Author Topic: Talen Rules  (Read 1998 times)

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Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Talen Rules
« on: September 08, 2012, 11:26:47 pm »
may i ask why the Rites section contains the Talen quantity rule in it? :)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 12:23:14 am by Administrator »
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Offline Marc (Admin)

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Re: Pending House Rules Updates
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 11:36:03 pm »
I'll fix it to make Talens it's own sub-heading in the same section. :)
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Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Pending House Rules Updates
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 11:39:04 pm »
i keep looking for a Talens section :)  there are several rules for it (how many you can make, how many you can have, which recipes you know jsut for having the rite of binding) so a section covering them all would be keen. 
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Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Pending House Rules Updates
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2012, 12:16:05 am »
Talens was initially lumped into Rites because the two were written, discussed and finalized together.  This has been corrected, and a new section specifically for Talens has been added to the same section of the Character Creation and Development page (right under Rites, actually).

It seems clear, though, that more needs to be added on how you know the recipes, how long it takes to learn them, etc.  I'll do a little research in the books and report back here so it can be discussed.

Most talens require only Summoning (or someone to do the Summoning for you), and Binding, unless a separate Talen-specific Rite exists.  Spirit Brew is the only example of that I can think of off the top of my head, but then Spirit Brews are kind of their own thing and not technically Talens.

Knowing how to make a particular Talen is usually just a matter of knowing of it's existence and it's generally circulated recipe (it doesn't take much to figure out how to make chocolate chip cookies or pancakes).  At some level though, it's going to depend on factors like nuances in creation based on the type of spirit, method that must be used, etc. (more complex/temperamental recipes).  Certainly for any player-created Talens, some reverse-engineering time would be involved unless someone who knows how to make the Talen directly teaches you.  I would think that the reverse-engineering time would be directly proportional to the amount of time it took (or presumably took) the creator to successfully make the first one.  Initiation of the reverse-engineering process would have to start with something - having used one or seen one in use before, and having possession of the spent vessel, etc.  These are just some thoughts.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 12:18:16 am by Administrator »
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Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2012, 12:25:15 am »
I was alwas told you do not need summoning, just binding, cause you can always go and just spend time looking for a spirit etc.  Summoning of course makes it easier.

question for talens to think about:

plants and awakening them.  the rules (somewhere, ugh) say that awakening an herb or plant basically turns it into a talen.  but... the books are vague, and no one is surprised.  so clarifications would be good...

likewise, do talens last a month?  a year?  i have heard conflicting reports...
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Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2012, 12:40:02 am »
Well, true enough about Summoning.  Depending on location and the type of spirit needed, you could be looking for a very long time though.

In what sense would an awakened plant be a Talen?  What would be the outcome if an awakened plant Talen were "activated?"  Would the expended Talen be a live or dead plant?  Not sure I understand the notion of an awakened plant being a Talen in the first place.  Maybe it could be a thing unto itself (like a Spirit Brew)?

As far as "expiration dates" that has never been very clear.  As far as how it's been enforced in the past, I think that some level of staff discretion has applied to most Talens, if the dates are kind of old, particularly old, or particularly super old.  There were never any clear definitions as far as I'm aware, just the notion that the older a Talen is, the less effective it is in doing what it does.  Generally there would be a greater chance of failure.  If a Talen is really old, it would not be out of the question for it to totally backfire in an undesirable way upon activation.  In general, the spirit inside is going to get more and more grumpy the longer it stays trapped inside.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 12:40:17 am by MarcBerm »
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Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2012, 12:53:32 am »
One other unwritten rule I believe we have, is that when it comes to Spirit Brews (which again, are not Talens), if you have the Rite of the Spirit Brew, you are said to start each game with two available.

Truly ridiculous numbers of Spirit Brews have been a problem in the past, in fact "bathtub Spirit Brews" is a common nuisance among ST's in OWbN.  We discussed at one time, before outright disallowing it, making the bathtub Spirit Brews less reliable, only providing two Gnosis, etc.  Something to represent hasty and sloppy creation.  It was also suggested that perhaps doubling (making 4 instead of the usual 2), would produce four 2-Gnosis Spirit Brews, or would require a chop to see how reliable they were on activation.  In the end it was much simpler to just say 2 and that's that.

As far as Talens, the usual prudent thing to do is release and recreate your unused inventory after several months if unused.  You don't need to remake everything every month, just when you use it or it's sat unused for too long.  If you stagger things, it's still pretty easy to not overtax yourself, but have a couple each of the things you find most useful.  Of course on occasion, someone gives you a Talen here or there, all the better - one less you have to make, provided you don't feel obligated to return it if unused.  Patrick would not :)
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 12:53:44 am by MarcBerm »
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Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2012, 09:49:30 am »
ok, os Rite of Spirit Awakening in the REvised TT book says that "When performed on plants, this rite is known as sanctification. Plant-spirits are generally benevolent, and an awakened plant spirit will lend its powers as though it were a talen (one use). Different plants grant different abilities when sanctified.  For example, sanctified foxglove protects against faerie magic (adding two to the difficulty of any faerie spell)."

the MET book says "The rite arouses the spirit within a mundane object and makes it appear in the Umbra; when performed on plants the rite is often known as “sanctification” and rouses the plant-spirit enough to act as a
talen for a single use. Different plants naturally have different abilities, and each sept maintains its own herbal lore."

so, thus, how do we deal with that in game, where in theory with Awakening i can just use THAT to make things like healing talens etc. 
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Offline Conor (Former ST)

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2012, 10:06:13 am »
Spirits are not always predictable.  What works one time is not guaranteed to work another time, and repeated attempts to do exactly as much as you can get away with, but no more, will probably eventually backfire.

I've never seen RATC actually use the awakened-plants-as-talens rule in the time I've been around.  If pressed, I would probably be inclined to rule that talens made from awakened plants were generally likely to be less powerful than similar talens made with the Rite of Binding, but they might end up being even more powerful in the case of especially old plants, or plants that were awakened for a long time before being consumed, etc.

I have this idea that awakening plants is more likely to be used by Uktena and Wendigo types, and lupus, and so might end up being more effective for them than for others, but this is more of a paradigm-like idea than a Tribal Advantage or something.

Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2012, 10:13:40 am »
Right.  And since what you are saying directly contradicts the book (like THAT is hard) i want to see an actual rule in place for this.  because this is the sort of thing my character would be trying to do, if i only i knew how to do so mechanically.

from the example in the TT book (foxglove) it sounds like knowing your occult and your herbology(is that an ability one can learn or is it off of something like survival?) would let you know what plants to use for what purpose to do the following:  "hey ST do i know a plant that would let me have a talen to make X?"  "chop for your whatever, ok yes you know Y plant does that"  "Ok i do awakening and 10 min later i have this one use thing right?"

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Offline PEBE

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #10 on: September 09, 2012, 12:13:46 pm »
Occult + Herbology will let you know the 'magical' properties, ie, which herbs are better for cleansing/purification and which are better for healing.
Spirit Lore + Herbology will allow for the "what happens when the plant is awakened."

RAtC hasn't really used plants as Talons since the only source material is one of the older Player's Guides that lists only 5 herbs, so in liu of compiling our own House-Ruled-list-of-every-herb-known-to-man, we choose to utilize awakened plants as 'flavor/scene enhancing.'

Take Awakened Peyote:
--According to the 1st Ed PGG: "[Awakened] Peyote enables the user to step across into the Umbra without any effort...."
--How we run it: It is used as a vision enhancer or more potent version of mundane peyote.

If we ran the above example as per the book, not only would every Uktena be crossing with this stuff, but any smart Striders would be using it to prevent getting stuck.
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Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #11 on: September 09, 2012, 01:31:44 pm »
aw, all those drugged out striders :P

my thought is not so much to get plants codified, as to get mechanics codified, and then STs can come u[ with plants on the spot or what not, since likely different theurges would go to0 different plants...
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Offline Jerry Castillo

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2012, 08:58:48 am »
Point of order:

Herbology is something they teach at Hogwarts. The thing you're all talking about is called Herbalism.

This concludes your daily dose of irrelevant pedantry.
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Offline Seven Mountains

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2012, 09:28:54 am »
And would likely be a Specialization of Science or an Expert Ability which is used as the catch all for skills not listed or categorized well in the book.
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Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2012, 07:52:43 pm »
Herbology is something they teach at Hogwarts. The thing you're all talking about is called Herbalism.

Heh, I had this same conversation with Joe when he was getting ready to post that, whereby he persisted in believing the Ability was Herbology, pointing to the fact that for one reason or another, "Herbology" is in our Grapevine database.  I just let it go after that. :)
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Offline Mike

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2012, 08:31:53 pm »
/whistles innocently


No idea who added that to the database.  He stupid

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2012, 11:47:07 pm »
If I were going to implement rules for awakened-plants-as-talens, I would make learning "plant x does y thing" mechanically equivalent to learning talen recipes.

But I agree with Joe - I don't want to create a house rule list of what every single herb does when awakened, and I am generally a fan of the idea of "these plants are like their unawakened counterparts, except more so."

Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2012, 08:32:57 pm »
questions :)

do we want to limit the length of time an awakened plant is potent, making them much more of a "make it now use it now" sort of in-scene day-of-game kinds of deal?

when you say amplified do you mean if i awaken willow bark i can cause a garou to say for a scene ignore pain and suffer no penalties a la Resist Pain, or  do you mean i make the headache go away better?
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Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2012, 09:05:50 pm »
Alright, time for Marc's proposal.  For whatever reason, the last one was popular. This one was much harder! 8)

RAtC adheres to the following rules and limitations regarding creation of Talens and Talen-like items. Note that common sense and staff discretion are, in many cases, the predominant governing factors.

Creation Limits: Per downtime (one month), a character may create Talens with a combined total Gnostic value not to exceed twice her permanent Gnosis rating.

Shelf Life:  Trapped inside a vessel, awaiting fulfillment of a purpose and freedom, a Talen left unused for too long may yield an irritable spirit and unpredictable results.  This effect (or ineffect), sometimes even a negative effect, gains intensity over time.  Depending on the nature of the spirit inside, most Talens should be released and recreated after six to twelve months, or risk of weak or backfiring Talens may start to increase.

Knowledge of Talens:  Generally speaking, knowledge of a Talen's existence and the "recipe" for how to create it are two independent things.  Knowing how to create a specific Talen and the mechanics involved vary.
  • Generally accepted Talens published in appropriate materials (Second Edition, MET Revised) may be considered common knowledge, in that anyone would know the recipe, provided the prerequisites of the Ability Rituals x1 and the Rite of Binding are met, and provided that the Talen's published description does not indicate otherwise.
  • Open knowledge of Talens published in specific contexts (Tribe Books, for example), may be limited to the subject group (like a particular Tribe).
  • For certain lesser-known, uncommon or unusual Talens, a character may require additional prerequisite Rituals or other Ability knowledge, as deemed appropriate by the staff.
  • For player-created or unpublished Talens, a character may learn how to make the item from another with that knowledge.  Alternatively, a character may spend an amount of time (the length of which is at staff discretion), researching a particular Talen in order to reverse-engineer and re-create it. This will usually require having used (or witnessed the use of) the Talen previously, possession of an expended vessel, etc.
  • Certain very rare or unusual Talens may be disallowed altogether at staff discretion.

Talen-Like Items:  While not technically Talens, there are a number of "Talen-like" items, such as those outlined below (but certainly not limited to them). These are for all intents and purposes, functionally equivalent to Talens, though varying in power, usefulness and activation mechanic.  Though the creation processes may differ, they are single-use, spiritually imbued items intended to be used for a specific purpose.
  • Spirit Brews are not technically Talens, in that their creation is subject to a purpose-specific Rite and in-character procedure. A character with Rite of the Spirit Brew is said to begin each game session with a quantity of two.
  • The Rite of Spirit Awakening can, sometimes, result in awakened plants that may act as Talens. They are not Talens, however. At staff discretion, a particular awakened plant may have it's mundane effect slightly amplified (mechanically). This sort of thing again requires specific prerequisite Ability knowledge (such as Occult and Herbalism, Medicine). Creating awakened plant material is not subject to any defined creation limit.
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Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2012, 09:20:31 pm »
These were really asked before I re-posted, since in my cut and paste, I accidentally left out the "Shelf Life."  I also remembered the "we play it but it isn't documented" rule of two Spirit Brews to start each game.

do we want to limit the length of time an awakened plant is potent, making them much more of a "make it now use it now" sort of in-scene day-of-game kinds of deal?

I think that once a thing is awakened, then it's awakened. I'm not sure there's a shelf life on that. I think the shelf life there is sort of the shelf life of the thing that's awakened. Use it before the plant dies, if it needs to be fresh/undried. Use it before it goes stale/loses mundane potency, if dried.

when you say amplified do you mean if i awaken willow bark i can cause a garou to say for a scene ignore pain and suffer no penalties a la Resist Pain, or  do you mean i make the headache go away better?

I think we're probably talking something more along the lines of making the headache go away better, or maybe even just enough to make it work at all on a Garou.  I mean if the mundane plant works on mundane humans, then maybe it takes a supernatural plant to treat the same condition in supernatural physiology.
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Offline Nike 'Slays the Patriarchy' Strilakos

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2012, 09:30:27 pm »
yeah but why would garou care about headaches? :P  the example in teh book is awakened foxglove gives protection against fae, a la the myth of foxglove doing that.  i,e, something actually useful, not tylenol :) even magic tylenol.
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Offline Seven Mountains

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2012, 08:16:11 am »
They care because Kinfolk get headaches
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Offline Jerry Castillo

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #22 on: September 13, 2012, 08:22:32 am »
No one likes headaches. Headaches suck.

Mechanically, though, I see Anna's point. Eating plants - taken as a whole activity - can do essentially four things:

1. Make you not hungry,
2. Relieve/treat illnesses or their symptoms,
3. Get you high/drunk, and
4. Get you sick/dead.

Garou regeneration takes care of 2, except in the case of Wyrm-poison/illness. 1 is mostly flavor, although having foods strongly spiritually associated with nourishment (corn in the Purelander tradition, wheat for European tribes, etc.) maybe act like lembas when Awakened is a cool idea. 3 is covered by the canon existence of Awakened peyote, and we can probably safely assume that's within the scope of what sanctified plants should do. Whether it should be "ZOMG trippin'" or "now it works on Garou normally" is up to ST discretion. 4 suggests that some pretty nasty stuff could be made from sanctified pokeweed or poison ivy, but it's nothing super-magical.

So, the question seems to be, are we okay with the possible effects of sanctification being solely things that plants are already capable of, but moreso? It contradicts canon in Anna's foxglove example, but "canon" is so weird and contradicted so frequently that I personally don't care about that as long as the rules/assumptions for this particular game are clear.
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Offline Mike

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2012, 09:00:35 am »
I think we're discussing two different things.  Awakened plants are not Talens.
They are awakened plants and you're limited to what powers the spirit inside has.
Peyote A might not have the same powers as Peyote B for instance.

The ritual of spirit awakening leaves you at the whim of the spirit that is awakened, it can be unpredictable and would be up to ST discretion.  I very much would like the ST's to leave that open because I feel setting hard fast rules and recipes is genre breaking as far as that goes.

The rite of Binding however is different.  The Garou is actually binding a spirit into a vessel.  The ritual always has the same purpose.  You are performing a ritual to plead the spirit to do one task for you.  Recipes are essentially a known path of least resistance.  For talens the Garou is asking the spirit to do the task at a later time.  The spirit will sit in the vessel waiting for that time.  This is why you can't stockpile talens because spirits get grumpy chilling out in a vessel.  

Just my two cents.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2012, 09:00:49 am by Brody Petrovich »

Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #24 on: September 13, 2012, 12:30:55 pm »
I kind of had to bundle all of this together to arrive at one neat/tidy "rule."  I inherently dislike rules that cover a thing as well as adjuncts that are "sort of like" that thing.  I did try to be clear that awakened plants are not Talens, though.

I can see some merit in the awakened plants having some kind of mechanical value outside of flavor-only though.  Again though, maybe the awakened version just works on Garou the same as the mundane purpose, where the mundane plant would likely have no effect on Garou.  For kinfolk, they would just be a better version of the mundane.  I like the flavor of the awakened plants, but in the past we've tended to shy away from any mechanical effect whatsoever.
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Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #25 on: September 13, 2012, 06:40:46 pm »
I will also say this...

If we are to have a rule that provides for a definable mechanical benefit to particular applications of awakened things (plants or otherwise), then I think we need to stick to a simple mechanic that can be easily applied across the board.

The dialog between player and staff that would go something like this:

"I want to use this awakened X to do Y.  I think this is logical because [applicable things my character knows]"

The staff member makes the call, and if awakened X would be plausible to do Y, then Z mechanic gets applied to reflect that.

It would be a near impossible (and un-fun) exercise to maintain an ever-growing ruleset for what Z-mechanic is relative to all the possible X's and Y's.  One thing working like a Gift, another giving a trait bonus, another that lowers difficulty...  It would quickly get messy.  It also invites inconsistency among different staff members running things different ways and confusing the heck out of everybody. :)
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Offline Conor (Former ST)

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2012, 06:05:16 pm »
I disagree.

Gifts always work the same way - they're part of the Great Pact between Garou and Spirits.  Other than that, spirits vary in what they will and won't do, and how they will or won't do it, from time to time.  When the Weaver wins, this won't be true any more, but until then...

Offline Mike

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #27 on: September 14, 2012, 07:48:21 pm »
Exactly Conor, an even better way of describing the unpredictability of spirits I was trying to convey.

Offline Justin Northwood

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Re: Talen Rules
« Reply #28 on: September 14, 2012, 10:58:45 pm »
I'm not necessarily saying "z-mechanic" needs to be the same thing every time (like always a Trait bonus, or always a lowered difficulty of N, etc.).  All I mean is that there should be one, scalable mechanic to cover all of these items and dictate how well or poorly they perform.  This is scenario-specific.
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