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Burya Storozh [Strains of the Cursed Blood- Eastern Europe]

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  • Burya Storozh [Strains of the Cursed Blood- Eastern Europe]

    The Zmajeviti

    [a cloud split into two by lightning]

    There is a storm in the horizon. The darkness falls upon the people. The shadows of the clouds cover the fields, hinting about the coming destruction. Distant thunder is heard through the night, and the flashes of light tear through he sky. It is still distant- but the winds start to blow. Soon, it would engulf the people, bringing fear and destruction as the ala would feast upon the chaos. Left unchecked, and life would be lost- the storm would come, and devour all.

    But then, they come- going out of their caves, making their way out of their forest, locking themselves in their churches and pray. They know the danger, and they can help their people. They close their eyes and invoke the image of their enemies- the darkness of the ala and their endless hunger. They close their eyes and invoke their own image- one hidden beyond their mortal flesh and blood, image of great power which strikes fear even in the disastrous demons. The image of the dragon, the storm wardens, the only ones who can fight against those monsters as equal and scare them away. In their minds, they leave their mortal coil and fly- gathering the winds under their wings and roar like thunder, breathing lightning. Their flawless skin is covered with scales hard as diamonds, their claws are sharp like swords. They fly into the storm, into the danger, into the heart of darkness where the ala hides. Lightnings burn through the air as the two fight, thunder covers their screams. Mists and rain and hail are carried by the winds, beings used as darts by the lords of storm. It is a long battle- but in the end, the sun breaks through the clouds. The storm is gone- and the zmajeviti, the dragon people, open their eyes, knowing another terror was defeated and that their people is safe once more- until the coming of the next storm.

    The storms wardens are an ancient line, coming from the old lands of the Serbs. They claim to be as old as their people- an ancient bloodline descendant from the union of mortal women and great serpentine beings which could only be named as "dragons". Each of them was marked from birth as a child of the dragon, having a caul over their heads at birth, or were born at a certain hour of the day, or had webbed fingers or small wings. Then signs may have changed, but there was one thing in common- they were marked at birth as the children of the dragons, meant to fight the devious ala and their dangerous storms.

    While most common people thought about their role as wardens against real storms, the truth was a bit more complicated- the storms they fought against weren't just a roaring mass of clouds and rain. They were storms of the mind, devouring souls in their endless hunger and scarring thousands in their pass. The ala lived the the heart of those storms, causing a whirlwind of madness around them as they roamed the dreams of innocent mortals. Only the dragons had enough power to fight those demons as equal- taking flight into the depths of the chaos and fighting the monsters of their own terms.

    At the early days, the Storm Guard was scattered through the region, broken into many small (sometimes even competing) groups. As such, they got many names through the ages- Zmajeviti in the south, vetrovnjak on the west, Zduhaci on the east. They were called as planetniks in Poland, Dragoi in Albania, kombals in Croatia. They spread through the Balkans and even a beyond it- but wherever they went, they were no more then a few, unrelated compacts.

    The fall of Constantinople has changed everything.

    For years, the strains of the dragon men has survived through an uneasy alliance with another, more powerful bloodline, which claimed themselves to be punishers of the wicked. The alliance was founded since the days the forefathers of the Zmajeviti has reached the Balkan after the fall of the Roman Empire, and broke down as its last remain was destroyed by the Ottoman Empire. As the Ottoman eventually reached their lands and brought down the once proud Serbian Empire (the last sanctuary of the so called "Tartaruchi"), came another cursed strain- one holding sharp knives and riding upon black winds. On the other side, a new bloodline has started its own purge against their former allies- and the dragon people were the next in their list. As independent groups, they didn't had a chance- but together, they could survive, even if it meant to escape their former lands and search for a new home, one where they could be safe from their enemies.

    And they found it in the lands who would soon become the great Tsardom of Russia.

    Seeing how their former allies fell from grace, the Zmajeviti saw it as their duty to take their place as the guardians of the east. In the Tsardom, they took a new name for themselves- the Burya Storozh- in order to forget their fractured past and begin anew. However, unlike the fallen children of the Furies, the storm guard didn't bound itself to the higher classes- they were the people of the fields, guardians of the simple people and wardens of weather. Some of them found their place as priests and monks in the Russian Orthodox Church- and when the so called "Old Believers" broke apart from the Church, those dragon people among them left with them, moving toward Lithuania and the Baltic lands to escape persecutions. Still, a considerate amount of storm guardians stayed in the empire, hunting for the hidden terrors of the night and banished their storms from the world.

    The time of the Soviet Union was, undoubtedly, the hardest era for the Storozh- under Stalin's reign, fear has spread in the heart of every man, causing storms to appear and luring the ala from their hideouts- not to mention the more mundane threats, as many of the dragon people were marked as potential threats to the Union by both mundane and supernatural agencies. Yet, Russia is a big place, and the Storozh knew where to hide- sending their souls through space and time to fight their old enemies- and after its fall, the guard returned with all of its might. Tonight, the Burya Storozh maintains its grip through the vast Russian lands and beyond it, from the European Balkans and up to the northern regions of Asia. Their communities are strong knit, living in rural places in order to keep their deep connection to the land. In their dreams, their eldest meet and discuss the course of the conspiracy and the current threats they need to deal with. On the world of flesh, they hunt for the storm bringers and the aloviti they give birth to with their terror. They descend into the depths of the storm, bringing hope that the sun would rise.

    Fear is the true killer of souls- and faith is your sword and shield while fighting it.

    And no form symbolize that faith better than the might of the dragon.

    Status:
    0- you have showed you are mature enough to start hunting for the ala and fight against the storms. You can buy dots in the Snovideniye Endowment, and can expect to live up to 170 years.
    000- you have flew through terrible storms and banished both the demons who lurk in them and the aloviti who hunt them for selfish goals, forging your willpower through battle. You get +2 modifier for all meditative rolls. You now have the potential to live up to 350 years.
    00000- you had you share of battles, and your legend has spread through the conspiracy. You get 3 dot Staff at your disposal for the Vigil, and could potentially reach 600 years.

    Endowment- Snovideniye (0-00000)
    The dragon people see their true form in their dreams, and by dreaming it into truth they can attack the ala in their own realms. Snovideniye is a single, 1-5 merit which allows the character to project herself into the world of storms (also known as the Primordial Dream) and breach into a Beast's Lair. In order to do so, the hunter must preform a meditative roll to which she adds her Endowment to dicepool, but reducing the Beast's Lair rating. A Failure drains the character from a single Willpower point, while Dramatic Failure also force the Shaken Condition upon her. Exceptional Success, however, also grants her a Willpower point.

    In case the projection was successful, the hunter takes her "true form" in the Beast's Lair. It is usually the form of a dragon, but some variants do occur. While in this form, each dot in the Endowment is treated as the Dream Avatar Merit. In an addition, for each dot in the Endowment choose one Atavism. The hunter may use that Atavism while in her "dragon form". She may spend Willpower as if it was Satiety, and treats her Willpower points as Satiety in order to determine if she may access the "Low Satiety" effect. In case the character is killer in the dream, roll for Resolve+Stamina. In case of failure, she suffer one level of Bashing Damage per dot in the Endowment. In case of Dramatic Failure, she suffers from one level per the Beast's Lair or her Endowment, what which is higher.
    Last edited by LostLight; 01-13-2017, 05:52 AM.


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  • #2
    Wow.

    You really should make the Knights of the Bloody Chalice have a slot in the stereotypes section. And seeing as you tied them to Orthodox Christianity in previous writings, maybe you can do one for the Order of St. Anthony, too? KSI21, the ZMEI Initiative, and/or the Tartaruchi are also good picks.

    These guys are pretty awesome. Regarding their ability to use Atavisms, though, is there a chance that they could use them outside of the Primordial Dream?


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    • #3
      Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
      Wow.

      You really should make the Knights of the Bloody Chalice have a slot in the stereotypes section. And seeing as you tied them to Orthodox Christianity in previous writings, maybe you can do one for the Order of St. Anthony, too? KSI21, the ZMEI Initiative, and/or the Tartaruchi are also good picks.

      These guys are pretty awesome. Regarding their ability to use Atavisms, though, is there a chance that they could use them outside of the Primordial Dream?
      connections between them and Russian groups are pretty obvious (ZMEI, for example, has hunted them down as potential source for their serum), and the the connection between them and the Knights is also interesting- although where the Knights draw on fear, the Storm Guards relies on faith. As for Atavisms outside of the Primordial Dream- future sidebar in planning. Of course, it would be a bit more difficult to use them in their flesh, but it is possible.


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      • #4
        And let's not forget adding Heroes into the mix. I can also picture a sidebar on that waiting in the wings.

        Hmm. Now I am wondering what sort of Dark Eras could be covered for them. "After the Fall" was mentioned in your Vigilant Times doc, but I can see "The Wolf and the Raven" and "Into the Cold" working as well.


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        • #5
          Me over and over saying these are brilliant must be approaching broken-record-ness by now. But more specifically, I like the idea of tying these to the Primordial Dream: Eastern Europe is a place where there's a lot of folklore of people with fell birth being fighters of monsters or otherwise beneficient, so tying them to the most diverse line works well.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
            And let's not forget adding Heroes into the mix. I can also picture a sidebar on that waiting in the wings.

            Hmm. Now I am wondering what sort of Dark Eras could be covered for them. "After the Fall" was mentioned in your Vigilant Times doc, but I can see "The Wolf and the Raven" and "Into the Cold" working as well.
            Actually, Heroes were already hinted in the writeup- they are what the conspiracy calls "aloviti", the children of the ala who are born from their storms. I plan on expanding this in the future.

            Also, about Vigilant Times- remember that before the Ottomans conquered the Serbian Empire their structure was quit different from how they work in modern times- groups of isolated dragon people, invoking their dreams into life in order to fight terrible demons. As for Into the Cold, it could be an interesting Era to explore them. After all, some parts of that Dark Era seem to have had Hunter as crossover in mind while being written.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
              Me over and over saying these are brilliant must be approaching broken-record-ness by now. But more specifically, I like the idea of tying these to the Primordial Dream: Eastern Europe is a place where there's a lot of folklore of people with fell birth being fighters of monsters or otherwise beneficient, so tying them to the most diverse line works well.
              thanks! actually, I should thank you for that- when I've first pitched them in the hub thread, I thought about making them into spirit-hunting group. But your reply on the subject and the diversity of the folklore in the region really made me thinking and change them into something which feels more appropriate.


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              • #8
                Ah. I thought aloviti was another term for Beast. Thanks for clearing that up for me.

                As for a write-up on After the Fall, I'll be sure to keep that in mind. But if the Zmajeviti of that era were split into various groups, would they still have the same benefits afforded by their Status? That said, I could probably use Mage's Order Status as a point of reference in working out how standing in one's group might give a character some measure of prestige among other branches of the lineage.

                For Into the Cold, I wonder what could draw the Storm Wardens to Berlin, seeing as they are hunted by the USSR.


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                • #9
                  Children of the Storm
                  There is a key difference between the Burya Storozh and the rest of those born to cursed blood- unlike their so called "family", the Storm Wardens do not hunt for the demons who birthed them. Instead, they focus their efforts on other demons- the ala, spirits of storm and fear who unleash their nightmares upon the common people. The question, in that case, is why? Why does the dragon people hunt for those demonic beings? If they don't feel any duty to fight the darkness or redeem themselves, why should do work so hard- and even endanger their life- to fight those monsters?

                  It's simple. Because someone has to.

                  Why does the regular hunter rise her candle and fight the darkness? Why does the regular hunter carry swords, guns, sticks and stones and fight monsters thousand times stronger than her? She isn't cursed from her birth, she isn't doomed by some unnatural power. It is simply that she knows what lurks in the shadows, and that she can't just live with that knowledge. She has to fight, to give mankind an hope to survive for another day.

                  The dragon people are not that different. They fight to inspire hope, to give humanity faith in a better future. That after the storm, the sun would shine. That every nightmare has its end- and even the deepest darkness would die before the sun. They draw power from that hope, and that hope turns them into a brilliant form- one which could fight the storm bringers and protect their community. In many ways, the Zmajeviti still share that so called "1st tier mentality", any they draw their power from it. They may be beings of terrible power- but that power simply means they have more responsibility for their community. They are like everyone else- and those demons who gave birth to them are long gone, destroyed by the hope of the women they took as loot.

                  But the storm has children of its own.

                  They call them the "aloviti"- the children of the ala. They show up when the storm is strongest, when the winds blow enough to rip souls and break minds. When fear engulfs a man fully, sometimes its creeps in, and new winds start to blow in his mind. The souls who survive the tempest become different- or perhaps always been, and it is just that the touch of their parents has awakened them. The aloviti are motivated by that primordial fear and go hunt after the storm- but not in order to bring hope. They seek after personal fame and heroism, willing to sacrifice hundreds just in order to show they are better demons than their parents. Some of them die in their first attempt. Those who survive start to chase the storms, and as they kill the ala their own storm brews, growing with power and blows other souls toward them, turning the common people they should have protected into weapons at best- and sacrificial pawns at worst.

                  The aloviti prosper in fear, and as such the Burya Storozh fight them as demons no different than their parents- and the feeling is mutual, as the so called "heroes" target the dragon people as if they were storm bringers by themselves. Their existence is a constant reminder for what may happen if the dragon let the storm to corrupt her territory- eventually, the people would turn against their vigilant god, led by the child of a demon. The existence of an aloviti in one's turf is a great insult for the dragon people, creating bad reputation inside the conspiracy. After all, while the dragons are expected to deal with the ala and their children by themselves, a storm warden should be wise enough to recognize when the storm is out of his control and call for help. Else, they just bring doom upon their own heads, and with their fall the storm would rage in the heavens, casting a dark shadow upon the earth.

                  However, no matter how strong the winds are or how fearsome the rain is- eventually, the storm would pass, as another dragon would soar to the sky and bring down the raging winds.

                  As long as there's life, hope would live on- and even the greatest fear can't the defeat the shining scales of faith.

                  stereotypes:
                  Ashwood Abbey: :"such madness! Corrupting your own souls for your own in the name of selfish desire? They are not free from their fear- they are its slaves"
                  Cheiron Group: "yes, we know of them. Our dream libraries hold their diabolical symbol as a sign of a terrible danger. They harvest of the fears of others, and claim to make them into medicine. That's a lie- fear heals nothing"
                  The Reckoning: "we have heard of a small cult growing the the other side of the world- people who worship the ala as divine messengers of God and worship their own fears. Such poor, pathetic souls. We'll show them the way"
                  Lucifuge: "they fear their own hell, fighting in order to show they are not like their forefathers. But hell is simply our own choices- and it is their own actions which doom them to hell, if not in death then in life"
                  Knights of the Bloody Chalice: "do you really think you can call yourself a dragon? That's simply sad"

                  "God has promised us that no storm would last forever- and I'm here to fulfill that promise"


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                  • #10
                    Say, how would Burya Storozh hunters handle Atavisms that make use of Lair as part of their mechanics?


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                      Say, how would Burya Storozh hunters handle Atavisms that make use of Lair as part of their mechanics?
                      use their Endowment's rating as effective Lair. If you want to be more insidious, you may instead rule that they use the rating of the Lair they hijacked into- which works with their themes of turning the storm's power against itself.


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        use their Endowment's rating as effective Lair. If you want to be more insidious, you may instead rule that they use the rating of the Lair they hijacked into- which works with their themes of turning the storm's power against itself.
                        Huh. Duly noted.

                        How about making it the higher of the Beast's Lair and half the hunter's Snovideniye dots, rounded up?


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post

                          Huh. Duly noted.

                          How about making it the higher of the Beast's Lair and half the hunter's Snovideniye dots, rounded up?
                          I'm not sure I quit understand- as adding both the Beast's Lair and half of the hunter's Snovideniye sounds a bit too powerful, as it means they are always more powerful than the Beast they are fighting against. Hunters should have their strength with numbers, I believe, so giving an hunter a potential of Lair rating of 13 sounds not quit right for me.


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                          • #14
                            I meant that they pick either the Lair rating of the Beast or half their Snovideniye rating (rounded up), whichever is higher.

                            Like if a Storm Guard has Snovideniye 4, his effective Lair rating would be 2. If he were to fight against a Beast of Lair 5, however, he uses the Beast's Lair rating instead to determine the effects of some of his Atavisms.

                            If you want to give a little power boost, you could make the hunter's effective Lair be half of [Snovideniye + Conspiracy Status], rounded up.

                            Does that make more sense?


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                            • #15
                              oh, that's much clearer. I don't think you need to take half of the Endowment, though- you can just use the full rating. No reason to cut it in half, as it would generally mean you use the Beast's Lair for the roll (unless that was your intention?)


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