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New Shifters: The Water Horses

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  • New Shifters: The Water Horses

    [Material from the old forums]

    Same as the others, they have their own parallel-wolf mechanical build, but it wouldn't be difficult to transform them into standard WatP shapeshifters -- keep the relevant forms, give them shapeshifting and regeneration, and figure the Clan boons to be their third main power.


    Few creatures in the British Isles have as fell a reputation as the water-horses. They have many, many names – the Kelpie or Pooka, the Each Uisge of Scotland, the Aughisky of Ireland, the Ceffyl Dwyr of Wales, the Nuggle of Orkney, the Glashytn or Cabbyl-Ushtey of the Isle of Man, the Bäckahäst of Scandinavia, the Nykur of Iceland or the Faroe Islands. They appear as beautiful men or women or as magnificent horses near bodies of water, and they lure curious or desirous travelers closer. And then they drag their prey to the bottom of the lake until they drown, and feed upon their entrails. They are uniformly murderous and uniformly malign, an entire species of beautiful serial killers.

    And each was once a mortal man or woman.

    The reality is actually a little more complex, though truthfully, the water-horses have far more than their share of sociopathic murderers. Each of the water-horses was once a living, breathing man who met his death by drowning beneath the sky – a river, a lake, a bog, on the broad ocean or beneath a waterfall. Not everyone who so dies becomes a water-horse, of course. There are other criterion that increase the likelihood of the event. If the drowning occurs beneath an overcast and rainy sky. If the mortal was an unpunished murderer. If they were born the middle of three siblings. If they died on a Saturday. If they were a suicide. If there are no other water-horses around. What this means is that the water-horses know how to make their own, though it is difficult – and that it does happen by accident, and more often than one might think.

    What the mortal drowns in determines what manner of water-horse emerges from his corpse – and the water-horses leave behind corpses, for all that they look almost exactly as they did before when they drag themselves onto shore, only fairer.
    • If he drowns in a stream or river, a Pooka is born, the tricksters and master shapeshifters of the water-horses, though their tricks often have a cruel edge to thems.
    • If the mortal drowns in a lake or a loch, he transforms into an Each Uisge, powerful and proud monsters with a berserker streak. In Ireland they are also called the Each Uisce or Aughisky.
    • In the stagnant water of bog or swamp, the mortal becomes a Kelpie, famed for 'sticky' hides that let them drag victims to a watery grave.
    • If the man drowns in the sea, then he may give rise to a venomous Nykur, also called the Nuggle, lesser cousin of the Nuckelavee.
    • And if the mortal drowns in a waterfall or a mountain pool, then he may become one of the rare Ceffyl Dŵr, the winged water-horses of the Welsh.

    Regardless of its type (which the water-horses call Clans), all of the water-horses have certain traits in common. They are all powerful shapeshifters, they are almost always attractive, and they are all bound to water of the same sort as cause their death (a river, a bog, a lake, or a stretch of shoreline). Spending more than a day without submerging in that type of water causes the water-horse physical pain, and it is entirely possible for them to waste away.

    There is no requirement that all water-horses are evil murderers, but very few can be considered psychologically healthy. First, with extremely rare exceptions, every water-horse is either a suicide or an unpunished murderer, and quite often both. They drown, and they feel drowning, the pain and terror and agony. And then they crawl up on shore, and their own mortal bodies are lie there dead as well, though the water-horse looks and feels much the same. They hunger for raw meat and viscera, and humans smell delicious. They are bound to water, and cannot venture too far from it without pain. Many go for years before meeting another water-horse capable of explaining what happened. Even then, water-horse culture is chillingly blasé regarding massacre and slaughter. For every sane, reasonable, well-balanced water-horse are half a dozen violent cannibals convinced that they died and are now ghosts or demons.

    Between their fragile sanity and limited mobility, water-horses are not among the more sociable of shapeshifters. They tend towards extreme territoriality, with one and only one water-horse staking out a given body of water – rarely, a prominent waterway will support a small clan of water-horses (Loch Ness is home to almost a dozen), but such cases are rather the exception to the rule. That said, water-horses do talk to one another, and they do travel – and some, the bards, travel constantly.

    Basically a flat society, water-horses have no hierarchy or organization, but the closest thing they have to an authority are the bards. Storytellers and keepers of lore and tradition, bards are respected as the repositories of water-horse culture. They travel long circuits through the country, guesting at one water-horse's after another, rewarding their hosts with stories and legends. Bards are also the ones who induct newly-created water-horses into the broader network of their people. Whenever one of the water-horses finds a new member of their species, they contact the nearest bard, who will usually take several months, or as long as a year, out of their circuit to educate the new shapeshifter -- of necessity, most bards become very good at handling the many psychoses of their students. The process of becoming a bard involves years of training by elder bards, and the memorization of an enormous quantity of oral tradition, as well as training in the language of symbols and in applied psychology. Most also pick up a measure of occult knowledge over the course of their travels, and other, stranger skills, making them the chosen problem-solvers when something serious occurs.

    Water-horse society is very formal, bound up in complex webs of mutual hospitality, and strongly artistic. A strong sense of etiquette helps defuse conflicts, and older Each Uisges and Kelpies tend to come of as old-fashioned gentlemen farmers, while even the younger ones are usually very polite. Elaborate arrangements of host and guest, both with responsibilities to the other that can last well beyond the time of the visit, also help forge the water-horses into something other than simply a congregation of psychopaths. Finally, water-horse society has more than its fair share of artists, perhaps because so many water-horses were suicides, and painting, craftsmanship, and especially storytelling are all highly respected.

    The water-horses have their own set of tales and legends, told by guests to their hosts and the subject of countless paintings and tapestries. They claim to be the chosen of Poseidon and Persephone, and most of all they are the favored of Demeter in her aspect as Aganippe, “The Mare Who Destroys Mercifully,” a black winged horse. They came to Great Britain with the Romans, and have stayed there ever since. Poseidon is the god of the sea and father of horses, who gives them their forms and affinity for water. Persephone is the daughter of Demeter, and the water-horses say that it is through her agency that they are pushed out of the Underworld, bound into the service of her mother. And Demeter Aganippe is their patron goddess, that along with Poseidon gives them the forms of horses and with her daughter binds them to the earth, and gives them their divine purpose. Spirits, in this context, become the myriad dryads and oreads and Furies and petty gods and goddesses of Greek myth, worthy of respect as divine cousins.

    To the extent that water-horses rationalize their violent behavior, they see themselves as sacrificing to the Underworld. By drowning their victims, they open a symbolic (and after a while, actual) channel to the Rivers of the Underworld, the Styx, the Lethe, and so forth. The deaths calm the ever-hungry waters, but even more than that, they serve as a ransom to Hades, allowing Persephone to return to the world above and for spring and fertility to come each year. It’s a cruel job, the water-horses agree, but a necessary one, and most water-horses at least make an effort to sacrifice only the wicked and immoral Without these sacrifices, the water-horses contend, winter would never end, the crops would fail, and far more would die. And the earth around the home of a water-horse does tend to be very fertile. Many water-horses also sacrifice to the local spirits in exchange for more immediate rewards, though hecatombs are difficult to arrange in the modern day.

    Being largely solitary, water-horses are not given to any sort of organized religion, but such as there is tends to focus on the worship of Demeter Aganippe as their patron and on their role as the ransom-payers of Persephone. Many water-horses maintain a shrine of some sort, and a few have started cults, modern versions of the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries. They promise their adherents preferential treatment in the afterlife in exchange for their help in returning Persephone to her mother in this life. Many water-horses leave things on the bodies of their victims as messages to the Underworld, or let their cultists do so. In the modern era, some water-horses have come to be uncertain about the truth of this origin myth -- they point out that there are water-horses in the Faroe Islands and in Scandinavia, places that never saw the hob-nailed sandal of the Romans, while France and Spain, which did, have a distinct absence of water-horses. But finding true evidence about the pre-Roman origins of the water-horses is an exceptionally difficult task, and tradition still holds a great deal of power.

    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
    New System and Setting Material

  • #2
    Favored Renowns: Purity (fulfilling the duty of ransoming Persephone) and Honor (adherence to the courtesies and customs of the water-horses)
    Favored Gifts: Father Wolf, Mother Luna (under different names)
    Core: Death, Elemental (with Control Water instead of Control Fire), Full Moon, Nature, Strength, Weather
    Rage: Ending
    Signs of the Moon: Glory

    Rage: Death Rage
    Primal Urge: The water-horse must immerse themselves within a body of water of the same sort as it perished in every 24 hours, or else take a -(Primal Urge) penalty to all rolls and 1L damage per day that will not heal until the water-horse is able to submerge.

    Alternate Forms:
    • Human Form: The human water-horse looks exactly like he or she did when alive, though they often look damp or are clammy to the touch -- some are mistaken for vampires by the supernaturally savvy.
      Traits: Perception +2; -2 to any supernatural effort to identify a shapeshifter as such (such as Aura Read).
    • Near-Human Form: In this form, the water-horse gains about a foot of height and fifty pounds of sheer muscle. Their hair grows out into something like a horse's mane, but with water-plants woven into it. Their ears are long and pointed, swiveling towards sounds, and they have webbed hands and feet. Regardless, they always look drenched.
      Traits: Perception +2; Strength +1, Stamina +1, Manipulation –1, Size +1; 9-Again on Strength Rolls and gains a 0L Claw attack.
    • Hybrid Form: The water-horse in their war-form resembles something out of a nightmare, an unholy amalgam of man, horse, and what looks like a fish or dragon. They have horses' heads with maws lined with fangs, equine hind feet with split hooves, and strange spines or frills emerging from their bodies. Their bodies are covered with short fur interspersed with patches of glistening scales, and their tails are more like fish tails than those of a horse.
      Traits: Perception +3; [Primal Urge/2]/[Primal Urge/2] Natural Armor; Limited Duration (Can be sustained for Harmony+PU turns); -2 to Resist Rage; All attempts to magically influence the shapeshifter, either mentally or socially, take a -3 penalty due to his more primal mindset. This penalty increases to -5 during Rage; Endurance; The shapeshifter can attack Outsiders (spirits, ghosts, demons, anything not native to the Material Plane) with natural weapons;

      Strength +3, Dexterity +1, Stamina +2; Size +2; 8-Again on Strength Rolls and gains a 2L Bite attack and a 1L Kick attack; Automatically fail all mental or social rolls with the exception of Resolve, Composure and Intimidation rolls; Combat Focus & Limited Weapons and Styles
    • Nightmare Form: The nightmare form of the water-horse is that of a large, powerful horse that becomes quite obviously wrong. Their mouths are filled with viperish fangs and their hooves split and sharpen. Water-plants intertwine with their manes, and they look drenched in water.
      Traits: Perception +3; Use the higher of Dexterity or Wits for Defense; Strength +2, Dexterity +2, Stamina +2, Manipulation –3, Size +2; Base Speed +7; 9-Again on Strength Rolls and gains a 2L Bite attack and a 1L Hoof attack..
    • Horse Form: In this form, the water-horse is just that, a horse, usually a handsome riding horse. Most water-horses are black in color and most have yellow eyes, though there are exceptions -- all-white water-horses are not unheard of. They often seem damp or wet.
      Traits: Perception +3; Use the higher of Dexterity or Wits for Defense; Strength +1, Stamina +2; Size +1; Base Speed +7; Gains a 1L Hoof attack
    • Primal Form: The water-horse is now like no creature on earth. They resemble massive, scaled horse-fish creatures with long necks and feet that end in great clawed flippers -- they actually look quite a lot like the popular conception of a sea serpent or a plesiosaur, except with rather more claws and fangs. Nessie may well be an Each Uisge that possesses the Primal Form.
      Traits: Perception +3; [Primal Urge/2]+1/[Primal Urge/2]+1 Natural Armor; Use the higher of Dexterity or Wits for Defense; Limited Duration (Can be sustained for Harmony+PU turns); -3 to Resist Rage; All attempts to magically influence the shapeshifter, either mentally or socially, take a -3 penalty due to his more primal mindset. This penalty increases to -5 during Rage; Endurance; The shapeshifter can attack Outsiders (spirits, ghosts, demons, anything not native to the Material Plane) with natural weapons; Combat Focus; Limited Weapons and Styles (Primal Form lacks opposable thumbs)

      Strength +5, Dexterity +2, Stamina +5, Manipulation –3, Size +4; 8-Again on Strength Rolls and gains a 2L Bite attack and a 1L Claw attack

    Miscellaneous Alterations:
    • Clans: Each clan of water-horses has a different boon.
      • Pooka are well-known as shapeshifters, and can transform into many animals beyond just a horse. Each Pooka has three additional animal forms, those of a fox, a medium-sized dog (~50 lbs), and a rabbit. These animal forms have the following traits in common: Perception +3, Use the higher of Dexterity or Wits for Defense; Strength -1, Dexterity +2, Stamina +1; Size 2; Base Speed +2. Foxes gain a 0L Bite attack and a +2 to Stealth, dogs a 0L Bite attack and are utterly mundane, and rabbits gain a +2 to Stealth and a further +5 to Base Speed (for a total of +7).
      • Each Uisge are known for their mad, murderous rages. An Each Uisge in Death Rage gains a +2 to Strength, Dexterity, and Stamina.
      • Kelpie are known for their 'sticky' hides. By spending 1 WP, their hides become sticky for the rest of the scene. Anything touching the Kelpie must make a Str+Brawl roll at a -(Primal Urge) penalty to break free, and if the Kelpie is grappling the target, the target subtracts both the Kelpie's Strength and their Primal Urge from any escape attempts.
      • Nykur are venomous. Whenever they bite a target, they may spend 1E in order to inject a poison through their hollow fangs, with a Toxicity of (Primal Urge+1)
      • Ceffyl Dŵr can fly -- for 1 WP, the water-horse sprouts great wings for the rest of the scene, letting them fly at thrice their Speed. In Horse or Nightmare form, no roll is required for flight, though a Dexterity+Athletics may be necessary for any fancy acrobatics. In Human, Near-Human, or Hybrid form, a reflexive Dexterity+Athletics roll is required every turn they stay aloft.
    • Aquatic: Water-horses are aquatic creatures, equally adept at existence both on land and water. Water-horses can breathe both air and water equally well, and gain the Rote action to any swimming rolls.
    • Alluring: When a drowned mortal becomes a water-horse, they become more attractive, shifting their physical appearance one step over -- ugly or deformed mortals become average, average people gain Striking Looks 2, and good-looking people with Striking Looks 2 now have Striking Looks 4. This applies to the water-horse's equine form as well, which are usually handsome or cute beasts that people want to stroke or ride.
    • Watery Regeneration: Water-horses, like other shapeshifters, can regenerate from wounds, but only while in the appropriate water for their Clan -- Kelpies in bogs, Nykur in the ocean, Each Uisge in lakes, Pooka in rivers, and the Ceffyl Dŵr in waterfalls or mountain pools.

    GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
    New System and Setting Material


    • #3
      For your viewing pleasure, a water-horse from my game. Because the Water-Horse is a British creature and my game is set in London, he's a British creature, but you can turn him into an American just by changing a few place-names.

      Colin Barrett
      Gregory Watson, Michael Jones, Bernie Moore

      Type: Water-Horse
      Clan: Ceffyl Dŵr
      Born: 1976

      Virtue:Fortitude Colin is thoroughly immune to any kind of punishment, letting it slide off him like water.
      Vice:Wrath Colin’s temper is very brief, but when it strikes, it strikes like a thunderbolt.

      Background: Colin Barrett was, in the delicate parlance of the small Irish town he grew up in, a 'handful'. He'd walk up to other children and talk to them, and he always knew exactly what to say to make them feel so bad that they cried. At school he was a compulsive thief, and despite being a dumpy, freckled redhead, he was also the ringleader of a small gang of hooligans. Catching him was next to impossible, since he could lie with the best of them, and even when it did, detentions, groundings, even suspensions were met with a blasé shrug. The local pastor said that Colin had the devil in him, the school guidance counselor muttered about lack of empathy, his parents simply despaired. They had two other children, and so when Colin hit eighteen, he was out the door and off to the university, never to see his family again. Not that he really cared. Colin didn't care about much.

      He went to the University of Manchester for schooling, and eventually fell in with the programmers and engineers there. The University of Manchester was where they'd discovered the nucleus of the atom and where the world's first programmable computer was invented, and it had always had a steady supply of boffins and eggheads. Something about computers appealed to Colin -- they were so nice and clean and straightforward -- and in short order Colin became involved in computer engineering.

      Now Colin was only an indifferent computer engineer, but he had some rather notable talents. First, unlike the greater percentage of computer geeks, Colin had charisma, at least in the short term. He was charming and personable and always told people what they wanted to hear, and people always liked him at first. Later on they might have noticed the utter lack of empathy, or his capricious, random behavior, but that was later. Secondly, Colin was very good at looking at what the boffins were doing and understanding the practical ramifications of it. Since this was in the mid-90s, this put Colin in a rather nice position.

      Colin rode the tech-bubble for all it was worth. He gave a lot of tech demos, talked to a lot of venture capitalists, and helped set up several websites towards the end of the nineties that promised to revolutionize this or that thing -- he was involved in a website for rapid vegetable delivery, an early dating website, and a project to provide digital legal consultation to people, among other things. He bounced around a few companies, never quite settling down, mostly since Colin had a distressing habit of getting fired for this or that shady activity (bald lies in the tech demos, selling source-code to competitors, etc), though he never got arrested for anything. He always had a ready excuse and a bright, cheery smile, and so Colin just kind of glided on through... that and he killed a man to avoid being revealed once.

      His name was... Walter something-or-other. Colin only vaguely remembers or cares now. He was a software developer who had a peanut allergy, and was annoyingly persistent in trying to figure out who had sent the basic code for their digital-lawyer project to another company. So Colin ground up a few peanuts, slipped them into his coffee, and watched him choke to death as his throat close up late one night. Then Colin replaced the coffee cup with a normal one, edited the security camera footage (he may have been an indifferent computer engineer but he was perfectly capable of doing this), and got away scot-free. The police suspected him, certainly, but he breezed through questioning without any problem and found a new job later that paid him more.

      Colin made quite a lot of money in the dot-com bubble, but he was never all that good at keeping it. While a masterful and charismatic liar, he was abysmal at any sort of long-term planning, and so would spend money on the most random things, whatever crossed his mind. A trip to South Africa, an indoor waterfall for his London home, a massive donation to an animal shelter, whatever seemed like fun. He made a string of very bad investments, and more often than not ended up having to steal just to make ends meet.

      Then the bubble burst. All of a sudden, there wasn't enough money in the dot-com world for Colin to make his way through charm and deceit, and people started paying attention to things quite a lot more. Suddenly, a lot of chickens were coming home to roost... and one of those chickens ended up killing him. To this day Colin doesn't know which of the people he managed to cheat broke into his house and held his face under his own, ornamental waterfall untilshe drowned. Truthfully, Colin doesn't care all that much.

      He woke up a few hours later, lying next to his own drowned corpse. This was just a bit weird. Still, Colin handled the problem in his own classic, calm fashion. He chopped his own body into small pieces, stuffed them into plastic bags loaded with rocks and dumped them into the Thames. He was planning to change his name and move out, but for some reason, it hurt to leave his waterfall -- so he was still there when the Bard arrived a few months later to initiate Colin into the society of the water-horses. The murderer never tried again, possibly freaked out by his or her failure the first time around.

      For the next few years, Colin lay low – he changed his name, moved to Wales for a while, studied the occult, and did a lot of thinking, about occult principles and next-gen computing and the machinery of murder cults. He’d visited a few of the old-school Eleusinian Mysteries in Wales (some of which now have some very advanced servers), and he’d always been good at getting people to do what he wanted. So in 2006, Colin return to London and star started his own cult, Intelligent Mysteries, a tech-startup focused on pushing the limits of artificial intelligence, using good old fashioned human sacrifice.

      Intelligent Mysteries (IMYS on the London Stock Exchange) is a small, publically traded web-firm with an office in London’s Tech City, a growing tech-hub in the East End. It employs about thirty people, of whom a little over half (and some of the investors) are also members of Colin’s budding mystery cult. Recruiting cultists proved to be pretty similar to sweet-talking venture capitalists, and Colin’s designed his cult to appeal to the young, tech-savvy, and immoral. In part, it’s a hedge against punishment in the afterlife – his cultists help him out, and in exchange they can lie, cheat, and swindle to their hearts content, knowing that they’re in the good books of the gods of the afterlife. But the cult’s also a key to more worldly power as well, because not all the human sacrifices go down into the river. Some of them feed other spirits, particularly the growing brood of computer- and information-spirits that Colin, in a burst of marketing inspiration, calls the Data-Nymphs.

      Here’s how it goes. First, the new recruit just gets told about the “spooky s***” going on after hours. Then they see some of the meetings, first just the ones where Colin talks about the future of supernatural computing, and then the ones where one of the Data-Nymphs makes an appearance, or Colin spreads his wings. Then before they know it, they’re driving through the cities of Britain, chloroforming drunks and prostitutes and teenage runaways and then stuffing them into the trunk of the car, back to the cult’s yacht. There’s a ritual and a prayer to Persephone and Demeter Aganippe and a whole lot of drugs and drink, and then they’re chained and wrapped in a whole lot of chicken mesh and sunk to the bottom of the Thames. Sure, some of the new recruits balk around this point, but Colin tends to dispose of conscientious objectors pretty thoroughly – after watching a hideous horse-fish monster slurping on someone’s entrails, most of Colin’s tech-cultists keep any qualms to themselves.

      Besides, the perks are awesome. For the first time in his life, Colin has a product that he doesn’t have to lie to sell – though he lies anyway, because it never occurs to him not to. He’s got a few people thinking that Intelligent Mysteries is going to be the group that develops true Artificial Intelligence, and they want to be on the ground floor of that. Truth is, Colin’s actually downplaying the abilities of his software, because spirit-possessed computers really are self-aware. So far, Colin’s company hasn’t actually produced all that much, but there’s a couple of corporations and banks that have his pet Data-Nymphs nesting in their servers, which given how easily bored Colin gets, is a recipe for disaster.

      GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
      New System and Setting Material


      • #4
        Actually, Intelligent Mysteries is a disaster waiting to happen. The cult lurches forward more by accident by design, because Colin is horrible at long-term planning. He’s constantly improvising, always keeping the cult running for just one more month, never really looking ahead – which wouldn’t be such a problem if Colin’s go-to problem-solving technique wasn’t to simply lie to people and tell them what they want to hear, storing up trouble for later. A few of his savvier cultists are starting to realize that Intelligent Mysteries is the Titanic and there’s an iceberg dead ahead, but Colin’s managed to rope them into helping keep the cult going. The threat of disembowelment concentrates the mind wonderfully.

        It’s in order to keep Intelligent Mysteries going that Colin’s started to sell his services to other supernatural creatures in London. He’s charismatic enough to pose as a very competent trouble-shooter, and he has just enough skill at deceit, magic, and murder to actually be quite good at making short-term problems go away. His true talent is at selling himself, however, and so it’s only a matter of time before he turns his mercenary activities into the same disaster as the rest of his life, and then the entire house of cards will come crashing down. When that happens, assuming he survives, Colin will just walk away, because he doesn’t really care about any of this.

        People who just meet Colin Barrett find him enormously likeable and pleasant. He’s a vivacious, good-looking redhead who seems genuinely interested in other people, and who has a near-endless supply of interesting stories and jokes. There’s an attractive confidence about him, a casual certainty that people react to without really being able to help themselves. It’s only on closer acquaintance that the realization dawns that something isn’t quite right about Colin in the head – that everything about him is only an act, how nothing is quite real to him.

        Colin’s grasp on reality is actually highly tenuous. He gives the impression of not really taking anything very seriously, as though everything in existence, even his own life, is no more real than a book or television show. This enables him to do some truly horrible things, because even the most vicious crime has no more effect on him than a gory movie has on most people.

        This also means that Colin is constantly, horribly bored. Very few things are able to hold his interest for any length of time, which means that he tends to be impulsive and capricious in the extreme. He’ll do something right now because it interests him, without any real consideration for how it will affect him later on. He has enough self-preservation that he does make an effort to avoid getting arrested or killed, but that just means he’s careful not to get caught.

        Together, his considerable charisma, weak handle on reality, and extreme boredom combine to render Colin into what is basically a serial killer. Colin mouths platitudes about the coming Singularity, spirit-interfaced computing, and the sacred duty to Demeter Aganippe, but at heart, Colin kills people because it feels nice and he can’t think of any reason not to, so long as he can dodge any repercussions.

        That said, crazy does not necessarily mean stupid, and Colin has learned quite a lot about covering his tracks. In Intelligent Mysteries, he’s not the CEO or founder or any such thing, but rather the head of sales, the better to deflect attention. When dealing with other supernaturals, he always gives the impression that he’s working for someone else, that he’s only the messenger or secretary. He’s learned to shapeshift, and uses that ability frequently, maintains several aliases, several hideouts, and has a bag with a fake passport and plenty of cash in a locker in Heathrow.

        In his natural form, Colin Barrett is a boyish, good-looking man who looks noticeably younger than his actual age. Before his transformation into a water-horse, Colin had been decidedly on the pudgy side, but apparently drowning is great for one’s figure, as he’s lost thirty pounds since then, though he still looks a little on the rounded side, as though he hasn’t lost all his baby fat. He has curly, dark red hair that always looks a little damp, copious freckles, a cherubic smile, and amber-colored eyes. He usually dresses in a pair of slacks and a dress shirt with the top button left undone, and a variety of silly ties with computers or question marks all over them. His water-horse form is pure white, with glowing yellow-red eyes. His wings are rather like those of an eagle, white with flecks of grey in them, and give him an unexpectedly angelic look when he manifests them in his human form.

        GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
        New System and Setting Material


        • #5
          ... These seem like they might make good antagonists for Sin-Eaters.


          • #6
            Hrm. I don't play Geist, but I don't see any reason why they couldn't be, yeah.

            Though really, shapeshifting death-cult serial killers. They'd probably work as an antagonist for anyone.

            GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
            New System and Setting Material


            • #7
              Mostly I mentioned it because they seem like they'd make good "dark mirrors". They both should have died, but were instead brought back to life by some great deathly power(their Geists for the Bound, the three gods the Water Horses worship according to their own legends) which has for them some sort of obligation. The difference is that the Sin-Eaters merely are charged with living life to the fullest and helping ghosts move on, while Water Horses are, as you said, Serial Killers.


              • #8
                Good point. I would note that I treat the Water Horse origins/issues as being mostly psychological and cultural, as opposed to them having any kind of divine mandate. It is possible to have a non-psycho waterhorse, it's just going to be rare.

                That said, if you wanted a more direct comparison, one can certainly play up the Water Horses's gods into full-scale Death Lords or Incarnae

                GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
                New System and Setting Material


                • #9
                  Yeah, I tired to make that clear by noting they got their facts from the legends, which I'm sorry for not making clear.


                  • #10
                    These fuckers are creepy. Good job!


                    • #11
                      Glad you like them! I toy with the idea that both the Loch Ness Monster and the Nuckelavee are basically really high-Primal Urge water horses with a variation on Primal Form. They make great monsters.

                      GM of the Walking Shadow Campaigns
                      New System and Setting Material