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Traveller
Jan 6, 2012

WHIM AND FOPPERY



Lilith, then GM's Guide.

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PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

Is the GM's guide the one with the weird adventure in it about the plane crash, or was that just the GM screen kit? If it is, I say that; otherwise Lilith and whatever other Superiors one-offs you have.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


Lillith would be nice.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



PantsOptional posted:

Is the GM's guide the one with the weird adventure in it about the plane crash, or was that just the GM screen kit? If it is, I say that; otherwise Lilith and whatever other Superiors one-offs you have.

I think that's the GM's screen kit.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Superiors: Lilith



Lilith is, we recall, the Princess of Freedom. The Human Princess of Freedom. She does not have permanent servants and has no Principality. Any demon can offer to work for her in exchange for her Rites...as long as they also accept her dissonance condition. Any Lilim can choose to take this and a pile of Geases to Lilith instead of serving a Prince.

Lilith still has no attunements, but she does have a few Distintions she will hand out to those that please her exceptionally deeply.
Knights Errant can look into someone's eyes and tell how strongly they desire power over others, and what they'd do to get it. Lilim can treat this as a Need to fulfill, if they wish, but Lilith doesn't approve of slavery. She does approve of leading these people on, though, and then setting them up to fall.
Captains of the Third Choice can, whenever they are in a situation that appears to be no-win no matter what choice is made, make a Perception+Celestial Forces check. If they succeed and there's any better course of action they've missed, the Symphony reveals it, with the CD determining how much better the option is or how many new paths are revealed, GM's choice. If the situation is truly entirely constrained, you at least know roughly what price each choice will cost you, barring celestial intervention.
Barons of Freedom do not exist, but if they did, they might be able to trade Geases in the same manner Lilith can, allowing them to Geas someone and then hand the debt over to other people. However, it is unlikely Lilith will ever grant this power.
Lilith can teach the Songs of Correspondence, Deception, Freedom, Fruition, Pestilence and War. She can also hand Geases out to people if she feels like it.

Expanded Rites:
1. Meditate for 2 hours at the Berlin Wall.
2. For 3 Essence, walk the Freedom Trail in Boston.
3. For 3 Essence, free any being from bondage, physical or celestial.
4. For 4 Essence, lead a revolution to the headquarters of a despot.

Lilith was not the first human woman - humans evolved. But she was the original 15-Force woman, and she is unique, with all complexity of a human and all the power of a Wordbound immortal. Her place in Hell is secured by the Lilim and her work. She made the first Tethers to Hell - only a human could do it. She is the only Wordbound human, and no one has any idea how that happened. Some say that Lilith is the embodiment of what humans could one day become. Some fear this, others hope for it. Her history is written entirely in character, as a note.

Lilith was created for Eden. She was made to be Adam's equal, mate and helper. As it turns out, ADam didn't want an equal, but an almost-equal, to serve and entertain him as animals could not. Liltih had a problem with this, but she was made second, after humanity - God wouldn't force Adam to treat her respectfully, as that would break his free will. So, instead, Lilith chose to leave. Adam asked the angels to fetch her back, but she refused to come, so God instead made Eve to be his mate. Lilith was bitter for a time, but found other things to do. Eventually, Lucifer sought her out and told her of the inequalities in Heaven, how other angels were favored, much as Adam was favored over Lilith. She liked what he said, and even if it were not true, she could tell a conflict was coming that would destroy any neutrals. She expected the Purity Crusade long before it happened. In a choice between God and rebels exercising free will, Lilith sympathized with the rebels. And, she admits, she was also appreciative of being courted by the Morning Star. She was offered power and safety, and a Word. She decided that Lucifer needed her far more than God or Adam ever had.

Now, Lilith enjoys watching the Lilim walk among humanity and bind them, as Adam sought to enslave her. After all, unlike Adam, they grant equal value in return - favors for favors, not enslavement. That's Lilith's side of the story.



Lilith is calm, beautiful and mysterious. While most Princes serve their Word in the most destructive, cruel and literal way, Lilith's is as broad as any Archangel's. She's as likely to praise a freedom fighter as an insane anarchist...or vice versa. Hell would prefer she emphasize the anarchy of the strong over the weak, and she often does, but she was also pelased at the fall of the Berlin Wall, the coming of the Renaissance and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. She especially likes the consensual anarchy of the Internet. Nybbas and Vapula claim this is their influence, but the tolerance and curiosity Jean shows towards Lilith may also have something to do with it. Despite her lack of cruelty, however, she is exceptionally selfish. Her long life has honed her will and self-preservation instinct into a desire for self-sufficiency that overpowers all of her other emotions. Living around the Princes has only intensfied her basic self-centeredness, and her assurance that no one else will look out for her.

Lilith's inherent selfishness in refusing to serve in the Eden experiment is strange and somewhat offensive to many angels, who willingly serve the Symphony. Her alliance with Lucifer by choice only confirms their opinion that she is evil by Heaven's standards. Lilith sees herself as just practical, but the angels see her as a mercenary, selling her favors to the highest bidder for dark power. Only the most optimistic point out that, as Adam's first mate, Lilith should have the same capacity for selfishness and selflessness inherent to all humans, and that despite her bad choices, she might still choose otherwise in the future. This entire argument, however, is considered a theoretical exercise - no one really expects Lucifer to break his side of the deal.

Like the Lilim, Lilith tends to find the aura of slavery in hell rather depressing, so she lives in several places on Earth, too. Her favorite is Switzerland. She often appears as a wealthy woman of undefined nobility, traveling the world in luxury, with ties to nothing and no one. She has also shown up as a fanatic radical calling for the overthrow of law. Occasionally, she attends sci fi conventions, to bask in the worship of Libertarianism and the anarchy of the Web. She can play guitar quite well and understands computers more than most Superiors of her age.



Physically, Lilith has never taken on a male form. Some believe she only has one body, in fact, which she alters with Songs. That'd raise interesting questions about what'd happen if she were killed on Earth. She has manifested as non-human before, though. She's always beautiful, no matter what she is, though - every possible ethnicity, animals, even catgirls. Yes, canonically, Lilith has been a catgirl. She is also never crude or clumsy if she can at all avoid it, and she prides herself on her manners. She smiles well even when angry, and while she might use power or even scream in rage, she is never shrill. Celestially and ethereally, she routinely manifests the tokens of every Geas owed her as a gown of stars, to show her power.

Lilith's top priority is always remaining as free as possible. She doesn't especially care for power over others, though she realizes she does need some to survive. She's indifferent to just about anything that doesn't affect her directly. She takes interest in human affairs for the sake of her Word, promoting individual freedoms and discouraging any rules or restrictions imposed by anyone but the individual. Humans, however, seem to prefer to be ruled. She feels bad about that. There are many rumors about Lilith, which she encourages for her own entertainment. They keep people guessing. One of the more plausible rumors is that she has a Tether to the Far Marches, while others are about who she's loving. Lucifer's always on top of the list. Lilith has many secrets and never confirms her rumors. While she doesn't like politics, she does take interest in information she can use later, and she's tenacious about getting the full story, possibly to stave off her boredom.





As the Lilim can, Lilith can look on someone and tell their Needs. She can even do it Superiors, though it's harder. She also uses spies, informants and other mundane methods to learn what people need or want. Then, if she can get it, she'll offer a bargain.



Lilith views her Word broadly, emphasizing personal freedom - the freedom to succeed or fail. She isn't sadistic, but she isn't kind, either. If you can't make it on your own, too fuckin' bad. However, she doesn't believe anarchy includes the right to enslave others just because there's no rules. A murderer can kill, as far as she cares, but a slaver is a problem. She's tolerant of freely chosen associations, so long as you can leave when you want. She might at one point have believed that choosing to conceive and bear a child implied choosing to raise it to self-sufficiency as well, but then again, maybe not. Her own Daughters are made as adults, either way.

Lilith has no desire for Heaven to win, as she feels that her freedom and existence would be lost if they did. However, she doesn't really care if Hell wins, except in that it might let her promote Freedom more. Stalemate suits her fine - the War is needed for her Lilim to have value, after all, and without hte War, she might become superfluous, and thus vulnerable. It's not known if Lilith initially embraced only the Hellish aspects of Freedom or all of them from the start. It's true that the broader she interprets, the more connected to the Word she gets - and the more power. Power is always to be desired, after all. Besides, why should she be restricted in her interpretation?

Next time: Lilith and the Lilim

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



FMguru posted:

Western games are hard to do because the setting is high-lethality for typical player characters (who get into gunfights all the time) so you'll be forever rolling up new characters unless you have some sort of magical healing or generous hero point mechanic, which is tricky to pull off both mechanically and thematically (this also applies to pretty much all no-magic "realistic" historical games and settings).

This could easily be fixed with period-appropriate body armor. Most would be heavy, since they would be made from iron and steel, but would provide an enormous amount of protection against pistols and shotguns. Layered silk vests and jackets were also known for their bullet resistance, and, overseas in Korea, the warriors of the Joseon kingdom wore "myeonje baegab", a padded cotton vest that had bullet-resistant properties.

I really just want to see more Ned Kelly get-ups, to be honest.

Young Freud fucked around with this message at 06:25 on Feb 4, 2016

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


Razakai posted:

In Nomine might have some flaws in gameplay, but it's a pretty awesome setting with the right GM. A Goon here ran a ridiculous game with the party as demons serving Furfur, Prince of Hardcore (sex, drugs and rock&roll). By the end of the campaign they had:

- Killed 2 demon princes
- Redeemed a demon prince
- Caused an archangel to fall, temporarily
- Accidentally created a new archangel
- Redeemed a few hundred demons
- Punched a nuclear missile to death
- Served Lucifer shots at a bar

On the balance of things they were pretty terrible at being demons, but they were hardcore enough that their prince forgave them.

Agreed, the game I was in was way fun too, although it was more low-key than this. Game was set in the 50s, with cold-war spy poo poo mixed with angelic warfare.

Cthulhu Dreams
Dec 11, 2010

If I pretend to be Cthulhu no one will know I'm a baseball robot.


The other thing with Civil War alt history (and this annoys me the most) is there are lots of other endings other than the South survives! that are never explored. For example, say the compromise of 1933 was never passed so they tried it on when Jackson was President and he responded by turning the south into a post apocalyptic wasteland, which considering the temperament at hand was not even that unlikely.

Given they all end up with this bizarre white washing (the south survives then liberates the slaves for reasons!) it ends up looking like apologia.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




I prefer "The south survives by the skin of its teeth, but collapses back into the Union over time" or "The North and West end up better developed and more powerful over the long term without the millstone of the agrarian south to support".

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


Simian_Prime posted:

I vote GM's Guide. I'd like to see the developers response to the question, "So what do we *do* with all this setting information?"

Because as cool as this setting is, I feel like it can leave an inexperienced played a bit stranded as who finding story-hooks, and figuring out stuff for PCs to do.

Snarky Demon and Angel pair (plus friends) try to stop the end of the world. Same as above, but they both defend a pair of handsome demon hunters from their former allies. An Angel and a Demon fall in love, a task force hunts them down. Reform Hell/Heaven. Slobs vs Snobs in Hell. Andre falls in love - get him to redeem. Go on a road trip to find Eli (and his dog). Old Dr Doom vs Mr Fantastic plots, but with Jean and Vapula. Theft puts together a team of PCs to pull an audacious job, or his target puts together a team to stop him (he tells them what he'll steal in advance, like Lupin). Paranoia in Hell. Dogs in the Vineyard in Heaven. Drugs loses his favorite bong and you need to find it. Trippy dream adventures as you try and reunite Blandine and whatshername. Stop Vapula before he destroys the world, or play a team of his Paranoia Troubleshooters. Etc

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

I think a game set during the ACW could be interesting. Have some domain management rules so you can play the part of Newton Knight, or perhaps survival/wilderness rules so you can play out the role of foraging bluecoats during Sherman's March to the Sea.

Cthulhu Dreams posted:

Given they all end up with this bizarre white washing (the south survives then liberates the slaves for reasons!) it ends up looking like apologia.

That's because it really is apologia, but I'm sure you already knew that.

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:

Like the Lilim, Lilith tends to find the aura of slavery in hell rather depressing, so she lives in several places on Earth, too. Her favorite is Switzerland. She often appears as a wealthy woman of undefined nobility, traveling the world in luxury, with ties to nothing and no one. She has also shown up as a fanatic radical calling for the overthrow of law. Occasionally, she attends sci fi conventions, to bask in the worship of Libertarianism and the anarchy of the Web. She can play guitar quite well and understands computers more than most Superiors of her age.

So which writer's fantasy girlfriend is she? She does kinda pull off being a likeable Ayn Rand character.

Simian_Prime
Nov 6, 2011

When they passed out body parts in the comics today, I got Cathy's nose and Dick Tracy's private parts.

Kavak posted:

I prefer "The south survives by the skin of its teeth, but collapses back into the Union over time" or "The North and West end up better developed and more powerful over the long term without the millstone of the agrarian south to support".

I've always like "The British used the South's moment of weakness to swoop in, conquer the Confederacy, and reclaim its former colonies for the Empire. The Second Revolutionary War has begun!"

(Or Third, if you count the War of 1812)

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012





Chapter 3, Part 2: Southern States
I'll be limiting my discussion specifically to the supernatural elements of each state, because everything else is a pretty bog standard discussion of the history and demographics of the members of the Deep South combined with a paragraph each on around a dozen or so cities of note per state.

Alabama
With loads of forests with hanging trees, creeks used for drownings, and a place literally named Cemetery Mountain, it's not surprising that Alabama is a hotbed for hauntings. The largest cases by sheer numbers are the ghosts of yellow fever victims in the ghost town of Cahaba, the ghostly denizens of the abandoned quarter of the city of Dora, and shadow people that haunt the Mountain View Hospital psychiatrisc ward in Gadsden. Singular specimens of note include a 1960s black Ford pickup truck that appears near the town of Red Level and tries to run cars off the road and the powerful ghost of a Hag who haunts an old rotting house in the depths of Bankhead Forest. There is also a mysterious 20 foot long monster said to dwell in the Coosa River, described variously as a sea serpent, a giant alligator, or an immense catfish.

Georgia
Georgia in Hoodoo Blues is pretty bland. There's some Hags here and there, as well as ghosts in old Antebellum structures, but not a lot else. The most noteworthy and mysterious specter is that of Rene Ash of Savannah, Georgia. A giant of the early 19th Century, Rene was already a foot taller than most grown men by age 12, and in some tellings of the legend was also particularly hairy. He was a shy boy who was constantly teased by his peers, and typically hid in the Colonial Park Cemetery, where ghoulish grave robbings and the appearance of numerous dead cats with their necks twisted around backwards were quickly attributed to the giant child. Rene would also pick up some of the dead cats to use to gently but disturbingly slap people he disliked, typically girls around his age.

Reports of giant looming shadows being seen in people's windows at night, sometimes accompanied by the rattling of doors, lead the people of Savannah to attempt to drive Rene Ash out of town. His mother instead created a massive brick wall topped with broken glass around her property, the only way in or out being a strong cast iron gate, in an attempt to placate the townsfolk. This worked until a young girl that lived in a neighboring house was found dead in an alley, her head twisted backward like the cats before. Rene's mother once again calmed the angry mob by swearing that her son had been ill during the time of the murder and couldn't leave his bed, at which point the locals gave in but instated a 24/7 guard.

This once again couldn't last, as the house was left unguarded during the great fire of 1820. The day after the fire, yet another girl was found with her neck twisted backwards. Rene's mother couldn't sate the rage of the mob this final time, and her son was lynched and left to hang for days, no one wanting to despoil a hallowed cemetery with a body they were sure was tainted by the greatest evil. Did Rene actually perform the murders, or was he a convenient scapegot that also happened to like slapping people with dead cats? Regardless of the truth, his h'aint still lumbers through the Colonial Park Cemetery he inhabited in life, sometimes making visits to nearby homes to make folks' blood run cold when they see his giant shadow standing outside their window.

Louisiana
The dark depths of our bayous and backwoods are the perfect place for Hags, Loups-Garoux, swamp monsters, ghosts, ghouls, grunches, and any other number of freaky phenomena to hang out, but Louisiana's paranormal scene is mostly focused on New Orleans. While I and other natives of the state may know of other local legends from other portions of the rear end-end of the Mississippi River, I don't think anyone is really surprised that New Orleans gets all the attention, both here and in many works before. It was the city of Marie Laveau, and to this day remains the largest center of Louisiana Voodoo belief. It was where the Axeman, a gaunt man dressed all in black who wrote a strangely erudite letter claiming he was actually a foul spirit from the depths of Hell, used his namesake weapon to commit grisly murders and terrify the city's populace throughout the 1910s. It's home to a gamut of ghosts, from the victims of the sadistic Madame LaLaurie and those that succumbed to the yellow fever epidemics to spirits of Civil War soldiers and phantasmal buses. And, of course, there's Mardi Gras, where revelry in the dead of night could act as cover for beings of the shadows to do their dirty work.

Mississippi
A place where thick forests coat gently rolling hills across much of the state, Mississippi is one of the greatest strongholds for woodland spirits. It also has Hags and Loups-Garoux in its swampier regions such as the Louisiana border, ghosts (because where aren't there ghosts?), and a surprisingly strong Medicine Worker tradition as opposed to the more common Hoodoo Doctors of most states. Mississippi also has one of the largest Crossroader populations, thanks almost entirely to Robert Johnson and his popularization of the Crossroader practice through his songs and stories. There is also the Witches' Dance, an area of dead or dying forest near Tupelo, Mississippi, that Hags from all over the South come to meet.

South Carolina
Hags in the Gullah country, ghosts otherwise. Lots of ghosts. Ghosts, ghosts, ghosts. One ghost is a disfigured man with three eyes that haunst the University of South Carolina. What's his story? I want to know that guy's story. There's also the Wedgefield Dragoon, who is an American Revolution-era headless ghost that is kind of pathetic because he doesn't get preternatural sight like most ghost stories about headless phantoms, so he just wallows around trying desperately to find where the hell he is.



Chapter 4: Adventures
Types of Adventure
Adventuring in Hoodoo Blues typically falls into the category of either trying to fix someone else's problems or fix your own problems. They may have different overall themes – slay a monster, put a ghost to rest, find and stop some bad Conjure, seek redemption from God – but they ultimately all call back to the fact that you are meant to be playing someone who is flawed but still trying to do right by the world. While there are specific descriptions of just what you might do for an adventure about being modern Van Helsings or helping Old Lady Mayhew and her gravely ill son or what have you, there are two really big notes here that concern turning the game on its face.

The first of these are flashback adventures. This assumes that while you are playing the game in either the modern day or some other specific time period, you might want to have a session or two where your Ageless reminisce on an earlier time they were all together in their immortal lives. Mechanically, this means that for the course of that adventure they get replacement equipment for any anachronistic gear (there's a whole list of flashback replacement gear for each decade to speed this process up), they don't have access to any skills that wouldn't be relevant in the flashback (no ranks of Internet Research in the 1940s, no Electronics in the 1820s, etc.), and their Weariness is turned back. While primarily meant to be a change of pace or further insight into the characters' motivations, flashback adventures can also have actual plot repercussions: the flashback reminds the Ageless of some treasure they found during the flashback adventure and forgot until just now, for instance.

The second is non-Ageless play. If you happen to be a supernatural being that ended up not being Ageless, like a Crossroader who wasn't smart enough to ask for immortality or a Hoodoo Doctor that didn't make a special mojo bag of agelessness, it's as simple as removing the Decades and Motivations steps of character creation. A completely mundane human character skips those steps and doesn't get any character class. Mundane characters get Arts, Book-Learning, Labor, and Modern classification skills for dirt cheap, but have the obvious drawback of being unable to take any Conjure skills or advantages/disadvantages tied directly to the supernatural. Maybe it's just me, but I think it might be good to have at least some in-between that doesn't force the character class but allows for Conjure learning, for your New Age tradition-unaffiliated rootworkers or your "know a bit of ritual Conjure but only use it if talking and shooting don't work" Sam and Dean Winchester types. That isn't here, though, so I guess that's ultimately up to the player and the GM.

Human Enemies
Diabolists: Diabolists aren't Satanists in the modern sense, LaVeyan or otherwise. No, these guys know the Devil is real, and they worship him in spite of the fact that they know the kind of viciousness and evil he is capable of. The book equates them to those who follow fascist ideology specifically in hopes that they don't get the jackboot on their throats later. They engage in various singuar acts of evil in rural locations, as the Devil prefers subtlety over overtness due to the fact that acts of outright genocide and terror often lead as many to faith as it does to damnation.

The Doctor: A haggard old white man who wears stereotypical doctor's garb, the Doctor experimented on black people in poor neighborhoods at the turn of the last century, and eventually found the secret of immortality through a combination of medical practice and occult rituals. Ever since, he has become a unique form of Ageless with great Strength and Speed, as well as the ability to make himself invisible. While he once came in the dead of night, he now steals blood by setting up shop in rural clinics, drugging his patients, and then later claiming they fainted when they inevitably come around with less blood than they came in with (sometimes enough that they end up dying of anemia later). He then uses some of this blood to keep himself Ageless and sells the rest – which is enchanted to have great healing powers but not the miraculous properties his own doses do, of course – to wealthy buyers. While not explicitly stated, the Doctor is clearly drawn from the late 19th and early 20th Century folklore of the Night Doctors, mysterious white men who were said to come to black communities and steal away people to perform ghastly experiments.

Hate Groups: The KKK, neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, the Christian Identity movement, skinheads, and black separatists all get covered here. It is noted that while Ageless don't really have anything to fear from hate groups given how ridiculous their powers tend to be, there are enough with bad blood involving hate groups that they'll go looking for a metaphorical or literal fight. Some may even have been hate group members in the past and have spent the decades since then looking for redemption.


Monsters
Graveyard Snake: The Devil really loved the whole Eden incident, so much that he laughed himself apart into a physical and spiritual form. That's how the story goes, at least, and the graveyard snakes are said to be the remnants of his physical Serpent half. Graveyard snakes resemble rattlesnakes that are black with yellow splotches, and are only found in cemeteries at night. In spite of their purported diabolical origins, graveyard snakes mainly just want to be left alone, but are smart enough to actively target undefended parts of the body if they are forced to attack. The main reason for conflict is almost invariably the fact that Conjure workers often hunt graveyard snakes for their numerous magical properties. A graveyard snake's skin worn as a sash grants a +5 to any opposing contest roll, its greasy innards grant a +20 to Sleight of Hand if rubbed on the hands, its oil grants a +20 to any harmful Hand if added to the recipe, baking its grease into flour and making an effigy out of the mixture lets you cause moderate difficulty Distracting Pain to whoever the effigy is meant to represent by harming the effigy, and its rattle summons the Devil.

Raw Head and Bloody Bones: Also known as Bloody Bones or Tommy Rawhead, this monster was once a large pig named Raw Head. Raw Head was owned by an elderly Conjure woman living out in the Ozarks, who treated the big boar as her only friend. While everyone in that wooded valley knew Raw Head belonged to the Conjure woman, a poacher from out of town came and slew the pig one day. The furious Conjure woman used necromantic power to resurrect Raw Head's blood-soaked bones into a horrific monster. The skeletal boar walked on his hind legs and gathered parts from other slain animals, taking the teeth of a panther, claws of a bear, and tail of a beaver, then took his time stalking and taunting the poacher with a raspy human voice in the dead of night. Eventually, after he was finally tired of playing with his prey, Raw Head and Bloody Bones killed and ate the poacher. If you're brave enough, you can summon him for yourself, presumably to utilize his 30 Endurance and Strength to rend your foes asunder.

Raven Mocker: The Raven Mockers, or kalona in the Cherokee language are vicious beings that can take the form of an elderly Cherokee or a giant raven. They seek any nearby indicators of death, coming swiftly to engage with dying individuals. If the individual is in a hospital, their bed, or otherwise not alone, the Raven Mocker clouds the vision of others, only showing itself to the dying individual. It sits on their chest and throws barrages of taunts and insults at them as it presses further and further down on their lungs, savoring the victim's suffering in their last moments. If a Raven Mocker finds a lone victim in the wilderness it is even more merciless, gouging out their eyes and batting them around with its robust wings and wickedly sharp talons. It will even let victims seemingly escape only to attack once more, or lie and offer them mercy before going back on the assault.

Letiche: Abandoning a baby in the bayou is a bad idea. This should probably go without saying, but apparently some people still do it, and if they aren't baptized they are taken in and nurtured by alligators as they transform into monsters known as letiche. Letiche are reptilian humanoids with the teeth, webbed hands and feet, and scales of an alligator, and while some interpretations have them being giants or human-sized, Hoodoo Blues has them forever stuck at around 3 to 4 feet even as they reach adulthood. In spite of their size, however, they have a Strength of 25, making them more than strong enough to overwhelm humans and even most Ageless, dragging them under the water and pinning them in an attempt to drown them.

Mermaid: Pale, raven-haired beauties that happen to be half fish, mermaids haunt the Gulf of Mexico and sometimes swim up into the estuaries of the mighty Mississippi. They call to men of the sea, asking them to throw one of their own into the sea. Refusal means that the mermaids will use their ridiculous 40 Strength to rip the seamen's boat to shreds...assuming it's a smaller wooden boat, of course. Mermaids have difficulty with modern ships since they are a lot larger, made out of metal, and propellers hurt. Assuming that a mermaid gets a man, she drags him under with prehensile hair. No one is sure what the fate of men taken by the mermaids actually is. Are they eaten? Sexed up in an underwater kingdom? Used as fancy meat trophies? The world may never know.

South Carolina Lizard Man: Also known as the Bishopville Lizard Man, Hoodoo Blues takes this rather one-note cryptid (that note being 'Reptoid thing that claws at people at vehicles') and gives it an actual backstory. The Lizard Man was once a regular old man, specifically a young and arrogant occultist who attempted to apprentice himself to a Hag in order to learn the secret of Agelessness. His poo poo-headed nature lead her to hate him, and she gave him his desired immortality in the worst way. He can no longer speak, read, write, or even think all that well: all he knows is that he is furious at his cursed nature, and he takes it out on anyone who happens to be unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of the swamp when he's out wandering.

Honey Island Swamp Monster: Honey Island swamp monsters, also known as Southern Bigfoot and skunk apes, are 7 to 9 foot tall primates with filthy gray fur, three-toed and webbed feet, a horrible stench, and an even more horrible temper. They are vicious nocturnal predators that use their long arms to grapple prey before latching their two large fangs into the throat for a killing bite. While deer are swamp monsters' favored prey, they are more than capable of killing and eating feral hogs, alligators, and humans. As if being a nocturnal, bipedal, carnivorous primate wasn't unique enough, swamp monsters are also amphibious, sometimes hiding under the water and lunging at prey on the shore. Their big weakness is that they're scared of fire and bright lights, so keep those lanterns handy.

Kowi Anukasha ("Little Forest People"): The kowi anukasha are 2 foot tall woodland sprites that look and dress like elderly Native American Medicine Workers. They are great performers and teachers of Conjure, stealing away human children with a gift for the arcane arts or training adults that placate them with gifts of food and gems. While the kowi anukasha are frequent pranksters, throwing pine cones or making strange noises in the woods at night, it's probably best to avoid offending them given that they can cast a Conjure that paralyzes your legs for nearly a week.

Okwa Naholo ("White People of the Water"): Slender people with all black eyes and skin colored "the white of a trout's belly". No one's quite sure what these guys' deal is, as they typically hide by burrowing in mud or crawling into reeds whenever people are around, only coming out and doing whatever it is they do when they are alone. Okwa naholo have an extreme amount of hatred for fishermen, who they will attempt to drag under the water and drown. Being drowned by an okwa naholo causes you to become an okwa naholo yourself rather than die.

Ishtikini: Great horned owls that are as tall as a man, with an impressive 20 foot wingspan to boot. They are mostly just big predatory owls, save for two special traits. First off, they are capable of emitting a supersonic scream that forces a DC 20 roll against Shocking Pain, allowing them to stun prey such as deer or humans. Second, they are only harmed by silver weapons or Conjure.

Nahullo: Nahullo are big, angry brutes that resemble a Neanderthal increased in size to be up to 9 feet tall. They were once more widespread, but wars with various Native American nations have pushed the nahullo into the deepest forests and swamps. They only appear to pillage and kidnap slaves, using giant clubs to crush the skulls of those who fight back. Nahullo are immune to metal weaponry, though any other material works just fine.

Spirits: Ghosts, manifestations, and other phantasmal entities. Spirits replace have Awareness, Charisma, and Intelligence, but replace all of their other primary attributes and health attributes with a single attribute known as Power. This reflects the spirit's ability to affect the world around it, how strongly it is tethered to the mortal realm, and its strength of will when dealing with Conjure such as Christian Exorcism or Compel Spirits. The following spirits are the most common.
  • Nightmares are like Hags taken to the ultimate level. They don't Ride to live, they Ride to gain even more Power, and they have no skin to be tethered to. They also don't take any kind of precautions when it comes to feasting on prey, usually Riding the same human again and again until they die. If a nightmare takes a tangible form, it is of either a beautiful woman or a panther.
  • Jack-o-lanterns are the most unfortunate of the undead, forever trapped between Heaven and Hell without the ability to go to either. They wander the swamp in a dimly aware stupor, waving their lanterns in a desperate attempt to find their way out of their own personal nightmare. A Jack-o-lantern's lantern forces a Willpower save (DC 30) to avoid following it. Turning all of your pockets inside out or sticking a knife in the ground are ways to keep a Jack-o-lantern at bay.
  • Poltergeists throw poo poo around in ethereal temper tantrums, specifically to cause fear that they then proceed to feed on. The fact that poltergeists often come to sites of other paranormal activity means that they are often mistaken for far more dangerous entities such as h'aints or vice versa.
  • Reminders are psychic after-images of a traumatic event. They replay their moment of horror over and over again at specific times, never actually interacting with the living since they don't actually have any intellect behind them.
  • Longings, on the other hand, are the manifestations of unfulfilled desires that linger on even after the soul proper has departed for the afterlife. While most longings perform ultimately harmless acts, some may accidentally injure the living or have malicious desires that endanger those around them.
  • H'aints are all the negative emotions of a person congealed into one hateful and violent ghost. The more ill-willed the person was, the more Power their h'aint has, and the h'aint of something like a Hag is truly a terror to behold. H'aints can shapeshift into various forms to confuse or terrify their victims, short out electronics, burn or chill with their touch, or simply enact physical violence.
  • Demons are spirits from Hell. Those who have the Sight can see the demon for what it truly is, a grotesque and pathetic imp that only holds power by manipulating humans. Specifically, a demon crawls up into a human's consciousness and nudges at their subconsciousness, trying to urge them to engage in gradually more and more sinful acts.
  • Thin Places are not technically monsters, but since they are listed with the spirits they're getting covered with them. A Thin Place is more or less a reminder on a grand scale, an entire event rather than a single person that has formed a psychic echo that relays itself. Unlike reminders, however, the denizens of a Thin Place can actually harm or even kill, making them dangerous if you are unlucky enough to stumble into one. Making things even worse is that h'aints and demons are drawn to Thin Places like moths to a flame, and they are more than happy to add to the "fun" of being in a snapshot of the past.

Introductory Adventures
There are two sample adventures present at the very end of the book, both to give an overview of some of the things you can do in Hoodoo Blues and to give some jumping off points for GMs to use.

Denmark's Hand: This sample adventure puts the characters on a grand treasure hunt for Denmark's Hand, a powerful piece of Conjure in an amulet said to make the wearer invincible. The hunt takes them from the slums of post-Katrina New Orleans to the mountain country of northeast Mississippi, where they become trapped in between the conflict of a remorseful ex-Klansman and his far less than remorseful neighbor, as well as a very angry Hoodoo Doctor who has been slowly dying since he was lynched in 1969 but unable to finally pass away thanks to the amulet.

Small Favors: Beauregard T. Hawthorne III is an old and powerful Hoodoo Doctor from the Anglo-descended gentry who has contacted the heroes with a rather startling revelation - he believes that Marie Laveau, the famous Voodoo queen, is alive and hiding somewhere near an old plantation in Georgia called the Sandy Pines. What they end up finding is trap after trap, from h'aints and an intentionally manifested Thin Place of a Civil War battle to unusually aggressive graveyard snakes and foul Conjure. In the end, it is revealed that all of these were traps set by Marie Laveau herself, who has been reduced to a literal ghost of her former self. The treacherous Genevieve Rochambeau murdered Laveau in 1920, enslaving her spirit until very recently when she managed to escape thanks to Rochambeau's arrogance outweighing her sense. Their find puts the heroes at direct odds with Beauregard T. Hawthorne III (who has been hiding that he has a grudge over a rivalry he had with Marie Laveau when she was alive) and at long-term odds with Genevieve Rochambeau, neither of whom are Ageless you want to get on the bad side of.


Final Thoughts
Nothing spices up an urban fantasy or horror setting like using actual legends and folk beliefs, especially lesser known or localized ones. Hoodoo Blues takes that to its greatest extent, and it manages to feel somehow fresher than a lot of completely invented modern supernatural fiction as a result. Not only that, but it's also one of the few games set in the Deep South that doesn't attempt any attempt at revisionism of our less than stellar past and present. If anything, there are a few points where it is over-emphasized, getting mentioned when it might not necessarily be relevant or has already been discussed previously. There are also a few moments where the fact that you have a white suburban Buddhist Oregonite writing about the poor rural South and its often black population leak through, but they are again very rare and typically easily missed.

If anything, I can imagine the problem most people might have with Hoodoo Blues would be its game system. In spite of the ORC system having its own name and fancy logo, it can't escape the specter of the fact that it is derived from the d20 system, and I know d20 systems can be a make or break deal for certain folks around here. Fortunately, there's so much flavor text and conceptual backbone that I don't think it would be that hard to translate Hoodoo Blues as a setting into FATE, PBtA, GURPS, World of Darkness, or whatever you happen to favor as your system of choice.

Hoodoo Blues: it's good, and also I'm not sure how the people who wrote it also wrote something as disparate in quality as In Dark Alleys.

Young Freud
Nov 25, 2006



Kavak posted:

I prefer "The south survives by the skin of its teeth, but collapses back into the Union over time" or "The North and West end up better developed and more powerful over the long term without the millstone of the agrarian south to support".

The one I've thought up was "With it's expansionism checked and economy broken by both the Civil War and burning out their arable land due to non-sustainable cotton farming, early Communism, forced out of industrialized North by robber baron capitalism, takes hold in the South, turning it into an American form of Stalinist Russia or North Korea."

Simian_Prime posted:

I've always like "The British used the South's moment of weakness to swoop in, conquer the Confederacy, and reclaim its former colonies for the Empire. The Second Revolutionary War has begun!"

(Or Third, if you count the War of 1812)

Actually, this would probably work better with the French, since they were in a position to actually do something since they had a puppet state with Maximilian I in Mexico.

Britain had little reason to enter the war, since they both had ample reserves of cotton (something the South misjudged) and were developing their own cotton sources in Egypt and later India.

Kavak
Aug 23, 2009




Young Freud posted:

]Actually, this would probably work better with the French, since they were in a position to actually do something since they had a puppet state with Maximilian I in Mexico.

Britain had little reason to enter the war, since they both had ample reserves of cotton (something the South misjudged) and were developing their own cotton sources in Egypt and later India.

This dovetails nicely with my fetish for pre-war Germany, who would make a natural ally in that war.

gradenko_2000
Oct 5, 2010



Lipstick Apathy

Spheres of Power

By random roll, our next Sphere is:


Nature

The basic ability for this Sphere is Geomancing, which is a standard action to various terrain and nature-related effects. Geomancing can be either Instantaneous or Concentration, depending on the specific type of effect being created.

When this Sphere is first learned, the caster must choose between different Nature packages: Plantlife, Water, Earth and Fire, which is a broad category of the effects that can be produced.

Plantlife

Entangle is an Instantaneous ability that causes grass, weeds, vines and other underbrush to grow rapidly and wrap themselves around all targets in an area with a radius equal to 5 feet + 5 feet/caster level, centered within a Close range of the caster. I recognize the entire paragraph as being a restatement of the Entangle spell's effect, which makes sense since this is supposed to be a complete replacement for a spell system so they can't just say "it's the Entangle spell", but I can, so ... it's the Entangle spell

Growth is an Instantaneous ability that costs 1 spell point to use, and basically replicates the Cleric's Create Food spell: one fruit tree per caster level (or plant, or food crop) instantly produces enough edible food to feed 3 medium-sized creatures or 1 horse for a day.

Pummel is a Concentration ability that lets you cause a tree branch to come alive and start making Slam attacks against an enemy you designate, that it can reach. Making it switch targets costs a Move action. Tree branches cannot flank. The tree branch has a STR score equal to 10 + caster level, and a BAB equal to caster level.
At level 1, you can animate Medium-sized branches with 1d6 damage dice and a 5 foot reach
At level 5, Large-sized branches with 1d8 damage dice and a 10 foot reach
At level 10, Huge-sized branches with 2d6 damage dice and a 15 foot reach
At level 15, Gargantuan-sized branches with 3d6 damage dice and a 20 foot reach
At level 20, Colossal-sized branches with 4d6 damage dice and a 30 foot reach
The game helpfully notes that entire trees can be turned into pummeling branches for the purposes of reaching your desired branch size.
This is a very cool ability, as it lets you make The Whomping Willow, but there's that weaselly potential for you to be denied its use if there are no trees around.

Water

Vortex is a Concentration ability that lets you create a spinning vortex in any body of liquid that sucks creatures and objects to its center. It's 5 feet wide at the base, 10 feet + 5 feet-per-5-caster-levels high, and is half as wide at the top as it is high. Any creature entering the vortex's area must pass a Reflex save or suffer 1d8 + half-caster-level bludgeoning damage. If they're smaller than the vortex, then they need to pass a second Reflex save or be pulled into the middle of the vortex. If you're in the middle of the vortex, you take the bludgeoning damage every round with no save, and you need to pass a Reflex save or be unable to move. Even if you succeed, you can only move at half your swim speed. The vortex can be commanded to move at 30 feet per round. The caster can spend a spell point to let the vortex persist without concentration, but the caster will need to spend Move Actions to change the vortex's direction of movement.
Another iconic and flavorful ability, but even more limited than tree-bashing unless you're playing in an aquatic adventure.

Fog is a Concentration ability that lets you create a field of fog with a 10 foot + 5-feet-per-5-caster-levels radius, centered within Close range. It's the standard fog environmental rules. You can spend a spell point to maintain this effect without Concentration, but it will be dispersed by Moderate Winds in 4 rounds. You can't use this ability at all under Strong Winds.

Freeze is an instantaneous ability that lets you spend a spell point to flash-freeze a body of water. The size of the water you can freeze is 1 inch thick, 5 by 5 feet square per caster level. Alternatively, you can coat a wet Medium-sized creature with 1 inch of ice per caster level. Increasing the frozen area further or increasing the size of the creature frozen will further reduce the ice's thickness (a Colossal creature is "worth" 16 Medium creatures). Creatures are allowed a Reflex save to avoid being frozen. Once frozen, they suffer all the effects of "being encased in ice" under the environmental rules, plus 1 point of cold damage per round per inch of ice. They can try to escape the ice with a Strength check or Escape Artist check, DC 15 + 1 per inch of ice. Alternatively, a creature on the outside can attack the ice to break it, with 3 HP per inch of ice. On a successful escape, the target is still entangled for 1 round.

Yet another powerful effect, but you'd have to combo this with the Weather Sphere to get the targets wet in the first place.

Earth

Bury is a Concentration ability that lets you create shifting sands that swallow targets. The area-of-effect is 5 feet + 5 feet-per-5-caster-levels. It functions the same as Entangle, but on a failed check to escape/break free they cannot move at all, and the DC of every succeeding check increases by 1. If a target is prone while they're in this area and they fail the check, they start suffocating until make a check (or die first).

Tremor is an instantaneous ability that lets you spend a spell point to send a tremor through the ground. The area-of-effect is 5 feet + 5 feet-per-5-caster-levels. Every target within the area will take a Trip check, using your caster level and casting ability modifier for the Combat Maneuver Bonus.

This is a natural combo with Bury, though the spell point cost means you can't do it all the time, and if I'm not mistaken the whole CMB/CMD system makes Tripping much harder to do than in 3.5e

Dust Storm is a Concentration ability that lets you kick up an area of sand or loose dirt. The area-of-effect is 10 feet + 5 feet-per-5-caster-levels. Everyone within this area has Concealment (20% miss chance), and if a creature inside the area attacks a creature outside the area, the defender is considered to have Concealment.

Fire

Manipulate Lava is either an instantaneous or Concentration ability. As an instantaneous ability, it works similar to the Freeze ability of Water, except you cause the lava to harden into obsidian. The obsidian is harder and has more HP than ice, but does not deal damage to creatures trapped in it.

As a Concentration ability, it works identically to the Vortex ability of Water, except it can only target lava.

This is getting ridiculous. How often are you going to get to use this ability if it can only target lava?!

Create Fire is a Concentration ability that lets you create a Diminutive-sized magical fire that burns without fuel. The size increases by one category per give caster levels, and can be used to ignite flammable objects to create normal, fuel-sustained fires. If a target is within the area of this fire, they take damage according to normal on-fire rules.

Affect Fire is a Concentration ability that lets you increase or decrease the size of normal non-magical fires.



There are also rules for when two casters are trying to use this on the same fire, and that you can manipulate the fires on creatures that are on fire.




Nature Talents

I'm just going to heavily abbreviate this section otherwise I'm never going to finish it.

Animal Friend lets you spend a spell point to get an animal treat you as a friend. It won't work on animals already overtly hostile to you.

Create Water lets you spend a spell point to create water. You can even combo this with a Water geomancing ability and have it execute within the same action.

Expanded Geomancing lets you take a second Geomancing category

Feed on Fire lets you spend a spell point to gain Fire Resistance equal to your caster level, and lets you heal HP equal to half of the pre-DR fire damage you take.

Forge Earth lets you spend a spell point to raise or lower terrain.

Fire Wielder lets you turn your Create Fire ability into fists of fire that deals extra fire damage on hit and lets you be counted as armed while making unarmed strikes. You can also turn the fire into a mantle around yourself, dealing damage to any creature adjacent to you.

Greater Range increases your Geomancing range.

Grow Plants lets you spend a spell point to spontaneously grow plants in an area, either for its own sake or to allow you to use your plant-based Geomancing abilities. Like Create Water, you can even combo this with the plant Geomancing ability that needs it within the same action.

Move Fire lets you spend move actions to move around fires that you've used Affect Fire on.

Speak with Animals lets you spend a spell point to be able to talk to animals. Their attitude towards you does not change though, so the game says that sometimes animals might be too aloof to want to answer you, or too dumb to be useful.

Speak with Plants is the same, except for plants, and plants will have more limited information to provide because they're plants.

Speak with Stone lets you spend a spell point to be able to tell who else has touched a rock, or passed by a rock, or has used a rock, by touching it.

Thorns allows you to convert your Entangle ability to a thorns ability that deals damage to anyone that enters or stays in the plant-infested area, instead of being slowed.

Towering Growth lets your entangle and thorns spells to grow vertically up, such that they will work against flying creatures.

Waterwalk lets you spend a spell point to be able to walk on water.

Wave lets you spend a spell point to cause large waves of water to attempt to Bull Rush targets.

Whirlwind lets you create a Vortex, as in the water spell, but this time made out of sand.



I found this particular spell school really frustrating to write through and about. So much of it is super-specific and limited for the sake of theme, and while I understand the need for it, the rules are so staid and perfunctory that by the end I could barely muster enthusiasm for the ability to summon a big gently caress-off whirlpool.

Especially when it would require you to have a fight in water anyway. The talents do seem to be able to allow you a measure of flexibility as far as generating plants and water spontaneously, but then it costs you talents and spell points just to be able to do your thing if the terrain isn't cooperative.

Maybe the next spell school will be easier to write about.





Alteration
Creation
Conjuration
Dark
Death
Destruction
Divination
Enhancement
Fate
Illusion
Life
Light
Mind
Nature
Protection
Telekinesis
Time
War
Warp
Weather

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

IF YOU SEE ME SHITTING UP A THREAD ABOUT CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED MMORPG FINAL FANTASY XIV PLEASE REMIND ME THAT I QUIT THE GAME BECAUSE IT COULD NOT HANDLE MY LOFTY CRITICISMS OF VIOLENCE IN MEDIA

AND ALSO TO SHUT THE HELL UP


I'm kind of disappointed that Hoodoo Blues doesn't cover Florida. Florida in centuries past was a very Southern state, and the south parts of the state were considered a hellish watery jungle by Army soldiers fighting the off and on wars with the Seminole.

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:

While I and other natives of the state may know of other local legends from other portions of the rear end-end of the Mississippi River,

I'd love a thread where you told more of these. I've only heard of a few of the characters mentioned in Hoodoo Blues (if you want a bad RPG story about everyone mentioned in the New Orleans blurb, watch American Horror Story: Coven), but every post you make about it leads me to furious Googling, and I'd love to hear more about Southern urban legends and folklore. Does the game have a bibliography?

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



I'm a little late to the Deadlands "keep the war going" chat, but there is an in-game reason for why the war is still going: Confederate president Grant has been killed and replaced by a manitou. It keeps the South fighting because the Reckoners want to keep everyone fighting as long as possible, because the larger war keeps attention away from the smaller-scale supernatural threats.

It also plays into their long term plan. The Reckoners want to accelerate human technological advancement so we'll develop ghost rock bombs, which will eventually turn most of the world into Deadlands.

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.

Honestly the real reason Deadlands had the Civil War still going was because their entire game was inspired by a Brom book cover for Wraith of a ghost confederate. (Necropolis Atlanta, I think?)

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012


Cythereal posted:

I'm kind of disappointed that Hoodoo Blues doesn't cover Florida. Florida in centuries past was a very Southern state, and the south parts of the state were considered a hellish watery jungle by Army soldiers fighting the off and on wars with the Seminole.
Yeah, I have no idea why Florida isn't considered quite South enough to be in the title.

Count Chocula posted:

I'd love a thread where you told more of these. I've only heard of a few of the characters mentioned in Hoodoo Blues (if you want a bad RPG story about everyone mentioned in the New Orleans blurb, watch American Horror Story: Coven), but every post you make about it leads me to furious Googling, and I'd love to hear more about Southern urban legends and folklore. Does the game have a bibliography?
I'm not sure where I'd do such a thing, but that might be a fun type of collective thread. Maybe "PYF Local Legends" or something.

And indeed, Hoodoo Blues does have a bibliography. A courtesy quotation of it for you:

Hoodoo Blues Bibliography posted:

American Negro Folktales, collected by Richard M. Dorson, 1956

An Encyclopedia of Occultism by Lewis Spence, 1960

Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition by Yvonne P. Chireau, 2003

Concerning Negro Sorcery in the United States, author unknown, published in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 3, No. 11, 1890

Conjure in African American Society by Jeffrey E. Anderson, 2007

Dixie Spirits: True Tales of the Strange and Supernatural in the South by Christopher Kiernan Coleman, 2008

Folk Beliefs of the Southern Negro by Newbell Niles Puckett, 1926

Gumbo Ya-Ya: A Collection of Louisiana Folk Tales by Lyle Saxon, Edward Dreyer and Robert Tallant, 1987

Haunted Places: The National Directory by Dennis William Hauck, 2002

Hoodoo Mysteries: Folk Magic, Mysticism & Rituals by Ray T. Malbrough, 2003

LuckyMojo.com, webmaster Catherine Yronwode

Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston, 1935

Observations on the Practice of Conjuring in Georgia by Roland Steiner, published in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 14, No. 54, 1901

The Encyclopedia of the South by Robert O’Brien and Harold H. Martin, 1992

The Silver Bullet and other American Witch Stories, compiled by Hubert J. Davis, 1975

Toward a Systematic Typology of Black Folk Healers by Hans A. Baer, published in Phylon Vol, 43, No. 4, 1982

Voodoo & Hoodoo by Jim Haskins, 1978

Voodoo in New Orleans by Robert Tallant, 1946

Voodoo, Past and Present by Ron Bodin, 1990

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.

I need to grab Hoodoo Blues as research/source material for my dumb Bluegrass Fantasy/Appalachian folklore Fellowship hack. ( I saw the Overlord playbook and immediately wanted to do the same thing only with the GM as the Crooked Man/the Devil at the Crossroads.)

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





unseenlibrarian posted:

Honestly the real reason Deadlands had the Civil War still going was because their entire game was inspired by a Brom book cover for Wraith of a ghost confederate. (Necropolis Atlanta, I think?)
That's sure got a ghostly reb on the cover. Wraith: the gift that keeps on giving! (Much like death itself.)

Quinn2win
Nov 9, 2011

Foolish child of man...
After reading all this,
do you still not understand?




STORIES, PART 2

Active Operations
There are two kinds of operations: Active and Reactive. In Active ops, the agents have knowledge about the vampire conspiracy, and take action to thwart it.

Leads for an Active Operation are generally of the form of "something is going on here, and you have to stop it". What is the conspiracy doing in this city? What are the side effects? Who wants it stopped? Once they know where the problem is, the rest is up to them.

There are nine basic kinds of active missions:
  • Destroy: Physically, mentally, morally or socially annihilate the target.
  • Flip: Convert an enemy asset to the agent side. Give them a conspiracy handler who needs to be taken out of the picture.
  • Heist: Provide target, provide security, provide someone else who also wants the thing.
  • Hit: Somebody has to die. Provide target and security, provide a weakness in one or both.
  • Hunt: Find somebody - a potential ally or a vampire conspirator. Who else is hunting the target?
  • Rescue: Get somebody away from the conspiracy. Like Heist, but the target is a person.
  • Sneak: Get into a place, to get intel, plant bugs, or set up a Heist or Flip. Could be physical or social infiltration. Or both.
  • Trace: Find something that's been missing for a long time. Set up a trail of clues by working backwards from its location.
  • Uncover: Solve a mystery - what the conspiracy is up to, who killed the asset, which company is in league with vampires. Pure GUMSHOE territory.

Reactive Operations
In the other kind of operation, the ball is in the Director's court - the vampires take action, the agents react. Leads are similar to Active Operations - when the vampires do something dramatic, it sends ripples through the city, which the agents can pick up on.

Reactive Missions have similar mission types, but in reverse. Some examples:
  • Counter-Destroy: Vampires plan to destroy the local human trafficking network and replace it with their own. The agents can either stop them and destroy the network themselves, or stop them and have some unsavory types owe them favors.
  • Counter-Flip: Vampires are trying to flip the prefect of police. Agents need to stop them, kill him after he flips, or re-flip him as a double agent.
  • Counter-Heist: Vampires want to steal an idol of Zalmoxis from a museum to channel its eldritch powers. The agenst must destroy it, heist it first, or use it as bait.
  • Counter-Hit: The vampires want to kill the archbishop to protect thier secrets. The agents need to keep him alive.
  • Counter-Hunt: The vampires are hunting someone who escaped with a flash drive full of secrets. The agents might want to get to the flash drive first, or might want to rescue and flip the guy carrying it.
  • Counter-Rescue: Vampires planning to rescue a Renfield from a prison facility. The agents hit them either on the way in or the way out.
  • Counter-Sneak: Vampires want to sneak a lamia into the Davos summit. Agents need to disrupt the sneak without blowing their own cover, or flip an asset at the summit, or sneak in their own agent.
  • Counter-Trace: The vampires are tracing a shipment of precursors for an advanced vampire serum. The agents want to find it first, eliminate the conspiracy investigators, or muddy the trail until it can't be found.
  • Counter-Uncover: Rare. Maybe the vampires want to bring Heat against the agents, maybe they want to expose unsavory MI6 work as a diversion.

So, you've heard of the Conspyramid, now get ready for...

The Vampyramid
The Conspyramid was a table of how a conspiracy is shaped. The Vampyramid is different - it outlines how the conspiracy responds to threats. The enemy starts with the lower levels, and the more chaos the agents cause, the higher up it goes.



Each line upwards is a logical escalation from the box below to the box above. We've got six rows of enemy action:

Row One: Reflex
  • Offer Payoff: An apparently-unconnected node offers a handsome payoff to just walk away. In a Burn game, they may hint that the enemy knows about one of their sources of stability.
  • Frame Agent: An agent is framed for a crime, raising Heat. They may offer to reduce Heat if the agent walks away.
  • Shadow Agent: Enemies try to follow the agent and learn their patterns. Vampires can use animal familiars for this, making it harder to detect.
  • Shadow Source: The conspiracy visibly stalks a Source of Stability for the agent. May drain points from a contact's pool.
  • Yojimbo: The conspiracy sends an unaffiliated attacker after the agent - a contract killer, a gang working on a bad tipoff, a possessed secret policeman. Goal isn't necessarily to kill - they want to see how the agents fight, and get them entangled with other forces.
  • Probing Attack: Street-level soldiers ambush the target. Same general objectives as Yojimbo.

Row Two: Containment
  • Kill an enemy of the agents. Could be a murderous bribe, a frame job, or a way to stir up vendettas between groups.
  • Isolate Agent: The conspiracy kills of members of the agent's network until they refuse to risk any others, or otherwise separates them from their assets. If the man running the isolation mission is taken out, the attack stops.
  • Threaten Safety: Either a raid of a place of safety or a subtle threat on a place of safety (such as buying the neighboring property).
  • Red Herring: Plant evidence leading to someone else as the mastermind. If the agents fall for the plant, it should lead them to clues pointing back towards the real conspiracy, but give the vampires time to take more nefarious action.
  • Hard Feint: Strike at the agents to provoke a response, potentially raising Heat, while the conspiracy takes action elsewhere.

Row Three: Deflection
  • Offer Protection: Offer to reduce an agent's Heat or stop attacking them.
  • Double Agent: Plant an asset in the agent's inner circle, someone who has a lot of conspiracy intel to share but is reporting the agent's activity back to the vampires.
  • Bait and Switch: Leave a trail of false intel, pushing the agents to overextend themselves on a wild goose chase. Possibly combine with an ambush or false arrest.
  • Haunt Agent: Use all available supernatural tricks to drive the agent to retirement or insanity.

Row Four: Embrace
  • Offer Drive: Offer to fulfill an agent's Drive to flip them. In a Mirror game, even refusal might net nice rewards for the agent, just to make their teammates doubt their loyalties.
  • Double Cross: Pop the double agent from row three to betray the agents.
  • Kill Solace: Find an agent's Solace and eliminate them. Preferable in front of the agent.

Row Five: Entrapment
  • Lure Agent: Expose a valuable target, and load it up with muscle. A risky move, but the vampires are desperate by row five.
  • Hunt Agent: Hunt down the agents. Kill them, drain them, turn them. Hit when Heat is high and resources are low.

Row Six: Destruction
  • Kill Agent: Right before the agents are planning their final attack, hit them with everything at the vampires' disposal. All or nothing.

The Campaign Story
While there are lots of stories to tell in this game, there's a general assumed default campaign structure: Agents uncover vampires. Agents hunt vampires. Vampires hunt agents. Agents destroy vampires.

In broad strokes, a campaign is split into three arcs:

Opening
Players are learning the ropes of the game, making their first adversary maps, getting comfortable in their roles. Be nice to them, remind them about tag-team benefits and MOS. However much you hold their hands, though, have one harrowing scene to amp up the terror of the vampire enemy.

Begin with an introductory operation where the players learn that vampires are real. Make it clear that the agents are dead if they don't figure out what's going on, and fast. Threat established, lasts through two levels of the Conspyramid, begin outlining the vampire rules of the setting.

Midgame
The players have started to internalize the game rules, and are more likely to take risks. You can let them go unsupervised more now, and they'll start to surprise you. Throw in new elements now: Other supernatural forces, rival conspiracies, whatever works. Toss in one new element at the start of midgame and another at the end.

Get a higher-level villain into the mix, start making things personal. The enemy takes more direct action against the agents, action rises, operations get big. Whatever anti-vampire measures the agents have started to get used to, the vampires start to take their own countermeasures against. Runs through another two levels of the Conspyramid, personal arcs are now fully intertwined with the campaign arc.

In Dust games, the agents should have a full network of contacts to call in for favors by now. In Burn games, Stability should be starting to fray by now. In Mirror games, have at least one major NPC betrayal before midgame ends.

Endgame
Eventually, the agents will start resolving to wipe out the conspiracy once and for all. Dangle a chance to end everything in front of them, but only at great risk. Often, endgame starts around when the villain from midgame is taken out.

Every operation starting now should have a looming sense of doom around it - the conspiracy is everywhere, vampire attacks are constant. In Burn games, contacts are dying or running for the hills. In Mirror games, your allies are selling you out to save themselves.

If the agents don't quite have enough intel, this is a time for a turncoat from Conspyramid level 5. Keep tension high. Plot a big, high-action final adventure, leave a trail of clues leading to it, let the dominoes fall.

Next: Three alternate play styles.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Count Chocula posted:

So which writer's fantasy girlfriend is she? She does kinda pull off being a likeable Ayn Rand character.

Just add a note on how she's really into video games, anime and cosplaying, and you have Next Edtiion Lilith.

Fossilized Rappy posted:

Raw Head and Bloody Bones: Also known as Bloody Bones or Tommy Rawhead, this monster was once a large pig named Raw Head. Raw Head was owned by an elderly Conjure woman living out in the Ozarks, who treated the big boar as her only friend. While everyone in that wooded valley knew Raw Head belonged to the Conjure woman, a poacher from out of town came and slew the pig one day. The furious Conjure woman used necromantic power to resurrect Raw Head's blood-soaked bones into a horrific monster. The skeletal boar walked on his hind legs and gathered parts from other slain animals, taking the teeth of a panther, claws of a bear, and tail of a beaver, then took his time stalking and taunting the poacher with a raspy human voice in the dead of night. Eventually, after he was finally tired of playing with his prey, Raw Head and Bloody Bones killed and ate the poacher. If you're brave enough, you can summon him for yourself, presumably to utilize his 30 Endurance and Strength to rend your foes asunder.

...

Okwa Naholo ("White People of the Water"): Slender people with all black eyes and skin colored "the white of a trout's belly". No one's quite sure what these guys' deal is, as they typically hide by burrowing in mud or crawling into reeds whenever people are around, only coming out and doing whatever it is they do when they are alone. Okwa naholo have an extreme amount of hatred for fishermen, who they will attempt to drag under the water and drown. Being drowned by an okwa naholo causes you to become an okwa naholo yourself rather than die.

Man, Southern zombies and (kinda sorta) ghouls own. Raw Head really needs a mini or something.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Rawhead goes all the way back to Ireland. Clive Barker made a movie about one variation of him, way back in the day.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Superiors: Lilith - Freedom to Choose

It is a solid fact that there's no such thing as a naive Lilim. From the moment of their creation, they have an innate knack for deal-making and seduction. This is because of how they're made. See, sometimes, Lilith requests Forces as payment. She incorporates these Forces into herself until they absorb her nature, and then she removes nine of them and uses them to create a Lilim. Newborn Lilim receive at least one Ethereal Force bearing her nature, and that is the root of the Lilim love of Freedom, cunning and bitter selfishness. It is unknown if Lilith had the ability to do this before she joined Lucifer, or if she can make anything else. She has only ever been known to make demonic Lilim, and they can't do the same thing - it is unknown if that's deliberate or because they aren't human like Lilith.

Celestials who learn of this aspect of the Lilim believe that it is why they can be so cooperative among themselves and so varied in personality, drawing on the original donor of the Forces used. That some Daughters seek Redemption may come from use of ethereal or angelic Forces in their creation. Lilith mainly stays out of their business unless they are treated unfairly...and that's not out of altruism. She's less likely to intervene to those Lilim sworn to a Prince, but sometimes still does. The reason is threefold. First, she can't let her Daughters be treated as property or slaves due to her Word. Second, the Lilim are a large part of her power, and every time a Free Lilim dies, she loses several GEases. She does not appreciate that. Third, because her Daughters share her essential nature, an offense against them is in some way an offense against her, making people think that, perhaps, they can push Lilith around. However, no one knows where she'll draw the line on any given day. This keeps the Free Lilim from ignoring authority too much, and also keeps the Game from naming them all Renegades.

Lilith has few Tethers of her own, as she has neither a Principality of any real size nor the desire to bind Seneschals indefinitely. She does have a few Seneschals, but never binds them as Wordbound to the location. Her Tethers tend to be transient - the sites of revolutions, executions of kings and other monuments to political instability. Once the politics make the link to Freedom ironic, Lilith loses interest and stops maintaining the Tether. Some of these abandoned Tethers linger on, while others are destroyed by neglect or celestial action, and some are even sold to Princes who can use them, like Malphas. Still, for as long as a Tether to Freedom has a Seneschal, it can be used to work off dissonance for anyone - even angels. Currently, Lilith has a Tether to a small building in Palo Alto, where anarchistic programs were developed and are still in use. She also has TEthers at the remains of the Berlin Wall, at Concord Green, at a statue of the rebel slave Zumbi in Brazil and the statue of Armed Freedom at the Capitol Building in DC, which she keeps for the irony. Her Tethers are usually endpointed in the Guildhall of Free Lilim, the closest thing to a Principality Lilith holds.

The Berlin Wall Tether was formed when the first blow was struck to open new border crossings. One of Lilith's most trusted Daughters, Tahapenes, was there watching. When she sensed the forming Tether, she called Lilith and the Tether was stabilized immediately. She was given position as Seneschal if she wanted it, and she took the job. She still believes Lilith was present that day and the call was unneeded, but she never mentions this. Over the next two years, the Wall was almnost totally destroyed, so now it's hard to say where the Tether locus actually is. Most believe it's at Potsdamer Platz, but some say that any part of the Wall or where it once was can be used. Tahapenes works as a pair of tour guides, as she has both male and female Vessels, focusing on the remains of hte Wall. She does what she can to keep alive its memory and what its destruction symbolized, and while she wasn't the only force behind the marking of its old course, she did approve. Even now, the Berlin Wall is one of the most powerful Tethers to Freedom, and she plans to keep it that way.

Lilith attempts to avoid politics when she can, but she doesn't consider dealmaking or information brokerage as politics, even to Archangels. Others may not see it that way, but none of the Princes are willing to push her too far - she's too useful and holds too many debts and secrets.



Superior Opinions posted:

Andrealphus: Charming, stylish, heartbreakingly beautiful, and wonderful in bed. No morality, no affection, simply the trading of body for Need. I have many of her Daughters in my service. A reliable ally, and so stylish.
Think of him as a perfect example of freedom - do what thou wilt. He refuses to acknowledge any bindings other than the ones forced on him by position or power - or Geases, of course. It's hardly surprising that we get on so well.
Asmodeus: She is flighty, too devoted to herself and not enough to Hell. If she did not provide useful services and demons for the cause, she would be just another Renegade. As it is, I must police her "free" children carefully, since she cares not what they do.
To hime, I owe nothing. He's a slave at heart, knowing nothing of real freedom. I'm amazed he found the spirit to rebel against Heaven in the first place.
Baal: Though uninterested in the front lines and undisciplined, she produces devious support personnel. It is better to have her working with us than complicating matters as a true free agant.
Baal always keeps his word. He doesn't do much business with me, though...and when the War is over, who will need Lilith?
Beleth: She has sense enough to fear me. That is enough. If she has something to offer, I shall consider it.
Living out there on the edge of the Marches, she makes her own way. She can frighten me - but then, I suppose that's her point. I've had plans, lately, for her. There are things she wants that I can get her. And she'll owe big. All's fair...
Belial: Hey, she's got her uses, done a few favors for me. But she's not really hot stuff, know what I mean? All talk, no fire.
Sure, he's as scary as any uncontrolled disaster. But he's no rocket scientist. It doesn't take much to get something from him. I'll make a deal here and there, though he's reneged once or twice and I had rake him 'cross the coals. He won't soon cross me again - if he knows what's good for him.
Haagenti: I wanted a ham sandwich, and she gave me one! With a whole pig! It was great!
He's hungry enough to have plenty of Needs. However, he's developing, and growing more intelligent - I'm not sure how many of the other Princes have realized that yet. Potential, oh, definitely.
Kobal: She's got a sense of humor, sure, but she rarely tells you what's so funny. I think she's laughing inside more than she ever lets on. Gotta admit, the joke was on Heaven the day they let her get away!
He's always been a free thinker, willing to flit from idea to idea, and I value that. He's not bound by reality; no plan seems too outrageous for him. He also knows how to repay his debts, good or bad. Another admirable quality.
Kronos: Lilith is a perfect example of how Fate attracts all things, all beings. Even the purest expriment was contaminated from the first.
Kronos...[bites her lower lip throughtfully and distractingly] I have my theories about what he really is. [smiles even more distractingly] No. No, I don't intend to share.
Malphas: Anarchy feeds into factions - she should realize this and cooperate with me. I could do much if she were less stubborn...
I am very well aware of the games Malphas plays. However, he cannot break the bonds of a Geas, so I'll play along with him; I know who my allies are.
Nybbas: Definitely star quality, her and her Daughters! We don't even have a PR problem here - everybody likes freedom! Hates anybody but her sitting in the director's chair, though; a real prima donna. Still, nothing controls the audience better than beautiful freedom.
Someday, he's going to turn around and understand how much he Needs his audience. Then he's going to see who's been watching him since he got his Word. And just maybe he'll realize that his glasses don't stop me. 'Til then...at least it keeps some of the girls gainfully employed. He pays me well for them.
Saminga: Freedom is insignificant in the face of Death. All die, all come to me.
He negotiates with real energy, but that's the only fun thing about him. And too often, the threat of Death is used to steal freedom.
Valefor: Goes where she wants to go, does what she wants to do, gets what she wants to have. Enjoys stirring up trouble. I can appreciate that. And she understands that getting locked up in one place is just no fun - I like her, and I'm ging to see if she wants this necklace I picked up...
A likeable rogue, but an enigma. I love his freedom. His Needs are a heavy burden - no, I'm not saying what they are! Nevertheless, what Valefor wants, Valefor gets. A Prince after one's own heart, and anything else he can pry loose.
Vapula: An interesting control in one of the first experiments. She's a real progressive, embracing technology and what it brings.
We used to get on quite well, he and I. I think he's been getting even more obsessed lately, if that's possible, but he can at least maintain a decent professional relationship, which is more than I can say for some.
Blandine: She is a Princess, what more need be said? It is a pity that such a noble Word is twisted to infernal use. But oh, she can be tempting.
I know what she Needs, but I can give it to her. Her Needs scream at me. Maybe that's why she isolates herself in the Marches.
David: Lilith offers "the easy way out." Unfortunately there's no such thing. That means she couldn't give you a good deal if she wanted to. She always cheats you. It's what she does. It's what her Word means. She's a demon and must be destroyed.
Old as stone, slow as stone, thick as stone. He refuses to believe that I have any honor whatsoever. So I never, ever try to start a fight with him.
Domonic: She is evil and must be destoryed. Her seductions and Geases have lured angels to Trip and Fall. She is dangerous.
Rules, rules, rules - bah. I know he's got a special place in his dungeons for me. He can't accept that I was never within his jurisdiction to begin with.
Eli: A real lady, but don't promise her the moon unless you want to deliver! Loads of fun at parties. [pause] Ah, don't mention you heard that from me.
He's a Mercurian, so I can relax around him, some. He's such a goof these days. Loads of fun at parties. I don't trust him one little bit.
Gabriel: She is a Princess of Hell. She is alone. Not cruel, not kind; her sins are omissions, her mercies a lack of malice. Freedo menslaved to darkness, enslaving light - how does she reconcile the division in her nature?
It's dangerous to try to fulfill a lunatic's Needs - her urge to punish cruelty makes dealing with her worse than walking through a minefield. As likely to flame someone as not, too. God drove her insane, another cruelty to His name, and her so-called prophecies are visions of madness. Yet her ravings can be...unsettlingly relevant.
Janus: She's certainly one for stirring things up! I sure wish she were on our side - there's a lot of things we could do together to shake up the status quo!
An exciting racing partner, but not one to cultivate. I wouldn't like to do without Valefor's good will. Still, the Wind has its own needs for Freedom.
Jean: She must have had her reasons to choose as she did. If only she could be understood, perhaps... But she keeps her own counsel, and I have higher-priority things to do than psychoanalyze her. Still, she's certainly not a neo-Luddite - unlikes some of the people around here.
An intellectual chessmaster, and yet elemental; I love wild thunderstorms. His "hands off humanity" policy is something the other Angel Princes could learn from.
Jordi: The only Freedom for humanity is that of the wilds, but she embraces technology to enhance her Word. She is obviously corrupt, and must be viewed with deep suspicion.
I could like him, if I didn't always see his Need for humanity to be grubbing in the dirt like any other animal. I've done that. Never again.
Laurence: She chose to walk away from God. She cloaks herself in the ideology of liberation, but never forget that she represents the consequences of free will exercised selfishly - the freedom to choose Hell over Heaven.
Heh. How charming to know the General of the Host is younger than I. What I'd give for the key to unlock the chains around his virtue... But he's best avoided; much too dangerous. If you get any Geases on his Servitors, though...call me.
Marc: If only she weren't so selfish, what we could... Well, of course I've dealt with her from time to time. She's amenable to an honest exchange, though you definitely have to watch the fine print around her. I think we both enjoy the challenge, really.
I could almost trust him, because he deals as sharp as I do. It's his Word, and my life. But he's never offered me quite enough...
Michael: Sometimes she has information. And she knows better than to lie about its value. But she should never be trusted. Not even by the Princes. She'd rather be on her own side.
He understands about mercenaries and free agants, and I know here I stand when I'm dealing with him. I'm not stupid enough to try to face him in battle or meet him down dark alleys.
Novalis: I feel sorry for her. If she even thought about changing her mind, she'd get lynched by both sides. She must be very lonely. I just don't see why no one considers a little forgiveness - honey is sweeter than vinegar. And she has excellent taste in clothing.
Honestly, she makes my teeth hurt. Cloying, saccharine, always remembering she made that lovely garden I walked out of... But better the honeysuckle than the poison ivy; I don't antagonize her.
Yves: It remains to be seen if Fate has truly claimed Lilith - her story is not over. Freedom brings hope, and hipe leads to destiny.
I remember when he named me. And I remember when he walked away, and Lucifer explained free will to us. Yves is trucky, but I'll deal with him; the knowledge he commands is tempting.
Humanity: Complex, of course. "Half of them are below average," as the saying goes. I'd be quite opposed to their extermination.
Soldiers of God: Fools, typically, who don't know what they're really giving their lives for. Still, it's their choice, though they'll only find out what their lives bought after it's too late.
Soldiers of Hell: Also mostly fools, of the power-hungry sort. They make good tools, and the few glorious, self-sufficient ones are worth knowing.
Sorcerers: A pitifully deluded bunch, these days. I remember when ethereals and demons trembled at the very thought of a summoning, but now, sorcerers are rarely better than the power-blinded Hellsworn.
Ethereals: I could have told them that they'd be crushed between the millstones of Heaven and Hell, but none asked me. It's nice to be the superior partner in deals with them, though I do try not to rub it in.

When Lilith was made, Lucifer was the most interesting of the beings she met. When he later sought her out, he found her lonely, suspicious and angry. He nourished her bitterness and her sympathy for the imprisoned dmeons, and he used a mix of lies, threats, truth and promsies to seduce her to the cause of Hell. Also, sex. She has never quite forgotten what it was like to be at the center of his attention, wanted and needed, and she loved Lucifer as much as she has ever loved anyone. Even now, when hse knows he lied to her, she refuses to believe it was all lies. That would hurt her, after all. Lilith respects Lucifer's power, but she fears his words far more. Maybe he could take her crown and cast her down to be a mere human, maybe he could destroy her - but that would be better than him telling her he never felt anything for her. For his part, Lucifer has never done anything to make her believe he is only using her or was only using her. Hek nows well what that might do.

Lilith's much more straightforward on God: He is a sadistic and arbitrary manipulator. She is quick to point out the patriarchal and authoritiarian influences in divien religions, and equally quick to ask why God would make angels with such painful dissonance as the Cherubim and Elohim, who seem to her to be made to be on the edge of Falling. And, of course, she still has the grudge: God made her choose between caged comfort and free suffering - and she knew nothing of the outside world until it was too late to go back.







So, variations. Lilith is still technically a human, and that makes her more complex than any celestial could ever be. Also, she doesn't ever cause Disturbance. However, she is immortal, and that's affected her. She has plans and grudges that last across centuries. There's three basic ways to view Lilith, and even canonically, many celestials hold any of the three views. The first is the Malicious Lilith. She was, from the first, disobedient and selfish. She hates humanity and justifies it with imagined insults. She jumped at the offer of power and enjoys subjugating others. Her humanity is a mere technicality and her Word is an ironic joke. The Enigma Lilith had reasons, still does, and some are even logical. Eden was an experiment with a sample of three, an experiment in which God made humans to be lab rats. And if Lucifer came to you in person, could you stand against him? Would you tell him no? Still, she hasn't run away, either, and the legends of Lilith killing infants are true. The Trapped Lilith is selfish, sure, but she feels Heaven let her down. She owes favors of her own that trap her to Lucifer, and none know the conditions that got her her Word. Already, she lives mostly on Earth, speaks to Marc and Eli and Jean, and she saves her DAughters when she can. If she were convinced that Heaven wasn't mindless conformity, that she would not be killed...well, maybe she might plan her own escape?



Lilith The Mere Human is crippled - she lacks many of the innate powers of other Superiors. She may be unable to make any type of celestial but Lilim, use any resonance at all or manifest more vessels than her own body. Maybe she even needs the Song of Projection to enter Hell. That would make her much weaker. Or you can go the other way - maybe Lilith is indeed gray and can make angels as well as dmeons. Heaven would of course want to rescue them and cover it up, unless it would make the Princes angry enough to force her to flee.

That would be hte Renegade Princess Lilith. Of all the Princes, Lilith is often seen as most likely to go Renegade, both by angels and demons. She loves Freedom and all its aspects. If Lucifer ever ceased to protect her, the Princes would destroy her unless she ran. She remains selfish, but she also takes her Word very broadly, and she's willing to change her behavior to get help. It's not selflessness, though, it's pragmatism. She might seek sanctuary with the Grigori, if she could find them, or make a deal with Marc for protection. She might hide in the Marches with the crippled pantheons, shelter herself with Eli or even perhaps submit to Jean's psychoanalysis. If Lilith thought Lucifer was going to lift her protections, she would plot to escape with as much power as possible. Even if she had to flee unespectedly, she'd bring what power she could in the form of Renegades, Outcasts and Free Lilim into a rebel power structure. That might make joining forces with Heaven a bit tricky. Still, Michael would at least see the value in it and would enjoy keeping Dominic off their backs.

Strictly speaking, humans can't Redeem as demons do - they can seek salvation instead. Their forms and abilities do not change to show if they are blessed or damned. That makes even a repentant Lilith awkward for Heaven. They might assume she would be burned by the Light of Heaven if she were still sympathetic to Hell, how would you tell if she was backsliding? And she hadh er attitudes forged in Hell. She's used to being uncaring, using power for vengeance over petty slights, testing others for her amusement. It'd be a fulltime job to get her attnetion and give her a more personal reason to care what others thing. Getting to Heaven, after all, requires caring.

Next time: The Guildhall

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Doresh posted:

Just add a note on how she's really into video games, anime and cosplaying, and you have Next Edtiion Lilith.
There's already a note that Lilith has taken on catgirl form and likes sci fi conventions, so...

kaynorr
Dec 31, 2003



Count Chocula posted:

So which writer's fantasy girlfriend is she? She does kinda pull off being a likeable Ayn Rand character.

IIRC, she was widely believed to be the self-insert/Mary Sue of Beth McCoy, who was the In Nomine line developer for a while. Read GURPS IOU and compare/constrast with the ArchDean for much the same MO.

PantsOptional
Dec 27, 2012

All I wanna do is make you bounce

kaynorr posted:

IIRC, she was widely believed to be the self-insert/Mary Sue of Beth McCoy, who was the In Nomine line developer for a while. Read GURPS IOU and compare/constrast with the ArchDean for much the same MO.

What a surprise that there's an entry for her on some furry wiki.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015


Bieeardo posted:

Rawhead goes all the way back to Ireland. Clive Barker made a movie about one variation of him, way back in the day.

Mors Rattus posted:

There's already a note that Lilith has taken on catgirl form and likes sci fi conventions, so...

Two quotes, one reply: Excellent.

(Though I personally associate evil catgirls with Nyarlathotep, for obvious reasons)

kaynorr posted:

IIRC, she was widely believed to be the self-insert/Mary Sue of Beth McCoy, who was the In Nomine line developer for a while. Read GURPS IOU and compare/constrast with the ArchDean for much the same MO.

Well, at least she didn't start naming herself Lilith...

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012



kaynorr posted:

IIRC, she was widely believed to be the self-insert/Mary Sue of Beth McCoy, who was the In Nomine line developer for a while. Read GURPS IOU and compare/constrast with the ArchDean for much the same MO.

She also seems to have written herself up as an archangel.

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Just in case anyone is bored, I made the bonus patreon episode for Gamma World free today. You can listen or download it right here.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Superiors: Lilith - Freedom Isn't Free

The Guildhall of Free Lilim is in Shal-Mari, made to be a central location for Lilim and Princely representatives to meet and make deals. The central room is always full of booths, each with the representative of a Prince or major Wordbound hunting for free Lilim to hire. It's even more full of Lilim of all ages, hunting for work or a deal that'll set them up for a century or two. A few agents also circulate in search of Lilim with specific abilities for some plan or information their mistresses would be interested in. The Guildhall's staff of damned souls hurry about to keep the place clean and deliver messages. It's never quiet.

Off from the main room is the bar, with semi-private and discreet booths for more serious deals and rented rooms for true privacy. They're not cheap, though. Stairs and elevators had up or down, as the basements hold most of the Tether endpoints of Freedom. The middle floors hold offices and small apartments that Lilim can rent, as well as the barracks of the Guildhall staff. On the top floor is Lilith's office, where her secretary can be found to make deals, or more rarely, Lilith herself. The secretary is always a powerful Lilim, authorized to make bargains herself, and you need something only Lilith can provide, she'll make notes and do preliminary negotiations, then forward it to Lilith by the end of the day. The hall to this office is always full of a line of waiting demons. While in theory it's first come, first served, the more potent will generally bully or bribe their way to the front. The rest of the top floor is Lilith's suite, overlooking Shal-Mari. Few demons ever see these quarters, and while the security is discreet, it is also quite unpleasant. Lilith rarely spends time in the Guildhall, however - she prefers Earth.



Those that serve Lilith directly always do so for a reason - either they're working off a Geas or working ofr a promised reward. From time to time, Lilith will trade a Lilim's Geas to a Superior in exchange for the service of one of their servants for an equal length of time. Sometimes the Superior picks the 'volunteer,' sometimes Lilith does. While Lucifer could easily assign her servants, even Wordbound, this has so far never happened. Lilith is frugal in her requests, preferring to be self-sufficient, and she likes her temps to rely on themselves when in trouble. Quick and efficient work, however, may put her in a good enough mood to make more and better bargains with you. It is possible to enter long-term arrangements roughly equivalent to permanent service, but these are always arranged so either side can walk away after a certain period, renewable as circumstances allow. Some Outcasts and Renegades seek these contracts in exchange for some amount of protection. Lilith's help is covert and plausibly deniable, should Asmodeus or Dominic stop by. Now and then, she will openly purchase demons from a Prince, but she insists they're free to leave when their contracts are up...though somehow, these desperate souls always renew those contracts.

Lilith has no organization. Those who bargain with her obey for the duration. While Lilith likes to collect information, she has neither the time nor inclination to read endless reports. It would be boring. Thus, she does have to have minions to go through the information and file more pertinent reports. She keeps as few of these as she can - a good secretary, usually. Most reports go through two to four layers - her ears on the street hear gossip, go to a Guildhall employee who filters out the redundant bits and sends it on to a specialist monitor. From there, it gets sent to Lilith on earth, to be triaged for importance and put on her desk. Really hot data goes straight to a secretary or Lilith herself. Orders come down similar chains of not-quite-command.

Naturally, temps don't get to be part of the data flow unless it won't matter that they won't be around long. They're more likely to be messengers, collectors of raw data or disposable minions, except when special expertise is needed and no Free Lilim is available with it. Even longterm employees are expected to keep their records in order so they can turn them over to a replacement when they leave. Training the replacement is optional but approved of. (Most Freedom training is via mentorship.) There are also some isolated cells, often human, such as detective agencies or security teams who know little about other gorups. They are often mundane and utterly unaware of anything except that one of their clients is obscenely rich.

Lilith hires people to promote choice and freedom over rules and slavery, usually, plus some spying. Her temps are often told to remove tyrants, protect birth control and abortion clinics, lobby against certain laws using any means available, engineer jailbreaks and promote communications and transport technology. They also fight against big business and governments, help Theft and Lust, and offer favors to all sorts of clients, usually in ways to promote anarchy or individual freedom. If Lilith is very annoyed, she may escalate any of these - assassinate pro-lifers, kidnap CEOs, assist terrorists...that sort of thing. For Lilim, there's also the job of collecting Geases on specific people or those in certain areas, then invoke them at Lilith's direction. Information gathering is usually on other celestials - currently, most often Beleth, Kronos and Eli - and reports of strange events. It's rare for any one person to get more than snippets of information, and some even have the task of gathering false information or things Lilith knows or things that don't exist. It keeps any one hireling from knowing too much. Oddly, Lilith seems to have little interest in investigating Valefor, for whatever reason.

In Hell, Freedom mostly spies, collects and processes information. Lilith doesn't like politics, but she knows she has to be kept up to date on them. She pays some Essence to many demons, demonlings and damned souls to just keep their ears open and report gossip. The best paid are those who can eavesdrop on important demons, but even a lowly demonling can eventually save up enough credit to buy a Force, if they report well enough. Theoretically, Lilith might also employ retrieval and transport, but rarely directly. Most of the time that's political and she wants deniability. Others might be direct but cover to avoid thieves and hostility. Of course, if she finds out about exploited Lilim and decides to get involved, she might send a team to get revenge. These jobs tend to be intermittent and case by case. She also pays a much smaller group, largely of Lilim, to maintain the Guildhall, collect dues, deliver rent and keep the peace. The non-Lilim are all cleaning staff, bouncers and Tether guards. The smallest group are Lilith's secretaries, known as the Secretarial Pool despite a modern push by the younger Lilim to be called executive assistants. No matter what they're called, though, being part of the Secretarial Pool is quite the status symbol.





Those assigned to work in the Marches tend to spy on dreams, run messages out to the Far Marches, seek out artifacts of power or, more rarely, serve as ambassadors to certain Domains. Since Beleth doesn't really like anyone else poking around, this can be rather tricky, and Blandine's angels are no better.

On Earth, besides everything previously discussed, some hires work as bodyguards, messegners or thugs, transporters or people doing a job someone else asked Lilith for. Sometimes a group will be gathered to solve some problem for Lilith or someone else, and they're rarely told more than the bare minimum needed to ensure they solve the problem rather than shooting nearby people. Lilith is always hiring spies and data collection agents, though, as well as demons working with organized crime or law enforcement to track people or do certain things. She also hires people to staff her estates, look out for Disturbance and keep the places clean or serve as her personal secretaries as she travels.



Most of Freedom's work is unusual, especially the jobs that are about Lilith fulfilling a pact with someone else. The work has four basic flavors, though. Working with folks you don't know the allegiances of, secretly working with angels, openly working with angels, and the really, really weird jobs, like finding a lost cat in LA or shelving unfiled books for no clear reason. Lilith also hires folks to get information from Renegades or defectors, and she's the most likely to give a Renegade a choice - put the information in a Memory Pearl and move on, or refuse and die.



Lilith's primary stock in trade for temps is Songs, vessels, relics, Rites and Geases. Lilim especially like to learn the Celestial Song of Charm or the Celestial Song of Affinity. Essence is also a common payment. Lilith will remove dissonance or Discord, too, which makes her tempting to Outcasts. She has learned to access many Songs and Rites learned from ethereals, and she will happily trade them for Geases to be invoked when she needs it. IF you're lucky, she'll have a job for you first, rather than a Geas, and you can get paid when it's done. Either way, those serving her may choose to take her basic Rites and dissonance - but it's an all or nothing package. Lilith won't force you either way, but you don't get to change your mind after. Some try to find out what Lilith wants and do it without negotiating first. If you're really lucky, you'll be right and she'll be in a good enough mood to reward it freely. If you aren't lucky, you hosed up someone else's job or she wasn't impressed enough for more than a brief thank you. Still, if you're really useful, she might even sponsor you for a Word...though that'd take a lot of effort and decades of loyal service.



Lilith prefers Balseraphs for jobs that need people to be convinced of things, though she rarely uses them to interact with angels or collect information. Djinn are used as guards, bodyguards and muscle when you don't want too much violence or sadism, and they also get given research and info gathering jobs. Calabim are short term bouncers and the go-to for any job needing lots of destruction. Habbalah get assigned jobs that need subtlety and nastiness in any combination, and also for interrogation or manufacturing blackmail. Lilim, when not staff or secretaries, are mostly used for jobs involving Geases, learning about Needs or blackmail. They are the Band Lilith trusts most, though less so for those bound to a Prince. Shedim are used for plausible deniability or to steal information from a mortal mind. Sometimes they are instructed to remain subtle, even if it'd be dissonant, and Lilith will generally cure any dissonance that causes. Impudites are used to make friends or get blackmail, and also when another job needs someone who can easily give Essence to the rest of the team.



Strictly speaking, Lilim do not serve Lilith even when Free, though they usually have her Rites and dissonance, and they do share her nature. In many ways, they can't help but serve Freedom...but they also do damage to it, because despite what they claim, Geases are often very unfair. For the Lilim, life is all about value. Your value. You know you're currency, for yourself and Lilith. The more valuable you are, the less likely you'll be sent on a suicide mission. The more your Geases are worth to others. The closer you are to true freedom. But if you lose too many Geases too quickly...well, you're not very valuable to Lilith any more, are you? Better to make some bargains to keep your vlaue up. Like any sister, you want to do as you please, but you need to balance that against what others might do to you. The Game is always waiting for you to relax the wrong way so they can haul you in. All that stands between you and having to bind yourself to a Prince is Lilith's goodwill and, to a lesser extent, the goodwill of the Sisterhood of Lilim.

Next time: Life as Lilim

Razakai
Sep 15, 2007

People are afraid
To merge on the freeway
Disappear here


The Lord of Hats posted:

I demand story time. I don't think we have a thread for it, but I'd love to hear more even if it's just in PMs.

I'm pretty sure it got saved online somewhere so I'll try to dig out the link from my PMs. I'd never even heard of In Nomine before but it was loving hilarious. Another highlight I remember was one of them fighting a greater fire demon who had a dragon as a vessel on earth. They weren't really intended to win, what with said dragon-demon being some ridiculously high statted combat monster, and the GM just expected them to flee. Unfortunately the djinn was being played as being far too dumb and stubborn to flee. So after getting beaten around a bit, the djinn grabs onto it's head, it responds by tossing him up... and the djinn switches vessel to his dog form, rocket-dogs down the dragon's throat, and punches his organs to death. Combat stats aren't saving you from a demon-dog using your intestines as a chew toy.

So I guess the lesson is with a good GM, any system can be great fun.

Razakai
Sep 15, 2007

People are afraid
To merge on the freeway
Disappear here


e: double post

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Superiors: Lilith - Born Free

Lilim gossip. It's a fact of life. They keep track of each other, and they talk about their work a lot, even their plans and threats they've seen around. That means Lilim tend to be quite well-informed about the Sisterhood and any threats concerning it. It's not uncommon to know the names of dozens or hundreds of Lilim they've never met personally. Gossi[ is also how they communicate status and punishment. You brea the unwritten rules, you will be known by every Lilim. If you've done well and Lilith lieks you, you'll be respected. Likewise, how bosses treat Lilim is going to be open knowledge among the Sisterhood, even if the details of the work are not. Even the Bound Lilim gossip amongst their sisters, when they can.

Therea are two main ways for a Lilim to get a job - check at the Guildhall, or talk to random people. The first is preferable - it's less work - but you have to go to Hell for it, and few Seneschals are about to let you use a Tether for free. Andrealphus is considered one of the best Princes to temp for, and many Lilim get their first vessel from him. And, because we can't do this without mentioning it, also they lose their virginity to him. Asmodeus dislikes the Frees, but he will use them. Still, he's creepy and unpredictable in his payments, and he tracks you. Baal doesn't like the Frees but uses them for deniability. He pays poorly and is said tosometimes stiff you. Beleth has little use for the Free Lilim. Belial likes the more destructive ones, but isn't generous unless you really want some explosives. Haagenti likes temps and is popular, but he's leery on handing out attunements as rewards, especially because he knows so many Lilim want his attunement. Kobal liks Lilim who have a fresh take on things, but it can be quite dangerous. Kronos is creepy, but attractive to bookish Lilims or those who enjoy crushing others. Lilith, of course, is both the best employer and most frustrating - oyu get status, but not the powers other Princes can offer. Malphas is quite personable as a boss, but he's a Shedite and working for him is usually bad for your reputation. Nybbas is a popular boss - he loves hte Frees and he's fun to work for. Saminga is not - he's no good at figuring out how to get Frees to want to work for him, so they charge him highly and even then rarely do much for him. Valefor's in the top three bosses, especially if you like stealing. He keeps his word, but you have to be careful with his demons. Vapula is tempting for the clever Lilim, and his attunement is wonderful, as well.



Not all jobs are short-term, and indeed most Princes prefer longterm contracts, to better expose freelancers to their organizations. Lilim like them for stability and planning. Typically, they start at six months and top out around ten years, with five years being the typical. The Geas involved is usually a low-level one about abiding by the terms of the contract, but some prefer each year sworn individually. Lilim in longterm contracts are more likely to be treated as fellow servants by other demons of the Prince they work for, at least for the duration. The Prince will also want to keep you alive to get hte most of the investment.

The final bargain any Free ever makes is binding - the only major choice they'll ever make again. Once you're bound, you're bound, unless you go Renegade. So you'd better sell yourself high, because this is all you will ever be worth, and the Sisterhood remembers. Still, there are times when a Prince may expect a Free to bind to them. It usually takes a few decades or centuries of longterm contracting. It's proof of competence, dedication, enjoying hte job and often a lack of support network outside the work. When all your major hooks are on demons of the Media, after all, you're pretty much entrenched. Princes are rarely subtle about these offers - they start with pointed remarks about settling down, and then suggestions that if you don't want to, this is your last contract.

Sensible demons of other Words don't go out of their way to harass frees too much. Sure, they get hassled, but unless there's a grudge, it usually doesn't go overboard. Free Lilim don't have much power to steal and aren't usually going to stick around long enough to be worth blackmailing, so the only real benefit is short-term dominance. Plus, if you gently caress up, they're a time bomb, waiting for a chance to get even. Lilim hold grudges. Besides, being friendly is usually more rewarding - the Frees know how weak they are and try to avoid making enemies. Only the youngest or most bitter start off hostile. The rest try to be charming and polite, like Lilith.





The stereotype is that Lilim have sedx all the time, and it is an easy hook, but it's not totally true. From time to time, especially between Lilim, you sometimes get more serious relationships. They tend not to last long, for fear of Geas-required ocnflict. What they find romantic, instead, is exchanged Geases: for one night, do not betray me.



Trust is hard in Hell, so Lilim are often brought in as mediators to use their Geases to guarantee trust. You make your agreement and allow a Lilim to geas each side into meeting their half of it, on the simplest level. Of course, a Lilim gets real reputation for being able to actually mediate and reach a mutually acceptable agreement, with proper wording to ensure neither side can back out. The best mediators are called in to handle disputes between hostile factions ready for a period of peace, to make sure both sides feel equally shafted and equally smug. Of course, they never work free. Typically, they will require an hour-Geas on the principals, 10% of any corporeal financial transaction or some other percentage of the bargain. The harder the deal is to make, the higher the price. Some take payment in servants. Much as the Lilim mediate deals, so does Lilith arrange alliances and pacts between Princes. Few demons ever realize how vital these mediations are to the functioning of Hell.







From the outside, it can seem that Lilim in the Sisterhood trust and like each other, an oasis of cooperation in Hell's selfishness. And there are even some Lilim who think family should come second (the self always comes first) and will go to some danger to help a sister. But the truth is it's all enlightened self-interest. They help their sisters because their sisters will help them. Because of the Geas webs and gossip, they know who can be trusted and who can't. It's not altruism - it just looks that way, and the look of it is the main thing keeping the Free safe form random demons. They have no Princely protection, but they cooperate. So wise demons don't cross the Sisterhood. And that's why Lilim get along so well.



Free Lilim have a reputation for honesty. There's also an unspoken rule about not talking about your work, especialyl with your employer's enemies, unless you get seriously mistreated. Lilim can break their word and even lie about geases, but they rarely do. First, they tend to not like lying about payment, even to humans, as it can reduce the hook's obligation and the trget is more likely to resist. Second, it devalues Lilim as a group and tarnishes their reputation. No Daughter wants to be made less valuable, either by their own actions or those of an idiot sister. Newborns are quickly indoctrinated in this way, and any Lilim who ruin the reputation in a large way becomes a target for her sisters, possibly even for death. Nearly every Lilim has skirted the line at least once for some reason, but no smart Lilim makes a habit of it, even when dealing with humans. It's not dissonant - it's just heavily frowned on.

As a rule, Frees tend to fear the Game more than average. They're more vulnerable, after all, and they know that Lilith won't always bail them out and the Sisterhood has little leverage with Asmodeus. Plus, Frees don't do well in captivity, thanks to Lilith's dissonance conditions. Naturally, no Lilim will willingly show how much they're scared of the Game and may even go to near suicidal lengths to count coup on Gamesters. But the fear always colors it. Many will make bad bargains unofficially when the Game comes calling. They'll even keep lists of Renegades to throw at the Game instead of themselves, or offer up sex in exchange for freedom in the hopes of the Game buying into the stereotypes of Lilim being obsessed with sex and money. After all, no one expects treachery from a brainless bimbo.

Bright Lilim are mostly covered in the Infernal Player's Guide. They lose their green skin and horns, instead gaining an aura and wings of colors suitable to their personality and ARchangel. They retain their resonance, however. The two most famous are Ephesus, the first Lilim to Redeem, and Shiza, the first Free Lilim to Redeem. Shiza later died in battle against Legion. Since there are so few Bright Lilim, each is generally treated case by case. A Bright Lilim of the Sword is likely to be trusted less than one of Flowers, for example, and each Word will be treated differently. (Animals-Lilim, for example, are assumed to have gone insane.) A few Redeemed Lilim get disowned and shunned, while Lilith ignores others. Among angels, it's said that Lilith has even smiled on some of her Bright Daughters, and he's she's even rarely helped a few, though for a price. There are, however, no known Free Bright Lilim - all Brights serve an Archange, and most Lilim consider they made poor bargains there, so they have a certain amount of scorn. It's also dangerous to know a Bright - the Game will happily use it against you, or against the Bright. Maybe it won't work, but it keeps the Lilim edgy.

There are exceptions, of course. Lilim of Trade seem hardly changed, and Marc understands their need to be valued, though their payment is most likely to be in corporeal wealth and personal guard-Cherub. Still, the Sisterhood is likely to assume they got a good deal. They might even be useful, to sic Malakim on your enemies! The most notable exception to all this is Mira, Bright Lilim of Dreams. During the Revelations cycle, her master Malphas made her into a Remnant before she could fulfill his final Geas. Lilith charged quite a light price for helping, perhaps due to the abuse, and she and Blandine worked together to use Mira's final Ethereal Force to make a newborn Bright Lilim with only dim memories of her original life and role in the Revelations plot.

Next time: Geases

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Superiors: Lilith - Freebird

There's some important terms that Lilim use in talking about Geases technically. An ACtive Geas is a favor invoked and compelled. Birth-Geases are the nine level 3 Geases a Free owes to Lilith for being made. A Favor is anything - an unofficial favor, a hook, an actual Geas. A Geas is the supernatural binding itself. Geas-conflict is when two or more Active Geases require mutually incompabible resolutions. You're going to get dissonance no matter what, unless you get real creative. A Geas-token is the celestial manifestation of a favor owed - either a hook or a Geas, resembling a miniature Heart bearing the imeage of the victim when it was taken. The beare can choose not to manifest it if they like. An Inactive Geas is one that is not yet invoked. To invoke a Geas is to give a command which makes the howk or owed Geas active. A Hook, or Geas-hook, is what a Lilim has after fulfilling a Need but before they try to invoke the Geas and give the victim a chance to resist. They are potential Geases, visible only to Superiors who are actively looking. A Need is the desire or actual need a Lilim sees via resonance. An Official Favor is a self-Geas or a Geas placed on a willing subject. A Promsie is a synonym for Favor. An Official Promise is a self-geas. A Restricted Geas is a packadge deal of a Geas on someone else and a self-Geas that restricts how it can be used. Self-Geas refers to those Geases a Lilim places on herself, of course. A Specified Geas is one with terms known and agreed on, usually invoked immediately, and most Self-Geases are specified. Unofficials are favors with no hook or Geas attached but which are expected to be repaid.

Barring special attunements, a Lilim must sense a Need and fulfill it to get a Geas-hook, and the only way to avoid such a hook is to refuse the favor they offer. A Geas-hook does not appear celestially except tp a Superior specifically looking for them. If Lilith used hooks, then it's likely they'd be invisible to anyone but God or Lucifer. Only Lilith can trade the Geases she holds. Her Daughters can pledge unspecified favors or self-geas themselves, or geas the willing, or attempt to invoke a hook, but they can't directly trade a favor to anyone else but Lilith, and that's not usually worth her effort. Anyone consciously able to spend Essence may promise a favor toa Lilim of any type, and then she need only concentrate to manifest a Geas in the form of that favor. Once a Geas is invoked and active, only the invoker or the soul-death of hte invoker can cancel or remove it. Or an Intervention, of course.

You can use the Celestial Song of Affinity to track someone you have a Geas on, as a note. Useful! Geases appear as Discord in celestial form, generally as some form of shackle, charm or bracelet with size representing its power. Only Superiors can tell the difference between an inert and active Geas. If the target of a Geas is soul-killed, the Geas vanishes utterly. Human souls that die retain Geases, but good luck collecting on a blessed soul. The damned and dreamshades are easier, though not always very useful. Undead created by ritual retain favors, but Zombis made with Saminga's attunement do not, as they have no soul bound into them. Humans that reincarnate are believed to lose all Geases and hooks. There is no verifiable instance of a Geas token or hook showing up on a reincarnated soul, but there's always rumors.









Lilim cannot Geas themselves for an indefinite duration, so you have to take it on trust that they'll re-pledge each year, or just honor restrictive clauses without an actual Geas. This is relatively safe, however. There is also a loophole: if you're on good terms wit hteh Lilim, you can ask for a specified restricted Geas that says, essentially, 'I will not invoke this Geas according to the restrictions, because I do not wish to betray you.' For as long as the Lilim doesn't want to betray you, the self-Geas will remind her, and she will become dissonant to not renew the self-Geas each year. Any Geas containing terms that rely on the Lilim's lack of malice can be indefinite in this fashion until and unless the Lilim changes their mind.

And then some real boring adventure hooks.

The End!

Next: GM's Guide, Corporeal Player's Guide, Liber Canticorum, Superiors: Eli or Revelations 1: Night Music?

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Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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


The base concept of Lillith is cool. Someone who was wronged, felt used and betrayed, sought freedom and then grasped it in a FYGM way that makes them a champion of doing to others what was done to them seems like a nice cosmic cycle of abuse hook. Just the execution is not quite so interesting.

I think that's the real core of the 90s game, more than anything else: Good core, shame about the other stuff.

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