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Once Upon a Midnight Darkly [shard idea]

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  • Once Upon a Midnight Darkly [shard idea]

    Once upon a midnight darkly, a lone spectator watched as a queen desperate for a child gave her life and heart to birth a beautiful, snow skinned princess. In search for a mother to raise the princess, the king married a powerful sorceress which captivated him with her spell. Consumed by envy which grew dark in her heart, the witch allowed her mirror to consume her own reflection as she asked who was the fairest of them all. However, as the mirror lacked any will of its own, it could only say the truth- that the princess was the fairest in the land. Filled with anger and pride, she devised a plan, and sent her stepdaughter with her loyal huntsman to the woods, where he was meant to kill her and bring her pieces back to the queen as proof.

    However, even the huntsman couldn't withstand the princess's beauty, and could only cut her heart before his broke. He searched another to take the princess's place, and took from him everything he needed to hide his failure- and the queen was thrilled. Yet, the huntsman knew he failed- he went to the woods, and allowed himself to be devoured by them. Filled with joy, the jealous queen gave the heart and the pieces to the cook, which made from it a pie served to the king. The king ate it all, and it was so delicious that he asked for more- but the queen replied there was none, for he only had one daughter, leaving her husband in despair and vulnerable to the whispers of the night. Hearing that, the cook stormed upon the leftovers and licked all he could, thinking it would make him as pretty as the princess was- but he only grew fat and ugly upon the dead meat.

    Meanwhile, the princess woke all alone in the forest with hollow scream, her chest empty and void. She searched through the forest for a place for rest, and she found haven with seven grotesque dwarves. She saw beyond their deformities, and they offered her escape in their cave. She was meant to be safe- yet that was when the queen asked her mirror once more, and it told her truth as it always did. Raging again, she cast her magic to find where the princess rested, and laid a curse of poison upon a sweet, blood red apple. She used an enchantment to disguise herself, and traveled to the forest when the dwarves left to the mine at night. She offered the fruit to her stepdaughter, and the princess ate it with hunger. The curse was then awakened, and the poison devoured her blood, spilling from her eyes and mouth and taking life of its own while leaving her body behind.

    The witch left, sure of her finale win- and when the dwarves returned, they mourned for the princess. They kept her in glass casket, vowing to protect her body until a prince would come and free her from the curse- unaware for the fact that has spirit has left the cold body behind in her sleep. While they loved her very much, as the winter came and snow blocked the cavern, they grew hungry, and slowly they took little pieces which no one would miss from her to fill their bellies. When the spring returned, they discovered that nothing was left from the once beautiful princess but skin and bones. In their horror, they filled her with the last snow of winter and escaped to the darkness, never to return.

    That night, a charming prince was lost in the forest, and was guided by the screeches of owls and ravens to the princess's finale restful place. Discovering the princess, he fell on his knees and kissed her deep- but found no warmth in her snow cold flesh. Acting out of terrible desire, he took her in that cave, and in the height of the cold passion she awoke, her eyes shine golden like those of the owls. As the two left the forest together, the evil queen asked her mirror the same question she asked twice- and the mirror, unable to lie, said the truth- that the princess has returned, and her own son took her as his wife. With her heart black from hate, she smashed the mirror to pieces and threw them out of the window to be carried by the cold wind, and they cut the eyes and hearts of those who stood in their way.

    The queen went to the gate of the castle, to greet her stepdaughter with one finale curse- yet the princess was quicker. She stacked her stepmother and left her to melt in the sun, while she and her husband took the castle as their own, celebrating their marriage with the blood of their father. After seeing the story unravel before him, the lone spectator felt empty and alone, knowing that his life would never be compared to those of the heroes and villains he saw. He jumped from the highest tower in the castle, his body penetrated by the castle's gate- but with his last breath he made a pact with a faerie to live life equal to those of the characters in the story yet forever apart from them. That's how the story ends- but the legend keeps on. Each of those villainous heroes has left a part of themselves alive, and it is living still. Their legend lives in us, their children, and we'll all live covered with blood, happily ever after.


    ************************

    Personally, I have always found the "Once Upon a Midnight Darkly" section for each of the Clans as one of the most beautiful things I've read in a CofD book. There is just something enchanting about it, which keeps haunting my mind long time after reading those pieces- seriously, it is just beautiful. However, as beautiful as they may be, I don't think anyone has ever used those as actual potential Clan Origin. After all, those origins, while being the only ones which connect the whole "vampire race" to a single story, are all based around Snow White's story- which, while gives them a lot of power, also means that if you want them to be real in your setting, you actually need to make Snow White into a true story. Sure, it is not out of the picture (Frankenstein and Dracula are both real, more or less)- so nothing actually stops you from treating those origins as real, but the feeling I get from them is that they are meant to only be a story, perhaps a legend vampires tell to themselves for the same reasons people tell Snow White to each other. In the end, there was never a snow skinned princess, neither in real life or in the CofD.

    But what if there was?

    What if the world of the CofD was not a dark version of our world, but a dark version of out stories. What if instead of a modern world, surrounded by machines and engines and smoke, the setting was a beautiful kingdom, haunted by deep shadows. What if instead of storytelling a game of Gothic Modern, we would tell a game of Dark Fairy-tales, where witches cast their curses upon beautiful princesses, only to be broken by the kiss of a charming prince. A world where wolves take the skin of their prey, only to be cut open by the huntsman and thrown to the river. A world where mermaids who lost their song walk the earth, magic mirrors show one's greatest wish, young women are tormented by their stepsisters and death betrays those who betray him. A world of magic and wonder, of darkness and fear.

    In this world, everything starts once upon a midnight darkly- but no one lives happily ever after.

    So- what do you think?

    (bonus points for anyone who finds all the clans mentioned in the story above! hint- some are fan made)
    Last edited by LostLight; 08-14-2017, 03:47 PM.


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  • #2
    Not gonna lie, I actually really dig the whole Once Upon a Midnight Darkly for all the Clans and bloodlines; the Morbus bloodline had its own addition to the tale as well, if you remember.

    Now whether it's true or not is up to debate; I've never been in a game where a player tries to find the origins of the Kindred species. Probably going to be my next Kindred, to be honest.

    Anyway, as for the story.

    The Sorceress is Clan Daeva, the Dwarves are the Nosferatu, the Charming Prince is Clan Ventrue, the one about the living blood is what I assume to be Clan Pijavica, the Huntsman would be Clan Gangrel, I wanna say that the lone spectator is Clan Mekhet, and I want to say that the Cook who grew fat and ugly off the dead is Clan Julii.

    Probably wrong about some of the above; I either mixed them up or misinterpreted.

    Anyway, I've always had plans to have it come up in a chronicle; most of the bloodlines I make I try to connect to the story on some level. Honestly, if it ever did come up it would probably be in a Changeling/Vampire game.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Ever Professional View Post
      The Sorceress is Clan Daeva, the Dwarves are the Nosferatu, the Charming Prince is Clan Ventrue, the one about the living blood is what I assume to be Clan Pijavica, the Huntsman would be Clan Gangrel, I wanna say that the lone spectator is Clan Mekhet, and I want to say that the Cook who grew fat and ugly off the dead is Clan Julii.

      Probably wrong about some of the above; I either mixed them up or misinterpreted.
      4/7 (not including Clans you didn't recognized), which is nice.

      So, some "hints":

      - there are no changes between the canon Clan Origins and the ones presented in the story (so the Prince Charming is Ventrue, the Nosferatu are the Dwarves, etc)
      - 11 of the Clans were mentioned in canon (either surviving clans, lost clans or others), while two Clans are completely fan made
      - 4 of the Clan Origins were fan made creations previously written (for both canon and fan made clans)
      - 2 of the Clan Origins were suggested before, but weren't fully detailed
      - the 14th "Clan Origin" is not actually an origin, and is not related to a clan
      - the Clan you recognized are the Venture (Prince Charming), Nosferatu (the Dwarves), the Gangrel (Huntsman) and the Pijavica (the Apple)



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      • #4
        Alright, time for round two then.

        So, the Evil Queen is the Mekhet, or more specifically the Hollow Mekhet; her reflection was consumed, and the reflection torments her with the truth that she isn't the fairest in the land.

        The King is Clan Julii; he eats the heart of his daughter which fits with their degenerative actions when they were still in power, but his despair leaving him open to the dark voices of the night fits with their modern depiction of being Fallen Kings and their clan weakness.

        The Akhud are the Cook; his story represents their hedonistic actions that lead to the destruction of the five cities and his ugliness is their stain of diablerie caused by their power of Praestantia.

        The Princess is Clan Daeva; her heart is empty much like how the clan as a whole can be, and she is considered the Fairest in the land. The icing on the cake is that she and the Charming Prince were to wed; the Ventrue and Daeva represent two types of Rulers.

        And finally, the Lone Spectator is clearly the Strix; related to the Kindred themselves, but forever set apart from them because of their lack of humanity and a physical form.

        Not sure about that last one, but I figured they deserved a role in the story. Anyway, not sure about those Fan Clans; I'll have to look them up later and re-read this story.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LostLight View Post
          In the end, there was never a snow skinned princess, neither in real life or in the CofD.
          There totally might have been. Clearly, the stories told in the core book are lacking details, but are they really any less plausible than being descended from gods, or being the childer of Remus, or any of those other things?


          Cavaliers of Mars Creator

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post

            There totally might have been. Clearly, the stories told in the core book are lacking details, but are they really any less plausible than being descended from gods, or being the childer of Remus, or any of those other things?
            well, I did said in the post that in a world where Dracula and Frankenstein are real, it is not really out of the picture that Snow White is also real- but it just don't work for my games and setting. I believe that it is mostly because Snow White requires a much more modern origin for Clans than them being the children of the gods or something. I've just tried to think on a way to use something I really like in the CofD in a way which would work for my game.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by LostLight View Post
              well, I did said in the post that in a world where Dracula and Frankenstein are real, it is not really out of the picture that Snow White is also real- but it just don't work for my games and setting. I believe that it is mostly because Snow White requires a much more modern origin for Clans than them being the children of the gods or something. I've just tried to think on a way to use something I really like in the CofD in a way which would work for my game.
              I like to imagine that in the case of the Kindred the tale of Snow White is older than they think; maybe it's a tale as old as the Kindred themselves, and it being told as the story of Snow White is just the latest iteration of an oral story passed down over the generations.

              Modern Kindred that recognize the tale probably don't remember the full story, or never knew it, or that the Clan that had their share of the story sadly died out before they could actually share it with the rest. All a Kindred historian can do is piece together what they find, and proceed to hope they'll find the answer they're looking for.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ever Professional View Post

                So, the Evil Queen is the Mekhet, or more specifically the Hollow Mekhet; her reflection was consumed, and the reflection torments her with the truth that she isn't the fairest in the land.

                The King is Clan Julii; he eats the heart of his daughter which fits with their degenerative actions when they were still in power, but his despair leaving him open to the dark voices of the night fits with their modern depiction of being Fallen Kings and their clan weakness.

                The Akhud are the Cook; his story represents their hedonistic actions that lead to the destruction of the five cities and his ugliness is their stain of diablerie caused by their power of Praestantia.

                The Princess is Clan Daeva; her heart is empty much like how the clan as a whole can be, and she is considered the Fairest in the land. The icing on the cake is that she and the Charming Prince were to wed; the Ventrue and Daeva represent two types of Rulers.

                And finally, the Lone Spectator is clearly the Strix; related to the Kindred themselves, but forever set apart from them because of their lack of humanity and a physical form.
                still wrong about the Cook and the Spectator, but yes, the King is the Julii, as it was suggested in Charlaquin's writerup for the Clan. Notice that in the end of the story, the Prince Charming and the "golden eyed princess" enter his castle and drink his blood, making the Prince into the new King (a reference to the fall of the Julii). I do like your interpretations, however, even if they were not what I've meant. The only thing I can say about the Cook is that you should focus not only on the outcome, but also about the reason.

                I like to imagine that in the case of the Kindred the tale of Snow White is older than they think; maybe it's a tale as old as the Kindred themselves, and it being told as the story of Snow White is just the latest iteration of an oral story passed down over the generations.

                Modern Kindred that recognize the tale probably don't remember the full story, or never knew it, or that the Clan that had their share of the story sadly died out before they could actually share it with the rest. All a Kindred historian can do is piece together what they find, and proceed to hope they'll find the answer they're looking for.
                sure, it is a possibility, and a cool one I must add- but again, it depends on the needs of your setting, which for mine also require an independent origin for each Clan among many others. Maybe instead of a Shard, I could tie it somehow to the Grimm Dark Era. I'll have to think about it.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                  well, I did said in the post that in a world where Dracula and Frankenstein are real, it is not really out of the picture that Snow White is also real- but it just don't work for my games and setting. I believe that it is mostly because Snow White requires a much more modern origin for Clans than them being the children of the gods or something. I've just tried to think on a way to use something I really like in the CofD in a way which would work for my game.
                  Oh, I'm not criticizing! Just the opposite.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Rose Bailey View Post

                    Oh, I'm not criticizing! Just the opposite.
                    well, I was half asleep when I replied to you- so I misread your post. Sorry for that. And yeah, I assume that actually there isn't anything which stops you from using Snow White in the setting as the origin of all vampires, as weird as it may sound at first :P

                    Anyway, all that talking about how to use the "Once Upon" sections in a game, either as legends, truth or an alternative setting, all of those talks about Once Upon a Midnight Darkly has inspired my to write a fiction which about how those stories may be expressed in the game- and i just had to write it down and post it the moment I returned from work...

                    *******

                    The first thing I wanted to do was to scream.

                    It felt like a freaking nightmare- the pain, the pleasure, the darkness, the pain again, everything smeared together with a blood red vision. I wanted to scream just to snap back to reality, just to make it all stop. But I couldn't. I couldn't make a sound. I didn't have any air in my lungs.

                    I tried to breath- and it hurt like hell. I felt like I was inhaling water. Or maybe blood. I was drowning in air for trying to breathe, as if my body was rejecting it. Breathing has become a conscious act, requiring every bit of my attention just in order to hold every little bit of air in my lungs. I couldn't scream no matter how much I wanted to- I just didn’t have enough air.

                    Fuck.

                    It took me a few moments to get a hold of myself, of remembering how to breathe again- and still, no more than a few sips of air in a time, not enough to talk- and then I've realized that something was wrong. Terribly wrong. Something worse than forgetting how to breathe. But I couldn't concentrate enough to understand what it was. I was too busy breathing.

                    "Don't worry"


                    Whatever air I managed to gather escaped my lungs with one hollow, poor excuse for a scream. I opened my eyes- and closed them all at once. Everything was.. too much. I could see things too well. The colours were too sharp, the texture too exposed. I saw too well- and it hurt my brain like knives. I closed my eyes again, escaping to the darkness, trying to focus on the voice- it was soft, calm, caring.. cold. I think it was a little cold, but not in a bad way. Like putting you head on a cool marble in a hot summer day.

                    "What you are feeling now is natural" the voice said "it should take you a while to adjust. Don't worry" the voice repeated "I'm here for you. Now- open your eyes"

                    Slowly, I opened my eyes. The world was still too sharp to look at, but I managed to hold myself and not escape to the darkness once more. I felt nauseas, but I managed to not throw up. Or maybe I couldn’t throw up. I think I've already threw up, before- that would explain that weird taste in my mouth. I looked around, and saw that I was in a candle lighted room, styled as if it came right of Victorian Britain. I tried to get on my feet- but everything went out of balance once more and I collapsed to the ground. Something changed with my body, and my mind was yet to understand what went wrong.

                    "Don't push yourself" the voice said, worried, and I slowly turned around to the speaker- and I almost fell back to the ground once more. He was a beautiful man. I think he was one of the most beautiful people I've ever seen in my life. He had a pale skin, practically white. His eyes were black, and so was his long, curly hair. He had a muscular firm, one which could be seen even beneath his thick, fur cape and puffy red shirt. He looked like a noble, a prince out of a fairytale. He smiled at me, seating to a fancy couch, as if he tried to calm me down- but he didn't. He may have been beautiful- but it was like watching a storm, or a natural disaster waiting to happen. He looked young, no more than 30 years old- but there was something ancient about him, practically timeless. I felt drawn to him, like how a newborn pup follows its mother- but at the same time, I was frightened to my very core. My heart raced out of panic.. or it should have. My heart wasn't beating. At all. That was why everything felt so wrong.


                    Fuck. Fuck.

                    He leaned toward me and said "what you are feeling now is natural- everyone is like that at their first few moments. Dying is not the easiest thing to do. Returning from death, well.. it's not easier" he got up from the couch and walk toward me, watching at me with his gentle eyes, and then he sat on the floor next to me, slowly petting my head "I remember the night I was in your shoes" he said with a crooked smile "I was so afraid! There was no one there for me, no one to explain me what has happened, or why I am the way I am. What should I do? Where should I go?" his eyes grew dark "Why me?..". He sounded so sad that it broke my heart while every bit of me has trembled with fear. My heart may have stopped beating, but there was… something else in there. Something which was growing in my chest from fear, and rage, and.. hunger? It sure didn't felt like hunger, but it was the closest analogy I had. Less of a hunger and more of a need, a desire which had to be fulfilled or else my body would collapse.

                    He looked at me, and the smile has returned to his face. "I see you are hungry" he told me "and you must have so many questions. I know I did- as I mentioned before. While there was no one there for me, I am here for you. To teach you how to hunt, to guide you in you first steps, to protect you from your first mistakes. I'll be there for you until you'll manage to walk by yourself. Then, you will be by your own- but don't worry" he put his hand around my shoulder "I won't leave you until I'll be sure you are ready"

                    Suddenly, he lifted me with his arms, as if I was a three year instead of a fully grown person. He walked toward the couch, humming to himself some old song, and delicately put me on the soft fabric, my head on his lap. "You are hungry" he repeated himself "and you have questions- but most of all, you are afraid. You can't give yourself to that fear- that's how the Beast wins" a frowned showed between his eyebrows "that's how they win" he softly brushed my head, curling my hair around his delicate fingers "Fear will be the first thing we need to deal with, and I know exactly how" he smiled "I'll tell you a story"


                    That was too much for me. I may have been weak and confused- but I still had my sense of pride! I gathered every bit of air I could into my lungs and softly whispered "I.. am not.. a child…"

                    I hoped to offend him, to anger him, to break that marble like perfection of his- but it didn't work. He didn’t look offended. He didn't look angry. He looked amused. He laughed! His laughter was rich, dark and rolling on the tongue, like a warm wine.

                    "but you are a child" he said when he finished laughing, still smiling a wide smile "you are my child- and like any good parent, I'm going to calm you down and tell you a story". I was about to object him, to tell him I had my own parents- but somehow, I knew he was right. That somehow, he was my parent now- and I was his child. The world has changed, I have changed, and maybe instead of fighting it, I should just accept it and let him to lead me, like how he said he would.

                    Apparently, I was like an open book to him- because just as I've made up my mind, he softly nodded. He was satisfied, as if he decided he made the right choice. He wrapped my hair around one of his fingers, while his dark eyes turned away from me, looking at the shadows of the room as if he was trying reliving a moment from his past. He stroked my hair and started to tell the story with his rich, soft voice.

                    "Once upon a midnight darkly…"


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                    • #11
                      Ahhh, the cook's one of the

                      Formosae...



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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Yossarian View Post
                        Ahhh, the cook's one of the

                        Formosae...
                        Ding ding ding!

                        We have a winner! :P


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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Yossarian View Post
                          Ahhh, the cook's one of the

                          Formosae...
                          Formosae? What's that?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Ever Professional View Post

                            Formosae? What's that?
                            I understand you have never read the Wicked Dead. You should- it is late 1E, and it is an excellent book. As a part of the Night Horrors series, it is an antagonists book, one which focused on all different and exotic forms of vampirism. Some parts of it were already adapted to 2e, like the Strix, Draugrs or the Jiang Shi, while some are still un-updated, such as the Formosae- a Clan like splat which feed upon the emotions of others, turning them beautiful with their Kiss while they grew fatter and fatter. They call themselves the Beautiful Ones, as they were created to be beautiful and believe they are beautiful- and dare you to say it is not the case.


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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                              I understand you have never read the Wicked Dead. You should- it is late 1E, and it is an excellent book. As a part of the Night Horrors series, it is an antagonists book, one which focused on all different and exotic forms of vampirism. Some parts of it were already adapted to 2e, like the Strix, Draugrs or the Jiang Shi, while some are still un-updated, such as the Formosae- a Clan like splat which feed upon the emotions of others, turning them beautiful with their Kiss while they grew fatter and fatter. They call themselves the Beautiful Ones, as they were created to be beautiful and believe they are beautiful- and dare you to say it is not the case.
                              Ooooh. That book sounds neat. I haven't bought any of the Night Horrors books yet. I keep forgetting to buy them; at least I'll have to buy the vampire one.

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