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[Horror] Caucasian Eagle

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  • Caladriu
    started a topic [Horror] Caucasian Eagle

    [Horror] Caucasian Eagle

    You thought you were finally alone this deep in the wilderness. But you keep seeing that bird, circling above the treetops or silhouetted against the open desert sky. There's no majesty of nature here: it's a greasy red-brown thing on tattered wings, smells like death, and its caw sounds like a sick man swearing. But its talons are sharp, its beak gleams, and you can feel the Azoth bubbling inside it. And all the hungry Pandorans in its flight path felt it too.

    The Caucasian Eagle is a Horror designed to threaten wilderness travelers and would-be hermits in the middle of nowhere, far from civilization. It mostly serves as an omen of a more immediate danger, cutting Prometheans off from support and drawing wild Unborn to them, circling above and debuffing and cackling at their suffering. But it can be a deadly threat in person as well. It wants to see Prometheans die for the first time, and then to descend on their corpses to steal their Azoth while they wander in the Underworld. It seeks to prolong their punishment, not end it.

    • This hideous ignoble scavenger is the Caucasian Eagle, timeless and immortal creature of myth, fulfilling the same ancient purpose of punishment it was charged with by Zeus. The Created are guilty of the same sin of stealing the Divine Fire as their mythic forebear. But in that case, what happened to Prometheus?
    • The Eagle is an agent empowered by the Principle, the harbinger of a Greater Lilithim (or Elpidos) yet to come. If it's following you, it means the Principle has big plans for your future. Be afraid.
    • The Eagle is the tortured result of a blasphemous attempt to create an "animal Promethean," like that Great-Grandfather Crow mentioned in the Rambles of so many. It has all the markings of a Centimanus: commanding Pandorans, twisted body, seemingly performing the Lacuna. How else could it have an Azoth?
    • The Eagle is one of the se'irim, rare Pandoran-like creatures birthed from animal corpses. There is no great mythic purpose to its predation beyond survival in a very specific niche. Given how se'irim form, are there multiple Eagles out there spawned from the same nest?

    Concept: Reaper Bird
    Aspirations: Separate a Promethean from their throng. Lead Pandorans to a Promethean. Consume a Promethean's Azoth.

    Best Dice Pool: 8 (track prey, strike terror, peck out eyes)
    Worst Dice Pool: 2 (resist area effects, appear innocuous/hide)
    All Other Pools: 4
    Willpower per Scene: 6

    Initiative: 6
    Defense: 6
    Speed: 18 (flight), 5 (ground)
    Health: 6
    Dread Powers: Gremlin (especially cutting off cell phone/wifi access), Home Ground (corpse of a slain Promethean), Hunter's Senses (Prometheans who have not yet died and returned, or possess the Revivification Bestowment), Madness and Terror (awful caw), Natural Weapons 1 (talons and beak), Toxic 1 (foul smell, inflicts moderate Sick tilt)

    False Radiance: The Caucasian Eagle is treated as having Azoth 3 for purposes of Azothic Radiance only. It has access to the Heed the Call (Saturninus) and Lordship (Flux) Alembics, rolled with the Best Dice Pool and activated with Willpower rather than Pyros. It does not experience or cause Disquiet.
    Judgment: The Caucasian Eagle has access to all Alembics of Contamination, rolled with the Best Dice Pool and activated with Willpower rather than Pyros. It uses these Distillations to drive throngs apart and fill individuals with guilt and hopelessness, usually while perched on nearby branches or circling overhead as a prelude to a later Pandoran attack.
    Trail of Chaos: Roll the Caucasian Eagle's Best Dice Pool. It can spend Willpower on this roll. It currently has at least [successes] Ranks' worth of Pandorans following the lure of its Radiance, minimum 1.
    Liver Eater: Once a Promethean has been slain and is in the Underworld, the Caucasian Eagle uses Lordship to make any remaining Pandorans drive away interlopers and stand guard. Once it has verified that the body is not decaying, it feeds on the humour-containing soft tissue, including the liver as in the myth of Prometheus. It generally does not destroy the heart and prevent resurrection, although other Prometheans are unlikely to know this.

    This process takes hours, and the Storyteller is encouraged to punctuate it with harrowing Underworld visions, but it is resolved as a single action: Best Dice Pool (Home Ground applies) vs. Resolve+Stamina+Azoth. If the Eagle succeeds, the Promethean's Azoth is reduced by one as if their Hovel was destroyed, and the Promethean revives with the deeper Tormented Condition as if they had dramatically failed a roll to resist Torment. If it exceptionally succeeds, two dots of Azoth are lost. If this would reduce Azoth to 0, the Eagle takes a Willpower dot instead. The lost points return in accordance with Sanctity of Merits, but Azoth cannot be restored until Tormented is resolved. The Promethean might be able to recover their lost Azoth and resolve Tormented early by hunting down and killing the Caucasian Eagle.

    If the PCs intend to recover the lost character's body soon, the Storyteller may want to wait until they've had their shot before making the final roll. At any rate, Home Ground makes the Eagle a much more challenging foe while it looms over its meal, and it will be attacking directly this time rather than harrowing them from above while the Pandorans dig in.

  • Caladriu
    Thanks for that! I had considered posting some alternative power suggestions if someone wanted to use a particular origin for their game. Toxic is there because my original idea for the Horror was more of a relatively mundane but unexplained vulture that loomed over weary travelers, but as I worked on it I realized "this is turning out like a more iconic critter, let's take it in that direction." The way I was imagining an encounter is that the Eagle progressively weakens and penalizes the throng so they can't fight off the Pandorans so well. I only decided to add Contamination at the very end of the process, and as I think about it, that's a more interesting and focused set of debuffs than Toxic anyway.

    Giving it Immortal is a good idea that better explains its motives for stealing Azoth. My personal preference as an ST leans toward "just a big ugly mutant bird" and/or "chosen herald of the Principle", so I wasn't worried about giving it a coherent life cycle on its own. But buying rebirths a totally natural development from its hunting strategy, and explains why it's been around so long if the ST goes that direction. Imagine running into this thing in the Underworld during its death cycle, that sounds mythic as hell.

    Is losing a dot of Azoth and taking Tormented as a persistent condition good as a consequence of being eaten? I didn't want it destroy the heart and turn the Underworld journey into a save-or-die, but an interesting and lasting mechanical consequence that keeps the players invested if it happens to a PC seems good.
    Last edited by Caladriu; 01-31-2017, 04:32 PM.

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  • Pale_Crusader
    The only thing I'd change is I'd swap out the Toxic 1 Dread Power for the Immortal Dread Power for these reasons:

    The foul smell aspect of Toxic 1 Dread Power seems more in the imagery of a Vulture than an Eagle, the Eagle is in a very real sense tapping into the Prometheans while they are using the ability to rise from the dead and it would be thematically appropriate for it to be stealing/devouring/able-to-mimic that ability, and the Immortal Dread power is confounding to people who'd use violence as an easy answer, making the looming dread something that doesn't go away after a single very high-powered rifle shot.

    Also thought I'd link this. The several of the images on the ceramics look like a raven to me.

    Also, amazing post, thank you for making this, it's brilliant!

    I'd also add a Ban against it directly attacking those able to defend themselves, to both keep with the lore of the restrained victim, and to keep it a looming threat waiting for a moment of weakness (and keeps the Immortal Dread Power from being overpowered against even minor power level throngs).
    Last edited by Pale_Crusader; 01-31-2017, 04:16 PM.

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  • Caladriu
    Thanks! I'm glad you like it. I was imagining it as mainly an inexplicable thing that an ST can easily drop into an ongoing game, but it can lead to more followup stories if the PCs ask "what the hell was that?" If you don't want to sic it on the throng directly, they might hear about it in the Ramble of a new area as a strange local threat, and later feel Azothic radiance in the wilderness and stumble on the Eagle holding court over a corpse with a couple of Pandorans guarding it.

    I keep thinking how easy it would be to just tag this thing on round 1 with Spark, though. I suggest having it circle high enough to be out of range and only swoop down to scramble brains with Contamination. Great opportunity to use the hostile application of Vision Quest!

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  • Deionscribe
    I second that. I really can't decide which origin would be the most fitting for it were I ever to play it.

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  • Azahul
    This thing is absolutely gorgeous. I can't think of anything to say beyond that

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