Now, back on topic- According to my read of Pattern Spider Touch, you could turn the army of mooks into Elemental Dragons that wished to serve you, yes? Totally imbalancing the Celestial Bureaucracy?
Dr. Moran responded:
Sort of. The effect in question works as follows, since elemental dragons are neither beasts nor raw chunks of element:
- Granting the target a new life and identity. This uses the same rules as the Ceasing to Exist Approach (p. 173), save that the effects are permanent and the target forgets his original identity.
Let's trace through the implications. I'll go ahead and note the big one first: the transformation doesn't give them any new abilities. If you turn your herd of cattle into elemental dragon flunkies, you'll have a bunch of elemental dragon flunkies who can say "Moo" and bring the gift of methane to Heaven.
Second, the new Elemental Dragons have 15 dots of appropriate Backgrounds. Dots over 3 cost double. This is powerful social mojo, but it's still wimpy for an Elemental Dragon.
Third, the Maiden of Secrets chooses where these new Elemental Dragons appear. Don't try an unauthorized coup this way. :)
Four, the new elemental dragons develop appropriate social relationships for their new identity. Now, there's no mind control involved in the Charm, so I assume that you're choosing an *identity* of "one of my legion of elemental dragon flunkies." So they have appropriate social relationships for one of your elemental dragon flunkies, which probably means that most of Heaven knows they're your thugs.
Five, the Celestines will be able to identify them if they cause trouble. And, in fact, the Maiden of Secrets is the only Celestine who'll even recognize any of them—-the other Celestines will go, "Buh? I've never heard of elemental dragon X."
In other words, much like summoning a crack squad of Third Circle demons, sneaking them into Heaven by filing them as paperwork, and ordering them to pants the Unconquered Sun, it's not so much that it's against the rules as that it may not actually benefit your character in a non-comedy game.
For those who refuse to read elsewhere, I'll restate my point with this analogy. :)
Suppose you have a Solar. The player says, "Okay. I go to the field of rocks and give them an incredible speech about how they should become my loyal army. I use Masterful Performance Exercise and … if I can use the Charm for this … get 20 successes on my oratory roll."
Look. The Charm is going to *work*. You *are* going to make a bloody good speech. That's what the Charm does.
This doesn't mean that the Storyteller says, "Okay. The stones get up and follow you."
You *can* get 20 successes on your speech.
But they're *rocks*.
My opinion is that all an epic story requires is "… and one of the stones, though unable to move and fight on your behalf, quietly sheds a tear."
Yes. You can turn an army of elite troops into your army of identical elemental dragon flunkies.
The Charm works. You *can* do this.
But they're *elite troops*.
They have the character sheets of elite troops.
They can't even get in and out of Yu-Shan.
They don't have spirit powers.
They don't have elemental powers.
They're just *elite troops*.
The Charm works. You *can* do this.
But they have the identity of "one of that Sidereal's army of identical elemental dragon flunkies."
If you want to rely on the social clout of your army of identical elemental dragon flunkies, make it fast, and make it bloody cool, because that clout isn't going to stand up to any sort of adversity.