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A Whispering Tome of Things That Should Not Be, 2E (Second Sight: Third Eye)

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  • A Whispering Tome of Things That Should Not Be, 2E (Second Sight: Third Eye)

    So, I just discovered this gem in the Storyteller's Vault (thank you, Chris Falco), and with it, the update I've wanted to Second Sight since forever, including everyone's favorite eldritch gods to hate and their groupies. I found it weird the focus changed a bit (as in, it's said to build the dark god first, then the cult, when 1E had it the other way around), but hardly unwarranted, given how we've actually gotten good rules for building the ones you can confront and Demons of the Outer Dark, I can't say I mind.

    So, I made this thread to show off our dark and terrible elder things and their scheming followers. Not necessarily with rules, but there's a lot that can be squamous and rugose with just fluff inspiration

    I'll start with an update to the only one we got with actual rules:

    Grandfather A'zu, The Instinctive Tide (aka, the Lizard Brain)

    Type: Chaos and Creation Being (Flaw in Reality traits)

    Background: A'zu is not this creature's name, and in fact, he probably doesn't understand the concept; by his very nature, the Instinctive Tide is fiercely cunning, but that intelligence is entirely based in the id and other urges of survival. Names are not something the Grandfather cares for, because the only languages he needs are body language and occasional yaps, roars, and yowls. But being simple does not mean he has a poor memory; he knows those phonemes are in reference to him, and so he pays attention when they are uttered to the strange gap between reality and thought in which he dwells - which is everywhere. For Grandfather A'zu is also, technically speaking, already with you assuming you are reading this. For the Instinctive Tide is exactly that; the siren call of instinct in every living thing, from the greatest god to the simplest bacteria, having conglomerated in the Astral Realm into a great sea of urges, some of which lucked into a spontaneous system that now recognizes its own existence, and with it, the capacity to act the urges that gave it life; survive, eat, breed, protect self, dominate the environment. Wherever there is life, there is A'zu, for A'zu (or at least the waters in which he exists) is how life got there in the first place.

    Most of the time, A'zu wishes to be left alone, and leave alone; as fitting of a creature that is, by definition, a symbiont with everything that lives, there is very little that A'zu regards as a threat. Unfortunately, he is called Grandfather for a reason; along with the trillion ids that compose A'zu's gestalt thoughts, comes a social, altruistic instinct as well. This isn't true compassion; A'zu simply recognizes smaller creatures as part of his social group, and feels the urge to both dominate and protect them, like any other creature that is both social and larger than everything else in its group. In particular, he has an attachment to life that has survived mass extinctions, the more the better; proven survivors are more like the timeless Tide, and thus he recognizes them as more akin to his own kind. Bacteria and sea life, generally, but the most familiar multi-celled animal that has his attention are crocodilians, who have not only survived since before the Triassic-Jurassic extinction event onwards, with flying colors, virtually unchanged. Which is, of course, part of why he has grown increasingly active in the modern industrial era; humans, overgrown apex predator primates that they are, are also a threat to many of the species that are, for lack of a better term, sacred to A'zu. The Grandfather does not hate humans for doing this; the species is notoriously hardy, having survived what should have been their extinction once already, and should humanity get its act together and save its own skin from the next mass extinction it caused, it's quite likely we will be looked upon with alien fondness. But his primitive-yet-godly intellect realizes that there needs to be some equilibrium to save as many of his children as possible.

    A'zu also does not need to understand the issue in co-opting one species to save another, using other members of that species as resources, or especially changing one species into another to supplement populations.

    Description: It's hard to say if the Instinctive Tide even has a discrete form, given how he is in reality a psychic gestalt of various primitive instincts that have been largely unchanged since life first congealed out of the primordial slime, and what changes there were have been additions rather than modifications. But his cultists report visions of a teeming sea that moves like a great amoeba, with various glowing patches in it that resemble organelles, with more complex structures (especially mouths and various types of limb) that congeal out of the clear blue-green mass. His avatars, on the other hand, tend to resemble various images of gods and other beings who symbolize the water, the natural world, and fertility; many of them actually have more of a recognizable mind than he does, the minuscule fraction of the greater collection of instinct being given an individual mind spontaneously also having the ability to have thoughts that are not just reactions to stimuli and memory. This does not mean they are any more (or less) friendly however; the Grandfather is a personification of nature at its most savage and untamed, and while his creations are not cruel, they never consider any other path than what the Tide has extruded them for or consider mercy that does not fit into their mission's completion. It's just not in their instincts.

    Storytelling Hints: A'zu is at once a being that personifies nature striking back against civilization for abuse of its bounty, and nature as the merciless war of all-against-all that civilization is meant to stop. He reacts to real wrongs done to their environment, but his actions is thoughtless lashing out that does not really have an overall goal to fix the problem, just singular symptoms of it while tearing everything else down. (He could start turning inhabitants of a city into alligators to replace those lost by toxic runoff, but does nothing to stop the runoff itself. He could will a forest into massive growth to reclaim ground lost to a suburb, but the enroaching oaks disrupt a nuclear power plant and risk a meltdown that will render the land barren for centuries). This is reflecting in his cultists and Reality Blasphemers, who tend to be people who themselves are survivors of "civilized" society's excesses (the homeless, victims of pollution and urban decay, those abused by trusted authority figures who everyone else covered up for) and those who recognize the pain caused by rampant industrialization, but are completely unapologetic about what they do, simply justifying their service to a chaotic, ruthless god as "I had to survive somehow." The theme for stories involving A'zu, his avatars, and/or his servants is the conflict between an often cold and brutal civilization and wild, wet, and usually bloody forces of nature, and attempting to strike a positive compromise between the two. The general mood of his stories are transformation, positive and negative; A'zu's influence tends to make areas more primitive (not just making a forest into a hungry jungle, but skyscrapers into castles and sewers into underground shrines), and he is notoriously prone to inflicting humans with curse/plagues that gradually turn them into his sacred lifeforms, including but not limited to crocodiles, birds(ie, surviving dinosaurs), sharks, giant amphibians, and even highly aggressive ferns (it's not a perfect transfiguration), anything that has bounced back from what should have been an extinction event (it's something of a mixed blessing he's become interested in wolves, especially Eurasian ones, in recent decades - yes, this is an excuse to run "infective lycanthrope" stories when Uratha are a true subspecies of humanity). The positive aspects tend to be ironically more mental; both from someone weak to someone strong, and someone distant and uncaring to someone who understands and respects the power of the world (and fears it; few entities make "nature, you scary" more true than the Tide).

    Game Traits: A'zu does not really have a discrete form; more accurately, he is everywhere life is (which probably includes the entire surface of the planet, and the ocean in general), but his Corruption is areas that have drawn the disparate parts of his mind and are under direct observation. He "manifests" as Conditions that symbolize his presence inflaming primal instincts especially Wanton, Frightened, Swooning, and Paranoia, and a special Tilt:

    Primal Flood: This area is filled with the divine instincts of Grandfather A'zu, and he is aware of and touches all within. All actions meant to fulfill a direct id-driven like inspiring fear to chase off an opponent, fighting for dominance, or seducing a potential mate have a +2 bonus, and all actions meant to deal with purely abstract matters like math or planning in the long term suffers a -3 penalty. In addition, A'zu can use the Crushing Will, Eye Spy, Madness and Terror, Implant Mission, or Influence (Instincts ****) Dread Powers on any organic lifeforms in the area once per entity per scene, with a dice pool of 10.

    Resolution: A'zu is still an instinctive creature, and he flees from things that have caused him pain in the past. That's not a very long list, but ancient Egyptian priests who fought a powerful series of avatars who took after the crocodile-headed god Sobek discovered that images of purely abstract intellectual concepts, especially language ciphers and higher mathematics, are so antithetical to the Instinctive Tide that their presence puts him in mind of the few things that actually compete with him. A living entity who has about half their skin covered, permanently or otherwise, with symbols representing complex (solvable) ciphers or higher mathematics (all of the skin, including the lips) are immune to the Tilt's effects, and drawing a boundary around the Corrupted area - and thus, this Tilt - causes A'zu to flee, removing Corruption and the Primal Flood.

    A'zu does have many avatars, though; exudations of his subconscious from his domain into physical of ephemeral form, provoked by his followers using the Compel the Child of Grandfather A'zu Rite or enough danger to his sacred animals that what passes for his distant consciousness notices. These are built like normal spirits, goetia, or horrors, because that is essentially what they are; their father may be alien, but he's alien in the way quantum physics are; fundamentally part of and yet distant from the observable world. They do invariably have abilities that cause A'zu's Corruption, however, and possess strange abilities based around transforming the world (treat their ability to terraform locations into ones suitable to the Tide as an extension of their Influence, and mutating life into forms suitable to A'zu's plans as a form of the Claim Manifestation that does not actually result in them blending with the target, and can be performed on many subjects at once).

    Rites Offered: Gem in the Garden, Infusion of Grandfather A'zu, Perverted Desire, Dreams of Lust and Terror, Minor Form of Grandfather A'zu, Compel the Child of Grandfather A'zu, Compel the Instinctive Tide (gives Corrupted area the Primal Flood Tilt), Devouring Jaws of Grandfather A'zu

    Powers Granted: Armored Hide (1 to 3), Beastmaster, Burrow, Chameleon Horror, Crushing Will, Discorporate, Earthquake, Eye for Desire, Leap, Jump Scare, Madness and Terror, Malleable Form (1 to 5), Monstrous Resilience, Natural Weapons (1 to 3), Regenerate, Snare, Surprise Entrance, Twist Desires, Tentacles (1 to 3), Unbreakable, Wall Climb.
    Last edited by Leliel; 01-08-2019, 11:21 AM.

  • #2
    Yeah I wanted Things That Should Not Be to have some sort of a system behind them, even if the system itself is "They're usually X, but do whatever if you want It to be different." So, with them being more distinct beings, it made more sense to build the Cults around them after the fact.

    Speaking of, I should really do up the actual MCI progression for Zhuidro, and maybe an example Reality Blasphemy of Asmodayan, something I'll see about posting here sometime soon (and then maybe incorporating into an update of the book later on).

    Anyway, I do like how you have A'zu set up here, being as much a force of nature and instinct that manifests, and that can then be contained by its "Ban" of sorts being imposed on those areas.

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