What's so occult about Occultech?

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Gargoyle
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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby Gargoyle » Mon May 07, 2018 4:39 pm

Greymarch2000 wrote:
To me occultech is primarily a vehicle of the demons. Sure members of the Race use it because they need to use every tool they can, but in the end it's made by and for demons. The magic inherent in its creation is demonic. On the flip side I see the Tharkoldu psionics as being more of a thing for the humans. Again the odd demon may posses them but I see it as the great equalizer between Race and demon.


My problem with this line of thinking in TorgE is that while it makes sense in the narrative, it goes against the grain for the design principle that each cosm gets something cool with regard to Perks. There may be some cool psionic perks that only Tharkold cosm Storm Knights can use in the future, but right not the only thing that is Tharkold exclusive perks is OccultTech and it needs to be pretty cool for humans too. The few psionic powers that only Tharkold characters can take are a thing, but that's not really the same, even if some cool new ones will come out eventually.

Riffing further on my thinking, maybe the occultech that a demon uses has nothing to do with psionics, and its effects are purely magical and tainted, therefore unusable to others. But the process to cleanse it, perhaps that is a psychic process, not a magical one. And that could have ramifications and cause the occultech that you buy with perks to be different, and to interact with psionics in interesting ways appropriate for the genre and world laws instead of explaining the effects as magical.
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sandchigger
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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby sandchigger » Mon May 07, 2018 4:42 pm

I dunno, Gargoyle. This seems like a really strong example of "wait for the cosm book". Every cosm gets something cool and exclusive with their perks? Pan Pacifica would like to have a word with you on that. In the core book they get some REALLY weak Kung Fu Powers and a suit of armor.

So yeah. Give it some time, I would say.

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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby TorgHacker » Mon May 07, 2018 4:44 pm

Greymarch2000 wrote:Not sure how it's going to go in TorgE but in oTorg wasn't the idea of occultech in the first place a way for demons to compensate for the dropping magical axioms? It was more of a medical necessity to keep them alive in a realm that didn't want them any more at first. After Kranods deal with the Gaunt Man though and re-raising the magical axiom to a high enough point to sustain them they were able to work of even more things to do with it, melding magic and cybertech together.


Pretty much.

To me occultech is primarily a vehicle of the demons. Sure members of the Race use it because they need to use every tool they can, but in the end it's made by and for demons. The magic inherent in its creation is demonic. On the flip side I see the Tharkoldu psionics as being more of a thing for the humans. Again the odd demon may posses them but I see it as the great equalizer between Race and demon.


Pretty much. I'm actually inclined to have it that technodemons specifically do not use psionics at all, but don't quote me on that. :)


We've also seen that many of the tharkoldu cybernetics and weapons run off of pain, requiring sacrifices of shock to operate. That would be a big part of what makes them "occultech" to me. To power your machines with literal pain and suffering is pretty different than the way things work in the Cyberpapacy. Sure mechanically it may not be very different but the description and lore behind a cyberarm in Cyberpapacy and Tharkold would be very very different (also compared to Core Earth, Pan Pancifica or even Nile Empire).


Pretty much. :-)
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Gargoyle
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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby Gargoyle » Mon May 07, 2018 4:51 pm

sandchigger wrote:I dunno, Gargoyle. This seems like a really strong example of "wait for the cosm book". Every cosm gets something cool and exclusive with their perks? Pan Pacifica would like to have a word with you on that. In the core book they get some REALLY weak Kung Fu Powers and a suit of armor.

So yeah. Give it some time, I would say.


Never said PP didn't need work. They are equally as bad on perks and neither of these books will be out anytime soon. So you're making my point.
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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby Greymarch2000 » Mon May 07, 2018 5:19 pm

Gargoyle wrote:My problem with this line of thinking in TorgE is that while it makes sense in the narrative, it goes against the grain for the design principle that each cosm gets something cool with regard to Perks. There may be some cool psionic perks that only Tharkold cosm Storm Knights can use in the future, but right not the only thing that is Tharkold exclusive perks is OccultTech and it needs to be pretty cool for humans too. The few psionic powers that only Tharkold characters can take are a thing, but that's not really the same, even if some cool new ones will come out eventually.


I mean I'm not saying that humans couldn't take it, it's just that the book makes mention that it is mostly salvaged from demons and doesn't "fit" necessarily well. Same with some of the heavier weapons. So keeping in mind the origins of where occultech comes from: who it was designed for is one of the main things that makes it distinct from papal cyberwear. The original thought was "where's the occult?" not "why don't Tharkold characters have their own cool stuff?"

Riffing further on my thinking, maybe the occultech that a demon uses has nothing to do with psionics, and its effects are purely magical and tainted, therefore unusable to others. But the process to cleanse it, perhaps that is a psychic process, not a magical one. And that could have ramifications and cause the occultech that you buy with perks to be different, and to interact with psionics in interesting ways appropriate for the genre and world laws instead of explaining the effects as magical.


I could see that but part of me doesn't like the "hey gee we just got a better version of it with no drawbacks". I'm kind of waffling at the ease of acquiring Cyberpapacy cyberwear that is no longer hooked up to the GodNet too. I know it just makes things much easier to play but I think it kind of removes some of the biggest teeth of the individual settings. (Even if it's a good tidy way to explain how they get access to it)

One thing I'd like to see a return of is Spellchips, or even just chipware in general. As mentioned above the Hexxer implant in the Cyberpapacy is a new thing, but I'd like to see bionics in that vein being almost the norm in Tharkold. The thing that's been bugging me about the new magic system making it so expensive to gain new spells and therefore keep a PCs spell list short is how that would work with just being able to buy spells as chips (hell as scrolls in Aysle too maybe). But since every realm seems to have some kind of bonus thing that pops up (wonders, magical items, "Egyptian" artifacts" etc) and much of the blasted zone is all about salvage I wonder how feasible it would be to find skill and spell chips that are one shot items. Like taking a chipreader would be an occultech upgrade with regular perk costs but individual chips could be found or bought but would then be single use and burn out after use (in a suitably horrible scream of soul anguish).

Then of course there would be the question of where did all of these skill and spell chips come from in the first place, and why are so many found in the blasted lands... hmm.... And why do they make all the psionic people feel so uncomfortable?

True all of the current Occultech are pretty bare bones. Just T25 vs the Cyberpapacy T26 so not as impressive, but I feel chaining together some other technomagical things could do a lot to add to their uniqueness.

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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby sandchigger » Mon May 07, 2018 5:24 pm

Grey, have you seen Dollhouse? Make the Occultech chips replace an existing skill, there's only so much room in a survivor's brain so if you want to install Fire Combat 5 then you're gonna have to take out something else like Dodge 5. Or empathy. Or compassion.

Hope you don't lose the USB drive you stored your humanity on, bro.

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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby Scaramouche » Mon May 07, 2018 10:13 pm

I completely understand the need to be inclusive in the core book, and the limitations on depth.

So, that gives us some room to speculate and imagine our own ways around Occultech in the meantime. Sure, it might all go out the window once the cosm book comes out, but till then it's a fun endeavor.

A few random thoughts, in no particular order.

1. The 'occult' in occultech might manifest in the materials involved. Magical metals, soulsteel, orichalcum, etc. I'm imagining solid metal occultech eyes, for instance, that allow you to see in the dark or detect magical effects, but also force you to see the world in some distorted way.

2. Fun with souls and damnation! Crystalline grafts that hold the souls of skilled unfortunates, instead of 'skillchips', for instance. When one skilled slave of the Race dies, just capture his soul in a piece of occultech and staple it onto the next thrall! Instant mechanic.

3. Lifeforce --> magic transformers. Occultech that feeds on shock/life in order to maintain a localized magic axiom for technodemons? Adapted for use by others to offer Hexxer-like benefits?

4. Occultech wings, tentacles, caustic tongues, fire-breathing bladders, etc. to replace the demonic weapons of technodemons who no longer have sufficient magic to regenerate these elements.

I kind of like the idea that psionics is something that the Race has developed as a survival mechanism, and that a generation of political thinkers and theorists is coming of age among the humans. A manifestation of Tharkhold's social axioms, in a limited way.

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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby utsukushi » Mon May 07, 2018 10:50 pm

TorgHacker wrote:Given the fact that we've given the details on Occultech very little thought other than "demonic and clunky" I suspect we will end up taking a hard look at how magic combines with cybernetics in a vile way, rather than in an elegant way that the cyberwitches have it.

Ooh, that means there's still room for us to corrupt your -- er, I mean, offer our thoughts and they might have some impact! That's always exciting. <grin>

I do like Psionics as Race-only, and on that thought, I kind of like the idea of the Race as being not exactly just humans. It'd be cool if the Race had a, well, racial template - perhaps even something that would make them slightly better suited to a Psionic character than a regular human, although nothing that would force it. (eg., maybe higher maximums on Mind, Charisma, and/or Spirit, rather than a racial trait that directly benefits psionics.) I don't see it as an "equalizer" between Race and Tharkoldu because, of course, they're clearly not equal - but it helps emphasize that they're not from the same reality.

And then going the other way, I agree with Greymarch2000 - it's actually spelled out pretty clearly that Occultech is a Demon-thing that humans sometimes get hold of. Which means making it Tech/Psionics doesn't make sense. Letting it stay kind of kludgy makes sense to me - Tharkold should offer a very different flavor of augmentations than the CyberPapacy, but it shouldn't really be Where You Go to play a Cybernetic character unless you specifically want that feeling. It is a secondary aspect of the cosm.

And I think, sticking with the "things I like" theme -- rather than just looking at mixing Tech and Magic, which honestly has been done, that opens OcculTech up to be demonic, which is... interesting. I'm not quite sure it fits with what we've actually been given so far, but I think it's a concept worth exploring.

That reminds me, incidentally - this is one of those places I'm probably in the minority, but on the whole, I would actually rather not see the Tharkoldu offered as a playable race. They should be solidly enemies, and scary. If they're playable, that means an individual Tharkoldu is balanced with an individual Storm Knight, and that's not scary.

Greymarch2000 wrote: Sure mechanically it may not be very different but the description and lore behind a cyberarm in Cyberpapacy and Tharkold would be very very different

There I don't agree so much, though. Not that I think you're wrong, but from a game standpoint. Deanna keeps harping on and on about how books don't have infinite pages and words have to be printed large enough for the human eye to see and blah blah blah -- I don't really listen, obviously, but I think her general gist is that there's only room for so much in each book and putting one thing in often means taking another thing out. So do we really need both books to have their own writeups on identical cyberarms? I would rather not, honestly. So again, I feel like anything that's going to be offered as OcculTech has to be something we don't already have as Cyberware. Maybe there can be a quick list of Cyber-to-Occul conversions, since the CP book will be out first, but repeat material isn't where I want them spending a lot of our precious layout space.

Greymarch2000 wrote:I could see that but part of me doesn't like the "hey gee we just got a better version of it with no drawbacks". I'm kind of waffling at the ease of acquiring Cyberpapacy cyberwear that is no longer hooked up to the GodNet too. I know it just makes things much easier to play but I think it kind of removes some of the biggest teeth of the individual settings. (Even if it's a good tidy way to explain how they get access to it)

I think it was said quasi-officially that the CP and Tharkold books will have the rules for buying 'ware without the Perk, which will come with the drawbacks of still being hooked to GodNet or of being just awful. The GodNet connection honestly just feels unplayable to me. As the "Piety Points and AR" thread has been coming to, that kind of tracking is so powerful if applied realistically, I don't see how any Storm Knight could ever do that. Which I think is good, because honestly, Cyberware is the CP's main Perk Tree, so it should be largely limited to Perks, with the easy way being - from the player's perspective - more of a setting detail. Totally in keeping with the idea that the CyberPapacy wants everyone to have Cyber, but that's because once you do... you're theirs. It's totally available to anyone who wants it, just... not if you're trying to resist Malreaux.

And quite possibly it could come with the note that you can always convert it later by getting your gear hacked -- so if you're starting with a CyberPriest, say, who might not believe in the invasion but does believe in GodNet and isn't yet wholly convinced of Malreaux's corruption, you can do that and you can have your un-hacked Cyberware as gear, until, IC, you start to see the truth and buy the Perk to get rid of that disadvantage. (Given that gear in TorgE is essentially free after creation, I don't see any reason for that to cost any less than buying it that way the first time.) ...Except that as I actually re-read that, it sounds very frustrating playing next to an un-hacked CyberPriest and knowing that everything you do is being fed back to GodNet. Like one of those places where one player gets an advantage at the expense of the whole party, a thing that has been identified as bad in a number of systems. So that mostly brings me back to, "it's just untenable and shouldn't be a player thing."


Occultech, though, if it's really generally not as good and remains a secondary thing, I could see that working as "gear", that then comes with heavy, but still playable, downsides, like having to power it through your own agony, risking becoming a psychotic NPC if you take too much, etc. Tradeoffs and risks that I could see being fun to take -- or, if you don't want to, buy the Perk and get the good stuff. I think that works.

Scaramouche wrote:4. Occultech wings, tentacles, caustic tongues, fire-breathing bladders, etc. to replace the demonic weapons of technodemons who no longer have sufficient magic to regenerate these elements.

I really like that one. Thematically appropriate and gives it a separate flavor from Cyberware, since once converted over to a human, it would be granting very different things than Cyberware is ever made to do.




Greymarch2000 wrote:One thing I'd like to see a return of is Spellchips, or even just chipware in general

This is kind of unrelated, but because it came up -- I would love to see Chips again, but I want them in the CyberPapacy. SpiritChips were such a cool concept, and the CP has the Axioms to support all of it, encoding skills, memories, magic, the soul... having all that writ on a silicon wafer just seems too elegant for Tharkold.

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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby Spatula » Mon May 07, 2018 11:01 pm

And really, Tharkold's whole culture is one of conspicuous consumption and contempt for underlings. They're not going to waste any resources keeping a human around after it's died. What? You needed a particular human so badly you encoded its mind into a chip?! What a sniveling weakling you must be!

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Re: What's so occult about Occultech?

Postby TorgHacker » Tue May 08, 2018 12:24 am

utsukushi wrote:
TorgHacker wrote:Given the fact that we've given the details on Occultech very little thought other than "demonic and clunky" I suspect we will end up taking a hard look at how magic combines with cybernetics in a vile way, rather than in an elegant way that the cyberwitches have it.

Ooh, that means there's still room for us to corrupt your -- er, I mean, offer our thoughts and they might have some impact! That's always exciting. <grin>



Heh. :lol:


I do like Psionics as Race-only, and on that thought, I kind of like the idea of the Race as being not exactly just humans. It'd be cool if the Race had a, well, racial template - perhaps even something that would make them slightly better suited to a Psionic character than a regular human, although nothing that would force it. (eg., maybe higher maximums on Mind, Charisma, and/or Spirit, rather than a racial trait that directly benefits psionics.) I don't see it as an "equalizer" between Race and Tharkoldu because, of course, they're clearly not equal - but it helps emphasize that they're not from the same reality.



I'm fairly sure that the Race won't have a new writeup.

That reminds me, incidentally - this is one of those places I'm probably in the minority, but on the whole, I would actually rather not see the Tharkoldu offered as a playable race. They should be solidly enemies, and scary. If they're playable, that means an individual Tharkoldu is balanced with an individual Storm Knight, and that's not scary.



I'm also fairly sure that Tharkoldu will not be a Storm Knight race. We're rather skeptical about the idea of 'monster' races in general.



Greymarch2000 wrote: Sure mechanically it may not be very different but the description and lore behind a cyberarm in Cyberpapacy and Tharkold would be very very different

There I don't agree so much, though. Not that I think you're wrong, but from a game standpoint. Deanna keeps harping on and on about how books don't have infinite pages and words have to be printed large enough for the human eye to see and blah blah blah -- I don't really listen, obviously, but I think her general gist is that there's only room for so much in each book and putting one thing in often means taking another thing



HA! :lol:

out. So do we really need both books to have their own writeups on identical cyberarms? I would rather not, honestly. So again, I feel like anything that's going to be offered as OcculTech has to be something we don't already have as Cyberware. Maybe there can be a quick list of Cyber-to-Occul conversions, since the CP book will be out first, but repeat material isn't where I want them spending a lot of our precious layout space.



My inclination would be that if there is duplication there's going to be something different about it. It just wouldn't be a straight over conversion.
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