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  • terpsichordean
    started a topic Sample Mysteries

    Sample Mysteries

    "Any magical puzzle, any lingering spell, any otherworldly
    enigma is potentially a Mystery. The Storyteller decides on the
    particulars of the Mystery, which break down into three parts:
    Opacity, surface information, and deep information." (p. 93)

    I'm starting a new game, but need clarity on coming up with specific Mysteries. Every Order has some samples, but they're very open-ended. For Storytellers and Players alike, what Mysteries are you planning to insert in your game?


  • Gantolandon
    replied
    Nobody really knows how Dream Remnants form – some Supernal Being is probably involved with their creation, but no one managed to answer which one and why. Each of them is born of a dream that a person once had, but failed to achieve. It appears as a broken item thematically corresponding to the aspiration. A desire for a happy marriage will spawn a golden ring split in half or a tattered photo from the wedding that never happened, for example. Dream Remnants of failed artists are especially valuable, because they tend to produce actual artwork, although it's usually in a very bad shape.

    Dream Remnants can be spawned from any dream under two conditions. First, it's fulfillment must have been probable at some point. Second, the person who had the dream must have given it up at some point.

    While the items don't have any powers by themselves, it doesn't mean they aren't useful. Each of them has a Strong Temporal Sympathy with the person who originally had the dream in the exact moment they were the closest to fulfill it. This means they can be used to potentially change someone's past (hopefully for better). This could have tremendous consequences when it comes to mage dreams and plenty of the Awakened hope to one day find the Remnant of someone's dream to restore the Atlantis.

    Seers of the Throne dedicated to the worship of Ruin consider Dream Remnants sacred and consider using them to change the past a blasphemy against their patron.

    Mystery: Dream Remnant
    Other Names: Ruin's Gift (Seers)
    Concept: Mementos of a wish that never came true, which can be used to change the past.
    Range: Places with didn't live up to their potential can contain one or several Dream Remnants.
    Location: Wherever the item representing the dream is.
    Important NPCs: None known.
    Described in: Warsaw Consilium, where Remnants form regularly, is formed around this phenomenon and have it well described.
    Locked with Mysteries: None
    Peripheral Mage Sight
    Clash of Wills: No
    Active Mage Sight
    Main Arcanum: Matter
    Focused Mage Sight
    Opacity: 4

    Surface Information

    Arcanum Purview: Matter and Time
    Resonance: None
    Age: Inconclusive (never existed)
    Power Level: Making


    Deep Information
    • The origin of the Mystery is vastly more powerful than any mage.
    • It resonates with a feeling of sadness and disappointment.
    • The Mystery is connected to a specific one moment in time.
    • (after clearing the Opacity) The Mystery doesn't come from an alternate timeline. Instead, it's a memento of one – like a material version of a Thorn seen in Arcadia, but with a definitely Stygian origin. It is connected with the past of someone who had their dream crushed.

    Leave a comment:


  • TenguGrib
    replied
    Originally posted by Dwight View Post
    The mayor of a quaint Rhode Island town is complaining of someone stealing his water.
    I understood that reference.

    Leave a comment:


  • ArcaneArts
    replied
    Borrowing from a story, People experience what they expect to get from this city-as in literally, events conspire to match the perception of the viewer, down to their head being turned just so in order to miss things that strongly conflict with it. A person who thinks the city is a den of vice will always run into hookers and criminals, those who think it's a wacky, gadget-filled world that belongs more in the near-future will run into the cutting edge of the city and the technophiles, and those who see it as the world of monstrous conspiracies do a great job of running into the supernatural communities.You'd imagine that would make finding the heart of the Mystery easy, but whatever the cause is is eluding the local mages, who have to meet in the airports, train stations, bus stops, and gas stations at the edge of town to convene.

    Leave a comment:


  • Pale_Crusader
    replied
    Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
    Something inspired by this mysterious cult-like music band, maybe?

    Anonymous Libertines singing in High Speech? Maybe...

    If not, it's a great Cabal concept.

    Also an anonymous Cabal singing in High Speech would almost certainly have mystical protections of their identity as well as technological ones, making for an interesting Mystery for Seers to explore.
    Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 08-01-2017, 02:32 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • GibberingEloquence
    replied
    Something inspired by this mysterious cult-like music band, maybe?

    Leave a comment:


  • solidork
    replied
    More music lyric inspirations after a year+
    Violence and suicide mention.

    "But the pavement won't answer me" - A legacy/cabal that communes with the 'soul' of your city is concerned because it has fallen silent. Perhaps it never had one and that is why mages are attracted to it.

    "But I know you're in the pews, the same as stools around the bar" - Someone has gotten their hands on some SUPER cursed raw materials and is making things and selling them. Could be a cursed mine, trees (Dr. Who nod), materials reclaimed from a desecrated church, etc.
    "And a saline communion that I held like a seance on the blacktop" - Something involving blood transfusions. Someone has visions about the future of the blood donor, gains access to their memories/supernatural abilities, is seemingly possessed by the personality of the donor. Mystery could be the recipient or the donor.
    “I am a dash, and you are a dot” - There is an ominous message encoded in the information about (seemingly) unrelated births/deaths/etc, like the first letter of their name or something like that
    “Happy came to visit me, he brought cookies on the way” - there is a rash of seemingly benevolent spirit (or astral entity) possessions
    “If I happen to jump out of a window, I’d probably change my mind before I reached the 8th or 7th floor” - Several people have checked themselves into a local mental hospital claiming that they tried to kill themselves by jumping off of a tall building, but they survived unharmed somehow.
    “No one sleeps at the grand hotel” - there is an outbreak of what seems like contagious insomnia spreading like wildfire throughout the city.
    “Thank god I found the good in goodbye” - If you sell a specific pawn shop something that reminds you of a very painful memory, the memory will eventually fade. The guy who runs the shop is a sleeper, but the tainted items are always purchased and always by a different person.
    “Sucks to be you right now” - If you play tag in a specific park, the person who remains “it” at the end of the game is targeted by some kind of curse.
    “The teeth are long gone, but there's still bone beneath the gums” - A man was murdered and then had his teeth removed. The cause of death seems to be ordinary human bite wounds, but when they analyzed the bite marks, the dentals seemed to match the victim's records.
    “Because the reverb in these holy halls is like a long lost friend.” - The echoes of (a certain type of) sounds in a certain place seem to be trying to communicate.
    “The wrong step would be not to start this exodus” - 25% of the towns sleeper population has moved away for seemingly normal reasons in the last 6 months. None of the mages seem to be able to leave.
    “The current of lightning filled with light, it burned his hands with symbols” - Certain lightning storms seem to burn high speech runes into the things they strike. Maybe race other cabals/the seers to try and decipher the whole message? Brave the storm to find the runes before they vanish? Try to arrange for something made out of tass to be struck by lightning?

    Leave a comment:


  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by Pale_Crusader View Post
    Scale and Strength: Moderate given that the Amnesia Condition about the Mystery resolves Slender Sickness
    Really? This thing looks like a mage-seeking missle. The only way to win is for one to realise that the mystery they're obsessed with solving is itself the problem, and then give themselves amnesia to forget. That then leaves the mage with the mystery of why they wiped their memory... Hell, if you wiped all the information from your memory, how do you stop yourself going and investigating the slenderman mystery again?

    If you think about it, maybe that's why such a famous mystery is still around. Every mage who gets involved either gets trapped in the circular madness of slender sickness or they wipe their own memories to make the obsession go away. Makes you wonder how many Awakened are walking around with remited slender sickness? Have the players investigated it before?

    Leave a comment:


  • Pale_Crusader
    replied
    Is Slenderman Real?
    Other names: Slenderman Phenomena, The Operator, EverymanHYBRID, Marble Hornets, TribeTwelve
    Concept: Becoming a true believer in Slenderman causes him to stalks you
    Range: Anywhere belief can spread
    Location: Scenes with Slenderman in them, or with a Clue (CofD pg 80) to the Slenderman Mystery
    Important NPCs: Slenderman
    Described in: All over the internet along with random speculation, real information, and misdirection
    Locked With Mysteries: None

    Peripheral Mage Sight,
    Clash of Wills: Yes
    Dice Pool: Slenderman 6

    ActiveMage Sight
    Main Arcanum: Mind
    Supernal Magic: No

    Focused Mage Sight
    Opacity: 1

    Surface Information ​
    Slenderman is an urban legend that is attributed to have its origins in a photo-shopped image and fiction that arose from the imagery it and its captions invoked. It has inspired real life tragedies including little girls murdering a classmate. It might be a hoax, but being a Mage means you might suspect some type of supernatural creature, ephemeral or otherwise, at the heart of this as well.

    Rest of Arcana: Mind
    Resonance: Hidden, Abyssal
    Age: Varies by account, ranging from the Time Before to the posting of the original picture on the Something Awful forum, all of them being equally "true"
    Power Level - Arcanum Rating: 3 Practice: Fraying

    Deep Information
    Slenderman is real physical entity, and is the heart of this Mystery. It draws power off of people believing in it, stalking the lives of those that do, and is immortal as long as people know about it. It isn't a Acamoth, though there is an Acamoth version of it in the Temenos, in the same way there are Geotia of celebrities. It is definitely an Abyssal Intruder, but a corporeal one that taps into to collective consciousness. Piercing the one level of Opacity of the Mystery gains the Mage the Slender Sickness Condition and justifies the Purchace of Mystery Cult Intiation 3 (Slender Man Cult). Once you believe only the loss of the knowledge of this Mystery can cure that belief.

    Gnosis Equivalent: 6
    Realms Invisible: Abyss, Astral
    Specific Nature: The existence of a corporeal Abyssal Intruder known as Slenderman or The Operator
    Scale and Strength: Moderate given that the Amnesia Condition about this Mystery resolves Slender Sickness, and that is revealed upon piercing the Opacity of this Mystery. This does nothing about the Mystery caused by gaining the Amnesia and investigation of that can lead back to rediscover the Is Slenderman Real? Mystery if the mage can pierce the Amnesia Mystery. It thus behooves the Mage to ensure that the Amnesia Mystery is as Opaque as possible.
    Similar to Mysteries: The Nemesis Continuum
    Arcana Relation: Life (Notice Slenderman homogeneous internal anatomy) Matter (Notice the "suit, shirt and tie" Slenderman wears is a single piece of folded and creased cloth without stitches, the buttons being connected via having the weave of the cloth go through the button's holes) Space (The Connections between Slenderman and those with Slender Sickness that regrow if severed as long as that Condition persists, also that Slenderman is unstuck in Space) Time (That Slenderman is unstuck in Time with is its source of Immortality and ability to retroactively add real evidence of itself into footage)
    Actions Involving: Surviving being stalked by an immortal being which will kill or disappear you if you don't placate it

    ​Edited in response to Michael - thank you.
    Originally posted by Michael View Post
    That then leaves the mage with the mystery of why they wiped their memory... Hell, if you wiped all the information from your memory, how do you stop yourself going and investigating the slenderman mystery again?
    And try telling Mages to not investigate a Mystery with Clues all over the internet see if that doesn't drive them to take it seriously and to investigate in the first place.
    Originally posted by Michael View Post
    Really? This thing looks like a mage-seeking missile.
    Funny thing is I am just diligently trying to translate a real life phenomenon into a game where weird supernatural things are true. In SCP terms this phenomenon would be a cognitohazard. I would expect many such hazards in the world where Chronicles of Darkness takes place, and many of those would be Mysteries as defined by Mage thus justifying Diamond and Seer culture where information is compartmentalized, and the study of somethings forbidden.
    Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 06-29-2017, 01:28 PM.

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  • 2ptTakrill
    replied
    Here is my background Mystery for my west coast (mostly the Bay area and northern California) setting. In this region I have the Gauntlet as being really thin, about a three at the most, with Verges being almost everywhere. I call them Jasper Ruins.
    ​Jasper was a gold prospector who came to the Bay area back during the gold rush. He was universally regarded as not being the sharpest tool in the shed but mostly harmless, scrounging up just enough gold dust panning to keep him chasing that big score.
    ​People used to just smile and then laugh at him behind his back, at least until the day old Jasper rode into town with his mule loaded down with gold and silver. Not ingots or dust though, but minted coins of unknown origin, the metal was real enough.
    ​Jasper told a story of how he found this pagan temple out there in the mountains that was just full of gold and silver, a regular city of gold. He grabbed all of the coin his mule could carry but he claimed there was still more to be had and that doesn't include the giant metal statues of forgotten gods. He spent the day buying everyone drinks and gathering partners to go back with him and clean the place out. Then he hired the most expensive prostitute in town. The next morning when his new partners came looking for him they found Jasper dead in the whores bed, his throat had been slit, but she and his treasures were gone.
    ​After that folks searched for Jasper's lost El Dorado but in spite of all attempts no one found it and the whole thing would have blown over as just another myth but for the spent coins that were still floating around San Francisco from his one day of living large. One day a coin passed through the hands of a Mage and though he didn't recognize the minting he did recognize the High Speech runes imprinted on the metal.
    ​Since then the Awakened have discovered several extremely hard to find pockets, some speculate within the Gauntlet itself, that function like keyed or timed Verges. Many are empty spaces, potentially valuable hidey holes for the discoverer, but others contain ruins of unknown origin that have all the appearance of being relics of a Time Before.
    In my last chronicle one of them was also the prison of one of the Bound.

    Leave a comment:


  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    King of the Stones
    There's a rumor going around in the archaeological community of South Korea. The peninsula possesses an astonishing number of dolmens, accounting for nearly 40% of the world's total. While their variety and sheer number make their chronology difficult to estimate, it's generally agreed that the megaliths first emerged in the Neolithic era and flourished in the Bronze Age. Studies prove that the ancient people had the technology to build the dolmens, but no one can tell for sure just why so many of them were built in the first place. Lately, an archaeologist and a few of his assistants have started to claim that the megaliths are proof of a pan-Asiatic culture that revered gods . This isn't the first time pseudo-scientific rabble has come up in the academia, especially when it comes to Korean nationalism, but the professor's reputation and renown is such that his words aren't so easy to dismiss as a madman's ravings.

    Possible Scenarios
    • The scholar is a known Sleepwalker in the local Awakened community, who was studying the dolmens and how they interact with ley lines and nodes. Prior to his "discovery" he went missing for a week or so. While Sleepers dismissed it as one of his usual extensive researches, the Awakened were aware that he was studying an Emanation that he claimed to have witnessed while studying the dolmens. Mages are trying to contact him, to see if his talk of gods relate to the Supernal, but the professor is showing an uncanny ability in dodging even magical pursuit. One of the local Consilium's Sleepwalker agents have reported that, although she finally found him, the professor used Supernal magic to knock her unconscious and escape. Did the archaeologist Awaken? Or is he now the servant of some Supernal power? Or is it something weirder?
    • Most dolmens were tombs and status symbols as most people know. But the latest one the professor was studying was both the tomb of and altar to a god, just as he claims. The god, after a millennia of slumber, awoke and christened the professor as its messenger in the modern world. Unbeknownst to the Sleeper academia, the professor has started a cult that reveres this god, speaking of prehistoric empires and the bliss in joining an eternal power larger than oneself. Mages who have dug into this cult have reported relics belonging to an unknown culture that, while Fallen in nature, can somehow counter Supernal magic and leave the mages dumbfounded. Just what has arisen from the abyss of time?
    • It turns out that the dolmens do note ley lines and nodes after all, like the scholar suspected. Powerful Time magic have revealed that the megaliths mark past ley lines, all the way back to the Neolithic era. This is proof that even ley lines change given enough time, just as the continents move slowly across Earth's history. and that's where the studies should have stopped. Except that something is changing the ley lines back to its Neolithic version, along with the attendant havoc the shifting Resonances and nodes are causing both in the mortal and spirit worlds. That something also has enslaved the the professor to its will, making him a conduit of its flesh-shaping and Essence-warping powers. The chaos has alerted the yacha or yaksa, who call themselves Uratha in the spirit-language. The shapeshifters have declared war on whatever is causing this mess, and the first line of suspects are the Awakened.

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  • 21C Hermit
    replied
    Shadow Surgery
    There's a rumor going around appearance-conscious teenagers. It's about a ritual performed at midnight that allows you to manifest your own shadow into a physical entity, and requesting it to shape your body. A supernatural plastic surgery, if you will. They say that wording your request wrongly or vaguely results in mistakes from ridiculous to horrible, like "make me taller" resulting in the shadow extending your waist to popping off your head. "Extend my legs so that they're 5cm longer in balanced body proportion" is usually enough. Reports are abound with how the rite succeeded for failed, but as of now they're all just internet talk and of dubious credibility.

    Possible Scenarios
    • The ritual is a Rote that taps into the Death Arcanum to manifest your shadow, and the reason why not everyone succeeds is that you need to be a Sleepwalker at the least to make it work. It's clearly the work of Awakened magic, petty as it may be. Still, a Rote that Sleepwalkers can use hold untold potential in it. More if that Rote can be copied around the internet. Who created this Rote, for what purpose? And more importantly, how?
    • The shadow that shapes your body is not your shadow. The ritual summons a being made of smoke-like shadow to temporarily possess your own body, during which the entity can make minor modifications to it. If the ritual is disturbed or faulty, the entity is not expelled upon completion and remains dormant in the body. The unfortunate host is still herself, but she gains strange compulsions and hungers and an allergy to strong light. The local vampires have noticed these effects, and they are getting restless.
    • Turns out that the people who claim teenage culture these days are corrupted by demonic forces aren't entirely wrong. The entity fueling this ritual proudly admits that it a demon to anyone talented enough to track and contact it. It claims itself a trader in "assertive cosmetics," taking undesirable body traits from people and giving traits that they want, no strings attached. That last line sets of the suspicions of anyone in the supernatural world. Just what is this demon getting out of all this?
    Your Inner World
    There's a rumor going around in the lucid dreaming community, populated by both mistaken Sleepers and the few Sleepwalkers. First, in that drowsy moment just before falling asleep, you focus on your room's doors. Next, imagine yourself knocking it, and "Please open the door, for I have come." When the door opens, you then say in your mind, "Thank you. Only I can enter this door. Please leave it open until I enter." Then the person supposedly enters his "inner world." It's an elaborate auto-hypnosis schema to enter lucid dreaming, and there's little talk on it. Too little talk, in fact. Anyone who attempts this particular rumor either fail or leave no comment at all, as if they've gone missing.

    Possible Scenarios
    • The ritual is a true method that allows even Sleepers to meditate into their Oneiros. The problem is that the ritual doesn't come with instructions on getting out, leading to many people dropping comatose for unknown reasons. Those who succeed, either with luck or sheer determination or prior knowledge of the Astral, lose their memories of the incident just as one's memories of dreams fade away. Which is the critical part, since everyone so far who've successfully escaped made a pact with their Oneiric Goetia where for finding the way out they allowed those Goetia to manifest in the mortal world, complete with a Twilight body Fettered to the person.
    • People who succeed in this ritual go truly missing and nowhere to be found. In the waking world, at least. A determined mage skilled in the Mind Arcanum can enter the Temenos, track down the missing person's Oneiros, and enter the person's dreams from the Oneiros. There she will find the missing person, trapped in his own dreams, in physical form. Dreams are even more ephemeral than the Astral, so how do people manage to physically enter them? Equally confused are the local court of fairies, who suspect one of their own or their "cousins" behind these incidents.
    • There's something roaming in the city, something intangible and predatory. The ritual is a powerful effect designed to trap dreaming minds in the world of dreams. It is a trap, that leads people not to their own inner world but the inner world of something else that hounds them down in a bizarre and surreal landscape. Only when the person collapses in exhaustion or caught and devoured by this unseen predator is he allowed to wake up, with the memories fading away as a simple dream. To anyone pursuing this creature, a group of chimerical beasts draped in human flesh approach them, either to help or hinder them.

    Leave a comment:


  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by Michael View Post
    So what are they?
    I immediately thought of them as the ghosts' version of Pangaeans and possibly Idigams. The Irises (not Verges; they are places in reality that are closer to the Supernal or the Abyss) would be Avernian Gates that lead to an unexplored part of the Underworld many rivers down. Perhaps even the bottom of the Underworld, close to the Ocean Beyond Life (or what remains of it).
    Dark Eras showed us that the Underworld was expanding when the Ocean Beyond Life lowered, which lead to the creation (or revelation) of Dead Dominions. There's nothing that says it can't lower further and create (or reveal) something else below the Dominions.

    Leave a comment:


  • Michael
    replied
    Originally posted by GibberingEloquence View Post
    Every midnight during the nights of the new moon in a certain graveyard, the coffins of certain Sleepers become Verges to the Underworld. From these Verges appear things that look like ghosts but are far older, self aware and fully corporeal. They hunger for company of the living, but cannot stay here for long, and their presence attracts and mutates ghosts. What are these things? How do they keep coming back even when destroyed? And how do they find so much lore and items of the Underworld?
    So what are they?

    Leave a comment:


  • GibberingEloquence
    replied
    Every midnight during the nights of the new moon in a certain graveyard, the coffins of certain Sleepers become Verges to the Underworld. From these Verges appear things that look like ghosts but are far older, self aware and fully corporeal. They hunger for company of the living, but cannot stay here for long, and their presence attracts and mutates ghosts. What are these things? How do they keep coming back even when destroyed? And how do they find so much lore and items of the Underworld?

    Leave a comment:

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