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The Human Combustion Phenomena [Setting Material, Template and Antagonists]

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  • The Human Combustion Phenomena [Setting Material, Template and Antagonists]

    [Enen no Shouboutai adaption]

    People sometimes burn, you know?

    They call it the "Spontaneous Human Combustion Phenomena". You just walk down the street, or clean the house, or do anything else in your day to day life, when suddenly- Fwoosh! You are on fire. Scientists, of course, say it is just a myth. People don't just burn. Maybe, maybe, if you are an alcoholic and have enough ethanol in your body, with a spark close enough to you, maaaaybe you will get on fire. But even then, you need fuel, air, and spark. Burning into an inferno is not something which just happen out of the blue. Fire is a well understood phenomena, and the concept of people- or anything, in fact- just going down in flames for no reason just make no, freaking, sense.

    That doesn't stop people from burning, however.

    It doesn't happen a lot- after all, if it was that common, everyone would have known someone who just turned to crisps out of nowhere- but it still happens. No one really knows how or why, including the supernatural denizens of the world. The fire seems to burn magic as much as it burns anything else, and as such it becomes very hard to be contained, controlled or investigated. When the burning starts, it is usually too late to save the person, yet it is only the beginning of the disaster. The fire doesn't only burn the flesh of the victim- but also their soul. It feeds upon everything which once made them who they are, feeding upon it, devouring it- and when there is nothing left to burn, they take over the leftovers and seek to spread. Fire People are being born from the flames, and they have only one goal in their life- to watch the whole world burn to ash.

    While the fire is dangerous, it doesn't always manage to consume everything in its path before someone manage to put it down. Some people get burned by the flames, but they manage to survive- and for some of the survivors, a small spark of the all consuming inferno still burns inside their souls. Those who learn how to tap into that inner fire may discover new powers inside themselves, ones which call upon those terrible flames for their help. After all, fire may be a disastrous phenomena, but it also has many beneficial uses- and it is not just cooking, or motor running or producing electricity for the whole world.

    It takes fire to fight fire, after all.

    Where Does the Fire Comes From?

    - It's the fire of hell. Sinners and wicked people are close enough to the Inferno in order to caught up it its fire,and end up tormented by their own sins. Sometimes, regular people get burned too, but it is only because humanity as whole has fallen far from grace. Only those who are pure of sin are protected from that infernal fire, taking its power and use it to free other souls from hell's flames.

    - It's because of the Beast. The Beast is not some otherworldly parasite- it is a part of you, waiting to be awakened in death. Vampires, who have a fully realized Beast, end up burning way to easily- but other people who get too close to their own, little Beast may also suffer from its banes- which includes vulnerability to fire and getting burned in the sun. Those people who manage to tame their awakened Beast gain access to its gifts, just as vampires gain from theirs.

    - It's an Host. The Pangaean which spawned it, the Hungry Furnace, has consumed countless lives before Father Wolf put it to rest. As its shards were scattered through the world, those small sparks of flame wait for the moment by which they could lite their victim, consuming it whole and turning it into their plaything. They wish to burn the Gauntlet down, setting of fire both flesh and spirit. Certain people are marked by that fire, harnessing the powers of the ancient spirit and use it as a weapon.

    - It's one of the 100000 Leaves. The Prince's anti history contains all kinds of terrible concepts, and one of them is balefire- weird fire which consumes all magic and life from the world. The Human Combustion phenomena is a parallel to that world's Awakening, and those Fire People are the Prince's version of mages. Every soul lost to the fire feeds the Prince, and makes our world a bit more like the one represented by the ancient Annunaki.

    - It's the Divine Fire. While some of those who are touched by Pyros become inspired, either creating a promethean or becoming alchemists, some people just can't handle the inspiration, ending up burned by their own madness. The Fire consumes everything about the person, turning it into an automaton dedicated for destruction. Those beings can't achieve New Dawn- the only redemption for them is by putting them to rest.

    - It's the outcome of a broken Contract. Once, when humanity was young, it made a pact with Fire, taming it in exchange for worship. That's why so many ancient cultures had cults for fire or hearth, and stories such as the Tree of Knowledge or Prometheus. Humanity, however, broke the pact, enslaving the god which they once served and not feeding it as they should have. As a result, the pledge was broken- and Fire became free to claim any number of life it wish in order to make up for the pact.

    - It's a Cabal. The group known as the Cult of Moloch was always obsessed around the concept of burning people alive in exchange for power. Using a ritual discovered in the place where Carthage once stood, the Cabal has found a new way to preform the Rite of Moloch by small carriers who take the form of little bugs or similar vermin. Every time the fire burns, a wish is granted- and Moloch takes the sacrifice as its own. The problem comes, when certain people simply don't burn.

    - It's a geist getting out of control. The Burning Dead has ascendant from being a ghost of a man who died in the Great Fire of London, which has devoured all the rest of the ghosts of those who burned. As a strange consequence of its existence, it can't make the Bargain- every time it tries, the potential bound goes up in flames- but it doesn't stop trying. Worse, it doesn't limit its effort to the dying- or even to mortal men.

    - It's a Duatic demon. The Lake of Fire is not only an Ancient Egyptian concept, but an Iremite one too. The Coffin Texts speak about this dread place, where fiery demons swim in rivers of flame and burn those who failed the test of Ammut. The Egyptian however got it all wrong. The Lake of Fire doesn't wait for people to die- it is the one to kill them, and the fire demons are simply it ever burning victims.

    - It's an Infrastructure. The God Machine always search for new energy resources, after all, and the human body and soul were always seen as such a potential resource. Every time that people burn, they release a tremendous amount of energy, both physical and spiritual. The God Machine harvests that energy and harnesses it for its uses. Every time that a person burns, there is always an angel nearby to steal their life. If you want to stop the fire, find the Lynchpin.

    - It's the Primordial Dream. While fire is usually seen as a tool to fight against the darkness, the fear from fire is just as old. The concept of being burned alive is so strong and terrifying, that sometimes, people who are so involved in that fear end up summoning it into life, as a twisted form of the Devouring. However, fire has grown to represent all kinds of things, like Knowledge and civilization, and fear from those concepts can too invoke the Burning.

    - It's a Conspiracy. There is a group called A.S.H Research Facility, focused around finding new ways to solve the coming global energy crises. As a part of their work, they have created a method which can cause human to spontaneously combust, using those people as ever lasting source of energy. They still work on a way to contain it, however- and capture those rare individuals who get caught by the fire and not get burned.


    When the Spontaneous Combustion happens, it is usually impossible to stop. In a matter of second, the person goes up in flames, which devour everything which once made them human. Any magic which tries to interfere with the fire automatically fails, as the user feels as if their own power gets burned as a fuel by the flames. Putting down the fire through regular means is possible, but it is treated as a Bonfire with the heat of a Bunsen Burner. The victim itself, however, suffer from an additional damage equal to [10-Intergity]/2, making it almost impossible to save them on time before the fire consumes them whole.

    Yet, the danger doesn't end with the victim's death. Once they lose their finale Health level, if the fire hasn't put out yet, a dread transformation takes place, as the person rises as a Fire Person. Fire People lack any intelligence or sympathy for human beings- they only have one goal in mind: to burn everything. Fire People are treated as a modified version of the Horde, with the following changes-

    - the Fire People all have a Potency of [10 - Integrity]

    - all Fire People have the Fire Elemental Dread Power, and at least one dot at the Influence: Fire Dread Power. The rest are chosen by the ST and are unique for each Fire Person.

    - any attempt to influence the heat or flames of the Fire People using supernatural means calls for a Clash of Wills, with their Potency being treated as 2 dots higher. The only exception is abilities which are generated from the Human Combustion Phenomena.

    - Fire People have "Burning" as what they do best.

    - Fire People all have the Aspiration of "watching the world burns".

    - all Fire People have a Bane for fire fighting tools (such as water hose, fire extinguisher, etc).

    - any mortal who suffer damage from the Fire Person's fire and survive rolls at the end of the Scene their Integrity. In case of Success, nothing happens. Exceptional Success grants them a strange vision of the source of the fire, as the heat leaves their body. Grant them a Clue (could be traded for a Willpower point). Failure means that the fire has scorched their soul, leaving a spark of fire which continues growing. They get their first dot at the Burning Merit, with all benefits and disadvantages. Dramatic Failure makes the individual drawn too much to the flames, suffering from the Obsession Condition toward setting things on fire in addition to the Burning Merit.

    - when a new person gets killed by a Fire Person, rolls their Integrity (or equivalent). In case of Failure, they immediately rise as a new Fire Person, joining the "Burning Horde". In case of a Dramatic Failure, they rise as a much more powerful version of the Fire People, known as Devils. Supernatural beings, be them micro templates (such as Skinthieves or dreamers) or major templates (such as vampires or werewolves), however, always rise as Devils after death.

    Getting Burned- the Scorched

    Whatever the source of the fire may be, it does not give up easily. Some of those mortals who get burned by the flames maintain a sign upon their body, a so called "Scorch Mark". While they may not give it much attention at first, as the fire inside of them grows they discover themselves drawn to the Human Combustion phenomena, and that they develop new powers they simply can't explain. Some use their newfound abilities to fight the terror of the Fire People and search for the source of the Human Combustion Phenomena. Others use their powers simply for their own personal gain, just like any other supernatural being in this dark world. Few, however, find themselves fascinated by the flames, starting cults dedicated for investigating and spreading the fire, worshiping it as god, agent of god or even as a force of nature. The fire has a purpose in the world, they say, and those who serve it would reach the divine world promised in its flames- while all others would just burn.


    Making one of the Scorched is the same as making a Stigmatic character, with the following changes-

    - while they still gain an Unseen Senses merit, it is dedicated for the Human Combustion Phenomena instead of the God Machine. They are also unable to see the God Machine's gears and their like.

    - they don't gain the Omen Sensitivity merit automatically, even though they may still buy it as part of their Supernatural Merits.

    - they still gain a glitch as normal, called "Scorch Mark", but instead of a mechanical nature it takes the form of a burn or a similar, fire related aesthetics.

    - they gain free supernatural Merit dots as normal, and may but new ones- but all of their Supernatural Merits would take a "fiery aesthetics". That is, every ability they use would require them generating, influencing or controlling fire, one way or another. The player may always buy that merit as one dot higher in order to make that fire to cause damage like a Torch with the heat of a Candle.

    - finally, as the start of the game, all Scorched characters start with one dot of the Burning Merit, which could be increased using the Supernatural Merit dots.

    The Burning (0-00000)
    prerequisites: mortal, getting burned by the Human Combustion Phenomena

    You have been touched by the fire which devour lives, and now carry a spark of its flame inside of you. The Burning is a 1-5 merit which represent the strength of the flames in your soul, and how well you can channel them for your own uses. You gain the following benefits and disadvantages:

    - each point in the Burning is treated as a Supernatural Tolerance trait. In an addition, you get extra Willpower points equal to half of your Burning, rounded up.

    - having one dot at the Burning makes the character immune to all forms of fire damage, both mundane and supernatural. The Scorched are touched by the fire, and no other flame can burn their flesh.

    - on the other hand, the control the Scorched has over flames allows them to fight fire with fire. Damage dealt by their Supernatural Merits is always fire damage, and it ignores immunity against flames no matter what it source may be (like the Fire Elemental Dread Power).

    - having two dots in the Burning enhance the Scorched's power to control flames. They gain the Pyrokinesis merit for free for 3 dots, which can not otherwise be bought.

    - by having 3 dots in the Burning, the Scorched affinity toward flames does not stop at existing fire, allowing them to generate flames of their own. They rise Pyrokinesis for 5 dots.

    - the fire in the Scorched's soul becomes stronger than before, burning with supernatural might. At 4 dots, the fire damage generated by their Merits turns from Lethal to Aggravated.

    - at the pinnacle of their powers, the alien energies which power the fire manifest themselves in the Scorched, granting them what is sometimes known as a "Divine Blessing" in the form of a dread, fiery gift. At 5 dots, you gain a single, Dread Power of your choice, which must be expressed through the use of fire. At ST's decision, you may choose any singe power which belong to the Major Template (Discipline, Gift, Rote, etc) instead.

    - while the powers of the Burning are helpful, you can't play with fire without getting burned. Every time you fail the use of your Merits, you suffer from one point of Bashing damage from the fire. That damage turns Lethal at Dramatic Failure.

    - the fire does not only burns the body, however- it also burns the mind. Replenishing the extra Willpower points gained through the Burning can only be done by fulfilling your Vice in a way which involves flames (refills all Willpower), and every time you Dramatically Fail a Breaking Point you gain the Obsessive Condition toward starting a fire. You do not consider dealing with the Supernatural as a Breaking Point, however.

    - finally, while the fire always tries to burns you down, you may always allow it to burn you freely. You may always self inflict yourself one point of Bashing Damage in order to gain a Willpower point, which is expressed as literal burning of your body. If you do so when your Health is less than half of your initial score, you suffer from the Crippled Condition. That phenomenon is called "Overheating", and may only be healed using Supernatural means- even though that all rolls meant to deal with the problem suffer from a -2 modifier, as the fire consumes the supernatural energy.

    Lords of Hell- Devils

    True to its name, the Spontaneous Human Combustion always starts from one, regular mortal as its focus. It does not, however, mean that it can not burn other beings. Supernatural beings are vulnerable to the flames just as (if not more than) mortals. While inhuman beings, such the spirits, strix or ghosts, simply die in the fire if they can't escape it, monsters which have stronger ties to humanity find out that the fire has a much more interesting fate to them- after death, they rise as being of terror, monsters cloaked with fire and flame which bring destruction upon the world. The Scorched (and other people who deal with the fire) have a name for those horrifying monsters, which need to be brought down before it is too late.

    They call them Devils.

    Creating a devil is the same as creating a Fire Person, except of the following changes:

    - when a supernatural being turns into a Devil, add half of its Supernatural Tolerance trait (rounded up) to the Potency score decided by their Integrity.

    - in an addition, the fire preserves the nature of the monster it burned. The Devil still has access to any supernatural ability it had before death. They use Willpower to pay for them instead of the regular cost

    - while they all have the same Aspiration of burning things, they still maintain their previous Virtue and Vice (or equivalent), and maintain their Attribute scores (even if not their personality).

    - all Devils can command Fire People as long as they can hear them.

    - the forms of the Devils are all terrible to look at. When seeing a Devil for the first time, roll for [Resolve]+[Composure]. In case of an Exceptional Success, you managed to withstand the fear. Success grants the Spooked Condition. Failure grants the Shaken Condition. Dramatic Failure grants the Broken Condition.

    - some supernatural beings have ways to cheat death, and while the fire can't stop it, it can hinder it. Any being which can return to life after getting killed (such as Prometheans, Sin Eaters or Mummies) may only be reborn after the Devil they became is put to rest. Until then, the fire clutch at the soul, suffocating the supernatural power which calls it as it feeds. Demons can not switch Cover as long as the fire burns- they still feel the pain and understand they lost control over their body, but only after the fire cease they manifest themselves in one of their other Covers, in case they have one. Otherwise, they die as if they were mortals.
    Last edited by LostLight; 10-13-2017, 08:29 AM.

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