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Last-minute changes to chronicle; need help making StrixLand

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  • Last-minute changes to chronicle; need help making StrixLand


    I’ve got a player who is kind of unhappy with the situation their character has landed in, and wants a quick out (it’s a very early session and the die have been really hard on her. now she’s next to empty and was just caught feeding off a homeless dude and only has 3 blood). She’s now crying alone in a park, far away from home, hoping that no one is after her. So I thought I would introduce some weird Strix stuff to try to shake things up. The player doesn't know that the Strix are malicious.

    What I’m thinking is a Strix lands in front of her, tells her that she is being pursued, and offers to help her. It then leads her to some creepy place, has her perform a ritual, and leads her through an opening into whatever shadowy otherworld the Strix come from. I figure the friendly Strix will then get her through to some location in the otherworld, have her perform the ritual, and then she'll be spat out in a new location in our world.

    But I need to fill the Strix Otherworld so that she's got things to do and isn't completely railroaded.

    What would you do to provide some interactivity?
    Last edited by DubiousRuffian; 01-03-2019, 05:51 PM.

  • #2
    The most obvious thing that comes to mind for interaction with weird empty worlds by material beings is psychodrama. You encounter the baggage you bring in with you; have the character's exit ritual take cues from what she left behind and what she wants from her relocation.

    You can basically run it like a torpor dream with drastic consequences.


    Resident Sanguinary Analyst
    Currently Consuming: Changeling: the Lost 1e

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    • #3
      So I was definitely thinking have the ritual be character developing. The player indicated that she wanted to beat someone up, so I figured the ritual would look something like:

      1. Take the animal you fed on (and had better have killed), tear its head off and hang it from a tree.
      2. Smear yours and the animal's blood on the big jutting rock in the clearing.
      3. Sing (I really like the idea of Threnodies). The words rise out of the beast. She sings about what she has lost (what have you lost?) Who took it from her (who?) And what she will do to them (what?)
      4. Then to get out, do the same thing again, but in reverse: What will you do? Whom is it to? What did they take from you?

      Then I figure this is a contract with the Strix, and they will enforce it.

      I really like the idea of the Otherworld being like a torpor dream, but I don't really have any ideas for surreal shit to have happen.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
        I really like the idea of the Otherworld being like a torpor dream, but I don't really have any ideas for surreal shit to have happen.
        The Strix hate Humanity. Hate that vampires hold onto it, and hate them with a kind of personal force for doing so. A Strix who is "being nice" to a vamp is one that has found a leverage point at which it intends to pry against the Kindred. (Or it's bored and its Vice is triggered. That works, too.)

        Perhaps the "surreal shit" might be associated with the characters' number and tiers of Humanity, and the associated offenses that trigger checks against them?

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        • #5
          The city is lousy with Strix. The prince has some ritual that keeps them in check. I think this helpful Strix sees an opportunity to overthrow the prince -- the character was caught feeding off the homeless guy by the prince using Obfuscate 4 to look like a normal human.

          I like the idea of it being connected to her humanity. The character was bullied a lot as a kid and Her biggest defining characteristic is her sense of responsibility to her family. Her touchstone is her (literal) baby brother.

          Fun fact:I looked up the name Hantu (an example Strix), and it turns out that 'hantu' is the Maylay word for demon/spirit/ghost. It looks like there are many different types of hantu. While digging this wikipedia hole, I found a lot of supernatual Maylay creatures that have to do with murder victims and dead/aborted babies. Which is thematic.*


          So I am thinking that my Hantu (not book-Hantu, their personalities will be different) is somehow related to those phenomena. Maybe in the Otherworld you can hear babies crying. Maybe she sees her brother tottling around... If she goes to after the image... Scene of her family asking why she let her brother die? They tell her she should kill herself? If she starts to do it, Hantu can cut her to break her out of it. Obviously I'll need to check in with the player to make sure she's ok with things getting really messed up.


          *...and I've been itching to steal the image from Secrets of the Covenants with the trees with dolls heads hanging from each branch... I wonder what's under those trees...

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          • #6
            Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
            Maybe in the Otherworld you can hear babies crying. Maybe she sees her brother tottling around... If she goes to after the image... Scene of her family asking why she let her brother die? They tell her she should kill herself? If she starts to do it, Hantu can cut her to break her out of it.
            I honestly don't know if I'm comfortable with this. I think I may just have the player go through some of the character's formative experiences, and have them play out in a negative way. So like, her dad took her to the fair one time? All the rides were terrible and rusted and her father yelled at her the entire time. Maybe between memories, she'll have flashes of the Strix looking down at her from trees.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post

              I honestly don't know if I'm comfortable with this. I think I may just have the player go through some of the character's formative experiences, and have them play out in a negative way. So like, her dad took her to the fair one time? All the rides were terrible and rusted and her father yelled at her the entire time. Maybe between memories, she'll have flashes of the Strix looking down at her from trees.

              Getting cold feet?

              The owl with the luminous eyes flits silently ahead, some part turning to watch. To keep her in silent judging view. She wanders under the forest of blasted branches, from each hangs a decapitated doll's head. Their eye flicking open at the sound of her approach through the rustle of dried, paisley fabric scraps on the forest floor. So many discarded leaves. So many discarded toys. Never needed. Never loved. The little heads rotating to follow by a scarlet thread tangled amidst the hair. Tiny, plastic mouths pursed eternally to suckle.

              She must not wake them. Not make a sound that Baby can hear. For if she does there will rise a thousand tinny cries of "mama!" from the soft loam and drifting dress fragments. Followed by tiny, grasping fingers pushing up like so many fresh cabbage sprouts. Clutching feebly, if insistently, at her toes.

              They worm from the ashen earth, little limbs that cling, pinching, at her clothes, her flesh. Flopping on articulated joints until a little purchase can be found, then crawling upward in search of comfort. She screams, plucking and wiping at them as the squirm in a mat of thousands. Tiny plastic torsos rise on unsteady feet, speakers clogged with earth or swaying from ragged, broken holes. "Feed me!" "I'm hungry!" "I love you!"

              She runs. Little doll eyes turn. Little doll heads follow, trailing twists of little red twine. Floating from behind the dead trees. Down from among the twisting branches. Their little eyes mirrors reflecting her screams as they pass beyond the ken of living lungs. Little faces smooth and flat reflecting the blood standing out on her forehead.

              Knees on stony ground, hands clawed as she screams. Mirrors embedding in the stones, rising straight and sharp and high. A wilderness of mirrors of her watching her scream. Mirrors reaching up, up to shadows on wings that swoop and tuck and soundlessly thrust into that scream. She thrashes a long moment, throat distending, arms raised, quivering fingers feathering against the sky.

              The mirrors are gone. Sharp needles risen into the sky. Her head lifts, golden eyes shining, and it turns, cracking the neck. Once.

              She walks, feet crunching heedlessly on pebbles, throwing her awkwardly out of gait. There is a pool, still and bright, reflecting strange stars wheeling above. She blinks at her golden eyes. Twice. They fade, and she suddenly shakes, blinking. A drop of blood flings into the pool, and it ripples to reflect a place. A--home?

              She nods. Stands awkwardly.

              "Yes. It is time."

              The pool ripples like quicksilver as she falls face-first. In the silence, it reflects strange stars, spinning like mirrors above.


              ...

              Just keep in mind that the Strix would probably love to break down her Humanity, so that even if she's not lost to draugr (and the Strix might, yaknow, offer her a bargain to avoid losing her mind...), she'll shuck aside her Humanity like a set of old, ill-fitting clothes by the time she's done what they wanted--a naked goddess of predatory murder given wings.


              --Khanwulf
              Last edited by Khanwulf; 01-05-2019, 01:11 AM. Reason: Edited for additional content.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post


                Getting cold feet?
                Me? Never. I was originally thinking of having her watch her little brother get killed and then have everyone in her family blame her. I'm not against it in principle, but I think in order to do it well, it would have to be every npc directing every conversation into egging her into committing suicide. And that's kind of a crushing feeling to go for, as both a player and a GM. Aestetically it didn't feel right. Also, I don't want to actually break the character. The metatextual reason for this sequence is to enable the character to get a couple of wins. Part of the problem was that the character felt directionless, and was still in denial about being a vampire.

                Ultimately, what I did was have the owl walk her through the ritual, then they pass into... something. I tried to keep it vague, so that the shadowy otherworld was just one vision among many. In the ritual, I had the character name what she had lost, who took it from her, and what she would do to her. The character basically had three big themes -- social and familial isolation, feeling unsafe and like a failure, and her dependance on her little brother. So I tried to give visions of smiling people with glowing eyes picking at those feelings of rejection and failure. Then interspersed with visions of dark hungry things in the trees above -- all staring down at her.


                I think we got some really good emotional development and direction for the character, and I was able kind of plant some strix-seeds.


                The owl with the luminous eyes flits silently ahead, some part turning to watch. To keep her in silent judging view. She wanders under the forest of blasted branches, from each hangs a decapitated doll's head. Their eye flicking open at the sound of her approach through the rustle of dried, paisley fabric scraps on the forest floor. So many discarded leaves. So many discarded toys. Never needed. Never loved. The little heads rotating to follow by a scarlet thread tangled amidst the hair. Tiny, plastic mouths pursed eternally to suckle.

                She must not wake them. Not make a sound that Baby can hear. For if she does there will rise a thousand tinny cries of "mama!" from the soft loam and drifting dress fragments. Followed by tiny, grasping fingers pushing up like so many fresh cabbage sprouts. Clutching feebly, if insistently, at her toes.

                They worm from the ashen earth, little limbs that cling, pinching, at her clothes, her flesh. Flopping on articulated joints until a little purchase can be found, then crawling upward in search of comfort. She screams, plucking and wiping at them as the squirm in a mat of thousands. Tiny plastic torsos rise on unsteady feet, speakers clogged with earth or swaying from ragged, broken holes. "Feed me!" "I'm hungry!" "I love you!"
                I really enjoyed your vision of this scene -- and am probably going to steal it if anybody ever goes back to that place (and I just know they will). But in particular I love the dread that comes with "She must not wake them." Kind of like a nightmare when you know that you must prevent something from happening, but you know that it is going to inevitably happen anyway. My city's prince is a Nos, and I feel like this is something he would do...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DubiousRuffian View Post
                  I think we got some really good emotional development and direction for the character, and I was able kind of plant some strix-seeds.
                  Sounds like mission accomplished!

                  I really enjoyed your vision of this scene -- and am probably going to steal it if anybody ever goes back to that place (and I just know they will). But in particular I love the dread that comes with "She must not wake them." Kind of like a nightmare when you know that you must prevent something from happening, but you know that it is going to inevitably happen anyway. My city's prince is a Nos, and I feel like this is something he would do...
                  You or anyone is welcome to it. It was your seed after all: the idea of the Maylay "Forest of Unborn Toys".

                  And yeah, it would have to exist in a kind of nightmare. One way or another.

                  And if it doesn't have one? It'll create one. So can be carried back to the land of the living. A gravid subconscious.

                  --Khanwulf

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