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Six Pups-A-Changing

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  • Acrozatarim
    started a topic Six Pups-A-Changing

    Six Pups-A-Changing

    Sitting here, drinking tea... suddenly remember I haven't put the next thread up yet!

    ​Better late than never, right? So here we go with number 7; grab your voting buttons for:

    ​a) Rules for six variant First Changes occurring under strange conditions; or
    b) Six sample newly-Changed Uratha, some with very unusual circumstances.

  • Second Chances
    replied
    Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post

    ​I haven't seen Sense8 - is it any good?

    ​And yeah, it's an interesting strip of land around that meridian. Could also catch unfortunates who were out at sea in the area during the event.
    I've actually only seen the first episode, but it is excellent. Very weird and sci-fi in a way that transfers to the occult very easily. My partner is obsessed with it and has binged it in about two weeks. And its pretty much exactly this concept.

    Leave a comment:


  • Acrozatarim
    replied
    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

    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.
    ​Eh, it doesn't really connect in very much to the metaphysical concepts that may be at work with the tide-born, I feel. For me, it felt better to give them a purely narrative element and let them stand as a comparison for the weirder shit.

    Originally posted by Second Chances View Post
    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!
    ​I haven't seen Sense8 - is it any good?

    ​And yeah, it's an interesting strip of land around that meridian. Could also catch unfortunates who were out at sea in the area during the event.

    Leave a comment:


  • Acrozatarim
    replied
    Originally posted by ArcaneArts View Post
    Cool stuff so far.

    For the FIIIIIIIVE POOOOUUUUNDS OF MEAT! I kind of hope Acro just puts up, like, five photos of steak tartare that he made.
    Now that the Five Pounds Of Meat thread is up, checking back in on this:

    ​I was tempted, but I couldn't afford steak for dinner :P

    Originally posted by nofather View Post
    As an inverse of the Orbitals and extension of the Tideborn do you think anything special would happen to those rare First Changes taking place literally under the sea (f anything)?
    ​Not for any reason directly related to that of the Orbitals or Tideborn, but it's possible there might be other influences in the icy, crushing gut of Mother Ocean that could affect things.

    ​I mean, it is one of those 'good odds everyone dies' situations, but a werewolf who did manage to survive could well come up spiritually cored out by something just as ravenous as what lies beyond the Warden Moon's stride.

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post
    Ok but why would someone think an elephant is a lowly animal worthy of contempt? Otherwise, awesome!
    who am I to claim to understand the mysteries of the human mind? :P

    but more seriously, the chances are that if that elephant is truly a beastman, they were devolved into another animal, Awakened after some time, and decided "screw being a human- I'm an elephant!" or something like that.

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Ok but why would someone think an elephant is a lowly animal worthy of contempt? Otherwise, awesome!

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by Master Aquatosic View Post


    OMG, you're right! You got ninja'd, LostLight. Though that seems more "what could have been" then "a lie inimical to sane reality", but close enough
    you call it ninja'd, I call it "having Acorzatarim saves me work and effort".

    Anyway, some thoughts about beastmen-

    You know what could be cool? If, perhaps, while the beastman devolves into animal form, they somehow stumble/develop a Body Thief ability. Perhaps they learn the ritual before they completely lose their human form. Perhaps its happens just out of despair, as the beastman just yearns so much to become human more than they want to become themselves. They bite their victim, and their mind and soul leave the tormented body.. as their target falls into theirs. The trick? The curse doesn't care about the vessel- it is a product of the broken, tormented mind. Each time they steal a body, it is destined to become a beast, meaning that as they jump from one body to the other, they leave behind a trail of lost souls who became trapped in a body which is not their own. Who knows what would happen if they'll try to bite a werewolf- or worse, if they'll bite a doppelganger?

    Other beastmen may choose other paths for salvation- there are rumors that at least one beastmen has managed to learn the Skin Thief ceremony. The creation of a talisman may be a problem for those completely devolved, but possible for those who are in the stages of the transformation. They are even able to retain their original form- but the problem is, of course, the fact that they need to skin humans to do so. As the curse constantly clash against the powers of the ceremony, the talisman can't be of the permanent kind. It always degrades- and even faster than it normally does. Some beastment skin thieves also turn to become grave robbers in order to gain access to permanent supply of corpses. Others choose.. different means.

    Finally, we should remember that while the beastman's body has changed, their mind and soul are all the same. Vampires are known to make animals into ghouls- and some of them may even gift their vassals with the ability to shift and meld their form. Regular animals can't do much with those powers- but one with human intelligence may be able to regain their original form, using the right Devotions.. if they are willing to sacrifice their freedom to an undead monster. Mages, with their control over Life and Spirit, may at least temporary reverse or slow the devolving- but few mages do such magics for free, and who knows what would happen if the Abyss would contaminate the spell. But again, the soul of the beastman is still human, and as everyone know, the Awakening care only for the soul not the body. That story about the Awakened elephant in Astral Realms? He didn't always had four legs and a trunk.

    Leave a comment:


  • Master Aquatosic
    replied
    Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post
    Envoys of the Stillborn - Now we have 'Abyssal werewolves'!

    OMG, you're right! You got ninja'd, LostLight. Though that seems more "what could have been" then "a lie inimical to sane reality", but close enough

    Leave a comment:


  • wyrdhamster
    replied
    Envoys of the Stillborn - Now we have 'Abyssal werewolves'!

    Leave a comment:


  • Acrozatarim
    replied
    Originally posted by Nicolas Milioni View Post
    Do beastmen have any kind of special power? Do they gain something from their change?
    ​Nope, unless you classify being a tormented human mind trapped in an animal's form as being a power.

    Leave a comment:


  • LostLight
    replied
    I'm going to have to uses for both Haruspex and beastmen for my werewolf hunting conspiracy (just imagine the zoos of former humans, being trained to track down an alert for the movement of their tormentors). Doppelgangers are cool, but they are definitely more of antagonists than protagonists- but I may find some uses for them :P Still, good work, as always.

    Leave a comment:


  • Nicolas Milioni
    replied
    Do beastmen have any kind of special power? Do they gain something from their change?

    Leave a comment:


  • Second Chances
    replied
    Creepy. I love them! Always nice to see more human hedge sorcerers as well!

    Leave a comment:


  • nofather
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Acrozatarim
    replied
    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.

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