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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 4:00 am 
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The Phiend wrote:
Well, first off...if you're adhering to the animated series, you're going to have to account for Beast Boy knowing about the existence of Zandia (in the intro of Crash).


He only references an underground transmitter thing "in eastern Zandia" which he uses to download pirated video games :lol: (though this sort of thing fits with Zandia's historical MO). I don't think it would be much of an issue though, the reference is obscure, and we all know Beast Boy never was the brightest when it comes to international geography. :P

The Phiend wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Because the elder Blood is more than slightly egotistical, I'd throw in a detail where his intent is to prove himself superior to the whole cycle. And his desired method of doing that is to personally lead the H.I.V.E. to crush the current Church of Blood. His plans with the ion amplifier, the army of Cy-clones and cybernetic-mass-mind-control take on a more personal feel when they have a specific target rather than being generic villainy.


[Reveal] Spoiler:
That kind of thinking is definitely in Brother Blood's style, and it would fit in with animated continuity very well. It's adding extra depth, which is always good. The elder Blood's interest in Cyborg (rather than Raven in the comics) can also be explained here as part of his preparations to break the cycle and destroy his enemies in the Church. The Church would no doubt have some individuals that would be too strong-willed for the elder Blood to use his mind control on, especially his son (arguably his most dangerous enemy). Cyborg similarly has proven to be beyond Blood's ability to control with his current methods, but the elder Blood sees opportunity here to perfect his mind control abilities, and by discovering just how Cyborg is able to resist him, he can use this knowledge to gain the upper hand over his more mentally fortified enemies.

His abscence in the Brotherhood of Evil was interesting. He could have been caught by the Church; after all, when we last saw him, he had been torn apart by Cyborg, who managed to hack his way (via Blood's cybernetics) into his telekinetic abilities. But I don't think an offscreen death would be much justice to his character. He might have declined the Brotherhood's invitation (if he's not in charge, then no deal. Same with Slade). He could simply still be in prison. Or he could have broken out during the chaos with the Brotherhood. Who knows at this point?


CWS wrote:
This sounds absolutely awesome, I love it. Your explanation as to how the current Brother Blood might have ended up with the H.I.V.E. is also fantastic, and I'm almost jealous that I didn't think of it.


Stop, you're making me blush. :oops: No seriously, thanks. :D I can come up with some good ideas every so often, and what we have been talking over here could make up the beginning of a new epic story if we were so inclined to begin writing. Perhaps two, if we went into the Church of Blood's origins with Sebastos. Hell, I'm starting to think it would be a shame if we didn't make a start by the end of the year.

CWS wrote:
So how about this. In the eyes of the world, the island nation of Zandia does not exist except as a very dark legend. Anyone who travels there would find it to be utterly devoid of life, perhaps even of vegetation. The legend states that after the first Brother Blood seized power and established his church, virtually the entire population of the island committed ritual suicide, save for a small handful of terrified survivors to spread the horrific tale. As a result of this, many believed the island itself to be cursed, a belief supported by the apparent inability of anything to live there for any period of time. This would also serve to discourage the curious from investigating the site too closely.

But in truth, the Church of Blood IS still there, on the island of Zandia...but in a pocket dimension that can only be accessed via certain arcane rituals, probably involving human sacrifice because, well, this is the Church of Blood we're talkin' about, here. All of this would feed into the Church's secretive, mysterious, cult-like nature...actually, check that, they're not "cult-like", they ARE a straight up cult.

Anyway, their followers would also be spread across the globe, but owe their allegiance to Zandia and more specifically to Brother Blood. But these things would be kept a closely guarded secret by most, for they dare not fully reveal themselves until the day of Trigon's coming...of course, rumors of their existence and activities would probably persist through the centuries, but would be discounted by most as scary bedtime stories spread by children. This would also fit with Jeff's musing about Trigon having acted to "mask" the island, or at least its populace, from their enemies at some point.


Your idea for masking the Church of Blood by hiding the people and leaving the appearance of an empty wasteland looks like it would be the best way to do it, and adds notoriety. I like it. :) I envisioned a complex underground network of "dioceses" at key points all over the world to connect with businesses, criminal/terrorist organisations, certain corrupt government officials and so on. There would be local chapels hidden by both conventional and magical means by the priests, and I think there would be quite a few in the USA not just to keep the Titans busy, but seeing as the US has some of the world's most signficant advanced technologies, medicines, weapons, etc being developed there (not to mention a wealth of sleazy businessmen, politicians and supervillains to exploit). The Church would have to be complete morons to not have a large foothold there. Finding these chapels, however, is easier said than done, especially if some of them are built on a small dimensional fissure that Trigon can seep a little of his power through.

I agree that the Church is essentially cultic at the core, but this could also be an opportunity to discuss how fine the line between cult and religon is (as a story theme), and how easy it is for a person to become so lost in person and spirit. It's kind of funny, me talking about all this. I'm not even religious. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 10:51 pm 
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snowman1989 wrote:
The Phiend wrote:
Well, first off...if you're adhering to the animated series, you're going to have to account for Beast Boy knowing about the existence of Zandia (in the intro of Crash).
He only references an underground transmitter thing "in eastern Zandia" which he uses to download pirated video games :lol: (though this sort of thing fits with Zandia's historical MO). I don't think it would be much of an issue though, the reference is obscure, and we all know Beast Boy never was the brightest when it comes to international geography. :P
It may not be much of an issue, but it's the kind of little detail that's bound to be brought up at some point. If only because anyone still caring enough about the series at this point to read fanfiction is probably sensitive to little details. Also, it's fun to make throwaway references work seriously :rbg:

As presented in the series, Beast Boy knew there was a place called "eastern Zandia" that had an underground server. Odds are very slim that Beast Boy made up the name correctly, or paid enough attention to myths to know of it. And I kind of doubt it's the kind of thing one could learn from a cereal box :-P

But, it doesn't have to directly related....The most straightforward thing I can think of is that this "Zandia" is a software piracy group named after the place in the legend, "Eastern" identifies a certain set of their servers, and poor Beast Boy just didn't know it wasn't a physical place :P (A secular use of the name "Zandia" would impede casual research efforts and help maintain the island's secrecy, after all; so the Church of Blood "allows" them to use the name on that basis.)

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 9:08 am 
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You guys have been awesome. This is something I want to do in the near future, handling a story about the Church of Blood, but I'd like to wait until Corey finishes Family first. It's a great story, and I really want to see where he goes with Brother Blood there.

We've covered quite a bit about the Church already, way more than the comics ever have, I believe. :P But I think we've been avoiding the elephant in the room... or should we say, demon? The Church cult is based on worship of Trigon the Terrible, Raven's grumpy, omnicidal monster dad, and the Church's patron diety. I think that in order to develop the Church further, we need to take a look at Trigon and what makes him tick. But once again, like the Church, there's a problem in that he's been portrayed very one-dimensionally, which to be fair, is justified because he is a complete monster. :? I've uploaded a few pages from the original NTT run that I found on the net below that demonstrates just how much of an asshole he his, but it also makes him seem rather... unsophisticated. This guy is meant to be the personification of all evil, in all its forms. And evil is not always thuggish or brutish.

We need some insights into his character to flesh him out too, for the same reasons why we've been fleshing out the Church. I think looking at his relationship with Raven is a good place to start off to get a feel for his mannerisms and behaviour. In the animated series, Trigon created Raven for the sole purpose of opening a portal for him to enter Earth and take over, nothing more. I found it a bit odd though, that while he didn't appear to care about her at all, he still let her live after her purpose was fufilled. For what point or purpose? To torment her for the rest of her life? Come to think of it, how long could Raven live for? :?
In the comics, things are equally black and white, but Trigon seems to care a bit more about Raven, as he intended for her to not just open the way for him to conquer Earth, but to also rule by his side. Think about that; he was actually willing to share power with her, perhaps even groom her to succeed him if something ever happened that overthrew him.

I'd type up more, but I'm tired. Should have posted up when it wasn't 2 in the friggin' morning.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:38 pm 
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snowman1989 wrote:
We've covered quite a bit about the Church already, way more than the comics ever have, I believe. :P But I think we've been avoiding the elephant in the room... or should we say, demon? The Church cult is based on worship of Trigon the Terrible, Raven's grumpy, omnicidal monster dad, and the Church's patron diety. I think that in order to develop the Church further, we need to take a look at Trigon and what makes him tick.
Well, your story is about the Church of Blood and you've established that Trigon isn't quite capable of overt displays of personal in the dimension where the Church is. Trigon simply isn't as important to the story as the Church is, even if Trigon is critical to the Church itself. Kinda why we've been focusing on the Church, I think.

snowman1989 wrote:
But once again, like the Church, there's a problem in that he's been portrayed very one-dimensionally, which to be fair, is justified because he is a complete monster. :? ....This guy is meant to be the personification of all evil, in all its forms.
See, there's a conflict there. He's one-dimensional because he's mean to the personification of all evil; "all evil" is a very broad range so he's necessarily very shallow to be able to accommodate it all.

snowman1989 wrote:
We need some insights into his character to flesh him out too, for the same reasons why we've been fleshing out the Church.
It's not necessarily required....It's certainly possible that the Church focuses and filters an aspect of Trigon's power, while Trigon himself is still an all-encompassing embodiment of evil. Don't feel forced to spend a lot of effort on Trigon, since the story isn't really about him (as far as I can tell, at least). It's very easy to do a lot of worldbuilding to the detriment of the storytelling, without realizing it.

That said, it could be useful or fun, so as long as you're not getting yourself stuck on things and are aware of that possibility....

snowman1989 wrote:
I think looking at his relationship with Raven is a good place to start off to get a feel for his mannerisms and behaviour. In the animated series, Trigon created Raven for the sole purpose of opening a portal for him to enter Earth and take over, nothing more. I found it a bit odd though, that while he didn't appear to care about her at all, he still let her live after her purpose was fufilled. For what point or purpose? To torment her for the rest of her life? Come to think of it, how long could Raven live for? :?
The impression I got is that he hadn't expected Raven to reform (probably similar to how Raven's powers managed to keep the other Titans from being petrified), and afterwards...he simply didn't care.

It was the same thing as with the Titans' (and Slade's) plan, he knew they had a plan. He just didn't care, because he couldn't fathom any way they could actually interfere with his plans in any way. It wasn't worth it to him to expend extra effort on them since he was claiming the entire dimension anyway. (He did end up being wrong, of course....)


Anyway, thinking about it I'd guess the Church and Raven (and any who may or may not have come before her) were two parts of the Trigon's plan. Raven had to head down to the precise place in the old shrine/temple/whatever thing to become the portal. How'd it get there? Someone must've made it....

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:15 am 
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The Phiend wrote:
He's one-dimensional because he's mean to the personification of all evil; "all evil" is a very broad range so he's necessarily very shallow to be able to accommodate it all.


True enough. But I brought it up because in a story, it's not really that satisfying to have a villain with unlimited power, no sophistication and unparralled evil running amok. It harkens back to the old days when villains in comics did the things they did, simply because they were assholes with no motivation other than money or power. The heroic equivalent is Superman without the kryptonite weakness: lame and uninteresting. I still find Superman eye-wateringly boring for the sole reason that he's overpowered with next to no weaknesses, and he's too much of a goody two-shoes. He just isn't flawed enough for me to be interested.

You are right in that Trigon himself is not quite so important as my last post seemed to suggest. But he is important in that the Church of Blood worships him as their patron diety, and so how they view him is significant in any attempt to further develop it. Just think of how varied Christianity has become because of the vast number of differing views regarding the importance of Jesus Christ and seemingly trivial differences in doctrine. How the Church of Blood views and communes with Trigon directly affects their rituals, social hierarchy, diet, outlook on life, symbology, "holy" scripture, everyday behaviour, psychology, cult customs, rules, how they convert new followers, etc.


The Phiend wrote:
Anyway, thinking about it I'd guess the Church and Raven (and any who may or may not have come before her) were two parts of the Trigon's plan. Raven had to head down to the precise place in the old shrine/temple/whatever thing to become the portal. How'd it get there? Someone must've made it....


Indeed. But it looked like it had been abandoned for a very long time. Why abandon, apart perhaps, from their great Blood Cathedral in Zandia, the holiest site in their religion, the place where the Gem opens the portal for their lord? Doesn't make sense, unless Trigon has another hidden cult somewhere. Or maybe they were discovered, and had to flee, or were killed? But then, why not come back... oh yeah, the spirits. :? Deceased Church members?


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:46 am 
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Haven't posted anything up in a couple days because I haven't been able to think of much more. But I'll be sure to let you know if I do! :D Also, I want to make a habit of doing stuff like this. As in, post up story ideas every couple of days, even if there isn't much. I've heard that if you are writing a story, or planning one, it helps prevent total writer's block.

I may not have been able to think of ways to further flesh out the Church, but I can consider who will take centre stage in such a story. The two Brother Bloods, of course, go without saying. For the Titans, I'd pick Raven and Cyborg; Raven because the Church worships her father (something she WILL NOT take very well), plus the younger Blood has a really creepy infatuation complex over her, and Cyborg because the elder Blood has become his main nemesis in the animated series; he's almost as obsessed and eagle-eyed over the elder Blood as Robin is over Slade. Kind of obvious reasons, really.

There is one other character that would need to be built upon, which is the regent for the younger Blood, the current head of the Church in all but name, and obviously a villain not just to the Titans, but to both Brother Bloods as well. I realise the dangers of trying to create an original character, and how they can derail any story if handled incorrectly/inappropriately. So, more reason for me to talk it over with you guys, get some suggestions and stop me from making a total f*ckup. To be honest, I haven't had much luck in detailing him; he's pretty fuzzy and out of focus in my head. But I will give you what ideas I do have for him at present in the spoiler box below.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
First, the name. Father Dis. :? I'm kind of embarrassed about it, but that's all I could come up with. I based the name off the Roman predecessor for Pluto, Roman god of the underworld (Pluto is also known as Dis Pater, Father Death). He would have necromancy as one of his powers, and also the ability to corrupt and/or absorb the life force of another living thing, hence the reasoning behind his name. There are similarities betwen him and the Roman Pluto/Greek Hades (which are worth looking at more closely), but the difference is that he (Father Dis) is power hungry and ambitious as well. The Hades/Pluto of Classical myth was actually never evil, and was more humble than that stupid Disney movie made him out to be.

Like I've said earlier, his goal is a complete takeover of the Church of Blood and its considerable resources, both material and supernatural. He's already pretty close to his goal thanks to the elder Blood bailing out, and the younger Blood being young, somewhat impressionable, and most importantly, unable to succeed or gain his full might without first killing his father. Being regent is not enough for him. To rule the Church, the younger Blood has to go, but he faces opposition from Mother Mayhem, the other main voice in the Church, and her supporters. Also, a non-family member killing a Blood? A big no-no. The Church, being a cult, is focused very heavily on the personality of the Blood dynasty, and not just on the worship of Trigon. It wouldn't be a Church of Blood anymore if that lineage was extinguished. The regent will have to play a devious game of winning hearts and minds, and aim to discredit the rightful heir, to make such a radical change more appetising.

I don't want to end the story with the destruction of the Church. I was thinking more along the lines of a violent schism, where the younger Blood finally decides it's time to curbstomp his ambitious regent. But by that time, Father Dis will have gained a lot of support; not enough to overthrow the younger Blood, but enough to construct his own power base independent of Blood's Church. As for the fate of the elder Blood... I don't know. Still mulling over whether to break the curse (and have him live to antagonise Cyborg another day), or to have the son kill his own dad. Then again, if the curse breaks, it still wouldn't be good for Blood Senior. The curse grants him immortality (apart from death by patricide), so if the curse is lifted, the silver lining is also gone, and he'd age exponentially. Food for thought. :idea:


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 4:54 pm 
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
snowman1989 wrote:
First, the name. Father Dis. :? I'm kind of embarrassed about it, but that's all I could come up with. I based the name off the Roman predecessor for Pluto, Roman god of the underworld (Pluto is also known as Dis Pater, Father Death).
How about....Father Furor. The Church is into alliterative titles, as I'm sure you've noticed.

snowman1989 wrote:
The Hades/Pluto of Classical myth was actually never evil, and was more humble than that stupid Disney movie made him out to be.
Hey, Hades was the best part of that entire movie; only the scene with the hydra came close :geek:

snowman1989 wrote:
I don't want to end the story with the destruction of the Church. I was thinking more along the lines of a violent schism, where the younger Blood finally decides it's time to curbstomp his ambitious regent. But by that time, Father Dis will have gained a lot of support; not enough to overthrow the younger Blood, but enough to construct his own power base independent of Blood's Church. As for the fate of the elder Blood... I don't know. Still mulling over whether to break the curse (and have him live to antagonise Cyborg another day), or to have the son kill his own dad. Then again, if the curse breaks, it still wouldn't be good for Blood Senior. The curse grants him immortality (apart from death by patricide), so if the curse is lifted, the silver lining is also gone, and he'd age exponentially. Food for thought. :idea:
If you want to create an ongoing change in the status quo...leave the elder Blood around, fortifying the H.I.V.E. Then you have the Father, Blood the Elder and Blood the Younger.

It'd an uneasy stability that way: no two of them trust each other enough to gang up on the third, and if two of them fight it out the third can mop up the exhausted victor. It'd require one of them getting enough power/ego to take on the other two before this would break.

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:29 pm 
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
The Phiend wrote:
How about....Father Furor. The Church is into alliterative titles, as I'm sure you've noticed.


Hadn't actually thought of alliteration because I've always thought it a bit cliched. But Father Furor sounds like a better name as it emphasises the style of his sway over both the Church and perhaps the behaviour of his undead minions. I originally chose Father Dis because it reflected his powers (Dis= death, having power over the dead)... which is also cliched when I think about it. :oops:

The Phiend wrote:
If you want to create an ongoing change in the status quo...leave the elder Blood around, fortifying the H.I.V.E. Then you have the Father, Blood the Elder and Blood the Younger.

It'd an uneasy stability that way: no two of them trust each other enough to gang up on the third, and if two of them fight it out the third can mop up the exhausted victor. It'd require one of them getting enough power/ego to take on the other two before this would break.


That's kind of how I wanted the story to start out. But the problem is that this stance is unsustainable, even in the short term, because of the nature of the Blood curse. The Elder Blood is almost out of time, and if he doesn't do something quick, then the Younger Blood will find a way to locate and kill him. That would bring in Father Furor, who will want to stop this happening because he wants control of the Church, and he can't have that if the Younger Blood succeeds and gains his full powers. If the curse is lifted, then the Elder Blood may not last very long as he will age very quickly and would die anyway. With the Younger Blood unable to access his full potential, then it would only be a matter of time before Father Furor locks him out of everything and then eventually kills him once he wins over the whole Church. Either way, it looks like it will be curtains for the Elder in one way or another.

You know, this would be a good way to get the Titans involved. The Elder Blood may find a way to end the curse, but finds he cannot do it without some (reluctant) help. It would in no way be altruistic; Blood wants their help because he wants to live, and having the Titans on your side would give you a huge advantage (but he'll also try to find a way to screw them over). The Titans would only do it because... well, better the devil (Elder Blood) you know than the devil you don't (Younger Blood/Father Furor). Plus, it's a church of Trigon worshippers. That's reason enough to go in and kick ass.

It's also an interesting way to look at an established villain and see how he reacts to the prospect of dying. The Elder Blood isn't a coward; after all, he's gone toe-to-toe with Cyborg and is unafraid to get his hands dirty. Yet, he's also been running away at the same time. He's having to come to terms with his own mortality in a very uncomfortable fashion.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:21 am 
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snowman1989 wrote:
You guys have been awesome. This is something I want to do in the near future, handling a story about the Church of Blood, but I'd like to wait until Corey finishes Family first. It's a great story, and I really want to see where he goes with Brother Blood there.
While I'm very flattered, it would be highly irresponsible of me not to tell you this straight out: don't wait on me. Even if I weren't struggling to fight my way out of nearly two years' worth of writer's block, it would still take me quite a while to finish Family because there is still quite a bit of the story left to get through. I would say about two-thirds of the story has been published so far.

About exploring Trigon's character, keep one thing in mind with him: his perspective and motivations are not remotely human in any conceivable sense. He is both understandable on a primal, visceral level, yet also infinitely more alien than (for example) Starfire. He is both immortal and, for all intents and purposes, completely omnipotent on his own plane of existence. And his motivations are either completely abhorrent from a human perspective, or literally impossible to understand (arguably both, simultaneously).

I don't know about you, but I don't have the slightest idea how I would even attempt to write that. So instead I opt to deal with Trigon almost as more of an idea than a character, as you've probably noticed. A primal threat to all that lives. Since once you're face-to-face with him, that's pretty much it, you're done and (barring truly extraordinary circumstances) there's really nowhere you can go from that point, in terms of a story.

Oh, by the way, like the avatar. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:05 am 
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CWS wrote:
While I'm very flattered, it would be highly irresponsible of me not to tell you this straight out: don't wait on me. Even if I weren't struggling to fight my way out of nearly two years' worth of writer's block, it would still take me quite a while to finish Family because there is still quite a bit of the story left to get through. I would say about two-thirds of the story has been published so far.


That's all good. Because odds are it will still take me a long time to get a plot, subplots and characterisation set before I even think about writing up a draft. Good stories, like everything in life, take time and effort.

CWS wrote:
About exploring Trigon's character, keep one thing in mind with him: his perspective and motivations are not remotely human in any conceivable sense. He is both understandable on a primal, visceral level, yet also infinitely more alien than (for example) Starfire. He is both immortal and, for all intents and purposes, completely omnipotent on his own plane of existence. And his motivations are either completely abhorrent from a human perspective, or literally impossible to understand (arguably both, simultaneously).


When you put it like that, yeah, that is a real hurdle. :? Maybe I can try reading some Lovecraft or something to get some ideas (hopefully with my sanity intact). Failing that, I guess the "abstract concept" thing would be the safer route.

CWS wrote:
Once you're face-to-face with him, that's pretty much it, you're done and (barring truly extraordinary circumstances) there's really nowhere you can go from that point, in terms of a story.


Unless you're Raven, of course. :P

CWS wrote:
Oh, by the way, like the avatar.


Thank you. Only took me about two years to get one. I'm so proud. :rbg: It's McNaughton's Comet by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:24 am 
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snowman1989 wrote:
CWS wrote:
About exploring Trigon's character, keep one thing in mind with him: his perspective and motivations are not remotely human in any conceivable sense. He is both understandable on a primal, visceral level, yet also infinitely more alien than (for example) Starfire. He is both immortal and, for all intents and purposes, completely omnipotent on his own plane of existence. And his motivations are either completely abhorrent from a human perspective, or literally impossible to understand (arguably both, simultaneously).

When you put it like that, yeah, that is a real hurdle. :? Maybe I can try reading some Lovecraft or something to get some ideas (hopefully with my sanity intact).
That would honestly be a pretty good route to take! :lol: And I'm being completely serious about that, for the record.

snowman1989 wrote:
CWS wrote:
Once you're face-to-face with him, that's pretty much it, you're done and (barring truly extraordinary circumstances) there's really nowhere you can go from that point, in terms of a story.

Unless you're Raven, of course. :P
That would qualify as an extraordinary circumstance, yes. :rbg:

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:24 am 
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Okay, I've thought about where to look at next (hwhile I find some Lovecraft to read in my spare time), and I think the Blood Curse needs attention. The Church of Blood may worship Trigon, but like most cults, it is centred around a charismatic leader called Brother Blood (hence the name) who calls all the shots. The only real downside for him is the curse where the son is always destined to kill the father and take over the Church, a bloody tradition going all the way back to the murder of Sebastos Komnenos of Zandia by his own progeny.

I've found this odd on reflection, and spawns a wide array of questions. Why should there be such a curse to begin with (Trigon's sick sense of humour)? Why didn't any of the previous Brother Bloods simply decide not to have children if they knew that they would one day murder them? Where does Mother Mayhem fit into this? After all, in the comics, Mayhem is the bride of the original Elder Brother Blood and gives birth to his heir (the Younger). How exactly does the curse work, how was it cast? We know the curse started with the corrupted shawl found by Sebastos, who claimed it originally belonged to Jesus (something I'm not so sure about), but I'm beginning to think there may be more to the tale here, but we need to make up quite a few pieces of the puzzle in order for everything to fit.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:59 am 
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snowman1989 wrote:
Okay, I've thought about where to look at next (hwhile I find some Lovecraft to read in my spare time), and I think the Blood Curse needs attention. The Church of Blood may worship Trigon, but like most cults, it is centred around a charismatic leader called Brother Blood (hence the name) who calls all the shots. The only real downside for him is the curse where the son is always destined to kill the father and take over the Church, a bloody tradition going all the way back to the murder of Sebastos Komnenos of Zandia by his own progeny.

I've found this odd on reflection, and spawns a wide array of questions. Why should there be such a curse to begin with (Trigon's sick sense of humour)? Why didn't any of the previous Brother Bloods simply decide not to have children if they knew that they would one day murder them? Where does Mother Mayhem fit into this? After all, in the comics, Mayhem is the bride of the original Elder Brother Blood and gives birth to his heir (the Younger). How exactly does the curse work, how was it cast? We know the curse started with the corrupted shawl found by Sebastos, who claimed it originally belonged to Jesus (something I'm not so sure about), but I'm beginning to think there may be more to the tale here, but we need to make up quite a few pieces of the puzzle in order for everything to fit.
The easiest answer is that the Curse is, in fact, a tradeoff: If the son is "destined" to kill the father, then "destiny" would necessarily prevent any other ambitious elements in the Church of Blood from killing the father instead. Until the child is old enough to pose a threat, Brother Blood has it easy.

Of course, that only applies if there is such an heir....Since Brother Blood is a title, it could be possible that in the event a bloodline is expunged, someone else has to take up the mantle (probably involving some sort of violent competition). I don't imagine cultists change their ways easily, after all...to say nothing of Trigon.

It's even possible that there is no actual curse, that the entire thing was all made up prophetized by the second Brother Blood to cover his own tracks (ie convince everyone else that siding against him like he had against his own father was a bad idea), and he did so convincingly that even his own son took it to heart...much to the elder's surprise. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy thing, present a set of circumstances/actions that causes its own fulfillment. (Think about it...if Brother Blood is vicious to betrayal, and can't actually be killed by anyone other than his own son....isn't it in your best interest to stop any would-be killers lest you be held responsible for failing to act? Thus preventing an assassination attempt that might disprove the "curse"?)

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:23 pm 
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snowman1989 wrote:
Okay, I've thought about where to look at next (hwhile I find some Lovecraft to read in my spare time), and I think the Blood Curse needs attention. The Church of Blood may worship Trigon, but like most cults, it is centred around a charismatic leader called Brother Blood (hence the name) who calls all the shots. The only real downside for him is the curse where the son is always destined to kill the father and take over the Church, a bloody tradition going all the way back to the murder of Sebastos Komnenos of Zandia by his own progeny.

I've found this odd on reflection, and spawns a wide array of questions. Why should there be such a curse to begin with (Trigon's sick sense of humour)? Why didn't any of the previous Brother Bloods simply decide not to have children if they knew that they would one day murder them? Where does Mother Mayhem fit into this? After all, in the comics, Mayhem is the bride of the original Elder Brother Blood and gives birth to his heir (the Younger). How exactly does the curse work, how was it cast? We know the curse started with the corrupted shawl found by Sebastos, who claimed it originally belonged to Jesus (something I'm not so sure about), but I'm beginning to think there may be more to the tale here, but we need to make up quite a few pieces of the puzzle in order for everything to fit.
This is an excellent point, and I think I may have an idea as to how it might work.

What if each successive Brother Blood is required to produce an heir, in order to gain access to the full scope of his powers? Like, for example, his total invulnerability to anyone and everyone but that heir? Such a mechanism could simply and credibly explain much of the above, and would most certainly qualify as both a blessing and a self-fulfilling curse.

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:33 am 
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CWS wrote:
What if each successive Brother Blood is required to produce an heir, in order to gain access to the full scope of his powers? Like, for example, his total invulnerability to anyone and everyone but that heir? Such a mechanism could simply and credibly explain much of the above, and would most certainly qualify as both a blessing and a self-fulfilling curse.


It's a possibility. I'm intending for the murder of each previous Brother Blood to have enabled the succeeding Brother Bloods to unlock some of their own powers as well. Siring an heir could complete his full array of powers; but perhaps not invulnerability. I'd think that would be the first power gained when the son murders the father, or else the new Brother Blood would be vulnerable to assassination by anyone else.

The Phiend wrote:
Of course, that only applies if there is such an heir....Since Brother Blood is a title, it could be possible that in the event a bloodline is expunged, someone else has to take up the mantle (probably involving some sort of violent competition). I don't imagine cultists change their ways easily, after all...to say nothing of Trigon.


I thought of having the Brother Blood line continue unbroken and consistent, as Sebastian's family has a special brand of evil inherited and passed down through the generations. It gives a certain sense of inevitability and weight of tradition; like father, like son. I find this to be a good contrast between the Younger Blood and Raven, as the Younger Blood wishes whole-heartedly to continue down the path of his evil forefathers (albeit in his own unique style), while Raven completely rejects that sense of familial inevitability that Trigon attempted to suck her into with the prophecy and go her own way.

The Phiend wrote:
It's even possible that there is no actual curse, that the entire thing was all made up prophetized by the second Brother Blood to cover his own tracks (ie convince everyone else that siding against him like he had against his own father was a bad idea), and he did so convincingly that even his own son took it to heart...much to the elder's surprise. Kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy thing, present a set of circumstances/actions that causes its own fulfillment. (Think about it...if Brother Blood is vicious to betrayal, and can't actually be killed by anyone other than his own son....isn't it in your best interest to stop any would-be killers lest you be held responsible for failing to act? Thus preventing an assassination attempt that might disprove the "curse"?)


Hahahaha! That would be a killer twist! :rbg: I'll have to think about that some more. Assuming that the curse is real, however, I'm starting to think Raven would be the only one who could break it (other than Trigon himself), and even then it would still be very difficult.

We know where the male line of Brother Bloods have come from, but we don't know where all the Mother Mayhems have come from. In the comics, they appear to be chosen at Brother Blood's whim, apparently. This approach seems kind of lazy and ill-thought out. Brother Blood is descended from Medieval royalty, he wouldn't just go gallavanting off with just anyone... okay, maybe he would. ;) But he wouldn't raise an heir from someone of low status. If I were an evil, charismatic priest-king with an Augustus complex (and I'm not), I would pick my queen very carefully... and not take no for an answer. Preferably someone with considerable magical powers themselves to ensure a very strong mix of genes. It would explain the difference between the powers of the Elder and Younger Bloods, with the Elder having mass hypnotic/psychic abilities, and the Younger possessing vampiric traits. Part of the reason for the Church to have such a wide underground network all over the world would be to search for girls/women with desirable traits and metahuman powers for the current Brother Blood to... well, you get the picture. :?


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:47 am 
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Just had an afterthought. We could go further and say that the Church underground doesn't just look for the next Mother Mayhem; it also deals in human trafficking. Metahuman trafficking being a specialty (especially those with a talent for magic), while ordinary humans could be used to satisfy their need for blood in their gory rituals. It would also make sense for the Church to use that network to search the world for certain powerful magical artifacts. Zandia is home to the world's largest repository of dark magic artifacts, a lot of them infused with Trigon's power, including the corrupted shawl found by Sebastos. Which has got me thinking: Isn't Brother Blood supposed to be wearing it? In the comics, I believe he does, but in the cartoon he doesn't (unless I've gone blind). The shawl has powerful magical properties of its own and adds to Brother Blood's power, so going without it would be very unusual. Is it connected to the curse? Perhaps the Elder Blood was robbed of it by his son, Father Furor, or maybe even Mother Mayhem in preparation for the Younger Blood's succession? Maybe it is part of the reason he fled to the H.I.V.E.?


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:42 am 
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snowman1989 wrote:
Just had an afterthought. We could go further and say that the Church underground doesn't just look for the next Mother Mayhem; it also deals in human trafficking. Metahuman trafficking being a specialty (especially those with a talent for magic), while ordinary humans could be used to satisfy their need for blood in their gory rituals.
This is a great idea and creates tons of story possibilities all by itself.

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:37 am 
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Haven't posted for a while, better remedy that now and keep the thread active.

I mentioned earlier that I was taking a history paper on Medieval Mentalities, and that (in the West at least) there were three orders in society; the laboratores, bellatores and oratores in ascending order(workers, soldiers and clergy respectively). I can picture the Church of Blood operating on a similar "societal" scheme, though it may be a bit different because everyday life in Medieval Eastern Europe had important differences from the West.

I currently don't have much of an idea of what to do with the worker class, who make up the bulk of the Church. Obviously, they're the backbone of the Church, handling menial labour and grunt work that is ornery, but necessary. Occupations include servicing the chapels, missionary work (which includes spying), construction, etc. I don't think they'd be treated as well as the other two classes (most of them live in poverty), which could create room for some defections from the Church, or between the Younger Blood/Mother Mayhem and Father Furor in their power struggles by offering them added benefits and perks if they help him take power. Advancement into the soldier class, or even the clergy (if their faith is strong enough), is uncommon, but not impossible.

The soldiers are easier to consider. They are the Church's bloodied, iron fists, part of a long tradition stretching back to the Byzantine army. One of their signature weapons is the infamous Greek Fire which is utilised in many of their weapons, particularly flamethrowers and grenades. It is an ancient equivalent to modern napalm that is burns fiercely even underwater; the only thing water does is fan the flames and intensify the heat. They are well-disciplined, trained in the latest military technology and tactics, and are so religiously fanatical they would sooner die rather than betray the Church. In fact, they all carry cyanide capsules and special knives in case they are captured or have decisively lost. Some of their squad commanders are members of the clergy, who have the added benefits of minor demonic powers granted to them by Trigon that could include telportation, conjuring, and magical augmentation (eg. added strength, speed). The elite forces of the Church, the highest echelon of the soldier class, are sent only when all other forces have failed, and are dangerous enough to challenge even a Titan single-handedly.

The clergy are also easier to have a fuller understanding of than the workers. They are the top dogs in the Church order, beneath only Brother Blood and Trigon himself, and handle advanced administration, command of soldiers, major rituals and the like. Brother Blood has traditionally been the only one who can commune directly with Trigon, and from him he gives favoured members of the clergy powers "gifted" from Trigon (some of these gifts can have some nasty side-effects). However, in recent years Father Furor has somehow managed to commune with the demon lord and grant these same privileges as well, indicating a disturbing shift in the Church status quo. Unlike the workers, who are often impoverished, the clergy are rich from the spoils of centuries of pilfering treasures and artifacts from all over the world, and many dress extravagantly. The clergy enjoy lucrative contacts with certain businesses, government workers, terrorist organistations and the like all over the world, and thus are the brains behind the Church's impressive underground network that gives them power and influence far beyond what their few numbers would initially suggest.


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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:16 pm 
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snowman1989 wrote:
This approach seems kind of lazy and ill-thought out. Brother Blood is descended from Medieval royalty, he wouldn't just go gallavanting off with just anyone... okay, maybe he would. ;) But he wouldn't raise an heir from someone of low status. If I were an evil, charismatic priest-king with an Augustus complex (and I'm not), I would pick my queen very carefully... and not take no for an answer.
While certainly valid, that's not the only possibility. Consider: He may believe himself to be in possession of power so great that no mortal bloodline could hope to diminish it. Alternatively, he may want to ensure any heir only has a single bloodline of note.

Or maybe it's ill-thought out because he's simply lascivious, and didn't found a personality cult for purely practical purposes :P

snowman1989 wrote:
I mentioned earlier that I was taking a history paper on Medieval Mentalities, and that (in the West at least) there were three orders in society; the laboratores, bellatores and oratores in ascending order(workers, soldiers and clergy respectively). I can picture the Church of Blood operating on a similar "societal" scheme, though it may be a bit different because everyday life in Medieval Eastern Europe had important differences from the West.
Hmm. Kind of reminds me of the BattleTech Clans, which had five castes (also in ascending order): Laborers, merchants, technicians, scientists, and warriors.

Huh. Come to think of it, the series had this more closely with the HIVE....There were the HIVE Technicians (workers), the HIVE Troopers (soldiers), and....Blood and the Academy members (clergy, now in secular flavor :-P ).

snowman1989 wrote:
I currently don't have much of an idea of what to do with the worker class, who make up the bulk of the Church.
Generally, you'd have assigned roles/castes/orders for all things that are particularly important to the Church, that they simply must have someone doing. The worker class then handles everything that's left.

snowman1989 wrote:
Occupations include servicing the chapels, missionary work (which includes spying), construction, etc. I don't think they'd be treated as well as the other two classes (most of them live in poverty), which could create room for some defections from the Church, or between the Younger Blood/Mother Mayhem and Father Furor in their power struggles by offering them added benefits and perks if they help him take power.
I have a hard time thinking there would be a high success rate of missionary/spy work if they live in poverty. Those positions would spend a lot of time outside the confines of the Church, making them the easiest to buy off. This isn't necessary a bad thing--perhaps "missionary work" is also used as a euphemism/cover for "excommunicated...from life"--but something to be aware of.

snowman1989 wrote:
Some of their squad commanders are members of the clergy, who have the added benefits of minor demonic powers granted to them by Trigon that could include telportation, conjuring, and magical augmentation (eg. added strength, speed).
You seem to be mixing the soldiers and the clergy, here....Is there any reason that not all squad commanders are clergy?

snowman1989 wrote:
Brother Blood has traditionally been the only one who can commune directly with Trigon, and from him he gives favoured members of the clergy powers "gifted" from Trigon (some of these gifts can have some nasty side-effects).
It may be time to outline, at least vaguely, what these gifts normally entail. It'd help define what capabilities they need to bring to the table, so to speak, against those that can be supernaturally provided.

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 Post subject: Re: Story Ideas: Church of Blood
PostPosted: Sun Sep 23, 2012 2:15 am 
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The Phiend wrote:
I have a hard time thinking there would be a high success rate of missionary/spy work if they live in poverty. Those positions would spend a lot of time outside the confines of the Church, making them the easiest to buy off. This isn't necessary a bad thing--perhaps "missionary work" is also used as a euphemism/cover for "excommunicated...from life"--but something to be aware of.


I said most of them (the workers) would likely live in poverty. Missionaries and spies on the other hand are definately more valued in their work than the rest of their bretheren, and so keeping them loyal would be in the Church's best interests. My fault that I wasn't being clear. As for excommunication... I hadn't actually thought that through. It's something that way back in Medieval times was equivalent to a death sentence from the Pope in all but name, making the subject a non-person and thus killing him/her was encouraged. The Elder Blood has certainly been excommunicated for leaving the Church, but I don't know how successful others have been in trying to opt out of the demonic cult. Previous Bloods and the rest of the clergy would have had a very strong hold on their flock thanks to their powers (both "legal" and supernatural), Blood's private army, the Church's sizable spy and intelligence network and so on. To me, the Church is a bit like a mix between Saudi Arabia (in theocracy) and North Korea (totalitarianism). The soldiers and clergy always have a sharp eye on their workers, and on Zandia, a tiny little island, that would be even easier. Very few places to hide in body, or even mind.

The Phiend wrote:
You seem to be mixing the soldiers and the clergy, here....Is there any reason that not all squad commanders are clergy?


The clergy are like the ultimate fat cats here. They're rich, self-satisfied, swimming in luxury and they'd rather not get blood stains on their robes (or heaven forbid, hangnails :P ). But I'm allowing for a few exceptions for clergymen who do get satisfaction out of killing people on the field. There are exceptions to every rule in life, after all.

But you have a point about me seemingly mixing up the clergy and soldiers with command roles. I was thinking of having the Titans go against mooks who aren't your average mooks, so to speak. Sure, they'd easily beat the stuffing out of much of the Church's soldiery, but squad commanders and the Church's elite troops are the best of the best, and won't go down without inflicting some kind of injury on at least one Titan. Beating up regular armed thugs time after time is boring, monotonous and the result is never in doubt.
My point is that squad commanders and the elite troops are not pushovers because they have better equipment, training, discipline, and some have the benefit of magical powers that can turn the tide in their favour, even against the Titans.

Under the Elder Blood, only the clergy had access to new powers. But Father Furor has shaken things up and allowed elite soldiers loyal to him to have powers of their own. I realise that earlier, I said that only the clergy got the magic, but I'm thinking about Furor a bit more and I'm realising he's become more radical and eager to think outside of the Church's traditional boundaries than anyone except the Elder Blood himself (when he joined the HIVE and used technology stolen from Cyborg). This is bad news for the Titans of course. But at the same time it is upsetting to much of the clergy losing their monopoly on mystical powers, and giving soldiers magical abilities could also be very destabilising (think: coup).


The Phiend wrote:
It may be time to outline, at least vaguely, what these gifts normally entail. It'd help define what capabilities they need to bring to the table, so to speak, against those that can be supernaturally provided.


I'd prefer to be vague too at this point. These powers would be much weaker than what Raven or Psimon have, but they wouldn't be so weak as to be parlour tricks. They could include fire conjuration (demonstrated by Slade during Raven's story arc in the cartoon), teleportation, true clairvoyance, telekinesis, limited mind control, levitation... basically anything you can imagine. However, they can only have one power (so one with levitation can't have control of fire) and once they gain that power, they become truly evil from the contamination of Trigon's influence.


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