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A Compendium of Contracts

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  • A Compendium of Contracts

    I hope everyone had a happy new year. I spent the first day of January 2019 in a hung over haze, but the second day was quite pleasant. While cleaning out the attic in observance of purification rituals of old, I came across a strange, dusty tome, filled with all manner of strange practices and mystical pacts with the natural world. I thought it prudent to share some of the most interesting of these pagan charms here, in the spirit of giving and celebration of the slow death of a long December.

    The first few pages concern themselves with what appear to be the glorious powers of supernatural monarchs. Whoever these beings were, they must have led quite fantastical lives if these are the legends by which they're known.

    Witch-King’s Nocturne (Royal Autumn)

    The changeling invokes his authority over the secret worlds, chanting in a mystical tongue his commands to a Hedge ghost he can perceive in the scene. If his words prove true, the ghost must oblige.

    Cost: 2 Glamour (+1 Willpower, optional)
    Dice Pool: Presence + Occult + Mantle vs Resistance + Wyrd
    Action: Contested Instant

    Success: The changeling gives the Hedge ghost one order, which it must carry out to the best of its abilities. This can consist of a single action (“Tell me where the nearest Goblin Market is”) or an ongoing command (“Guard my Hollow”), though not multiple, unrelated actions (“Open this door, then attack whatever is on the other side”). This Contract lasts for a single scene, unless the changeling spends a point of Willpower when activating it, in which case the compulsion lasts until the sun next crosses the horizon. At the Storyteller’s discretion, particularly abusive or destructive commands may prompt a Clarity attack using the changeling’s Mantle as the dice pool.

    Exceptional Success: When the Hedge ghost completes its assigned task, the changeling receives a short vision of its actions, plus any immediate consequences thereof.

    Failure: The Hedge ghost refuses to comply, and is probably now angry at the offending changeling.

    Dramatic Failure: The changeling’s magic leaves him vulnerable to rebuke. The next Numen the targeted Hedge ghost uses on the changeling forgoes any Contested roll or Resistance penalty.

    Loophole: The changeling created the targeted Hedge ghost (whether that means cobbling it together from scraps, or murdering the ghost’s living form).

    --

    Solemn Hibernation (Royal Winter)

    Dreams can be a source of comfort and strength, but the wise and cautious recognize that they are also a place of vulnerability. A Huntsman could hide its heart in your dreams, or one of the Gentry could poison them into neverending madness, or an unscrupulous changeling could manipulate your thoughts and deeds unseen. And so the Icelords of the Winter Court long ago devised this Contract as a means to keep both themselves and their loved ones safe. The price it exacts is cruel, but some would argue that such cold cruelty is entirely the point. It is also by no coincidence that in freeholds where this Contract is widely known, Bridge Burners abound. When is Winter not a double-edged stiletto?

    Cost: 2 Glamour + 1 Willpower
    Dice Pool: Intelligence + Subterfuge + Mantle vs Resolve + Wyrd
    Action: Contested Instant

    Success: The changeling draws a veil of the thinnest ice across the target’s eyes, blanketing her psyche in the cold and dark. The target immediately gains the Soul Shocked Condition. So long as the Condition persists, the target does not dream when she sleeps, and forms no Bastion in the Hedge. The target’s slumber is still restful enough to regain Willpower, but from the moment she closes her eyes until she opens them again, she experiences nothing but a deep sleep. If this Contract is used on a sleeping target, the subject awakens immediately.

    Exceptional Success: Even after resolving the Soul Shocked Condition, the target still has no dreams for a number of nights equal to the changeling’s Mantle.

    Failure: The Contract fails.

    Dramatic Failure: The changeling’s own dreams become frozen. The next time she sleeps, she regains no Willpower.

    Loophole: The target tells the changeling in detail about the last nightmare she had.

    --

    March Hare Apparent (Royal Spring)

    The changeling touches a mundane animal symbolic of spring (a rabbit, a bee, a dove, etc) and infuses it with the essence of the season, transforming the creature into an avatar of growth and life, a loyal servant of the Antler Crown.

    Cost: 2 Glamour
    Dice Pool: Manipulation + Animal Ken + Mantle - Stamina
    Action: Resisted Instant
    Duration: 10 minutes per success

    Success: The animal, suffused with the essence of spring, begins to grow until it reaches Size 4. Its feelings become well disposed toward the changeling, and it can understand one language that the changeling herself speaks. The animal acts as a Retainer with a dot rating equal to the Contract’s activation successes. The creature retains all its natural abilities, and its natural behaviors count as its area of specialty for the purposes of the Retainer merit.

    At the end of the Contract’s duration, the changeling, if able, may spend Experiences equal to the Retainer merit’s rating to make the magic permanent. The changeling may only have one permanent avatar at a time (though may use the Sanctity of Merits rule to transfer dots from the old Retainer to the new), and doing so causes a Clarity attack using the changeling’s Mantle rating as the dice pool.

    Exceptional Success: Spring bestows an additional blessing upon its living avatar. The animal gains one feature of the changeling’s choice from the Fae Mount merit (since the animal isn’t native to the Hedge, Actormask can’t be chosen).

    Failure: The Contract fails. A touched wild animal might flee or strike back at the changeling, depending on the circumstances.

    Dramatic Failure: Spring takes the target as an offering rather than an avatar. The animal lies down and dies peacefully. In a crossover game with Geist, there is a good chance it leaves behind a Barghest to haunt the changeling.

    Loophole: The changeling makes a crown of ivy and flowers and places it on the animal’s head, bestowing a fitting noble title, such as Prince of Spring or Baroness of the Lushest Meadow.

    --

    Nemean Spite (Royal Summer)

    It is a mistake to assume that summer’s knights know nothing of cunning or ruse. With the proper magic, a warrior of the Iron Spear can transform his very blood into a weapon to punish the impudent and savage.

    Cost: 1 Glamour + 1 Willpower
    Dice Pool: None
    Action: Instant

    Fixing his gaze into a caustic glare, the changeling’s blood changes from red (or whatever color it is now) to the hue of molten gold. For the rest of the scene, if any attack deals Lethal damage and pierces his skin, the changeling releases a scorching spray from the wound. Roll an attack using the changeling’s Mantle + damage suffered (minus the opponent’s Defense); the retributive spray inflicts one point of lethal damage per success rolled.

    The blood attack can only hit targets close enough to touch the changeling, and is thus most effective against opponents with daggers, claws, or other intimate weapons. That said, if the changeling is struck with a weapon at a distance, he can use this Contract’s effects against a different character who is close enough to be hit.

    Loophole: The changeling is attacked by surprise.
    Last edited by espritdecalmar; 01-06-2019, 01:45 PM.

  • #2
    First off, loving all of them. But also, a few questions.

    For Winter, Spring and Autumn, what action speed do they occur at (Reflexive or instant)?

    For Spring, what part of the Contract causes the Clarity attack: creating the Avatar, making it a permanent Retainer or letting the magic lapse naturally?

    For Summer, would making the Contract Reflexive allow you to counter said surprise attack that is mentioned in the loophole? Also, what counts as breaking the skin? Is it only lethal damage?


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

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
      First off, loving all of them. But also, a few questions.

      For Winter, Spring and Autumn, what action speed do they occur at (Reflexive or instant)?

      For Spring, what part of the Contract causes the Clarity attack: creating the Avatar, making it a permanent Retainer or letting the magic lapse naturally?

      For Summer, would making the Contract Reflexive allow you to counter said surprise attack that is mentioned in the loophole? Also, what counts as breaking the skin? Is it only lethal damage?
      Thank you for the feedback. All of the Contracts use an Instant action; I'll note that.

      It's making the magic of March Hare Apparent permanent that causes the Clarity attack.

      Yes, if the changeling uses the Loophole to make Nemean Spite reflexive, they can counter the original attack. The intent is Lethal damage; I'll note that as well.
      Last edited by espritdecalmar; 01-06-2019, 01:45 PM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks for your answers. Just to make sure, can I repost some of the Contracts I made back after the Steed preview here?


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

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
          Thanks for your answers. Just to make sure, can I repost some of the Contracts I made back after the Steed preview here?
          That sounds like a wonderful idea. Go right ahead.

          Comment


          • #6
            Here are the contracts from the prior thread: Homebrew 2e Contracts.

            Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post

            Everbreath (Common, Shield)

            The fae calls out to the spirits of air and life, drawing sweet breath from even the most unlikely of places

            Cost: 1 Glamour

            Dice Pool: None

            Action: Instant

            Effects: The fae makes a deal: Glamour for safe passage. For the rest of the scene, the changeling can breathe anything, solid, liquid or gas, that contains enough oxygen and nitrogen, whether oxygenated or made of oxygen-using substances. Thus, the character can breath water, dirt and even hydrogen peroxide as if it was clean air. This gives no buffs to movement speed, and she can still be choked manually.

            Elemental: Closer to the elements than most, the Elemental can also bribe oxygen to avoid her enemies. For 1 Glamour, she can inflict the Thin Air Tilt on everyone but her within [Wyrd]+2 square yards for [Wyrd] rounds as an instant action and can reactivate this clause for 1 more Glamour as soon as the prior instance ends

            Beast: The Beast grows animal parts that allow them to move at their full speed in any loose solid or liquid environment, such as digging paws or fins.

            Loophole: the fae has taken care of a large plant or growing tree within the last 24 hours.
            Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
            Alright finally got around to this. Sorry for the wait. Feel free to critique.

            Spell of the Silver Screen or, the Fourth Wall Descends (Royal, Mirror)

            The character weaves glamour into the very essence of their costumes and props as they make them, making them seem less real and more fantastical.

            Cost: 5 Glamour + 1 Willpower

            Dice Pool: Intelligence + Crafts + Wyrd; then Manipulation + Expression + Wyrd

            Action: Extended (12 - [Crafts+Wyrd] successes; 1 roll per hour) for creation; Instant for usage

            Dramatic Failure: Standard "lose X successes" for crafting roll. For the activation roll, this results in the Changeling being inflicted with the Delusional Condition as the magic overpowers even its own wearer's mind. Example delusions include, but are not limited to: an overpowering belief in narrative causality, believing they are acting out a scene and believing that they are a character in a story that resembles their current situation, such as thinking they are Inigo Montoya while crashing a Loyalist's wedding.

            Failure: nothing happens

            Success: The changeling, who can work with others for teamwork effects but must pay all glamour (but not Willpower) himself, creates a personal set of costumes and props that obfuscate their user's true supernatural abilities for 1 day. Any supernatural action performed by someone using these props is rationalized away by spectators as particularly clever special effects used in some sort of street performance or movie shoot, only so long as the Changeling succeeds on the roll, made whenever he first does something overtly supernatural in a Scene.

            Exceptional Success: Duration of effect extends to 1 week and targets temporarily act in-character as extras or chorus. This effect ends for anyone who is injured in any significant way while entranced.

            Elemental: Drawing on her nature as a background feature, the Elemental can choose when creating the props to designate herself as "crew" instead of cast, penalizing Perception checks to notice her half her Wyrd rounded up

            Grimm: The Grimm can call on her nature as a living archetype to call down dramatically appropriate effects. For as long as the contract lasts, she may, once per scene, spend a Willpower to gain 2 automatic successes on a roll or subtract 2 successes from an opponents, manifesting as lucky or unlucky coincidences, so long as it is considered "dramatically appropriate" to the story they are portraying by the ST

            Loophole: The craftsperson breaks a hedgespun item they own and recycles it into the crafted set elements. This hedgespun item is subject to Sanctity of Merits


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

            Comment


            • #7
              I have discovered a few more interesting Contracts within the pages of the tome. How curious this pacts are. I can just picture the sorts of situations in which they would be useful, or even deadly.

              Ground Spider’s Snare (Common Steed)

              Borrowing from the trickery of the myriad arachnids who roam every realm imaginable, the changeling weaves a sticky web from Glamour, and throws it at a target up to 10 yards away.

              Cost: 2 Glamour
              Dice Pool: Dexterity + Athletics + Wyrd - Defense
              Action: Resisted Instant

              Success: The changeling entangles the target in his webbing, slowing them down. Each Success reduces the target’s Dexterity by one. A character whose Dexterity falls to zero is effectively immobilized.

              Exceptional Success: The changeling also creates a tether between himself and the target, and can pull the target back toward him, at a speed of one yard per dot of the changeling’s Strength.

              Failure: The changeling’s webs miss their mark.

              Dramatic Failure: The changeling gets caught in his own web, suffering a -2 penalty to all Physical rolls until he takes an instant action to disentangle himself.

              Beast: The Courser can instead weave a nearly translucent web that is attached to an area up to a yard in diameter. The next person to pass through is subjected to the Contract’s effects (though anyone can make a Perception roll, penalized by half the Beast’s Wyrd, to notice the trap).

              Elemental: The Torrent can create a snare from her own element that deals bashing damage equal to successes rolled on a hit.

              Loophole: The target is has in his possession an object he stole from the changeling.

              --

              Reminder of Duty (Royal Crown)

              Taking on the bearing of the imperious judge, the changeling interdicts the target of this Contract from breaking any promises he has sworn.

              Dice Pool: Presence + Persuasion + Wyrd - Composure
              Cost: 1 Glamour
              Action: Resisted Instant

              Success: For the scene, the target feels a strong aversion to taking any action that would break a promise, including Pledges. Taking an action that would do so requires a Resolve + Composure roll, penalized by the successes rolled. Supernatural attempts to compel the target’s behavior into actions that would do so provoke a Clash of Wills.

              Exceptional Success: The target gains the Cowed Condition.

              Failure: The Contract fails.

              Dramatic Failure: The target rebuffs the changeling’s rebuke. She cannot attempt to use this Contract again on the target until the sun next crosses the horizon, and for the rest of the scene suffers a -2 penalty on Social rolls.

              Darkling: The insidious Mountebank relies on insinuation to get her point across and may roll with Manipulation instead of Presence.

              Fairest: The imperious nature of the Muse gives the changeling the 9-again quality on the Contract’s activation roll.

              Loophole: The target has expressed intent to break a Pledge he has sworn with the changeling.

              Comment


              • #8
                This one's kind of the opposite of Solemn Hibernation, but from a conversation on Discord:

                Winter's Slumber (Royal Winter)

                Winter is a time of sleep, when many plants and animals heal, recover, and wait for Spring. A Winter Courtier can draw on this sleep to heal all wounds, given enough time. She sings a slow and mournful song of endings and finality, and draws a willing target into a healing slumber that can last for seasons or longer.

                Cost: 2 Glamour

                Action: Instant, though the Contract requires at least five minutes of singing to enact. Speeding this up requires a Wits + Expression + Mantle roll, taking one minute off the activation time per success, but causing the Contract to fail outright on a failure.

                Duration: Instant

                Effect: The target falls into a peaceful sleep that lasts until certain conditions are met. The Changeling can specify either a duration ("until Spring comes again") or an ending condition ("until touched by someone who's experienced true love")—but the Wyrd tends to ensure that the condition will always be met eventually, no matter how unlikely it might seem.

                While asleep, the target heals one point of bashing damage or mild clarity damage per day. Every week, one point of severe clarity damage downgrades to mild, or one point of lethal damage downgrades to bashing; every month, one point of aggravated damage downgrades to lethal. They do not require food or drink, as the Wyrd works through the Glamour to keep them alive, and take no damage from persistent or time-based effects (such as poisons or bleeding out). There are also stories of stranger injuries healing given enough time, anything from paralysis to psychosis, but these are outside the scope of the damage system and the effects are up to the Storyteller.

                Loophole: Rather than specifying a duration or condition, the Changeling allows the Wyrd to decide for her. The condition tends to be thematically linked to the circumstances of the damage, so a successful Wits + Occult roll can give a hint as to what it might be, but the exact details aren't known until it's fulfilled.

                (This might also be an interesting Token or Goblin Fruit…thoughts?)
                Last edited by Draconis; 02-03-2019, 03:33 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Interesting thought, but you need to balance that against natural healing times in-game. This definitely heals slower than natural healing


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

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
                    Interesting thought, but you need to balance that against natural healing times in-game. This definitely heals slower than natural healing
                    Oh, it absolutely does: but it'll also heal you back from full lethal, which you can't normally do without a hospital. Mostly I want it to be a long-term thing, inspired by cryonic freezing, rather than healing in a night.

                    What would you suggest for the duration?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I dunno. So what I'm getting is that the point is avoiding hospitals that would ask awkward questions? I also assume that they have no biological needs besides untainted air during their enchanted sleep (i.e. don't need to eat, drink or excrete)?


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

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yeah, the goal is a sort of general all-purpose "this heals anything" contract with some major drawbacks so it's not as good. They don't have to eat or drink, they ignore wounds, poisons, bleeding out, disease, illness, anything that would deal damage over time, but they're also out of commission for a long while. Even if you're in the middle of the Hedge with someone who's one health box away from death, this can keep them alive—at the cost of months off their life.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Draconis View Post
                          This one's kind of the opposite of Solemn Hibernation, but from a conversation on Discord:

                          Winter's Slumber (Royal Winter)

                          Winter is a time of sleep, when many plants and animals heal, recover, and wait for Spring. A Winter Courtier can draw on this sleep to heal all wounds, given enough time. She sings a slow and mournful song of endings and finality, and draws a willing target into a healing slumber that can last for seasons or longer.

                          Cost: 2 Glamour

                          Action: Instant, though the Contract requires at least five minutes of singing to enact. Speeding this up requires a Wits + Expression + Mantle roll, taking one minute off the activation time per success, but causing the Contract to fail outright on a failure.

                          Duration: Instant

                          Effect: The target falls into a peaceful sleep that lasts until certain conditions are met. The Changeling can specify either a duration ("until Spring comes again") or an ending condition ("until touched by someone who's experienced true love")—but the Wyrd tends to ensure that the condition will always be met eventually, no matter how unlikely it might seem.

                          While asleep, the target heals one point of bashing damage or mild clarity damage per day. Every week, one point of severe clarity damage downgrades to mild, or one point of lethal damage downgrades to bashing; every month, one point of aggravated damage downgrades to lethal. They do not require food or drink, as the Wyrd works through the Glamour to keep them alive, and take no damage from persistent or time-based effects (such as poisons or bleeding out). There are also stories of stranger injuries healing given enough time, anything from paralysis to psychosis, but these are outside the scope of the damage system and the effects are up to the Storyteller.

                          Loophole: Rather than specifying a duration or condition, the Changeling allows the Wyrd to decide for her. The condition tends to be thematically linked to the circumstances of the damage, so a successful Wits + Occult roll can give a hint as to what it might be, but the exact details aren't known until it's fulfilled.

                          (This might also be an interesting Token or Goblin Fruit…thoughts?)
                          This is a really cool idea. I especially like changeling powers inspired by fairy tales. I do have a question though: Can this only be used on willing targets? The spirit of the Contract appears to be a tradeoff benefit (slumber for healing), but you could also, as written, put an enemy to sleep, either to kill off their social life or just murder them. If that's the case, I suggest that the Contract should always require a contested activation roll.

                          I wonder also if maybe there should be some sort of cap on the Contract's duration, perhaps tied into Mantle: eg, the higher one's Mantle rating, the longer the duration/more improbable end condition the user can specify.

                          Again, I really like this!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks! As currently written, it's only usable on willing targets—the intent isn't to shut someone down for a long time, but Sleeping Beauty-style "a long sleep is better than death".

                            The idea of scaling with Mantle is an intriguing one; here's an alternate idea it made me think of: what if Mantle (or the successes on some sort of roll) affect how fast the healing is? That would help with Aquatosic's concerns too.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Espritdecalmar, these Contracts are pretty well written and thematically appropriate, so well done! Uh, what would you make if the Contract affected Time?

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