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Hrt Isfet [Strains of Cursed Blood- North Africa]

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  • LostLight
    started a topic Hrt Isfet [Strains of Cursed Blood- North Africa]

    Hrt Isfet [Strains of Cursed Blood- North Africa]

    The Serpent's Grave

    ​[an hieroglyph of Apep, the Chaos Serpent]

    Once, there were nine sisters. Travelling through the world out of old sense of duty, they bound ancient gods to eternal sleep so humanity would be safe from harm. For ages the foremothers of the nine have kept the old bindings and maintained their traditions, keeping an eternal vigil over things who, if they'll awake, would spread chaos and destruction through the world and devour it with their rage.

    Once, there was a arrogant king in an ancient kingdom. Motivated by his desire for eternal life and manipulated by a a cunning monster, he destroyed centuries and traditions and searched to eat the gods themselves. Despising the nine sisters, he locked them in prison beneath his castle, stopping them from preforming their duty for insulting his rule over men and nature.

    Once, there was a serpent. Buried beneath red sands, it slept for longer than any man could remember. In restless sleep, it dreamed about devouring the sun itself and all the souls which enjoyed its light- yet every year, nine sisters would come and give it a name and a face, so it would never rise from its grave. One year, the sisters didn't came. One year, he was free.

    No one knows how Apep, the Chaos Serpent, the bane of the sun and the bringer of destruction, was defeated. All records of that time were destroyed, either intentionally or by chance. No one knows how much that battle cost, or how many people were killed by the tyranny of the Serpent. All that is known is that Apep was, somehow, defeated (or else there would be no sun in the sky right now) and that the fight most likely required the cooperation of men, monsters, beasts and gods in order to slay the terrible demon. While that war over the very existence of the world took place years ago, back in the ancient middle east, the shadow of the Serpent still lingers over the world. Its malice and hatred are as strong as they ever been- and its venom runs deep, flowing among the blood of humanity and corrupting it with its touch.

    Apep may be gone- either sleep or dead- but his children are still here.

    Apep has never meant to sire children. Such legacy would be unethical to its very existence, as he wished for oblivion- not eternity. Yet, as the height of battle, just as the greatest of mortals and gods managed to hit the fatal blow against it, its very Essence has shattered. A storm blew through the desert, gathering dark clouds and terrible winds. Rain has started to drop, carrying the poison of the Serpent with it as a form of one, last vengeance. Many of those exposed to the rain died in agony. Others survived, their souls too powerful to be touched the the corruption of chaos. But some- few among the few who were touched by the venom and lived- weren't truly healed. Their souls were scarred by it, the blood was poisoned by its. The chaos found shelter in them, and so they- and each of their descendants- became a living graveyard, a tomb were the chaos would sleep for all eternity...

    Or those who would awake it into life.

    Ages has passed since the ancient battle, yet the Hrt Isfet are still here- their old sense of duty and the burning venom of the serpent in their veins has kept them going, motivating them to hunt after the creatures of chaos and protect the innocents from the destruction they spread. Once, they took place as the "Shadow Hand of Re", a secret organization in the service of the Sun God's priesthood, serving them in hunting down evil spirits and hungry dead. While the old faith has died through the ages, the poisoned blood never failed, maintaining the organization and its old traditions. Up to this day, even as many of their members were born to christian or muslim traditions, they still follow the old 42 Laws of Maat, rules which were meant to bring order to the world and protect it from the powers of chaos- beings who, like Apep, could transform the very essence of the world to their will, reshaping souls and flesh as if they were clay.

    Perhaps because of the strange nature of their creation, unlike other demon blooded there is no true pattern to how one may awake to the dormant powers of chaos inside of her. There is no ceremony, no ritual, no oath or blessing. There isn't even some supernatural power which governs them and maintains their numbers like the famous Lucifuge. While those who come from a long legacy of Serpent Blooded do have higher chances to awake to their cursed legacy, it seems that the essence of the Chaos Serpent just defies any logical prediction method. It is not unknown for a descendant of thousands of generations of hunters to never come to his powers, while someone whose only connection to the organization comes from a single, ages old ancestor would. Many of the more scholarly members of the conspiracy has created countless models based on the Chaos Theory, and many of them gave quit good results- but the mechanism itself remained hidden, unknown by all but the sleeping god in their blood.

    While the influence of the Hrt Isfet has waxed and waned through the ages, its power has always remained strong in North Africa and even beyond the Sahara- from the jungles of Nigeria to the Swahili shores, from the traditional lands of Egypt to the new nation of South Africa, the Serpent's Blood has fought demons, spirits and ghosts- and most importantly, those beings who were twisted and transformed by the powers of beings as their "father" whose soul they carry in their blood, eldritch godlike horrors who transform and corrupt the world, bring chaos to the natural order and disrupt all of creation. However, since humanity has reached to the moon, something seemed to change- for the worst. The number of Chaos Demons has risen drastically, spreading through the whole world and forcing the Hrt Isfet to go out of Africa and travel the world. Worse, few years ago a sudden rise at the number of cults was noted, and ancient gods has returned to life. And if it wasn't all bad enough, since the strange pattern which awakened the gods showed up in the sky, something in their blood has started to stir- Apep has started to awake, and it was hungry as ever. Since then, the number of deserters who fell under the Serpent's influence has grew, forcing one hunter to fight against her brother in arms- and all that while the Serpent whispers in her ears, leading her to break her rules and allow it to return.

    However, failing is not an option- one wring move, one too many members who fall to the Serpent's influence, and Apep would be free once more, and the Hrt Isfet can't allow it to happen. The world is not ready for such horror to get loose, and unlike them, Apep can allow itself to die countless times. It only need to win once- and darkness would cover the world, starting an age of a black sun.

    And as everyone know, that can't be a good thing.

    Status:
    0- you have awakened to your poisoned blood, signing you as a child of Chaos. You may buy dots in the Metwet Endowment. However, you are also forced to follow the old 42 laws of the conspiracy. In case you break one of them, you suffer from the Whispers Condition.
    000- you have fought twisted spirits and servants of faceless gods. You have learned to control the basic tricks of controlling such beings and banishing them out of sight. You get the Hardened Exorcist merit for free.
    00000- you are a lord over the shapeless and a bane over the nameless. Your authority have burned into your blood, granting you power. By expanding a Willpower point, any attack to preform in that Scene against an Idigam or someone who was shaped by it, your attacks deal Aggravated damage.

    Endowment: Metwet (0-00000)
    The poison of Apep corrupts and changes, and those touched by it may channel that chaotic power against their enemies. In order to use Metwet, the hunter must first spend a single Willpower point to allow the poison to go up the surface. Doing so would allow her to interact with beings in Twilight state, and use any of her Metwet powers. Each time the hunter buys a new dot in Metwet, she gains one such power for free, taken from the Essence Shaping power list for Idigam. Any call in such a power for a Rank instead reference to the hunter's Status: Conspiracy, while rolls are made using Metwet+Attribute (choose the relevant one). In case the power has a lasting effect (such as stealing a werewolf's Gift or changing a ghost's memories), the effect lasts for one day per Metwet. The ST may allow Forge Servants powers as Metwet powers, but if he does they take 2 dots instead of one, and it limits the hunter's Status by one (as it is a social taboo). The hunter may not have more than 5 total worth of powers at the same time, but they may be swapped by a meditation roll and self inflicting one level of Lethal damage at its end. The hunter, however, doesn't have to pay the cost of her powers when she is in Metwet mode- yet once the Scene is over, she suffers from a number of Bashing damage levels equal to her Metwet rating or the number of times she used a Metwet power in the Scene, whatever is higher. While in Metwet mode, the hunter's very body changes and transforms- her body grows scales, her tongue turns black and split, her eyes turn snake-like or perhaps her shadow moves funny or smoke rise from her mouth. The stronger the poison in her blood, the more twisted her form becomes. While in Metwet mode, the hunter suffers from -Metwet modifier to all Social rolls other than Intimidation.

    Condition: Whispers (Persistent)
    You have a demon inside of you. Perhaps it is a shadow of your passion given life. Perhaps it is in your very blood. Perhaps it is a being from another dimension bound to your flesh and soul. Perhaps it doesn't even exist- just a fake voice imagined by your broken mind. Whatever the case, that voice is there to stay- slowly corrupting and devouring your mind. While under this Condition, every time you suffer a Breaking Point, you get a -3 modifier for that roll. In an addition, once per Chapter the Storyteller may call for a Composure+Resolve roll as the demon tries to force its will upon you. In a case of Failure, you must do whatever the demon wish you to do.
    Possible Source: breaking the 42 Laws of Maat, making a pact with a demon, failing a Breaking Point.
    Resolution: going through an exorcism, ritual or therapy meant to silence the "demon".
    Beat: the character fails a Breaking Point because of the Condition or is forced to preform the demon's desire.
    Last edited by LostLight; 12-03-2016, 03:05 PM.

  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Added some extra material in the "To Cull a Great Darkness" section, in the form of fluff for the Urusum (or Wolf-Serpents), Empty Wolves created from Apep's Essence.

    I'll also be adding a similar update for the Convergence sidebar.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 04-21-2018, 06:57 AM.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Seeing as I don't have the Werewolf 2e book on hand right now, would Su'ur be covered by the Forge Claimed power or would they be a separate instance of Forge Servant? I wanted to add more to the Lodge of the Lost's entry with regard to how Apep's Essence affects them.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 04-17-2018, 10:29 AM.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
    Umm...I meant the Nibiru but was really tired and had been reading the Temple of Silence write up...sorry.
    It's fine. Bringing up the Nibiru by accident wasn't a bad thing in my book.

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  • FallenEco
    replied
    Umm...I meant the Nibiru but was really tired and had been reading the Temple of Silence write up...sorry.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    I'm not sure I get the idea- but considering that it seems like there is some demand to see the Serpent Blooded in that Dark Era, maybe we could build upon it. What if, as you suggested, without the Nibiru to maintain Apep's bindings, it starts to turn in its sleep and its venom seeps into the souls of nearby mortals. Their powers would be unstable, and all of them would be under the effect of the Whispers Condition. As the Temple of Silence doesn't really have knowledge or understanding of Apep, perhaps the Nibiru would try to unite them against Apep, and maybe even act through them to bind the Serpent (as they are not allowed to act directly). They would fail, of course- ending up with Apep breaking from his bindings and bringing an whole war upon the region. When Apep would be defeated once more, the Nibiru would use the already established connection between the Serpent Blooded and the idigam in order to bind Apep to their souls, finalizing the foundation of the Hrt Isfet.

    I'm not sure how close it is to your original suggestion, but that feels like how the best it would work with my vision to the conspiracy. In short, the rise of the Serpent Blooded is the first sign to the weakening of the bindings, and the players would play the first of them in that Era.
    I think you and FallenEco have put together good starting fluff for the Hrt Isfet's founding. For one, I can definitely see Apep be capable of passively tainting mortals by virtue of its incredible power. His spirit spawn could also be another source of corruption, as they slither out of their progenitor's prison to prey on the living. Whether it's as simplr as biting them or as horrific as outright Claiming them, these lesser spirits would further sow the Chaos Serpent's influence over their victims.

    On a related note, this story could also start from the point of view of either the Temple or the Nibiru. A part of me can see the former somehow working secretly with the latter to break them out of prison. And that would probably rise out of the Temple approaching the Nine for aid in addressing those afflicted who would be the first Serpent-Blooded.

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
    I had an idea on how they could show up in Age of Azar without completely twisting away from 'the secret truth', briefly touched upon here.

    The basics of it is that Apep gets closer to waking up, it reaches out, touching the souls of people in it's restless dreams. Not enough to Forge a new Herald, but soon those touched begin to here Whispers. They gather, organise and (likely with help from the Temple of Silence) ultimately reject the idigam (airing with it's imprisonment). But during that time, things are a tad more...choatic. Almost a civil war sort of ideal; they don't know who is whispering to them or why they can now do what they can. Some fight or try to ignore their new gifts. Some feel they are blessings from the gods and eagerly try o reconcile the old teachings with the new commands.Others begin to selfishly enrich themselves.

    It sounds like a good seed for the Era and doesn't appear to break anything you've written.
    I'm not sure I get the idea- but considering that it seems like there is some demand to see the Serpent Blooded in that Dark Era, maybe we could build upon it. What if, as you suggested, without the Nibiru to maintain Apep's bindings, it starts to turn in its sleep and its venom seeps into the souls of nearby mortals. Their powers would be unstable, and all of them would be under the effect of the Whispers Condition. As the Temple of Silence doesn't really have knowledge or understanding of Apep, perhaps the Nibiru would try to unite them against Apep, and maybe even act through them to bind the Serpent (as they are not allowed to act directly). They would fail, of course- ending up with Apep breaking from his bindings and bringing an whole war upon the region. When Apep would be defeated once more, the Nibiru would use the already established connection between the Serpent Blooded and the idigam in order to bind Apep to their souls, finalizing the foundation of the Hrt Isfet.

    I'm not sure how close it is to your original suggestion, but that feels like how the best it would work with my vision to the conspiracy. In short, the rise of the Serpent Blooded is the first sign to the weakening of the bindings, and the players would play the first of them in that Era.

    Leave a comment:


  • FallenEco
    replied
    I had an idea on how they could show up in Age of Azar without completely twisting away from 'the secret truth', briefly touched upon here.

    The basics of it is that Apep gets closer to waking up, it reaches out, touching the souls of people in it's restless dreams. Not enough to Forge a new Herald, but soon those touched begin to here Whispers. They gather, organise and (likely with help from the Temple of Silence) ultimately reject the idigam (airing with it's imprisonment). But during that time, things are a tad more...choatic. Almost a civil war sort of ideal; they don't know who is whispering to them or why they can now do what they can. Some fight or try to ignore their new gifts. Some feel they are blessings from the gods and eagerly try o reconcile the old teachings with the new commands.Others begin to selfishly enrich themselves.

    It sounds like a good seed for the Era and doesn't appear to break anything you've written.

    Leave a comment:


  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Huriyah
    Rank: 3
    Attributes: Power 7, Fineese 9, Resistance 5
    Willpower: 10
    Essence: 30
    Initiative: 14
    Defense: 7
    Speed: 23
    Size: 6
    Corpus: 11
    Manifestations: Gauntlet Breach, Image, Reaching, Materialize, Twilight Form
    Influences: Darkness 3
    Numina: Entropic Decay (R), Essence Eater*, Gauntlet Vision*, Rapture (R), Regenerate
    Ban: Huriyah must follow the commands of anyone holding a figurine of Apep*
    Bane: Weapons bearing an inscription of one of the 42 Laws in Arabic*

    Since joining the Hrt Isfet, Ahmad has distinguished himself with his ability to craft and command spirits from Apep's Essence. And while the act of creation itself is physically taxing, he has made several familiars to serve as his eyes and ears. Huriyah is not only one of these entities, but he is also the first. The spirit has been with Ahmad since he was first made to save him from his tormentors, shadowing his every move and keeping him abreast of any spiritual dangers.

    Description: Technically a spawn of Apep, Huriyah's appearance is very similar to the original idigam's. Indeed, he was much more horrific to behold when he was first created. Continuous shaping of his ephemera by Ahmad has made him presentable, though, in addition to altering his Ban, Bane, and the Numina he can call upon. Chitinous black scales cover his rubber-like flesh, and his red serpentine eyes seem to peer beyond his immediate surroundings. The Isfet hieroglyph blazes with golden light at the back of its head.

    Storytelling Hints: Huriyah is the first (and longest living) of Ahmad's familiars, and he holds a degree of loyalty and respect to his maker that has only grown over the last few years. He will readily come at the Serpent Blooded's call, even without being compelled to with his Ban. Nevertheless, one would be a fool to mistake the familiar bond as friendship. Ahmad knows how alien and limited the perceptions of spirits can be. And despite whatever sentiments he holds for his first creation, he has not forgotten whose Essence Huriyah is shaped from.

    * - Granted via Spirit Manipulation
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 12-21-2016, 09:58 AM.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Mohammad Bashandi

    Virtue: Loyal
    Vice: Solitary

    Attributes
    Intelligence - ooo
    Wits - oooo
    Resolve - ooooo

    Strength - oo
    Dexterity - ooo
    Stamina - ooooo

    Presence - ooo
    Manipulation - oooo
    Composure - ooooo

    Integrity - oooooo

    Skills
    Academics - ooo [Mythology, Research]
    Computer - o
    Crafts - oo [Cooking]
    Investigation - oooo [Body Language, Unusual Ocurrences]
    Medicine - oo
    Occult - oooo [Ephemeral Beings]
    Politics - oo
    Science - o

    Athletics - ooo
    Brawl - ooo [Grappling]
    Drive - ooo [Off-Road Vehicles]
    Firearms -
    Larceny - oo
    Stealth - ooo [Crowds, Plain Sight]
    Survival - ooo [Navigation]
    Weaponry - oo

    Animal Ken - ooo [Snakes]
    Empathy - ooo [Ulterior Motives, Personalities]
    Expression
    Intimidation - oooo [Glare]
    Persuasion - oo
    Socialize - oo [Uncovering Secrets]
    Streetwise - oooo [Cover-Ups, Rumors]
    Subterfuge - ooooo [Half-Truths]

    Merits
    Closed Book - ooooo
    Direction Sense - o
    Eye for the Strange - oo
    Hardened Exorcist - o
    Interdisciplinary Specialty - ooo [Body Language, Navigation, Reearch]
    Language - oooooo [Afrikaans, Arabic, English, Mandarin, Spanish, Thai]
    Meditative Mind - oooo
    Trained Observer - ooo

    Choke Hold - oo
    Defensive Combat - o [Brawl]
    Grappling - ooo
    Shiv - oo
    Unarmed Defense - ooo

    Contacts - ooo [Bloggers, Doctors Without Borders, Occultists]
    Esoteric Armory - ooo
    Status [Hrt Isfet] - oooo

    Evil Eye - oo
    Metwet - ooooo (Forge Spawn, Ghost Manipulation, One Million Eyes, Spirit Manipulation)
    Psychometry - ooo
    Supernatural Resistance - ooo

    "That's close enough. I would hate to have my companions scare you off before you can hear me out."

    Background: Ahmad is a hunter who favors his solitude, but he is often sought out by his fellow Serpent Blooded for his skills as an exorcist. Born in Egypt, he first manifested Apep's legacy when he was detained by the police as a suspected terrorist. The Hrt Isfet were quick to recruit him not long after this, and they provided him with the means of both leaving his homeland and erasing anything that could incriminate him. Since then, Ahmad has taken to a backpacking lifestyle, and has traveled east after spending his first years in the conspiracy upholding the Vigil in South Africa. Presently, he is believed to be active somewhere in Southeast Asia, chasing rumors on a chaos demon that had supposedly risen there.

    Description: Ahmad is an Egyptian man of average build, and doesn't seem physically intimidating at first glance. However, there's a brooding quality to his eyes that makes people either look away in discomfort or be rooted in terror where they stand. His body, meanwhile, is riddled with scars, and he typically wears thick clothes to hide them. The Serpent Blooded's appearance becomes warped when he invokes Apep's poison, though. His eyes become hardened black orbs, his skin grows pale and rubbery, and his blood vessels are visible as inky black cracks all over his body.

    Storytelling Hints: Ahmad's occult knowledge and Esoteric Armory are invaluable to hunters faced with spiritual threats. He can supply a cell with the information and means they need to exorcise (or destroy) a given ghost or spirit, and he may even offer direct aid with his ability to mold their ephemera. He will certainly intervene if the beings in question have been twisted from their original selves, whether by becoming magath or falling victim to supernatural powers like the Essence Shaping of an idigam. As an antagonist, however, he is equally dangerous. He may not be as physically capable as others in the Hrt Isfet, but his ever-present familiars often give him the element of surprise. Not only can he see through their eyes to spot potential threats, but they are more than capable of catching enemies flat-footed and making short work of them. Even without their help, though, the Serpent Blooded is a competent fighter as a result of previous hunts.

    Ahmad is currently staying in Thailand, and is quietly researching the Broken Majesty, the idigam which had taken over Pak Kret. He was first alerted of its existence when a local pack of werewolves mistook him for its ally, and he has slowly grown invested in stopping its ascension to Bangkok's golden throne. He has gained some idea of the oaths and pacts tied to this fixture of the local spirit wilds, and he fears what would happen should it succeed in its goals. As a result, he is reaching out to the werewolves of the Wheel of Law with an offer of alliance against their mutual enemy.

    A sample character for the Hrt Isfet. Critique is, as always, appreciated.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 12-21-2016, 10:13 AM.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    After the Fall: Order from Chaos
    As they had done so many times before, the sons and daughters of the Hrt Isfet endure as their homeland lies under another foreign power. The Pharaonic kingdom of Egypt's past has long crumbled to dust, its old gods supplanted by Christianity and Islam.

    The Serpent Blooded of the 15th Century are thus different from their ancestors in Alexander's time. While they honor the 42 Laws which keep Apep bound to their souls, most members of the lineage became Muslims under Mamluk and Ottoman rule. Even then, their influence would wane as the Rih al-Asuad (once called the Saru Salmu) became the most dominant of the infernal bloodlines in the region.

    They do little to resist this status quo. They remember how the Kindly Ones fell to both the Black Wind and the nascent Lucifuge. And they fear that any defiance they make would cause them to share the same fate as their allies. Even so, the Hrt Isfet finds itself divided over how to respond to the new order of the world. Most choose to travel beyond the Sahara, seeking to avoid conflict. Some of these expatriates would carry on their ancient duty, while others would abandon their Vigil and succumb to the vices of the Chaos Serpent. A few - the most devoted of their number - choose to stay in Egypt, and do what they can to prove to the Rih al-Asuad that they are not a threat.

    Despite this persecution, the Hrt Isfet would continue to hunt their chaotic enemies, safeguarding Egypt from those which still dwell beneath its sands while hunting new ones in the lands they settle. In Constaninople, some of their number would help form the Vigil there as Mehmet II rebuilt it as his capital, arriving with the people who repopulate the city at the sultan's decree. It would not take long for these Serpent Blooded to be confronted by a myriad of monsters and nightmares hiding within the shadows.

    A few, in particular, would come to pose a threat to their lineage's very survival.

    Constantinople is a den for many strange cults. Their members practice terrible rites involving murder, cannibalism, and many other depravities, and the souls of those sacrificed in these ceremonies are given to the foul patrons they worship. These horrors are demons hailing from far back in Egypt's past, and as their cults grow, they threaten to tear down the city in a festering maelstrom of madness.

    To make things worse, the Serpent Blooded are horrified to find many of their wayward brethren among their followers.

    These fallen hunters are perhaps the greatest of the Hrt Isfet's enemies in the Ottoman capital. Unconstrained by Ma'at and its 42 Laws, they embrace the power given to them by Apep, manifesting his poisonous Essence in increasingly twisted and inhuman forms. Such perversions of their bodies and souls were held as taboo by the Serpent Blooded, and would have marked them for death long ago. In pledging themselves to the cults, however, these powers have led to them gaining positions of power within their ranks.

    Unwilling to leave such traitors be, and fearful of whatever action would be taken should the Black Wind learn of them as well, the Hrt Isfet of Constantinople rush to contact the rest of the scattered conspiracy. They remember how the land suffered when Apep was last free, and see he may break free again should the fallen ones grow further in power.

    Chaos festers within the heart of the empire, and the Serpent Blooded must rise to banish it again and restore Order.

    Horrors of the Serpent: In addition to the usual powers granted by the Metwet Endowment, hunters of the Hrt Isfet may develop other abilities which draw on Apep's poison. These Dread Powers tend to twist their bearers in mind and body, and leave them more susceptible to the Chaos Serpent's influence.

    Whenever one of the Serpent Blooded fails a Breaking Point, he may choose to take a Dread Power in place of losing a dot of Integrity. These are typically abilities possessed by Apep himself (see here), though some have been known to manifest Dread Powers which invoke other serpentine aspects (see Werewolf: Forsaken, p. 210 for appropriate options). However, the more Dread Powers a hunter possesses, the more vulnerable he is to the temptations of the Chaos Serpent. This is reflected with an additional penalty levied by the Whispers Condition equal to half the character's total number of Dread Powers. And this same penalty also acts as a cumulative bonus for the Convergence roll.

    It is possible for a hunter to attempt a purging of his Dread Powers. Rituals intended to pacify the demon poison within may be adapted to strip away these visible signs of Apep's corruption. Successful attempts inflict a point of aggravated damage per dot of the targeted Dread Power, and injuries resulting from them often leave behind telltale scars. Conversely, a Serpent Blooded can subject himself to Breaking Points in order to willingly develop these Dread Powers. Such individuals are regarded warily among the greater lineage, and all too often become corrupted by what they seek to master.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 12-16-2016, 09:39 AM.

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  • Deionscribe
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    Glad to see you find my writing inspiring (on a related note, I'm going to write the Avici Sutra around today, although I'm yet to decide about the exact name of the Usij.)
    Sweet

    Well, I can always come back to edit whatever name you settle on. And at least these notes are a good start on getting back to Age of Azar-related Homebrew. That said, I am wondering if I should do a sidebar for framing the Hrt Isfet in the timeframe of After the Fall. Egypt did fall under the Byzantine Empire before the Ottomans took control.

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Glad to see you find my writing inspiring (on a related note, I'm going to write the Avici Sutra around today, although I'm yet to decide about the exact name of the Usij.)

    Leave a comment:


  • Deionscribe
    replied
    To The Strongest: Shadows of Amun-Re
    Though Alexander the Great liberated Egypt, there were many among its people who opposed him and the changes he brought. The Hrt Isfet were no exception, even though many owed him their survival. They had long struggled with the horrors unleashed when Artaxerxes III plundered their lands, and the suppression of their native culture nearly brought about their extinction at the hands of Persian hunters and Karpani. Were it not for the Greeks, the Serpent Blooded would have died out, and the god bound to their blood might have broken free to drown the world in chaos once more.

    The Hrt Isfet would not only survive but recover under Alexander's reign. And like the sorcerers of the Weret-Hekau, they would find themselves exposed not only new ideas and traditions, but also beings similar in nature to them. From Greece, they would encounter the Pyr Tartarus, men and women charged by their divine ancestors to punish oathbreakers and sinners. These Kindly Ones were seen as kindred spirits, and they in turn held a measure of respect for the Hrt Isfet due to the burden they bore and the laws they honored.

    In contrast, the Serpent Blooded have long traded blows with the Saru Salmu of Persia. Descendants of demons that took the form of black winds, these Plague Bearers have been fighting a shadow war against what they believed were the spawn of another demonic adversary. And they continue to clash with the Hrt Isfet long after their lands fall to Greek conquest.

    Other cursed bloodlines are revealed as the Hellenistic Age begins, and the Hrt Isfet encounter them with increasing frequency as they travel beyond the red desert. The Avicii Sutra of India, the Benei Tophet of Phoenicia, and the Usij of Persia. Sometimes, they fight as allies against a common enemy. And then there are points where their differences bring them into biter conflict with one another.

    And there are other groups that the Serpent Blooded must contend with - mortal societies from foreign lands with a vested interest in Egypt's occult secrets. The Aegis Kai Doru of Athens, in particular, covets whatever Relics and enchanted weapons that the Hrt Isfet have safeguarded for centuries. While this has yet to cause open conflict to break out between the two groups, the Serpent Blooded remain wary of setting foot near the Shield and Spear's holdings in Alexandria.

    -=-

    The following Merit is an expanded version of the Status Merit for the Hrt Isfet, based on the format used for hunter groups in the Age of Azar setting.

    Mystery Cult Initiation [Hrt Isfet] (o to ooooo)
    Effect: You are a descendant of one of the few men and women who survived being exposed to the poisoned Essence of Apep, the Chaos Serpent. While this leaves you damned with the god's corrupting influence, it nonetheless empowers you to fight the ephemeral beings which would sow chaos on the lands of the Empire.

    (o) -- You have awakened to your poisoned blood, marking you as a child of Chaos. You may purchase dots of the Metwet Endowment, and gain an Occult Specialty on Ephemeral Beings.

    Drawback: You are forced to follow the 42 Laws of the Conspiracy. Whenever you break one of them, you suffer from the Whispers Condition.

    (oo) -- While you learn how to harness the power of Apep, you are also trained to temper your mind against the horrors you must face. You gain a dot in the Meditative Mind Merit.

    (ooo) -- You have fought both twisted spirits and the servants of faceless gods. And you have learned the basic tricks of controlling such beings and banishing them from sight. You gain the Hardened Exorcist Merit.

    (oooo) -- Among your brethren, you are one of their foremost champions. Your accomplishments lead you to be given access to the various weapons owned by the Serpent Blooded. You may make use of a three-dot Esoteric Armory at any major safehouse of the Hrt Isfet.

    (ooooo) -- You are a lord over the shapeless and a bane to the nameless. Your authority is burned into your blood, granting power to your strikes. By spending a Willpower point, you may upgrade the damage of an attack against an idigam or any entity subject to its Essence Shaping or Dread Powers. Bashing damage is upgraded to lethal, while lethal damage is upgraded to aggravated.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 12-17-2016, 11:36 AM.

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  • Deionscribe
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    To Cull the Great Darkness
    Decades ago, the Hrt Isfet were faced with the greatest Convergence in their history. In a desperate attempt to return the Chaos Serpent to life, a large number of fallen hunters grew in power and nurtured the fragments of the god inside them. They then gathered together to commit ritual suicide, and the resulting Essence it released brought forth a powerful spirit - a true aspect of Apep - into the world.

    This spirit was still weaker than the god itself, but it had many of the powers possessed by its predecessor. And it was thus strong enough to cause great destruction unless it was stopped. The order was therefore quick to take action, and sent its most skilled members to track down the monster and slay it. The search spanned the latter half of the 20th Century, and many hunters lost their lives fighting the avatar and its many minions. Eventually, they traveled into the spirit wilds of Baluchistan, and moved to end their quarry's threat once and for all.

    Yet when the hunters had their chance to deal the killing blow, it was made instead by the claws of werewolves.

    Calling themselves the Lost Cause, they were gathered by a spirit to carry out their own hunt against what they called the Great Darkness. And they had succeeded in dispatching three of its most powerful servants before taking the fight to the Darkness itself.

    They succeeded, yes, but the werewolves failed to see the true extent of their folly as the Hrt Isfet did.

    The Lodge of the Lost Cause employed a form of the ritual once used to bind Apep. And while it did kill the avatar, it had the unforseen effect of binding its shattered Essence to the werewolves themselves. This not only obfuscated the future of both the battle's survivors and the initiates they recruited after, but it also provided an ideal place for the spirit to incubate in and grow strong.

    Faced with this discovery, the Hrt Isfet frequently go out of their way to hunt down those werewolves who are initiates of the Lodge. Each member slain pushes back the spirit's revival, and thus gives more time for the Serpent Blooded to find a way to destroy it for good. Yet as more demons like Apep emerge from hiding and the Deathless awaken with the Sothic Turn, it seems more likely that they will need to destroy the whole Lodge to stop the Convergence.

    As for the werewolves themselves, they grow more alarmed by the attacks carried out by what they think is a cult of Spirit-Claimed. Worse still, some are noticing similarities between the Hrt Isfet's powers and those displayed by idigam like Gurdilag. This has led many packs and protectorates to start organizing to declare a Siskur-Dah against the Serpent Blooded. Others, however, realize that there is more to the attacks. And one pack in particular has been making forays into the Deep Shadow to uncover what really happened in the final battle against the Great Darkness. What they have found so far frightens them, and it has prompted them to seek out the Lodge of the Lost and reveal to them the truth.

    Time will tell whether or not the spirit succeeds in reviving itself. But what has befallen the Lodge of the Lost is another reminder to the Hrt Isfet of what may happen should they fail their ancient duty.

    [For more information on the Lodge of the Lost, see p. 90 of Lodges: The Splintered.]


    Mechanics: All werewolves in the Lodge of the Lost are tainted with Apep's Essence, and can potentially give rise to an echo of him. Treat a given Lodge member as having the Whispers Condition for the purpose of the Convergence. In place of dots in the Metwet Endowment, roll Primal Urge - Harmony as the dice pool for the Extended roll. If there are multiple werewolves killed, apply the highest Primal Urge +1 for every initiate after the first, penalized by the lowest Harmony among them.

    In addition to this, Lodge adherents can also produce a different kind of danger, one entirely new yet still born of the Chaos Serpent's poison. If the werewolf were to fall into great imbalance towards his spiritual half, Apep's shards would suddenly awaken and seek to Claim him for their own.

    This occurs when a werewolf hits Harmony 0, and the Storyteller begins to roll for Convergence as an Extended Action. If 5 or more successes are reached while he's still alive, he begins the gradual transformation into an Urusum, an Empty Wolf formed from a perverted union of Urfarah's Primal Urge with Apep's Essence.

    An Urusum's transformation is a gruesome sight. With each new change, it pries itself from its old body like a snake shedding skin. The end result is a monstrous ammalgam of lupine and serpentine traits that incites madness with its mere presence.

    The Hrt Isfet revile these Claimed as harbingers of things to come. None of their records speak of werewolves twisted by Apep's poison in such a manner, and they suspect that any aspect of the demon manifest from the Lodge will be able to produce more of them with ease.

    And if Apep himself was to truly awaken with this power, then he may truly be unstoppabe.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 04-21-2018, 05:48 AM.

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