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Broken Shards - Shartha infesting non-humans

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  • Broken Shards - Shartha infesting non-humans

    Thought for the day: Is there design space, do you think, for Shartha that infest animals other than humans?

    ​I wonder if they would lose a lot of their horror, and blur lines with Claimed, if they were able to turn creatures other than humans into Hosts. At the same time, perhaps it might work via the notion of broken or dysfunctional Shards that, for whatever reason, didn't work properly and couldn't take human vessels. Alternatively, perhaps non-humans just can't maintain infestations for very long at all and will always just fall apart very rapidly, preventing proper metamorphosis and turning them, instead, into something more like suicide bombs full of spiders or rats - another, short-term vector for infestation into human vessels to be carried through.

    ​Thoughts?


    - Chris Allen
    Freelance Writer, The Pack / Dark Eras / Werewolf: the Forsaken 2nd Edition / Idigam Anthology / Fallen World Chronicle / Trinity Aeon

  • #2
    In areas where there isn't many humans (like the middle of the outback or a rainforest) I imagine shartha would rarely use the only materials they have available, animals. I think the resulting abomination should be rather unique, for example I had a cow which had an azlu shard in it which caused it's milk to be tainted and people who drank the milk ended dying in their sleep from spiritual webs becoming weaved in their throats. The cow was found dead after only a few days, it's blood replaced by venom of no known creature so it didn't harm many but still.

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    • #3
      They'd sorta be like those spirits who Claim objects and animals instead of people, I guess? Claiming objects means less stability, so the spirit is doing it either as a patch job or a stepping stone. I figure it'd be the same with Shartha. Claiming animals is easier but means less means to influence the world, so once again it's a patch job or a stepping stone for the spirit and a same case for the Shartha-equivalents.

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      • #4
        Since some of the hosts are pretty big I find it hard to imagine them really taking over animals, many of which are small. Rat hosts digging into the chest cavity of a cat and taking the place of their heart, for instance, seems silly. But the idea of a 'suicide bomb' animal full of spiders certainly has its appeal. Perhaps they could control or ally with similar-animal spirits, azlu with spider spirits, and ready other animals for claiming by them, Rank 1 spirits for a certain cunning, just enough to know when to attack and when to roll over and let the swarm pop out?

        I do think the hosts could use an upgrade in second edition. They're really scary but they didn't seem to catch on too much.

        EDIT: Was thinking about this. One thing people seem to like about second edition is the micro or mini templates. Shartha are incredibly alien, never really human even when bonded to one, I'm sure people would dig them more if they had a human representative, even if it was as an offshoot of one of their abilities or a failed hosting attempt or, somehow, a cured hosting. Maybe a human who somehow has a host shard in their soul.
        Last edited by nofather; 12-31-2016, 12:46 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by nofather View Post
          EDIT: Was thinking about this. One thing people seem to like about second edition is the micro or mini templates. Shartha are incredibly alien, never really human even when bonded to one, I'm sure people would dig them more if they had a human representative, even if it was as an offshoot of one of their abilities or a failed hosting attempt or, somehow, a cured hosting. Maybe a human who somehow has a host shard in their soul.
          's'funny cos I am playing with the idea of something like that in my Hong Kong chronicle with a familial line that's potentially been 'tampered' with by Beshilu meddling, or at least by something capable of controlling Beshilu.


          - Chris Allen
          Freelance Writer, The Pack / Dark Eras / Werewolf: the Forsaken 2nd Edition / Idigam Anthology / Fallen World Chronicle / Trinity Aeon

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post
            's'funny cos I am playing with the idea of something like that in my Hong Kong chronicle with a familial line that's potentially been 'tampered' with by Beshilu meddling, or at least by something capable of controlling Beshilu.
            Well it makes sense. They've been around almost as long as werewolves, if not as long. They don't seem to be as capable of civilization as humanity, but they do have a malign cunning and intelligence. There's probably a lot of things they could have done over the years.

            A mere mortal with no magic powers, knowing about the spirit, can go very far. An entire species with innate abilities to let them affect it and travel across worlds could get a lot of weird advantages over the years. I hate to use the term 'shaman' because I've been playing Mordheim and rat shaman makes me think skaven, though I think they're more into flat out sorcerers. But if the werewolves have managed to eke out rites based on old pledges, why not the beshilu. And if a newly-Embraced or magically-enhanced vampire can still potentially knock up a human or get knocked up, why not a beshilu host? Or even just rats, 'enhanced' from the spiritual closeness to the beshilu soul shards.

            One thing I like is the idea of some sort of shartha progenitor Firstborn. Ancient children of Plague King and Spinner-Hag, trapped or otherwise banished eons ago, able to act as patrons for beshilu, and great enemies for werewolves, though not as 'big' as the progenitors themselves. Maybe made with spirits, maybe Pangaeans, maybe they were made with human slaves and weird Pangaean magic.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by nofather View Post
              One thing I like is the idea of some sort of shartha progenitor Firstborn. Ancient children of Plague King and Spinner-Hag, trapped or otherwise banished eons ago, able to act as patrons for beshilu, and great enemies for werewolves, though not as 'big' as the progenitors themselves. Maybe made with spirits, maybe Pangaeans, maybe they were made with human slaves and weird Pangaean magic.
              Are there not some kind of church of Beshilu in Shadows of UK? They should work for something like that,


              MtAw 2E - My Legacies and System Hacks Hubs
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              WtF 2E - Alternative werewolves myths from around the world

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              • #8
                Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
                Are there not some kind of church of Beshilu in Shadows of UK? They should work for something like that,
                Yes, there's different Ministers, and ideally a Messiah that will lead the way to the Plague King's return. It's the kind of thing that can easily make a 'simple' beshilu story a more involved one. But it seems more of a regional thing, something the beshilu in the UK appropriated. It was really that, and the Mother's Army in Danse Macabre that kind of lean me towards liking the idea. It's a 'gonzo' covenant, a more extreme version of the Circle of the Crone. Part of their mythology has the Crone as real monster of some sort, the creator of vampires, and their first goal is trying to get the world ready, mainly by converting as many vampires as possible, forcibly if necessary, for her return. Their second goal is to, quoting here, 'awaken the Mother's children. The Mother created the Kindred from her own monstrous flesh and blood, and those children, like her, are sleeping. They must first be roused from torpor. These children - often called the Igigi, or the "second gods" - are sometimes thought to be the clan founders, though nobody really has any evidence for that (and the Mother's whispers indicate that at least thirteen such children lay slumbering, which obviously outnumbers the extant clans by more than double).' I always liked that bit but I don't really see Vampire embracing it, so to speak. It seems like more of a World of Darkness thing, rather than a Chronicles, involving a lot more concrete world building. But even without Firstborn or whatever they would be, the hosts could have reasons for factions within them, such as the beshilu in the UK taking up religion or tarantula-based azlu eschewing vast for brute strength and venom.

                It's just a thing of mine. I've always liked big bad guys in groups. The Ten Who Were Taken and the Four Horsemen.

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