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Minion March - Pathological Packmates

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  • #46
    Closing the vote now!


    - Chris Allen, Aberrant Line Developer, Freelance Writer

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

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
      Update
      A: 1
      B: 9 + 2 = 11 (Khanwulf)(reseru)
      C: 7 + 2 = 9 (Xenorath)(Thorbes)
      D: 8 + 1 = 9 (Blakemikizuki)
      A: 1
      B: 11 + 2 = 13 (Monghani)(Ibeaumanior)
      C: 9 + 1 = 10 (Dreaming Cat)
      D: 9 + 2 = 11 (Metalrift)(Seidmadr)


      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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      • #48
        Sorry this took a while - it's been a tough week!

        The Spiral Harbinger
        This isn't how it was supposed to be, the Spiral Harbinger says. I didn't want this. Things were supposed to be... better. Somehow. I don't know how. But I didn't want this. For all his words, though, he feels a deep, gnawing guilt in his gut. His actions haunt his waking thoughts; his dreams, at least, leave no space for his remorse and self-loathing. When he first began his career, he didn't set out to be the man who clipped an angel's wings, the artist who defiled the sacred for his own greedy aspirations.

        Yet that is exactly what he is, and so he will carry the burden of his victim for as long as he has the strength.

        The Spiral Harbinger looks, at first glance, much like any other human. A lanky, gaunt fellow, he bears his years heavily; most would guess he has a decade more age than he actually does. His upper arms swirl with complex, elaborate tattoos, but his shirt masks something more striking - a labyrinth of spirals and marks cut into the skin of his torso and back, scarifications cleverly mimicking the Essence flows and rivers that course through the body of a werewolf but somehow inverted, corrupted, ​wrong. The Harbinger is not an Uratha, nor even a Wolf-Blooded, and these scars do not grant him the power of one - but they are enough of an imitation to shape some of the power that lies in his flesh, and they have strength of their own. They're a trap - mad spirals of spiritual weight, enough to shear and flense away portions of a Shadow-native trying to settle its own Essence within him.

        That's one half of the Harbinger. The other half is the Lune that he snared, mutilated, and now adores.

        The Spiral Harbinger nestles within the man's flesh, Fettered to him. It is - was - mighty amongst the choirs of the distant sky, but it has been flayed of its strength and excised of portions of its being. It was a glorious thing once, a bright light amongst the Cahalunim, but now it is a broken angel of shredded wings, flickering and fitful moonlight, and twitching tendrils. The man's soul and meat fit it too comfortably, as the spiral labyrinth that renders him a trap cut away its metaphysical extremities and farthest reaches. It could leave, could slither and flop back towards dark orbit and there screech and thrash at the darkness, but it refuses, caught in guilt and self-imposed duty. It could have saved this man, but it failed.

        I was not strong enough, the Spiral Harbinger says. I didn't want it to turn out this way. I was sent as a guardian, and I failed my ward. He suffered, because of me. He was taken from the path he should have walked. But I can yet protect him. I can yet make some worth of my worthlessness.

        The two, hating themselves, are bound to one another, each determined to save their reflection so that they can numb their own guilt.

        The story goes something like this, although the details aren't clear to anyone but those directly involved: There was a Bale Hound. There was a man, an artist, who was supposed to create something. There was a Lune. The Lune was supposed to grant inspiration to the artist, and to protect him as the Warden Moon's light burned out his mind and turned him into a vessel for her message; the Lune was imbued with dedication to its purpose and its ward, even though the man would not have survived the coming madness. The man was already nearly mad, not from inspiration or genius but from the grinding, hateful weight of the word; burdened down by the maliciously drab burdens of the everyday, his mind unequipped for the disasters and miseries life had piled upon him, he had become bereft of ideas and desperate for hope. The Bale Hound, oh, the Bale Hound knew all of these things, somehow, and it played with man and spirit like toys. It gave promises of the hope it knew the man desperately wanted, of a way to gain inspiration and genius and become the great artist he always craved being. It led the Lune through the steps of a dance of manipulation and trickery, luring the spirit's protective urges and blinding it to the real danger.

        It's one thing to believe in promises of occult power and inspiration. It's another to find you have been turned into the cage for an angel of light and love, there to protect you - to feel its screams and its agony as it is spiritually flayed so that a drooling hound of hell can sup upon its power and cut its immanent sweetmeats out to be fed to an unseen but thoroughly real demonic hunger. It's one thing to be a glorious warrior-abomination of the shining moon, but quite another to be tricked into powerlessness within the flesh of the one you were tasked to protect by your mother-god herself, and to feel the pain and the suffering of your ward as a servant of the Maeljin violates their body and soul with talons and magic.

        They were left, defiled, debased, forgotten by a Bale Hound that had harvested the numinous power and trauma that it so desired. For a while, they only had each other, but each flinched away - too ruined by their own suffering and failings to reach out. It did not take long for the Forsaken to come calling, their claws stayed by the realisation that the human bore a Lune, that each was broken, but that they might, in time, be mended. The bond of the pack helped bridge the yawning abyss that each part of the Spiral Harbinger felt around them - a reconnection that they each craved.

        The Spiral Harbinger aids their pack as best they can. They particularly loath Bale Hounds and their machinations, and will push the pack both to go after the servants of the Maeljin and to aid those who suffer the Hounds' depredations. Their disgust and hatred extends to the Pure as well, whose defiling crimes seem close to the asah gadar's nightmare acts; and, frankly, even Forsaken who veer towards a more monstrous aspect will cause the Harbinger to exhort the pack to action. The human of the pair is also intensely desirous to stem the harm done by other humans meddling with the occult and the Shadow, seeing his own complicity in caging and flaying a Lune as likely to be typical of the sort of disaster that human occultism can cause.

        In time, perhaps, the two will heal each other. There is a danger here - that the union becomes deeper, a true Claiming - but for now neither seems to be moving towards this stage. Among other things, their self-loathing has established as much of a spiritual barrier as it has a spiritual connection - the Fettering empowers each, but holds each apart at the same time. The courts of dark orbit seem content to leave their wounded brother-sister in the human's care for now, but the pack find that, from time to time, a brief, intense elolunim visitation occurs - along with implicit messages of look after them, and we are watching and judging how you tend to them.

        And there's another possibility here, of course; that Luna's desire to turn a human into a messenger vessel was not derailed by the interference of the Bale Hound, and that man and Lune were always to be sacrifices to create something greater. What complex schemes spill through the mind of a god, forever marching its silent path through the sky?

        Spiral Harbinger (Human)
        Int 4 Wits 3 Res 3 Str 2 Dex 2 Sta 3 Pre 3 Man 3 Com 2
        Academics 3 Computer 1 Crafts 3 Investigation 1 Occult 2 Science 2 Athletics 1 Brawl 1 Stealth 1 Weaponry 1 Empathy 4 Expression 4 Persuasion 2 Socialise 1 Streetwise 1 Subterfuge 2
        Merits: Patient, Contacts 3, Fast-Talking 1, Hobbyist Clique (Expression), Resources 1, Sympathetic, Taste
        Health 8 Willpower 5 Integrity 4 Size 5 Speed 10 Defence 3 Initiative 4
        Moon-Chosen: The Spiral Harbinger is not subject to Lunacy. Additionally, whenever he gains the Inspired Condition, he gains a use of the Cahalith Auspice's Prophetic Dreams ability.
        Shadow-Trap: If a spirit attempts to Fetter, Possess, or Claim the Spiral Harbinger, the Harbinger rolls his Resolve + Composure vs the spirit's Rank. If the Harbinger is successful, the spirit is not able to use its Manifestation; instead, it is forcibly Fettered to him in a manner it cannot control. It suffers 5 Aggravated damage, enough iterations of the Arm Wrack and Leg Wrack tilt for each of its limbs, and can only escape its bondage by succeeding at a roll of its Rank vs the Harbinger's Resolve + Composure that it can attempt once every 24 hours - with its capture counting as the first of these rolls. Only a single spirit can be caught in this way at any one time. After successfully trapping a spirit, a human with a Shadow-Trap gains the Madness Condition for a month.
        Shadow-Siphon: Once per story, the Spiral Harbinger can spend 1 point of Willpower to inflict 1 point of lethal damage on a spirit that is caught by his Shadow-Trap and thus gain the Inspired (Crafts or Expression) and Symbolic Focus Conditions upon himself. If used when performing an extended Crafts or Expression roll to create art, the Harbinger can literally spin raw materials out of the ephemera of the spirit, influenced by the spirit's nature; for the lune, this means silvery, gleaming metals, paints, and other substances. Artwork created while Inspired in this way and that achieves an exceptional success can be tuned to not only be resonant to a specific type of spirit that the Harbinger chooses upon creating it, but actively grants a +2 dice bonus to spirits of that type trying to use their Manifestations and Influences in the presence of the artwork.
        Spiralling Nurture:​ By inflicting the Madness Condition on himself for a week, or by spending the night outside in moonlight under the first gibbous moon of the month, the Spiral Harbinger can restore a single lost point of characteristic to the Lune Fettered to him.

        ​Spiral Harbinger (Lune)
        Rank 3
        Power 4 (9) Finesse 1 (5) Resistance 3 (8)
        Willpower 5 (10) Essence 5 (20) Initiative 5 (13) Defence 5 (8) Speed 24 Size 4 (7) Corpus 7 (15)
        Manifestations: Twilight Form, Fetter, Possess, Reaching, Duality*
        Numina: Awe, Dement, Guardian*, Omen Trance, Regenerate, Stalwart
        Influences: Moonlight 2, Inspiration 2
        New Manifestation – Duality: Rather than fighting against or rejecting the spiritual mutilation of the Harbinger’s spirals, the Lune has embraced its strange state. While caught in the Shadow-Trap and Fettered to its human bearer, the spirit can use its Influences as normal, can communicate with its human, and can grant its human the ability to perceive spirits in Twilight. Additionally, it can pay the Willpower cost of Shadow-Siphon itself, rather than the human paying, although the Lune still suffers the point of lethal damage. Additionally, whenever the human Harbinger would be rendered unconscious - whether from injury, fugue, supernatural influence, or indeed from sleep itself, the Lune can Reflexively possess the body without a dice roll. In this state, the Lune can use its Regenerate Numen on the Harbinger's body.
        New Numina – Guardian: The spirit can spend a point of Essence to add its Rank to the Defence of another character within 5 yards for the remainder of the scene; the spirit can only ward a single target in this way at a time.
        Flensed Spirit:​ The Lune's characteristics in brackets are its normal values; its tormented form currently uses the reduced values indicated first.
        Last edited by Acrozatarim; 04-03-2018, 05:22 PM.


        - Chris Allen, Aberrant Line Developer, Freelance Writer

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

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post
          Sorry this took a while - it's been a tough week!
          ​Edit: Er... formatting went badly wrong for some reason. Give me a bit to correct it! Be right back!
          Then on to Anshega April?


          Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
          Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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          • #50
            Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

            Then on to Anshega April?
            ​Once I've figured out what the vote'll be! :P


            - Chris Allen, Aberrant Line Developer, Freelance Writer

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

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            • #51
              You know, I was so used to spirits being alien minds that aren’t human, so I never bothered empathizing with them.

              I stand corrected.

              Meanwhile, I see that Bale Hounds are still there, and more than just the “werewolves, but of Hell!” aspect, what with Lune-flensing and wrecking lives in an immediate way. (Which was in 1E I hear, I know, but it’s not the popular image of them that stuck)


              MtAw Homebrew:
              Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
              New 2E Legacies, expanded

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              • #52
                Luna gave a Spirit empathy? With the lives they live? She truly is mad!

                That's like that poor wolf from Discworld who was cursed with the power of thought by a fairy and was tortured constantly by the fight between his new conscience and his predator instincts.

                Come to think of it. That describes werewolves in general.
                Last edited by Master Aquatosic; 04-03-2018, 06:47 PM.


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

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by 21C Hermit View Post
                  (Which was in 1E I hear, I know, but it’s not the popular image of them that stuck)
                  What is the image of bale hounds you have?

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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post

                    ​Once I've figured out what the vote'll be! :P
                    Suggestions:

                    • A Legend from one of the Pure Firstborn.
                    • A Pure Protectorate (likely with a Twist)
                    • A collection of powerful Pure Totems
                    • Something to help close the gap from Pure lacking Auspice


                    Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                    Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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                    • #55
                      Worth waiting for, very cool Chris! Thank you!


                      Patreon | He/His Pronouns | Currently Writing: Daughters of Hera (Scion, SP Nexus) | Rome 2e (CofD, ST Vault, very not official)

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                      • #56
                        Originally posted by nofather View Post

                        What is the image of bale hounds you have?
                        Atrocities that while are terrible don’t feel so personal and in-the-face. For some reason their evildoings felt... distant, for lack of a better word.


                        MtAw Homebrew:
                        Even more Legacies, updated to 2E
                        New 2E Legacies, expanded

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                        • #57
                          That's really cool! It was worth the wait


                          Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

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                          • #58
                            A patron asked me to also write up option C and share it with everyone, so here's a good dog:

                            Good Dog

                            It used to be that, a good few years back, there was some serious shit going down with the Pure in the region. Pack violence and turf struggles with the Pure aren't exactly uncommon, and outright war flares up from time to time - that's all normal, all accepted. It's not great, but it's the way things are. Forsaken vs Pure, old feuds and grudges painted anew with fresh blood. This, though, this wasn't a mere war, it was an atrocity - an ongoing atrocity, revisited again and again with each passing year, each passing month. Total carnage, total conflict, no avenue of attack ruled out, no mercy asked for and no mercy given. The hows and whys aren't important; just know that it's the reason the older veterans are all as haunted and scarred as they are, the reason why these days they try and rein in the fiery youth whose hot blood drives them to seek out conflict with the Pure. Huge numbers of werewolves died, and they died badly.

                            Now, Good Dog is a survivor from those years. Good Dog started as a tool; a hound that his owner could slink into the mind of and watch through the senses of. Good Dog didn't much like the sensation of someone riding his mind, but at the same time it was reassuring because it meant the Big Dog was always there with him. He ran, and watched, and saw things he didn't really understand but that were clearly important to the Big Dog, and things were pretty good, if sometimes rather scary. There were times he wanted to bark or bite or run away, but the one in his mind made him not do it, and afterwards there was always treats and affection and his name being spoken to him, reaffirming that he was indeed Good Dog.

                            Then he saw things that even his little canine mind pulled back from; ghastly acts of violence and cruelty, and alien things that swam through his vision like phantasms. The mind riding his stopped being a source of reassurance because he felt Big Dog was just as afraid as he was. Things didn't get better; they got worse. Big Dog died; Good Dog hid and whimpered while Big Dog screamed and thrashed and had their viscera torn out. That was just the beginning of the violence; so many of the others like Big Dog died too.

                            For a while, Good Dog was left alone amongst smoke and ruin and dead bodies, and he wondered if he had, in fact, failed - if things were not Good after all. Then he got hungry. The problem was that Good Dog had been chained up when the Pure came for his pack, and there wasn't an awful lot to eat within the chain's range. There were dead bodies, though. Some of them were the ones like Big Dog; some of them were the others, the ones who had come to kill Big Dog. For some reason, perhaps the fading echoes of the one who had ridden his mind, Good Dog decided it did not feel right to eat Big Dog's friends, at least not yet. But he had to eat something, and eating the ones who had come to hurt was Less Bad, so he did.

                            By the time the Forsaken arrived, the conflict had already turned cruel and monstrous. Good Dog's new owners decided the hound's consumption of the dead Pure was a sign. They spoke to Good Dog about the way of the Garmir, though Good Dog didn't really understand that, nor did he comprehend anything of what they said about how feeding the flesh of dead, powerful Pure to a dog would stop that Pure's spirit from passing on, how it would saturate into the flesh of the hound, and how one day, once enough Pure had been fed into the maws of the pack of dogs they gathered, they would in turn consume the hounds' flesh and thus take the power of the slain Pure into themselves. Good Dog vaguely understood the idea that there would be food.

                            The Garmir terrorised the Pure for months, feeding dead Anshega to the dogs in an act of spiritual and ritual desecration. Every so often, the Lodge cultists would consume one of the hungry hounds themselves in a ceremony. Good Dog, in with the other hounds, was prized as the pack leader - already used to the taste of Uratha flesh, he was given some meagre scraps of affection and respect. Still, it was not a good time for Good Dog. No-one spoke his name to him, the other dogs were hungry and desperate and bit, and he bit back. There was little to eat until a corpse was thrown into the kennels, and eating was a battle with the other hounds for a scant few mouthfuls and bones.

                            Things got worse, out beyond the kennel walls. The atrocities kept escalating. Good Dog and his pack fed better, but the sheer amount of Resonance-saturated carrion he swallowed down started to have an effect. He devoured meat still festering with the diseased Essence of Fire-Touched, blood still bubbling with the distilled inheritance of the Ivory Claws. He became larger, leaner, somehow changed in a way the Garmir didn't quite understand - but that they revered. This was a sign that Garm's favour was upon them. They pledged that they would only consume Good Dog when they achieved their final victory over the Pure in the region - when the Anshega had been totally annihilated. Something took notice, and Good Dog found it had a new presence at the back of its mind - a spirit-servant of Garm, pleased with the Garmirs' successes. It didn't ride his form or puppet his limbs; the thing merely slithered out of nowhere from time to time to watch over this favoured beast. Good Boy did not particularly like it, because it was not reassuring like Big Dog had once been, but by now he barely even remembered Big Dog either - their smell, their kind words, their comforting presence.

                            The Garmir were defeated, as were the Pure. No-one was the winner, in the end. After years of war without limit, both sides were too bled out, too drained, to fight any more. They were too disgusted and too horrified to even bear the scars of what had happened as grudges. With so many dead and so many broken, they reached their threshold, and the conflict ended. The survivor of the Garmir freed Good Dog. The sect had failed to achieve their victory, she said, so they did not deserve their victory feast - or even the company of a favoured beast like the hound. She left for other territories, to pursue her eternal battle against the Pure in a land where the Anshega and Forsaken had not each been utterly broken already, but before she went she unchained him, led him outside, and told him to run free. She told him his name again, as well, and this reassured Good Dog that, perhaps, things might be Good again.

                            Good Dog didn't run far. The world was frightening and full of confusion. His senses sought out comfort, and soon enough he was at the door of a werewolf - one like Big Dog, he thought. Not one like the ones whose skin burns with fiery marks, the ones who he now designated as both Bad and as Food.

                            Good Dog is an unnerving pack mate. He is a large, scarred, vicious-looking hound; his knotted muscles possess incredible strength, and his teeth gleam unnaturally white. There's something off about his eyes, a presence there that speaks of not so much an unusual intelligence as of awareness - Good Dog is not smart, but he has a sense of self beyond that a domesticated canine would usually possess. He is affectionate in the manner of an abused animal, one that is desperate for love but also fears punishment; he has weird tics and mannerisms from his former lives, such as his response to someone clicking their fingers together being to lie supine in preparation for his mind being invaded through the Beast Ride Facet. He is a glutton, wolfing down feed and treats as if he fears the bowlful of food will vanish at any moment.

                            When he comes across the Pure, Good Dog becomes unstable. He becomes extremely aggressive and nervous; he will respond to the commands of a packmate he has learned to trust, and thus can be restrained, but otherwise will either attack Pure directly or, if badly hurt or outnumbered, flee in terror. If in the presence of a Pure corpse, Good Dog will immediately begin to eat the body, and will be extremely confused and agitated if prevented from doing so.

                            Sometimes, that spirit-servant of Garm still comes to watch the dog and see how it fares; a raven of black feathers and sand, the spirit perches nearby, observes, and considers. For whatever reason, Good Dog still has the raven's attention and, possibly, Garm's favour, though what exactly a Secondborn might want with a broken, warped dog is anyone's guess.

                            Whatever it was that changed Good Dog, precisely, it isn't easily repeatable. The Garmir have practiced deviant ceremonies of feeding Pure meat to dogs for as long as the Lodge has existed, although the specifics of their rites are poorly understood precisely because the cult keeps it a secret. Just imprisoning a hound and giving it nothing but Uratha meat isn't enough to inflict the changes that have been incurred on Good Dog. Exactly what factor it was that ultimately made Good Dog different - the repeated exposure to Beast Ride, the particularly potent Pure meat he was fed, the attention or favour of Garm - the hound certainly has unusual capabilities that a pack can make use of. He is, however, also a dangerous liability. Good Dog just wants to be loved and told that he is Good Dog, but it is unlikely that his future holds a happy ending.

                            Good Dog

                            Int 2 Wits 4 Res 1 Str 5 Dex 3 Sta 4 Pre 3 Man 1 Com 1

                            Athletics 3 Brawl 4 Stealth 2 Survival 2

                            Willpower 3 Essence 5 Health 9 Initiative 4 Defence 6 Speed 16

                            Merits: Iron Stamina 3, Iron Stomach

                            Dread Powers: Hunter's Senses (Werewolves), Monstrous Resilience, Regenerate 2

                            Consume Essence: Good Dog can consume Uratha flesh for power, gaining 1 point of Essence per health level inflicted in this way.

                            Smooth Ride: If a werewolf uses Beast Ride on Good Dog, the Facet can be used reflexively rather than as an instant action, and a normal success in activating the Facet is treated as if the werewolf had rolled an exceptional success instead.

                            Witness Brands: Good Dog can perceive the fiery brands of Pure, much like the Sacred Hunt of the Blood Talons reveals; Good Dog can see these brands all the time, however, with no need for a rite to activate the ability or limitation of it only applying to specific prey.

                            Woe: If Good Dog is prevented from consuming the flesh of a dead Pure werewolf, he suffers the Madness Condition for a week.


                            - Chris Allen, Aberrant Line Developer, Freelance Writer

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

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                            • #59
                              What size is he?


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

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                              • #60
                                Size 5, albeit that doesn't mean he stands as tall as a human does :P


                                - Chris Allen, Aberrant Line Developer, Freelance Writer

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

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