Thoughts on Geist: the Sin-Eaters

June 21, 2009 at 2:55 pm
filed under Roleplaying

My last post was a lot of facts without much of my opinion, which I feel obliged to share. That’s what blogs are for, right? Right?

The Thresholds are nice and creepy. It reminds me a bit of the categories in Dead Like Me, where some reapers were concerned with murder and others with accidental death. Picking a way that a character died or nearly died might force you to contemplate your own mortality, which lends a certain edge to deciding how and when your character nearly met her end.

Geists themselves are clearly an echo of the Shadow in some way. It’s an other-self that appears to have its own agenda. What I’m not clear on and what intrigues me is the extent to which one’s geist is independent. The Synergy write-up discusses the effect of Synergy on a Sin-Eater’s ability to work with his geist. Each of the sample characters has a write-up for their geist. To what extent does it matter? Is it purely mechanical? I imagine it’s a dial like any other, but in the extremes of any game, it has to mean something. Or perhaps the question should be: in a game about a geist, how much independence does it have?

I ask because I’m fascinated by the write-ups of the sample characters’ geists. How often do these guys get to be on screen? What do you have to do to piss one of them off?

The way that Keys and Manifestations overlap is interesting. It’s unclear to what extent your Threshold dictates your Keys. My guess would be that one of your keys has to be from your Threshold, and you can pick the other as you like.

The powers themselves are pretty bizarre, and I mean that in a good way. Rage is fairly straightforward, but Boneyard is weird. Some of the Caul-related powers are also really neat. It’s interesting to envision the overlap of things like, say, Primeval or Passion Caul. I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

It’s really not clear how to determine how many powers you get. Characters get two Keys and three dots of Manifestations, and yet one sample character has four powers (two for each Key) and another has two (one for each Key). They appear to have spent their Merits on other things.

One thing that’s interesting is that these guys seem fairly powerful. They don’t have crazy healing unless they have a specific ability (one of the Caul abilities grants fairly rapid healing). Their offensive abilities, for example, tend to do 1L per success. The rolls are based on a variety of abilities, much like Mage’s rotes, so it’s not entirely uniform. Still, it seems quite feasible to use your Keystone to get +3 on these rolls, putting you in the ~7 dice range without trying too hard. Another power they get lets them discover every nook and cranny in a building. That’s amazingly useful for such as infiltration or reconnaissance.

All right, folks, that’s all for now. If you’re as interested as I am, I’d suggest keeping your eyes on the White Wolf news feed for Geist teasers, as I suspect they’ll start doing them in earnest soon. It’s interesting times in this pre-Geist world.

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