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Six Pups-A-Changing

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post

    ​Only that the tide-born experiences the greater level of mental clarity and peace during the First Change; no lasting mechanical effects beyond that, except for the cultural expectations placed on someone who has had a Change that is seen as 'special'.
    So why not make Tideborn as having +1 bonus to Breaking Points rolls? It would make them much more stable in changes - but it's also mean they would stick longer at wrong Harmony level. Plus and minus at once.
    Last edited by wyrdhamster; 01-15-2018, 04:59 AM.

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    • #47
      A different constellation of pattern-finding, because I kind of want to run a game with this combination of strangenesses as a Particular Local Concern:

      Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post
      […T]he Curse relies on an instigator, a middleman that directly brings the Curse to bear on the very unlucky few. In each instance, the human encounters a being who challenges them on their crime; a strange old woman who somehow knows what they did, a cold-eyed man who doorsteps them and tells them they have a choice to make, a horrific creature that stalks them in the shadows and whispers their fate.
      A Cursed werewolf does not have an Auspice or any of the associated benefits; they bear the same aggravated bane of silver as a Pure, but also an additional bane which is always a local plant or timber - usually one with strong folkloric associations such as mistletoe, wolfsbane or ash. The werewolf does possess a remarkably strong affinity for rites, starting with an additional 12 dots of rites gleaned just through innate understanding of the symbols in the world, and purchases new rites with a discount of 1 Experience (to a minimum of 1).
      Cursed lean towards interpreting their condition through the lens of whatever major religions or philosophies hold sway in their human cultures of origin, so usually believe they are either cursed by demonic forces or have been given a second chance at making amends by holy forces.
      There is one last wrinkle to the tale. Occasionally, a Cursed retains their control over Pack Rites after the end of the Curse, able to serve as a ritemaster in the same way as some Wolf-Blooded and Claimed can. It's not clear why this happens; it may be linked to some sort of coming to terms with their guilt or overcoming the vices that drove them to their 'crime' in the first place, but obviously former Cursed are not themselves reliable sources on whether or not they feel they 'paid their price'.
      Red Wolf, the only Firstborn to embrace the Cursed, considers them lost children, and reminds those seeking its knowledge that not every player in a game can necessarily see all the pieces on the gameboard, or indeed all the other players at the table.
      Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post
      A prophecy can only be elicited once a year, and then only from the eldest oak in the region. The price is cheap enough for an Uratha, but others who would glean the wisdom of the trees have to swear to perform a duty in service to the oak; wise bargainers get the details on a task before they make the agreement, rather than leaving it open to the oak's malice down the line. Failure to carry out the duty will result in the spirit world turning against the transgressor, plaguing them with ill fortune and supernatural malisons; this is the case even if the oak's prophecy was a lie.
      ​There is one last wrinkle to the oaks and their prophecy, a scrap of lore so obtuse that only a tiny number of shaman know it to be the case. There are, from time to time, stories of beings wrought from lightning and metal; servants of strange powers indeed. Should such an angelic messenger give orders to an oak spirit, it can force the spirit to utter whatever the messenger desires in place of the augury that would usually spill forth. In this way, these beings can - on the incredibly rare occasions they appear - conscript the sacred oaks and prophetic wood-shrines of some human cults to serve their own manipulative purposes.

      Oak Prophecy (Pack Rite •)

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      • #48
        Here, have a really odd one Juuuuust to be absolutely clear, as ever - I am not suggesting any of this should necessarily be a part of the core setting! It's just another piece in the toolbox for anyone to grab and run with if they like, all thoroughly non-canon and where I can happily spin out the more excessive of my ideas.

        Envoys of a Stillborn World
        The moon wasn't always there.

        Where did it come from? Human scientists have competing theories. At some point in the colossally distant past, did a rogue planet slam into the world? Was that planet devoured into the Earth, its impact vomiting up so much lithic gore that it condensed into the moon after long aeons? Or did that rogue wanderer careen back away from the wounded Earth, itself rent and torn and lessened so that its crippled carcass was caught by the world's orbital grasp?

        Most werewolves don't like to think about this sort of thing much. It invites questions about the history of the Shadow or the nature of the moon that aren't easily answered. It leads to uncomfortable thoughts about the hows and whens of Pangaea and the before. So, most werewolves just don't think about it. The constancy of the Warden Moon thus remains comfortably unchallenged; there are rather more immediate issues demanding most Urathas' attention, after all.

        The past doesn't pay heed to what makes werewolves comfortable, though.

        There are places that bear the traces of that ancient orbicide. The cannibalistic carnage of one planet gorging on another was so catastrophic that, for the most part, the tidal waves of molten rock and evaporating stone covered over the world-swallowing, but some few shreds of the dead world still lie in the upper layers of the crust. Or, perhaps, they are pieces of the viscera flung into orbit that never quite reached out to the newly forming tumour of the moon before being recaptured by the Earth, pulled back down in fiery cascades to pierce through its skin and be buried. Stillborn fragments of dead worlds: the gobbets of a slaughtered sphere or the cast-offs that never realised their destiny to become part of the lunar orb.

        These things have power.

        They lurk, buried beneath the surface, wounded and sullen. They remember what they should have been; they know the spiritual fate that they were brutally sheered away from by the thuggish egotism of the planet that they now lie within the skin of as invasive little slivers. The boiling iron core has annihilated whatever else was left of Theia; or the Warden Moon has long since forgotten the fragments that it never embraced. And so, the stillborn wait out the aeons, dreaming of impossible futures. Every few million years, another is annihilated by the ceaseless movements of the mantle, or falls deep enough into the Earth's hot embrace to be boiled down and devoured.

        A few natural caverns have threaded down to one or other of the stillborn as billions of years have passed - cracked open by the thunderous pressures of stone-on-stone, or worn by the insistent and unyielding touch of water. One fragment, no more than a few hundred tonnes of ancient rock, was vomited up to the surface by volcanic activity. There's nothing particularly different about a stillborn fragment, even to scientific tools - after all, whatever collision spawned the moon from Earth's meat mashed everything together with such intense energy that it would take painstaking research to truly identify a given formation as part of that ancient impact. And then a nusuzul ends up near one, and things change.

        It happens from time to time. A caver or miner or explorer stumbles into a stillborn, entirely unwitting of both what they have encountered and of their own true nature. To the unborn fragment of a moon that never came to be, an as-yet Unchanged werewolf calls out - here is a vessel for the power of the being that you never became. And the bile-filled bitterness of billions of years of destiny denied rises up, and the stillborn shifts in its dreams, and it reaches out. What fell power is it that the stillborn pour into such a vessel? Is it the strength of a Warden Moon siphoned from a slain possibility, a fork that was brutally cut off? Is it the remaining reservoirs of the colossal spiritual might that Theia once bore? Or is it just the sickening stone-rot of something that should have died but which strove on regardless out of sheer madness?

        A stillborn can force a First Change in a nusuzul. By connecting its severed fate to the Uratha, it simply turns Luna's touch inside-out, spiritually gutting the werewolf before stuffing their soul full of the stillborn's own power. The outcome is a First Change that is not only of exceptional savagery and mutation, but one that literally causes reality to break down in the surrounding area; the fundamental laws of physics shudder and warp, the threads of the world peeling away, until the Change ends and existence breaths a sigh of relief.

        Although the experience is nightmarish for the werewolf, it is not vastly worse than a 'normal' First Change - in both cases, the victim is serving as a conduit for alien forces that their flesh and soul cannot fully contain. Having a bitter, ancient godling try to fuse a dead fork of probability into one's brain is not, strictly speaking, catastrophic in a way that having a changeling moon spill its infinite power through one's neurones is not. Unlike Luna, however, the stillborn are close attendants to their stolen envoys. An envoy always senses the stillborn's presence in the back of their mind, and the implacable will of the dead entity grinds like an avalanche against their senses when it exerts its influence over them. Worse, the envoy is haunted by flickering overlaps of the stillborn's dead future; over time, sanity corrodes under the weight of the alien presence.

        In mechanical terms, an envoy functions rather differently to a normal werewolf. An envoy lacks Auspice, Gifts, or Renown. Instead they can manifest Influences; an envoy starts with Influence (Earth) •••••, Influence (Death) •••••​, and an additional 5 dots to assign to other Influences. Envoys are capable of acquiring new dots over time and there is no limit on what sort of Influence they can acquire. However, the outcome of their Influences is always wrong or off in some way, as if derived from a warped reflection or parody of reality. Creatures, plants or objects created are mutated or subtly wrong with angles that don't quite work; energies and elements stutter and spasm in unnatural symbols; emotions and abstract concepts leave humans with ​deja-vu​ memories of lives they never lived.

        ​Envoys are channels for the broken power of their stillborn masters' unrealities which, even dead, are significant. An envoy possesses four times the usual Essence pool and rate of Essence per turn that their Primal Urge rank would normally grant them. In addition to Influences, an envoy has at least three additional powers it can trigger by spending 10 Essence; the below are some samples that an envoy might possess, but is not an exhaustive list and Storytellers are encouraged to create unique ones for a given envoy:
        • The envoy can call something forth from someone's past into the present, albeit wrong​ in some way. A widow's husband, lost during military deployment, suddenly reappears on her doorstep in good health even though she buried him a year ago; he has odd twitches and behavioural ticks, and seems compelled to odd behaviours. A murderer destroys the gun he killed his friend with; every day, he finds it anew in his desk draw, smeared in blood. A starving man finds a banquet of past feasts spread before him, but worms squirm through the fruit, and the taste of the meat is wrong.
        • ​​​​​The envoy can choke the fortune of a region, cancelling 8-again, 9-again and rote action special rules for anyone other than the envoy across the area for however long they like as long as they are present. Supernatural effects in the area that would tamper with fate or probability are suffocated and wither immediately. The power drains into the stillborn.
        • ​The envoy can extinguish all ghosts that hear them howl. Every ghost affected is drawn into the maw of the stillborn; the envoy gains access to any knowledge held by any of the destroyed ghosts.
        • ​The envoy can drown the tides of prophecy across a region
          for as long as they like as long as they are present
          . Attempts at prophecy, divination, farsight or other oracular powers see instead warped visions of a broken reality, or the overwhelming immensity of the screaming rage that burns as planets clash and grapple with one another in gluttonous slaughter, or a nightmarish future of blood and a broken moon falling from the sky. Anyone using such a power, such as a Cahalith's prophetic dream, suffers aggravated damage equal to the envoy's Primal Urge as their flesh rends or catches aflame with unnatural fire, or they expurgate a large portion of their bodily fluids out of their orifices.
        • ​The envoy can cause the energies within another supernatural being to fracture and erupt, using their own power to fuel a link to the stillborn. After activating this ability, the next time the envoy strikes a supernatural being with a pool of power - usually Essence, but also applicable to other beings with similar mechanics - it enters a Clash of Wills against the target. If the victim fails, and the number of points in their pool is equal to or greater than their remaining health, they are immediately torn from reality and annihilated, or possibly thrown into stillborn's false reality-that-never-happened.
        ​An envoy's general presence naturally mutilates the flow of reality around them; erratic and aberrant outcomes abound, especially when they are exerting their powers. Dice produce impossible results; plants wither and bloom, shuffling back and forth along the timeline of their brief lives repeatedly over mere seconds. A mirror cracks; it grants good luck to the one who broke it. All the human beings in a building repeat the same actions over and over again for a day, quite satisfied that they have spent their time usefully by the time the sun sets.

        Serving as the channel for the stillborn's madness means that Envoys themselves always suffer from the Madness Condition. This can potentially be removed but will reapply when the stillborn next exerts its will on them, or after a week, whichever is sooner. In addition, an envoy that enters soft rage immediately refreshes the chapter's pool of negative dice that the Madness Condition inflicts on it.

        ​An envoy does not suffer from the bane of silver. Instead, their bane is stone from the stillborn itself. The stillborn imprints commands on its envoy regularly, which the werewolf must attempt to fulfil to the best of their ability; they can resist the compulsion for a scene by spending one Willpower point, or for a day by spending two. Doing so causes Harmony to shift out of balance by 1 step - no roll is required, it simply moves to Flesh or Spirit, whichever would take it further from Harmony 5.

        ​The question, then, is what does a stillborn do​ with an envoy whose Change it has hijacked? What does a stillborn want? To what agenda does it set an envoy?

        ​The answer is a frightening one. As the dead, fractured pieces of an aborted planetary destiny, these stone gods are not sane in any way that a human or even a werewolf could understand. They yearn for the impossible outcome of fundamentally changing reality, which one might normally assume to therefore render them an irrelevance incapable of advancing their goals. However, even the last embers of the crucible of destruction that forged the stillborn are enough to grant them such a measure of power that, through the vessel of an envoy, they can achieve some​ of what they desire. And so envoys are instructed with absurd tasks and set to them with fervent energy - building occult matrices that start to warp and break elements of the world, picking at the seams to pry regions away from the sanity and normality that holds sway elsewhere. One stillborn craves its own little world; its envoy brutally seizes control of a criminal cartel, turns their human trafficking business into a pipeline for sacrificial victims, and literally rips a major city out of the heart of the United States. Afterwards, no-one remembers the city was ever there; stillborn and envoy have both vanished with it. Another stillborn, caught in an eternal and silent scream of outrage at the moon, has its envoy capture lunes that it spiritually mutilates, releasing them as a mangled, twitching choir of moonlit nightmares that declare their master to be the real Luna. Envoys are sent to harvest werewolves, force humans to build emission arrays that let the stillborn shout into the uncaring void of space, to grind pieces of the stillborn into dust and have it blown on the wind into human lungs where it grows into stone cankers, or any number of other bizarre and nonsensical tasks.

        ​A stillborn can usually only maintain a single envoy; death of the envoy burns out the stillborn's ability to create a new one for at least a century, but given how few envoys ever come into existence in the first place, this has a fairly minor impact.

        ​To the Uratha, envoys are bizarre, once-in-a-century events - hopefully, although their bizarre powers mean that it is possible they happen more frequently and just delete themselves out of existence, or manage bud off new timelines for their stillborn masters to dwell within. What little knowledge can be gathered on envoys and stillborn leads to wild conjecture. Are these Hosts, literally the Shards splintered from the death of the Shadow of Theia? They share some attributes with the idigam​ - are idigam world-seeds, their infinite possibilities craving to create, while the stillborn are the aborted detritus cast off from the ultimate evolution of the idigam​ process? Why, despite possessing immense spiritual strength, do the stillborn exist only in the Flesh? Is there any way to free an envoy from their fate - since, after all, most were potential werewolves who were victims of the stillborn, rather than willing confederates who traded sanity for power? What happens if Bale Hounds manage to find and awaken a stillborn and turn its reality-warping power towards the ends of the Maeljin? Just what would the unborn timeline that the stillborn crave actually have looked like?

        As soon as the choirs of lunes become aware of an envoy, Uratha in a region find themselves bombarded with dreams, cryptic orders and messages to root out and persecute the threat. Luna is utterly bent on the quelling of any earthside rebellion against its power and its throne; even with their nightmarish strength, stillborn are but bitter fragments before the might of the Warden Moon, and their ambitious frustrations will never be enough to overturn the world-murder that forged the lunar stride. The Queen of the Shadow brooks no challengers, not even these.

        - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer: Forsaken & Awakening 2nd Edition / The Pack / Dark Eras 1 & 2 / The Contagion Chronicle / Idigam Anthology / Night Horrors: Nameless & Accursed and Shunned by the Moon / Trinity Aeon / Aeon Aexpansion / And more besides...

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        • #49
          Hmm... very interesting. I feel like you could tie the Envoys to the God-Machine and/or Shan'iatu if you really wanted as well. Good stuff!

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          • #50
            So the envoys are practically Visitors which grant the First Change instead of immortality? That's really cool. An interesting side note- one of the professors in my university claims to have proven that the Theia hypothesis is wrong, for the moon and earth are way too similar in their chemical composition. Instead of a single planet, he says, the moon was formed from countless collisions, each being a small celestial body devoured by earth, each reaping a bit of earth's flesh and blood. In that case, the stillborn are not the creation of a single fate being torn down and eaten by Earth- it is millions of stillborn destinies, eaten by Gaea's hungry maw, leaving Warden Moon as the love child of those primal, cannibalistic wars.

            Just something to think about :P

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            • #51
              The 3:15s
              At 3:15pm on the 3rd of February, 2017, one hundred and ninety five people Changed simultaneously along the 90th west meridian, a line of longitude running down through Canada, the western United States, and a portion of Central America. Not all of the Changes occurred exactly on the line of longitude; the furthest affected were around 200 kilometres away. None of the newly-Changed had shown any signs of being Wolf-Blooded or nusuzul previously. The only warning was a spate of dreams experienced by Cahalith up and down the affected areas the day before.

              Given the phase of the moon at the time, all of those who Changed became Elodoths. While their Changes ran the full gamut of the usual possibilities, causing chaos and death, each fledgeling werewolf felt a connection to something greater during the experience - the sensation of contact with a larger group, the impression of other minds and souls undergoing the same. The Changes were linked by more than the same timing - each of the Changed was spiritually networked to the others.

              Uratha of all factions scrambled to deal with the unleashed mayhem, worsened by the fact that these Changes were occuring during the day. Unprepared packs pulled in all the favours they could to both pick up the shellshocked Changed and also cover up the consequences in a day that, on public record, saw a sudden spike in murders, accidents and criminal activity. Thankfully the 195 were scattered sufficiently diffusely across the several countries involved that no single human authority was able to pick up on the pattern; several protectorates along the 90th ended up temporarily co-operating and sharing assets to make sure this remained the case.

              The situation was aggravated by the fact that it wasn't just werewolves who were affected. Leylines touching the 90th meridian flared up with occult power; occultists and sorcerers found their rituals coming apart catastrophically, consuming them or letting loose carefully-caged entities. Once the metaphorical smoke cleared, it was evident that the death-toll was higher than the werewolves had been initially aware; the supernatural disturbance had crashed through the occult underworld wih devastating results.

              In the days to come, the strangeness of the Changes experienced by what would soon be called the '3:15s' became clearer, as did the fact that they were still linked. All of the Half-Moons were, and still are, bound with some sort of spiritual thread akin to that of a pack or Lodge, albeit with no clear totem acting as a spiritual anchor.

              A 3:15 werewolf is constantly under the effects of Pack Awareness applied to all other 3:15s, with no limit on distance, including the ability to speak mind-to-mind. 3:15s gain a +2 bonus to Empathy checks with each other and always benefit from 8-again on teamwork actions with other 3:15s; a 3:15 cannot attack another unless they first spend a Willpower point (which allows them to attack for the remainder of the scene). A 3:15 suffers the worst wound penalties that any 3:15 present in the scene with them is suffering; the death of any 3:15, regardless of distance, is felt painfully and drains a single point of Willpower. A 3:15 using their Auspice ability to trigger or cease Kuruth on another 3:15 does not expend the ability for the story.

              3:15s can always tell the time perfectly. They are also sensitive to magnetic currents, being naturally able to sense magnetic fields - including that of the Earth itself. A 3:15 can unerringly detect any forthcoming earthquakes that will occur within the next 24 hours, but this knowledge doesn't actually manifest clearly - the 3:15 just gets a strong sense that something bad or major will happen, growing more intense as each hour passes.

              The mystics of the Forsaken are frankly confused by the 3:15s. No-one is entirely sure what they portend. No-one can agree as to whether the simultaneous creation of a small legion of Elodoth along the 90th meridian is a purposeful act - the touch of Luna scouring across the Earth, or could it even be the mythical Gaia rising from slumber to exert its will? - or if it is simply a side-effect. The pulse of power down the meridian affected more than just werewolves; innumerable sorcerers and occult dabblers perished, there are reports that several dead bodies spontaneously animated and slunk off into the shadows and, even months later, other occult supernatural phenomena are unstable and unpredictable. In the Shadow, a piercing line of light blazed through the spiritscape in a perfect, unwavering path running north to south, energy pouring out of it; spirits were flung aside like leaves, or incinerated. So why did these Changes happen?

              The bonds of the 3:15s are equally bizarre. They are capable of joining Tribes and packs as normal, but are not capable of joining Lodges. The bond cannot be severed except by death; the 3:15s caught and stripped of Auspice by the Pure remain linked. Most of the 3:15s feel a pull towards their fellows, a desire to gather together. Already, several have begun to congregate; there are now three packs entirely made up of 3:15s in the United States. Most Forsaken are unsure whether to welcome the 3:15s as allies sent in a time of need, or to keep them at arms length as suspicious. The Pure are just as uncertain about how to react. Elders have attempted to use Pure 3:15s to lure in or convert Forsaken 3:15s but, after the early days of confusion and pliability, the Pure 3:15s are no longer co-operative. Despite the best efforts of those Anshega who thought to exploit these strange newcomers, most of the Pure 3:15s have also banded together to protect themselves and, although still following the general Pure creed, they are disobeying orders when it comes to their network of Forsaken kin. They see other 3:15s as closer comrades than any Pure; the Forsaken are worried that their 3:15s feel the same towards their Pure counterparts.

              Information and strategy spreads rapidly through the 3:15 network due to their ability to speak mind-to-mind with each other. They don't all get along - it's not a hive-mind - but they are strongly inclined to co-operation and, sometimes, under the half-moon, the network gains the strength to initiate a large mental conclave of dozens or even the entire 3:15 population, all communicating with each other simultaneously.

              The Forsaken 3:15s, for their part, say they're still finding their feet in a strange world. Some adapted faster than others; there are segments of the mental network who devote a portion of their emotions and energy towards soothing and helping the frailer members deal with the psychic shock of their changed lives. Most 3:15s spend at least some of their time trying to understand the nature of their particularly unique circumstances, searching for answers on the hows and whys of their spontaneous, synchronised Change. The fact that every single 3:15 has a large support network always there, just a thought away, means that they largely seem more well-balanced and sane than most other Uratha, possessed of a unified drive and motivation as they shunt tasks and duties around the network onto whoever has the actual ability to deal with such at a given time. The 3:15s laugh off 'conspiracy theories' that they are planning to build a protectorate just of their own kind and drive off other Uratha, or that they are cuckoos' eggs planted by some sinister being wanting to strike at werewolves, or that they already know the secret truth of 3:15 and just haven't told anyone else. Still, the sheer synchronisation displayed by a pack of 3:15s is deeply unnerving, ending each others' thoughts and sentences and moving more like a single being with each wolf as an appendage.

              Since the event, numerous occultists have looked at the meridians with paranoid suspicion for any signs of future flare-ups. None have happened. There remains no clear evidence as to why this specific time, why this specific place. 3:15s and their allies are hunting for any sign of a totem or patron being that could have triggered the Changes or be maintaining their spiritual bond, but have turned up nothing so far. The bravest of the 3:15s who earned entry to the Bone Shadows intend to petition Death Wolf to see if she has answers, but understand she will most likely just provide them with some alarming new questions to consider. The lunes have confirmed that the Warden Moon's touch upon the 3:15s is genuine, not false or stolen, but it still isn't clear whether Luna is behind the surge in the first place.

              Every time a 3:15 dies, the remainder of the cohort grow ever closer, their bond strengthening through shared pain and comforted by each others' mental presence. Every time, a clock-maker in Switzerland stares with horror as another of his glorious, delicate works splinters, breaks and forces its machinery to mark 3:15, uncomprehending as to why he is hounded by such a blighted curse. Every time, a new fracture cracks through one of the warped, gnarled teeth in Destroyer Wolf's maw, sending another little fragment to fall to the Shadow and tear through its fabric. The old Firstborn is growing surly from toothache, and the Blood Talons grow restless. Some look at the signs and portents sent by their totem and wonder if they will soon be given orders to purge the 3:15s, Pure and Forsaken alike. Others, believing the 3:15s a holy legion granted by Luna in a time of need, believe that soon their purpose will be made clear, and then the Suthar Anzuth​ will be called to stand in their defence against whatever enemy deserved the creation of such a cohort.

              - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer: Forsaken & Awakening 2nd Edition / The Pack / Dark Eras 1 & 2 / The Contagion Chronicle / Idigam Anthology / Night Horrors: Nameless & Accursed and Shunned by the Moon / Trinity Aeon / Aeon Aexpansion / And more besides...

              ​Like my work? Feel like helping me stay supplied with tea? Check out my Patreon


              • #52
                yeah, not creepy at all :P

                I wonder how the other splats would have reacted to the 3:15, or what other strange occurrences may have happened- mass risings of revenants come from their grave, as rumors circle about flocks of Owls circling the region right before the event. Paradoxes resulting from spells going out of control, while mages Awake in unknown proportions- but all of them are Banishers. Extempore are brought into life without a maker to guide them in their path, heralded by the burning qashmalim. Many people vanish without trace, eaten by the hedge- or perhaps Fetches rise spontaneously while the person they are meant to replace is still there. The Lucifuge feel the blood in their veins boil as a 7 new Seventh Generation awake to their birthright- but none of the line of Lucifer has died in their place: 3 are taken by the Lady, 3 side with the Chaeldan- but the last is yet to choose a side, and all of Hell waits for their decision. Avernian Gates open through the median, and strange beings unseen since the the recess in the Ocean of Fragments offer Bargains to give a second chance to the dead. Visions of Sutekh climbing a stairway to A'aru flash through the Sybaris visions, and the dead speak of prophesies long forgotten under the sands, and Eset and Azar have another chance at being reborn. The heavens seems to tremble as Infrastructures all around the world collapse and angels Fall, without understanding why did God abandoned them. Something seems to move through the Primordial Dream, alerting Beasts and send nightmares about a being older than time itself which awakened from its sleep- and the Begotten awake covered in cold sweat as they feel that primordial hunger. And that without mentioning other, weirder things- like the strange drawing the Baal Haddad seem to feel toward the ruins of Carthage, like the echoes of Father Wolf's death howls which seem to grow stronger and stronger, like the alarming rise in activity of the Maeljin and their agents around Gei Ben Hinnom, like the sudden gatherings of whatever remained from the prehuman civilizations in a scale which was never seen before, like the strange new changes added to Cheiron Group's logo, and rumors about the Board of Directors moving to "stage 37"...

                If Luna rose a legion, it is because there is a war in the horizon. Her Silver Crusade is armed and ready- unless her children would tear them apart beforehand.

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                • #53
                  Ok, anyone who runs a Chronicle with 3:15s, please post here how it goes once you've gotten through a few Chapters. I beg you

                  A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
                    Ok, anyone who runs a Chronicle with 3:15s, please post here how it goes once you've gotten through a few Chapters. I beg you
                    It is a very interesting take. I could see a Sense8 style story very easily. Expect with Werewolves. Probably intentional.

                    If anyone is curious, Chicago, St Louis, New Orleans, Lafayette, Jackson, Memphis, Thunder Bay, most of the Yucatan, almost all of Guatemala, practically all of El Salvador, about half of Honduras, and all of the Galápagos Islands fall within the range of the 3:15 event. Minneapolis is literally right on the edge of the range. Nashville is a bit further out, but still close. Have fun!

                    Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Mummy 2e; Scion - Mysteries of the World

                    CofD booklists: Beast I Changeling | Demon (TBA) | Deviant (TBA) | Geist l Hunter l Mage | Mummy | Promethean | Vampire | Werewolf (WIP)


                    • #55
                      Love the 3:15s. No idea what they're up to, though. I can't think of any event from that time but it seems to have linked them. Maybe something did happen, but like the Lodge of the Lost, it ceased happening. It's a lot to play with. Especially the idea that it may have happened before, but werewolves didn't have the infrastructure and knowledge to piece things together so well. I can see it happening in Dark Eras. Or even in modern times, with the new 3:15s coming into contact with the vestiges of a similar group from a hundred and twenty years ago.

                      The envoys are really cool, too. Definitely more of the antagonist angle I'd have a hard time getting a player to be one willingly. Could see it happening to a wolf-blooded packmate, though. Lots of drama, and some of their goals were in line with one of the first werewolf antagonists I faced (who wanted to swallow up a city and its inhabitants so it would be gone, forgotten by everyone, outside of time and memory).


                      • #56
                        ​Scars Of Rapture And Agony
                        Sometimes, a First Change carries more than just the blossoming power of the Auspice into the new werewolf. The conduit of Luna's might is supplemented by something darker and more visceral, but just as much of the Warden Moon - pain. These Changes are particularly tormented; the werewolf's flesh is overcharged with agony, coming apart in bloody excoriation as if flensed by its own spasmodic distress. The convulsive self-destruction can literally rip the werewolf to pieces, even as new limbs erupt from their tortured carcass and ruined skin is sloughed off and regrown repeatedly in a ghastly fast-forward. These bloody First Changes have always been extremely unusual and seemingly random; according to the Lunes, they occur when a Change is gifted even as the Warden Moon is herself wracked with agony. To the Lunes, and hence to many Forsaken, partaking of Luna's own pain is itself a divine sacrament, and so these tortured wretches are not to be pitied but to be held in reverence.

                        Such Uratha have been bestowed with a wide variety of names over the ages, but a particular one became widespread in the latter part of the 20th Century when the trigger of the agonised First Changes became clear. Much like Earth, the moon suffers its own geological activity - much less than it must have born in distant ages, when fire still poured forth to its surface, but still, moonquakes regularly run through its structure. The most powerful of these correspond to such First Changes where an Uratha is crushed beneath the sympathetic agony of the god. It seems that the most potent moonquakes are reflected in the Warden Moon itself, shivers of pain folded into its immanent being. These are not wounds in the sense that an Uratha would fear - they are not weakening Luna. Rather, they are simply part of its nature - deep scars from its battles with the Void, flaring with pain in both worlds. With this act of cross-referencing achieved, the Uratha subjected to Luna's pain commonly gained the moniker 'scar-born'.

                        Scar-born are possessed of incredible resilience, even by Uratha standards; the barbed roots of the Auspice are dug particularly deep into their meat and bones. As well as spending a point of Essence to regenerate lethal rather than bashing damage per round, a scar-born can spend a point of Willpower to double its basic regeneration rate for the scene. Aggravated damage heals twice as fast for a scar-born, and a Willpower point allows a scar-born to immediately remove all incapacitating effects or Tilts from losing body parts. This effect is so extreme that a scar-born subject to an effect that would atomise it, incinerate it, disintegrate it or otherwise utterly annihilate its body entirely can spend a Willpower point to reform straight away - a ghastly sight as blood clots of out nothing, silver threads weave through cancerous bulges of meat, and bones crack and lengthen to rebuild the werewolf from the inside out.

                        The divine pain that heralded their rebirth never fully leaves a scar-born. Scar-born cannot benefit from any effect that would reduce or eliminate wound penalties - even Gauru does not ignore them - and changing form is painful and faulty. After changing shape, a scar-born must either pay a Willpower point or suffer a -3 wound penalty, which reduces by 1 per turn until it is entirely lifted 3 turns later. Even in human or wolf form, the scar-born inflicts Lunacy during these turns; it takes time for the shredding flesh and mutated bone growths to retract and correct themselves. Scar-born can never change shape as a reflexive action, regardless of their Harmony. A scar-born in Death Rage suffers a penalty equal to their Primal Urge to Speed, Initiative and perception-based dice rolls as their own meat starts to rip them apart from within; scar-born Kuruth often involves fountains of blood flushing from sudden wounds, limbs rending away only to be replaced with thrashing new ones, and strips of hide peeling away as if struck by some nightmarish whip.

                        The pain that scar-born feel has power. A scar-born leading a rite does not suffer wound penalties to their dice pool; instead, any wound penalties are converted to a bonus of equal size. Scar-born also always gain the 9-again rule on all social dice pools interacting with spirits that are not actively hostile to Luna, and the 8-again rule on social dice pools dealing with Lunes. Furthermore, while suffering wound penalties due to having any of their last three health boxes filled, a scar-born gains a point of Essence the first time each day they see the moon rise in any phase, not just that of their own Auspice.

                        Despite being monstrously tough, most scar-born are more cautious than the average werewolf when it comes to risking violence and injury, and are wary about changing shape when it isn't needed. Careful management of the condition can minimise the extent to which a scar-born has to deal with the harsh downsides, and for some the pain becomes more of a companion than a threat - a challenge that they relish overcoming. However, there is a way to alleviate the divine touch of Luna's pain entirely - to have the auspice torn out by the roots. A scar-born who undergoes the Pure's shriving rites and has the auspice lifted from them loses all the benefits and penalties of their condition; the divine link born from sharing the moon's suffering is severed along with the auspice. Unsurprisingly, numerous scar-born have willingly sought out the Pure for this precise reason, and their very existence is used as another string to the rhetorical bow of the Anshega preachers and zealots.

                        In 2009, many Uratha watched in either alarm or rapt interest as NASA slammed a kinetic impact device into the moon for scientific purposes. In various locations, Forsaken watched nusuzul closely, in case the lunar collision triggered anything unusual in First Changes that day; some expected the result to be a spate of scar-born erupting into being. Tonnes of weight of meteors and other objects strike the moon every day, of course, and these impacts don't seem to affect the Changes that spatter the world below, but the orthodox opinion amongst most shamans is that these are the rightful and dutiful processes of the moon's warding stride, therefore suffering such is natural for Luna - and likely barely even noticed, given her scale. The NASA Centaur, on the other hand, was not part of that natural cycle, therefore might have a more symbolically powerful result.

                        However, the impact had no evident influence across most of the First Changes that occurred around its time of impact. No scar-born came into existence, seemingly hardening the hypothetical link to the deep moonquakes.

                        Still, some Forsaken find it hard to believe that so symbolically meaningful an act on humanity's part as intentionally driving a nail into the flesh of Luna could have no consequences. And they're right, but it will likely be some time yet before they can ever enjoy the knowledge that they are correct, and that the 2009 impact did indeed touch a tiny number of Changes in the world below. After all, the subjects of that story are still held deep in the bowels of Ivory Claw holdings with the most ironclad spiritual and physical security they can manage - monstrous and agonised vessels twisted beyond any recognition of something so small and frail as a werewolf, bloated with divine pain, caught and transfixed in a charnel house of the darkest biospiritual endeavours that the Tzuumfin have ever attempted.

                        But their time will come.

                        - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer: Forsaken & Awakening 2nd Edition / The Pack / Dark Eras 1 & 2 / The Contagion Chronicle / Idigam Anthology / Night Horrors: Nameless & Accursed and Shunned by the Moon / Trinity Aeon / Aeon Aexpansion / And more besides...

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                        • #57
                          Brutal! And you finally got the one that lets a werewolf survive utter annihilation. I might even play this one. I enjoyed being able to change fast in my last character, who lingered at Harmony 5 for a surprisingly long time, this would be a nice change and the benefits totally worth it.

                          The Ivory Claw plothook is a perfect cherry on top, too.


                          • #58
                            Got en Himmel! how do you stop these things?

                            A god is just a monster you kneel to. - ArcaneArts, Quoting "Fall of Gods"


                            • #59
                              Let's finish off with some more weird, eh?

                              Altered Perspectives
                              It's not always about the Uratha.

                              There are First Changes that are bizarre, or that have strange knock-on consequences, or that leave lasting scars on the world, not because of what the werewolf experiences but because they leave their mark on someone else. Most werewolves know well enough that they can change a human's life through their actions, even mutilate them spiritually by exposing them to too great a tide of Luna's madness and infect their blood with that of the Wolf. The First Change, though, has an even greater potential for altering any humans caught up in them, burgeoning with sheer transformative power as such an event is.

                              Most First Changes don't involve this, of course; most are just nightmares of blood, death, fear and madness for the humans caught up in them. From time to time, though, the circumstances are such that a more significant transmogrification occurs. Three particular types of change are... well, it would be misleading to call them the most common, since that would imply any of them are anything but outrageously rare and bizarre. Still, these three changes are ones that have been repeated, that have manifested more than once in forms that are roughly equivalent to each other.
                              Haruspex are humans exposed to the nightmare of a First Change who have suffered such intense, sharp psychological and spiritual trauma from the incident that they are no longer to see anything but the harsh, cruel truth of the world. Most humans manage to get by, day-to-day, with enough of a shroud of self-delusion and carefully-tailored ignorance to cushion their mind and lubricate the basic processes of societal interaction. Haruspex are no longer capable of this; they possess a strong enough sense of self-identity and determination not to mentally buckle in the face of what they have witnessed, but are spiritually contaminated by the activities of Shadow denizens caught up in the First Change, generally due to being directly Fettered or Ridden for brief moments during the mayhem.

                              A haruspex suffers the Madness Condition, but the penalties it applies can only be levied to attempts to ignore, deny or shut away feelings or fears, to attempts to avoid perceiving things that the haruspex does not want to see, to attempts to lie and to interactions with other human beings. Every haruspex has a unique capacity to see a form of truth, depending on the context of the First Change they were caught up in and the spirits involved. One haruspex can see Twilight beings; another sees peoples' Vices and Virtues bubbling beneath their skin masks, or knows whenever someone lies to them. Additionally, haruspex can perform auguries; they can attempt to drain information from the patterns in the world around them into a sacrifical vessel that they can interpret. Performing an augury requires a living sacrifice relevant to the type of information sought (rats to learn where someone is hiding in the sewers; birds to seek an impression of far-reaching consequences such as the impact of a decision on a company's stock market values; dogs to sense the depth of another's loyalty; a human sacrifice can stand in for any other creature, and provides the most powerful and clear results). The haruspex kills the sacrifice and examines their corpse - looking at striations on skin, fondling viscera to feel the answers squirming within, stripping and chewing down meat to taste the impressions they seek. This involves a Wits + Occult roll; success grants the haruspex some sort of result, which is usually a general impression but will be more precise and exact the more successes are achieved. A haruspex can perform an augury once a week. Finally, a haruspex can learn pack rites and serve as a ritemaster, but most haruspex are not aware of this (and indeed have no knowledge of what rites even are).

                              Due to their nature, haruspex often seek more understanding of the instigating events that have violently torn the shroud from their eyes. The impulse to kill and read truth from the slain is strong and instinctive, rising up from no-where; a haruspex usually discovers the ability in the ghastly aftermath of having used it for the first time, spattered in blood but with the deeply satisfying sense of an answer bubbling up in their guts and mind. Most haruspex end up very much dead due to possessing the ability to see the secrets of the world but lacking means of protecting themselves; some few become powerful werewolf-hunters. Others find a place for themselves in the world, standing in the shallows of the supernatural as shamans and seers for other humans who are in-the-know enough to want their services. There's at least one major Fortune 500 company that has a cabal of haruspex casting the auguries for the board on any major decisions that are to be made.

                              Beastmen are humans who have gotten the terror and transformative energy of a First Change all too mixed up with existing neuroses and anxieties - the kind that are so deep-rooted, that have had so many years gnawing at the human's mind, that they're now a fundamental part of his or her self-identity. There's no shortage of people like that, of course, and what exactly triggers a beastman to be different to any other like them seems to vary; one case might be an injury inflicted by a nusuzul that the victim goes near-mad panicking over the possibility that they, too, might have been infected with lycanthropy through; another has always had threads of self-contemplation where they see themselves as an animal, rendered perhaps more or less than other human beings through their mental association with some creature or another, and this gets all tangled up in Luna's mad scourging as the nightmare unfolds.

                              At first, there's nothing to indicate the beastman's changed state beyond an excessively stimulated mindset of guilt, anxiety or obsession about something that occurred during the Change they witnessed. Then, one day, they wake up to find their body is changing. Not Changing - they're not becoming a werewolf. Rather, their own negative thoughts have been empowered, strengthened such that the psychic weight begins to warp and deform them. It begins as horifically as it will ensue, as an animalistic face seems to slowly grow and emerge in the meat of their flank or leg, or a scrofulous rash that bulges and buckles to reveal keratinous lumps or tangled sprouts of fur, or the bones in an arm start to crack and reform into the spinal lumps of a tail. At this point, the beastman usually rapidly descends into total madness, withdrawing from society out of terror at both what is befalling them and what will happen if anyone else witnesses their rapidly growing deformities. Spending a point of Willpower allows a beastman to resist the transformation for a day, but also deals a point of aggravated damage; this damage takes the form of the flesh rapidly hollowing out and sagging, strange ichors oozing forth, and eventually - upon all health boxes being filled with aggravated - by a rapid decomposition into a stinking, fetid soup of organic matter.

                              As the transformation fully takes hold, it warps the victim into an animal - almost always something that the victim's society sees as lowly or undesirable. The face on the flank sprouts out into a full head even as the rest of the human folds and distorts down into a smaller form, their original face losing features and folding back into their body, one arm atrophying away, the other becoming a tail, new appendages bulging out of the guts; perhaps wings, perhaps clawed little limbs. Fur or scales spread cancerously. Over five days, the beastman becomes entirely beast - usually somewhat unusual in appearance, a rat of unusually large frame, or a dog with particularly deformed bones, a pigeon with eyes too human and twisted little talons that leave it hobbling. Thus rendered down, the human devolved to beast has their sapience part-drowned in the tide of instincts that now wash through them. They will, for the rest of their lives, bear enough memory of who they are and what they know to manage brief sparks of horrified self-awareness or of connection to things and people they were linked to; some slowly rebuild their minds over years, humans trapped in animal bodies. A few manage to latch onto supernaturally aware beings with whom they can manage some level of communication, desperately seeking a way to reverse this curse.

                              The Forsaken have no idea why this happens, or how to cure it.

                              Finally, dopplegangers are created due to near-instinctive use of the Skin Thief Facet by First Changing werewolves. Some Uratha begin with a Wolf Facet already unfolding in their Essence, and the use of this Facet comes easily and naturally to them even during the First Change. In the case of Skin Thief, this can mean that the werewolf ends up flaying the skin away from a victim and donning it to take their form without really knowing what they're doing, often as a panicked response to a threat or fear that intrudes during the process - more than one nusuzul has woken up, shivering and covered in blood and strips of skin, having evaded not just mortals but werewolves on their trail purely out of instinct. Most victims of sknning during a First Change die, or are horrifically scarred and wounded for the rest of their lives. A few, though, through some absorption of the metamorphic energies washing off the werewolf, are themselves changed.

                              A doppleganger is capable of spending Willpower to rearrange their own features and appearance. It costs one point to change facial features, one point to change general size and bulk of frame - including height - and one point to change other distinctive features such as skin colour, voice or apparent sexual characteristics. A doppleganger can hold these changes for up to a day; after this, they can spend one Willpower to maintain all such features for another day, regardless of how many points it took to establish the appearance in the first place. A doppleganger can attempt to copy another person's specific appearance by succeeding at a Wits + Empathy roll, although it's hard to get every detail right; this roll is automatically passed if the doppleganger consumes an internal organ of the target they are trying to copy. A doppleganger can manage limited forms of other shapeshifting, enough to give themselves a point of armour or add a point of lethal damage to their unarmed attacks for a scene for one Willpower point.

                              The doppleganger capabilities come naturally, as does the craving for human flesh. A new doppleganger has no way of knowing their new state until they find themselves subconsciously using the powers or their flesh just starts to run like candlewax, meaning a fresh nightmare as they struggle to deal with it. The hunger for flesh can be resisted, but indulging it restores a Willpower point to the doppleganger per health level they eat - the human source doesn't need to be alive, although eating cadavers is hardly a fantastic alternative either.

                              Human dopplegangers are one thing, but Skin Thief can also be used on predatory animals - and sometimes is by First Changing werewolves. Animal dopplegangers are even rarer than human ones, but lack any sort of self-control over their hunger and capability. A doppleganger hound, probably the most 'common' kind, looks like some sort of chimeric dog patched together from several animals, pieces occasionally shivering and shifting to change appearance with no coherent drive or pattern. When approaching prey, things get really weird; the animal will try and copy something less threatening to get close, and seem to be far more protean than a human doppleganger, so a hound may, for example, slither from a dog-shape into that of a cat or a bird or a snake - all equally mutated in aesthetic - before reverting back to its canine appearance when it goes for the kill. And, of course, these animal dopplegangers also crave human flesh. Why exactly such byblows of the Moon's warping power are so prone to these grisly dietary urges remains unclear.

                              Animal dopplegangers tend to live very short lives. Human ones, on the other hand, can survive for a very long time indeed. Understandably, they tend to blame werewolves for their state of being - although some dopplegangers would rather exploit and expand their new nature, desiring more power rather than just recriminations against the monsters who changed them. It's not uncommon for a doppleganger to get it into his or her head that what they need to do is eat a werewolf to gain the power of one, or, if they discover the existence of rites, that there may be some rite that can either purify them of the Moon's taint or that can more fully empower them.

                              Interestingly, they're not exactly wrong. Lunes are capable of Claiming dopplegangers with trivial ease, but rather than forming a hybrid mind, this initiates a Clash of Wills between doppleganger and Lune. Whoever wins establishes total control over the resulting Claimed; thus a Lune winner becomes essentially an embodied spirit, not fighting the resistance of the flesh, while a doppleganger winner results in them gaining much more extensive shapeshifting capabilities, all the spiritual might of the Lune imprisoned within their quicksilver flesh but no longer able to influence their desires and thoughts.

                              Animal dopplegangers automatically fail this Clash of Wills. There's at least one Lune on the run from the Moon-Choirs, a criminal to the high courts of the Warden Stride, hiding in an animal doppleganger body in Paris. The Lunes haven't a hope of finding her; the Forsaken the Silver Heralds have set on her trail are equally flummoxed. Each night she changes her shape again; each morning sees her as another different little piece of Paris's ecological fabric. One day the animal body will give out and die on her, and she'll have to go hunting for a new doppleganger to steal, a hermit crab discarding one after the other to stay safe from her former family.

                              - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer: Forsaken & Awakening 2nd Edition / The Pack / Dark Eras 1 & 2 / The Contagion Chronicle / Idigam Anthology / Night Horrors: Nameless & Accursed and Shunned by the Moon / Trinity Aeon / Aeon Aexpansion / And more besides...

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                              • #60
                                Really cool, the Haruspex make me think of Boris Dragosani, from Necroscope. The Beastmen seem sad and gross but I could easily imagine them with more important roles in a story. And the dopplegangers are awesome, but I've loved aspects of Skin Thief since second edition came out. I think it would be cool to have one in a pack, if one managed to get over their bias. Interesting plot hook with the lune possession, too.

                                I really like the way these alternate changes turned out, glad this one won the vote.