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oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Mors Rattus posted:

^^^^
Do you really think we need magic to forget about genocide? We put Andrew Jackson on our money.


I would guess they are, because one of the ultimate lessons of Unknown Armies is that the magical world doesn't actually matter.

This is a bit like saying a guy who can conjure hurricanes isn't scary because hurricanes happen naturally all on their own. The ability power of Major cliomancy spells is that in a moment they can do something that takes decades of denial, justification, cover-ups, lies and distractions to accomplish organically in a matter of seconds...and directed by the will of a scheming rear end in a top hat (or a moron...Cliomancy isn't a Mind skill after all).

That's kind of the point of cliomancy: most of the things they do can happen naturally or organically...or even intentionally. Politicians and lobbyists cover-up and screw around with public perception all the time. It doesn't take magick to do these things...but magick does make it much faster and easier and allows you access that wouldn't normally be possible.


And the magickal world of Unknown Armies definitely matters. Cosmic-level play can have significant impact on the world and in some aspects it is even an essential part of the architecture of reality. It's just that the magickally world is deeply, deeply disfunctional at the same time.

quote:

Not my point. It absolutely can. Then it will be altered again, because what's believed as history changes all the time. I can walk you down to the local Barnes and Noble and show you a selection of books calling Nazi Germany vile monsters from the pit of hell, books calling Nazi Germany misunderstood heroes, books calling Nazi Germany's leaders evil but the people good, and a dozen other viewpoints that have evolved and changed over the years and individuals.

That's assuming that the cliomancer is completely lacking in subtlety. Yes, deleting something like well-documented recent atrocities or events are unlikely to have earth-shaking effects. But it's a lot harder to detect when things are added to history and altering history is even tougher to shake. Sure, trying to simply delete the holocaust (or similar event) from history is unlikely to "take"...but you could redirect blame or provide justifications (say inserting Al Qaeda style terrorist attacks and atrocities by a radical jewish movement within Germany). It's a lot tougher to disprove something (especially a well-crafted lie).

Just look at American history. Anyone moderate research shows that the popular mythology of someone like Christopher Columbus is almost completely untrue. But that doesn't prevent his "discovery" of the country from being a celebrated holiday and a significant majority of the population accepts the myths as fact. Cliomantic effects have that same inertia.

That's part of the issue with what you're describing...academic views and books on history don't actually determine "the truth" as far as public perception goes.

Of course, its also true that Cliomancers do not need Major charges to be scary bastards. They're just limited to ruining lives on a more individual basis.

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theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.





Noumenon is far and away the best game we've ever read that has the premise of soul-infused insect men aimlessly wandering the metaphysical hallways of an extradimensional mansion with a goofy name.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Cliomancy isn't limited to 'general' history, right? Can you specialize in music history and fight wars over who really invented rock and roll? Is the shift away from 'rockism' leaving bitter Greil Marcus and Lester Bangs Adepts scrambling for charges so they can bring it back on top? What school does the 'Stephen King shot John Lennon' van guy follow? What about that 'Garbologist' who hunted through Bob Dylan's trash? Are their local scene politics that are fought with blood and Magick, as Clios try and contextualize and justify the actions of the Dipsos, Epideromancers (GG Allin) and Entropomancers that actually play in bands? Does the Seattle setting book for Hunter say what REALLY caused Kurt Cobain's death?

How do I explain RPGs to my therapist?

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Count Chocula posted:

Cliomancy isn't limited to 'general' history, right? Can you specialize in music history and fight wars over who really invented rock and roll? Is the shift away from 'rockism' leaving bitter Greil Marcus and Lester Bangs Adepts scrambling for charges so they can bring it back on top? What school does the 'Stephen King shot John Lennon' van guy follow? What about that 'Garbologist' who hunted through Bob Dylan's trash? Are their local scene politics that are fought with blood and Magick, as Clios try and contextualize and justify the actions of the Dipsos, Epideromancers (GG Allin) and Entropomancers that actually play in bands? Does the Seattle setting book for Hunter say what REALLY caused Kurt Cobain's death?

How do I explain RPGs to my therapist?

There're Complete Idiot's Guides to D&D and Vampire. Also Demon has the Seattle sourcebook, not Hunter :spergin:.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Kavak posted:

There're Complete Idiot's Guides to D&D and Vampire. Also Demon has the Seattle sourcebook, not Hunter :spergin:.

Are you sure? I could have sworn...

loving cliomancers.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Holy poo poo, a music journalist wizard would be the most perfect horrible thing ever. They could get charges by controlling how music is perceived. The paradox is, of course, that they don't actually like music; they manipulate what it means to other people but all it means to them is a chance to be important by leeching off someone else's creativity.

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Halloween Jack posted:

Holy poo poo, a music journalist wizard would be the most perfect horrible thing ever. They could get charges by controlling how music is perceived. The paradox is, of course, that they don't actually like music; they manipulate what it means to other people but all it means to them is a chance to be important by leeching off someone else's creativity.
"Too many people have been ruining the band Anger Cage for me, they're too popular now! *goes to their claimed domain of Woodstock and Woodstock 99, uses significant charges to erase the existence of the band from people's memories, writes an article about he discovered the sound of Anger Cage, a little known band you probably haven't heard of, they're underground*"

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


I really want to do something with all the occult weirdness around Brian Wilson and Charles Manson.

Our last UA game actually ended with me somehow convincing the party to kill annoying local musician Ben Lee and then bottling his soul. I think I was an Urbanomancer/music journalist/self-insert who got them to rename the Metro 'the Ben Lee Memorial Theatre'. I got a Sig charge and the campaign ended. A few months ago, the Metro actually changed its name. Ben Lee is still alive, but he spent a year doing ayahuasca in the jungle.


Say, have I told you about my notes for a Hold Steady UA campaign?

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




pkfan2004 posted:

"Too many people have been ruining the band Anger Cage for me, they're too popular now! *goes to their claimed domain of Woodstock and Woodstock 99, uses significant charges to erase the existence of the band from people's memories, writes an article about he discovered the sound of Anger Cage, a little known band you probably haven't heard of, they're underground*"
Remember when Thorpe did a Your Band Sucks article where he invented a favourite band? Convincing a bunch of people that Egyptian Head really existed has got to be worth a significant charge.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


Halloween Jack posted:

Remember when Thorpe did a Your Band Sucks article where he invented a favourite band? Convincing a bunch of people that Egyptian Head really existed has got to be worth a significant charge.

Minor, surely. Unless you can convince Sasha Frere Jones and Pitchfork to review their album, getting a bunch of randoms at a festival to agree that a band exists is easy. Now my brain is sparking with stuff about Carles from Hipster Runoff and Lana Del Rey/Lizzie Grant, and I'm starting to wish I never read the words 'Unknown Armies' in a FATAL review on RPG.net.

Wrestlepig
Feb 25, 2011

my mum says im cool



Toilet Rascal

theironjef posted:



Noumenon is far and away the best game we've ever read that has the premise of soul-infused insect men aimlessly wandering the metaphysical hallways of an extradimensional mansion with a goofy name.

loving dominos?

Grnegsnspm
Oct 20, 2003

This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarian 2: Electric Boogaloo

chaos rhames posted:

loving dominos?

No, just regular dominoes.

chiasaur11
Oct 22, 2012





Halloween Jack posted:

Holy poo poo, a music journalist wizard would be the most perfect horrible thing ever. They could get charges by controlling how music is perceived. The paradox is, of course, that they don't actually like music; they manipulate what it means to other people but all it means to them is a chance to be important by leeching off someone else's creativity.

You ever read Phonogram?

Because that's basically one of the core bits of Phonogram. Music is magic, and most people who can take advantage are horrible, horrible people.

It's by Kieron Gillen, who's one of the better comic writers in the business right now.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


What's odd is that despite 'music is magic' being a pretty common idea, I don't think anyone has managed to write up a good Adept school based on that. I looked when I was playing, so maybe there's something on the site, but it's hard to get a good central paradox. Phonogram is probably the best we'll get.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




Halloween Jack posted:

Holy poo poo, a music journalist wizard would be the most perfect horrible thing ever. They could get charges by controlling how music is perceived. The paradox is, of course, that they don't actually like music; they manipulate what it means to other people but all it means to them is a chance to be important by leeching off someone else's creativity.

hahaha.

Someone got a major charge for bringing back vinyl.

quote:

What's odd is that despite 'music is magic' being a pretty common idea, I don't think anyone has managed to write up a good Adept school based on that. I looked when I was playing, so maybe there's something on the site, but it's hard to get a good central paradox. Phonogram is probably the best we'll get.

The fact that it is such a common idea is probably what makes it a bad adept school. It makes too much sense. Music and magic are already somewhat linked in people's minds and it just doesn't lend itself to paradox.

Now the idea of someone tangential to the musical world who gains power by controlling/enabling/restricting other's musical abilities..that could work. Someone like the aforementioned music journalist adept or a roadie who does all the behind the scenes work that makes modern music possible, or a groupie who lives vicariously and parasitically through bands.

The Lone Badger
Sep 24, 2007



How does the Law of Transaction interact with major Epideromancy charges? Say I cut my hand off for a major charge, and use it to 'completely redesign my body'. I can't get my hand back because of the Law, but I've now got five arms and these nifty chin-tentacles so the fact that one arm ends in a stump doesn't bother me that much.
(Then I get assassinated by the Sleepers because seriously)

Also, could a Cliomancer with enough writing chops create a new landmark by writing a best-selling pop-history book that makes everybody think a major historical event happened there? The landing site of the ancient astronauts or something?

The Lone Badger fucked around with this message at 08:43 on Jun 9, 2015

Flavivirus
Dec 13, 2011

The next stage of evolution.

Sure, with the same caveats as the serial killer cliomancer - it'll take a lot of time, may not even work, and will require a lot of resources to pay off. If you can get away with it though it'd be a real asset.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The Lone Badger posted:

How does the Law of Transaction interact with major Epideromancy charges? Say I cut my hand off for a major charge, and use it to 'completely redesign my body'. I can't get my hand back because of the Law, but I've now got five arms and these nifty chin-tentacles so the fact that one arm ends in a stump doesn't bother me that much.
(Then I get assassinated by the Sleepers because seriously)

Also, could a Cliomancer with enough writing chops create a new landmark by writing a best-selling pop-history book that makes everybody think a major historical event happened there? The landing site of the ancient astronauts or something?

Suddenly, the entire catalog of the History Channel is clarified in all its dread purpose.

oriongates
Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!




The Lone Badger posted:

How does the Law of Transaction interact with major Epideromancy charges? Say I cut my hand off for a major charge, and use it to 'completely redesign my body'. I can't get my hand back because of the Law, but I've now got five arms and these nifty chin-tentacles so the fact that one arm ends in a stump doesn't bother me that much.
(Then I get assassinated by the Sleepers because seriously)

I would have no problem with this at all, because it so perfectly encapsulates the Epideromancer's fatal flaws.

This is a classic example of selling your car to buy a new tire. Keep in mind epideromancer transformations like this are permanent (unless you sacrifice another hand or major body part to change back) By turning yourself into a raging tentacled hate-beast that hand is the least of what you've lost. Sneaking around the loss of your hand by transforming yourself into a monster (more monstrous than even someone like the Freak) doesn't mean you've managed to cheat magick...you've cheated yourself out of your humanity. What are you going to do after you've turned into a walking lovecraftian nightmare? Live in the woods? Eat squirrels? Stay locked up in the basement of your friend's house and only come out when they need their pet horror-beast?

And of course if you wanted to give this situation mechanical "teeth", consider the Isolation and Self checks this sort of transformation is likely to impose.

And of course, as a GM if I really felt like a player was not into the spirit of the game and was just trying to abuse loopholes, I'd point out that his nightmare body is quite fancy but it doesn't come with an instruction manual. Good luck re-learning to walk, write and wipe your rear end.


quote:

Also, could a Cliomancer with enough writing chops create a new landmark by writing a best-selling pop-history book that makes everybody think a major historical event happened there? The landing site of the ancient astronauts or something?

Tentatively, yes. But keep in mind this would

A) have to be completely mundane, no magickal "boosts" to make the story stick.

and B) would have to be convincing enough that it becomes accepted as a true part of world history. It's not enough to become a best-seller or to have a blockbuster movie made about your book. It's got to become so accepted that it has to be the sort of thing that gets taught in schools as fact. Using your ancient astronaut example, you'd have to actually convince the populace at large that there were actually ancient aliens coming to earth. That's...unlikely.

Now, one thing a very convincing cliomancer might be able to do is "shift" charging spots over time. For instance, if they could manage to manipulate accepted history powerfully enough that they convince everyone that the site of Plymouth rock was not in Massachusetts but actually in Rhode Island you could actually cause the charging site to move to a new location (although it remains the same spot...no Major Charges if it was already tapped).

This is still extremely unlikely given the amount of historical inertia you would have to overcome...but the upside is that potentially this could be done with magick (it'd probably take a Major charge but it might be worth it) without violating the law of transaction: you aren't creating a new charging site, just moving it.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Spirit Slayers

The Loyalists of Thule have an early 17th century French document discussing a werewolf atack in 1573. The author was employed to hunt the werewolf, which had killed children and fought armed men. The author assembles some peasants, though they have little skill and poor weapons, though their sergeant, Villet, is skilled enough. They head out, with the author armed by a gun with a ball of pure silver, given to him by a Malleus priest. He plans to keep it as a blessing, not use it. They go hunting for the beast, but it takes them a long time to find it - nearly a month, when it attacks nearby. One of the victims swore the beast had the face of Gilles Garnier, a recluse of the area. They head to the man's home, where they find he has gnarled hands and long, thick nails, plus sharp and uneven teeth and a unibrow. The author is unsure if this is enough to kill him, and he wants proof before they attack. After another child goes missing, however, the peasants cease to wait, and head to kill Garnier and his wife. They torture the pair, who confess to all, but there is no wolfskin, no devil's salve, no witch-mark. The author is convinced it is a false confession, but can do nothing. He attends the execution, in order to punish himself by listening, and ends up noticing that Villet, the sergeant, is calm. He ends up chasing the man down, and the man tells him that God was a sham, that the spirits were all that were, and that it was his divine right to hunt. The author asserts that Villet was essentially confessing, but was proud - talking about how the wolf must hunt, that the weak must honor the strong. He denied God and that normal men were cattle for him to hunt. Villet was the werewolf who ate the children, and was gloating now and planning to eat the author. He turns into an immense wolf-bear creature and attacks, but the author fires the silver bullet into his skull, killing Villet, who reverts to human form. He burns the body in Gilles Grenier's hovel as the villagers celebrate their killing of Grenier.

What follows is the last entry in the notebook of Null Mysteriis researcher Dr. Bryan Wray Davis. He discusses the common folkloric strand of using a salve or oiintment to become a werewolf, sometimes brewed by witches or requiring a wolf-skin. He has found a recipe from 1598, requiring a rendering of monkshood, henbane, devil's cherries, poppy flowers, sweet flag, water-parsnip and moon's allure, boiled in the fat of a child no more than five years old and mixed with the blood of a bat. It is poison to be rubbed on the skin. The recipe gives no amounts and little direction, and very little discussion of what parts of the plants to use. Davis asserts that the use of child fat is just a view into the psychology of the writer, who is clealry an insane killer, and believes that vaseline would work just as well. The bat's blood is probably there for color. Henbane, of course, is stinking nightshade and creates hallucinations and sensation of flight. Monkshood is aconite, slows the heartbeat and relaxes you. Devil's Cherries are the berries of deadly nightshade - hallucinogenic and highly toxic. Water-Parsnip is Sium Suave, a poisonous and hallucinogenic sort of parsnip. Sweet Flag is calamus, another illegal hallucinogen and psychotropic drug - it's used to make absinthe. Poppies are an opiate. Moon's Allure, however, remains a mystery. Davis decides to make the drug cocktail (with Vaseline and no bat's blood) and try it out. There are no entries after this.

The July 1982 issue of Divination magazine contained an article by Scott Nestel on the Croatoan Mystery of Roanoke. Locals settle in, and the Croatoan native tribe are friendly, but no other tribe will speak to them. Eventually, the colony's leader is sent home to ask for help but cannot return for years, where he finds the colony vanished, with the word CROATOAN carved in a tree, and CRO on a post. White believed it meant the colonists moved to Croatoan Island to live with the tribe, but he never got to visit and find out, and a local native chief convinced him they all died. No one ever found out what happened, but stories did emerge of whites intermarrying with natives in the area. Still doesn't realy explain the carved word, however. Nestel thinks it might have been a warning, that the Croatoan turned on them - or perhaps some form of native magic. A 17th century document features an explorer talking to the Croatoan about their beliefs, and he gets told about a tribe of strangers who angered the local spirits, who tested them by transforming them into animals and plants. They rejected this, and so were transformed permanently. Nestel seems to believe this refers to the Roanoke colony, and then wonders why Edgar Allen Poe whispered 'Croatoan' as he died, why it appears in Amelia Earhart's journal and Glenn Miller's music notation, why it appeared in a post of the final bed Ambrose Bierce was known to have slept in before he vanished, and why it was on the wall of the cell of the notorious robber Black Bart. It appears all over, for no reason he can understand. (He even claims Jimmy Hoffa discussed Roanoke before he vanished.) He claims that psychics have found evidence of these strange spirits or Devic intelligences, and he thinks they are connected somehow to the name Croatoan. (Incidentally: The word Croatoan had nothing to do with literally anything he discusses, at least in the real world.)

A French journal, attributed to P. Theleme, Esquire, exists in a small private library in the English Peak District. Theleme discusses his own aging - he has found he is not truly immortal, but instead ages exceptionally slowly. This is a secondary concern - the real problem is maintaining his hygiene in Sumatra's jungles. He and his allies are exploring, led by William Gemeijns de Vris van Doesburgh. The party is mostly Dutch. They are seeking the Orang Pendek, a hairy man halfway between man and ape. One of the other men is a naturalist who wants to capture it live or find a corpse to take home, so he can display it for money and fame. He believes that black people descend from gorillas, Asians from orangutans and white people from some other ape that, Theleme is sure, he would say is more noble and intelligent. He finds the man irritating but just smiles and nods when he talks. Doesburgh just wants a head to put on a wall. Theleme is here out of boredom. They find a primitive knife, which the others refuse to believe is mad by the Orang Pendek. Theleme knows they are being watched by orangutans, whom Doesburgh is excited by because he also wants to capture one if they fail. The next day, they awaken to spot even more orangutans spying on them. The largest is clearly leading the rest, and gestures them away, though the others believe Theleme only imagines that part. They find some arrowheads, abuse their native guide a bit, to the disgust of Theleme and one of the other members of the expedition, Niekirk. They decide to trap the organutans, catching a small female. It eventually breaks out and starts screaming, rampaging through the camp and then running into the woods when Doesburgh shouts at it. He shoots the beast as it flees, but when they go through the brush, they find the dead, naked body of a native woman. Doesburgh berates Niekirk for 'allowing' a bearer to get in the way of the shot. The natives do not recognize the woman at all. The orangutans continue following, now more hostile. The weather gets worse, but the orangutans do not seem to notice it. Broekman eventually dies, having somehow impaled himself on a broken branch amidst ape shrieking. The branch was hardly very sharp, at that. The bearers flee in the night. Theleme suggests they leave, but Doesburgh refuses. The apes strike, slaughtering Doesburgh by tearing out his heart. Niekirk tries to fight back, but has his head and arms torn off. The apes encircle Theleme, and he notes that they are a different shape now - halfway between orangutan and man, like men and women wearing ape masks. He understands now why no one has found the Orang Pendek. He could call down fire on them, but he decides not to - these beastmen are just defending their home, avenging one of their own sisters, as he would have done. He decides to flee, and for some reason they do not chase, perhaps to let him send the message - what you seek, you will not find, and the Orang Pendek are to be left alone.

An email was found on the computer of Austrian parademic Christian Ankerl, unsent but dated to two days before his disappearance in 2008. He went out on call and saw werewolves. It was a car accident, but in the middle of it all was a huge, wolf-headed monster, carrying a human arm. Ankerl fled back to the ambulance, but that was attacked by another werewolf. The beast tried to kill them, but was stopped by something else - another wereweolf. The two fight, and Ankerl flees...where he runs into a fourth werewolf eating the one that attacked the ambulance. An albino, by the looks of it. It attacks, but just catches his wrist in its teeth, draws some blood and lets him flee. The wolves do not chase. Ankerl wonders if now he, too, is going tob e a werewolf now.

We then get another British police transcript archived by Project TWILIGHT. DCI Frank Crowe is interviewing a man named Peter Stubb alongside DS Tim Paine. Peter has confessed to the murders of four women. He wants help, claims he didn't know what he was doing because he was a wolf at the time. Crowe doesn't believe him, so Peter removes his shirt, and explains that he turns into an immense wolf by night, and when he sees a woman as a wolf, he needs to eat her, and he wakes up with a mouth full of blood, naked and miles from home. He claims he has a magic belt, given to him by his father, now dead, who was also a werewolf. It's a very old wolfskin belt. He hides it under his bed in his mother's house, where he still lives. (The cops never found the belt.) Peter gives Crowe the order the women died in. However, Crowe tells him that no one drank the blood or ate the organs of one of the women, and he gets many other details in their deaths wrong. They find that Peter was carrying hallucinogenic mushrooms and herbs, and arrest him as a drug dealer. Now, Peter was not a werewolf and never killed anyone - but his dreams of murder are unnatural. Suppose he is being manipulated by someone else, creating hallucinations and supplying the props. The wolfskin belt that has mysteriously vanished, for example. What if a real werewolf is setting Peter up as a patsy?

Hunter cells without any support typically only notice werewolves when they start to kill. Mutilated victims show up, and they go investigate. If they're lucky, they spot the guy in human form and notice the inner savagery, and they realize the guy's no mere serial killer. If they're unlucky, they face the beast, and they probably die. Your average cell isn't equipped to handle one werewolf, let alone a pack. No human is a match for a werewolf's speed and strength, even assuming they can function after seeing it. If you survive, it's chance or it chose to spare you. Patience, caution and stealth are required. You have to treat them like a super-predator - track them, learn how they hunt, strike from a distance. Draw the net tight and don't give yourself away. Pick the time and place of the fight, and your odds go up dramatically. A silver-tipped rifle round works wonders. Unfortunately, werewolves are rarely alone, and a pack is often more than a single cell can handle. However, with careful surveillence, you can spot weak links, isolating the wolves and taking them down one by one, maybe even turning them on each other. Of course, every night you spend watching and trapping is another night they hunt. Fortunately for everyone, you're a lot more likely to run into spirits possessing people than packs of werewolves. Slums and housing projects draw evil spirits like magnets, as do hoispitals and prisons. They can be firghtening and dangerous, but often are stuck in one place, allowing you more control over how to confront them and giving you an evenue to retreat. Possessed people are different - they're often superhumanly strong and fast, and sometimes draw on the spirit's knowledge and skills. They aren't tied down to a location - the human host is the anchor and can easily move around. And no two spirits are ever exactly the same. Each has its own goals and hungers, and its own weaknesses. What works on one may strengthen another, and it's best to figure out what you're dealing with before you act.

Ashwood Abbey's no stranger to werewolves, if you remember their origin story. Wolf hunts are highly fashionable in Europe, and it's traditional to take the ears as trophies. Some pack them in salt and send them to the late Reverend Ogilvy's estate, but few outside Britain still do this. Some members even skin dead werewolves' human bodies and make human-leather rugs, but no one will admit to doing it. The hunts are very rare, and usually the hunting party gets too big to effectively run down the prey. Sometimes, the werewolf will turn the tables and kill off some of them, while other times they just vanish. When a werewolf does die, it's usually because the creature foolishly tries to take themn all on at once. After all, they can afford great guns and silver bullets. Often, some of them will die, but so will the wolf. But not all of the Abbey like hunting parties. Some of them prefer to see themselves as the modern Great White Hunters, heading out to werewolf-riddled regions and stalking their prey patiently, using the wolf's friends and loved ones as bait if necessary. An even smaller group prefers to stalk shapeshifters while they're human, seduce them and then shoot them before they transform. It's a game of wits, you see, and lets you have sex with a werewolf. Occasionally this produces bastard children, but as yet none of them have been werewolves, as far as the Abbey knows. Still, the prospect is there. Spirit-hunting is rather less popular - a haunted castle might be a great place for a party, but spirits and ghosts are boring. They're so common, so uninteresting. Posession, of course, is much better - there's a physical body to interact with, and rumor has it that a cell in France once made a game of hunting a murder spirit, killing its host and letting it go free to find another so they could hunt it again. It was only stopped when a Malleus cell got involved after a few months. In the US, a few cells seek out haunted sites or possession cases in order to try and get the spirits to possess them briefly - it's a mind-altering experience, but a bit too far for many of the Abbey.

The Long Night know what werewolves are. They are devils, vicious killers. It's all very black and white and it's easy for them to understand. A werewolf is someone who has made a pact with Satan, gaining whatever they ask for but being forced to turn into ravenous beasts when the Devil wants. They must be put down like rabid dogs. Period. No exceptions. Unless you use extreme measures to take out every trace of their sin, it could continue to corrupt others. To some, that means not just killing the wolf, but any member of their family that may have known who or what the wereowlf really was. If innocents die...well, that's regrettable, but God will know his own. Not everyone agrees, however. Some are more compassionate, believing that Christ must forgive any sin, no matter how grave, if you truly repent and accept Him. This often leads to arguments and fights. Unfortunately, so far, every attempt to get a shapechanger to confess and reject their nature has ended disastrously, though rumors persist of an Appalachian church that has managed to redeem a few werewolves. To date, none of them will come forward, for fear of the extremists. As for spirits and possession, that's ah arder issue. There's a lot of debate about the true nature of ghosts and spirits, and when possible they try to banish these beings from the physical world. Sometimes that means blessing a house, sometimes burning it down, but they prefer direct confrontation with spirits if possible. In possession cases, they try exorcism if possible, but they lack the Malleus' experience there, and in many cases all they can do is beg God's forgiveness and kill the host.

The Loyalists of Thule know more about werewolves than they admit. One of their own senior members, Konrad Sanger, sought power by serving the Nazis and refining arguments of Aryan genetic supremacy. Sanger had other secrets, though - he studied shapeshifters and their powers. He didn't share that until his family was sent to the camps, but after that he turned it all over and worked with Nazi geneticists on some of the worst eugenics experiments of the war. The records of the werewolf soldier project were lost at the end of the war, and Sanger committed suicide in early 1945, but many prisoners were shipped to an Aachen research complex, subjected to experiments to tell if they had genetic markers for lycanthropy. After three years, the project was shut down and the facilities supposedly destroyed. Sanger's library is lost, its fate unknown, and most of the Loyalists try to keep their knowledge of shapeshifters a secret out of shame at Sanger. They know that werewolves are both man and spirit, somehow, and believed at the time that they might learn from werewolves about ancestor-spirits, in order to learn more about Thule. Werewolves have never been really friendly, however, and while the early Thules tried to win their trust and protect them from other hunters, the werewolves just dismissed most cooperation out of hand. It was only by accident that a Brussels cell found information valuable enough to interest werewolves - they'd been investigating strange masses of rats beneath the city, and the werewolves were very interested in that. Study over the next few weeks gave enough data to bring the werewolves in to destroy all the rats, though they said little about why. The scholars inferred that the rats were themselves some kind of shapeshifter trying to weaken the barrier between the physical and spirit worlds. The Brussels cell still shares information with the local wolves about strange animal activity, compiling whatever they can get out of the close-mouthed wolves. (The compact is also trying to find rat-shifters now and talk to them.) So far, they've had little success, but hey! One day. They also aggressively study and try to talk to ghosts and spirits of all kinds, occasionally trying to trap them rather than just holding seances. This approach is gaining more followers, though to date no one has ever figured out a practical way to reliably trap and contain a spirit.

Network Zero would love to catch a werewolf transforming on film. People can explain away a giant monster - but a recording of a person turning into one? That's a lot harder to fake. Unfortunately, they've never really been able to catch it happening. Werewolves go to great lengths to hiude themselves, which rather confuses the Ntework, and those who have managed to witness a transformation say it's too fast to catch on film. Senior members have conclued the only way they'll get it done is to get a willing participant - a werewolf who'll come and transform in front of the cameras. So far, no dice. As for ghosts and spirits, the Network is much more successful. After years of documenting and recording paranormal activity and having it disputed by skeptics, there is a sudden growth of interest in ghosts in the mainstream media. Suddenly, they're getting respect they've never had, and huge client lists. Unfortunately, this has been more bad than good - most of the 'hauntings' have no merit whatsoever, and the Network's hunters spend so much time chasing bad leads that they don't have the resources to investigate actual spirit actrivity. But hey, the money's nice.

Null Mysteriis has been fascinated by lycanthropy for decades. Some believe that they're a rare genetic disease that transforms the body in the absence of solar radiation. Others agree it's genetic, but is tied to recessive traits unlocking a 'primal template' that regresses the human body to a more feral and monstrous state. Others say that shapechangers aren't actually human, but a secret parasitic race existing among humans for millenia. Until they can get enough verifiable genetic material to study, the debate will continue. Part of the problem is that werewolf flesh reverts to baseline human after death, which is confounding. All methods of trying to test it have failed. Whatever causes the transformation appears to not obey any laws of chemistry, biology or physics, which is rather exciting but very frustrating. They've concluded that they're going to have to capture a living werewolf and vivsect it - something most cells have no interest in doing. If and when they manage to capture a werewolf, many believe they'll have reached a crossroads for the compact...and those with any conscience dread it, because they know someone will be crazy enough to try vivisection. In the meantime, they continue to study paranormal effects and spiritually active sites, focusing mostly on how spirit energy interacts iwth the world. A number of papers have been published in attempts to define 'aetheric convergence factors' and 'electromagnetic interference patterns on the brain,' and many believe they're on the verge of a breakthrough. If the transfer of energy from spirit to physical can be observed and quantified, they believe they can make tools to detect, talk to, contain and destroy spirits. What they'd do with that remains to be seen, and the possibilities have sparked al ot of debate about whether they should share their knowledge with others to rid the world of malevolent spirits, or conceal it to prevent abuse. They might even be able to use the technology to explore the spirit world as no human has ever been able to, or maybe isolate it from the physical world forever. So far, no consensus has been possible, and may never be possible. Indeed, it might splinter the group if it comes to be.

The Union does not give two shits about what werewolves are or where they come from. As long as they leave you alone, in fact, most Union hunters don't care what they do, either. Their encounters with werewolves are usually brief, bloody and end with the werewolf just deciding to move on to a place where crazy people with shotguns don't try to shoot them. One that won't back down had best prepare for a real fight - the Union protects its turf as violently as any werewolf, after all, and it's led to some truly vicious battles. There are also instances where a pack and a cell have reached some kind of detente in an area, such as in the Bronx in the 70s, when a small cell made a truce in order to help fight gang violence. So long as the wolves hunted heroin dealers and muggers, the hunters wouldn't do a thing to them. It lasts for five years, until two members of the cell were killed by vampires and the entire group went its seperate ways. Similar deals have been made in other places, but some say they're just turning a blind eye to monsters. The Union doesn't care - practicality and protecting your own are what matters. If you die, you can't protect your family. They take the same approach to spirits and hauntings - if they can find a way to deal with it in a nonviolent way, they'll take it. They burn houses down, bulldoze them for new construction, maybe help a ghost finish its unfinished business. You take each situation as it comes and find the most practical solution. This often fails in cases of possession - it's very hard to convince a spirit to give up a body, and it's hard to even reason with or threaten them. They have nothing else to lose and will do anything to feed their hungers. When that happens, well, the Union shoots first and tries not to worry about the host. If you have to put them down to stop the threat...well, that's life.

Next time: Conspiracies

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



oriongates posted:

That's assuming that the cliomancer is completely lacking in subtlety.

And it's a very safe assumption, in my opinion. All adepts are fundamentally insane, and cliomancers in particular are intensely competitive with less major charges left in existence than there are fingers on my hand. I'd be entirely comfortable as a DM saying "No, your character isn't capable of that kind of subtlety - you're insane and you just pulled off a major coup over all your rivals in the entire world. You are not going to be subtle about what you do with this once in a lifetime achievement."

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




oriongates posted:

I would have no problem with this at all, because it so perfectly encapsulates the Epideromancer's fatal flaws.

This is a classic example of selling your car to buy a new tire. Keep in mind epideromancer transformations like this are permanent (unless you sacrifice another hand or major body part to change back) By turning yourself into a raging tentacled hate-beast that hand is the least of what you've lost. Sneaking around the loss of your hand by transforming yourself into a monster (more monstrous than even someone like the Freak) doesn't mean you've managed to cheat magick...you've cheated yourself out of your humanity. What are you going to do after you've turned into a walking lovecraftian nightmare? Live in the woods? Eat squirrels? Stay locked up in the basement of your friend's house and only come out when they need their pet horror-beast?
This reminds me of a sorcerer's club from REIGN who describe permanently Attuning to one school of magic as "cutting off one arm to make the other stronger."

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011

WE HAVE TO CONTROL OUR ENVIRONMENT
IF YOU SEE ME POSTING OUTSIDE OF THE AUSPOL THREAD PLEASE TELL ME THAT I'M MISSED AND TO START POSTING AGAIN


quote:

In the US, a few cells seek out haunted sites or possession cases in order to try and get the spirits to possess them briefly - it's a mind-altering experience, but a bit too far for many of the Abbey.

THAT's where they draw the line? Rape and murder and cannibalism are common, but letting some little spirit posses you so you can trip out is too far? In a 'neutral' version of Ashwood Abbey voluntary possession would be common, and some people would try and see what different spirits feel like when they're being ridden. You could even have snobs, like wine snobs but for spiritual highs.

Humbug Scoolbus
Apr 25, 2008

The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers, stern and wild ones, and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss.


Clapping Larry

Halloween Jack posted:

Holy poo poo, a music journalist wizard would be the most perfect horrible thing ever. They could get charges by controlling how music is perceived. The paradox is, of course, that they don't actually like music; they manipulate what it means to other people but all it means to them is a chance to be important by leeching off someone else's creativity.

The entire staff of Pitchfork are cliomancers obviously.

unseenlibrarian
Jun 4, 2012

There's only one thing in the mountains that leaves a track like this. The creature of legend that roams the Timberline. My people named him Sasquatch. You call him... Bigfoot.

Count Chocula posted:

THAT's where they draw the line? Rape and murder and cannibalism are common, but letting some little spirit posses you so you can trip out is too far? In a 'neutral' version of Ashwood Abbey voluntary possession would be common, and some people would try and see what different spirits feel like when they're being ridden. You could even have snobs, like wine snobs but for spiritual highs.

This would make the Abbey closer to the ghost-huffers from Expiration Date and anything that makes things more Tim Powers is pretty great in my book. (Admittedly I already used the ghost huffers as an abmortal group for a Geist Game, but hey.)

CommissarMega
Nov 18, 2008


Count Chocula posted:

THAT's where they draw the line? Rape and murder and cannibalism are common, but letting some little spirit posses you so you can trip out is too far? In a 'neutral' version of Ashwood Abbey voluntary possession would be common, and some people would try and see what different spirits feel like when they're being ridden. You could even have snobs, like wine snobs but for spiritual highs.

Maybe it's an issue of control? If you're a rich psycho used to getting their own way, voluntarily giving up control to someone else might be anathema.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



CommissarMega posted:

Maybe it's an issue of control? If you're a rich psycho used to getting their own way, voluntarily giving up control to someone else might be anathema.

Except there's plenty of rich psychos that do the opposite as their kink as well. There's a reason why femdoms and power top gay prostitutes exist.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Spirit Slayers

The Aegis Kai Doru despise shapeshifters. They're part of the problem, part of the reason Paradise fell. They have an ancient grudge, and it's a high honor in the conspiracy to lead a hunt against a shapeshifter. They have lost a lot of their knowledge, but they still know quite a lot about lycanthropes. They know of werewolves, wererats and werespiders, and they know some of how those creatures interact with the physical and spirit worlds. They have stolen spiritual fetishes from slain werewolves, storing them away in labyrinthes. For years, they have studied these tools to try and find ways to use them, but never figured out how, so they just lock them away now to deny them to werewolves. At the lowest level, Aegis agents are told how to recognize shapeshifter activity and who to report it to. They evaluate this evidence and, if the cell reporting it has the chops, will tell them more specific details on the prey - what they can do, what they're weak to. If the hunt is successful, the cell gains status and will likely be called on if another shapeshifter is found in the area. Some hunters question the merciless slaughter that is the Aegis response to werewolves - a 16-year-old boy who's just undergone his first transformation, after all, has no idea what he is, let alone anything about some mythical prehistoric paradise. Why does he deserve to die? There are rumors of the Aegis sparing the lives of innocent, non-killer shapeshifters, but the leaders squash those when they can.

The Aegis is much more flexible when it comes to spirits and ghosts. They understand that, once, the physical and spirit worlds were much closer together and that the forces must be kept balanced. They are respectful of sacred sites and often try to tend to them when they have a strong presence in an area. They also recognize the dangers of a spiritually corrupted site and have a few different approaches. They have occult tomes with exorcism rites and will sometimes use these to get rid of harmful spirits. If they aren't powerful enough to need that, they'll burn buildings down or destroy anchors. They supposedly have items or rituals that can bind and trap spirits, and it's believed that process was perfected in the 14th century after the theft of some Church relics they then modified. Originally, they were meant to trap demons, but the Aegis supposedly found a way to turn these lead chambers into spirit traps that can tap into and communicate with those trapped inside.

The Ascending Ones know that not all that is inhuman is evil. They know that even a djinni can be a good Muslim if it accepts Allah, that a demon can return to its angelic state by accepting Christ. Werewolves, they have long held, are among the most fearsome kind of djinn or demon. They have faced off against shapeshifters for millenia, even learning to make potions that can boil werewolf blood or sap vitality. But as often as they fight, they have also negotiated, even made alliance. Their practice of encouraging diplomacy has helped them well with many shapeshifters, and they often have the best relationships with werewolves of any hunter group. They know very little about how shapeshifters relate to each other, but know enough to deal with each creature or pack on their own basis and respond appropriately. If a werewolf is around, they'll first try to talk to it, learn its intentions. If it just wants territory, they may agree to respect that if it will not harm the innocent, turning the monster into a member of the community that can be respected and worked with. If they can't...well, force is always an option. This has led to a number of insights into various shapechanger culture. They know there is some kind of ancient and terrible rift between werewolf 'tribes' and that werewolves, werespiders and wererats all hate each other. Attempts to make peace between these groups has always met disaster, though they have had success as intermediaries between feuding packs. It's a dangerous task, often tragic, but the benefits can outweigh the risk.

Spirits are more of a problem for the Ascending Ones. They have created elixirs that let them itneract with spirits, but have few practical means to deal with them besides combat. When possible, they try to communicate and resolve unfinished business that keeps spirits anchored, but that doesn't always work. Some spirits linger just because they can, or to torment people. Against that, the Ascending Ones have no special capabilities. They have dealt with possession before, and inevitably it leads to the death of the host. Some elders are trying to create an elixir that could eject a spirit from its host, but so far it's had no success.

The Cheiron Group loves werewolves. They're worth their weight in gold. Imagine what you could do with a werewolf's regenerative abilities alone if you could duplicate them? They don't get infected or sick, they process toxins very quickly and they can transform at will. Any one of these would be the medical discovery of the century, and they have all of them. Unfortunately, they've had very little success at synthesizing these abilities to date. Werewolf blood has no benefits in transfusion except those human blood has. Skin and organ transplants have a 90% rejection rate, and the 10% get no special benefits. Brain scans and vivisection have not shown how shapeshifting happens, much less where the extra mass comes from. All they have to show for it are a bunch of corpses and permanently crippled employees. Not that this stops them from trying - they'd like to believe they're going to find an answer. As such, werewolves are actually generally given a high premium for capture. They'll dispatch teams to any reported werewolf activity, often pretending to be part of the CDC in order to get access to police and medical records. Despite their years of study, their only reliable advice is to try and confront the monsters while they are human. The researchers know ('know') that while a werewolf is human, it's just as vulnerable as any other person, and it's also helpful to target their loved ones. Of course, if they see you coming, all bets are off - werewolves tend to be violent. As for how many have been taken, that's a secret. It's definitely known that werewolf implants are given only to a chosen few, and supposedly there's been some success in mitigating the intense fear response werewolves cause in most humans, as well as in synthesizing useful properties from werewolf blood, but the results are top secret.

More recently, Cheiron has also begun studying spiritual possession and its effects on the human body. R&D would love to learn how a spirit can force its will on the host, and how it can force the host body to superhuman capabilities. If they acn work that out, that would open up a whole new range of physical enhancements - and ones with no need for invasive and risky surgeries! Field agents familiar with this project also tend to worry about the potential to completely control the will of the human involved.

The Lucifuge know that there's no way to escape your blood - it's the choices you make that matter. They know what it's like to wake up and discover you're a monster inside. And so they know that shapeshifters, like them, could deny their evil blood. They've fought werewolves, but don't automatically assume they're irredeemable. They will observe, as much as they can, to determine whether a werewolf is evil or noble. This is not always easy to determine, so sometimes they'll even try to talk to them. Ironically, the werewolves tend to be the ones certain the Lucifuge are evil monsters. They can sense their diabolical nature, somehow, and instinctively view them as threats. Attempts to communicate via demonic servants go even worse - and some werewolves can trap and use those demons. As a result, there's a lot of anger and mistrust between Lucifuge and werewolves. Many Lucifuge hunters often just act on what they see and avoid communication if at all possible. As for ghosts and spirits - well, they have far less time and energy for that. There's only 666 Lucifuge, total, and enough physical evils around to worry about before you start going after ghosts. Possession is another matter, though, especially if it's demonic. The Lucifuge excel at exorcism and many will then go on to enslave the demons they exorcise.

The Malleus Maleficarum knew, in the 16th century, that werewolves worshipped the devil. They've had rather little to dispel this idea since then. Papal lore still talks about the savagery and mindless cruelty of werewolves and shapeshifters, and they hear all the old stories of devilish monsters. This prepares them for what they are to face, steeling their faith against the savage fear of the beast. Werewolves, of course, are able to recite a long litany of atrocities of the Church dealt on them, and they don't forgive quickly. Now, they just hate each other, and the struggle will not end until one side is dead. The Malleus are no softer towards possession and hauntings. Official policy of the Church is to request permission for exorcisms, but the Malleus have special dispensation to perform the rites if a cell unanimously agrees it's required. If none of the cell are clergy, they can petition the Vatican for authorization to get a priest to do it - and can force compliance if they want, but that can complicate things. If exorcism is not an option, they can appeal for dispensation to destroy a possessed victim instead. This is rarely refused, but you may have to go to some lengths to justify and demonstrate that innocents will be in peril if you don't. This is insisted on to spare the souls of the Church's servants from corruption, but it can take valuable time, and more than one cell has been excommunicated for taking matters into their own hands.

Task ForcE: VALKYRIE has determined that shapeshifters are one of the greatest paranormal security threats to America. Any creature that can operate undetected in human society, fight in any environment and turn into a ten-foot killing machine at will is a nightmare to handle - plus they heal practically instantly and can apparently teleport or travel invisibly. Thus, VALKYRIE keeps a solid eye out for werewolf activity. Any savage, unexplained murders, particularly in rural areas, will raise red flags and get a team sent to investigate, usually an experienced one, or at least one trained in what most werewolves can do and given silver rounds or scent-neutralizing sprays. Of course, they don't know much of anything about non-werewolf shapeshifters, so many field teams pass on the equipment...they run into weird poo poo it doesn't work at all on with depressing frequency. In the early years they spent a lot of time on capturing live werewolves, and it's known that in the late 40s at least three got captured during operations in Germany, but casualties were so high the practice was put to a stop. Files on the examinations do exist, but little useful information was gained. Since then, they have a fairly useful database on werewolves and shapeshifters based off debriefs and witness interviews. Most of the infromation is specialized - estimated speed and strength, estimated regenerative capacity, known weaknesses. They know next to nothing about what shapeshifters are or their society, but do know how to kill them.

VALKYRIE's not good at purely spiritual threats - see, the wording on their mandate specifically calls out tangible threats, and many field supervisors take that literally: intangible spirits are outside their remit. Field teams often investigate haunted sites, but other than collecting footage and EVPs, most times they're not allowed to much until someone gets possessed. At that point, they can take action, but until then, overly literal bureaucracy ties their hands. And even then, they typically get limited to dealing with the specific possession itself, and the spirit too often escapes to find more victims later.

So, imagine a group of hunters who do not take their hunting out of fear, responsibility or need to know. The Bear Lodge hunt because they need to prove they can. The restrictions on big game hunting make it hard to prove yourself as a hunter, to face animals that can really be your equal. The Bear Lodge has always gone for the most dangerous prey, and that's not really changed - just, now they hunt werewolves, not lions. They all dream of mounting a werewolf's head. They can draw a direct line back through history, all the way back to their first meeting in 1901. They tend to assume a lineage of individual monster hunters that predated this, but that was the first Bear Lodge meet. They gathered in Glasgow, Montana - a group of game hunters swapping tales of weird poo poo. Some of them described meeting weird creatures living in towns, but the big tale was from Don Edwards, a local who had set out to hunt elk but found both elk and mountain lions torn apart by a monster that ate their hearts. He and his buddies tracked it and found the killers - three great beasts that they mistook for huge wolves. The beasts attacked, but Edwards fired, catching the first attacker in the head. He and his buddies took the thing done, but the other pack members took out Don Edwards' friends. He fled, returning with more people later to find survivors. All they found was blood, bone, and one naked corpse full of holes. The others dismissed it as a hunting accident and too much whiskey, but he knew - that was the beast he shot. No other tale that day struck such a chord in the group, and they knew that the thing he mentioned scared them. Rather than admit it, they set up the first Bear Lodge just outside Glasgow. Word spread of men trying to track werewolves and mysterious critters, that they could find support there, and would-be hunters flocked to the area, looking to hunt more dangerous game.

Those few of the Lodge who survived brought back tales of shapeshifters and black magic. They coated their knives in wolfsbane and loaded up with silver. Over time, they got better at taking down werewolves. They insisted on having an experienced hunter go on each hunt, and that silver weapons be used. They attached no shame to fleeing superior foes, given the high chance of death. In '46, four veterans founded a second Bear Lodge in Washington State, with permission from the Montana Lodge. Over the next decade, five more opened up across the rural US, including one in Alaska. The last established Lodge opened in 1959 at Candle Lake, Saskatchewqan - still the only Lodge outside the USA. Members of one belong to all and may freely move between them. Even when miles from a Lodge, they look out for each other. You may like to work alone, but everyone knows you can't take a werewolf down without help. Time has changed them. Once, they relied on mail and phone, but now have a secure website, including forums to get help from each other. They share tactics, equipment and advice. Outsiders eee only a page offering field journals and equipment reviews by hunters. Despite their decentralized nature, though, you still need to prove yourself to get in, and that means a hunt. Most members have already seen the supernatural, though a few come in cold. Either way, they meet up at a Lodge, arm up and set out. The new member must see a werewolf in its inhuman, monstrous form, and the group must kill the wolf. The new member takes a trophy - usually a finger or ear - which is kept in the Lodge as a record of their membership. Those who don't succeed usually don't survive, and those who do often brush the whole thing off as a bad trip or vicious bear attack.

The Montana Lodge has hit tough times. Constant werewolf attack forced the building to be abandoned in '87, and only the Lodge knew it existed. Every time they've tried to reclaim it, the werewolves have killed them. Some believe that any expedition does little more than goad the werewolves to attack, while others believe the archived transcripts of early hunts are worth the risk. The Bear Lodge focuses almost exclusively on werewolves. They've seen vampires and other things, but they don't really count. They aren't the toughest monster out there - and that's the important thing. Despite their reliance on human tools, they have picked up a lot of tricks from werewolves. They've studied wolf packs, learning how they think when the animal instinct takes over. Like a pack, the Lodge observes before striking, uses the terrain, masks their scent and numbers. They wait for days, even weeks, to track their quarry. They isolate the weak points in a pack, then strike. Initiations always take place only aft er a weak werewolf has been identified. Once a target's found, you only strike when the creatures are alone. Sometimes, the rest of a pack will leave for some reason, or vanish entirely, leaving the weakest behind. Other times, you have to make a distraction somehow - even if that means sending some other cell of hunters into the threshing maw of the pack. It's cold, but very pragmatic - if they're lucky, that's another kill. Even if they're not, the attack on the weakest member will be blamed on the other hunters. Once that weak point is alone, the Lodge strikes. They always tape their hunts, and the experienced hunter helps fight the primal terror. If they can, they set up a killing field of traps to hold the beast in place. They shoot from range with silver bullets and always try to use modern transportation to outpace their prey. Some of them have found urban werewolves, and follow similar tactics - but they don't have to worry about stealth so much, since there's crowds to blend with. Often, urban cells will keep a stronghold meant solely to lure werewolves to, to overload their senses. The Lodge tends to ignore other monsters. Some see vampires as a challenge, but most would prefer to avoid or make peace with them. A few Lodge members also hunt dangerous humans, but they have to be careful there. Often they select based on demonstrated acts of brutality and inhumanity, as if they were hunting vampires. They might hunt child molesters or serial killers. Even so, the rest of the Lodge dislikes this practice - once you start killing things that might as well be people, you lose respect for the prey. That's a slasher thing.

Stereotypes posted:

Ashwood Abbey: I led a hunt for a group of these guys a couple of months back. They wanted a werewolf, obviously knew their poo poo but didn't have the first idea about the wilderness. They helped out, not like most fair-weather hunters, but they just wanted to tap the beast, so they could kill it slowly. Now, I've never tortured an animal before. But they asked me to join in and, well, I'm taking them out again next week.
Null Mysteriis: I used to hunt with a group of scientists a while back. They gave me a real challenge: could I help them watch a werewolf in the wild? They though there was some big difference between wolves in the cities and in the forest. I got them in close, and they just watched. One of them had a video camera. Three hours we were there and nothing happened. They even paid me a bonus to leave the thing alive.
Malleus Maleficarum: I've seen one of these guys in action, actually out in the wild. He had htis idea that werewolves were men with the souls of beasts, damned things, and he was hunting a whole pack ato nce. The freakish thing is, when he stopped to pray, things really started going our way. Until he let his urge to be a martyr get the better of him. One of the beasts tore his head clean off, and I ran like hell.
The Cheiron Group: A guy from a medical company gave me a call last month. Didn't beat aroudn the bush, he wanted me to get him a werewolf. One thousand bucks for the body of a confirmed werewolf, and I shot enough film to prove my kill to them. I've no problem with freelancing for them, and I know that few others do the same, but I don't want to know what they use the bodies for. And I know I'm not going to take them up on the ten thousand for a live capture. I'm not stupid.

Most of the Bear Lodge agrees on how to hunt - the divider is why. Sportsmen hunt because they're the best. The challenge, the fear, the memory blackouts - all of that is a badge of honor, a mark that you've gone up against something really unnatural. Some seek werewolves and other critters for trophies, others as the apex of personal development. Trappers, on the other hand, prefer to avoid needless danger. They hunt animals for sport. They hunt werewolves to keep people safe - and so they care mostly about finding the best ways to kill a werewolf, and will make all kinds of deals to find out way, or experiment with different trapping methods. Most of the guys who want to retake the Montana Lodge are Trappers. The Vigilantes, meanwhile, hunt out of a sense of justice. They know werewolves kill people, so they fight back. They need vengeance, and are the most common urban hunters, as well as the most common hunters of serial killers and vampires. A few even refuse to kill werewolves that haven't hurt people, but that kind of hunter (and that kind of werewolf) is really rare.

Status in the Bear Lodge is based on surviving hunts, not kills, as long as you don't leave your buddies to die. At one dot, you've been a hunt and seen a real, live werewolf. YOu probably weren't too helpful, but you got your trophy and membership. You get a dot of Contacts. At three dots, you've been on a few hunts and seen terribl;e tings. You're experienced enough to lead initiations, and you're affected by Lunacy as though you had one more Willpower dot than you really do. At five dots, you've hunted monsters more than you can imagine. Only now can you really admit the terrors you've seen, and you've faced the worst of the werewolves. You know what it's like to be prey, and you have the Unseen Sense applied to werewolves (or any one other type of physical supernatural critter, if you already have that).


Ain't nothing says werewolves like bears.

Next time: Drug addicts, hippies and burnouts fight spirits.

FMguru
Sep 10, 2003

peed on;
sexually

I think a Cliomancer could do pretty well, not by inventing a historical event, but by convincing people that a minor historical event was actually a major event. Ever notice how many pop-history books are about taking some obscure activist or battle or king or historical event and declaring actually they're the keystone to understanding an entire era? All those books with titles like How [obscure thing X] Explains The World? Well, now it all makes sense.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


That's some pretty neat magic system. Just think about the horrors a fandomancer could unleash. Nonsensical pairings become accepted, and original characters (do not steal) are not seen as ripoffs and/or Mary Sues.

Or how about an adept powered by RPGs, able to bend reality to FATAL's will?

theironjef posted:



Noumenon is far and away the best game we've ever read that has the premise of soul-infused insect men aimlessly wandering the metaphysical hallways of an extradimensional mansion with a goofy name.

I hope so. I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to this genre thanks to the RPG wizards from Sprechenhaltestelle.

FMguru posted:

I think a Cliomancer could do pretty well, not by inventing a historical event, but by convincing people that a minor historical event was actually a major event. Ever notice how many pop-history books are about taking some obscure activist or battle or king or historical event and declaring actually they're the keystone to understanding an entire era? All those books with titles like How [obscure thing X] Explains The World? Well, now it all makes sense.

The flea on the head of the beggar boy a couple streets away from the theater where Lincoln got shot was the real culprit. That drat butterfly effect.

The Vosgian Beast
Aug 13, 2011

Business is slow

theironjef posted:



Noumenon is far and away the best game we've ever read that has the premise of soul-infused insect men aimlessly wandering the metaphysical hallways of an extradimensional mansion with a goofy name.

Noumenon actually means something closer to reality separated entirely from all possible perceptions of it! :eng101:

Pope Guilty
Nov 6, 2006

The human animal is a beautiful and terrible creature, capable of limitless compassion and unfathomable cruelty.

Doresh posted:

That's some pretty neat magic system. Just think about the horrors a fandomancer could unleash. Nonsensical pairings become accepted, and original characters (do not steal) are not seen as ripoffs and/or Mary Sues.

You're going to dig Videomancers.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Okay, here's a random thing I remember the other day thanks to a conversation. Probably ten years ago or so I remember finding online rules for an RPG that was about playing guardian angels/angels hidden on earth that represented and enforced concepts, don't think it was a real published game just something somebody made up on the internet. Cannot remember the name of it no matter how hard I try, other than that it might have had "burning" in the title or some such? This ring bells for anybody else? It's gonna bug the poo poo out of me if I can't remember the game.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Doresh posted:

I hope so. I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to this genre thanks to the RPG wizards from Sprechenhaltestelle

Oh, Sprechenhaltestelle, where a wizard in a basement knows why you are around.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



LornMarkus posted:

Okay, here's a random thing I remember the other day thanks to a conversation. Probably ten years ago or so I remember finding online rules for an RPG that was about playing guardian angels/angels hidden on earth that represented and enforced concepts, don't think it was a real published game just something somebody made up on the internet. Cannot remember the name of it no matter how hard I try, other than that it might have had "burning" in the title or some such? This ring bells for anybody else? It's gonna bug the poo poo out of me if I can't remember the game.

You may be thinking of In Nomine. You play as angels or demons, and a powerful character can get a Word, a representation of some abstract concept, like Computers or Dogs or Things Called Spam In English. And it becomes your job to promote and protect that idea in a Divine or Infernal way, and you get powers based on it and the Word of your boss, who is an archangel or demon prince with a very large Word indeed.

Alternatively, you are thinking of Nobilis, where you play a divinity or some sort that rules over an abstract concept and tries to gain power by advancing it and keeping it existing while the anti-ideas from outside the universe seek to destroy it so that it can experience the true freedom of nondefinition.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Mors Rattus posted:

You may be thinking of In Nomine. You play as angels or demons, and a powerful character can get a Word, a representation of some abstract concept, like Computers or Dogs or Things Called Spam In English. And it becomes your job to promote and protect that idea in a Divine or Infernal way, and you get powers based on it and the Word of your boss, who is an archangel or demon prince with a very large Word indeed.

Alternatively, you are thinking of Nobilis, where you play a divinity or some sort that rules over an abstract concept and tries to gain power by advancing it and keeping it existing while the anti-ideas from outside the universe seek to destroy it so that it can experience the true freedom of nondefinition.

Nah, you were explicitly just playing angels from what I remember of it. What little I can remember in specific is that it made a big deal about the individual ranks of the angels (throne, seraphim and all that jazz), and also a big element of play was that the angels were basically cats and thus easily distracted by all the interesting, shiny bullshit in the mortal world and so you pretty regularly had to make mechanics based checks to resist temptation and keep doing your job.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

It sounds a little like Children of Fire.

Kellsterik
Mar 30, 2012


Mors Rattus posted:

Next time: Drug addicts, hippies and burnouts fight spirits.

Please post the character portrait for these guys. I swear the artist must have gotten the instructions "draw some hippy tripping" and misinterpreted them.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



PantsOptional posted:

It sounds a little like Children of Fire.

That's the one, thank you kindly. Knew it was the one as soon as I looked at the webpage.

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Hyper Crab Tank
Feb 10, 2014

The future of crustacean-based warfare


How far-reaching can the changes made by a Cliomancer with a major charge be? Like, say, there are a lot of things people believe about history that we have no way of corroborating with solid evidence - particularly when it comes to religious beliefs. Would it be possible for a sufficiently crazy Cliomancer with a sufficient charge to more or less instantly erase a major world religion just by making everyone on Earth believe without a shadow of a doubt that [significant religious event X] definitely, absolutely never took place? Because that's kind of terrifying.

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