[Let’s Study Mummy: the Curse] Sybaris

Posted: February 26, 2013 by pointyman2000 in Articles, Let's Study, Mummy: the Curse, Roleplaying Games, World of Darkness
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One of the more intresting facets of the Arisen condition lies with Sybaris, a magical effect that is experienced by people exposed to the Arisen. Sybaris is a magical form of anxiety and dread that emanates from being exposed to a being that is immune to the ravages of time and mortality.

Much in the same way that it is awe-inspiring to see ancient works survive ages even when the civilizations that birthed them are nothing but dust and memories, exposure to the Arisen are a potent message: Memento Mori “Remember that you will die.” Sybaris two forms, Terror and Unease, each of which have their own respective systems in Mummy: the Curse.

Terror Sybaris is the less common one, as it occurs only in people exposed to an Arisen who flares their Sekhem. This also manifests the Arisen’s Sybaris Form, a themed hallucinatory vision that mortals are exposed to, filtered through their own personal fears.

Needless to say Terror Sybaris is not subtle, nor kind. The effects of Terror Sybaris can result in the mortal fleeing in blind terror or entering a catatonic state. Stronger willed Mortals might be able to resist it to varying degrees, but the result is an overwhelming trigger of the person’s fight or flight reflex.

The second form of Sybaris, Unease, is the more insidious form. To determine the extent of Unease Sybaris, one subtract’s the Mummy’s Sekhem from her Memory. Triggering Unease can happen with direct contact with the Arisen, entering their Tomb, touching a vessel used by the Mummy, or spending 24 hours within one mile of the mummy or their Tomb per level of the Arisen’s Skehem.

I find this particularly interesting as Mummies possessed of higher Sekhem are capable of inflicting more powerful effects of Unease, but this tapers off as soon as the Mummy gains more Memory. Going back to the idea that the more Memory a Mummy has, the more “human” (or even “humane”) they become. Thus it is entirely possible for a Mummy to have high enough Memory to eclipse his Sekhem resulting in no Unease at all.

I have to admit that I was initially concerned about Sybaris. While I will say that the whole fear effect is appropriate to Mummies in general, I was worried that it would come off as a hindrance in play. That said, this systems seems to be a much more tempered version, making it possible to inflict Terror in appropriately dramatic siutations while the Unease still makes it possible for people to interact with mummies, though with the kind of fear and caution that is approrpiate when addressing beings who have lived through so much.

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