target gets a Perception+Awareness roll, difficulty (The Lunar's Essence) to notice the the feeling of something sinking into their flesh, but the ST should apply appropriate distraction penalities, especially if the Lunar has gone to efforts to create distractions.

Once within the body of the target, the parasite attempts to engender a change in the targets reactions to certain stimuli. When he activates the charm, the Lunar must specify what kind of action the created instinct will push towards, and may specify what sort of stimulus will cause the instinct to manifest.

Both the action and the stimulus must be relatively simple. "Run away", "attack", "go outside" "get as high up as possible" are all suitable actions "write a letter to your mother" is not. Similarly "When in combat", "when inside", "when someone argues with you" are suitable stimuli, "When talking to a member of house Nellens" is not. The stimuli cannot be something totally unavoidable.

If the Lunar does not pick a stimulus, the instinct to do the action manifests once a day, either when the target wakes up, or if the target does not require sleep or is avoiding doing so, at a random moment chosen by the ST.

If the Lunar picks a stimulus, then the instinct will manifest when the stimulus presents itself, however the parasite has limited power, so the instinct will only tug at him once a scene, and twice a day in total.

When the instinct manifests, it acts as a Unnatural compulsion effect to do the instinctual action that costs 2 willpower to resist.

The parasite will persist as long as the Lunar keeps the essence for this charm committed (the health level and willpower costs of the charm are not committed), unless it is removed from the host (at which point it lets out a piercing screetch, and expires messily into silvery essence-stuff which quickly disappears). It is visible to All-Encompassing Sorcerer’s Sight and similar effects. Beyond that, the victim has only the inexplicable urges he's labouring under and possibly the memory of feeling something slithering into his body to tell him what's happening to him.

To remove the parasite requires realising it's something within the body, diagnosing that it's specifically a parasite, and then locating and removing the parasite. Unseen Sorcerers Sight allows for the realisation, diagnosis and location, otherwise this requires something to prompt medical examination, a diagnosis roll at a difficulty of (Lunar's Essence) is required, followed by a treatment attempt at a difficulty of (Lunar's Essence). Charms may enhance this process as normal.

***

IMHO, the base concept for the charm is good, but it could quite possible use some polishing and perfecting.

So, what do other people think of it? I've vague ideas for upgrades for it, and perhaps similar charms that use parasites to other ends, but those can wait until I've got the base one sorted.

jjpickar
2011-08-27, 11:32 PM
Pretty cool and very thematic. Honestly, I'm not too familiar with how powerful Lunars are supposed to be but the cost seems way too prohibitive. Ditch the Willpower and Health level cost for sure and I'd even consider getting rid of the mote commitment, especially if the lunar chooses not to change the compulsion. Its a fairly low level mind control charm by exalted standards (don't get me started on the Far Folk :smalleek:). It only has one target, doesn't permit complete control and has quite a few levels of detection. Its strengths are its duration and range but it seems too complicated to use often.

Draxar
2011-08-30, 12:07 PM
Pretty cool and very thematic. Honestly, I'm not too familiar with how powerful Lunars are supposed to be but the cost seems way too prohibitive. Ditch the Willpower and Health level cost for sure and I'd even consider getting rid of the mote commitment, especially if the lunar chooses not to change the compulsion. Its a fairly low level mind control charm by exalted standards (don't get me started on the Far Folk :smalleek:). It only has one target, doesn't permit complete control and has quite a few levels of detection. Its strengths are its duration and range but it seems too complicated to use often.

See, I feel the ability to inflict 4 willpowers worth of spending on someone every day, for as long as you keep committed, with no roll to resist, is really quite powerful, and thus the cost is appropriate. Compare it to Hypnotic Tongue Technique and its expansion, Mind Yields to Glory. 10m 1wp to make people spend 1wp a day for a number of days or with expansion, a month. Which is why I worry my charm is overpowered. It's more simplistic, but hits harder, and can last indefinitely.

Also, much of the cost fits thematically as well as mechanically — the heallth level is for the fact that it is a part of you that's detaching, and the mote commitment for the fact that you're sustaining this reactive being within someone over a long term. And arguably, the willpower too, as it's a function of your will that you're imparting, that they should do X.

Random_person
2011-08-30, 09:51 PM
Might I humbly offer the first charm that I've written in months?

Men Are Monkeys Understanding
Cost: - [+5m or 10m]
Mins: Manipulation 5, Essence 4
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Instinct Twisting Parasite Infliction

Though instincts act on the most fundamental of levels, they can have impacts both profound and subtle. What are men, after all, but monkeys with better instincts? What places instinct above the mind?

Nothing, at heart, and the Lunar masters that knowledge and uses it for their own gain. This charm acts as an upgrade to Instinct Twisting Parasite Infliction. At the cost of additional essence, the Lunar may perform much more subtle manipulation of the target's instincts. The stimuli may now draw on the full range of emotional responses, from "disgusted hatred" to "reluctant admiration". Similarly, the reactions may become more abstract, although not specific: "seek out parental guidance" is appropriate, but "write a letter to your mother" is still out, and a figure perceived as parental serves just as well as biological parents for fulfilling the instinct. If either stimulus or response is simple enough to be compatible with Instinct Twisting Parasite Infliction, the surcharge is only five motes. If both are too complex, it is ten.

jjpickar
2011-08-30, 10:47 PM
There are actually several ways to resist this power. The first and most obvious is simply to not be touched an ability any decent and sane exalt should have at character creation. Charms such as Seven Shadow Evasion do just this most rudimentary defense combos will include anti-bad touch and anti-surprise charms at their core. Perception+Awareness rolls are another basic must have for survival in Exalted and will also be sufficiently (and easily) optimized. Even a simple excellency would reveal this attack. I won't even try to list all of the ways to become unaffected by compulsions but be assured they are myriad and fairly simple. This charm will only work well against mortals, gods and other such lesser beings. As such, it could be useful in some situations (certainly against published exalts) but it is not overpowering by any means.

I believe fairfolk need merely swear an oath to not have their mind controlled unless they decide to eat ice cream on a Tuesday.

Draxar
2011-08-30, 11:23 PM
Might I humbly offer the first charm that I've written in months?

Men Are Monkeys Understanding
Cost: - [+5m or 10m]
Mins: Manipulation 5, Essence 4
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Instinct Twisting Parasite Infliction

Though instincts act on the most fundamental of levels, they can have impacts both profound and subtle. What are men, after all, but monkeys with better instincts? What places instinct above the mind?

Nothing, at heart, and the Lunar masters that knowledge and uses it for their own gain. This charm acts as an upgrade to Instinct Twisting Parasite Infliction. At the cost of additional essence, the Lunar may perform much more subtle manipulation of the target's instincts. The stimuli may now draw on the full range of emotional responses, from "disgusted hatred" to "reluctant admiration". Similarly, the reactions may become more abstract, although not specific: "seek out parental guidance" is appropriate, but "write a letter to your mother" is still out, and a figure perceived as parental serves just as well as biological parents for fulfilling the instinct. If either stimulus or response is simple enough to be compatible with Instinct Twisting Parasite Infliction, the surcharge is only five motes. If both are too complex, it is ten.

Awesome, thanks for expanding on it. Base idea looks good, however I'd strongly question whether it needs the increased Essence cost. You're not directly increasing the power of the charm; the parasite isn't becoming stronger, it's just being refined, getting smarter, tapping into its hosts senses/instincts better. I think the second buy-in, and the increased prereqisites cover that.

I'd also say that it should increase the stimuli options more than just with emotional responses. Stuff like 'get out of bed' rather than merely 'go outside', or 'meet a dragonblooded'. I think a good rule of thumb (but not an absolute rule) would be anything you can express in a simple sentence without using proper nouns (i.e. names of things)

I also think the charm could use something else in its effects, it feels like it could use just a touch more to be worth the charm purchase. But I'm not sure what. Possibly reduce the mote commitment of the charm by (Your Essence - Targets Essence). Makes more complicated/wider ranging manipulations more doable at high essence. Certainly that effect should be somewhere in the upgrades charms for this.

You've also reminded me, need to add in the rule that the stimulus cannot be something completely unavoidable, like breathing. Okay, not breathing would be an unacceptable order, but still, want to avoid people getting the double effectiveness of the stimulus version without giving the target an opportunity to avoid the stimulus.


There are actually several ways to resist this power.

Indeed; all I was saying is that it lacked a roll versus the targets MDV, unlike most such UMI effects.


The first and most obvious is simply to not be touched an ability any decent and sane exalt should have at character creation. Charms such as Seven Shadow Evasion do just this most rudimentary defense combos will include anti-bad touch and anti-surprise charms at their core.

If you're a solar with at least a touch of paranoia, then sure, this is likely to fall down. Sidereals will also be somewhat hard to get. Other Lunars, Dragonbloods, Spirits and Mortals are all possible targets that this could be damn useful on.


Perception+Awareness rolls are another basic must have for survival in Exalted and will also be sufficiently (and easily) optimized. Even a simple excellency would reveal this attack.

Indeed, if they happen to have a perception or awareness excellency comboed with their combat charms.


I won't even try to list all of the ways to become unaffected by compulsions but be assured they are myriad and fairly simple. This charm will only work well against mortals, gods and other such lesser beings. As such, it could be useful in some situations (certainly against published exalts) but it is not overpowering by any means.

No, it's not. But for its persistent effect, I think the 10m cost (with the expansion that somewhat reduces it) is reasonable, especially when you compare it to Hypnotic Tongue Technique, as I mentioned before. And in medium to low optimisation games, and especially celestial rather than Solaroid games, there will be people lacking perfect mental defences.


I believe fairfolk need merely swear an oath to not have their mind controlled unless they decide to eat ice cream on a Tuesday.

I'm fairly sure that's wrong. There may be artifact oaths, crafted Oneriomancy effects, or bought charms that relate to oaths that will protect themselves from such (though I'd question whether they'd provide total immunity to UMI). Can you hunt down a reference for the oath-of-no-mind-control-until-Tuesday-meets-sundae?

jjpickar
2011-09-01, 12:33 AM
That last bit about fairfolk was a joke. :smallwink: (At least I hope it was.:smalleek:)

I can't really criticize any other part of the charm except its cost and since you are fine with it I really don't have much to say beyond to reiterating my admiration of the concept.