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> Immortal Elves, Doable or not?
Zhan Shi
post Aug 29 2007, 01:48 AM
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I've been thinking of IE characters. In the original Threats book, it states "that the immortality gene may lie dormant in an elf, so theoretically others may exist", or something to that effect. According to Jane Foster's stats in Harlequin, an IE would have immunity to age, poisons and pathogens. This does not really worry me, as other characters can take the "spirit pact" quality with similar results. Good idea? Bad idea? Unbalancing to the game? I was thinking of explaining it as a result of YOTC; the increase in mana activated the gene. BP/karma cost? Comments/suggestions appreciated.
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Critias
post Aug 29 2007, 01:54 AM
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It really just depends on how big a deal it would be for a character to be totally immune to poisons and pathogens in your game. Seeing as how the longevity of even normal elves doesn't come up in your standard game, aside from the game mechanics involved concerning poisons/pathogens, really all you're doing otherwise is making someone happy by saying "ZOMG an IE is you!"
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Ancient History
post Aug 29 2007, 02:01 AM
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<shrug> Up to you. I know it's been done in home games before.
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Glyph
post Aug 29 2007, 02:06 AM
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By comparison, 10 BP gives you +1 to resist diseases and toxins, while 15 BP gives you complete immunity to one non-natural disease or toxin. I would recommend at least 20 BP for this quality (I would make it more, but an immortal elf who can't be a mage wouldn't make sense), maybe more if it is bought post char-gen. Or maybe a 20 BP "dormant IE" quality, with a karma cost to activate it later.
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Thomas
post Aug 29 2007, 02:34 AM
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I can't wait for Fortune to weigh in on this...

Oh, wait, I thought you said Immoral Elf :D
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Fortune
post Aug 29 2007, 04:18 AM
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QUOTE (Thomas)
I can't wait for Fortune to weigh in on this...

Oh, wait, I thought you said Immoral Elf

Both apply equally well. ;)

I think about 20 BP would be about right. The main thing to worry about is the character stealing the spotlight from the others in the game. This type of character would probably work best in a one-on-one game with the GM.

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fistandantilus4....
post Aug 29 2007, 04:22 AM
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QUOTE (Fortune)
This type of character would probably work best in a one-on-one game with the GM.

Ah HA! Got you! I never wanna hear crap about not letting you play that character in my game again! :P

:D
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Fortune
post Aug 29 2007, 04:39 AM
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As the rulebooks state, the genes are not automatically passed on to the next generation. Just because someone's parent may be an IE, does not necessarily mean they are, or even will be. :P
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hyzmarca
post Aug 29 2007, 05:38 AM
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A 20-year-old Immortal Elf is about as munchkin as any other Elf. If you shoot him in the face he'll die. 20,000-year-old Immortal Elves, on the other hand, present problems when used as PCs.
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treehugger
post Aug 29 2007, 09:07 AM
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If i had an IE as one of my player characters, the player would not know, or he'd be a "true" IE and be powerfull enought to assume his background.
There is nothing worse than having NPC with awesome power because of their background, but the moment it is a PC, the "boost" in power becomes something lame as "+1 to resist toxins, +1 dice for magic" ...
Having a very powerfull character ran by a player is very hard to deal with. I mean VERY hard.
You cannot be behind the player all the time, and tell him everything he must do.
The player must have extensive knowledge about all subject the PC is supposed to have.
The player must realise his implications in the world, and that all his actions will have reactions accodingly. Politics will play a major part in his role. The PC must have clear objectives, that drives him so that you as a GM know where the PC is going, and that the player have a direction to follow not to get lost and start playing "god".
One very important thing to do is to give the PC a "Patron", or lets just call it a Boss. The characte isnt free : he has responsabilities, a cause (he is not here to get the nuyen), and has a boss, much more powerfull than him that gives him directions and orders.
Lets take an exemple on how to deal with an IE PC in a classical run :
The players have done the first story in Harlequin. The IE joins them for their next run that has nothing to do with Harlequin. He poses as a Physad/Mage or whatever ... and just want to be part of the team and earn the other PC's trust.
The IE is sent by Alachia or some other very powerfull IE to find out about who's bugging Erhan, or even she knows what's happening and want to have a secret hand in the affair : help Harlequin or Erhan depending on the outcome ...
The player is member of the Song Birds, and so has pledge an oath of secrecy to Alachia. This means massive gesa, ritual magic etc ... if he breaks it ... well he doesnt want to know what will happen, but lets say he knows there wont be any place to hide from her, if of course he's still alive.
The player must secretly report to her mistress, sometimes he'll have to do some kind of secret counter-mission during the run, but most importantly he must not be discovered by the other players.
As time passes, the other players should start having doubts about the IE. In order not to frustrate them, you need to give them somethng (and by that i'm not saying karma or nuyens).
For exemple, make one of the PC meet some very important NPC, and give secret informations to the player, giving him hints about the IE.
That way the IE player will be surprised to know when the mask falls that some other players will have intel on him.
The PC(s) that had secret informations will be pleased to have special contacts and secret meetings. When the mask falls they'll be proud to be the one bringing whatever information they gained, and that way they will forget about the fact that one of the other players has like 10 times his build points (if not more).
The players that dont gain information or "special" contacts, need to have something too. Even some bad stuff (i always consider that it's better to have bad stuff happening to your character than nothing at all).
Make him the center of the next story for some reason or another.

This of course is an exemple, and applies to most games when you have a very powerfull PC.
To sum up my opinion, in order to be successfull in master such a PC you need :
- The PC needs strong guidance before the game starts.
- The PC must have a "boss" more powerfull than himself
- The Player must realise all his responsabilities, and be fully aware of the consequences of his actions.(the GM must not hesitate to tell directly to the player "if you fuck up, the game is ruined")
- The PC must be in the story for a good reason, he must have clear objectives.
- Part of the other PCs must be progressively in the confidence and must play an active role in the story.
- All other PCs must have some sort of compensation to overcome any "jalousy" issues. That compensation must not be obvious and must not feel like "here's your bone to gnaw, now STFU and play"

That later part must not be overlooked, even with mature players, this can lead to serious problems.

My two nuyens on the subject :)
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Kyrn
post Aug 29 2007, 02:16 PM
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Treehugger, does this mean if I can track you down I can play an IE along the lines of Teachedaire? <drool>
Sorry, got caught up for a bit, but he's a canonical example of someone similar to the "PC" in question. I think you'd eventually have to upfront with the whole party that this was going one weird game. I've run some highly alternate campaigns before where that was the only warning, and it seems to work for the most part.
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treehugger
post Aug 29 2007, 02:26 PM
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I dont see who is that Teachedaire.
My reflection on the subject is only raising potential problems and solutions. The thing is that a GM allowing powerfull characters needs to be aware what kind of implication it has, and the player will have to know it as well, or else the game might quiclky turn in some kind of bloodfest, or even worse : just uninteresting.
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neko128
post Aug 29 2007, 02:37 PM
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I think that as long as the character is a newly-minted IE - like Jane Foster - it's not much of a game breaker, and is in fact a great plot hook. The primary power source of the Immortal Elves isn't that they're Immortal Elves, directly - it's that they're old, and not just old, but old. They've mostly lived through enough to have extremely high levels of skill and ability and power. They're coming into this awakening with much higher understanding of magic, how to use it, and the implications of it than everyone else. So as long as the PC is a new IE and not one from the fourth age, how much of a difference does it make? Almost none, as near as I can tell.

On the other hand, once someone knows they're an immortal elf, they're a PC with very little extra power and lots of people hunting for them. Other immortals - elves and dragons - to teach them, kill them, coopt them, brainwash them, or just get a new ally or eliminate a potential threat for the next few thousand years. Corps, governments, and powerful individuals want them to try and unlock the genetic secrets of immortality. Anti-meta hate groups, if they know of their existence, see them as the penultimate form of evil in the world (metas that just won't die), and hey, this one isn't all-powerful and able to protect themself...

On that basis, I'd love to have a character ask me about becoming one. :)
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Ryu
post Aug 29 2007, 03:48 PM
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What hyzmarca said - young and immortal is no balance problem.

BUT as neko said, the logical implications of immortality weight heavily on the campaign. Before I would allow an immortal elf I would check with my players that a)they can live with this high-fantasy element and b)they accept that many runs will focus on ancient history (unexpected help sometimes but mostly enemies).

The price... the immunities have nearly no worth in our games, so I´d charge about 20BP for the privilege itself. The mentioned qualities providing partial immunities were so far not taken at all - and we started playing 4th ed. one month after the german version became available.
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Zhan Shi
post Aug 29 2007, 04:40 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, I was thinking of a newbie IE; I agree that playing a millenia old IE would present too many problems. Maybe when the gene activates, it sends out an astral "ripple", similar to a newly awakened drake? (see threats 2). After all, I recall reading somewhere that dragons imparted this gift to certain elves so that they could rule while the dragons slept.
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Draconis
post Aug 29 2007, 04:57 PM
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Now if I heard about an "Immortal" elf I'd want to find them and test out their immortality, by repeatedly shooting them in the head. Then I'd cut them up and see if the pieces reattach. No? Too bad.

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Irian
post Aug 29 2007, 06:23 PM
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Sounds like Discworld... Another way of commiting suicide: Calling yourself "The Immortal ..." :-)
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neko128
post Aug 29 2007, 07:12 PM
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Well, we have one good example of a brand spanking new Immortal Elf; Jane Foster. Was it ever listed in one of the sourcebooks how Harlequin found out she was an IE?
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Zhan Shi
post Aug 29 2007, 07:28 PM
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As I recall, Ehran implanted a magical tracking device in her...an enchanted piece of orichalum. Maybe he found out that way. Or maybe he's just really good at spying and keeping tabs on Ehran.
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Ancient History
post Aug 29 2007, 11:57 PM
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Ehran found out by keeping track of his descendants, anybody that started showing their age or got sick was ruled out.
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fistandantilus4....
post Aug 30 2007, 12:13 AM
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My biggest problem with an IE character is that the story is going to naturally focus on that PC. I try to avoid any one character standing out that much among the rest, as the rest end up looking like henchmehn. As long as it's just for a few "episodes" it's not too big a deal. But I wouldn't think something like that would be able to be addressed and move on that quickly. It's like having a drake character. That piece of the story can easily come to supercede the rest.
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neko128
post Aug 30 2007, 12:32 AM
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QUOTE (fistandantilus3.0)
My biggest problem with an IE character is that the story is going to naturally focus on that PC. I try to avoid any one character standing out that much among the rest, as the rest end up looking like henchmehn. As long as it's just for a few "episodes" it's not too big a deal. But I wouldn't think something like that would be able to be addressed and move on that quickly. It's like having a drake character. That piece of the story can easily come to supercede the rest.

Well, there are ways around that: give them all some really distinctive quality. Make one a drake, make one a cyberzombie, make one a shapeshifter or vampire, make one some random unique meta-type...
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Zhan Shi
post Aug 30 2007, 12:53 AM
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A vamp runner...interesting. Maybe someone along the lines of Martin Devries. The monster hunting the monster, and all that. Where can I get Devries' backstory?
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hyzmarca
post Aug 30 2007, 02:00 AM
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An Ie character doesn't need to take center stage. Unlike drakes, there is no reason for any big and powerful characters to hunt them down. While megacorps may be after the Immortality gene, there will be no indication that the PC is immortal for a couple of centuries, and even then it could be explained away as a formula pact.
The other IEs have no good reason to keep track of immortal children, either. While some have have a sentimental attachment to their descendants, others would not.
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Asheron
post Aug 30 2007, 04:42 AM
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QUOTE (Zhan Shi)
A vamp runner...interesting.  Maybe someone along the lines of Martin Devries.  The monster hunting the monster, and all that.  Where can I get Devries' backstory?

Try 'The Terminis Experiment' by Jak Koke and Jonathon Bond.
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