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1001 Interesting Paradox Backlashes

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  • 246) Attention Seeker [Paradox Flaw ; Prime, Spirit] This Flaw strikes Mages who insult spirits in regards to their capabilities and power. The Mage is always visible across the Gauntlet to any nearby spirits; hers or his aura takes on a radiant purple glow. The Flaw can be dealt with by making up to any spirits encountered in the past; or by being friendly towards spirits in general.

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    • 247) Twilight Affinity [Paradox Flaw ; Any effects and Rotes that benefit Kindred] Mages affected by this Flaw develop an intense dislike for sunlight, resulting in -2 to all rolls while outdoors during the day, and -1 to all rolls during the day when not in direct sunlight. Mages affected develop a slightly pale tinge to both their skin, and aura.

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      • [There's going to be a couple non-character backlashes that fit into the larger Stopwatch Gang heading. Here's the first.]


        248) The Hideout [Realm]: A rocky hill overlooks a blasted, frozen landscape. A world where time has stopped, poised on the edge of total ruin, mid-apocalypse. Columns of smoke stretch into a rust-colored overcast sky, and red-hot meteors hang above the dying city. The streets are clogged with millions of figures, still as the grave in poses they held in life, or in death, as the case may be. Far beyond the rocky hill, in the distant horizon, can be seen a crater, its floor glassed by some awful event. Black silhouettes congregate there, though none have braved the frozen city far enough to see them up close. Directly overhead, the only break in the clouds shines a crimson shaft of light down on the crater. Through that breech in the ceiling of the fallen world, a Red Star shines bright.

        Far from there is that rocky hill, from which one can see the whole tragic scene, suspended forever at some critical moment. Atop that hill, an aged manor stands, topped with a high clock tower. This is the Stopwatch Gang's hideout.

        It's an ornate building, inside and out. Furnished in the old style, baroque as only the height of the roaring 20s could create. It's a bit run-down now, most of the time, although that is, in and of itself, variable.

        Time still flows on the Hideout's grounds - like it does not outside - though that flow is convoluted. Various sections of the structure appear as new, like the opulent age of prohibition and gangsters never ended. In others, the rooms and halls are a bit run down, wallpaper curling and floorboards beset with the onset of mold. Colors faded, paintings cracked, windows scratched and fogged over. In some parts of the house, full ruin hold sway, walls falling apart and floors full of holes, and ceilings open to the bronze sky. One can pass through a door, and seem to cross ages. This is all, apparently, to the gang's liking, as a few members can always be found in the house. They all have rooms, though it is, at best, rude to pry.

        The one and only constant in the hideout is the presence of clocks. Time pieces are everywhere. Covering the walls, choking the halls, littering the tables and wardrobes. Chandeliers can even be found with pocket watches hanging from them by their chains. The manor's ballroom - always frozen at the time of its greatest splendor - even has a glass floor, with an enormous clock face set beneath it. And every time piece in the house is active, ticking and tocking away in a discordant mass. These machines are tended to by emaciated, hunched-over wretches, servants that slink about and try their best to avoid being seen. Are they umbrood, like the gang members themselves? Or the remnants of once proud men and women (even magi), who earned the gang's ire? Who can say?

        Again, time is convoluted in the Hideout. Hallways that link back up with themselves can trap people in time loops. Some rooms run at dilated time, so that observers outside can see those inside rush around in fast motion, or move at glacial pace. At least one section of hallway is barricaded off by stacks of furniture. Through the cracks between, one can see a few people frozen utterly in time, trapped forever between seconds. If a visitor explores the place, they will often see after images of people long past, or yet to come. Ghostly apparitions, acting out their lives long before or after they'd come and gone. If a visitor came with friends, and then became separated, they may meet them at various points in their personal timeline, as the past and future fold in on themselves. The visitor may even see themselves, younger or older, out of the corner of their eye, darting down a hall or climbing a stairway.

        Mages and others find themselves in the Hideout almost always by kidnapping. A severe backlash may result in the Stopwatch Gang driving up to them in Model Ts, jumping out and forcing them inside at gunpoint, or else clocking them over the head. When the Mages come to, they wind up locked in one room or another. Sometimes a supply closet, others in the kitchen or walk-in freezer, other times still in the basement. Getting out of their immediate prison isn't usually difficult; the Stopwatch Gang's members are not always terribly competent. From there, it's a matter of retrieving any stolen items - the gang has various rooms, safes, and lockers where they store loot - and effecting escape. Going out the front or back doors lead out into the frozen, apocalyptic wasteland. Those who come to this Realm can move about as normal. Navigating the smoke-choked streets can be difficult, especially when roads and buildings are torn up terribly by the cataclysm. Moreover, there are...things...wandering amid the frozen time, unaffected by its desolate stillness.

        Altogether, it is not advisable to leave the Hideout this way. Something may be found out in that enormous, glassed crater, but no one knows what. The only reliable exit requires going up, to the manor clock tower. At the top, amid the mechanisms and gears, is the inside of the clock face, and a door set in it. It's closed most times. But when the clock hands are configured in the right way, the door can be opened. This opens the would-be escapee to a method of egress that even members of the Stopwatch Gang themselves dread: Weird Puzzle Shit. Opening the way requires running around the house, manually changing times on clocks, in order to alter the position of the one in the tower. It is a tedious process. One wonders how the gang stands it, assuming they don't have their own means of escape.

        By the way, it must be reiterated that members of the gang are always present in the Hideout, to some degree. Some are distracted by one or another preoccupation, and can be avoided, when they don't ignore the visitor entirely. Others are active, but may be "off-duty", and have no interest in apprehending them. Some may even be open to talk, or to a game of chance. Of course, others still take exception to prisoners being out and about, and will attack on sight. Between them and the Weird Puzzle Shit, it's a wonder anyone leaves. Which might explain all the despair-ridden servants running around...


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        • 249) A Different Take [Paradox Flaw ; Prime conjuration] Mages who are affected by this Flaw have their belongings, one to three times a day, replaced by similar items that can - somewhat, at times - serve the function(s) of the former items. Pens get replaced by pencils (and vice versa), forks by spoons, and e-book devices get replaced by a single copy of the book that the Mage was last reading on the device. The Mage's Foci are unaffected.

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          • Originally posted by Bluecho View Post
            248) The Hideout [Realm]: A rocky hill overlooks a blasted, frozen landscape. A world where time has stopped, poised on the edge of total ruin, mid-apocalypse. Columns of smoke stretch into a rust-colored overcast sky, and red-hot meteors hang above the dying city. The streets are clogged with millions of figures, still as the grave in poses they held in life, or in death, as the case may be. Far beyond the rocky hill, in the distant horizon, can be seen a crater, its floor glassed by some awful event. Black silhouettes congregate there, though none have braved the frozen city far enough to see them up close. Directly overhead, the only break in the clouds shines a crimson shaft of light down on the crater. Through that breech in the ceiling of the fallen world, a Red Star shines bright
            The Gang's hideout being situated in a time-frozen version of Gehenna/Apocalypse has to be the most stylish (and creepy) thing ever.
            The whole setup of spirits (As third party inspirred they might or might not be) along with this place is rapidly turning them into actual near-canon in my head. The fluff just works so well
            Thank you for your efforts.


            >> cWoD Dice Probability Chart | | >> cWoD Dice Statistics Calculator | | >> cWoD Alternative Armor System
            >> cWoD Alternative Damage Roll System | | >> My explanation of cWoD Damage Levels

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            • [In honor of Homestuck's eighth anniversary tomorrow, I'll finish the series on the Stopwatch Gang with a more blatant shout-out to its resident gang of sociopaths.]


              "I'm a member of the Midnight Crew
              I'm a night owl and a wise bird, too
              Home with the milk in the morning
              Singin' the same old song
              Rise with the moon, go to bed with the sun
              Early to bed, and you'll miss all the fun
              Bring your wife and trouble, it will never trouble you
              Make her a member of the Midnight Crew"
              -Eddie Morton, "I'm A Member Of The Midnight Crew"


              250) Fill 'Em With Midnight (Quiet): Ultra violence with magick induces this Morbid Quiet. In addition to the standard effects of same - sociopathy, fascination with death, seeing killing as the best solution to problems - it alters the individual's behavior towards a particular archetype. That of a member of a mysterious group called the Midnight Crew.

              It begins subtly. The mage in question grows nocturnal, staying up later and later, until operating entirely at night, if they don't already. They are compelled to dress all in black, and will favor suits and hats befitting Film Noir gangsters. They will collect weapons - often of a certain variety, like knives or cudgels - and carry as many of them around as feasible. More mysteriously, they become attracted to one of the four suits of the standard playing card: either Hearts, Spades, Clubs, or Diamonds. Pins, badges, or patches with one of these symbols will be worn if at all possible, and the mage will tend to carry at least one playing card of that suit on their person. They may also pick up smoking, even if it's a habit they formerly loathed. As stated above, the mage will become violent and sociopathic, being drawn to crimes and behavior befitting a gangster. The exact flavor of their sociopathy depends on their original Nature, though this Quiet favors four: controlled amorality, seething hatred, stubbornly brutish, or almost innocent in monstrosity.

              It is also in these early stages that the mage may identify themselves as being a member of a "Midnight Crew", though they may struggle to elucidate the meaning behind this statement.

              At higher levels of Quiet, the person's body begins to take up a darker cast. At first, the way light falls upon them becomes more harshly divided, as if they are perpetually on the set of a Noir film. Progressing further causes these shadows to thicken, regardless of light present (though the mage will feel compelled to remain in the shadows regardless), until they seem as silhouettes. Their voice grows gravely, their bearing severe. Curiously, they may begin to softly mutter an internal narration, referring to themselves in the third person. While narrating oneself is a hallmark of many Quiets (especially among the Society of Ether), this narration is of a grave nature, the mage voicing their intent to commit horrible acts. At some point at high level Quiet, this narration shall shift from the mage to a disembodied narrator, and indeed the mage himself may cease speaking altogether. Rather, the narrator will, well, narrate their dialogue, still in the third person. At this point, the desaturated world the mage lived in until now leaks forth into mundane reality. Hobgoblins take the form of other, similar gangsters, presumably other members of the Midnight Crew.

              For those asking, the connection between this "Midnight Crew" and Mister Midnight, current leader of the Stopwatch Gang, is exactly as mysterious in-universe. They share visual elements and themes, though the Midnight Crew lacks the cosmic elements that Mister Midnight displays. Similar can be said of Sister Nine, who may or may not be or have been a member of the Midnight Crew. What IS clear is that members of the Midnight Crew despise the Stopwatch Gang, heart and soul. The reason behind this animosity between sufferers of Quiet and Paradox Spirits is unknown. All that is known is that those suffering from this Quiet will attack Stopwatch Gang members on sight, regardless of utility. The mage will also describe them as "those miserable green motherfuckers", though why they are called "green" is, again, unknown.

              It is suspected that those mages who have gone over the edge and become Marauders become the permanent members of the Midnight Crew. As these Marauds tend to disappear for long stretches of time, it's theorized that they may have created a base of sorts, somewhere in the Umbra. Evidence of this has yet to come to light.
              Last edited by Bluecho; 04-12-2017, 10:41 PM.


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              • [Whoops! I accidentally another MS Paint Adventures related Paradox backlash. This is the last time, I swear! (For Now).]


                251) Your Key Is Out Of Bullets [Flaw or Quiet]: Matter users get hit by this one most often, though anyone can experience it if they put great stock (and power) in their material possessions. As if the Platonic Forms underpinning them were misfiled somehow, everything the mage carries and obtains has a corresponding, alternate object keyed to it. This Flaw serves to randomly cause those objects to switch forms when held or used by the mage. In short, one object may suddenly turn into a completely different object when no one is paying attention. This happens most often with weapons, which usually swap with innocuous items. A revolver becomes a key, a knife becomes a teddy bear, a shield becomes a romance novel, etc. It doesn't have to be with weapons, but everything on the mage's person aside from their clothes may shift back and forth unexpectedly. Sometimes, even the clothes can change.

                The Quiet aspect of this backlash comes into play by making the mage in question unaware that any changes are taking place, or that the objects were ever something they aren't at the present moment. The mage's key was always a key; the idea that it was ever a gun is preposterous. Granted, the mage can (and will) try to use an object for one purpose, only for it to be put to another purpose when it's suddenly changed. The mage will certainly notice how strange his choice of items was, but will chalk it up to momentary stupidity or temporary insanity. How else to explain why he just shot through the lock on the door rather than using a key? But, again, he never owned a key, right?

                One exception to this effect tends to take place, and that's when a pumpkin is involved. Apparently, as far as this Quiet/Flaw is concerned, the alternate form of a pumpkin is...nothing. Pumpkins appear and disappear at random, whenever no one is paying attention. Moreover, because the alt form of the pumpkin is nothing, the mage retains no memory of it when the vegetable disappears. Pumpkin? What pumpkin? You're pretty sure there isn't a pumpkin around, and never was. How silly.
                Last edited by Bluecho; 04-13-2017, 11:52 PM.


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                • 252) Ex Nihil Noceat [Burn]: "From Nothing To Harm". When a Mage deigns to pull from the bottomless well of creation and form something from nothing, this generative act is not always stable. Objects, energies, and organisms created ex nihilo flare up against their creator, inflicting damage on them. How exactly this plays out depends on the mage's Paradigm. A Greco-Roman mystic who pulls from primordial chaos may find that chaos flaring up in their hands, as it is being made or after the duration of the effect has ended. A Virtual Adept's creations born from hard light and data may find them glitching out, and damaging their own data. An Etherite or Void Engineer who pulls items from alternate universes can feel the sting of their bodies making contact with exotic matter and energy, alien to their own physiology. A miracle worker or disciple of the gods may find heaven punishing them for using its gifts in an arrogant manner. Whatever the case, objects twist in the mage's hands or burn with heat, energies fold back upon their wielders, and organisms mutate into grotesque forms and bite the hands of their "master".


                  253) Kegare Stagnation [Flaw]: In Buddhist Shintoism, the concept of Kegare refers to physical and spiritual impurity and filthiness. Not synonymous with the concept of "Sin", Kegare can affect anyone, as it is less a measure of morality, and more a measure of a "natural" process. It results from contact with blood, disease, death, and childbirth; in many ways, it is similar to the Judeo-Christian concept of "Uncleanliness". Kegare is also offensive to Kami, and can spoil a spiritually rich location. It is also linked to still, stagnant waters, as such locations are breeding grounds for disease; common purification rituals involve the use of running or moving water, to wash impurity away. For Japanese Mages, Paradox often reflects Kegare, especially when the Mage evokes powers of blood, death, and disease, or comes greatly into contact with same during their daily lives. In this particular case, Paradox Kegare clings to the mage as a Flaw, negating the flow and purity of water. Sources of water in the mage's presence go still - all but the strongest currents grind to a halt - and existing sources of still water grow stagnant. They smell terrible, and are unsafe to consume. Mages wracked with severe versions of this Flaw turn the surrounding environment into a cesspool, and may have difficulty surviving due to dehydration.
                  Last edited by Bluecho; 04-18-2017, 05:49 PM.


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                  • 254) After The Collapse [Quiet]: Precognition can be a chancy power. Those who give themselves up to visions of the future may find themselves trapped in it. Especially among Ecstatics and apocalyptic Etherites, it can become difficult to sort the present from a vision of the future. A mage suffering this Quiet believes they dwell in a world after the fall of western civilization, where law and order are distant memories, the cities have been reclaimed by nature, and any authority figures are petty barons and wild gangs. A world where everyone they meet could be plotting their demise, intent on claiming their resources.

                    At first, the mage may only be inclined to see simple signs of long-ago collapse. Current newspapers seem years old, and details in the headlines and text twist to imply a more catastrophic reading of events. Machines appear rusted and weather-worn, and structures sometimes show signs of plant life reclaiming them. The mage may have difficulty seeing figures of authority as legitimate; a police office is a petty thug, only to be listened to for fear of the local warlord growing angry. Electronics can still work, but the mage may insist that it's because someone managed to get a generator working or scrounged up old batteries, and that the power won't last long. They'll feel inclined to hoard supplies as they find them, and may "forget" that items in a store need to be paid for, rather than "scavenged".

                    Growing more intense, the Quiet makes the world around the mage seem like the desolate results of some long-ago societal collapse. He greets every person as a fellow survivor...and treats them as such. They are all rivals for precious resources, and potentially enemies unless proven otherwise. The mage's long-time friends and family are usually above suspicion - he trusts his "clan" - but "outsiders" are to be watched warily, if not avoided. Divisions of Paradigm are often magnified, as the character believes themselves lone survivor and preserver of ancient wisdom. The old ways must be protected, now more than ever. Even Technocrats suffering this Quiet take on the attitude of one in possession of lost lore from the old world; as they champion high technology, they will often be arrogant about their knowledge of "lost" knowledge about technology. Their Quiets translate others as being hopelessly ignorant of tech, and believing it to be magic. They'll condescend to others, because they truly believe everyone else to be illiterate savages, unknowing of the mysteries of science.

                    Naturally, their view of the world seeps out at higher levels of Quiet. As do hobgoblins of the post-apocalypse, like raiders in spikey leather, large fauna descended from zoo animals, and perhaps zombies or robots or plague victims (depending on how the mage thinks the world fell). At this point, the character recognizes no law save what can be enforced by sword or scavenged bullets, follows no standard except "survive". Marauders of this type wander the land, carrying a bubble of world's end with them. Frequently accompanied by mortals and hobgoblins caught up in their vision of the world. Or else traveling alone, like a lunatic with no name, "righting wrongs" as they see them. Covered from head to toe in worn clothes, pouches filled with supplies and trinkets, and weapons crafted from scrap and natural materials.


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                    • 255) Turn Down The Music Of The Spheres! [Flaw/Burn]: Among mages taught in the Western Esoteric Tradition (Hermetics, some Choristers, the Solificati, members of the Order of Reason, etc.), there is a prevailing belief that ascribes a harmony within the heavenly bodies. A manifestation of mathematical precision, known affectionately as the Musica Universalis, or Music of the Spheres (no relation to the magickal Spheres, at least not directly). Normally, describing it as "music" is meant as metaphor. With this Flaw, the turn of phrase becomes literal. The mage is made to hear music from on high...loud, distracting music. Less a sublime harmony, and more a dull drone. It becomes difficult to concentrate, or hear over the incessant din. In some versions of the backlash, it acts like a Burn, as the sound hammers the mage's ears and worms into their mind. Many who suffer this manifestation of Paradox have the tune stuck in their heads long after the effect wears off. An ultimate, celestial ear worm, that dredges up bad memories.


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                      • 256) Inventory Full [Flaw]: Those familiar with computer systems (like the Virtual Adepts) understand that there is only a finite amount of memory that a computer can hold before it becomes "full". Nowadays, memory reserves are regularly measured in gigabytes and terabytes (and that's just for commercial electronics). Back in the day, though, memory storage was a precious resource. The number 256 is a familiar number to programmers, being the number of individual combinations that can result from one byte of data. For mages suffering this Paradox backlash, it becomes a hard limit on the number of unique types of items they can own, and how many of any individual type of item they can possess. Everything else goes beyond the bounds of their available "inventory", and are promptly expelled from the mage's possession. Given the materialistic nature of the modern world, it's almost certain that the mage will find things they own being lost, ejected from their homes, cars, storage spaces, or pockets. They land on the ground softly, where anyone can pick them up...except for the mage themself. If they've reached their limit for individual kinds of items or items in general, attempting to exceed that limit results in failure. They can't pick them up, or keep hold of them if they do. Until the Flaw wears off, what they own or desire to own is not directly available to them. Many Virtual Adepts suffering this backlash get around it by gaining the help of trusted friends, family, or associates, if such people are willing to hold on to their stuff until Reality feels like giving them back.


                        257) Tracking Mud [Flaw]: Matter users experience this one most often, especially when interacting with rocks and earth. The soles of their feet become covered in a thick, replenishing layer of wet mud. The mage leaves muddy footprints everywhere they walk, without fail. Even if they remove their shoes or wash their feet, the mud always persists and returns. This can cause problems for the mage due to the consternation they give others ("Were you raised in a barn? Wipe your feet! No, harder! You're still tracking mud!"). It also makes the mage extremely easy to track.


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                        • 258) The Chest Is A Mimic! [Spirit]: Summoned by magick used to feed the mage's rampant greed, a monster called a Mimic lies in wait for prey, disguised as a normal container of possessions. Chests, lockers, suitcases, even car trunks can turn out to be a toothy, carnivorous creature, whose true nature is only revealed when the mage touches them. The mouth opens wide, trying to chomp on the mage. If that doesn't work, it may unfold its body, bearing a head like the object it mimicked, but with a lithe, scaly humanoid body. It will often attempt to slash, bite, or soccer punt the mage with its gangly limbs and chomping maw. Many who encounter such a beast become paranoid of storage containers, and always have some kind of sensory magick (usually Life, Matter, or Spirit) on before opening one. Observant individuals, however, can spot a Mimic even without advanced senses. The Paradox Spirit still needs to breath; the sound and tiny movements can be a giveaway. As can minor flaws in its disguise, like a locker door not having as much rust as its surrounding brethren, or a designer suitcase having notable differences from the brand and model it's supposed to be.


                          259) The Book Is A Mimic! [Spirit]: A variant on the regular Mimic, brought forth by a mage's greed for knowledge. A tome, codex, handbook, or even magazine is found on a shelf, desk, coffee table, or backpack. Except examination (from a safe distance) will reveal it to also breath, and have key details wrong with it. If these are ignored, the Book Mimic will attempt to bite whomever goes to read it. As it is a wee babby Mimic, it doesn't pose the same martial threat; with or without a successful biting, the creature will sprout a set of tiny legs and scuttle away when found out. This doesn't mean it's guaranteed to give up its attack; Book Mimics want to take a bite of flesh, and will spend the rest of the scene attempting to do so. It will either look for a chance to ambush the mage, or transform into a different book and try again. Book Mimics have a particular taste for fingers, and will try to eat them if at all possible. Survivors of this Paradox backlash become paranoid of any book they see; even their own libraries can become "infested", and need to be watched carefully. Some mages have continued the medieval practice of chaining their books to the walls, in an attempt to keep track of which ones are theirs.


                          260) The House Is A Mimic! [Spirit/Realm]: A particularly frightening version of the Mimic, summoned by abusers of Correspondence and flagrant trespassers, if the backlash is severe enough. The mage finds a building the size of a house - a house that breathes deeply if one listens hard enough, and lacks a number of external features typical for the area and style. Like, for instance, concrete walkways leading to the door, fences, or address markers. If these are ignored, the mage could attempt ingress...where they are then attacked by a mammoth set of jaws and snatching hands. This might happen when the mage uses the door, or it may happen when they've had a chance to walk inside. In the latter case, an interior door, fireplace, or the whole ceiling opens up, revealing teeth and arms. If the mage (and any unfortunate allies) manage to fight it off there, great. If the mage is grabbed, they aren't gored by teeth, but rather pulled into the huge maw and swallowed whole. This transports them into a Paradox Realm, which looks like the moist, quivering bowels of a great organism. The room layout roughly looks like the interior of a house, complete with fleshy lumps and organs that look like furniture, and chamber openings dividing the place into a series of rooms. There are three typical ways to escape a House Mimic: finding an "exit", making one, or causing enough destruction to internal organs and tissues to force the beast to vomit them up.


                          261) YOU Are A Mimic!!! [Flaw]: The ultimate result of a life devoted to avarice, the mage herself morphs into a Chest Mimic. Only afflicting the greediest of mages, who bring down a terrible backlash, this Flaw causes their skin to grow gray and scaly, their body to grow long and thin, and their mouth to grow wide and tooth-filled. Less severe backlashes may have some or all of these, but at the most severe, the mage's very head turns into a chest or other container. At this stage, the Flaw acts in many ways like a Quiet, compelling the mage to hoard wealth (though they often did this already, if they got this far), and to behave like the ambush predator a Mimic is. More than one Wizard's sanctum has been plundered, long after their owners were thought dead, only to have the intruders attacked by that very owner when they open the wrong chest. Pitiful souls like this are best put down for their own, so they might be reborn whole in the next life. Maybe they'll even learn from their mistakes. All we know is that the head of a Mimic is an impressive trophy.


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