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Umaraha'e: The Children of the Worm

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  • Umaraha'e: The Children of the Worm

    "Witness! Meet the gaze of the Red Eye and know your place!"

    At the ritemaster's behest, two other robed cultists whisked the the bag off of Evan's head. He snarled, but his human throat wasn't capable of true menace. Evan would have shapeshifted, but the silver chains that bound his arms behind him also seemed to prevent him from changing forms. Whoever these bastards were, they weren't joking around. Evan blinked away the sting of tears in his eyes; the silver that bound him watered his eyes like rancid onions. He could almost taste it on his tongue, metallic, thick, gag-inducing. No matter how much he spit, the taste was still there. He looked around, saw the sagging, dusty pews, windows of bloodstained glass, rotten tapestries clinging to the walls. Real original. The only thing out of place was the podium, carved of what looked to be some black gemstone, etched with labyrinthine images and words in the First Tongue. Evan studied them for a moment, blinked past the tears. The carving looked at once jagged and yet so precise, like a Gauru claw had slowly scrawled the symbols.

    The leader continued her bizarre address. Evan just wanted to get out of the chair and tear her in two. "We have seen the Ighisu. We have danced beneath its revelations! We walk without fear, for Ighisu guides us. It lights our way that we might find the truth of this world!" She withdrew a silver dagger from her robe. Evan tensed. If only he could break free, he'd make sure they paid a high price for his pelt. Whatever they wanted, he wasn't going to go quietly.

    "Ghanadhim! Ghanadhim Umaraha'e! Umarah badhu!"

    There was that word again. They'd spoken it when they had ambushed him in that parking lot. Umarah. Evan furrowed his brow. It didn't make any sense. Some kind of worm god? Something poisonous or crushing. A Pangaean, maybe, the progenitor of some kind of Worm Hosts?

    "Melamar! Angizir Umarah!" The chants went on like that for several minutes. Evan grew more and more agitated as he listened. Something besides just the silver chains and helplessness. Their words began to stir something within him, something the Wolf did not like.

    "The time is upon us," said the ritemaster, her voice full of confidence. She wasn't just a charlatan leading groups of hollow believers. She'd fully bought into whatever nonsense she was spouting. "The first lapping waves of the tsunami to come. A red wave, blood and fury, to clear the world of the righteous and the sinners alike. Umarah will bring balance to this shattered realm."

    Evan spit. "You're nuts. No shartha or ancient god is going to restore anything. That's up to us. It's why we hunt."

    The ritemaster drew back her hood, unveiling an alabaster face, gaunt but beautiful, with long honey-blond hair. Her eyes at once transfixed Evan, impossibly green and luminous, pulsing with a faint light. Her gaze was one of fervid, unyielding belief. Evan wavered for a moment.

    "You speak of no god, Urdaga," she hissed. "Even gods must bow to Umarah. Even the heavens must vanish into its maw. Umarah is coming. Its thrashing jaws will rip the corrupted cosmos from its roots and engulf them. Only through its gullet may creation find its way back to mela."

    "Balance," Evan echoed with a defiant sneer. "What would you know of hamun? You're a delusional freak. A madwoman who plays at being a prophet. You're so far off your rocker that you aren't even in the same galaxy as hamun."
    The woman only smiled. "True, I am now margash. A messenger. Once, I had a name, a mere label issued in mortal tongue. It was inadequate, as are my fleshy confines, as is the diseased flesh of the world."

    Evan growled. "Enough! I don't want to listen to any more of your batshit crazy ramblings. Let me loose and I'll show you how the Urdaga get rid of diseased flesh."

    She paid him no heed. "I am no longer blind, for I see through the Eye. I am Syn, for I bear the sight of the Ighisu." With a sweeping gesture, Syn directed Evan's gaze up to the dilapidated church's rafters. Rotting timbers left a sagging hole in the roof above the broken altar. A dark and brooding veil of clouds hid him from Mother Luna's gaze. The silver goddess went blind to her child's suffering.

    “So what? My pack's out hunting tonight, too. They'll find me, find you, and you're going to wish you'd let me kill you. Even if you kill me first, you aren't going to survive the night.”

    Syn jabbed a finger toward the gloomy sky. “Look! Ighisu shines! We are blessed tonight with clarity. Consider yourself fortunate, pup.” She smiled warmly at him, and her smile made his skin crawl worse than any scowl. The perfect curves her lips hinted at something deeper, hidden just beneath the surface, an impossible mask.

    “You're crazy. I'm going to get out of here and I'm going to fuck your world up.” But Evan couldn't help himself. He stared through that hole in the roof, a grinning maw of rotten wood, his gaze drawn by a force he couldn't understand. More of her magic. It has to be. She's messing with my head.

    Slowly a gap opened in the clouds. They seemed to swirl about it like a whirlpool opening in storm-tossed waves. Beyond it lay a black through which no stars shone. No light of moon or sun touched the abyss at the heart of the vortex. Evan grunted as a weight bore down on his head, a pressure in his temples so great he felt made of stone. He couldn't move, or even blink. Blood pounded behind his eyes. A pinpoint of light appeared in the abyss. Dark red, like a star, but spreading into a slitted reptilian pupil. Its glare burned into his eyes. Evan began to scream but he was still paralyzed. He could only watch as the Red Eye began to bore into his mind, its voice in his head like the groan of a thousand dead worlds restless in their graves. Ighisu.

    “You have seen the First Sign. Humanity broke open the world. The Forsaken slew the Great Wolf and forgot their own names. The Meghul grows hungrier. The Second Sign will be upon you soon. You will see—”

    The church's front doors exploded inward. A number of dark, lupine shapes burst in, a hulking Gauru at their lead. Syn calmly turned and walked past the altar toward the back. She seemed unsurprised, or at least unconcerned. As the howls of his pack filled the air, Evan regained his senses. Molten spikes of pain pounded in his temples, but he was free of that thing's gaze now.

    Syn vanished, but the others leaped forth to meet the onrushing pack. Their robes shredded as they too grew into monstrous shapes the size of a Gauru werewolf. Some resembled werewolves, some were more like rats, bats, or leprous hyenas, with teeth like sabers and fleshy patagia under their arms. Rabid foam flecked their distended jaws, one of them bearing arms like huge insectile barbs. One of Evan's packmates, Amy Night's Child, set upon his chains in Dalu form and managed to tear them free. The Cahalith wasted no time in joining his pack.

    A bloody fray followed as monster set upon monster. The battle soon destroyed what remained of the pews, shattering benches and candle braziers. Support pillars splintered. Blood sprayed the walls in red and bubbling black. The sound of vicious howls and snapping jaws mingled with guttural, inhuman cries.

    In the end, the pack stood victorious over the twitching corpses of their foes. One was grievously hurt, sustained only by the healing powers of Wolf's children. Their enemies had fought with insane fury, but none of the skill or magic of the Uratha. Still, Evan shared his concern with his packmates. The monsters fought like nothing so much as twisted Gauru killers.

    “What the hell was that?” said Amy. “How can they change like that? What did they do to you, Evan?”

    Evan shook his head. “I don't know how or why. But we should be worried. Really fucking worried.”

    “Why?”

    “Because whatever it is they were worshiping, it's real. I saw it. I felt it.”

    “They were just fucking with your head, man. That's all it was.”

    “It wasn't that. I'm telling you, it's real. And whatever it is, it's coming.”
    __________________________________________________ ____________________

    Cult: Umaraha'e

    The Umaraha'e worship a thing of abyssal hunger and power. They give it many names. Its great eye is red, capable of searing even the mightiest soul, transforming flesh and blood to match the madness within. Ighisu. The Red Eye, a star of evil portent. Umarah is their god—no, not a god, but something greater. Impossibly vast, dark beyond the most soul-crushing of fears, a void ready to swallow up all light and matter. The Uratha do not know where these so-called "Children of the Worm" come from, or what they truly believe. They seem at once ancient and yet unknown until recently. Terror follows their movements. They speak of heinous visions, poison seeping into the blood of the universe and devouring it from within. Many true magi hearken to their ranks, and the greatest of their number can shapeshift into horrible beasts. Perhaps more terrifying, many werewolves have joined the cult. What is Umarah? Some suspect it is a Maeljin, perhaps even the greatest among these Lords of Wounds. Others think it is the cultists' name for some other force, a darkness called forth by mortal mystics, or even the cataclysm loosed when Urfarah fell to his own heirs.

    Answers aren't forthcoming. The priests of the Umaraha'e, who call themselves Margash (or "Messengers"), speak in riddles. Their cryptic sermons tell of a cosmic reordering, the slow decay of the universal tapestry, a maw that will crush and devour all realms. The priests of the Worm foretell an apocalyptic future. They say the skies will soak in blood and fire, and a cosmic force of balance will right the wrongs of a broken world. What's even more chilling are all the signs that lend veracity to their beliefs. Most werewolves dismiss these rituals as lunatic ravings. The herd will latch onto any figure, build any force up into a god to be placated.

    That doesn't explain the werewolves who worship Umarah.

    Cultists: Reborn religious, transgressive spiritualist, political leader, animal control worker, soulless CEO, corrupt attorney or police, eccentric architect

    Initiation Benefits
    • Maggot: The lowliest of believers must still pass grueling tests in order to survive their initiation. Those who pass emerge toughened by the experience. They gain one dot in the Hardy Merit.
    •• Grub: Proven cultists have their Integrity slowly eroded by maddening visions and cruel rites. They learn to speak the ancient tongue of spirits, with which they utter their unholy convictions. They gain Language (First Tongue). Werewolves and Spirit mages gain the Trained Observer Merit instead.
    ••• Worm: Those who survive some time in the cult—no easy feat, considering their enemies—have a knack for sensing the unnatural. They gain the Unseen Sense Merit. Most choose werewolves for this sense, but many choose mages or spirits as well. Werewolves, mages, and other supernatural creatures (like vampires) who take this Merit gain the Eye for the Strange Merit instead.
    •••• Priest of the Worm: Priests are granted visions, often horrible, slowly eroding sanity and Integrity, of cosmic destruction, bloody rites, or battles with the cult's foes. They gain either the Clairvoyance or the Aura Reading Merits as a result. Supernatural creatures instead gain Status (Umaraha'e) 3, their power and gifts affording them greater consideration in the cult.
    ••••• Chosen of the Worm: Mortal and werewolf Chosen manifest the blessing of the Worm. First they must travel into a Wound to walk a twisted path they call Udhun. Afterward, they may transform into horrific amalgams of man and monster, their forms a corrupted mirror image of Gauru form called Ghulmaru. They may take this form following all the normal rules for Gauru, except that if one cultist falls into Death Rage, all others happily join in on the frenzy. Mortals may pick three qualities from the list below, while werewolves can choose two. Mage Chosen of the Worm gain access to the Umaraha'e Left-Handed Legacy, instead.

    Barbed Appendages — The monster's form loses all manual dexterity, but gains wicked barbed hooks for arm. Increase claw damage to +3, and Initiative penalty to -2. These claws grant their bonus to initiating a grapple, but are too long to benefit once a grapple has begun. The arm-hooks are long enough that the character gains +1 Defense against characters using unarmed or short-range attacks (such as knives).
    Distended Jaws — Increase bite damage to +3, but its Initiative bonus is only +1.
    Fins and Gills — In Ghulmaru form, the character can breathe underwater and swim at her normal Speed.
    Inhuman Senses — The creature gains hideous sensory organs: extra pairs of compound eyes, slimy eye-stalks, or floppy bat ears and an echolocation that sounds like wailing death to wolves and other canids. They gain a 360-degree field of vision.
    Patagia — A fleshy flap between arms and legs allows the beast to glide. He takes no falling damage and may move forward thirty yards for every ten yards he falls.
    Poisonous Blood — Anyone who damages the Ghulmaru in close combat with lethal damage must make a Stamina + Resolve roll or suffer the moderate version of the Sick Tilt until combat ends.
    Scaly Hide — The Ghulmaru form gains leathery scales granting 2/0 armor.

    Purpose
    What purpose do the Umaraha'e have? It is difficult to say. Their origins seem veiled in mystery and madness. Though their rites and their resources suggest they have been active for a long time, the Uratha have only just learned of them. What has brought the Children of the Worm out of the woodwork? Why now? These are the questions that werewolves ask themselves even as they find their territories beset by strange events, horribly tainted spirits, and environmental calamity. Yet werewolves are not the only ones asking these questions, as more Worm cells seem to arise across the world.

    Doctrine
    Those cultists that werewolves have encountered speak of the Ighisu and a world-shattering event looming on the horizon. Some tell of the ancient folly of men who would play at being gods, whose hubris tore asunder the cosmic balance and awoke Umarah. Now the great Worm will devour the world entire, and from its foul excrement will be born a new universe free of such spiritual corruption. The Children believe they work to hasten this event by undermining stability, fighting the enemies of the Worm—werewolves, who go ignorant of this great enemy—and poisoning the world's veins. With every new encounter, more clues emerge like worms wriggling from the dirt, but will it be enough? The Forsaken are scattered, at war with their own estranged brethren, driven to hunt their local territories. The Children range the world over and seem to have an uncanny ability to coordinate across great distances.

    Are the Umaraha'e a growing menace to the Uratha? Are they delusional fanatics who have corrupted an ancient mythology for their own ends? Doomsday cults have predicted the end of the world for centuries. Or have they tapped into some force beyond their ken and beyond their control? No werewolf can yet say. The Children of the Worm certainly wield secrets of frightening power. The mysteries continue to mount while answers elude the Uratha.

    Will they find out before it's too late?



    (This is only one part of a line-spanning event. There is much more to come. Disclaimer: This is a fan-only thing.)
    Last edited by Claire Redfield; 01-15-2016, 05:06 AM.


    Freelancer Gaea Games • Available for work!
    City of the Dead: My survival horror roleplaying game emphasizing Communities and rebuilding during the apocalypse.
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  • #2
    I really like this, it's a very freaky and visceral idea and plays up the body horror aspect of werewolf quite well. I am wondering though, how would you handle uratha taking the second dot of the mystery cult initiation, given they already know language (first tongue) automatically, and would uratha still get clairvoyance or aura sight at the 4th dot?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Fumus View Post
      I really like this, it's a very freaky and visceral idea and plays up the body horror aspect of werewolf quite well. I am wondering though, how would you handle uratha taking the second dot of the mystery cult initiation, given they already know language (first tongue) automatically, and would uratha still get clairvoyance or aura sight at the 4th dot?
      Thank you! And good questions. What I should do is simply provide alternate benefits at those levels for werewolves that take the Merit.

      Edit: And done!
      Last edited by Claire Redfield; 01-15-2016, 05:18 AM.


      Freelancer Gaea Games • Available for work!
      City of the Dead: My survival horror roleplaying game emphasizing Communities and rebuilding during the apocalypse.
      My Patreon: Still getting started, come check us out and voice your input!

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      • #4
        and now all the jokes me and my friend has made in our childhood about starting the "Cult of the Great Worm" seem to be too real. Good thing that didn't worked out! :P


        My Homebrew Signature- Because I need one. If you use any of it, please share with me how it went!

        On a Dragonlance-reading break. Surprise homebrew may still happen :P
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        • #5
          The red eye reminds me a lot of the red star from the classic world of darkness, is that intentional?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by LostLight View Post
            and now all the jokes me and my friend has made in our childhood about starting the "Cult of the Great Worm" seem to be too real. Good thing that didn't worked out! :P
            Don't worry, you can always join this one!

            Originally posted by Fumus View Post
            The red eye reminds me a lot of the red star from the classic world of darkness, is that intentional?
            Yes, very much so. This is part one of my experimental attempt to reimagine my favorite bits of the World of Darkness through the lens of the Chronicles of Darkness.


            Freelancer Gaea Games • Available for work!
            City of the Dead: My survival horror roleplaying game emphasizing Communities and rebuilding during the apocalypse.
            My Patreon: Still getting started, come check us out and voice your input!

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            • #7
              I remember you mentioning on the 'First Tongue Translations' thread that you were working on a CofD version of the Mokele. Is that still a thing?


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              • #8
                Originally posted by Arcanist View Post
                I remember you mentioning on the 'First Tongue Translations' thread that you were working on a CofD version of the Mokele. Is that still a thing?
                Yes. It's part of it. Actually, I'd like to do that with all the Fera. They'll be mentioned in the upcoming Signs of Ighisu stuff I do, anyway. "The Forgotten Children will come forth once more, and the Uratha will remember their name. The Wild will teem with the Children, drawn forth by the light of Ighisu as moths to candleflame. And the flame shall become an inferno, washing away all the children of the Ilusah. God and mortal, spirit and beast, all within the maw of Umarah."

                Or something like that. :P


                Freelancer Gaea Games • Available for work!
                City of the Dead: My survival horror roleplaying game emphasizing Communities and rebuilding during the apocalypse.
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                • #9
                  Suddenly I'm left to wonder what happens when a Wound and an Abyssal Verge exist in the same place, or similar mixings of such forces. Will be glad to see more!

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                  • #10
                    I imagine hordes of Pandorans, Shuankhsen, the Predators book, and the ghost worm giants associated with numbers stations in Summoners being venerated with them, too.

                    This is great, thank you. It's got all my favorite imagery: devouring hunger and great big worms

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                    • #11
                      Line-spanning event? That sounds amazing. CR really needs to make a homebrew hub for their stuff.

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                      • #12
                        Sorry to necro, but I have a question regarding the Chosen of the Worm Benefit. It says that the Chosen gain a Gauru-like form that follows all the normal rules for said form. My question is when a Mortal transforms, does he/she also gain the Gauru form modifiers? Or do they only gain their chosen qualities?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Rahuman101 View Post
                          Sorry to necro, but I have a question regarding the Chosen of the Worm Benefit. It says that the Chosen gain a Gauru-like form that follows all the normal rules for said form. My question is when a Mortal transforms, does he/she also gain the Gauru form modifiers? Or do they only gain their chosen qualities?
                          They gain the modifiers, as well. Basically, they turn into a twisted version of the Gauru form (even scarier, if that's possible).


                          Freelancer Gaea Games • Available for work!
                          City of the Dead: My survival horror roleplaying game emphasizing Communities and rebuilding during the apocalypse.
                          My Patreon: Still getting started, come check us out and voice your input!

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