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Gisilu: The Ant Host.

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  • #16
    Hey guys, Now again I apologize for this delay.. things always have a habit of jumping out at me and taking up most of my time, not to mention distracting me... but as promised, here is the final part of the Trembling Earth, and Holy shit I am finally glad to be finished with it! With this piece I will FINALLY be done with their basic background and how they do shit, and then I can finally move on the the mechanical meaty bits for you guys ( which will fortunately take far less time, thank GOD). I'm sorry that I've taken so long with this, and I hope you enjoy this section! As always, let me know what you guys think about these monsters I have been lovingly building for you!

    _____________


    Methods- The Trembling Earth (Part 3)


    How these functions are performed mark just how damn effective and implacable these monsters are; their unique characteristics compared to the other Hosts, their high levels of aggression, and their objective oriented mindset and knack for strategic and tactical actions capable of giving even experienced packs pause – all of these facets come together to create a race of creatures that could very easily overwhelm the initial infested area and ( much, MUCH further) beyond if allowed to grow powerful enough in both numbers and strength of individual shards. Patient and thorough to extents that go past what is often thought possible, an area besieged by a local colony of the ant-shartha will not be left alone until everything in it has been torn apart and fed to their Queen - regardless of how long it may take. The Gisilu are not known to simply stop after scouring an area clear of life – both material and ephemeral – though, and once one location is rendered barren and lifeless, the Colony moves on to another to repeat the process again ad infinitum unless stopped by an outside source like a pack of Uratha or ( worse case scenario that thankfully hasn't happened yet) until there is nothing left in the world to kill or break.

    But the question that one would probably ask is how an infestation achieves this, and what sort of things happen during such a terrible event. In a word: systematically. As stated before, the Gisilu are patient and thorough; a Hidden Queen is more than happy to move slowly for weeks to even months or years if she believes that the area she has made her current home is too dangerous to immediately announce her presence. So she waits and carefully breeds her worker-soldiers as few at a time, sending them out to discreetly secure resources and fortify the home base before taking more.. assertive action. Once a Queen determines it safe enough to be more bold, she sends her Foragers out to start earnestly taking human hosts in order to be more useful to her designs; killing minor threats, collecting food and other required materials, scouting out potential foes/prey – these are all what the human possessing Foragers do and more in the service of their queen. Even at this stage the ant-shartha are still quite “docile” Save for a few ( anger fueled) exceptions from time to time, the Gisilu shards do what they can to avoid the attention of more dangerous creatures or failing that, doing everything possible to misdirect these foes in order to fool them into focusing on areas far away from the Queen - making them search everywhere the shartha are not while the colony quietly grows in power all the while. This isn't to say that these diversion tactics are always successful, but a few days or even hours of leading enemies like the Uratha who are instinctively predisposition ed to give chase to those who prove a challenge along on what is essentially nothing more than a wild goose chase to stall for time can prove invaluable, as it distracts the enemy from their larger priorities just long enough to let the rest of the colony to properly prepare – the advantages of a hive-mind being put to good use.

    This behavior is mirrored on the Shadow side of the Gauntlet as well, and in fact is often more important to the colony in the first few weeks on an infestation as the Hisil is where all the Essence collects and saturates the spiritual world around it- a perfect place to quickly build strength while remaining hidden from the prying eyes of mortals and more physical threats. This is not without downsides , however, as while the Hisil is not as saturated with overflowing numbers of beings like in the world of Flesh, at least over there the natives are less likely to pay attention to small knots of ants moving and working with a strange semblance or purpose. Not so in the Shadow, for while few spirits have much love for the bastards of Father Luna and Mother Wolf, but they will gladly run off to tattle on the gisilu should they feel threatened. This means that the lesser shards must be extra careful with how they move or what they attack while in the shadow, for one never knows who may be watching from the darkness or who they serve. Being ever resourceful though, the ants have devised a strategy that circumvents many of these dangers for the most part: operating within the day. As most spirits are either sleeping or sluggish, and the Uratha rarely attempt to enter the Hisil during the day unless they possess no choice, the shartha have a great deal more freedom of movement than one would expect, and they can accomplish a hell of a lot of work in a few short hours of daylight much more quickly than they can at night.

    Shartha hunters who are wishing to make the Gisilu their prey must be extra vigilant then, as the ants are more than happy to do their bloody-minded work no matter the time of day on both sides of the Gauntlet, and this two pronged approach to what they do can put great strain on a packs time and resources even when the ants are not actively working to make things miserable – yet. The constant back and forth between worlds to keep tabs on these monsters can quickly eat through a pack's time and distract from other matters that would demand attention, sometimes fatally so, and has the added problem of occasionally agitating spirits who are.. less than friendly towards werewolves – something that can only benefit the colony. As a result, unless one is prepared to neglect every other aspect of maintaining one's territory in favor of hitting the gisilu with everything they have ( and hitting them quickly in the beginning in order to prevent them from gaining too much momentum), essentially performing a long and protracted Sacred Hunt at the exclusion of everything else for the days or possibly weeks it would take to eradicate the colony, the only really meaningful reprisal a a single pack of Uratha can make while still taking care of their other important responsibilities would be attacking the colony piece meal in order to occasionally destroy a large number of shards from time to time in order to slow the Gisilu down and thin their numbers until circumstances permit a more permanent solution – though this tactic is only truly viable while the colony is still relatively small ( as the tactic is intended for; keeping the ants from gaining truly problematic numbers for as long as possible). If the local infestation has been able to subsume several loci, or one or more greater loci, then the time has come to either leave the territory and find a new home or ( if one truly means to live up to the sacred vows they have taken as scions of Urfarah) commit oneself to a grueling guerrilla war- while hopefully getting as much help as possible in order to destroy or contain the threat that the ants have now gained the ability to represent.

    Once the colony gains the capability of regularly producing hybrids, all the sneaking about and carefully poking and prodding the area and it's defenses rapidly begins to come to an end. Humans start to go missing in greater numbers that are quite noticeable to mortal authorities, and while this in all likelihood bring unwanted attention to a pack's territory at first, what will come next makes the tender ministrations of law enforcement officials and possibly monster hunters seem like a pleasant ( if boring) and friendly family social gathering in comparison. They begin appearing slowly at first; horrid monsters that resemble obscene man-ant abominations that come skittering from the most unlikely of places on their many insectile legs, ruined mouths chittering mangled First Tongue threats and litanies that hurt the ears and cause the Wolf within to recoil in disgust and fury, mandibles clacking and swollen eyes bulging grotesquely with each jittery step. These things are almost never encountered alone, and while at first they seem to do little more than rush at their victims with little in the way of purpose other than to rip apart anything in their away and carrying the chunks back to their siblings and Queen, as time goes it becomes sickeningly apparent that they are not nearly as mindless as they appear to be. Ambushes, sophisticated examples of coordination between different groups, and impressive small unit tactics that can rival that of even modern military/polices forces or the pack oriented manuvers used by many Uratha it is quite obvious ( if it hadn't been made so before hand) that these things are far more resourceful and dangerous than many other monsters that an Uratha might face. All the while these creatures, the Fodders do their damndest to kill anything that breaths and tear down whatever may be whole with little to no regard for their individual lives – so long as the collective they are part of achieves it's goals. But as bad as these hybrids are, they are but the first flakes of disturbed snow at the head of an avalanche, and whatever destruction these Fodders wrought they are merely the advanced scouts.. and what's coming next will be so much worse.

    As vicious as these initial attacks are, they are at least somewhat containable( should one act quickly) – for a time. The Fodders strike in large groups yes, but it is rarely more than one group in a given area at a time and even when they coordinate with others it is mainly to heard enemies from one ambush site to another, where two or more groups will briefly work in tandem to destroy threats too strong to be taken down by single foraging groups, but once the target(s) is destroyed, or a large enough number of Fodders are killed ( admittedly nearly all of the hybrids involved in the battle, the Queens do not care about the loss of a mere one or ten Fodders after all), then the groups will disperse, looking for more easily taken targets while covering as much ground as possible - to better find other living things to kill or dismantle as well as leading particularly foolhardy enemies on merry chases than invariably lead to ever more ambushes. Such is the opening moves of the ending stages of a Gisilu infestation, and while difficult the only real methods of dealing with the bunches of horrid man-ants are regrettably stopgap in the beginning.. though it can only be expected should a pack allow events to become this dire.

    And then the Bone-Breakers start appearing.

    A few days after the Fodders begin appearing in force marks the end of these small, guerrilla tactics and strategies and sees the beginning of the iconic phenomenon so well ingrained into the minds of those Hunters who know of the Gisilu; the March. A March is exactly what most would expect from hearing the word: a huge mass of Ant-Hosts sweeping from their various nests and converging into one massive column, which in turn swarms over anything in it's path and tearing it to minuscule pieces. This is admittedly somewhat misleading, as the March does not make use of merely one giant column of warrior ant hybrids, but two: One column that handles things on the Flesh side of the Gauntlet and another that does the same on the Spirit side ( or possibly even more if the local packs REALLY fucked up and let the gisilu's numbers grow into the several hundred range – something thankfully so rare it's almost non-existent in the modern day, save for in South America and possibly even Africa).

    As stated previously, the Bone-Breakers are the frontline attackers during the March. living battering rams which smash into the toughest resistance and, ideally, utterly breaking those sources of resistance down as their fellows tackle the less.. challenging threats. In the beginning of a March the Bone-Breakers care very little for finesse, relying on their herculean strength and their durable chitin to see their objectives through in the most direct and destructive manner possible – after all when the entire world is naught but nails, it doesn't matter where the Hammer strikes. Needless to say, once March happens there is often very little one can do to end it aside from making sure it never happens to begin with, or possessing the numbers and strength to fight the ants on more or less equal footing – a daunting task indeed for the Uratha or any other supernatural being, but hardly impossible if one is lucky. Once the March finishes tearing the serious opposition apart, supernatural or otherwise, the columns move to create a perimeter around the entirety of the area the colony has infested, and then turn around and work their way back towards the center, systematically destroying everything and anything that had survived the initial outward push. It is during this time that the Bone-Breakers behavior changes subtly and they switch from being simply living wrecking balls to commanders and squad leaders for the Fodders in their Queen's stead, directing their lesser brethren during the lengthy process of mopping up the creatures and structures that remain, and so the gisilu then return to smaller unit tactics – now with Bone-Breaker support and oversight.

    This process is quite time consuming and can take days, weeks or even months – during which time the ants will literally leave no stone unturned ( in fact they will likely eat the stones and their corresponding motes and spirits) until everything is utterly consumed. It is at this point that the colony will finally move on to find a new area, usually an area right outside of the own they have just rendered barren and will repeat the process again – this time with likely far more success.

    And so the cycle continues on and on for the ant shartha, as their colony grows ever more powerful and more difficult to destroy until there eventually comes a point where it cannot feasibly be stopped without the most drastic of measures, and even then it is likely the queen will survive to begin this process all over again, and again.. and again. Thus is the danger of the gisilu, for they are a species of patience and blood-minded determination that creates nothing but tragedy and death in it's wake.

    But this is assuming that a colony is able to grow and spread smoothly with no serious setbacks, which is very rare in the modern day. Which leads to the greatest vulnerability of the Gisilu, a weakness that no other ( currently know) breed of Shartha possesses – and that is the Hidden Queens. While undoubtedly the most protected shard of a colony and the one host that the average shartha hunter is unlikely to ever encounter, or even get close to – should a Queen die and she has not had the time to create an “heir”, her destruction will spell the end for the colony. Every shard that is descended from that Hidden Queen will eventually die, some instantly ( like Workers and weak Foragers), others a few days afterwards ( such as stronger Foragers, Fodders, and Bone-Breakers) – their spiritual shards fading away into oblivion with their matriarch. There are two exceptions to this; If the Queen had successfully created a Queen shard before her death the colony may attache themselves to the infant Hidden Queen and survive, or if that is not possible the surviving lesser shards may attempt to locate an unrelated colony and allow themselves to be absorbed into it – bringing their unique characteristics to the new colony and helping it grow more diverse. Either way, this is the only way to definitively destroy a gisilu colony, and many Hidden Queens have fallen to the teeth and claws of the Meninna and other creatures over the recent centuries.

    The Hunters in Darkness have done a beautiful job ensuring that the ants haven't been able to gain such numbers as a whole in a very long time. And even though they have been unable to exterminate the ants, they have at least accomplished something that they have never been able to do with any of the other hosts, and that is ( more or less) containing them – which is no small feat by any standard. It may only a fleeting victory in the long run, but for the time being it is safe to say that it unlikely that the ants will achieve their biological imperatives any time soon.. hopefully.
    ______

    Up Next- Dread Powers of The Gisilu.
    Last edited by Korogra; 06-10-2016, 05:42 PM.

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    • #17
      Hey all and holy shit I can't believe I've neglected this for so long. I apologize for necro-ing this thread, but I have finally gotten around to finishing the Dread Powers for these Shartha. Again I deeply apologize for taking so long and I hope you enjoy them!! As always, let me know what you think and offer constructive criticism!
      _____

      Tools of Conquest- Dread Powers

      Innate Dread Powers: Discorporate, Hive Mind ( Gisilu Only) , Infest Locus ( Hidden Queen Only)

      Common Dread Powers: Armored Hide 1-3, Burrow, Devourer*, Earth Elemental, Home Ground, Natural Weapons, Toxic Bite

      Common Gisilu Dread Powers: Acidic Spray, Amplified Strength 1-3,Living Architecture, Nutrient Spray, Pheromone Trail

      Hidden Queen Dread Powers: Channel Essence, Control Lesser Shard, Poison Locus, Spawn Nursery
      ____

      Infest Locus (Hidden Queen Only)
      This Dread Power is the Key to an entire Gisilu Infestation, without this ability a Hidden Queen cannot spawn spirit shards. The Hidden Queen wishing to Infest a locus must burrow into the earth within it's radius on the Shadow side of the Gauntlet and Roll Stamina + Potency- The Locus Rating , spending three points of Essence. Upon success the Hidden Queen spends the entirety of the following day suffusing the Locus with her presence. Once fully settled, the Hidden Queen benefits from the following advantages:

      Masked Essence - The Essence of the Locus and the Hidden Queen become so intermingled they are indistinguishable from each other. Attempts to locate the Hidden Queen by tasting or scenting her Essence is penalized by 5.

      Enriched Wellspring- The Hidden Queen's presence is quite beneficial to the integrity of the Locus. Attempts to alter the resonance of the Locus are penalized by a combination of the Locus rating and the Infesting Queen's Potency Score. In addition, the Locus generates more Essence than a font of it's strength normally does, generating an additional number of Essence points per day equal to the Hidden Queen's Potency.

      Generate Spirit Shards- The Hidden Queen is able to utilize the spiritual powers of the Locus in order to spawn her monstrous offspring. Once per day, the Hidden Queen may spend five points of Essence in order to generate a number of spirit shards equal to the rating of the Locus. Alternatively, the Hidden Queen may instead create one shard every scene. These spirit shards are true Shartha, with their own personalities and varied levels of intelligence - save for an inviolable and near fanatical loyalty towards the Queen who spawned them. In addition, The Queen is able to essentially "design" aspects of the shards she creates, choosing which Dread Powers her children will manifest and what Attributes and Skills the lesser shartha begins play with - though these shards can grow and develop independently afterwards.. should their Queen allow it.


      Channel Essence
      With this Dread power, the Hidden Queen is able to utilize her Dread Powers while controlling one of her children. In addition to the Dread Powers of the controlled Gisilu, the Hidden Queen may elect to instead channel one of her powers through the creature at an -2 penalty. Infest Locus cannot be utilized by the Controlled Ant Host.


      Control Lesser Shard
      This Dread Power is greatly feared among Shartha Hunters as it is an ability that allows the Hidden Queen to directly take part in battle where as normally her unique form of host-body makes combat nearly impossible. The Hidden Queen chooses any lesser shard connected to her through the Hivemind Dread Power and focuses a greater portion of her presence into this individual with a Manipulation + Empathy + Potency Roll. Upon success the Hidden Queen's consciousness overrides the target shard's for the remainder of the scene, and she is capable of making use of their abilities as if they were her own. There are downsides to this, however. While the Queen is connected to all of her children and can communicate, there does lie a level of disconnection, a sort of psychic "Cushioning" that shields the Hidden Queen from excess sensation and emotions - the most intense of which occurring at the moment of a shard's death ( however temporary said death may be). Should a Gisilu the Queen is controlling die while she is doing so, the Hidden Queen suffers a psychic backlash as all that Ant's pain and fear wash over her, inflicting a -3 penalty to all mental rolls for the remainder of the scene. In addition, this intense connection to a single lesser shard drowns out the voices of her other children somewhat, inflicting a -2 penalty to the benefits of the Hivemind Dread Power.


      Poison Locus
      The destruction of Flesh and Shadow alike is the overall goal of all Gisilu, and depriving the many, many, MANY enemies of the Ant Hosts of Essence is but one step of the journey towards completing it. The Hidden Queen is able to allow her toxic blood to mix with the spiritual essence of the locus she has infested ( or other loci with use of Channel Essence), making the essence flow poisonous to non-ant shartha. While the Queen and her children can still feed from these fouled loci, other creatures and spirits who attempt to do the same instead suffer like mortals do when Essence is introduced to their systems, causing them to sicken and waste away, suffering a point of lethal damage every hour per point of tainted Essence in their system until destruction or until the rancid Essence is expended. tainted Essence can be used for all of it's primary functions save for healing actions. This taint remains within the Locus permanently unless cleansed, and there are various rites of healing and purification that can easily burn away this corruption.


      Spawn Nursery
      This Dread Power allows a Hidden Queen ( or another shard she is controlling thanks to Channel Essence) to regurgitate a fist sized living mass of flesh that quickly anchors itself to wherever it was deposited, after which other Gisilu then place bits of meat from previously slain prey in order to allow it to grow until it is roughly the size of a man – a Gisilu Nursery. From then on until it is destroyed every so often a small number of ants emerge from the mass, more sisters ready to carry out the Queen's will. This fleshy pile possesses the ability to absorb Essence that is “fed” to it and use said Essence in conjunction with its physical mass/flesh to produce Shards at a rate of 1 Shard per every five points of Essence every hour until it's store of Essence is depleted – after which it wastes away. As a result, Hidden Queens often place these disgusting biological factories within Loci, in order to ensure they always have access to a steady supply of Essence, though in desperate times the Queens will simply have her slaves create an sustain Nurseries in odd, far off locations.

      These Nurseries require more than just just Essence to remain functional, and once per week an amount of living or dead flesh equal to the Nursery's Size must be “fed” to it in order to provide it with the material needed to create the shards physical forms. The Nursery has a number of health points equal to it's size and is completely defenseless aside from the shards it generates, and therefor is highly vulnerable to attack if left unguarded.


      Hivemind ( Gisilu Only)
      This ability is what truly makes the Ant Host so effective and how they are capable of presenting such a danger to enemies. Each ant host colony has it's own self contained gestalt consciousness that stems from their ruling Hidden Queen. Through this Hivemind, each Host is able to communicate with it's siblings or Queen at no cost, though with the expenditure of a point of Willpower the Host can transmit things it sees or hears to the rest of the colony for the remainder of the Scene.

      In addition, the Hivemind Dread Power allows the Gisilu to work together with exquisite harmony. Gisilu gathered in groups of 10 or more gain a +4 bonus to teamwork rolls and combat rolls, gaining an additional +1 for every additional five Hosts in the swarm, capping at +10.

      This Dread Power is not without it's drawbacks. Once a colony grows to a certain size, usually at 100 members or more, it becomes more difficult for the Queen to direct her children or for individual Gisilu to effectively communicate with each other, imparting a -3 penalty to the bonuses provided by this Power ( though should a colony possess enough Bone-Breakers, at least one for every 25 shards, this penalty is removed as the Bone-Breakers alleviate the strain on their synaptic web).


      Acidic Spray
      This basic Dread Power often developed by Fodders and some Bone-Breakers, this ability allows them generate and spray a potent bio-spiritual acid at foes. The Gisilu spends a point of Essence and rolls Dex+ Athletics + Potency – target's Defense and/or armor. The Spray has an effective range of a number of yards equal to the Host's Potency and acts as a 0A weapon.


      Amplified Strength 1-3
      Ants are famed for possessing incredible strength for their minuscule size, and the Gisilu mirror this strength to great effect. This Dread Power possesses three levels, level one grants a permanent +2 bonus to the Hosts Strength Score, level two grants a +4, and Three grants a terrifying +6. Unfortunately this Dread Power's higher levels can only be purchased by certain castes of Ants. Unaltered host bodies can only benefit from Amplified Strength 1, Fodders may only purchase up to the second level, while the feared Bone-Breakers being allowed to purchase the final level.


      Living Architecture
      This Dread Power is held almost entirely by the Worker caste of Gisilu, and serves them well by allowing the ants to work together to becoming essentially living pieces of infrastructure, though larger Hosts may retain this power for greatly upscale ( and at times grotesquely comedic) effect. By gathering in groups of twenty or more with each spending a point, Gisilu are capable of interlocking their bodies together in order to form living equipment or architecture. A number of example pieces of Living Architecture are as follows, though the Storyteller is free to design new ones as they see fit.

      Bridges
      Cranes
      Conveyor/pulley systems
      Living Wells

      In addition, any composite piece of a Living Architecture configuration may spend an additional point of Essence and a point of Willpower to add their Stamina score to the objects' Durability. As the saying goes, every chain has a weak link, and should any section suffer a number of lethal damage exceeding the highest present Stamina score the Living Architecture breaks apart into the individual Shards.


      Nutrient Spray
      This Dread Power is a non combat version of the Acidic Spray Dread Power, and is another common ability for Forages and Fodders. Nutrient Spray allows the Gisilu in question to douse a fellow Ant Host or any other target capable of utilizing Essence with a viscious, energy rich substance. The User spends a point of Willpower and rolls Dex+ Athletics and on success transfers a number of points from their Essence pool to the target equal to the successes rolled with a range equal to the Host's Potency score like with Acidic Spray.


      Pheromone Trail
      Ants commonly make use of pheromones to communicate with each other and navigation, and so do the Gisilu. By spending a point of Essence the Ant Hosts are capable of exuding a chemical spore trail that imparts a +3 to rolls regarding navigating an unfamiliar area that persists for a number of days equal to the user's Potency. Consequently the pheromones can be quite useful for enemies as well should they be detected – a perfect weapon to lure meddlesome Uratha or other creatures into traps if need be, assuming the ant shartha do not unintentionally leave a spore trail in the wrong( or right) place.


      * While Devourer is considered to be a Idigam Dread Power, i find that there are plenty of spirits and other gribblies that possess themes where this power would be perfectly fitting ( like a Devourer Hound possessing this Dread Power - signifying it's hunger that transcends madness. So I figured that the Gisilu would also be able to develop Devourer as it fits their theme of how they think that the entire world must be dismantled, both Spirit AND Flesh - so they have it as a common Power XD.
      Last edited by Korogra; 08-06-2016, 12:00 PM.

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      • #18
        Hey guys! Now I think this is the final part of my Gisilu write up ( unless you want a fiction/roleplay sameple section, let me know if that is the case), detailing a Hidden Queen - really the only quintessential Host in a colony. I briefly thought about doing a write up for the other castes, but quickly decided that would take too long and was more or less unneeded ( Again unless you want me to add those). So here we are, the ( hopefully) final section of the Ant Hosts! Like always let me know what you think, and have a wonderful day!!

        _________


        Imperial House- Sample Gisilu


        Cesa, The Empress

        " You still think you can destroy my colony? Silly dog.. this entire Continent is my palace, every nest you have ever seen have been nothing more than individual anthills leading to the cavernous realm below. Be a good mongrel and bow before your Queen, and I might decide to not feed you to my Fodder."

        Intelligence 6 Wits 5 Resolve 5
        Strength 4 Dexterity 7 Stamina 8
        Presence 4 Manipulation 5 Composure 6

        Academics 4 Crafts 3 Investigation 3 Occult 5(Hosts) Politics 4
        Athletics 2 Brawl 4( natural weapons) Survival 3 Weaponry 1
        Animal Ken 3 Empathy 7(Hivemind) Intimidation 4 Persuasion 3 Subterfuge 4

        Merits( The levels of the merits are undecided for me, apologies)
        Danger Sense Iron Stamina, Allies, Contacts, Safe Place, Eidetic Memory, Retainer Multi Limbed Combat

        Virtue: Curiosity
        Vice: Vengeful

        Willpower: 11
        Cohesion*: 8
        Essence: 30
        Size: 10
        Health: 15
        Defense: 5
        Initiative: 12
        Speed: 17

        Dread Powers: Acidic Spray, Armored Plates, Burrow, Devourer, Toxic Bite, Infest Locus, Channel Essence, Control Lesser Shard, Poison Locus, Spawn Nursery, Hivemind, Regenerate 3

        Description: Cesa is quite unique among Hidden Queens in that instead of merely remaining in her basic form, a queen ant, she decided to reach for greater things; to merge with a human. While doing so made it increasingly more difficult to infest loci, she finds the advantages of mobility and the capacity to enjoy the more visceral plights and pleasures of this world to be a fair trade - all to more easily tear it down once she has sated her curiosity. As a result, the hybridized form she has worn for nearly a century is both a nightmarish and twisted mockery of both man and ant as well as possessing an alien feminine allure, not unlike that of some deadly predatory animal.. or a paramour that one knows is bad news - yet cannot help but lie with. Cesa's form greatly resembles that of a Fodder in many respects, with a humanoid torso connected to a large abdomen, along with two pairs of legs stemming where the two sections meet - though the differences come to the fore quite quickly. First and foremost, the Empress is massive compared to Fodders, her abdomen alone is easily as large as a minivan and her legs being almost long as the average human, if not a bit longer. Her torso (technically thorax if one was to be accurate) is quite slender and feminine, though it lacks breasts or other such female mammal anatomy, and sports two sets of arms- they and the rest of her body covered in pale, almost immaculately smooth fleshy chitin. The greatest thing that sets her apart from her children aside from her size is her face. Whereas Fodders or Bone-Breakers are either horrendously mutilated by their transformation or insectoid, Cesa's face is an almost painfully beautiful woman's face, easily the most human aspect of her entire visage save for the solid blood-red orbs that rest in their sockets. Why the Empress chose to look this way is unknown, though some speculate that she did so in order to both unnerve and reassure potential victims/allies, giving them a face to behold that was not as alien as her children in order to establish some semblance of similarity.

        Background: Not much is known about the Hidden Queen aside from the fact that she seems to be the oldest and most powerful Queen in North America, having built numerous nests and raised several colonies which have terrorized Uratha territories for easily over a century. What most Uratha don't know is that Cesa is not only the strongest matriarch of the ant-hosts in the United States; she is the only Hidden Queen in the country. How this happened was due to a an equal level of Initiative and carelessness on the part of the Meninna. Concerned with a large spike in Gisilu activity in the early 1900s, the Hunters in Darkness launched one of the largest coordinated inter-pack campaigns seen prior to the Brethren War and the subsequent sneak attack by the Pure during said conflict with a level of competency not seen for several decades. The results of this Great Hunt were both dramatic and impressive; within just a few weeks every single Hidden Queen was cornered and killed in the US - save for for an infant Cesa. Spawned by a desperate Hidden Queen mere hours before her death at the hands of a particularly powerful pack lead by a Hunter in Darkness named simply Runningbear, the drone bearing the nascent shard that would become Cesa was bore far from the slaughter to develop in a remote, tiny Locus many dozens of miles away in a national park. And there she grew and developed for years, building a a small colony that was never found by the participants of this Great Hunt. As a result the Uratha breathed a sigh of relief, thinking that the Gisilu menace had been exterminated- at least in their backyard.

        But disappointment is a fact of life in the Chronicles of Darkness, as slowly but surely the Ants began appearing again in small numbers. Packs would destroy these colonies whenever they would find them, but strangely enough they could never find a Hidden Queen, only Nurseries. This was because Cesa knew what happened to her fellow shartha. Each Hidden Queen is essentially the focal point of a new independent hivemind at the moment of their birth, but for a short period of time they still possess a lingering connection to the synaptic web of their progenitor. It was through this fading connection that the infant Gisilu learned of what the Uratha did to her people - and it shocked and horrified her. She desperately did not want to fall to the same fate of her sisters, and was so hellbent on preventing that outcome that she did what few of her kind had ever done; she took a mortal Host. While bereft of the ability to easily merge herself with a locus, the ability to freely walk and defend herself allowed Cesa to quickly establish large numbers of smaller, semi autonomous colonies in order to fulfill her burning biological need to work towards the Ruination of the spirit and flesh sides of the Gauntlet while acting as proxies and red herrings in equal measure - the most terrifying thing about this strategy is that it worked. The Uratha were baffled; Gisilu nests were appearing everywhere it seemed and yet they could find no central colony, no Queen to slay in order to curb the spread of this epidemic. So packs all over did what they could; they destroyed these inexplicable “orphaned” colonies as often as possible, few scions of Father Wolf ever coming to the conclusion that perhaps there was a frighteningly mobile Hidden Queen stalking the innocuous places of the nation, sowing small nests here and there as she grew ever stronger – all the while taking great pains to avoid the Uratha she so despised.

        Now in modern nights Cesa has very little need to be so cautious, but she still prefers to remain mobile and continue to create colonies here and there – all the better to keep her enemies spread thin while her children continue to grow in number. Through this method of nest building even though the Uratha are able to more easily exterminate local infestations, it has become something of a herculean endeavor. Like cutting off the head of a hydra, for every one of these proxy-colonies that are destroyed; three more seem to take their place, and while the overall numbers of Gisilu remain quite low nation wide the ever increasing number of these “orphaned” colonies has begun to spark a flame of unease in the Elder Meninna, and the name Cesa has started to earnestly reach the ears of said elders. This suits the Empress just fine, she wants them to know her name, to see what she was trying to do while being unable to stop it. For soon, very soon according to those few ant shartha who are interrogated before being destroyed, Cesa will finally drive the Uratha from her kingdom and all that resist will be naught but food for a new generation of Queens who will bring the land around them to ruin.

        Whether or not this is the case remains to be seen, but for those very rare few Forsaken who have met Cesa and survived tell that she is a being that is supremely confident that she is able to take what she wants, when she wants and those who try to stop her quickly learn that she is far from unable to make it so. Her hatred for Uratha still runs deep, though for reasons unknown she will inexplicably send her children to capture Uratha in order to just.. talk, among other things. From the scarce reports that exist, the Empress is curious about the monsters that killed her ancestors and wants to learn about them, so she experiments. Just what these experiments entail is probably better off unsaid, but either way it goes without saying that whatever she does with these unfortunates is.. unpleasant to say the least. As a result, there are rumors that the Hunters in Darkness are planning to attempt to form a Silver Crusade in order to destroy this monster once and for all, though it is unclear on whether or not such an undertaking is even feasible during such a time where the dread Idigam are rampaging wantonly and the Pure are achieving superiority in the United States. Despite the danger she poses, most werewolves agree that the threat Cesa represents is simply not dire enough for so many to leave their territories, and perhaps they are right. This line of thinking is more poisonous than one may immediately realize, however, as such inaction may indeed give the Empress the opening she is looking for..

        ___

        * I had given thought and personally believe that not only should Hosts possess a power stat, instead of Rank it should be similar yet different from Primal Urge; like how Shadow Potency mirrors Blood Potency for Strix. So I decided to come up with Cohesion. Where as Primal Urge represents the strength and the closeness to Urfarah's legacy a werewolf possesses.. Cohesion is the measure of how "Whole" the Host is ( i.e. how close they are to effectively " becoming" their progenitor in a sense). Mechanically I don't see it as overly different from Primal Urge, though I would say there would be no focus on Kuruth nor would there really be any feeding restrictions until their Cohesion stat grew high enough, representing a need for greater consumption of Essence. Coincidentally, Uratha flesh is an excellent source of Essence...
        Last edited by Korogra; 08-06-2016, 11:47 AM.

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        • #19
          While this is a major necro, I was thinking that to make the Gisilu more Host like, they should have a unique effect on the gauntlet like their cousins. For a long time I couldn’t figure out what sort of effect it should be, and then I was struck by inspiration.

          As the Ants exist to dismantle the world around them and bring Ruin to Flesh and Shadow alike, I imagine their Essence can instill this animosity into the Gauntlet itself, causing the barrier between worlds to become become inhospitable or caustic to those traveling through it, as well as accelerating the physical deterioration of objects and living things on the physical side of the Gauntlet.

          Not sure how to stat it out yet, but I should have something soon. Suggestions are welcomed as always!

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          • #20
            I'd rather suppose that ant host should have ruling impulse: to build. And their dread power allowing them to gnaw out pieces of Gauntlet in one place (lowering it's Strength here) and attach them to other (strengthening it there). They also can walk on Gauntlet strengthened this way even if they are in open spaces (watchers from the Flesh can see it as walking on air) or move through areas witn no Gauntlet left even if they are in solid matter (effectively moving through walls). By this they build giant and strange constructions, making secret rooms in Gauntlet and even digging tonnels to other bizarre planes.

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            • #21
              Man I love the Hosts as an idea. And lately reading Kith's of Arcadia I realized I need more Ants wearing human skin.


              It is a time for great deeds!

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
                Man I love the Hosts as an idea. And lately reading Kith's of Arcadia I realized I need more Ants wearing human skin.
                It is a really cool visual isn’t it?

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by Korogra View Post

                  It is a really cool visual isn’t it?
                  It totally is! It’s like the pinnacle evolution of the three kids on each other’s shoulders wearing a trench coat idea!


                  It is a time for great deeds!

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Aleksay View Post
                    I'd rather suppose that ant host should have ruling impulse: to build. And their dread power allowing them to gnaw out pieces of Gauntlet in one place (lowering it's Strength here) and attach them to other (strengthening it there). They also can walk on Gauntlet strengthened this way even if they are in open spaces (watchers from the Flesh can see it as walking on air) or move through areas witn no Gauntlet left even if they are in solid matter (effectively moving through walls). By this they build giant and strange constructions, making secret rooms in Gauntlet and even digging tonnels to other bizarre planes.
                    That is a pretty interesting idea, though if I had difficulty working out my original Gauntlet Idea... I have even less idea how to make this work mechanics wise xD

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post

                      It totally is! It’s like the pinnacle evolution of the three kids on each other’s shoulders wearing a trench coat idea!
                      I think you could say that about all Hosts

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