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Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

I'm not surprised the Nile Empire is leading the vote; it's always been the most popular cosm. That's not to say it's not going to have some rules wonkery in there, though.

mllaneza posted:

EM, for your next trick you should write up the Torg setting as a set of interlocked Fronts from AW/DW.
Interestingly, some of the cosm sourcebooks do give that High Lord's five-point plan. One of those points is always "become Torg".


Apr 28, 2007

Veteran, Bermuda Triangle Expeditionary Force, 1993-1952

Sounds like you're half done already.

Wapole Languray
Jul 4, 2012

Members of the Conspiracy

Currently there are four cabals operating within the Spring Crescent Conspiracy, each responsible for a specific task within the organization. The Conspiracy also has several independent agents operating outside the Cabals.

The Leader

The Conspiracy is led by Principal Stanmeyer, the most powerful wizard in the organization. He is often encountered roaming the halls, cornering children and surreptitiously interrogating them about possible supernatural occurrences.

Stats-wise Stanmeyer is obviously a powerful magician, and is incredibly courageous with 5 Guts and Courage, ensuring he doesn't flinch away from supernatural horrors. He is also incredibly smart, and charismatic, able to easily outsmart and charm, threaten, and put-down most kids. His biggest weakness is his pathetic physical abilities, and his total lack of a Notice skill, making him both oblivious and incapable of fighting in a non-magical conflict. He also has a major relationship with the Conspiracy, and if players can shock that down, you might be able to put the entire power-structure at risk.

Order of Harmonious Diplomacy
This is the Cabal dedicated to ensuring the secrecy of the Conspiracy. They rarely interact with students, focusing instead on the Adults who could expose them.
    Harry Gale
    A senior police officer who acts as the Cabals enforcer. He often makes presentations at Spring Crescent as an excuse to gather intel about the students parents.

    Incredibly tough (for a human), but his main nastiness is his Agony Spell skill, which allows him to inflict pain without leaving a mark.

    Stephanie Gwen
    A bored, divorced housewife, prominent PTA member, and master hypnotist. Gwen seduces and blackmails potential thorns in the Conspiracies side, and often targets fathers of Spring Crescent students. She has a child, Todd, who hates her. While he doesn't know about the Conspiracy, if revealed he'd gladly join the resistance to screw over his mother.

    Stephanie has no combat abilities whatsoever, but is a social monster, with 5s across the board in her Face category, as well as a 5 Hypnosis skill as well, giving her 10 dice in any social situation. Definitely a very scary, if indirect, threat.

    Kathy Leuff
    The editor of the local newspaper, and mother of a former Monster kid. She was approached by the Conspiracy who “cured” her daughter, and in exchange she ensures that no news stories about the Conspiracy ever show up on the media. Betty is currently locked in psychiatric facility, her mind destroyed along with her monster.

    Once again, not a physical threat, but Leuff is dangerously smart and charming. At least she has no magical skills.

    Oliver Venturi
    A teenage photographer who acts as the Cabals eyes in the school, as well as a gatherer of blackmail material. He does this with the use of an invisibility spell, that allows him to move undetected. He also uses this to stalk girls, but is always afraid of being caught. He's nervous and shy, yet paradoxically is totally oblivious to any surveillance on himself, as he's been ignored for most of his life.

    Totally useless, no threat, just has his invisibility spell and that's it. Mainly intended as a plot hook instead of an antagonist.

    Edgar Welham
    A former school administrator and the de-facto leader of the community. He uses this prominent position to keep tabs on the goings on in town. His only magical skill is a healing spell that he uses to keep his cancer in remission.

    Once again, no direct threat, more a plot device. Could do quite a bit with his little healing spell though.
Eyes of Sights Unseen
The Cabal responsible for finding and assessing children with Monsters or supernatural abilities.
    Derek Forster
    A handsome English teacher who focuses on making friends with students. He has the ability to detect supernatural energies, and uses this to pinpoint targets for his “friendship”. Kids unaware of the Conspiracy and his role in it think he's the best teacher in the School, and will jump to his defense. He'll try and make friends with the players, in order to lure them into traps. He's secretly in love with Stephanie Gwen, who does not reciprocate his feelings.

    Mystical detection abilities, excellent memory, and a 10 dice Connive roll makes him one scary master of deception. Once you know he's a baddie though, he loses his threat.

    Victoria Greenwood
    Spring Crecent's School Counselor, and leader of the Cabal. She works directly under Stanmeyer, and only listens to him. She detects monsters through thorough interviews, and the innate ability to detect them if they are not hiding.

    Smart, Social, etc. Not much of a threat if they know she's Evil, but she can still learn about you even if you stonewall her.

    A Gidim with the power of Shapeshifting. Generally poses as an exchange student, he attempts to infiltrate groups of monster children to learn about them and set them up for the fall. He can look like anything or anyone the size of a 12 year old boy, and so he can literally be anyone in the school. He spends most of his time watching students in a hidden security room through cameras, only leaving when on assignment.
    No threat beyond his high Connive and his Shapeshifting abilities.
Wardens of the Veil
The enforcers and foot-soldiers of the Conspiracy. Most members have a short life-span.
    Donald Southerden
    The only human in the Cabal, he monitors the other members and makes sure they don't need putting down. He's a security officer for the school, and has a crush on Paula Ptraci, the art teacher, and fellow Conspiracy member, even though that last bit is unknown to him. He makes a point to harass children with monsters, trying to get them to sic their monsters on him. He is a master of defensive magic with little to fear from a direct attack, and seeing the monster in action provides the Conspiracy with valuable intel.

    A former Metalhead high school dropout, now a monstrous undead Viking Gidim. Subsists on a diet of beer, heavy metal, and porn, and is kept on a farm in the countryside until his services are needed. He constantly projects his own heavy metal soundtrack that can be heard up to a block away.

    A bog-standard combat monster. Three attacks, but only one defense part, his main strategy is to run at you really fast, deafen you with METAL!!!! and then beat the crap out of you.

    Lizzie Sherman

    Once an idealistic college student who was diagnosed with cancer. Desperate, she went to the Conspiracy for a cure. They made her a Gidim, a monstrous and mindless hawk-beast who lives on the farm with Mangler. They hate each other.

    Not as dangerous as Mangler in raw damage, but her ability to fly makes her a major obstacle in the hands of a creative GM.

    Edward E. Edwards

    The only Gidim in the Cabal who can pass for human. A child-prodigy who skipped three grades to come to Spring Crescent. Jealous and petty, he approached the Conspiracy and demanded they give him a Monster of his own. Instead they made him a Gidim. He looks as he always did, a small serious child in a dark suit, but when angered can sprout massive tentacles from his body. Edwards is sadistic and manipulative, and enjoys torturing and playing with his targets before the kill.

    Decent in a fight, but overall a utility monster, with several rather nasty side abilities that make him more than a physical threat, such as pick pocketing and the ability to see into your soul.

    Neither Gidim nor Human, Luxor is an experiment in golem-making. He is hidden in a lab in the school basement, and is a weapon of last resort against a rogue monster. He appears to be a giant stone Egyptian pharoah.

    Giant combat monster, can easily trounce most monsters solo. Definitely a serious team-fight, especially as he'd likely be assisted by other members of the Conspiracy.
Brotherhood of Elder Sages
The occult Cabal. They are responsible for all supernatural research, creating mystical items, and training other Conspiracy members in magic.
    Charles Beckett
    A grad student working at the local university. He uses his job and connections to obtain occult tomes for the Conspiracy. He has no loyalty towards them, and in-fact sees them as posers, but fears their power. If he thinks the players have a chance of beating the Conspiracy, he'll gladly turn on them and join the children. He has no interest in monsters, seeing them as dangerous and an academic dead-end.

    Similar stats to Mr. Stanmeyer, but overall less skilled in magic, but far more intelligent. Still, don't mess with him. Will more likely be an ally then an enemy.

    Tim Chanter

    The highly unpleasant janitor at Spring Crescent. He lives and the basement and is obviously completely mental. He's the one who made Luxor, but most of the Conspiracy see him as an embarrassment. He's just not worth the trouble of killing though, so they mostly ignore him. Chanter is obviously suspicious, and is very bad at deflecting attention. If challenged, he hides in the labyrinthine basement, and uses magic to try and scare his attackers away. He will only unleash Luxor if his life is in imminent danger.

    He's also a fair magician, but besides a 10 dice Shop skill, he has no other notable abilities.

    Cecile Flavin
    The oldest member of the Conspiracy. Well, technically. Technically in that she isn't the oldest member, unless living is a stipulation, and she is only technically in the Conspiracy. In actuality, she is furious over the elevation of Stanmeyer, who she thinks of as an arrogant punk, over herself. This though, is no surprise, as Flavis couldn't run a book club, let alone a secret cabal of secret cabals. While ostensibly the school librarian, her full time job is making people miserable. She is petty, vindictive, hateful, sadistic, and all around a totally unpleasant individual. She hates the Conspiracy almost as much as she hates everyone else. She couldn't give less of a poo poo about keeping the supernatural under wraps, and will openly confront kids with monsters or powers. She'll offer them power and mystic aid if they help her take revenge on those who have angered her (everybody), but will not take no for an answer. Even a polite refusal puts you at the top of her poo poo-list. The only person she doesn't loathe is Derek Forster, who she has a crush on. Obviously this isn't reciprocated, or known about by anyone but her, yet she will still wreak havoc on anyone who tries to flirt with him.

    She has all her Brain stats and skills maxed out, and 5 dice in Putdown and Connive, as well as 5 dice in all of her magic skills, maker her the strongest outright magician in the Conspiracy. Her preferred modus-operandi is good ole curses, which can be anything from a freaky-friday bodyswap, to inducing madness, or even banishing you to another dimension. Ms. Flavin is as dangerous as the rest of the Conspiracy put together, and is only kept minor by her pettiness and lack of real ambition.

    Martin Greenacre
    On the surface, a painfully dull math teacher, but underneath a multiple doctorate holding super-genius. He discovered the Conspiracy when they stole his nephew Nicholas' monster, sending the child into psychotic breakdown. This prompted Greenacre to start investigating, leading him to the Conspiracy, where he was semi-forcibly recruited in an offer he couldn't refuse. Now he's being groomed by Stanmeyer to take over leadership of the Conspiracy, but is having apprehensions about the damage they are doing to children by taking away their monsters, even though he believes that monsters are a danger to the world. If the players could convince Greenacre that monsters aren't a threat, then he could be turned against the conspiracy. He will give the kids a chance, always giving children the benefit of the doubt, and letting them try and prove themselves good before condemning them.

    Ovverall a super-genius, and very brave, but worthless in all other fields, including magic, which is only 2 dice across the board.

    Paula Ptraci
    A highly experimental Art Teacher and sorceress, who believes that artistic students could be used as a sort of mystic battery, and is trying to set up a ritual that would drain the magic from seven gifted art students into herself. This is forbidden by the Conspiracy, due to the difficulty of clearing up the disappearance of seven children, but she may go through with it anyway. Otherwise, she enjoys using her students as guinea pigs, especially giving them supernatural abilities and watching how they use their gifts.

    Smart, Social, good at Shop and with her Hands, and a 9 Dice Artistic Magic skill. She's obviously made to be a good story-ending boss, as a part of a longer campaign.

Independent Conspiracy Members
These are the members who exist outside of the Cabal structure, and have the power to operate almost autonomously.
    Mr. Phillips
    Stanmeyer's right-hand man and chief enforcer. Publicly, a much hated social studies teacher, called Screwhead by his students. In actuality he is an Excruciator who works with the Conspiracy, and works with them in an uneasy alliance. Phillips wishes to rule the school, so to speak, but fears the Conspiracy’s ability to bind him. Only Stanmeyer and Flavin have the raw power to beat him one-on-one, as he is more than able to defeat even the strongest Gidim on their own. If he ever got an edge over the Conspiracy, he would quickly turn on them and try to take over the Conspiracy himself.

    Statwise he's an Excruciator beefed up with 2 levels of Awesome on every hit-location in Monster-mode.

    The Spirit of Doctor Levitt
    The spirit of the Conspiracy's founder, transformed in death into something totally inhuman. He spends the majority of his … afterlife slumbering, but sometimes awakens to deliver portents and orders to the still living members of his organization. Nobody knows what Levitt's Spirit really wants anymore, and he is totally inscrutable.

    While pretty scary, Levitts Spirit is mostly insanely tough, and would require one hell of a beating to go down in any reasonable manner thanks to at least Tough 3 on every hit location.

Next Time: The Mystic Wards

Jul 9, 2003

Wait, the Make Earth Stop Spinning device starts up its 20 round countdown to "ha ha gently caress you I'm in the core you can't do poo poo" when they TOUCH the shipwreck, which it is inside of somewhere. And there are skeletons. They have 20 rounds to fight skeletons, find the device, determine that they need to reverse it instead of just destroy it (somehow), and then hope somebody actually bought the relevant skill at suitable levels?

Are you sure the Still World isn't the default here? :psyduck:

And while I'm here I'll throw my vote in for the Nile Empire.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Ancient Magic

Alexandria was home to one of the greatest natural philosophers of all time: Heron, a Neo-Platonist who formed an order of mechanic-magicians, known as the Mechanicians. Heron states that all mechanical devices have both a theoretical and manual part, with the theoretical being composed of the necessary geometry, math, physics and astronomy needed to design it and the manual being the metalwork, architecture, carpentry and so on needed to build it. The Mechanicians used the mix of these parts to create wonderful devices, mechanica, such as the singing nightingale of Justinian. Because their magic required a lot of money and education, the Mechanicians were rare even in their prime, and as Christianity grew, their Neo-Platonic thought made them persecuted. By the fifth century, the Mechanicians had died out. Much of their knowledge was lost when the Eastern Empire of the fourth century suppressed Heron's works as heretical. Centuries later, of course, the Church would embrace Heron as it did Aristotle, preserving some remnants of Mechanician lore.

However, the secrets of Heron remain largely unknown to the Order at large; if magi think of him at all, they believe him to have been a mundane philosopher, for the secret magic lore was corrupted by copies of his texts. It is believed that his magical constructs were jsut rumors. However, magi with access to uncorrupted versions of Heron's texts might be able to unlock the secrets of the mechanica. Most of the texts are common but in corrupt form, used as study tools for geometry, astronomy and mathematics. Few scribes who copied them possessed the knowledge to preserve the hidden magical lore within. The mechanica themselves were always rare, but a few might have survived as art pieces. The practice of making them died out nearly a thousand years ago, and most mechanica are older even than that, and probably broken. While repair of them is impossible without working knowledge of Heron's theories, they might be studied to gain insight into those theories.

House Verditius, of course, maintains a stranglehold on the secret of creating automata and complex magical devices. They would, if they knew of them, quite love to gain the secret of Heron's mechanica, both to preserve their monopoly and improve their techniques. They would hate anyone who learned and spread the secrets outside their House. Of course, other groups would much love to learn the secrets, too - perhaps for just that reason, to break the monopoly Verditius holds on the most complex enchantment.

Understanding and integrating Heron's mechanica would be very valuable. Heron's devices did not require vis to use, though his own theories limited him to Creo, Rego, Perdo, Muto, Auram, Aquam, Ignem. Mentem and Terram. Of course, the mechanica could not handle spells that required vis, nor any with great range, and money was always needed to get the resources used to make the mechanica. However, a skilled Mechanician could alter the powers of a mechanica by tinkering with it, and their ultimate techniques allowed their devices to be awakened, made sentient and living, provided it had the form of a living creature, by tapping into the inner nature, or anima, of the mechanica. These devices, called simulacra, would create magical beings, though without having the power instilled in them they could not move or speak. Still, they could possess more magical powers than normal mechanica.

Study of Heron's true theories might allow a magus to learn how to make mutable devices, enchanted items that can be altered to have different powers. Under Hermetic theory, this would still require vis, but significantly less than creating an item whole cloth would. Building on that, a magus might discover how to Awaken devices, using vis rather than the complex constructions of Heron to turn a device intelligent. Unlike Heron's simulacra, these devices would be usable as Familiars. With further research, they might even become compatible with the automata created by House Verditius.

But where can you find the legacy of Heron? First, you will want original Greek copies of Heron's works. Automata, Automaton Theatre, Catoptrica, Dioptra, Metrica and Pneumatica are all valuable and rare texts, especially in the original Greek. All copies translated into Arabic and Latin are corrupt, lacking the magical lore that could be gleaned from the originals. Finding intact pieces of Heron's work would also be very valuable, and a few do still survive, though most are broken or destroyed. Certainly the trail might begin in Constinople, for Emperor Justinian certainly did employ Mechanicians, if he was not one himself. One of the Latin clerics in the city possesses the only uncorrupted copy of Heron's work in the city - a well-preserved Greek copy of Automata. However, he won't give it up without a king's ransom in silver, citing its 'blasphemous' nature. The book, however, also contains clues to the tomb of Hypatia of Alexandria, one of the finest mechanicians, and her equally skilled father, Theon, in one of the Temples of Serapis. What makes this valuable is that the account states that she was buried with texts salvaged from the Library of Alexandria.

Alexandria and Egypt are still in the throes of the Fifth Crusade, and will remain so until the Crusaders are defeated in 1221. Unfortunately, the locals only speak Arabic and Coptic, so finding the Temple of Serapis may be troublesome. Hypatia was the daughter of one of the last Librarians, Theon of Alexandria, and she was well-known as a lecturer. Some even say she invented the astrolabe. However, being both female and pagan, she was not well-liked by the Church, and after Saint Cyril overthrew the Alexandrian government, she was beaten to death by a mob in 415 AD. Finding the Temple in which she was buried won't be easy, though her ghost supposedly still haunts the area. Entering the temple is hard, as it can only be done when the Dominion is weak, allowing the regio to open. And once you're in, Hypatia's ghost will lock you in and probably assault you with the mechanica inside, which can shoot fire or lightning or other things. She has lost all reason, and merely wishes to destroy intruders, particularly those bearing Christian symbols.

Still, defeating Hypatia will allow the Temple to be plundered...though care should be taken, for the Mechanicians did trap the place. Still, there are many high-quality scrolls of Heron's works around, plus some broken mechanica that might be studied, or at least used for valuable material. Many of the scrolls in the tomb itself were destroyed by Hypatia's rage, sadly, though some relics of the Library might have survived. Further, the Temple is home to Heron's masterpiece, his greatest mechanica: Heron's Theatre. It is an automated mechanical theatre that, when properly cared for, can show its own stories. Once per month, it is capable of predicting the future. The effect seems to break the Limit of Time and makes no sense to Hermetic theory, so investigating it is quite difficult, but potentially very worthwhile for a magus interested in divination.

Of course, there are many groups who may take umbrage at your search. The magi of Constantinople often do not appreciate outsiders, particularly those from the Crusaders' homelands. And any magi who get wind of your search may start racing you to the prize as best they can, once they realize what it is. Further, the Shadhali Brotherhood of Alexandria are a group of Sufi mystics who know that the Temple of Serapis was a pagan temple...but if they learn that it contains lore from the Library of Alexandria, they may want to take charge of it. They're potent warriors and not especially fond of magicians, but they may prove useful allies if approached sufficiently humbly.

Next time: The Hesperides

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008

Zereth posted:

Wait, the Make Earth Stop Spinning device starts up its 20 round countdown to "ha ha gently caress you I'm in the core you can't do poo poo" when they TOUCH the shipwreck, which it is inside of somewhere. And there are skeletons. They have 20 rounds to fight skeletons, find the device, determine that they need to reverse it instead of just destroy it (somehow), and then hope somebody actually bought the relevant skill at suitable levels?

The shipwreck is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. The plane the PCs are expected to steal does have deep-sea diving gear. It's Nile Empire deep-sea gear, so it has stuff like torpedo pistols and sun blades, so at least the PCs have some gear they can use.

And yes, it's 20 rounds from, and I quote, "the moment they set foot on the pirate ship".

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Ancient Magic

The quest for the Hesperides is less trouble than it might seem. You see, most magi have heard of Claudius Ptolemaeus, who codified the movements of the planets and the names of the stars. He invented the gnomon and the globe. And those magi interested in astronomy or geography know that Ptolemy did much more. He devised a system to precisely measure the location of any place on the surface of the earth. Every location is expressed by two values: one measuring how far north and one how far east the place is from the origin point, somewhere southwest of Europe. A magus who understood Ptolemy's Coordinates could use them as Arcane Connections to the sites they designate. Ptolemy published his techniques and about 8000 coordinates in a seven-volume work named The Geography. Unfortunately, the last complete version of the text was burned with the Library of Alexandria. Small sections circulate, containing coordinates that cannot yet be used. House Mercere has placed a standing offer of 100 pawns of vis for a complete copy of The Geography, and magi who know that it contains the exact locations of hundreds of ancient magical sites might be unwilling to sell it at that price.

House Bonisagus history records that Trianoma found Bonisagus with the advice of the dragon within the Garden of the Hesperides. That dragon, Ladon, was visited in 1160 by an Arabic cartographer, and the dragon arranged for several flawed copies of The Geography to be made in Europe, encouraging magi to reconstruct it. The Coordinates of Ptolemy will not revolutionize the Order, though they are Arcane Connections that take the form of information and so can be shared without being lost. They function by the Law of Names rather than the Law of Contagion. Use of the Coordinates would make magical travel relatively safe and easy compared to now, and might better allow the Order to withdraw from mundane society even more. They would also be useful for military matters.

Of course, first you need to know how to use them. To do so, you must learn to measure the array of fixed stars by astrological observation. The method is included in Ladon's corrupted Geography. It takes about a season to learn. Second, you must turn those measurements into coordinates. To do this, you must first calibrate the system by observing the array of fixed stars at the zero point: the Garden of the Hesperides, on the island of Jutonia in the Purple Islands, in the future known as the Canary Islands. See, most stars don't really move relative to each other, and they form a pattern that can be measured along the horizon. This pattern, the array of fixed stars, looks a little different in every location. The flawed copies of the Geography describe how to quantify this. If you know the array at the origin point, you can compare it to the current array, determining the coordinates of your location via the math involved. Doing this requires four hours of stellar observation, or two hours if you have a supernaturally accurate timepiece, though Ptolemy did not know that. You also need astronomical tools and four hours of careful calculation after (or two hours with a copy of Ptolemy's Greatest Compilation). Complete and uncorrupted copies of the Geography also contain the Handy Tables, a revision of Ptolemy's earlier math, which is faster and more accurate, requiring only one hour of work. However, it is impossible to derive new points without an observation of the origin's array of fixed stars. Ladon has deliberately engineered this to encourage people to visit his lair. (Note that once a point is calculated, it is perfectly usable at any time, whether you can see the stars or not.) Certain mystery cults allow for spells that can perform stellar measurements for you, as well, but these still require you to know the array for the origin point.

Now, it's possible to learn Coordinates from others, including Ptolemy. The Geography lists, in complete form, about 8000 coordinates, though it notes that they are imprecise, based on observations and descriptions of earlier travellers that Ptolemy extrapolated data from. However, he does provide perfect coordinates for Alexandria, and his coordinates for much of the Western Roman Empire are correct within a couple of miles. Those outside the Western Empire are far less accurate; for example, every coordinate he gives for Scotland is wildly incorrect. Ladon's flawed copies include several usable coordinates, to demonstrate the value of the system.

Now, the primary problem here is that the origin point is so far away that, besides a handful of semi-mythical travellers, no one has been there. You could get around this with a composite, though, requiring three stellar readings. To measure the latitude of the Equator, you would just need to compare observations from two points on the same longitude with a known, measured distance of latitude between them. Since the size of the earth is known, it may be used to infer how the star positions would change as you went south. To adjust this for the origin's longitude, you would then need to go to any point on Zero Longitude. The only land on that longitude is the Purple Islands. Attempts to construct a new origin point fail;' mystically, the Purple Islands are the westernmost point on earth, and a new west can no more be assigned than a new north.

Pliny provides information on the Purple Islands - they grow a purple lichen that can be made into valuable dye, but the beaches are plagued by the rotting corpses of monsters. One island has a temple to Juno, filled with doves, but the islands are uninhabited. That does mean that vis-containing creatures have been washing up on the island for centuries undisturbed. Pliny says that another island is home to gigantic buildings but no people. (As it turns out, he's wrong about that.) Hesiod state sthat the golden apples of youth grow on one of the Purple Islands, guarded by the nymphs called Hesperides and the hundred-headed dragon Ladon.

No European has visited the Purple Islands since Idrisi the cartographer in 1160, who was a servant of King Roger of Sicily. It's not easy to sail to, as a result. The African coast must be followed, and that is a haven for pirates, and then a trip over the Atlantic means dealing with sea monsters. And the islands are, in fact, inhabited. The natives, called the Guan, are hospitable and curious, but they can defend themselves. They have no ships, so each island has a seperate dialect and variant religion. The Guan worship a sun god of many names, and many believe in a lesser, evil being that opposes the god. Guan that believe this produce a Dominion aura. On some islands, the Guan claim that there is a third deity, the sun god's wife, Achmayex. These Guan produce a faerie aura. The Guan practice ritual euthanasia of the elderly (always voluntary) and ritual suicide is a form of mourning in some islands. The Guan prefer suicide to surrender or capture.

The Guan are ruled by meceny, wizard-kings who can perform hedge magic. Their magic is very limited, but so long as it follows their ancient ways, it cannot fail. (Such ways require ritual kings and communal ceremony, and the magic is pretty much confined to crop magic, minor weather control and minor necromancy.) There may or may not be other magical groups on the islands, but that's at GM discretion.

In any case, the island Junonia is home to the Hesperides and also to the Ahoare, the Children of Atlas, who are similar to the other Guan but are highly matriarchal. PRoperty descends from the mother's line, a woman may have up to three husbands and women are trained in war. Their kings are still men, but the women are priestesses of the sun god's wife and have much power. Their holy monolith is the gate into the Garden, and the Zero Latitude runs through it. Typically, a visitor must perform some task to be given access. The monolith leads to a regio containing the Garden. The apples of the tree within are full of Creo vis, and if eaten, reduce apparent (but not actual) age by ten years. The trees produce 60 apples a year, total. An apple picked at the perfect instant in the perfect way grants immortality, but Ladon would never share this with anyone, as he does not believe magi to be worthy of that gift. There are other magical trees in the Garden, which Ladon believes are a legacy of the last age of magic.

The three Hesperides, Erytheia, Hespera and Asterope are friends of Ladon, despite his task in keeping them from stealing the apples, because they enjoy his stories. They do not seek worship or have much concern for humans except as aides in their work. They know that Hera no longer collects the apples, but Ladon still defends them, and each of the three has their own idea about what the proper response should be. Each also wants to leave the Garden for a time to pursue their own goals, but fears punishment should the Garden go undefended. One of their sisters, Aegle, might be able to help - she vanished thousands of years ago after an affair with Helios, who dwelt in Sicily in ancient times, or Hesperidia, who sailed away with the tattooed magus that gave Ladon his copy of the Geography so long ago.

Ladon is a hydra with one hundred heads who possesses a copy of The Geography give to him by a Criamon magus seeking True West. He has gotten the nymphs to carve interesting Coordinates into some of the trees, and uses them to scry on locations, gathering amusing tales to tell the nymphs. He'd like to get more, but he cannot leave the island or even the Garden. He is willing to recite the theoretical chapters of the Geography to magi and provide them data on the Zero Longitude, and will then trade vis, information or Ptolemy's coordinates for any freshly discovered coordinates. He will not allow anyone to take the Apples of Hera, but may allow other trees to be harvested for vis.

Long ago, Herakles shot Ladon, and the blood created dragon-trees, which bleed red sap when cut. The Guan use them for dye and medicine. The eldest are Ladon's children and have serpent spirits. Ladon may create more dragon trees by spilling his blood on the soil, and he might trade some of his blood to allies to allow them to grow their own dragon trees. Only those grown directly from Ladon's blood have serpent spirits, which grow stronger each time the tree flowers, which happens once a century. Each flowering gives them a new head, and more heads means more power. Now, this doesn't answer why Ladon helped Trianoma so long ago - and the answer to that is left up to the GM. It may be, though, that Ladon is born of an elemental being from Atlantis who believes the Order may be able to free him by creating a replacement, and who predicts a coming storm that may well end the current world as the last ended Atlantis. (Or, maybe, he's not. Who knows?)

Next time: Hyperborean Magic.

Nov 10, 2012

Tribebook: Bone Gnawers

Chapter 3, Part 3

All tribes put their own spin on Rites, but Bone Gnawer Rites are the spinniest. While other tribes rely on repetition of proven methods, Gnawer Theurges throw whatever works together. Other tribes may consider this blasphemous, but it’s really hard to find the necessary components for an ancient nature rite in a contemporary city. Optionally, an ST may make the Rite more difficult with improvised ingredients, in return for extra renown awards from Bone Gnawer elders. Gnawers can even make up their own rites! There aren’t any rules for this, though, but many current Gnawer rites are based off of those improvisations or variants on pre-existing rites.

Rite of the Cardboard Palace creates an adequate shelter for a Bone Gnawer out of cardboard and assorted trash. It’s bigger on the inside, and it won’t break the Veil. It’s such a great palace, you can heal aggravated damage inside. The Rite of the Pizza requires calling up a gang of Gnawers and agreeing on buying a pizza, unanimously agreeing on toppings. Should this requirement be resolved, the group can decide on a specific goal and receive extra dice they can spend on tasks directly related to that task. The difficulty on the roll to get these dice is really high, though, so you’re most likely only going to get two. The LARP rules literally require buying an actual pizza and sharing it.

Rite of the Crash Space is an upgrade to the Cardboard Palace; it makes recovering Gnosis in your hovel easier. Rite of the Shopping Cart makes any container into a limited Bag of Holding.

Rite of the Cardboard Fortress, as you can probably guess, is another upgrade to Cardboard Palace. It’s even bigger and you can use it as a gate to the Umbra. If the fuzz smashes up your fortress, they’ll find nothing inside. Rite of Man Taint is a contested roll to find out whether a werewolf ate a human. Rite of the Leash is a very severe punishment rite that attaches a leash to a Gnawer for breaking a law, humiliating him. He can’t run away, for the leash is unbreakable.

Rite of the Signpost makes a particular road really inhospitable to travel. It’s creepy, easy to get lost in, and really smelly. Getting through the route requires a Willpower roll. Rite of No Trespassing does the same thing, but allows many werewolves to cooperate, making the Willpower roll more difficult.

Time for Fetishes, then! Lost Keyring is a keyring full of assorted keys. Making a Perception+Repair roll based on the complexity of any given lock allows you to find the key for that lock on you keyring, allowing you to open any conventional lock. If it’s a key card system, you’re out of luck. Ivan’s Molotov is a magical Molotov Cocktail that causes a ton of aggravated damage. It’s basically the Fetish version of Kitchen Chemistry. The Whole Gym Bag is a Bag of Holding that transforms with the werewolf, but it can’t hold technological items, meaning guns and computers.

Rover’s Whistle is a dog whistle that works on werewolves. It can also summon a ton of stray dogs. Hitching Glove compels a driver to pick you up when hitchhiking. Spirit Radio is a little bit more inspired. It allows you to eavesdrop on spirits, getting news reports on spiritual activity all over the city. Umbral CB allows a werewolf to broadcast into the material realm from anywhere in the Umbra. Trucker lingo is required, though.

Merits & Flaws: Struggling gives a Bone Gnawer access to Resources, as he has a minimum wage job. On one hand, this can derail an entire chronicle, since the PC has to accommodate working in addition to werewolf adventures, but on the other hand it’s a good explanation for why a character’s absent when his player’s missing a session.

Shame is actually a Merit, as it gives A Bone Gnawer access to Ancestors, albeit from another tribe. See, the character is actually descended from a disgraced member of another tribe. This gives your character a dark secret though, as if other Garou learn about your ancestry, your social rolls with them are penalized, especially if they’re from your ancestral tribe. It’s a very effective plot hook, basically.

Ratkin Buddies is a more expensive Merit, but Ratkin can be pretty useful allies. Once in a story, the ST rolls on a table. On a bad day, Ratkin mess with you. On a good day, Ratkin will help you out, or even give you a present. 40% of the time, they’ll do nothing. Ratkin won’t reveal themselves to members of other tribes, though, so that can be a good plot hook. That doesn’t really justify taking this merit over Allies, though, if you want Ratkin friends.

Anosmia means you can’t smell! This penalizes hunting and Lupine Perception rolls, of course. Lost Homid means you’re a feral amnesiac, with the same Ability restrictions as a Lupus! It’s only a 2 point flaw, even though this is character defining and a ridiculous challenge to overcome. Phobia is obvious, but why it’s in the Bone Gnawer book is less so. Jackal’s Blood is the only Flaw here with teeth. It basically gives the ST a chance to completely screw you over once a session, in any way he sees fit.

On to Totems, one of the most fondly remembered sections of the book, and deservedly so. Totems have always been one of my favorite parts of Werewolf, since they're a very clear statement of purpose on the part of a PC group, a fun character, and a source of a lot of great symbolism. This book gets that very well. First, we get an explanation of totemic aspects. A totem can symbolize different things to different tribes, thus granting different abilities. The moon itself is a great example of this: it’s alternately a warrior, bard, lawyer, mystic, or trickster, depending on its phase. Rat has three major aspects: a trickster/stealthy form, a war god form, and a nurturing form. Most Gnawers see Rat as the tricky clever warrior, but two extreme camps have rallied around the Rat God and the Mother Rat.

Followers of the Rat God are obsessed with violence for violence’s sake. They can’t be tricked into serving anyone else, not even with Mind magic or Dominate. They only serve their God. Devotees of the Mother Rat are compelled to offer charity to anyone who demands it, particularly children and Metis. Any aspect of Rat can take on the form of any given rodent, leading the Bone Gnawers to treat them with reverence. This makes Owl’s command to sacrifice rats especially scandalous to the Gnawers.

The American Dream is lost, but certainly not dead. Its followers are compelled by optimism about the future of the nation and of themselves. They know that America is filled with good people and they seek to help those people out. The American Dream doesn’t offer much advice, but it comes at exactly the right moment, usually in the guise of an average American citizen. Because recognizing the Dream in its incarnate form is so difficult, its followers treat everyone with respect. To those with a more mystic, Wyld bent, the American Dream can appear in the form of a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. STs are advised to designate one minor mortal character in a chronicle as the American Dream in disguise, who will come to the pack’s aid when they really need it.

Followers of the American Dream get a couple of benefits. They can’t get lost in the USA, even when compelled. They also get 2 dice in Athletics and Empathy to share. The Athletics bonus doesn’t apply to hockey or soccer, and Empathy doesn’t apply to foreigners. Everyone in the pack gets Social bonuses when dealing with officers of the Constitution. Followers are also compelled to act obnoxiously when dealing with foreigners or overseas.

Tasmanian Devil, the old Bunyip totem, has chosen to patronize the Bone Gnawers. He grants everyone Hare’s Leap, 2 extra points in Enigmas, and easier access to the Umbra. Her followers have to advocate for the Bunyip and pass up no opportunity to kill Black Spiral Dancers, who tricked the Garou Nation into killing the Bunyip.

The General Lee isn’t the Civil War general, but is the totem of Cars, taking on the aspect of the greatest car of all time. A pack devoted to the General must choose a rundown car to repair. This car houses the General. As they increase in rank, the car’s capabilities increase with it. At Rank 5, the car can drive into the Umbra. At any level, the car is the Coolest Car. The difficulty of stunts or chases is decreased and every member of the pack gets points in Drive and Crafts (specialty automotive repair). They can even reroll failed Drive checks at Rank 3. In return, they have to spend an hour a day maintaining their vehicle.

Boss Hogg has opposed the Duke boys for the last time.

Jackal was an ancient patron totem to the Bone Gnawers when they hailed from Northern Africa and he still offers his aid. His followers get Survival 2, Leadership 1, and Blur of the Milky Eye to share. He also grants 1 dot of Ancestors to each of his followers, even if they’re Bone Gnawers or Silent Striders. Glass Walkers miss out. Devotees are loath to strike first in a fight, as befits a scavenger. If they do attack first, the Storyteller can turn one failed roll into a botch within three sessions.

Mouse is a bit of a curiosity. She only costs one background point, but he only grants one point of Stealth and Tagalong. She basically exists to introduce followers to other, more powerful totems to follow. She forbids her followers from breaking the Veil for any reason.

The Great Trash Heap is the totem of junk. His consciousness is spread through every individual trash pile, dumpster, and land fill in the world. Once a moon, he’ll answer any question from his packs. Members of a GTH pack can contact each other through tin cans and get Enigmas and Investigate 2. They must live on a trash heap, though.

Crow is another scavenger spirit, but the aspect the Gnawers respect is one of loyalty. His followers must fanatically rally behind a cause or party, and in return they receive points in Alertness, Subterfuge, or Etiquette. He’s usually on hand for advice as well. His devotees can also choose to take a vow of poverty, and in return they get extra renown and a murder of crows they can use for any purpose, which is amazing considering Bone Gnawers can’t have Resources anyway.

Hyena is a constant critic of authority and a savage fighter besides. His trademark is manic, derisive laughter. His followers get extra willpower, Primal Urge, and Subterfuge, as well as Laugh of the Hyena when they reach Rank 2. However, his followers also tend to go crazy, requiring a daily willpower roll to resist madness.

Next time: Mediation via chain beatdown

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011


Evil Mastermind posted:

I think "awesome and tedious" may be the best description of Torg I've ever heard. The article on the front page makes it look cool.
Voting for Nile Empire.

And wow Bone Gnawers are the only Werewolf tribe I can actually imagine playing. Get a real Unknown Armies vibe. I reckon you could adapt American Dream pretty easily for other countries: Aussie Battler, John Bull...

Count Chocula fucked around with this message at 01:45 on May 26, 2013

Jul 9, 2003

Evil Mastermind posted:

The shipwreck is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. The plane the PCs are expected to steal does have deep-sea diving gear. It's Nile Empire deep-sea gear, so it has stuff like torpedo pistols and sun blades, so at least the PCs have some gear they can use.

And yes, it's 20 rounds from, and I quote, "the moment they set foot on the pirate ship".
Oh I wasn't questioning their ability to function on the bottom of the sea.

It's sounding like it's quite possible to fight off the skeletons, find the thing, figure out you need to reverse it (... somehow), and then just not have anybody with a skill to do so, though. :staredog:

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Ancient Magic

The land of Hyperborea, the Land Beyond the North Wind, is one of the greatest mysteries of antiquity. Only the greatest heroes have so much as seen the island, and only a tiny handful of Hyperboreans ever left. They were known for being strange and mysterious, and potent with magic. Legend says they could fly, teleport, project their spirit, enter the spirit world, turn into birds or do great necromancy. It is even said they could return to life after death and lived for centuries. The historian Aelian reports that they helped the northern Greeks worship Apollo, and Herodotus supports this, saying that they belonged to Apollo. Many Hermetics identify Hyperborea as the Realm of Magic, while others say it is regio far north even of the Novgorod Tribunal, where Apollo Phoebus sleeps. Some claim the Hyperboreans were the Nephilim or a similar race.

In ages past, the Hyperborean Hymns were practiced by these strange people, and by other devotees of the god Apollo Phoebus, the Shining One. Their power is not Divine, however, but Magic. The original Hyperborean priests knew hundreds of hymns, carving them on prayer tablets and sacred buildings. Today, few yet survive. Each hymn represented a supernatural power - specifically, a form of magic that granted the hymnist new powers temporarily, gifted to them by the magic of the hymn. The hymns were in the Hyperborean tongue, which is vaguely related to ancient Greek, but the hymns were memorized by rote, so many of the ancient priests may not have known what they meant. Some of those priests were of Hyperborean descent or even full Hyperboreans, however - longlived and resistant to illness, and glowing with Apollo's light as they became warped by magic.

The hymns must be discovered and taught now, which is hard - the Hyperborean priests were slaughtered centuries ago, and the storehouses of their carvings have been lost or destroyed. The Basilica of Ten Thousand Columns is partially intact, as may be other Hyperborean temples in Delos or elsewhere in Greece or Italy, or even the far north. Once you find the hymns, you must learn to recite them, and they are very long and complex. To learn and infuse a hymn takes a full season, after which it is memorized, and the hymn may be recited to infuse supernatural powers into the body. Though the Hyperborean priests once knew many hundreds of sacred names, now only the Seven Beautiful Names of Light remain. These are the sacred names of Apollo Phoebus, and they are the principles that drive the hymns.

Azai, Beautiful Light, gives and governs life and self. Apollo Beautiful-Light is authority and vitality. Azai may grant powers which draw on its principles: birth, the heart, vitality, growth, daytime, light, sunshine, authority, ghosts, love, respect, spirits, gold, defense, leadership and understanding.
Eloure, Fire Daughter, is deep and momentous, guiding to reconciliation. Apollo Fire-Daughter is soft, honest and loving. Eloure may grant powers which draw on its principles: lakes, oceans, rain, rivers, blood, breasts, fertility, the stomach, emotions, dreams, honesty, maternal urges, amber and silver.
Iao, Fire Feeler, is sensitive, delighting in pleasure. Apollo Fire-Feeler attracts both men and women, revelling in luxury and beauty. Iao may grant powers which draw on its principles: cold, damp, the sky, wind, sweet smells, disease, hearing, hunger, sight, taste, veins, affection, attraction, creativity, pleasure, copper, emeralds, auras, sensing magic, cleanliness and harmony.
Oai, Light Breather, is intelligent, clever and expressive. Apollo Light-Breather is adaptable and eloquent, ruling animals and the imagination. Oai may grant powers which draw on its principles: birds, crows, dolphins, grasshoppers, hawks, mice, snakes, swans, wolves, imagination, the intellect, speech, spirits, opals, the spirit world, obscurity, travel and secrecy.
Pentiterouni, Firewalker, is austere and responsible. Apollo Firewalker is dour, patient and in control. Pentiterouni may grant powers which draw on its principles: animal skin, aging, growth, bones, organs, flesh, skin, trembling, ash, fermentation, nightshade, yew, concentration, depression, greed, guilt, seriousness, coal, lead, onyx, sapphires, authority, caves, contractions and organizations.
Psyrinpheu, Firebreather, is ambitious and tyrannical. Apollo Firebreather is sharp, bitter and passionate, a warbringer and conqueror. Psyrinpheu may grant powers which draw on its principles: wolves, fevers, the head, muscles, sexuality, stamina, youth, chestnut trees, nettles, roses, thorns, heat, aggression, conflict, willpower, arsenic, diamond, iron and ruby.
Semesilam, Lightmaker, is enclosure and art. Apollo Lightmaker is the lord of the Muses, bringing justice and prosperity. Semesilam may grant powers which draw on its principles: swans, good health, vigor, song, music, fig trees, fruit, oak, palms, vines, benevolence, justice, morality, optimism, amethyst, marble and tin.

One of the great powers of the Hyperborean hymnists, though, was the ability to combine their voices into great ceremonial choirs. Unlike normal Hymns, the powers produced by this Choirs could only be used once - but they could combine multiple hymns, creating truly immense powers. Further, the hymnists could create holy relics of Apollo - enchanted items bearing the power of the hymns. These did not require vis to make - the magic was channeled through the body, warping the enchanter but allowing easy creation. A single item could hold as many powers as the enchanter was willing to give it.

A Hermetic magus might well want to study the Hyperboreans, though a sane GM will limit how much they can, because frankly, these integrations can break the game even more than anything else. Some are not so bad - the hymnists could make spells last 19 years, and so could a Hermetic studying them. Spirit travel is already partially possible with Hermetic arts, but is less dangerous the Hyperborean way. More dangerous is vis-less magic, allowing the permanent creation of items and other permanent effects without need for vis. This alone would utterly reshape Hermetic society and the world, giving magi far more power than they already have. Likewise, vis-less enchantment will utterly reshape crafting, though it at least will carry the price of warping the enchanter...still, very, very potent. Further, study of the relics would allow magi to overcome the innate limit on spells that can enchant a single item, or to imbue ritual magic into items, both of which are currently impossible and which would both greatly expand the power of crafters.

Now, the real challenge is finding the hymns. From the 4th century BC, the greatest temple of Apollo Phoebus was the Basilica of Ten Thousand Columns, nestled in the Balkans. In the eigth century AD, it was visited by five people - a group of Hermetics who invited them to join or die. The priests told the magi that they could follow none but Apollo, and the magi left. Once the priests had forgotten the visit, Trianoma and Tremere launched a surprise attack on the Basilica. Tremere was greatly wounded, and one of his allies even died, but it was a great victory, destroying the power of the Hyperborean priests utterly despite their potent spells and spirit allies. Both Trianoma and Tremere along with later explorers give a vague location of the Basilica in their writings, but not the exact location. The temple is not on most maps, though it is mentioned in some histories. A few full maps might exist in Hyperborean tombs in Delos.

But let's assume you find it, on the banks of the river Dragor in the Baba Mountains of Epirus. The ruins are home to a magical regio (as well as a now-abandoned monastery of the Orthodox church). The regio is beautiful, and haunted both by the ghosts of the slaughtered priests and by the spirit guardians bound to it before the priests died. Legend speaks of their great treasury, but when Trianoma and Tremere finally destroyed the doors that locked it shut, they found very little inside, not the great hoard of legend. Tremere speculated later in life that the doors themselves had been a path to a deeper regio, now inaccessible forever. The ghosts would be the best teachers of the hymns that anyone could find, but they are likely to be hostile to Hermetics, or at least wary of them.

As for Hyperborea itself...well, it is a regio that lies in the far northern seas, perhaps older than even Egypt and Babylon. Most point to Plato's Atlantis as the source of civilization, but some claim it was from Hyperborea. Legend has it that the god Apollo visited the Hyperboreans every 19 years, when the stars returned to their places. The regio is protected by fiery gates, which may only be passed by those invited or those who know the passwords, so it is impossible to accidentally or forcibly enter Hyperborea. The island is a paradise, so the Hyperboreans do not leave. All possess supernatural powers, for they have not been truly human for centuries at least. They glow with an inner light and may take on the form of sacred animals. The center of the island is the Mountain of Salvation, and at its peak, so high that only flight or spiritual travel may reach it, is the temple of Apollo Phoebus. Every 19 years, on the vernal equinox of the rising of the Pleiads, Apollo Phoebus leaves his temple and goes among the Hyperboreans for great festivals. Good luck getting in, or even finding it - Livy says that Hyperborea was north of the Balkans, but Hecateus placed it near the Celts of Britain, and still others claim it was north of Chinese Turkistan, or perhaps in Tibet. Others say it is north of Novgorod, in the arctic seas.

The book ends by talking about vitkir rune magic, but we've covered that already!

The End!

Choose: Choices are: the True Lineage Houses of Hermes and their secrets (Houses of Hermes: True Lineages), Mystery Cults (The Mysteries, Revised Edition), the Mystery Cult Houses (Houses of Hermes: Mystery Cults), more depth on Covenants (Covenants), the Societates Houses (Houses of Hermes: Societates), France (Lion and Lily: The Normandy Tribunal), academic life (Art and Academe), the Faeries (Realms of Power: Faerie), nobility (Lords of Men), the Church (The Church) or Germany (Guardians of the Forests: The Rhine Tribunal).

Oct 10, 2007

Can you see that I am serious?
Fun Shoe
Societates, I'd like to see some more on those guys.

Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.

pospysyl posted:

Tribebook: Bone Gnawers

I'm not sure what's the best part, that the GENERAL LEE is a totem spirit, or the LARP rules for rite of pizza. Bone Gnawers really are the best tribe.

Aug 6, 2006

The McRib is back!?!?

Robindaybird posted:

I'm not sure what's the best part, that the GENERAL LEE is a totem spirit, or the LARP rules for rite of pizza. Bone Gnawers really are the best tribe.

The best part is obvious.


Umbral CB allows a werewolf to broadcast into the material realm from anywhere in the Umbra. Trucker lingo is required, though.

Apr 28, 2013
Voting for Realms of Power: Faerie because there are only two kinds of fae in the world; the stupid Victorian watered-down version (I'm counting Dreaming) and the awesome.

That and then we'll have a full set of the Realms of power.

Fossilized Rappy
Dec 26, 2012

Part 3: HMS Sapphire to Orang-Bati

HMS Sapphire (CR 12 Colossal Undead)
Nicknamed "The Deadnaught", the HMS Sapphire was a World War I era dreadnaught that was secretly built in South Africa and mysteriously sank in the Atlantic on her maiden voyage. The ship is now a vengeful spirit of the sea whose crew hunt for shipwrecks to scavenge even more souls from in order to fill the entire sea with the sorrow of forgotten tragedy. The undead sailors expand in a dark fog at a 90 foot radius around the Sapphire, clawing at anyone they come in contact with, while the ship itself is effectively immortal unless you can find exactly where it actually wrecked and pull off a proper burial ritual. This means that, as with the ghost of the Red Baron, a big part of this ghostly vehicle's encounter potential is in the adventure around putting it to rest.

Homme-Rat (CR 1 Medium-size Monstrous Humanoid)
Rat people that live in the sewers and catacombs of France. They like to eat people and perform ritual sacrifice, but that's pretty much all that's known about them.

Husk (CR 3 Medium-size Monstrous Humanoid)
The husk could be described as the desert equivalent of the Canadian wendigo. Like the wendigo legend, the husk is formed when a human in dire conditions turns to cannibalism and insanity - in this case, someone in the desert turning to blood-drinking. The result is a warped monster with a leathery hide, long claws, and sharp teeth. It has no supernatural powers to speak of, but its psychosis and strength make it a dangerous foe if it can use its stealth to get the jump on a small group of low-level characters.

Infiltrator (CR 4 Medium-size Shapechanger)
The Japanese shapeshifting spy guys. Unlike the Nazi versions, these ones don't have to eat brains to keep up a disguise, instead using spiritual power. They are also weaker overall and have more of a focus on manipulating team members into dissent as opposed to their Nazi counterparts' long-term subterfuge.

Izgoi (CR 1 Medium-size Fey)
Our next species that is stated to take character classes at long last! :woop: These are the izgoi, a Russian term referring to exiles or orphans, who are unsurprisingly found in eastern Europe. They live in small villages lead by a ruler known as a hedman and a matriarchal shaman known as the vedomye zheny. They are a hardy fey folk that have damage reduction, regeneration as long as they have their feet in touch with the earth, and spell-like abilities related to stealth and further defensiveness. They also have a +1 bonus to saving throws and attack rolls as long as they are within 12 miles of their home village, but suffer Constitution damage for every week they are away from it. Both the Russians and Germans have tried to sway the izgoi to their sides, but they have pretty much refused both, even sometimes creating small retaliatory militias to fight off Nazi invaders.

Kamikaze Spirit (CR 3 Medium-size Undead)
The Japanese occultists known as the Kuromaku (who we'll learn more about in the book Land of the Rising Dead) happened to create these guys by accident. The original intent was just to fuel kamikaze pilots with black magic, but it turned out that a side-effect was the creation of a unique type of undead that seeks out even more planes to crash. Its modus operandi is to sneak into a ship, Wisdom drain the pilot into a nightmare-filled sleep, take the reigns of the plane to crash it into an Allied ship, and then head to a new plane to do it all over again.

Keel Wyrm (CR 3 Huge Beast)
Beast, the other creature type besides Shapeshifter that existed in 3.0 but disappeared in 3.5. Our first example of tis type in Weird War II are the keel wyrms, giant versions of the keel worm. While they aren't particularly dangerous, they have a bad habit of living in groups that slow down ships as they build numerous calcified burrows on the underbelly, which means anyone diving to try to fix the issue has to deal with about a dozen or so snapping jaws from freaky 20 foot-long worms.

Khamsin (CR 5 Medium-size Outsider)
Either earth-bound genies or cursed Amazons depending on who you ask, the khamsin have the form of beautiful Arabic women and are fond of seducing religious men away from the tenets of their faith. While they prefer to merely toy with humans, they can certainly hold their own if combat comes up, being capable of spreading disease, forming a dangerous whirlwind, or emanating a heat wave that simultaneously protects them from cold attacks and deals nonlethal damage to those that near it.

Kill-Roy (CR 10 Medium-size Undead)
"Kilroy was here": a strange slogan etched by American GIs during World War II and later, often merged with the graffiti of a large-nosed ledge-peeker by the name of Chad whose origins were from the British part of the Allies. Or, at least, that's the real world origin. In Weird War II, finding "Kilroy was here" is a much darker message spread by the entity known as the Kill-Roy. This creature was born Roy Sharpes, a private who ended up dying in the Pearl Harbor raid. Fueled with rage, he came back as a spirit who would drive others to their deaths, stealing their essences and eventually becoming a horrific blood red gestalt of all of the Armed Forces that seeks only the death of the Axis through suicide attacks from American soldiers. The Kill-Roy will possess soldiers and force them to fight at their fullest and die in the heat of battle, their spirits being absorbed into its own as the message "Kilroy was here" magically marks itself on a nearby surface. Even more interesting is that Kill-Roy is an enemy who can only be truly effectively fought with words rather than actions - he'll just rejuvenate and reappear eventually if he is attacked and destroyed, meaning that the only way to deal with him is to free a possessed soldier by convincing Kill-Roy the soldier would do more damage to the enemy alive than dead or to finally put him to rest with a well-researched and convincing argument that its path of violence is in vain and that it should disperse its souls into the afterlife.

Kon-Nichiwa Samurai (CR 1 Medium-size Undead)
Better known as "that dick thing your GM uses", these entities are the souls of samurai summoned and bound by the Kuromaku into an armored zombie. The kon-nichiwa samurai is deceptive in its low Challenge Rating. Sure, its hit point total is miniscule, but it also regenerates to full health after 5 minutes of being unconscious. The only way to truly kill them is to perform a coup de grace with their own katana or spear after they have been knocked unconscious, a fact that the players probably don't actually know given that the kon-nichiwa are the personal enslaved bodyguards of select Kuromaku. The plus side of all of this is that they have a hilarious death:

Horrors of Weird War II posted:

When they are released from unholy service, a bright light flashes from the face mask of the armor and beautiful music and the scent of cherry blossoms fills the air.

Lebender Schlamm (CR 14 Large Construct)
You probably wouldn't have guessed that our toughest monster so far would be a mud golem. That's exactly what the lebender schlamm is, though, being a golem created from the bloody mud of trenches. In addition to the magic immunity that all golems enjoy, the lebender schlamm can shapeshift to sprout tentacles for extra attacks or squeeze through tight spaces as an oozing mass, has high damage reduction combined with an immunity to slashing and piercing damage, can regenerate health as long as it is in contact with the ground, can up its speed once per day in combat, and is capable of engulfing and suffocating foes.

Leopard of Rudyaprayag (CR 8 Large Beast)
It's a giant leopard with above-human intelligence, the ability to sense traps, and fast healing. It's used by an evil chaos cult to spread disaster during times of war. And...that's pretty much it. Hell, the book doesn't even tell you where Rudyaprayag is (it's a town in the forested mountains of Northern India).

Living Fountain (CR 3 Large Construct)
Empathic statues found in European towns. They're capable of healing with their waters, but they don't have any attack, movement, or anything else. Really, they are more a magic item of convenience than a monster, and I'm not sure why they are taking up a spot in this bestiary.

Lost Caravan (CR 5 Medium-size Elemental)
These earth elementals are actually the spirits of a group of Berber salt merchants who were massacred by raiders centuries ago, now under a compulsion to forever wander the wilderness and steal people's body salt like that one monster in Star Trek. They do this by appearing to those who are lost and starving in the desert, offering them food and drink that actually has a sleeping poison in it. If they fall asleep, a magical jar is placed at their feet that drains them of their salts. If they making the saving throw and stay awake, two hours later the members of the Lost Caravan get pissed off and start slashing around with their sabers and jambiya daggers. They are immortal due to the dying curse of the tribesman that swore vengeance, but they can be thwarted by just beating them up until they are temporarily destroyed or managing to hold out until dawn, since they are incapable of manifesting during the daylight hours.

Luna-Tick (CR 1/2 Tiny Vermin)
Black ticks with a crescent moon marking on their back that drive people in a paranoid rage as they drain blood from them. Get it? :haw:

Master Chef of France (CR 8 Medium-size Humanoid)
The master chefs are cannibals who are said to have gotten their secret of human flesh-based immortality from the Marquis de Sade. They are effectively broken into camps of those who only eat the flesh of the dead and those who hunger for fresh human meat and go out to murder them, but both are equally ultra-nationalist and hate the Nazis with a passion that drives them to aid the French resistance movement. Combat-wise, master chefs have high-ranking fast healing and immunity to poison on their side.

Mind Reaper (CR 4 Small Humanoid)
Mini-me big-brained Nazi experiments whose shtick is that they love mind-raping people. They are constantly capable of detecting thoughts, and can use this to either rip out pieces of a foe's memory, temporarily stun them, or deal Strength and Dexterity damage. They can also take class levels.

Muumuu (CR 3 Large Giant)
Besides having a hilariously amusing name, the Bigfoot-like ogres known as the muumuu are feared in the south Pacific for the fact that they come down from their jungle mountain homes to steal away humans as food. They are stron, clever, and can swiftly move around in the trees to ambush Allied and Axis troops moving through the jungle. They're another creature that can advance by class levels, which is always a plus.

Nuba Oni (CR 4 Large Monstrous Humanoid)
The nuba oni are a tribe of the legendary Japanese oni that have been drafted into military service by the Kuromaku. In addition to being big horned monsters that have a fear-inducing aura, brute strength, and sharp claws, the nuba oni have been trained to use firearms and katanas. They are also heavily resistant to fire, so some have been trained to puncture Allied flamethrower tanks to cause a conflagrating explosion that the nuba oni can easily walk away from compared to the quite possibly dead flamethrower user.

Orang-Bati (CR 1 Medium-size Monstrous Humanoid)
These freakish bat-ape-people fly through the jungles of Indonesia and are feared for the fact that they take humans in the dead of night to sacrifice in blood magic rituals. They also happen to believe that they are the rightful ruling species of the planet, but are thankfully of small enough numbers that they can only carry out their domination fanasies on a local scale. Their two notable powers are the ability to release a mournful wail that can induce chaos and panic and, if they happen to be spellcasters, sacrifice a human child once per day to double their 1st level spells per day. Orang-bati can take character classes.


Next time: Dragons that aren't, rats that swarm, and NPC monsters that aid.

Mar 1, 2013

You Are All

Robindaybird posted:

I'm not sure what's the best part, that the GENERAL LEE is a totem spirit, or the LARP rules for rite of pizza. Bone Gnawers really are the best tribe.
The TT rules for Rite of the Pizza are just as hilarious, as the rules literally allow you to bribe the ST with slices of pizza should you order one to reduce the difficulty of the rite.

I also love how most of the merits that the Bone Gnawers have access to would be a flaw for just about anyone else. Ratkin buddies get a special mention that if you get a 10 on the roll one of your buddies is replaced by a new Ratkin, who leaves you a gift... which is typically just a bunch of junk. And they'll beat the poo poo out of you if you don't think it's awesome.

Count Chocula
Dec 25, 2011



Master Chef of France (CR 8 Medium-size Humanoid)
The master chefs are cannibals who are said to have gotten their secret of human flesh-based immortality from the Marquis de Sade. They are effectively broken into camps of those who only eat the flesh of the dead and those who hunger for fresh human meat and go out to murder them, but both are equally ultra-nationalist and hate the Nazis with a passion that drives them to aid the French resistance movement. Combat-wise, master chefs have high-ranking fast healing and immunity to poison on their side.

This should be a PC option.

Oct 10, 2005


pospysyl posted:

Rite of Man Taint

Thinking back on old WW stuff, I'm surprised at how easy it was to totally derail games by being the one guy at the table not taking their purple-prose naming schemes seriously (most of Bone Gnawers excepted, of course).

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

The fae won the coinflip.

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Realms of Power: Faerie

Faerie is the realm most associated with human belief and imagination. It draws power from hope and fear, but it is not really weakened by the fading of that belief - or if it is, not enough to destroy it. No one worships Hera much any more, but Hera the fairie is still around. It may be said to be a supernatural repository of legend. Generally, it is weaker than the other realms, easily dominated by the Divine or subverted by the Infernal. Technically speaking, a fairie is a spirit with a body formed of incidental matter, held together by a spiritual energy that could be called glamour (though the term is largely unknown outside Scotland, where it is a mospronunciation of grammar). They move with stolen vitality, and their bodies exist to interact with humans. Every fairie has a role, a set of rules it must obey and symbols it cannot change. These rules are called glamour, and they define the fairie's nature and powers, as well as how it interacts with humans and seeks vitality. Faeries are instinctively drawn to humans, so they can borrow a bit of the human ability to change and the human capacity for passion, in the form of human vitality. Many, however, do not realize why they are drawn to humans. This is known as 'cognizance' by Hermetics who care.

Incognizant faeries are often the focus of simple stories, usually warnings or advice on how to avoid or propitiate them. Some animals or werewolves are totally incognizant, completely unaware that they draw nourishment from the fear and precautions taken by humans rather than, say, they sheep they kill. They usually are not aware that their bodies are held together by glamour and may regard themselves to be as organic as humans. If their bodies are destroyed, they may create new ones, but will have no memory of their past existence. They are the most common sort of faerie, and may well be powerful and complex without ever being aware of the ultimate goals of their plans: gain vitality. The Queen of Winter may will just believe she desires a child and kidnap one to force the parents into a cruel game, without realizing this is typical faerie behavior meant to draw vitality from either the child or parents.

Narrowly Cognizant Faeries are aware that they feed on human vitality, but understand only one mechanism for doing so. For example, a faerie wife who drains the life of her husband to allow herself to bear a child is more cognizant than the Queen of Winter above. These faeries instinctively enact variations on one story, unable to consider why this particular story provides them the greatest sense of well-being. They know they need something from humans, and they're usually aware that their bodies aren't quite real things. They can use their powers strategically, and their memories persist between bodies, but they cannot seek to improve themselves in the same way that a highly cognizant faerie can. They are less common than incognizent faeries.

Highly Cognizant Faeries are those that can seek out creative humans, for they know that those humans give them a chance to redefine themselves. If they want to, they can develop new powers by tricking or bargaining with humans. With enough vitality, they may even change their role utterly, becoming a completely different kind of faerie. These faeries are usually unconcerned with the fate of their bodies, creating and destroying them as needed. They are quite rare.

Faeries do not have souls. They are obsessed with etiquette and symbolism, because doing things the "correct" way is what holds their bodies and minds together. They become more potent by participating in stories, which to them are when symbolic events and objects are placed in sequences that shake vitality free from humans. They don't even need to be important to the story to gain vitality. They are fascinated by stories, because they are story elements. When a faerie manifests, it creates a body by seizing on nearby matter symbolically related to its role, using it as a spiritual anchor which it then draws dust, water and other incidental matter to in order to create a substantial, cohesive form with an appearance generated by its glamour. Its role determines its body - a faerie fox must look and act like a fox. Beautiful fairies are usually[/u] good, ugly ones [i]usually malicious.

Some stories, of course, can change that around - Bluebeard, say, is completely handsome and good until his wife discovers his secret room and breaks his taboo, turning him as physically hideous and mentally evil as the story requires. Mindreading can thus be troublesome with the faeries, because in whatever form, they will have appropriately benign or murderous thoughts for the form, rather than the story as a whole. Thought is not really a thing faeries are good at, though - the concept of the 'inner life', by which humans can talk to themselves and interpret events in their heads, is both frustrating and fascinating for the fae. Faeries are incapable of that level of self-reflection, or perhaps unable to act on it while in physical form. They have no soul, in other words, just rules.

A faerie whose body is terminally disrupted may not have time to withdraw its glamour from its spiritual anchor, and the anchor will be filled with vis. Many faeries store their vis in mundane objects they carry, or, far more rarely, in anchors they can distance themselves from. Others place enough power in their anchor to encourage mortals to keep and use it rather than destroy it, speeding their recovery from ''death.' Because of the way faerie bodies work, they have a strange concept of ownership. Their clothes and belongings are literally part of them, unable to pass from them without permission or a story that effectively changes ownership. Items they do not wish to lose simply revert to incidental matter, generally once you leave the area. All of a faerie's glamour-made possessions are Arcane Connections to it. Faeries thus acknowledge that anything which forms an Arcane Connection to a person is symbolically part of them, and that to steal such things is to steal part of their life. Mortal goods that lack Arcane Connections, they feel, are not owned and are thus free to take. Those things that contain a vitality of their own, such as bread, milk, beer or gemstones, are particularly valued by faeries, so often stolen. Some faeries actually spread their glamour over an entire area surrounding their anchor, embodying many or even all of the objects in the area. Usually they also generate a humanoid form to direct attention, allowing them to appear to control the area around them rather than just controlling distant parts of their body.

Faeries often do not take on complete and whole personas - that's one of the easier ways to detect them. Faeries tend to lack the subtlety to be specific people and are, for better or worse, caricatures. They are stock characters, not actual people. They gloss over details. A faerie medic may carry a large bag of medicines, but any real healer would know the contents to be worthless props. Some faerie healers wouldn't even go that far - they'd just have one sovereign elixir for all ills, and perhaps a spoon. The remedy will work, but because of the faerie's magic and not any actual value of its own. Faeries tend to be bad at providing names and biographical details. They are usually not creative enough to lie, so they stick to vague, general answers.

Similarly, faeries do not possess actual skills. They simulate them with magical Pretenses, free expressions of their roles. While they appear the same at human skill levels, any master of the real skill can tell if they try to do something superhuman. A faerie swordsman may have a blade that simply skips intervening space, or a faerie weaver may well just produce cloth with vague hand movements instead of the full shuttle of a hand-loom. Faeries also tend to take taboos seriously - essentially, rules others need to follow around them. Some actions are mandatory, others forbidden. Those who break the taboos owe redress tothe faerie, for they have offended it. It is generally best to avoid doing this, and taboos tend to revolve around hospitality, payment, ownership, religion, iron or opening the body to influence.

Next time: Vitality

Mar 30, 2012
I really like this take on the faeries, temporary shadows who are drawn to the mortal world for a purpose but don't really understand why they're doing it and tend to skip over the unimportant details. I might have to adapt some of this the next time I run Changeling.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

Ars Magica 5th Edition: Realms of Power: Faerie

First, it should be understood that merely interacting with faeries can open you to their powers. Speaking to a faerie gives it permission to speak back, and thus use its magical powers via speech. (It also produces an Arcane Connection that lasts until the conversation ends.) Humans can also change faeries via eloquence and expression, of course, which is why many faeries iwll paralyze your tongue or forbid you to speak. Eating faerie food makes you the guest of the faerie, forbidding you to leave until given permission, and so providing an Arcane Connection until you receive that permission. Wounds cause vitality to leak out of your body, so when your blood is taken or tasted by a faerie, you get an Arcane Connection that lasts until the wound heals. And sex with a faerie creates one that lasts for the duration of intercourse (or, if you get pregnant, while you're pregnant).

Anyway, vitality. Faeries seek vitality from humans in many forms. There can never be enough to feed the addiction. Some faeries hunger for expressed emotion - fear, expectations, lust, temptation. Stories often focus on the terror of the ogre or the temptations of the nymph - and it is the emotions they cause that these faeries feed on. Artistic expression can also produce vitality, and so noble faeries will often seek out artists to create works for them, feeding on the vitality of their creativity made solid. Traditional offerings - the bowl of porridge for the pixies, the sacrifices of the pagan gods - also provide vitality. Violent faeries are often fed by the wards that keep them away; there really isn't much metaphysical difference between the bowl of milk for the brownie and the garlic to ward off the vampire. Usually the faeries are not cognizant enough to realize that. Certain objects can also feed faeries - bread, milk, wine, gemstones, cheese, whatever. This typically causes faerie thefts, as the faeries do not really grasp ownership and may view the act of baking bread and then leaving it out in a bakery as a form of sacrifice.

It should be understood that faeries are spirits of the borders. Human vitality surges as we approach and cross borders - as we go from one stage of life to another, as we go beyond our homes and into danger, as we go between states of consciousness or social classes. Faeries patrol these borders, embodying the liminal states - often more than one at a time - in order to find those humans that swell with the vitality of the threshold. One of those thresholds is death: some faeries kill humans and feed on their vitality directly, or the other way around. They drink blood, eat flesh, steal breath. Perhaps they feed on direct vitality, or the terror those around them feel, or the wards that keep them away. Threats of violence are nother good way to gain vitality. By threatening harm, a faerie can gain vitality from the wards that prevent it from followng through. Others seek humans in order to be killed by them. See, most faeries that engage in violence expect to suffer and lose. Many have ways of 'surviving' death or mitigating the damage, while others simply lack the cognizance to understand that by being defeated, they may become a legend for future generations, each of which will defeat the faerie and feed it with the vitality of attention and violent passion.

So what is a faerie like when it isn't seeking vitality? No one knows. It's impossible to really find out - when they notice you researching, they will begin to involve you in stories to gain vitality from you. They tend to treat attempts at understanding as a form of traditional offering. There are many theories, though. Some say that faeries hide a true society and identity behind the webs of story, while others say they continue their last role until they find a new audience. Some say that faeries essentially go into stasis until the next observer shows up, or even just disappear while there aren't any people around

The Faerie Realm itself is one of stories, and those within it can gain power by taking part in the stories and playing along. This power of Fable, as it is known, is earned by expending vitality and giving it to the faeries, and the more Fable you have, the greater your rewards. Of course, there are risks. More Fable can warp you, making you more and more faerie, until at last you cease to be human and simply become a faerie. Plus, the more Fable you have, the slower time goes. For someone with low Fable, a day in Faerie may last only an hour. For someone with a lot, it can last a year.

Within Faerie, the act of human creativity can be used to reshape the stories you take part in. A poet may seek shelter from a storm by converting a tree into a hut to hide in with his words, a singer might draw out a local ice maiden and offer to woo her if she will thaw his friends out and grant them easy passage. Such rewritten power involves a gift of vitality to the fae, as well as a promise to perform some task - 'hide in a hut', 'woo the ice maiden', and so on. Creativity is very potent indeed in the realms of the fae.

The first and most commonly known realm is Arcadia, the Path of Chance, where new stories are born. It is a place of whimsy, terror and more. Journeys into Arcadia have no plan or purpose, innately - it is a place gone to for adventure and the experience of it, rather than for a specific purpose. It responds to the perceptions of those within it, and travelers have as much influence over the flow of stories as the fae do. Everything in Arcadia is potentially a faerie, even the scenery. It is often debated whether Arcadia is the home or birthplace of the fae, or if it is independent of those faeries found in the world. The same sorts of faeries are found, but with the added role of whatever is imposed on them by travelers. In the mundane world, a story is defined by the fae who act it out, while in Arcadia, the fae are defined by the story.

The second realm is Elysium, the Land of Legend and Road of Destiny. In Elysium, all stories have already been told. Here, you find the Song of Roland, the Morte d'Arthur and the legend of the minotaur. If any story was ever told and loved, it can be found in Elysium. Often, travelers come to Elysium to witness these tales or take part in them - who would not want to fight alongside Merlin or Romulus, even if they are mere faerie pretenders? Some mystery cults use this as an initiatory ordeal. Of course, it is impossible to discover secrets that the tellers of the tales never knew - unless a dragon's weakness is part of its legend, Elysium cannot reveal it. The words whispered to dead Baldur by Odin will never be found in Elysium. However, by taking on the role of the hero, one can gain power or insight related to that hero, though usually such aid is indirect - the last known location of Roland's sword, say. All sorts of stories can be found in Elysium - Biblical tales, pagan legend, the romances of Arthur and other knights, the Thousand and One Knights, any story told and loved. (No one has, however, been known to take on the role of Christ in a story in Elysium, perhaps because doing so would be greatest blasphemy for most people who'd go there.) When in Elysium, someone must identify as the hero and be the key figure in the story, whom the faeries will address. (It can be a communal effort, though, which can be amusing when the 'hero' ends up changing mid-scene and the faeries all just automatically shift to focus on the new person.)

Last is Eudokia, the Forking Path. Eudokia is the land of personal dilemmas, wherein travelers are tested based on the symbolism of difficult decisions or life changes. These often take the form of moral tales or tutelary stories, testing your commitment to ideals or ideas. They have a theme - Courage, Fertility, Magic, Skill and so on - based on some situation that you are facing when you enter Eudokia. By acting in accordance with that theme, you are rewarded, while acting against it punishes you. Note that Eudokia has no moral quality - a theme of Caution may reward cowardice and punish reckless bravery, while a theme of Bravery would do the opposite. A theme of Fidelity would punish faithless lust, while a theme of Fertility might reward it. Such blessings and punishments tend to wear off over time once you leave Eudokia, at least.

Next time: Playing a Faerie

Mar 14, 2013

Validate Me!

Region E: Time To Feel Pointless

Have you ever had a game with NPCs so powerful and omnescient that you wonder why they even bother giving your party a quest? I'm not talking about having big, powerful characters who have to delegate smaller tasks so they can battle cosmic evils...I'm talking about seemingly all-powerful NPCs who send PCs out on missions while completely refusing to get off their own butts and do anything.

Well, that's what Region E is all about. This is the Celestial Garrison, where one of the remnants of the original Celestial guardians of the dungeon are hiding out...apparently doing nothing...for the past few centuries.

This is one of the two possible routes following Region A, meaning that it's designed for PCs of level 4-6. However, like Region A, the designers seem to be completely unable to design appropriate challenges, the "hostile" encounters in the region are almost all at least EL 6, with most being EL 7-9. The "peaceful" encounters are far, far higher of course.

So, rather than go room-by-room I'll try and highlight some of the more ridiculous features of the place.

*The All-Door* Region E and F seem to indicate that the celestials have some kind of major "thing" for making transportation far more complicated than it has to be.
You see, there are several rooms in this region with no entrances or exits, instead accessible only through a magical door. This isn't an enchanted archway or's literally an enchanted door, not attached to anything at all, that must be carried around and activated by command word. This makes it perhaps the most awkward and cumbersome form of magical transportation ever...I can't imagine anything less convenient than literally carrying around a large doorway (it weighs about 150 lbs). And somehow the celestials still managed to lose this supremely important, irreplaceable magical doorway. Makes you wonder why they didn't just enchant a normal, immobile door...or used the Locate Object spell (at least one of the Celestials is a 6th level cleric and could easily cast it).
None of the above is actually necessary though, because it states quite clearly in the All-Door's description that all the Celestials know that the door was originally located in room E18 and checking room E18 shows's still there. So it seems that the door isn't so much lost as it is simply that the celestials do not seem to car to wander down and pick it up.
Or it could just be that the Celestials just don't give a drat, despite what the description of the all-door states. Looking at the different rooms accessible by the all-door (most of which are mislabeled), there's not really much in them that's worth having. One room is a library containing a history of the dungeon, another is a room full of completely mundane adventuring gear, a third has some minor magical clothing (none of much value to any celestial, a room that is full of many, many potions which all become potions of poison as soon as they're removed from the room, a hidden bunker with some mundane weapons and a couple of non-cursed potions, and a room with trap-making supplies. The one room of any interest is a forge that allows the smith to enchant a weapon with a enhancement bonus of +1 to +5 for 24 hours by sacrificing a permanent hit point for each +1 bonus. Needless to say that won't be seeing much use.
So, considering the amount of effort and trouble to find the All-Door and discover the command words to its various rooms..there's almost nothing behind it worth finding.

*ward staves* One of the odd features of this Region is a set of Wards that block it from Region I. The wards ensure that any evil creatures attempting to pass through must make a DC 40 Will save. However, these wards must be constantly charged with magical ward-staves which keep the DC high (it drops gradually, 1 per day, if the wards are not renewed). This takes eight hours of concentration by an outsider or divine spellcaster and any attempt to charge more than one ward a day inflicts a negative level or requires a use of channeling positive energy. Since there are 8 wards and the celestials currently have only 4 staves they're forced to hand the staves off on a cyclic shift to keep them from exhausting themselves.
The staves can also "transport" the user...but there's never any rules for what this means.
So, these wards are clearly essential and it's very important that the celestials keep them charged...or else nothing will happen. The wards only protect intrusion from Region I, which contains nothing but drow and some minor aberrations, none of whom have the desire or ability to attack the celestials in Region E. Now, there are definitely some dangerous forces in other regions but none of them are laying siege to the celestials and even if they wanted to attack they could easily do so from the East or South.

*The bad guys* This place is overrun with small factions of monsters. You've got "the shadow king" and his group of...shadows. Not one but two competing packs of barghests. Some random vermin and a few NPCs: a necromancer and an "inhuman" wizard (whose race is unspecified and completely undescribed). In another region these might be dangerous and interesting forces at work (even if they're fairly small)...but here they're really out of place because of...

*The Good Guys* There are two main "celestial" forces (really only one, but the writers seem to keep forgetting that Inevitables are in no way Good aligned): the inevitables and a few random celestials of various types. The inevitables have strayed from the garrison's purpose (because again, they're not in any way Good) and have started recruiting warrior-slaves to aid in the dungeon's defense and competing with the other celestials for things like the ward-staves to keep things going. Thus they are divided, weakened and under siege by the forces of evil.
Or they would be if it weren't for the fact that these outsiders represent some of the most powerful beings in the WLD. There are four Maruts (including an enhanced 19 HD one) and two 22 HD Leonals. These guys could not only easily keep Region E clear of evil beings (it's especially egregious that there's a force of Shadows hanging out in the territory of a Marut titled "Slayer of The Unliving") but they could quite likely take on the entire WLD.
Even if you assume the rift between the Celestials and Inevitables is unhealable the celestials almost all have class levels (all are at least CR 10) and could easily defeat any opposition in Region E and the surrounding Regions, join up with the other celestial forces in Region G and take down pretty much every single challenge in the dungeon.

So...what are the PCs meant to do here. It's unclear. It mentions that the celestials will reward the PCs for retrieving items hidden behind the All-Door but there's no way for the PCs to find out the command words without being given them and the celestials already seem to know where the door is anyhow. They could find the ward-staffs for the celestials...but again that's easily possible for the celestials to do on their own.

Really the only thing that seems like the PCs might accomplish is pointing out that the celestials could just get off their asses and solve their problems on their own.

Nov 10, 2012

This tribebook takes a different tack for their sample characters, not recommending them as PCs at all. Even the historical figures are meant to have their stat blocks repurposed for personal characters. Common sense to someone not used to metaplot, but good advice nonetheless.

Rabble Rouser

How nineties, for a book published in 2002.


The Time is almost at hand. Spread the word.

The Rabble Rouser came from a hard scrabble background. Her dad was always away on “business” with his “pack” of “buddies” and her mom was poor. Turns out, she was a Bone Gnawer. Her dad sacrificed his time with his family to serve the sept, but both he and his daughter were treated like scum. The other Bone Gnawers, though, helped out the Rabble Rouser. So, RR has decided it’s time for revolution. You still have to keep it on the DL, though, since you don’t actually have the backing of the rabble just yet. Basically you’re a spy.

Gotta say, not a great character archetype. Ragabash are supposed to be all about “questioning the ways” anyway. This is a pretty personal crusade, too, unless you’re building the chronicle around revolution. If you need a quick young Turk werewolf, though, you can look to the Rabble Rouser, I guess. She’ll be crap in a fight with tertiary physical traits and only two dots of Brawl, but if you’re not playing her that’s fine. Her Gifts are well chosen, Persuasion for social stuff, Blur of the Milky Eye for sneaking, and Tagalong to better support her role ingratiating herself to diverse communities For some reason, she has a lot of Rites and Rituals dots, which I suppose means she’s supposed to be a revolutionary leader, but otherwise she’s statted out like a starting character. Her equipment includes “anarchistic literature” :raise: A poor showing.

Bird Lady

Pictured, someone passing herself as a "kind old lady"


Here, pretty, pretty, pretties! Come and tell me what you’ve been doing in this big, dirty city! Yes, come and tell me!

A lot of oWoD splatbooks have a habit of making their sample characters X profession, but a supernatural creature! This is a good example of this. A crazy bird-feeder, but a werewolf! She’s forgotten what it’s like to be human, if she ever was a human (her breed is Lupus, so no). All she remembers is playing with birds, and the birds being there after her change. Feeding the birds helps her keep her cover up, which is good because she can’t stand being around anybody other than birds.

Again, playing as this character would suck, but for entirely different reasons. While playing a werewolf revolutionary could be pretty cool, this character is a fishmalk, plain and simple. The roleplaying hints give her free reign to babble incoherently around other people. Her statblock is useful if you want a mad street prophet Theurge, but again, she’s built as a starting character. She’s well put together as a mystic, but she’d be even worse off in a fight than the Rabble Rouser, with only one dot of Strength and one dot of Brawl. Don’t play as this character, is what I’m saying.

Metis Mediator

Is it just me, or does this picture evoke the hammer and sickle?


I thank the sept leader-rhya for allowing me this chance to speak. I ask this opportunity not merely for my own sake – but for the sakes of all those whose voices were never heard.

:jerkbag: In the lesser tribebooks, being a Metis is used as a character hook all on its own. While the Metis are compelling, relying on that hook is going to be boring. This character is built along those lines. He was raised by a sept of another tribe, who taught him that to make up for his sinful existence, he needed to die for the sept. When he realized that this was wrong, he left and was accepted into the Bone Gnawers. Even in the Bone Gnawers, leaders just wanted him to serve their schemes. Once the Mediator stood up for himself, he earned the respect of the Bone Gnawer metis community. Now, he represents them in the Gnawer political arena.

Now this guy’s built great. He’s got points everywhere he needs them, in Law, Politics, and Etiquette. As a hulk, he’s also got a combat role, and he has points in physical traits, Brawl and Melee. While a werewolf social justice warrior doesn’t get me excited, it might work for someone else, especially if you’re doing a political chronicle. The character’s got an arc to his own. I approve. The only weakpoint is that his equipment includes a copy of Plato’s Republic, which is not only pretentious, but also dumb considering Plato advocated for segregation and a rigid caste system.

Frankweiler Bootlicker

I thought wereapes wouldn't come until Changing Breeds!


Oh wise and revered elders, if I might be so bold, I have composed a certain ode to the exploits of our most puissant warder, and would love nothing better than honoring him with my humble verse. <clearing throat> “Behold! The thews of the mighty wolf! Far stronger than the forge’s steel…

One of two camp representatives. At his core, this character is a bad poet and hero worshipper. Pretty basic, but can make for some really fun roleplaying. Statwise he’s... weird. Physical tertiary, again, but he has a high Intelligence score, which I feel would deteriorate from the fun of playing this character. He’s got a great Dodge score, but no combat skills whatsoever, which is definitely bad for a werewolf character. His Gifts are all over the place, with Persuasion, Cooking, and Call of the Wyld (a magical summons). I’m just baffled by this character, unfortunately earning him the Worst Sample Character badge, since I have no idea what to do with him.

Mountain Man

Do hillbillies even use those bottles anymore?


Shee-it, sure don’t grow them Spirals that big out here, do they? Why don’t y’uns sit back a spell; I’ll handle this lil’ fella.

The other camp representative, and by far the better one. A literal country wolf in the big city, he’s built for one thing and one thing only: killing poo poo. He’s got the stats for it, too. He’s maxed out Strength, but hasn’t dumped Dex either. He’s dumped Intelligence, which is great conceptually. All of his backgrounds have bone into Kinfolk, and although this is against the rules, it’s great. His Gifts are a little weaker, with Hare’s Leap and Falling Touch standing out as a little weird. Resist Toxin is great, though. This one gets the badge for Best Sample character.

Corazon Bitefinder always had a curious connection to the sea. At birth, his mother tried to drown him, but he survived. He had the ability to sing the fish out of the water. His mother believed he was the spawn of an incubus that had seduced her (hooray, implied rape! I thought we had left you behind in Black Furies). Tired of her constant attempts to kill him, Bitefinder left to seek his fortune. He survived five shipwrecks before his First Change.

The Bone Gnawers of Lisbon put him to work getting fish for the poor, but Bitefinder just wanted adventure on the high seas. In 1540, the Bone Gnawers held a Piping to discuss exploring the New World. Bitefinder and a few courageous Gnawers offered to lead an expedition, but every voyage Bitefinder was on met shipwreck, so he was mocked. His team stowed away on a ship, and fought a giant Umbral Wyrm monster. They made it to the Americas, and Bitefinder led the remaining Bone Gnawers to the New World.

Henri Eau-de-Fleur earned his deed name through his trademark odor. His Metis deformity was a vicious stank, and his elders taught him Odor of the Skunk and Scent of Sweet Honey before he could handle them as a cruel joke. He was cast down into the sewers of Paris for “surveillance”, but Henri excelled there. He quickly befriended the Parisian Ratkin and learned about all the supernatural happenings in the city.

Of particular note was the conflict between the Nosferatu of the sewers and the other vampires of Paris. Henri, other Bone Gnawers, and the Ratkin waged war against the Nosferatu. The Nosferatu tried to claim refuge with the other vampires, but they were turned aside. They then accepted an alliance with Henri’s army and drove out all the vampires of Paris. The Nosferatu were diminished enough to be wiped out in the conflict. Soon after the vampires withdrew their support, the aristocracy fell in the French Revolution. Thus, Henri Eau-de-Fleur is seen as its secrete patron.

Young Blackie Chuzzlewit is a literal legend among the Bone Gnawers. His father, an American railroad magnate, abandoned his mother and left them in destitution. His mother soon died and Blackie was sent to an orphanage, but he left at age six to live on the streets. He moved to a new coal mining town, where he worked as a child miner. When he was trapped in a cave-in, he took his First Change and stepped sideways. Eventually, he found his way to the Scar, and there is where his adventures began. Basically, if Charles Dickens wrote epic fantasy, he would write of Blackie Chuzzlewit.

Conquerer of the Scar, ladies and gentlemen.

Mother Larissa is the Mother of the Sept of the Green in New York City. Despite heavy opposition, she’s held leadership for decades. Her sept will shelter anyone who needs it. She presents a front as a crazy witch, and offers consultations. She loves telling cheesy ghost stories, taking inspiration from House of the Dying, a seventies comicbook and a riff on Tales of the Crypt. She’s getting old though, and she’s curiously reluctant to leave her personal haven on an island in Central Park. The Bone Gnawers of New York hope she’ll rule for a couple more decades, though. She probably won’t be much good in a fight, but she’s got the mental and social stats to be a powerful ally.

Really, lovely when you get to know her.

Carlita Gutierrez, aka “Big Sis”, is the signature Bone Gnawer! She changed as an eight year old Cuban squatter in Tampa. She’s fifteen in 2002 and she’s already Rank 2. She’s committed to helping her new Bone Gnawer family after tragically killing her family when she hulked out. She’s an able pugilist, and as a Philodox she has a keen sense of justice. Eventually, she wants to become a Mother, but rather than offering material generosity, she makes her name by kicking rear end. She’s beaten fearsome banes and Black Spiral Dancers, and even helped Jonas Albrecht’s pack kill the legendary beast Jo’cllath’mattric. Currently, she serves as an emissary between the major septs of Florida. In my opinion, Werewolf as really cool signature characters, and Carlita’s one of the best.

And on that happy note, the tribebook is over! What did I think? It’s really good! But you all knew that. The Bone Gnawers aren’t my favorite tribe, but this book really warmed me up to them. It’s very focused on their theme, that they’re at the bottom of the totem pole when they feel that they do the most good. They have no hope of ever bettering themselves, so they revel in their status as losers. All they can do is keep on trying to protect their charges as best they can.

The book’s full of great ideas and setting materials. This book alone can be used as a guide to running urban Werewolf stories, it’s that good. There are a lot of mechanical problems, but those can be overlooked because of all the fantastic fluff. I’m not really any more likely to play a Bone Gnawer in the future, but it looks like a lot of you are, which means it’s done its job.

Next time: Let’s take a palate cleanser with Bunyip, then move on to First Edition Children of Gaia, shall we?

Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20

pospysyl posted:

Next time: Let’s take a palate cleanser with Bunyip, then move on to First Edition Children of Gaia, shall we?

Hoo boy, the Bunyip. The tribe that exists only to be yet another notch in the Garou Belt of Racial Shame. They were basically a Mokole science experiment which they abandoned once it got boring, and then the Mokole got pissed when the Garou killed them.

This means I need to finally review BB:Mokole, doesn't it?

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

by Azathoth
Carlita is an example of 'doing a cool NPC right' that White Wolf really needed to frame or something to not forget. She has a hosed up past, but one the PCs can easily relate to, she's a rising star but, you know, actually rising and not just given the keys to the kingdom sight unseen, and she has an important job but it's not 'end of the world if she fails' important.

Aug 11, 2006

Cleanse them. Cleanse the world of their ignorance and sin. Bathe them in the crimson of ... am I on speakerphone?
Fun Shoe
So! I started doing a writeup of Delta Green ages and ages ago, but ended up having to drop it due to a mix of burnout and lack of time. I'd like to pick it up again, but I wanted to check first: is there still interest in this? And would it bother anyone if I just picked up where I left off?

claw game handjob
Mar 27, 2007

pinch pinch scrape pinch
ow ow fuck it's caught
i'm bleeding
Can't speak to everyone's interest, but you would not be the first person to drop something and resume it in this thread. Go for it.

Mar 30, 2012
I'm not a Werewolf expert by any stretch, but aren't the Bunyip like, completely extinct? What does their book cover exactly? (please say playing the last one in the whole world :allears:)

Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.
That book made me very interested to see what OWoD made of the Glass Walkers, assuming theirs wasn't one of the terrible books.

Mar 1, 2013

You Are All

I think they goofed slightly with the crazy bird lady - the sample characters aren't given flaws, but she was probably meant to be suffering from the Lost Homid one. The stat and gift choices then make a little more sense. It also suffers from the bog-standard "White Wolf did a terrible job telling the art department to tone it down a bit", as the description doesn't really match the picture.

As for the Ahroun sample I'm just :allears: over it. You did leave off one hilarious part about it though, the equipment. He's got a a collection of wrasslin' magazines, asack full of potatoes, a bottle of moonshine (made from the potatoes) and a rock (cunningly hidden with the potatoes).

pospysyl posted:

Next time: Let’s take a palate cleanser with Bunyip, then move on to First Edition Children of Gaia, shall we?
You poor, poor bastard.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Ars Magica 5th Edition: Realms of Power: Faerie

The power level of a starting Faerie PC is actually determined by an average of the rest of the party. Faeries get kind of meta that way. Faeries all share a few traits. They do not age naturally, at least, not without a Flaw that says they do. Any equipment traditional for the role cannot encumber them or slow them because these props are treated as part of their bodies. If a prop is lost, it can easily be reconstituted. Pain is not meaningful to most faeries except as an act they may be expected to play by their role. They regenerate as quickly as their story allows from wounds. Incognizant faeries heal quickly and well, while highly or narrowly cognizant faeries can repair all but cosmetic damage whenever the scene they're in ends. Many don't even notice they're doing it. If killed by humans or with human witnesses, they have to spend time rebuilding their bodies - usually several months. Incognizant faeries will not remember their last life as themselves. Narrowly cognizant faeries will usually have only a hazy idea of what happened when they died. Highly cognizant faeries tend not to give a poo poo.

This doesn't mean you can't permanently kill faeries. You absolutely can. Any Faerie that loses all of its Faerie Might is dead permanently. Miracles and Infernal agents can permanently kill faeries. Extracting the vis from a fae anchor kills the faerie. Incognizant faeries seem to permanently die if destroyed by an object they are particularly weak to. Some Merinita magi claim that all permanently destroyed faeries are just dispelled to Arcadia for millenia, but frankly, even if that's so, it doesn't really matter.

You can play a faerie of any cognizance, though the default is narrowly cognizant. (Beyond that takes a virtue, and incognizance takes a flaw.) Faeries often also suffer from Traditional Wards or Sovereign Wards. A Traditional Ward makes faeries uncomfortable - a faerie warded by iron cannot regenerate their power while in its presence, and will be physically destroyed if forced into prolonged contact with iron for long enough. A Sovereign Ward is all that and also would prevent the faerie from causing any harm to someone defended by iron. Harm is defined quite broadly - they can't directly or indirectly seek to harm that person, and must try to flee the ward, for touching it will destroy the body instantly. Iron is far from the only possible ward - it can be anything that fits the story.

Faeries often possess magical powers, which can be of varying levels of potency, much like those of Magical beings. Most Faeries possess Pretenses instead of skills, as noted before, and so cannot teach them to humans (who lack the ability to cheat), but a rare few faeries are actually in possession of normal, human skills and may teach them to humans, either by normal methods or by trading the knowledge for knowledge the target is willing to give up. A Faerie improves its Pretense by observing humans rather than by practice - rather, they select someone who is experiencing momentous growth and gain the same amount of skill, provided that person was better than they are. By gathering enough of this Pretense, a Faerie may also, rather than improving their skills, attempt to get a human to rewrite them.

See, a faerie can change its glamour by opening itself to a creative human, who will then develop a symbolic object or performance with which to recreate the faerie into a new form. If the human screws up, all that vitality is wasted, of course. And once the faerie opens itself, it has to accept any and all changes the human makes. They don't tell humans that, but for those who work with faeries a lot, it's not that hard to figure out, and a clever human can even get away with making changes that the faerie won't notice. These transformations can remove, transform or grant Virtues and Flaws. This means that while Faeries are often rather slow to advance themselves normally, they are capable of amazing transformations with the help of creative humans. While typically this is only sought out by highly cognizant faeries, a narrowly cognizant or even incognizant faerie may seek it without really realizing what they're doing.

Anyway, faeries, like magical creatures, are extremely diverse and can be made to do just about anything your GM will accept.

Next time: Faerie-touched Humans

Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.

Grimey Drawer

InShaneee posted:

So! I started doing a writeup of Delta Green ages and ages ago, but ended up having to drop it due to a mix of burnout and lack of time. I'd like to pick it up again, but I wanted to check first: is there still interest in this? And would it bother anyone if I just picked up where I left off?

I'd definitely like to see the rest of DG. Since the old thread's in Comedy Purgatory and listed in the wiki too, I don't see any problem with picking up where you left off.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Ars Magica 5th Edition: Realms of Power: Faerie

When faeries draw vitality from humans, they don't just take. Often, they leave behind a supernatural tie to the things the faerie represents. This is called Faerie Sympathy. Faerie Sympathy is very valuable for those who wish to exploit the faerie realm. It represents a mystical connection, negative or positive, to the faerie realm - not any specific faerie, mind you, but the realm in general. Faeries do not cause Sympathy on purpose, and most of them probably don't even know it exists. It's just something about the character that resonates with appropriate subjects. When a character is sufficiently Warped by Faerie (or gains an appropriate Virtue or Flaw), they just get a Sympathy Trait. Sympathy Traits are things like Hounds +3 or Sun -2. Any time you do anything related to your Sympathy Trait you either can choose to add it (if positive) or must add it (if negative). Adding it will cause Faerie warping if you botch, though, and only the highest applicable Sympathy Trait is used in any situation. Negative Sympathy Traits also make all botches, period, worse, as whatever you have Sympathy towards goes out of its way to make your life harder.

You can strengthen your Sympathy traits by using them successfully and well (and weaken them by loving up) - or vice versa, with negative traits. Sympathy traits can also be gained by deliberate sympathetic influence - the act of going out of your way to associate with faerie powers or performing special ceremonies to deliberately gain Sympathy. It's not easy and it's taxing, but it can be done.

Another trick you can do is make any Virtue into a Faerie one by attaching a Charm flaw to it. Essentially, a Charm is some action you must take or some object required to use the power. A lesser charm involves a minor ritual - rubbing a special item, applying a special lotion, whatever - that only works for you. If the stuff required for the ritual is stolen, the power can no longer be accessed until it is replaced, which usually takes a day or so. A greater charm, it has one key difference: only one copy of the charm can exist, ever. If it's stolen, the thief gains the power. To regain your Virtue, you must either regain or destroy the original charm. In the case of purely verbal or performance-based charms, incidentally, anyone overhearing the trick counts as stealing it. A lesser charm would need to be reinvented, while a greater charm would have to be witnessed again to be stolen back.

Anyone with a Sympathy Trait, as a note, can produce folk charms. They're a form of craft work. They don't take more time to make than normal crafts, but if they are damaged or stolen, the charm will no longer function. What they do is end any faerie power, as long as the charm is somehow symbolically appropriate to the circumstances and you succeed on a Faerie Lore roll. Activating folk charms is tiring and will Warp you. Anyone immune to Warping or fatigue can't use a folk charm.

Faerie Blood is probably the most common way to be fae-touched. Some human bloodlines have a touch of faerie in them, for they can interbreed with men - or they can taint a bloodline by helping the parents conceive. Some can even cause it by feeding on vitality derived from pregnant women, influencing the child - perhaps by drinking the mother's blood, or perhaps by naming the child and declaring itself to be the faerie's godchild. Once faerie blood is introduced into a family, it can be inherited by any descendants. It can skip generations and doesn't seem to care about how long the faerie blood has been in the line - it never gets weaker. It's just there or not there in any specific person. The strength of the blood seems more tied to the cognizance of the faerie involved - higher cognizance tends to produce stronger faerie blood.

Some faerie-touched magicians, as a note, are capable of using mass ceremonies to increase the power of their magic. Others are able to use Curse-Throwing, the power to heal diseases, remove curses and dispel magic by transferring ('throwing') the effects onto another person. Flaws, however, are beyond the power of Curse-Throwing. Any other curse is potentially throwable, along with most diseases and spells. A curse-thrower can throw a curse onto themselves, but they are rarely so altruistic. They may instead throw the curse onto anyone present or to whom they hold an Arcane Connection. You can transfer the curse to an animal, but that's harder than another human. (Assuming you're removing it from a human.) Curse-throwing involves an elaborate ritual and the construction of a charm, which is a combination of a chant and a physical item, which must touch both the target and the recipient of the curse (or the Arcane Connection of the recipient). The ritual typically takes several hours.

Faerie Doctors are a new form of Mythic Companion. Essentially, anyone living in a faerie area needs to stay on good terms with them. The Faerie Doctor is a typically Saxon role, the intermediary between man and fae, also known as a lybman, a practitioner of lyb-craeft. The Faerie Doctor speaks for the human community to the fae, and keeps the legends of the fae alive among the humans, acting as a neutral mediator. Further, all Faerie Doctors practice Curse-Throwing and dowsing. Almost all are male and trained by a relative, but nothing stops a woman from being one other than tradition. All Faerie Doctors are accompanied from puberty by a faerie companion of some sort, who will grant insight into faerie politics and etiquette. These faeries are typically highly cognizant, and may take any form. Once a Faerie Doctor has this companion, their apprenticeship is considered over. They take oaths to not take sides in conflicts between humans and faeries, and many also take other oaths, such as not to cut their hair, never to grow beards, to always wear clothes of the opposite gender or to remain celibate. Such oaths represent the distance the doctor must keep from humanity.

There is also a form of Hermetic or hedge wizard that is highly fae-touched: the homunculus wizard. These are people who lack a true Gift, but receive a Faerie version from their relationship to a homunculus. Homunculi are a sort of faerie that live on the boundary between magic and faerie, typically appearing as tiny, exaggerated humans, often infants. The homunculus must be fed its master's blood once a day, and no other human must ever see them. If any does, they immediately die. Likewise, any physical harm to the homunculus will kill it. A homunculus wizard may follow any tradition, though a Hermetic one may not have a Familiar or a talisman, and suffers Faerie magic warping rather than standard warping. When the homunculus dies, the wizard loses all access to faerie and magical powers until they can find and bind a replacement. There are believed to be a few homunculus wizards in the Order, but no one knows for sure due to the effort they go to to hide their natures.

Next time: Faerie Wizardry

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Ars Magica 5th Edition: Realms of Power: Faerie

There are two forms of general Faerie magic which can be learned by anyone who possess Sympathy Traits. The first are faerie rites, essentially spontaneous effects on the same rough level as Divine miracles, Infernal maleficia or magical spells. You can only use effects related to your Sympathy traits, but they can be positive or negative. Your number and power of Sympathy traits cap the level of the magic you can use. They are cast be one of three Faerie Methods.

Evocation is the ritual and ceremonial naming of Faerie gods, focused through Warping or Confidence. While you do name your patron faeries with it, the power drawn on is that of the faerie realm in general and not your patrons. The benefit of using Evocation is that it is relatively fast and allows you to use vis to empower it as magi do.
Enchantment is the use of performance - any kind, dance, song, story, whatever - to create magic. It can be done repeatedly, as when you finish one performance you can, if it wasn't powerful enough for your taste, use it to fuel another performance before you unleash your effect. It is impossible to tell by non-supernatural means where the performance ends and the magic begins.
Empathy is the final method, drawing on the internal power of the Faerie in the caster and focusing it through ritual and fatigue to enter a trance state. (If already in a trance state, it is still tiring but much faster.) The disorienting trance lasts until the magic ends, so the fatigue cannot be healed until after that. Further, by spending extra fatigue, the caster may extend the magical effect longer and longer or create more potent effects.

The Faerie Powers are what shape the spell's effects. Each is vulnerable to certain circumstances, chosen when the power is learned: perhaps the touch of iron or salt, or when in the Dominion, or when the caster's name is spoken three times. Beguile is the Power to command or convince a target. It does not give the target any power to do what it can't normally do, but can change and alter memories even of things that do not normally have a mind. (This won't matter unless the thing is supernaturally questioned, of course.) Beguile is also rather unique in that the Sympathy trait used to invoke it is considered applicable so long as it's appropriate to the memory, emotion or perception being caused, even if it is not directly appropriate to the effect. Beguile can change memories, emotions or perceptions, plant suggestions, control mental states, control behavior, paralyze a target with emotion, command targets or even completely control targets.

Conjure produces solid images, similar to the bodies of faeries, appropriate to the Sympathy traits creating them. These are called 'glamours' ruleswise, though most wizards don't know the term - animate illusions with substance, lasting only as long as the magic, and generally with the things they do undone when they fade. Someone called by a glamour sword is likely to recover the moment the sword ceases to exist. If you turn someone into something else, you must have Sympathy Traits applicable to both forms. Intricate glamours are harder, as is changing a thing that can move under its own power into an inanimate thing. Conjure can call up faeries, create glamours or change targets into glamours.

Dream gazes into the land of Faerie, using it to see the world or even the future. Such visions tend to be highly symbolic and vague, of course. Dream can grant danger sense, scry, translate languages, answer questions about the likely future or read minds and memories.

Grant blesses or curses targets with supernatural powers. Grant can restore Faerie Might, grant faerie magic as powers, grant temporary Sympathy traits, grant Warping, grant Flaws, create Faerie auras, grant Virtues or even create Faerie regiones.

Portage is the power of transportation via faerie trods - essentially, spaces that connect places, instantaneous shortcuts. It can transport targets between the levels of a regio, teleport them out of a regio, send them into the Faerie Realm, teleport them into a regio, teleport them over normal distances, prevent someone from exiting an area, grant the power to ignore fatigue while traveling (as faeries do) or increase or decrease movement speed.

Ware is the power to ward and protect. This requires both a Sympathy Trait that covers the target and usually (but not always) one that covers what's being warded against. Ware can suppress magical effects, ward against supernatural beings, ward against mundane things, resist physical damage or grant a target a bonus to defending themselves.

Weal is the power to shrug off damage and heal quickly, usually by changing how something heals rather than actually healing it directly. Weal can speed or slow healing or aging, reduce someone's apparent age, prevent wounds from worsening, delay aging until the magic ends, heal wounds temporarily or even cause a wound to heal as if it were a lighter wound.

Woe is the power to damage directly, and is generally better at doing so than Hermetic magic...but the damage goes away the moment the magic ends. Woe can slow healing, worsen aging, cause fatigue, make wounds heal as if they were worse than they are, cause wounds, worsen wounds or force aging.

Next time: The Ars Fabulosa

Nov 10, 2012

Here’s the deal with the Bunyip. As an extinct tribe, they don’t have a tribebook to their own. This will just be a done in one entry for completeness’ sake, focusing on their W20 entry.


Of course he has a boomerang.

The Bunyip were the werewolves of Australia. Of course, there aren’t any wolves native to the continent. Instead, the tribe interbred with thylacines, more popularly known as Tasmanian tigers. The werewolves that joined the initial Australian continent recognized they needed to immerse themselves in the landscape, so they enlisted the aid of the Mokolé to truly become a part of the land. When dingoes were first bred in Australia, they kept to their thylacine forms to stay closer to their homeland. They were known as great Umbral explorers. They maintained their caerns so well they were able to travel throughout the continent, spreading the radius of their septs far and wide.

The War of Shame occurred as the rest of the Garou Nation found their way to Australia. The Bunyip’s thylacine form already made the incoming Garou suspicious, since at this point they had hostile relations with most other werecreatures. Still, unlike in the Pure Lands, the two parties managed to maintain a truce. The Garou would keep to the colonies while the Bunyip would hold most of their caerns. In reality, this was a cold war, constantly in danger of heating up.

The trigger for the Bunyip genocide was when the Garou found a desecrated Red Talon corpse in near their encampment. Enraged, the Red Talons swore revenge against the Bunyip. Fighting broke out between the Talons and the Bunyip. Still, the Silver Fang in charge of the Australian Garou was willing to see reason. He called a moot of all the tribes residing in Australia, including the Bunyip. The Bunyip never made it, and so the Garou declared war against the Bunyip. Every tribe participated, even the Uktena and Wendigo, somehow. Only when the last Bunyip died did the Black Spiral Dancers behind the corpse reveal themselves. The Bunyip had sent an emissary party, but they were waylaid by the Dancers.

Not only did the Garou kill all the Bunyip, they also drove the thylacine into extinction. Thus, there is no way for any Bunyip to exist in the present day. None. Don’t try it! Seriously, don’t. Here are some stats anyway.

Appearance: They’re thylacines, so they’re small and lanky. Those Bunyip with higher Pure Breed tend to be bigger, a throwback to their origins as wolves.

Kinfolk & Territory: They interbred with the Aborigine of Australia and Tasmania and traditionally only associate with Australian locals, whether human or animal.

A bunyip, not of the Bunyip but a bunyip, like the Great Bunyip. Confusing?

Tribal Totem: Bunyip (Great Bunyip, specifically) is the totem of the Bunyip. He’s a water monster, half mammal half reptile. Ngalyod, the Rainbow Serpent is also a big deal to the Bunyip. He’s the mythical creator of the Dreamtime, important in Aboriginal faith. Other patrons included I’wai the Crocodile, Boobook the Owl, Bougoodoogahdah the Lyrebird, and Tulu the Kookaburra. These are the best totems.

Gifts! The Bunyip don’t have a full Gift list per se. Most of the Bunyip’s Gifts are recycled from other tribes, but they do have a few unique ones.

Bunyip’s Spell is a paralyzing gaze that only works on mortals. It’s part of the mythical Bunyip’s repertoire, and so is taught by the Great Bunyip. Crocodile’s Cunning allows a Bunyip to hold his breath for an hour. Lonesome Voice of the Bunyip was one of the last Gifts of the Bunyip, derived from their death cries. It saps willpower points from anyone who hears it. Dance of the Lightning Snakes calls thunderbolts to hit an opponent, but only in the Umbra. Billabong Bridge allows a Bunyip to teleport between two bodies of freshwater personally known to the Bunyip. Other Gifts allow the Bunyip to control the weather, heal, or alter the environment, particularly in the Umbra.

Another Bunyip, not a bunyip Bunyip or a bunyip bunyip, but a Bunyip.

Why then, are the Bunyip important? There’s no major setting of Werewolf in which the Bunyip are playable. There’s no way the Bunyip could reach the Dark Ages setting, and it would be exceedingly difficult for a Bunyip to show up in the Wild West. There are a couple of reasons other than actual playability that the Bunyip’s story is included. First, it provides a historical setting in the form of the War of Shame. Second, it makes Australia a dangerous and therefore compelling setting. The ghosts of the Bunyip still haunt Australia and their Umbral allies don’t take kindly to werewolves.

The last reason is the most important. The War of Shame is integral to Werewolf’s main theme of RAGE. The tagline “When Will You Rage?” wasn’t played up for nothing. Everything about Werewolf is defined by the wolves’ relation to RAGE. Mechanically, it’s their power stat, and whether it’s high or low can have serious consequences. If a werewolf spends all of his RAGE, he’s in danger of losing the ability to shift, while if it’s too high he can frenzy. RAGE is the equivalent to vampire’s need to feed. If a vampire doesn’t need to drink blood, he’s basically not a vampire anymore. Anything else is just icing on the cake. Anger is integral to what this vision of werewolves is.

But it’s not limited to that. To me, Werewolf is an examination of the necessity of RAGE. The Apocalypse is coming, and the only thing you can really do about it is be angry. To do otherwise would be to accept the death of you and everything you hold dear, and that’s unacceptable. So the werewolves RAGE and fight, because that’s the only thing they can do. Just because their RAGE is necessary doesn’t mean it’s healthy, though, and that’s where the War of Shame comes in. The anger of the Garou has screwed them over, even leading them to wipe out an entire tribe. To some extent, uncontrolled RAGE has lead the werewolves to losing the Apocalypse war.

Every tribe has to deal with RAGE in some way or another. The Black Furies are angry that patriarchal society sucks so hard and that women are dying and that nobody understands the Wyld anymore. The Bone Gnawers are angry that they don’t get any respect and no matter what they do they can’t change society for the better. Next time, we’ll see how the Children of Gaia deal with Werewolf’s core themes. Spoiler: They don’t.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder

I'm honestly kind of glad that they don't even try, it appears, to explain Aboriginal myth and religion.

See, one of the things about Aboriginal religion is that the stories are secret and proprietary. They are owned by bloodlines and cannot be shared without permission. (Well, they can, but you're a huge jerk if you do.) It's made research and transmission of information about it rather hard for anthropologists but you should respect that kind of thing.

Jul 19, 2012

RIP Lutri: 5/19/20-4/2/20

Mors Rattus posted:

I'm honestly kind of glad that they don't even try, it appears, to explain Aboriginal myth and religion.

See, one of the things about Aboriginal religion is that the stories are secret and proprietary. They are owned by bloodlines and cannot be shared without permission. (Well, they can, but you're a huge jerk if you do.) It's made research and transmission of information about it rather hard for anthropologists but you should respect that kind of thing.

They didn't in their 20th anniversary incarnation.

1st edition werewolf? Well, just mentioning the existance of this book to my Australian friend is enough to make him scream with anger.


goatface posted:

They interbred with thylacines. Marsupials. Literally the most distant mammal relations they could possibly find without laying eggs.


The Were-Dragons taught them a rite that changed them from were-wolves to were-thylacines, it's not really expounded upon how or why, just that the Were-Dragons know how to do it.

Kurieg fucked around with this message at 00:23 on May 28, 2013

Dec 5, 2007

I had a video of that when I was about 6.

I remember it being shit.

Grimey Drawer

pospysyl posted:

Instead, the tribe interbred with thylacines, more popularly known as Tasmanian tigers.

They interbred with thylacines. Marsupials. Literally the most distant mammal relations they could possibly find without laying eggs.



Down With People
Oct 31, 2012

The child delights in violence.

goatface posted:

They interbred with thylacines. Marsupials. Literally the most distant mammal relations they could possibly find without laying eggs.


The Wyld moves in mysterious ways, goatface. :iiam:

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