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Lore of Watchers and Ciphers (main/companion quest spoilers ahoy)


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So I've beaten the game once, and I love the setting, although there's one aspect of the lore I'm having a bit of trouble sorting through and mentally cataloguing :p

 

Here's what I gather so far:

Watchers:

  • Either innate or acquired abilities.
  • Can see "lost souls", possibly interact/manipulate them.
  • Can see the souls of living people, and see glimpses of their pasts.
  • Very bad when mixed with an Awakening, pretty much suggesting that an Awakened Watcher is on a fast track waterslide into the deep end of insanity.
  • Other side effects include: hearing voices, insomnia, hallucinations, ect. How much of that was because of the main chars Awakening, I'm not sure? Caldara made it seem like it was more of just a Watcher side-effect.

Bit I'm confused on: Why exactly is an awakening so much worse for a watcher? It seems that even in other awakened people, the 'remembered' personality can still take over.

 

Ciphers:

  • Innate only?
  • Draw their abilities from their own souls, or the souls of others (via the Soul Whip).
  • Can directly manipulate the minds and memories of others.
  • Can glean information from a physical object, based on bits of soul left on it (spiritual fingerprints?)
  • Can collect information on a souls past lives (Crucible Knight membership depends on past lives).

Bit I'm confused on: There seems to be a bit of overlap? Both seem to have some soul manipulation involved. The Watcher is given the chance to erase Grieving Mothers memory of the trauma she caused. Heck, GM herself says something about being called a Watcher, since the place she lived in didn't have the concept of Ciphers.

 

Also: Anything major I missed on either or both?

 

Sorry if this post is a bit scattered, it's late and I'm falling asleep while finishing typing this :p I'll probably re-read, cringe, and clarify some things in the morning, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to start the discussion now anyways...

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The theme of the game is that people can draw upon the energy of their soul to achieve superhuman feats, so ciphers and watchers are just variations of that ability. Much like wizards, druids, priests, monks and chanters can create "magic" out of seemingly nothing.

 

While they're all strictly defined classes with strictly defined mechanics in the game, I wouldn't be surprised if the lines between "classes" are far more blurred in the lore, since they all draw from the same source of power (unlike traditional D&D).

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What kin of confuses me is Animancy... Wouldn't all Watchers, Ciphers, and possibly other magic classes be considered animancers? Kind of makes opposing Animancy seem very hypocritical, though I suppose the player doesn't have a choice in regards to being a Watcher, still... the lines between Watcher, Cipher, and animancer seem very blurred.

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What kin of confuses me is Animancy... Wouldn't all Watchers, Ciphers, and possibly other magic classes be considered animancers? Kind of makes opposing Animancy seem very hypocritical, though I suppose the player doesn't have a choice in regards to being a Watcher, still... the lines between Watcher, Cipher, and animancer seem very blurred.

 

How so? Animancers practice a sort of necromancy. Ciphers and watchers mostly just use mental powers.

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I've been replaying and taking extra care to re-read any of the lore related info a few times :)

 

Animancy, as far as I'm aware, doesn't require any special powers or soul abilities, it's basically a science in it's youthful, troublesome trial-and-error-experimentation phases, I think... Like that one girl outside the Sanitarium says when you ask if Animancy is like Necromancy, she gets all huffy and says something along the lines of "No it's a SCIENCE!" I assume there was also eyerolling :p

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