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Church of the Blood Moon [Spiritslayers, Project O-X, VII]

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  • Church of the Blood Moon [Spiritslayers, Project O-X, VII]

    The Wolf Shepherds

    [a blood red crescent above a dark forest]

    "It is a dangerous world out there"

    It is Christmas Eve, and the snow covers the land. A young boy comes out of the shadows, a cripple, lame of leg. He sings in his silent voice words in an ancient language- distant enough for no one to understand the words, but close enough to understand their meaning. All around the city, those who hear that song suffer from nightmares about a demons and angels and other weird things which hide beyond the world- they stay in their homes, under the blankets, hiding: but not all of them do. Others feel those old words creeping into their bones, awakening their wild blood. They leave their human skin and take their true form- a great beast, black as the night with eyes burning with hunger. They gather around the child, yet he keeps singing, and where he goes they follow. By the time he leaves the city, there is an whole pack around him, howling to the red moon as in some sort of celebration... and then the sound of a shot screams through the night. Silver bullets fill the air, red stains the white, and when it all finishes there are beasts no more- just dead bodies of men and women, and a young, lame boy who keeps on singing.

    No one knows when the Church of the Blood Moon has began- the organization is most certainly European in origin, likely German considering that their oldest stronghold is found in the Black Forest, but when exactly they rose is unknown. Their Christian motifs and inspired structure seem to show that they are likely no older than the Dark Ages, but some argue that they may have even deeper roots, coming from pagan witches who worshiped primal deities of nature, the night and the moon. What ever their origin may be, the wolf-priest are true to their purpose- hunting down those skin changers who prey upon humanity from the inside, especially werewolves.

    Werewolves are, after all, dangerous- very few supernatural beings integrate so well with mankind. Vampire are, after all, dead, and require blood to sustain themselves. The Reanimated seem to burn with inhumanity, while Faeries use only a slight mask to hide their nature. Witches and Ghostwalkers are the most human among all other monsters, and many of them are not necessary hostile. But werewolves? Those are predators, and humanity is their prey. Their human form allows them to hide among the herd like a wolf in sheep's clothing, until it is the right time to strike- and then they vanish again into the crowd. You could never find them unless they'll want to.

    So you'll have to make them want that.

    The hunters who join the Church are usually born into it- they are a paranoid group, fearing outsiders who may mistake their faith and symbolism to be satanic- or worse, them being werewolves or the allies in disguise. They do accept orphans, but even then they have to make sure they are not bound by blood to the lineage of the wolf, which may turn them into betrayers waiting to happen. Still, even though they keep all of those precautions, sometimes one of them is lured by the light of the moon and transform into one of the devil beasts. Sometimes, they are killed. Sometimes, they run away. Yet, stories among the members of the Church tell that there are hidden dungeons bellow their hidden chapels, where such dangerous beasts are bound with silver chains while being tamed to serve the Church, their howls are silenced by the depth of the prisons.

    The life among the Church are not easy ones- since childhood, each young member is taught about the harsh truth of the world: that no where they hide, there is no safe place for them to hide. They learn about the different weaknesses and strengths of their enemy, and the dark influence of the demonic spirits which patron them. They don't have faith in God- at least, not as whole- but they do recognize the Devil, the great Wolf which hunts through the shadows of the world, devouring helpless souls and turn them into His demonic spawns. They also get fighting lessons, learning how to shoot a gun or swing a silver sword. Their libraries contain countless information about spirits and their banes, about Hell and its denizens, until eventually they are taught what is their true purpose in the world- to serve as a bait to lure werewolves from their hideout so they could be killed, and in order to do so they learn the poems which enchant their enemies. While those songs grant them a certain level of protection, one mistake and they the magic would break, leaving them helpless before the pack of angry, and very confused werewolves who know they were fooled.

    This is why they do not hunt alone- they set ambushes, make traps and organize raids in order to attack those shapeshifters when they are the most vulnerable. They constantly memorize the old poems, making sure they would never make a mistake during the critical time. They gather in the night and prey to the Wolf- not as a worship, but as a challenge, telling Him that this night, he is the prey and they are the hounds. Some of them fall during their first hunts, but those who survive learn from their mistakes. The bishops supervise them, collecting information and tactics used by the different members and check which were more successful. They gather them to hidden "Black Masses" in the depths of the wilderness, as they challenge the Wolf and the Moon in their never ending hunt.

    Yes, the life among the Church are not easy ones- but someone needs to shepherd the wolves who walk among men. No one is truly safe, people would always fear the dark- but by singing the old poems of the past, you could at least walk through another night- even if you end up lame of leg.

    0- you have been baptized in blood and have been recognized as old enough to participate in the Wolf Hunts. You may buy dots in the Night Ballads Endowment.
    000- You are no a recognized priest, and you have sang with the wolves and escaped with your soul intact, and you learn to recognize danger before it happens. You get Danger Sense for free.
    00000- You have reached to the rank of a bishop, and just as the wolves hide among men, and you learned how to walk among wolves. You are get a single Wolf Blooded Tell for your choice.

    Endowments: Night Ballads (0-00000)
    The shepherds sing through the night, and the wolves follow, bound by instincts so old no one remembers their origin. No one knows in which language those sings are wrote, or what exactly they mean- only that they are beautiful, haunting and turn the most furious wolf into a tamed puppy. Maybe the Archbishop of the Night knows what they mean, but if so he doesn't share. Maybe the werewolves know, but no one bothered to ask them. All the hunter needs to know is how to sing those ancient songs- the rest is for academic research, not night-to-night basis.

    The Night Ballads are a single merit, doted 1-5. The Endowment does not represent the number of Ballads the hunter may know, but the highest level of Ballads he may have access to. In order to use a certain Ballad, he must memorize it, rolling [Intelligence] + [Occult] + [Night Ballads], with Exceptional Success giving him +2 modifier to the next time he wish to memorize that specific song and Dramatic Failure would make him believe he have managed to learn that song- until the critical moment. Singing the Ballads directly from a notebook does not seem to work- for some reason, it must be chanted by heart, or else the magic simply doesn't work.

    Once chanting a Ballad, the player must roll [Presence] + [Expression] + [Night Ballad]. On a Success, the Ballad is activated for a number of minutes equal to the number of successes gained. In case of an Exceptional Success, the Ballad works as long as the hunter keeps on singing. On a case of Dramatic Failure, the hunter alerts her presence to any supernatural being which hears the song and recognize him as a potential threat.

    The most common Ballad is the Enchantment- every member of the conspiracy knows it. On a Success, every being of a spiritual nature (that is, spirits, Claimed/Possessed/Ridden/etc, hosts, werewolves and other similar being) gets the Swooning Condition toward the hunter, getting an urge to follow her. On a case of Exceptional Success, the being would also don't try to hide its nature- werewolves would turn into their hybrid or beast forms, Hosts would leave their meat suit behind. During that time, Lunacy does not take hold on those who watch the wolves travel. The being would keep following the hunter as long as the duration is still at work, and she does not present a direct threat to it. Other people who hear the Ballad would instead suffer the Spooked Condition.

    Other Ballads also work by influencing the spirit world and manipulating the ones who live in it. Treat each as a different Rite, as detailed in Werewolf: the Forsaken 2nd Edition.

    Lucifuge: "The reason why we isolate ourselves from the world. They may claim to use their powers against their makers- but bad blood is bad blood. Their lineage should be exterminated"
    Loyalists of Thule: "Call me a nazi one more time and I'll shoot you between the eyes. We do not kill our kind"
    Union: "it must be nice to have so much trust in others- but we can't enjoy their naivety. We know that the devil takes many forms- and sometimes, it's the form of a friend"
    Les Mysteres: "they dance with powers they don't understand, and allow themselves to be corrupted by them. They may not cross the line- but they are dangerously close to it"
    Bone Collectors: "blasphemy! Why would you want to taint yourself in such a way?"

    "Sing, my brothers in faith! Sing the devil out of the woods! Sing the Wolf to its death!"
    Last edited by LostLight; 02-16-2017, 06:06 PM.

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