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  • Primordial newcomer
    started a topic Skinthieves

    Skinthieves

    Are they a sub type of werewolves? What do they bring to the table mechanically and lore wise? Finally, do they fit the themes of the game or do they add more to it

  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Thanks for the reference, Vent0.

    Another Merit--

    Stolen Senses (* - *****, sub-Merit)
    The altered senses of your stolen Skinthief forms bleed into your human mind. For each dot of Stolen Senses, select a sense one of your alternate forms possesses; while your skin is in close proximity (1 yard per dot of Stolen Senses) your sense is that of the animal or spirit. In the case of mundane senses such as sight, smell or hearing this replaces your human sense (which could result in color blindness), while senses alien to humans such as the ability to perceive spirits in Twilight are added as "sixth senses". Stolen Senses does not confer any ability to understand animal or spirit speech.


    --Khanwulf
    Last edited by Khanwulf; 05-18-2018, 10:24 AM.

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  • Vent0
    replied
    Here, I'll cross post this for reference:

    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
    Stolen Memories (•••)
    Prerequisite: Skin-Thief
    Effect: When creating a skin, you can store some of the creature's memory and skill in it. This grants at least passing familiarity with its territory, events of the past day, and major events of its life. Additionally, one skill (generally, the being's highest) can be used instead of the Skin-Thief's own while wearing the skin. For Ephemeral beings, instead add their former rating in Influence to applicable rolls.

    Animate Skin (••••)
    Prerequisite: Skin-Thief
    Effect: As long as you are in sensory range of one of you skins, you can spend a point of Willpower to animate it for a Scene. It retains its physical Attributes, but has minimal mental and social ability, being merely an automaton animated by your will. Animate skins can follow simple order (usually of no more than 5 words) spoken in the Skin-Thief's native language, obeying their animator without question or hesitation. The animation can be extended past the current Scene by investing additional Willpower points - each point extends the skin's activity by one Scene/hour. Once animation ceases, the skin collapses in on itself wherever it currently is.

    Enduring Thrall (••• or •••••)
    Prerequisites: Animate Skin, Occult 3+
    Effect: You can now infuse and animate your skins with their a piece of your mind, granting them their own volition. By spending one Willpower dot when animating a skin, it gains a degree of will and ability to act upon its own, while enduring for as long as the skin does. At 3 dots, the Skin can be used as a 3 dot Retainer. At 5 dots, it becomes its own character, though you must spend your own Experiences to improve its statistics.
    Drawback: The skin now has a mind of its own. While it is general obedient to the Skin-Thief who gave it "life", drastic circumstances can cause it to act against their creator's interests.

    Life-Thief (•••)
    Prerequisite: Skin-Thief
    Effect: By expending a Willpower dot,you can make the current skin you are wearing your natural form. Your old body replaces it as a skin, though you must complete the normal Skin-Thieving ritual to ensure it lasts past the current day. Skin-Thieves are well advised to use this ability only upon permanent skins, lest they desire to live life on a timer - if their natural form decays, they die unless they are in another skin.
    Last edited by Vent0; 05-18-2018, 03:22 PM.

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  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post

    They lack it entirely during Skinwalker (I did edit that in, so maybe you saw the old version?). Though Hunters and Nephilim can hit 0. Granted the former turn into Slashers, and the later self-destruct, but still...

    Oh--OK then, carry on! I did see the earlier version and had not re-read.

    ---

    Couple of the things, brainstorming on the drive today:

    Monstrous Form (** or ****, Skinthief sub-Merit)
    Your character can change into an extremely large version of her animal. When in this form, her size increases by 1. For two dots, the monstrous form is the character’s only form. For four dots, the monstrous form is addition to other forms. If other Skinthief Merits impose Lunacy on onlookers, her form now does so at a penalty of -1.

    [Now you can take both Dalu (Hybrid Form) and Gauru! Kinda.]


    Fleshthief (**** or *****, Merit, requires Skinthief Merit)
    Your character has advanced their magic for integrating foreign forms a step further, not just wearing their forms in a transformation, but becoming them in a sublime union. This involves consuming most of the target, which is usually bad for it, but certain sacrifices must be made.
    Choose a type of creature: animal or spirit, that you have the Skinthief Merit for; your char*acter can only steal that kind's form. She must hunt them down and consume raw more than half their substance to catalyze a transformation, once done so she may hold the form for the same periods of time and costs as with Skinthief, however since no skin is required her power is inherently more stable.

    For four dots this permits exchanging a new form for each instance of the Skinthief Merit; the form is an exact copy of the creature consumed. For five dots humans may be included under "animal". In neither case are memories transferred along with a new form, though instinctual affectations give the Fleshthief a +2 bonus while attempting to emulate her target and deceive others. If a human is consumed she does not take on the Bestial Vice, but instead the Vice of her victim, from which she may regain Willpower once per Chapter.

    One consumed form may be held for each instance of Skinthief, and if both animal and spirit forms are to be assumed Fleshthief must be purchased again for the other type.

    [Here are your cannibal skin thieves.... Oh, and it would permit a predatory spirit thief to go through spirits and pick and choose the numina, influences and the like that they imprint on themselves with the Spirit Power Merit. You could argue that the end result would closely resemble a Magath.]

    --Khanwulf


    Last edited by Khanwulf; 05-16-2018, 10:25 AM.

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  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post

    Ok, you're not wrong. Minimum Integrity is still 1, however... They're just going to be surreally, madly lucid in their feral actions.
    They lack it entirely during Skinwalker (I did edit that in, so maybe you saw the old version?). Though Hunters and Nephilim can hit 0. Granted the former turn into Slashers, and the later self-destruct, but still...

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  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by Vent0 View Post



    Since the Skinwalker never "returns to human form" (their prior form is just a skin), they never actually roll their Breaking Points. I think.
    Ok, you're not wrong. Minimum Integrity is still 1, however... They're just going to be surreally, madly lucid in their feral actions.

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  • Vent0
    replied
    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
    Vent0 I like it. However minimum Integrity is 1--at which point they'll be picking up Conditions like crazy as they continue to crack under the strain.

    --Khanwulf
    Originally posted by Dark Eras
    While in a form granted by this Merit, a character doesn’t confront her breaking points. Everything is surreal and filtered through a different perception, a different instinct, so nothing feels world-shakingly wrong. But when she returns to human form, everything comes crashing home. Make all breaking point rolls incurred during the transformation after your character returns to her normal form, and at a –1 die penalty.
    Since the Skinwalker never "returns to human form" (their prior form is just a skin), they never actually roll their Breaking Points. I think.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    While in Twilight you do have complete sensory input of the material. It's a bit muted since you're out of phase, but not to the point where it interferes with your perception of physical things.

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  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by Tessie View Post

    Twilight Form applies if no other Manifestation effect is in place, so whenever they drape themselves with a spirit's skin they'd enter Twilight, where they would only be able to interact with spirits and other things that consist of the same type of ephemera. Ghosts would continue to be just as invisible and intangible as when the skin thief is in their usual form.

    Spirit Powers (•+) (first Merit on page 249) grants access to one of the skinned spirit's Numina or Manifestations per dot, as well as access to the spirit's Influences capped by the dot rating of Spirit Powers.
    I think you mixed up Shoal and Verge. Verges are mentioned but never actually described in second edition, but I imagine they work like in first edition where anyone can walk straight through them to the other side of the Gauntlet as long as they're open.

    The Essence Pool Merit describes the process of gaining Essence for skin thieves. It's not 100% clear, but I would assume that the Resonant Condition for the spirit whose skin you've stolen will protect you from Essence bleed as long as you're wearing the skin.
    I would very much recommend getting both Essence Pool and Spirit Powers to anyone who wishes to steal spirit skins. Not having to pay Willpower instead of Essence, and being able to use Influences/Manifestations to stave off Essence bleed are both extremely useful for anyone who likes to pretend to be a spirit.
    Sure--verge not shoal. My bad. My impression is they are places where Gauntlet drops to zero and even mortals and animals can inadvertently wander through. Rare--very rare, in other words. I'm probably wrong though.

    Yeah didn't catch Spirit Powers thoroughly enough the first read through.

    It's... not clear, no, whether you'd bleed Essence in Twilight. My assumption, however, would be that since they go to the trouble to describe feeding to regain Essence from your Resonance, that unless you find a Resonant source (e.g. anger for a rage spirit) you're bleeding out so long as you're in spirit form. Nothing keeps you from just dropping if it gets bad, and that seems like a reasonable drawback to the whole deal.

    Keeping in mind that you get to be invisible and intangible (except to werewolves, oops!) and only really at risk of being attacked by some other spirits--most of whom have "reasons" for being in Twilight already and probably won't want your Resonance anyway. Or they could be starving and don't want to go back to Shadow. Now, to your point, you also won't be able to see into the Material and spy unless you have a numina that lets you do that, so go take Spirit Powers, stat!

    --Khanwulf

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  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Vent0 I like it. However minimum Integrity is 1--at which point they'll be picking up Conditions like crazy as they continue to crack under the strain.

    Divesting oneself of all skins but one and destroying the others would probably resolve the condition, but considering they probably have an obsession with collection at this point, doing so would be a challenge.

    And yes, by playing "gotta catch 'em all" with skins, such a being could reach new Haights of power!

    The Merit structure raises question even without this... such as "what happens if I advance my rank as a stolen spirit?" "Could I ditch my old spirit [Jaguar rank 1] for a new one [rank 2, or 3 or...]?" "What happens if I Claim someone as a stolen spirit?"

    A PC could dump a lot of XP into their little merit-swarm, and become almost as terrifying as an Uratha. Now imagine they're in a pack with Moon's Grace, and take Tell: Primal Instincts and Tell: A Wolf's Meat.

    You could do this for antagonists as well, perhaps making a pack of skin thieves? Sure, they're keeping the Hisil in line--by skinning naughty spirits and wearing them like the world's weirdest charm necklace!

    --Khanwulf

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  • Vent0
    replied
    To add to story hooks and homebrewing madness:
    Skinwalker (Persistent)
    Your skinthieving has left you unstable. You are able to access all of your Skinthief additions in all of your skins (where applicable). However, while you are under the effects of this Condition, you lack Integrity and a soul, are considered to have no true form (your original body becoming a year-long skin), and you are unable to craft permanent Skins.
    Possible Sources: Dramatically Fail an Integrity check after grievous actions undertaken while in a skin; Magical curses; Spending too long inside a skin
    Resolution: Acquire a soul, and divest yourself of all other skins and willingly destroy them. Your last skin becomes your true form.
    Skinwalkers thus need to acquire skins constantly to stay alive (if their last skin rots, they die with it), but keeping access to all the Skinthief additions means they can get crazy powerful, given time. Bare Necessities lets them keep all their skins with them. Quick Change lets them swap with a thought. Unshared Flesh gives them a Health track per skin. Spirit Powers allow their spiritual might to keep accumulating. Khanwulf's Chimeric Form even lets you go mix-and-match critter.

    This is intended for villainous NPCs, in case that needed to be said.
    Last edited by Vent0; 05-15-2018, 04:41 PM.

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  • Tessie
    replied
    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
    Further reading question for anyone: "Changing form using a stolen spirit’s skin grants the skinchanger a Twilight form and vulnerability to the spirit’s ban and bane."

    Does thieving a spirit's skin mean that changing into it places the thief first into Twilight? That would enable them to interact normally with other [ghosts? prolly not] and spirits, there, but without additional powers they would not be able to cross the Gauntlet into Shadow (or, affect the Material for that matter).

    If this is correct, then I assume on shifting to Twilight the thief vanishes from the Material until they shift back (basically placing themselves back into phase with the material world).
    Twilight Form applies if no other Manifestation effect is in place, so whenever they drape themselves with a spirit's skin they'd enter Twilight, where they would only be able to interact with spirits and other things that consist of the same type of ephemera. Ghosts would continue to be just as invisible and intangible as when the skin thief is in their usual form.

    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
    So. If a Skin Thief has a spirit skin, how might they learn Numina in order to affect the Material, or find a way to cross to Shadow? (Such as a Shoal I assume--but other means? Merits?)
    Spirit Powers (•+) (first Merit on page 249) grants access to one of the skinned spirit's Numina or Manifestations per dot, as well as access to the spirit's Influences capped by the dot rating of Spirit Powers.
    I think you mixed up Shoal and Verge. Verges are mentioned but never actually described in second edition, but I imagine they work like in first edition where anyone can walk straight through them to the other side of the Gauntlet as long as they're open.

    Originally posted by Khanwulf View Post
    Other note: (WtF p.184?), 'Spirits in the material world but outside of a suitable Condition bleed one point of Essence per hour.' A Skin Thief hanging around as a spirit in Twilight would be draining unless they had a corresponding Condition or an active Fetter--neither of which immediately spring from the DE text. All this reinforces the points in the text about Essence and its replenishment, so I think I'm on-track.
    The Essence Pool Merit describes the process of gaining Essence for skin thieves. It's not 100% clear, but I would assume that the Resonant Condition for the spirit whose skin you've stolen will protect you from Essence bleed as long as you're wearing the skin.
    I would very much recommend getting both Essence Pool and Spirit Powers to anyone who wishes to steal spirit skins. Not having to pay Willpower instead of Essence, and being able to use Influences/Manifestations to stave off Essence bleed are both extremely useful for anyone who likes to pretend to be a spirit.

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  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Further reading question for anyone: "Changing form using a stolen spirit’s skin grants the skinchanger a Twilight form and vulnerability to the spirit’s ban and bane."

    Does thieving a spirit's skin mean that changing into it places the thief first into Twilight? That would enable them to interact normally with other [ghosts? prolly not] and spirits, there, but without additional powers they would not be able to cross the Gauntlet into Shadow (or, affect the Material for that matter).

    If this is correct, then I assume on shifting to Twilight the thief vanishes from the Material until they shift back (basically placing themselves back into phase with the material world).

    So. If a Skin Thief has a spirit skin, how might they learn Numina in order to affect the Material, or find a way to cross to Shadow? (Such as a Shoal I assume--but other means? Merits?)
    [Edit: duh. Spirit Powers sub-Merit addresses this directly, by both providing dots of Influence and Numina/Manifestations! Very efficient and potent, btw.]

    Obviously one of the disadvantages of the Skin Thief is that they do not cause Lunacy, and thus you have to be very careful around whom you use your supernatural powers!

    Other note: (WtF p.184?), 'Spirits in the material world but outside of a suitable Condition bleed one point of Essence per hour.' A Skin Thief hanging around as a spirit in Twilight would be draining unless they had a corresponding Condition or an active Fetter--neither of which immediately spring from the DE text. All this reinforces the points in the text about Essence and its replenishment, so I think I'm on-track.


    --Khanwulf

    PS: Because I cannot leave it alone today...

    Chimeric Form (*** or ****)
    Your stolen form is an amalgamation of your two or more Skin Thief forms. You assume your animal form by applying more than one skin, and take the better attributes of both your forms, including size, strength and movement types. At three dots your Chimeric Form is the only form you may assume, requiring each skin to change, at four dots you may choose to use any form or Chimeric Form independently.

    If one of your forms is a spirit or ghost, you may enter and exit Twilight as an instant action throughout your transformation, and may use spirit influences and numina as if materialized, and do not suffer essence bleed in the Material. [Functionally equivalent to Spirit Powers at 1 dot, with Materialize manifestation selected.]

    Drawback: nothing about your supernatural transformation looks or functions right, and while observing your power in action might have provoked breaking points in others before, your Chimeric Form is downright terrifying--even if it is a mix of animal and spirit that combines well conceptually.
    You inflict Lunacy as if you were in Urshul form. Further, if one of your forms is a spirit your attempts to explain it all to the Uratha will be at least entertaining....

    Last edited by Khanwulf; 05-15-2018, 03:31 PM. Reason: Can't leave it alone, plus duh reading comp.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    No problem Khanwulf. Unless hunter counts as a mortal playthrough, I may play as a skin thief trying to become part of the vigil

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  • Khanwulf
    replied
    Originally posted by Seidmadr View Post
    It's completely viable to play one. In a Mortal+ campaign the group has going on, I'm playing a Wolfblood who used his natural spirit-connections to become a Skin Thief. It's rather satisfying for a mid-power chronicle.
    Thanks Primordial newcomer for the thread. This raises some interesting possibilities that might be handy for a PC in my story, also going through a slow burn along the mortal+ track.

    As a few quick observations:

    1. The Merit is 3+ dots, with extra dots above the 3 serving to purchase sub-Merits that tune the power and expand it in various ways. Normally Merits cap at 5 dots, however, which would make roughly half of the sub-Merits impossible to purchase. Logically the best way to handle this is just say "sub-Merits require the Skinthief Merit and are linked to a given instance of that Merit."

    2. You could easily approximate "lesser shapeshifters" who do not need skins to change by tacking on a sub-Merit that removes the need for such:

    One Spirit, One Flesh (*****)
    Your animal or spirit skin has merged with your mortal frame; it can no longer be lost or separated from you without application of potent magic, however you naturally and unconsciously take on physical appearance affectations and habits that remind others of the creature you are bonded to.

    Then take the wolf-blooded Tell for regeneration.

    What would a proper Skinthief sub-Merit look like that melds two forms--one animal and one spirit, into a single, blended entity for transformation? That's essentially what werewolves are, if you shed their backstory.

    Ideas?

    --Khanwulf

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