The general rules for Supernatural Creatures indicate that their default appearance is terrific, and the need the Transformation Schtick for normally dealing with mundanes. It seems to be strongly implied that Ghosts are extempt from this, yet it is explicitly stated nowhere. What's the deal ??
I'm very fond of the fantasy/wild wuxia angle of the gnere, so I both love the supernatural and magic-using character concepts. So I'd much love archetypes that mix both. The only one in the game is the Ghost, which I find interesting, but not entirely satisfying. As written, I find it too custom-fitted for the female gender and romantic subplots, and a non-fighting background. Yet seductive lady ghosts are not the only possible source for this type of character. I was thinking of the supernatural-magical "demon hunter", a type that is plentiful in anime, an equivalent of the Magic Cop, but combining supernatural powers and sorcery instead of gun and magic.
Tentatively, I think it should have: a) an attribute and skill set similar to the Magic Cop b) Sorcery, Martial Arts and Supernatural Powers as signature abilities c) a combination of Supernatural Powers and Sorcery Schticks d) drop the Ghost focus on Charisma. Any ideas or suggestions about how to structure this modified Archetype ??
You could go a few different routes with this. You could say ghosts are terrifying in appearance, and to heck with the Ghost archetype write-up. Bleeding death wounds, rotted bodies, porcelin-white skin, and horribly tormented and enraged expressions. This would fit for the more "angry spirit" type of ghosts; perhaps swapping the Seduction skill for Intimidation.
A ghost could also be scary by playing up what it represents more than how it appears. In all honesty, if a translucent woman came rushing at me through a car, I wouldn't care that she wasn't all gory and fanged. A dead spirit coming at you is pretty dang scary, plain and simple. In this scenario, the Seduction skill should be -penalized- when in ghost form. -2 sounds reasonable enough; the figure -is- attractive, but she's also a ghost.
Finally you could give the "scary pretty ghost" a shtick that she appears beautiful to all people, some group of people, or just one individual in particular. While everybody else is terrified of her, and reacts accordingly, the individual(s) in question see her as a poor soul.
I dunno'. The ghost template makes for my favorite character. The Ghost Cop.
Johnny Winters was the only good cop in the city it seemed. And when he uncovered evidence that his department had its fingers in every bit of crime, he threatened to go to the FBI. He made one mistake though, and told his partner. A bullet in the heart and a bullet in the head, and Johnny was dead. But he couldn't rest. Not until every crooked cop in the city was brought to justice. Or sent to Hell....
Replace the Seduction skill with Police. Swap the CHA for WIL ("A wimp didn't do all this chief. A wimp wouldn't have the stomach for it."). For Sorcery Shticks pick Blast (Disintegrate or Fire, to simulate his phantom guns) and Influence (to reveal the sins of those he's after, and discover his partner was blackmailed into betraying him!). For Creature Shticks Insubstantial and Flight are free, so pick Damage Immunity to normal guns ("Your bullets didn't stop me before, and they don't even slow me down now."). If your GM will let you, pick Damage Immunity to crooked police, preventing the character from being harmed by any mundane attack made by a crooked cop. It's a -much- broader power, on the surface, but provides no protection from the good, mundane police who are still in the city.
Looks good really. Pick and chose with some of my ideas above perhaps. It's really just a matter of downplaying and tweaking....
Would the Ghost Cop be scary or normal-looking, by default ? What about giving him the Transformation shtick, in addition to the other 5 ? Alternatively, or in addition, what about reduced penalties to Sorcery and Supernatural Creature in home juncture, just like Magic Cop (I was thinking of Unique schtick: Halved juncture penalties for Supernatural Creature and Sorcery Modifiers in home juncture) ? What about giving him a Martial Arts skill, too, just like Magic Cop (so that MA-using creature schticks may be freely picked, too) ?
Well, he -is- a ghost. What's the point in playing Creatures if they look perfectly normal? He -should- be scary looking, but I'd say he's more of a transparent figure that fills you with dread and sorrow than nauseating horror. And he's got a look to him that says "I dug my way out of Hell to drag those bastards back down with me." If that wouldn't scare a person, nothing would.
Well, the Ghost has 4 free skill ads by default. Put those in Martial Arts. I would say that the supernatural Kung-Fu should be straight -out-. After all, there comes a point where the character idea drifts from something united and whole. But it's your game....
"I came back from the lands of the dead and damnned, got kidnapped by scientists from the future who put something in me, studied the martial arts of the Shaolin in the past, and -then- discovered I was really descended from enlightened roosters. Now I'm off to get good with
guns. -Real- good."
Well, the Ghost archetype has always been somewhat ambigous on that, as we said. Both in the game and in source material, it seems to shift from looking rather normal to scary-looking. Surely it hasn't the hideous, horrific appearance of the Monster Creature default. Maybe, as you say, if one downplays the horror reaction and makes it more of unnerving scariness.
I like the religious taboo idea. Very in genre for both Western and Eastern ghosts. I was tempted to give Ghost Cop either an extra Transformation schitck, or a unique schtick halving negative jucture modifiers for Creature and Sorcery in home juncture, after following the example of the Magic Cop, which has a couple of unique schticks. If giving the religious taboo drawback for balance, would you judge an appropriate balance for either an extra Transformation schitck, or a unique schtick halving negative jucture modifiers for Creature and Sorcery in home juncture, or both ? If choosing, which one would you find more appropriate, if any ?
Oh, no, no, I badly misexplained myself. I meant to give the archetype the Martial Arts Skill, not any Kung Fu Schticks (nor Gun ones, for that). I heartily agree that a third power type would destroy the focus (and the believability) of the character concept. Now, I wish to give the character the MA skill in order to ensure that a) the Creature Powers which require MA may be used effectively, such as Soul Twist, which is very ghostly (as is Poison, to a lesser degree, for Eastern ghosts) b) the ghost cop is not limited to use Blast for combat, but may use unarmed attacks c) Superntural Creatures and Magic Cops have MA skill, too.
Tentatively, the Ghost Cop should have Creature Powers, Sorcery, and Martial Arts as main skills, and a combination of Creature and Sorcery schticks.
Yep. Too much is too much. No, I just mean an effective combination of the Supernatural Creature and Sorcerer archetype. Putting together the best parts of the Ghost and Magic Cop archetypes, without the gun stuff.
Very tentatively, I've thought the archetype might actually be split in two different versions, the Ghost Cop (which we have been discussing so far) and the Supernatural Monster Hunter (the guy who has been transformed in a supernatural sorcerous baddie, but has chosen to use his powers for the cause of justice):
Ghost Cop/Supernatural Monster Hunter
69, Netherworld (Ghost Cop)
Any (Supernatural Monster Hunter)
Chi 0 [Mag = 8]
Divide 6 points among primary attributes, spending no more than 3 on any one attribute.
I'd say that faith being sincere may be optional, otherwise the use of holy symbols isn't really much of a hinderance. How many truly pious villains is the ghost cop likely to go after? Other than that, I like your templates.
Honestly, in the case of the Ghost Cop (and the Supernatural Monster Hunter), I'd almost like to see Sorcery and Creature Powers just combined into Creature Powers. Reduces the book-keeping a bit, and ties all of his effects into one motif. Anything that influences his Creature Powers -should- also hinder his Sorcery, since the two derive from the same source: the cop being a monster.
Hmmm. Using my old "Feng Shui Archetype Formula".....
"Justice will not be denied."
Juncture- Contemporary, 2056
Add 3 more points to one Primary attribute, 2 more points to another
Primary, and 1 more point to the remaining Primary attribute.
Creature Powers +7
Martial Arts +6
Info (Hell/Underworld) +2
Add 3 more points to any other skills besides the ones listed above.
Blast ("Revolver from Hell" - Disintegrate)
Damage Immunity (Crooked Cops or Guns)
One other Creature Power of Player's Choice
Good objection. Then the Limitation should be reworded to "You are repelled by holy symbols, sanctified objects, and holy ground, and you cannot harm anyone who wears or stands in any of them". Better ?
Sorry, this really defeats a large part of the purpose of the exercise. A big part of the reason for this archetype is the desire to combine both kinds of supernatural/magical abilities and potential in one well-defined unified archetype, the specialized instinctual tricks of supernatural nature, and the freeform flexibility of sorcery, being equally at home and able to grow in both. Plus, the range of powers that IMO are appropriate for the character (e.g. from being able to influence or command people, or others "monsters", to supernatural resilience) really calls for both Sorcery and Supernatural Powers. And in truth, additional book-keeping from one extra Skill and two different sets of schticks would be actually rather low.
The book keeping is minimal, true. But there's something about Sorcery that sticks funny in my craw. Basically, with all the other shticks you get X ability. But a single schtick in Sorcery gives you a lot more than X. Creature Ability Blast gives you one effect, Sorcery Blast gives you three. Flight and Mobility both count as one schtick, but both do very different things. And to have a Creature Ability at all means the character is essentially a monster, and has all the hinderances that come with it. Sorcery doesn't have any comparable problems beyond the possibility of backlash. And...
I'd written up some more on how I thought Sorcery was unbalanced, but then I realized that that all the cool things you can do with it are really just another way to do stunts, and then it wasn't so bad. Now I wonder if Creature Abilities aren't too limiting.
Anyway. Spending a schtick to get half penalized for using Sorcery in your native juncture doesn't seem too unbalanced. Might say that any use of the Sorcery skill creates an "unnatural" feel to the area that lingers for the sorceror's MAG attribute in days. Or not.
Now I've got to ponder the balance between schtick types....
Sort of addressing the original post rather than the thread as it's development -
Based on my watchings of A Chinese Ghost Story, and Mr Vampire, I would say:
Ghosts aren't transparent or translucent, and they don't look horrific either. No Transformation schtick should be required. Note that the horrific appearance of Supernatural Creatures is in the Supernatural Creature section, not Creature Powers.
I don't actually see what's wrong with the Ghost archetype for male characters... may be involved in romantic subplot but that's appropriate to the type for the genre... generally still around because has an unfinished task to do... that works for either gender. Sure, the writeup and in the above movies, the ghosts are female, but think of The Mummy, where, albeit not a ghost, a male spirit of the past falls for a female character.
Well, from looking both to the genre source element, and the ghost template write-up, I'd say so too, but then ghosts are supernatural creartures too, and no explict exception for the "horrific appearance" rule is made, as it is for the "deceptively slow" bit. Maybe forgetting from the writer ?? Or the appearance of ghosts should be interpreted as unsettling and spooky instead of horrific as for other supernaturals ??
Well, it's the sum of several little bits (the focus on Charisma and Seduction, the lack of Martial Arts, the Musicianship skill) that makes the archetype look too custom-fitted for historical female characters... the writeup is almost a carbon copy of Joey Wang in Chinese Ghost Story: Now, that's one of my best preferred fantasy movies ever, but there's a thing like a character template being too pigeonholed. And romantic love is far from being the only motivator ever for ghosts to stay around, even in fiction: what of revenge (the Crow), or protecting a relative, or close friend ??