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Contracts of the Cross

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  • Contracts of the Cross

    [Material from the previous forums, made by Isabella for my Walking Shadows campaign]

    Contracts of the Cross

    Alright, this is a bit of an odd one. Most people don't associate changelings with Christianity, beyond faeries being repelled by it. The changeling who forged this contract, however, had a (moderately unhealthy) obsession with angels - she'd been mistaken as one by a hapless mortal, and sort of ran with it. She is firmly attracted to the story of the fae being angels too good for hell and too bad for heaven, and she is fascinated with Christian symbolism and its supposed power over the fae. The contract she forged, in contrast, seems to be where the powers of Saints and the Fae coincide. Perhaps this is evidence that the Contract is a trick of the Wyrd, allowing the changeling to play-act as something she isn't. Though on occasion the changeling uncovers evidence that she might be right...

    Unfortunately, the bizarre nature of the Contract means it isn't really affinity for anyone else.

    Touch of Gold Flowers (•)

    St. John's Wort, named for John the Baptist, was once known as a potent protection and healing against faerie mischief. In more modern times, it has become touted as an antidepressant. Using this contract, changeling can call upon the flower to banish illness of the mind, if only for a time. To use this contract, the changeling must touch or sprinkle water on the target.

    Cost: 1 Glamour
    Dice Pool: Empathy + Wyrd - Subject's Resolve (if actively opposed)
    Action: Instant
    Catch: The target is at least half-way immersed in water.

    Dramatic Failure: The changeling takes on one of the target’s derangements (mild or severe, chosen by the Storyteller) for the rest of the scene. If the contract is used on a character who does not possess any derangements, then the changeling takes on one mild derangement of the Storyteller’s choice, which lasts for the scene.

    Failure: The power fails to have any effect.

    Success: The contract helps restore the target to some measure of sanity. If the person possesses a mild derangement, that derangement disappears for a single scene. If the person possesses a severe derangement, then those derangements downgrade to their mild counterparts (i.e., Paranoia becomes Suspicion) for the scene. In the case of multiple derangements, the changeling may target a specific derangement if she is aware the target possesses it. Otherwise, the contract targets severe derangements first, at the Storyteller's discretion. This contract may be used more than once on the same target, but only affects one derangement at a time. If a changeling wishes to affect two derangements, she must activate the contract twice. A downgraded severe derangement cannot be further affected with this clause.

    Exceptional Success: The removed or downgraded derangement remains reduced until the sun next rises or sets, whichever comes first.

    Suggested Modifiers
    +1 The changeling possesses or at one time possessed the same derangement as the target
    -1 The subject currently has a Derangement active (cumulative, -1 per active Derangement)

    Author's Note: It does tread a bit on the Blackbird Bishop's toes, but there are other Tokens that imitate contracts, so I went with it. I did have an idea that the Contract could lessen Frailties instead. Our GM allows a changeling to take a frailty instead of a derangement if they fail the degeneration roll, but otherwise they don't come up often enough to make the Contract worth it.

    Redcap's Bane (••)

    It is said that the only way to escape a redcap is to quote a verse of Scripture at it, at which point the redcap will flee, leaving one of its long teeth behind. This clause does not guarantee to drive a monster away, but it can disarm their natural weapons. With a word, the changeling can knock out teeth, horns, and claws, granting the user some manner of protection against her assailant.

    Cost: 2 Glamour
    Dice Pool: Medicine + Wyrd - Subject's Stamina
    Action: Instant
    Catch: One of the targeted natural weapons has fresh blood on it.

    Dramatic Failure: The failed contract bolsters the target instead. For the next scene, the target receives +1 bonus dice on any attempt to attack the changeling who used the clause.

    Failure: The power fails to have any effect.

    Success: To use this power, the changeling must target a creature with a natural weapon, and the natural weapon targeted must be capable of dealing lethal or aggravated damage. This includes the Hunterheart Kith blessing or the merit Lethal Mien. Each success rolled on the contract reduces the damage rating of the weapon by one. If the damage rating of the weapon is reduced below zero, the damage inflicted by the weapon is downgraded from lethal to bashing damage. In the case of a natural weapon that inflicts aggravated damage, the damage is downgraded to lethal. The changeling may target more than one natural weapon, and assign successes to each weapon as it choses. For example, a changeling who rolls three successes against a werewolf that has a 2L bite and 2L claws can reduce the claws to 1L and the bite to 0L, or choose to reduce the bite to 0B and leave the claws unaffected.
    This contract does not affect speech, or manual dexterity, nor does it affect spellcasting (unless, for some reason, the spell being cast requires unblemished hands, horns, or teeth). The weapon's damage rating heals as if it were lethal damage (one point of damage rating regained per two days), and can be accelerated with healing magic or supernatural regeneration.

    Exceptional Success: Regardless of actual damage rating, all natural weapons the target possesses are downgraded to dealing bashing damage (lethal in the case of weapons that deal aggravated damage), and the reduced damage rating heals as aggravated damage (one point of damage rating regained per week).

    Suggested Modifiers
    +1 The changeling reads a verse of religious scripture from an actual holy text when invoking the contract
    +3 The changeling recites a verse of religious scripture that is somehow appropriate to the creature being targeted

    Author's Note: This contract is one of the few that deals with the Cross' power over the supernatural, as opposed to powers that the superatural and the Saints happen to share. I'd been hoping for more like this one, but there really isn't that much in the way of specifics (beyond 'fae don't like it'). It's a neat legend, however, so I wanted to include it. Great against anything from the Hedge, not really the best if you fight people with guns.

    Tongues of Fire (•••)

    No matter how far a traveler has gone, or how strange a fairy is, they are always able to speak to each other when they meet. This contract allows the changeling to be understood by anyone she speaks to, no matter how disparate their languages.

    Cost: 2 Glamour
    Dice Pool: Intelligence + Wyrd
    Action: Instant
    Catch: The changeling has swallowed a flame.

    Dramatic Failure: The changeling develops partial aphasia, taking a -2 penalty to any roll involving speech for the rest of the scene.

    Failure: The power fails to have any effect.

    Success: For the next scene, the changeling can read and understand any language she encounters. She can also speak and be understood by any intelligent being that can normally hear her. When she speaks, any listeners hear her as speaking in their own native language. The target must be able to understand language for this contract to affect them, thus, an animal cannot be communicated with via this contract. This contract does not work on magical languages, only mundane language can be understood and spoken.

    Exceptional Success: The changeling may choose who can understand her and who cannot. Anyone who cannot understand the changeling rationalizes this away as the changeling speaking another language or being difficult to make out. Any people that the changeling is not aware of default to not being able to understand the changeling. If the changeling is recorded unwittingly or chooses for the recording not to understand her, the recording is corrupted by static and interference that makes the changeling unintelligible.

    Suggested Modifiers
    +1 Per language the changeling already knows (cumulative, maximum +3)
    +1 There is a strong wind blowing
    -1 The changeling has never encountered the language being spoken to her before

    Author's Note: For some reason, every unwashed peasant boy in faerie tales will go to a foreign land that speaks whatever language he does. They're also always fluent in wolf. Or maybe the wolves all speak English? In any event, this contract mirrors that, but also holds Pentacostal overtones and a catch that ties into those.

    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
    New System and Setting Material

  • #2
    Bells of Sanctuary (••••)

    Changeling live and die by vows, and the vow of hospitality is a highly honored one. The cross understands this as well, through the promise of sanctuary. The sanctuary provided is not a physical one, but a mental one, providing respite from unnatural forces. Through the power of the cross, the changeling banishes the dark taint of the unnatural from the target, protecting them from mystic attacks upon their soul.
    The character must touch the target’s forehead to use this power.

    Cost: 3 Glamour
    Dice Pool: Empathy + Wyrd
    Action: Instant
    Catch: The contract is performed when church bells are ringing.

    Dramatic Failure: The attempt fails, instead inflicting a mild derangement on the target that remains until the end of the scene. The target cannot benefit from further uses of this power by any use of this contract until after the following sunset.

    Failure: The attempt fails.

    Success: The character removes a single supernatural effect from the target. The effect must be something that directly affects the mind. Examples include Fleeting Season enchantments, Moon Contracts and certain powers of Vainglory. The contract only cancels ongoing effects; powers that have a permanent effect after they have been completed (such as The Blessing of Forgetfulness and the Mask protecting side-effects of Vainglory) are not affected. The changeling may not use this power on themselves.

    Exceptional Success: The character removes two supernatural effects from the target, if two simultaneously exist.

    Suggested Modifiers
    +2 The character knows precisely what effect she is trying to undo and who inflicted it
    +1 For each dot of Wyrd the character possesses over that of the character who established the supernatural effect. Count the supernatural tolerance trait (Primal Urge, Gnosis, etc.) of other supernatural entities and the Resistance of spirits and ghosts as Blood Potency for the purposes of this power.
    — The character knows either what effect she is trying to undo or who inflicted it on the target, but not both.
    -1 For each dot of Wyrd the character possesses less than that of the character who established the supernatural effect.
    -2 The character knows neither the specific effect she is trying to undo nor the individual who inflicted it on the target.

    Author's Note: Alright, I stole this right from vampire. I admit it! The abjuration effect seems to really suit the concept of the church warding off evil, while disenchantment suits the faerie side just fine. There's a similar effect in the merit Disenchanting Kiss, but that's 20 exp you can lose by accidentally knocking someone over. No thanks.
    Like the vampire version, this Contract might be able to cleanse Obfuscate, since that's a mind effect. The vampire version gave those attempts a -3 penalty.

    Waters of Life and Death (•••••)

    Like the hero killed by his envious brothers or the saint who was shot full of arrows and lived, sometimes a person's journey does not end with their death. Though this contract cannot bring back the dead, it can stave it off for a few precious moments - time enough for their wounds to be tended, or one final deed.

    Cost: 4 Glamour or 4 Glamour + 1 Willpower if Reflexive
    Dice Pool: Resolve + Wyrd
    Action: Instant
    Catch: The target is being attacked by a member of her family.

    Dramatic Failure: The contract fails, and the target is filled with thoughts of doom and existential despair. The target is unable to spend willpower for the rest of the scene.

    Failure: The power fails to have any effect.

    Success: The changeling may place this contract upon any living target of their choice. If at any point during the next scene, the target receives wounds (lethal or aggravated) that would otherwise be fatal, the contract triggers. The target of the contract immediately gains temporary health equal to her maximum health, and is no longer affected by wound penalties (she is beyond pain). This effect lasts for a number of rounds equal to the successes rolled when the contract was activated. Once the contract ends, the target's health returns to normal as per the rules for temporary health in the World of Darkness Core book. In many cases, the target dies immediately when the contract is ended. However, if the target's wounds are healed before the contract ends, they are able to survive normally.
    If the changeling spends a point of willpower, she can activate the clause reflexively on a target who has received a fatal injury. The changeling must be able to see the target to activate the clause. This clause still counts against the chageling's glamour and willpower limitations per turn.

    Exceptional Success: The target gains temporary health equal to her maximum health + 2.

    Suggested Modifiers
    +1 The target is not carrying any weapons
    +1 The target has no armor or other defenses.
    -1 The target has harmed another person within the last day.

    Author's Note: The name comes from a Russian Folk tale, where a wolf gathered the Water of Life and the Water of Death to bring his companion back from the dead. Resurrection is beyond the power of WoD changelings, but the contract is well suited to heroic last words and deeds, of which the Wyrd can only approve. The catch protects those subjected to the grossest betrayals, which seems to happen a lot in faerie tales.

    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
    New System and Setting Material


    • #3
      I feel Bells of Sanctuary should protect against soul-affecting magic as well.


      • #4
        I like that you've based these clauses on folktales! That gives it a special something and makes it even more enjoyable to read. =)

        None of it really seems like it needs to be necessarily tied to any particular religion, however; it seems to be focused more on the things that people have believed to be healing in nature, regardless of faith.

        The first clause seems to have a disconnect between the title and the actual thematics, in that it starts with flowers but really revolves around water. Why not just stick with annointing and/or bathing with water? There's plenty of folktales and mystical significance for that. Otherwise, go with the use of flowers and/or scent.

        Also, many first level clauses are revelatory in nature and/or reduce (or increase) penalties a small amount. Since it does step on the Bishopric of Blackbirds' domain as it's written currently (why would anyone join their ranks when they could just get this contract?), perhaps shifting the first level power to reveal something or to reduce penalties would be more appropriate.

        It seems like most of the clauses focus on healing or reducing damage, which makes the Contract seem like everything fits together (a very nice thing!). It also makes the third clause stand out as something that doesn't fit the theme, though. Just something to consider!

        Kismet's WOD - D&D - C:tL - M:tC