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  • Minor Template: Judges

    Judges
    (This was a collaboration between me and LostLight)







    Word descends from the Heavens! Commandments for mankind to obey and virtues to raise us on high, but before a man can live a life of good he must first have a life to live, before a man can choose right he must first have the freedom to choose.

    When the faithful fear for life or liberty the heavens may send forth a Judge. Neither a teacher nor a saint, the Judges are hard men for hard times. Their power is measured in armies and violence. Their deeds are glorious, but they are not.

    For they are Judges, and their very presence is a judgement upon a world sick enough to have need of them.






    Commandments

    A Judge is chosen, and he is chosen for a purpose. Drive the Midianites out of Canaan, Drive the Ammonites out of Canaan, never cut your hair.
    Each Judge is given a Commandment, which acts like a fourth Aspiration of unusual potency. Whenever an Aspiration provides defences against influence a Commandment provides double the usual benefit. However if a Judge ever turns away from their Commandment they lose access to all their unique abilities until reparations are made. Betraying the holy word is also a Breaking Point for most Judges.

    If a Judge fulfils their Commandment they automatically gain two points of Integrity in addition to the usual bonuses as well as a permanent +1 bonus to all Breaking Points. It’s incredibly self affirming to know that you have fulfilled your duty in the holy plan. The Judge retains their abilities, but cannot increase their supernatural traits unless they are given a new Commandment.

    Holy Attribute

    Judges are chosen because they are exceptional, and because they have been chosen they are exceptional. A Judge chosen for his intellect becomes smarter, a judge chosen for inspiring leadership now blazes with righteousness.

    When a character becomes a Judge one Attribute rises to five dots, refunding any experience and starting dots already invested into that Attribute. This Attribute is known as the Judge’s Holy Attribute, and some Verdicts require a specific Holy Attribute.

    Vestments

    A Judge strides forth onto a lawless land, his Commandment ringing in his ears. Bring forth order! Bring forth law! It is a task beyond ordinary men, but the Judge is no ordinary man. He has Valour, Piety, Ruthlessness. The heavens know that these are the traits needed to bring peace to the land, and so holy power is Vested into each.

    Each Vestment is a one word trait chosen by the Judge's player and which their character exemplifies. As a trait it is rated 1-5 and a judge may have up to four different Vestments. A Judge starts with four dots of Vestments.

    On their own Vestments do little, but they are both the origin and the power source for a Judge’s Verdicts.

    Verdicts

    The power granted to Judges are called Verdicts, boons granted from the Heavens to make a mighty warrior and leader. A Judge gains Verdicts as they acquire dots in Vestments, acquiring a Minor Verdict at Vestment 2 and a Major Verdict at Vestment 4.

    Vestments enhance a Verdict in a manner described in the text. If a Verdict refers to a linked Vestment then it can only be enhanced by the Vestment the Judge used to acquire the Verdict, otherwise the Judge may choose which Vestment to apply at the point of use.

    If a Verdict has a cost it will be one Willpower, however a Judge can waive the cost if they are currently acting in a manner befitting the Vestment they use to enhance the Verdict.

    Ass’ Jawbone (Minor)







    Prerequisite: Strength 3

    Shortly after taking this ability the Judge finds or otherwise acquires a supernatural weapon of unusual potency. Pick a any weapon from the weapons chart, but it’s Damage rating and Durability increase until they’re equal to the linked Vestment. If the Vestment increases, so does the weapon. In addition the weapon is holy, loses its initiative penalty, and any improvised penalty it may have.

    The power comes from the weapon, not the Judge. The Judge merely acquires it and finds opportunities to improve it thanks to divine providence. If the weapon is destroyed, stolen, or lost the Judge suffers a Breaking Point but will acquire a replacement at the start of the next Chapter.

    Baal Must Fall (Major)

    Prerequisite: Holy Presence

    By asserting dominance over the mortal realm the Judge banishes the influence of false gods. This requires an extended Presence + Expression + Vestment roll with a target of three times the opposing god’s power stat. Each roll requires the judge to topple an idol, ransack a temple, execute a priest, or make some other show of dominance.

    If the Judge succeeds then the target can not project any passive aura such as the Wake or Sybaris which creates cults into the territory that the Judge controls. This lasts until the Judge no longer controls the territory or until the Judge dies.

    Barak Goes to War (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Manipulation 3

    The Judge may spend a Willpower point and rolls Manipulation + Persuasion + Vestment. On a success the target may choose to take an additional Aspiration of the Judge’s design. This may bring them up to one above their usual maximum number of Aspirations.

    Bulwark of Faith (Minor)

    Prerequisite: None

    All supernatural abilities (including something as simple as a punch with bonus dice from spending Vitae) targeting the Judge directly have their Successes reduced by the linked Vestment to a minimum of zero.

    Powers that have a wide effect act as normal, but treat the Judge as though fewer Successes were rolled. For example, a magically summoned rainstorm may part like the red sea to create a small bubble of dryness around the Judge.

    Deborah's Song (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Presence 3

    There is more than one battle in the war, and a Judge must keep her followers strong. Roll Presence + Expression + Vestment. On a success all followers in earshot gain a Willpower point and heal their wounds twice as fast for the next week.

    This power can only be invoked after a major victory.

    Fear Not the False God (Major)

    Prerequisite: Presence 4

    Whenever the Judge makes use of a Social Merit such as Status, Allies, or Staff their connections suffer no penalty when interacting with Supernatural. This does not grant them new skills or knowledge. If a Judge who asks his friends in the IDF to attack a Ghost success is unlikely because soldiers aren’t trained in exorcism and bullets cannot harm an incorporeal specter, however they’d start researching exorcism rather than laughing at the possibility of undeath.

    While under the Verdict's effects characters treat supernatural phenomina as mundane for determining Breaking Points. For example if the characters are sent to confront a Witch who throws lightning bolts at them, the characters only suffer a Breaking Point if the closest mundane equivalent - being shot at with a gun - would trigger a Breaking Point.


    If the player characters are given a task by a Judge with this Verdict they may make use of Merits and advantages unique to Hunters for the duration of their task. Whether they remain Hunters or refund their Merits after the job is done depends upon the individual characters.

    Fortitude of Faith (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Stamina 3

    The Judge can shrug off blows that would fell lesser men. They increase their Health boxes by the linked Vestment and gain armour equal to the Linked Vestment against all supernatural attacks. Against mundane attacks they gain armour two.

    Gideon’s Ambush (Greater)






    Prerequisite: Holy Presence

    The Judge prepares an innovative and cunning ambush, then rolls Presence + Intimidation + Virtue. This is Contested by the highest Composure + Weaponry or Firearms of the Judge’s targets. If the Judge wins he may apply the Beaten Down Tilt to his enemies.

    Gideon’s Ambush can only affect mortals or minor supernaturals, anyone with a Power Trait is immune, and if the roll is Successful it affects up to ten people per warrior participating in the ambush. The Judge alone could affect ten people at once, if the Judge had an army of 300 he could affect 3000 people.
    Gideon’s Ambush is typically used to neutralise a monster’s cult before the Judge and his men go for the head of the serpent, but as the ancient Judeans will attest it makes a terrifying weapon in purely mortal conflicts.

    Gideon’s Trumpet (Greater)

    Prerequisite: Presence 3

    The Judge may attract warriors to fight by his side with supernatural ease. She spends a Willpower point and makes some obvious signal - she blows a trumpet, hangs a large flag off a tower, or makes a blog post on the internet - then she rolls Presence + Persuasion + Vestment. If she spends a Willpower Dot this becomes an extended action taking one turn per roll. Each success summons one warrior who’ll serve her loyally. This is not mind control, rather the Judge’s call to arms is sent to the right people by divine providence.

    If she already has warriors summoned by Gideon’s Trumpet reduce her successes by the number of warriors she has.

    Naturally there have to be potential candidates nearby for this to work, a Judge cannot summon warriors in the middle of antarctica or behind enemy lines (unless she’s really lucky and willing to give away her location)

    Sidebar: The Word Spreads

    While Gideon’s Trumpet allows a Judge to summon a small army, in times of chaos one charismatic person with a small army can quickly attract a large one.

    When playing a large scale game, Gideon’s Trumpet allows the Judge to gain three dots to invest in a Cult (usually it’s more like an army than a cult) for the low price of 1 Willpower Dot; they may only do this if they do not currently have a Cult.


    Judging Blow (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Manipulation 3

    The judges blows strip the veil of lies from a false divinity. If they do more damage than 11 - power trait, the monster’s true nature is exposed for all to see.

    Monster’s who’re especially good at hiding their nature can be targeted by Judging Blow, but they may require additional successes or have some extra defence against being exposed.

    Orders from Heaven (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Wits 3

    Once per session the player may invoke this Verdict and ask the Storyteller up to Vestment yes/no questions about their Commandment. The Storyteller must answer truthfully.

    If the Judge has fulfilled their Commandment and has not been given another this Verdict cannot be used.

    No Coincidences In Heaven’s Eyes (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Manipulation 3

    The Judge’s player may spend one Willpower to invoke the Allies or Contacts Merit at any time, and add Vestment to the roll. The Merit works as normal, save that the Judge doesn’t have to contact their allies. The heavens provide. In fact, the Judge is most probably unaware this power even exists.

    Example: Deborah discovers her enemy’s minion is looking for an ancient relic of occult power for his master. Deborah’s has Allies (Archeologists) and her player invokes this power. With a staggering Exceptional Success the Storyteller rules that the minion has joined the same dig as one of Deborah’s former warriors, recognising her old enemy the warrior drives a tent peg through his head as he sleeps.

    As far as Deborah and her warrior are concerned it was simply God’s plan that this happened, a more skeptical woman would call it a massive coincidence and one with oracular abilities might be able to see subtle supernatural influences leading to that fateful night; even before Deborah spent any Willpower.

    Othniel's Message (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Wits 3

    The Judge may conceal a weapon with supernatural cunning, including on their person. Any attempt, mundane or magical, to notice the hidden weapon reduces its Successes by the linked Vestment - the weapon’s size.

    If the hidden weapon is the relic provided by the Ass’ Jawbone Vestment, the penalty increases by one.

    Sampson’s Strength (Greater)






    Prerequisite: Holy Strength

    The Judge’s Strength score is permanently increased by the Verdict’s linked Vestment, up to a maximum of ten. By spending a Willpower point the Judge may either increase the damage rating of a Athletics, Brawl, or Weaponry attack by Vestment or treat an inanimate object as though it’s Durability was decreased by twice Vestment. Both these effects last a turn.

    Say Shibboleth (Major)

    Prerequisite: Intelligence 4

    The Judge nominates a group, such as a cult, and devises a test to determine membership. Any of the Judges followers can administer the test, and it’s accuracy is backed by divine providence: Unless the target knows the purpose of the test and rolls more than the linked Vestment in a Subterfuge roll the test will reveal their allegiance.

    Shamgar’s Other Blade (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Dexterity 3

    The Judge never takes an penalty for using weapon, improvised weapons feel purpose made and the judge masters usual weapons without specialised training. If no weapon comes to hand the Judge may roll Dexterity + Weaponry + Vestment - Durability to break a nearby object and create a suitable weapon from it. The weapon’s Damage is equal to the successes rolled, to a maximum of 5.

    The Trained Band (Minor)

    Prerequisite: Presence 3

    When fighting in a battle that the Judge is personally overseeing or participating in, the Judge’s followers may use the linked Vestment in place of their Brawl, Firearms, or Weaponry dots.

    Adam Pakhad

    Commandment: Neutralise the Sisterhood of Sobek

    Attributes: Intelligence 5 (Holy), Wits 4, Resolve 4, Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Presence 4, Manipulation 2, Composure 3.

    Virtue: Patriotic

    Vice: Ruthless

    Skills: Academics 3 (Jewish History), Crafts 1, Investigation 4, Politics 1, Athletics 2, Brawl 1, Drive 1, Firearms 3 (pistols), Larceny 2, Stealth 3, Survival 2 (Israel), Weaponry 2, Empathy 2, Expression 1, Intimidation 4 (Enhanced Interrogation), Persuasion 2, Socialise 1, Streetwise 3, Subterfuge 3

    Merits: Danger Sense 2, Eye for the Strange 2, Good Time Management 1, Language 1 (English), Language 1 (Arabic), Library 3 (Investigation), Professional Training 3 (Detective; Empathy, Intimidation, Investigation). Allies 3 (IDF), Contacts 2 (Intelligence Community, Military), Iron Will 2, Resources 2, Small Unit Tactics 2, Status 2 (Mossad)

    Vestments: Patriotism 5, Pragmatism 3

    Verdicts: Bulwark of Faith, Fear Not the False God, Orders from Heaven

    Adam Pakhad always felt connected to Israel. Born in a kibbutz in the Golan Plateau to parents who saw pride in their profession as farmers, he helped them in the fields since his childhood, touching the soil, breathing the scent of fresh wheat and farm animals. Seeing the pride of his parents in their work, he dreamed to be like them - covered with dirt and with a smile on his face.

    That dream has changed during the Second Lebanon War. While the threat from the north was always present, the war showed him that perhaps his homeland didn't needed farmers as much as it needed warriors. While he was the only child of his parents, he insisted at serving in the army, and during the sorting toward his military service he was accepted to the Paratroopers Brigade, caring the Flying Serpent with pride.

    While the service was fulfilling, three years were felt like enough for him, and like many of his age he decided he had to "clear his head" and went to a long vacation in Thailand and India- but he couldn't stay there too long. Even after just few weeks he felt.. hollow. His body and spirit yearned for action, and while others could have just sit around and enjoy the view, he couldn't. After no longer than a month and and half, he was already on a plane back home, returning to work in the fields like he did when he was a child.

    However, it wasn't enough.

    He didn't knew why, but it felt wrong, like he was missing something. Just walking the fields and watching the sky change and feeling the ground under his feet wasn't enough. He felt like the land was calling to him, demanding him to do something meaningful in his life- to rise, to fight, to protect.. to judge.

    While he didn't really understood that urge, he knew he had to follow it. Knowing he couldn't return to the army, he searched for other ways to fulfill his need- maybe joining the police, or perhaps trying to apply as a firefighter, or volunteer at some local guard- but no idea felt "right", until one day, while surfing the web, he found an unexpected wanted ad to nothing less than the Mossad.

    Something clicked in his mind. Filled with excitement, he filled the application and waited for three long, long days before they finally replied. He was invited to an interview by a person who simply called himself as "Noah" in a local cafe in Tel Aviv, just a friendly meeting before the actual interview and training. As the two met, Noah asked him all kinds of questions- about his personal life, his childhood, military service - and finally, he said that on the paper, all seems to be good, and that if nothing would go wrong they could start his training in a week or two.

    Hearing that, Adam didn't felt the rush of happiness he thought he would. Instead, he felt.. peace, as if warm water moved through his body, giving him the tranquility he sought after. Yet, before he could leave, Noah told him there is one more question he needed to ask him: why does he, a young man with all the life ahead of him, decided that instead of living normal life - going to the university, hanging out with friends, finding a job - he made a choice too many regret taking?

    While he knew a lot was hanged on his answer, he could pronounce only a single answer, the one which haunted him since he returned from his trip in the east.

    "Because Israel needs me to" he said.

    Whether Noah liked that answer or not he didn’t say - but few days later, Adam was invited to an official interview in one of the Mosad's offices, and on that same week is training has started. While they were not easy, Adam managed to pass them all, achieving high scores especially in the IQ and problem solving tests, which he solved mostly by pure instinct, as if he knew what the answer was before even seeing the problem. Surprisingly, the hardest part in his test was the personality test, conducted by a psychologist which her specialty was diagnosing potential mental problems in candidates. She tackled him with all sorts of questions and dilemmas which forced him to choose between following commands and acting independently out of patriotism. The weirdest part was when she asked him if he was a religious man, which he quickly denied. He guaranteed her he didn't even fast during Kippur or eat Kosher.

    "In that case, why are you holding that book?" she asked.

    Confused, he looked at his right hand and- to his surprise- discovered a small, old Psalms book, one which he gained from his grandmother as a child. Seeing that he didn't knew what to say, she carried on - but he did noticed she recorded the event.

    However, apparently that wasn't enough to make them ignore his other talents, and he was accepted to the service - although they told him he had to keep meeting with the psychologist, "just in case". So far, his operators never regretted their choice - Adam's instincts have proved themselves again and again, either when collecting intel, searching for terrorists aboard or even when dealing with enemy agents of unfriendly countries, and no matter what the mission was he kept that old Pslam book, although he couldn't even explain to himself why he did. His reputation in the organization grew quickly as he moved through short term assignments, even with just a few days on a case Adam could uncover new leads or have one of his legendary hunches which allowed the investigation to keep moving forward after his reassignment.

    Adam’s days as a roaming ace-in-the-sleeve may be coming to an end. Recently he was investigating one of the innumerous groups with hardline anti-Israel views. His report concisely summarized them as yet more harmless students who spent too much time on Twitter, and the thought of being reassigned filled him with almost paralyzing dread. He amended one sentence to his report “but I know there is more to investigate.”

    By now familiar with Adam’s almost infallible instincts his superiors granted Adam a small budget to follow his hunch.
    Last edited by The Kings Raven; 03-16-2016, 04:56 AM.


    “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
    My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
    Full length fan-books I contributed too: Princess: the Hopeful, Leviathan: the Tempest, Dream Catchers

  • #2
    Those of you familiar with my work might recognise the similarities between Vestment and the Virtue's used by Leviathan 2E's Marduk and Empyrean Theurgists (itself based on Princess' Invocations). This is no coincidence.

    While I made sure not to tie Judge's specifically to Leviathans, in many ways I do think of them as Leviathan antagonists. Firstly they're designed to go head to head with upper Tier supernaturals like a Leviathan or a Mummy, the ease that they can build their own armies to challenge a Cult for example; but the general theme of being leaders, lawbringers and organisers makes them thematic foils. Less so against Mummies, who're lawbringers themselves, but they'll get a nice Book of Judges appropriate rival faith warfare going on which should lead to some pretty nifty stories.

    I was pleasantly surprised just how many powers one could base on the Book of Judges. We agreed on the idea that powers would mostly look like doing something mundane, and it works supernaturally well, before choosing individual powers. Once we started writing up the powers themselves the Book of Judges was full of ideas. It makes me feel we chose the right style.

    And of course I'd like to thank LostLight for collaborating with me.
    Last edited by The Kings Raven; 03-02-2016, 05:17 PM.


    “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
    My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
    Full length fan-books I contributed too: Princess: the Hopeful, Leviathan: the Tempest, Dream Catchers

    Comment


    • #3
      Hmm... The Part about the holy attribute says it refunds all attribute dots and experiences spend on the attribute. Does this mean that after gaining the Judge template you can rearrange them freely as you see fit, or what?

      Comment


      • #4
        This definitely has more thematic and mechanical heft that simply using a mix of Knight's of St. Adrain Ink and Offspring Embeds. Some of the powers seem potent, but nothing so extravagant a dedicated hit can't overcome.


        Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
        Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Inquisitor View Post
          Does this mean that after gaining the Judge template you can rearrange them freely as you see fit, or what?
          Yes it does.



          “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
          My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
          Full length fan-books I contributed too: Princess: the Hopeful, Leviathan: the Tempest, Dream Catchers

          Comment


          • #6
            This is definitely another minor template that's piqued my interest. You and LostLight get five stars from me, good sir.


            I'm curious, though, about what sort of tweaks and House Rules could be added by any interested aspiring Storytellers. Would it be appropriate for them to naturally learn certain Endowments? Like, say, Benedictions (which are genuinely divine in nature) or the Shemot of the Hakollel shel Hamerkava? Or even something like the powers of the Army of Light from the Skin and Bones supplement?


            "My Homebrew Hub"
            Age of Azar
            The Kingdom of Yamatai

            Comment


            • #7
              Should "Ball must Fall" be "Baal must fall"?

              Interesting, anyway. And I don't think the lawgiving thing means they work less well for mummies: mummies work from an ancient law first imposed by sources that do not change or adapt, whereas these judges are working from a situational law (which implies a source that does evolve).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
                Should "Ball must Fall" be "Baal must fall"?
                Don't question the Machine's goals and means through which it achieves them.

                Also, if you can rearrange them however you see fit, I can most defineitely see some min-maxing out of this.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Nothing wrong with a little min-maxing.

                  Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                  Would it be appropriate for them to naturally learn certain Endowments? Like, say, Benedictions (which are genuinely divine in nature) or the Shemot of the Hakollel shel Hamerkava?
                  Probably not, unless they were members of those groups anyway (non Abrahamic Judges is fine). If you look at the biblical Book of Judges the actual Judges don't do anything overtly supernatural; Prophets like Moses and Elija can pull of seriously powerful stuff like summoning hail and fire but Judges are just powerful but mundane figures. Hence the Verdict design where most of it is something that could plausibly look mundane to a nearby mortal observer.

                  In fact Judges are actually secular figures, ancient Israel had an early form of seperation of church and state and Judges were from the state side of things - eventially being made obsolete by the monarchy. Hence why you see them raising armies and undertaking military campaigns, rather than calling down miracles.

                  Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
                  Should "Ball must Fall" be "Baal must fall"?
                  Fixed.
                  Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
                  Interesting, anyway. And I don't think the lawgiving thing means they work less well for mummies: mummies work from an ancient law first imposed by sources that do not change or adapt, whereas these judges are working from a situational law (which implies a source that does evolve).
                  I'm not sure what you mean here? Are you comparing Commandment's to the Judges' laws?

                  Commandments are better compared the mission Mummies get when they arise. Wheather the Abrahamic god (or whichever God your Judge serves) can change or adapt and how that compares to a Judge... probably best to leave that one to theologians


                  “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
                  My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
                  Full length fan-books I contributed too: Princess: the Hopeful, Leviathan: the Tempest, Dream Catchers

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How many Vestments does a Judge gain at character creation?


                    "There is a remedy for everything but death, a hope for everything but wickedness, and everything will lapse except righteousness."

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                    • #11
                      Four dots.


                      “There are no rules. Only Principles and natural laws.” - Promethius
                      My Homebrew no longer fits in a signature, you can find an index of it here.
                      Full length fan-books I contributed too: Princess: the Hopeful, Leviathan: the Tempest, Dream Catchers

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by The Kings Raven View Post
                        Four dots.

                        Thanks for the help!


                        "There is a remedy for everything but death, a hope for everything but wickedness, and everything will lapse except righteousness."

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