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  • Hand-of-Omega
    started a topic Halloween Homebrew!

    Halloween Homebrew!

    <deeep breath> OK, I'm gonna take the plunge...

    I'm back here again, and it's time for my favorite holiday, so I thought I'd challenge myself. In this thread, I intend to post something each and every day this month up until Halloween! Naturally, these will be about the dark and spooky corners of Creation, so expect lots of (tho not exclusively) infernal and underworld people, places, things, groups and/or events, of varying degrees of detail. I hope to post each one by midnight, which means that I'm technically already late, but you'll also get two tonight to compensate.

    As always, feedback, suggestions, questions and corrections are welcome.

    So, without further ado, let the festivities commence!

  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    THE ATRAMENTOUS CAPITOULATE OF SILENT THUNDER

    Tall, dark and alone on an entire benighted and deserted layer of the Demon City lurks a looming castle, carved from basalt, ebony and obsidian, veiled with black silken banners, and deluged by a constant rumbling storm of the worst infernal weather. Here even demons fear to tread, only daring to when propelled by the lash of their masters’ whips, and hurriedly returning as soon as their business is done...if at all.

    The Hell-world of Malfeas has many places of power, both obvious and hidden. Most of these have long since been claimed by demons of the higher Circles, but some few have proven too dangerous to even attempt to harness. Chief among these forbidden demesnes are the ones belonging to the Ebon Dragon, for even amongst the damned, there are few who wish to dwell in homes distilled from the very essence of deception and betrayal, let alone the rarest ones that express the Infinite Shadow’s ill-omened obsession with death.

    Fortunately for the Abyssal Circle sent to hell to serve as ambassadors for the Neverborn, that just means that such soured lands are available without dispute. The Circle’s Moonshadow was able to purchase the land and secure a building permit from Hells’ Ministries on the cheap, while their Daybreak drew up the plans for a new manse, organising a work crew consisting of hired First Circle Demons to construct it, after which it was consecrated to the Neverborn by the Midnight in a massive ritual whose very blasphemy caused the demon workers to flee in terror.

    Now the Capitoulate is open for business, and sees a steady stream of higher-ranking demons who must have dealings with the Deathlords and their servants. Few linger, however, as they find the very nature of the Essence permeating the embassy (to say nothing of its inhabitants) quite disturbing. One of the few demons who does is a Neomah called Dejah, whose alluring presence and exquisite pleasure-bringing has quickly endeared her to the entire Abyssal Circle. That same nature that puts off most demons also attracts the lesser denizens of Malfeas, as both mortals and ghosts often find their way to it.

    The Deathknights freely accept all who come seeking asylum, requiring only that they swear an Moonshadow-sanctified oath of loyalty to the Neverborn, work as required to earn their keep, and offer up their life’s blood on demand. Most come in from a homeless existence on the demon streets, but a few have escaped from cults maintained by demonic masters. It is well-known that the Capitoulate is legally considered “foreign ground”, however, and that any who can make it there are emancipated. To date, no demons of great power have contested this.

    Ghosts owned by demons are considered much more valuable, so fewer escape, but those who do enjoy the same protections. Most of the ghosts, however, come from the mortal dwellers who work and wane beneath the heavy pall of the embassy until they simply shrug off their dead flesh while continuing their rounds. These mortal leavings are never wasted, as the Daybreak uses them in his laboratory to constuct new necrotech. The resultant ghosts are taught to develop their Arcanoi, especially ones that allow them to attain an Immaterial state even within a spiritual realm such as Malfeas, for they make great spies and look outs, often possessing the decorative armors and gargoyles about the castle.

    The Chatelaine of the Floating Keys That Whisper, an escaped teind ghost of exceptional power, manages the affairs of the embassy, for the ambassadors do not care for such trivia. In addition to advising them on their dealings with demons, she organizes the household, mediates disagreements among the workers, and reports on anything unusual to her new masters, who have promised to take her to freedom in the Underworld for a period of good service. She fears that they may renege, especially if the high quality of her work makes her indespensible, so she applies her centuries of experience in subtle observation and manipulation to learning her masters’ secrets and weaknesses, so that she may turn them against each other, if need be. The Chatelaine has noticed something...off about Dejah, but has yet to discover what it is...

    Notes: The Capitoulate is a Level-3 Manse, aspected to the Ebon Dragon, which expresses his principles of darkness and death. It produces a Bitter Revelation Stone. It has the Powers Consecrated (Neverborn), Bound Servant Force (Ghosts), and Zone of Influence. It counts as a Shadowland in all ways regarding Essence recovery, although it does not lead into the Underworld, even during the Ebon Dragons’ night. When that Yozi brings nightfall, however, the black structure seems to grow and somehow stand out distinctly in the darkness, and its level increases to 5. The Deathknights within have been startled to discover new rooms and passages within, that they most certainly did not design, sometimes housing bizarre creatures and phenomena (which probably explains why many of their workers go missing at these times). Few things, even in hell, disturb the Chosen of the Neverborn as much as these places and events…

    Dejah is a Heroic Demon, possessing an Essence a dot higher than normal and Specialties in servicing Creatures of Death. She is also (if the Storyteller wishes) an Infernal Exalt of the Fiend Caste who is using Loom Snarling Deception to spy on the Deathknights for her fellow Infernals...

    Leave a comment:


  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    Originally posted by Epee102 View Post


    Oooh, I love these (Remind me of a heart shaped mask...), but I might suggest sorcerers summon them to control their victims? Or are they useless for that?

    Not as written...think of them on the order of the Passion Morays, they're not really intelligent enough to follow complicated commands. Their main use is to cause chaos and mischief in an area, which Wex does by spreading them through the villages he's corrupting. You can tell them who to jump on, but after that, you can at best influence the masked person, esp if you already know his Intimacies.

    There probably are some rare Heroic Commoner ones of Int 2 or higher that CAN outright control people and can be used by the sorcerer to outright control people, sure. But if the normal ones win control over you, it's still really YOU doing everything, you're just watching yourself, unable to stop what you're doing. Even if you win control, there is still a vague "urge" to act out your repressed desires, whispering to you that you are safe behind their anonymity.

    And, yes, this does mean that, in this case, a Sorcerer can get "hoist on his own petard" with his own demons if he's not careful...

    Leave a comment:


  • Epee102
    replied
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    CHAN'GUM, THE MASKS THAT REVEAL THE FACE

    Resembling masks crafted from exquisite materials with superior craftsmanship, these First Circle Demons are insidious in their ability to subvert populations. Although they have little in the way of actual sentience, the Chan'gum instinctively love to quietly move to where unsuspecting victims will notice them, hoping their dazzling appearance will tempt them into donning them...at which point what the mortal assumed were just straps, but are actually legs, fasten onto the back of the head, forcing both into a contested feat of strength to determine if it stays on or comes off.

    If the demon mask succeeds at staying attached, then the two engage in a contest of wills, much as a sorcerer must win to bind a summoned demon. If the demon wins, it possesses the victim with a form of the Ride charm, and uses their body to act out all of their most suppressed desires and frustrations. If the person wins, they retain control of themselves, and can use the masks' charms to their own benefit until they choose to remove it, at which point it scurries away.

    The Chan'gum are quite popular in Malfeas, where demons often use their abilities to cover up their clandestine activities. Sorcerers rarely use them for that purpose, as they have better ways to disguise themselves, but often use them to test the loyalty and character of subordinates. At least one sorcerer in the Realm hands them out to his party guests, who willingly don them in order to enjoy the heights of decadence with complete anonymity and abandon.

    Notes: The chief ability of the Masks That Reveal is their power to completely obscure the identity of the person wearing them. Although they don't change form in any way, an Illusion effect keeps others from recognizing them via the appearance, sound of their voice or even scent (this power does nothing to conceal them from detection, just identification; someone can still track them as normal, they just won't recognize them if they knew them before).

    The Chan'gum also have limited shapechanging ability, enabling them to fit non-humanoid creatures, such as the many demons of hell.

    Oooh, I love these (Remind me of a heart shaped mask...), but I might suggest sorcerers summon them to control their victims? Or are they useless for that?

    Leave a comment:


  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    Originally posted by Epee102 View Post


    What is a 'Tongue of the Serpent Prince'
    An Artifact tongue from Infernals (pg. 196) that must be grafted into the users mouth, and enhances voice-based manipulation actions.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    CHAN'GUM, THE MASKS THAT REVEAL THE FACE

    Resembling masks crafted from exquisite materials with superior craftsmanship, these First Circle Demons are insidious in their ability to subvert populations. Although they have little in the way of actual sentience, the Chan'gum instinctively love to quietly move to where unsuspecting victims will notice them, hoping their dazzling appearance will tempt them into donning them...at which point what the mortal assumed were just straps, but are actually legs, fasten onto the back of the head, forcing both into a contested feat of strength to determine if it stays on or comes off.

    If the demon mask succeeds at staying attached, then the two engage in a contest of wills, much as a sorcerer must win to bind a summoned demon. If the demon wins, it possesses the victim with a form of the Ride charm, and uses their body to act out all of their most suppressed desires and frustrations. If the person wins, they retain control of themselves, and can use the masks' charms to their own benefit until they choose to remove it, at which point it scurries away.

    The Chan'gum are quite popular in Malfeas, where demons often use their abilities to cover up their clandestine activities. Sorcerers rarely use them for that purpose, as they have better ways to disguise themselves, but often use them to test the loyalty and character of subordinates. At least one sorcerer in the Realm hands them out to his party guests, who willingly don them in order to enjoy the heights of decadence with complete anonymity and abandon.

    Notes: The chief ability of the Masks That Reveal is their power to completely obscure the identity of the person wearing them. Although they don't change form in any way, an Illusion effect keeps others from recognizing them via the appearance, sound of their voice or even scent (this power does nothing to conceal them from detection, just identification; someone can still track them as normal, they just won't recognize them if they knew them before).

    The Chan'gum also have limited shapechanging ability, enabling them to fit non-humanoid creatures, such as the many demons of hell.

    Leave a comment:


  • Epee102
    replied
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    THE CULT OF THE SCARLET SMILE

    Across the Hundred Kingdoms, the late autumnal rites accompanying the fall harvest of the months of Earth leading up to Calibration have recently been changing into something darker and bloodier. This change has been brought about by a secret conspiracy, a demonic cult of Yozi-worshipers who are slowly infiltrating every level of society at the behest of the Second Circle Demon who serves as the cults' patron.

    These cultists use every means, both mundane and magical, to bribe, extort and terrorize the populaces of towns and villages to alter their way of life, and their success has been, so far, slow but sure. Their efforts have been especially helped along by the use of the demonic Masks That Reveal The Face summoned by their leader. But they have been facing some set backs, as local heroes are starting to take notice of their actions, and the God whose worship they have been disrupting has recently taken a personal interest in their doings...

    Notes: The Cult of the Scarlet Smile is largely composed of mortal extras, plus a few who qualify as battle-ready soldiers serving as bodyguards. During their ecstatic rites, they use paint their bodies in orange-and-black patterns with hallucinogenic dyes that lower inhibitions and enhance their pleasure, while the soldiers use alchemical elixirs such as Valiant Warrior's Formula to enhance their fighting prowess to superhuman levels.

    The leader of the Cult is Mortani Wex, a Demon-Blooded Terrestrial sorcerer (with Corrupted Words as his Control Spell and the Bargain with Mara Shaping Ritual, granting him the Infernal Nobility merit) who has a Tongue of the Serpent Prince and a Devil Beast raiton named Swift Shadow as his Familiar. His chief bodyguard and second-in-command is Joyous Agony, an Akuma of Malfeas who fights with Laughing Wounds Style, using a fiery red Jade Direlash as her weapon of choice, her natural skill enhanced by her Tomescu Demonic Tattoo.

    Wex is concerned with the recent interference in his cult's affairs, and has considered requesting his master send him the aid of one or more Green Sun Princes to preserve the cult's mission. However, he is afraid that the Warlocks will take over his operation and steal his thunder...

    The exact patron of the cult is up to the Storyteller, although personally, I like Vrykolaka for the job...

    What is a 'Tongue of the Serpent Prince'

    Leave a comment:


  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    THE CULT OF THE SCARLET SMILE


    Across the Hundred Kingdoms, the late autumnal rites accompanying the fall harvest of the months of Earth leading up to Calibration have recently been changing into something darker and bloodier. This change has been brought about by a secret conspiracy, a demonic cult of Yozi-worshipers who are slowly infiltrating every level of society at the behest of the Second Circle Demon who serves as the cults' patron.

    These cultists use every means, both mundane and magical, to bribe, extort and terrorize the populaces of towns and villages to alter their way of life, and their success has been, so far, slow but sure. Their efforts have been especially helped along by the use of the demonic Masks That Reveal The Face summoned by their leader. But they have been facing some set backs, as local heroes are starting to take notice of their actions, and the God whose worship they have been disrupting has recently taken a personal interest in their doings...

    Notes: The Cult of the Scarlet Smile is largely composed of mortal extras, plus a few who qualify as battle-ready soldiers serving as bodyguards. During their ecstatic rites, they use paint their bodies in orange-and-black patterns with hallucinogenic dyes that lower inhibitions and enhance their pleasure, while the soldiers use alchemical elixirs such as Valiant Warrior's Formula to enhance their fighting prowess to superhuman levels.

    The leader of the Cult is Mortani Wex, a Demon-Blooded Terrestrial sorcerer (with Corrupted Words as his Control Spell and the Bargain with Mara Shaping Ritual, granting him the Infernal Nobility merit) who has a Tongue of the Serpent Prince and a Devil Beast raiton named Swift Shadow as his Familiar. His chief bodyguard and second-in-command is Joyous Agony, an Akuma of Malfeas who fights with Laughing Wounds Style, using a fiery red Jade Direlash as her weapon of choice, her natural skill enhanced by her Tomescu Demon Ink Tattoo.

    Wex is concerned with the recent interference in his cult's affairs, and has considered requesting his master send him the aid of one or more Green Sun Princes to preserve the cult's mission. However, he is afraid that the Warlocks will take over his operation and steal his thunder...

    The exact patron of the cult is up to the Storyteller, although personally, I like Vrykolaka for the job...
    Last edited by Hand-of-Omega; 10-30-2018, 01:25 PM.

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  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    KARMANOR, REAPER OF THE FINAL HARVEST

    As the people of Creation raise and reap their crops throughout the year, they offer up prayers to the field guardians overseeing their lands for bountiful harvests. Each of these gods passes this veneration on (after taking their due, and sometimes more), along with their crop reports, up the hierarchy of the Terrestrial Bureaucracy to their supervisors, until they reach the gods ultimately responsible for their domains as a whole in Yu-Shan. Each period of sowing and reaping (and the attendant festivities) is overseen by a Celestial god, and Karmanor is the God of the final Autumn Harvest in the months of Earth, before Calibration. His domain being a world-wide one places him as a god of the fourth rank, with the fact that it is only relevant one specific time of the year keeping him from the fifth rank.

    Of late, Karmanor has noticed a shift in the rites celebrating his domain, which has altered the taste of the Ambrosia he receives from it. Noting the increasing laxity of the Celestial Bureaucracy, he has decided to investigate this personally, leaving functionaries to run his heavenly office in the meantime.He has discovered that the rites honoring him in the Hundred Kingdoms have slowly been altered, incorporating darker elements of kidnapping, torture and sacrifice, but by who he has yet to determine, let alone what to do about it…if anything. Frankly, he is gaining more Essence from his cult than ever before, and if the proper heavenly authorities don’t se em too eager to stop this, then why should he? On the other hand, if the worship of his cult changes too much, there’s a slim danger that this could alter his own essential nature, which is perhaps the goal of the interlopers.

    The Harvest Lord has yet to make a final decision, as he IS loyal to Heaven, and doesn’t want to compromise the security of Creation, so he’s holding off until he, or trustworthy agents he can rope into his service, can find who is responsible for this. And if he does NOT approve, then they will face the cold fury of the God of Reaping…

    Karmanor manifests in Creation as a tall, thin elderly man with heavily-weathered, severe features, long, unbound, iron-grey hair, and an almost palpable air of gloom about him. He is dressed in the traveling clothes and wide-brimmed hat of a farmer, and carries a sheathed scythe and a bundle of stalks on his back. In his divine aspect, he looms like a nine-foot tall scarecrow composed of various types of vegetable matter (often including a grimly smiling face on his large, gourd-like head), wielding a massive grand grimscythe with blades of Black Jade at both ends. Against particularly dangerous foes, he can split his scythe in the middle, and incorporate both its blades into his arms, as though they were natural weapons.

    Notes: Karmanor is a God of the Fourth Rank, with most of the usual stats, including a Cult of 5+. His Grand Grimscythe (Artifact 5) is part of his divine panoply. He is a master of White Reaper Martial Arts, knows some nature-related Terrestrial spells, and has all the powers available to field guardians, as well as the divine authority to over-ride their charms, although he would only do so under extreme circumstances. He gifts those heroes who please him or offer to work for him with small scarecrow-like talismans with various Blessings.

    So, yeah, this is basically Creation's "god of halloween", although there's also room for a more "Jack Skellington" type figure if that's more to your liking! Wasn't sure if his office should be in the Bureau of Nature, Seasons, or the Division of Endings, so decided to leave it vague...
    Last edited by Hand-of-Omega; 10-30-2018, 01:20 PM.

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  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    Originally posted by Amayad View Post

    You're a creator of content? What luck! Many of us here enjoy consuming media.

    Personal bugbear, that'n: if you're writing fiction, you're improving your skill as a fiction writer. "Content creator" is about the most useless description this side of "Maker of Things" and I have no idea why it caught on.
    Yeah, that's what I meant! Although an argument can certainly be made that "written entertainment" does fall under "media", and so the term "content creator" still applies, even if it is usually used to refer to visual media. But whatevs...
    As to the stuff y'got here? I particularly like the the Strigoi, because they're so off-beat from other First Circles. I imagine the victim is very, very dead, , but the Strigoi are born deceivers and consider it polite to play along. The process of becoming a Strigoi also sublimates a mortal's lower soul, meaning that the creature has some of its host's base desires - favorite foods, sexual preferences, addictions that are no longer physiological but are still remembered fondly.

    Mortal sorcerers making ill-considered bids for immortality have sometimes summoned Vrykolaka, which isn't such a terrible idea for the summoner - who usually comes prepared with vices and amusements sufficient to placate the demon - but usually makes the lives of everyone nearby highly interesting for a while.

    (Since you seem to be writing from a 2e perspective? In 3e, a sufficiently insane mortal sorcerer can summon, but never bind, a Second Circle. This is not usually a good idea.)

    Varvara, I'm less sold on. She's a cool idea, but I think she solves too many problems too cleanly for a sorcerer that binds her. I think she needs a little quirk to avoid being "The Night Caste, But Better". Say, when she steals a thing, she always leaves something of similar weight* in its place, and this is the only way she is capable of "giving" things. She cannot be bound to give without taking or take without giving any more than a Blood Ape can be commanded to fly.

    *Weight is judged according to the 777 Scales of Sentimental Usury, and has very little to do with an item's physical heft - except when it does - such is the iron law of Cecelyne.
    Glad you like the Strigoi, that's certainly one way to portray them! Interesting idea on Varvara, and I really do like the weirdness of it, but I feel the need to point out that there are plenty of canon demons who are basically "X Caste but better" (Sondok/Octavian for Dawn, for ex) with no particular drawbacks at all. Part of the philosophy of Exalted's game design seems to be that you can, in fact, take full advantage of such powers with little or no direct, immediate consequences...those come later, based on your choice of how you use them.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lioness
    replied
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    Huh, nothing?...Don't know how to feel about that. Kinda hard to know how I'm doing in a vacuum. I'm seeing lots of views, but no Likes, which are really easy to leave. Maybe I actually suck at this, but no one has the heart to tell me? Now I'm just depressing myself again.

    Well, shuffling onward...
    Likes are a weird thing, I sometimes login and find I've gotten dozens from something I said years ago.

    Leave a comment:


  • Hand-of-Omega
    replied
    Aaand, I'm back. Again. Ugh. But before I start answering questions and posting more stuff, I think you guys deserve an explanation of where I've been this month, as I failed to meet the obligation I set up for myself. I don't want to get too much into details, basically some stuff came up where I needed to help my mom with my dad for a few days (we had to install a chair lift to take him up and down the stairs), and I foolishly slept with the window open one night, and got really sick for a few days. All the while, as the days went on, I kept thinking that I would post multiple entries to keep up, but as more and more time went by, much of it taken up by work...I dunno, I just got kinda depressed and lethargic, to be honest. Also, if I'm being honest, a bit embarrassed that I fell so far behind, so I fell into the trap of procrastination, which just made things even worse. Tonight is actually the first night since my last post in this thread that I actually brought myself to even look at this forum. It doesn't make much sense, I know...but here we are.

    I'm sorry if I let anyone down and that I failed to meet your expectations here.

    Much thanks to those who kindly took the time to respond to my request for feedback, I apologize that I got distracted away just when you did so. I do have some more stuff to post, but this close to the end of the month/holiday, I'm not gonna worry about any specific time, and just throw it up as it comes to me...

    EDIT: Aaand now I just learned there's a new season of Castlevania up on Netflix, which is awesome, but now I gotta find time to watch this too...
    Last edited by Hand-of-Omega; 10-30-2018, 02:24 AM.

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  • The Unsung Hero
    replied
    This stuff is awesome and I'm loving reading it. But your original post suggested we might see more stuff than just demons. Anything from the Underworld? Ghosts and specters or strange phenomena that have to do with the dark, dead, or distant memory of the lost? THAT's the stuff I'm looking forward to.

    Keep on, keeping on!

    Leave a comment:


  • Simon Darkstep
    replied
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    Huh, nothing?...Don't know how to feel about that. Kinda hard to know how I'm doing in a vacuum. I'm seeing lots of views, but no Likes, which are really easy to leave. Maybe I actually suck at this, but no one has the heart to tell me? Now I'm just depressing myself again.

    Well, shuffling onward...
    I've been enjoying each and every!

    Will we see some underworldly creeps arising as we get closer to Halloween?

    Leave a comment:


  • Epee102
    replied
    Originally posted by Hand-of-Omega View Post
    Well, I'm done with Erembour (unless you guys want to see what the original version of her Messenger Soul was like!); but before moving on, I'm curious to know what you guys thought, so I'm requesting feedback, as that will help me both as a creator of content in general and Exalted in particular. Who was your favorite here, and which did you like the least, and why? Were they too weird, just the right amount of weird or not weird enough? Any particular ideas or images leap out at you, or ones you'd prefer deleted?

    Oh, and while I'm pretty sure I've got enough material to last the month, new inspiration is always nice, so if you have any requests or ideas you'd like me to expand on, let me know...

    Your help is appreciated!

    They were enjoyable--my favorite was Vrykolva, if only because "Demon Dracula" felt more like something I'd use then the rest. Overall good stuff, enjoyable to read.

    Leave a comment:

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