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Forsaken February - Heralds of the Firstborn

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  • As promised, a final bonus entry!

    Artifice & Industry – Royal Avatar of Red Wolf

    This story is not true, but it is probably what actually happened. As the Industrial Revolution entered full swing and the rasping grasp of its changes wore at the fabric of Europe, many Iron Masters were caught in a conundrum. They were not sure how to deal with the spiritual havoc being wreaked by industry — the question of how best to handle the eruption of new spirits, the chaotic intermixing of what which had come before with that which now arose, the debate over how to best try and shape or guide the transmogrification of society and hunting ground alike. The Iron Masters, being who they were, did not favour attempting to turn back the clock and undo what had been unlocked by humanity’s advances, but rather whether there was a unifying path they should take in dealing with how matters might unfold. Some of the Farsil Luhal looked to their Tribal totem for guidance.

    Red Wolf found the questions of the Industrial Revolution as fascinating as its followers did and, upon being petitioned for advice, it spat out a shard of its being to go forth to the affected realms and consider the issue. Red Wolf being Red Wolf, it had no intention of simply divining then providing an answer to the Tribe, but to find the right questions to in turn put to the Tribe, to best arm them to make such decisions for themselves — and then to witness how the Iron masters would, themselves, adapt.

    The problem came about when the royal avatar, a great wolf of rust-red fur and corrosion, was simply overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the task it was executing. The Revolution, this evolution of industry, was so colossal in scope, its ramifications so widespread and affecting so many levels of so many societies and territories, that the avatar was not fully able to settle matters within its own spirit; its internal harmony became destabilised, caught in an inner argument that rippled through its being. Which elements of the Revolution were most virtuous, and which needed to be caught in gnashing jaws? What amongst the ingenuity and the crushing oppression was most impactful in shaping the forthcoming world? Was the Revolution most truly represented in the hammering, churning guts of the factories and engines, or in the knowledge and achievements cascading from it? Was the Revolution beautiful, or monstrous? The avatar did not know.

    In order to resolve this internal argument, it tore itself in half, becoming two. Each of these new avatars held a portion of the first’s understanding and ideals. Despite being now twofold, neither royal avatar was lessened in the process. The Iron Master devotees present at the site of such an act watched in awe as the Essence of Red Wolf was now split between the equally huge spirits, Artifice and Industry. Artifice gleamed, a rough wolf-shape of bright metal, ink that hissed and spat as it dribbled from the beast’s hide, clicking iron eyes staring forth from between its riveted seams and mane of red fur. Industry loomed, a lupine monstrosity of embers and fire, soot and brick, thundering steel and whirring weave.

    The two halves immediately set upon one another in a battle that shook the spiritscape, driven to action by their opposition. They burned and resculpted the Shadow for four days and four nights, arguing as they went. The struggle ended when the Iron Masters beset the pair with binding rites and prayers. They finally pried Artifice and Industry apart, the pair lapsing into acquiescence when the werewolves pointed out that the two grand spirits’ fighting had wrought such damage as to render the question of the Revolution irrelevant in the immediate vicinity; the Shadow was littered with factory-carcasses, the air had cleared as the spirits of smoke had fled, and the very reason for the conflict had been suppressed.

    The two kept their tempers in reign thereafter, mostly. They beset the Iron Masters with questions and advice from their rival viewpoints, constantly bickering with each other in the process. No matter the topic, Artifice could sneer at Industry’s drably unambitious approach, while Industry would clatter and hiss its opposition to the impracticalities of Artifice’s blue-sky dreams. Artifice pressed for the singular, the creative, the unique, the new, the inventive, the beautiful, the horrific; adaptation brought from pressing on, never staying content with what had been achieved. Industry systematically spoke in favour for the pragmatic, the achievable, the useful, the mass, the repetitive, the oppressive; better to turn one’s efforts to the production of a thousand swords to arm a thousand warriors and thus to win a war, rather than bedecking one useless general with a single golden weapon.

    They bickered and they argued and they played their part in the steps the Iron Masters took. When the Tribe wrought binding rites to snare the vast, grinding teeth of steel that underlay the Revolution, Artifice’s advice was woven into the sorceries they wielded, while Industry’s strength aided with the endless lengths of spiritual chain. In the aftermath, Red Wolf took the pair up in its jaws, and they argued bitterly even as the teeth closed around them.

    Yet Artifice and Industry kept on appearing as the decades, then centuries, passed. The Iron Masters are not entirely sure why. Some theorise the pair represent a fundamental internal conflict of Red Wolf, or that the two are just too determined to keep arguing, or that Red Wolf was amused by their emergence and finds them still to be useful. When the two arrive, it is usually on the back of a great change that is occurring in the world, and they each seek to learn more of how this change will impact events and how the world will, in turn, adapt. As part of that, they offer guidance and counsel to the Iron Masters, but always in opposition to one another. They provide rival viewpoints and ideals, each pushing the Farsil Luhal in a different direction. They agree only on the most fundamental of notions, and are not above taking their rivalry to violent expression against one another—although it rarely lasts for long. Perhaps they still recall the ruin of the first days following their birth.

    The tales of their bickering might make it seem like the two are less god-monsters and more angry siblings—entirely comprehensible creatures caught in a base and debasing argument. Every joke about the arguing twins that an Iron Master laughs at leaves them less prepared when faced with the real thing, though. The two are shards of divinity, albeit obsessed with matters of the world; they are colossal and proud, and take very poorly to any form of mockery from a mere werewolf. Their arguments are not a rapid-fire barrage of jabs and insults, but a grim and implacable debate of uncontestable concepts where neither can ever step back from their positions. It’s a philosophical war, not a verbal playground, and there have been plenty of very real casualties in its wake—werewolves caught up in one or other’s schemes, entire communities of humans, even the fabric of reality itself. The presence of both in the same place at the same time warps the behaviour of human beings in the area, stirs opposition and conflict, and drives crafters and creators to fits of energy and excess.

    It is said that Artifice can be summoned through the destruction of something unique and beautiful, an act that ensures its singular nature is immortalised. There’s a code wrapped up in hammering iron and rattling gears that taps out a call to Industry. Artifice has been known to mop the brow of artists in the midst of creative mania, driving them to burn their soul out in feverish dreams even as they achieve their magnum opus. Industry licks the sweat from the hands of exhausted workers, and runs with the stray dogs that frolic on wastelands of coal dust and spoil. Artifice dances through the minds of labourers choking on fumes and chemicals; Industry drinks the blood of limbs lost to thrashing machinery and falling barrels. There’s ways to barter with Artifice in trade for knowledge; Industry’s paws spill over with raw resources and gleaming wealth.

    One rumour refuses to die, a story that is true. If two fragments of the first royal avatar wrought such havoc from their birth, what of the third fragment? What was born in the soot and the fire and the shattered brick that the two inflicted during their battle, blind to the consequences of their actions? The tales speak still of something else that prowled forth from that battleground of division and debate, of consequences made real, a reminder of the price of change—a wolf of red ruin, a Secondborn of hunger and pain.

    Artifice & Industry

    Rank 5 Spirits of Change

    Power 13 Finesse 15 Resistance 12

    Willpower 10 Essence 50 Initiative 27 Defence 13 Corpus 27 Size 15 Speed 43

    Ban: Artifice and Industry are compelled to act in opposition to each other.

    Bane: The Bane of Artifice is Industry; the Bane of Industry is Artifice.

    Influences: Creativity 5 (Artifice), Machinery 5 (Industry)

    Manifestations: Twilight Form, Materialise, Possess, Claim, Gauntlet Breach, Fetter

    Numina: Awe, Backbreaker* (Industry Only), Blast, Drain, Efficiency*(Industry only), Inspire*(Artifice only), Mania*(Artifice only), Mortal Mask, Omen Trance, Twin Beings*

    New Numen—Twin Beings: Although two separate spirits, Artifice and Industry are linked. They share their Willpower, Essence and Corpus pools. By spending 1 Essence, either one can immediately appear at the location of the other. Both are constantly aware of the other’s general state of wellbeing, and neither can gain surprise against the other. Should the two be separated by some means that would actually sever this link, it immediately discorporates both.

    New Numen—Efficiency: This numen allows the spirit to enhance an object that it is fettered to. While it remains fettered, the spirit can spend 1 Essence to add the 8-again quality to dice pools involving the object for 1 scene, and can target up to the spirit’s Size in additional objects of the same kind that are also present.

    New Numen—Inspire (R): This numen allows the spirit to inspire a human being. The spirit spends a single point of Essence, granting the human the Inspired Condition pertaining to the spirit's concept.

    New Numen—Backbreaker: By spending 10 Essence and taking an Instant action, the spirit can inflict the Arm Wrack, Leg Wrack and Knocked Down Tilts on as many opponents present in the scene as it wishes that have a Stamina equal to or less than the successes rolled on the activation pool. Humans affected by the power, or who merely witness it, gain the Cowed Condition.

    New Numen—Mania: By spending 10 Essence and taking an Instant action, the spirit can inflict the Madness, Fugue and Shaken Conditions on as many targets present in the scene as it wishes that have a Resolve equal to or less than the successes rolled on the activation pool. Humans affected by the power, or who merely witness it, gain the 8-again quality on Academics, Occult, Science and Expression dice pools for the next month.

    - Chris Allen
    Freelance Writer, Deviant: the Renegade / The Pack / Dark Eras / Forsaken 2nd Edition / Idigam Anthology / Awakening 2nd Edition / Trinity Aeon / And more besides...

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


    • Cool. The Backbreaker Numen seems so mean.

      And I'm so curious about the secondborn. Maybe there will be a Secondborn September to see it? Or have we already had a glimpse, in That Which Is Broken?


      • Originally posted by nofather View Post
        Or have we already had a glimpse, in That Which Is Broken?
        Who? I think I missed that reference

        My Homebrew Signature

        "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

        I now blog in here


        • Originally posted by LostLight View Post
          Who? I think I missed that reference
          Sorry it's mentioned in the Thousand Steel Teeth totem write-up. Their totem, the Smoke-Drinker, is being chased by the spirit minions of That Which Is Broken, called 'a terrible god of ruin.'


          • I'd make That Which Is Broken the patron of the Lodge of Ruin, and say, Detroit it's Mecca.

            Also, I'd be fine with all avatars being actually Secondborn.
            Last edited by Malus; 03-13-2018, 05:33 PM.


            • Twin Beings is now my favorite Numen. It cannot be otherwise, anymore.

              Currently Playing: A large, mixed splat game of CofD.
              As: Seth; the Envious Wolf-Blood.