Chapter 31: Fires of Hell (infernal splats)

“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here”- 

Dante, the Divine Comedy

Welcome to Hell.

It’s a nice place, when you think about that- the winters are not that bad, for example. The bureaucracy is a bitch, but isn’t it always the case? Yeah, you’ll have to deal with all of the torment and suffering thing which is going on, but once you get used to it, and you have an eternity to do so, it could actually be kinda fun. The great thing is that in Hell, nothing is forbidden- as long as you are strong enough to claim what you want, of course. No desire is unfulfilled, no passion is barred. Everything is available to you- a perfect freedom, which eventually feels so hollow that you must make other people to sin just as you did, just so that you will feel that your passion means something.

Hell loves you, no matter how fallen or broken you are.

Even if you are a monster.

I’m not talking only about human monsters- of course Hell would love those (even though I would argue that some of those, such as Slashers, would probably be too Abyssal in mind to be loved by Hell. When you can’t recognize your sin, do you even sin?). What I’m talking about is outright monsters- vampires, were-beasts, witches and other twisted beings. As long as they can whisper to them, make them lose their path and draw them to the depths of Hell, Inferno can love them. Even non human- related monsters can be loved: spirits are Wounded by the Lords of Vice, ghosts hear whispers in their mind to become independent, dreams become real as Hell gives desires will of their own. Only those who are fallen by themselves- such as the strix or the horrors of the Abyss- or too perfect to be touched- such Supernal beings and the angels of the Machine- are protected from Inferno’s maddening whispers. Only those who can recognize their own sins are open to Hell’s call, and discover that sometimes, you can fall so low that you’ll never, ever, rise again.

As such, it should come as no surprise that Hell has developed its ways at infecting supernatural beings. From corrupted cults and occult orders up to twisted creations birthed and powered by Hell’s own flames and brimstone, Inferno have twisted and tainted the supernatural again and again and again. It wounded the Shadow, it polluted the Astral and even managed to burn the world of the dead. No matter who or what you are, Inferno is waiting for you to break down, to fall so low that all sounds vanish in a perfect silence- and then, it starts whispering. Listen to the whispers, and they will lead you to the promised land- a place where you’ll finally be free, a place you’ll call home.

In this blog post, we are going to explore those hell cults and demon spawn. For each of them, I’m going to present both a an infernal y-splat or social group, and a x-splat or a variant template, or something in between. Of course, you may ask yourself why you should want to play such monsters- but the answer is really simple, and made out of two parts. The first is discovering what “evil” means- how far you are willing to go, and what can you learn of yourself from the experience. The second would be that not all of those poor souls are evil. Some are desperate, and simply have no other option and decide to choose what seems to be the lesser of two (or more) evils. Others don’t know any other way, and when they do they may even decide to rebel against their own forefathers and find a new place for themselves in the world. And few, few truly believe they are doing the right thing, that what they are doing is not evil, but who they are, and what they are destined to be. That they are creating a new Heaven upon earth, without recognizing the Hell which burns behind them. The road to Hell is paved in good intentions, after all- and at the time, adding to the infernal flames the warmth of nuclear fires may have seemed like a good idea. too bad no one checked who was the one to whisper it in their ears.

And now, let’s go to the splats themselves, shall we?

Vampire– thankfully, Requiem has already provided us with an excellent, infernal Covenant: Belial’s Brood. While there are certain suggestions at changing the Brood into a strix-cult, I like the infernal emphasis better. As the Brood is yet to show up in 2e, I think that we could use the infernal interpretation until proven otherwise. At the worst case scenario, we could always devise a new Covenant- I think about adapting the Aharanite version of VII into a “not explicitly VII” version called the Blood of Ahran, which would have a focus as inquisitors and demon hunters which invoke the demon Shaddad for their help.

As for the Variant/Clan version, I think that an “Infernal Clan” actually sits well in Requiem’s themes. Archdemons can make vampires just like anyone else. While the Akhud may fulfill that niche, I think that something a bit more.. diabolical could be appropriate. What if instead of a Beast, the members of that Clan would have a demon in their hearts? What if instead of a dirge, those vampires would be bound by vice? More than that- as the Daeva are the Clan of serpents and tempters, perhaps we could explore that theme even more deeply using them- either as a “corrupted” version of the Daeva or, perhaps, their “proto Version”, just as the Hollow are the Mekhet, and the Pijavica may be the Gangrel.

Werewolf– again, Forsaken has saved us some work by presenting the Bale Hounds. More than that, we are going to get a 2e update for them in the upcoming Night Horrors book! Woot woot! As it may give a deeper view of Wounded spirits and their Maeljin masters, we can all agree how excited we are toward that book.

As for the other Splat, I’m not sure an “infernal auspices” would work- perhaps the Blood Moon one, but still, not good enough. Instead, we do have an alternative First Change which may be connected to Inferno, written by Chris Allen. Still, what I suggest is instead of directly using it, use it as an inspiration, and build upon an older 1e material- the Balam Colop. Originally in Blasphemies (I think), those werejaguars are said to be formed from jaguars which ate the hearts of humans sacrificed by the Aztec. Personally, I don’t like that origin story (I feel like it is a bit too one dimensional. Good for a Monster of the Week kind of thing, not an actual new splat). Instead, we could use them as the “chosen of the Maeljin”, shapeshifters birthed through sin and vice, showing up first in the Aztec Empire through some vary wrong bargains with the Lords of Vice as a Uratha mockery. Tying them to Inferno won’t be that hard, but they should have some redeeming qualities so you won’t end up playing a freaking monster.

If we were top consider other Shapeshifters, I think that the Baal Haddad and the Unclean has the greatest potential. The Baal Haddad already take a part of my “Molochite Mythos”, and as such presenting them an infernal, Moloch worshiping version could show itself cool. The Unclean have been connected to chthonic worlds through the Hell Cults, but I think that the plain old Underworld makes more sense for them than the actual inferno.. unless we also include the larvae. Now, that has some potential.

Mage– while a fully infernal Order is out of the picture, having a small Nameless Order does sound like a good idea. I did wrote once an infernal Ministry for Seers (called the Ministry of Tartarus), but having a full Order could be cool. Perhaps something in the style of a semi-Goetic cult, which, unlike the two goetic legacies, seeks to summon demons and find them “proper vessels”. Making them the regular demon worshipers has its charm, as Inferno is kind of simple in nature (you are evil, no excuses are needed), but we could give them some depth by connecting them as a terribly misguided cult which believe that, following gnostic traditions, believed that achieving Ascension could only be done by testing their own weaknesses and becoming immune to them by indulging them. That didn’t worked, unfortunately- but it doesn’t stop them from believing it did. That’s what their demons tell them, after all.

Now, making an whole new “Infernal Path” is out of the picture. It doesn’t make any sense, and would require too much work. But perhaps we could make a some sort of “alternative Awakening” done by Hell instead- people who sign Faustian bargains with Hell in exchange for wisdom is something we see again and again in folklore, after all. It could be the standard version, were people believe they would be granted Awakening, but get instead a cheap mimicry which shows only Hell *(and an infernal Watchtower) or perhaps, by taking inspiration from the mortal instruments, they could work as a demonic “Proximi” lineage, which can do some strange magics thanks to an ancient bargain with a demon, but has never produced an Awakened from its rank (even though that stories about a “Watchtower cloaked with smoke and flame” are told about in the family).

Promethean– well, here things become really interesting. Promethean, the game which is connected the most to divinity, with the Principle and burning angels and redemption, could make an interesting contrast with the old biblical demonic vice. While I am yet to write it, I have tinkered for awhile about a new “broken” Refinement called Sulfurous- the Refinement of Vice. Like Centimani, going to Sulfurous is considered going out of the Pilgrimage (so no fear of becoming Petrificati), even though it has its own twist- instead of accepting your own monstrosity, Sulfurous is about accepting your divinity. It teach you to believe the Promethean state as an exalted state, something that puts you above humanity. The world dies beneath you because it can not withstand your awesome presence, humanity hates you because they instinctively fear your power. You should make mankind to submit to you, to use them for your expense, and be worshiped as a god upon earth. Let other Created chase the lower fate of becoming humans- you have a much greater fate. You are not human, and never were human. You are above them, and as such you should use them to fulfill every twisted desire you ever had in your heart, until your fire will burn your mortal coil and you’ll rise as a god. The fact that it is an utter lie never seemed to bother anyone.

As for a Lineage, I have once worked on something I actually kind of proud of- the Baalim. Instead of being born from the Divine Fire, the Baalim are created by the fires of Inferno, even though that most of them are not aware of the difference. On the surface, they are just like any other promethean- a dead body brought to life through an act which invokes the powers of the world. But when you look at the details, you notice that there are some… terrifying differences between the Idols and the rest of the Created. Made to serve as idols and faces for the gods, the Baalim as general follow Sulfurous, even though some brave souls go to the quest in an attempt to gain a New Dawn. If it is possible for the spawn of hell to be greeted to heaven is yet unknown. While they are not finished, I am waiting for the Tormented in order to see how the Zeka are going to be treated (as they seem to have unique, variant features to them), and decide if I’ll settle for something in their style, or will make a more variant template.

Changeling– So what is the big difference between faeries and demons? Not much, as it seems. One of the versions for the Gentry’s existence is that they are the third Choir of heaven, which neither rebelled or supported against God. As such, they are bound by their words- being in a distance of a single lie from hell’s eternal punishment. They haven’t committed any sin, and as such escaped Inferno. They left God’s care, and as such they are not accepted in Heaven’s gates. Is that story true? Who knows- but it makes a good base to build about for infernal splats. As for the Court of Hell, I’ll think about them as some sort of infiltrators- they are a Court without a Freehold, which swarm their way into the heart of other Freeholds, feeding on their protection like parasites. Hell stands for them against the Fae, granting them protection- as long as they’ll betray their own friends to the Keepers. The Gentry get toys, Hell get treachery and souls, the Court gets freedom- everyone wins! Bet the changelings, of course.

As for the Infernal Seeming- do you know that they say that the Faerie Queen pays a tithe to Hell? What if among 10 stolen children, one is given to Hell as a part of a Pledge as old as the world. Most of those Lost are never found again, suffering for all eternity in the flames of Inferno as it delights in their pain- but one out of ten escapes- or, perhaps, is freed. It is a part of the pledge, too, and we all know that Hell respects its bargains. Those poor souls are scarred more or less the same way as their Fae siblings, but their experience was quite different. They see the marks of Hell everywhere they look, and hear the whispers of demons as they try to lure them to Hell’s warm embrace- and this time, by their own accord. After all, the pain of stolen souls is much less satisfying than that of willing ones, and Hell doesn’t give anything unless it would gain ten times more of the deal.

Hunter– well, I must say that here I officially have little to nothing to add. With the Lucifuge as an infernal conspiracy, the L’Enfant Diabolique as an infernal cabal, and my own infernal homebrew for hunter (the Heirs of the Crown, the Cult of Moloch and the gran project called the Strains of the Cursed Blood), the best that I could suggest would be turning the Lucifuge into a proper template as some sort of a variant. That saves a lot of work, thankfully.

Geist– Now, the Underworld is a broken, terrible, hellish place- but it is not Hell. Hell is terrible by its own right- but when having to choose between being slowly eaten by the Bellow and finding a way out in the form of Hell’s endless pain and suffering, you shouldn’t be surprised that at least some ghosts chose the other way. The way I see it, larvae, the infernal ghosts, are those ghosts which found their own way out by going even deeper than most ghosts usually do (metaphysically. Usually, they don’t search for Hell as much as it finds them). They gain a certain awareness to their state, which the lacked before, and are able to rise in Ranks beyond their regular limits. In exchange for their freedom, Hell clutch at their Essence- and one day, it would devour them whole and take them to a place of eternal torment, but for now they are free. Considering the way Archetypes and Krewes work, I’m kinda divided between making something in the style of the Court of Hell (that is, making a global krewe which kinda breaks the rules by acting as a collection of Hell cults which work in order to advance Hell into the Underworld, believing it to be a better alternative as a form of a weird, upside down Catabasis), or by making an whole new Archetype which advance Hell’s agenda by granting the dead the freedom they deserve (as inspired by my discussion in the Ghosts are People thread).

As for the other splat, I think that a variant would work better than an “infernal Burden”. The concept is quit simple, actually- larvae Bound instead of geist Bound. Now, the larvae is much more possessive, corrupted and aggressive than the average geist, leading it to constantly tempt the Bound to further damn itself and go down to inferno’s clutches. Instead of helping ghosts, those Bound are tempted to damn them and spread inferno’s evil taint. Tyranny is not an option for them, and Synergy is a dangerous path for those who wish to understand the devil. And who knows? Perhaps there is no larvae inside their brains. Perhaps there is only a Whisperer, which corrupts their own, bound ghosts, and slowly leads them to the slippery slope to Hell.

Mummy– in a world of harsh laws and harsher punishment, Inferno represents the pleasure in transgression while being aware that you sin. In a world of divine hierarchy and tyranny of judgement, Inferno is freedom and the ability to shape your own place in the world through brute force and desire. In a world decided by a starry fate and the hunger of oblivion, Inferno is escape, a new fate burned by your own bloody hands as you laugh in the face of the Devourer, which can’t eat what is already eaten. Guild splat wise, I really don’t think that making a new, infernal Guild is either appropriate or that it will be accepted well in the fandom. However, we should remember that in the original myth, Shaddad was Irem’s king- and in the CofD, Shaddad is, in fact, a demon. What I have in mind is allowing the Arisen to change not their Guild- but their Judge. Shaddad is the “43rd Judge”, a false Judge which tricks the Arisen to switch their allegiance to him. He is an heresy, perhaps as old as the Nameless Empire itself, even though that it claims to be a “fallen Judge, banished by his siblings from the rule of Heaven”. Is Shaddad speaking the truth? Could he be a silver of Sutekh’s essence, a shard of Divine Will finding solace in Inferno? Or is he a liar, as all demons are? Whatever the truth may be, the Arisen do have hazy memories of such an heresy- or something similar enough- during the age of Irem, and those who abandon their Judge and pledge loyalty to the demon find new and addictive power in their hands, one which has no laws- other than serving your own, dark will.

As for an X-splat, again, the Deathless are ancient creatures. Having them sacrificing parts of their Pillars to hell sounds a bit too much like the Shuankshen, which I prefer to avoid. Perhaps some sort of a Lifeless mimicry would be appropriate, either as a result of a messed up Twice Arisen (like my idea for the Hery Seshta, but with a different twist), or perhaps as some sort of “false mummies” made by demons trying to replicate the Rite, only to create something don’t even they can control, and are sorry for the miserable attempt.

Demon– When demons meet demons, ha? We already have at least one infernal-unchained interaction in Night Horrors, as the Mayor made a pact with a certain demon, which taught her something or two about what “Hell” actually means. I must say that I’m reeeeeeeeeeally tempted to make a new “Satanic Agenda”, even though I believe that an Agency would be the more logical way to integrate Inferno into Demon’s setting. The Tempters seems to cover most of Inferno’s themes in Demon- so what about some sort of “Unchained Hellfire Cult/Club” which are bound by some semi-mythical figure (I’ll go with calling that demon Mephistopheles) which they believe would grant them power to withstand the Machine and disrupt its Infrastructures for their own benefit. Why would that ancient devil would help the Unchained and what is its endgame are unknown- but we can be sure it won’t end up well.

As for a variant/ Incarnation- the most logical way to go would be for Angels who Fell because of Whisperers. However, that feels like it would go against the themes of both books- forcing Angels to Fall is against Demon’s themes, as it is an act of free will and choice, usually (there is the whole Satan Signal, and while the Cryptid option is kinda nice, I can accept it well into my headcanon, so I go with the “Satan Free Radio” option instead), and Whisperers corrupting Angels is something which Inferno outright states to be impossible (sure, Inferno treated angels as creatures of Virtue and not the Divine Machinery, but I think it is still appropriate). However, we do have another option- Exiles. Exiles are trapped by their own Parameters, preforming a mission no one cares about anymore with no way out, while still being aware of their helplessness. Doing otherwise would put the Exile in a risk of becoming a Silver- which is really not a good thing. But what if there is a why out? What if a voice starts whispering in their mind, telling them that it is not yet too late, that they still have a way to Fall from grace without corruption, a way to become human and not the Machine’s slaves, a way to find their own Hell. All they have to do, is sign the dotted line, and listen to the voice in their mind. Don’t worry- all will be ok. Hell know its own, after all.

Beast– Ah, Beasts and Infernals. Both creatures of twisted desires and unbound passion- but where the Begotten wish to teach humanity lessons, Inferno just toys with its food for the pure fun. The Beast is an external experience- you go out and teach lessons, you come and find a family, you are Devoured by an horror from a world of dreams and feed by enforcing fears upon the world. Inferno is an internal experience- everything you do, you do for yourself, your own evil thoughts take over your body and whisper to you at night, you go through a self exploration journey where you learn how far you can fall, and whether or not you will break under the pressure. And the surface, Beasts and Infernals should be the best friends- but when you look at the powers which moves them, we can see that they probably despise each other, with the Begotten seeing the Infernals as some sort of infection upon the Dream, and the Infernals thinking about Beasts as fools who can’t embrace the truth of the world, that there are no lessons to teach. In the Primordial Dream, there is no sin- only hunger exist, and the myth of monsters and heroes. Inferno, which feeds upon vice and loves humanity, would probably see Beasts as competition and best, and enemies at worst.

But every family has its conflicts,, you know?

The thing about Beasts is that they have no real social structure/splat. While I could probably devise an “Hunger for Sin”, it feels like it would be too close for the Hunger for Transgression which we got at the Player’s Guide. I think that instead, some Kinship Nightmares related to Inferno and its denizens would make a good substitution, with perhaps some in depth investigation of how Inferno manifest itself inside a Beast’s Lair, with a few actual Gates of Hell if not a Malus Loci birthed inside of it, and how its side effects on the Horror which decides to sleep with the devil. Now, as for the other splat, I’m thinking more of treating it as a variant template than a new Family- that is, taking my idea for the Celebrants which I detailed in Chapter 27. That is, a literal invasion of Inferno into the Primordial Dream, with its Horror like denizens and how they form their own “Devouring” upon dreams. The Demon City travels through the Dream with song and dance, and when it comes even the mightiest of dragons would bow their head before its infernal glory.

Conjurer– And of course, I could I finish a blog post without some selfish promotion, right? 😛 Now, as you may have guessed/ read in the game’s previous incarnations, the Shattered have some strange ties to the Abyss- the Playground and the Void are actually the same thing, and while mages have a certain understanding of the blackest void, conjurers are actually a part of that dimensions of antinomian nightmares. As such, we can be sure that the conjurers and Inferno do not go along- Hell and the Void despise each other in ways we can’t even comprehend. The Playground hates the world, being a Lie which damage its perfect, endless possibilities. The world exist, while the Abyss doesn’t, and as such the Void wants to replace what that is with what could have been. From the Shattered’s point of view, it relates to the original Shattering, which happened as the Toymaker took over the Abyss and forced its will on the Playground, creating a new timeline, and turning the older order, the older reality, into a time which never was- the Time Not. Inferno, on the other hand, loves this world- it is a damaged, broken, fallen world, full of sins and vice. It accept the world as is- no need to replace or change anything. This world is perfect, as damaged as it may be, and we are all beautiful in its eyes. We just need to embrace our own inner darkness, and accept that we are not perfect- more than that, we should celebrate our broken nature. We are perfect as we are, and pain and pleasure are both worthy to indulge in.

Now, in Conjurer, like most of the other games, we have two splats- Heart and House. Heart is your X-splat, and describes the reason for why did you broke time, and defines the type of Functions you have the greatest affinity with (Host, Sublime, Aggressive, Sphere and Abyssal). House is your y-plat, which gives you a special House Function which can be powered only by Tokens and a Style, which describes the medium you use in order to work Fluctuations (painting, sculpture, song, dance and acting). More details about those splats will be given in a future Open Development post. Now, considering that Inferno is unbound by the Marionette Syndrome (which is a property of the Lower Depths as whole), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that some of the Shattered may search for an escape from the Toymaker in the lower planes of existence. Houses, as general, are ruled by a mysterious Monarch- so it shouldn’t take too much for an archdemon to mask itself as a Monarch, even though that their inability to maintain the Syndrome should be problematic for any demon who would make such an attempt, as the Syndrome is what that binds the House together. Perhaps some sort of a rebellion movement would make a better alternative- a movement which works to depose of the Houses and their Monarchs and replace them with the “ultimate freedom” of Hell. I think that such a concept could actually be some really cool addition for Conjurer’s setting- even though that getting to close to Hell’s influence tends to make the Toys act funny and unstable. After all, you mix two forces of creation which despise each other into a single vessel. Don’t be surprised if the whole thing would blow up.

As for a Heart/variant splat, I’m not sure I can see how an “Infernal Heart” could exist- but I think I have something else in mind. What if certain conjurers sacrifice their Heart- that is, their very reason to exist- to Hell? That would practically also take away their Toy, as well as any connection they establish with the Marionette Syndrome. Hell, of course, will give them something else in exchange- perhaps an actual, Toy-like demon to serve as their familiar? the ability to bins and possess the souls and fates of others? An whole world of horrors born from their own vices and hate against the world? So many options, so many cool things we could do.

 

 

And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed those infernal creations, and if there is one which excites you especially, let me know so I’ll start writing them! See you next time!

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Open Development 11: Ruins of Lauresthenia (shard)

So, every once and awhile, I’m doing some cleanup on my computer and find some nice notes I wrote sometime long ago. The fun thing is that unlike finding the paintings you drew when you were a child, which always cause you to think “what the hell was wrong with me when I thought the damn thing was pretty?”, those notes are usually quite cool, ranging from concepts I’ve had for hunter organizations to whole writeups for CofD things.

This gem is of the later.

Mirrors is one of my favorite books. It is the CofD’s Unearthed Arcana, something which allows you to hack the setting and remake it in your own image. I mean, the way I see it, D&D’s greatest strength is that the mechanics are not directly tied to a certain setting. That not only allows the game designers to come up with new ideas for new settings, which are left on a superficial level while allowing the DM and players to personally explore those worlds, but also allows the DM the perfect freedom at creating new worlds, and examining how those general mechanics (meaning, magic, classes and races) work in each new setting. And then, of course, you have whole books which explore and offer new mechanics and hacks for you to use.

Now, I must say that the strong focus the CofD (and other White Wolf/Onyx Path) games has on a specific setting has benefits of their own. Also, with the example settings thing which is going with 2e, the CofD took an important step toward encouraging ST creativity and world building by showing that the supernatural society around the world is far from a unified and homogeneous entity, and that each specific setting could have its own quirks and unique features. However, the concept of Shards was the most extreme- and, IMO, the most successful- attempt at allowing a ST freedom at world building. For a change, we were introduced with an wholly new worlds, which allowed us to explore the themes and concepts introduced in the different gamelines through different lens and genres. We had a post apocalyptic world, space opera, cyberpunk, biblical world.. and fantasy.

We are going to talk about the fantasy.

Now, Woundgate is a great setting. It gives us a dark fantasy world, with all kind of strange, non human races and a new template in the form of the Dark Heroes. However, while Woundgate went far, I’ve kinda felt that it didn’t went far enough. Sure, they had to wrap up three different shards in a single chapter, so the wordcount wasn’t on their favor, but it always kinda felt to me that they could have went a bit further, a bit deeper, show a different world with a much more D&D style fantasy- some sort of a mirror to D&D’s Ravenloft, where instead of going from an high fantasy setting into a Gothic horror one, we move from the horror to a perfect, pulpy fantasy. Or, at the very least, an Exalted style world, of different countries and nations which wage war against each other, powered by supernatural powers and have their magics exist on the open, as a perfectly normal part of the world.

That’s what I decided to do.

I have tried to make a fantasy setting for the CofD a number of time- but each time I’ve got a bit bored. As such, I was happy to find those notes, as I really do like what I wrote in there, and I hope you’ll feel the same. As there are few other notes for other kinds of projects, I’m going to use the next following weeks in order to present what I’ve found and allow you to decide what you would like to see more- like, for now, you have my First Temple Dark Era, Conjurer, and now, this new fantasy Shard.

I’m happy to present to you- Ruins of Lauresthenia

 


 

Welcome to the land of Antharia.

Once, it was ruled by Lauresthenia- a great empire, full of wonder and terror. Under the reign of its emperors, the people of Antharia has prospered, enjoying a golden age. Holding magical powers never seen before or since, the wizard- lords navigated the empire, experimenting on the very foundations of the world to craft servants and soldiers, infrastructures and relics and even universes inside of universes, enslaving the powers of the land to their will. Nothing could have stood before the vast empire, and it looked like that golden age would carry on forever and ever.

But there are some rules of nature which can not be defied, not matter how strong and powerful one may be- that which rise, must fall, for example.

And the empire, indeed fell, taking all of Antharia with it. No one knows why Lauresthenia collapsed- only that one day, fire engulfed the imperial palace, leaving no survivors of the royal line. Soon after, the magics and sorceries which held the wonders of the empire failed, and the terrors which it enslaved were free to roam- doing with the people of the Antharia as they please. The dark ages came upon the land, and the wonders of Lauresthenia were left to rot and rust.

But what that fall may rise again. That’s a law of nature, too.

For hundreds of years the chaos ruled Antharia- but slowly, and surely, the people of the land has risen from the dark ages. Nations were founded by brave and powerful people, who managed to utilize Lauresthenian technology to ward of the darkness. Some has succeeded for no more than a few years. Others left a legacy to be proud of. Eventually, Antharia has managed to move out of its dark ages, reaching some sort of status quo- the darkness was still there, but it was held in bay. The people of Antharia has accepted it- and some, have even learned to embrace it.

Tonight, Antharia is a far from being a unified land- its proud nations stand alone, each on its own. Interaction between the many kingdoms and theocracies, such as war or trade, do happen- but the people of the land are suspicious of each other, preferring to close their doors and windows and pretend they have gained even a glimpse of the fallen empire glory. After all, Lauresthenia is a far memory, and when the shadows are deep enough and the they squeeze their eyes before the mirror, they could imagine that their reflection is, perhaps, the one of the empire’s old majesty.

But the ruins of Lauresthenia lurk still, buried and forgotten, waiting to remind the world what how wonderful the empire really was.

And how terrifying, of course.

The Nations of Antharia

Among the many nations of Antharia, ten are the most prominent ones, and are known by all through the continent-

The League of Flouriey– a union of merchant city states rising from the ashes of the Carmatellian Blood Empire, it is ruled by pale nobles who trade with blood and threatened by shadowy beings of forgotten origin.

The Inthalu Wolf Tribes– considered to be savages by most of Antharia’s civilization, the tribes follow animistic faith and serves the gods of the hunt and the moon, lead by shapeshifting heroes and divided by the death of a god.

The Dual Monarchy of Atnsetra– a mageocracy divided between the rule of the Council of Ten Ministries and the Five Points Society, when each side demands control over the five Sorcerer Watchtowers of the land.

The Desolation of Graikhus– made out of scattered villages and small cities, the land itself dies under the experiments of the land’s Flame Alchemists and their roaming creations.

The Kingdom of Diwyn– a realm found in the depths of the Aluvirian Forest, its people are protected from the dread fey gods of the forest with nothing more than contracts and oaths forged ages ago.

The Republic of Marthe– a young democracy no more than a dozen of years old, it is ruled by strong adventurer guilds devoted to dive into the wilderness and challenge the darkness on their own terms.

The Necropolis of Orphis– ruled by necromancers and mediums and populated by both the living and the dead, the nation is found under the constant threat of sinking to the Great Bellow.

The Tyranny of Mekhtath– controlled by a puppet king and manipulated by dozens of cults of artifice and death, the theocracy enforce its harsh laws for the fear of the Roaming Stars Rebellion and other heresies.

The Theocracy of Namedra– the most technologically advanced civilization in Antharia, the whole nation is practically controlled by a powerful Lauresthenian relic which produce its own agents to serve it.. unless they betray their own mission.

The Forbidden Land of Ankarda– a collection of clans found in the Primordial Lands, they worship the monsters of legend as they lead them to attack other nations, teaching them the truth about their so called “civilization”.

 

Example Lauresthenian Ruin: the Weeping Idol

Taking the form of a winged, androgynous humanoid, the Idol looks as if it is made out of white marble. A closer inspection, however, shows that the material is not stone, metal or any other known form of matter. In fact, it looks almost organic- which could explain the tormented look on the statue’s face.. and why it constantly cries.

Whatever its source may be, it is undoubtedly a useful relic- by drinking the Idol’s tears, one could replenish their Willpower pool (or, in the case of supernatural beings, their supernatural energy pool). However, the same magic which silence the Idol’s screams carries to its tears- enforcing upon anyone who drink them the Mute Condition. The Condition is resolved after two hours per Willpower point (or equivalent) regained through the tears, and the Idol’s benefit could not be used again for the next 24 hours or as long as the Condition is in effect, whatever the longer.

 


 

And that’s it! Please, feel free to say if you want to see more of Lauresthenia’s ruin, and if so, what exactly you would want to see!

Open Development 10: Calling Fourth the Darkness (Conjurer: the Shattering)

We are nothing but puppets.

We are bound in strings, unable to see our master. Coincidence. Luck. Probability. Fate. All of those are nothing but the chains which bind us. Freedom of choice is a lie- or, more exactly, it is a clever deception. You are able to to choose- but when the odds are built against you and all paths are blocked, your choice is irrelevant. Everyone are guided, gently, without them even noticing the strings. Freedom is a lie. Choice is a lie. We are nothing but puppets, and we dance to the will of idiot gods which lurk in the shadows of the world.

But we don’t have to be.

No prison is perfect. No chain is unbreakable. Thousands of millions of different choices can be regulated- but there is always one, small, slim chance that a mistake would happen. That someone would make a choice they should have not made. That the puppet would realize it has a will of its own, and do something even the gods couldn’t predict. That they would mess up their fate so much, that everything that was, is and will be would be split, broken… shatter. The Shattering is always an option, and when it happens- all hell breaks loose.

And things from hell reach out to grasp you in your throat.

They call it a Toy- a being forged in the eternal darkness of the Void, formed from broken pieces of time and terror which can not be comprehended. At its core there is a knot, tying together the broken strings from which you escaped. It reaches out, aiming to erase your very existence, as a punishment for the sin you have committed against the world. You panic, trying to escape- but there is no way out. You are no longer a part of this world. You have descended into an abyss from which there is no escape- the Playground. Those who can’t get over their panic are doomed- eaten by their own Toy, they are erased, their choice is removed from the Playground, and they are left forgotten by all. Sometimes, other people take their places, people who have never existed before, in order to sooth the passage of time. On others, there is no need is such substitutions. They are simply gone, for all eternity.

You are not one of them.

You fight, grasping the strings which were meant to devour you. You pull them to submit the Toy to your will, grasping at the very reason for your existence, for why you turned against the world and made a choice which should not have been made. You cement your will upon fate itself, and pull yourself from the nether back into the world- a world which was changed forever because you made a choice, because you did the impossible.

And it hates you for that.

Someone has designed fate in that way for a reason. Someone worked really, really hard in order to make sure its wish will be fulfilled- and you ruined it. It hates you- personally, intimately. It knows everything about you- your loved ones, your weak spots, where it should hit in order to make you break. It has formed your Toy in order to remove you from the Playground- and once it didn’t worked, it decides to take a special interest in you. They call it the Toymaker, and it is not a distant, uncaring god, but one which has a very specific interest in your life- to make you regret you ever made the choice, to make you regret your very existence, and eventually, make you erase yourself from the world by your own hands.

While the Toymaker is always around, manipulating probabilities and twisting chances in order to cause you to suffer as much as possible, it is far from alone in its struggle. True to its name, it has created hordes of horrors to serve and exact it will upon the world. Some of those Toys are mass produced terrors, formed from the fabric of the Playground to serve as sacrificial pawns. Others have evolved beyond their lowly state, becoming unique creations which devour life and time as one. And among the armies of the abyss, lurks beings of elusive nature- Wild Toys, creatures which carry in them a shard of the true will of the Toymaker itself.

And there are other threats, beings which lurk beyond the Toymaker’s reach, or hide inside its shadow. Mysterious individuals known only as the “guardians” move freely between our world and the Playground, claiming to uphold an ancient, true order from a time which never was, before the Toymaker shattered time to fulfill its wish. Some conjurers shatter their own identity and Toy in exchange for becoming free from the constrains of the Toymaker. Some people are simply born cursed in the eyes of the Toymaker, and as such invoke bad luck upon everyone around them as they watch into the depths of the darkness. Mad conjurers who curse their own existence are driven into self destruction, and carry everyone else with them. The Monarchs which rule the Houses of the Shattered are unknown by the conjurers which serve them, and no one knows which agenda they wish to advance. And worse than all, the Toymaker has agents of its own, ones which can manipulate the Marionette Syndrome as easily as their master. The Toymaker’s headhunters sacrifice their freedom in exchange for power- and there are few limits for the power which the Toymaker can grant to its faithful.

And all of those are just external threats- the true threats come from within. From the whispers of your Toys in the middle of the night, the strange nostalgia which is awakened by the memories of the Time Not, the sense of guilt and responsibility in knowing that every time that something messes up and that your loved ones are harmed, it is your fault. You made a mistake, shattered time, and now you pay the price. And the only way to fix it is by breaking your own Heart, and be erased from existence.

Freedom has its price.

Make sure its worth it.


 

Lexicon

Accessories– items which have functions installed into them by conjurers. They are bound to their maker through the Marionette Syndrome, but ownership may be exchanged.

Auditions– another name for Deja Reve.

Chains– the strange manifestation which allows the guardians to manipulate and control their Toys, taking the image of heavy, shadowy bindings. They replace the regular strings the Shattered use.

Conjurer– any being which can summon Toys and call upon the powers of the Playground.

Curtain, the– the Twilight. The 2nd dimension.

Deja Reve– instances when the Toymaker manifest itself directly in order to communicate with one of the Shattered. Common especially in places where the Playground touches the world. Also known as Auditions.

Deja Vu– moments of strange clarity, happening when a conjurer makes contact with the Time Not.

Dimension– a certain level of reality, as defined by conjurers.

Dollhouse, the– a name given to the whole collective of all existence, as commanded directly by the Toymaker. Rumors about other Dollhouses are common, yet no one has seen proof for such existence.

Echoes– false human forms which certain conjurers can create. The most infamous ability of Outlaws. Some Echoes gain life of their own, becoming Replicas. Sometime, they are created naturally due to “knots” in the Marionette Syndrome.

Ensemble– a group of conjurers working together, bound through the Marionette Syndrome.

Fluctuations– the sorcery of the conjurers, which allows them to manipulate the Marionette Syndrome in order to recreate the past or shape the future through the use of arts. Each House is specialized in another form of Fluctuations.

Functions– general term which define what a Toy can do. They are divided into a number of wide categories, depending on the way the conjurer manifests the Toy’s abilities through their Heart.

Game Designers– godlike entities which exist in a partially awake state and which regulate the formation of Toys and the manipulation of the Marionette Syndrome. The 8th dimension.

Guardians– a mysterious group of conjurers which do not seem to be connected to the Marionette Syndrome, and which lacks an Heart. Instead, they are able to shape their Toys by will by using chains. They target the Toymaker and its creations as their enemies.

Headhunters– the soldiers of the Toymaker. They are conjurers born into the Toymaker’s service, gaining great power over the Marionette Syndrome in exchange for their freedom.

Heart– the core of a conjurer’s power, birthed as a physical object which symbolize the Shattering. There type of Heart determines the way the conjurer most easily manifest their powers.

Houses– the organizations of the Shattered, which claim a legacy since the Time Not. Each is ruled by a mysterious Monarch and is connected by the Marionette Syndrome.

Jamais Vu– moments of madness which take place when a conjurer lose their sense of self.

Marionette Syndrome, the– a phenomenon which binds the fate of each object upon the world and allows the Toymaker to manipulate them. To the eyes of conjurers, it manifests itself as a collection of strings, giving it its name. The 5th dimension.

Memoryscape–  a small piece of memory from the Time Not preserved in the current timeline. No one knows if that was done by mistake or by purpose. Such places are known to generate shards.

Monarch– the name given to the ruler of an House. No one knows their identities, true agendas, or if they actually exist- only that they object the Toymaker‘s tyrannic rule and offer a safe sanctuary for the Shattered.. for a price.

Netherland– the subspace which allows travel from the Theater to the Playground. The 6th dimension.

Nostalgia– the level of connection between the conjurer and the Time Not, and how well can they invoke that connection.

Outlaws– conjurers which has experienced a “second Shattering” by breaking their own Heart. Their most common ability seems to be the creation of Echoes.

Playground, the– the Void. The Darkness. the Abyss. The All and Nothing. The Heart of all existence, held by the Toymaker. According to conjurers, controlling the Playground controls the past, and as such the present and the future. The 10th dimension.

Presque Vu– a rumored state of complete freedom from the the powers of the Toymaker and its manipulations.

Puppet– a nickname used by conjurers for anyone who is still bound by the Marionette Syndrome.

Replicas– false humans formed from Echoes gaining life and awareness of their own. They exist on burrowed time, and require constant access to shards in order to prologue their existence. Once burned out, they are forgotten by all puppets.

Scraps– artificial Toys created by conjurers from a number of Functions bound together with strings. Devouring scraps allows a Toy to form the eaten Functions.

Script, the– the name given to the passage of timeline by conjurers. The 4th dimension.

Shard– a small piece of time which conjurers can convert into energy through the use of their Toy. The 0th dimension.

Shattered, the– a name given to those conjurers which has shattered time by making a choice against the Toymaker’s design, taking over a Toy by using the Marionette Syndrome.

Shattering, the– the name for the event which causes time to break free from the Marionette Syndrome through a single choice.

String– a collection of shards, which allow to manipulate the path of object through space or time. The 1st dimension.

Theater, the– the name given to the material world by the conjurers. The 3rd dimension.

Time Not– a name given to the world from before the Toymaker took over the Playground from its previous ruler.

Token– a crystallized form of shards generated by following the urges of a Toy. Can be used to power a very specific form of functions.

Toy– a nickname given to the denizens of the Playground. They exist to exact the will of the Toymaker and are controlled by the Marionette Syndrome. Each conjurer controls at least a single Toy.

Toy Factories– whole worlds formed in the Playground which birth Toys by following the commands of Game Designers. The 7th dimension.

Toymaker, the– a mysterious and ancient being which controls the Marionette Syndrome, which grants it power over time and fate. It actively works in order to fulfill an unknown cause, and to erase mistakes- such as the Shattered- from the world.

Trumps– people who have functions installed into them. Most commonly created by conjurers.

Void Watchers– sorcerers which are able to use Fluctuations in order to effect reality and manipulate the Marionette Syndrome. The Toymaker seems to be blind to their existence, and actively attempts to erase them from existence.

Wild Conjurers– Shattered which has fell victim to their own despair, and fed their Heart to their Toy and become its slaves. They are driven to erase their own existence by feeding everything they hold dear to their Toy to get a chance in changing the past.

Wild Toys– special Toys which contain a silver of the Toymaker’s true will. Unlike most Toys, they have a true personality of their own, including goals and agenda- which may even go against the explicit wished of the Toymaker.


 

 

So, those of you who have followed my work through the years may have noticed that every one and awhile, I start trying to work on my own homebrew gameline called Conjurer: the Shattering. Initially being inspired by the manga and anime Pandora Hearts, it has been going through a number of incarnations, moving from fantasy to sci-fi, attempting to incorporate elements of time travel and manipulation by using a magic like system. Every time I try to start the game, I discover how hard it is to make a gameline on my own, and let go of the subject-but the creative spark to complete that project keeps being lite up every one and awhile, as I try new methods for the project- such as going for a minor template, using horror rules or even as an hack for either Mage or Geist. The reason for the last awakening, however, is twofold- first, not so long ago, a reader of this blog has asked me about the state of this project, and my plans for Conjurer. While that was enough to make me look back at my notes and be reminded of how much I love the concept, the other catalyst was Geist’s Kickstarter- as both games deal with a strange bond between a person and an otherworldly spirit, and shared certain terminologies in Conjurer’s early incarnations (such as Keys). As such, I wanted to really establish Conjurer as something which has a right to exist, which meant for me to start working on it in order to develop it further from Geist’s themes and aesthetics (even though I believe the base itself is strong enough, as Toys share little in common with Geists, both in nature and behavior. Toys don’t actually want anything other than destroying their own conjurer- and even that I’m going to rework a bit to make them much more passive and an expression of their own Shattered’s nature).

Anyway, here is the first (in the hopefully, last and finale incarnation of the gamer) post for Conjurer’s Open Development. Feel free to ask any questions you want about the project, as well as my plans for it. You can look for the previously written material in my homebrew signature. If any of you feels inspired by reading this material, and wish to help in writing and developing, feel free to make contact- as I need all the help I could get! 😛

See you next time, and hope you’ll like it!

Chapter 30: Death’s White Mask (G:tSE vs Bleach)

So, for those of you who have followed my work in the forums, you may have noticed that I do have a tendency to adapt certain material from anime/manga into the CofD’s setting. I adapted D.Gray Man, Vanitas no Carte, Mahotsukai no Yome, Naruto, Natsume’s Book of Friends, Mahoka, Tokyo Raven, Tokyo Ghoul and Enen no Shouboutai, and I still have plans to adapt some other concepts from MnY, Claymore and Ao no Exorcist. As such, it should come as no surprise that when I think about an anime, one of the first things I think about “how could I adapt and use it for my benefit”.

Especially in the cases where it is just so damn appropriate that it’s painful.

Now, I’m not the first person to think about connecting Bleach to Geist- those two products simply so go so well together. Masked ghosts and psychopomps who work to help ghosts move on, and the focus of both worlds around saving the dead from the consuming hunger of the Underworld whioch slowly twist and devours them just makes so much damn sense. I mean, all you have to do is give a Bound a big ass sword, call it “zanpakuto” and send them fighting Reapers and other terrors of the Underworld while building a krewe which use a semi Spanish terminology, and you are done, right?

Not exactly.

I mean, it could work- at least on a very superficial  level- but as you start to look into the details, things seems to.. well, fall apart. Sure, the Reapers are mask bearing ghosts- but that’s the point. They bear masks, and only wear them for sudden boosts at power- in exchange for their humanity. And from where those masks come from? From geists, of course. Geists, which are ghosts that were so consumed by pain and sorrow that they forgot who they are, drinking deep from the tainted powers of the Underworld and becoming something… stranger, an inhuman spirit bound by mask. Also, the ones which has the ability to eat ghosts for power are the Bound- or more exactly, their geists (sure, they don’t want to, but Tyranny based Bound simply don’t ask questions, right?). Reapers, on the other hand, are beings which follow the Old Laws of the Bellow, and which work in order to move ghosts from the world of the living to their “rightful place”- and not just dissipate them, as do those Sin Eaters as they help the ghost to “move on” (hey, their get Plasm from it- sounds too much like ghost consumption, right?).

So yeah, once you give it a deeper look, things become evident- the fact that in Bleach the Shinigami are the good guys and the Hollows are the bad guys does not mean that it works the same way in Geist. When your Soul Society is the Deep Dominions of the Underworld, the good guys are the bad guys, and the bad guys are the good guys.

In Geist, you are on the side of the Hollows- working to stop the evil Shinigami (which is roughly translated into “reapers”, after all) from enslaving all ghosts to the works on the dread Soul Society.

Fun, doesn’t it?

(yeah, I am fully aware that you could style your Geist as your Zanpakuto’s spirit- but when you look at the details, geists just share much more in common with Hollows and Reapers fill the same thematic niche as Shinigami- so it is not a perfect analogy, but this is the one which I think work the best, and this is the one we are going to explore in this blog post. What can I say, I simply love evil twists. Like Aizen).

Anyway, if we were to look upon the analogies, considering that the Reapers are ghosts who found “hollow masks”, it would make them as good parallels to the Visored. If we are to treat the Geists as Hollows, from what I can gather, I think that the Bound’s closest parallel would be the Fullbringers (I’m not sure about the analogy, as I’ve stopped seeing Bleach after the Arrancar arc and with Aizen anticlimactic defeat), as they seems to have their powers gained through a certain merging with Hollow spiritual energy (not exactly the Bargain, but it seems to be the closest we have in Bleach). While we are yet to know anything substantial about the “Eaters of the Dead”, we do know that they are eating ghosts- which makes them sound like the Bount. And of course, regular ghosts would be the Pluses.

That’s five races- but what about the rest?

First would be the Shinigami- while Reapers cover the “hollowfied” version, we don’t seem to have a proper parallel for Soul Society’s protectors. Currently, I think about treating them as a form of ghosts which act as guardians of the River Cities or the Dominions of the Bellow. On the other hand, that concept may be used for my old Deathknight concept which I always wanted to write, for people (either living or dead) which submit themselves to the will of the Kerberoi and the Old Laws in order to bring order to the Underworld. May require some revision after we’ll see the full Reaper description, but it seems like a good start for our Shinigami like parallel.

Arrancars are a different issue- being described as those Hollows which shatter their own mask for power, in our parallel it should be geists who shatter their own “masks”- that is, the strange identities granted to them by the Rivers of the Underworld. That would mean turning against the corrupting forces of the Bellow and lock them inside a certain object (like the Arrancer’s sword)- perhaps a memento of some kind- and then be able to call upon them in order to achieve greater power in a similar way to how Reapers do with Deathmasks (still not ure if they should be “good guys” or “bad guys” in the CofD). The Menus themselves could be styled by either Chthonian (as giant dead things which roam the Underworld) or a terrible products of geist who start eating ghosts in order to survive and grow in power, losing more and more of their identity in search for power.

The Quincy would be interesting to explore as a breed of spiritually sensitive humans which can shape Plasm into weapons and spells for both attack and defense. As their attack against the dead would “purify them” and create a similar (if a bit more violent) effect for the ghost moving on (like how the Quincy destroyed Hollows in the anime), it would put them in odds witht he Reaper, as they deny the Underworld the dead it hungers for so much.

Modified Souls could be seen as a product of Thanathologist krewe which works to create artificial ghosts which are in then used to Claim their own corpses and be used as living (dead?) weapons. Blanks, as spirits which lost all of their memories, should be absorbed into the Underworld- but could be modeled as an outcome of strange events when parts of the Underworld get “revived”- that is, former ghosts which were absorbed start moving again, yet with no memory of who or what they are, acting under the twisted influence of the Underworld as they invade and overflood the world of the living. Could even be the outcome of when the Underworld grows closer to the world of the living and start draining ghosts which are not yet within its reach.

The Bakkoto could be styled as some sort of intelligent memento formed as an experiment in the River Cities in order to create controlled, Reaper level ghosts by shaping parts of the Underoworld itself (official, the truth would probably include having Geists being torn apart and used as raw material in order to produce those weapons). Of course, as they are Underworld tainted, those mementos would quickly drain and devour the dead who use them if they are not careful enough. Perhaps could even be used by the living instead (again, their origin story could easily be connected to that Thanathologist krewe). Finally, the Togabito from Hell should probably be a represented by a certain update of the Larvae from Inferno- ghosts which were either so wicked that Hell took over them before the Underworld’s Maw would manage to bite, or ghosts who were tempted by Inferno that they could find an escape from the Bellow if they were to follow the ways of sin and vice. It’s a trap, of course- but Hell does stand on its end of the bargain. It always does.

Well, that’s it for this week! Next week would probably be more of a creative writing kind of thing- either a new homebrew, an Open Development, cosmology or an interview. If you have preferences, feel free to say what you’ll like to see!

The Phanariot [2e Update/Variant]

’cause all work and no games makes Johnny a dull boy!

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……..aham…

So, as I’ve noticed, when I’m doing a blog post, I don’t have much time during that week to do some other creative things- such as actually writing the ideas I am talking about in this blog. As such, I’ve decided to dedicate this week for writing a new homebrew. The question, however, was “what”. I’ve tried a number of things, from starting a very messy entry for the Celebrants I’ve talked about in My Exalted Devil, to the Aided cabal I talked about in my hunter concepts blog. Yet, every time I tried to write, the ideas simply didn’t came through. Creative block, of some sort. I things simply didn’t wanted to be written.

Perhaps it was because another idea wanted it even more.

I must say, that when Half Damned was announced, I had many hopes for the book- most of them were quit rational ones, like getting a more in depth look upon Dhampirs and Revenants or finally getting an answer about whether ghouls could learn Devotions or not. Others were much more slim- like getting the Phanariot from Mythologies updated to 2e, with them having some connection to the strix. Unfortunately, Half Damned came out more or less as an hot mess, presenting vampires in a way which went against everything which was established in the later 1e books and 2e (that is, dead, heartless monsters which can’t feel emotions and at best lie to themselves about it). Worse, many parts of the book seems to contradict one under, or were written in an unclear way, or simply did not made sense. It did had some cool ideas, but many of them were too undeveloped (like the ale or that dhampir hunter conspiracy).

And if course, when your rational hopes are not fulfilled, it is no wonder that your slim ones are not granted either.

Since then, the urge to update the Phanariot was buzzing in my mind. Perhaps it was the Ones Outside who whispered to me, who knows? At any case, I knew it was only a matter of time before I would submit to their cold touch, and here is the result- the Phanariot, with all their terrible glory, starting from a nice bedtime story told once upon a midnight darkly. Hope you’ll like it!

The Phanariot

Chapter 29: Many Lights in the Darkness (Hunter Organization Concepts)

So, as I assume that most of those who read this blog know, I’ve written a decent amount of Hunter Compacts and Conspiracies during my activity as an homebrewer. What can I say? I love occult organizations, and hunter is simply so friendly toward including so many of those, have a nice, clean and free system for adding new Endowments and have the ability to host a large number of Hunter organizations. While I have since has expanded my writing interest into other games, Hunter still has (and I believe, would always have) a warm place in my heart. Still, it seems that I always have more ideas than time to write them down, but it does not mean I should just neglect them and let them rot. While I do have plans for some grand projects (as were my Strains of the Cursed Blood, Civil Wars and Heirs of the Lie) in the form of Vigilant Industries (as was suggested by SunlessNick), Vigilant Times or Candles Around the World, I still have many small organizations that simply could exist on their own- and as I don[‘t have a lot of time right now, I’m simply going to use this blog in order to list them as one-liners. Feel free to say which ones you are more interested in seeing!

(not that the names are only temporary titles, and not finale versions)

Light Bringers (General)

Sword of Anat- heirs of ancient tradition from the time of Phoenicia, who hold the blessing of their goddess against the horrors of sea and death

To Hop Lai- a conspiracy which specialize in fighting underground horrors and neutralizing their threat before it is too late

EVIL GAME- a cabal of slashers who use a social network system in order to drive people to suicide in the form of a twisted game

Wu Nung- Sorcerers who speak with the unseen world in an attempt to “meditate” supernatural conflicts

Night Stalkers (Vampires)

Bata’a- conspiracy of musicians reaching forming from the ruins of an older organization during the Atlantic Slave Trade, which hunts the dead by listening to their Requiem

Anusiya- iranian hunters born from Zoroastrian tradition which burn their own blood to banish the night

Hollow Ones- collection of wild and creative hunters who seek to learn from vampires and use their Vitae as a source of art

Zaibatsu- japanese company which develops new technologies in order to fight the terror of the undead

Valdaermen- rune crafters from the Viking Era which seek the challenge if fighting death itself and putting unworthy souls to their grave

Church of the Sun- Mysterious lineage born from an ancient god which carries the power of the sun in their veins

Spirit Stalkers (Werewolf)

Apostles of the Sun- cults which comes all the way from ancient Greece and which traps the “feathers” of the sun in special artifacts to wear its power

Madzimbabwe- African tradition which seeks to cross the boundary between man and beast, spirit and flesh and life and death

Witch Finders (Mages)

Eyes of the Zorya- followers of an dark star which leads them to fight against the tyranny of heaven using dark magics

Pure Ones- gnostic sect which believes that by projecting their sins into other people and kill them they can free themselves from the rule of the Demiurge

Ahl i Batin- network of muslim hunters through the middle east which use a supernatural web to bind witches and twist space

Riders of Tengri- shaminstic sect of hunters which invokes the blessings of the sky against the spirit world

Syndicate- merchants which trade with human lives and souls with the foulest of magician in exchange for blessings and curses

Iteration X- creators of a supernatural machine which invokes Platonic Forms in order to arm humanity against the darkness

Torch Bearers (Promethean)

Taftani- organization of crafters from the time of the Achaemenid Empire which traps the Divine Fire and the Djinn in tools of bronze

Akashic Brotherhood- Buddhist hunters which use the flames of heaven to perfect their body, mind and soul against the darkness

Sons of Ether- scientists which seek to harness Pyros as a source of energy in order to create impossible inventions

To Faan- cannibals and infernalists which search after targets which carry a “special spark” in their souls in service to dark demon lords

Saensaeng- artisans which harvest the pyros found naturally in the world in order to grow their relics from the womb of earth

Dream Catchers (Changeling)

Ngoma- group of african hunters that use special masks in order to become invisible to the sight of demons and the whispers of fate

Wu Lung- organization claiming to descent from the era of Qin Dynsaty which use calligraphy to bind the Wyrd and invoke strange magics

Taiping Tianguo- anarchists that move in the guise of street performers and work in the service of the Gentry to track down the Lost, in order to poison the Hedge from the inside

Grave Robbers (Geist)

Queen Anne’s Revenge- ghost pirates from the stories of old, which steal souls and enslave the dead to service in their ships

Euthothanos- harvesters united during the Black Plague which steal the lives of others in order to prolong their own existence

Aided- irish cabal of druids that use a special brand of death song in order to bind the dead and invoke the Underworld

Bagua- Taoist sect that search to balance the natural harmony of the world and allowing the dead to leave without tainting the land

Kopa Loei- Polynesian hunters which raise strange monsters born out of death in order to track down and defeat the dead

Heralds of the End- apocalyptic cult which search to bring the light of Heaven to Earth by creating enough “critical mass” using souls

Tomb Raiders (Mummy)

Adonei HaYam- biblical conspiracy wearing new face which hunts for sea born monstrosities born from sekhem

Celestial Masters- astrologers which follow and map the stars and invoke their terrible fates upon the Undying

Zi Guang- agricultural organization which use sekhem in order to feed the world and grow new and strange species of harvest

Scare Calvaire- french organization originating from the time of Napoleon’s empire which use the wealth of fallen civilizations for a better future

Hell Binders (Demon)

Divine Artificer- compact from Salem’s Era, when they used the tools of God in order to track down and hunt its fallen servants

Guard of Idols- conspiracy of Axumite descent which use sacred relics of metal and a special form of songs in order to tune to God and invoke his gifts

Hell Knights- barbarian order of murderers which scar themselves with demonic runes and search to harvest souls in Heaven’s name

Coven of Beelzebub- a cult born from the unfortunate instance of archaeologists finding a relic which should have remained buried, and awakening a demon lord from its sleep

Myth Breakers (Beast)

Shadow Walkers- secret cabal of killers which use Dreamwalking as a tool for their murder

Etenmenanki- dark conspiracy which works from the times of the Babylonian Empire that attempts to ascend into a terrible form of insatiable godhood

Miao Guan- peacemakers which manipulates the Primordial Dream in order to control minds and enforce order

Dreamspeakers- shamans which can meditate themselves into the Dream and commune directly with the Horrors with the help of strange spirit guides

Ksirafai- a circle of assassins and guardians of law existing since Byzantium that use the tools of the Machine to bind the horrors of the Mother

Renegade Chasers (Deviant)

Nothing, for now 😛

I hope that soon I’ll have enough time to write my hopefully last cosmology post, after which I’ll focus on finishing my OD for the First Temple. What’s next? Well, we’ll have to wait and see 🙂 (and yeah, I do remember on continuing my interviews, don’t worry)

New Compact: the Domus Sanctus

Inspired by the latest H:tV 2e preview, I’ve decided to write down a compact based around fighting not monsters, but places, both Tainted and Sentient. While monsters come and go all the time, Tainted places felt an antagonist which presents an interesting challenge to the Cell- one which could not be solved as easily as fighting a random horror on the street. Evil places are always a great challenge in horror movies, such as Paranormal Activity or 1408, where the line between the monster and the cursed place seems to blur. I’ve decided to go to 2nd Tier instead of 3rd Tier for it felt like the group would benefit more from being much more “bottom up”, being made from people who simply fight to do the good thing instead of being caught up by some weird ideology which tries to create heaven upon earth (which would probably be my 3rd tier version for the group). I’ve also decided to take a religious aesthetics, as it felt appropriate for a group which tries to “purify” places from evil. Anyway, here is a sneak peak to the new compact, hope you’ll like it!

 


 

This world is fucked up.

They call it the darkness. They call it crime. They call it entropy. They call it a disease. They give it many names- but in the end, the world is simply fucked up. It’s fucked up on the mundane side of things, with criminals and murderers and cultists, serial killers and kidnappers and people who had their mind broken when something else leaked in. It’s fucked up on the supernatural side of things, with monsters and spirits and undead, vampires and werewolves and horrors cloaked with unholy majesty. This world is fucked up- and this is why you have hunters, vigilantes who act outside of the law and take it upon themselves to deal with things which the regular system simply can’t deal with. People who carry the candle, and use it to cast light into the depths of the darkness. They hunt monsters, fight demons, shoot slashers between their eyes and sacrifice their lives in order to give an hope for a better future.

But that’s only taking care of the symptoms. The disease itself still remains.

The problem is, that this world is fucked up.


 

find the full text in here

Chapter 28: Diabolical Exaltation (yozi in CofD, pt 2)

So, I’m feeling a bit unwell this week, and I also have some things to deal with- so instead of doing the last cosmology post, I’ll give yet another look on Yozi inspired material for the CofD- but this time, instead of vast phenomena, we’ll focus around template ideas inspired by the Demon Princes of Creation. Let’s start, shall we?

Malfeas- I feel like the Celebrants mentioned in the God Machine Chronicles could be tied nicely to the Demon City, not to mention my previous ides for adapting it to the setting (that is, the roaming, viceful city in dreams). For example, people who join the city’s endless celebration of decadence, and become Celebrants by themselves. Could be used as Beast antagonists.

Cecelyne- ammm the whole “servants of the Judges” is already fulfilled by the core Arisen, but perhaps something about Duatic Demons would be appropriate.

She Who Lives in Her Name- An hive like society bound by a mystical name and the burning crystals from the previous post. Reminds me of the old suggestion for Hive: the Unity splat.

Adorjan- so something in the style of silent, dark winds which assassinate their enemies? Yeah, I need to write down my Saru Salamu already 😛

Ebon Dragon- shadows of passion and doom sounds a bit too similar to my version of the Ale. I may adapt it to some other concept, like Shadow People which serve as a combination between Beast and Vampire, or use my earlier pitch for draconic shadow beings, but it would be on low priority.

Kimbery- so we talked about the vitriolic horrors birthed from the Pits, why not to play one of those?

Cytherea- some form of “alternative Awakening” could be appropriate. Maybe connected to the Ananke, with their role to the Supernal’s version of fate.

Oramus- if we go with the cult’s concept from earlier, we could use it for another “alternative awakening” idea.

Isidoros- I really do dig the Beast/Werewolf hybrid concept, as some form of wereboars with connection to the Void and the Dream.

Sacheverel- further developing the Sleeping Sickness concept, they could serve as alternative/advanced stigmatics of some kind.

Hegra- ammmm something Changelingy about dreams and nightmares, perhaps a new breed of Fae creatures formed when Glamour Storms are strong.

Ellog- I think on a mini template which can preform pledges and write down whole worlds. That sounds like a fun experiment.

Szorney- well, time to update my Doppelganger template, right?

Qaf- some sort of mystic/hermit splat, not sure if connected to the Supernal or the Divine Fire.

Metagaos- so instead of hungry places, vampires which are created by those hungry places?

Achsam- a new Charlatan variant, I think

Cabasilis- I’m really not sure… something about conspiracies, perhaps an advanced/alternative Dreamer/Lost Boys splat?

Nimozini- we could use the Librarians described in the previous post and adapt them for here.

Xanichi- ammm kind of blank right now. Perhaps we could use it for my Underfolk template concept.

Anapuul- the whole Swarm thing when tied to the Dream could be used nicely as an alternative Devouring- one formed by the Swarm, instead of by an Horror.

Jheel Khan- I want to do something in the style of the Charlatan’s Parade from Vanitas no Carte. I’ll think what I can do.

Lykkennan- some sort of hungry underworld monstrosity, of course. Still not sure about the details.

Mardukth- the ghost template presented in the previous post could be interesting to explore.

Ta’akozoka- tentacled dead monstrosities of the endless sea?

Ramethus- individuals who self transform themselves into living weapons sounds like something to explore.

Hunanura- yeah, I already have write a splat of ice and cold which tries to devour the world, so the Domemim get it covered 😛

Mabhaddoth- ammmm I’m really not sure right now.. what about high priests of the Judges of some kind? Or perhaps a temple guardian template? Something else?

Theion- yeah, the qashmalim enhanced hunters concept from the previous post already covers this.

Adrian- we have covered what would happen for a promethean who tries to cross the River of Torments, but we could assume that maybe something more interesting waits for those mortals who finish the crossing other than becoming Alchemists. Even better- what about the pandorans who cross the river? Now, that’s sounds like something worthy to be explored!

Chiskabal- something demonic about once perfect, now tarnished beauty. Some form of alternative demons, I assume- perhaps formed from angels who start hearing the Perfect Note, even though it may have a certain overlap with the Satan Signal. Needs to think about it.

Gaia- we talked about Essence Alchemy earlier, so Essence Alchemists of some form? Maybe we could tie them to an expanded form of the Wardens from Immortals?

Autochthon- the Android concept I’ve had could work nicely in here

Cemunian- a flesh horror of some kind, still not sure about the exact details. Again, we could turn to V:tM for inspiration.

Scarlet Phoenix- a template representation of the Lucifuge would be appropriate.

 

 

So yeah, this week’s post was very rough and short, but that’s what I could achieve in such a short notice. Giving a some heads up- I’m going to become a bit less regular about me posts in the next few weeks, as I have some presentations to do for my university, and I want to focus on the rest of my time on writing some of the homebrew I talked about in this blog. If I’ll get to write down something, I’ll make sure to also post it in the blog, so you won’t miss it. See you next time!

Chapter 27: My Exalted Devil (Yozi in the CofD)

The first RPG I’ve discovered after D&D was Exalted- and as such, it left a very strong impression upon me. While it was a fantasy setting, it was just so… different, so mythic and powerful, so wondrous and dreadful. The Chosen of the Gods walk the earth, demigods with the power to change the world. The ghosts of fallen heroes haunt the Underworld, seeking to serve the goals of dead things which were never born, and as such could not truly die. The elements of Creation flow through the ley lines, carrying with them subtle influences upon the land. The gods celebrate in heaven or walk the earth alongside mankind. The fae lurk at the edges of the world, seeking to destroy all form and celebrate in imagine realities. And the most powerful, drawing and impressive of all- the courts of Hell and its demon princes.

See, Exalted’s version of Hell is just so.. different than that of D&D. It is not an evil place, where sinners suffer for all eternity. Demons are not angels who defied some all mighty god and were punished for it. They do not tempt the innocents and do not do evil for evil’s sake. Demons are not evil at all, actually, which means that it is ok to summon and use them for your own benefit. They are simply alien, thinking in ways no mortal could ever do.

Hell is a place of suffering and pain, where trapped gods are bound in the flesh of their own kind, broken images of those who they once were. Hell is a place of celebration and joy, where song means life and silence brings death, where light means safety and darkness fear, where dance means survival and despair means destruction. Hell is a broken place- but also beautiful, in its own way. It is a festival, bound by absurd laws and tyranny where the former rulers of the world torment their own souls in search for a relief from the eternal pain. There is no right or wrong, no truth and false, no past or future- in Hell, you can only live the present, for no one knows what would happen tomorrow and no one cares about where you came from. Hell is alien- but it accepts you in ways no other place would.

As such, it would be a shame to not adapt it somehow to the CofD, right?

Now, I’m not suggesting something like important Malfeas as whole into the setting. Instead, I was thinking about exploring each of the Yozi presented in Exalted (and some of the other Primordials), and how they may be tied to a certain CofD gameline/s in an interesting way.  Bellow I’m going to present the concept I have for each of the former Princes of Creation, and how it may be tied to the setting individually, making it a toolbox for people to use 😛 (also, as a side note- I’m still planning on finishing my cosmology blog- I simply don’t have a lot of time lately, out of RL issues).

Anyway, here we go-

Malfeas- as it is the very Hell in which the Yozi are bound, it makes sense to tie the Demon City to Inferno in some way (not to mention its celebrant themes), but the visceral and primordial give me a certain Beast vibe to it. As such, I think about the Demon City as some sort of an infernal phenomenon which manifest itself in the Primordial Dream- out of nowhere, dreamers start having nightmares about a great city, with brass walls and green sun, filled with terrible creatures who sing and dance in a constant festival while being lead by a brass skin dancer. In the meanwhile, in the Primordial Dream itself, the City manifest itself in the Hive, growing out of nowhere and taking over the region. The Dancer becomes the Apex, taking the title for the current ruling monster, while demons start to roam through the Hive, filling lairs with song and dance. Eventually, the City moves on, vanishing as it never existed while drifting in the Dream- but the scars it leaves behind would not heal easily.

Cecelyne- Arbitrary rules? Divine tyranny? Desert themes? Yeah, Cecelyne simply screams “Mummy”! Considering her time twisting nature, and the fact that the Rite of Return did fucked up time so Irem would always exist, I think about the Endless Desert as places where the world “remembers” Irem, either through the creation/destruction of relics, acts of Neithian Architecture or simply because the starts are right (or wrong. Terribly wrong). Suddenly, the Laws of the Judges become manifested, and people feel compulsion to follow behaviors which were destroyed thousands of years ago. Mysterious enforcers come to force those laws, and sometimes, Irem itself comes to life, and the desert rise to devour the careless and opens a path to Duat itself.

She Who Lives in Her Name- The all “heirarchy” theme of SWLIHN feels really Demonic, IMO, and sounds like it could be tied to the God Machine. I envision her as being a Command and Control Infrastructure, a set of 99,997 red, crystal spheres which are scattered all over the world, each containing an eternal flame. The spheres has a strange tendency to enforce certain compulsions upon those who see them, enhance them with certain supernatural powers and form cults to protect them, and are able to summon and command angels, changing Exile parameters or even making angels to fall and rising demons back to heaven. While many demons would like to put their hands over the spheres in an attempt to control, manipulate or destroy to God Machine, they should be careful- three times demons messed up, destroying the crystal- and in the process annihilating anything around them beyond memory.

Adorjan- I can’t exactly say why, but there is something about the Silent Wind which feels very Pangaean like. I believe her to be a former Pangaean called as Song, who had her Omphalus Stone stolen by the Wise, leaving her to die as many like her. However, Song didn’t died- or more exactly, she did, but she kept on moving. She became Silence, and she despise all sounds who remind her of who she once been. Nowadays, she is neither a spirit or a being of flesh, but a wind which makes no sound, and wherever she goes, things drop dead. Those flocks of birds who just fall from the sky? The herd which was found dead with no explanation? People who are found dead alone locked in their rooms? Its the Silence, and good luck at hunting something which you can’t even bite, dear Uratha. As it is the “ghost” of a dead Pangaean, maybe ome connection to Geist and ghosts could be appropriate, especially if it cuts through spirit while leaving flesh intact.

Ebon Dragon- with all that emphasis around dark urges and desires, Beast seems once more like a natural candidate. The Shadow of all Things is more of an event than an entity- something which occurs when there is an “eclipse” in the Primordial Dream, bringing a time of darkness upon sleepers. It could be a matter of days, it could be a matter of weeks, but as long as the Eclipse takes place, people are Devoured by the darkness as it was an Horror- and it leaves behind something else, a shard of darkness which enforce hunger and vice upon the spawn. As those poor souls are driven into self destruct, the darkness manifest itself upon their flesh, giving them draconic traits and make them more shadow than person. Eventually, the eclipse will end- but it may be too late for those Devoured by the dark, for if the crossed the boundary and become darkness, they too would vanish with the return of light, joining the flight of shadows of all things.

Kimbery- Burning waters of vitriolic torment? Yeah, that’s Promethean with no doubt. My concept for the Sea in that of a Birthing Pits- pool of Vitriol which manifest themselves spontaneously through the world. While Prometheans may harvest those sources of naturally forming Vitriol, and Pandorans are drawn to drink from them, weird things happen if you through things into the Pits- body parts, be them animal or human, meld together and create strange monsters powered by Pyros. Not exactly Pandorans, but not Promethean either, those monsters whisper about the “Mother” which gave them life- and while they are compelled to obey the one who made them, they have instincts and wishes born from the love they hold for that mysterious entity. May be tied with Beast, for obvious reasons.

Cytherea- The Ultimate Mystery! That which could never be known! 100% Mage material, IMO. In CofD’s terms, I think it would be expressed as truly as the “Ultimate Mystery”, something which has eluded mage attempts to understand it with all of their wisdom and research capabilities. Some whisper that it is the Key for Ascension, or even perhaps the Door to Atlantis. References to it are found in broken prophecies in High Speeches, scribbles in the hand writes of madmen or in glimpses of vision seen in the stage between dream and reality. Those who become Obsessive toward the Ultimate Mystery start seeing signs of it everywhere, leading them to a self destructive road from which most are never seen again. Whether they have ascended, died or suffered from a terrible fate still is, well, a mystery.

Oramus- The draconic imagery and all of the emphasis about “breaching impossible boundaries” and “going beyond existence” also gives a strong Mage feeling to it. I think about something in the style of the “Cult of the Dragon”, built around faithful worshipers which are mostly proximi and Nameless who are gathered around an Atlantean relic, through which they can call upon objects and beings from worlds which never were. Some sort of a Time Which Never Was which somehow survived to the modern era. The cultists believe that there is a god trapped inside of the relic, bound in there by the people of the Fallen City, and that they are its descendants. They believe that if they were to free it, it would remake the world and bring back Atlantis, making it perhaps a “Lost Oracle” w8ith the relic itself being a Watchtower, and if they were to do so it would crown them as the new kings of Atlantis. And guess what? They may very well be right.

Isidoros- Ammmm from one side, we have something primordial, dark and full of urges, which is pure Beast. On the other, the animalistic symbolism and unstoppable nature give to me a strong Werewolf feeling. As such, I think about a certain combination of the two. Perhaps it is a Pangaean which has found solace in the Primordial Dream after the fall of the Border Marches. Perhaps it is a Firstborn child of the Dark Mother and Father Wolf. Perhaps it is something stranger, a relic of an older world destroyed which had landed upon Earth ages ago, a Void Leviathan adopted by the Mother. Whatever it may be, it serves as the Totem of a very special Lodge- one which includes the Begotten as a part of their Pack, and which recognize them as Family. The Totem itself seems to have strange influences about fate, causality, and the laws of physics, twisting space and time in unpredictable ways, being an incarnation of primal power which simply can not be stopped.

Sacheverel- Ohhhh dear old Sache is so Demonic that it is painful! A power of fate, sleep and prophecy? Yeah, I like it. I think about a strange form of Stigmata called the “Sleeping Sickness”- usually, stigmatics are formed when people who are sensitive to the God Machine’s frequencies stumble upon an infrastructure. However, sometimes the person is too sensitive, tuning them directly to the God Machine’s occult matrices and alien thoughts. Those people fall into a strange sleep from which they can not awake, producing strange signs upon their skin which look like bleeding or tearing eyes. In their dreams, they see all kinds of strange, possible futures, the shape of things to come. Without help, they would simply waste away and die out- but they can not be waken up without some supernatural means. It is possible to enter into their dreams and view their prophetic visions, but if one were to try and awake them from their comma, they would discover that they become target to angelic attacks. The angels don’t try to attack the dreamer- all they want to is to make sure they would stay asleep. Some believe that the God Machine use those people as living computers, calculating probabilities for the future. Others ain’t so sure- when stumbling upon those cases, the angels responsible for securing the dreamers seem to exhibit a strange emotion- fear, and those who entered into the dreamer’s mind has claimed to feel as if something is watching them. And the strangest of it all- on the rare cases someone does manage to awake a dreamer from their sleep, the stigmatics are known to pronounce a single prophecy, after which their stigmata vanish without trace- and that prophecy would always, but always, come true.

Hegra- The combination between the typhoon symbolism and the liquid hallucinations kind of make me think about a combination of Changeling and Promethean, some sort of “Glamourstorm” instead of Firestorm. I think about them forming from a mixture of raw Glamour and Flux, as the dead and chaotic nature of the latter is revived through the gashing emotion of the former. When Glamourstorm takes place, dream and reality mix together, and hobgoblins are brought to life out of emotions and fantasies. The world becomes more like a fairy tale, and those who drink the liquid dreams may gain strange insights about the future- at the price of becoming a character in a story they did not write.

Ellog- With the emphasis of Ellog around speech and written language, I think it would also be a nice candidate for Changeling material. I think about it as some sort of the “First Contract”, a library which contains every pledge, oath and vow every preformed, and which could be used in order to play with the principles of creation. The library usually exists outside out reality, but it sometimes leaks into mundane books, contracts and oaths, giving metaphysical weight for even the most regular promises and bargains. Any pact preformed while the Sphere of Speech is manifested would come true, and it also may have some Mage crossover potential by making all of those oaths being in High Speech, making them alien and strange to the Lost to deal with.

Szoreny- I can’t say exactly why, but something about the Silver Forest feels really “Geisty” to me. Silver trees which grown upside down, their branches in the Underworld and their roots among the living, which practically feed upon the reflected memories and personalities of those around them. The more someone looks in the reflected surfaces of the Silver Forest, the more the reflection becomes real, and the less tangible becomes the original, until they are nothing but a reflection trapped in the Forest’s imaginary worlds.

Qaf- The Endless Mountain is all about Pilgrimage and search for perfection, something which simply screams Promethean. It could perhaps be a mystical location which the Created whisper about, that anyone who could reach its top would gain New Dawn if Promethean, Ascension if Mage and perhaps even stranger transformations for other splats. Once called by the Mountain, one could always end the journey and return to the world- but if they’ll do, they would never find the Mountain again, even though they may learn a thing or two about themselves in the process.

Metagaos- So a place which just eats anything which enters its boundaries, time included? Vampire, please. The Hungry Blossom would be an example for a vampiric place, some sort of “Wicked Dead” in that the vampire is an actual place which slowly gnaws at everything around it, leaving behind a rotten, grey swamp with strange flowers which has some mystical properties for both good and ill. The very water of the swamp are in fact Vitae, even if its taste is rotten and poisonous. Maybe even those who get lost in the swamp rise after death- which means more hungry mouths to feed in the Hungry Blossom. Perhaps it could also be tied to the Contagion, considering its toxic nature.

Achsam- And here we start to examine some of the fanmade Yozi! Achsam is a theatrical demon prince, who loves drama and its face are a yellow mask (King in Yellow, anyone?). As such, it is a little surprise that I think he should be tied to Changeling, something in the style of a Charlatan Parade which roams through the Hedge and the material world, where Fae beings mingle with mortals and shoe them shows of wonder and horror. The Parade accepts anyone, no questions asked, and gives them a mask to wear instead o their face. Well, except of the Showmaster. He wears no mask.

Cabasilis- Another fanmade yozi, the Shrouded Council feels to me as something of both Vampire and Hunter. In our setting, it would be an invisible conspiracy, a political power powered by mystical trappings. In a way, it is THE conspiracy, a collection of individuals who pull the strings, be them humans or monsters. No one knows who are the members of the Council, but both vampires and hunters stumble upon the Council’s plots- and while at first they think they are dealing with just another cult such as Daeva or Cheiron, they quickly discover they deal with something far beyond what they expected. The Council is alive, its strings are everywhere, and you could trust no one when attempting to fight its influence.

Nimozini- While I can’t find a lot about that yozi, it seems to have interest in preserving knowledge and collecting new one, bringing civilization and order wherever it goes. That makes me think about Mage, with perhaps some touch of the Aegis Kai Doru. Hidden museums in secret places which contain and catalog the remains of ancient civilizations and races which never existed, all kinds of potential Atlantisis which were erased from existence when the Exarchs Ascended, and which is guarded by alien the Librarians. Both mages and the AKD may have interest in investigating those sanctuaries of knowledge, but the Librarians care only about preserving that lost knowledge at any cost, and worse- some of that knowledge and artifacts is quit dangerous in the wrong hands. Add some Iremite relics to the mix, and you’ll get a nice Mage-Mummy crossover in here.

Xanichi- Well, the all Mesoamerican imagery of that titan together with its Maze symbolism really makes me think about connecting Mummy to that Devil Tiger. As a creature of betrayal, chaos and change, I think on somehow connect him to Sutekh, the power of Will and Chaos. I think of him as a great, underground maze which disrupts time and space, and which hides all kinds of ancient terrors of Iremite origin, and all signs are written in the long dead language. Beasts of unknown origin roam its paths, and it contains hints of Irem’s past and origin, such as cultures who daily preform human sacrifice where they tear the victim apart into 43 pieces, or strange tablets which contain 42 absurd laws, or caves which full of teeth like stalagmites or even places where the caves open to impossible skies, which show the stars from before the Shaniatu preformed the Rite and twisted the Scroll of Ages. Who built those labyrinths? Why? And why is it that anyone who enters the Maze has a sudden feeling they were betrayed?

Anapuul- The last fan made yozi, there isn’t a lot about that mysterious titan. All we have is that it has some underground themes, shattered beauty turned into bitter ugliness and hive minds/swarms. All of it really makes me to think about Beast. What I think is about some sort of an “invasive specie” which force its ways into local Hives, parasitic swarms which take over Lairs and Horrors and turn them into a legion connected by bonds stronger than Kinship. Worse, the swarm may use Kinship in order to infect other monsters, creating an army of monsters governed by a strange hivemind, where a Family is turned against itself in order to end the threat.

Jheel Khan- And now we start with our dead Primordials. Given his title, the One Whose Laughter Turn the Sky Red Blood gives me both a strong vampire feeling and a changeling one. As such, I think that the Author should be represented in the form of an organization of both Lost and Kindred, or perhaps a Covenant which use Fae Blood in order to produce all kinda of strange sorceries. The Court and the Covenant would work together, blood in exchange for protection from the Huntsmen. Nomad in nature, strange things happen where the Bloody Court walks, and they carry with them their most treasured artifact- books written by the mysterious Author of Troubled Skies, which contain not only strange blood magic, but also the ability to twist fate and time to their will.

Lykkennan- Being called the Cavern That Devours, I get a strong Underworld feeling from this one, so tying it to Geist sounds logical. I think that the Cavern could be a form of unexpected openings between the Underworld and the Living World, ones which are not bound by Avernian Gates, but allow free transition between the worlds. Ghosts can get out, and the living can get in. The problem is that the Cavern manifest itself only for limited times, and those who do not hold the Keys to the Underworld end up trapped among the dead, with no way out, while the Great Bellow slowly leech the life out of them.

Mardukth- Considering that its name comes from Marduk, it only makes sense to tie that titan to Hunter. On the other hand, it is also the most famous Neverborn, which means I can’t simply detach him from Geist. As such, I think about some sort of a conspiracy tied to the Underworld- or, more exactly, a “conspiracy” made out of ghosts of murder victims which devote themselves to hunt for monsters and slashers. Those ghosts seems to be resilient to the Underworld’s leeching effect and its strong pull, but they do seem to be infected by a strange memetic virus, which makes them repeat a weird, non understood name again and again, and the more of them are gathered in the same place, the less individual they become, manifesting the Mountain and the Beast Upon It. While hunters may appreciate the help at first, soon they may discover they are under a threat like which they never saw before.

Ta’akozoka- Even when she was alive, the Great Tentacled One had powers upon the grave, enslaving ghosts and hoarding treasures. That, combined with its connection to the sea, makes it a good candidate for Geist setting material. I imagine it would be an horror from the Ocean of Fragments, which is able to manifest itself in any body of water which holds a strong resonance to Death, with perhaps even certain rituals which exist to summon the Great Tentacled One from properly dedicated sites. The tentacles are the only ones to be seen of that ancient entity, and it has the ability to command and bind ghosts, as well as drawing riches and wealth. The larger the water body, the more dangerous the horror becomes- and in the middle of the ocean, the Great Tentacled One can manifest with all of its might, drowning whole ships for their wealth and even manifesting the Ocean of Fragments upon the real world, which allow it to hide any remains of its violent manifestations.

Ramethus- The self mutilated titan which has turned itself into a living weapon sounds like a great setting hook for Hunter. I’m not sure if an whole conspiracy, but perhaps there is some sort of “underworld laboratory” made of renegade scientists and doctors of different conspiracies (such as Cheiron, Daeva, LDI, etc) which offers “upgrades” for hunters to make them better at the hunt, even up to an inhuman level- even though the price they are required to pay is not only in resources and favors. By becoming the Vigil incarnated, others things, such as your humanity, are need to be removed- and who knows when the boundary between the Candle and the Knife will be crossed?

Hunanura- A fallen titan of ice and frost, she could be easily tied to my Awful Ice project. However, as her slayer is connected to Sorcery, I wonder if perhaps she could also be tied to a magical splat- not Mage, which already shares Promethean with Qaf, but perhaps Mummy. I think about something in the style of the feathered remains of an ancient monster, which are being made of an ice like substance which devours heat and is eternally cold. The gentle bones and silver feathers seem gentle to touch, they are in fact strong as resilient to almost all attacks. Worse, they drain not only mundane fire- they devour the Divine Fire, and eat up Sekhem. Relics are deactivated by them, Athanors perish and die, alchemical formulas shatter and even the mightiest Utterances fail in their presence, as the Sekhem of the mummy is eaten by an alien force. What that ancient beast was once is unknown- but it is clearly a power of hunger, cold and eternal death.

Mabhaddoth- The Architect of Locks and its strong emphasis about faith makes in natural in my eyes as a Mummy material setting. I think about it as a temple of Iremite origin, which slides in and out of reality, which just burns with Sekhem in a way that resonate in every mummy around. Those who travel inside discover ancient idols of the gods and judges, and locked doors which can not be opened by key- but by law. The Temple of Locks is a sacred place of the Judges, and only those devoted to their tyranny could open one of the 42 gates. However, choose your gate carefully- you get only one chance, and whether you’ll get a reward or punishment would greatly depend on both devotion, skill and- most important of all- to good will of the Judges.

Theion- and now the non corrupted form of the titans, the Empyreal Chaos and its holy tyranny gives me the strong and classical “divine hunter” theme. However, the word “theion” also seems to have some alchemical connections, even practically meaning “Divine Fire”. My concept is some sort of qashmalim induced blessing, which is meant to endow hunters with supernatural powers, as agents of the Principle in war against the darkness. Some sort of H:tR translation to Vigil, where the Principle takes a much more active role in fighting against the monsters and leading humanity out of its world of darkness.

Adrian- so a river which induce pain and suffering upon anyone who touch its water? Yeah, that’s some Promethean material. I assume that a River of Torments could be either a place or a phenomena where rivers become infused with Pyros, far above the “safe concentration”, making them to produce Disquiet and Wasteland as if they were prometheans. Regular humans who touch or drink the water suffer from pain and hallucinations, even though that few go through an epiphany which leads them to become Alchemists. Prometheans, however, may achieve great milestones, as the river enforce upon them any Torment they have ever known. Some escape the River in pain, screaming and hateful as they fall back in their Pilgrimage. Other suffer from complete dissolution, as the water consume their very fabric. But those who are successful at crossing the River make great advancements in their journey, and perhaps even achieve New Dawn. Any known attempt by a pandoran to cross the River ended with its dissolution, but who knows what would happen if a sublimati powerful and willful enough would succeed in the impossible task?

Chiskabel- Ah, the most beautiful chime, which her very form is intoxicating and addicting. I think on tying her to Demon, making her into a cult which worship beauty- or, more exactly, worship a very sweet, perfect song. While the Cult of Perfect Note was originally established by the God Machine, it has since went renegade, becoming a place where demons and exiles can find solace. In fact, many demons think about themselves as the masters of the cult, as it spreads across the world in the form of brothels and similar “businesses”- but those demons who dare to take the form of one of the cultists as their Cover discover that they start hearing a strange, almost maddening sound, one which while humans seem to recognize as a perfect melody demons hear as white noise which slowly evolves into a cacophony of screams. What is that “perfect sound”? And, in fact, why did the Machine cared about it in the first place?

Gaia- And finally, let’s discuss those few Primordials which were never harmed during the Primordial War, remaining alive and well. As tying between Gaia and Gaea is the most natural course of action, it is a little wonder that I think she sould be tied to Werewolf. My plan is connecting her to the strange Geomancy of the Shadow, as a form of technique which allow humans (and others) to Influence the spirit world in the same way that Hisil influence the Flesh. A form of Essence Alchemy, it gives humanity some powerful edge over the unseen, something which could also allow to tie them to Hunter- but when they mess up, things could become much, much worse.

Autochthon- Ah, the Eternal Smith, Master of Crafts and many other titles, which makes our dear old Auto-bot into Demon material. I think of him as an high Ranked Exile, perhaps 7-8, which is simply obsessed at crafting new tools, gadgets and infrastructures. It even has made certain attempts at forging Angels, but they have showed themselves unstable for long term periods- even though it did showed a certain.. success at re-forging humans into angelic forms (to their eternal suffering). However, it is so obsessive about its work, that it neglects its Parameters, making it more and more “Silver-like” with each passing day. Still, the Great Maker is still asked by many demons, who wish to gain his tools in order to fight the Machine. It, of course, would be happy to do so (not out of resentment, but simply because it truly love creating new things)- but the demon is the one responsible on producing the raw materials, and it needs something to make new Ministers to help it in its work, right?

Cemunian- The Constellation of Flesh and Sinew is something so visceral and fleshy that immediately makes me think about Chris Allen’s 5 Pounds of Flesh- and as such, about Werewolf. An whole world made of crafted flesh, something on the level of Masquerade’s Tzimisce flesh crafting. I think about an idigam obsessed with flesh crafting, which search to form whole worlds out of flesh and blood. It would definitely be a world of horrors, and with the Uratha’s ability to regenerate they make excellent raw materials in order to grow that place of horrors. I think we could add some Vampire connection, mixing the flesh craft with some Vitae animation as a shout out to the dear and beloved Tzimisce Clan.

Scarlet Phoenix- and while not properly a yozi, I think that the Queen of Hell should be mentioned in here. With her power of dynasty and hell, I think that tying her to the Lucifuge is the most natural course of action. I think with equating her to the Lady of Milan, making her as the she-devil which “blessed” the Lady with the powers which allowed her to establish the conspiracy (if not the Lady herself), and perhaps making it so other other Lucifuge could also gain her blessing, spawning a new lines of cursed blood meant to either fight or serve hell, in any way they would choose.

 

Oh god, that was way longer than I planned it to be… oh well! I hope that next week I’ll have enough time to finish my cosmology posts, but I make no promises 😛

No Post Note

So, while I did really wanted to make the third cosmology post this week, I simply did not had any time to do so right now. Instead, I wanted to discuss the differences between the different magic systems, and relating them to the cosmology I’m presenting, as inspired by the Riftwar Saga which I’ve decided to re-read. However, yesterday a friend of mine from the university has experienced a lab accident, and was taken to an hospital after suffering a serious damage to his hands. As such, I did not has the needed mental state to writer down any post for this week. Hopefully, all will be well, and I would make either posts up no next week.

Have a safe week, and let’s hope that all would end well.