Author Topic: Hellfire as two powers  (Read 339 times)

Offline nadia.skylark

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Hellfire as two powers
« on: April 10, 2019, 03:57:16 PM »
I was reading a thread in the spoiler post section (https://www.paranetonline.com/index.php/topic,52786.0.html) and it inspired the idea that Hellfire could actually be two powers: one burning through your soul like soulfire, and one being drawn from Hell itself, like drawing from a place of power. I was wondering how people would write those two powers up.

Also, how would you write up a power that lets you do Michael's faith stuff as a complement for soulfire?

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2019, 08:00:00 AM »
I don't think there's any need for a custom Power to get faith powers working with Soulfire. Guide My Hand and Righteousness already work well together with Soulfire, and Bless This House doesn't work well with anything. I guess Holy Touch + Soulfire is a bit of a nonbo, but you can just not take holy touch.

Both forms of Hellfire could probably use the canon mechanics. Changing the associated Aspect can do a lot of work.

Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2019, 02:28:57 PM »
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I don't think there's any need for a custom Power to get faith powers working with Soulfire. Guide My Hand and Righteousness already work well together with Soulfire, and Bless This House doesn't work well with anything. I guess Holy Touch + Soulfire is a bit of a nonbo, but you can just not take holy touch.

Yeah, I only really suggested another sponsored magic equivalent for Heaven as a balance thing--if Hell has two, then Heaven should as well.

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Both forms of Hellfire could probably use the canon mechanics. Changing the associated Aspect can do a lot of work.

But how are they different? That's what I'm trying to work out: how soul-powered hellfire is different from place of power-like hellfire, and how the two work together if you have both.

(Part of this is also me trying to figure out why, if a wizard has a Denarian shadow, they would also pick up the coin. I mean, they already have access to hellfire and all the Denarian's knowledge--what do they get out of picking up the coin? Shapeshifting powers may be cool, but I'd think a wizard would rather spend their refresh on spellcasting powers. If, on the other hand, the shadow only gives them place of power-like hellfire, and soul-powered hellfire can only be gotten by picking up the coin, and the two powers amplify each other, then it makes a lot more sense to me. But I'm not sure how to design two sponsored magics in such a way that they have this effect.)

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2019, 09:56:57 PM »
Yeah, I only really suggested another sponsored magic equivalent for Heaven as a balance thing--if Hell has two, then Heaven should as well.

I don't think it's necessary, but if you want to you could add a non-Soulfire heavenly sponsored magic that involves invoking God or his angels rather than using your own soul.

But how are they different? That's what I'm trying to work out: how soul-powered hellfire is different from place of power-like hellfire, and how the two work together if you have both.

I don't think they're actually separate in the original lore, so how they differ is really up too you.

(Part of this is also me trying to figure out why, if a wizard has a Denarian shadow, they would also pick up the coin. I mean, they already have access to hellfire and all the Denarian's knowledge--what do they get out of picking up the coin? Shapeshifting powers may be cool, but I'd think a wizard would rather spend their refresh on spellcasting powers. If, on the other hand, the shadow only gives them place of power-like hellfire, and soul-powered hellfire can only be gotten by picking up the coin, and the two powers amplify each other, then it makes a lot more sense to me. But I'm not sure how to design two sponsored magics in such a way that they have this effect.)

In general, buying two Sponsored Magics is not very efficient Refresh-wise.

It's true that the full Denarian package isn't either, but you've got to keep in mind that Refresh doesn't exist in-setting. People can't just decide to buy more Refinements because they want them. You've got to take the Powers you can get.

That said, the conflict between power and free will does exist in-setting and that often lines up nicely with Refresh. A Denarian is likely to go deep into the negatives, becoming unplayably devoid of freedom but very powerful.

Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 11:37:04 PM »
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I don't think they're actually separate in the original lore, so how they differ is really up too you.

Yes, but I'm having trouble thinking of things that would work here, so I'm looking for ideas. That's why I posted this. If I just wanted to come up with something on my own, I wouldn't have bothered.

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In general, buying two Sponsored Magics is not very efficient Refresh-wise.

Yeah, that's why I want the two powers to work together. If they have a multiplicative effect, it should be more efficient.

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It's true that the full Denarian package isn't either, but you've got to keep in mind that Refresh doesn't exist in-setting. People can't just decide to buy more Refinements because they want them. You've got to take the Powers you can get.

Refresh may not exist in-universe, but free will does. I have no trouble imagining that a wizard is going to have an easier time saying "I'm not going to endanger my free will to gain the ability to turn into a demon-bear! That wouldn't even be all that helpful," than saying "I'm not going to endanger my free will to gain awesome magical abilities which will help me protect myself and those I care about, defeat my enemies, and generally be extremely useful."

The Denarians clearly offer some kind of magic-boosting effect beyond the hellfire one gets from the shadow, because Lasciel's shadow offers it to Harry as a reason to take up the coin to help deal with potential problems with Little Chicago in Proven Guilty.

(As an alternative to a different form of hellfire, I've considered having the Fallen offer some kind of physical immunity to backlash/spell stress, but this doesn't strike me as particularly balanced. Besides which, I'm interested in different types of sponsored magic and like discussing them.)

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2019, 05:33:37 AM »
Yes, but I'm having trouble thinking of things that would work here, so I'm looking for ideas. That's why I posted this. If I just wanted to come up with something on my own, I wouldn't have bothered.

Oh, I thought you were asking what the existing lore suggested.

...I don't really have any good ideas off-hand, unfortunately.

Yeah, that's why I want the two powers to work together. If they have a multiplicative effect, it should be more efficient.

I'm not sure that's feasible. This game doesn't really have multiplicative effects, and I think adding them could get screwy.

If the two variants overlap, it's probably fair to make one of them cost only 1 Refresh if you have the other. Sort of like how normal Sponsored Magic gets cheaper if you've got Evocation and Thaumaturgy. Then you're basically just buying the Extra Benefit as a stunt. Easier to justify, optimization-wise.

Refresh may not exist in-universe, but free will does. I have no trouble imagining that a wizard is going to have an easier time saying "I'm not going to endanger my free will to gain the ability to turn into a demon-bear! That wouldn't even be all that helpful," than saying "I'm not going to endanger my free will to gain awesome magical abilities which will help me protect myself and those I care about, defeat my enemies, and generally be extremely useful."

The demon bear thing is actually pretty great, though. It just costs, like, fifteen Refresh. And I don't think the numerical value there corresponds to anything in-setting.

For the magic-ier Denarians, I'd be inclined to say that Denarians can just give their hosts Refinements and other classic spellcasting bonuses.

Offline g33k

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2019, 12:33:12 AM »
I think it's worth noting that the characters are actually not wargame pieces; that means they have wants and needs, temptations and weaknesses, that won't translate well to players saying "I can see taking that deal!"

Offer an addict a hit -- at the peak of their withdrawal misery -- and they'll sell their soul for it, no lasting benefit nor sensible cost/benefit analysis will be considered!

Similarly:  just because there is Hellfire in the rulebook (soul-fueled or Hell-fueled), it doesn't mean that, in-character, there is any way to get it other than picking up one of the blackened denarii.  AFAIK that's the only mechanism shown in Jim Butcher's fiction, and... I don't recall anything else in the DFRPG (and haven't got DFA), but the table consensus and/or GM plans can always create other means.

Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2019, 03:02:48 AM »
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I think it's worth noting that the characters are actually not wargame pieces; that means they have wants and needs, temptations and weaknesses, that won't translate well to players saying "I can see taking that deal!"

Offer an addict a hit -- at the peak of their withdrawal misery -- and they'll sell their soul for it, no lasting benefit nor sensible cost/benefit analysis will be considered!

True, but the Fallen seem to tailor their temptations to the individual person that they're tempting. Lasciel's shadow, for example, offered Harry knowledge, magical power, and help in protecting innocents. She did not offer him a way to become as beautiful/handsome as Thomas and unlimited wealth, because that wouldn't have been particularly tempting for Harry.

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Similarly:  just because there is Hellfire in the rulebook (soul-fueled or Hell-fueled), it doesn't mean that, in-character, there is any way to get it other than picking up one of the blackened denarii.  AFAIK that's the only mechanism shown in Jim Butcher's fiction, and... I don't recall anything else in the DFRPG (and haven't got DFA), but the table consensus and/or GM plans can always create other means.

True. But 1) there might be other ways that Harry doesn't know about--it's not like he's done much research on the subject; and 2) I'm talking about a character being tempted by a blackened denarius, so I'm not sure how this is relevant.

Offline g33k

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2019, 03:20:10 AM »
True, but the Fallen seem to tailor their temptations to the individual person that they're tempting. Lasciel's shadow, for example, offered Harry knowledge, magical power, and help in protecting innocents. She did not offer him a way to become as beautiful/handsome as Thomas and unlimited wealth, because that wouldn't have been particularly tempting for Harry.
The Denarians have an agenda in the world, and it's NOT collecting the souls of their bearers.  I believe they preferentially target those who already have an urge to power, toward being effectual actors in the world, because they can leverage that to their own ends.

That said, they have no difficulty in playing a "long game" for years or decades (or centuries!), or going with shallow vessels who have trivial wants and needs, and no "leverage" in the world:  the demonic equivalent of a short "hookup" with no relationship!

But 1) there might be other ways that Harry doesn't know about--it's not like he's done much research on the subject
True enough.  Canon never says you CAN get hellfire another way; but equally, canon never says you CANNOT.  (also, even if Harry had an opinion in the books, we KNOW Jim Butcher uses Harry to "lie" to the audience -- Harry is perfectly capable of being wrong (in fact, he figures out at least one "wrong answer" in several novels, before he finds the right one...)  I would undoubtedly consider Hellfire-without-Denarians a per-table / per-campaign consideration, leaning toward "what do the players think would be most fun?" (noting that as players-plural, because others at the table might have strong opinions about hellfire; no one player's concept should ruin another player's fun).

and 2) I'm talking about a character being tempted by a blackened denarius, so I'm not sure how this is relevant.
Maybe I don't understood.  I thought your suggestion was that they somehow had the goodies a Denarian could offer, so why pick up a coin?

AFAIK:  if they never took up the coin, the Denarian within it cannot tempt them (nor empower them).

I think those powers are a big part of the temptation to take up the coins (which make it seem like other channels to gain hellfire are likely to be harder to find, harder to learn, etc).

You want insta-power?  Here.   8)
Or you could go study for a decade or more under a master you can be CERTAIN is corrupted by Hell itself.    :o


Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2019, 09:13:10 PM »
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The Denarians have an agenda in the world, and it's NOT collecting the souls of their bearers.  I believe they preferentially target those who already have an urge to power, toward being effectual actors in the world, because they can leverage that to their own ends.

That said, they have no difficulty in playing a "long game" for years or decades (or centuries!), or going with shallow vessels who have trivial wants and needs, and no "leverage" in the world:  the demonic equivalent of a short "hookup" with no relationship!

True. But I'm pretty sure they get annoyed if they don't manage to collect their bearers' souls.

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Maybe I don't understood.  I thought your suggestion was that they somehow had the goodies a Denarian could offer, so why pick up a coin?

AFAIK:  if they never took up the coin, the Denarian within it cannot tempt them (nor empower them).

I think those powers are a big part of the temptation to take up the coins (which make it seem like other channels to gain hellfire are likely to be harder to find, harder to learn, etc).

Sorry for being unclear. I was talking about having a Denarian shadow vs picking up the coin.

Incidentally, what does AFAIK stand for?
« Last Edit: April 17, 2019, 12:11:01 PM by nadia.skylark »

Offline Taran

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2019, 03:49:59 PM »
AFAIK

As far as I know

Offline g33k

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2019, 04:55:41 PM »
Sorry for being unclear. I was talking about having a Denarian shadow vs picking up the coin. 
???
How /else/ would one gain a Denarian Shadow?
They are inextricably linked to the coins.

I suppose, hypothetically, one of the Fallen already in a Host might "cast a shadow" on someone without needing them to take up a coin?  I would be disinclined to allow it, honestly:  The Fallen already have a crap-ton of power, and putting demon-shadow split personalities into anyone they want seems like a violation of the strict rules by which they operate.
 

Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2019, 07:07:44 PM »
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How /else/ would one gain a Denarian Shadow?
They are inextricably linked to the coins.

What I mean is, when Harry touched Lasciel's coin, he got her shadow in his head. But then he buried the coin rather than picking it up, and Lasciel's shadow kept trying to talk him into picking up the coin.

But for a wizard, the two greatest advantages that being a Denarian offers is knowledge and hellfire, both of which you get with just the shadow--so what would the shadow use to tempt you to pick up the coin (aside from nebulous and unexplained "power")? My proposal was that the coin proper could offer another form of hellfire that combines with the one we've seen, or alternately some way of casting magic without stress.

Offline nadia.skylark

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2019, 04:09:43 AM »
Re-reading this, I've come up with a vague concept that might work, but I need help refining it and figuring out if it actually does what I think it does.

What if, for soul-powered hellfire, you can get power bonuses but limited/no control; and for place-of-power hellfire, you don't lose power on your spells due to fallout?

Would that work? I got the idea for the fallout thing from the sponsored magic thread in the resources section, but as I remember there was a lot of debate on its effectiveness.

Also, I've actually written up the soul-powered hellfire as part of a soulfire/hellfire combo, but it's designed based on a different set of spellcasting rules, which I suspect aren't very balanced (they're designed because I'm using RPG character progression to hopefully stop my fanfiction character from becoming a Mary Sue, and the existing spellcasting rules didn't work with my narrative understanding of magic). It's far more powerful than anything that would work with the spellcasting RAW, both because you have to spend 23 refresh before you can even buy it and because my spellcasting rules allow a lot more stacking of bonuses as a side effect of the way I understand magic narratively. Would people be interested in my posting that (along with an explanation of the rules as they apply to it)?
« Last Edit: May 12, 2019, 04:16:21 AM by nadia.skylark »

Offline Sanctaphrax

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Re: Hellfire as two powers
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2019, 05:57:33 PM »
What if, for soul-powered hellfire, you can get power bonuses but limited/no control; and for place-of-power hellfire, you don't lose power on your spells due to fallout?

I like the idea of not losing power due to fallout.

Control bonuses being as important as they are, I feel like a power-only Sponsored Magic probably wouldn't be worth taking.

Also, I've actually written up the soul-powered hellfire as part of a soulfire/hellfire combo, but it's designed based on a different set of spellcasting rules, which I suspect aren't very balanced (they're designed because I'm using RPG character progression to hopefully stop my fanfiction character from becoming a Mary Sue, and the existing spellcasting rules didn't work with my narrative understanding of magic). It's far more powerful than anything that would work with the spellcasting RAW, both because you have to spend 23 refresh before you can even buy it and because my spellcasting rules allow a lot more stacking of bonuses as a side effect of the way I understand magic narratively. Would people be interested in my posting that (along with an explanation of the rules as they apply to it)?

Sure, I'd be interested.