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

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  • #16
    I was thinking something more like the Honorary Rank that groups like the Aki Ten and the Usij have. And now that I mentioned it, maybe it would make more sense to have Status [Burya Storozh] be what gives an honorary Lair rating (half the dot rating, rounded up) to reflect the hunter's growing Legend. It wouldn't give them access to an actual Lair, but it could grant them immunity to some Lair Traits and perhaps even the ability to open Primordial Pathways in resonant areas?

    As for being able to turn the storm back upon a Beast, maybe the hunter can reflexively roll his Snovideniye dots as a dice pool once per turn, with successes used to make the Beast susceptible to its own Lair Traits?


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    • #17
      After the Fall: Storms of Conquest

      Among those who call the lands of the Serbian Empire home, it is said that dragons walk among them. Split into two breeds, they have often clashed with one another as a result of being polar opposites of each other. The ale are the evil dragons, and are often not seen as such by mortals due to their evil and the fear and terrible weather they bring. In contrast, the zmajevi are generally accepted as largely benevolent beings, and they have chased away the storms of their more malefic kin to ensure that humankind could prosper. This duty would come to be passed down to the children they sired with mortal women.

      For generations, the Zmajeviti have protected the Serbian people as guardians. In times of peace and good weather, they live as their neighbors do. They grow crops, raise livestock, and tend to the welfare of their families. But whenever an ala leads a storm to their villages, their spirits fly forth as dragons to do battle. The clashes that ensue become long and fierce, but they eventually lead to the storm's end, the ala at its heart slain by the dragon people.

      This has been their ancient Vigil: to serve as wardens against the ale and the storms they bring with their mere presence.

      Yet there would come a storm that even their greatest could not drive back, one wrought by mortal hands.

      Serbia was in a state of decline in the late 14th Century, and this was only hastened when the Ottoman Empire marched against it. Led by their Sultan, Murat I, the Turks achieved victories in crucial battles. The Battle of Maritsa in 1371 led to Macedonia and parts of Greece falling under Ottoman power, while causing the deaths of the majority of the Serbian nobility. One of the casualties was Vukasin, who ruled the southern lands of Serbia as their king. His death in the battle led to those provinces becoming Ottoman vassal states.

      Four months later, Emperor Uros would die from unknown causes. He had no children at the time of his death, and disagreement among the nobles over who should succeed him led to the Serbian lands being split among a collection of feuding provincial lords. The most powerful of these, Tsar Lazar, effectively ruled Northern Serbia, and it was he who led the armies that stood against the Ottomans at Kosovo in 1389.

      Despite Lazar's best efforts, the Battle of Kosovo would mark the end of Serbian power in the Balkans. While the Ottomans would lose many lives in the fighting - including that of their sultan, the Tsar would also be counted among the dead, and the Serbians were left with few men to protect their homes. Hence, the few principalities that had not been conquered would gradually be annexed as vassal states, though some would be absorbed later than others.

      By the time Mehmet the Conqueror had taken Constantinople, the few remaining remnants of the old Serbian Empire were led under a Despotate by Tsar Lazar's son, Stefan. And when he had consolidated his hold over his new capital, it would be these remnants that the sultan would first march against. This campaign would end when the Despotate capital of Smederevo falls in 1459, and it would leave the Bosnian Kingdom and a principality under Hungarian protection as the sole free Serbian territories. Even then, these too would be conquered in succeeding years.

      Like their mortal kinsmen, the various branches of the dragon men were endangered by the invasion of their homeland. Not only did they have to deal with the threat posed by the Ottoman armies, but they also had to contend with the supernaturals that sought to exploit their approach. Vulkodlak haunt the battlefields, moras bring torment to the dreams of men, and witches gather in the night to work their dark sorceries. Even the ale run rampant, appearing with greater frequency in this chaotic time. Some have lived in the lands of Serbia for years, and their disputes with the Zmajeviti reach a boiling point with the outbreak of war. Others hail from the lands around Byzantium, eager to satisfy their Hungers to their hearts' content after being slaves to a clockwork god for so long.

      Regardless of their origins, these monstrous Beasts grow fat on the fears of mortals, and they sire dozens of aloviti from their predations. A few of these Heroes stand with the Zmajeviti as brothers-in-arms, working together to stop the threat posed by their common foes. However, far too many end up spreading more chaos in the land, and their selfish quests for glory are cut short by the dragon people before they claim too many lives.

      The worst dangers to the lineage, however, would take the form of other cursed bloodlines.

      Since their ancestors first settled the Balkans, the Zmajeviti have held a fragile alliance with the Tartaruchi. More organized and powerful, this lineage's members see it as their duty to condemn sinners and punish the wicked. When the Byzantine Empire still stood, the Kindly Ones kept the dragon people under close watch, for they remember old stories of dragons who either terrorized humankind or protected them at a heavy price.

      The Tartaruchi would soon not be the only other strain of cursed blood they must deal with. From the south, the Rih al-Asuad would come, wielding steel, poison, and disease as their weapons. They would fall upon the Zmajeviti like a plague, reaping their souls in the name of their progenitor. Despite what aid they receive from the the Children of Fury, many dragon men perish in these hunts, leaving their villagers exposed to both the Ottomans and the ale. Meanwhile, another lineage has risen in the west. Taking the name of their leader, its members take advantage of the chaos brought about by Byzantium's fall. They move against the Tartaruchi, whom they have long been rivals with since the Great Schism. By the time Mehmet went to war with Stefan, their purge of the Kindly Ones is almost complete, and they soon turn their sights upon the Zmajeviti.

      As a lineage, the compacts of the dragon people were divided on how to respond. Some flee north to Hungary, where they join their fellow countrymen in exile and remain free for another hundred years. Others decide to accept Ottoman rule, hoping to curb the conflicts by hunting the ale and aloviti entrenched within the Empire. This compact reaches out to the Black Wind with calls for peace, and eventually succeeds in forging a tentative alliance with the Mesopotamian demonborn.

      While their actions made them oathbreakers in the eyes of the few Tartaruchi left, the accord with the Plague Bearers gave the Zmajeviti some protection from the Lucifuge as they rebuilt around the Orthodox Church and the communities of Serbian dhimmis. They would then work to stave off the fears sown by their old enemy throughout Anatolia and other parts of the Empire. Many of their number choose to settle in Constantinople, in particular, drawn by premonitions of a terrible being rising from the world of storms. This entity is no mere ala, much less one seeking to become the storm incarnate. It is something far older and more dangerous, and perhaps too powerful for the Ottoman Zmajeviti to fight.

      Despite the upheavals of the century and the years that follow it, the children of the dragons are not wholly wiped out. Some who survive the conquests of Murat and Mehmet would choose to travel east, retracing the paths taken by their ancestors when they journeyed to the Balkans. Others would follow in their wake as they are driven out of the Ottoman lands for one reason or another. All find find themselves in the lands of Russia, where they would settle down in new villages and gradually take a new identity for themselves.

      Where they were once known by many names - Zmajeviti and Zduhaci, Vetrovnjaks and Viloviti, they would come to call themselves the Burya Storozh.

      And they would continue to pursue their old duty to stand against the storms.

      Honor Among Dragons -- As isolated communities, Status among the dragon people varies between regions in this time period. If a hunter applies his Status to a different group of Zmajeviti, reduce its effective rating by -1. This is increased to -2 if the group are considered rivals, and -3 if they are openly hostile. Even at the worst of times, the chidren of the dragons acknowledge each other's strengths.


      Mystery Cult Initiation [Burya Storozh] (o to ooooo)

      (o) -- You have shown you are mature enough to start hunting for the ala and fight against the storms. You gain one dot in the Meditative Mind Merit, and can purchase the Snovideniye Endowment with Experience. You can also expect to live up to 170 years.

      (oo) -- Your knowledge of the world of storms now allows you to master your own dreams. You gain the Lucid Dreamer Merit.

      (ooo) -- You have flown 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 gain a +2 dice bonus for all meditative rolls, and now have the potential to live up to 350 years.

      (oooo) -- Your faith not only emboldens you against the storm, but it also leads others to stand firm alongside you. You gain the Inspiring Merit.

      (ooooo) -- You had your share of battles, and your legend has spread throughout the conspiracy. You gain three dots of Staff at your disposal for the Vigil, and can potentially reach 600 years.
      Last edited by Deionscribe; 01-22-2017, 02:28 AM.


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      • #18
        After giving the Tatau o te Po another look, I had another idea to handle the effective Lair for the Zmajeviti.

        * They gain dots equal to half their Status, rounded up.
        * They gain a Lair dot for every two dots of Snovideniye.

        This way, they can never exceed more than five dots.

        Also, I was wondering what the Temenos Realm the Burya Storozh would convene in would look like. You got any ideas?


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        • #19
          Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post

          Also, I was wondering what the Temenos Realm the Burya Storozh would convene in would look like. You got any ideas?
          oh- the Burya Storozh don't gather in some obscure Temenos Realm- they come from the Primordial Dream! Sure, they don't have a Lair, but you could imagine a roaring vortex of winds and thunders in which dragons soar between the lightnings. Like Beasts, they also exist beyond the the language of mankind- some form of primal faith which can not be put into words, primordial divinity which burns through the world itself.


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          • #20
            Perhaps an Endowment based on the Lair Dread Power from Tooth and Nail could give certain Zmajeviti with enough dots in Status or Snovediniye a Lair that fits the description you gave?


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            • #21
              Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
              Perhaps an Endowment based on the Lair Dread Power from Tooth and Nail could give certain Zmajeviti with enough dots in Status or Snovediniye a Lair that fits the description you gave?
              I don't have Tooth and Nail, so I don't really know what you are talking about- however, the Zmajeviti lacking a Lair of their own is part of the design. They aren't meant to have a Lair, as having a Lair means to become a monster. Their "Lair" is combined with their "Horror"- one unit, one soul, one incarnation of their power. Building a Lair and managing it is against their themes. In fact, from what I can gather, they seem to have more in common with the Insatiables than with Beasts (as beings who invade the Lairs of others and take over them- although they destroy those Lairs instead of converting them to their own uses).

              In sort, the Storm Wardens shouldn't have a Lair. They invade Lairs, destroy them and carry on. They fight the concept of Lairs as a manifestation of fear and terror, claiming them to be storms of destruction. From the Begotten's point of view, they are invaders, destructive forces of nature- in fact, for them, the dragons are the ones who bring storms to their Lairs. This is why my initial suggestion was that they use the Lair rating of the Beast they invade its world- because they don't have a Lair of their own, but take over and subvert it against its owner. Again, from what I know, it once more reminds me of the insatiables, but hey- they are demons, after all.


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              • #22
                Hmmm. That makes more sense, now.

                I can't really comment much on the comparison between the Zmajeviti and the Insatiables, since I lack Conquering Heroes on my end.

                Still, even if they don't have Lairs, maybe they could still retain an effective Lair rating for the purpose of determining the potency of their Atavisms? Hence, my suggestions based on the Tatau o te Po? Not to mention they could still use that effective Lair to acquire Lair Traits. To keep them eclipsed by the Beasts in terms of power, maybe they can only be limited to Minor Traits? Blizzard, Downpour, and Thunderous would seem apt if they were allowed.


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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                  Still, even if they don't have Lairs, maybe they could still retain an effective Lair rating for the purpose of determining the potency of their Atavisms? Hence, my suggestions based on the Tatau o te Po? Not to mention they could still use that effective Lair to acquire Lair Traits. To keep them eclipsed by the Beasts in terms of power, maybe they can only be limited to Minor Traits? Blizzard, Downpour, and Thunderous would seem apt if they were allowed.
                  not having Lair Trait is the point of them not having a Lair- they may have an effective Lair rating of some kind, but if that's the case the mechanism for having Lair Traits should be different an unrelated to the one Beasts have. Maybe they force those Lair Traits upon the Lair they invade, turning it against its owner, but they don't have any Lair to call home. While I don't see the point at limiting them to Minor ones, there should be a strong limitation about how many of them they could have- perhaps one for every odd number of Snovideniye? Again, their "Lair" is not a Lair- it is their own serpentine body, so if the few Lair Traits express themselves only when they invade a Beast's Lair as some sort of passive ability.


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                  • #24
                    How about limiting them to Lair Traits equal to their effective Lair? Of course, having a Lair Trait at one dot of Snovideniye, and extra ones for every two dots after it could work too.

                    And yeah, they would be mainly forced upon the Lair they are attacking. In the case of Lair Traits shared by the Beast, perhaps a Clash of Wills could be initiated?


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                    • #25
                      Bonus Material: Riding the Storm
                      While there are compacts and conspiracies that specialize in hunting Beasts, few possess the same affinity for the nightmare world as the Burya Storozh. Yam VeNahar relies on advanced technology to drill passages into the Lair, and the Aki Ten must enlist the aid of certain Heroes to accomplish the same. Even the Merrick Institute's Dreamscaping abilities are the product of artificial procedures in spite of whatever latent connection its subjects had to the nightmare realm.

                      The Zmajeviti, on the other hand, have an innate and fully realized bond to what Beasts call the Primordial Dream. It manifests in their dragon-like Dream Avatars and the natural weapons they wield, allowing them to match the Horrors on equal terms. Furthermore, they can manipulate the environments of the Lairs they invade. Their draconic forms carry part of the storm with them, and they can unleash it with ease against their foes whenver they take the fight to their foes. This ability makes them especially dangerous when they're fought in groups, as the dragon men can easily overwhelm a Beast (and even a small brood of them) in what should have been their home ground.

                      While it gives them another edge in the world of storms, this aspect of their legacy is near-absent in the waking world. Nevertheless, it confers upon them some protection from the devastation brought about by violent weather, and it makes it easier for them to manifest as dragons whenever they meditate amidst such conditions. More than a few ale have made the mistake of bringing down his Lair in an attemptt to trap and overwhelm members of the conspiracy. They do not have long to regret their mistake when they find themselves confronting the hunters in their true forms.

                      Dragon Soul: All Zmajeviti have an effective Lair rating equal to half their Status, rounded up, for the purpose of determining the potency of their Atavisms. This can be further increased by one upon purchasing the third dot in Snovideniye, and again upon reaching the fifth dot.

                      Storm Rider: A Zmajeviti possesses a single Lair Trait with a dot of Snovideniye, and gain more for every additional two dots in the Endowment. These Traits cannot be imposed in the waking world, but grant the following benefits to all members of the conspiracy.

                      * The hunter is immune to Environmental Tilts which match a given Trait.
                      * The hunter may spend a Willpower point to roll Snovideniye + Occult. A success imposes a Trait in a Beast's Lair for the scene. If this Trait is already possessed by the Beast, it is temporarily turned against it. The Beast can contest this with a dice pool of Lair + Highest Resistance Attribute.
                      * The hunter gains a +3 bonus to activating the Snovideniye Endowment when he meditates in an area resonant with a Lair Trait.
                      Last edited by Deionscribe; 02-07-2017, 10:00 AM.


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                      • #26
                        Into the Cold: A Harsh Winter

                        The Soviet Era is a terrible time for the Burya Storozh. Fear is widespread under Stalin's regime, and the dragon people come to be seen by factions in the Union as a threat to state security. Many mundane and supernatural agencies would thus move against them, instigating a campaign aimed at wiping out the entire lineage.

                        Many among the lineage correctly suspect that they were targeted for their ties to the Orthodox Church. Others, though, wonder if Stalin was secretly an ala or a close ally to one. Whatever the truth may be, the Zmajeviti respond to the purge by fleeing to their secret hideaways throughout the USS. Some fail to escape or find their refuges discovered and attacked, but the vast majority of the Storm Guard manage to elude their pursuers.

                        By the time of the Cold War, the Zmajeviti remain a largely hidden power. Stalin's truce with the Church during the War gave them a brief respite, and many sent their souls into the world of storms to drive back the ale among the invading Germans. The war's conclusion was soon followed by a resumption of the hunts for the dragon people, and Khrushchev's own campaign against the Church further exacerbated matters for the conspiracy.

                        Against this persecution, several choose to flee the USSR and seek refuge in other countries of the Eastern Bloc. These dragon men establish themselves in Albania, Poland, and their ancestral homelands at Yugoslavia. A few travel further and settle down in East Germany, where they risk getting dragged into the covert conflicts centered around Berlin.

                        Regardless of where they find themselves, the Burya Storozh find that their Vigil is an uphill battle in the years of the Cold War. The threat of nuclear conflict has left the world in a state of fear, and the people of Eastern Europe perhaps feel this more strongly than anyone else. Amidst the unrest of the time, ale and aloviti appear en masse, and their actions inadvertently bring humankind closer to its destruction. Against these threats, it falls to the dragon men to hunt them, both in the world of flesh and the world of storms.

                        While most supernaturals in Berlin find it increasingly difficult to communicate past the Arcane Wall, the Burya Storozh manage to retain tenuous contact with each other. There are secret paths in the world of storms which connect the two halves of the city, and the conspiracy meets through them to coordinate their hunts on either side of the Wall. The lineage's Vigil is not without its risks, though, and there is no shortage of dangers for its members on either side of the Iron Curtain.

                        Zmajeviti in East Berlin struggle daily to keep their activities hidden. As citizens of the Soviet Union, they come under great scrutiny from the Stasi and the KGB, and they must watch their every move for fear that an agent from either group is watching them. Furthermore, the GDR's Medienkorps have no shortage of Gifted individuals who can easily expose the dragon people for who they are. Some are aura readers and telepaths who learn to watch for signs of paranormal activity. Others have more subtle talents, like an Unseen Sense that triggers in a Zmajevit's presence or the rare ability to delve into the world of storms. Gespenster operatives are not the worst that the dragon people must face in the East, however. That distinction belongs to the Iron Comrades, Soviet supersoldiers who relentlessly pursue them in Berlin and beyond.

                        Meanwhile, the few dragon men found in West Berlin also keep a low profile. Their origins in the USSR often leads them to being suspected as spies and saboteurs, and their abilities would certainly draw the notice of several shadow groups. Some MI-13 operatives may come across Zmajeviti in their own hunt for Soviet spies, and most come to see them as valuable assets in their misions against the KGB. On the other hand, factions like the Knights of St. George and the Malleus Maleficarum were likely to see the dragon people as enemies, and thus hunt them down as demons.

                        Despite the odds stacked against them, the Storm Guard are not discouraged from carrying out their duty. If anything, the Cold War serves as a reminder of their role as protectors. They must stand against the rising storm that grows on the horizon, and keep alive the hope for a brighter future. For the few dragon men who call Berlin home. the hope of seeing the Wall crumble pushes them to keep living.

                        And some would indeed live to see that day.

                        -=-

                        The Hive: Nowhere to Hide -- While Berlin may be a divided city, its reflection in the Primordial Dream is a single Hive. The paranoia and mistrust that has settled over its people is the product of a common fear of exposure. This fear is fully realized under the influence of the city's Apex at the time, whoever or whatever it is. All Chambers which make up the Berlin Hive possess the Exposed Trait. Traits like Blizzard, Extreme Cold, and Fog are also commonly encountered.

                        Additionally, Primordial Pathways linking Chambers on either side of the Wall are difficult to access, imposing a -1 penalty to the Wits + Resolve roll. This is increased to -3 and then -5 as the Arcane Wall is reinforced over the years. Chambers connected by such Pathways also possess the Sealed Exits Trait, and apply the penalty to any Clash of Wills provoked by supernatural means of escape.


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                        • #27
                          I cant find dream avatar marit anywhere

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Ameraaaaaa View Post
                            I cant find dream avatar marit anywhere
                            It's in Hunter: Tooth & Nail, the Beast themed supplement that came out recently, in the New Merits section


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                            • #29
                              Oh ok thank you

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