The Tranquil Templar

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby Lynata » Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:08 am

Ghostdanser wrote:Kitty is not a Desire Demon possessing a cat, so much as a summoned demon assuming a shape to decieve.
Mhm, I don't think so - we were told that demons are only capable of assuming the shapes of what they know from the Fade, which (as those are always abstract concepts rather than clear images) always ends up looking somewhat twisted, resulting in the demonic appearances we know. Furthermore, demons cannot exist for prolonged periods of time in the real world unless the Veil is exceptionally thin (like below Kirkwall) or they possess something - be it a corpse, a plant or ... well, an animal.

Given the magical defenses and binding runes as well as Wilhelm's journal, I'm assuming the mage may have purposely summoned the demon into Kitty to then research means on how to force it out of the cat's body again. An animal sacrifice is the safest means to ensure the continued existence of the demon in realspace whilst simultaneously maintaining the option of simply "dismissing" the demon again by killing the cat, meaning no human is harmed in the process.

Just speculating, of course. :)
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Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby Ghostdanser » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:49 pm

Lynata wrote:Furthermore, demons cannot exist for prolonged periods of time in the real world unless the Veil is exceptionally thin (like below Kirkwall) or they possess something - be it a corpse, a plant or ... well, an animal.


I’m fairly comfortable with the veil being thin in Wilhelm’s Cellar, given the amount of demon’s you end up fighting. I would go so far as suggesting that Wilhelm probably picked the place for that very reason to make his research easier. After all, you fight 15 demons down there (not including Kitty) so pretty easy to think the veils not exactly tough.

I actually think I need to modify my previous thoughts on this though…I now think that the Desire Demon is just using a Jedi mind trick, mentally projecting an image of itself as Kitty, rather than physically shape shifting. It adopts the image to befriend the girl and just continues broadcasting mentally when the party comes in. Due to the nature of the scenario the party quickly sees through the disguise, otherwise the story would require much more programming.

I can’t prove this…but then I don’t think the proof exists for the possessed cat theory either. After all...when the Desire Demon drops the Kitty guise I didn't notice a dead cat lying around (which also could just be lazy programming). All of that aside. I still agree with the argument that there is no definite way of telling an abomination by their looks. Some may be hideous…while others may display no signs at all. And as for demonic possession and spirit symbiosis being different…while that is probably true I doubt that 90% of the Templars in Thedas would see the distinction.

Eh...and then again...I could just be totally wrong. I can accept that too. :-?
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Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby Hellebore » Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:50 am

Well we know that removing possession doesn't kill the original host, as per Connor etc.

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Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby Lynata » Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:23 am

If you go into the Fade, yeah.

Unfortunately, we don't know the exact nature of these experiments - we only know Wilhelm specifically summoned a demon with the intention to research demonic possession, hence my conclusion that he'd actually have it possess something. Like ... an animal.

And yeah, the Veil seems thin enough for demons to break through there, but how long can they sustain their form?
Note: I'm currently operating under the assumption that it is easier for a demon to break through the Veil than to actually remain in the real world (hence the need to possess anything as soon as they manage, as referenced in the P&P Set 1 books). "Allure" below Kirkwall is one of the very few examples we know to have managed to retain her presence without possession for longer than a few minutes, and this is said to be the case because some Tevinter magister actively weakened it there.

I guess we'll never know for sure - unless either Set 3 or David Gaider will explain the nature of demons in greater detail sometime in the future.
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Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby shonuff » Tue Apr 10, 2012 6:18 am

I believe I have read that for demons to remain, (generally) they have to possess something, so I would imagine that the cat is possessed. However, in ASPCA form, Kitty releases the cat in order to possess the girl, so the cat gets away free-and-clear! :)
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Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby Ghostdanser » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:22 am

I think for me, part of the problem is Bioware has never really explained how a mage summons a demon. Traditionally in other RPG’s demons usually have a hard time manifesting unless they are summoned, and if the mage takes the proper precautions to seal an area the demon appears inside of the shielded area and cannot leave the area, or return to whence they came, unless the mage lets them. Dragon Age has never fully explained how it works in their world. I agree that a demon has trouble materializing and can’t remain for long (usually) unless it possesses a host…but that is if the demon is actively trying to materialize on its own accord. It may also be true of summoned demons, but they have never stated if summoning requires a host for long term summoning or not.

Now I have never messed around much with the Summoning Sciences quest in DAO, I got this info from the wiki, but the second level allows you to summon the Trickster Whim which is classified as a malicious spirit. Once summoned you can later find a Chanter Board entry in Redcliffe for the Unintended Consequences quest…where you have to track down and dispatch the spirit. Not having done this quest, I can’t say how they handle that spirit…I don’t know if it is possessing someone or (as it seems to read in the wiki) just a spirit roaming about on its own. Worth noting is that it starts killing travelling merchants…which brings to mind the spirit Cole in Dragon Age: Asunder…who also felt the need to kill in order to remain in the real world.

This would indicate that Blood Magic can allow a demon or spirit to materialize for an indefinite period of time so long as the supply of blood is replenished. I admit, that doesn’t appear to be the case with Kitty, since there doesn’t appear to be a ready supply of blood. However it does remind me of Jowan, who knows of a ritual for entering the Fade…which requires blood OR lyrium. That makes me wonder if Wilhelm might have had a sufficient supply of lyrium on hand to allow the summoning to continue. It could be hidden somewhere, like under the floor of the chamber…and I would suspect that may be the case given that the Veil “appears” weaker in the cellar. I also seem to recall crystal deposits down there, but I really have no idea how that would fit into it.

This conversation is definitely making me rethink things…so thanks for the thought provoking commentary. Even if it turns out I am wrong on all counts it is definitely making me reconsider. So to quote the words of that great and immortal philosopher, Samuel of Yosemite, “I’m a thinkin’…and mah head hurts.” :-?
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Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby Lynata » Tue Apr 10, 2012 1:32 pm

Cole is an interesting case... this is one spirit who seems to have forgotten its true nature, instead stealing another identity - and it only kills those who can actually see it, seemingly placing great emphasis on eye-contact as he does so. It could be that Gaider was exploring an emotional phenomenon here; the intimacy of death. As Cole said, in the moment of the killing, he became the single-most important thing in the world for its victim, which may have been the anchor it needed. This might explain why it simply vanishes as soon as Lambert reveals the truth, returning to the Fade as said anchor is cut at its source.

On the other hand, this could just be the spirit not understanding its own nature, and it is as you say the blood that provides the necessary energy to power a semi-permanent rift through the Veil. This in turn might explain how Cole manages to return later, seemingly at will... In short, your theory makes sense, too.
Blood is more powerful than lyrium, but depending on how strong (or weak) the Veil is, ordinary magic can be perfectly enough to bring a demon into the mortal world, just like it suffices to bring a mortal soul into the Fade. Places with strong magical activity tend to have a weaker Veil, and you already mentioned how some demons manage to break through on their own down there.

As far as the summoning goes, I think we've got enough material to at least make educated guesses by now. The setting does know certain means to "trap" demons (like the circle keeping the possessed Pharamond in check), though most of the time demons seem to be summoned because the summoner wants them to fight for them or they are not aware of any potential safeguards or they consider them unnecessary. Either way, a demon still needs to be brought through the Veil - they often try this on their own, but during a summoning process you've got one or more mages "from the other side" actively helping the demon by using their magic to tear a hole into the Veil, allowing the demon to slip through and retain a presence without getting "sucked back" right away. Magic to the Veil is very much like CFC to the ozone layer; I guess that whilst all spells have a certain weakening effect there are some specifically intended to tear a hole through the Veil, bringing the Fade and realspace closer together to allow crossing over.
At least this is how I'm interpreting the available reading.

And yeah, I love threads such as these. Nice exchange! :)
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Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby Ghostdanser » Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:55 pm

Lynata wrote:Cole is an interesting case...


That's an understatement :green: ...I think the emotional connection you mentioned played the larger role in Cole being able to stay, and that fact that Cole was amnesiac and thinking it was human made the emotional connections more important. I thought about the blood angle though because the Lord Seeker was fairly sure that Blood Magic played a part in the murders and he seemed to easily accept that a demon/spirit was behind the murders. I think it may be a case where the spirit needed the blood at first (without knowing it) and as the emotional ties grew the blood became less (if not completely) unnecessary. If I had to guess, I would say that Cole dissipated from shock, rather than an inability to stay, when confronted with the fact that it was indeed a spirit and not a human. Once Cole came to grips with the fact, sort of a new self-awareness, it found it could return to the real world on its own terms, the Veil in the White Spire being weakened probably made things easier.

There’s no way of knowing for sure…but I like the Codex Entry: The Veil:

http://dragonage.wikia.com/wiki/Codex_entry:_The_Veil

While codex entries are written from a pc/npc perspective, so you can never be sure they are 100% correct, I like the description of it…particularly where it says…

“Regardless, the act of passing through the Veil is much more about changing one's perceptions than a physical transition. The Veil is an idea, it is the act of transition itself, and it is only the fact that both living beings and spirits find the transition difficult that gives the Veil any credence as a physical barrier at all.”

I think most mages and demons have trouble with the Veil because they can’t quite get their minds wrapped around the concept properly. They resort to blood and lyrium, since they are effective even though vast quantities may be required, and by effective I mean in much the same way one might use dynamite for fishing…it can get the job done, but it’s hard to think of as precise. It may be that transitioning the Veil is not as difficult as most think…it’s just hard to find the trigger you need to slip from one world to the next. And it could be that the reason it’s hard to find that trigger is that triggers are different for each individual, however once you do find your personal trigger it can become easier and easier with practice, requiring little (if any) blood or lyrium…but just a sufficiently thin Veil.

I think I have more to ponder now… :-?
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Re: The Tranquil Templar

Postby Lynata » Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:59 am

I think you're on to something, though! 8)
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