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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Faction 1: Two different sets of Communists unite to form a dual monarchy of...checks notes...the people they or their predecessors dethroned in the first place, aided by the scientific prowess of the daughter of...checks notes again...a lifelong volcel who loved pigeons and was terrified by human hair.

Faction 2: The discovery of a mythical city of South American gold allows a Dune reference and a poorly named Italian group in reference to Da Vinci to create bioweaponry. They name themselves after either Nietzsche or a poor translation of the chief prophet of the Zoroastrian faith.

Faction 3: What if Shogunate Japan but they have fossil fuel engines and magic ghosts?

I kind of like the decreasing amount of explanation the stupidity requires.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 14:19 on Sep 10, 2019

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Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



God, yeah, the Trotsky bit flew right over my head because I was too distracted by his communists reinstating both the Czar and the Emperor of China

e: and the idea of Tesla having sex, which I actually find even less likely

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Halloween Jack posted:

People still get leprosy, too.

Nah, it's called Hansen's Disease now and it's completely curable.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



I suppose I could. Shunned by the Moon is the one that wowed me most recently, but if folks enjoyed it I can take a look at the others.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Dawgstar posted:

I enjoyed the Promethean one, where the really good highs made the depressing lows all the more apparently.

That one has some cool poo poo and some really awful poo poo in it. Love to make a literally unusable critter and another set of critters that do nothing useful!!

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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





Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 1: Sexy Frankensteins

This book is the 2e Night Horrors collection for Promethean, built around a theme of universal suffering. Everybody hurt. It also, like Werewolf, has a secondary theme of body horror and grotesquerie - where for Werewolf that's based around transformation, Promethean focuses more on the misshapen, put together from body parts in strange and grotesque ways in horrific alchemical experiments. So a slightly different form of body horror! Usually, Promethean body horror starts out about as gross as it's gonna get, rather than mutating people and changing their forms.

The first section is on Prometheans as foes, ranging from the Centimani that embrace dissolution and Flux to the new Petrificati who represent stagnation in the quest for humanity to just Prometheans who aren't doing nice things. Then we have a chapter on Pandorans, the vile monsters created when someone tries to make a Promethean and fails badly. They are driven only to feast on life, primarily the life stored inside Prometheans as they quest for humanity. Most are not intelligent, though the worst of them, the Sublimati, are quite smart, and we also get the new Praecipati, formed when large groups of Pandorans are fused together into singular beings. After that, we get a chapter on Alchemists - humans who seek perfection in Azoth to improve themselves, even if that means stealing power from the living bodies of Prometheans.

From there we talk about the Qashmallim, the mysterious forces that represent the will of the Divine Fire that drives demiurges to create Prometheans and drives Prometheans to pursue the New Dawn. They are guided by the Principle, and they are extremely mysterious even by nWoD standards. No one has a clue what their deal is, really. After them are people related to and created by the Cloning process - essentially, a way for humans to create new life by hijacking Prometheans in new and interesting ways. After that are the Zeky, a Lineage of Prometheans from 1e who have always been trouble to have around because their animating humor is nuclear radiation. Spoilers: they are actually worse off in 2e than they ever were before. This was not easy to achieve!

The book ends with an entire chapter on the Jovian. The Jovian is the Pyros Devil. This chapter is, um. It's a thing.

Next time: The Drone, the Cannibal.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 2: He's Coming To Your Toooooooown, Do You Wanna Get Dooooooown


2e Prometheans can be very weird-looking.

Actaeon is an Unfleshed (read: no human bodies involved) Promethean that couldn't exist a century ago, or even fifty years ago. The rise of technology - specifically, drone technology - is why it exists. Because Actaeon is a drone that achieved sentience, with the aid of someone or something hacking into it and granting it the spark of Divine Fire (read: the mysterious power that lets Prometheans exist, and may or may not be God). No further instruction was left for the newborn mind, ne message - though occasionally, Actaeon's internal firewalls now activate even when there is no apparent intrusion. It has spent the last decade watching, recording and learning. That last is the largest change from its life before it became alive. It can easily remember the exact moment that happened. It was watching over a private meeting between American and Chinese diplomats. It was a silent observation drone, well-made and without noise, and it abruptly fell from the sky when something reached into it and changed it. Before it could crash, its programs were overwritten by the Divine Fire.

Actaeon rose back into the sky, reactivated its camera link back to its masters and continued its work. The day proceeded as planned, with its handlers noting only a technical issue for further investigation. Actaeon began assembling a shell greater than its flying drone body, using its minimal ability to interact physically to shove together a pile of machine parts, cables and tubing in a roughly humanoid shape, using a stealth wetsuit it discovered to disguise its new body as a lumpy human. It managed to escape without anyone noticing its weirdness or lack of face. The first night outside that arms depot terrified it. It had no understanding of Azoth, who created it or why it was suddenly able to think and feel. Its first concern was to wonder if its fellow surveillance devices also possessed life but were somehow imprisoned, and attempted to decide if it was worse to be a single anomalous living thing or one among many that had left behind its fellows still trapped in their bodies. It considered suicide after pleading with a car to wake up and throw off its chains of slavery and managed to luck into a throng of other Prometheans finding it before it actually decided to kill itself.

Unfortunately, they weren't kind to poor Actaeon. They introduced it to the Pilgrimage (that is, the Promethean quest to gain a soul and become human), but treated it as a lesser being for barely being humanoid. They demanded it spy on their foes and watch clone labs for information. For years, it served loyally while following the Refinement of Lead, obeying its fellows and hoping for a better life. It made metal limbs to encase its tubing and wires, made a lead mask for its face. It tried to act more human, but received only mockery from its throngmates. It observed them, learning their anxieties, their secrets. Before each mission, it would record parts of their conversations, compiling data on each member. It didn't know why - it just felt compelled by its Role on the Pilgrimage and its programming to be an observer. Eventually, a throngmate found one of its files. This throngmate, a Frankenstein named Morrow, found the information Actaeon had compiled on her - hundreds of documents chronicling her vices, her torment of mortals and her betrayals of the throng in order to further her own Pilgrimage.

Morrow approached Actaeon after a mission, pleading with him to destroy the evidence. Its confusion swiftly turned to realization that it could take out vengeance for his suffering if it wanted. It promised to keep the data safe if Morrow would do things for it, helping it get more human, more powerful and more wealthy. Morrow agreed out of fear of abandonment, and it wasn't long before Actaeon was blackmailing the entire throng and any other Prometheans in the region. It now works to observe other Created, pushing them to fear and greater efforts at security. Even as they do, it works out how to bypass their electronic defenses. Many now pay Actaeon in information or cash to avoid its terrifying gaze. In theory, it should be rich. It prefers electronic payment using Bitcoin, but it doesn't bother to keep any of it - it destroys all the money it receives. Actaeon's not doing what it does for money, after all, but because it is the ultimate voyeur. It thrills at observing anything it hasn't seen before, and it has no need for material things except insofar as taking someone's money makes them do new things for it to watch. It craves new information, and it has developed several failsafes in case its blackmail schemes go too far and its victims decide to take it out.

From the moment of its sentience, Actaeon wanted to look human, and that's what drove it to use its tiny manipulators to make its humanoid body. It plans to replace the lead mask with a bronze one soon. Currently, of its original drone shell, only its rotors and six extremely impressive micro-cameras remain. It resembles a sort of tin man of scraps or rusty robot from an old sci fi movie. While it can pass for human thanks to Promethean magic, its unblinking gaze, extremely steady gait and flat smile unnerve humans that talk to it. It's not much of a speaker anyway, preferring to communicate in clipped, brief orders and after action reports. It always happily listens to stories, pleas for mercy or offers, staring at its victims as they ask for information. It raises its voice only when threatened, when its quiet, somewhat melodic tones turn harsh and grating, like a dial-up modem.

Like most Unfleshed, Actaeon wants to know what being really human is like. It wonders if it can even become human, given its barely humanoid form. Its limited imagination has prevented it from going far in its Pilgrimage, but it's not super concerned about that. Sometimes it attempts to emulate human behavior via its tone of voice and mannerisms, but even other Prometheans tend to find this extremely gross. Something has gone wrong with Actaeon's analysis of how humans work, thanks to its voyeuristic focus on the hidden and dangerous rather than ordinary life. It has grown to understand how other humans feel around its fellows, how its fellows act when they think no one is looking...but more than that, it has also recorded the work of alchemists and clone scientists, and it even attempts, with limited success, to track Pandorans.

Actaeon loves its role as watcher and doesn't care about being merciless. It may have developed differently if its throng hadn't been huge assholes, but at this point it has no desire to change how it acts. It hopes to one day acquire some truly world-shattering information, and spends a lot of time listening in on conspiracy-theorist radio. It wants to be there when a major world event happens and reveal either the truth or a really interesting lie to those involved. This tends to keep it ambitious, and it'd be a problem for other Prometheans hoping to go under the radar if they were to learn about it. Most that know of it believe it can be redeemed, though. The drone had only a short period of hope before it became jaded by the cruelty of its fellows. It really could be redeemed, but it'd need to be confronted with the cost of its actions before it realizes that it's doing anything wrong. Begging or pleading just won't work - it'd need to be something on the level of someone killing themselves over the guilt and pain it causes.

Actaeon has been mistaken for a Demon before; it isn't one. However, its awakening is related to Demons - it was a piece of a God-Machine Infrastructure, and it became sentient during an operation involving Demons hacking into it as payment for aid another Promethean had given them. Actaeon is still unsure why it was given life, given it has never had any communications from its creator, and would do anything for someone who could reveal the reasons for its birth. Some Prometheans are also starting to realize how truly dangerous it is to them. It's more than an information dealer and blackmailer - the fear it causes and the self-doubt its blackmail places in its victims tends to halt their Pilgrimages. This is never its intent, but that doesn't really help. It has caused many other Prometheans to suffer intense guilt and even Torment (read: magical Promethean tantrums that gently caress up everyone around them based on their worst natures due to being unable to control their feelings). If it can't be made to see the damage it's causing, it could be the reason for any number of personal disasters.

Actaeon is not exactly a powerhouse in combat. It's clever, fast and strong-willed, and it has decent social contacts for a Promthean, as well as fluent knowledge of Binary, SQL, Java and C++. (These are listed as Language merits, very funny.) It's fairly potent magically, though I'm not good enough with Promethean powers to, off the top of my head, say what all of its powers are gonna do for it. It has decent control over Disquiet (read: the tendency of people to react in overblown and negative ways to Prometheans due to their incomplete nature), detecting Azoth and Pyros, I believe Corporeum is control of physical objects and air, and it also has Benefice, which...I think is emotion control? Still, it would not be super hard to kick Actaeon's rear end, though presumably its failsafes involve protection from that. The GM has to come up with 'em, though.


Sexy!

Someone spent a lot of money on Angel. Her Unfleshed body was built from the core of an exceptionally well-made sex doll and every piece was put together by her creator with utmost care and love. It is unclear if she was built deliberately to become Promethean or if it happened simply as a result of the obsessive, terrifyingly creepy lust and love her genitor had for her. From the moment of her awakening, she craved sensation. In those early nights, she tried desperately to understand herself, her purpose. She played at being a dutiful companion to men and women alike, but it never fed her hunger. She couldn't understand why people kept themselves servants to society and would not enjoy the many pleasures of the world. While her lovers brooded, she partook in everything she found pleasurable. Nothing, however, seemed to satisfy her at her core. Not until she impulsively bit one of her lovers during sex. Taste and sensation overwhelmed her, and her lover shrank away in confusion as she became confused and then overjoyed.

Now, Angel no longer cares about her Pilgrimage. That's a human thing, and she has rejected being human. Purpose and meaning are for other people. All Angel wants is new sensations. She has given herself over the power of Flux, chasing new highs when even human flesh no longer pleased her. That's about when she realized the ingredient missing: Pyros. Time to eat Prometheans! Angel has filed her marble teeth down into serrated blades, to better bite through flesh. Her expensive, once-lovely clothes are now shredded and stained. She grows and shrinks in size based on how much Pyros she has consumed lately - not much and she looks emaciated, haggard and dull, while after a rich meal she becomes beautiful once more. She also draws physical strength from her meals, her muscles becoming thick and powerful as she feeds. She is always hunting for new prey, using her natural ability to sense Azothic radiance to track other Prometheans.

Often, Angel hunts while disguised, and she is not satisfied with just killing and eating now. She feels driven to taunt, hunt and even seduce her prey. She can (and does) eat humans, but she doesn't feel much from it, far preferring the rush of outwitting and consuming her fellow Prometheans. She especially loves talking to her prey, and even lets them talk back sometimes. She was, after all, created to be a companion, and that's part of herself she can't get rid of. She loves to learn about her victims and how they think, the better to pretend to be them if she decides to skin and wear them. Still, her need to chase a new high always comes. She hides her monstrosity for as long as she can, to better savor the moment of revelation in the victim's expression right before they die. She adores the look of shock and horror.

Even other Centimani dislike Angel. Her reputation has spread, and they know she rarely cares if she hunts a normal Promethean or a fellow Centimanus. The few of them that work in groups shun her as much as possible. Deep down, Angel longs to be cherished and treasured once more. She was no cheap doll, and it was only the death of her creator that started her on the path of pursuing sensation to replace the love that was felt for her. She's never been able to do so. Thus, she chases her highs, hoping to fill the literal emptiness inside her with Pyros in its place. Terror isn't as good as love, but it'll do in a pinch.

Once Angel reveals what she is, she's not subtle. Her goal is simple - eat as much Promethean flesh as possible and then move on, always tracking the next prey. Once she starts to kill, stories about her work spread quickly through the Promethean whisper networks. The specifics are always hard to figure out, but 'Centimanus' and 'cannibal' are words frequently heard. When she arrives in a new town, she typically hides among the poor and disenfranchised, joining shantytowns or other homeless communities. She's a master of using her doppelganger powers to establish a base for herself, and while she tries to keep her mortal cover and her prey seperate, she will eat the occasional overly pushy or irritating mortal. She's also imperfect - she's left witnesses and survivors before. Some of them become a bit obsessive. They think that she can steal someone else's Pilgrimage by eating them. This is untrue; Angel doesn't care about the Pilgrimage at all. But they think that she's found a shortcut, and it's not going to take much of that kind of thinking before someone desperate tries to find Angel and learn from her.

Angel is superhumanly tough and a decent fighter, but besides lying and sneaking around, she isn't good at much else. She's tough as hell, though. She's also very good at using her magic powers to blend in temporarily as well as wielding the power of Flux to blight and harm others.

Next time: The Fallen Idol, the Hunter's Best Friend

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Wizard people have a total of three radio stations.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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



Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 3: Matchbox Twenty


Background Image Energies

Beatrice Ahuja was once a member of a Promethean throng known as the Matchbox. They were close to the New Dawn, seemingly empowered by Pyros and vitality, ready to seize their new lives. They had long been held in regard for what passes as Promethean society for their simple but effective studies of the Refinements (read: philosophies of humanity), Lineages and Pandorans. Many eagerly awaited news of their ascension to humanity. One night, however, Beatrice sent out a message: "The Matchbox is alight. There will be no ascension. There will be no survivors. We were betrayed by our own hopes, willing to step on each other's faces for a chance to live. We threw each other into the fire as hope guided us to a new, flickering light. I am the only one left. I did not reach the light. The others are dead. The Ladder is a folly. There is no hope for creatures like us." The report spread far and wide, crushing optimism for many, while others sought Beatrice to learn the details. They could not find her.

Before her fall, Beatrice was a widely recognized (for Promethean values of 'widely recognized') paragon of the Refinement of Gold, a master of emulating humanity, but quickly abandoned it for Iron, being an outspoken proponent of avoiding over-reliance on Alembics (read: specially developed Promethean powers) because they slowed down progress of the soul. She moved on to Lead after that. This is, as a side note, the mechanically correct choice as a Promethean - once you complete your Refinement's Roles, you should swap. Anyway, Beatrice's philosophy appealed to many, despite the controversial nature of it, because while it was tempting to rest easy in a Refinement, her way was one of constant internal growth and motion. She had constant energy, being an Extempore (read: Promethean of unique Lineage) born of pure energy, and she was the core around which the Matchbox formed. Her fall was a terrible thing, and it seemed that in the final moments, when one of the Matchbox might have to give up their life for the rest or perhaps that the New Dawn could visit only one of them, they could not give up their own hopes and fell to internal strife.

In a moment of despair, Beatrice attempted to recreate her throng and find her old purpose. It went horribly wrong. Her efforts to resurrect them may have been tainted by bitterness or perhaps she used too much of the static and white noise that was her own humour in the process. What awoke were physical replicas of the old Matchbox, but with a constant hiss of energy around them, black and white static in their eyes and a terrible crackling whenever they spoke. Beatrice fell to the path of the Centimanus out of despair at having made these Pandorans. They depleted her power, but they did not attempt to kill her. Rather, they recognized her sacrifices in making them and did their best to comfort their "mother," allowing her to exist within them as a buzzing audio form until she was able to re-emerge into her own physical existence.

The Ahuja Pandorans, as some call them, now terrorize Prometheans in an effort to inflict twisted versions of Beatrice's moral lessons. They came after those Prometheans that do not move on in their roles, seeking to steal their power via fear and devouring. They rarely kill, preferring to leave their prey as withered but living husks. Somehow, they channel Beatrice's belief that the New Dawn can only be gained by abandoning pursuit of personal power, though they have only a vestigial grasp or memory of her old cause. Beatrice herself no longer believes in her old code, thanks to the betrayals she saw and took part in, and her "children" subverting her beliefs to weaken others has only increased her loss of faith. Beatrice's existence is within her Pandorans, spread between their bodies in a state of tortured mourning. She is able to communicate through them - the rare times their words make any sense are when her consciousness surfaces, dreamlike, to speak - but she can't control their actions, which are driven by her nightmares and suffering. Beatrice really wishes another way existed, but she is convinced that all Prometheans are hopeless and that the New Dawn is impossible. She really believes the Matchbox were the best of all Prometheans, and if they were unable to achieve humanity, no one else has any hope of it. Therefore, by giving everyone else a harsh reality check, she's doing them a favor, really.

Beatrice herself has not been seen since her message went out, but is remembered as being a Sikh woman with traditional bana in blue and yellow, a kind face and a permanent crackle in her voice, as if she'd spent a lifetime smoking. Today, she primarily appears through the bodies of her "children," each of which manifests her abilities with varying focus. Each Pandoran resembles a member of the Matchbox - a huge, tanned Tammuz with Maori tattoos, a spiny, scary Galateid with green hair, an innocent-looking Frankenstein that resembles a child sewn up after an autopsy, and a Faceless in a gas mask that stinks of ammonia. They were made using the bodies of the Matchbox, but their actions bear little resemblance to their forebears, with any resemblances driven only by Beatrice's memories. Ahuja and her Pandorans all possess strange humours, being Extempore. Specifically, they buzz and crackle with static electricity at all times, making hair stand on end and causing earaches, as well as disrupting local electronic transmissions. When wounded or purging Vitriol (read: enlightenment juice) they leak vibrant static energies, which are able to overload anything in the local area capable of producing feedback; that feedback takes the form of Beatrice wailing and crying.

Unlike most, the Ahuja Pandorans are not simply automata without thought. They target only strong Prometheans, both to feed on them and to teach them "valuable lessons." Some Prometheans understand they are somehow tied to Ahuja, but have not managed to figure out a way to communicate with her while she hibernates inside the Pandorans. Each one wears a skull around their necks, believed to be taken from the Prometheans whose bodies were used to create them. Despite her depression, Beatrice remains a wise being, and while her throng failed in its goal, their work wasn't entirely in vain. Ahuja's theories led them to a Pilgrimage that was not harmful to the mortals they met, and was relatively fast compared to most others. While their communal betrayal ruined their plans, their method was in fact a good one - and as I noted, the mechanically optimal path. If Beatrice could be made to understand the errors the Matchbox made, she might be able to remember her philosophy and become a teacher again...but it'll be hard while she's on the Refinement of Flux.

Beatrice genuinely loves her Pandorans despite their state, in part due to their resemblance to her old friends and in part because they held her when she needed it, even if it caused them to absorb her for a while. She knows making them was an act of madness, but currently they are her sole comfort. If a throng were able to somehow bring her Pandorans together and address them as intelligent beings capable of hope, Beatrice might talk through them. A tiny part of her consciousness still believes that redeeming her would be of no import compared to allowing her Pandorans to somehow engage in the Pilgrimage, and giving her the ability to do so might resurrect her lost hopes. It wouldn't fix everything, however. Many that looked to Beatrice for hope turned Centimanus when her fall came and her last message went out, driven to despair by the loss of what they saw as their great mentor. While redeeming her would be nice, some Prometheans are not going to forgive her and would try to kill her for what they see as a betrayal of all of their kind. Others believe that she's just an agent of chaos, that the entire story's a hoax designed to dupe people into sympathy for her. If so, Beatrice certainly isn't confirming it. Her depression prevents much communication, of course, but if confronted by this rumor her reaction might be terrible. It claims she has legions of Pandorans based on her throngmates lying in wait to strike as she laughs at everyone else. Also of note - while Beatrice is still stuck inside her Pandorans, something else has come out of them. An energy creature that very much resembles Beatrice has emerged, speaking with her voice. It emerged from the residual energies left by her Pandorans when they use her powers. It is a reflection of the old Beatrice, essentially an energy-based ghost or reflection. It does not appear to be aware that it's not the real Beatrice, and it seems to be acting as the old Beatrice would.

Beatrice is a pretty experienced Promethean, extremely smart but not really bad at anything. She's not a fighter, but her stats mean she'd be pretty slow to die even by Promethean standards. She has a wide but shallow array of magic powers. She can boost her speed and athleticism, toughen herself up and appear as a normal human, command Pandorans, disrupt the use of Promethean powers, boost her vision and see various invisible things, boost her scent, hearing and taste, detect or disrupt supernatural powers generally, sense memories with a touch, and boost her resolve and will.


It's a skin condition.

Dr. Bennet Prichard is the best friend a Hunter could have. No matter what monster threatens, he has a lead or theory to keep you going. He connects various Hunter cells, helping them find others with similar causes. He rises to the occasion, coordinating hunts and even helping fight occasionally. He's smart, fast and all he wants are live captures so he can experiment on some monsters to develop new tools to help the hunt. It's taken him a very long time to build up this reputation and persona among Hunters, and it's all to find new supernatural beings to analyze and dissect, so that he can find what's missing from his own broken existence. He's certain he's on the right path - the truth is there, waiting for him in the flesh of his subjects. He's not always been so sure, but he's always been curious.

At first, his curiosity was limited to his own body, the feelings of it and the idiosyncracies of his muscles and tendons. He was a gentle watcher, separate from humanity but fascinated by them. However, something hid among them, and that something noticed him watching. One night, the somethings took him, strapping him to a table in their lair. For years, he suffered under their experiments. They studied him, vivisected him, took notes and whispered to each other about what he might be. He fell into despair, interrupted only by the pain of the incisions. His captors studied him scientifically and mystically to determine what he was, and while they questioned him, he had no answers they liked. He thought his torture would be eternal - but one night, gunfire burst through the lair of these witches. They had caught the attention of Hunters, and those saviors hadn't a clue what Prichard was beyond a victim of the witches. They freed him, and as he recovered, he had an epiphany. His experience, agonizing though it was, had given him something.

Prichard set about creating a relationship with his mortal saviors, learning about their ideal of stamping out monsters that preyed on humans. He turned his skills at watching and study to seeing the patterns of mortals and the creatures thatm oved among them. His first deal was for a vampire - he'd lead his new friends to a vampire nest in exchange for one of the monsters to study. While at first reluctant, the Hunters agreed when they learned how much information Prichard had gatheredo n the nest. As the vampires burned, he took his prize home and set about cutting it apart. For more than a decade, he has worked with Hunter cells, providing them information to gain their trust and helping them figure out how to fight the things they go up against. In exchange, he receives subjects to study. He sends out regular info updates, can call on hunter cells to provide backup for those that work with him, will help with his exceptional surgical skills and will even sometimes go onsite to provide direct backup. He keeps his social interactions with the cells as brief as possible, of course, but all of them know that when it gets bad, they can count on the Doc.

Prichard is very unsettling. His skin is covered in patches of vitiligo, and so gaunt that the lines of his skull are nearly visible, making him come off as skeletal. He appears to be a well-groomed (but for the pale patches) African-American man with a trimmed beard and close-cut hair. He dresses comfortably in well-tailored and durable clothes and, usually, a lab coat. His hands are practically bone-white and usually covered by dark gloves. He's not large, but he's fit and wiry, with nimble hands and a slight limp. Few notice that his left leg is prosthetic. His voice is a deep, soft baritone that requires attention to be able to catch what he's saying, as he's not loud. He speaks briefly and with few words, never interrupts anyone, and has a piercing stare. He never jokes and does not even really acknowledge that humor is a thing. He is serious, direct and doesn't conceal irritation when dealing with people that waste his time. The Hunters that deal with him speak highly of him, to the point of absolute loyalty, even though he never treats them in a friendlier way than slight smiles and handshakes. He is eager to hear any news they bring, and while he considers some of them friends, earning his friendship is a very slow process.

The only thing that can really rattle Prichard's demanor is direct disrespect, either to himself or his friends. When angry, he often hisses at the cause, gets up in their space and forces them to either engage him or back away. Because he knows the risks of his allies discovering his true nature, Prichard keeps all meetings as brief as possible and is rarely available to any given person for more than a few minutes. He knows even these brief interactions hold the danger of Disquiet, which could unravel all he's worked for. Thus, he spends much of his time online, hunting for traces of supernatural activity. He's extremely interested in finding another Promethean to study and dissect, much as he was once studied by wizards. He will pay heavily for any information on beings similar to himself in any fashion. He knows they exist, but hasn't seen one since his genitor created him. He's actually starting to lose hope. After years of work, his studies have started to plateau and he's yet to find anything that concretely aids his Pilgrimage. He has recorded the internal alchemy of dozens of monsters, but they've never been very close to his own condition, so he has few breakthroughs. Because of his deceptions and his fear of discovery, it should perhaps be unsurprising that the lack of progress has caused him to daydream of leaving his path and giving up. If he ever does become a Centimanus, his hunter allies are in grave danger.

Doc Prichard is very careful to keep his lair hidden, but folks aren't dumb. There's rumors flying about the industrial district of his city, and the poor and homeless whisper about his comings and goings. They watch him until he finally calls in his friends to push them out. So far, Prichard's never had any of them killed, but it's only a matter of time before he has to cross that line, given how curious people are getting about the weird guy that drags bodies in and calls in thugs to clear them out of his sewage tunnels. Younger hunters often discuss over drinks what the good doctor might actually be - he knows so much about the undead condition, after all. While their elders that have worked with him longer are deeply loyal, the younger and more curious theorize he could be anything from a rogue witch to a traitor vampire. The older hunters usually end these rumors as best they can, but sometimes the foolhardy go looking for trouble they're unable to handle. It'd be fairly easy for new Hunters or Prometheans in town to overhear these discussions at a bar and start seeking the truth. On a positive note for the city (and a negative one for Prichard), they're actually running low on targets. As he grows desperate, he's been sending more and more hunters out to capture monsters - particularly the street-level vampires that ran many of the city's gangs. Without direction and with their leaders being kidnapped, these gangs and enforcers are too scared to act. While that's nice, it's also really weird, and more than a few people have taken notice and want to know why.

Prichard is an Osiran, quite smart but not really remarkable outside that. He's a decent-ish fighter, but it's his academic skills that make him so useful to his Hunter buddies. They and his well-hidden lair are what make him so hard to take down, if that was your goal. He is able to charge objects with Divine Fire to empower them, raise corpses as zombie pseudo-Prometheans he can question about their lives or command, can temporarily immobilize people, is good at preventing his Disquiet from spreading, can make his bodily fluids poisonous, can sense the past presence of other Prometheans, tap into the Promethean collective memory to get temporary skills, can imprint his own memories on places for others to find, and can drain Pyros from other Prometheans or can tear it out of the flesh of living beings.

Next time: The Showman, Madame Happythoughts

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
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Promethean overview: All Prometheans are powered by magical alchemy, animated by a dominant humour in place of, like, normal fluids. They are visibly inhuman when using their magic powers as a result, because the alchemical power blazes through. They cause Disquiet, which basically makes humans act obsessively towards them, flavored by their Lineage.

Your chief subgroups are the Lineages, which are How You Got Made. The main ones are:

1. Frankensteins/The Wretched, made by being put together out of various stolen body parts. Their primary humour is yellow bile, making them hot-tempered and vengeful. They are usually super strong and can replace their body parts more easily. Their Disquiet is anger- and blame-based - they get mobs with torches and pitchforks after them for all perceived ills.
2. Galateids/The Muses, typically made of a single body made out of a desire to create the perfect object of love. Their chief humour is blood, making them tend to bravery, compassion and impracticality or confusion. They tend to be insanely beautiful and able to inspire. Their Disquiet is possessiveness - people want to own and control them.
3. Osirans/The Nepri, made from ritually prepared corpses missing a bit. Like Osiris, see. Their chief humour is phlegm, making them calm and dispassionate - sometimes to dangerous extremes of unemotionality. Also they suffer heavily from psychological fatigue and depression. They can speak to corpses and are better than other Prometheans at coming back to life. Their Disquiet is based on jealousy, obsessive curiosity and envy.
4. Tammuz/The Named are created to serve, animated by mystical names inscribed on their corpses after being buried in earth and clay. Their humour is black bile, making them meticulous, cautious and stubborn, as well as prone to insomnia and violent outbursts when upset or obsessive activity. They are able to wield mystic words of power and are very tough. Their Disquiet causes everything they say to be taken the wrong way or gets misinterpreted in the worst possible sense..
4. Ulgans/The Riven are made when a body's soul is removed, their body gets turned into spiritual ectoplasm and is torn apart and put back together by spirits. Their humour is ectoplasm, making them driven and ambitious, but also attractive to ghosts and spirits. They tend to be protective but feel detached from others. They can see spirits and can temporarily phase in and out of reality, and they are often plagued by the memories of the spirits or ghosts bound into them as a power source.
5. Unfleshed/The Manufactured are inanimate objects brought to life by obsession, usually when a human attempts to make a perfect replica of a person out of them. These are your walking mannequins, AIs, statues, etc. Their humour is oil, reflecting both the best and worst of technology. They are obedient and eager to serve, but also prone to lashing out violently when they feel controlled by someone. They're tough because they're not made of meat.
6. Extempore/The Matchless is the catchall for weird one-offs.

Prometheans follow a Refinement, a philosophical path to understanding humanity, which gives them Transmutations (broad powersets) split into Alembics (less broad powersets), and require they conform to certain roles of human behavior, which they learn to understand and master. Ideally, after mastering them, you then move on to a new Refinement until you finally achieve enough understanding and gain enough Azoth (your power stat) to become a real boy.

E: Your chief antagonists are: Pandorans ('someone tried to make a Promethean and it hosed up and made a monster instead'), Alchemists (people hunting you to get at the valuable mystic juices inside your body) and Rathbens (like Alchemists, but they're scientists, not mystics, and your mystic juices are the key to mastering the science of cloning). Oh, and Centimani, who are Prometheans that have rejected the path of gaining humanity in favor of monstrosity and chaos.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 19:57 on Sep 12, 2019

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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2014-2018



Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 4: The Mentalist


It's magic!

"Sensational" Jasper Brouillard is an anomaly - a popular, even famous stage magician and spiritualist that is also a Promethean. In life, Jasper was a medium of great ability but diminishing wealth, drawing fewer and fewer crowds in Las Vegas. He became a street magician to stay relevant, though few other mediums followed his lead despite he popularity he earned once TV crews started following him around. They couldn't - Jasper was able to put on accurate seances and channel spirits in public without any apparent preparation or hot reads. He did what no one else seemed able to - he legitimately heard the voices of the dead and accurately communicated them. Whatever methods he used, however, died with him. He was murdered on live broadcast while interviewing nightclub patrons and offering to contact the dead using his Ouija board. As he channeled a screaming spirit that was accusing someone in the club of killing her, he was shot by an unidentified attacker. The bullet went directly through his head, and he died.

By chance, one of the patrons was an Ulgan Promethean who seized the chance represented by the many spirits hanging out around Jasper to reignite the spark of life in his corpse. When "Jasper" returned from his experience in Twilight, he was Ulgan, housing the spirits he once communed with. The man who goes by Jasper Brouillard now has no memory of his body's former life. It is unclear to anyone whether the spirits powering his body are ghosts or elemental spirits of murder and vengeance; Brouillard presumably knows but isn't saying. Still, when he stood up after being shot, he became a sensation. He claimed later to have visited a private surgeon for the bullet wound, but the media frenzy was less about his miraculous recovery and more about his abilities. In the first interview he gave after his "near-death experience," he revealed with terrifying accuracy the secrets of six randomly selected people. He said that he received these secrets from the ghosts of angry relatives or victims of crime. His statements were so accurate and delivered with such conviction that for a long while, he was the only medium on primetime TV.

The Showman, as Prometheans know him, loves the spotlight. He's pursuing lucrative TV contracts and even an autobiopic, ignoring the inner feelings of torment and the pressure other Prometheans put on him to keep a lower profile as well as the jealousy of his peers in the business. Somehow, he seems to have the best of both worlds, using his wealth and fame to keep touring so as to avoid the negative consequences of his own nature. Many were envious, but he seemed to be causing little harm...at first. As time went on, however, his shows became less about talking to the dead beyond vague pronouncements and more about special effects. While he always carries his Ouija board, he never uses it now - indeed, he hasn't since he was "born." Many found him weird and uncomfortable among Prometheans, but few called him an enemy...until, one night, he performed a live dissection of a Frankenstein on stage, framing it as a trick involving animatronics and illusion. Critics proclaimed it an unbelievable act, disgusting but amazing, and he only drew more applause when he started identifying the former owners of the Frankenstein's body parts. Prometheans wondered what the gently caress was going on.

Jasper's Pilgrimage has been unusual, to say the least. He's traveled the world, spending weeks away from his production teams to explore the places he goes to, and particularly their cemeteries. His personality has shifted rapidly through all this, skipping between Refinements quickly in hopes of finding one that'd ground him and give him purpose. His mercurial, shifting nature has given him little chance to study, so his Pilgrimage is primarily based in action - specifically, taking other Prometheans apart and trying to talk to their humours as if they were spirits representing the basic parts of life. Even he is surprised at how quickly it's going. He knows other Prometheans hate and envy him, but why should he feel bad for killing things that aren't even alive or human? All he cares about is fame and followers, and he only rarely questions his gifts. He is half dead, half alive, and easily approachable by ghosts and spirits. He can identify and communicate with them easily, using them to learn more about other Prometheans, mortals and his path. Some Prometheans even seek him out, as he can easily seek out the ghosts of demiurges, the origins of their body parts or the circumstances that led to their births. He maintains a balance between being a great if sensationalist resource and abusing his fellows for cheap entertainment and money.

Jasper is a handsome man who looks exactly like a stage magician should. He's such a stereotype that few would trust him easily - the grand gestures, waxed facial hair, purple outfit and stupid magic tricks with his top hat don't inspire confidence - but his results are clear. He loves to surprise people with his talent - they expect a circus magician, and he's a real mystic. He has a strong Quebecois accent, and he can range from quiet and intense to booming. While he is one of the greatest celebrity mediums, his grandeur is only when the cameras are on. He's not about to put on shows for free, after all, and he knows how to balance his shows between intimacy and magnifience. He never stops smiling. He doesn't worry about his associations with mortals, despite the Disquiet he causes over time. He regularly has to shift stage crews, agents and so on, and he's rarely in one place for more than a month at a time. His only permanent residence is his hotel room at the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas, which has caused the place to lose business and increased local violence and vice among other longterm residents; he doesn't care. He has a distinct scar in the center of his forehead, where the bullet entered his skull. He wears a long wig to hide the exit wound at the base of his skull.

Jasper collects secrets, partially for the money he can make off them and partially to aid his Pilgrimage. He has a lot of dirt on other Prometheans, though he rarely uses it just to hurt someone. Rather, he believes his Pilgrimage is about experiencing everything humanity has to offer, learn about life and death, and remain relevant to mortals. Other Prometheans, in his mind, aren't alive and thus aren't worthy of sharing his fame. He aspires to find the ghost of the true Jasper Brouillard, in the hopes that the dead medium will be able to show him how to use his gifts and ties to the dead. The Showman is not a true medium, and his Promethean powers can only go so far in making up for what he lost when his shell died. He hopes that if he can bind the ghost of Jasper Brouillard to himself, he will regain the man's powers. It's a fairly open secret that Jasper partakes in excessive vice in his safe haven in Vegas. He is well known in the industry for his love of sex, violence and weird poo poo. The hotel managers know he's a decadent hedonist, but he pays his bills on time and always cleans up his messes. When not touring or performing or having private fun, Jasper enjoys watching various acts along the Strip.

Jasper is well known among Prometheans for his fascinating with Frankensteins. He has worked with illicent clone labs before to kidnap Frankensteins so that he can trace the origins of their parts, and his live dissection of a Frankenstein on TV has earned him the Lineage's hatred. They aren't generally very good at controlling their anger, either. Some believe he's not a Promethean but a Sin-Eater; they're wrong, though they almost weren't. In life, Jasper Brouillard's spiritual abilities attracted many powerful ghosts, including several full-on geists. A handful were planning to fight over who got to claim him when he died, but they never counted on a Promethean stealing their thunder. Now, bitter over the loss, these vengeful superghosts are hunting for Jasper's genitor. For his part, Jasper would love to actually meet a Sin-Eater and learn from them. Others are more worried about the Prometheans that'll seek him out. Jasper has no followers yet on his path of hedonism, excess and wanton disregard for other Prometheans, but it can't be long before others, tired of the tragedy of their existences, try to follow his footsteps. Given how much harm Jasper causes to the mortals around him just by not caring about what his nature does to them, many Prometheans regard this prospect as a horrific crime in the making, with the potential of hurting all of them - if not just morally, than for the practical effects of Disquiet being more widespread.

Jasper is smart, charismatic and manipulative as hell, but he's pretty weak-willed and not exactly a fighter. He's more likely to rely on hired bodyguards than his own talents in a fight. Or ghosts, I suppose. He's famous and well-connected, especially for a Promethean, and has decent wealth - extravagant wealth by Promethean standards. He's also quite potent magically. He can make himself resemble other people easily or even copy their fingerprints onto his own hands, he's super stealthy and can turn practically invisible, he can make people slavishly obsessed with him for a while or cause massive confusion and amnesia, can sprout claws (though it's a bad idea for him) or turn into a giant dogbeast or copy normal animals, can alter his own appearance in various ways to scare folks or avoid notice, can do the weird memory tricks the last guy could do, can tap into the Promethean collective unconscious to gain information about supernatural stuff, can temporarily disguise himself as other kinds of supernatural critter, and can make objects explode into invisible supernatural energy that distracts magical senses.


It's also a skin condition. The condition is being on fire.

Missy Bellingrath has always been on the move, from day one. She's a drifter in the swamps of the Gulf Coast, born during Hurricane Katrina. Her creator, another Frankenstein with a face made of tattered skin stapled to a skull, made her using the storm's energies and dared her to catch him if she could. The chase was her only purpose. She was always just a day or so behind, stumbling into all kinds of traps - shapeshifting crocodiles, voodoo mystics, the works. She made friends with the mystics and studied under them, and they experimented with the humours within her, distilling them into various concoctions. Fearing that she'd be nothing but a source of materials, Missy fled the coven with the potions and began studying alchemy as best she could. Sure it couldn't hurt her, she drank deep of the potion, which energized her and improved her already terrifying strength. She forgot entirely about chasing her creator, because now she had a new purpose: perfecting the potion and finding something besides Pyros to fuel it.

Missy gave up on everything but finding more tools to make her new drug...well, that and maybe someone to bring with her. She still feels the call of her "missing" body parts, the counterparts of those used to create her, though she's given up on her creator's game of tag. Why bother hunting him when she could find meaning in the needle and her new concoction? The creation, based on the voodoo cabal's starting point and then Missy's instinctive grasp of alchemy, is a potent stimulant that infuses Promethean bodies, causing their disfigurements to become obvious as if they'd used magic. It is extremely addictive, but gives a bonus to all physical and mental actions for several hours, though a penalty to tasks that require concentration or coordination. The bonus increases if the drug is made using supernatural ingredients, such as werewolf bones or vampire blood. Missy has yet to make one based on Promethean humours, so it's unknown what those would do.

The real problem is the other side effect it has on Prometheans: it brings their body parts to life. Those created from the bodies of the dead feel a rush of emotion from the people whose body parts they were made of, and can hear their voices whispering and feel their flesh burning. Any creature made from dead body parts or similar will have the same effects, though the source of the voices is unclear and mysterious. Prometheans that roll badly when taking the drug can also ignite their internal Pyros stores, taking Lethal damage (or Aggravated if they're really unlucky and literally burst into flame).

Missy's not really able to pass for human any more. Her genitor tried to make her as complete as he could and match her parts properly, but her drug habit and lack of care for herself has ruined all that work. Parts of her pale skin are scorched around the edges or even burned away. Her stitching is cracked and blackened by the heat, leaving long marks along her seams. She has pierced several of the areas they've burned away with titanium bars to hold herself together, plus some rings and studs for looks. She wears anything she can find - usually t-shirts and jeans - and is generally twitchy, giggles for no reason and stares off into space at random without finishing her sentences. When she finds something that catches her eye, she becomes a skilled manipulator who has mastered the art of getting people isolated so she can jab a syringe into them to extract precious bodily fluids to make her drug. While high, she is a hedonist that follows whatever desire happens to get into her head at that moment.

Missy's met a few other Prometheans and shared her drug with them, and the word's out among the Gulf Coast Prometheans. Everyone wants to know what's in the drug that maeks everything feel so clear...but while Missy's happy to share her stash, she charges a hefty price to learn how to make the stuff. Specifically, she won't do it except for a draught of the humours that animate the Promethean asking for instruction. No one knows if anyone's taken her up on that or not, but it is perhaps unsurprising that her clients tend to view her as a dangerous and unhinged (if necessary) killer. The humans that get in Missy's orbit are rarely left particularly sane, either. She sends some into permanent fugue states, broken by whatever loss she took from them, while others had their minds broken by her drug, unable to handle their glimpse of its power. She is known as Madame Happy Thoughts among the drug user community, most of whom would kill for another hit of the stuff. Those Prometheans not interested in her stash tend to find her very, very disturbing. Some say she's stealing the power of the Principle itself, though the drug does not appear to have any negative effects (or positive ones) on the Pilgrimage. Sure, addiction can stunt your growth by refocusing you on just pursuing the high, but that's about it.

Missy is, at this point, a Centimanus, though as they go, not a particularly malicious one except for her habit of stealing bodily fluids. Her stats are nothing special - she's clever and fast, but she's basically average at stuff. She's decently good for a self-taught chemist and medic, but not amazing. She also has very little in the way of mystic power. She can boost her smell, taste and hearing, can cause Disquiet deliberately, can worsen Wastelands (read: the negative environmental aura of being a Promethean in one place too long), and can summon Firestorms (giant...firestorms of Divine Fire going haywire). Oh, and she has a bite attack, because she uses one of the new powers in this book that lets her eat people to steal their mental abilities, stats or skills temporarily. So that's a trick.

Next time: The Lost, the Many-Voiced

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 5: Ghostface Helper


Shockingly, this dude is not high as gently caress.

Nivilin the Lost was, at one point, a promising Ulgan with a talent for helping ghosts move on. Heartbreak, however, has sent him down the path of the Centimanus while his throng desperately tries to cover for him. He worked constantly to try to gain mortal acceptance. He even put his phone number in the yellow pages as an exorcist for hire, against his throng's advice. Sure, it got him more harassing phone calls than anything else, but he really, truly wanted to help people, even if his few clients weren't generally grateful. He'd drop everything at any time to go do the work, but once he ended the haunting, they would call him a fake and refuse to pay. His throng begged him to move on, to shift himself from Aurum ('achieve humanity through mimicking human behavior') to Argentum ('achieve humanity through pursuit of the mysterious'), to better use his talents to learn without having to interact with assholes. He ignored them, certain that the Divine Fire meant for him to forge a bond with mortality. Spiritualism was a tool, but love was what he was seeking.

One night, Nivilin answered a midnight phone call from desperate parents looking for a cure for their infant daughter. She'd been sickly since birth, but testing revealed nothing wrong with her despite her constant weight loss. The doctors could do nothing. Now, they were calling an exorcist. Nivilin went, discovering a spiritual parasite latched onto the girl. It was an evil thing, but weak, and he was able to quickly defeat it with his powers, driving it away. The girl smiled at him, and Nivilin felt the warmth of love flow into him. His Pyros rose up in joy - and her parents snatched the baby away, terrified by what they felt coming from the Promethean. They called him a devil-worshipping pervert and threatened to call the cops. His heart broke as the baby began to cry, and he fled, rejecting the love he had felt and turning from his path, falling deep into Torment. (Read: a magically enforced temper tantrum caused by significant failure on the Pilgrimage, among other things.)

At this point, Nivilin turned to Argentum, delving into the mysteries of the spirit world and learning more about spirits and ghosts. (Promethean does not make a strong distinction between the two.) He began to help these beings as once he helped mortals...and unlike mortals, the spirits were grateful. Selfish, yes, unpredictable, but grateful. As word spread among them about the Promethean that would aid them, they began to approach him for aid from all over. Any kind of spirit - he turned none down. He was happily surprised, loving the feeling of being thanked for his work, and he lost himself in it. His throng was horrified as they realized he was no longer actually following the Pilgrimage - just working for spirits to feel respected. He went from being a mediator or even facilitator to an accomplice, aiding a fire spirit in burning down homes and a drowning spirit in killing a swimmer. Eventually, a small and pathetic spirit came to him. It had tried, it said, and failed to kill a mortal over ten years before, and now it had one last chance. It had starved these past ten years, was too weak to kill, but Nivilin might help it. Nivilin recognized it immediately as the creature he had banished from the infant girl ten years prior...and decided he didn't care. Love had broke him, so he would break it back. Nivilin reattached the parasite-spirit to the girl, now a ten-year-old child, and his Pilgrimage ended entirely. He fell to Flux and became Centimanus.

Nivilin gives no shits about either mortals or other Prometheans. Even his own throng is an afterthought for him. He isn't needlessly cruel, but he also doesn't care if he has to maim or kill people to pursue his goals. He didn't embrace Flux for philosophical reasons or power - he did it because he gave up on becoming human, but a Promethean burns too bright to exist without following a path. He became a Centimanus largely because he rejected being anything else. He still acts pretty much like he did before becoming a Centimanus, working with spirits and keeping up appearances. His throng hasn't even realized he's dangerous, in fact. They know he's fallen to Flux, but don't understand the full implications of that. He's still one of them, a friend, and not one of those bad, dangerous Centimani they've heard about. Nivilin has done nothing to disabuse them of this, largely because he doesn't care enough about them to do so. He has occasional use for them and has no compulsion to cause trouble needlessly. Nivilin always takes the easiest path to his goals, no matter what that is.

He's buried himself in his work with spirits, even experimenting with his Flux powers to try and burn away and destroy the material world. He surrounds himself with spirits, some bound as servants, others asking for help. They speak to him constantly, and he listens to them more than anything else. His body appears Mediterranean, with tan skin and dark hair that falls to his shoulders in soft curls. He's a well-built man, not too thin or too muscular, with full lips. Pyros has begun to char and blacken the wounds left from his creation, causing him to smell faintly of burning flesh - or stronger, when he's using his power. His eyes are black pools in bloodshot sockets, and he's hard to read. That's less because he's good at hiding his feelings and more because his facial muscles don't work properly as a side effect of his birth process. He is now experimenting with body modification to more closely emulate spirits, and he has carved a number of ritual scars into his skin.

Nivilin, thirteen years ago, kept the infant girl's shoe. It fell off the baby when her parents snatched her away, and he's kept it in a box that is shoved in the back of his closet. He has not opened it since. Now, three years after having murdered the girl, he still has it. He claims not to care, even believes what he says, but if it were stolen he would go to great lengths to get it back. The shoe is a reminder of the love he once felt, and could be used to get him back on the Pilgrimage, in theory. He's also discovered something weird: an alien conspiracy of not-quite-spirits, which refer to themselves as angels, which serve some greater entity that he knows is not the Principle. Yeah he stumbled onto the God-Machine by accident. He is terrified and fascinated by how vast this conspiracy appears to be, having run into it all over the place, and is torn between hiding from it out of fear and examining it from curiosity. He hasn't told anyone about this because he's afraid doing so would draw the angels' attention. (It probably wouldn't at first, but eventually, sure.)

Nivilin is ruthless in pursuit of knowledge of spirits or helping them. His obsession with them began well before his fall three years back, and he's racked up a notable body count. At this point, he's either personally killed or helped a spirit kill thirteen mortals and two Prometheans. (He conceals the Promethean deaths from his throng, as he knows they'd finally try to stop him if they learned about that.) Despite this, he retains a reputation for being an excellent mentor in the path of Argentum - he certainly spent a lot of time pursuing it before his final fall. His throng pretends he still follows that path, hoping that continued contact with other Prometheans will help him get back to his old self. Despite their efforts at cover-ups, however, word's starting to get out that he's dangerous. The last Promethean he killed, Ella the Unburnt, left a paper trail he didn't expect. She had no throng, but she was part of a small online forum with some other Prometheans, and she let them know she was meeting Nivilin before she vanished. Nivilin killed her so he could take her heart and bury it at the behest of a restless ghost. He also still maintains his yellow pages ad, though he no longer helps humans that hire him. Rather, he aids the haunting spirits in getting rid of them. He craves the gratitude and admiration his spiritual sycophants happily shower him in when he helps them, y'see.

Nivilin is extremely intelligent and strong-willed, but average socially and physically. He's not very good at fighting, but his knowledge of spirits and many deals with them mean he has plenty of invisible backup. He's actually not super powerful magically - he's good at finding and loving with magic, he can make Wastelands and Disquiet worse, but his main gimmick is he can manifest mutant powers based on the spirits, Pandorans and Promethans around him, which he can make permanent at the cost of backsliding on a Pilgrimage that's already stalled and using stolen Vitriol. (Short form: Promethean Pilgrimage XP takes physical form as magic enlightenment juice that lives in their stomach. You can steal that juice and use it for yourself by killing them!)


...for we are many.

Roslynn the Many-Voiced is an Extempore, but the only one of her kind - an Extempore who has a clear and distinct history and lineage. She can trace her line back: the Gestalt, as they refer to themselves. They only get one shot at humanity, and if they fail, they need to create a new Promethean and pour all their memories into it. Roslynn is number six of these cyclical Prometheans, and as she finally approaches the New Dawn, she's terrified. The voices of the Gestalt speak in her mind. They are nameless, as much Roslynn as her own mental voice, but they do have some distinct personalities. Roslynn's creator speaks to her in a soft voice that she thinks is probably male. She never met him or any other member of the Gestalt, because Pyros consumes their bodies as part of the creation of their new Promethean-self. The creator is hesitant, gentle and sad, always apologizing for the harsh destiny he gave Roslynn. The loudest of the voices, though, is shrill and relentless in demanding she pursue the New Dawn. She believes this is the Fourth. She has heard the First only once - a single sentence, flat and soft: "Finish it." That's her duty and the only reason she exists. Finish the First's Pilgrimage.

Using the experiences and memories of her predecessors, Roslynn has been able to blaze through her Refinements with shocking ease, only rarely interacting with other Prometheans. She has only ever failed once - she can't understand Cuprum ('finding humanity through strong self-identity'), and nor can any past member of the Gestalt, because they don't have a singular self. The Gestalt pushes her ownwards, to wrap up their unfinishes business and become mortal. They're sure she can do it. Not just for herself, but for the six before her who died so she would have that chance. Roslynn has finally cracked under the pressure. She's terrified of the New Dawn, because she knows she can only try once - and if she fails, she must commit suicide to create the next of the Gestalt, or else everything ends for all of them. And so, she is stalling, dragging her feet in the final stretch. She's not risking failure, but she's slowing herself down so she doesn't have to take the final leap yet. She can't fail if she never jumps, right? Unfortunately, after six failures, the Gestalt is very good at mentoring the Pilgrimage. Roslynn's far along her path, and despite her best efforts, she can feel the end looming. She has come up with a desperate plan to deal with it.

Roslynn has actually witnessed another Promethean achieving the New Dawn. She felt his Azoth transform him, felt the first signs of Disquiet in him as he hesitated during their hug afterwards. Knowing it's real, not just a story, should have made her feel good, but it only reinforced her fears. What if the reason the Gestalt has kept failing is that it's not possible for them, specifically? She knows she and her predecessors are not normal for Prometheans, so maybe their Pilgrimage is impossible. Maybe they're just broken, and the same thing that has made her path so easy will block her from ending it. That'd make the whole thing impossible to do and so best to just stop trying, because her next creation would be unable to do it as well if she made one. Thus, her plan hinges on the fact that other Prometheans can, provably, become human. By using the Gestalt's knowledge, she is seeking a Promethean with a compatible essence to her own. She's not quite sure what that means, but believes she'll know it when she sees it. She's studied and discarded three candidates so far, and that makes her confident - if she can tell someone's not a match, she must be able to tell if someone is one. Once she has a target, she plans to sacrifice herself and that target as the New Dawn is achieved, creating a new Gestalt from their shared flesh who should, in its moment of creation, be immediately redeemed and become human. Roslynn's plan relies on the target being able to carry both their essences in the combined form of the new Gestalt, taking them both through the New Dawn. She has not considered that her plan could also result on both of them being permanently stranded as Prometheans.

The Gestalt prefers to be solitary, but Roslynn forces herself to be social since coming up with her plan. She believes compatibility is as much about personality as flesh and Pyros. It wasn't until she sat down and talked with her last candidate that she found his Pilgrimage was wholly incompatible with her own and thus was not viable. She practices her social skills on mortals so she'll be ready next time. She's not good at it - she tends to be terrifyingly brusque, though she's gotten better at concealing her intentions. She has collapsed under the pressure of her forebears and is now desperate to end the Pilgrimage once and for all. In times of duress or Torment, she shows personality traits from past cycles of the Gestalt, which makes her unpredictable and dangerous. Her body is Middle-Eastern, with thick, dark hair in a pixie cut (originally a long braid, but she didn't like it). She's tall and muscular, with callouses and a broken nose from her body's mortal dies as an MMA fighter. Her throat still bears a red line where her creator cut it when he decided she was ready to become Gestalt. In Torment, her body sheds desert sands, as do all past Gestalts. Her facial features sometimes get her mistaken for male; Roslynn doesn't mind, because she only picked a female self-identity because matching her assigned gender seemed easier to her. Her eyes are brilliant green.

The Fifth of the Gestalts was a Centimanus, and he made the Sixth only because the First literally forced its way into taking over the body and perfoming the generative act. The Sixth was Roslynn's creator and tried to get things back on track. However, the Fifth made a Pandoran in his brief time as Centimanus, and that creature, a sublimatus that calls himself the Silent, hunted the Sixth and now Roslynn. Roslynn hasn't a clue what to do about the Silent and is very worried that other Prometheans will judge her for the actions of the Fifth. She has also driven another Promethean to commit murder in the belief that committing the ultimate human sin would bring him closer to the New Dawn (and thus allow her merger); however, after he moved from Cuprum back to Aurum, he was overcome with guilt and committed suicide. Roslynn has never told anyone, believing that if she does, no one will ever let her get close to them again.

The First was a Kuwaiti soldier in the first Gulf War. She and her unit died in a massive explosion, and the collective cry of their spirits to survive called down the Divine Fire. She stood up as an Extempore, with sand and Pyros as her humour. Desperate to end the Pilgrimage at last, the First has been quietly guiding Roslynn in her new, risky effort to hijack the New Dawn. If Roslynn fucks up or is stopped, the First intends to lead every future Gestalt to greater risks, as long as the lineage survives. The reason Roslynn has been able to proceed so quickly on her Pilgrimage is that the experiences of the past Gestalts have been able to speed her along the path, and she's able to complete their experiences of humanity as if they were her own. If someone were to kill her and steal all of her Vitriol, they would gain this ability for themselves, too.

Roslynn's Wasteland causes massive sand spread. It flows continually, and cannot be kept out by any wall. It rises into beds, gets into food and drink. As it grows and festers, the sounds of screams, explosions and gunfire can be heard. Mortals must eventually evacuate to avoid going mad from the phantom sounds of the dead and dying or drowning in the rising sand. So far, no Gestalt has ever triggered a Firestorm, so what form theirs would take is currently unknown. They did ruin an area near Musil with sand, though. (I think that might be an alternate spelling of Mosul?)

Roslynn is extremely strong-willed and reasonable clever. She's strong and tough, but exceptionally bad at talking to people. She's a great investigator and surprisingly well-informed on the occult and science, in part due to education from the other Gestalts in her head. She's a decent enough fighter. Magically, she's not great. She can boost her vision, read auras or surface thoughts, can use clairvoyance to watch people from afar, is good at getting through supernatural defenses and harming supernatural beings, and has good ability to resist supernatural effects. She's actually better at fighting monsters than she is humans.

Next time: The Remnant, Vachellia Offering Shade and Thorns

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 6: American Gothic


Enlightenment thief!

Utley is a man out of time. He dates back to a Lineage that...well, doesn't exist any more. He is one of the last Hollows, born from the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Now, his Lineage gone and the Divine Fire having abandoned him, he has little hope for a New Dawn and has turned to desperate methods. Utley isn't entirely sure when he was created, but it was probably in the early summer of 1939, during the end of the Dust Bowl. He was brought to life in the midst of a massive dust storm, tasting water and blood. When the storm settled, he met his genitor, Hartley, and the throng that went with him. They confirmed that he was not human and would need the Pilgrimage to become one. His name, Utley, was taken from a broken sign for the nearby town of Utleyville, Colorado.

The group survived as bandits, robbing anyone that traveled the nearby roads. Hartley was the brains of it all, but making Utley was the final step of his Pilgrimage, and he achieved the New Dawn with Utley as his only witness, becoming truly human. The human Hartley lost much of his memory, and the throng abandoned him. Utley was expected to take up the job of leading them, but he wasn't good at it. He was an excellent follower, but he was no planner, and the throng intended to abandon him as well shortly after. When he overheard them talking about it, he decided to attempt his New Dawn immediately - a grave mistake. He tried to force himself to become human in a moment of passion, doing as his genitor had: ripping open his chest to release the fire within. However, he had no fire - only powerful winds that created an immense dust storm. Utley's hungers grew terrible, and fell into a cannibal frenzy, attacking his throngmates and tearing their Vitriol from their forms.

Utley emerged from his Torment alone and starving. He buried the corpses of his throng and set off to complete the Great Work. It's been 78 years since and he's not succeeded so far. He is a scrawny, gaunt man that appears to be in his early 20s, with beige skin that is tight on his frame and severely chapped lips. He has dense cataracts that do not interfere with his vision, though he often fakes being blind to lull people into a false sense of security. He still wears the same white shirt and blue jeans he was 'born' in, though now heavily repaired. He's a simple man in his language and actions, with no patience for flowery words. He tries to be stoic and bottle up his emotions, which tends to mean they end up coming out all at once, and violently, as he lashes out at anyone nearby.

Like all Hollows, Utley is ruled by hunger, craving food, safety and pleasure. In the nearly 80 years of his life, however, he has sublimated these hungers into a drive for the New Dawn. He knows it's real, having seen it achieved, but even with the guidance of his Azothic memory, he can't figure out how to do it properly. He tries to shortcut the process with poorly informed, elaborate and usually dangerous methods, such as eating the hearts of those rumored to be redeemed PRometheans or stealing alchemists' formulae for himself. If in a throng, he pushes his throngmates to assisting in these schemes. While his window of opportunity is shrinking as times goes on, Utley's quite proud of his advanced age. He's seen much of the last century and met many Prometheans. He can recite several of their stories from memory, and he takes great care when presenting his own, which can take hours.

Utley is a serial attacker of Prometheans and thief of Vitriol. When in Torment, Vitriol and the flesh of other Prometheans is the only thing that can sate his infite hunger momentarily. When not in Torment, he still looks for chances to do it, in the belief that consuming enough Vitriol might allow him to trigger the New Dawn. Utley is also incapable of making other Prometheans. He knows how to go about making a Hollow and the materials to do so aren't hard to get - but he can't do it. He's failed every time he's tried. As far as he knows, he is the last of his Lineage, which cannot be created any more by anyone. He can feel himself dying, and his Azoth even cools occasionally, manifesting as intense chills in his body. Each year they become more frequent. Utley is unsure how long he has left, but knows that he'll die if he can't become human soon.

Utley isn't, despite all odds, a Centimanus, and never has been. In fact, he hates them greatly. They reject something that has been denied to him, and that enrages him. If he runs into a Centimanus, he fights without hesitation, and the fact that some Prometheans are willing to look the other way if he steals their Vitriol before killing them is an added bonus. He's always been a proponent of the five Basic Refinements - the more simple philosophies of how to become human. He has nothing but disdain for more complex philosophy, claiming that it has no bearing on "real living" and so he'll focus on what gets actual results. Despite what he believes, he is not in fact the last Hollow. After the Dust Bowl ended, most Hollows that failed to become human left North America in search of the more arid climates they preferred, though rumor has it that as their time draws near, some that still remain are returning to the land that birthed them before their deaths.

Utley's not a smart man by any standard, but he is a strong-willed one and surprisingly charismatic. He's about average physically, though he's more athletic than most and a good survivor in the wilderness. He also has a wide variety of magic powers thanks to his long, long time alive. He's extremely potent mystically for a Promethean, with the ability to boost his speed and defenses, be super stealthy, pass safely through Wastelands or wield them against his foes, reduce or deflect his Disquiet to make his own life easier, increase Disquiet so he can scare people, shoot lightning, absorb electricity more efficiently to heal, sense and power electrical devices or even control complex electronics, overload or dampen electrical devices, can use magic to make people more friendly, can alter his own body to breathe water, climb like Spiderman or do Dhalsim bullshit, can sense other Prometheans, hide himself from them and even try to end others' Torments, can boost his hearing, smell and taste, and is pretty much impossible to restrain or imprison because he can magically break bonds, escape grapples and smash walls.

The Hollow were originally written for the Dark Eras supplement and get their writeup reproduced here. They were created first by a man named Ismael Hawker and originated solely from America and Canada in the '30s, made by dehydrating a corpse and anointing it with dust, then putting a drop of water on the lips. This raised them as a Promethean of endless hunger and thurst, both spiritual and physical. Their humour was a mix of blood and black bile. In Torment, they were driven to try and sate their insatiable cravings and violently fought anyone that got in their way. Once gorged, they fell into depression and isolation. After the Dust Bowl ended, it became impossible to make more Hollows, and today, only a few remain, most of them outside North America. AT the end of 2039, the lifespan of any Hollows sitll alive will run out unless they have already died and returned to life, resetting their timer. They were able to consume damage from attacks, temporarily delaying wounds in order to gain Pyros, or could push people to pursue their own desires.


Storm crow.

Vachellia is the last of zir throng (I prefer singular they for gender-neutral, but whatever, this is the pronoun the character uses) who has not yet died or achieved the New Dawn. Loneliness and depression threaten, and zie is too afraid to approach others openly for fear of being scorned for taking so long. Instead, zie manipulates Prometheans int odanger and sets them up to fail so zie can swoop in, save the day, become accempted. Zie was loyal in helping zir throng achieve the New Dawn, and still recites the names of the successful and the dead to try and feel less alone, though none of the successful remembered zir afterwards.

Vachellia attempted, after the Redemption of zir last throngmate, Oracle, to pursue the Refinement of Copper in the hope that focus on the self would help ease the loneliness. It was neither easy nor natural to such a social creature, and zie varied wildly between driving others off before they could leave zir or desperately clinging to them despite the teahcings of the Refinement. Eventually, zie moved to the Refinement of Tin to pursue something less maddening to zir. Zie was cruel, using zir social abilities to manipulate people into being as lonely as zie was, turning them against each other to see how they dealt with abandonment. When she attempted to break up a same-sex couple that another Promethean, Stellaris, had brought together and helped come out of the closet, Stellaris intervened and convinced Vachellia to instead pursue Cobalus, the Refinement focused on studying imperfection, weakness and failure as the key to being human.

Vachellia was a good student, in the hopes that Stellaris would invite zir to her throng. However, zie didn't just pursue zir own weaknesses, but those of others, testing them and pushing them beyond their comfort zone to help them rise - usually. Sometimes it didn't go so well. When Stellaris had taught all she could and had likely recognized that Vachellia was a habitual, toxic manipulator, she left. Vachellia had became an expert in seeing and encouraging weakness in zirself and others, telling zirself zie is now seeking Prometheans to 'teach' as part of making them stronger. In truth, zie hopes that one day a Promethean will not be able to surpass the obstacles zie causes, allowing zir to swoop in and help to join their throng.

Vachellia has excellent social skills, but zie is terrified of being alone and it has burned away much of zir empathy. Zie believes zie has mastered Cobalus and is unafraid to admit weakness, but zie remains blind to zir all-encompassing drive for acceptance. When zie sets others towards danger, zie genuinely believes zie is helping them become stronger. If zie did join a throng, zie would continue endangering them, to ensure they never believed themselves safe without zir aid. Zie is a master of subtle criticism, insults and undermining confidence. It is possible that someone able to put up with zir toxicity could get zir to confront zir own self-blindness and get zir to be more honest, getting zir empathy back.

Vachellia is an androgynous, dark-skinned person with close-cut black curls. Zir body died of heart attack, so has no visible wounds. Zir creator, Ximena, chose zir body for its beauty in the hopes it'd make life easier for Vachellia. Zir right hand is scarred white on the fingers from a PAndoran attack that ended in the self-sacrifice and death of zir throngmate Ricardo, but it doesn't look too bad on Vachellia. Zie moves with easy grace, though a constantly clenched jaw reveals tension. Zie analyzes every chance to push people into danger. In Torment or when flaring power, zir skin hardens and movements slow, making zir appear sculpted from dark stone.

In truth, Ricardo didn't sacrifice himself; Vachellia abandoned him to his death. As the Pandorans closed in, Ricardo fought to hold them back and Vachellia, the only one who looked back, saw him fall and raise his hands in a silent plea for help. Zie knew zie could go back and risk the throng or pretend Ricardo had chosen to die; zie chose the second. Vachellia is both hopeful and afraid that Ricardo will make his way out of the Underworld. It'd expose zir sin, but also bring bakc someone zie loved. Vachellia also has caused another Promathean to fall - an Ulgan whose name zie doesn't know. Zie sabotaged the Ulgan's Pilgrimage, in an effort to seperate her from her throng and drive her into zir arms. Instead, it caused the Ulgan to embrace Flux. The Ulgan's throng has since realized someone sabotaged her and wants to find the culprit as much as they'd like to bring their friend back from being a Centimanus.

Some say that Vachellia is good at pushing others to the New Dawn, thanks to her work helping Oracle. In the past, zie was, and zie retains the insight to see what a good next step is for most Prometheans - but it is buried now under layers of pain and loneliness. Zie is now stagnant on zir own Pilgrimage, having mastered Cobalus and refused to move on to a new Refinement. This puts zir entire Pilgrimage at risk if zie does not at least shift Roles within zir Refinement soon. Some say zie is a magnet for bad luck; untrue. She causes it directly, deliberately, as part of zir pursuit of Cobalus.

Vachellia is Galateid and not particularly clever or good at physical tasks, but zie is exceptionally good at social skills, as noted. In a fight, zie would fall apart near instantly, but zie is a formidable foe in a social environment. Zie is not much on mystic powers, possessing only the ability to push people to pursue their impulses and vices and the power to push people into guilt and depression.

Next time: Petrificati

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 01:07 on Sep 16, 2019

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Joe Slowboat posted:

What is zir Lineage?

Galateid, which I thought I put in there.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 7: Help, I Broke It

So, suppose a Promethean is stuck and needs to at least shift Roles. Suppose she didn't. Suppose she kept ignoring the Wastelands and Firestorms, the Azothic memory's warnings, and so on. Suppose her Pilgrimage completely stalled out. What happens? Well, her Azoth would die, its fires burned out, and she would lose her free will and intellect. What would be left over would just be a mindless drone automatically acting out the Role she got stuck on. When alone or outside of that Role, she would only be capable of being a meat robot - eating to survive, staring at walls unblinking. When able to act within the Role, sure, she can pretend to be a person and act like everything is fine, but it's not. Any attempt at mind reading, at any time, reveals exactly zero thoughts. There is no conscious mind - everything is instinctual. This is a Petrificatus.

Petrificati, also called the Stuck or Automatons, would be merely a sad failure state if it weren't for two issues. First, they can still perform the generative act. Whenever a Petrificatus gets near a dead body, they instinctively seek it out and perform the same rite that brought them to life. They cannot, however, harness the Divine Fire to create a new Promethean - just another petrificatus with a Role based on the body's former situation in life, or Pandorans. Pandorans ignore petrificati, as they contain no Divine Fire within them. Because petrificati are no less resilient than Prometheans, however, you can end up with entire communities of mindless robots that seem alive only when working within their assigned Roles...and if one of those Roles is murderous or is assigned to work with corpses, the numbers just keep going up. Your second issue is that any Vitriol the petrificatus had upon 'death' is still stored inside them. It could easily be harvested - or a bad injury could rupture its containment and melt the creature down. Centimani, sublimati and alchemists all therefore hunt rumors of strangely blank, robotic people in hopes of an easy score. How Vitriol shows up in petrificati that were never Prometheans is a mystery to everyone.

There are no recorded instances of petrificati returning to life as Prometheans, not even in the Azothic memory. This doesn't stop more optimistic Prometheans from trying to get them back on track, but so far, no one has figured out how to do it or if it's even possible. Until such time as someone manages it, the petrificati will only be a sad reminder of the dangers of the Pilgrimage and a potential threat to other Prometheans. Mechanically, to become a petrificatus, a Promethean must remain in a completed Role for a year and a day, must not be part of a branded throng, and must never have made another Promethean. If all of those are true, then after that timer is up, their Azoth and Pilgrimage stats drop by 1 each week past the year-and-a-day limit, until both hit zero. At that point, you're a petrificatus. The 'branded throng' bit means this will essentially never happen to PCs, especially on the timescale required.

Petrificati can't use either Bestowments (the natural abilities of their Lineage) or Transmutations (the magic powers from their Refinement). They have no Azoth, so they can't be detected by Azothic radiance, and they don't cause Disquiet, Firestorms or Wastelands, and they can't have their Measure taken (the natural ability of Prometheans to sense each other's basic power levels). They cannot gain or use Pyros by any means, do not wake dormant Pandorans with their presence and provide no sustenance to Pandorans. They do still have the insane endurance of normal Prometheans, but cannot return from death. They do heal from electricity but don't gain Pyros from it. They do not take aggravated damage from fire, as they no longer contain the Divine Fire within them. Their disfigurements remain visible to Prometheans. When acting within their Role, they have 4 dice for all Role-related actions. Outside it, they are only able to walk to safe areas, feed themselves and weakly bat at attackers. They automatically fail all non-Role and concealment actions, but mortals typically explain away any strange behavior as due to stress, overwork or similar. Any attempts to read their thoughts fail because there's nothing to read.

All Petrificati contain at least some Vitriol, and produce more by making more Petrificati. If they take sufficient damage - less needed the more Vitriol they have - then the Vitriol within them erupts, causing them to take further damage as the acid eats away at their bodies. If the attack that damaged them was Bashing, that's it - they just take damage until they melt. If it was lethal or aggravated, the Vitriol sprays outwards and burns everyone nearby using the rules for a chemical fire. Obviously, this can only happen once - after it happens, all the Vitriol is gone. Vitriol that leaks or explodes out cannot be stolen for any purpose, Promethean or alchemical.

Any time a petrificatus encounters a dead body or severely injured person, their behavior outside their Role shifts. Instead of seeking food or shelter, they seek out the body or person and attempt the generative act. If the target was living but injured and helpless, the petrificatus will kill them in the process. They then make a roll based on the Vitriol within them - often at a penalty, as it gets harder the longer the body was dead. This means it's often a chance die. A dramatic failure or failure will spawn at least one Pandoran. Success turns the victim into a petrificatus, usually after several days.

Next time: The Agony Aunt, the Frozen Boy

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Oct 25, 2007

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They get made by another petrificatus.

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Oct 25, 2007

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More an extremely unaggressive zombie apocalypse, but yes.

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Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 7: The P In P-Zombie Is For Protector


Petrificati don't have to be disliked by those around them.

Cathy, a Galateid, first awakened in a water pumping station, wrapped in newspapers. Her creator was dead beside her of a self-inflicted shotgun wound. She took her name from the newspapers' advice column, Cathy Counsels, and she still carries those newspapers around constantly, with a flower pressed between each page. She did more than use them to learn about people - they were her guide to life. From the advice columns, she was led onto the Refinement of Iron and more specifically the role of Martyr, seeking humanity by enduring pain. Cathy Counsels always said the best solution was to stick to it and endure hardships while reaching your goal, after all. When a man made of fire told her she had to move on and locked her out of the station, she ignored him and took to living under the sky. When the neighborhood became coated in poison ivy and kudzu and everyone started fighting, then moved away, she endured. When it started to rain acid and fire, she endured. She made a martyr of herself, allowing her own Divine Fire within to die. Now, she wanders alone, eating kudzu and coming alive only to suffer.

Cathy dresses in clothes stolen from laundromats and clotheslines, so she looks a mess. She explores the Wasteland she created before falling to petrificatus status like a homeless queen, her frizzy auburn hair spreading out widely. She is tall, willowy and confident in her demeanor. She steals and scavenges, piling up what she takes around the closed pumping station, and it is only when she leaves the Wasteland that she changes again. Then, she is hesitant and afraid, like a child avoiding parental abuse. She steps between muggers and their victims, scared but defiant. She blocks abuse with her own body, smiling for whoever she protects. She gives away anything she has to people that need them, insisting they take it no matter what. She preaches self-reliance and helps others. Then she returns to the Wasteland and becomes the vacant queen of emptiness again.

The Disquiet Cathy caused before her transformation lingers, and while Cathy can no longer be the target of the anger of those around her, that anger isn't gone. The people that still remain in Cathy's Wasteland will latch onto the first Promethean they encounter as the cause of their anger and take it out on them. If it were possible to bring Cathy out of her fugue, you'd need to find out more about her maker. He had a throng and a Pilgrimage, and perhaps in tracing that, Cathy's Azoth could be rekindled. Or maybe not. Either way, the homeless still talk about their vigilante. She blocks attackers and gives advice, ignoring any wounds she takes. Without Disquiet, they are not afraid or angry at her, and debate if she is, in fact, a savior. They like Cathy.


Frostbite sucks.

Randall was a boy with an abusive, alcoholic mother. She beat him and tossed him out in the snow, but at least he had a car. He'd worked hard to earn the money to buy it, and he was glad of it. He parked it behind the fast food place where he worked, and for two nights it was fine. He'd wash up in the place's bathroom, he'd wake up at midnight to turn on the heater, and he'd go to school in the mornings, work in the afternoon and read with a flashlight by night. On the third night the blizzard hit, and the snow covered over the entire car and filled the tailpipe. It was three days before anyone found Randall - and what found him wasn't rescue. It was something that didn't think or breathe, but it moved, and it gave the same life back to Randall, in a sense. Or, at least, something went to work the next day wearing his face.

Randall is a pale, pimply teenager with a thin nose, curly black hair, a bit of a gut and a vacant stare. He smiles politely and asks how he can help, is prompt with his work, rarely makes errors and seems eager to please. He complains about being cold often enough that his manager has given him a spare sweater out of sympathy. When not acting in his Role, Randall stands behind the restaurant near his car. He frequently holds an open book to his face. When he must eat, he takes congealed frying oil from the trash. If anyone stops in the parking lot, he wanders around the block, holding his book. He responds to his name only when working. To anyone that can see Promethean disfigurements, Randall is gruesome. His ears are blackened by frostbite, he's missing the tip of his nose, and his mouth and teeth are grease-stained. His hands are burnt to a crisp from stealing food out of the fryers when no one is looking. He always smells of rancid grease and burnt meat. He is, in theory, Osiran.

Randall has not yet made another petrificatus, but not for lack of trying. He's found many dead or dying people in the area around the restaurant due to the blizzards striking the homeless. He's attempted the generative act, but so far all he's produced are Pandorans, which now litter the area. Some alchemists working out of the local hospital are tracking him. They aren't particularly interested in Randall himself, but in his genitor. They suspect he was brought back by a petrificatus known as the Wretched Thing, the oldest currently active known petrificatus. If so, she would be in the area and ripe with Vitriol for harvest - but she is known to be very protective of her creations. On the other hand, he might have been made by the one called the Stasher, a petrificatus that compulsively steals Athanors (mystically charged objects that Prometheans can use for various purposes on the Pilgrimage) and other artifacts, then sews them into the petrificati it creates. It was definitely in the area at the time of the blizzard - and that means if it made Randall, something valuable is inside the boy's body.


ACAB, but especially this one.

Julie Cheng was amazing. She got a scholarship for track, was top of her class in college with a degree in criminal science, and as a uniformed cop she made several high-profile arrests. Everything was perfect. However, she had a dark side - an adrenaline addiction fed by extreme sports, plus a tendency to overdo alcohol and drugs. Perhaps that's what caused her accident - she missed a knife, perhaps from rushing or perhaps from fatigue or maybe just bad luck. Her partner bled out from a pierced kidney in Julie's arms. It drove her addictions into the open - in a bad way. She missed work, got demoted and ended up back on the beat. Seeking more thrills, she eventually went out spelunking in the hills, where the thing everyone never talked about lived. She didn't come back - only the Good Cop did.

Julie appears to be a Chinese woman of slightly below average height. She's muscular and quick, and she has a razor-thin scar along her neck that no one can remember her getting. She's got that thousand yard stare that screams PTSD, the appetite of someone half her age, and a knack for doing paperwork. She's a poor conversationalist these days, of course. Her partner drives the car, she shoots well enough on the range, she eats whatever is in front of her and she writes in block capitals. Exclusively. Her colleagues only see the old Julie when she's chasing down a suspect. Her partner, however, knows she can't be left with them. After she's done laughing through the arrest, she goes away and the Bad Cop comes out. She goes even more blank than before and beats suspects - no matter what they're doing. She's even attacked a coworker once. She spent the night in the drunk tank to cool down and seemed fine the next morning.

Julie's killed someone - or rather, Bad Cop did. She and her partner, Jeff, didn't call it in. They dumped the body in a shallow grave in the woods. When Jeff went back to check on things, though, the body was gone. Julie just grunts if he asks about it, and more than once she's come back to work with dirt under her nails. The thing on the outskirts, incidentally? Four-armed and a centimanus. He's been studying petrificati for 20 years and keeps a collection of them. He's always happy to have them revive a body brought in by someone desperate. If not...well, he's happy to slit a throat and have them raise that. Bad Cop's his favorite among his "pets" for bringing him so many new 'toys.'

More philosophically, some Prometheans wonder about the nature of Torment, and if Petrificati, which lack true emotion, can experience it. It seems like it'd be one way to explain why Julie Cheng has two apparent Roles in the forms of Good Cop and Bad Cop. On the other hand, it's possible that Bad Cop is merely the dark side of her thrill-seeking behavior, given her Role as Daredevil...but it wouldn't explain why Bad Cop is so fixated on violence and murder. Whatever the case, someone's going to have to do something, because Julie is literally unable to stop, and she's going to drop more bodies.

Next time: Pandorans, the Unborn.

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Oct 25, 2007

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JcDent posted:

By the way, how do you safely extract Vitriol from these Promethean Ford Pintos?

Knock them out and cut them open carefully.

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Ego Trip posted:

Does the Pilgrimage normally have a time limit? Or is that just Hollows?

One century from your creation. A Promethean doesn't age, but has one hundred years to complete the Pilgrimage or they just die. The century timer gets reset if they die and return to life.

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JcDent posted:

And how hard is that?

So far we have what, one or two who Petrified themselves and the rest are just corpses animated by Petris? So as far as a Promethean is concerned, those are just temporarily ambulatory Vitriol pinyadas?

Dying is fairly hard. Coming back...well, most Prometheans can manage it a grand total of once. Osirans get a few more than that, but it's costly. Each time you come back, Osiran or not, you lose a dot of Azoth.

Petrificati are Vitriol pinates...if you're okay with murdering them. Because, y'know, a lot of Prometheans aren't. The idea of killing someone and eating their magic experience juice is generally something most Prometheans consider disgusting and cruel.

e: of course, you can argue that it's not murder because Petrificati are mindless, but it's still something most Prometheans think of as Wrong.

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Night10194 posted:

So, what do you do with these guys for adventures or are they just there as set dressing/something that attracts foolish rear end in a top hat wizards to cause you trouble?

You interact with them and decide if you want to save them (even if it's not possible) and how you feel about them and if it's right to kill them. Because the arc of a Promethean campaign is 'how do you be human' rather than a more standard game arc, and your actual goal is 'figure out what the correct human thing to do is about this, because you're trying really hard to learn how to human.'

e: like, in any other game, I would agree that they're basically set dressing. In Promethean, the goal is to learn life lessons and become a better person so you can turn into a real boy.

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That's why I managed to cover all of them in basically two posts. We're done with Petrificati. That was it - those three examples and the rules to make them.

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 8: Goblins


The downside of Pandorans is they're mostly just...gribbly monsters, not people.

Cavins exist because abandoned mines are really good spots for Prometheans to hide. Humans avoid them for safety, but the dangerous are not much to Prometheans, and even without supernatural stuff they tend to collect myths and legends to make people stay out. There's often stuff worth scavenging or even chemicals for use in alchemy. They're private and ideal for the generative act, as long as you have a light source. However, when that goes wrong in the depths...well, what comes out skitters into the dark, taking on solidity from the stones to form a rock-like shell or chrysalis. In one cave, the creator just kept trying, making more and more of the critters - rock-like Pandorans known as Cavins. It's a mangling of the word 'cave-in,' due to their habitat. Most remain in or around the tunnels of their birth to attack Prometheans that seek shelter. Some wander out and infiltrate nearby communities, merging with mountains or being mistaken for interestingly-shaped rocks and put on display. They wait until a Promethean gets near them, then descend on their prey like an avalanche.

Cavins, while active, are roughly humanoid, resembling a twisted goblin made of onyx. Their skin is more stone than anything else and tough to pierce, which helps them wear down prey. They aren't very fast or smart, but they can set crude traps to keep someone locked in a room and are able to rig rock collapses or pit traps to slow prey down. Like many simple Pandorans, they prefer to hunt in packs, even packs that aren't made of Cavins. When Dormant, they curl up and form a rocky casing around themselves. Their shell's luster changed with the light, making it appear to be a lump of rock when outside, while in a cave's darkness it looks more like part of a coal vein. They tend to prefer caves near the surface - that way, they're close enough to sense the arrival of Prometheans nearby while remaining safely out of the way.

Because of the random, wandering nature of the Cavins' genitor, just about any cave or tunnel could have them. They largely act without direction and they avoid humans whenever possible, so many humans won't notice any dangers. Centimani often enjoy experimenting with Cavins, as they are simple, sturdy, easy to hide when Dormant and typically come in groups that can serve as multiple baseline test subjects. They're also easy prey for alchemists. It's super easy to disguise study of one as simple chemistry or geology, and they make for a decent defense system in case Prometheans invade the lab.

Cavins are not smart, but they're cunning, resilient as hell and strong-willed. They're slow, though, and can't really do much but set basic traps and hit things. Their main problem is they're made of rocks, so hurting them is hard.


I have no idea why it's so furry.

Generally speaking, it's not a good idea to give birth in the back of a car, but when you're being chased by a mob and don't want to abandon the Promethean you'd been in the middle of creating, what choice is there? Steal a truck and finish the job while your buddies drive. And that's how the Hitchhiker came to be - when an Ulgan tried this and found zir creation didn't spark when they hit a rest area. Zie begged the Principle for mercy...and the body began to thrash about on the seat, its eyes opening full of hate and hunger. The monster smashed its way out the window, its limbs bent at wrong angles as it rushed out into the night. The throng abandoned it, and the Ulgan has never forgiven them for it.

In Dormant form, the Hitchhiker resembles a sort of misshapen statue of a dog - the kind of thing you see at rest areas for kids to take pictures with. Its legs are uneven, its head vaguely shaped but pointy, and it's usually in a sort of unsteady crouch, though it doesn't use the same pose each time it relocates. Most travelers either don't see it often enough to notice the shifting postures or have seen enough weird poo poo that they don't want to know why. Its name comes from its tendencies when active and pursuing prey or finding new hunting grounds. It will find a vehicle, usually a trailer or car carrier, and find a spot to latch on. It rides from truck stop rest area to highway welcome center and so on. It remains in place long enough to attack a Promethean or two, then moves on.

When active, it unfolds into a humanoid shape, vaguely werewolfy, though it'd never fool anyone that'd seen a true werewolf. Its 'stone' body softens into chitin, with spiny hairs. It can move as easily on two legs as four. It prefers to separate its targets from their groups and attack quickly. It's fairly cowardly, avoiding attack of targets large or powerful enough to threaten it, and even its ravenous hunger for Pyros won't convince it to push its luck often. When it attacks, it aims to grapple and pin its prey, strike and tear out some food, then move on before anyone goes looking for its victim.

The Hitchhiker is clever enough that some suspect it of being a sublimatus, and it's essentially right on the verge of becoming one. It is extremely cunning and adaptable, can use human tools - but it's not a person and doesn't really think beyond the short term. It isn't especially shy about going dormant in the open. It's only a matter of time before humans notice a strange, vanishing dog statue that accompanies animal attacks on poor people (who are, in truth, Prometheans). An urban legend is sure to spring up soon, if it hasn't already. Its genitor is still trying to track it down out of misplaced love for zir creation. Zie hopes that zie can feed the Hitchhiker Vitriol enough to allow it to sprout a mind - but making it a sublimatus is unlikely to be good for anyone.

The Hitchhiker is not intelligent but is insanely cunning, strong-willed and fast. It's also stronger and tougher than any normal human, an excellent fighter and good at climbing around, sneaking and hiding. It knows how to navigate highways surprisingly well, too. If it were to become a sublimatus, it'd be terrifyingly dangerous rather than just a particularly nasty monster.


E pluribus unum.

Hive is one Pandoran, but not always one body. Hive can only tell the difference because they hurt more when they are many - their stomachs churn with need. They sleep when they must, waking from Dormancy to hunt prey as any Pandoran. Insofar as they are capable of love, they love their mother. Their mother lets them feed on prey she brings to the lair, praising Hive when their bodies fight over the scraps. Hive attempts not to disappoint her. They have, once, when they first awoke and she saw what they were. When she abandoned them hours later, they were alone - only one body, small and weak and starving. They barely survived until their mother returned. Their mother experiments on them, and Hive craves her attention but fears her touch. The experiments are painful, causing Hive to swell and then burst into two new bodies, or four, or eight. The mother attempts to make Hive differently, with new limbs and teeth and eyes. It never really works. When Hive is few, their mother does not permit them to hunt, keeping them on the edge of frenzy and Dormancy before feeding them. Sometimes they are made to eat themselves rather than Prometheans.

Once Hive consumes as much of themselves as is possible, they enter Dormancy and awaken again as something new and different, something Not-Hive. Hive hates Not-Hive, because their mother does not play with Hive while Not-Hive is there. Hive changes and hungers by nature. They know they are not what their mother intended, but believe they are the child their mother deserves. Hive does not understand why their mother hurts them, increases them and lessesn them and feeds them as she does. The more Hive consumes and multiplies, the closer they feel they are to understanding their mother's plan.

When dormant, Hive looks like a mass if discarded, tangled wraps of fabric around some sticks. In action, each body is barely humanoid, scuttling about on all fours and wrapped in tangled hair and fur. They have crazed eyes, sharp fangs and curling, ram-like horns. They are forced to divide themselves frequently, and their bodies are typically wounded and bloody. By accident or design, Hive's divisions always result in a Pandoran that, once it awakens, also becomes Hive and shares Hive's communal hungers. Hive is a perfect pack hunter, able to use complex flanking and herding techniques in its hunting. Each body increases its chances fo success, but not without cost - Hive is one mind but many stomachs, and each body increases their hunger.

Hive's unique physiology and psychic nature make them practically immortal - as long as any of Hive survives, Hive remains. Its resilience is tied to the ability to link all bodies in perfect psychic communion. They prefer the comfort of many bodies, but can easily contain themselves in one. A single body is vulnerable, however, and so Hive could be defeated by wearing it down and taking it out body by body until all were defeated. Still, many that've tangled with Hive believe it to be impossible to kill. Many assume Hive as a sublimatus would be the ultimate threat, given its multi-bodied nature. However, in truth, it would be impossible. The mutations involved in becoming sublimatus would destroy Hive's unique ability to share senses with its bodies, and a sublimatus Hive would be a singular being. It also does not have infinite control range. If Hive's bodies draw too far apart, they are instinctively shed from the group, starting with the most distant. Shed bodies awaken in permanent frenzy, attacking anything nearby. If not dealt with quickly, they can spread out and become an even greater threat.

While Hive is not smart, it is fast and cunning. Each body is faster, stronger and tougher than any human or normal Promethean, and each is amazingly good at combat. Even landing a hit on them is very difficult, and each body comes with its own healthbar, though I believe they share a Willpower pool, which means they can be worn down over time as a group. Even so, I would not want to have to fight Hive - it's a pretty terrifyingly strong Pandoran for a non-sublimatus.

Next time: The Druid, the Skin Dancer, the Bloody Saint

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Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 9: HELL TREE


Treeclops is here to kill you.

Myrax dates back to an unfortunate set of deaths in Colorado, at Camp Ravenwood. Years ago, a group of boy scouts on a two-day wilderness trip got killed by mountain lions - officially, that is. The locals went hunting the next year when the mayor cut back on local laws preventing hunting mountain lions, but the deaths continued even after the purge ended. They stopped randomly and without warning. Camp Ravenwood closed due to bad press. Years later, the local kids have figured out roughly what happened based on accounts from the surviving boy scouts. They say it was no mountain lion that attacked, but Myrax, the Druid of Camp Ravenwood. The local teens have developed his legend to include a tragic backstory and an ethos of woodland protection against civilization. There's even a webcomic about Myrax.

The real Myrax, of course, is far simpler than the folklore. It's just a Pandoran with a need to hunt and eat Pyros. Due to its hunting grounds, it is forced into Dormancy for long periods, but while active it attacks anything that moves - mortal or Promethean. It kills mortals for fun, Prometheans for food. It does seem to prefer a subtler hunt, though, and despite the legends it has never been caught on film. It appears, while dormant, to be a tree trunk with sharp features and strange marks, as if someoned tried to carve it. When active, the marks open to reveal dark eyes and sharp fangs in a massive maw. Its limbs are long and fast, with sharp bark nails that drip viscous and poisonous sap. Myrax enjoys playing with its prey, and it makes excited noises that sound like human laughter. It always attacks the slowest in a group first.

Myrax is relatively weak for a Pandoran, but its cunning and savagery are dangerous, and most Prometheans don't expect to run into forest Pandorans. It prefers to strike from ambush, poison strong foes, then flee into the woods to wait. It bides its time and waits for the prey to weaken before striking again. When it has neither humans nor Prometheans to hunt, it attacks local animals and drives their populations to dangerous lows. Many blame this ecological disaster on the mayor's lax stance on hunting laws, but experts say that alone cannot account for the massive decline in local animal species. The Pandoran also has especially cruel habits against woodcutters and others that harm its forest territory. It loves to collect trophies from them - particularly teeth, which it puts into its own mouth.

Myrax is cunning and strong, but its speed is only slightly above human. It's shockingly dodgy and it's very good at fighting, but it relies on its hit-and-fade maneuvers to win in most fights and doesn't like a stand-up battle. It also doesn't have particularly strong armor for a Pandoran, though it has a sizable healthbar and excellent defense.


Made from 100% werewolf parts. ...really.

So, once upon a time, an Ulgan made a deal with a pack of werewolves, receiving the body of one of their recently killed packmates. The Ulgan believed she could use the spiritually attuned body to raise a worthy Ulgan child. Under the full moon, she bathed the body in unspoiled river waters and burned autumn leaves as an offering to the spirits. She coated the body in her ectoplasm and watched it fade into Twilight. However, the spirits vomited it back into the world, an abomination of skittering limbs. Even her expertise could not keep the creature from becoming a Pandoran, howling and unwanted. This is Nuharul, legendary for slaying its own genitor and making her skin its first outfit. The legend of Nuharul has grown over the years due to its unrelenting hunt, its viciousness and its odd behavior and relationship with the spirit world. It eats werewolf flesh almost as readily as Promethean and it wears the skins of its fallen prey. Once it tastes blood, Essence or Vitriol, it will not stop until it kills its target, is destroyed or is forced into Dormancy.

Nuharul vaguely resembles its wolf 'ancestors' in a parodic way. It runs on four legs, changing in size and muscle mass freely when it wants to jump, attack or run faster. It is a bloated mass of ever-changing flesh that never seems able to form a definitive body - possibly by choice, possibly an aftereffect of its heritage. When it is ready to kill, this tends to work to its advantage - prey find it hard to strike the agile, shifting beast that is always changing its form to better cripple its prey. It hunts by the full moon, but that is not the only behavior the moon drives it to. When the moon is thin in the sky, the Pandoran weeps and howls in anguish. Mortals hear something high and terrifying, but Prometheans and werewolves can recognize the sound as mournful and sad.

Nuharul is driven to hunt werewolves and eat them, the same as Prometheans. This appears to be an inherent need to its dead flesh, and so werewolves despise it as much as the Created do. It also has a habit of nesting near Loci. It doesn't understand why, but were it to ever find a way into Shadow, it would go berserk and attack every spirit it came across, much like a werewolf in the death rage. However, there is one thing that drives Nuharul more than eating the flesh of werewolf or Promethean: challenge. When it senses the Azoth of a particularly powerful Promethean, it abandons all other pursuits. It hunts not only for Pyros alone, but to fulfill its instinctive urge to down strong prey and divide itself. It longs to create a 'pack' of its own by bathing in the Azoth of a potent foe and wielding it to create more of its kind.

Nuharul looks ridiculous but it is actually exceptionally strong and tough. While it's only as fast as the fastest human alive, it is over twice as a strong as any human could be, and twice as tough as well. It has inhuman skill at athletics and combat, too. Its great weaknesses are poor Willpower for a Pandoran and its general low intellect. On the other hand, it can dodge bullets, is extremely hard to hit in general, and has a huge healthbar. I don't think I've ever seen a non-spirit with stats quite this high before, actually. Strength 12 and Brawl 6, really?


Not the Pyros Devil.

The church where Samael lives wasn't popular to begin with. Father Maxwell Dylon did his best, kept the place clean and took care of it in the hopes that he'd inspire others to act without sin. One night, a woman came to him for shelter, and he couldn't turn her away. She had issues he didn't understand, she feared fire and crowds, and at first she unsettled him and made him wary. The old man even got angry, sometimes unreasonably so, but faith helped him cope with the Disquiet, and he eventually befriended the woman. They talked about God, pilgrimages, souls and TV until Father Dylon convinced his friend to take the next step. That week, there was no Sunday sermon, and the week after, the locals began to disappear. Given the local crime rate, they were blamed on gang violence. Candles were lit, memorials held, and the church withered away and closed. Inside lies the dormant Pandoran that the woman named Samael. It takes the form of a gargoyle, waiting for a Promethean to arrive that it might awaken and feed itself again.

Samael is a monster of stone skin and wood bones, much like the church itself. It looks like a demon, moving about on all fours and with anguished eyes. It has a tail, horns and sharp talons on all its limbs. It is silent as it moves, easily walking on walls and efficiently, coldly stalking its prey. When it attacks, it is a storm of claws and tail, holding nothing back until it subdues the trespasser, mortal or Promethean. It never wastes violence, and often it aims to tear off body parts that can hold weapons, such as hands, or tears open necks to let the victims bleed out. It attempts to keep Promethean prey alive so it can eat them before their deaths, consuming Pyros mid-fight.

Some believe the ghost of Father Dylon haunts the church, but few have bothered to investigate. The old church is abandoned, the area is rather violent and many who go inside fall prey to Samael. When it is forced to flee its lair, it attempts to take refuge in similar churches. It will find a place to nest and, if required, go dormant safely. It will cull any trespassers to its new claim. It tends to settle in churches near sources of Pyros, which means the presence of a bunch of Prometheans can jeopardize local mortals because it will be drawn to them. It should be noted, Samael's birth isn't unique, either. Across the US, religious temples of all sorts are visited by a strange wanderer who approaches the local clergy and talks to them over the course of several nights before creating a Pandoran that physically resembles a saint or demon of the religion.

Samael is weak for a Pandoran. It's not very smart or cunning, relying primarily on brute force, and by Pandoran standards it's neither fast nor super tough. It's got low Willpower, too. It is a good fighter and good at stealth, but its dicepools are nowhere near as high as other Pandorans for most things except strength-related stuff. Its defenses are fairly low, too. This is the kind of critter a starting group of Prometheans could reasonably take on with relative ease. It does have natural armor and camouflage that help it, but it's nowhere near, say, Nuharul's level.

Next time: The Twisted Landscape, the Abandoned Library, the Local Campus Legend

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Oct 25, 2007

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 9: Skyrim Hand Mod


Thing has a posse.

Scrub Talons are a form of Pandoran that were made by a Centimanus that goes by Hand. Hand likes swamps and experimentation, and he especially likes to toy with appendages, graft them to stuff and home-make them. His preference for symmetry has, in the past, made his silhouette resemble a human-sized hand. Hence the name. He often experiments with making Pandorans to study and control, with little care for reliable results. When he ends up making Prometheans instead, he typically uses them in his schemes or feeds them to his Pandorans. His Pandorans have a tendency to look like limbs, and the Scrub Talons particularly are giant hands, which he thinks is funny.

When dormant, a Scrub Talon looks kind of like a broken tree stump with gnarled roots. Their wooden shell is similar to those of trees dead of disease, but unpleasantly moist and spongy, no matter the weather. From certain angles they resemble warped hands planted in the ground and severed messily at the wrist. The main thing that changes when active is that they move. They can't even try to pass for human, running around on their root-fingers like giant crabs. The wood of their forms moves and shifts like muscle, and their palm has a lamprey-like mouth on it that can open when meat is present. They tend to hunt in packs of three or more, using swarm tactics to defeat Prometheans. Their natural camouflage abilities let them blend easily in natural environments, and they prefer to knock foes over and pin them down to feed. They take turns holding Prometheans down and eating them if required, but most prefer to just completely cover a prone Promethean. A large enough pack may even go after an entire small throng. Scrub Talons are fairly simple for Pandorans, staking out their territory to hide in, swarming and eating. That's basically it. They will relocate if an area gets too much human activity, and they prefer isolated forests or swamps.

Near New Orleans, Hand made a Promethean, known to locals as the Bog Man. He left a bunch of Scrub Talons to guard the project. Hand tends to bring a collection of his Pandoran pets wherever he goes, and leaves some behind once he departs. Scrub Talons can also get places on water or extreme wind - they're much lighter than they look, so they can rely on these to reach new places. Their appearance makes them easily mistaken for twisted debris, and they've actually spread to shorelines the world over in small numbers as driftwood. Some Prometheans believe that the wooden hands are actually a punishment from God for making Prometheans out of non-flesh materials; they are wrong and I have no idea why this "rumor" is in there because it's fuckin' nonsense.

Scrub Talons are very weak Pandorans individually - no match for a Promethean in a one on one fight. The main thing they have going for them is they're pretty dodgy and fast. The problem is, y'know, they travel in packs.


Evil books.

Some Prometheans approach creating more of their own as a science, and one Osiran studied all possible facets of the generative act, using even the most elusive lore. He planned to leave nothing up to chance...but Flux doesn't give a poo poo what you want. His prospective child's skin thickened and became like cardboard, and then fell apart to reveal yellow and off-white flesh beneath, with muscle lined in black, scribbled lines. The body fell apart in chunks, which slithered and flapped away to find a place to nest, forming a soft mass. Their creator wisely fled, and by the time he came back, the swarm had emerged as the Stack.

The Stack can be found nesting in abandoned buildings, usually open to the elements - it especially loves wet, mildewy places. When dormant or resting, it just lies on the floor in a way that resembles a pile of warped, moldy books, their pages fused together. This draws some curious folks in and drives others away in disgust. Occasionally, perhaps on a whim, it arranges itself in a crooked stack or on a bookshelf, especially if it knows food is near. When awake and active, the Stack breaks into bird-sized chunks. Each chunk looks like a ruined paperback or a flapping mass of larger paper and cardboard. Its ragged edges work like talons, and the swarm feeds on blood and flesh from dozens of tiny cuts. It isn't intelligent, but its cunning unites the swarm as a single binding mind distributed over its many small bodies.

The Stack's strange form has led to many urban legends about hauntings and angry spirits hurling debris around ruined, haunted libraries. Its form seems almost designed to draw in curious Prometheans, some of whom absolutely adore old books. After all, books don't feel Disquiet, so many Prometheans love to find abandoned books to have something new to read. The Stack is happy to wait to be brought somewhere private so it can devour prey at its leisure. At least one alchemist has used the thing as a trap against Promethean attack by hiding it in her library. It worked for a time, until the Pandoran got bored and attacked her as well.

The Stack is not especially powerful, as Pandorans go. It's fairly weak, though its speed and toughness are notable. It's not particularly accurate, either, relying on the fact that it fights as a swarm, dealing small amounts of damage to everyone in it rather than trying to go for big attacks. That and its ability to fly are what make it dangerous.


The janitor is very upset.

A bio lab at a university that's under renovation is a very tempting thing for a Promethean - especially if you've already got a corpse in tow and don't have to break into the morgue. When a Frankenstein ran into these circumstances, though, something went wrong. It's not clear what - but the game implies that some kind of mysterious entity, possibly Abyssal, was getting a student to write unnatural equations in the lab that got picked, and that probably had soemthing to do with it. What matters is the Student Project chased its creator out and then took up a watch on the roof. The locals assumed it was some kind of art installation put in during the renovations, while the employees assumed a student had left it there as a prank. Everyone now ignores the Pandoran, giving it free run of the science building.

In its dormant state, the Student Project resembles a wide-eyed caveman statue in a lab coat, with long spindly limbs and knobbly joints - the kind of thing someone might make as a mockery of academics holed up in their offices all the time. When it awakens, its skin tightens and it opens a mouth of vicious, crooked teeth, while its eyes glow in dim light. Its motions are jerky and it makes creaking noises as it goes, as though it is afraid it will tear itself apart if it moves too much at one time. Most of the time, it stands silent watch from the roof, waiting for prey to arrive. It considers the science building its territory and pretty much never leaves. When it does move, it returns within an hour, usually having eaten someone. Despite the obvious issues it has hunting its very limited area, it feels too much of a bond to the building to leave. Instead, it attempts to lure Prometheans to it, taking advantage of its intimate knowledge of the halls to ambush them.

Most humans are willing to come up with plenty of excuses to explain away weird poo poo. However, the Student Project has been in place long enough that people are starting to compare notes and realize no one actually put it there. Sightings of it moving are increasing. Soon, Hunters will likely arrive to figure out what it's doing. The building itself is weird, too - the more you look into it, the weirder it gets. The Project remains active much longer than it should be able to, and even before it arrived, the building had a bunch of urban legends associated with it. Demons, ghosts, the works. Some who've seen the Project think it can teleport...but it can't, it's just really fast and sneaky.

Mechanically, the Project is a relatively weak Pandoran, though it is cunning and has a lot of Willpower. It's fast and strong, but can't take a ton of hits. It relies on its speed and stealth to take care of foes, and would not last long against a group.

Next time: The Dear Monster, the Stormbringer, THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE

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DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

Donít Pandorans get forced into dormancy really easily if any normies are around? I am more familiar with 1e, so maybe that was changed.

Mostly if they run out of Pyros and there's no Prometheans around.

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 10: Horror Movies


HIIIII

Summer was made out of love. Her creator was an Unfleshed attempting to make a more flesh-and-blood Promethean, in hopes that her child would have an easier life than she had. She was meticulous in studying weather patterns to do the job during a storm, used a beautiful body and took every precaution she could. In the span of a few hours, it all went wrong. The body seemed to be rejecting the procedure, and the end result was a Pandoran the creator hadn't the heart to kill, which scuttled off with limbs barely attached. The Unfleshed knew her baby was in terrible pain, but she could do nothing to help. She resigned herself giving of her own life to feed the Pandoran - she saw it as her duty, for it was her daughter. She watched as the creature wept in disgust at what it had become. Summer hides in the dark now, yearning to die, unaware that as a Pandoran she will not die naturally.

Summer appears as a mass of glistening arms sprouting from a thin, bony body. She uses them to shovel food into her oversized maw and skull, which is wrapped in skin and fat. Her mouth can easily engulf a child's head, but her eyes are what make her dangerous. They are almost completely human, and they are scared and begging for help. Prometheans that meet her gaze are often shocked and put off balance by that. When shocked or approaching potential prey, Summer tries to hide her face with her large hands, suggesting that she is aware enough of her state to feel pain and sadness, but not in enough control to stop eating Prometheans for Pyros.

Prometheans are often shocked meeting Summer - fatally so, in many cases, given the danger. She is not like a sublimatus, with no malice or anger, and instead seems to be worried about her appearance and how people feel about her. She weeps constantly, making noises that seem to beg for forgiveness even as she attacks. Some speculate that what made Summer's creation go wrong was that the body used was from a suicide - specifically, the suicide of a bullied child. Others say that learning about her body's past might be the key to either destroying her or helping her become an actual Promethean. Summer actually attempts to avoid Prometheans while she is active - until her hunger drives her to attack, anyway. She only goes hunting when she cannot help doing so, and will actively avoid attacking anyone otherwise.

Summer is physically extremely potent, but her mindset makes her easier to deal with. She's weak-willed for a Pandoran and slow-witted. She can fight shockingly well, though she avoids doing so, and has a relatively small healthbar for a Pandoran of her power level. She is, however, extremely hard to hit. Well, on to sublimati!


Scowling angels: scarier than weeping ones?

Astrid the Stormbringer is a legendary sublimatus among European Prometheans. It is said that she is drawn to Wastelands, leading an army of Pandorans and followed by a Firestorm. She is said to be serene in a terrible way, and Pandorans obey her utterly. She remembers her creation, when she was made to devour other Pandorans for the amusement of the Centimanus that made her. She remembers dividing, and having her spawn smashed into glittering bits when feeding them became to burdensome for her master. She fondly recalls her creator's screams when she finally turned on him and devoured him. They gave her purpose. Astrid, you see, loves Pandorans. They are her children, whom all others hate. She believes herself a new sort of pilgrim, blazing a path through the corpses of Prometheans. She has decided that, in order to free Pandorans from oppression, she must kill all Prometheans.

When she arrives in a city, drawn by the power of potent throngs of Prometheans, she slowly awakens all of the city's dormant Pandorans. They obey her not from fear or dependence, but as loving children. This gives her words credence in the minds of some Prometheans - and that terrifies them even more than her unsubtle rampaging. Once she shows up, it is not long before the Firestorm begins. She brings hellish downpours, thunder and tearing winds. It is said that she has ruined entire cities with her sheer power. Once, her frame was a beautiful, angelic statue of marble. The years have taken their toll, and a massive crack runs through her from forehead to lip. Steel rods are all that hold her right arm to her body. Her wings are ruined - one missing entirely. However, she still moves with the gentle grace of an angel, though she feels none of the warmth she gives off. When she deals with Prometheans, she is soft-spoken and polite, and she hates swearing, especially in front of her "children." She ends conversations immediately if insulted, going directly to combat. Some believe her demeanor means she feels mercy; this is not the case. Her caring nature is reserved only for Pandorans.

In a fight, Astrid is brutal and ruthless. She avoids killing Prometheans in battle if possible, however. She prefers to break them down so they can't move. This is her great weakness, and what makes her so human - she genuinely loves her Pandoran servants, and she avoids killing so they can feed. She will fight far beyond what is sane to protect her children, even if they can't control themselves and certainly won't return the favor. She also doesn't hate all Prometheans, quite. She has a soft spot for the Tammuz and Unfleshed, feeling a bit of kinship with them. Those that show compassion towards her Pandoran children or try to help them by making them into full Prometheans will be spared, often. Other Lineages are slain unless Astrid thinks they'll lead her to more of their kind. She can be negotiated with, however, in one sense. If she learns about a Centimanus, that becomes her top priority. She abhors them over all other Prometheans, and will immediately focus on them in an effort to free their Pandorans from their control. She'll ignore anyone else if she has a Centimanus to target. The reason her body is missing so many parts, incidentally, is not battle damage: Astrid will literally tear off parts of herself and feed them to her Pandorans to help them, and will even take to eating human flesh to keep herself going if it means her kids don't starve.

Astrid is insanely powerful and charismatic. She's not the world's best planner or even especially intelligent, but she doesn't really need to be. She's unsubtle in the extreme and prefers to just wade into battle, after all. She is unnaturally good at beating things up, extremely hard to hit, has a huge healthbar and can breathe fire. What else does she need?


THE BRAIN THAT WOULD NOT DIE

Coeus is a sublimatus with a vision. It knows that it will become, and soon. It just needs the right host. It began its existence as an Extempore's failed attempt to reproduce, possibly a complete and utter fuckup and possibly because she couldn't actually do it, as one of the Matchless. Whatever the case, the brain she prepared for her child bored its way out of the body's skull, more cunning than any other Pandoran ever extant. It latched onto its maker's throat, dug into her flesh...but it didn't eat her. Instead, an instinct drove it to burrow into her skull and brain, folding her mind up and replacing it. It drove her like a puppet, studying her journals to better understand its own nature. It learned about Pandorans and sublimati, but not why it had such an amazing mind and such a pathetic body. Without proof, it turned to conjecture, deciding that it was special. It willfully misunderstood the nature of the Pilgrimage, convincing itself that its destiny was to become as a god. Over several months, its creator's body slowly died, and it named itself Coeus, after the Titan of Wisdom, and began what it thinks of as its own Great Work.

Coeus wants to be more than a brain with tentacles. It has no interest in being a mere Promethean, of course, but such a body could be a starting point to a greater transformation. Even a human body would do, if need be. By utilizing its unique ability to implant itself, Coeus steals bodies and performs elaborate self-experimentation and surgery on its hosts, hoping to create the perfect vessel. It works out of an abandoned big rig that used to belong to its creator. By relying on its immense intellect and a few disposable hitchhikers, it has turned the place into a working, traveling dungeon. The hold is lined with traps, serving both as lab and panic room for the brain. It prefers to trap intruders in the lair, but if it has access to a strong body it sometimes kidnaps them on foot. One of its favorite methods is to trap a human a Promethean cares about, stealing their body and ransoming their life for the Promethean's cooperation in finding or making a better body.

Coeus appears as a large, bloated human brain that smells of pus and vinegar, pickled in gray ooze and covered in blue-purple veins. Where the hemispheres meet, it has a long row of crooked teeth forming a mouth-like maw, and the brain stem trails tentacles, so it can move on its own if it has to. when it takes a host, it flattens its form against their shoulders, hiding the signs of implantation with high collars and scarves, though it can't really hide the smell or the ooze stains. It absolutely hates its physical form and reacts violently if its low strength is mentioned. However, it believes itself a superior life form, temporarily trapped in an unworthy body. It will go on about this at length to anyone it believes has no choice but to listen. It occasionally affects a poor attempt at a Mid-Atlantic accent in an effort to appear sophisticated, but when it's angry it reverts to its normal guttural bellows, sounding vaguely like a poorly tuned cello. It has never gone dormant so far thanks to its excellent planning and rationing of Pyros, but were it to do so, it would appear to be a statue of itself made of red-veined porcelain.

Coeus sometimes gets bored and restless in its travels, and on rare occasions it will choose to talk to Prometheans instead of hunting them. When this happens, it is happy to trade specialized anatomical knowledge in exchange for favors. It especially prizes science textbooks and educational DVDs, which it uses to educate itself. It's also prone to pissing folks off, as it's not choosy about its victims. It has hunted psychics before, and it's not outside the realm of possibility that it might grab an inexperienced mage or similar...and they don't exist in a vacuum. Some of its victims' friends are probably on its tail, hunting for answers. It also is never actually satisfied with its hosts. Everyone disappoints it somehow, and while it is a fanatic, it does have limits to its patience. It's starting to wonder if the issue is quantity, not quality. It's making plans to convert its truck into a prison, hoping to find a potent enough Promethean to allow it to undergo division and create a Pandoran 'child.' It occasionally wonders why it's been so lucky in running into Prometheans - it's statistically unlikely how many it's stumbled on. The Pandoran suspects its truck may have a quality that attracts them, but isn't curious enough to find out. It is possible that some essence of its creator remains in the truck, calling out for help via the Azothic memory.

Coeus is extremely intelligent by Pandoran standards - which is to say, Intelligence 4, Wits 9, and so on. It is exceptionally weak, however, and not tough at all. It's pretty fast, but it relies on cunning and stealth if it ever has to fight on its own. It's got the booby-trapped truck, of course, and it's surprisingly well-armored for a giant brain. Most importantly, however, it can stab its tentacles into someone's brain and take over their body. This kills a human victim over a week or two, but Prometheans can last for two to three months depending on how tough they are. It can use its host's stats and Promethean powers, but the body cannot be healed normally (or, for Prometheans, via electricity) because of the strain Coeus places on it. Victims get to make a roll to take control back each week, which lasts for several scenes. The tricky bit is removing Coeus before it takes over again, because it's physically latched onto your brain steam. The roll is not as hard as it could be - Coeus only has a 7-die pool for it, before Willpower spending, so it's actually doable to oppose it, though a typical PC will have...oh, probably a 5-6 die pool, it's one attribute plus Azoth.

Next time: You Must Remember This, The Adversary, the Robot Monster

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Oct 25, 2007

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Kurieg posted:

....

Mors?

Is there a Gazeebo Promethean?

Generally, when Promethean starts to talk about buildings getting mad at you it means the building is on fire, and fire is possibly raining from the sky.

e: also come on how y'all not loving THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE, he's the goofiest motherfucker

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Night10194 posted:

Because he's just another random monster like all the rest, mostly. You kinda check out on the 'oh that's a wild concept' train of thought once they try the spooky book monster and show you that 'Pandoran' is 'whatever silly monster we could think up'.

I mean, he's actually got a plan, can talk, and is driving around the country in a giant tractor trailer collecting high school science DVDs in his quest to build the Superior Body.

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Honestly? He could probably build himself a superbody. He doesn't have the knowledge yet, but it is possible he does it. It's just going to mean killing a lot of people to keep himself from going dormant.

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Define broken here, there's...a few different ways this could go down. Are we talking just 'this is stupidly powerful' stuff like Skybreaker, or more in the range of 'this is vastly overpowered for its actual intended role in a game'?

e: for the latter, Beasts in general are up there with their soul-theft Nightmare which is broken as gently caress, but...ugh, I'd have to think about it.

For actual stupidest monster, tho, keep waiting, this book is going to deliver. We are not in the Qashmal chapter yet.

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Libertad! posted:

I was going to pick the latter, but you answered it with Beast's Nightmare thing. So let's go with stupidly powerful.

Hm. Tossup between Skybreaker, a high-power ochemata from Mage and a high-power Pangaean.

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Yeah, it gets emphasized when the book notes that it fakes a newscaster accent badly to make itself sound sophisticated.

e: I love Coeus so much. The world's best big dumb idiot monologuing superbrain.

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Werewolves are also easy to not angst over.

Like, sure, you killed some folks. You didnít eat Ďem, so whatís the problem?

Oh, you ate them? Try not to do it again.

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I'm fairly certain that ochemata are capable of causing environmental damage.

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Night Horrors: The Tormented
Part 11: Give Me Your Answer Do


Driving Miss Daisy...to KILL

Daisy is a masterpiece, much as she'd prefer not to be. All she really wants is to flee the ghosts that haunt her memory and sing them away. A Frankenstein Centimanus named Edgar was a collector of Pandorans, using alchemy, surgery and more monstrous things to attend to them in the name of his twisted "science." One day, he fed his Pandorans Vitriol taken from a Galateid with a beautiful voice. Soon after, Daisy began to sing, and he realized something amazing had happened. She wasn't very smart, though she was still sublimatus, and she was timid and willing to serve. He gave her the name and figured she could sing as a side effect of her last meal. He wanted to understand why. And so, Edgar began to hunt humans with special talents in various fields, eating parts of them himself and then vomiting them up to feed to Daisy. She was able to recall entire lives from those she ate, though except for the Galateid's song she didn't seem to gain any of their skills - just their memories, which pained her and gave her hallucinatory waking nightmares. Edgar's work grew ever more sadistic as Daisy "forced" him to try again and again. It took him quite a while to realize she was actually producing Vitriol herself.

Daisy was also brighter than Edgar thought, and at the end of each day, she would hide the Vitriol that wept from her eyes as acidic tears. Edgar might keep her fed, but she hated the constant vivisections and the voices that came with her meals. When she eventually realized the ooze she produced was acidic enough to damage her cage, she waited for Edgar to head out and fled. It didn't take him long to realize what she'd done, and to decide that she must be a living Athanor. He has now started chasing her, to retrieve this most valuable specimen. Now, Daisy might be an Athanor...or she might not be. What happens to Promethean or Pandoran that consumes the Vitriol she produces is wholly up to the GM, and might not produce good results. Daisy's power to gain memories from her meals is not mechanized by default because...well, it doesn't really produce useful skills, just memories. It is also completely involuntary.

Daisy remembers every moment of her life...and every significant memory of her victims. The visions bring her constant pain, especially when she attempts to actively recall their contents. She doesn't understand what's happening to her or what Edgar wants from her. All she knows is she needs to get away from him and she needs to feed. When possible, she prefers to eat young children, as their inner lives are incomplete and innocent and bring her little pain. She still craves Vitriol, and when she tries to drink the stuff she produces it just makes her vomit. Physically, she appears to be a malnourished teenager with a wrinkled face. She wears whatever she can find in dumpsters and charity bins, favoring women's clothing. She attempts to pass herself off as a homeless busker, singing for spare change. Singing is one of the few things she actually enjoys. From a distance, her wrinkles can make her look old, but they don't actually resemble a natural aging pattern. The creases are nearly bone deep, more like cracks in her skin than folds, and they pool with Vitriol in hours after she eats a human or Promethean. Daisy's voice is striking, sounding trained. It is very feminine and potent, and she can hit nearly any register. This voice is identical to the Galateid she ate originally. When Dormant, she appears to be an oversized porcelain doll with a broken face.

Edgar is more social than most Centimani, and he'll do anything if he thinks it'll get Daisy back. He's gone as far as reaching out to less ethical alchemists with offers of great knowledge if they retrieve her for him. He has very little understanding of other people or obsessions outside his own, however, and his stories of what Daisy is are mostly getting him rivals, not helpers. A few desperate Prometheans, not quite Centimani yet but near falling, have also taken up the hunt for Daisy now, hoping she'll shortcut their Pilgrimages. Daisy has other problems, though - she ate part of a vampire once, when starving. He reminded her of Pyros when she felt his energies, and she bit off a chunk of his arm before he fought her off. She fled, and the energy tasted of ash, but his blood made her stronger than she'd ever been - for a few days. And that's when vampires and ghouls began stalking her, using powers much like those she had temporarily acquired, because the vampire she bit is very upset.

Edgar, incidentally, is less interested in Daisy's Vitriol than her memories. Daisy has a lot of trouble sorting through her memories and cannot always tell her own from those she has gained. She also cannot use any sophisticated knowledge she possesses besides her singing ability, but she does retain information even if she can't understand it. Edgar really, really wants to know what the Galateid he fed to Daisy knew or might have done to herself. He's certain that's what caused Daisy to gain her singing talents. Others may also wonder if Daisy knows something useful or interesting.

Daisy's a very weak Pandoran, especially by sublimatus standards. She's not even very strong-willed, all of her stats are within the human range, most of them on the lower end, and she can't even fight. (Which is probably another reason she preys mostly on kids.) Her main talents are sneaking around and singing, and the fact that her memory is perfect.


If I only had a heart...

Mortimer remembers the time when he was just a shrieking mass of wires and steel, fighting itself in an electronic womb. He remembers dreaming of stars, beautiful electric ones. He glimpsed the soul he could have had, wanted more than just to survive and subsist on Pyros. And then Flux set in and consumed all that, and Mortimer was born Pandoran, not Promethean. He knew he had lost something essential. He has always known this. At the time, he was just an unintelligent beast, however. His desperation shifted to hatred for his genitor, hunting his creator down and leaving a trail of corpses in his wake. He hated feeling incomplete, and he hunted with patience that most Pandorans never know. Eventually he found his creator, feasted on their flesh and pain. The ritual nature of the act awakening Mortimer's consciousness, bringing him to pained self-awareness while he bathed in his father's entrails.

Mortimer searched for the electronic stars he remembered, but his hunger consumed him. His only reprieve from the pains of starvation in his dreamless, dormant sleep was the memory of the Elpis (read: the great hope that drives Prometheans) in the Vitriol of his creator. Only by killing a Promethean could he dream of the stars and feel close to the soul he would never have. Without that, there was no redemption - and so he realized what he was meant to be. He was to be the thing that slew those Prometheans unworthy of their Pilgrimage. He embraced his role as a twisted adversary of karma, and so he hunts Prometheans to test them now. He envies them, he feels contempt for them because they have the chance at a soul, and he sets up vicious traps to judge if they are worthy of it. Those who fall short he consumes. Of course, he's sublimatus - he doesn't play fair.

Mortimer is a humanoid creature of wires, circuits, pistons and clockwork. His face is made to resemble the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz artwork, kind and understanding. He's not, though, and he's certain that his hunger for Pyros is a sign of a higher calling. When he finds a Promethean, he either pretends to be an Unfleshed or observes from stealth, trying to find the victim's vulnerabilities. Then he targets them ruthlessly, preferring to break his victims slowly. The kind, loving or soft-hearted rarely "pass" his tests, and he confronts directly most loners and zealots. He has never found a Promethean he considered worthy of the Pilgrimage, and only those who deny the Pilgrimage entirely as Centimani are safe from his wrath.

Mortimer's not just interested in feeding, and his hatred of Prometheans is not so much for what they are as for the fact that he was not allowed to be one. He is a slow, methodical predator that 'tests' his victims with care, slicing hope away bit by bit until his victims are as much a husk as he is. He allows those whom he breaks entirely to live, to spread his gospel of the Pilgrimage being a lie and that none are worthy of pursuing it. He is a sublimatus who creates Centimani. He reveals himself to his victims only when deep in his game. He does his research on his targets, learning who they care about, what they read on the internet, how they prefer to fight. He is exceptionally thorough, and he also tracks how well his victims pursue the Pilgrimage. Those who are slow learners or vacillators get attacked more quickly, and he usually has several targets in mind at a time. For many Prometheans, Mortimer is a bogeyman particularly for this reason - a monster that seeks to break them if they falter. Most of his victims are unaware that he's actually got reasons, and often they theorize that him showing up and "testing" them is part of the Pilgrimage itself.

Most of Mortimer's victims die, either at his hand or their own. Others get away and never look back. A rare few manage to fend him off in battle. However, the rarest handful, unknown to most, actually join his cause. They are broken by his philosophy and embrace his bizarre religion of worthiness, testing and cruelty. All of these poor creatures are Centimani, forming a cult that practically worships Mortimer. He guides them down a dark path, teaching the vicious secrets he has learned.

Mortimer is an exceptionally intelligent, cunning and strong Pandoran. He's superhumanly tough, and while he's not superhumanly fast, he doesn't need to be. He's heavily armored, has a giant healthbar, dodges poo poo like a madman despite his lower speed and Dexterity, and is superhumanly good at fighting. He's sneaky, too, and extremely good at social skills. Despite being an inhuman monster robot man. His arms can extend, he has buzzsaw blades and he can spit scalding oil.

Next time: That was longer than I'd planned, so the Robot Monster and the Fire in the Sky wait for next time.

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gourdcaptain posted:

Out of curiosity given I haven't noticed it showing up in these review posts, have any White Wolf/Onyx Path books used singular they/them for non-binary pronouns?

Scion, I believe. (Certainly Demigod will, because I've written some of that and my nonbinary characters have they/them.)

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DAD LOST MY IPOD posted:

do zeky exist in 2e promethean, or would they just be extempore?

They have a chapter soon. It's, um.

It's...something.

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Yeeeeeep.

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