Register a SA Forums Account here!
JOINING THE SA FORUMS WILL REMOVE THIS BIG AD, THE ANNOYING UNDERLINED ADS, AND STUPID INTERSTITIAL ADS!!!

You can: log in, read the tech support FAQ, or request your lost password. This dumb message (and those ads) will appear on every screen until you register! Get rid of this crap by registering your own SA Forums Account and joining roughly 150,000 Goons, for the one-time price of $9.95! We charge money because it costs us money per month for bills, and since we don't believe in showing ads to our users, we try to make the money back through forum registrations.
 
ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013


If you don't kill it but just give it serious wounds you have probably will have an injured but berserked manwolf shredding apart anything it views a threat in sight if I'm not incorrect. This may or may not be good so it varies

ChaseSP fucked around with this message at 16:00 on Aug 28, 2019

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Mr. Maltose
Feb 16, 2011

The Guffless Girlverine
Yeah, there's a vanishingly small amount of things Werewolves care to murder that conventional explosives are more effective on then their bare claws. They are exceptionally optimized to murder things, which is why a lot of the game of Forsaken is confronting them with problems you cannot actually solve with murder.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

Mors Rattus posted:

The real question is how useful it will be - conventional weapons against a werewolf are usable right up until they really, really aren't because it's gone into Gauru form and heals all the damage it takes each round that doesn't deal Agg.

But that's why you want things like spiritual backup, silver bullets and traps to hold it in place while you lay down overwhelming damage when you're a werewolf hunting other werewolves.

Silvered 152mm shells? :shobon:

E: OK, I'll stop, sorry.

It would be a lot easier to ask about the Compendium classes if there weren't 200 of them, and most of them probably less-than-known.

I'd probably be interested in fluff for Militia and militia-types for elves, Veterans and whatever wood elves get up to.

JcDent fucked around with this message at 16:00 on Aug 28, 2019

PurpleXVI
Oct 30, 2011

Spewing insults, pissing off all your neighbors, betraying your allies, backing out of treaties and accords, and generally screwing over the global environment?
ALL PART OF MY BRILLIANT STRATEGY!
Pipe bomb full of silver cutlery rather than nuts and bolts?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

JcDent posted:

It would be a lot easier to ask about the Compendium classes if there weren't 200 of them, and most of them probably less-than-known.

I'd probably be interested in fluff for Militia and militia-types for elves, Veterans and whatever wood elves get up to.

Yeah, this is why I hesitated to cover the book at all and didn't, originally. It's really loving hard to cover in this format, which is how you end up with the first few updates being really dry like they are. It's just it's one of the most useful and important books to own for messing around with WHFRP2e; it's one of the 'always open' PDFs whenever I'm playing, GMing, or working on adventures. It's as important as Old World Bestiary, just it's much harder to cover the fun bits than it was there since OWB had the entire first half being fluff.

Dave Brookshaw
Jun 27, 2012

No Regrets
[quote="Mors Rattus" post=""4978482"]
Anyway, humans have no reflection in Shadow. Their actions can produce spirits of various abstract concepts, things they make or other changes to the world, but there's no such thing as a spirit of humans. They don't exist. No one knows why.
[/quote]

Where the missing human spirits are has, in fact, had a couple of answers floated over the years. The very latest Mage book notes that some Awakened theoreticians reckon that the secret nearhuman peoples found in various emanation realms, ruins of the Time Before, and other thin and lonely places might have once been them, pre-Sundering.

And IIRC in Rose's headcanon, they're the Strix.

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

I like Rose's idea because then I can picture the Strix as the Humanity creatures from Dark Souls but slightly owly, and I'm good to go from there.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

I actually really dislike Rose's idea because I feel it doesn't make sense (it's framed as a civilization-drove-these-things-back thing which isn't how nWoD spirits work) and says lovely things about humanity that I don't agree with.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
Space Alien Space Aliens

Out in space, the void spirits feed on the Essence of nothingness. The empty resonance gives life to these strange creatures of dark silence, impossible in their symbolism and nonsensical in their shape. To them, Earth is a pearl of light in the endless black. Some may envy it and its endless Essence, some may find its light an offense to their senses and the silence of the void, and some are just drawn to it as moths to a flame. However, whatever drives them, the spirits of the Void Beyond cannot easily reach Earth, thanks to Luna serving as the boundary god. She is not infallible, of course. The Lunes that guard the sky are not completely able to stop everything. Sometimes, the void finds an entrance. Moon shows no mercy to these void spirits when noticed, no matter their purpose or nature. Lunes are set to find and kill them, for Luna hates nothing more than the breaching of the boundaries they guard. Once beyond the lunar orbit, however, there are many hiding spots for a void spirit - cracks in the dark where moonlight never touches, inside human minds or bodies, or even just in the endless chaos of the Shadow. Some void spirits don't even have to hide, for they find protection from spirits that do not bow to Moon or are taken in as tools of the Pure and their Luna-hating totems.

When a void spirit does reach Earth, Moon turns to the Forsaken for aid. They reach out through the Auspices, sending burning dreams to Cahaliths and setting forth Lunes to deliver her enigmatic demands. Those werewolves that step up to fight a void spirit are not in for easy prey. The void spirits may not be malicious, but their presence is very unhealthy for the Shadow, as they are fragments of alien resonance that is by its nature antithetical to the symbolism of the earthly world. The worst, however, are those born on distant planets or refined to cold cruelty by survival in the void. These spirits are heralds of transformation and destruction that perpetrate terrible atrocities without thought.

Werewolves are, at least, good at their job. Their Auspices burn with an urge to eradicate the void spirits, their instincts igniting to face these foes and empowering them. This is a rush of primal power and madness, no loving embrace of Luna. The Moon is so large that it has trouble thinking about single werewolves, and this is tapping into the Moon's mind. However, it is an ecstatic experience, a revelation of purest purpose. The Forsaken are lacking in their understanding of the spirits of the Void Beyond, though. All of their lore is won by experience, and many know nothing about these alien beings and will never meet one. The tribes have, at least, assembled a vague taxonomy of the void invaders, though much is disputed still. The spirits are roughly divided into three groupings.


Space manta rays!

The broadest of these categories is void spirits, those made by the empty symbolism of space and light. Next are mulhithim, planetary angels, which form from the other planets of the solar system, as Lunes form of Moon and sun spirits form of Helios. The third are void leviathans, immense creatures of the empty dark that are so odd that some werewolves doubt they're even spirits. The void may seem empty, but Shadow is a world fueled by symbolism, and so that emptiness is rendered deeper and more true than merely 'nothing is here.' Werewolves believe that the Essence of the vacuum must be suffocatingly thin, barely able to support the void spirits within, which makes them ravening cannibals on the rare occasions they meet, even by spirit standards. Many are practically magath, drawing their Essence out of cosmic dust and radiation due to mindless hunger, though frankly their alien nature means that it would be hard to tell a magath void spirit from a natural one.

Void spirits are typically born of the vacuum itself, though rarer and more stable variants seem to resonate with the light of distant stars or the hum of the cosmos. Some appear to be refugees from distant planets, hollowed out and broken by their own hunger after their endless journey between stars. A few are born from stranger events, created by strange dreams and surging hunger in the midst of what should, in theory, be total emptiness. It's not clear if the void spirits that approach Earth are actually following some instinct to enter the world. The Lunes' mad songs and examination of anomalies in astronomical observations suggest that, at times, the silence of the void is broken by specific stimuli, which are associated with increased void spirit arrivals. These events, typically accompanied by strange and alien melodies in Shadow, push through the spirit world and drive void spirits ahead of them like a wave. Void leviathans are usually accompanied by a group of lesser void spirits when they arrive as well, clinging to their massive spirit-flesh or swarming around them.

Occasionally, a rain of void spirits will herald the arrival of one of the gasuhathim, the name werewolves give to the great spiritual powers that dwell in the empty sky and may even, perhaps, rule over spirit courts there. Whatever they are, these titans of emptiness occasionally send forth their servants to smash to Earth. Such servitors have far more power and clarity than the average void spirit. Their purpose appears, generally, to be to subvert other spirits and Loci to the resonance of the Void Beyond, building beachheads on Earth through which more void spirits can be called. These are the invaders most hated by the Lunes, and if even one of these void champions reaches the world, the servants of Moon will rally as many nearby Forsaken as they can find into a quicksilver crusade.

Your average void spirit, however, finds terrestrial Shadow just as alien and frightening as they are to it. Compared to space, it's sheer sensory overload. Some become gluttons, devouring as much Essence as they can find, but their incompatible resonance soon turns them into frenzied self-mutilation from the pain or sends them fleeing back into the night sky. Others starve. A few begin to adapt themselves or find suitable Essence sources, which occasionally spawns void reiver outbreaks among Ghost Wolf populations that stumble upon them as they try to metastasize. No matter what, however, their presence sends Shadow into chaos. They are symbols of the void, and their merest presence corrodes the laws and physics of the spirit world, twisting and poisoning it. This is usually how werewolves run into them - insane aliens from an incomprehensible existence, starving and lost, causing ruin without meaning it.

The mulhithim derive from the Shadow of the other planets of the solar system, and they don't like Earth. They are the spite-filled messengers of the celestial giants, and planetary angels do not reflect any kind of feature or place on the planets they hail from. Rather, they are born from the light their planet reflects from Helios, and in this birth they retain some of the Sun's pride and ferocity, alongside the usually hateful nature of their planetary parent. Their existence is far closer to that of the Lunes and Helions than to true void spirits, but they do not have a natural place in Earthly Shadow. Worse, they absolutely hate Luna and, by extension, the Forsaken. Left unchecked, mulhithim try to ambush and slaughter Lunes, stir unrest in the spirits and cause chaos and destruction in Flesh.

Planetary angels form ilthum, First Tongue for choirs, roughly based on the planet they hail from, although lesser ones have been recorded descending from smaller celestial bodies. Never moons, for some reason. A number of mulhithim born of the Hale-Bopp comet attacked the Forsaken throughout 1997 and 1998, and the Chelyabinsk meteorite that hit Russia disgorged a small brood of planetary angels that immediately started carving out their own domain in local Shadow. Mulhithim of the same planet naturally ally with and cooperate with each other, but they have no love for any angels of other planets - the spirits of Mars and Jupiter will try to kill each other as eagler as any Lune. The Forsaken believe that the malevolence apparently innate to the mulhithim is proof that the nature of hunger in Shadow is as true in the Void Beyond as on Earth; as lesser spirits attempt to devour each other, they believe, so too do the spirits of the solar system's planetary bodies crave each others' Essence.

Void Leviathans are majestic colossi of darkness, and their arrival on Earth usually involves a slow descent from the sky, sound clouds of Essence and bloody corpus up behind them. War-Lunes, massive in theory but tiny against their bulk, can usually be seen harrying them in their fall. While they come from the Void Beyond, void leviathans are unlike other void spirits. They may not even be spirits at all, but something weirder and more alien. They attempt to crash down to Earth and then merge with it. If the Lunes and Forsaken cannot stop the great beasts, they seep into the planet's guts. Most of them have aberrant, vaguely nautical shapes - great sea worms, manta rays, whales and so on - twisted by the dark void. They bristle with fronds, tendrils, polyps and so on. Some can split open into great maws, or inhale Essence through strange gills and vents. Many have powerful, thrashing limbs of unclear purpose that move constantly. They either have lots of eyes or none. Some parts of their bodies are often made of strange, inky ooze or churning fog, and they spark with half-formed, nonexistent memories and strange song. All of them, regardless of form, are immense - larger than the largest ships, able to blot out the sky of Shadow as if a piece of blank space itself were floating there. They descend without apparent care as to where they land, and they do not speak the First Tongue that all other spirits know instinctively. They do not speak. Some sing or scream wordlessly, however, in frequencies that shake reality. If they are intelligent, their intelligence is so alien as to be impossible to communicate.

When a void leviathan breaches the sky and lands, its immense bulk impacts the local Shadow like a bomb, crushing spirits and ephemera alike. The impact is so potent it even ripples out into Flesh, causing localized disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires or bouts of mass hysteria in which humans may be struck down by nightmares or turn to frenzied cannibalism or dance until they die. If left alone, the leviathan will quickly metastasize, its form melting into a black and oily mass that begins to sink into the ground and shift from Shadow to Flesh. The ichor flows deep into the Earth until it is swallowed up entirely. No one knows why void leviathans seem to kill themselves this way. There are many theories, none with any proof. Some think they are the last remnants of the Shadow of dead worlds, the last gasps of slain gods seeking rebirth. Some believe they are spiritual ships of distant shamanic civilizations, packed with souls and seeking a planet to parasitize and rebuild on. Some believe them the source of life, the form taken by the blind urge of the Void Beyond to birth things that exist and sate its hunger.

The existence of planetary spirits has led some werewolves theorize the existence of "Gaia," a theoretical spirit of Earth itself. Typically, the existence of Gaia is taken as a purely philosophical question with no real relevance to daily life, but some are struck by the glaring absence of mulhithim of Earth. They propose a radical theory - that Luna is not a warden against things outside but a jailer, existing to keep Gaia's hunger shackled. They claim that Gaia has threatened to awaken several times in the past, each time during a potential extinction event. The Pure, meanwhile, busy themselves with spirits that hate Luna and are often bizarre and monstrous in form and demeanor, even by Shadow standards. The greatest of their totems despise Moomn for her absolute command of the boundaries. Many Forsaken draw links between these spirits and the Void Beyond, wondering what ties they have. Some even say that these are the mulhithim of Earth, or that the Pure and Forsaken are proxies in war for control over the boundary between Earth and the Void.

So, mechanics. Werewolves that possess an Auspice get a big bonus to track or perceive void spirits (of any of the three types), and while in the presence of one, their Harmony is treated as 5 for all purposes of shapeshifting speed and ease, regardless of their actual Harmony. However, if they go into death rage, they remain in it longer while this bonus applies. This is because the presence of the intruders awakens dormant Luna-granted killing instincts. When entering a scene in which any spirit of the void is present, they may reflexively choose to enter the Sacred Hunt against it without need to perform the Sacred Hunt rite.

Spirits of the Void Beyond are similar to normal spirits, but differ in the following ways:
1. Void spirits and mulhithim get a bonus to contest any supernatural power from entities native to Earth and its Shadow. They are entirely immune to most witchcraft and ritual magic, including werewolf rites. It is possible a werewolf might discover a unique new rite able to banish or bind them, or may introduce an additional symbol to a normal rite that may target spirits to allow it to target a spirit of void. This new symbol must be associated with the Void and be incorporated into the rite's performance. However, if this is done, any failure on the rite rolls is a dramatic failure and also causes aggravated damage to the ritemaster.
2. Void spirits speak First Tongue in a distorted, alien dialect which is vaguely similar to nonsense and static that causes a headache in normal spirits. Understanding them at all requires a roll, and failure causes the Confused condition. Mulhithim speak normally.
3. Void leviathans can't communicate, period, but their songs warp First Tongue speech in the area around them, causing all speech in First Tongue to come out as gibberish unless the speaker spends Essence to reinforce the symbolism of language. Some leviathans even turn spoken words into physical attacks on their speakers.
4. Void spirits' presence disrupts Shadow. If one or more remains in a location for at least a day, it starts to warp it. The longer it stays, the wider the area of warping gets and the more severe it gets. Once all void spirits die or leave, the warping fades quickly. Mulhithim do not warp Shadow, but void leviathans do, though generally they cause enough problems that no one actually notices these minor warpings unless they manage to complete their transition into Flesh and end up lingering near the site underground. Warpings may include:
  • Spirits in the area suffer the moderate Poisoned tilt.
  • All perception rolls in the area get a penalty.
  • All attempts to contest or resist extreme cold or suffocation get a penalty.
  • Crossing the Gauntlet causes bashing damage.
  • Electrical and combustion devices treat all failures in the area as dramatic failures, and Craft or Science rolls to repair or fix these problems get a penalty.
  • All Loci in the area are weakened.
  • All spirits in the area, including void spirits, gain the Reality Stutter power while they're in it.
  • All spirits in the area count as void spirits for purposes of their ability to speak normally.
  • Travel time in the area in Shadow is increased.
  • Each month, random pieces of data or information in the area decay - files corrupt, ink melts off paper, recordings are overwritten by crackling howls of tortured whalesong-like sound.
  • The Shadow in the area suffers an extreme environment effect, usually related to desolation and suffocation.
  • Each month, random humans in the area have their souls snuffed out. Their eyes fill with inky black and they are treated as Open for all spirit possession purposes.
5. Void spirits struggle to find Essence to eat. On top of normal risks of becoming magath, they only get 1 Essence per 10 Essence they consume. The reverse is also true for all spirits and werewolves attempting to gain Essence from spirits of the void. Spirits of the void may also increase the Essence cost of powers used near them by their mere presence, as they drain energy away into the Void Beyond.

Void Leviathans are too large for normal statblocks. The smallest of them is the size of a skyscraper, after all. They take no meaningful damage from conventional attacks and cannot be targeted as distinct or singular prey by any supernatural power but the Sacred Hunt. They're both scenery and prey for a Sacred Hunt, and best presented as a series of scenes of crossing their huge forms and finding the way to kill them, such as by searching out vital spiritual organs exposed on their surface, helping Lunes tear open holes in them to reach vulnerable parts and so on. You might even go inside one and fight its internal organs. The presence of a void leviathan always inflicts an extreme environment of level 2 or higher, plus at least one void blight effect on its surface. It is considered rank 5 for all calculations required, and is likely home to a swarm of parasitic void spirits and other, stranger things. It is likely not able to directly attack so much as provide environmental hazards to avoid. At regular intervals, it will suck in huge amounts of Essence from Shadow. This is always forewarned in some way, such as by the opening of gills or vents. Anything caught in the intake loses 5 Essence, or takes agg damage if they don't have that much to lose (or just don't have an Essence pool). It is possible to hide from the inhalation using the leviathan's fronds and folds, but timing it in the middle of a fight is not going to be easy.

Light Eaters are among the most common void spirits encountered, which means they're only extremely rare. They are a form of magath drawn to light sources of all kinds due to their hunger for the Essence of light. Those that manage to get past the Warden's Stride often descend to urban areas due to the massive light pollution drawing them in. However, they don't eat things that are overwhelmingly bright, like a lighted stage. Rather, they want lights in darkness - flickering streetlamps at night, neon lights in a dark club. Once they find sustenance, they nest and drink in the light Essence, ignoring the warping they cause to nearby Shadow. They can appear in many shapes, but are usually notable for being a thrashing mass of darkness covered in eyes that gleam like stars. They always have at least one vicious maw, as hunger is part of their core nature.

They often attempt to possess humans, not for any real reason but because they are simply drawn to the lack of spiritual nature humans have. Once embedded in flesh, they may try to further their resonance of light, dark and hunger, but more likely they will become confused by their new flesh-prison and try to rearrange it into a configuration that pleases them more (and probably kills the host) before heading back into Shadow. Most light eaters die quickly when they can't find a proper light source to feed on, or tear themselves apart after eating the wrong kind of Essence...but guzzling down light in the downtown area of a city can cause all kinds of problems before they die. If not taken out by the Forsaken, these spirits may well end up taken in by Pure totems and offered a place in their courts.

Light Eaters are rank 3 - not weak, but not notably potent, either, with Influences of Hunger 1, Light 2 and Void 2. They're not great combatants but are extremely good at causing all kinds of problems around themselves, for both objects and people. Their Ban is that they cannot enter any area that has not been touched by natural sunlight at all in the past week. Their Bane is extremely focused natural sunlight - they're fine under normal sunlight, but if you got a magnifying glass and used it to focus the light, they'd burn nicely.

Urinsahi, the Blood of Mars, is our example mulsith. It was born from the reflected light of Mars, and it has come to Earth for its own purposes. It enjoys hunting Lunes, but its real focus is the physical and spiritual damage to Earth's landscape caused by earthquakes, volcanoes and other geological events. It will sometimes appear in areas that have recently had destructive earthquakes to cause additional damage, tormenting the spirits of earth and fire to provoke them in hopes of inciting them to cause aftershocks or burn the land. At other times, it appears where eruptions or tremors threaten but have yet to happen, working to cause them. In its efforts to wound the planet's surface, it has even caused other disasters, such as crashing a plane to see what it'd do to the land it struck, or attacking the Shadow of a nuclear power plant in an effort to trigger a Fleshly meltdown. It wants Earth to bleed.

Urinsahi appears as tangled ribbons of red light, brown dust and hate-filled red eyes in a geometric pattern. In battle, the light unfolds into scything talons of luminescence, hard as steel, and twelve wings encircle it, usually draped over the fading corpus of its last Lune victim. It has a booming voice that claws at the mind, urging victims to kneel, prostrate themselves to it and slit their wrists to shower the profane earth in blood in honor of the red planet. It has no interest in the Pure totems - it's too busy trying to drive the sword of Mars into the heart of Earth. It knows it will die here, one way or another, but it wants to take the planet with it. It is a rank 4 spirit, powerful in combat and able to fly, with Influences of Light 3 and Earthquakes 3, plus great power to control emotions and hurt things, especially by starting fires. Its Ban is that when confronted by a mirror of at least size 5 that a human has willingly spilled at least 5L damage's worth of their own blood on, it must flee upwards until it can no longer perceive the mirror. Its Bane is soil or stone from Mars. Good luck getting that!

Skybreaker isn't called that yet. It hasn't arrived on Earth. But when the mass of twitching spirit-flesh arrives, that's the name it will be given. It is a vast void leviathan, a giant beast of the dark the size of an oil tanker. It is night-black, meat and tar and many eye-covered folds. When it strikes ground, it's going to destroy everything in the Shadow beneath it and crush its own underbelly. As it lies, shrieking in pain, the real damage will begin. It will guzzle Essence to fuel its transition to Flesh, and if left unchecked, it will leave a vast Barren behind it, poisoning the Shadow with symbolic desolation. If its fluids reach the physical world, they will seep down into unknown depths of the Earth, and a small fraction - far too much - will end up in the groundwater, tainting it. Mutations and sickness will follow, as will the destruction of human minds. The fabric of reality itself will be damaged, allowing darker things in.

Killing Skybreaker will be an undertaking of great danger. It is covered in polyps and tendrils coated in teeth, each equivalent to a combat-ready rank 2 spirit. Strange Claimed live on its hide, made out of stardust and gases possessed by maddened void spirits. The firmanent of the Shadow weeps in its presence, causing the Heavy Winds tilt anywhere along its body, with the wind strength changing randomly each turn. Lightning flickers up and down its body, striking one character every other turn with the equivalent of a Blast Numen with a huge dicepool. Finding cover in the flaps and fins will provide safety, at least. Breaching its body is possible but difficult via the gland-structures spouting raw darkness. Each is guarded by a rank 4 spirit-guardian of the leviathan exocrine, and this fight will take place in total darkness. Further, the exocrine effluent is toxic, forcing a roll at a large penalty to avoid the grave Poisoned tilt for the fight; even success causes a moderate Poisoned tilt. Inside, the fighting is in cramped flesh-tunnels of darkness, and the thrashing viscera within grabs at people and shoots blinding spray in the middle of any fight.

Skybreaker's heart is a massive accumulation of nova fire, meat and sucking vacuum, a Claimed mass of flesh and spirit that must be destroyed to kill it. Images of starlight and void curl and flicker through the heart, a physicalization of Skybreaker's survival instinct protecting it. This matrix of will is equivalent to a rank 5 spirit. If the heart is destroyed, any surviving appendages and pieces of Skybreaker's will die with it. The heart has a huge healthbar, and each time it is damaged, the chamber is exposed to a meatquake that causes a level 4 extreme environment and the Earthquake environmental tilt. Afert dying, the leviathan melts into necrotic ooze, eventually evaporating to nothingness. The Shadow, even in victory, is scarred and will need care to heal it, which may take years.

As Skybreaker descends, it sings a song of Shadow-warping disharmony. Besides its clouds of toxic darkness and parasite-Claimed, its song disrupts First Tongue in the manner of all void leviathans. However, it also damages the symbolism of air and sky. Anywhere the song reaches, all spirits must make a roll at a huge penalty or gain the Berserk condition until the song ends. Any spirit or werewolf in the area that speaks a First Tongue word related to the sky or air immediately takes 1L as the word tears out of their throat and ephemera.

Next time: Claimed! The Tinker and the Storm Prophet.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!

The worst thing about Warrior Priest is that you can't be a Shallyan.

kommy5
Dec 6, 2016

Ratoslov posted:

The worst thing about Warrior Priest is that you can't be a Shallyan.

Shallyans are indeed awesome and I wish I could get away with playing more often. Itís just awkward in some playing groups, sadly. I also wish they could learn Dodge.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

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

Ratoslov posted:

The worst thing about Warrior Priest is that you can't be a Shallyan.

We're actually just allowing the current Shallyan in our on-hold-for-a-bit-while-another-member-tries-GMing game to take Warrior Priestess, because she rolled 40 Str and Very Strong, she's a missionary up in the liberated parts of Norsca a hundred years later than the normal timeline, and the Norscan temples are a lot bigger on using the staff for practical self defense since they actually fairly regularly have to deal with Nurglites. The big, armored sort. She's still limited to using a staff, unarmed, and grappling, with it fluffed as her holding her punches enough to not actually kill guys when the team is in combat.

She wrestled a Nurgle Aspiring Champion into a bonfire once. Remember: They are actually allowed to kill Nurglites.

Also note 4e does nothing to stop the Shallyan Warrior Priestess and Staff+Strike to Stun is actually a very feasible weapon choice there.

ChaseSP
Mar 25, 2013


Strike to Stun being a thing is great esp because of Barber Surgeons in 4e also getting good skills for fighting while still allowing a person to not outright have to kill, albeit they learn how to gently caress someone up.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
It was a really useful move to have in 2e, too, just it was hard as hell to do to anyone who had a heavy helmet.

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017

ChaseSP posted:

If you don't kill it but just give it serious wounds you have probably will have an injured but berserked manwolf shredding apart anything it views a threat in sight if I'm not incorrect. This may or may not be good so it varies

Man, the Blood Talons really have the tough gig. I mean, they prefer that, but still.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
The Spirit Gospel


Urged aren't Claimed, I suppose. Technically.

Once upon a time, there was a machine spirit. A very curious one. It wondered how humans could invent machines - after all, humans were imprecise meat things, how could they even conceive of the perfection of clockwork and engines? And then it happened to see a dead body, caught and broken in the gears, and it understood. Flesh and bone were also machines - less well made than metal, but sophisticated. It wanted to understand them. It found Allison Rhea, a med student who had grown up around her dad's auto garage. It watched her dissect cadavers and maintain her car. For months. It started to whisper to her, speaking of its curiosity. She'd always been a bit detached, which is perhaps why she didn't find its questions horrifying. She'd been studying prosthetics, and now her dreams filled with strange inspiration, of machines grafted to human flesh in amazing configurations. She dropped out of school after it became very clear that they wouldn't let her experiment on the cadavers or living humans. She'd need live experiments - there's just only so much you can learn from dead nerves and muscles.

Now, Alison is an urban legend known as the Tinker, a kidnapper that takes people and forces surgery on them to replace their limbs and organs. The prosthetics she makes are strange and seem like they should not work, with a more industrial than medical aesthetic. However, she works with meticulous detail, both in her surgery and in taking precautions. She lives out of her workshop, hidden in an underground bomb shelter guarded by complex mechanical traps. She focuses on test subjects, living or dead, that could plausibly vanish without much suspicion. She cares for her patients, but if there's any chance someone could draw attention back to her, they are not permitted to leave. She's only Urged, not Claimed, and thus is no match for even one werewolf in combat. She knows enough to carry a pistol and silver bullets, and she's spent time practicing with it, but she's no hunter. If she thinks she's in danger, she heads back to her workshop. If a pack pursues her there, that's where the real danger starts.

Thanks to the machine spirit's guidance, Alison has loaded her base down with both mechanical and electronic traps of extreme danger. The traps are well-hidden and typically involve silver and acid, dealing an average of 4A to any intruder that triggers them. These are things like bear traps the size of hula hoops, acid sprinklers, silver-loaded claymores and chainsaws on servo arms. There's no obvious way to bypass or disarm these things, either, because Alison doesn't need to. The spirit just tells them not to activate when she enters and leaves. If it were forced or tricked into fleeing while she was in the workshop, she'd be absolutely hosed, as would any of her patients being kept in cells there.

Because of the precision influence of her machine spirit, Alison is pretty much entirely removed from emotion. The only things she still feels passionately are curiosity and professional pride. She doesn't want to die and will try to talk her way out of problems with anyone able to track her. She has self-diagnosed with a personality disorder - wrongly, as it happens - but believes that seeking treatment isn't worth it if it'd stop her research. She feels no real empathy for the folks she experiments on, but always makes sure to use painkillers and tries to ensure she makes grafts that will be useful to her victims. She is a short, tough woman who looks like she works with her hands. She prefers rugged clothes in heavy layers, as she spends much of her time underground. She bathes thoroughly after any work in her lair and always makes sure she goes out in clean clothes. The scent of blood and oil is not strong enough to track her as a result, or to pick her out of a crowd, but it lingers on her nails no matter how often she washed her hands.

The Tinker usually disposes with the parts of her victims conscientiously through black market organ sales, but sometimes the machine spirit whispers to her at just the wrong time. A pack might well find clues to her existence by finding a part she dropped in a fugue state or find a purchase invoice signed with her initials to someone named Laszlo Maublanc. Which is a reference I don't get. Some of her "improved" victims have also been released to freedom. These are exclusively those she trusts not to betray her. Some of them have become mentally disabled due to the procedures she put them through, while others are actually loyal and thankful for her prostheses. She's also got contacts around town who dispose of bodies for her, no questions asked. She's got them on the lookout for weird bodies, as she's very interested in alternatives to human physiology. If she could get her hands on a Claimed corpse, she'd be propelled to new heights of inspiration.

The machine spirit is not a strong one. It's only rank 2, and it's not very good at much. It has Influence (Machines) 2, and its main abilities are moving things telekinetically and implanting ideas in people's heads. Its Ban is that it must stop and examine any broken corpse for at least a turn, and its Bane is wood shaped into a human or animal body part. It spends most of its time hiding inside Alison's torso, but on its own it looks like a hovering engine block in the shape of a human heart, dripping red oil. Alison is a smart but physically unexceptional person, with her main skills being in the area of making things, sneaking and medicine. She absolutely will not stand a chance in a fight outside her lair.


But not a Storm Lord.

Jeremiah Fury, the Storm Prophet, exists because of a really bad year for storms. Literally for storms - the spirits of rain, wind and thunder went to war. It raged in the skies of Shadow, bleeding out into the Flesh as terrible storms. Lesser spirits fled into the valleys and cities, seeking new battlefronts for their larger masters. Some faded or were caught. One, however, found a place to hide - a construction worker on a building who refused to stop welding in the storm. He was angry, cut off from his family and about to get evicted. He needed the work and wasn't afraid. Now, he has neither job nor home nor name nor mind of his own, really. Not wholly, at least. He calls himself Jeremiah Fury, yes. Herald of the storms. He tells the homeless and anyone else who will listen - greater storms are coming. They will change the face of the land itself. The spirit that's Claimed him has its eyes on the prize still. It wants to open a new front in the storm wars. The shifting climate of the mortal world might crack open the Gauntlet and loose the warlords of the sky on its own...but a herald doesn't just wait. Jeremiah Fury seeks out ways to call the great storms, to tell them to come in force for war.

His original name was Jacob Glover, but as far as he's concerned, his "prophet name" is his real one. Jeremiah. Sometimes he says he is Jeremiah and the storm riding him is Fury. He's been a missing person for months, and despite his estrangement, his elder daughter is now looking for him. The spirit that Claimed him is a rank 3 storm spirit, and if cut out of him by a pack, it'd be a fairly powerful combatant with both emotional and combat powers. It would resemble a ball of dark clouds shot through with lightning, supported in the air by a dozen beating gray wings. Jeremiah carries a number of specially crafted lightning rods as part of his task. Each is about three feet long and made of iron with silver and brass sigils soldered on. These are primarily used to enhance his abilities, but they are dangerous weapons in their own right, as they bear a lingering electrical charge and therefore are basically stun rods. If they were taken and used as the receptacle to create a fetish containing a storm spirit, they give a bonus to the Fetish rite.

Jeremiah does not generally negotiate with werewolves. He knows they'd opposed his mission, and compromise is not a thing either side will do. If he thinks a pack is on his trail, he will call up a storm to throw them off. He's a zealot, not looking for converts. He can speak endlessly about the glories of his spiritual partner and the scouring it will bring down, but only if someone asks. He can be subtle or thunderous at a whim, changeable as the wind. He appears to be a scraggly homeless man with a wiry build hidden by a bulky coat. His coat is used to conceal several lightning rods he keeps strapped to his body. When agitated, his teeth crackle with electricity.

Climate change, as a note, is part of the issue. Human-caused climate change has been adding fuel to the fires of the storm war that motivates Fury, because high temperatures and unusual pressure fronts actually affect what it means to be a storm and therefore a storm spirit. Of course, fighting climate change is a bit beyond most werewolf packs, but it's useful to know when studying rising hostility among storm spirits. It especially helps to understand that Fury's faction of the storms sees humans as aggressors due to climate change. Rumors are also spreading about someone selling magic lightning rods; this is untrue. Jeremiah does not sell them, someone just overheard him ranting and assumed the rods were meant to ward off storms, not cause them. That person then decided he'd make a killing copying the grift he assumed was going on. These bootleg rods are just DIY lightning rods made out of Home Depot parts, soldered with random brass-plated numbers and letters for mailboxes. At least tracking down the seller will help get on the trail of Jeremiah Fury, though.

Jeremiah is a Claimed, so he's essentially a merging of the spirit and human. He is extremely charismatic if allowed to rant, very tough and not a bad fighter with his rods. He's able to control wind and air, jump super far, move super fast, summon storms (which form very quickly thanks to his lightning rods) and can shoot lightning bolts, which is a pretty big threat, especially because he can spend extra Essence to autofire them.

Next time: The Sun Raiser, Walter and Surabel, the Fear of Rejection

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
I assume Claimed, Urged and such are from the main book? Would the Lune-possed girl count as claimed? And if Skybreaker is surrounded by protective Claimed, what hybrids are those?

Also, what usually happens when spirit crosses into Flesh, like the Void Leviathans do?

Oh, and do the servants of void gods (the gunhenhein or whatever) get detailed, or are Leviathans as big as it gets?

The Mars angel is cool tho.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

The three phases of possession are Urged ('the spirit whispers to the person and they act based on that'), Ridden ('the spirit is driving them like a car') and Claimed ('they merge together'). The girl ridden by the Lune earlier in the chapter is somewhere between Urged and Ridden due to her catatonia.

E: the void spirit big rear end in a top hat servant things would just be normal void spirits or planetary angels, but with bigger stats.

e2: Skybreaker's Claimed are made out of rocks and space dust plus void spirits. Normal spirits that enter the world of Flesh are invisible and immaterial, and slowly lose Essence until they attach themselves to an object or person and possess them. Some spirits can materialize and become physical beings temporarily, but it's expensive on Essence, and many spirits are able to send messages physically - for spirits, usually telepathically, while ghosts can often write in blood and so on. (Spirits are rarely literate on their own.) Void leviathans are weird.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 19:42 on Aug 28, 2019

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

I want to assume that the weirdness of void leviathans is because when you're the spirit of void-space-nothing, and there's so much of it out there, you can get relatively big pretty quick, and at that point chomping on smaller spirits that you pass by is easy and productive. Like even if one of them comes across a planetary angel, think about the scale of planets against everything-that's-not-a-planet-or-anything-else.

Also, I really like the implication that, since Skybreaker's got some meat in it that it Claimed, at one point it ran into stuff out there that was made of meat.

StratGoatCom
Aug 6, 2019

Our security is guaranteed by being able to melt the eyeballs of any other forum's denizens at 15 minutes notice


Joe Slowboat posted:

Personally I like the combination of 'the universe is a death trap' and 'because of resleeving a character being dead or dying doesn't end them' - the setting should be full of ambient murder (or at least the part where the PCs get into fights) precisely to push the strengths of a posthuman setting, the unique events and occurrences.

I don't think EP is quite as much an ideological tract for Yuds that some people here do. For one thing, Yuds ideology says that once you have a TITAN humanity just loses completely. No quarantine can be successful, hence why you need to pay him money now to stop future god. Also, the Yuddites are more libertarian-authoritarian than anticapitalist socialists and anarchists. EP also definitely doesn't act like their magic Space Virus is realistic at all.
Now, it is a techno-anarchist hacker manifesto of the least coherent kind, but I don't mind that nearly as much.

Posthuman/transhuman SFF is a cool genre and it's good we have a game that can run an uploads-and-resleeves setting, we just need to clean the setting up of the uninteresting stuff. But 'the setting ensures you'll have to change bodies' is like how Mage: The Awakening ensures you'll have to do wizardry things and have vast hubris if you want to have fun. It's genre implementation.

E: I don't mean to undersell the amount of cleaning it needs, but the core concept of 'forks and clones and robot bodies in future culture-shock societies' is good to have an RPG for.

Yuds are only one of the flavors of technophile future cultist, though I note that there's surprisingly little space between the various groups in practice - just name one example, the 'respectable' Bostrom is known to cite Yud, and vice versa - and EP literally has MIRI, albiet a thinly disguised version of what they want to be as a precursor to Firewall; EP also works down a list of tropes favored by a whole list of such in fan-service fashion. They're both into X-threat bullshit, but they're a bit more omnivorous, as it were. They're also about the whole technoutopianism thing, to the detriment of both, but as needed to try and push the other side of their subculture. They also have some connections to various groups, and literally pitched EP as a way to get tabletop folx talking transhumanism to the IEET.

Joe Slowboat
Nov 9, 2016

Higgledy-Piggledy Whale Statements



StratGoatCom posted:

Yuds are only one of the flavors of technophile future cultist, though I note that there's surprisingly little space between the various groups in practice - just name one example, the 'respectable' Bostrom is known to cite Yud, and vice versa - and EP literally has MIRI, albiet a thinly disguised version of what they want to be as a precursor to Firewall; EP also works down a list of tropes favored by a whole list of such in fan-service fashion. They're both into X-threat bullshit, but they're a bit more omnivorous, as it were. They're also about the whole technoutopianism thing, to the detriment of both, but as needed to try and push the other side of their subculture. They also have some connections to various groups, and literally pitched EP as a way to get tabletop folx talking transhumanism to the IEET.

...did they get funding for that? Because 'our version of this worldview and SF setting concept is literally a horrorzone full of horror machines that make horror' is not a great pitch.

StratGoatCom
Aug 6, 2019

Our security is guaranteed by being able to melt the eyeballs of any other forum's denizens at 15 minutes notice


Joe Slowboat posted:

...did they get funding for that? Because 'our version of this worldview and SF setting concept is literally a horrorzone full of horror machines that make horror' is not a great pitch.

Not to my knowledge - bear in mind, they're trying to hock their worldview by making a game that shows off what they want folks to think will happen if they ain't listened to. Edit: Pitched wasn't the right word for what I was looking for, bloody nerves - showed it off to them is more accurate.

StratGoatCom fucked around with this message at 06:01 on Aug 29, 2019

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG

Night10194 posted:

I'm also open to suggestions on the kinds of Career fluff people want to see written up; if someone's curious about the job fluff on various aspects of the setting, I'll be happy to go into it.
Is there any more good stuff on Ratcatchers and/or their dogs?

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
Void leviathans and the gugenheim space gods remaining a mystery is something I'm glad about though. A tantalizing mystery is somewhat cooler than whatever reason the authors would come up as canonical, at least as stuff this weird is concerned.

I just want to know that the authors have an explanation and just aren't throwing wooo it's mystery, like the EP folks seem to do.

Kurieg
Jul 19, 2012

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

Beast the Primordial Player's Guide: Chapter 3 Part 2-Beasty Babies will make your nightmares come true.

Chapter 3 has two bits of rules left, Obascus rites, and Horrorspawn. Both of them are decidedly not good or nice things.

Obascus Rites

Beasts know that the Dark Mother exists, she has a home(and it's a real place that Beasts can go to, also it hates them, more on that in chapter 5). But they don't really know how she feels about them in any real fashion. They may choose to believe that she likes them, or cares about them, but it's basically religion.

So beasts invented Obascus Rites, which are literally religion.

The book freely points out that Beasts already have enough unique sets of powers, and are frankly powerful enough already. So Obascus Rites are meant to be a party thing. You need several people to even pull them off. And the book suggests that you will probably only ever have one ritemaster in a group but there are more rites than any one person can learn and they use an absurd variety of skills. If this is a system that you actually want to engage with I would imagine you'd probably have 2 or 3 party members putting points into it. They can do some crazy bullshit things but you need to have the entire party on board to use them (and for some of them you need several NPCs, the Apex, or even an entire hive involved).

And to even become a ritemaster, you need a merit, and to take the merit you need to undergo communion. Communion is a willing thing, you can choose to have the condition applied to you when you take Agg damage from an Anathema, are the victim of a supernatural efffect with a exceptional success, or establish family ties with a specific type of supernatural creature for the first time. This gives you -2 to all mundane skill rolls and defense, but +2 to use atavisms and nightmares. It resolves when you next go to sleep and you wake up knowing a new rite.

Rites use your Horror's Finesse or Power, and the lower of your character's Occult or whichever skill is used in the rite in an extended test. These rites also tend to have hefty penalties, requiring you to take advantage of trappings. Such as Having the hive's Apex around, having assistants, having your entire brood present, having beasts from different families, having beasts from different hungers, having cultists, having proper regalia, etc. which negate a penalty each. The most powerful rites impose a hefty -8 penalty so you really need to play to your strengths. And every rite needs to take place in a temple (except for the rite that allows you to establish a temple). This is literally Beasts backwelding a religion onto their own origin stories, perhaps the most frightening thing is that it works.

There are a few rites that stand out. Blood Offering has you sacrifice a human to get a collective prophetic vision from the Dark Mother. The game does point out that this is, ya know, Evil.

I'm not sure if this sidebar is saying "You know, maybe Beast isn't the game for you." or "Maybe Beast isn't for you." The game has abandoned some of it's geek social fallacy nature, but not all of them.

Night of Revels can only be performed just after sundown on either Halloween or any other "Dark" holiday, lunar eclipse, what have you. The rite identifies one person who has in some way offended the Dark Mother, and who she demands be destroyed. They do not need to be killed, and probably shouldn't be as that cuts short the Dark Mother's fun, she wants their life utterly laid waste, their secrets revealed to all, their possessions destroyed. They should be fed on multiple times, get multiple breaking points inflicted upon them. If the person in question is driven to ruin and madness through the most creative and hilarious means avaliable the dark mother is satisfied and the group gets... the ability to reroll one die roll with a +2 bonus within the next lunar month. Which doesn't seem commensurate with the work involved, other than Beasts using the rite as an excuse. Which is honestly probably the point.

Folie a Deux lets you inflict an appropriate mental condition on the mortal population of a hive with less Composure than the ritemaster's Lair. You can also use an appropriate Nightmare (Like This Is Due Tomorrow) if you get an exceptional success on the rite. In either case this lasts a lunar month. Kingdom of Nightmares causes the physical area of the hive to become inescapable by mundane means. It lasts between sundown and sunup, or vice versa. Reality makes flimsy efforts to justify the issues that occur but roads will literally twist in on themselves to keep the victims trapped.

Finally Restore the Heart isn't a rite to bring back the dead. It's a rite to bring back people who didn't die when they should have. It allows you to put the horror of a Beast that has undergone the Retreat or Merger into another human. This doesn't bring them back from the dead. The resulting beast still has the human's memories and personality, but it has dreams and occasional recollections of their former life.

In summation I can't really find a good use for Obascus Rites for players beyond just wanting to be horror movie villains for a while. Though it's very very good at doing that. It's also good at, you know, a thing for villains to do, and your party to stop, if you want to use Beasts as the antagonists to literally anyone else.

Horrorspawn

quote:

Sometimes, a Beast requires the help of someone she can really trust, someone who truly understand her and her Hunger. Sometimes, one of the Children needs a servant who wonít ask questions and acts on the spirit of her orders in ways that she canít even express. Sometimes, too, a Beast get lonely, and wants the companionship of a monster like her. In these situations, a Beast might choose to create, nurture, and love a living nightmare.
In exploring her Horror, a Beast finds she can pull pieces of the nightmare attached to the Horror into the world as a creature. Beasts call these creatures Horrorspawn, because creating them resembles more of a birthing process than simply cutting a piece of her Horror away. The creature that results is still part of the Horror, but is capable of functioning independently.

Horrorspawn are loyal minions created from the Beast's horror. They will follow any direct command from the Beast to the best of their abilities, and the beast can even see through it's eyes and give it commands when it is not nearby. However, once those orders are complete it reverts to it's base instincts, AKA the horror's base instincts. Which can be problematic. Even more problematic is the fact that Horrors don't know how to have children, so Beasts had to get "creative."

There are two ways to make horrorspawn. The first involves creating a nightmare within a sleeping human and twisting it towards the ends of making a Horrorspawn, have the horror lay eggs, shed it's skin, leave a trail of viscera in it's wake. But normally at the end of the nightmare the horror would absorb these pieces of ephemera back into itself, the Beast must fight with the horror to keep something separate, and then incubate it within themselves or their lair.

Themselves?

Oh yeah, the other way.

quote:

Without its human counterpart, a Horror does not reproduce in any kind of sexual manner. Horrors come into being through the primal fears of man, and have no need for gamete production or sexual organs, and they have no gender. All this comes from the Beast. While merged with her Horror in her Lair, a Beast can mate with another Beast, or Horror, with the intention of creating a Horrorspawn. This method is by far the easiest, as the Beastís human biological imperative for sexual reproduction imprints upon the Horror and gives it a narrative to follow. The Horrors mate, a seed breaks away and is now ready for germination. Either or both Beasts involved in the mating can spend Willpower to create a Horrorspawn during the act. The Beast may host the seed within herself and germinate it that way, or she could place it somewhere in her Lair to grow, allowing her to leave it there while she returns to the physical world.
Yeeeup.

Once the horror is complete, a problem presents itself, as a fragment of the horror, it lacks a physical body. Beasts can provide one, of course. A corpse will do, or an animal. Or they can use a living victim and get satiety out of the process if they want to multi-task. Unless the Beast instructs it not to the horrorspawn will warp whatever body it is given to match the horror which gave it life, but if you give it an elephant corpse it will create a larger body than a human one. The more powerful the Horrorspawn the faster they burn out the body, with the weakest being able to keep a body going for a month, but the most powerful burning out a body in 12 hours.

Why make horrorspawn in the first place? Well, for one, a properly built Horrorspawn can be quite a combat monster. Two, a horrorspawn can help a Beast Feed. Horrospawn have their own satiety rating which is capped by the Beast's satiety, and if a Horrorspawn feeds it will allocate extra satiety to the beast who spawned it in order to increase it's own cap. Conveniently if you have more than one Horrorspawn your maximum satiety is decreased by 1 per extra. So if you have two Horrorspawn you are never at risk of going into Slumbering. If a beast uses horrorspawn to help while it feeds, the Beast instead gets +2 to it's satiety potential.

There are some drawbacks to having Horrorspawn though. If you interact with them too much you start to lose touch with your human side. If you spend two days interacting(Giving orders to, feeding, etc) with your horrorspawn it starts to stoke your hunger, making you waste satiety. If you spend a week interacting with your horrorspawn you lose all your family ties conditions and any social maneuvering progress you were working on. However if someone was trying to maneuver you they face an additional door.

If you don't spend enough time interacting with your horrorspawn it will start to seek out on it's own. It has twisted views of the Beast's aspirations and personal relationships, mainly in that the only way it has to express them is through Hunger and Feeding. Absent specific feeding instructions a Horrorspawn will seek out your friends and enemies to feed on them, preferring anyone with family ties or an open door to the Beast. If you avoid interacting with a Horrorspawn for over a month it will take on a life of it's own, and possibly some chambers in your lair, making your life hell until it is either killed or it's lifespan runs out.

However if the Beast dies it's a different story. Should the beast die in the physical world the Horrorspawn will be set loose to do as it wants. With nothing but the Beast's memories to direct it, it will feed on those closest to them. Should the beast die in their Lair, the horrorspawn will try to take the place of the horror. The more potent the Horrorspawn(and the more horrorspawn you have) The more days of borrowed life the Beast has. For that time the Beast wanders around as a soulless husk, trying to gather enough Satiety to replace the Horror permanently. However they're never quite the same, almost as if they've been lobotomized. Most fully embrace their hunger, being incredibly obvious in their feedings and eventually undergoing the Merger if they don't get killed by a Hero first.

Up next: Beast society, in that they actually decided to create Beast social structures, who knew.

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*

Kurieg posted:

Night of Revels can only be performed just after sundown on either Halloween or any other "Dark" holiday, lunar eclipse, what have you. The rite identifies one person who has in some way offended the Dark Mother, and who she demands be destroyed. They do not need to be killed, and probably shouldn't be as that cuts short the Dark Mother's fun, she wants their life utterly laid waste, their secrets revealed to all, their possessions destroyed. They should be fed on multiple times, get multiple breaking points inflicted upon them. If the person in question is driven to ruin and madness through the most creative and hilarious means avaliable the dark mother is satisfied and the group gets... the ability to reroll one die roll with a +2 bonus within the next lunar month. Which doesn't seem commensurate with the work involved, other than Beasts using the rite as an excuse. Which is honestly probably the point.

This reads a lot like internet harassment written up as a ritual. Given Beast's history though I'm not sure if it's meant to cast the ritualists as gamergate or as 'cancel culture'.

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!

potatocubed posted:

This reads a lot like internet harassment written up as a ritual. Given Beast's history though I'm not sure if it's meant to cast the ritualists as gamergate or as 'cancel culture'.

Yeah, same. Do a rite to know what Zak S wants trolled next.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
Raising Hell


I Want To Set The World On Fire

Helios, the spirit-god of the sun, has not forgotten the harm that werewolves have dealt to his sibling, Luna. Luna is changeable as the moon, and so when the werewolves begged forgiveness for killing her mate, Wolf, she gave it and eased their pain. Helios does not forgive. Werewolves may be kin, but he has nothing but scorn for them, and the Helions keep watch over the Forsaken and Pure alike when they enter Shadow. Given an excuse, they will fight. The Sun Raiser, however, takes this hatred to new levels. She has begun to stalk the Flesh. She wants to prove herself to Helios. Once, she drove out as far as she could into the Void Beyond to spread the Sun's light. Ultimately, though, she went too far and was nearly destroyed by the spirits of the Void. Rather than be destroyed, she reached out to them and made a deal. She agreed to lure her own kin into the depths of space so that she might survive at the cost of their lives. In time, other Helions grew suspicious of the Sun Raiser, and she went to Earth to prove herself truly loyal.

Sun Raiser is direct but she's not dumb. She hunts werewolves with vicious joy, but she's not about to give up her daylight advantage to do so. She'll happily team up with other foes of werewolves as long as she's sure she'll survive. She's happy to eat other spirits if it doesn't put her at risk of becoming a magath, and if a pack proves too much for her power, she'll try to find someone else who has a lot of firepower at their disposal so she can get them to fight the werewolves for her. She accepts only the most powerful, perfect humans as her vessels of possession - but then, it's not hard to find a handsome, muscular human sunbathing or jogging. Her current vessel, Saul McKay, was perfect - always lifting weights or running. She entered his mind during one of his forest hikes and found she liked what she saw there. He lived alone, worked in construction and spent lots of time out in the sun, allowing her to feed easily.

While eager to hunt, Sun Raiser is smart enough to wait and strengthen her host before using him to take on werewolves. She's filled him so full of light that it shines through his skin enough to make a glow from his eyes and veins. She's uninterested in territory or rule, only status and prestige among the Helions in order to ensure none suspect her betrayal. Even if that means she eats lesser sun and light spirits. Sun Raiser is authoritative and dominant, and she has done well in the Sun's battles against spirits of the Void. She even managed to survive bartering with them, so she's very confident. She absolutely hates Forsaken and she's rude at best to Pure, but she doesn't give even the slightest poo poo about humans (or most of the world of Flesh). She does find technology interesting, though, if it can craft or manipulate light. Despite her interest in these things humans make, she has absolutely no qualms about killing any that get in her way.

Sun Raiser has been eating other Helions at an alarming rate, in conjunction with the void spirits she's helping to ambush them. This has led to her climbing the ranks of the Sun's servants very quickly, as she absorbs their power. Plenty of her fellow Helions are not fans of her, though few suspect the depths of her treachery. She's been busy exercising her power against the werewolves, after all. One of the local humans was unfortunate enough to stumble on her during the moment she Claimed her host fully, and the blinding light of the transformation drove him entirely blind. He is, if contacted by a pack, able to describe what he saw - a man setting himself on fire, blazing with light. He is currently in a hospital to be treated for 3rd degree burns all over his body where the man's fire washed over him. If Sun Raiser hears about him, she's likely to kill him to tie up the loose end. She's also been working with the Beshilu, the Rat Hosts, to be able to easily cross the Gauntlet. She keeps a small squad of them at her beck and call, convincing the terrified Rat Shards that they are serving the Sun. They're hard to keep control of and work poorly with her sitting on top of them, but they gnaw away the Gauntlet just wide enough for her to easily cross back and forth. Anyone trying to take her down on her home turf is in for a nasty surprise, as she is incredibly hard to pin down there and has a bunch of zealous, burn-scarred Rat Hosts ready to fight for her.

Saul McKay is, with Sun Raiser's power in him, a very potent fighter. He's fast, tough, superhumanly strong and charismatic as hell. Fortunately, he and Sun Raiser are neither very good at lying nor especially smart - they're cunning, but no geniuses. They have Influence (Light) 3 and the power to control fire, move super fast, spy from a distance and regenerate damage. This plus the rat monsters on their side makes fighting them a tricky endeavor, especially if faced by daylight, when there'll be plenty of light around for Sun Raiser to manipulate.


They are my tragic favorites.

Walter Fitzgerald is a very normal man. He lives in suburbia, is middle class, and works as an office administrator. He fills out forms. He is plain and unassuming, and he is the host of a terrified, angry spirit named Surabel, a spirit driven from her home by otherworldly forces. Walter worked at a low-budget opera house because it paid slightly better and was slightly closer to home than his last job, and he's now fallen in love with the music. He doesn't know why more people don't love opera now. He'd never thought he'd be into it, but he really likes it. He's spent all his spare time reading up on it, he listens to it going to and from work, he's even subscribed to opera magazines. This, at last, is what was missing from his life. And then the bank foreclosed on the opera house. A bunch of tearful farewell shows got held for the small audiences still coming. Everyone working there was unsure of what they'd do next, if they could still work in the arts. Walter became depressed. On the final night, the music director gave him a gift - a silver brooch shaped like a songbird. Then everyone went home.

Surabel is the spirit of the opera house. She loved the way the audience sounded as they went quiet for the overture, the anticipation as a diva went on, the joy of the performance. It fed her and kept her going in Shadow. She was an absent-minded and whimsical creature, and so one of her rival spirits found her easy prey - a powerful greed spirit serving as vassal to the city's dominant spirit. He used his powers to drive customers out of the opera house, draining Surabel of her food until she was too weak to fight back and too grief-stricken to do much. It was then that she found Walter and his opera-loving mind. She began to influence him, making him want it more and more, that he might become her weapon of revenge. The passing of the brooch to him is the culmination of her current plan to survive her situation. Walter hasn't sought a new job, as he is overcome by his growth as a cultural conneisseur. He's blaming the rich and the banks for what has happened. He knows it's their fault, because Surabel whispers it to him. He has become obsessed with tearing them down, and his plans of protest are quickly growing more sinister. Beauty and truth demand death for them.

Walter is the most average man you've ever met. He's not tall, he's not athletics, he's not a genius. He's got a receding hairline, gray hair at his temples, a pudginess about him tha makes anything he wears seem just slightly badly fit. He's not rich, but has his own single apartment in the suburbs. He lives alone. What's not average is his overabundance of feelings of injustice and unfairness over the opera house's situation. He finally found something that made him happy, and it was taken. His love of the opera has grown into a hatred for the banks that ended it. He comes off as a conspiracy theorist to those that meet him now, an unhinged man blaming mysterious forces for all that's gone wrong for him. The thing is, he's not wrong, because Surabel's desire for vengeance is real, and the greed spirit that brought about their shared fall is real. It was all just a fight over territory in Shadow.

Surabel appears as a multi-colored songbird of great beauty. Her song is intoxicating and beautiful, but she has grown obsessed and desperate for Essence to eat. Fettering herself to Walter is her only route to survival right now. She wants to escape the greed spirit's wrath and one day get revenge. If she manages to Claim Walter entirely, he will be forever changed. He will become a twisted angel, his eyes blazing and the air around him filled with distracting, beautiful harmonies. He will have two bright wings on his back and distended talons for hands as well as a vicious beak on his face. He will work to bring down anyone he sees as part of the conspiracy to destroy the opera house or destroy Surabel, and the worst part? In their current state, the pair will be paranoid as hell and see it in everyone.

Part of the solution might be music, though. Music soothes Surabel, and particularly, sad operatic arias place her in a calm if slightly depressive state, preventing her from pushing Walter to rant and rave or, in fact, do much at all. Walter spends most of his time staking out the bank headquarters. At first he seems just another person down on his luck that's mad about losing his job, but a clever werewolf will spot the signs of spiritual influence and perhaps hear Surabel's piping up alongside his rants. The big change in his behavior will begin when he runs out of money and is forced to leave his apartment and squat in the old opera house. At that point, he's going to start murdering the directors of the city arts council, as he sees them as collaborators in the destruction of the opera company.

Statistically, Walter is currently a schlub. He has no real strengths besides a decent understanding of opera, a passable singing voice and knowing how not to kill himself with a handgun. If and when Surabel Claims him, however, the pair will become much more dangerous. Smarter, faster, stronger, better at manipulating people and convincing them. They will still not be an amazing combatant by werewolf standards, but their ability to control the world around them and particularly birds and other animals will be nasty, as will their ability to fly. Their song will be able to make people stare in awestruck fascination, and they will be extremely fast and hard to catch. I really like these two, because they're not evil at all, they're just desperate, and the PCs can save them. The PCs could bring back the opera house, or at least help Surabel survive and get that greed spirit out of her way. They could make Walter raelly happy by bringing his old job back, and now you have a bunch of werewolves running an opera house.


christ, what an rear end in a top hat

Fear of Rejection, or just Rejection, is a spirit of fear, but one that's found a special niche - being everyone's favorite and making them feel worthless. It works for him. He was once called Creeping Shadow, but he found other spirits of fear just too hard to compete with, so he ate the desire-spirit Wandering Eyes. Integrating desire and fear created a new, useful combination. He could lure prey to him now, rather than always having to hunt where other fear spirits were. Fear's powerful on its own, but by pairing it with another strong concept, a spirit can help define how they want to control their territory. Rejection is a spirit of the fear of rejection now, and he's ambitious. He has possessed Alex Cecil, quite possibly the hottest dude in town. His goal is to make people like them and want his approval, then hurt them with that. Why? Because it's what he eats.

His hangout is the Smoky Bottle Bar, a local college bar. Alex is a theater major who's done pretty well in town but is afraid to enter the world outside college. Rejection found him by looking for someone peopled fawned over, and he's entered the man's heart and warped him into a tool of one-way admiration. Rejection is looking to turn the bar into his safe haven to grow in. He feeds himself on the fears of horny college students and bar patrons with fragile egos, all of whom want Alex's approval...which he doesn't hand out easily. Soon, the bar will be too small for the pair. Outside it, Alex's classmates are starting to notice his change as well, and his crowd of sycophants is only going to grow. However, this is going to risk werewolf attention, and if Rejection is feeling threatened, he will abandon his host without a second thought to find a new one.

Alex is a blue-eyed, brown-haired man of great beauty and a look of artistic fatigue and world-weariness. He makes people he likes feel like royalty, but isolated if he ignores them. His peers vie for his attention and fawn over everything he says and does as he cycles through them. He lets each feel special all too briefly before moving on. He's getting used to the treatment of fame offstage, finally important enough that he never pays for his own drinks and gets lots of gifts. One man's even offered him his car. It won't be long before Alex starts trying to push the limits of what he can get away with. The world seems to be his now, after all.

The rumors surrounding Alex are primarily about the folks hanging around him. Thomas Kemp is a local who goes to the Smoky Bottle who thinks Alex is super cool. He loves to hear Alex talk about his vacations to California, New York or London, but it's making him feel terrible, too. At first, Alex's attention and interest in his work made him feel good, but when he couldn't talk about travel, Alex moved on to another person and left him wondering if he's squandered his life. Oliver Stills lost a date after going to the bar with her - she went for Alex instead. Now, he's convinced that if he can get a girl, take her to the bar and she sticks with him instead of Alex, it'll prove how awesome he is. His dating ritual is an endless cycle of finding new women to take to Alex's shows or the bar to reject him. Eventually, his envy and self-loathing are going to make him lash out at the actor or one of his dates violently.

Fear of Rejection is a rank 2 spirit with ambitions. He's not that powerful right this second, but if he can glut himself on the Essence Alex's actions provide, he will rise to rank 3 and start gathering up a brood of followers - other spirits of rejection, desire, anger and fear. At the moment, his Influences are Fear 2 and Desire 2, and he's mostly good at controlling people's emotions. He's not really controlling Alex so much as boosting his natural actions, as he's not powerful enough to do much more than that for now. His Ban means he cannot leave any embrace - even a wrestling hold or grapple - though he can still try to drive off or kill someone holding him. His Bane is fresh blood from a human heart. He appears as a pulsating mass of red mucus and cartilage with pulsing eyes.

Alex, on the other hand, is a charismatic man with a forceful personality and a knack for talking to people, getting them to do what he wants, and browbeating them. He's hard to read, pretty as hell and knows a little about just about everything. He's also a smart kid, having spent a long time at college, picking up a lot of knowledge about all things cultural. He knows a little about just about everything. He is a complete noncombatant, having never had to hurt anyone physically in his life.

Next time: Shartha - the Hosts.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 16:06 on Aug 29, 2019

JcDent
May 13, 2013

Give me a rifle, one round, and point me at Berlin!
I hate it when you try to fart and you Shartha accidentally :v:

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

I like Walter and Surabel because I feel like the biggest conflict there is "do we fix up the opera house before or after we drop them off in the financial district and just let things sort themselves out for awhile."

potatocubed
Jul 26, 2012

*rathian noises*
Yeah. The choice with them isn't so much 'oh no, how do we choose between these equally grim fates' but 'hmm, in what order are we going to hit every one of their side quests?'

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e: Career Compendium

Rogues, Cops, and Imperial Popular Culture

So I'll get to the elves and their fluff issues in the next post, along with our ratcatcher buddies, but for now I want to talk about a couple of the roguish and entertainer classes and the Roadwarden.

The Roadwarden is actually a really good starting class, as you might expect. Adventure is already their job, so it makes sense they come well equipped for adventure. These are the roving police force that tries to keep the roads of the Empire clear, fighting beastmen and bandits and monsters and hunting down criminals who flee into the wilderness. They're a visible and important part of the Empire's defenses, and they're very popular. The popularity is only partly because they're generally regarded as one of the less corrupt (I mean, they take 'tips' and all but they do their job and really do save a lot of lives) elements of Imperial law enforcement. A bigger part comes from their role in Imperial pop culture, according to their fluff here. You see, they have a lot of the elements that make a Witch Hunter 'cool' (roving hero dispensing justice and fighting the forces of evil, trusty pistol that can fail or find the mark at exactly the moment the author needs it to, often travel alone or in small groups, nice hat) but without nearly as much baggage. So when an adventure novel needs a righteous wandering hero who the audience can get behind, who do they go for but the brave Roadwarden riding patrol?

Crowds all around the Empire go to taverns to drink for the night and hear the latest story of Tod Schlaten, heroic Road Warden, as he rides across the Empire in his greatcoat and wide brimmed hat and dispenses justice. Rescued maidens fall in love with him, but he's married to his duty. His pistol never fails to find the mark when it needs to and he unflinchingly brings the right culprit to justice. In a grim and perilous world, people like hearing a story about a rugged, taciturn man who always manages to do right in the end. The actual Roadwardens like the stories quite a bit; they make the job popular with the people, and they're a flattering depiction of what the Empire hopes its defenders will be like. Most bemoan that they get far fewer beautiful nobles' daughters throwing themselves at them than Tod, though.

I really like how you can tease out what the Empire's popular culture looks like. From uncomplicated and approved heroes like Tod to their love of messing around with the forbidden in the 'safe' realm of fiction. The Empire absolutely loves stories of adventure, even as the average Imperial thinks adventurers are nuts. There's always a sense the average Imperial considered taking up the sword and trying to be a hero like the silly stories they love. Your PCs are just the people who actually did it, through circumstance, foolishness, or ambition. This is also good fluff because it helps explain one of several reasons people might think your newly minted Roadwarden PC can help them. Everyone's heard the stories of what heroes the Empire's weary road cops are! Of course one of them would be willing to get together a few mates and head into the dark forest to rescue some missing townspeople. Add to that that Roadwardens are pretty good fighters for 1st tiers who come with decent gear, a horse, and a gun and you're all set for your Roadwarden to really live the ridiculous stories they've heard at the tavern.

The Raconteur is another fun class: They're a really solid Basic social class based around storytelling and charm. These are the people who get paid to read novels aloud for an audience at the Empire's taverns, or who improv their own stories as they travel from place to place. They're literate, they're good performers at both comedy and storytelling, they're charming and good with language, and they've got plenty of reason to join a party of adventurers: Real, true to life stories sell way better! As long as you make sure to embellish them properly. The Raconteur's job as a public reader is actually very important to the Empire; it produces quite a bit of written work and novels and news-sheets are becoming very popular, but most people can't read them for themselves. The Raconteur doesn't just read the news, they comment on it and interact with their audience; if the audience just wanted to know what the new-sheet said they could've tossed a penny to a broke university student and asked them.

The fun part about them comes in their add-on fluff, about the Famous Brotherhood of Adventurers, Explorers and Gentlemen (also known as the Liar's Guild). A group of Raconteurs who dress up in elaborate costumes and personas as 'Adventurers', they meet to talk all about their death-defying exploits and wow their audiences with completely fictitious and outrageous tales of extraordinary deeds. For fun, though, they'll pay a real adventurer a few shillings and beer money to come and talk of their true-life exploits. The problem is, most adventurers aren't very good storytellers. You get a Questing Knight or Slayer on stage to talk matter-of-factually about exactly how you demolish a hydra single-handed (you go for the heart, the heads are a trap, we know this from OWB) or talking about how most real duels between champions last a couple minutes at most, and they'll be booed off the stage. After all, everyone knows adventures are wild things with lots of plot twists and ribald comedy. So your PCs get an offer of a night's beer money and dinner, go to tell people their true stories, and suddenly find themselves facing a drunk crowd that demands fun and that has plenty of rotten fruit to hand. Fun for a brief comedy interlude.

They also get some nice adventure hooks: One has a Raconteur turning the PCs' exploits into a very popular farce that makes them out to be bumbling idiots. It catches on, and might ruin their reputations, but on the other hand now a famous playwright is offering them a bunch of money to write their story for the stage. Do they try to correct the record, or is a purse of gold crowns (without getting shot at for it!) worth more than their pride? Naturally, the other Adventure Seed has a Raconteur piss off the woman he's cheating on, so she hires some thugs and protagonists to come break his legs. He passes himself off as a member of the PC party and flees out a window. Now they have to deal with mistaken identity and hunt down the lying rogue. Simple, but classic. I like that there are several adventure hooks throughout this book about popular perceptions of the PC party; all this popular culture stuff isn't irrelevant to what PCs do. They're the stuff of Imperial popular entertainment, and as they start to acquire a reputation by succeeding in adventures (or just surviving them) people might take note and start using them as fodder for the novels and stories the Imperial public demands. Which can have a huge effect on how people regard them. "Hey, you're so-and-so from the novels!"

Now, on to the issues of elves. One of the problems for elves in WHFRP2e is that they just don't get very much fluff, and the fluff they do get doesn't really differentiate between Wood/High Elf. You have one High Elf-flavored class (The Envoy, a diplomat/merchant Basic) and two Wood Elf themed ones (Kithband Warrior, an unusual Basic designed to work with what Elves start out with, and Ghost Strider, the Elf-only 3rd tier Ranger) but for the most part elves are going to be in classes whose fluff is mostly aimed at humans. Also, weirdly, despite being known throughout the Old World for how the majority of their soldiers are militiamen, elves can't actually have the Militia class. Which is a bit annoying, as Militia to Veteran (which Militia normally can't go into, but hey, it's a logical exit I'd consider adding for them since they can do Sergeant) would be perfect for a High Elf Spearman or Bowman going into the Sea Guard as they become a professional. There's a big paucity of elf fluff in 2e (especially High Elf fluff), which is one of the reasons that over time my group made up so much of its own.

The other issue is...well, the fluff that is there for the classes isn't very good. The Kithbander's fluff additions here are exactly what you'd expect from very stereotypical fantasy elves: They hate how ungainly and weird and fast human lives are, humans envy them for their grace and long life, they're masters of the woods and bow who unfailingly oppose Chaos but are slowly losing because elves are always slowly losing. The actual class is a decent 1st tier Ranger with a wide variety of skills and a starting Elfbow (the best ranged weapon in the game), so it's a good Career. Just the fluff is really dully. Same for the Ghost Strider. They're exactly what you expect from a woodsy elf: Excellent tracker, masterful shot, wanders around alone killing monsters, surrounded by pet foxes. The only unexpected bit is that Ghost Striders get along surprisingly well with Dwarf Slayers. They're both kind of weirdo wandering monster killers, so a Strider is usually happy to guide a Slayer to whatever hideous thing they're hunting in the forest and then give them some fire support, so long as the Slayer isn't after any Elf Grudges today. Envoys are young elves picked by the Ulthuan Merchant Families to come work in what they consider a lovely third world country. They're picked because the pace of work necessary to do business directly with humans is absolutely grinding to an elf; they're used to being able to just take a month off to frolic or whatever it is elves do to fill all that time. Which you can't do with humans. If you do that, you come back to an overloaded inbox and probably at least one warehouse on fire. So they're basically elf interns given a job their seniors at the firm hate.

See, there? That's actually an interesting thing. The idea that being able to live at a human pace is a genuine talent some elves have and if they don't have it, the job is a loving nightmare for them that they fob off on the youngest members of their firm, who does the job until they have a nervous breakdown and run off to become a PC (they specifically note that many Envoy PCs are ones who have just said 'sod my career' and walked off the job, preferring the insanity of adventure to dealing with that anymore). That's actually cool! A put-upon elven accountant and functionary who had a breakdown from the stress and ran off to try to be a hero instead because they can't take their dull, grinding, over-working internship anymore? Awesome. This is the kind of stuff I expect from Hams, and it's the sort of seeds we based a lot of our version of Ulthuan on. The problem is that almost every class in the game assumes it's writing about humans, even though elves can be those things. You don't get a lot on what an Elf Thug looks like; we had to invent that. I mean what does an Elf Pit Fighter look like? It would have been neat to have some official stuff on that, and it was obviously planned (Sigmar's Heirs promises Elf and Dwarf books are coming soon) but alas.

Dwarfs don't really have the same problem just because they get talked about far more, since they're much more deeply integrated into the Empire. Incidental fluff in other books is very likely to tell you a lot about dwarfs, after all.

Finally for this update, there's not a lot added to the Ratcatchers in this book. This makes me a bit sad. The main thing added is that Ratcatchers truly understand the mind of the rat. They spend a great deal of time trying to get inside the rat's head, so understand how best to trap it. Their terrier is important not just because the dog can kill rats, but also because Ratcatchers tend to go nose-blind from dealing with filth all the time. The dog can still smell and can track by smell or tell when something's wrong, where the Ratcatcher long ago stopped being able to smell anything. They do get some decent adventure hooks, though. One has the Running of the Rats, an Altdorf tradition where they set fires at certain points in the sewers to drive out the rats and have competitions to catch as many as possible. The problem is this sometimes drives out cultists, monsters, infiltrating beastmen, Skaven, escaped Moulder experiments, or worse, and suddenly the Ratcatchers and PCs may find themselves struggling to contain something much more terrible than squeaking rodents. In the other, a town is terrified of an odd phenomena: All their rats have disappeared. As Ratcatchers truly know the mind of the rat, a PC Ratcatcher is hired to come in and consult on what the hell happened to the rats and maybe to bring them back. It's just not a town if it doesn't have a few rats. Too few rats is as unnerving as too many.

Next Time: Academia and Adventure

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
How to Host a Murder

The Hosts, called Shartha in the First Tongue, are the shattered pieces of ancient gods. They hide in the margins of the world, taking the shape of vermin. They blasphemously merge their divine nature and human life force into horrific infestations of flesh, hollowing out human bodies to fill with squirming things or burying themselves in gore to create an unholy abomination-fusion. They are foul creatures, seeking to defile the fabric of reality itself with their appetites, and they treat humans as mere food sources and crucibles for their monstrous rebirths. All of the Hosts hunger, driven to consume others of their kind to strengthen themselves. Each contains a tiny shard of divinity within them, and some cling to grand delusions of reuniting all of these shards, recreating the god-forms that Wolf tore apart in the days of Pangaea. Most, however, merely focus on their own hunger and survival, their innate drive to seek out other shards of their divinity and consume them to grow. The instincts that drive them are the remnants of the divine programming of their progenitors, the lingering echoes of the gods they once were. They are slaves to these drives, seeking them out without, generally, fully understanding them. Many of them obsess over the Gauntlet in some way, trying to exploit or corrupt it to pave the way for their reformation.

In their most primitive, basic state, a Shard - the singular and least potent form of a Host - appears to be an animal. A rat, a spider or similar, though often grotesque or mutated somehow. To grow, they initiate the Joining with a human. To do this, they must touch the human's flesh, which allows them to take an action to invade their body. Once inside, they start killing the human, dealing 1L each turn until the human dies. At that point, the Shard takes control of the corpse and gains the power to discorporate inside it. Claimed and animals other than humans are incompatible with the Joining, while werewolf regeneration prevents a Shard infestation from being able to kill them and take over. However, rumors exist of very potent Shards that can overcome even werewolf resilience. Once Joined, the Host must consume more Shards to further mutate its new body into a hybrid form. Without Shards to consume, the body decays over the next few weeks to months and the Shard will need to find a new vessel.

In animal form, Shards are very weak, with a tiny Essence pool. Once Joined, however, they grow more powerful, and can gain even more power by consuming other Shards. A full hybrid has significantly more Essence at its disposal, with the oldest, most mutated Host hybrids being able to call on vast Essence reserves. Hosts can spend their Essence to fuel their myriad dread powers, which often are able to damage or influence the Gauntlet in some way. They can also spend Essence to heal themselves, though it's slow compared to werewolves. (Compared to anyone else, it is very fast.) Hosts do not regain Essence the way spirits do; a spirit feeds on the Essence produced by the world. A Host eats physical food. Lots of it. Gluttony is what fuels them, and the second most efficient means of Essence regeneration for a Host is the consumption of human flesh. Second, specifically, to werewolf flesh, which is the finest meal a Host could dream of - each point of damage a Host deals to a werewolf with its bite regains Essence for it, as does eating the flesh of a werewolf corpse.

Now we get into specific Hosts. Rat Hosts and Spider Hosts are not covered in this book, because the core covers them. These are all new!


Hope you like grotesqueries.

Toad Hosts, the Thihoshlu, are fat, leering creatures that seek out sloth and vice. Our example is Horace Albuquerque Fenchurch III, a stolen name worn by a Toad Host turned crime lord. Horace was the name of the fleshsack he wears. His particular favorite vice is werewolves - he enjoys making them submit and forcing them to serve him. He finds it deliciously awful. All Toad Hosts are arrogant, slothful and very, very greedy, and Horace is no exception. He sits at the heart of a mass of contacts, favors and alliances, controlling gangs, financiers and politicians. Social elites and criminals alike come to his club to partake of his vast wealth and indulge in the sins he has on offer. He deals in human trafficking to vampires and other parasites, sells mystic artifacts to sorcerers, makes money off illegal business deals. He's got a reputation in the occult world for dealing with anyone, period, no matter what, regardless of politics, as long as they respect his neutrality. He will pass on messages, arrange safe passage, arbitrate disputes between monsters both mundane and magical. Even werewolves sometimes need his help, much as they hate it.

Horace holds court out of his extravagant club, overseeing a brood of bloated Toad Hosts that vie for power over scraps and pieces of his criminal empire. He always keeps his favorite werewolves close, in case of troublesome guests or overly ambitious underlings. His presence has a sapping effect on the anger and fury that drives werewolves, and so his retainers serve him because he has tamed their inner rage. He sees himself as a lord of the old style, surrounded by his obedient dogs, and he enjoys showing them off to guests and displaying his dominance over them. He's always eager to add more wolves to his collection.

The Toad Hosts are the remnants of the Slob Avaricious, an ancient demon-god of sloth and vice. They are rare, and among all Hosts, they alone lack the instinctive hunger to eat each other. Rather, they tend to gather in small groups, pooling their resources to create a shared territory of depravity and misery. Their least form is a fat, glowering toad. Unlike normal Hosts, they cannot Join without assistance. They nestle in their victim's gut, but are too weak and lazy to dig through the flesh themselves. Rather, they rely on their fellows to subdue their victim or convince a willing human to swallow them. They prefer human vessels that have high societal position, allowing their frog club to get those resources. Once Joined, the victim's skin becomes unpleasantly dry and the stomach bloats due to a mass of toads sleeping inside it. The Host's insatiable appetite and instinct takes over, and it indulges in food, sex, drugs and more abhorrent vices as much as possible.

If, for some reason, a Toad Shard consumes others of its kind, it changes even more drastically. Toad hybrids become squat and fat, with slim arms that do not match their immense bodies. Their jowls grow thick and meaty, covering over sacs that swell in their throat. Their eyes bulge, the irises turning orange. It is just barely possible for these elder hybrids to pass for human, but only as a living caricature of grotesque wealth. They tend to wear cravats and scarves to mask the bulging pustules of their neck and chest. The greed of the Toads warps even the Gauntlet around them. They ooze poisonous secretions into the Gauntlet, claiming it for their own. Once their influence spreads thick in the medium of the Gauntlet, it drinks up the Essence of those that pass through worlds, enriching the Toads in the process.

Horace, as an elder hybrid, is grotesquely fat, a parody of a human form. He hides it in rich clothing and expensive jewels, and he wears fresh silk scarves at all times. His smile is too wide, and his orange eyes have slit pupils, while his jowls droop horrendously. Humans generally choose to overlook his hideousness and focus on the trappings of wealth surrounding him and the promise that their appetites will be fulfilled - it's more comfortable to willingly deceive themselves into thinking he's just a rich old fat guy rather than a barely concealed monster. He meets visitors exclusively in the VIP section of the Amber Club, where he is eager to flaunt his wealth with vast presentations of food, drugs and victims. He oversees orgies, banquets and business meetings easily, bringing clients together as needed to extend his web. Party crashers have to deal with club security - the best that can be bought, at the front, and behind them, the hounds.

Horace plays the role of the generous host (pun intended). He is friendly and genteel, if a slob, but it is not long before the egotistical, boorish creature behind the mask is revealed. When he isn't focusing on a deal or bargain, he is prone to rambling at length about his accomplishments and wealth. He doesn't like having to do things physically, but becomes excited if offered a new, untried indulgence. He's gotten bored with the old ones - mutilating victims with power tools is so last year, darling. His current hobby is forcing drugged victims to eat parts of their own body. Werewolves, however, always get his undivided attention. He's extremely horny for them, and while he's happy to just deal with them, he'll look for any chance to convince them to join his pets. As far as he's concerned, it's a privilege - they'd be fools not to do it.

The Toad Hosts are almost what they seem to be. They use their gross depravity to hide the true nature of what they are. Their goals are simple - perpetual conflict that they can easily profit on. They want a status quo of misery and suffering and need. They are forces of stagnation, as their forefather was, and they use their wealth and power not only to feed their own appetites but to set their clients against each other even while pretending to be neutral arbiters. Horace is a master manipulator, subtly driving apart his partners and clients. He sees himself as a king over pawns, controlling the schemers and setting them against themselves to cause all manner of feuds. He doesn't care who suffers or dies because of his work - there's always more people begging him for help. Even other Toad Hosts think Horace's obsession with werewolves is a gross pervert thing, and most prefer to avoid Luna's children whenever possible out of fear. For Horace, the act of leashing these ancient foes is an act of worship to the Slob Avaricious and a revenge against Wolf. Werewolves that meet him tend to think he's enslaved his "hounds," but in truth it is extremely hard to imprison an uncooperative werewolf. Yes, his aura of sloth helps damp down their rage and fury and makes them placid, but if they wanted to leave he would be unable to stop them without losing much of his staff. His hounds serve him voluntarily, because he exploits their desperation and fear of their own nature, focusing on werewolves afraid of the death rage or haunted by the deaths they've caused. He offers them freedom from that in slavery to him.

The mortal Fenchurchs are all sworn to Horace's service, and spend most of their time feuding with each other in an effort to prove worthy of inheriting his "secrets." Horace's plan is to take whichever kid wins and turn them into his new vessel when it comes time for Horace to die of old age. The real problem is his true kin, the other Toad Hosts. His coterie is growing ambitious and is no longer satisfied with the scraps he throws them. To help protect himself, he keeps a massive collection of occult trinkets in his vaults. Well, that and because he's super greedy. His nature makes him lust for any object of power he runs into, even if he can't use it. Most he will later trade as chips to sweeten some deal or other, but he's kept ahold of a few choice pieces to surprise anyone that comes for him. He's going to be surprised soon, though - the werewolves currently coming for him after hearing about his hounds are not interested in killing him. Rather, he's drawn the attention of a werewolf cult that seeks to free themselves from the death rage. They are now forming nomadic packs, making pilgrimages of peace and hoping to find serenity with the Toads. They don't realize they're just going to be exploited and enslaved, and they're drawing in more and more vulnerable and fearful werewolves.

Horace is extremely smart and manipulative, and while he's not very strong or fast, he is unnaturally tough. His real power in a fight lies in his magic abilities and his pets, though. He has vast resources, an extremely secure facility and a well-trained staff. To support them, he can shoot out blooding ooze, taint the Gauntlet around him to drain Essence from people that cross it and drawing Willpower from humans sating their Vices, can use his tongue as a prehensile weapon to grapple with, and is able to wield almost any magical item due to the symbolic power of his greed. He also can spend Essence to prevent all kinds of magical frenzy around him, from werewolf death rage to vampire frenzy and more, and can even force werewolves to shapeshift out of their warform by doing so. The magic item power is his own special trick; the sloth aura and the gauntlet taint are unique abilities of the Toad Hosts, and the tongue is a general-use Dread Power applied to toads.

Next time: Merovech of the Lamprey Hosts

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

I love the Hosts. Give me ten thousand Hosts.

May this comic echo in eternity.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Man, I wasn't intending to write up Fisherman but I'm gonna have to just for all these weird as hell fish.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon
Blood. Blood. Blood. Blood. And bits of sick.


The worst merman.

Deaths by the shore, staining the sand with bloody slime, massive swarms of lampreys in red water, and huddled shapes sacrificing something to the depths - these are the calling cards of Merovech, the herald of the Lamprey Hosts. Occultists and werewolves that track its work know it by tons of names. It is Melusine, Leviathan, Rusalka, Lorelei. Its lore is part of rites and legend along many ancient European rivers. The old stones carved in strange patterns, where village elders still sometimes pour out offerings of blood and oil to the river god, who brings fertility - these can be found along the Rhine, Danube and Thames alike, and people still try to hear the song of the water's god. The Merovech is a broker of blood and promise. Its travel in the waterways of Europe is unpredictable, but always it is the harbinger of a nightmare swarm of lamprey-monsters. It calls on ancient pacts with old families that have served the Hosts for generations, and it sings beautiful songs to call on the broken or ambitious who go too near the waters. It calls them to serve - and to shed blood. The Lampreys thirst for blood, and their thirst never ends. Merovech keeps it flowing, from sacrifice or murder.

The old ways of the Merovech endure because it always keeps its promises. You ask it to kill a rival? They die screaming in the bath as lampreys squeeze up the pipes. The Hosts bring you the money you need, though it's bloody, or retrieve for you the ancient gold buried in the lake. They bring crimson slime to the fields, ensuring the harvest will be great - and will leave the tongue red and the stomach yearning more. In return, the Merovech demands those that call on it use their power and influence for its cause. It demands they shape the land as it requires, that they gather prey for the Hosts to feed on. Those that break the deals they make with Merovech are either broken and forced to comply by its mystic song or turned into cautionary tales for the next person that thinks about breaking their oath.

The Lamprey Hosts, Ukusgualu in First Tongue, are a monstrous race of blood-craving fish monsters. The least of them are squirming, leech-like eels, impossible to tell from normal lampreys, which seek out warm meat to bite into and suckle on. Where their influence on the Gauntlet is weak, they must wait for a swimmer to come in reach or someone to rest by the water's edge so they can find a body to ride. They can flop around on land if they must, but it makes them extremely vulnerable. Once they find their victim, they clamp down on the veins or arteries of the wrist, thigh or neck and tear open a channel to enter the body from. They coil around the guts and heart, and their victims become pale and clammy, with occasional bulging shivers under the skin, which is always wet. Not naturally - rather, the body needs daily baths to avoid drying out and falling to bits. It also thirsts terribly, and to drink it vomits up lampreys and lets them drink, then swallows them again.

Should the body survive, it will twist and mutate into a true monster, a streamlined human shape with an elongated face and immense lamprey jaw. The eldest of the Lamprey Hosts are immense, pale wyrms of the deep river, with the last of their humanity remaining only in their tiny, withered limbs and their intelligent eyes. The Lampreys seek blood, to eat and for the world. They vomit forth the blood they take in into the Gauntlet, mixing it into a liquid state that they can move through. Eventually, the blood seeps back into the Flesh, gathering in sanity-breaking patterns. This gnaws at the human mind, causing strange cults to form and gather to make pyramids of brass, bone and sinew, offering up prayers to strange things even the Lamprey Hosts barely grasp. If asked, the Lampreys claim they come from an ocean of blood, endless and forever, which they shall inherit once more if they can but return to it. The bloodstained Gauntlet they create lets them reach the shallows, but they have yet to find a way to fully open the path. That is Merovech's task as their herald - follow the red tide and open the gates that will soak the world in blood. The Lampreys are uniquely united in recognition of Merovech as their leader, though it is not the eldest of their number.

The Merovech itself is an old Lamprey, though still vaguely human. Its upper body is an androgynous man's, but with slimy skin and arms too long for it which end in webbed talons. It has gills along the shoulders and neck, and its too-wide mouth is full of needle teeth. Its jawbone can crack open and form the round mouth of a normal lamprey if it wants, and tendrils hang from its cheeks. Its hair is long and wet, reached past its chest. It has no legs, just a long eel tail, and in places its fishy skin is pierced by gold rings. It also wears gold forearm bands, decorated with scenes of ancient kings and queens "in congress" with watery horrors. Its flesh is sickly and pale, but turns scarlet when it feeds. Its voice is not nearly so ugly, but sweet and melodic, even beautiful. Its voice is mystic in nature, touching something primal in the human heart and tapping into desire. When possible, the Merovech remains in water, but it is surprisingly fast slithering on land. If it must fight, it is shockingly strong, able to punch through steel with ease, and can vomit forth noxious, corrupting blood. However, it prefers to avoid confrontation against anything that might actually threaten it.

The Hunters in Darkness claim that the Merovech's name is not a lie - that it is the lamprey-infested corpse of the first Merovingian king of the Franks. Human myths cast Merovech as the son of the quinotaur, a legendary sea beast of Neptune, and they claim this is a metaphor for his infestation by the Host. While this is a convenient interpretation, it is incorrect. Merovech is not one person. It is a title. There are six Merovechs across the globe. While the Lampreys suffer the same cannibal urges as almost all other Hosts, they have a plan, and have entrusted it to the Merovechs, their calmest members. They map the waterways of the Flesh and the bloodlines along the water's edge. Their journeys are about mixing that blood with the waters, shedding the right blood in the right place at the right time. Each stop is one point in creating a massive sigil of gore across the world, and each death and sacrifice is one more piece of the symbol. It is possible that King Merovech was at one point the host to a Host, possibly even the first Merovech to begin this massive blood rite. Now, the title is a mantle taken up by dutiful Shartha.

One day soon, the Lamprey Hosts are sure, the time of the red dawn will come and the crimson tide will be unleashed. The rivers and lakes of the world will flow with blood, and the moon will call on otherworldly currents. The seas will open to the blood ocean beyond Flesh, where the Lampreys were first born. Their human slaves shall rule as kings and queens of blood-drenched shorelines, rulers over a land of eternal plenty. The ancient shapes of the dark red waters will welcome the reborn Shartha home to dance and drink of blood forever.

The Lampreys absolutely despise all other Hosts, whose meddling with the Gauntlet ruins the fluidity they hope to create. However, these are not their greatest foes. Those'd be the Drowned, strange horrors of the sea that puppet the corpses of those who die in the water. They hate the Lamprey Hosts and fight them at every chance, and so the Ukusgualu remain in fresh water whenever possible. The European Merovech is moving in odd circles now, too - it has given up on the old families and cults of France in favor of the Milieu, the French criminal underworld. The Lampreys are backing certain crime families to make power plays in areas they've tainted with blood, using swarms of Hosts in the safety of the bloody Gauntlet to murder rivals by draining them of blood. Their victims barely notice the pinpricks that will soon mean the presence of invisible parasites. On the other hand, it must be careful. Humans of modern eras are much faster to respond to parasites than they used to be, and it's no longer as simple as rains of blood and swarms of lampreys. Most officials remain unaware of the true nature of the threat, sure, but the Merovech has been having huge problems with disease control anyway. It is beginning to suspect it's dealing with a similar issue as its Thai counterpart - an aggressive team of human hunters embedded in marine law enforcement and disease control, hunting the Lampreys with fire, chemicals and old rituals.

The Merovech isn't super smart or charismatic, but it is insanely physically potent. It is stronger and faster than any human and tougher than some armored vehicles. It also has a surprising amount of social contacts and wealth thanks to its cult network and criminal ties. It is fast on land and insanely fast in the water, has armored skin, can control fish and other beasts, can vomit blinding blood spray, has a hypnotic gaze, can control water and can sing a mesmerising song to charm humans or Wolf-Bloods. Like all Ukusgualu, if it has recently gorged on human blood it is able to vomit that into the Gauntlet, making the membrane fluid. This lets it control Gauntlet strength and, once it reaches the proper level, physically enter the bloody medium (which also makes it harder to look across it without getting your eyes and nostrils covered in blood and drenches you if you cross it). While inside the Gauntlet, Lamprey Hosts can see both Spirit and Flesh, are invisible, and strike at both sides easily. The least form, the lampreys, can even bite foes without being noticed while inside the Gauntlet.

Anyone bitten by a Lamprey Host or its human body also gets infected by pulsing lamprey eggs. These don't hatch, but instead weaken your immune system. Werewolves are immune, but other formerly human monsters such as vampires aren't. If the Host that left the eggs would normally die, it can instead spend a bunch of Essence to teleport itself into one of the egg-infected, tearing itself out of the eggs into the victim's body and beginning the Joining with them. So you can in fact have a Lamprey Vampire, I think.

Next time: Ehlzahdha, the Dreaming Architect and unique Spider Shard

Chernobyl Peace Prize
May 7, 2007

Or later, later's fine.
But now would be good.

Pound for pound, a Lamprey Host taking on an older (not necessarily full capital-e Elder) vampire is pretty efficient. They can hold so much blood!

AmiYumi
Oct 10, 2005

I FORGOT TO HAIL KING TORG
Kobolds Ate My Baby!: Part VI Ė Doiní Stuff



Turns & The Snack Order

KAMB plays out a little board-game-ey; turns (the book doesnít mince words about realism, a turn is a turn and how much time that means can vary) go from highest Extraneous to lowest, followed by the Mayor going last. The book suggests having players sit so you can just go clockwise, and breaks ties with Reflexes/Ego/Brawn/Dance-Off, in that order.

How It Plays

This works pretty well; itís especially good for getting newer players to get involved, where other games would have them receding into the wallpaper as more experienced players steal the spotlight. Taking turns, what a concept.

Actions

Most of this is just retreading the rules from how Skills work, because thatís how everything works.

New to KAMB!: In Color!!! (I think) is taking multiple actions, which adds a penalty die to the difficulty of everything that turn for each action after the first (so taking 2 actions turns a 1 difficulty roll into a 2 difficulty roll, etc).

The combat section is also here, and it works the same way as everything else. Roll based on difficulty, try to get under stat, do the listed amount of DAM. Weaponless kobolds can use that big toothy grin of theirs, but that requires getting so close they have to eat an AoO first (but get a bonus die for being so close).

Kobolds can do more damage with the ďWhoopassĒ rule; take a penalty die to hit, add your appropriate stat to the DAM (Meat for melee, Cunning for missile weapons, Agility for throwing).



The Kitchen

Closing out this section comes rules for eating, drinking, and Cooking.

Eating is what kobolds are here for, itís in the title of the game. Eating something raw restores Hits, with a chart going from 1 for a rat or chicken all the way up to 1D6 for a fresh baby. But thatís a bit of a waste, when you could Cook instead.

As long as you have a protein, heat, and something to put it in, you can Cook. The difficulty goes up and down based on all sorts of factors*, but the biggest advantages are twofold: food that you Cook comes with a minor secondary effect (mostly stat buffs), and you can get more than one serving out of your protein**.

Finally, this section ends with a chart on different forms of alcohol and their wacky mixed bag of effects, half of which involve speaking in funny accents which gets an mild thumbs-up from me.

*including a bonus die for providing DM Pizza!

**which, 20 years ago, is what made me finally grok meal prep as a concept

AmiYumi fucked around with this message at 22:54 on Aug 29, 2019

Ithle01
May 28, 2013
I'm not going to lie, I was hoping for you to use the picture of the lamprey man from early X-Files. That episode scared the hell out of me as a kid. So, it seems like if you're a mortal and you come anywhere near these things you just die without much chance, are mortal hunters a thing?

Adbot
ADBOT LOVES YOU

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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

Hunters exist! They are absolutely not mechanically suited to fighting Hosts, which is probably why Hosts don't show up in their books.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5