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  • Mantis: Rebirth

    So in the Insect Wars the Ananasi fought against the Insect Breeds, which included bees and beetles, ants and the mantis... and when the spiders won they destroyed their foes with Extreme Prejudice. Total genocide, and even those who surrendered or collaborated were killed. They then shaped the Spirits behind the breeds so that they could "never take flesh again", shaping Bee and Beetle and Ant and Mantis (etc.) so that they could never form Changing Breeds.

    The net result of these actions, which predate the War of Rage, is that there are no Insect Breeds. However, a rite performed millenia ago doesn't necessarily need to hold forever. Spirits are capable of bending and breaking rules (Spider is just one example; when her body was first crafted spun herself a Spirit, which should be impossible) and so here's an idea; what if a mantis were imbued with Mantis in modern times?

    I'm imagining that they would start by devouring other Mantis' and various other prey until they got a large enough body mass to take a Crinos form. Weaver spirits would be deeply supportive of them, to the point of sheltering and protecting them. Once they devoured a human they'd gain their last two forms.

    - What are appropriate Gifts? I'm aware of an Ananasi Gift stolen from Mantis which turns two arms into Scythes which do STR+3 Aggravated and are -1 difficulty to use, but I can't think of any other Mantis-like powers.

    - What would good advantages for the Breed be? They'd have no weakness to Silver, but I can see them having Rage (unlike the spiders). I can see Weaver-related spirits being kinder to them on average (-1 difficulty to rolls relating to them?). I can see them having Regeneration, and healing Aggravated damage by consuming prey (and slowly digesting them).

    - Role? Well the role of the Insect Races was to do the Weaver's work, so they don't need to have any Gaian Task.

    - Forms? I can see their Forms being high on Dexterity. A Mantis form (slightly larger than the largest type of mantis, so around 30cm long), A dog-sized Mantis form, A Crinos form (4 foot tall, 10 feet long, quadrapedal?), a near-human form (insectoid eyes, "scaled" skin, muscular and reflexive) and a human form (with slightly oversized eyes and long, elegant legs).

    - Themes? Alien horror, body horror, cult figures (accepting gifts and tributes from mortals and animals), vengeance, order, 'ambush-predator' mechanically.

  • #2
    So like an insect version of the Naga?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by BurritoMage View Post
      So like an insect version of the Naga?
      Now that you mention it, I can see some overlap in themes and imagery. Sure, like Insect Naga.

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      • #4
        I think you should model them after the Ananasi. They should be cold and emotionally detached like the Weaver makes all of its followers, this means Rage is not viable. They should have a Blood pool and use it the same way as the spiders. Since silver/gold allergy is tied to Rage they wouldn't have any weaknesses just like the Ananasi.

        They should probably have the same 4 forms as well and I wouldn't change the stats on them but I would enforce the stat difference for male versus female.

        They wouldn't have Web or Venom but I would give them more defined scythe-like arms in Pithus, Str+3 (agg damage) at -1 difficulty to use them but they are unable to do anything that requires them to use hands. In Lilian I would give them the standard Str+2 claws at Diff. 6 but give them the Ananasi gift Blade of the Mantis at level 2 instead of level 4 for the monster scythes (gift actually gives them Str+5 at -1 difficulty). They have similar mandible builds to spiders so their bite should be the same as well.

        I thinks gifts should be spread between genders like the Ajaba. Females are the stronger hunters and the Males are the scouts and swarmers. Females are the Leaders and the Males are the followers. Their gifts should reflect this. I would do a common pool that the whole breed pulls from, 2 lists for gender, and then 2 lists for human versus mantis born. Male and Female mantis has different physical features so these could be present in their gifts. Males have wings and an ear in their abdomen that allows them to sense echolocation, Females can cocoon their eggs in a foam that hardens into a sturdy shell that can survive the winter. I would draw from the Ananasi gifts primarily and then from other lists to fill in gaps created by removing venom and web gifts.

        The Ananasi may have molded the other insect shifters into something different but the Weaver is the master of of making alterations. If the weaver thought that she was starting to lose her grasp on Queen Ananasi and/or the Wyrm, she might decide that its time she put some of her old soldiers back to work. Though their role would be to hunt down the things that are trying to bring balance back. This would at times make them uneasy allies to the Gaian's as they find fight a wyrm stronghold that is corrupting the weavers webs but could put them in direct conflict with them when the Gaians are trying to stop the spread of the weaver in natural areas. This would also put them at odds with the Ananasi that are not Weaver aligned on a regular basis. This would also make them the only breed thus far that is purely weaver aligned.

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        • #5
          Derzhuzad Thanks! Lots of great ideas. And yeah, people say that the Ananasi are Weaver-Aligned, but Spiders were born in equal balance with all three parts of the Triat, and made its own spirit, they're Triat-Born basically, neutral.

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          • #6
            I could see this working but in a twisted sense where the Wyrm undoes the ritual and raise them up under its control as reborn Wyrm breeds. I would like to see how this goes.


            Like the Sun I am relentless even in death...

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rahod View Post
              I could see this working but in a twisted sense where the Wyrm undoes the ritual and raise them up under its control as reborn Wyrm breeds. I would like to see how this goes.
              Does he have to corrupt everything? I mean the Weaver is by far the most powerful and she created Mantis and the mantis and the WereMantis, so the Wyrm slipping in there feels... odd. It makes much more sense with the Spiders as they're Triat-based and a third of them are devoted to Wyrm-related stuff, and will eventually fall to his corruption.

              But it's a good idea for the Garou to THINK they're Wyrm-corrupted, at least at first.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post

                Does he have to corrupt everything? I mean the Weaver is by far the most powerful and she created Mantis and the mantis and the WereMantis, so the Wyrm slipping in there feels... odd. It makes much more sense with the Spiders as they're Triat-based and a third of them are devoted to Wyrm-related stuff, and will eventually fall to his corruption.

                But it's a good idea for the Garou to THINK they're Wyrm-corrupted, at least at first.
                Remember the Bunyip's attempted rebirth? The resurrection of extinct breeds is not presented as a good thing. Part of that relates to a threatened earth and the nature of loss: species die out and the world itself changes. Going back to the way things were is not an option, a series of Rubicons are constantly being crossed.

                Then there is the fact that Werewolf exists in an out-of-balance animistic universe. The Wyrm is pervasive in the last days, and I would imagine its grip would be strong on a breed that has spent millions of years being dead. Whatever ancient lines of heritage can be dredged up are still touched by the act of extinction.

                Long-dead shifters do not make comebacks easily. You said yourself you wanted a an 'alien' vibe to them. Things that are of Gaia might be strange, but they shouldn't give off sense of creepy, visceral wrongness. Given all these reasons, I think it makes a lot of sense for the Mantis to be a mockery breed.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by The Laughing Stranger View Post

                  Remember the Bunyip's attempted rebirth? The resurrection of extinct breeds is not presented as a good thing. Part of that relates to a threatened earth and the nature of loss: species die out and the world itself changes. Going back to the way things were is not an option, a series of Rubicons are constantly being crossed.

                  Then there is the fact that Werewolf exists in an out-of-balance animistic universe. The Wyrm is pervasive in the last days, and I would imagine its grip would be strong on a breed that has spent millions of years being dead. Whatever ancient lines of heritage can be dredged up are still touched by the act of extinction.

                  Long-dead shifters do not make comebacks easily. You said yourself you wanted a an 'alien' vibe to them. Things that are of Gaia might be strange, but they shouldn't give off sense of creepy, visceral wrongness. Given all these reasons, I think it makes a lot of sense for the Mantis to be a mockery breed.
                  Hmm... okay, I can see the following. Pentex do an experiment to try and move past the failed Cockroach experiments. They choose the mantis for its aggressive behaviour, hoping to make something better than the Warwolves (deemed a failure as they're incapable of being properly controlled). They successfully breed a human embryo with Mantis DNA held in a plasmid within each cell, ready to be called upon... and this is when Mantis struck. Yes, she could never rejoin with flesh, but these humans had given her flesh. She didn't realise that it was a trap.

                  The net result was a failed experiment FAR worse than any proceeding it. Imagine Warwolves, but clever. The products were capable of taking Human, Lilian and Pithus forms, and they devoured the researchers and destroyed the facility before fleeing. The branch of Pentex involved covered the whole thing up to avoid being destroyed by their competitors for this mistake.

                  They are Wyrm tainted and Weaver tainted, and thus are stuck in a loop of creation and destruction, where nothing is ever perfect enough. Each one of them expresses this differently, some will build a perfect happy home and then devour their husband and children when they notice a flaw they deem to be unfixible. Another might start a political movement and then burn it to the ground from the inside. They're a confused, twitching and alien breed who are lost in a world which tends to align with one part of the Triat, not two parts which cannot really be balanced within a single being.

                  BSDs could free them of their Weaver Taint and make them servants of the Wyrm, and other Fera and Garou could do the opposite, but at the point of their introduction into the story this won't have occurred yet.
                  Last edited by 11twiggins; 04-08-2017, 12:26 PM.

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                  • #10
                    That sounds pretty dang neat! I like that the door is left open for the wretched monsters to become something more later down the road... maybe they can be redeemed or maybe they will succumb to the Wyrm's depredations...

                    Edit: it also keeps them multifaceted regarding which member of they Triat they serve, but without approaching the balance of the Ananasi.
                    Last edited by The Laughing Stranger; 04-08-2017, 12:43 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Or the Mantis could be a Gaian shapeshifter designed to prey on Banes and Fomori since they evolved 175 million years after spiders. They would have been created during the time of the Dragon Kings to hunt down the Wyrm creatures of that time. After the Wonderwork, they would have gone into hiding until the evolution of humans, when they would have started mating with human males.

                      Mantis Fera would be female-only, requiring them to mate with male humans or male mantis. They would have four forms: human, hybrid, gigantic mantis, and mantis swarm. The hybrid and gigantic mantis would cause Delirium. Unlike Ananasi, they would have Rage instead of Blood Pool and would have regeneration and vulnerability to silver.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Aya Tari View Post
                        Or the Mantis could be a Gaian shapeshifter designed to prey on Banes and Fomori since they evolved 175 million years after spiders. They would have been created during the time of the Dragon Kings to hunt down the Wyrm creatures of that time. After the Wonderwork, they would have gone into hiding until the evolution of humans, when they would have started mating with human males.

                        Mantis Fera would be female-only, requiring them to mate with male humans or male mantis. They would have four forms: human, hybrid, gigantic mantis, and mantis swarm. The hybrid and gigantic mantis would cause Delirium. Unlike Ananasi, they would have Rage instead of Blood Pool and would have regeneration and vulnerability to silver.
                        However in the Ananasi lore, which is pretty much legit (well, they're right about most things and wrong about a few things, and the things they're wrong about they're VERY wrong about) the Weaver created all of the Insects to be her minions during the primordial times. Human Scientists think that the Mantis evolved 175 million years after spiders, but using that IRL fact in WTA would override an aspect of the Ananasi lore which is quite nice. Now I'm all for overriding, questioning and ignoring lore (points to own past involvement on WTA forum) but I kind of like the idea of them being an oddity, a Weaver-born and Wyrm-tainted Mockery breed, a remembrance of the lost Mantis breed created by the Weaver and destroyed in the Insect Wars.

                        Now I'm imagining a Mokole telling one of them the tale of the Insect Wars... I think I might try and play this some day

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                        • #13
                          It's an interesting idea, but I'd like to elaborate a little.

                          +. Genesys.
                          The Insect Wars were fought because the insect breeds were going anarchic (as in "doing whatever they wanted"), so not instrumental for the Weaver. Like the Mosquito spirit (or whatever it was, the one the Weaver squashed), so they were going "wyldish" (or maybe even wyrmish). It was also the beginning of the corrupted Weaver.
                          Therefore it wouldn't be impossible for Ananasa to "freeze" a bunch of these "lower spiritual shapeshifters" in some umbral sack, for further studies. They would be later entrusted to the Wyld faction of the Ananasi, that would then release them in the modern time (or not-so-modern). For example I remember that in Australia there's some "roving monster", the Yahwie, hunting down Ananasi. What if it's not directly related to Ananasi (not even a metis) but are a faction of were-Mantis, released in Australia* under Bunyip surveillance, somewhere near the War of Shame?
                          (*: in Australia there's apparently an awful quantity of mantis species)


                          +. Traits.
                          Gnosis is all and good.
                          But I would refrain from giving them "blood points", not even the "half-digested-innards-we-call-blood-points-for-scaring-impressionable-readers" of the Ananasi. A mantis don't "suck" liquid-like soup from it's prey, but crush it with her jaws. Unless you want to give them some Nagaraja-like "meat-points", but that's quite crude as they would become an all-around cannibalistic lot.
                          Giving them Rage is also a possibility. As we know, Rage is given by Luna or Helios (silver or gold weakness), but this doesn't go well with an insect image. Moon and Sun are the biggest astral bodies influencing heart, but they aren't all the possibilities. For example, in the Apocalypse's book they mentions "Rorg's Claw" or "the Claw", a celestine featuring the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Rorg is not wyrmish, weaverish or wyldish, simply concerned over the sufference of Gaia. While this is kind of a stretch, we could indetify this Rorg as the "patron" of the Mantis, thus giving them Rage.
                          As the asteroids' belt influence is almost unexistant on Earth, the Mantises would naturally regain Rage really slowly (1 point/month), instead relying on combat-induced Rage (I can see ritual combats in Mantises lairs) or Rites that require "eating" some type of meaningful being to regain it (and would go quite well with the "mantis" lore).
                          As for the "metal" which they are weak. I'd like to remember the Plato's Myth of the Metals (google it). It says (synthesizing) "people are made of gold (rulers), silver (guardians), iron (farmers) or brass (artisans)". While gold and silver are already covered, whe can go with iron or brass (all metals -beside gold and silver- could go well with the classic "asteroid" image).
                          -. Iron would be a weakness the Mantises would share with the Fae/Changelings. We could develop a whole series of interesting developments and relations based on this (including some sort of misunderstanding on the Changeling part that the Mantises are a kith of some sort), but I think it would be rendundant.
                          -. Brass is commonly a metal alloy made of copper and zinc, while we could go with either of them as a weakness (like, a minor weakness with copper or zinc, but a full total weakness for brass), but we can go further. Orichalcum. Orichalcum is a legendary metal mentioned in several ancient writings and often indentified with brass. But in several myths across the world swords, lances and arrows could never pierce and Orichalcum shield. Therefore a suitable choice would be the Titanium (which is, supposedly, a mineral plenty present in asteroids, you can see where I'm going). While it was at best difficult to come across it in the ancient world, now many object are made of Titanium (not to mention, many army's bullets), so it's a great weakness. The only problem could that the "legendary" Orichalcum is said to have a reddish tone (not Titanium), but we can rationalize it again. What if the legendary Orichalcum is (was) the rare** Titanium mixed with the more common brass? That would fill all the gaps (also, the klaive-like weapons of the Mantises would have this tone).
                          (**in the real world was probably unheard until the last century, but we're speaking of the WoD, right?)
                          I think any one of these choices is applicable (iron, brass, Orichalcum/titanium), but my favourite is the last one


                          +. Behavior
                          Mantises are patient but ferocious predators, unlike spiders, therefore while "aliens" from a mammal point-of-view, were-Mantises would not be as "cold" as Ananasi (after all, this is a given if you give them some Rage).
                          Then, as their "mission", as children of Rorg (if you go with all the "Rorg" thing) they should have their own agenda. Rorg is primarily concerned over the sufference of Gaia, therefore the mission of the Mantis should be to "eliminate" the threats to Gaia well-being. Their main issues would be two:
                          1. Kill the threats to Gaia: it means everything they can get their claws on. Banes, Wyrmish shapeshifters, Weaverish shapeshifter ( -> "Ananasi, kill all the Ananasi!" with a 300 bgm in background), people accountable of natural disasters (someone said "Pentex" ?) and so on. They prey. This is their mission.
                          2. Lack of Traditions: Mantises don't have a proper organization, if you go with my "genesys" theory, their elders were slaughtered befor the beginning of time, their "history" would then begins around the XV century and their vision of the world would be heavily influenced by the Bunyip philosopy. But after the War of Tears (aka "Bunyip mass slaughter") their world goes upside down, adding Garou as possible targets (mainly Get of Fenris, Red Talons and other heavily Rage-influenced garou, like Ahroun).
                          So they would get a strange and unique mix of Ananasi, Ratkins, Children of Gaia/Bunyip behaviors. Could be hard, but feasible.


                          +. Forms
                          I would not rather go with the "swarms of mantises". A swarm of spiders is theme-accurated for three aspects. One, swarm of spiders are a real-fact, while not common. Two, a swarm of spiders is a common horror trope (don't forget W:tA can be mainly identified as a horror survival game). Three, the "swarm thing" go well with the "hive-mind" that is the Weaver's main theme.
                          None of those go with mantises. So, I think the best choice for the "animal form" is a single, little mantis, as a flight form (if you think is ineffective, remember that many mantises can fly for some time (some even 50 meters) and that most of them are highly mimetic. Making a mimetic gift for starting gift would solve all the problems... imagine your friendly 4-meters-tall scythes-armed monster that becomes a 4 centimeters insect and then fly away under your nose because you can't see it).




                          And now... I stop. I'm sick and I did write all this in one go.
                          Last edited by Ryoga84; 04-10-2017, 01:03 PM.


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                          • #14
                            Ryoga84 I really strongly agree with you that they shouldn't have a Swarm form. Swarms work for flies, cockroaches, spiders and beetles, but the Mantis is solitary by and large.

                            I think Rage works, but I think a link to Helios would make sense. Insects are cold-blooded (well they don't have blood, but you know what I mean, many insects rely on sunlight to get their best activity done) and therefore they would revere Helios regardless of any true link to him. I think that it would make sense if the Weaver struck a bargain with Helios that he would help make her Insect Races, as insects bask in sunlight to get bursts of energy (not FROM the sunlight but heat helps with metabolism). This would give them the Gold weakness. If we have them as a Mockery breed who have inherited Mantis, who was stuck without a form for millenia, then the confused and angry Mantis's could gain some support from sun-based spirits and some Helios-related gifts.

                            Agreed that Meat/Blood points would be weird. That said, a Gift which restores Gnosis or Rage by devouring certain things would be awesome. Gnosis from devouring spirits, Rage from devouring physical beings?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                              Ryoga84 I really strongly agree with you that they shouldn't have a Swarm form. Swarms work for flies, cockroaches, spiders and beetles, but the Mantis is solitary by and large.


                              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                              I think Rage works, but I think a link to Helios would make sense. Insects are cold-blooded (well they don't have blood, but you know what I mean, many insects rely on sunlight to get their best activity done) and therefore they would revere Helios regardless of any true link to him. I think that it would make sense if the Weaver struck a bargain with Helios that he would help make her Insect Races, as insects bask in sunlight to get bursts of energy (not FROM the sunlight but heat helps with metabolism). This would give them the Gold weakness. If we have them as a Mockery breed who have inherited Mantis, who was stuck without a form for millenia, then the confused and angry Mantis's could gain some support from sun-based spirits and some Helios-related gifts.
                              I admit that to insert a third party in an established dycotomy is a quirk of mine. I began searching for a suitable third party and then from point to point I got to Orichalcum. There are something like two years I don't create some new splat for the WoD, so maybe I jumped the gun, but I like this Rorg thing.
                              Aside from that, both idea (Helios and the asteroid) could be used if you think simply that the celestine "adopted" the breed after it was made (as in "The Weaver created them, then the Celestine made a pact with them, thus stealing their loyalty", similarly if they are a mockery breed you can make the celestine to "steal them away"). They simply "add" Rage to the shifters someone else had made (is an interesting twist to the otherwise passive Celestines).


                              Originally posted by 11twiggins View Post
                              Agreed that Meat/Blood points would be weird. That said, a Gift which restores Gnosis or Rage by devouring certain things would be awesome. Gnosis from devouring spirits, Rage from devouring physical beings?
                              More than a Gift, I would prefer a Rite, they are more complex and actually require preparation, they can't be done on the spot just because you're low on juice and there's an unlucky passer-by near you.
                              On the other side, the one for gnosis already exists. I don't remember the name, but is a hunt-like rite where the garou hunt a sacrifical gaffling spirit (I think a gaffling of the Caern's Totem) and when they "kill" it they regain a point of Gnosis each.


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                              [Unofficial Clanbook] Nagaraja: the Masquerade


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