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Mori Kage [Conspiracy, Dream Catchers]

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  • Mori Kage [Conspiracy, Dream Catchers]

    The Forest's Shadows

    [a single leaf]

    They walk unseen among us, hidden in the crowd or covered by veils which mystify the senses. They are masters of illusion, lords of disguise. They are bound by fate and oath, they live dual life. They are shadows among shadows, bringing confusion and paranoia wherever they go. They hold mystical knowledge in their hands, holding capabilities beyond the ones of any mortal man. You never notice them before it's too late- and then, the screen goes down and the tale is told. No, those are not the faeries- although the changeling are all of that and more. For that reason, if one were to hunt those elusive beings, they have to be as good as them- or better than them- at the art of espionage, sabotage and infiltration.

    No, those are not changelings.

    Those are ninjas.

    The shinobi of the Forest track their origin back to the Sengoku age in Japan, from the Iga province. According to their stories, their origin comes a pact between and ancient clan and a group of powerful yokai, according to which they would serve as their eyes and hands among the lands of men while in return they would no longer steal their sons and daughters to make them as their playthings. While at first the pact was seen as a form of servitude, it has since turned into a form of pride- the contract between them and the yokai has became a sacred thing, giving them purpose, and in exchange all they had to do was to bring back their lords what was stolen from them- souls which escaped their masters, breaking the pact which once bound them to the realms of the gods.

    While it was not the first time (or last) time the lords of the yokai has made such pact among mortals, it was undoubtedly one of the most successful. The Mori Kage (as they called themselves) were trained shinobi even before the pact, and thanks to the supernatural gifts of their masters they have became even became even better at their work. While they did knew their ups and downs (such as the unification of the shogunate), they never fell, lingering further and further like the shadows they wished to be- even during Edo's height, the spies of the Oniwaban served their masters, and the Mori Kage walked among them. Their pact with their masters stood by their side in their need, and they they were always willing to lend their services in espionage and assassination for those who were willing to pay the price.

    In modernity, the Forest Shadows operate much the same as they always were- they work a delicate network of spies, meant to find rumors about mysterious disappearances, doppelgangers, drastic changes in behavior or anything else which could hint about an escape of a yokai's slave. Those rumors are quickly investigated, and those which are found as relevant are treated by sending a squad to capture the yosei and return it to one of their masters' messengers, if and when their targets are vulnerable enough. After all, the changelings are paranoid beings (and for good reason), and many of them take a number of means for their protection. Thankfully, most of those methods are meant to ward against the yokai- and those story-weaved barriers means nothing for the regular mortals.

    While most of their missions come from the conspiracy's own system, sometimes some more... personal missions are given. Instead of searching for a returned yosei in general, any yokai (or one of their messengers) may come for the conspiracy's doorsteps and ask for information, help or even go and hunt a specific changeling for them. As part of the ancient pact between them and the Forest, the Mori Kage are happy to help- but as the pact dictates, the yokai in question has to pay for such services. The payment is divided between both the conspiracy and the hunters which take the contract upon themselves. The conspiracy takes its part in advance, usually in the form of more material wealth- but if the hunter manages to complete the contract, she may gain personal payment from the yokai, which could take anything in the power of the yokai in question (such details are usually finalized before the hunt begins). For that reason, there is a strong competition among the conspiracy over such "personal contracts"- and it ends up with the highest of the conspiracy choosing the ones most suited for the mission. There is, of course, a catch- for if the hunter were to fail the mission, the yokai is able to take its price (all of it) from the hunter in question. The terms for both success and lose are detailed in the contract, leaving it for the hunters themselves to decide whether or not to take the contract. The more difficult the mission is, the greater the prize- and more dangerous is the lose. The conspiracy does not involve in such cases- it is the hunter's own responsibility to not go over their head, after all.

    In order to capture a changeling, the Mori Kage usually use two popular methods. the first is pretty straightforward- a cell of hunters maintain close watch around the target, learning their behavior, strengths and weakness until they right time to strike come. Using their own skills and occult techniques, they barge into their target's hideout, capture her before she can even react and run with her into the night, until they get to one of the Forest's reaches and return her to the yokai. Another, more dangerous method includes infiltrating into the changeling's life circle, become his co-worker, his friend, his lover, his husband. Some such projects could last for years and years, in which the shinobi lives false life until the right time comes and she capture her target in a moment of weakness. It is not unheard of shinobi which committed suicide after preforming such betrayal, unable to live with themselves after the act- but the elders (the so called Kyoshin-ki, for their mastery over the ninjutsu gained from their yoaki sponsors) scorn that practice. When you joined the Forest, they say, you knew the requirements- and such death has no honor, and it breaks one's oath with one's gods.

    The oath, in the eyes of the Mori Kage, is has to be the most sacred thing in the hunter's life. The oath to serve the Forest's masters has granted protection for not only the conspiracy's members, but also their families, their friends and their loved ones. As long as the oath stands strong, the pact protects the conspiracy from its yokai lords. However, were an hunter to break is oath (by breaking a contract, for example, or revealing the conspiracy or its masters' secrets, or working with changelings against the yokai), the conspiracy becomes vulnerable. Thanks to means unknown by anyone bu the Kyoshin-ki, the breaking of an oath is automatically discovered and their identity is immediately known. A contract is given upon their head, and their are banished from the conspiracy. There is no return from this moment- only the yokai can redeem one for breaking the oath, and most of them prefer to keep such renegade shinobi as playthings in their castles in the Forest.

    While changelings are the main focus of the Mori Kage, the shinobi are aware of the other creatures who lurk in the darkness- usually, they don't care about them. Let the demons escape Yomi and let the vampires feast upon blood- as long as they stay out of the conspiracy's interests, they don't mind. However, the yosei of Japan are a cunning folk, making pacts and deals with all sorts of strange beings, sending dozen emissaries to serve their Princess (which has quit a bounty over her head, for those who could manage to get her married). Such connections means that willing or not, the Mori Kage would have to deal with such creatures. From the yosei's point of view, the Mori Kage are nothing more than a rumor- a story from the past about people who are willingly serving the greatest of monsters for personal gain. They whisper about them in back allies and scare newcomers with urban legends about ninjas who jump from the shadows and drag you screaming to the night. They laugh of them in the day- but they still keep one eye in the night, watching to see if the shadows move, only to scold themselves later for being foolish, acting paranoid even for a changeling.

    Yes, they are acting foolishly.

    After all, the Forest's Shadows move only when no one is watching.

    Status:
    0- you took the oath upon yourself and became a shinobi in the service of the Forest. You may spend merit dots on Kyoshin Endowment.
    000- you have captured many targets for your masters and were repaid appropriately. You get Alternate Identity for 2 dots to help you with your hunt.
    00000- you have proved yourself loyal to your oath even in the price of personal pain and suffering. You have been granted to sight to help[ you track down your enemies. You get Unseen Senses (Changelings) for free and can now see through the Mask for a Scene by expanding a Willpower point.

    Endowment: Kyoshin (0-00000, special)
    Not many know that, but there is a strange resonance working between the strings of fate. People's actions and deeds are being reflected and echoed through the world, creating the sum of connections of what one may call "destiny". The yosei and the yokai are known for weaving those echoes into life in the form of contracts and pledges, yet they what many don't know is that those strings by themselves resonate with gentle, much older melody. Echoes of the past sing through the weave of fate, creating shadows and reflections of what could have been, but isn't. The yokai use that primal resonance in order to weave those shadows into life, creating what changeling know as "Fetches"- but there are other ways to channel that empty fate into marvelous creations- and they taught some of those methods to their beloved Shadows.

    Kyoshin is a group of 1-5 merits which allows the hunter to channel the resonance of fate in order to duplicate herself, creating Clones (or Bunshin). In order to create a Bunshin, the hunter must invest a certain resource of her soul, represented by the merit. Each Kyoshin uses one of the following- Willpower, Health or Integrity, although the ST may allow similar "resources" as focus. In order to make a Clone, the hunter must invest (meaning, temporary lower) her resource's rating. She may not lower her resource by more of her Kyoshin or 1, whatever is lower. The created Clone is identical to the hunter, except it has Health and Willpower scores equal to the number of invested resource, and lacks Integrity. The hunter may create numerous Clones using Kyoshin. In an addition, each Clones gains half of the invested resource (rounded down, minimum of 1) as bonus Attribute dots- Health Bunshin add them to Physical Attributes, Willpower to Mental and Integrity to Social. That bonus can go past 5 dots. The Bunshin can exist naturally for one hour per resource, when at the end of each hour it loses one Health/Willpower. In case it has an Attribute value above 5, that duration goes by 10 minutes instead (inhuman Clones are, after all, extremely sort lived). After the Clone's end of duration, the hunter regains the lost resources. The hunter has full control over the Bunshin, and can freely act through them.

    Another, more interesting effect of Kyoshin is the hunter's ability to use certain techniques, called ninjutsu. Those abilities are represented through Dread Powers. The hunter gains new ninjutsu any time she rise one of her Kyoshin by 1. When she does so, she can decide to replace existing Dread Powers with new ones which has a total rating equal to her Endowment. Kyoshin stacks for the purpose of determining total ninjutsu rating. Activating ninjutsu can only be preformed through an active Bunshin, which pays with its own Willpower. A Clone which runs out of resources is vanished- the hunter then regains her appropriate resource, yet lose a number of Willpower equal to the one expanded by the Clone. Hunter who falls to 0 Willpower through that use falls to unconscious, yet active Bunshin can still act. The hunter would remain unconscious for a number of hours equal to the number of Willpower she is in "debt" (that is, bellow 0 Willpower), plus 6 hours. In case the Bunshin was destroyed, however, the hunter does not regain his invested resource immediately, but would regain one dot in the expanded resource per hour since the Clone's destruction. Hunters are aware of the Bunshin's current state, and may re-absrob them willingly without limitation of distance.

    Each Clone may only be created using one resource, and may not increase its Willpower/Health above its initial rating through any way.


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  • #2
    LostLight, you're a mad genius.


    A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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    • #3
      You mixed in the ninjitsu rules with the clone rules. Also, when you "invest" your traits, do you just straight up lose the relevant trait (so Willpower Bunshin would cost you Willpower dots), or do you lose it more normally (Willpower points, taking damage, etc)?

      I like them, other than the Ninjitsu rules - I've never really liked Endowments that just go "hey, here are some Dread Powers!". Even if their use is restricted, I'd prefer to just see a short list of powers or merits that are more tailored to the ninja thing.


      I have decided, after some thought, that I don't really feel happy on these forums. I might decide to come back to post. Who knows - but right now, I'm gone.

      So good bye, good luck, and have a nice day.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by amechra View Post
        You mixed in the ninjitsu rules with the clone rules. Also, when you "invest" your traits, do you just straight up lose the relevant trait (so Willpower Bunshin would cost you Willpower dots), or do you lose it more normally (Willpower points, taking damage, etc)?
        well, my ideal was that you actually lower your permanent value of the respected resource (Willpower, Health or Integrity), so if you make a Willpower Bunshin while investing 3 Willpower, you lower your Willpower by 3 dots (not points). This is kinda experimental mechanic, which I've only used for one conspiracy until now (Raziel) and only for Willpower, and while it did worked nicely with them, I need to make sure nothing mad will happen using that mechanic for the Mori Kage.

        I like them, other than the Ninjitsu rules - I've never really liked Endowments that just go "hey, here are some Dread Powers!". Even if their use is restricted, I'd prefer to just see a short list of powers or merits that are more tailored to the ninja thing.
        well, yeah- I agree with you. I personally think that just using a bunch of Dread Powers is a lazy thing to do- the problem is, well, that I am lazy :P more seriously, I don't have a lot of spare time, and I just have all of those ideals buzzing in my head, and I usually get really bored from writing individual powers, so I end up with giving my homebrew some quick and dirty Endowment rules just so they would be somewhat playable. Maybe when 2E would come, I would sit down and revise my groups according to the new Endowment rules- but for now, all I have is quick and dirty :P


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        • #5
          then do you mind if we fill in the blanks with unique powers and save you some work?

          Also, is it only the clones that can use the Dread Powers, or am I misreading this?


          A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
            then do you mind if we fill in the blanks with unique powers and save you some work?

            Also, is it only the clones that can use the Dread Powers, or am I misreading this?
            surely I don't mind. Feel free to do so!

            And yes, in order to activate ninjutsu, you need to use channel them through an existing Clone. If you don't have an active one, you must make one beforehand.


            My Homebrew Signature- Because I need one. If you use any of it, please share with me how it went!

            On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
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            • #7
              so, your temporary clone can teleport around with Reality Stutter, but you can't? Yeah, that seems like a Hunter power.

              Speaking of that. Is this stuff something that can be taught? Can you be initiated into the contract with the "Yokai Lords" or do you have to be descended from the original deal-makers?


              A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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              • #8
                oh- I knew I've forgot to address that! yeah, you don't have to be a direct descendant of the original Clan to become a member of the conspiracy- anyone who takes the oath becomes a clan member for all purposes of the original pact, although I imagine such descendants (or people claiming to be as such) may enjoy higher Status, or have some sort of access to Supernatural Merits (I didn't said Kekkei Genkai. You said Kekkei Genkai. Shut up :P )


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                On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
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                • #9
                  You mean powers that are passed down by birth, right?

                  Speaking of powers, do you specialize in one type of Bunshin, or can you make two Health Bunshin and an Integrity Bunshin at the same time?

                  Man, making new powers is hard when you don't have any of the books except Core, Changeling 1e and GMC update. But let's see. What are some powers that come to mind when you think Ninja. Also considering that the clones are not going to be lasting more than a few scenes at a time, they're going to be geared towards more immediate uses like acting as bait, infiltrations, stealth takedowns and fights.

                  um, if we're going fate-related, perhaps one power is that they can provoke a Clash of Wills if a supernatural being tries to use a power to check if someone is in their vicinity?
                  Last edited by Master Aquatosic; 02-14-2017, 06:01 PM.


                  A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
                    You mean powers that are passed down by birth, right? Should they be Wyrd-related? I can't figure out how these Yokai could grant them something like minor pyrokinesis without having them go through a Durance
                    well, it was just a suggestion, so I'm not sure about the possible future mechanics- the best explanation would relay on the concept of Kyoshin, or "Resonance", as it was detailed in their Endowment. Kyoshin works by forcing an image upon the Wyrd's empty shadow, using the resonance an object (a person, for example) has on the Wyrd in order to replicate that object. Under that terminology, the Gentry use a person's shadow to make a Fetch- as they take the after image of a person and gives it fate of its own. Bunshin work similarly, as the hunters take a part of their soul (health, integrity or willpower) and transform it into a copy of themselves.

                    In that case, let's assume that when the primordial pact was made between the Mori Kage's original Clan and the Yokai, the act has forged a new fate between them, and created some sort of resonance. Some of those first hunters were granted certain capabilities, or special ninjutsu, through bargaining with the Yokai or some other process. As they have children, each of those children is a person by herself, free from the contracts which granted their ancestors those specific ninjutsu. However, as their bloodline, those people are, by extension, a part of the original founder, and as such their fate resonate with their ancestor's Kyoshin. As a circumstance, the descendant could become the after image of their ancestor, and by doing so getting access to their ancestor's mythical ninjutsu. That means that such abilities are not carried by blood- it is that those people use their blood connection to become their ancestor, sacrificing a part of themselves in exchange for greater power (exact mechanics would depend on how ninjutsu would end up as).

                    On the other hand, you could just say "awesome magic goes through blood because awesomeness is inherited" and end with that :P


                    My Homebrew Signature- Because I need one. If you use any of it, please share with me how it went!

                    On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
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                    • #11
                      If you don't mind...

                      Endowment: Kyoshin (• - •••••, special)

                      Those deeply involved in the workings of the yokai learn that everything and everyone leaves shadows of their passing in the threads of fate. Buddhists call it karma. Shinto priests call it kegare. Whatever the name, the greater yokai of the Forests have power over these shadows of destiny, and they have imparted some of that power to their servants.

                      The Morikage tears apart a part of herself to create a bunshin, a clone of herself not unlike the fetches of changelings created by the Gentry. The hunter must craft some fascimile of human form and breathe in a sliver of her own soul, represented by spending a dot of Integrity. This dot may not be bought back with Experiences. The hunter may create a number of bunshin equal to her dots in the Kyoshin Endowment. The bunshin possesses the same Attributes and Skills as the hunter at the moment of its creation, including derived traits. Merits also mostly carry over, except for Supernatural Merits and those deeply tied to her individual being. However, the bunshin does not possess the hunter's Vice, Virtue, or Integrity rating.

                      The hunter may project his consciousness to perceive and freely act through a given bunshin, but only one at a time. His real body falls unconscious at this time, and appears to be sleeping and dreaming to observers. He needs no sleep, food, nor drink in this state, nor does he suffer from breaking points. More importantly, when inside a bunshin the hunter gains the Attuned to the Wyrd Echo and a number of other Echoes, using half of his Kyoshin Endowment rating (rounded up) as his effective Wyrd score for this purpose. For Echoes that require a changeling counterpart, the hunter may mark one changeling at a time to serve as his, which requires the Morikage to craft a small straw doll containing a paper strip with the changeling's name on it. The hunter may have only one of these marks at a time, which applies to every bunshin created or he creates in the future. For Echoes that require Glamour expenditure, the Morikage spends Willpower points to activate them.

                      The bunshin may be submerged back into the hunter at any time she wishes. This is a reflexive action, and can be done regardless of where the bunshin or the Morikage is. The bunshin simply crumbles into debris, like a destroyed fetch. This also restores the spent Integrity dot. When the bunshin is destroyed, however, the Integrity dot does not return. Supernatural powers react to bunshin as they would do to fetches.

                      EDIT:
                      Alternatively, the hunter may remote-control mulitple bunshin for one night, by spending one point of Willpower per clone. They have no free will of their own, and are utterly subservient to the Morikage. In this case, the hunter remains conscious and the bunshin do not possess Echoes. The Morikage may combine the two styles and project himself into one bunshin, falling unconscious and wielding Echoes, while spending Willpower and fielding the other bunshin.
                      Destruction of a bunshin that hosts the hunter's consciousness causes her to snap back into her real body, and inflicts the Soul Shocked Condition on her.
                      Last edited by 21C Hermit; 02-14-2017, 08:29 PM.


                      MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                        If you don't mind...

                        Endowment: Kyoshin (• - •••••, special)
                        Huh. That's actually a pretty good idea, tying their Endowment to Fetch Echoes. It's very apt for a conspiracy pledged to aiding the Gentry.


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                        • #13
                          For more information on fetches and their Echoes

                          Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post

                          Huh. That's actually a pretty good idea, tying their Endowment to Fetch Echoes. It's very apt for a conspiracy pledged to aiding the Gentry.
                          I especially think that Normalcy, Shadow Step, Shadow Boxing, and Summon Shard are thematically appropriate to deadly shadow-assassins.


                          MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                            I especially think that Normalcy, Shadow Step, Shadow Boxing, and Summon Shard are thematically appropriate to deadly shadow-assassins.
                            I agree.

                            And there's also the other Echoes from one of the 1E supplements (Autumn Nightmares, I think) to consider, if you don't mind converting them to 2E.
                            Last edited by Deionscribe; 02-14-2017, 10:36 PM.


                            "My Homebrew Hub"
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                              If you don't mind...

                              Endowment: Kyoshin (• - •••••, special)
                              of course I don't :P

                              while when writing them, I've preferred the Bunshin to be temporary creations instead of long term vessels with the hunter being able to operate through all of them in the same time, this version is nice as well. I've also thought about replacing ninjutsu with Echoes (after all, the Endowment's name is just a fancy way to say "Echo" :P ), but I wasn't sure about how they worke the moment I've written them down, so I went with Dread Powers. Anyway, nice work- but if you remove the resources system, you should remove the "special" tag, as it is a single merit (unless I'm missing something?)


                              My Homebrew Signature- Because I need one. If you use any of it, please share with me how it went!

                              On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
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