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The Kraina/Koldunic Sorcery Thread!

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  • #61
    Since I'm feeling in a particularly historic, and militant, mood tonight...purely for fun, since this would probably be way too damn powerful for a run of the mill VtM game. But this is the game that brought us Focused Mind and Spirit Manipulation, so maybe not...

    Kraina of the Killing Fields (key attribute: Manipulation)

    The 20th Century brought wonders to the world which are shocking and alien to the Cainite eye...but an equal number of horrors, awe-inspiring, yet comforting in a nostalgic way, to those whose Humanity has been long-forgotten. The most violent and horrific fronts of the deadliest wars in human history, waged with the most terrible weapons humanity has ever created, were in eastern Europe in the ancestral homelands of the Tzimisce. Such conflict leaves a lasting mark on the lands on which it was fought, both in the material world and in the spirit world, and koldun who practice the Kraina of the Killing Fields turn its living memory etched into the world itself against those who dare call themselves enemies.

    1 - At this level of mastery, the koldun may call upon the world's memory of the World Wars to fill themselves with resolve, rage, and an unending desire to feed the land its tribute of blood to appease the hungry spirits of those who died in conflict. This power lasts for a number of turns equal to success on the activation roll, and its effect differs depending upon the koldun's Virtues. For koldun with Self-Control, while this power is in effect the vampire is immune to Rotshreck, and automatically score one success on Willpower checks; for koldun with Instinct, while this power is in effect they are treated as if riding the wave of Frenzy, but retain their capability to use mental disciplines. In either case, once the power's effect is over the vampire must immediately make a Frenzy check at +2 difficulty. This power has no blood cost if the koldun employs it on a battlefield of the two World Wars.

    2 - In both World Wars but especially the first, mud was the enemy of all, making entrenchment nigh impossible, slowing and exhausting troops, causing infection and spreading disease, and making supply and reinforcement exceptionally difficult. This power lasts for a number of turns equal to success on the activation roll, and causes the blood shed in these long-past wars to bubble to the surface, churning the ground around the koldun's feet in a ten-foot radius into a thick and impassable mud. Those caught in the mud suffer a +1 difficulty penalty to physical actions, including attack and defense rolls, as they sink into the heavy mud and are impeded by its presence. Other vampires, however, suffer an additional drawback as the stench, sight, and taste of the mud triggers hunger Frenzy checks at +2 difficulty if applicable; if they fail the Frenzy check, vampires fall to the ground devouring the mud, which provides no sustenance but causes them to vomit it back forth as normal, unless the vampire has an appropriate merit or discipline which allows them to eat food. The koldun is immune to both effects. This power has no blood cost if used on a battlefield of the World Wars.

    3 - The first World War in particular introduced a new weapon which would forever redefine inhumanity, and change the face of warfare: gas. Electing a point within eyesight, the koldun makes their activation roll, and for the remainder of the scene poison gas emanates from the ground, filling a radius of ten feet per success rolled. Exposure to the gas burns the skin, eyes, mouth, nose, throat, and lungs, dealing three bashing damage per turn of exposure and enforcing a two-dice penalty to Perception while inside the radius. Mortals within the radius must make a Stamina check (difficulty 8) in order to not panic and flee, and should they botch this roll they collapse to the ground retching in pain, and cannot act for the remainder of the scene; should they become incapacitated with damage due to the gas, they immediately die. Vampires simply suffer the damage and Perception penalty. This power has no blood cost if used on a battlefield of the first World War.

    4 - At this level of mastery, the koldun can bring the horrors of the battlefield to life, albeit spectrally. The wind carries the screams of rage, horror, pain, and death of long-forgotten soldiers; automatic weapons fire drown all other sounds; the roar of armored vehicles and military aircraft, and the wail of artillery shells echo; the stench of the dead, dying, and their effluents permeate all, mixed with the smells of gas, exhaust fume, and the unmistakable scent of gunpowder; the thick smoke and haze of the battlefield fills the air. For one turn per success on the activation roll, all within eyesight or earshot of the koldun must roll versus Rotshreck (if they have Self-Control) or Frenzy (if they have Instinct), or roll to avoid panic if they have no Beast, versus a difficulty of 8, every turn until they score five success to resist the Beast, fall victim to it, or flee the area. Additionally, the confusion and chaos of the battlefield impart a +2 difficulty to attack and defense rolls, and to Perception checks, as if they were blinded and/or deafened. The koldun using the power is immune to Frenzy or Rotschrek from this power, but suffers the penalties to attack, defense, and Perception. This power has no blood cost if used on a battlefield of the second World War.

    5 - At this level of mastery, the koldun can bring the horrors of the World Wars back to life in a much more literal way. No more than once per turn while the fourth level of this Kraina is active, the koldun may use an action to cause an explosion in its area of effect as if an artillery shell had detonated at the location of their choice. If the koldun uses this power on the site of a battlefield from either the first or second World War, an un-detonated munition is triggered and the power has no additional cost; if not, the koldun must spend a Willpower point to manifest a spectral artillery shell from the world beyond. The explosion has a ten-foot radius, and deals aggravated damage equal to the successes scored on the activation roll.
    Last edited by Theodrim; 12-03-2018, 10:15 PM.

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    • #62
      Theodrim

      Now THAT is a cool Kraina! More than a few characters I have in mind would have a connection to WW1-WW2, so I'm definitely going to try this out. I really dig the idea of sympathetically tapping into the concept of the Wars themselves, and especially your use of the iconic hazards of those wars. Nice.


      “Nobody is purely good or purely evil. Most of us are in-between. There are moths that explore the day and butterflies that play at night.”
      - Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute The Sun
      (She/Her)

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      • #63
        Originally posted by AzraelFirestorm View Post
        Theodrim

        Now THAT is a cool Kraina! More than a few characters I have in mind would have a connection to WW1-WW2, so I'm definitely going to try this out. I really dig the idea of sympathetically tapping into the concept of the Wars themselves, and especially your use of the iconic hazards of those wars. Nice.
        Thanks -- ever since I rifled through Wrath: the Great War I thought the concept of a path of blood sorcery, or Necromancy, centered around the concept of warfare was a neat idea, especially as applied to the psychology of war as opposed to the tools of war in and of themselves. The thing to note with the Kraina I made, was each level has a predominantly psychological effect, filtered through the single-biggest liability any vampire has at any time, let alone on any battlefield -- the Beast.

        The first level allows koldun with Self-Control to effectively ride the wave despite being typically unable to, and those with Instinct to automatically ride the wave absent penalty. The second triggers hunger Frenzy, as befitting a battlefield in which blood would be everywhere. The third effectively triggers what would be considered Rotschrek in humans, but leaves vampires relatively unscathed as bashing damage is hardly a threat in and by itself. The fourth level -- what I consider the true capstone power of this Kraina as the fifth level is a further effect to it -- is not unlike Majesty, except that it triggers Frenzy/Rotschrek as opposed to requiring Willpower expenditure and rolls to act. And of course, for those who manage to resist the fourth level in and of itself, once the koldun starts raining down ghostly artillery shells, it's time to consider retreat -- area-effect aggravated is no joke, but at difficulty 8 to activate the koldun's player shouldn't expect more than 1-3 levels of aggravated per use assuming a ten-dice pool.

        I was considering a "Commissar" power for level 4 where the koldun activates the power by executing one servitor, which triggers Frenzy in their others, and the "spectral battlefield" power for level 5, but I felt it might be a little on the nose. Considering stereotypical Tzimisce preference for fewer, more powerful, servitors (i.e. szlachta) over a horde of pawns such as those that would be gained from the Military Force background, which would be necessary to make such a power shine, it's unlikely the power would be that useful, anyhow.

        The idea of particularly brutal or violent conflict leaving its mark on the Umbra isn't new to WoD (case in point the WtO historical setting itself), but on the other hand VtM rarely plays nice with other WoD titles/fatsplats, and Koldunism is one of the few cracks in the facade where material from other settings can be at least toyed with albeit through the filter of VtM mechanical and narrative balance. Since the Eastern fronts of both wars were waged on Tzimisce homeland, add two and two and it's an opportunity I couldn't refuse to explore.

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        • #64
          I was thinking about the Artillery damage overnight, and thought that the 1-3 agg isn't too bad considering level 5 Kudunism or comparable Thaumaturgy.
          Are there rules for artillery somewhere? 10 - 15 dice of lethal might be more comparable to artillery damage. 10 + 3 per success maybe? It'd certainly get rid of the mortals, where one to two agg for a mortal doesn't actually do that much.

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          • #65
            Originally posted by Illithid View Post
            I was thinking about the Artillery damage overnight, and thought that the 1-3 agg isn't too bad considering level 5 Kudunism or comparable Thaumaturgy.
            Are there rules for artillery somewhere? 10 - 15 dice of lethal might be more comparable to artillery damage. 10 + 3 per success maybe? It'd certainly get rid of the mortals, where one to two agg for a mortal doesn't actually do that much.
            Well, it's something I personally prefer to not get too crazy with considering certain rituals or circumstances can invoke difficulty bonuses or bonus dice on the activation roll. Like, for instance, that one level 2 or 3 ritual which reduces difficulties--has that been updated for V20 yet? And, of course, talismans which are stated to be universal to all blood sorceries, and one would assume Koldunism to be no exception. That can and will influence the amount of damage the power can do. Not to mention that, as I wrote it, the koldun can invoke the power once per round so long as the parent power is active. That's a fuckload of potential aggravated.

            The only sources for artillery bombardment I can name offhand, come from the MtAs books, and as one would assume from the source material it gets pretty gonzo. The M20 book lists artillery as having a 100' radius and dealing 20-30 dice of damage, and based on my quick research is well below what a (contemporary) 155mm howitzer round would actually be capable. Though, 75mm and 105mm were the most common field artillery pieces of WWII all around, particularly the latter, so those numbers are probably an accurate appraisal of period-appropriate field artillery. Something that destructive, even as a level 5 power only accessible under certain circumstances, is a great big hell naw from my perspective let alone as an area-effect power -- it's one of those situations in which reality has to take a backseat to game balance.

            Plus, you have the fact the explosions are supernatural in origin. Either an undetonated, live, munition is being supernaturally detonated, or the koldun is summoning Umbral artillery. In the former case it's sensible the explosion is weaker due to decades' of exposure and degradation (and almost certainly being buried), and in the latter since the Umbra doesn't exactly obey the laws of physics, we can handwave it as "because magic". Either way, due to the supernatural aspect of the power we have a case to upgrade the damage to aggravated, which also means we have to have an upper limit to the damage it can do. Realistically, after we figure in difficulty reduction/bonus dice from rituals and tools, whatever those may be, on an appropriately-built character we're looking at a reliable 3-5 levels of aggravated in a 10' radius per use, every turn.

            That's honestly more than enough. My personal rule of thumb as an ST for feeling out game balance is, due to how aggravated soak works and what can resist it versus lethal, the "exchange rate" of aggravated-to-lethal should be around 1-2; meaning, one level or die of aggravated is "worth" two lethal. Considering the 1:2 "exchange rate" on levels versus dice of damage, three levels of aggravated should be roughly equivalent to twelve dice of lethal in terms of end result.
            Last edited by Theodrim; 12-04-2018, 07:46 PM.

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