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[2e Lodge update] The Lodge of the Grotto

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  • [2e Lodge update] The Lodge of the Grotto

    Lodge of the Grotto
    Knackers, Trogdogs, Molerats
    The dark caves beneath the earth are neither empty nor safe, for they are the hunting ground of the degenerate wolves of the Lodge of the Grotto. They come squirming through the pitch black, blindly worming their way through suffocatingly small gaps and cracks, licking at the air in taste of their prey. They tap the rock, tilting heads to catch the echoes. No escape and no solace awaits the victim who stumbles into the stone mazes that the Knackers prowl.

    Unlike many Lodges, the Grotto doesn’t have any meaningful overarching organization. Very few werewolves go out of their way to join the Lodge out of a desire to hunt prey through subterranean hunting grounds. For most werewolves, the troglodytic membership of the Grotto are an urban legend or just a monstrous threat—Ghost Wolves lost to black tunnels for so long, they have regressed to little more than beasts. Lodge adherents usually share a pack only with other cultists, and some such packs are entirely cut off from civilization, digging underground warrens in remote regions and emerging to the surface due to hunger. Grotto packs in inhabited regions are usually made up of werewolves who have fled into caves or city subways out of desperation or fear, brought into an existing Lodge pack that is willing to offer them sanctuary.

    Other werewolves fear the Knackers because they are very much inhuman, and they have a reputation as cannibals. They willingly cut themselves off from society to skulk in their caves, and they are incredibly territorial—outsiders entering a Knacker warren are likely to die miserable, terrified deaths in the nightmarish claustrophobia of the utter deep. Few humans stumbling into Knacker territory really understand the danger they are in, whether cavers or miners or urban explorers, but the wolves tear them apart and feast on their guts all the same. Living on the fringe of society or in desolate areas means Knackers are often hungry, and the years grind down any revulsion when it comes to just where red, warm meat originates.

    Totem: Blindwormcreepslither
    The totem of the Grotto is an opportunist. Blindwormcreepslither is a spirit of creatures that crawl through the eternal dark. A surprising amount of life creeps through caves and forgotten, deep basements, but it’s not enough to support the ambitions and Essence of a spirit that desires real power. Blindwormcreepslither came across a lost werewolf, tumbled deep underground through a sinkhole and lost to desperation and hunger, and realised that this, perhaps, represented a path to the fruition of its goals.

    The totem is highly active, moving from pack to pack regularly. It doesn’t pass communications or messages among Lodge adherents—it has no interest in orchestrating that sort of organization—but it does bring warnings of coming threats or opportunities to eat. It also seeks out werewolves who have entered its subterranean hunting grounds, looking for the lost and the desperate to whom it can offer solace. The spirit slithers through the dark and grants such Uratha a chance to join the Lodge, in return for which it guides them to a nearby Knacker pack or provides them with the blessings and knowledge to find food and survive in their immediate situation. It takes very, very good care of new converts, staying around to get them dug in and acclimatized to their new troglodytic life. Blindwormcreepslither will even use its Influences and Numina to fend off any initial attacks directed at a convert from pursuers who are willing to brave the depths to chase down their prey; some would-be killers find themselves surrounded by angry Knackers rallying to the cry of their master.

    Blindwormcreepslither is a pale, fleshy thing. It is sometimes serpentine, sometimes insectile, sometimes an oddly featureless, frail humanoid. It moves with fluid grace, usually clinging to walls or ceiling rather than floor. It’s large, but not massive, and can squeeze through absurdly small gaps in the Shadow. It is kindly, insistent, caring, pragmatic. It doesn’t encourage cruelty, but quietly points out the necessity of consuming the hapless, screaming tourist lost in the caves. Survival is what matters, and survival means eating, after all. Blindwormcreepslither loathes the light of Helios and Luna, recoiling from their gaze. Most shamans assume this is because the slithering spirit simply reflects the creatures from which it draws its symbolism, but the truth is—surprisingly—rather different. Blindwormcreepslither is considerably more than it seems. It once served as an envoy of both Incarna, reaching beneath the earth where their eyes could not pierce. It found things down there, though, leviathans of void that even its darkness recoiled from. The behemoths of the black stirred in reaction to the presence of the Moon and Sun within its Essence, and in terror it tore out such ties to the gods from its very substance. Even now, it watches the places that reach into even lower depths than its domain, fearful of those leviathans and their rippling, shuddering movements. Few of the Lodge of the Grotto realise their packs are coaxed into setting up warrens over major cracks and faults that reach down to places where the fallen angels of the void dwell.

    Bond
    Blessing: A member of the Lodge of the Grotto can function with little impediment in complete darkness; she cannot actually see, and so certain forms of perception won’t work at all, but she can fight and navigate with no meaningful penalty. Furthermore, she can spend 1 Essence to squeeze her body through a gap, crack or space that usually only something of Size 1 or smaller could pass through.
    Aspiration: To protect one’s den from intruders.
    Ban: Knackers must accept any gift of food, and grant the gift-giver fair treatment.

    Sacred Hunt
    The Lodge Sacred Hunt grants your character the ability to sense the prey through echolocation. By spending a reflexive action to tap against stone or structure, she can pinpoint the prey’s presence precisely at a range of up to her Primal Urge x 50 yards. Tapping also adds her Primal Urge to all rolls to perceive other characters, traps, and natural dangers such as potential rockfalls in the affected area.

    Secrets of the Knackers
    • Over time, Blindwormcreepslither’s Essence changes adherents further. From Primal Urge 5, Trogdogs become increasingly warped and twisted to allow them to climb at half their Speed, including clambering along walls and ceiling. At the highest reaches of Primal Urge, the troglodytic werewolves change even further in unique and strange ways.
    • Sometimes, when a Knacker taps to find her way through the dark, things tap back. Not other Knackers, or frantic prey, but staccato raps that spell out dire messages, broadcast up from the pitch black below. These messages rarely have any meaning or relevance to the Grotto hounds, but can portend grave matters for the dwellers of the surface.
    • A few Grotto packs are less secluded than their brethren, operating somewhat openly among the Forsaken and Pure in major urban areas. These Grotto wolves run jobs like moving contraband and resources unseen through underground channels, hunting prey that escape the surfacers, and offering sanctuary to the persecuted and afraid. This latter task is their most important, as far as Blindwormcreepslither is concerned, as this provides new converts who can later be shuttled off to other warrens to bolster their numbers. Sometimes, the converts aren’t voluntary—the packs raid for nusuzul, dragging captives underground so that all they ever know as werewolves is the quiet of the stone and the tapping of packmates.
    • There are places in the disorienting deep dark where distance and time twist and weep. Knackers map out these places, finding tunnels that can cross huge distances or reach into strange places-that-are-not where even more monstrous subterranean civilizations caper and dance in the gloom.
    • Most Grotto packs live at a level of basic sustenance, scooping whatever they can find into their mouths and creeping onto the surface at night to hunt. Several Grotto packs have been in place for generations or even centuries, though, and have built sprawling nests beneath the earth. One of these is in a formerly significant governmental nuclear bunker in the US, overrun and repurposed by the troglodyte inhabitants.
    • The Knackers aren’t the only horrors in the deep. Strange things of mold and fungus grope their way through the blind gloom. Sometimes packs are overrun, reduced to shambling carcasses coughing spores or with skulls fracturing out in fungal ejaculations. Others achieve weird symbiosis with such fecund infections, cutting themselves off even from the Lodge and becoming an entirely new, utterly degenerate breed of predator.
    • The leviathans wait. They shift and shudder in the depths. Sometimes they call up, up through the rock, their siren song sweet and alluring. Sometimes a Ghost Wolf of a Grotto pack hears it, and foolishly, blindly follows it down. Thus is a [REDACTED BY ORDER OF SHUNNED BY THE MOON] forged deep in the black, and filled with hunger.

    Tools
    The Lodge of the Grotto has access to the Lodge Stronghold merit.

    Close-Quarters Trapper (• to •••••)
    Prerequisites: Craft ••, Wits •••
    Effect: Your character is skilled in setting ambushes in the tight, claustrophobic confines of caves, tunnels and corridors. Once per scene while on her territory or in an area she has previously had significant time to prepare in, you can cause a character moving towards her or fleeing from her to run foul of a trap. Your character rolls her Wits + Craft + dots in this merit contested by the target’s Wits + Athletics; success means the target suffers a number of points of bashing or lethal damage equal to your character’s dots in this merit, and suffers the Arm Wrack, Leg Wrack or Knocked Down Tilt in the process.




    - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer & Developer

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

  • #2
    Ooh, creepy. Reminds me of the ghouls from Lovecraft’s work.

    And yay, more morsels of hints of new antagonists - void creatures, subterranean civilizations, what looks like the Fungus Host, and whatever in Luna’s name the [REDACTED] are!


    MtAw Homebrew: Even more Legacies, updated to 2E

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    • #3
      Yeah this lodge is pretty dang unique, underdogs for the win!

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      • #4
        Hmm, I wonder if the [REDACTED] are the Geryo?


        Raksi plays Peek-a-boo for keeps. ~ nalak42

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        • #5
          One day they'll come out with the REDACTED Files, revealing it's actually a singular entity across the lines, like Florida Man.

          It'd be a good April Fools Night Horrors release, at least.

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          • #6
            [REDACTED]: the [REDACTED] - A Storytelling Game of Infinite Speculation!


            Raksi plays Peek-a-boo for keeps. ~ nalak42

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            • #7
              So was [Redacted] a void reiver?


              Freelancer (He/His Pronouns): CofD - Dark Eras 2, Kith and Kin, Mummy 2e, Oak Ash and Thorn; Scion - Mysteries of the World

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

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              • #8
                Correct, void reiver!


                - Chris Allen, Freelance Writer & Developer

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

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