Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Strange Changes: Cernunni and Ursuma [STV Title]

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Strange Changes: Cernunni and Ursuma [STV Title]

    (both my first STV title and my first time writing mechanics for Werewolf- I too love to live dangerously :P)

    Created as a part of the STV Sprint theme of Spring, I am happy to present my piece. My amazing sister helped with the layout and created the awesome cover art, so we see it as a joint family effort. Hope you will like it! (P.S- don't forget to review and tell me what you like, or what do you think needs to be improved)

    There is no perfection in this world, and even the most consistent of cycles break. Predator and prey, hunter and hunted. Light and darkness wage an eternal war, raging from equinox to solstice and back. This is a world of cycles- and wherever they break, when the delicate balance is being distubed, the world changes, growing stranger and stranger.

    This book contains:

    The Cernunni- elusive weredeer who share an ancient bond to the Uratha since the times of Pangaea, always in danger of getting corrupted by their own death into a cannibalistic wendigo

    The Ursuma- plant shifters born from mutated Ghost Wolves, who have their Essence devoured by a poisonous wolfsbane.


    https://www.storytellersvault.com/pr...22_0_0_0_0_0_0
    Last edited by LostLight; 05-09-2020, 07:23 PM.


    Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

    I now blog in here

  • #2
    Holy crap. That is freaking awesome!

    (Something something something don't do PWYW... something something something should be charging at least $5.00)


    Patreon | He/His Pronouns | Currently writing: Tome of the Pentacle (OPP), The Hedge (OPP)

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

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Second Chances View Post
      Holy crap. That is freaking awesome!

      (Something something something don't do PWYW... something something something should be charging at least $5.00)
      First- thank you!

      Second, it is PWYW because it is part of the Sprint, and it was recommended by Meredith to present those as PWYW for the contest in order to reach as many people as possible. I may change it later, so get it while you can! :P


      Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

      I now blog in here

      Comment


      • #4
        First of all, I want to say that the cover art is absolutely gorgeous.

        The Cernunni are definitely interesting. I like the way their backstory has elements of both the mythic and the weird that I think 2nd Edition Forsaken requires of pretty much any phenomenon that wants to be a part of the setting. The connection to Urfarah is a nice touch, too, and I'm intrigued by the idea of a werewolf pack having a Cernunnos member whom the others periodically hunt and/or devour for extra strength. I have a few questions, mainly just to clarify some points, if you don't mind responding:

        Does Primal Desire imply that the Cernunni can speak in their Horned God form?
        Since weredeer don't have the same connection to the Shadow as Uratha do, is there anything special that happens to them at Harmony 10/0?
        When a Cernunnos eats a werewolf, do they gain access to all Facets of the Gifts of Hunting and Change, or merely the option to acquire them through increasing Primal Urge/Wits?

        Good job all around with this. If I get the chance to be in a Werewolf game in the near future, I might see about playing one of these guys.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm glad you liked the product and the cover

          Originally posted by espritdecalmar View Post
          The Cernunni are definitely interesting. I like the way their backstory has elements of both the mythic and the weird that I think 2nd Edition Forsaken requires of pretty much any phenomenon that wants to be a part of the setting. The connection to Urfarah is a nice touch, too, and I'm intrigued by the idea of a werewolf pack having a Cernunnos member whom the others periodically hunt and/or devour for extra strength.
          Yeah, I really like how the mythic past of the Cernunni came out. I have wanted to write weredeer for a long time, and I thought that having Deer/ the Horned One as a Prey Supreme to Father Wolf would fill a special niche in Forsaken's mythology. Also, for long time I wanted to have some form of wendigo for the setting, so you got two monsters in the price of one :P And yeah, having a Cernunni turning into a part of your Pack through ceremonial Sacred Hunt is indeed part of my intention when writing them.

          Does Primal Desire imply that the Cernunni can speak in their Horned God form?
          Yes, it is the intention.

          Since weredeer don't have the same connection to the Shadow as Uratha do, is there anything special that happens to them at Harmony 10/0?
          I assumed that the danger of becoming a wendigo at Harmony 0 was enough to be count as "special" for the Cernunni. I have considered that perhaps dying with Harmony 10 would guarantee "wendigo free resurrection", but having a benefit at that edge felt wrong for Harmony as a concept. I am still wondering what kind of impact Harmony 10 may have on the Horned Ones, and I may add it to the pdf once I'll think about one.

          When a Cernunnos eats a werewolf, do they gain access to all Facets of the Gifts of Hunting and Change, or merely the option to acquire them through increasing Primal Urge/Wits?
          The first option, as the access should be temporary (and killing a werewolf is hard enough to justify such an achievement, I believe).

          I might see about playing one of these guys.
          If you do, please let me know how it went!


          Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

          I now blog in here

          Comment


          • #6
            Having read your work once, I’m happy to say I see it as money well spent. However, I have some comments you may consider useful, were you ever to create an updated version, or a different upload altogether.

            Someone on Facebook was disappointed that they couldn't use your write-up in first edition. Providing some extra mechanics might broaden your buyer-base.

            I noticed that the name Cernunni isn’t in First Tongue. It’s the smallest thing, but you may want to either create a flavorful translation, or make it an explicit point that even Spirits don’t know what they’re dealing with.

            I like how you establish the theme straight away. I really like the myth you’ve created, and all I can do is repeat espritdecalmar’s praise.

            I’m confused by this fragment of text. It seems to suggest that Weredeer are a spontaneous expression of Shadow-dynamics, but it took me a while to get that. So, the occultists study the flows of essence, but it isn’t clearly stated if that’s in relation to First Changes of Cernunni. Also, are Essence flows “merely scientific phenomena cloaked with mysticism”, or are Cernunni? Why isn’t Father Wolf classified as such? - it feels jingoistic.

            “Certain occultists, both mortal, Uratha and otherwise, have given the subject a deep research, examining the shifts in the natural ley lines as Earth rotates around the Sun, and how Helios’s spiritual pressure transforms the Shadow in order to create certain points of high Resonance. It is merely a scientific phenomena cloaked with mysticism. There was no Horned One, no “Prey Supreme”, unlike the Uratha who still carry the lineage of their long dead ancestor.”
            I really like the circumstances and aftermath you chose for Weredeer First Changes. They’re thematically resonant while providing lots of potential plot hooks.

            Clarification needed. If Cernunni can’t access the Shadow, does it mean they’re mostly endangered by threats from the Flesh and Twilight, or do denizens of Hisil recognize their resonance and try to cross the Gauntlet. This might be an afterthought, but depending on the answer it strongly shapes Wereder’s life.

            “That pull towards them becomes even stronger in the spiritual world”
            You need someone to help you with scanning the text for spelling errors and other language mishaps. “Adopted progrency” is particularly egregious.

            I noticed that none of the Anchors tie them to things they already possess and wish to protect, at least not by the way they’re phrased. Was it intentional? I might be over interpreting it, so a few examples may be useful. In fact, I strongly recommend providing a few examples of Desires, Sacrifices and Touchstones. They not only idiot-proof the text, but also provide plot hooks.

            Cernunni can buy dots of Influences, which is neat. It seems to be a default perk of Hisil-creatures without a framework of Gifts carved into the Shadow. It again shows how they’re askew from the cycles of Hisil. However, are there any thematic limits on what Influences they can buy? Deer, desire, fertility – sure. Sharks, apathy, helicopters – hmmm. What if they somehow incorporate those into their passions or survival skills?

            Can a Cernunnos be female? If so, do they possess antlers? Do they possess… other male equipment?

            Weredeer aren’t able to regain Essence by eating Deer. That’s ashame, since one could create a pseudo-cannibalistic hunter as an NPC, were that allowed.

            I like what you replaced Wolf-blooded with. A Cernunnos could create their own enemies and volatile allies. However, I have comments towards the mechanics: Omen Sensitivity is not in Werewolf Corebook. It’s good to put references to page numbers of other books where such occurs. Also, readers might not be familiar with Demon nomenclature, so a reference to Stigmatics is misguided. It’s better to say pseudo-Wold Blooded may purchase supernatural Merits from CofD 2nd Edition (I don’t remember the exact rules for Stigmatics).

            It’s a shame Weredeer can’t access the Shadow. It’s in theme to have a Cernunnos jump between world in escape of pursuit. It would also make them more fun as PCs.

            It’s something that may not come up with NPCs, but when are Weredeer granted new Gifts? Do they spontaneously generate a new one when gaining a dot of Primal Urge/Wisdom. Do they get Wisdom + Primal Urge Gifts upon First Change? Do they have do specifically dedicate new Gifts when they earn a new slot? Which Facets do they get by default? Are they unpredictably assigned by the Hisil? Are they chosen subconsciously? When dedicating a new Facet, does the Cernunnos need to first study the Gift the want, or can they intuit all Facets available to them?

            As for stealing Wolf Gifts, why not make such acquisitions permanent? It allows for more fearsome enemies and makes things more fun for Weredeer PCs.

            I really like the funky interactions Cernunni have with Siskur-dah. However, if the hunting Werefoll actually mean harm to the Weredeer, being treated as a Pack member may allow Uratha to use Pack Gifts to sabotage the Weredeer during the hunt (See Pack Awareness or Reflected Facest + Gifts of Technology). There’s also the matter of copying Rituals – being hunted gives very little time to actually perform them.

            What disappointed me most was the lack of sample NPCs. Ever a short paragraph describing each would be a massive benefit for the writeup, and your work is robust enough to create many different NPCs.

            I seem to have overly focused on the negative as my post went along. I want to repeat I really like the Cernunni, including the interplay between selfishness and generousity they have going on. All of that and I didn't ever get to the Wendigo, which is a cherry on top. What amuses me is that deer-like wendigo are pretty new in our popculture, sice the original myths descibe nothing of the sort, but who cares. Good luck with your future uploads.

            I admit, I’m a bit tired so I’ll leave my post at that. I’ll just state that Ursuma aren’t nearly as good, since I can’t find nearly as much motivation behind them. Also, the heandline says “THE POISONED FLOWER URUMA”


            ~

            Comment


            • #7
              So Teatime , first I am happy to hear that you liked the Cernunni in general! Here are some answers about your comments-

              The Cernunni and First Tongue- it is indeed intentional that the Cernunni do not have a name in First Tongue. In fact, I have avoided using First Tongue throughout their section overall. That is a subtle way to emphasis that those shifters lack any connection to the Shadow. While spirits (and the Uratha) may have some name ton describe them, it would probably be a direct translation of "horned ones" than some name of mystical properties. As the Cernunni are the focus of the supplement, and i wanted to write things from their point of view, it felt to me like the right thing to do. In an updated section, I may add a sidebar about whatever relations the Shadow has with the Horned Ones.

              I'll try to clarify that piece of the text- the point was that the Essence flows which produce the Crowning are the "scientific phenomenon"- unlike the First Change of the Uratha, the Crowning can be more or less studied, predicted and perhaps even manipulated. They have no common ancestry, and the Old Gods of the Shadow are not related to the First Change, and no proof for the existence of the Horned One but that old story about a Prey Supreme, unlike Father Wolf which have a line of shifters tracing themselves to him, a number of powerful descendants in the form of the Firstborn and whatever the lunes are willing to tell about him. Will be clarified in an update.

              As for their relations with the Shadow- they are as vulnerable to it as any other mortal, but Hisil thrives upon passion, and the Cernunni are creatures of passion. Being driven by Desire and Sacrifice and creating Obsessions wherever they go, even if they can't see the Shadow, the Shadow would clearly see them. So yeah, those are not good news to the horned Ones.

              Desires and Sacrifices are basically Vice and Virtue on steroids- they are meant to thematically use the same concept. Love, Honor and Hope are Sacrifices, Lust, Grudge and Anger are Desires. Basically, they come from the same list. As for why their Touchstones are not bound to things they wish to protect, I did so in order to emphasis that the weredeer are creatures of movement, even in personality. They are not tied to the present, but to the past (buried) and future (reborn). I may provide examples in an update.

              As for Influences, I did not wanted to limit their access to any themes- while most would develop the more common things, like Fertility or Deer, I could see some of them having some more exotic Influences. The Influences should be the expression of the Cernunni's individual nature and charisma- think about it as their way to "draw the attention of the world". Their Influences express their individuality- and if one of the Horned Ones really likes Sharks, they may very well make it that Sharks like them.

              Yes, you can have a female Cernunnos. Yes, females also have antlers- I assume they would be smaller (like reindeer), but not less deadly (cause magic y'all!). Other than the horns, they should remain female in all of their forms- unless you really want them to be gender benders, and then you could be free to do so.

              I considered allowing them gain Essence from eating deer, but it felt wrong for them as the act of eating meat is abnormal to their existence, not to mention that they do not follow the rules of the Shadow like other spirit beings (that is, eat things which share your nature to grow in power). For me, it was both a way to emphasis their place as "prey" instead of "predator" and emphasis their lack of connection to the Shadow, and that there is something weird in how the Crowning works- after all, why don't they gain Essence from eating deer? Is it because their connection to their "symbolic beast" is weaker than the ones the Uratha share with theirs? Is it a proof that the Horned One is indeed "just a myth" and that the Cernunni are a spiritual mutation and nothing more? Or is it something else- some deeper reason? After all, the flesh of the Cernunni is as nourishing as a mortal's- but a werewolf's flesh is very, very tasty...

              Something to ponder about, ha?

              I was sure that stigmatic showed up in the Core rulebook. I double check and add references in an updated version.

              As I mentioned before the Cernunni are designed as creatures of Flesh, and as such can't cross the Gauntlet. It is also meant to give the Uratha a significant edge when hunting them. I don't think that anything will break if you would allow them to access the Shadow, however- whatever fits your game!

              As for Gifts- when a Cernunni goes through the Crowning, they are literally "Crowned" with Facets, up to their Primal Urge + Wits. From a character's point of view, when their "Facet capacity" grows, they spontaneously gain more Facets (or "Crowned with more Facets"). A player, of course, would choose the new Facet as they deem fit. Notice that they can shift their Facets, so while they naturally develop new ones, they do have some control over the process.

              The idea with making access to Wolf Gifts as temporary is to both make it feel "unnatural" to the Cernunni and, in fact, enhance the idea of a Werewolf hunter antagonist/ PC. They are such a great boon, and they exist on such burrowed time, that you must keep on hunting and eating werewolves before your times runs out to make sure you keep that edge. On the other hand, I am also a fan of the Promethean Brotherhood- so running with stolen power which quickly goes away is a concept which I find as extremely cool, IMO.

              The idea of them drawing on the rites of a ritemaster is mostly meant for cases where the Cernunni is an active member of the Pack, so they can control the time of the Hunt and do it ceremonially and in a controlled form. Not every hunt ends with the Cernunni dead, especially if they manage to cooperate with a certain Pack. And yes, becoming a packmate could be a double edge sword- but you need to take the good with the bad, and the Uratha probably do not know what to expect when they meet one of the Horned Ones for the first time.

              I have thought about adding NPCs, but the truth is that i have personally never found the NPC sections as too interesting. I may offer an expansion of those (with perhaps some Mystery Cults dedicated to the Cernunni) in an update/ future supplement.

              I am glad that you liked the wendigo- yeah, I know that the whole "monster deer" thing is modern, but the thematic if wonderful to the Cernunni and the CofD it could very well be that it is a modern name to those monsters, and that there are more than one type of wendigo in the world. The Cernunni, after all, do not have a great society like the Tribes of the Uratha, and as such it makes sense for them to use whatever name they see fit in this time and place. Whatever the name of those beasts is in First Tongue is probably their "actual name".

              As for the Ursuma, I have wanted to make some weird plant shifters for a long time, and I found the idea of combining the folklore "cure for lycanthropy" in an insidious and ironic way to the setting could be interesting. They are mostly meant to be something awful which can happen to Ghost Wolves, and much more of an antagonist material than a protagonist one (like, if you want to throw on your players some weird plant monster which keeps on regenerating and reviving no matter how many times you rip it to shreds). Of course, the Cernunni may indeed steal the show, but I do hope that people would find them as useful for their games.


              Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

              I now blog in here

              Comment


              • #8
                Also, just wanted to say a huge THANK YOU for anyone who paid on the product. It is the first time I actually earn money on something which I wrote, and both me and my sister were touched from the fact that people actually chose to pay for it. Anyway, while Strange Changes was made for the Sprint, I actually always had in mind making a series of "Strange X" for variant templates (so "Strange Embraces" to Vampire, or "Strange Awakenings" to Mage), so you may see a number of those in the future! (well, after I'll finish my notes for that product I really wanted to write). I hope you will enjoy our future titles to the STV!


                Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

                I now blog in here

                Comment


                • #9
                  Thank you for your thoughtful response. You prove that even where our sensibilities differ, you clearly know what you're doing.

                  I didn't dedicate time to comb through Ursuma, as I did for Cernunni but your intent:
                  Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                  As for the Ursuma, I have wanted to make some weird plant shifters for a long time, and I found the idea of combining the folklore "cure for lycanthropy" in an insidious and ironic way to the setting could be interesting.
                  Came through clearly and successfully.

                  I want to clarify where I'm coming from concerning science of Hisil and Pangaean ancestry. "Shunned by the Moon" gave an example of an Ivory Claw studying and outright manipulating First Changes, so I see Cernunni and Uratha equal in that regard. As I understand it, you're trying to say: "Available evidence confirms that Father Wolf existed in some capacity, but no comparable data exists for Cernunni, which puts existence of Prey Supreme in doubt". I know I'm arguing semantics, but as a lab worker I have certain hangups.

                  Also, saing that Weredeer have no ties to the Shadow sounds off, since they possess Gifts, Influences and other spiritual features. I'd say they lack the natural adaptations Uratha have to acces and function in the Hisil.


                  ~

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Teatime View Post

                    I know I'm arguing semantics, but as a lab worker I have certain hangups.
                    Tell me about it. My thesis submission is delayed for a number of days because of semantics -_-

                    Also, saing that Weredeer have no ties to the Shadow sounds off, since they possess Gifts, Influences and other spiritual features. I'd say they lack the natural adaptations Uratha have to acces and function in the Hisil.
                    Well, I would describe the connection that the Cernunni has with Hisil as "being Crowned by the Shadow". They are not a part of it, but they are granted a mantle by it (sure, being "crowned as a prey" is not the best position in the spirit world, but it does have its benefits). So yeah, they have a spiritual side to their existence, but it is more of an "external" connection than an "internal" connection, like the one the Uratha has.

                    Again, semantics.


                    Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

                    I now blog in here

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      So unfortunately my title wasn't chosen as a finalist for this Sprint, but it was still fun to write, especially as it gave me a good excuse to create my version for the Wendigo and the Prey Supreme that I wanted to do for long, long time. Anyway, as it is no longer in the competition, I am going to soon change the pricing. Hope you liked what you read, and check the three finalists! I am also going to publish my next title in the next few weeks (it is currently found in the art and layout, and this time I convinced my sister to add some more cool art to the book), so there are more good things waiting!


                      Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

                      I now blog in here

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LostLight View Post
                        So unfortunately my title wasn't chosen as a finalist for this Sprint, but it was still fun to write, especially as it gave me a good excuse to create my version for the Wendigo and the Prey Supreme that I wanted to do for long, long time. Anyway, as it is no longer in the competition, I am going to soon change the pricing. Hope you liked what you read, and check the three finalists! I am also going to publish my next title in the next few weeks (it is currently found in the art and layout, and this time I convinced my sister to add some more cool art to the book), so there are more good things waiting!
                        Just saw the (captivating) cover art and I will be getting it tomorrow. And sorry it didnt make the Sprint (and sorry for my ignorance. What is the Sprint exactly)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post

                          Just saw the (captivating) cover art and I will be getting it tomorrow. And sorry it didnt make the Sprint (and sorry for my ignorance. What is the Sprint exactly)
                          The Sprint is a new concept for a STV contest, where a certain theme is given and there is one month to write entries according to that theme. This current Sprint's theme was Spring.


                          Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

                          I now blog in here

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            LostLight I recently heard that Cernunnos among the Gauls was less the Master of the Wild Hunt (he picked up that aspect in the British Isles) and more a god of trade and merchants.


                            “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Penelope View Post
                              LostLight I recently heard that Cernunnos among the Gauls was less the Master of the Wild Hunt (he picked up that aspect in the British Isles) and more a god of trade and merchants.
                              No one actually knows much about Gaulish mythology, saying the truth. I believe that the Romans claimed that the Gauls worshiped Mercury (hence the connection), but the Romans did destroyed the Gaulish culture so we need to take that into consideration. At any case, the Cernunni as presented in here are far less about any original Gaulish mythology and more about the Horned God of Wicca, which dies and being reborn with the change of seasons. One of the developers once said that the CofD are not a place where every story is true, but a place where every pop culture story is true, and the Horned God/ Cernunnos as a god of the hunt is indeed a modern view of that half forgotten god.
                              Last edited by LostLight; 06-03-2020, 08:17 AM.


                              Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

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

                              I now blog in here

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X