Sunday, February 27, 2011

CreepyRPGS - Exalted: All of them, but especially Graceful Wicked Masques, Abyssals, and Infernals

So, after, like, a week of downtime I am back. Getting my ass into college, it's gonna take work, and I might vanish.

So, continuing my series on Creepy RPGs we have Exalted. Number two on the list, I could drag this out like World of Darkness, but why bother? Well, I COULD, but Graceful Wicked Masques is like Changeling: The Lost multiplied by a bajillion, Abyssals is what Geist: The Sin Eater could have been, and Infernals... Oh god, Infernals. So, I could reiterate points made in earlier posts three or four times, OR I could get to the two last ones. And they're all games with good creepy potential, played wrong, but take a step back and you'll see just how scary Exalted can be.

We start with Graceful Wicked Masques. Remember how Changeling: The Lost had you playing as people abducted by Fae, who then escaped? Graceful Wicked Masques has you playing as those Fae that abduct people. You can play it three ways, either as a commoner or noble with shape, or as an unshaped Fae. What makes them creepy are the unshaped, and their perception of the "Virtues" of Exalted, which is kind of like personality traits, and kind of how emotions and such are interpreted. For example, to us Valor is bravery, to the Fairfolk Valor is the ability to inflict harm on other beings. It goes from one dot to five, and for a Fae they may possess no dots in Valor. One dot for a human means you're a coward. One dot for a Fae means you can harm other people. Two means you can kill, and three means you can kill without remorse. Four and five dots get downright scary. It kind of escalates like that with all Virtues, they take and exaggerate the best and worst of human personality, and then walk around Creation wearing these masks. And they do that so they can steal your bravery, your work ethic, your self control, and your love. Never mind the crazy games they play with your life, their lives, and the lives of the beings they create. Oh, right, I forgot to mention, magic items in Exalted are controlled by background points invested in the Artifact Background. Fairfolk COULD use this on magic items, but it's just as easy to create a monster of brass, sulfur, and a dirge of fear as it is to create a giant sword of sunlight, or a spell able to twist the laws of reality to their purposes. The worst part is that while there are Fae equivalent to mortals, the dangerous ones are like most dangerous people in Exalted, namely they possess great power and influence, and your contact with one may persist long after you've fled their corner of the world.

Abyssals, as I have mentioned, are what Geists wish they could be. Like a Geist, your character suffered an untimely death, and like a Geist your character was offered a second chance by a powerful ghost. Where Exalted's Abyssals overlaps Geist stops there, as the ghost that gave you power is actually a servant of the dead-but-dreaming corpses of fallen Outer Gods. They want you to destroy the world so that in turn the underworld gets destroyed, and then in turn their twisted labyrinth gets destroyed, which finally destroys them. And then nobody knows what happens. The dead Outer Gods live in giant tombs, and you hear their whispers as you dream, they tell you to destroy things but not in a straight forward way. They give you horrible nightmare visions, showing you things you were not meant to see, as they whisper to you in the programming language which they used to write the world when they were alive.  You, yourself either become an inhumanely beautiful monster, like a well preserved corpse, or a mass of rotting flesh and worms, in either case you're a living doomsday prophecy. If you don't like, you can rebel, but then the ghost that gave you your power is now your biggest enemy, and the Outer Gods are giving you lots of Negative Energy that will manifest in horrible, varying ways. It could be plagues follow you were you go, or your presence causes miscarriages, or your inherent necrotic energy just EXPLODES, or perhaps worst of all is that the person you care most about, no matter how far away they are from you, will die. And there's nothing you can do about it.

And then, there's Infernals, the servants of the remaining Outer Gods. The surviving Outer Gods were trapped inside each other by the Sun and his champions, and told they can never enter Creation unless some bizarrely obscure things happen. The job of the Infernals is to make this happen, but they're not just possessed by the Outer God's will. They're given the powers of the Outer Gods, and the ability to become one if they get strong enough. That isn't their job, though. With a little demon inside their soul telling them what to do, they enact villainous tropes that are associated with their Outer God, and in so doing avoid their wrath and frustration. What makes all of this creepy is that they're semi-demongods themselves, who come from a realm where everything is made of Outer God. Their power is stored in an eternally suffering little girl, sold to the Outer Gods by her mother, crying out for her father. Their relationship with her is one of adoration and love, regarding her as the mother of their own twisted power. They strive to turn the very fabric of the world inside out, and have access to all manner of sorcery to accomplish this goal. The fact that they eventually win has been established within the first incarnation of Exalted from the beginning, and has recently been added to the second incarnation as well.

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