Monday, July 6, 2015

GURPS Nel Part 3: Feronel and Sokarnel Meta-Traits

So now we're here at part three, the court meta-traits. There are six nations/courts/kingdoms/etc of Nel: the Feronel, Sokarnel, Aubernel, Utenel, Sarownel, and Loronel. The Feronel are the oldest, the first. They're also the smallest and are dying out. No new Feronel have been "born" in the last thousand (possibly longer, I forget, it's written down somewhere) or so years. So we're dealing with a race of 1000 - 9999 year old supernatural berserkers. The Sokarnel are the second oldest and they are probably the largest court of Nel, as they are the dead of the Nel. When Nel die, unless the Nel in question really really fucking pissed off Keroen Skathos, they are offered reincarnation as Sokarnel. They're stripped of all memories of their life, but they get to continue and serve as Keroen's undying spies and assassins. The Aubernel and Utenel are the first of the young Nel. I have it written down, but I think it was somewhere between 3000 and 4000 DK that they came into existence. The Sarownel and Loronel are the youngest courts, again, I have it written down, but I forget the exact date of their creation. Are you detecting a pattern yet? Anyway. The Sarownel and Loronel only a  few thousand years old at this point. Four thousand tops.

Each court has different traits, but there is some equality between them. As my guideline for the following meta-traits, I want the Feronel and Sokarnel meta-traits to be of equal points value and be the highest value ones. I want the Aubernel and Utenel to be about 75% of the Feronel and Sokarnel and I want the Loronel and Sarownel to be 50% of the Feronel and Sokarnel.

This post will be about the Feronel and Sokarnel. We'll start with the Feronel, because I love them and they are the best.

The first thing is that the Feronel are hands down tougher and more physical than the other Nel courts. We represent this by giving them ST+2, DX+1, and HT+2. Feronel also respect strength of will and self-control (despite their berserker natures). So they also have Will+1.

Then we move onto advantages. All Nel are generally weather resistant so we add Damage Resistance 6 twice, but one gets Limited: Fire/Heat, -40% and the other gets Limited: Cold, -40%. Since Feronel are Feronel, they get Feronel Talent 1. Seems logical. Feronel regenerate pretty fast, so we take the base meta-trait Regeneration (Fast; Reflexive, +40%; Costs 4 FP/Minute, -40%) [50] and improve that to Very Fast (one hit point per second). Because it also represents a bigger drain on their Gifts, we up it to Costs 5 FP/Minute, -50%. Keep in mind that the Nel meta-traits are layered on one another, so even though the advantage is ultimately 90 character points, the Feronel meta-trait only accounts for 40 of it. All Nel can communicate with their ruler mentally, Contuck in this instance, so we need Telecommunication (Telesend). Since this is a function of the Nel's Gifts being connected to their ruler, we apply Gifts, -5%. Since it's only with one person we apply Contuck Only, -40%. Feronel generally have stronger Gifts in a larger amount, so we give them Energy Reserve (Gifts) +5 on top of the base meta-trait. They also have Gifts +3 on top of the base Nel meta-trait.

Now we move onto disadvantages. Feronel have a code of honor. There are two actually, and they're both fairly mild in terms of restrictions they put on behavior. The first is the Feronel Code of Honor, which basically amounts to speaking your mind, confronting foes and antagonists face to face instead of talking shit behind their backs, and never starting a fight unless the foe bears a weapon in hand. What defines a fight and a weapon are somewhat vague. The second code is Loria's Code. This is a more refined version of the Feronel Code. It involves things like not murdering your opponents during a duel, if a foe is ridiculously weaker than you in Gifts or blade skill, do not take advantage of that weakness. Basically, the Feronel Code represents barbaric warrior culture honor and Loria's Code is a slightly more civilized version. Neither of them are particular restrictive, so they're only worth -5 character points.

The Feronel are very savage and a bit bloodthirsty by nature, and those that aren't that way took a long ass time to change their ways and become something else. For the most part the Feronel are  basically Stone Age gods of war. So they have both Berserk and Bloodlust. This means any time violence occurs there is a chance they lose their shit, and when it comes to violence they want their foes dead and there's not much that can deter them from that.
So we're looking at 198 points for the Feronel on top of the 382 for all Nel, plus the racial templates. The actual  cleaned up and written out list format meta-trait will appear later, as there's still some final tweaking to do.

The Sokarnel, like the Feronel are tough and physical, so they get ST+2 and HT+2, but they're "dead" things of patience and stillness, so no DX bonus. Because they're "dead" things of patience and stillness, they get Will+2. Like the Feronel, they have Damage Resistance 6 for cold and fire, increased regeneration, the Sokarnel Talent, Gifts+3, Energy Reserve +5 (Gifts), and the ability to contact their ruler (Nostathon).

They have a few abilities that set them apart from the Feronel, the ability to wander into The Nightmare Lands whenever they want, and the ability to reconfigure themselves into the form of certain carrion creatures. They also have the ability to sort of fade into shadows and darkness. They also have a unique feature.

The feature is the easiest to explain. Sokarnel may take up to two levels of Aubernel, Feronel, Loronel, Sarownel or Utenel Talent. This is because they used to be living Nel from another court, and even if they lack the memories of that time, their Gifts might still be shaded with their former nature.

Wandering into The Nightmare Lands whenever they want is pretty easy as well. It's just Jumper built just like we built it for getting into Nel holdings.

Fading into shadows is a little bit more difficult to accurately represent. When Sokarnel enter a shadow it's a lot like the Hide In Plain Sight ability from Pathfinder. It doesn't matter if people are looking at you or not, you more or less disappear. The ultra points heavy way to represent this is using the Link modifier and coupling Insubstantiality and Invisibility together and applying a modifier that says only in shadows and darkness. It's similar to when Contuck moves through clay or Shim melded himself into the counter in the tower. However, the way I'm going to do it is with the Shadow Form advantage. You basically become a two dimensional shadow of yourself and end up resistant to physical effects and have a hard time moving around and physically affecting things. I want this to be an innate effect of Sokarnel, something that just happens automatically. Because it's somewhat uncontrollable, it becomes a disadvantage, rather than an advantage. We also apply the Accessibility: Only In Darkness Or Shadows modifier as well. I'm going to call it a -80% modifier (which reduces the points value of the disadvantage) because becoming a shadow when you are in shadows and darkness isn't really that much of a penalty and it can be relatively easy to avoid shadows and darkness. This is an automatic thing, but I do want the Sokarnel to be able to force themselves into their Nel form if they wish, but I want it to cost them. We apply the Switchable: Usually On enhancement, which means it costs 1 FP a second to turn their shadow form off. This normally increases the cost of an advantage by +5%. We also want to allow the Sokarnel to carry at least their light encumbrance with them in shadow form, so we add Light Encumbrance, which is normally a +10% enhancement. Since the accessibility, encumbrance, and ability to switch out of shadow form are all things that reduce how much Shadow Form penalizes a Sokarnel, they all reduce its value as a disadvantage. Unfortunately, the accessibility one already reduces its value by 80%, and you can't drop the value of an advantage or disadvantage below 20% of normal. This whole thing might change. It's a little wonky. 

Next up is the ability to shapeshift into carrion creatures. For this we use Shapeshifting (Alternate Form). This is the advantage used to represent creatures like werewolves and such. The base value is 15 points. If you're able to transform into a template with fewer points than your racial template, it's just a straight 15 points. If you can transform into something more powerful (like a 0 point human into a 300 point dragon) you pay 15 point plus 90% of the other template's character point value. Since Sokarnel are several hundred character points, Shapeshifting is only going to cost Sokarnel 15 points. The carrion creature forms aren't that special. They're just big bugs and weird insect crow creatures.

The Sokarnel do have a few disadvantages. The first two are Duty. One to Keroen Skathos, and one to Nostathon. Keroen and Nostathon don't really call on the Sokarnel to do much these days, so we go with Quite Rarely for both. The Duty to Keroen also gets the Extremely Hazardous addition. He pretty much uses the Sokarnel for one thing: war and murder festivals and when he does call on them, it's because he's backed into a corner or because he expects them to reduce everything to blood and raw meat.

Sokarnel are also vulnerable to the sun. It is a kind of poison to them. The first way we represent this is with Revulsion, which forces a HT roll every time you are exposed to a substance. Failure means you are at -5 to effective skill with all skill rolls and attribute checks for the next 10 minutes. The points value is based on how common the substance is. Direct sunlight is very common. 

The next way we represent this is with the Weakness disadvantage, which deals HP damage when exposed to a substance. This damage bypasses DR. We go with the highest rate of damage, 1d per minute of exposure, and then modify it based on how common it is. Sunlight is listed as very common with this disadvantage, and triples the value. However, with the innate regeneration of the Sokarnel (1 HP per second), 1d every minute is worthless. I'm going to say the damage happens to the Sokarnel's FP, which reduces the value of the disadvantage, but actually impacts the Nel by reducing its ability to use its Gifts. I think it's appropriate as it simulates the Nel's Gifts/lifeforce draining away under the hostile gaze of the sun. 

Alright, so now we have a rough draft of the Sokarnel and it comes in at 245 character points. Looking back at the Feronel, we see them sitting at 198. As I said before I want the Feronel and Sokarnel to match up points-wise. Normally, this wouldn't be a concern as races are what they are. There's no concept of equality/balance in GURPS. Racial templates are what they are. I'm ignoring this for the Nel because Nel are made out of Gifts. Every aspect of them stems from the Gifts they are composed of being turned to a particular purpose. So if two Nel are made out of the same amount of Gifts they should, in theory, be of roughly the same points value from the game mechanics perspective. Or at last that's what I think. 

So how can we equalize them a bit? I think the first step is to add another DX+1 to the Feronel. This brings us to a 27 point disparity. There's always going to be a slight disparity between the meta-traits, as any of them that add ST are going to be modified slightly when applied to mountain-kin due to their size reducing the cost of the ST, but 27 points is still too much. Derp. The Sokarnel need Disturbing Voice. Their voices are really creepy, all hissing whispers and hoarseness and the sensation of bugs crawling around your ears. This brings the difference down to 17 points. I think I'm comfortable leaving it there, as modifying either template much more kind of edges into adding and subtracting for the sake of adding and subtracting, rather than modifying them for the sake of making them more true to the vision in my head. 

Oh. Whoops. The Sokarnel and Feronel only had Gifts +3 for 39 points, instead of Gifts +5 for 45 points like I had written (which is bad math in the first place as 5x13 = 65, not 45). So some of the above math is off.

So here they are, the meta-traits for the Feronel and Sokarnel. 

Feronel Meta-Trait
212 points
Basic Attributes [80]
  • ST+2 [20]
  • DX+2 [40]
  • HT+2 [20]
Secondary Characteristics [5]
  • Will+1 [5]
Advantages [152]
  • Damage Resistance 6 (Limited: Cold, -40%) [18]
  • Damage Resistance 6 (Limited: Fire/Heat, -40% [18]
  • Energy Reserve +5 (Gift) [15]
  • Feronel Talent 1 [5]
  • Gifts +3 [39]
  • Regeneration (Very Fast; Reflexive, +40%; Costs 5 FP/Minute, -50%) [40]
    • Upgraded from the base Nel meta-trait.
  • Telecommunication (Telesend; Contuck Only, -40%; Gifts, -5% [17]
Disadvantages [-25]
  • Berserk (Self-Control: 12, x1) [-10]
  • Bloodlust (Self-Control: 12, x1) [-10]
  • Code of Honor (Feronel's or Loria's) [-5]

Sokarnel Meta-Trait
229 points
Basic Attributes [40]
  • ST+2 [20]
  • HT+2 [20]
Secondary Characteristics [10]
  • Will+2 [10]
Advantages [247]
  • Damage Resistance 6 (Limited: Cold, -40%) [18]
  • Damage Resistance 6 (Limited: Fire/Heat, -40% [18]
  • Dark Vision [25]
  • Energy Reserve +5 (Gift) [15]
  • Jumper (World; Costs 2 FP, -20%; Gifts, -5%; Limited Access: The Nightmare Lands And Back Only, -20%) [55]
  • Shapeshifting (Alternate Form; Carrion Creatures) [15]
  • Sokarnel Talent 1 [5]
  • Gifts +3 [39]
  • Regeneration (Very Fast; Reflexive, +40%; Costs 5 FP/Minute, -50%) [40]
    • Upgraded from the base Nel meta-trait.
  • Telecommunication (Telesend; Nostathon Only, -40%; Gifts, -5% [17]
Disadvantages [-68]
  • Disturbing Voice [-10]
  • Duty (Keroen Skathos; Quite Rarely: 6; Extremely Hazardous) [-7]
  • Duty (Nostathon; Quite Rarely: 6) [-2]
  • Revulsion (Very Common: Direct Sunlight) [-15]
  • Shadow Form (Light Encumbrance, -10%; Accessibility: Only In Darkness/Shadows, -80%; Switchable: Usually On, -5%) [-4]
  • Weakness (1d/Minute; Very Common: Direct Sunlight, x3; FP Only, -50%) [-30]
Feature: The Sokarnel may purchase up to two levels of the Aubernel, Feronel, or Utenel Talent. The choice of talent denotes the court affiliation the Sokarnel had in life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment