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  • #76
    Oooh, interesting. I always thought Bird the Pangaean was half-dead somewhere and bleeding the Strix out of her wounds, but having degenerated into a mass of eyeballs is even creepier.

    Now that we have teeth, meat, and eyes, what will the other two be? Skin and hair, perhaps? Skin-thieves are a horror staple. And judging from the level of research done on Tokyo, someone must have noticed that the Japanese words for “hair” and “spirit/god” are homonymous...


    MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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    • #77
      Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
      Skin-thieves are a horror staple.
      We have a lot of them. It's a wolf-blooded Tell, a Wolf Gift, there's even a variant in Six Pups-A-Changing.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by nofather View Post

        We have a lot of them. It's a wolf-blooded Tell, a Wolf Gift, there's even a variant in http://forum.theonyxpath.com/forum/main-category/main-forum/the-new-world-of-darkness/werewolf-the-forsaken/1174969-six-pups-a-changing?p=1176028#post1176028"]Six Pups-A-Changing[/URL].
        Good point.

        Hmm... if not skin, then what could the next one be... fingernails? Hands?


        MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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        • #79
          Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
          Good point.

          Hmm... if not skin, then what could the next one be... fingernails? Hands?
          Oh it totally can be I just mean if you want some existing ones.

          I'm hoping we see some more supernatural-oriented ones, as in, things that happen to werewolves or hosts or whatever, not just humans (though I've loved the ones so far).

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          • #80
            Well that was creepy as all get out. Great job!


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

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

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            • #81
              Originally posted by LostLight View Post
              So, while I have no idea what is the source of the inspiration, that eye is truly terrifying. It practically screams God Machine, but then you add few hooks which make me question whether it is truly the case. I kinda expected to see a reference to the Eye (as, the Exarch), but oh well (maybe I missed it, I don't know).
              ​Well, if you're using other supernatural types in a Forsaken chronicle, my general attitude is that one should fold, bend, spindle and mutilate other lines' cosmologies and mythologies to better match Forsaken (and vice versa if you're featuring some werewolves in a different game's chronicle). So you could have Awakened turn up and discover that the 'Eye' they think is some sort of supernal god is actually this thing.

              Anyway, considering that we have been through teeth/bones, flesh and eyes/brain/nerves, I can assume that the next organ would be something about the intestines? I have no clue about the "fifth pound of meat", however.
              ​I'm not intentionally doing it according to a list of organs or tissue types; Toothcracker comes off one of my neuroses, Perspective is directly inspired by some nightmares and dreams I had as a kid, and I knew I wanted to do a 'cult of flesh' when the notion of an advertisement shouting 'Meatwave Meatwave MEATWAVE!' just lodged into my mind. I know what number 4 will be, and am mulling over a few different ideas for number 5 still.


              - 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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              • #82
                Ahhh crap just doublechecked my mental notes and remembered something from The Perspective that I forgot to include in the write-up. May well knock it together and post it in a bit.


                - 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

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                • #83
                  Here we go, the extra thing from the Perspective I missed at the time of writing:

                  Hearts of Glass
                  One other strange effect falls upon regions closely observed by the Perspective - or, rather, on the creatures living therein. Beyond the immediate area wherein the Gauntlet is rendered transparent, but not reaching out the entirety of the wider lens of light, living beings in a narrow band find a lethargy descending upon them. The sluggishness is gentle at first, and easily ignored. After dwelling within the affected area - which could be anything from a few yards across to a swathe of land, depending on the size of the hive itself - for a number of weeks equal to the creature's Resolve + Primal Urge, a startling transmogrification falls upon them. This effect can be avoided by regularly leaving the area for significant amounts of time, resetting the duration; as such, some people living in a tenement with a hive in its basement might never be affected due to spending most of their days elsewhere, whereas the more housebound or those without good reason to leave as often may fall victim to it.

                  The first effect is mental; the lethargy grows greater. The victim finds it too easy to fall into contemplation, or to seek out and stand in the light and wallow in its rays. Other concerns fall away; any urges to leave the area, or indeed move around much at all, fade. The second effect is decidedly, and strikingly, physical: the victim's skin slowly becomes glassy and translucent. Over days, their dermis and portions of their flesh within become glistening and transparent - crystal-clear meat in which bones, organs and veins can be perceived. The transformation soon advances; the skin and flesh becomes not just glassily transparent, but glass-like in brittleness. While they still flex and shift as the victim moves, they are rendered disturbingly fragile. A hard knock sends fracture-likes dancing along a limb; a fall or a strike shatters the skin entirely, smashing the victim open like a vase and sending their innards sloshing out in catastrophic exodus. Unsurprisingly, victims thus rendered are careful and patient with their movements, wary of breaking themselves and numbed by the lethargy that clouds their minds.

                  Sufferers of this vitrification do not seem to require any sustenance other than light. Inevitably, most soon perish from a stumble or an accident, their innards spilling out or rotting away and leaving eerie, partially-shattered glass statues from whatever of their skin may remain. Long-term survivors fall into a sort of comatose state, frozen in the pose they drifted off during until they are disturbed. Perspective-Infected largely ignore vitrified creatures, but they will some times move slumbering ones to form odd galleries of statues around Hive areas, seemingly fascinated with the way light refracts through the throbbing, oozing viscera and the translucent flesh.

                  Vitrification affects any living creature; glass vermin in particular end up clogging the spaces between walls or frozen in the corners of rooms like a mad glass-blower's fantasies. Werewolves are not exempt; although an Uratha will usually detect something is awry well before vitrification takes hold, upon occasion one will fall victim due to unusual circumstances. For most, vitrification is a one-way ticket; if removed from the area of effect, a human or animal starts to crack and fracture within minutes, leading to death. A werewolf suffers something similar, but as their warped flesh shatters, their regeneration rapidly replaces it with normal, healthy meat and skin.

                  Why vitrification occurs is unclear. Approaching an established Perspective hive is an unnerving experience, walking through airy and light rooms where glass people are frozen or lie shattered on the floor even as lines and angles play visual tricks and corridors seem to stretch off far farther than they should. Sometimes hives do not emit the vitrification effect, which appears to be associated with some sort of intentional suppression of it to hide the Perspective-Infected's presence from outside forces. That the Perspective is aware of the vitrification, and can control it, is all that can be gathered from this evidence; the Infected themselves have no interest in discussing it with Uratha or anyone else.


                  - 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

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post
                    Here we go, the extra thing from the Perspective I missed at the time of writing:

                    Hearts of Glass
                    One other strange effect falls upon regions closely observed by the Perspective - or, rather, on the creatures living therein. Beyond the immediate area wherein the Gauntlet is rendered transparent, but not reaching out the entirety of the wider lens of light, living beings in a narrow band find a lethargy descending upon them. The sluggishness is gentle at first, and easily ignored. After dwelling within the affected area - which could be anything from a few yards across to a swathe of land, depending on the size of the hive itself - for a number of weeks equal to the creature's Resolve + Primal Urge, a startling transmogrification falls upon them. This effect can be avoided by regularly leaving the area for significant amounts of time, resetting the duration; as such, some people living in a tenement with a hive in its basement might never be affected due to spending most of their days elsewhere, whereas the more housebound or those without good reason to leave as often may fall victim to it.

                    The first effect is mental; the lethargy grows greater. The victim finds it too easy to fall into contemplation, or to seek out and stand in the light and wallow in its rays. Other concerns fall away; any urges to leave the area, or indeed move around much at all, fade. The second effect is decidedly, and strikingly, physical: the victim's skin slowly becomes glassy and translucent. Over days, their dermis and portions of their flesh within become glistening and transparent - crystal-clear meat in which bones, organs and veins can be perceived. The transformation soon advances; the skin and flesh becomes not just glassily transparent, but glass-like in brittleness. While they still flex and shift as the victim moves, they are rendered disturbingly fragile. A hard knock sends fracture-likes dancing along a limb; a fall or a strike shatters the skin entirely, smashing the victim open like a vase and sending their innards sloshing out in catastrophic exodus. Unsurprisingly, victims thus rendered are careful and patient with their movements, wary of breaking themselves and numbed by the lethargy that clouds their minds.

                    Sufferers of this vitrification do not seem to require any sustenance other than light. Inevitably, most soon perish from a stumble or an accident, their innards spilling out or rotting away and leaving eerie, partially-shattered glass statues from whatever of their skin may remain. Long-term survivors fall into a sort of comatose state, frozen in the pose they drifted off during until they are disturbed. Perspective-Infected largely ignore vitrified creatures, but they will some times move slumbering ones to form odd galleries of statues around Hive areas, seemingly fascinated with the way light refracts through the throbbing, oozing viscera and the translucent flesh.

                    Vitrification affects any living creature; glass vermin in particular end up clogging the spaces between walls or frozen in the corners of rooms like a mad glass-blower's fantasies. Werewolves are not exempt; although an Uratha will usually detect something is awry well before vitrification takes hold, upon occasion one will fall victim due to unusual circumstances. For most, vitrification is a one-way ticket; if removed from the area of effect, a human or animal starts to crack and fracture within minutes, leading to death. A werewolf suffers something similar, but as their warped flesh shatters, their regeneration rapidly replaces it with normal, healthy meat and skin.

                    Why vitrification occurs is unclear. Approaching an established Perspective hive is an unnerving experience, walking through airy and light rooms where glass people are frozen or lie shattered on the floor even as lines and angles play visual tricks and corridors seem to stretch off far farther than they should. Sometimes hives do not emit the vitrification effect, which appears to be associated with some sort of intentional suppression of it to hide the Perspective-Infected's presence from outside forces. That the Perspective is aware of the vitrification, and can control it, is all that can be gathered from this evidence; the Infected themselves have no interest in discussing it with Uratha or anyone else.
                    Damn,poor glass people

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                    • #85
                      Apologies; planned to have the fourth entry up by now, but just not feeling it today; hopefully I'll get something written up tomorrow.

                      ​Will be starting the Four Gifts thread before I do all five entries for this thread, as I plan something slightly different for the voting options on that one and want to give people more time on it.


                      - 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

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post

                        ​Will be starting the Four Gifts thread before I do all five entries for this thread, as I plan something slightly different for the voting options on that one and want to give people more time on it.
                        Oooh,sounds nice

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                        • #87
                          Parasite/Symbiote
                          At first, the horrified Uratha assume that the whole grotesque cascade of events is entirely the work of the Shartha. It makes sense - the ravenous nightmares, the gut-puppeted victims, the bloated juggernauts, they're all directly and visibly the action of Host Shards enacting some insane scheme. Yes, the horrors have expanded capabilities against those previously witnessed in the Shartha but, as any veteran Hunter in Darkness can attest, the Shartha have a talent for producing strange new fleshworks with their warped human bodies, and the Beshilu in particular possess a knack for engineering meat monstrosities to particular purposes.

                          And so they nod and snarl and ready themselves for grim carnage, all with the understanding that what they are witnessing is terrible, but that it is a known and comprehensible thing.

                          This first part, this initial phase of corruption, starts with the signs of people turned to tools. There are Shartha directly puppeting bodies, yes, but they are working with and around other vectors of the Host's will. They've snatched these people away with ravenous eagerness, dragged them off to... somewhere... and brought them back not with a rat or spider nestling in their viscera, but with Shartha seemingly leashed to them. Ropy entrails slither from split guts to tangle and merge with a Shartha's own body, or tumourous growths extend pale, flabby umbilicals that connect at the back of a Host's neck, or polyps bud out slender, almost ephemeral tendrils that slowly drift in the breeze that catches them where they extend out to bite into a Shartha's meat with lamprey mouthed tips.

                          The victims, these reverse-infestations of human and Host, seem confused and disoriented during initial encounters. Their bodies are wracked with fresh eruptions of recent cancers and sores, or peppered with chitinous nodules piercing out of cracking skin, but whatever change this may portend is not yet of any great extent. They sometimes mutter or whimper, or even manage strangled screams; yet at other times they possess a disturbingly placid, serene manner and speak with almost monotone voice. Their steady shambling sometimes descends into an almost frenetic, panicked stamping for brief and fitful moments. They don't seem to know quite where they are, or what they're doing, except for when they are presented with food. Then they eat, frenziedly. Anything goes; carrion or rotting matter is guzzled down eagerly, small animals are grabbed and ripped into with their bare teeth. A crippled human is set upon by a pack of Shartha-infesting humans and devoured alive; sometimes the humans will cry and try to apologise while shovelling gobbets of raw meat into their mouths. In particular fits of confusion or dismay, the victims will try and eat thoroughly inedible materials, gnashing jaws shattering their own teeth in the process.

                          A couple of things are notable here. The first is that the human and the leashed Host share certain elements; the human will 'steal' Essence from the Host's pool to heal damage, and if injured enough, the increasingly frantic Host will literally wither away, its stolen human form dessicating and eventually the Shard itself decaying. It seems completely unable to discorporate while leashed. In return, the human's consumption seems to feed the Shartha as well, generating a point of Essence for every few hours in which the human has acquired sustenance. The second, rather stranger thing is that, if the human manages to injure or get their teeth into another Shartha, they rapidly drain the Essence from that Host and it also cannot discorporate. Thus a Shartha-human tag-team will descend upon an unleashed Host, seize it and together devour it hungrily down; if the human swallows the Shard itself, that Shard does pass through the human's own biospiritual presence and into the human's leashed Host.

                          So this bizarre carnival marks the first phase of the ghul's presence: humans-to-leashed-to-Hosts emerge in packs, slithering through the Shadows, shambling after prey, eating, hunting other Shards. The leashed don't turn on each other; a Host severed from its leashed human will flee the area, consumed in a frenzy of panic, while the human will regain their awareness and self-control but will suffer a painful death as their bodies hypermetabolise and autocannibalise. It's disgusting to watch; a severed human's body starts to stagnate and suppurate over mere minutes, steaming from internal digestion-of-the-self, rendering themselves down into a sloughed mess, a cancerous soup. Depending on the Hosts' own intelligence, the Shartha try to keep their humans inconspicuous and to hunt cleverly. The Shartha are driven by an urge to find and devour non-leashed Shards, but the humans just want to eat.

                          Uratha engagements with these tag-teams are largely predictable in their outcomes - the Shartha are early-stage puppet infestations rather than heavily mutated, combat-evolved engines of destruction. A lone, unwary Uratha may fall foul of the Essence-devouring and shape-locking capabilities of a leashed human, but otherwise the pairs are likely to be easy prey.

                          Shard-Eater
                          Int 1 Wits 3 Res 2 Str 4 Dex 2 Sta 4 Pre 3 Man 1 Com 1
                          Athletics 2 Brawl 3 (Grappling)
                          Merits: Iron Stamina 3
                          Willpower 3 Essence 2 Health 9 Initiative 3 Defence 4 Speed 11
                          Essence Leech: A shard-eater who inflicts damage in a grapple can drain a number of points of Essence from a victim equal to the amount of damage done. If this would take the shard-eater over their Essence limit of 2, they can transfer excess Essence to their leashed Host. Excess Essence beyond that needed to fill both the Shard-Eater and the Host's pools coalesces within the shard-eater's body as silvery tumours in their flesh.
                          Leashed: A shard-eater is leashed to a Host-infested human. The two cannot move more than 30 yards apart from each other. If the leash is severed - it has Health 5 - the Host is freed and the shard-eater suffers 1 bashing damage per turn until death.
                          Madness: Shard-eaters always suffer the Madness Condition.
                          Regeneration: A shard-eater automatically spends 1 point of Essence to heal a single bashing or lethal damage each turn if it or the leash is injured. If the shard-eater runs out of Essence, it absorbs a point of Essence from the leashed Host, dealing 1L to the Host in the process; if the Host has no Essence, it deals 1A to the Host instead.
                          Shape Lock: When a shard-eater inflicts damage with a grapple to a non-spirit, the injured prey cannot discorporate, change shape or otherwise alter its form for one turn.

                          Although ghastly, the strange symbiosis seems absurd rather than seriously threatening. Yes, there are more human victims being caught up in this madness and, yes, the humans do seem to possess unexpected capabilities, but the leashes provide more of a liability than anything else. Warier, wiser Uratha ponder what the point of such a hampering move is. Is this a quick way for a hive of Hosts to gather up and consume non-allied Shartha, consolidating power rapidly? Is it the work of human sorcerers using the Shartha as incubators, fuelling some transformation of their own? The Hosts are mad, yes, but even in their alien manner there is usually some form of method and purpose.

                          Perhaps a pack kills a few of the fleshy tag-teams, watches in horror as the human digests themselves right in front of their eyes, and is left sifting through the stinking remains to find some of these odd, silvery nodules like metallic cancers in the dead human's meat. The things seem to be evanescing slowly once pried free of the flesh, but a shaman who can get their claws on a lump quickly enough can learn a few things about it. Firstly, it's ephemera-made-material - it's Essence mixed with biological matter, a cyst of the Shadow budding in the human vessel. Secondly, it's resonance is striking - the closest thing any shaman may have sensed to this Essence is that of the shining legions of the moon-choirs. And thirdly, thirdly, it is alive. Even as it slowly reduces away to nothing, they feel the seed of something else at its heart, an intrusion within that turns its attention to the Uratha and observes them. Silver bubbles and roils as mercury eyes emerge to stare briefly, before folding back within the tumour.

                          The time it takes for the ghul to move to the second phase is hard to estimate - anything from days to months. A successful, intense purge of the leashed Hosts can potentially stop things in their tracks at this point. Tracking the things back to their source reveals what looks like the heart of the affair - somewhere, in the base of the Hosts' operations, there is a tangled, weeping, groaning mass of humanity all melded together. It's a crude work, like someone has somehow rendered a half-dozen humans briefly into the consistency of dough and just pushed them together til they can't come apart, then let them return to their usual consistency. The mass hangs with heavy buboes that bud silvery lumps, and a profusion of umbilicals spill from amongst the tottering, kicking legs of its undercarriage. Humans dragged to it are forcefed an umbilical by their Host captors, spilling silvery ooze into their guts that stirs the fleshtwisting change that will pair them with a newly-prepared Shard. When the pairs return after successful 'hunts', the reverse is true; the leashed human vomits Essence-lumps into the mouths of the spawning mass. The horror is trivial to kill for a werewolf pack; it's utterly incapable of defending itself, and the expressions of pain and misery on the faces of its component parts leave the execution seeming more of a mercy than anything else.

                          Once enough Shards have been gathered and Essence harvested, the second phase begins. If the Uratha don't reach the nest's heart before this stage, they won't find a mewling mass of human victims; they'll encounter something rather more dangerous. In the second phase, the harvested Shards are concentrated by the Hosts into a single vessel, with many of the leashed Hosts being sacrificed entirely in the process. The created Shard, burgeoning with power, ravenously devours the human mass in an orgiastic feast that may last days, causing it to bloat and swell to vile proportions in the process. Once done, it pupates within a cartiliginous membrane, leashed humans slumbering around its flanks and servile Hosts watching over it; the sleeper seems to emanate some sort of compulsion that forces the weakest Shards nearby into service even if not leashed. When it finally wakens, carving its way from its fleshy prison, the juggernaut within is vast in size and power.

                          Still, there have been Shartha of immense size and strength before. What makes the juggernaut different is that it is, again, leashed. If too few humans have survived the initial phases, servile Hosts will have gathered more via whatever means necessary. These victims are forced into the corrupting embrace of the leashed humans, whose umbilicals and guts now connect them all to the juggernaut, and who force the victims into nightmarish union with new tendrils from the juggernaut's flanks.

                          At this point, the leashed communion no longer needs the lesser Hosts. The juggernaut's compulsions fade over time; strong-willed Hosts escape, while the weaker are eaten by the juggernaut's humans-in-waiting. Connected directly to the immense Shard's power, the humans are now greatly enhanced; their personalities have been subsumed and drowned into a hivemind through their fleshy connections, and their corrupted bodies boil and bubble with silvery Essence. The juggernaut itself serves as their hub and the object of their loving, delighted attentions, but it is not the master here; it is an obese animal subject to strange urges and hungers it cannot understand, a lobotomised godling demanding the cannibalism of its own kind.

                          Now the humans emerge by themselves as handmaidens and courtiers, possessed of cunning and intent. They're still tethered, but the fleshy threads of intestine or sinew are far longer, looser, and pull more loops easily from the juggernaut's flanks. The courtiers move singly or in pairs, careful how they manouever through the surrounding area, wary of going too far or presenting their umbilicals as vulnerabilities. They hunt for prey. Humans who can be duped and caught are taken back to be eaten, their meat and Essence serving as fuel for the unholy abomination that is the juggernaut and its court. It needs a lot of fuel. Shartha are viciously pursued and eaten, their Shards carried down the threads to the juggernaut and its ever-bloating spiritual strength.

                          Werewolves are hard to capture, and risky to attack; the courtiers will avoid them, if they can. If forced, or should an opportunity present itself with little danger, they will attempt to subdue and carry an Forsaken off to the juggernaut. Here, the Uratha is not simply killed. Instead, the court will attempt to harvest it, day after day, hour after hour. Every limb but the head is severed and eaten by the courtiers, their threads pumping Essence and meat back up to the hungry juggernaut. As the meat regrows, it is cut away again, courtiers standng ready as butchers to carve the livestock up. What the courtiers will not do, if they can avoid it, is actually kill a Forsaken. Pure, on the other hand, don't get the regenerating-cattle treatment. The courtiers will instead attempt to outright kill Pure as soon as possible, then will treat the remains in a perversely hypocritical manner - they, despite being corrupted and diseased monstrosities, dispose of the Pure remains as clinically and cleanly as they can, using whatever substances are available to burn or scour away what they seem to perceive as a tainted or infectious presence.

                          Argent Courtier
                          Int 4 Wits 6 Res 4 Str 6 Dex 5 Sta 7 Pre 4 Man 2 Com 4
                          Investigation 3 Athletics 4 Brawl 4 Stealth 3 Weaponry 3
                          Merits: Iron Stamina 3, Fast Reflexes 3, Fleet of Foot 3
                          Willpower 8 Essence 15 Health 12 Initiative 12 Defence 9 Speed 19
                          Dread Powers: Home Ground (immediate presence of the juggernaut), Monstrous Resilience, Regenerate 1, Swift
                          Essence Leech: An argent courtier who inflicts damage in a grapple can drain a number of points of Essence from a victim equal to the amount of damage done. Excess Essence drained in this way is passed onto the juggernaut.
                          Leashed: An argent courtier is leashed to a juggernaut. The courtier cannot move more than 1000 yards from the juggernaut. If the leash is severed - it has Health 10 and 4 points of armour - the courtier suffers 1 bashing damage per turn until death.
                          Madness: Argent courtiers always suffer the Madness Condition.
                          Shape Lock: When an argent courtier inflicts damage with a grapple to a non-spirit, the injured prey cannot discorporate, change shape or otherwise alter its form for one turn.
                          Silver Flesh: By reflexively spending 1 Essence an argent courtier can make use of the Natural Weaponry 1 Dread Power for a turn, specifically creating organic-metallic protrusions that count as silver weapons and that can be used with full effect in a grapple.

                          Courtiers severed from the juggernaut don't regain clarity immediately; they have been too altered through the crucible of biospiritual change that they have undergone, instead falling into a berserk, panicked rampage until they perish. Some do claw back some brief semblance of sanity in their dying minutes, but usually just fall catatonic; it seems the experience of being a leashed courtier is a locked-in state for the human mind trapped behind the compulsions of the symbiosis.

                          The juggernaut itself is a great, groaning imbecile, a towering monster that just wants to eat more Shards, more Essence, to feed the churning sorcerous cauldron in its guts. It looks partially embryonic, as if a newborn rat or just-hatched spiderling had been caught in insane, rampant growth that never let up. Limbs twitch and shiver at absurd angles and in a useless overabundance. The thing's fortunate if it just has a single vast head, rather than a clump of two or more competing, drooling idiot brains competing for the body's command. Swathes of chitin or folds of thick, scabrous skin are peppered with buboes that ooze gobbets of minced flesh, as if internal mouths are eating the thing's guts and ejecting them outwards. In places, the juggernaut's Host-meat is interrupted by draped clusters of human form - a mass of arms and legs, each sprouting more arms and legs, in a fractal spill of nightmarish growth, or faces on long, elephantine necks that gibber and plead to anyone who will listen. Umbilicals and guts slither out from under it to connect to its faithful courtiers. It steams and seethes with heat and strange gases; cracks in its hide reveal a silvery inner glow. Occasionally a blister bursts and a nugget of silver clatters to the floor amidst the spilling ichor and the rats or spiders that drip from the wound.

                          If attacked, it is simply a beast. It does not possess true sentience. The courtiers will protect it as best they can - give their lives for it - but it has little capability to do more than smash and crush and rip in insensate rage at the disturbance to its state of being.

                          Argent Juggernaut
                          Int 1 Wits 3 Res 4 Str 20 Dex 1 Sta 40 Pre 5 Man 1 Com 1
                          Athletics 2 Brawl 5
                          Willpower 5 Essence 200 Size 30 Health 70 Initiative 2 Defence 3 Speed 10
                          Dread Powers: Armoured Hide 3, Discorporate, Juggernaut, Monstrous Resilience, Natural Weapons 3, Regenerate 2, Toxic Bite 2, Venomous Ichor.
                          Leashed: An argent juggernaut is leashed to one or more courtiers. If all connections to all courtiers are severed, the juggernaut suffers 1A per turn until death.
                          Madness: Argent juggernauts always suffer the Madness Condition.

                          If killed, a juggernaut discorporates - and given its sheer scale, this takes the form of an utter tsunami of scrabbling rats or scuttling spiders. The thing's Shard splinters and fractures right down to its original components, so if dozens or hundreds of Shartha fed into creating this one horror, that is how many Shards will be fleeing amongst the mass of creatures. They are now free, and no longer tied to the nightmare experiment being conducted here.

                          The juggernaut doesn't come apart entirely. Immense, warped bones, stringy lengths of guts, half-melted internal mouthes, and other lumps of flesh remain behind. At the heart, the intense Essence-furnace boils and incinerates nearby rats or spiders, before sputtering up and out of control; it briefly rages, bright silvery-white, before burning itself out and leaving behind a pile of silvery slag amidst cooked meat and entrails.

                          Now perhaps the Uratha survivors think they're done; that they've slaughtered a horror of which great tales will be told, that they've finished a monstrosity off. And, indeed, the local Hosts won't be rallying around to try this again, because it was never the Hosts who orchestrated it in the first place - they were just the victims, a pliable base material for the architect to work with. The chances are, the Uratha never saw the argent ghul attending to its living cauldron, milking it of refined Essence, gathering the spirit-silver bezoars out of its drooling mouths, directly eating of the meat of the juggernaut's body in ichorous communion.

                          When the argent ghul is spotted, keen-eyed Uratha usually misunderstand what they are seeing. The shining silver light of a Lune is clearly a sign that the moon-choirs are watching them and, presumably, blessing this holy expurgation. But when the shamans call down the spirits of the void's-edge to utter the stories of hunting such corrupted flesh, the angels of the moon are strangely reticent, distant, more cryptic than usual. They seem lacking in eagerness to indulge their flesh-spirit allies with praise or exultations; the Lunes instead are quiet, owlish, even sharply critical or belittling. Confused Uratha struggle to understand what they have done to offend the Choirs of Luna; old ritemasters ponder that the silver spirits seem to be affronted and agitated, but that perhaps their behaviour is not caused by the Uratha, but instead by the matter itself - that there is something about the madness of these strange Host symbioses that disturbs or frightens the Lunes directly. Afraid, agitated, they lash out at the Uratha messengers and withdraw into obfuscatory utterances and cold aloofness.

                          The juggernauts never last, nor their slave-enslaver courts. Sometimes they founder in the early stages and the ghul, frustrated, has to go hunting once again for the right circumstances in which to parasitise a Host nest and bind it to human processing units. Sometimes, it only manages to acquire some of the potential refining that a juggernaut can manage before the thing dies from hunger, accident or Uratha talons. Where the monstrosity does its job fully by surviving long enough for its internal crucible to burn out completely, then the ghul is satisfied with a job well done, with the raw immanence of dead gods rendered down into exactly the format it needs, and it simply leaves the mewling horror and its doting court to their doom. With the fires within quelled, the juggernaut's hunger rises and rises, unchecked; it can no longer ever sate its appetite. Eventually the monstrosity will go on a starvation-instigated rampage, eating anything and everything it or its courtiers can catch, with no thoughts given for concealment or long-term survival. If bereft of all else, ultimately, they turn on each other in a final frenzy of cannibalism.

                          And on goes the argent ghul, test site after test site, Host-laboratories and flesh-crucibles, one after the other, until it has refined and gathered enough of what it seeks for its last phase, the third phase, the transcendent product for which all this madness is enacted. To the ghul, it's all worth it, even though the third phase has still never quite produced the desired results in the chosen recipients of its magnum opus. Still, eventually it will work, and then everything the ghul has done will be justified.


                          - 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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                          • #88
                            Very good, as always. The idea of a sort of "reverse Host" that in turn is nothing but a pawn to another strange entitity is very inspired.


                            I'm So Meta Even This Acronym

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                            • #89
                              The Perspective is another quality idea, Acrozatarim. And I can't wait to see what flavors of nightmarish fleshcraft come in the final pounds of meat.

                              It reminds me of Bloodborne at times, but that's mostly because it's my main previous experiance with eye-centric body horror. Beyond that mental link of my own making, I don't have much to say about the details.

                              Got Irraka'd, and didn't notice the new pound of meat going up while I was typing that.


                              Currently Playing: A large, mixed splat game of CofD.
                              As: Seth; Would-be shaman. Wildlife studies major. Wolfblood.

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                              • #90
                                A warning ahead of time: I've been vacillating over which of several options to use as the last Pound of Meat and I'm afraid I've plumped for the most gonzo of the lot, largely on the basis that it lets me use a silly acronym as the title.


                                - 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

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