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Discussion Seraphon Psychology

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by King Dust, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. King Dust
    Skink

    King Dust Active Member

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    I wanted to talk about Seraphon Psychology. The WHFB fluff has a pretty well defined set of motivations for the Lizards. “The plan of the Old Ones needs to be executed” “The word of the Slann is law” etc. etc. There was an interesting dynamic in the form of the Slann being split over whether to take a proactive approach to the great plan or not, but otherwise it’s pretty straightforward.

    AoS however, has next to no fluff (which I actually love, but that’s a completely different post). Accordingly I want to get everyone’s opinion on what motivates the Seraphon beyond “Fight Chaos.”

    I’ll start by sharing my thoughts.

    How do the Seraphon contend with the end of the old world and their exodus from it? And how are the Seraphon thinking about the plan of the Old Ones now?

    I like to think the end of the world really shook the Slann, which is obviously a non-trivial thing to happen. Accordingly the millenia spent travelling the stars would have been an opportunity for the Slann to reckon with this, and I don’t think every Slann would have come out the other side with the same conclusions. This is great because it creates the opportunity to set up any motivation you want for your army. Some Slann could be in denial, continuing to try and execute the Old One’s plan. Other Slann might “act out” and start behaving in various irrational ways. And even others might have banded together to formulate a new plan.

    Are any of the non-Slann (assuming your fluff treats them as separate entities) starting to question the Slann given the state of things?

    I think this idea presents an interesting opportunity. There wasn’t a ton of room for behavior like this in the old world fluff. But AoS opens interesting doors here.

    Are the surviving Slann more united than before? Or are they even more fractured and disparate in their motivations?

    While there’s certainly no more questions about complacency, I think the latter makes more sense given the dissolution of the Geomantic web. Plus it is more fun for there to be many options for what could be motivating characters.

    If you consider the Skinks and Saurus as memory constructs (temporary or otherwise), is their psychology impacted by the Slann who thought them into existence?

    I say yes. Even the inscrutable Slann are subject to some form of bias. I suspect this would inevitably manifest in the other Seraphon as a unique set of character traits. If a Slann has certain ideas about how or why they fight, those ideas would probably be instilled in the other Seraphon they create.

    Any thoughts, criticisms, etc are much appreciated!
     
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  2. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Interesting questions and ideas.
    I will think about it and post something in the next few days.
     
  3. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    The answer to all your questions is "Whatever the writer/player wants." The following answers are just my off the cuff. If I am writing a fluff piece and I need the characters to do something else, the needs of the story wins.

    Both. My thought is that because Age of Sigmar has more space (pun!) each Slann can create his/her own personal realm if they want to. So a lot of Slann are fielding independent one-Slann armies with very little input or communication with other Slann, so in that since they are more fractured. But because of the abundance of space and the fact that a single Slann can provide his/her own supply lines and reinforcements, the Slann probably have less need to debate and argue with each other than they did before.

    This question should probably have been your first question.

    The more scientific you make the Slann's memories, the less of the Slann's bias you'll see. For instance if the Slann recreate a snapshot of say a CAT scan from the year 2804 then they are restoring a Saurus or Skinks brain waves as of the last point they were x-rayed. That will create very little if any Slann bias. Anything non-scientific would have some bias.

    There is probably a chicken and the egg thing too. In the World that Was, I figure a Slann's attitudes and biases would gradually trickle down to the lower ranks, so it would be hard to figure out if a minion emulating a Slann's beliefs is because the Slann remembered him that way or if the minion is emulating a Slann's beliefs because he wants to endorse his Slann's beliefs.

    The Slann are probably reacting in a ton of ways. Some would be in a sort of denial. Some probably rehash their actions to see if they failed the World that Was in anyway. Some are probably relishing their new freedom to act.

    The lesser Seraphon are probably either parroting their parent Slann's views unless they truly have independence from their Slann. The lessers might feel guilty for their failures to serve the Slann in the World that Was, but I figure they are less likely than the Slann to feel guilty about past actions.

    If the lesser Seraphon have personalities beyond "I do my duty as my Slann orders me to do" they are probably going to have a difficult transition from flesh and blood creature to star light daemon of Order. They are probably going to miss the simple pleasures of being alive: eating, drinking, warming in the sun. Their could be an upside to the change too. They might relish being a Seraphon. It could be exhilarating to have starlight for blood and to know you can essentially not die and always get a second chance to serve your Slann.

    Of course it also begs the question "What do Seraphon do when they aren't fighting." If the lesser Seraphon only exist when the Slann call on them, than they are going to have less opportunity to develop character. They could exist in their own subrealm either in the Slann's mind or on a planet with terrain created by the Slann's mind. It may or may not look like a Lustrian jungle. It may or may not be nicer to live in than the jungles of the World that Was.

    If the Seraphon only exist when the Slann needs them to fight, very few Seraphon would exist long enough to develop the time to question the Slann. If the Seraphon continue to exist for long periods of time after being created they have the POTENTIAL to question the Slann.

    If the Seraphon are largely independent from the Slann they are most likely to question the Slann if they dislike being Seraphon and long to be Lizardmen again.

    If the Seraphon are not largely independent from the Slann they are most likely to question the Slann if the Slann himself is unsure of what to do. If a Slann can not decide on a course of action. For example, if a Slann cannot decide which is a greater threat: Daemons or Skaven? Than the Slann is likely to start having minions that argue which enemy deserves to die more.

    A Slann that often waffles between offense and defense is likely to create two equally ranked subordinates that embody the Slann's desire for these respective values.
     
  4. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Hmmm... I pretty much agree with everything @Scalenex said, with the addition that I think a (for lack of a better term) "solidified" Seraphon (who is basically identical to the Lizardmen of old) would probably still follow a Slann without a lot of questions. They know that a Slann is just better than them in pretty much everything.


    As for the Slann: I think they might really split into two or more schools of thought:

    "Traditionalists" say: It was all part of the Great Plan, and still is. The Slann just have to find out how it works and how they can fulfill it. Pretty much like they did in old times. They try to basically do the same thing they ever did. Which probably is fighting Chaos for the most part.


    "Modernists" have two different views on the topic:

    - "Emancipists": The Great Plan failed. Either the Old Ones failed in making the plan, or the Slann failed carrying out the plan. It doesn't matter though, it failed. Now it is our duty to step in and deal with the situation by emancipating ourselves from the Old Ones and making our own plans. Radical Emancipists might see ONLY the Old Ones at fault and act accordingly.

    - "Nihilists": Everything is lost. The plan failed, the Slann are at fault. We are servants without their masters now. We can only hope the Old Ones either come back with a new plan, or maybe reorganize together with other peoples (Sigmar and the other Order factions come to mind) to save what can be saved. Or maybe it doesn't even matter.



    The thoughts of the Slann will of course play a big role for their lesser Seraphon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2018
  5. Scalenex
    OldBlood

    Scalenex Keeper of the Indexes Staff Member

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    Well said @Aginor! Though I would add the addendum that Traditionalist and Modernist are two ends of a spectrum. There are likely moderates sitting on the fence between these two extremes.
     
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  6. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

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    Sure, as always. Some Slann will tend towards one or the other, some will be right between them, some might be even more extreme in one or the other direction. There are probably even discussions about the terms themselves. Some Slann might refuse to accept the categories attributed to them all together.
    Slann have vast intellects, I am pretty sure they can discuss well, and I can totally see them getting together in a big meeting and discussing (via telepathy or using their voices, and even arguing which is the better way to communicate) which is the right way to go, forming political alliances and planning what to do next.
     
  7. Galen
    Saurus

    Galen Active Member

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    Great topic! To my knowledge, there are three primary sources for information that may answer these questions. They are the Battletome, the Malign Portents story Dying Star, and Skaven Pestilins by Josh Reynalds.

    How do the Seraphon contend with the end of the old world and their exodus from it? And how are the Seraphon thinking about the plan of the Old Ones now?

    In Pestilins, there's a Starpriest that comments on this:

    So from that Skink's perspective, the only thing that matters is the war against Chaos. Worlds may burn, but so long as Chaos remains, the war will continue.

    A little later in the same story, we get what is to my knowledge the only Slann Point of View piece that exists in AoS:

    This matches well with what the Battletome states about when Dracothion encountered the Slann:

    So the Slann certainly remember the destruction of the World That Was, and they're not happy about it. Exactly how they contend with it is unknown, but summoning vast armies empowered by celestial magic to slaughter Chaos tainted creatures is probably quite cathartic.

    As to the Great Plan, it seems each Slann has their own vision of what exactly that is. From Pestilins:

    And a little later, in the same passage:

    And from the Battletome:

    So overall, it seems the Slann each have their own vision for the Great Plan, but there's some unity of purpose. They all desire the destruction of Chaos, but in its place they see a world of perfect Order (which it's worth noting would quite probably be an extremely unpleasant place to live). How to best bring about the destruction of Chaos is something the Slann disagree on, and is a potential source of conflict.

    Are any of the non-Slann (assuming your fluff treats them as separate entities) starting to question the Slann given the state of things?

    In Pestilins, there's a number of PoV parts from non-Slann. First is an Old Blood:

    Then, the Starpriest from before:

    Then, a Sunblood:

    From Dying Star, we get the perspective of a Starpriest:

    So from all this, we can see that the Seraphon are absolutely united behind the Slann. Certainly none of them seem to question the Slann's plan, regardless of what happens, and if dying is required, they're either accepting of it or, in the case of the Sunblood in Pestilins, quite happy since he knows he'll come back over and over again to fight.

    Are the surviving Slann more united than before? Or are they even more fractured and disparate in their motivations?

    As the quotes above show, the Slann are far more fractured. Dying Star seems to indicate that each Temple Ship is controlled by a single Slann, meaning that each one has a degree of tremendous autonomy. They can operate entirely independently seeing as each has a ship which gives them everything they need to wage war. They almost never meet up, which is hardly surprising given they're either always on their ships or in the Realms with an army around them.

    If you consider the Skinks and Saurus as memory constructs (temporary or otherwise), is their psychology impacted by the Slann who thought them into existence?

    The quotes above seem to give this some support. The Starpriests certainly mirror their Slann's thoughts, and the Slann in Pestilins talks about the various Seraphon he summoned being aspects of his dreams and emotions:

    Some of the Seraphon, like the Sunblood Sutok in Pestilins, certainly have been altered by their changed existence. He loves being a dream because it means he can fight forever regardless of whether he dies or not. Whether that's affected by his Slann or not isn't clear. It may be that all Sunbloods feel this way.
     
  8. King Dust
    Skink

    King Dust Active Member

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    I love @Aginor's segmentation of the Slann. I could see a bunch of great stories about the tension caused between the traditionalists and the modernists.

    Thanks for the great official lore summary @Galen. It contained some solid answers to my questions. My only disappointment is that the Seraphon are still fully united behind the Slann and still treating them as godlike commanders who can do no wrong. I like the idea of exploring how the shattering of the world might likewise shatter the otherwise unassailable faith the Lizardmen had in their masters, at least for some of the Seraphon.

    Hopefully this is a useful tool for any writers out there.
     
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