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[Fanmade Dark Era] [Beast/Geist] The Forest That Weeps

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  • #76
    Okay, I'm at work right now, but you can expect me to put up a critique on this. If I recall, there may also be some bloodlines from the 1E books who could fit here too.


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    • #77
      Lessons chapter. I do like how this turned out. Next one is Brood and Family, which will probably take some time
      • The Lessons
      “We live as we dream - alone. While the dream disappears, the life continues painfully.”
      Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

      The idea of teaching harsh lessons in the nightmarish context of the Congo Free State might seem redundant. If there’s something that is not lacking in Congo it’s fear. And yet, the Begotten of Congo find that the lessons they give have plenty of reasons to be. The brutal wisdom of the Primordial Dream is, in its rawest shape, a lesson about survival. The world shows no mercy on those who are suffering, the dangers don’t disappear no matter how you would like to and the things in the darkness are still there even if you’re not looking at them. There are still harsh truths that need to be showed. Still lessons that need to be taught.

      If anything, the Beast find that the horrors of Congo require more effort on their part to teach lessons that are actually useful. Some men are so jaded and lost in the cycle of atrocities going on that what they might learn from an encounter with a Begotten has trouble sticking. Others suffered so much that an attempt at teaching them something through the primordial wisdom of Beasts pushes them over the edge. Several Beasts discover to their dismay that with all that is going on minds break way more easily than they bend. The sons and daughters of the Dark Mother that actually care for getting a lesson through as they feed have to be exceedingly careful with their behavior. While satisfying their most primal needs, satisfying the desires of their Horror and feeding might be simple, the more delicate and subtle aspects of the lives of the Begotten are quite more complicated. As the situation grows worse and the Primordial Dream merges more and more with the real world, second chances are something most Beasts don’t have. The chances for a person to not get something out of a lesson attempt but instead be left utterly devastated or dead are dangerously high, with all the consequences such results would entail.

      Of course, not all the Begotten care for the well-being of their victims. Considering that their personal inclinations, ideas and prejudices give shape to their actions, all Beasts deal with their hunger and the idea of having to teach a lesson in different ways. Some Beast specifically target people they despise in order to not have to worry about what happens to them. Other Beasts come up with lessons that appeal to their own ideals but prove to be dangerous and broken when imparted to the human beings. Some just feast. Whereas the Beast culture as a whole tries to underline the importance of lessons, to give the Begotten a role of primordial teachers that have a reason to be beyond that of hurting people and being monsters for the Heroes to slay, in the Congo Free State such principle gets out of focus. The cultural weight to channel a Beast’s action into something constructive just is not there anymore, swallowed by the storm of terror and hunger that rages through the whole country. There are just too many Beasts, too many Heroes and too many occasions too feed for it to be a socially imposed behavior. If a Beast wants to follow certain ideals and temper her Horror’s instincts with something at least theoretically positive, that’s an impulse that has to come from within way more often than not.

      Accept what is going on. Never lower your guard. Look for help when you have the chance. Choose your battles. Don’t think yourself to be invincible. Avoid making new enemies. Protect those you care about. Remember that monsters exist. Heal your wounds and live another day. Struggle. Survive.

      The Dark Mother knows if the people in Congo needs these and many more lessons in their lives. The Begotten. can be those that teach them and help people get through the darkness of this era. They only have to choose to do so.
      Last edited by Cinder; 04-05-2017, 10:49 AM.


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      • #78
        Alright. First off, I definitely like how native vampires in the Congo were depicted. It's the sort of bizarre I haven't seen since LostLight worked on the writeup for the Mumvuri Clan in the Age of Azar open project.

        Of all the Covenants to have syncretic sects in the Free State, it seems like the Lancea and the Circle would be the most likely culprits. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they lead to heresies not unlike the Livian one to crop up.


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        • #79
          Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
          Alright. First off, I definitely like how native vampires in the Congo were depicted. It's the sort of bizarre I haven't seen since LostLight worked on the writeup for the Mumvuri Clan in the Age of Azar open project.

          Of all the Covenants to have syncretic sects in the Free State, it seems like the Lancea and the Circle would be the most likely culprits. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if they lead to heresies not unlike the Livian one to crop up.
          Thanks, glad you liked it. The part about physical oddities is all due to the source material. African vampires are weird. The sidebar in the Mutapa Empires chapter of the Dark Era companion went for a similar route about mutations and body shapes.

          As for the Covenants, I was thinking as well at those two. Indeed the best candidates for an intercultural contamination
          Last edited by Cinder; 04-05-2017, 03:57 PM.


          Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
          Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

          Waiting feverishly as instructed

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          • #80
            • Brood, Hive & Family
            “It was written I should be loyal to the nightmare of my choice.”
            Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness


            While one might think the abundance of opportunities to feed would remove the need for having a Brood, that is not the case. Broods exist not only because of convenience and mutual protection, but also because Beasts share a common feeling of familiarity between each other and the various supernatural denizens of the world. Even in Congo, Family remains an important concept for all the Begotten, with some arguing it is even more important than usual. First of all, solitary Beasts are much more vulnerable to the hordes of Heroes that live in the Congo Free State, something that by itself is already a good reason to join a Brood. In addition to that, without the support and help of their Family members, Beasts are more likely to succumb to their worst instinct and go off the deep end. Broods are not perfect and each monster fights her own battle to balance her instincts with her reason, but it’s almost always better to fight together that alone.

            There is not a common shape for Broods in Congo. With so many Beasts going around, there’s no returning pattern. It all depends on the Begotten and the supernaturals that are part of it. Even in a context of cultural clash and conflicts, the bonds between Beasts as Children of Dark Mother tend to be strong. The Devouring brings a sense of clarity, along with its hunger and purpose, that Beasts cannot deny. Family is family after all, whether you like it or not. Broadly speaking, a considerable percentage of Beast eventually discard the human perspective and embrace the Beast one. It often happens gradually and in a subtle way, but it’s one of the natural consequence of living as one of the Begotten.
            That is not to say that things between Beasts and other supernaturals always go smooth. Grudges remain. Hate does not disappear. If a Beast’s goals go against what another Beast wants or put those she cares about in danger, conflict is bound to ensue. The Begotten are creatures of strong passions defined by what they want and what they hunger for; few of them are willing to step back and do nothing, Family or not. At the same time though, it is also true that many individuals who had nothing in common before their Devouring do indeed find themselves together in the same Brood. Their common ancestry, their shared pains and the fact they are the only ones that can truly understand each other’s experiences make it possible for Beasts that come from different backgrounds to come to trust and care for their Brood mates. Family often proves stronger than anything else.

            Going through the Devouring offers a new perspective to young Beasts. It is not uncommon for a native Beast to Devour a non-native one and vice versa. New Beasts find themselves in an environment where local supernaturals have laid the foundation for a system that is rapidly changing due to the influence and actions of both human and inhuman newcomers. Beasts, no matter their mortal origin, are ripped from the social constructs they always lived in by the powerful and uncaring might of their primordial nature. Whether they decide to embrace their new life, cling to their human existence or try to find a balance between the two it’s up to them. Several Beast discover with time that Kinship helps to form a deeper connection with other supernaturals than any relationship with humans could ever grant. Others don’t care for that and use their newly-gained powers to achieve whatever their hearts long for, no matter if that brings them into conflict with their kin. Some don’t have much of a choice, hunt by heroes and put in circumstances where they either accept the help of other members of their Family or succumb.

            Obviously, Kinship is not a flawless foundation for a relationship, even among Beasts. Functional Broods share a common perspective about the most polarizing issues, at the very least. The attitude towards humans, the feelings about the colonial regime, the ideas about hunger and how to satisfy it, the response to the threat of Heroes: Broods might not agree about everything but those who last are composed most often than not by Beast that find some semblance of common ground when it comes to similar topics.

            Relationship with other supernatural are more complicated. Kinship or not, the other inhuman denizens of Congo are often part of some sort of already-existing society. There’s not a general description that fits how all Beasts relate to these other members of their family. It all depends on the specific Begotten and how she approaches her supernatural relatives. The instinctive sense of kinship that Beasts prove and provoke in other supernaturals is something almost intimate: hidden societies might not feel it, but individuals do. It goes without saying that approaching other supernaturals and making them a part of your Brood opens the way for all sorts of complications, even more so in the chaotic situation of Congo. Which is not something that stops many Beasts from following their hearts, but has its downsides and consequences.


            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            The Apex


            Young Beasts have no way to know this, but speaking with older Begotten they soon discover there’s a reason every single Lair in Congo, no matter if you live close to the ocean, within the jungle or in the vast savannah of the north-east, has a river running through it. That’s due to the influence Mokele-mbembe has on all over the country. The rivers in the various Lairs ultimately end up joining the immense one that runs in Mokele-membe’s Lair. Follow the stream, the Congolese Begotten say, and you’ll end up in it. Some Beast initially doubt a single Beast can be the Apex for a country as big as Congo but these doubts usually don’t survive after an encounter with Mokele-mbembe himself.

            Hive Trait: Lairs in Congo always have a location subjected to the Flooded Trait, which takes the shape of a a river of some sort.

            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Last edited by Cinder; 04-15-2017, 12:12 PM.


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            • #81
              People, I'm about to start working on the "Anomalies of the Primordial Dream" chapter, which will be a mixture of ideas and new mechanics. After that though, the "fluff" part is basically done, with some new Nightmares, Mokele-mbembe, Kongamato, sample Beasts, Heroes and Insatiables left to write (to be honest, you can see the skeleton of their stats in the Google document already).

              To those loyal ones that are following my work (thanks by the way, i do appreciate it a lot), what do you think of the Beast material so far? There's something you think I should think about before going for the conclusion?
              Last edited by Cinder; 04-08-2017, 05:03 PM.


              Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
              Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

              Waiting feverishly as instructed

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              • #82
                Did I miss the Geist part, or did you just mean the Beast fluff?


                A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
                  Did I miss the Geist part, or did you just mean the Beast fluff?
                  Just Beast. Geist is still all inside my head for now


                  Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                  Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

                  Waiting feverishly as instructed

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                  • #84
                    I think your Beast stuff is great, even if very 'canonical'. I'm eagerly waiting to read more on this blurring of Material World and Primodrial Dreams you mentioned earlier.


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                    • #85
                      Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                      I think your Beast stuff is great, even if very 'canonical'. I'm eagerly waiting to read more on this blurring of Material World and Primodrial Dreams you mentioned earlier.
                      Thanks! That chapter will take some time, since I'll need to tinker with quite a bit of mechanics along with the usual descriptions, but I'll do my best to deliver


                      Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                      Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

                      Waiting feverishly as instructed

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                      • #86
                        So, I wrote a Hero. She's only one of the five I plan to write and the idea is that each one covers a different role. Basically I took the protagonist of a Victorian adventure novel and played with it with Beast's setting and rules. Not the final draft, since I'd rather hear your opinion of her first. Not sure about a couple of things, mostly the fact she's a bit over the top. I do like her quite a bit, but I could use your opinion



                        Lady Arabella Kane

                        End of the line, monster. Game's up. Start running”


                        Background: Born and raised as the scion of an ancient family of the British aristocracy, Arabella received all the benefits her status granted her. A well-rounded education, the admission to the upper echelons of society and enough wealth to obtain everything she could ever want. She soon grew into a proper lady: gentle, cultured and charismatic, welcomed guest to any social event. Still, Arabella always showed a vein of inquietude that her parents could not erase. She herself could never explain this disturbance and tried her best to suppress it, focusing completely on activities more fitting to the role society expected a young noble woman to have.

                        The encounter with Sir Jonathan Kane changed things. A young and dashing gentleman, Jonathan had the reputation of a womaniser with a certain disdain for social conventions. Despite this, he was struck by Arabella’s charm and genuinely fell in love with her. While initially not interested, Arabella discovered there was more to Jonathan that it appeared. The two completed each other, serving both as source of inspiration and stability for their partner. Marriage soon followed and, while many expected the passion would not last, Arabella and Jonathan truly loved each other. Away from her household Arabella was now free to do as she desired, encouraged by Jonathan to practice many unlady-like activities. This was the cause for much gossip, but none of them cared. Jonathan himself was a skilled swordsman and he practiced with his wife constantly. Arabella learned fast but, to Jonathan’s gleeful surprise, her true talent lied in the firearms: she soon became a better marksman than her husband, trained both in rifles and guns. The couple became a famous, if scandalous, presence in many hunting parties across the country.

                        After a while, Jonathan became convinced that their talents deserved a more fitting challenge, something that could give them a powerful emotion. He started to make plans and talk to people. At first, they were other hunters and explorers, people coming back from the “savage” corners of the Earth, bringing back stories and trophies. It was only when he became more reserved and secretive, meeting with people of unsavory reputation and sometimes disappearing for days only to return wounded and scarred, that Arabella questioned him. Jonathan avoided the questions. He organized a hunting trip to Africa, saying he needed to leave London for a while, and promised his wife that he would give her all the answers once the trip was over. This was how the couple arrived in Congo.

                        Accompanied by a large entourage of servants and friends, Arabella and Jonathan started from Boma and ventured in the interior of the country. They killed leopards and gorillas in the jungle, hunted lions in the east and even took down a couple of elephants. They were together, away from whatever was haunting Jonathan back in England. Still, Arabella could not rest: there was something fundamentally wrong going on. She could not sleep well at night no matter how hard she tried and she felt that her perceptions were somehow distorted by something she could not identify. Everything culminated one fateful day when a hunting trip ended in a disaster. While venturing in the depths of the jungle, the expedition was attacked by monsters half-man, half-beast and massacred. A creature of fangs and darkness lifted Jonathan in the air and ripped him in two. It was in that moment that Arabella felt something unlocking within her. She took up her rifle, shoot at the thing and killed it in one single hit. The other monsters struck Arabella but, evidently shocked by the turn of events, left her for dead. She proved harder to kill than they thought.

                        Arabella emerged from the jungle, covered in blood and carrying Jonathan’s mauled corpse, but with a purpose. Now a full-fledged Hero, Arabella discovered the dreams she had guided her towards the many monsters that infested Congo. She learned to use the people's tales and the nightmares to track the worst ones and take them down. Arabella rebuilt a hunting group with a combination of trusted servants and new followers. As the legal owner of her family’s fortune as well as Jonathan’s, Arabella used her considerable wealth to find equipment, weapons and informations. This was two years ago. She has not left Congo since then.

                        Arabella experiences slaying Beasts and other monsters as hunting a savage animal She has no qualms about killing supernaturals of all sorts, especially the most bestial ones, but a combination of her role of Hero and what she personally experienced make her perceive Beasts as the most dangerous, and rewarding, hunt. It’s only with the Begotten that she feels the sense of excitement and fulfillment that keep her going. Arabella is glad to kill monsters, as they clearly are a menace to innocent men and women, but she does what she does not only because she feels it’s the right thing to do. Now distant from her home and any obligation she might have towards her family, Arabella is free to do as she pleases and, if asked, will eventually admit that the constant seek for the thrill of the hunt guides her probably more than any other factor.


                        Description: Arabella is in her mid-twenties. In an aristocratic context, she is a graceful figure. She moves, speaks and act with measured attitude. The death of her husband and years of hunting monsters have not deprived her of the aura of elegant femininity. This, combined by her rather remarkable looks and gentle tone, gives an impression of a lady that could never do what a Hero’s call requires. That changes completely once she’s on the field. When alone or with her trusted followers, Arabella focuses completely on the hunt. She maintains an impeccable behavior as much as possible, but it’s something Arabella is able to abandon without thinking twice if the circumstances require it. Stalking her quarry through the most impervious territories, using a combination of hunter and dirty tactics without caring a single bit about her well-being, is something Arabella does easily.

                        Storytelling Hints: Arabella is a fearsome foe. She’s ruthless, trained and driven. Her social status and wealth give her the freedom to move as she pleases around the country, a privilege many of her preys don’t have. Additionally, she has a reputation for opposing the vilest actions of the colonial regime and helping people. It probably won’t happen if she’s close to a Beast, but if Arabella sees a person abusing another or some horrible actions going on and she has the chance to help, she will. This, combined with the fact the authorities can’t do much to stop her without risking a huge diplomatic incident, made it so that she became a sort of popular figure among the population, trusted and admired. Whenever she goes, she asks people to tell her any story of monsters and other supernatural creature they know. Arabella has, under all aspects, a network of informants that keep her updated about Beast and that are eager to join her hunting party.

                        Arabella does not see Beasts and their kin as human. She sees them as supernatural animals that she has all the right to hunt down. Vampires, werewolves, prometheans, changeling and other inhuman beings are fair game. More fundamentally human supernaturals are granted the benefit of the doubt: if they indeed are harmful to regular people Arabella will kill them not because they’re a good hunting target but rather because they’re vile. Not satisfying perhaps, but still the right thing to do.

                        When hunting a Beast, Arabella does her best to force the Begotten in a narrative of hunt. She destroys their mortal connections, forces them to run and fight like the animals she thinks they are. She realized long ago that Beasts are not only creatures that hide in the wilderness, so she is prepared to hunt in all environments. She always have a gun with her at the very least, but when she hunts on her terms, Arabella can deploy a true arsenal. Her most favorite weapons are her customized Sharps Rifle (her Chosen Blade) and a cavalry saber. She prefers to snipe Beasts from afar, complimenting herself for good shots, but she can handle close quarters combat as well.

                        Arabella is a tireless enemy, but she can be stopped. For a Hero, she cares about her followers quite a bit (even if she rationalizes their death easily). Putting them into danger might not make her abandon the hunt, but she’s more likely to make mistakes when that happens. She’s also utterly convinced that all Beasts must be slaughtered, but this belief is not unbreakable. A great deal of Arabella’s hatred is due to the circumstances of her husband’s death and, if a Beast demonstrates her there’s more to the Begotten than it initially appears (for example, by sparing her life multiple times), the exact nature of her Heroic call might change. It would take a lot of effort both on her part and on that of any Beast that crosses her path. but Arabella might learn to see Beasts and other supernaturals as individuals. She’s more likely to channel her hunger for the hunt towards the true monsters among the Begotten, striving to spare those who try to not hurt others as best as they can. It is unlikely she would abandon her tendencies completely, but she has the potential to stop being an enemy, if not truly an ally. At her core, Arabella is broken, misguided and addicted to the thrill of the hunt, but she can redeem herself with some help.

                        It’s worth mentioning that there are elements of Arabella’s past that can be used against her. First of all, her family is convinced she’s insane and that she must be brought back to England and sent to a sanatorium before she can waste the whole family’s fortune, They actually dispatched some agents to do the job, but so far they all returned back with only broken bones and a response: “Don’t try this again”. Additionally, during the months before coming to Congo, Jonathan actually became part of a Hunter group. The exact identity of this is left to the Storyteller, but tales of Arabella’s…”eccentric” life have reached this group and they might have interest speaking with her. Jonathan also fled from England because of something that happened with them. Her husband’s unfinished business is one of the few things that can distract Arabella from her hunt

                        Legend: Huntress.
                        Life: Impeccable.
                        Mental Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 4
                        Physical Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3
                        Social Attributes: Presence 4, Manipulation 2, Composure 4
                        Mental Skills: Academics 2, Enigmas 1, Craft 2 (Firearms), Investigation 2, Medicine 1, Occult 2 (Beasts), Politics 3,
                        Physical Skills: Athletics 3, Brawl 1, Ride 2, Firearms 5 (Hunting Rifles), Stealth 2, Survival 3, Weaponry 4 (Saber)
                        Social Skills: Animal Ken 4, Empathy 2, Expression 3, Intimidation 2, Persuasion 3, Socialize 4 (Aristocracy), Subterfuge 2
                        Merits: Contacts (Local Population), Danger Sense, Fame 2, Fast Reflexes 1, Fleet of Foot 2, Iron Skin 1, Language (French, German), Multi-Lingual (Lingala, Swahili), Patient, Quick Draw (Hunting Rifles), Resources 5, Status 4 (British Aristocracy), Striking Looks 1, Taste
                        Gifts: Champion’s Endurance, Kinslayer, Chosen Blade, Legendary Hunter, Warrior’s Speed
                        Willpower: 8
                        Integrity: 3
                        Size: 5
                        Initiative: 1
                        Defense: 6
                        Speed: 10
                        Health: 8
                        Armor: 0 (2/0 when fighting Beasts)
                        Last edited by Cinder; 04-12-2017, 02:30 PM.


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                        • #87
                          Damn, that's exactly what I look for in Heroes; a sympathetic background, ruthlessness in spite of it, competitiveness, and possibilities of redemption.


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                          • #88
                            God, I posted it just before going to bed and checked it only now, but there were a lot of grammatical mistakes there, even for me. This should teach me to not post in a hurry.


                            Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                            Damn, that's exactly what I look for in Heroes; a sympathetic background, ruthlessness in spite of it, competitiveness, and possibilities of redemption.
                            Thanks, I was honestly afraid she might have come across as a over-the-top caricature of sort. I'm gonna be totally honest though: I look for the same characteristics as you in Heroes, but not all the sample ones I'll write will have them. Three out of five (including Arabella) will be flawed but sympathetic people, at least if I manage to write them as intended. The other two? Cruel killers which i'd say are past the point of no return.

                            We'll return to this, it's just that I'm these days I'm a little to busy to reread all the mechanics I need to study before making my own, so I figured writing something that was already clear in my mind was better that staring at a blank page.

                            Thanks for the comment though!


                            Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                            Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

                            Waiting feverishly as instructed

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                            • #89
                              Ok, the Anomalies of the Primordial Dream chapter is done. I'm posting it here in two separate posts since it's not exactly short. Truly looking forward to your feedback about it. There's no extraordinary mechanic behind it, just a combination of elements. If you look at them as a whole picture you'll easily see what kind of story hooks and impact the Primordial Dream can provide in a Congo Free State game. Taken singularly nothing stands out, but they do work together. (Not saying it's perfect or immune from criticism, of course)
                              • Anomalies of the Primordial Dream
                              “The mind of men is capable of anything”
                              Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness


                              The Primordial Dream is roaring. All the supernaturals in Congo can feel it. Some have no idea of what it is going on, but it’s there. The nightmarish dimension is now closer to the living world than anyone in Congo can possibly remember. Through a combination of factors nobody can truly understand, the natural balance of things has been disrupted and made it possible for the boundaries between worlds to fade. The situation only aggravates, as the influence of the Primordial Dream both sustains and feeds on the shroud of overwhelming terror that covers the entire country. Being creatures irrevocably tied to the Primordial Dream, the Begotten are the ones exposed to what is going on more than any other. The increased impact the Primordial Dream has on the world of the living does not only translate into an alarmingly high number of new Devourings, but also in more dangerous manifestations of power that, to Beasts, are both a boon and a curse. The Begotten soon discover that their innate capabilities to influence the material world through their monstrous heritage are enhanced, perhaps even too much. As the attrition that keeps the two worlds separate grows weaker, the Primordial Dream refuses to leave. It lingers, hungry and primordial, confronting Beasts with its untamed might.

                              There’s not a fixed moment in time where these anomalies begin to happen. They appeared subtly, resembling nothing more than isolated cases at first. Rather, the real distinction lies in the frequency and scale. As the Primordial Dream grew closer, the consequences of such proximity grew more common and widespread. What was a rare inconvenience before becomes the norm. Beasts and Heroes adapt to the situation as best as they can. They share tales and warnings with their companions, each side of the conflict desperate to gain edge over the other or, at the very least, to endure until the following day only to survive again and again
                              The situation did not improve immediately with the end of the King Leopold’s rule either: it will take years for the wounds of the astral tapestry to heal and for the Primordial Dream return to its agitated slumber.
                              • General Traits
                              • Sometimes gateways to the Primordial Dream open for no apparent reason. These gateways most often lead to unclaimed Chambers but, more rarely, they lead to a Lair. Consider this as if a Primordial Pathway (Beast: The Primordial page 97) opens, except the duration can vary, ranging from a handful of seconds to entire hours. This only applies to random Primordial Pathways, not to those intentionally opened by a Beast (see below) These gateways can open everywhere, even in other worlds like the Hedge or the Shadow. For unclaimed Chambers, the location and the Primordial Dream overlap as usual but those who find themselves in it cannot leave the area nor enter another Chamber, as the one they are isolated from any Lair and without Burrows. Gateways to unclaimed Chambers do open even if there’s no similarity between the Chamber and the location, potentially leading to bizarre combinations of traits. Gateways to Lairs instead, aside from happening much less frequently, only happen if there’s a similarity of some kind, reflecting the same kind of resistance a Beast faces when she tries to access her Lair.
                              • All rolls to open a Primordial Pathway (page 97) get a +2 bonus. Primordial Pathways remain open for a number of turns equal to the Beast’s Resolve + Lair. Pathways opened this way close at the end of the scene if still open.
                              • Rolls to to impose a Lair Trait or more over the real world (page 101) get a +1 bonus
                              • Skeleton Key, Under The Bed (page 91) and rolls to “tune in” and investigate a Chamber that does not belong to a Lair (page 94) get a +2 bonus, because of the proximity of the Primordial Dream to the world of the living.
                              • When using Skeleton Key to open a gateway to the Primordial Dream such gateway remains open for a number of hours, not turns, equal to the successes rolled and cannot be closed reflexively by the Beast as usual. It closes normally after the hours pass, but the passage cannot be closed in the meantime or utilized to travel to other worlds.
                              • Under the Bed works as usual, but Exceptional Successes cause deep ripples through the Primordial Dream, as the Beast enters the mind of the target with great force. Any Heroes in the same region feel the reverberations and can track the Beast’s location.
                              • When a starving Horror rolls to Inflict Nightmares when hunting (page 99), consider each success as an exceptional success. The Horrors are remarkably aggressive due to the influence of the Primordial Dream and it’s easier for them to drag their victims into their Lair. Beasts that leave their Horrors starve soon find themselves too much sated and with many Heroes on their tracks.
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                              The “Mauvaise Maladie”


                              The Sleeping Sickness is a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of tsetse fly. The sickness and its vectors existed in Africa for thousands of years but the lack of fast communication on large scale never allowed it to propagate over wide areas, something that changes during the colonial era. It’s a nasty disease: it’s slow, painful and, back in the Congo Free State, inevitably lethal. Those who contract show no signs of the contagion at first but, after a couple of weeks, the symptoms manifest. Headaches, muscular pains and intermittent peaks of high fever are the universal ones, along with others, like confusion, tremors and uncontrolled spasms. As the parasites invade the circulatory system, the whole body weakens and suffers of all kinds of dysfunctions. This is merely the first phase of the disease.

                              The second phase begins when the parasites reaches the central nervous system. The time for this to happen vary, with the average being about a month since the initial infection. The victim loses control of her sleep cycle, as the brain becomes completely unable to manage it. The infected have no power whatsoever over their sleep, alternating between hours of lethargic sleep and episodes of rabid wakefulness. Trying to interfere with their slumber bears few results, as in later stages the victims can only gather enough strength to move for few minutes before going asleep again. This, combined with the other neurological symptoms such as an unpredictable mixture of irritability and apathy that often leads to true psychotic reactions, it’s evidence of the progressive deterioration of the entire neurological system that eventually leads to a true come followed by a systemic organ failure that culminates with death, something that can take months of agony.

                              It’s not surprising that those that witness the Sleeping Sickness at work come to consider it as some sort of terrible torment, a “evil disease” that has a degree of malignancy others don’t have. Not a good way to die for sure. Tales of it travel even to areas that are spared from its presence, spreading fear and alarm.

                              Exposure to the Sleeping Sickness usually happens because of the bite of the tsetse fly. Infection through the exchange of fluids can theoretically happen, but is much rarer. Any character bitten by the tsetse fly risks infection. If a character is exposed to the Sleeping Sickness, his player rolls Stamina + Resolve to resist infection. Due to the aggressive nature of the disease, human characters suffer a -2 penalty to this roll. The Storyteller may impose penalties or bonuses based on the duration and severity of exposure at her discretion. The player should only roll once per every 24 hours of non-supernatural infection exposure. In modern times, the disease can be cured if diagnosticated during the first stages, granting appropriate bonuses to the roll and the chance to heal and eliminate the infection from the body with a successful roll. During the events of the Dark Era, though, a cure had yet to be discovered and the correlation between the flies and the Sleeping Sickness will be discovered only in 1903.
                              Roll Results
                              Dramatic Failure: The character contracts a particularly virulent form of the infection, which manifest for seven days as fever, headaches and widespread pain. After a week, the character already enters the second stage of the disease (see below), but the damage for failing a roll is 3L.
                              Failure: The character contracts the Sleeping Sickness. For eight to twelve days, he exhibits no symptoms. Six hours after symptoms start, the player must roll Stamina + Resolve (again
                              at the -2 penalty) or the character takes 1B damage. After three or four weeks of symptoms, the Sleeping Sickness reaches its second stage. At that point, the damage for failing a roll becomes 2L. The disease does not stop until the character is dead.
                              Success:The character successfully resists infection for this round of exposure.
                              Exceptional Success:The character successfully resists all attempts of infection for the next month.

                              In combat, characters are considered to have the “grave” version of the Sick Tilt during the first phase of the Sleeping Sickness. During the second phase characters are also subjected to the Insensate Tilt.

                              The Sleeping Sickness is not a disease of supernatural origin; it’s dramatically mundane. That said, it has repercussion on supernatural as well. Vampires do not suffer from any symptoms but can become carriers for a week if they feed on infected people. Werewolves subtract their Primal Urge from the damage as usual and, by virtue of their constitution, can heal completely from the disease. Mages have no special immunity but they sure have the means to deal with the disease before it’s too late. Changelings, Beasts and Sin-Eaters all add their Supernatural Tolerance rating to the roll and are able to heal on their own as well. Prometheans and Mummies are completely immune.

                              The Sleeping Sickness interferes with the human sleeping cycle so much that those who suffer from it are more vulnerable to the powers of the Begotten. The people that are in the second phase of the disease suffer a -3 penalty on all rolls to resist the influence of a Beast’s power outside of combat. Forced to sleep for the greatest part of the day and utterly defenseless against the influence of the Primordial Dream, there’s few these unfortunate people can do the fight against Beasts and wake from their feverish nightmares. Situations that would cause a Hero to sense a Beast (like rolls of Under the Bed or exceptional successes that happen when a starving Horror goes hunting through the area) still apply though, meaning that those Begotten who exploit the disease for their own personal gain have to be careful with their actions or face the consequences.

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                              Last edited by Cinder; 04-28-2017, 07:01 PM.


                              Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                              Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

                              Waiting feverishly as instructed

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                              • #90
                                Second part of the "Anomalies of the Primordial Dream" chapter. See above for introduction.
                                • Terror Carriers
                                They had been following him for...how long? A week? A month? A life? Martin lost any kind of perception of time long ago. He could not remember the last time he slept. He could not allow himself to do that, he had to run.To rest was a luxury he could not afford. He did not really remember what he was fleeing from, to be honest, but he was sure his life depended on it. Those Martin met tried to stop him sometimes but most of them looked at him and understood, starting to run for their lives as well. Smart move. Sometimes, Martin’s mind cleared enough to look at himself, at his tattered clothes and at his bleeding feets. In those moments, he wondered if everything he was afraid of was only an illusion, if someday he would be freed from it. He wondered if the city of bones that he could see whenever he closed his eyes was a real place or not, secretly hoping he would never reach it.

                                Too tired to see it in time, Martin could not avoid the pit that appeared in front of him during his frantic escape. His exhausted legs betrayed him and his gaunt arms could not muster enough strength to climb outside. Panicking, but unable to do anything else, Martin surrendered a finally stopped. As life abandoned him, the city of bones, with its empty cyclopic towers and its streets covered in teeth, followed Martin in the pit and opened its gates.


                                Terror Carriers are a consequence of the pervasive presence of the Primordial Dream in Congo. In a way, they are the reflection of what allows a Beast to expand her Lair. Where in other contexts a person that endures contact with the supernatural might be traumatized or scarred but overall safe, here such circumstances open a door to the Primordial Dream within the mind of the unfortunate survivor. Those that cannot withstand this direct exposure with the Primordial Dream are twisted by the experience and become infected with a Nightmare. Day after day, the Nightmare keeps gnawing at their sanity and gradually breaks them down. As the condition grows worse, Terror Carriers show the reason behind their name and start spreading the Nightmare that haunts them around, unable to control it. Terror Carriers become unwitting channels to the Primordial Dream and this direct exposure leaves them damaged. A Chamber is slowly growing inside them, an astral location built with the fear Terror Carriers spread around. Those who are unable to free themselves of this Nightmare are devoured by this Chamber: should they die while still under the influence of the Primordial Dream the Chamber manifests into the material world before becoming independent and fading back away into the Primordial Dream.

                                Only “mundane” humans can become Terror Carriers. As Kinship shows, the various supernaturals already embody Nightmares in their own way, meaning the space in their mind that has the potential to host a infectious Nightmare is already “taken”. The circumstances that create a Terror Carrier are the following:
                                • The person is present in a scene where a Primordial Pathway of any sort is open.
                                • The person rolls a Dramatic Failure on a resistance roll against a Nightmare. Note that Nightmare caused by Terror Carriers do qualify for this circumstance.
                                • The person is present when another character loses Integrity (or its equivalent) with a Beast present.
                                • The person loses Integrity following an encounter with the supernatural.
                                When one of these circumstances (or more) happen, roll the character’s Resolve + Composure. On a success, nothing happens: the character resists the influence of Primordial Dream and its mind is strengthened by the experience, meaning it won’t risk anymore to become a Terror Carrier.

                                Those who fail, though, become Terror Carriers and are haunted by a specific Nightmare. The nature of the Nightmare is left to the Storyteller, since it comes from the infinite depths of the Primordial Dream. Some Terror Carriers, mainly those who failed the roll against a Nightmare in the first place, are tormented from that same Nightmare, but that’s not a given.

                                Terror Carriers are not Beasts but their bond with the Primordial Dream empowers their Nightmare and gives it shape. They don’t have a Satiety score but use their Willpower instead of it to form dice pools. This also means their Nightmares are weaker than those created by Beasts, since they don’t have access to the High Satiety and Satiety Expenditure effects, but what they lack in power make up with sheer persistence. Should they be targeted by a Beast with the same Nightmare that haunts them, the Beast’s roll is considered an exceptional success with a single success instead of five.

                                A Terror Carrier has to Resolve + Composure every day. Depending on the result, their Nightmare manifests or not.

                                Dramatic Failure: The Nightmare ravages the mind of the Terror Carrier. She will not regain 1 Willpower after a full night of sleep and loses another point of Willpower because of the trauma. Everyone she meets during the day has to roll against the Terror Carrier’s Nightmare. She also has to resist her own Nightmare, as described below.
                                Failure: The Nightmare takes shape and manifests. The character will not regain 1 Willpower after a full night of sleep. During the day, during a single scene at Storyteller’s choice, the Terror Carrier will have to resist her Nightmare, effectively rolling against herself. Those present in the scene where the Terror Carrier resists her Nightmare have to roll against the Nightmare as well.
                                Success: The Terror Carrier manages to resist the power of the Primordial Dream. Nothing happens, giving her much needed rest.
                                Exceptional Success: The Terror Carrier’s mind is strong enough to rebuke her Nightmare. She regains all her Willpower and, for the rest of the day, she is immune to the specific Nightmare they carry, even if used by others. Satiety expenditures to use that Nightmare are refunded, but Beast are often puzzled by how weird the sensations they feel when this happens.

                                Every week since they become haunted by their Nightmare, Terror Carriers can roll their current Willpower and try to shake off the condition. They gain a cumulative -1 malus for every week they failed this roll. If successful, the Nightmare just leaves. No more nights troubled by terrors, no more dreams about them running through that horrible location they could not recognize. They will never risk again to become Terror Carriers. If they fail the roll, the Nightmare keeps going.

                                A Terror Carrier that meets her demise, no matter the circumstances, unleashes the Chamber that was growing inside her upon the world. This happens immediately upon death, with some Beasts and Sin-Eaters pondering about what this means about souls and nightmares. Consider this as if the Terror Carrier successfully rolled to open a Primordial Pathway towards her Chamber, meaning the Pathway lasts for a number of turns equal to her Resolve. Heroes in the area perceive the disturbance this causes in the Primordial Dream. After the Pathway closes the Chamber takes proper shape and appears in the Primordial Dream, meaning the locations where Terror Carriers die can be used by Beasts to add a Chamber to their Lair. Indeed, some Beasts kill Terror Carriers to have a easy way to increase their own power.
                                • Starving Souls
                                “What was that?”
                                Kapia did not reply, focusing on cleaning her knife and hoping that simple ritual would be enough to distract her and allow her to recollect her thoughts.

                                Mubali asked again “Was it one of those monsters you always speak about?”
                                Kapia stopped her hands and replied coldly “No, it was not”
                                Mubali looked around nervously and exclaimed “But, what about the things it was doing? What about all those skulls he kept all around the place? And about the...monument it was trying to build? That man was doing exactly what the people at the station told you about”
                                Kapia just looked at her, not sure about what she expected from her “It was a bad thing, Mubali, and we stopped it. It’s all that matters”
                                The young girl’s eyes showed the realization of what they had just done, with Kapia hoping that it would made her stronger, like how it happened to her when she went through the same thing. long time ago. “But...if it was not one of yours…”
                                “It wasn’t. Mine don’t go down that easily” interrupted Kapia.
                                “Then...it was just a man?” asked Mubali with a trembling voice.

                                Kapia left the question hanging.


                                A wounded soul in Congo is like a bleeding animal surrounded by predators. As the Primordial Dream penetrates all layers of existence, the resonance a broken soul produces around itself gathers the attention of lurking Horrors and mythical narratives. Those unfortunate enough to have their soul damaged or stolen risk for the emptiness inside them to be filled by cravings that don’t belong to them as, in the desperate attempt to regain what they have lost, they fall prey to the same kind of urges that define Beasts. The natural stages a damaged soul goes through are altered by the patterns of the Primordial Dream. As the Primordial Dream comes in contact with individuals whose souls are somehow lacking, it provides them with one of the elements that compose the portion of a soul born from within its depths: a Hunger. The problem is these people do not belong to the Primordial Dream nor have some kind of special attunement to it. They’re not Beasts and they’re not even Heroes. Such forceful hybridization is not supposed to happen and its consequences are a disaster way more often than not. Even Beasts recognize they have nothing to gain from these starving souls, as they only cause trouble and disturbances through the tapestry of the Primordial Dream.

                                Beasts, Heroes and Insatiables can never gain a Starving Soul: they already have their own connection to the Primordial Dream or a neverending Hunger of their own. All other creatures, supernatural or not, that are potentially vulnerable to the Soul Shocked Condition or the various stages of Soul Loss (Soulless, Enervated and Thrall) might gain a Starving Soul.

                                When a character gains one of the aforementioned Conditions, it also has to roll its Willpower dots. On a success, nothing happens and the character has not to roll anymore before the resolution of the Condition. On a failure, it gains a Hunger.

                                The character gains a “ghost” trait in the form of current Satiety equal to its Willpower dots. The trait is not really there, since they are not Beasts: they have no way to satisfy their Hunger and gain Satiety whatsoever. The trait only serves to determine the time for them to manifest unusual behaviors: humans lose their “Satiety” as if they have Lair 1 (1 dot per week) while supernaturals use their Supernatural Tolerance trait as if it was Lair to determine the time between each Satiety loss (page 111). The Hunger disappears once the character resolves the Condition that caused it in the first place.

                                Characters with starving souls feel the unexplainable impulse to sate a Hunger that was previously was not there. The insistence of this Hunger varies accordingly to their current “Satiety”, ranging from a manageable if persistent need to a burning urge that clouds their judgement and guides each of their actions. Beast’s Satiety Condition can be used as behavior guidelines and the consequences can be simulated by all sorts of Conditions and Tilts, depending both on the nature of the Hunger and that of its host. Conditions such as Addicted, Deprived and Obsessions are only some examples, with the various supernaturals adding their own Conditions to the range of possibilities, like Bestial or Berserk. Note that the effects of the soul-altering Conditions the characters suffer of still apply.

                                As mentioned before, individuals with starving souls have no true way to regain Satiety and they are fighting against time to heal or regain their souls before succumbing completely to the alien ravenous hunger that they gained. For some, it is only a temporary torment, but for those who have lost their souls this is basically an inevitable doom, unless they somehow regain their soul. Almost all those that are left starving turn violent or feral, desperately trying to act as a Beast in their situation would while unable to reap any sort of reward from it. As their hollow imitation of Satiety plunges, they feel their reason abandoning them only to be devoured by the emptiness.

                                Individuals whose “Satiety” has reached 0 cause a ripple in the Primordial Dream every time they sleep, sending signals across the region that any Hero can pick up and follow. This often attracts hordes of Heroes to the area and consequently puts Beasts in danger as well.
                                • Glimpses of the Mother
                                Samuel’s eyes took some time to adapt to the darkness of the room they carried him into. The only source of light were the few rays of sun that creeped through the holes in the walls of the barrack. There was a man with him there. No, Samuel realized as a shiver went down his spine. Not a man.
                                “Tell me of Her” he said.
                                “Her who?” asked Samuel, unsure about the circumstances of his imprisonment.
                                “There’s no need for me to specify. You’d better not make me waste any further word”
                                “Sir, please, there’s nothing I can say that can explain…”
                                “You know who I am?” asked the thing in the darkness.
                                To his surprise, Samuel realized he knew the answer. “You’re Leon Schiltz.” Samuel could see the white of his teeth, but he was not smiling.
                                “Those that follow me say that I gained a reputation. A man is what his peers consider him to be, after all, so you must have your opinion on the matter.” He stood up and moved slowly towards Samuel. “Then again, I’m not what the civilized ones would call man” A ray of light now clearly showed Leon’s eyes, while the rest of him remained in the dark. “She wants me to find her and thus I must know where she is going. Talk”
                                Samuel began to weep “Good sir, I swear I don’t remember much. All that happened that night... the screams, the nightmares. And in the middle of it, her! I can’t find any sort of sense to it!”
                                Leon inhaled deeply. Then, he gripped Samuel’ shoulder. It was if as death itself put its cold claws on him. “Forgive me, Samuel. My mistake was to consider you a messenger. I should know better about Her ways. I’m insulting both you and Her this way.” The room became darker, as if the little light inside it withered and died. “You’re not a messenger: you’re a bread crumb left for me on the road to follow”.

                                Throughout history the Begotten told many tales of encounters with the Dark Mother. For many Beasts, the progenitor of their kind is out there and looking after them. Whether they believe her to be a loving parent, a source of nightmares, a monster that would devour her Children or a combination of all this, there’s no denying the idea that the Dark Mother exists is a constant for all Beasts around the world. Beasts in Congo have more chances than others to test that idea. For the first time in ages, it seems like the Dark Mother wants to be seen. There are just too many sightings, too many broken minds, too many whispers in the dark. The stories begin to circulate and the Begotten community finds itself captivated.

                                She appeared three weeks ago not far from Stanley’s Falls. Three weeks ago? About the same time a Beast I know swears to have seen her emerging from the river on the last night of fullmoon. Impossible, a pack of werewolves I run with told me a tale of a being that sounds like the Dark Mother chasing them through the jungle that same night. Was that she? She can be in many places at once? Of course she can, don’t even ask.

                                Whispers. Stories. Many are false, born out a combination of excitement and fear. Some are just lies, told for the exact same reason people tell this sort of lies. Some, though, are true, and they are more than one could expect. There is something out there and those Beasts that see it swear it’s the Dark Mother indeed. As the Begotten become more self-aware of the impact the Primordial Dream has in Congo, many conclude that sightings of the Dark Mother becoming more frequent are only an obvious consequence. Others prefer to not pretend to know why the Dark Mother does what she does and believe there must be another reason for her to manifest other than the mere increased influence of the Primordial Dream. Some even suggest the Dark Mother is appearing in Congo because so many Beasts expect her to, whether because she does not want to disappoint or because she’s somehow summoned to this place by the collective will of Beasts. What if the Primordial Dream became stronger because the Dark Mother wanted it to and not the opposite? Nobody can truly know for sure.

                                All Beasts can do is gather evidence and deal with the consequences of their progenitor’s presence, trying to understand the bigger picture (if there’s one). The apparitions of the Dark Mother cause terror on a widespread scale and shake the souls of the inhabitants of Congo to their core. There are tales of more subtle and less destructive encounters with the Mother of Monsters and she still interacts with Beasts on a more personal scale every once in awhile but, even in those cases, those who catch glimpses of her are changed by the experience.

                                The more blatant apparitions of the Dark Mother in Congo leave a mark in the Primordial Dream that Beasts and Heroes can follow. The duration and magnitude of this mark changes, often varying according to the impact her apparition had on the surroundings but tend to last at least a few days. Beast that reach for the first time a location where the Dark Mother appeared while her mark is still present gain the Inspired and Steadfast Conditions for a week and can resolve them as usual. During this week, they are also more resistant to Heroic Anathemas and are immune to High Satiety effects. Middle and Low Satiety effects apply as usual. Heroes gain nothing, but bold ones still follow the tracks, meaning that their paths and that of the Begotten who look after their Mother often cross. Notably, Insatiables do not perceive the Dark’s Mother presence, cannot follow her tracks and gain no benefit whatsoever from reaching a place she appeared. They instead feel a sensation between repulsion , rejection and fear which makes them steer clear way more often than not.

                                Mundane humans that are present when the Dark Mother appears and survive gain the Soul Shocked and Broken Condition. Their memories of the experience are often confused, as their mind does its best to protect them from what they saw. If a Beast is present when the Dark Mother manifests, she gains the same benefits described above but also instinctively discovers that the Satiety Expenditure effects of her Atavisms and Nightmares are immediately refunded.
                                Last edited by Cinder; 04-28-2017, 07:16 PM.


                                Cinder's Comprehensive Collection of Creations - Homebrew Hub
                                Currently writing: "Dark Era: The Forest That Weeps". When not busy writing homebrew, I also try to write CoD fiction. (All paused until August)

                                Waiting feverishly as instructed

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