Author Topic: pondering Hemalurgy  (Read 3670 times)

mind flayer

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pondering Hemalurgy
« on: August 09, 2010, 08:45:06 PM »
So, I've just finished the first book of the trilogy, and, because I'm a giant nerd for interesting magic systems, I've been looking up information on the various magical abilities in the Mistborn series.  I think that Allomancy and Feruchemy are both neat, but the one that really captured my imagination is Hemalurgy.

I think that the idea of boiling down creatures into specific magical traits to pass along is an interesting and inherently flexible system.  Can you make a spike that passes along a skill?  You can certainly increase someone's abilities with it.  After reading the wiki article about it, I immediately grabbed my copy of Greg Stolze's Reign off my shelf o' roleplaying goods and flipped to Dindavarian Death-Forging, which is much the same.  Of course, in that system, the most accessible magic item is forged from an animal.  After that, I flipped to the Infernal crafting system in exalted, where the items in question are powered by demons boiled down to their pure essence.  In that case, not only are you typically playing evil characters, you're destroying demons, which is still not as bad as murdering people for magical potency.

The big problem in playing a Hemalurgist in a group setting would be justifying using (let alone making!) items that require the sacrifice of a living creature.  As I haven't read the next two books in the series, I'm not sure how set in stone the Hemalurgy rules are, but if there is wiggle room, what kind of refluffing would be needed to soften the horror of it all?  Especially if it can be carted off to be used in other settings; I think that the idea is too interesting to leave in the "villains only" box.

Krensky

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2010, 08:49:36 PM »
Keep reading.

There is no softening, and the horror you mentioned isn't the worst of it.

In Mistborn, it's all bad, all the time; except very ocasionally, when it's worse.
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Doublebond

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2010, 03:36:55 AM »
Yeah, by the end of the first book I, too, felt it seemed more a neat magic system than anything else.

Oooh boy, was that feeling gone by the third book.

Tamerlin

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2010, 09:07:06 AM »
Part of what makes Hemalurgy interesting as a magic system is its horror, to me. That also puts firmly into the villain and anti-hero categories as far as players using it, IMO. It's definitely not for the faint of heart, any way you slice it!

MilitiaJim

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2010, 09:55:59 AM »
Part of what makes Hemalurgy interesting as a magic system is its horror, to me. That also puts firmly into the villain and anti-hero categories as far as players using it, IMO. It's definitely not for the faint of heart, any way you slice it!
It is very difficult to acquire power like that and not be evil.  [Deleted for spoilers.  My bad.  :(]
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 11:01:15 AM by MilitiaJim »
"Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."  ("A sword is never a killer, it's a tool  in the killer's hands.")
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca "the younger" ca. (4 BC - 65 AD)

Doublebond

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2010, 10:57:45 AM »
Part of what makes Hemalurgy interesting as a magic system is its horror, to me. That also puts firmly into the villain and anti-hero categories as far as players using it, IMO. It's definitely not for the faint of heart, any way you slice it!
It is very difficult to acquire power like that and not be evil.  And spoilerspoilerspoilers?

The OP hasn't read the second or third book, my friend.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2010, 03:41:57 PM by Doublebond »

Krensky

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2010, 12:42:05 PM »
Poor form James, poor form.
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agent oni

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2010, 01:33:44 PM »
Keep reading.

There is no softening, and the horror you mentioned isn't the worst of it.

In Mistborn, it's all bad, all the time; except very ocasionally, when it's worse.

Actually, Allomancy and Feruchemy are not inherently evil...

Doublebond

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2010, 01:37:27 PM »
Keep reading.

There is no softening, and the horror you mentioned isn't the worst of it.

In Mistborn, it's all bad, all the time; except very occasionally, when it's worse.

Actually, Allomancy and Feruchemy are not inherently evil...

I believe he was referring to the entire branch of Hemalurgy, and naught else.

Krensky

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2010, 01:58:39 PM »
Yeah, not sure where Toni's comment came from.
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agent oni

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2010, 02:53:22 PM »
Yeah, not sure where Toni's comment came from.

OK, I misinterpreted this comment:

In Mistborn, it's all bad, all the time; except very ocasionally, when it's worse.

As to the original question, you could play a hemalurgist who only kills the "bad guys"(sort of like someone using evil to fight evil...).

For example, Deadlands allows you to play a Harrowed, someone who comes back from the dead.  Unfortunately, he is only alive because he has a demon inside of him who can occassionaly take control of him.  One of the awesome ability of a Harrowed is his ability to siphon off abilities from other supernatural creatures he defeats.
« Last Edit: August 12, 2010, 03:03:25 PM by agent oni »

Krensky

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #11 on: August 12, 2010, 02:57:19 PM »
But we were only talking about hemolurgy.
Right now you have no idea how lucky you are that I am not a sociopath. - A sign seen above my desk.
There's no upside in screwing without things you can't explain. - Captain Roy Montgomery
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mind flayer

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2010, 07:59:44 PM »
I'd be interested in seeing the rules in the Mistborn RPG for it; I'd like to see if it could be ported over into a less... grim setting.

I think it'd be interesting to have "lesser" Hemalurgy, in which an animal is sacrificed for a lesser benefit.  A horse-stud in your ears could increase your endurance, while a snake tongue-stud would let you taste the air like a serpent.

Keep "greater" Hemalurgy in the hands of a monastic order or some such.  Just because the rites are soaked in blood doesn't mean they have to be abused; if I was lying on my deathbed, I'd take the spike to pass on my knowledge to the next generation.

Of course, this is all contingent on Hemalurgy actually killing you, and not on somehow trapping your soul in neverending torment, which sounds like it may be the case.  But again, if I'd be re-fluffing it for a less intense campaign, there's nothing saying I couldn't fluff that out, too...

Agent 333

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Re: pondering Hemalurgy
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2010, 11:22:17 PM »
Word of God says that Hemalurgy works similarly to stapling two (or more) souls together. So, yeah.

Spoiler: Hero Of Ages Spoilers • show
Also, if you aren't evil when you get spiked, Ruin's whispers in your ears will certainly nudge you in that direction...
When all your problems are nails, all your tools start looking like hammers.