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Eyeless Blond
I don't like the weird Binding advantage that Snake totems get, so I thought up an alternative. I think it works better in general, as snakes/serpents generally seem to be symbols of knowledge, rather than, um, Binding. So:


Mentor Spirit: Serpent

"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field
which the Lord God has made," -Genesis 3:1


Serpent is wise and cunning, a symbol of knowledge. Sometimes
a deceiver, sometimes a councilor, sometimes a seducer,
Serpent is always knowledgeable about what she counsels. An
avatar of truth whether counseling or even misleading, she
never tells an outright lie, instead using the truth creatively
to accomplish her aims.
Snake characters are obsessed with finding the truth, often
taking great risks to do so. They abhor lies and liars alike,
preferring instead to, "massage" the truth when deception is
necessary.

Advantages: +2 dice for Detection spells, +2 to Data Search Tests.
Disadvantages: 1 die on Con tests.
(Or, maybe even better: -1 die on all tests when telling or substantiating
a known, deliberate lie, until the falsehood is revealed or the lie is
no longer relevant. Note that half-truths are often not considered lies,
but can deceive nonetheless.)

How's that sound?
Azralon
QUOTE
1 die on Con tests.

Aw, now what am I going to do with this "forked tongue" expression I had lying around?
Eyeless Blond
Heh, that's why I had the alternative in there. It's somewhat closer to what I was thinking, though it's more complicated; -1 to Con just seemed easier to write and implement.
Liper
QUOTE
Disadvantages: 1 die on Con tests.


Seems odd really, because serpents in many myth/lore whatever, are known as decievers, not tellers of truth or decievers but suck at it.
Vaevictis
QUOTE (Liper @ Dec 14 2005, 10:51 PM)
Seems odd really, because serpents in many myth/lore whatever, are known as decievers, not tellers of truth or decievers but suck at it.

Yeah, but in many others, they're tellers of truth and secret lore (assuming you can get them to speak to you at all). Think about the Caduceus or the staff of Asclepius. In most asian lore, the serpent is just a wise, ancient secret keeper, only one step below the dragons.

It varies quite a bit from culture to culture.
mfb
there's also the serpent at Delphi. speaks truths, but twists them into riddles.
phasmaphobic
Just an aesthetic note:

Traditionally, the "snakes" of literature with which I am most familiar, insofar as the liars and keepers of knowledge you guys are referencing, have mostly been male. I am completely down with the gender-balancing aspect many of the Shadowrun publications emphasize, but hey, if you're going to go for traditional representational accuracy, you should go the entire distance. I would definitely pin snake as a male. Even in popular terminology, most people referred to as "snakes" are men, with women generally reverred to as Cats or other more feminine-aspected symbols of nature.
Eyeless Blond
Hm. How about -1 die to Illusions instead then? Again, I like the alternative ida better, but I can see that one being a bit more complicated to apply in-game, so the Con test was basically the "easier" choice, for dumbing-dow- I mean streamlinning purposes..

I guess I just saw Con as ability to lie and Negotiations as the skill used when trying to persuade without outright lying, but I guess there's other ways that can work too.

(Edit): And yeah, I didn't really think about gender. Snake in the SR4 book (and the SR3 book for that matter) was female, so that's what I made Serpent. Plus my Snake-mentored character's particular manifestation is decidedly female (and a really snarky one at that) so it just seemed natural to me.
TheHappyAnarchist
Snake is both female and male, but snakes being untrustworthy were mainly in Europe. I can't remember Egypts position on snakes at the moment, but I believe they were in the same boat, with Set being a snake god if I recall correctly.

However, in Asia and the Americas both, Snake was wise and knowledgeable, and often a healer.

I don't recall snake being forced to be truthful though. Don't know about what another modifier could be though.
Gothic Rose
QUOTE (TheHappyAnarchist)
Snake is both female and male, but snakes being untrustworthy were mainly in Europe. I can't remember Egypts position on snakes at the moment, but I believe they were in the same boat, with Set being a snake god if I recall correctly.

However, in Asia and the Americas both, Snake was wise and knowledgeable, and often a healer.

I don't recall snake being forced to be truthful though. Don't know about what another modifier could be though.

You recall incorrectly. Set is the god of Darkness.

You think Set is the god of snakes because of the Followers of Set from Vampire: The Masquerade.
Azralon
Some versions of the real-world mythos say that Seth was reincarnated as a giant snake.
blakkie
Er, no Set is not the god of darkness. He is the Egyptian desert god. And his form is a wholely unique animalish form that looks like a bit like a long snouted jackel.

P.S. The Conan world had a Set god that was a multiheaded snake/hydra.
mfb
you're all right. Set was not originally a snake-related god, but over time, he became associated with his former enemy, Apep, who was a snake-god.
PlatonicPimp
Which Is why Mythology is such a fun Subject! You are never wrong, only interpreting differently!
TheHappyAnarchist
So who was the god depicted with the snake head?
blakkie
QUOTE (TheHappyAnarchist @ Dec 15 2005, 01:38 PM)
So who was the god depicted with the snake head?

Apep. I think he also had a second form of a crocodile. He was also the original Egyptian darkness god, but i guess Set ganking him was just a ladder climbing move. wink.gif

Sorry Gothic Rose, i thought that the change of association with darkness was done post-Egyptian, not just in later the Egyptian society.
Azralon
QUOTE (blakkie)
QUOTE (TheHappyAnarchist @ Dec 15 2005, 01:38 PM)
So who was the god depicted with the snake head?

Apep. I think he also had a second form of a crocodile.

Also known as Apophis, who should stand out to any Stargate fans.
Deamon_Knight
Lol, sometimes it seems like all my knowledge of ancient cultures is gleaned from Stargate and The Ghostbusters animated series.
Azralon
Heh. My geekery did in fact give me a leg up in the four years of anthropology classes: "Ohhh, so that's where they got that monster from."
Eyeless Blond
So any other ideas for the disadvantage? At the moment I'm going for -1 to illusions, but I'm not sure that's all that wonderful. After all, illusions in the main book are far more useful than detection spells; the detections in the main book other than clairvoyance aren't all that wonderful.
Liper
illusions are just another form of deciet or trickery.
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