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  • New Conspiracy: Aki Ten

    Aki Ten

    The New Way

    [a pentagram with the Japanese kanji for Fire, Water, Metal, Wood and Earth at each of its points]

    The spiritual system which is called as Onmyodo is an old one. Once it was an Imperial art, ruled by a single powerful family- the Tsuchimikado. Their control over the occult was almost absolute during the Heian Period, and they used their mastery upon the spirits to protect the people of Japan from dark ghosts, hungry ogres, manipulative spirits and wrathful gods. Their contacts in the spirit world has made them into a great political power in their country, gaining a monopole upon every person who dabbled in occult- for avoiding their will was abandoning their protection.

    Yet, times change and great structures fall. The Tsuchimikado and the other great families has fallen from grace, and their knowledge has been mixed together with folk magic and superstitions. Japan has moved to a new era, leaving the time in which the occult masters of the Bureau of Onmyo dictated the nobles how they should live. Their practices were forbidden, and their power has collapsed.

    Yes, time changes- but some thing defy time. The fire may have been died out, but the embers are still hot, waiting to make a new spark. Few strong and old lineages has kept their knowledge and books guarded and hidden, waiting in the shadows while teaching new souls their secrets. While there were still Shinto priests and Buddhist monks, only the best and finest were allowed into their halls to gain the occult knowledge. Few has saw the influence of the West as an enemy and fought to maintain the old ways. Others noticed that the change of times also changed the nature of their relationships with the spirits- old rituals stopped working. Once loyal shikigami has broken free. The Way of Yin and Yang has stopped working, and it seemed that the fire was put down for good.

    But time change, and bring change with it..

    Japan has risen as a technological power, creating all kinds of wonders. The decedents of the former Onmyoji has watched closely as the abilities offered by science became more and more evolved. Endless possibilities were offered by the miracles of virtual realities and cutting edge tech. That was when they decided that perhaps that was the way to revive the old arts. Where magic has failed, science may triumph. The Old Way was closed- but maybe a New Was was opened?

    Using a mix of old Shinto rituals, Buddhist ceremonies, occult sorceries and virtual reality technology, they managed to do an act long considered lost- they trapped one of their old Shkigami back. Slowly and surely, they captured more and more spirits, binding them into devices which contained thousands of rituals and which could be manipulated at extreme speed. Not only that the New Way has worked, but it worked even better then before, shortening hour long rituals into mere seconds. While some incantations were still required, it became a lot more easier to command and manipulate the spirits. Not only that, they have also discovered that thanks to that technology, they could share their familiars through the virtual space. While it was truly efficient, it presented a new problem- with the device making the rule upon spirits so easy, how could the families make sure that only the worthy would be able to use it? How could they maintain their power and reclaim their lost glory?

    Again, it was the mixture of science and magic.

    Using science, they made each device being adjusted to a single person. Using magic, they made bound their familiars in a way that only those authorized by the families would be able to summon and command them. While some members of the Aki Ten (or Vacant Heavens, both an allegory for the virtual space used to bind the shikigami and the fact that they see the modern day as a time in which Heavens is empty from gods) did wished to spread that magic among as many as possible, the traditionalists, who were the ones to keep the embers burning together through all of the years, were still too powerful to maintain their will. Slowly, the organization grew, becoming a power to be reckoned with in Japan and outside of it.

    Time is changing- and this would be a time of glory.

    0- You have been authorized to use the Spirit Projector and to use the Aki Ten's knowledge. You can buy dots in the Shikigami Endowment. Plus, your connections to the spirit worlds gives you an effective Rank of 1 when dealing with spirits.
    000- You understand the bureaucratic and political maneuvers used inside your organization, and gains a better understanding of how to manipulate those rules to your benefit. You gain the Bureaucratic Navigator for free, and also have an effective Rank of 2 when dealing with spirits.
    00000- You are seen as a future heir who would help reclaim the organization's lost glory. You may even be a descendent of the Tsuchimikado, or perhaps you have managed to bound a great shikigami once lost. Thanks to your high position, you gain Contacts for 3 dots for free and you have an effective Rank of 3 when dealing with spirits.

    Endowments: Shikigami (1-5)

    While the Aki Ten have a lot of occult knowledge, most of their power comes from their bound familiars. Each such Shkigami is bound into a talisman made from silicon, which when scanned by a device named the Spirit Projector forces the bound spirit to manifest and serve its owner. While there is no real limit on the number of Shikigami one person may rule, the sum of their effective Rank can not be higher then your [Shikigami]+effective Rank (by status). While at the beginning you start with a number of Shikigami as according to those laws for free, in order to bind more Shikigami requires not only rising the number of dots in the Endowment, by Summoning and Binding the desired spirit (or ghost, or angel. Any ephemeral being, actually) as detailed by the GMC. The character may add a number of dice equal to her effective Rank to any such roll, but only in the case of spirits. The character may also sacrifice one of her old Shikigami to the new spirits (as a "bait") in order to gain a number of dice equal to the sacrificed Shikigami's Rank. That method may also work on other ephemeral entities.

    By no case may the character control a spirit with an effective Rank of above 5. The abilities of the Onmyoji may be powerful, but not enough to rule the gods... yet.
    Last edited by LostLight; 06-28-2015, 01:09 PM.

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  • #2

    Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor meets World of Darkness


    • #3
      Actually, what I've had more in my head was a mix to Tokyo Raven and Mahouka. Still, considering that everything comes from Japanese pop culture, I assume we could find many things who sound similar :P

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      • #4
        Les Mysteres-
        They let the gods ride their skin, and claim themselves as man's emissaries to the spirits. They are fools. The gods care not for man unless man force them to his will. They let the garden grow wild, instead on tending it, like we do.
        Task Force: VALKYRIE- the Americans think that with their big guns and brute force they can conquer anything, yet they lack the sophistication needed to walk among the Kami as equal. We do appreciate their technology, however.
        Null Mysteriis- they try to explain the unexplained using science. We support their attitude. If they would admit that they may be wrong about some of their "facts", we can educate them to the right path
        The Promethean Brotherhood- one of our agents in Europe was captured by those freaks. They slaughtered him while preforming a foul ritual, trying to steal what took him long work and effort. That failed, obviously- our knowledge is not of the type one could simply take by force. Unfortunately for them, out agent has taken his revenge- in his last breath, he released his Shikigami upon his murderers. They told us the story- and brought us their heads.
        Otodo- our libraries hold stories about Oni who mates with mortal men and women and bring cursed children to the world. They also say that the offspring of those couplings are among the best shkigami one can find. I can't wait to test those stories.
        Hototogisu- we once caught a spy of their in one of our libraries. He wanted to steal the ritual we use to bind our gods as servants. As a punishment, one of our Oni has devoured his mind and we sent him back to where he came from. They may try it again- but this time, we'll be ready.

        "Fire melts metal, and metal cuts wood. I know the name of you and your 99 servants. By holding your heart and bane, your will is mine. A god has fallen- and he shall comply"
        Last edited by LostLight; 06-28-2015, 04:22 PM.

        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


        • #5
          Bonus Material- Children of the Old Way

          While they don't like to admit it, the Aki Ten are, essentially, a modern creation. Sure, they like to act like they were the direct descendants of the great Onmyoji families, but the truth is that most of them have no blood connection with the original founders of the spiritual system. Even some of the founders of the organization, who all claim to be direct descendants of the Tsuchimikado or its branch families, are actually cheaters who forged documents and invented elaborate lies in order to justify their position. However, not all are liars. Some members of the Aki Ten carry the old blood in their vines..

          and some who are not members.

          The Aki Ten are a new organization, after all. They may be a rising power, but they still lack a lot of knowledge. While they do have documents who show lists of genealogies and lineages of the old families, many old records were lost, and with them the branch families and the descendants of the great Onmyoji of the past. Those people are blessed by the spirits, and have special privileges when they deal with the gods and demons of Japan. Once the organization manage to track one of those lost children, it would promise wonders and threat with horrors in order to recruit them. Not many decline the offer- for they feel the blood of their ancestors burns with the passion to reestablish their great past- but some do escape the efforts of the New Way. They represent the Aki Ten's greatest fear- for all of their rituals are bound around the concept of having the original families of the Bureau of Onmyo on their side. Having a legitimate hair of the families- especially the Tsuchimikado- acting against the group and revealing the true roots of its founders, or worse, starting her own group, may create a loophole in the rituals which bind the shikigami and allow them to escape their control, leaving the organization powerless.

          the descendants of the old families have the following merit, which they must buy at character creation-

          Spirit Beloved (0-00000)
          prerequisites:v mortal, must be bought at character creation
          The Spirit Beloved merit gives its owner a stronger relationship with the spirits, with its rating representing the level of interaction between the Beloved and the spirit world. At the first level, they barely touch the world of shadows. At fifth level, they can even hold the very life blood of the afterlife- Essence.
          1- ability to hear beings in the Twilight
          2- the ability to see twilight beings
          3- the ability to touch twilight beings
          4- the ability to see and hear through the Gauntlet.
          5- the ability to hold Essence equal to their Stamina rating in their body. That Essence can be harvested through a meditation roll (gaining a number equal to the successes of the roll), and can be used to bargain with spirits or to use it instead of Willpower. They can also harvest Locus for Essence like spirits.
          Finally, the last benefit of that merit is that if the owner joins the Aki Ten (or a similar spiritual organization built upon similar foundations), they have an effective Rank equal to their dots in the Status of the organization, as the spirits recognize their inhate right to rule.

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          • #6
            The Enemy

            The members of the New Way put more efforts around binding new and ancient Shikigami in order to restore their former glory, and less about killing monsters. Spirits, ghosts and other creatures of ephemera are all potential targets for their efforts, especially the more powerful ones. Thanks to their old libraries and archives, which were uploaded to their advanced Spirit Projectors, they have good chances at cataloging each "god" they meet and know how they should deal with it. The most common "prey" for them are the spirits, or the Yokai. From the spirits of beasts and plants, through the small gods of household items and up to the dangerous ogres and dragons, each is seen as both a respectful entity and a being which was meant to serve the people of Japan. While the less experienced members seek to bind any spirit they can find, the more veteran onmyoji leave the low level Yokai alone as long as they don't trouble anyone- or that they use them as baits for the more powerful spirits. Their prime targets are the Kami- the most powerful spirits, some just on the edge of being too powerful to be bound by the mere pacts and rituals of mortals.

            The second type of prey to focus on are ghosts. Those are divided to two types- Yurei and Gaki. The former are seen as lost souls of humans, who are usually negotiated respectfully. Most of the time, the Aki Ten see helping those spirits as their responsibility, and they only bind them in order to help them move on, stop them from becoming Gaki or because they are the ghosts of respected ancestors. Except of the last case, the other two are seen as temporal conditions which should be used in order to protect the soul. While there is no rule against binding Yurei as primary shikigami, it is seen as a disgraceful act which taint both the soul of both the onmyoji and the ghost. Gaki are another case- those are malevolent ghosts who torment the living, which are found beyond redemption. The consensus in their case is usually destroying the spirit without a second thought- but some prefer to bind them as a shikigami. That act is even less tolerated in the group, but few powerful necromancers has already rose to high to be banished from the young conspiracy.

            Except of those two groups, there are many other oddities is Japan- the shaded Tengu which possess the dead. The cold Tenshi who serve a foreign god, the burning Kaika with their weird missions, the mad Yosei who kidnap humans as toys, the hungry Oni who devour the hearts of mankind. As far as the Aki Ten are concerned, those beings should be either destroyed or bound- they are too dangerous and too weird to be left alone, especially they do not follow the regular rules of the rest of Kami follow. From time to time, an extremely powerful such being awaken in their land, forcing them to go to a great operation and sacrificing the lives of tens of shikigami just to banish them from Japan.

            While the beings of the otherworld are their greatest concern, they still remember that their first and foremost obligation is to protect the people of Japan. Unlike their ephemeral targets, they prefer negotiating with the more corporeal and intelligent enemies. Vampires, being parasitic bloodsuckers, are their main concern- especially since the Zaibatsu is more powerful both politically and spiritually then the rising organization. While they do hunt those vampires who fall of the Zaibatsu's grace (or those who don't enjoy their protection, like the Western christian vampires), they find themselves forced into negotiation when dealing with their members, Still, they are only willing to speak with the Ume House, for their practices and believes still come from the same place- even if they were separated hundreds of years ago.

            Werewolves present another problem. While they are less organized then the vampires, they usually trouble the conspiracy for binding the spirits in a way which defies everything the Okami stand for. To make things worse, the Aki Ten feels that the wolf people are forgetting their place in the natural structure of their society- for they come from noble bloodlines, while the wolves are related to the Ainu. While the two clash from time to time, they do work together when the time comes- in the case of the flesh stealing Semi, Kani and Karasu, or when an ancient god awakes from its sleep, or when one of the Yokai take the flesh of a mortal. While the Aki Ten prefer to bind the spirit or the host and the Ainu search to destroy them, they do understand that they need to work together in order to deal with the more.. harsh cases. Usually, when they can't agree upon how to deal with a certain Yokai, they both turn to the Ume House as a negotiator to decide on the best course of action. After all, they are the most powerful group around..

            well, except of the Onmyodo.

            The Aki Ten and and witches of Tokyo share an harsh history. Both see themselves as the true heirs of an ancient wisdom of Japan, and the others as either misguided fools at best or heretics at worse. From the Aki Ten's point of view, the witches are illegal operators who made deals with Oni and other Yokai in order to gain power mortals can't access- all of that while trying to crack the way they use magic in such a fluid way. The Consilium of the Nakatomi-En, however, argue that the Aki Ten are either a post modern creation based around lies and fantasies, a true lineage of Proximi mixed with regular mortals or both. While the truth may be somewhere in the middle, it doesn't really matter- the Aki Ten see the witches as enemies, and the mages think on the hunters as children who play with sharp knives. While the mages are a lot more versatile then the hunters, the Aki Ten learned from their past experience, and they lure them to the secret Anshu which drains their magic and track them down using their Beacons. The Ume House isn't too happy about this feud and is negotiating for a peace treaty between the two groups. Because of the Zaibatsu's influence, both the leaders of the New Way and the Consillium agree to those efforts.. for now.
            Last edited by LostLight; 07-08-2015, 03:56 AM.

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            • #7
              added an Otodo and Hototogisu stereotypes

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              • #8
                Way of the Beast
                The Aki Ten know about the Begotten. Their old scrolls and ancient writings tell a story about a great beast-god of the water named Owatatsumi Kami who established a great empire of monsters and ruled the land. That was a dark time for the people of Edo, but the Aki Ten tell about that time with pride- for during that Era, the foundations of the organization has fought the monsters and bound 999 shikigami in a war against the armies of the god. The scrolls also tell about how certain traitors- sorcerers under the leadership of Nakatomi- worked together with the Water God in order to learn their secrets instead of working to protect the people of Japan. While the shikigami of the Onmyouji were powerful, they couldn't fight against the dark empire by themselves. Eventually, the elders of the Onmyodo thought about a plan- they trapped one of the Water God's generals and bound his soul, forcing his secrets through secret commands, until eventually he tolled the fear even the children of Izanami feared- Heroes, and how they were made.

                While the group knew that Heroes existed, they were unaware of their exact nature. Thanks to the trapped Fire God's information, they used their dream shikigami and breached into the Primordial Dream until they found Izanagi himself. They met with the great god three times- in the first time, they asked him honorably, yet he refused. The second time, they praised his name and sacrificed 100 shikigami to him, yet he refused. In the third, they found his bane and bound his soul to their command, and he could not refuse anymore. Under their ritual, Izanagi activated the years long curse he used upon his dead wife on her children- they may devour 1000 souls, but 1500 Heroes would rise to stop them.

                That was the Dawn of Heroes, and under the guidance of the Onmyodo the Guilds were formed and both the empire and its god has fallen to ruin. While the organization was happy to see that their efforts were bearing fruit, the years long battle has weakened them- and when Meiji rose he disbanded the group as political entity and forced them to work underground, an act which resulted with the crumbling of the shikigami's bindings and let the Heroes run wild. Some wondered if it was a punishment by Izanagi for their pride at binding one of the greatest god as a lowly shikigami, and maybe they are not worthy anymore for ruling over the spirits as their masters and equals.

                That's were the scrolls end, but the story of the Aki Ten just began. In modern times, the New Way can't even dream about forcing one of the divine rulers to their will, not speaking about a being like Izanagi- but they did learned how to bind the children of his sister. The process to do so is a complex one and filled with dangers, yet if it is done correctly the Aki Ten would find a very powerful servant at his aide.

                In order to bind a Beast as a shikigami, the hunter must first find an Hero. While hiring an Hero is not that hard, the problem comes when he understand that the hunter doesn't want to kill the monster- just to make it his slave. It takes some negotiation, but every person has his price. Once the Hero is willing to cooperate, both of them need to go into the Lair of the Beast and find her Horror- the ceremony can't work on the human body of the monster. Afterward, the Hero need to fight the Beast and inflict it with Anathema, while the hunter use that Anathema as the monster's Bane in order to bind it like a spirit with a Rank equal to her Lair- which means that any Beast with a Lair of 6 and above is immune. If everything goes the right way, the hunter would get a new shikigami. If not, his only hope is to sacrifice as many shikigami (and, usually, the Hero) in order to escape. One upside is that thanks to the Unnatural hunger of the Beast, they can use any shikigami as a "bait" in order to make the binding easier.

                While a Beast shikigami is a sign for great power which give the hunter respect from all the other members of the conspiracy, they are also kinda a pain to maintain. They must be kept in a very special state of Hunger- starve them too much, and they'll break free (Satiety of 0). Feed them too much, and they'll fall to sleep. Plus, Heroes would still try to kill them, which means you'll have to protect the assess constantly from the Guilds. While under the compulsion, the Beast can't expand Satiety or rise its Lair trait without permission (although time-based Satiety losing can not be stopped). In an addition, unlike spirits and the rest of the shikigami, Beasts are a lot more self aware- and while they must fulfill the commands given to them they may bend the true meaning of the Onmyouji in order to find a way out. For all of those reasons, trapping a Beast as a shikigami is seen more like a White Elephant than a useful tool, and many hunters just don't bother.

                From the Begotten's point of view, the Aki Ten are a nuance- foolish people who mess up with things they shouldn't do. As long as they limit themselves to other monsters, they don't mind- but when it comes to their family, things can get ugly really quickly. More then once Beasts banded with other monsters to fight the Aki Ten who work with the Guilds. Still, from time to time, a Beast and an hunter do work together, either out of interest or true respect. While Beasts do not target the Aki Ten as Kin (usually), they can bond with their shikigami, which can create all kinds of exotic Nightmares. Still, from time to time, the Beasts discover that a certain member of the group is Family- especially those who are found in the top of the organization, the ones to carry the old blood and which are loved by the spirits. Anyone with the Spirit Beloved merit which is a part of the Aki Ten or a similar group is a Kin to monsters- a fact which the Begotten find as amusing and the Aki Ten as disturbing.

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


                • #9
                  Dark Eras- Fallen Blossom, Shattered Mirror

                  Nippon is unified. The shogun stands at Edo, its people lend their help to him to make their nation shine. Yet, light only means shadows are being cast, and in those shadows another, similar unification is formed- monsters work together, creating their own empire of darkness and tyranny. Hunters rise their arms against them, waiting to strike their enemies in the great game that is the Vigil in the glory of their land. It's them against the monsters, serving their empire against theirs. There is only one shogun, and there is no other way.

                  Or is there?

                  Yes, there is only one shogun- for both day and night- and he has advisers helping him with navigating the nation's path. The Onmyodo stand at the shogun's shadow, keepers of tradition, ritual and divination. That role is said to be only ceremonial- but everyone agree that they have more than enough political power. They claim monopoly over divination, forcing others to join their complex system of belief. Unaffiliated priests and diviners are first invited and than bullied into joining the organization, and the Tsuchimikado grow in power at each passing day. Too many strange things happen near them, too many coincidences. Could it be that the agents of the supernatural has their hold over Edo's greatest authority?

                  Yes and no.

                  Yes, the Onmyodo has its fair share of sorcerers and magic makers. Mages- true mages- hold a great level of power in the group, and they support the unification of all willworkers in Nippon under the organization. Some of the Tsuchimikado themselves are among their members, having access to powers which belong only to them. However, they are not the only magician in the organization- the Onmyodo was meant to unify all willworkers, both Awakened and otherwise. Spirit mediums, Buddhist priests and hedge soothsayers are all to be organized under the shogun's shadow, turning them into a power to reckon with- and among that lot, among those many desperate magicians, the foundations of the Aki Ten are formed.

                  During that time, the Aki Ten are not a separate organization, and they don't yet hold the magicians of Nippon as their enemies. They stand together, each wish to support their nation from another angle. Yet, there is still some tension between the two types of magicians, creating a division between those who are Awakened, and those who are not. Those who try to bridge that gap are the Tsuchimikado, who while have some true witches in their numbers, they are all beloved by the spirits, granting them access to the spirit world and the ability to bind the lesser kami to their will without risking the wrath of the gods. It was their idea to start the unification, destroying the boundaries between "high" and "low" magic once the for all.

                  Of course, things don't go that smoothly.

                  The Awakened, while they respect the blessed bloodline of the Tsuchimikado and other noble families as blessed by the gods, can't accept any lesser magician as equal to them. Having their own society and traditions, they try to object that unification- but the Awakened members of the Tsuchimikado lend their help to their efforts. Eventually, the Onmyodo succeed at its mission, yet its founders find themselves always busy at stopping power struggles and political betrayals. Worse, the members of the shadow empire as sent emissaries to the Onmoyod, asking them to join the parliament of monsters as it is being established. Under the guidance of a charismatic Awakened known as Nakatomi, they agree- even though the more traditional members among the Tsuchimikado see it as surrender to the monsters they claimed to enslave. The act also marks them as traitors in the eyes of Edo's hunters- who for long time has suspected the families of the dubious connections with witches and demons- leaving them with no allies of their own.

                  And so, they are forced to cooperate. They agree with Nakatomi's faction and send them as their representative, yet spy after them and their "allies" during their meetings. They drink sake together with the monsters and spit the moment they turn their look. They move through the night, unseen, hunting for ghosts and spirits and stranger things as shadowy owls and mechanical gods and bind them as shikigami, waiting for the war which they know would come. They hunt the lone monsters into ambushes, or recruit the help of other hunters- such as the Hototogisu and the Otodo- in order to help them dealing with the more problematic situations. More than one witch has "accidentally" fell to an Ansho and was forced to agree to the draconian terms of the Cuckoo merchants.

                  Still, for now, as much as they may hate it, they work together with the monsters. That was the path laid to them, and just as for the glory of the empire they would bind the gods, so would they drink with demons.

                  Until the Dawn of Heroes would come, Meiji would rise and everything would change forever.

                  Mechanical Differences

                  While most of the way the Aki Ten (who are simply known as the Onmyodo during that time) operate during that Era is the same as the modern version, there are some key differences. First, Every member of the conspiracy must have at least 1 dot in the Spirit Beloved merit, for during that era membership is kept only for the descendant of noble lineages such as the Tsuchimikado. That dot is not gained for free, and must be bought in advanced. Second, unlike their modern version, the hunters of the Era don't have access to Spirit Projectors- which change the way their Endowment operates. From the Binding's point of view, the act takes 1 hour per Rank of the desired being, which force the hunter to contain the future shikigami during the process. Because of that, all the rolls suffer -1 per Rank modifier, representing the exhausting process and lack of focus. The second major aspect is summoning a Shkigami- while the modern Projector can simply force the spirit into Manifestation, the onmyoji of the Era must chant for 10 minutes per Rank of the bound servant, directing the gentle energies and forcing it into existence. For that reason, many onmyoji turn into a more planned tactic when dealing with monsters, setting traps and activating defenses long before a battle may begin. During that time, the onmyoji are a lot more careful, their actions are planned and their strategies are well thought. For them, the Vigil is like one big Go game, forcing them to think ahead and capturing one goal at a time. You can't act otherwise when there are wolves at the palace.

                  Too bad their enemy doesn't play on the same rules.
                  Last edited by LostLight; 04-21-2016, 09:15 AM.

                  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


                  • #10
                    Bonus Material- Strains of the Cursed Blood: Chains of Servitude
                    The Akin Ten see the practice of binding gods and demons to their service not only as a mean to gain further power, but also as their duty in upholding the Vigil- left alone, those selfish beings would abuse their power, forcing humans into servants and claim their body as a meat suit in order to further their influence. There is no order to heaven, no ruler in hell- the yokai are in chaos, and must be subjected through force in order to protect the people of Japan and allow their nation to prosper. The more demons bound through their ritual, the safer the world becomes.

                    But not all demons are of the ephemeral kind.

                    Some people are demons too.

                    It isn't a common phenomena- but it does happen. From time to time, a human is birthed with the soul of a demon, having the blood of the Oni pumping in their veins. Some of them try to do good, channeling their chaotic power in order to achieve positive goals. Most use their powers for selfish gain. Still, left alone and unchecked, things can be risky- the demons in their heart always whisper to them, luring them to leave their human visage behind and embrace their true nature. After all, the Aki Ten's sole reason for existence is that you can't trust the gods- and that's without mentioning demons. Leaving those beings to themselves is a crime both against the innocent people of Japan, who may be harmed by a corrupted demon-child, and both against the demon blooded themselves- as you let their inner demon devour their souls. Still, there is only so much one can do about that- after all, it is not like they can bind humans as their shikigami, right?


                    It is not a common practice, and doing so may have its fair share of dangers- but there are records of such instances. Stories among the Aki Ten's libraries about a great onmyoji making a blood pact with the oni children (or the Otodo, as they call themselves) and turning them into their servants, their brother in arms, their lovers. The fables go on and on- some have happy endings, while others (mostly the romantic ones) ends up with tragedy. One famous story tells about a young woman who bound a young man cursed by the Oni in order to save him from himself- but as his inner beast took over, she had to shoot him down with an holy arrow, and then- filled with grief- she took her own life with the same weapon. Such stories are there to remind the Aki Ten that while those demons look human, feel human and act human, they should never grow attached to them. They are shikigami, nothing less, nothing more.

                    While the attachment to human shikigami may be problematic at best both morally and emotionally, one must not forget that the greatest problem at binding those "children of cursed blood" is the fact that they have their own organizations, cults and social structures meant to supervise and guide them- groups who may not like the idea of another group having the tools to enslave them to their will. The Aki Ten already have its fair share of enemies- and adding another one- from the side of other hunters- may prove fatal for the young conspiracy. For that reason, the acts of binding such demon blooded is extremely supervised by the conspiracy, and they usually work to negotiate the terms of the bindings together with the Otodo when the act is preformed willingly.. or fake the death of the future shikigami if not. When both the parties agree to the ritual, it is usually preformed in the form of a wedding, with both the onmyoji and the oni take oaths to protect, respect and cherish one another in their service for the Vigil. Still, the Otodo do not buy that aesthetics. They know the truth- and some of them even remember the days when the conspiracy was powerful enough to not ask for permission and took by force what it wished for. They may act as if their fall turned them humble, but the proofs are against them.

                    After all, the ritual is called Kinro no Kusari for a reason.

                    New Merit- Kinro no Kusari (0-00000)
                    prerequisites: at least one dot at Shikigami, Status (Aki Ten) of 3 or above (the ST may approve otherwise if it is justified through gameplay)
                    The Kinro no Kusari, or "Chains of Servitude", is an ancient and powerful ritual which meant to allow the hunter to guide and control humans who host demons in their hearts as if they were beings of ephemera. In order to but that merit, the hunter must first a suitable target and bind him to her will. In order for a human to be considered as a "suitable target", she must have a Merit Template, such as the Otodo, Dreamers, Psychic Vampires and others (that means that regular human, or even those with supernatural merits but without a defining merit, are immune). Major Templates or any Template with an independent Supernatural Tolerance trait (including 0, such as Ghouls) are immune for being bound through this technique.

                    In case the binding is done willingly by the future shikigami, no roll is needed. In case it is not the case, roll the hunter's Shikigami + Manipulation against the target's Willpower. Each such roll takes around 10 minutes, and the hunter must gain more successes for the ritual to work. If she have a Status (Aki Ten) of 4, she gain +1 modifier for the rolls. If it is 5, she gains +2. If, for some reason, she use the ritual while having less than 3 dots in Status, she suffers a negative modifier equal to the differential. The hunter must have enough exp to buy at least one dot in the merit before beginning the ritual, which is spent once a successful binding takes place. In case the target defeats the hunter, the hunter suffers from 1 dot of bashing damage per the target's success, and the target is protected from future binding for the next lunar month.

                    In case the hunter manage to bind the target as a shikigami, a spiritual bond is formed between the two- those who may see into the Twilight would notice a red line connecting between the two. At low rating, the strings looks like nothing more than a thin thread- but at high rating, it looks like a crimson chain, beaming with power. The Aki Ten call that phenomena as the "red string of fate", as in order to justify the ritual. The bound shikigami, however, do not always agree.

                    The merit itself has 1-5 dot rating, with the higher the rating the stronger is bond is. The effects of each dot of the merit is detailed bellow-
                    0- a basic bond is formed between the hunter and the shikigami. The shikigami may not directly cause harm to the hunter, and may not activate her powers without have direct permission by the hunter. Both the hunter and the shikigami also knows each opther's general state.
                    00- the bond grows stronger and connect their two souls. The hunter may spend the shikigami's Willpower as if it was his, or spend Willpower instead of the shikigami. The hunter feels when the shikigami requests for extra Willpower, but may refuse freely.
                    000- the minds of the shikigami and the hunter intertwine, allowing them to commune without words. By spending a Willpower point, the hunter and the shikigami may send each other mental messages for the next Scene. Only one of them needs to spend the Willpower. She may also command the shikigami directly, but he is obliged only the the words- not the intention.
                    0000- the souls of the hunter and the shikigami are bound to each other, and what one knows the other feels as well. By spending a Willpower point, the hunter may see, hear and feel through her shikigami. She also immediately knows the shikigami's exact place. She may also allow a "reverse possession" to allow the shikigami do the same.
                    00000- at the height of the bond between the two, it becomes clear to all who is the master and who is the servant. The hunter may, at any moment, transmit any injury she suffered to the shikigami, and may either send damage to him or take it to herself in exchange for a single Willpower point per one level of Lethal damage. She may "transmit" damage to him when she is fully healed, forcing one level of Bashing damage upon him per Willpower point spent. On this level, the shikigami follows the hunter's commands as she intended them to be.

                    As corporal beings, the hunter does not require the Spirit Projectors in order to manifest the shikigami- but it also means she can't summon him out of nowhere. shikigami bound in this way do not count to the maximal level of possible shikigami as represented by the Shikigami Endowment, and the merit may be bought a number of times, each time for another shikigami- although the total rating of the merit may be no more then 5. The hunter may break the bond at any moment, or weaken it in order to bind a new shikigami. In case of the shikigami's death, the hunter may use her merit dots in order to bind a new servant. That means she may have many servants who are barely bound to her- or one servant which shares her life and death.

                    On a related note- Spirit Beloved are considered as Merit Template and are eligible targets for the purpose of the merit.

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                    • #11
                      This is opening up all sorts of ideas in terms of characters and story hooks. Not sure how to feel about not being able to bind minor templates like Wolf-Blooded, Proximi, and Fae-Touched, but the twist that Spirit Beloved could be bound by the Kinro no Kusari adds for a lot of tension within the conspiracy.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Deionscribe View Post
                        This is opening up all sorts of ideas in terms of characters and story hooks. Not sure how to feel about not being able to bind minor templates like Wolf-Blooded, Proximi, and Fae-Touched, but the twist that Spirit Beloved could be bound by the Kinro no Kusari adds for a lot of tension within the conspiracy.
                        I didn't said you can't bind minor templates- only that you can't bind them with this method. That's a big difference.

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


                        • #13
                          Huh. Now, I wonder if you've got something planned for that, seeing as your latest sidebar and the one for the Begotten were pretty good bonus material.

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                          • #14
                            Am I reading this right that basically Onmyodo in Edo period are simply new Mage Proximi Dynasty? Maybe they are having a slightly simpler mechanical write up, but they fill the background points - blood related, having weird talents, interesting to Awakened, even if somehow independent.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                              Am I reading this right that basically Onmyodo in Edo period are simply new Mage Proximi Dynasty? Maybe they are having a slightly simpler mechanical write up, but they fill the background points - blood related, having weird talents, interesting to Awakened, even if somehow independent.
                              during Edo era? more or less, yes- not sure how "new" they are, but they are a magical lineage with some spirit magic tricks. However, they do start absorbing other hedge-magic traditions during that time, and from that mix of rituals, ceremonies and spirit bargains the conspiracy starts taking life of its own. The reason the group managed to recreate itself on modern nights was that they managed to use the special relationships the true magical bloodlines had with the spirit world in order to make it that every person may be able to summon and bind spirits just like they do.

                              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