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Powerful Trinkets Fueled With Human Suffering That You Can Wear

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  • Powerful Trinkets Fueled With Human Suffering That You Can Wear

    Merry Christmas. Merry belated Christmas. I was hoping to have this up on the day itself, but then Christmas went a little sideways this year, so here we are and here's my first draft of a thing I've been working on for public scrutiny and/or consumption. It still, as you can see, needs a name. Or maybe the name got eaten by something. Maybe like the thing it represents, the concept itself got soaked too long in the Ocean.

    Well, anyway, [] are a special kind of Memento, uncommon and valuable, whose deathly power modifies the effects of one of the bearer’s Haunts. Despite their utility, [] tend to be treated with caution and even mistrust by the Bound, as many [] are created through either the Ghost Binding Ceremony (and so often considered immoral), or the death of a supernatural creature, whose monstrous nature imprints onto the nascent Memento (and so risk attracting dangerous attention). That said, other [] form from washing a normal (relatively speaking) Memento in one of the Rivers of the Underworld; in the same way that water changes the shape of stone over time, the occult flow of fluvial entropy wears new grooves into these objects of power. That this process parallels the evolution of ghost to geist does not go unnoticed.

    Among [], one of the more commonly known effects is one that adds a specific Numen to the list available through the Haunting Presence enhancement of the Shroud: A bracelet made of twisted, tarnished strands of copper provides Host Jump, a conductor’s baton that served as an unconventional murder weapon grants Puppeteer, and so on. One of the most infamous of these [] is a gold coin bearing the blackened image of a horned figure that adds the Descend Numen to the Haunt-user’s repertoire. It was smuggled out of Italy by a Pilgrim krewe in the eighteenth century, and the rumor on the Twilight Network is that an immortal occultist in Milan has been looking for it ever since.

    Other examples:

    The Alkonost’s Claw
    Key:
    Beasts

    On the banks of the Volga once lived an avian monster whose song caused listeners to forget all their cares, resulting in quite a few shipwrecks and drownings in the region. One day a brave young fellow finally hunted the creature down to put an end to the troubles it had caused his people, shooting an arrow he had fletched himself following instructions from a dream straight into its breast and slaying it instantly. For his efforts he was showered in glory and praise, and he cut off one of the bird-monster’s talons and attached it to a leather strap, which he wore around his neck as a reminder of his act of heroism. These days the upstart hunter’s name has been forgotten, but not his grisly keepsake.

    Effect: A Bound in possession of the Claw who Sings the Dirge may spend two points of Plasm to inflict the Heavy Rain Tilt on the scene.

    Petro Glyph
    Key:
    Grave Dirt

    He called himself a Bokor, but he didn’t practice Vodou; instead, he claimed to follow the path of truth higher than ephemeral gods. The results were the same though: He bound spirits and corpses to his will, trucked with mystical entities of all stripes, and in the end, his reach extended his grasp, and he was permanently, viscerally humbled when a glitch in reality caused his animated servants to turn against him. Among his mortal effects was an amulet inscribed with a veve known to no religious tradition, the wizard’s most prized magical tool, in which a scrap of his legacy now resides.

    Effect: By placing the Glyph on a corpse and activating the Servant enhancement of the Marionette on it, the ensuing Condition automatically lasts for 24 hours with no additional Plasm needed.

    Jagged Hoshen
    Key:
    Stillness

    No one knows where it comes from. No one will talk about where it comes from. Possessing it will get you shunned faster than nearly anything; even the Necropolitans won’t talk to you if they know you have it. It’s old, very old, and most of the sacred stones are missing. The few that remain don’t correspond to anything in any Rabbinical or even mineralogical texts. A very evil, very powerful ghost is bound inside; if you put the breastplate on, it will whisper to you of how it is the favored servant of the ultimate Chthonic God. It will tell you many things, including how best to make use of its prison’s powers.

    Effect: While wearing the Hoshen, the Bound can use the Marionette Haunt against a target at any distance so long as they are on the same plane of reality, and the Bound holds an object with an intimate sympathetic connection to the target, such as a prized possession, a lock of hair, a vial of blood, or so on. After using this Memento three times in the same story, the Bound gains the Paranoid Condition. If she uses it seven times in the same story, she gains the Hunted Condition, stalked by the ghost of a thing that was never alive.

    Typhoid Charm
    Key:
    Disease

    The exact formula to create this Memento is actually recorded in more than a handful of grimoires and codices: Bind the ghost of an asymptomatic carrier of a virulent illness into their own ritually preserved gallbladder. It turns out there’s enough of them in the world to fit the bill for an aspiring or vengeful necromancer. Whether or not Mary Mallon is counted among these [] is a matter for speculation among gossipmongers and Mourners.

    Effect: The Sin-Eater can use the Malady enhancement of the Curse to infect the target with a subtle disease. The target experiences no drawbacks from this, but everyone with whom he comes into close contact (a handshake suffices) must succeed on a Stamina + Synergy roll, penalized by the Bound’s Curse rating, or gain the moderate Sick Tilt four hours later; a dramatic failure inflicts the grave version of the Tilt instead. The target remains contagious for the rest of the scene.

    Face Mirror
    Key:
    Cold Wind

    This hand-sized, handleless mirror showed up one day in the wake of a snowstorm. Its glass is always cold to the touch, and ghosts appear in its reflection as grayish, hazy blurs. There’s no spirit bound to the object, and as far as anyone can tell, the Memento isn’t actually connected to anyone’s death. So what happened? Only the reclusive woman who vanished on a Winter gale knows.

    Effect: The Bound can use the Hungry Dead enhancement of the Caul without needing to consume a corpse or ghost; he merely needs to reflect the target’s face in the Mirror’s surface for three consecutive turns. The [] also lets the Bound use the enhancement against the living; roll Synergy + Caul (plus Unlock Attribute if applicable) contested by the victim’s Composure + Synergy. When used in this way, the victim gains a bluish tint as if suffering from hypothermia until the Caul Condition is resolved. In addition, after impersonating a living subject, the Bound gains the Echoes Condition, keyed to a trait most reflective of the victim (such as her highest rated Skill).

    River Jug
    Key:
    Deep Waters

    This [] was formed from a clay jug a Sin-Eater used to carry water from various Rivers of the Underworld back to the surface world. After a good decade of this, the container began to take on some of the arcane and horrific properties of the Great Below.

    Effect: When a Sin-Eater uses the Memory in a Bottle enhancement of the Memoria on the Jug, the [] becomes primed for use. While holding the Memoria’s Plasm the Jug can be used as the focus for the Ghost Binding Ceremony for any ghost; while bound, the ghost automatically gains the Actor Condition, playing out a given role within the bottled memory. Drinking the bottled memory causes a bound ghost to automatically Fetter itself inside the imbiber, even if it doesn’t normally possess that Manifestation. The drinker takes on the ghost’s Actor Condition; the ghost cannot Unfetter itself until the Condition is resolved. If the ghost manages to resolve the Condition while still trapped inside the Jug, it is immediately released from confinement.

    Ruined Furnace
    Key:
    Pyre Flame

    He wasn’t human, but he was working on it. Problem was, he’d been going nowhere fast lately, stumbling time and again in the process of his great work. The land around him grew withered and strange, and the posse of Reapers attracted to the disturbance decided he was close enough to dead to belong below, and so Descended the whole area just to be over and done with the mess. Among the castoffs that went down with him was the cast-iron object into which he’d been pouring his hopes and dreams of his future life. Now cracked and warped beyond easy identification, the mass of metal grows warm to the touch when used, and sometimes lets off static shocks. It’s currently in the hands of a Thanatologist who’s grown curious about the prospects of resurrection.

    Effect: The Sin-Eater can apply the following effect as an Environmental Tilt when using the Earthquake Weather enhancement of the Boneyard while holding the Furnace: Create a zone of the uncanny wherein mortals do not suffer Breaking Points for witnessing supernatural phenomena.

    Cartilage Cord
    Key:
    Blood

    Like many young men, his heart was filled with anger: at the myriad injustices of this world, at systems and structures he had no hope of comprehending, but mainly at the people who injected him with an unholy serum that turned him into a half-shark hybrid at the behest of an enigmatic entity that communicated its commands through scrambled blockchain broadcasts during periods of heightened sunspot activity. He took to collecting his ever-regrowing teeth when one would fall out, eventually stringing them together into a necklace of sorts, as a reminder of what he had become, the weapon now at his disposal to take his revenge on the rogue pharmaceutical company that had done this not only to him, but to who knows how many others.

    It’s a shame, then, that mankind has so dominated the globe that even the most feared predators really only still exist at our suffering. A maw full of pelagic gnashers is no match for stunguns and sniper rifles, it turns out.

    After the creator’s untimely and unreported death, his body secreted away in a black bag for further dissection and research for the next batch of test subjects, the necklace found its way into the possession of the project’s lead scientist, who held onto it both as a keepsake and an object of study for any potential paranormal radiations given off by the piece’s biomaterials; a few days later, he was found dead in his office, his body covered in bite marks indicative of an elasmobranch.

    Effect: When using the Black-Iron Blade enhancement of the Rage while wearing the Cord, the Sin-Eater can spend two Plasm to grow a set of spectral jaws that cause her bite to deal lethal damage, plus the Rage’s weapon modifier. Every point of lethal damage she bites off and consumes from a living victim heals one point of bashing damage, while aggravated damage heals lethal. This also allows the Bound to commit Ectophagia on a ghost she currently holds in a grapple.

  • #2
    These are superb. If the gaping, unfathomable chasm where their name should be is to be filled, I would humbly like to suggest possibilities:

    - Since we're talking objects that come after ritualized Deaths, my mind goes straight for the terms used by Greeks and Romans to designate the innermost of the entrails of a sacrifice, those that were read by haruspices to determine whether the sacrifice had gone positively or awry. We'd be talking guts: something gruesome, sacrificial, and a (literally) visceral truth. The Greek term is pretty hard to pronounce (sphlankhna), but the roman (exta, singular extum) is more manageable.

    - The Greek katadesmoi, or Latin defixiones. Both are translated: "to fix/bind < something or someone > below". A defixio or katadesmos was probably always a somewhat complex matter, combining spoken curses and the use of strange material, like a puppet pierced with nails or some - albeit contemporary archeologists rarely retrieve anything other than the leaden tablet inscribed with the request to Chtonian deities to curse an individual (the rest having decomposed), and can only surmise the gestures and incantations from certain bits of occult literature of the times. They were buried almost everywhere - often near tombs, but also beneath the forums of big cities (such as Athens), or in temples of "Gods from Above" (so that they would carry the word to the "Gods of Below").

    The idea could have been that antique Krewes did actually unearth these curse tablets - sometimes only to "take the temperature" of the grievances and sorrows of the community they protected... and, sometimes, perhaps, to receive something weirder. More potent. And along with, a tablet attached stemming from one of their peers on the nascent Twilight Network, asking them to put this lended tool to good use. Unless it bore with a script not even remotely human - from something aping the written complaints of mortal lives, in order to accomplish some inscrutable design.

    (Also, obviously, "binding down" a Numen or strange power is also fitting. Funnily enough, "defixio" shares the same form as "devotio", that originally meant vowing enemy troups (or yourself, if you felt dramatic in a "see-you-in-Hell" way) to Tellus, the battlefield ground.)
    Last edited by Adrasalieth; 12-29-2020, 08:18 AM.

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    • #3
      Perhaps they could be called Abraxas Stones. They are a grotesque horde of treasures, the come from many "emanations" of the supernatural. They are tokens, representing departed spirits through the starry world to Amenti.

      You can leverage all the symbolism associated with Abraxas, the odd tokens and rituals, its speculative connections to Gnosticism and the Egyptian gods, even explaining these tales as lost rituals and even creating a lost crossover Krewe / Mystery Cult that focused on studying, creating and cataloguing them.


      New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

      The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
      The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

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      • #4
        I think we call them Iphones

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