Friday, August 30, 2013

Fianyarr Class: Witch

Djinn Witch
(Edea - Final Fantasy XIII)
Campaign World: Fianyarr.

 Purpose: Witches are neither good nor evil, though they do generally abide by the Rule of Three ("What you put out in the world shall be returned to you threefold") and that tends to mean that some witches can be quite vengeaful.  Especially those that don't subscribe to the law: "Do as thou wilt but harm none", or at least modify that law to be "Do as thou wilt but harm none unless they have harmed you first".  There are few witches who are true pacifists, however, and most believe strongly in self-defence even if they won't commit to pure vengeance.

A witch is more of a state of being than a career.  Parents can teach their children the Way but people can also find their own way.  Some individuals simply come into their powers at puberty or beforehand, having always looked at the world in a different way.  Therefore, while witches might be the village wisewoman, city sorcerer or powerful autocraft, they are equally likely to be farmers, midwives, servants, entertainers and milkmaids.  Ironically enough, most witches find their magic comes so naturally to them that they are more no more prone to forcefully using magic to get their own way than a fighter is prone to punch their way to a promotion.  Sure, it happens, but it's not particularly common and most witches are therefore nicely ensconsed in their societies rather than living on the outskirts.

Blessings of the Moon

Illusory Disguise: All witches have a minor talent at illusions and while their skill isn't necessarily enough to cover their entire appearance it does provide a +3 bonus to all disguise rolls, whether mundane or magical, when the witch spends time trying to make themselves appear different.  Changeling Mirrorskin Kith: core rulebook page 106. 

Moon Madness: A witch has many abilities to protect themselves aond one such manner is to touch the vein of madness within us all.  Once a day, the witch may spend a point of glamour and touch a person, rolling Intelligence + Wyrd versus the target's Resolve + Wyrd.  The witch is guaranteed to take a temporary mild derangement while the target may take a temporary severe derangement only if they fail the resisted roll.  While the witch can't specifically choose the derangement, it will be something beneficial to the situation.  A witch that needs to escape a person won't make themselves dependent and their enemy fixated, after all, even on a subconscious level.  Changeling Moonborn Kith: Winter Masques page 71.

Mystical Allure: There is a convenient side effect to a witch's innate mysticism and that is how it can imbue them with a level of attraction not normally present.  Witches can spend a point of glamour to gain a +1 bonus to social rolls with those who might be interested in them as a lover and they gain the Striking Looks 4 merit as their innate magic flushes their eyes and smooths out the imperfections in their flesh.  If the witch already has the Striking Looks 4 merit, she is treated as though having Striking Looks 6 though she also appears more obviously imbued with magic.  The Striking Looks 6 witch isn't so attractive as to literally stun onlookers but it does ensure that no one can be more striking than them in the room.  This lasts for a scene.  Changeling Illes Kith: Winter Masques page 107.

Innate Mysticism: Witches can spend a point of glamour to gain the ability to smell enchantments and hexes in the air though this can't be used to trace such an enchantment only to its source - only to reveal that there is such a thing within sensory range.  Since the scent lingers in area for an hour after a person passes it can be difficult to trace it back to the sufferer or caster.  Changeling Custom Kith. 

Class Restricted Mechanics

Restricted Class Merits: Charmed Life (**), Difficult to Ride (****), Dream Visions (***), Familiar (*** or ****), Holistic Awareness (***), Long of Days (**) - stacks with elf merit for greater longevity, Lucid Dreamer (*), Master Exorcist (**), Meditative Mind (*), Mystic Speech (*) - gain a +1 due to using words of power when casting spells, Quick Healer (****), Relic Analysist (*), Unobtrusive (***), Unseen Sense - Specify (***), Visionary Dreams (***).

Psychic Powers: Astral Projection (***), Aura Reading (** or *****), Biokinesis (* to *****), Clairvoyance (***), Dowsing (*), Dream Travel (* to *****), Mental Blast (*****), Mind Breaker (*****), Mind Control (*****), Mind Reading (*** to *****), Precognition (****), Postcognition (* or ****), Psychic Empathy (**** or *****), Psychometry (*** or ****), Psychic Vampirism (**** or *****), Pyrokinesis (*****), Pyrokinetic Immunity (** or ****), Pyrokinetic Shaping (*****), Telekinesis (* to *****), Thought Projection (*** or ****).

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Fianyarr: Magical Beasts

The Gnawer is the type of magical beast you don't befriend.
(The Witcher)
What is the point of running a fantasy game like Fianyarr without something interesting and bestial to throw against the players?  Magical beasts have their own Power Stat (Potency) but they spend essence rather than glamour and can regain a point of essence for each devoured creature.  If they consume a creature with a Wyrd score they can also consume the creature's glamour and convert it into essence.  If they have an Intelligence score above Negligible they are also capable of sentient thought.


The gnawer is a dangerous and violent beast with the body of an insect, sharp and pointed limbs, a horned chitinous maw and a scorpion tail lined with poisonous spines laced with a powerful paralytic.  It eats every part of its prey from clothing to bone to the sword they wore on their belt.  They live in nests of around five individuals and take care minding for the piles of eggs which they carry using tiny pincers on their underbelly. They are both male and female.

Intelligence 1, Wits 3, Resolve 3, Strength 6, Dexterity 5, Stamina 4, Presence 4, Manipulation 1, Composure 2.  Size 6.  Health 12.  Potency 3.  Essence 12.  Willpower 5.  Initiative: 7.  Defence: 5.  Speed: 20.  Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Stealth 2, Survival 2..

Claw +1L: 10 dice.

Tail +1L: 10 dice.

Paralytic Poison Tail: Toxicity equal to the Gnawer's Potency.  The victim must also make an additional Stamina roll versus the Gnawer's Potency or take a -1 penalty to all physical attributes.  They must make this roll each time they are injured and once the penalty is equal to any of the victim's attributes they immediately fall unconscious.


The Alkonost has a birdlike body and the head of an attractive woman whose song is so impressive that it can cause a person to become an amnesiac who wants for nothing but to hear the being sing.  She spends part of her life in the Underworld and only ventures out through cliff-face caves to lay her eggs on a beach and roll them to sea.  When those eggs hatch the area will be rent by a terrible thunderstorm and such an event rarely occurs more than once every fifty years.  While it spends much of its time in the Underworld it is actually a living being.

Intelligence Negligible, Wits 3, Resolve 3, Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2, Presence 4, Manipulation 1, Composure 2.  Size 2.  Health 4.  Potency 3.  Essence 12.  Willpower 4.  Initiative: 5.  Defence: 2.  Speed: 20.  Athletics 2, Expression 3, Stealth 2, Survival 3.

Amnesiac Song: The Alkonost can choose to use a particularly beautiful song to remove the memories of a particularly irritating listener - often if the listener has noticed where the eggs lay - and thus must make an opposed Presence + Expression roll versus the listener's Resolve + Wyrd.  All listeners within 60 yards must make this roll.  This song can be cured by true love's kiss, the tear of a siren or by convincing the Alkonost to sing this song backwards by revealing to it an incredibly beautiful artwork made in the land of the dead. 


This hyena-lion hybrid switches between a female and a male form and can simulate human speech, often learning a person's name, and then trying to lure them out of their homes so that they can tear them to pieces.  The animal also digs up corpses though it rarely does more than nibble at them.  If spotted, it can be identified by eyes that are simultaneously a thousand variations of color, and a Crocotta hiding as a normal dog can also be detected by passing another dog through its shadow.  If that real dog loses its voice then the identified creature is a Crocotta.  Crocottas rarely move in packs and prefer to roam either singly or in mated pairs.

Intelligence Negligible, Wits 4, Resolve 2, Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Presence 3, Manipulation 3, Composure 3.  Size 6.  Health 12.  Potency 1.  Essence 10.  Willpower 5.  Initiative: 7.  Defence: 5.  Speed: 20.  Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Stealth 3 (shadows), Survival 2.

Bite +1L: 8 dice.

Ventriloquism: With the expenditure of a point of essence, the Crocotta can call out a name it has heard before and make it sound like any voice it has heard and make the source appear to come from anywhere within 30 yards of its present location.

Steal Voice: The Crocotta reflexively spends a point of essence to steal the voice of any dog which passes through its shadow.  It need only do this once.  From this point onward it can sound like that dog with no roll made.  The dog can never bark again.  This does not work on dogs that are magical beasts themselves or otherwise animal companions due to their connection to the Wyrd - either through themselves or through their masters.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fianyarr Race: Yuki

(Sennen Makyo)
Campaign World: Fianyarr.
Nicknames: Icewife, snowheart, chilltouched.

Appearance: The Yuki-Onna have snow white skin, long straight black hair and slanted yellow eyes lined in a deeper orange.  Their hair seems to move slightly in an unfelt breeze.  Their bodies are willowy and graceful and even the men appear quite feminine with long and lean bodies and perpetually youthful faces.  The Yuki-Onna have no visible hair on the
ir limbs, chests, cheeks or chin.  They seem to move so gracefully that their feet don't seem to touch the ground.

Demeanor: The Yuki-Onna often seem somewhat ethereal even as he goes about the mundane world.  It isn't that they are anymore alien in thought or feeling.  Its simply the way their body language tends to move between sudden movements and slow languid graceful ones that give people that impression.  In personality they differ as do members of any other race.

Rumors: Other races regard the Yuki-Onna as ghostly individuals and some mistakenly think they have a close connection with the dead and the dearly departed.  As the Yuki-Onna in warmer lands tend to move about regularly, or settle as individuals far from other members of their race, most people's impression of the Yuki-Onna follow the assumption that the person they have met is a good representative of their race.  As with all peoples, this is rarely the case.

In other lands, colder lands, the Yuki-Onna form their settlements where others are welcome but politely kept from positions of great power.  It isn't that the Yuki-Onna necessarily look down on other races, simply that they prefer to do things the way they have always done them and subconsciously favor leaders from among their own race.  Perhaps this is because the Yuki-Onna so instinctively deplore liars and oathbreakers that they are more prone to trust others with the same perspective.

Racial Abilities

Attribute Bonus: +1 to either Intelligence or Dexterity.

Weakness: The Yuki-Onna take vows and promises all the more seriously and must make a Resolve + Composure to not immediately start plotting revenge against an oathbreaker.  Strangely enough they aren't as instinctively driven to punish those who have broken a pledge bound in the Wyrd.  When asked on the matter, they normally state that the Wyrd punishes its own and there is no need to twice punish a person.

Easy Generosity
The Yuki-Onna need to take what food they can and ensure it spreads as far as it can considering the difficulty in procuring food in the long, cold winters.  If a Yuki-Onna spends a point of Glamour they can touch raw meat (minimum one pound) and then use small pieces of it to feed a number of people equal to Wyrd score for up to 24 hours.  Such people feel satiated and have their nutritional needs met for the day (Changeling Pamarindo Kith: Winter Masques 110).

Whisperwisp: The Yuki-Onna need to know how to work together and they normally do this by getting to know each other quite well.  The Yuki-Onna can spend a point of Glamour to whisper a message to anyone who would be within earshot of a shout and to receive any whispered messages for a single minute.  Changeling Whisperwisp Kith: core rulebook page 118.

Warmth In The Cold: A Yuki-Onna may spend a point of Glamour to protect themselves or a target they have touched from all environmental effects from the cold for a scene.  To provide this to another they must show some sign of affection - a kiss or a hug.  Even without this expenditure they gain a +3 bonus to checks made to resist the cold.  Custom Changeling kith.

Easy Step: The Yuki-Onna may spend a point of Glamour to ignore all circumstance penalties from uneven floor, scree, slick floors or snow while walking for a scene.  During this scene they also leave no footsteps behind as their feet seem to hover a quarter inch above the ground as they walk.  Custom Changeling kith.

Racially Restricted Merit
(****) Spatial Awareness: The Yuki-Onna has perfect memory for where she has been and may always retrace her steps, no matter where she is, or how far she has traveled.  Her instincts are such that even if blindfolded and taken across the country she can find her way back (though in that case she can't find the exact route she took and will take another).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Invoking Wonder In Roleplaying Games

Setting descriptions are pivotal to invoke wonder.
(Skyrim: A videogame that does it well)
Mysticism.  Wonder.  Awe.  These are the things that you feel when you take a step back and feel the weight of history upon your shoulders or marvel at a wondrous element of nature.  You must open up your heart and your mind to truly feel these sensations especially as you have doubtless taken in greater and more awe-inspiring settings on the movie screen and in videogames which rely on the visual medium.  How does one bring such elements to the roleplaying table?

Why is this?

Well, there's a certain element of vulnerability that comes part and parcel with opening up your mind's eye and that's generally something we strive to avoid (especially in laid back Australia).  Due to this much of the true wonders described by the Storyteller are simply filed under "Interesting".  This is made worse by the fact that most wonders described in a roleplaying game aren't new experiences and wonder tends to be a bit diminished by repetition.  Children may love the idea of unicorns but adults rarely do simply because they've dealt with it so much.

So how can you change this for a game like Fianyarr?

You need players willing to immerse themselves in the game world and/or their character's skins.  You can lead a player to water but you can't make them drink.  If they just want to sit back and munch doritoes while joking with the others or have their eyes peeled for the next clue in the investigation or are tactically considering the scenery for the best ambush points then they're not really going to feel any wonder about that colossal statue.

You also need some damn fine description.  And no, not description that you read off from a piece of paper.  If you can't ad lib it then you'll need to memorise the description.  This'll also be handy because it'll encourage you to keep it short.  If you can't nail it in 50 words then you won't nail it at all.  50 words up front followed by a liberal sprinkling of reminders and other details can go a long way while a full page description up front or, worse, simply producing a picture won't do.

Why won't producing a picture do?  Well when was the last time your heart soared at the sight of a photograph?  Pictures are external things that are quite distinct from us more often than not.  They can assist you in your descriptions or help players understand what things look like but they very rarely get a heartfelt response.  A painting can help as if it's quite evocative but make sure it's large enough that you don't need all the players leaning forward in their seats to see it.

You could get everyone to close their eyes and let your descriptions fill their mind.  Let them paint their own picture as you describe it.  It sure helps sometimes when I close my eyes to imagine a place I'm about to describe (though I usually do this before game begins).  You'll need a certain type of player to pull this one off.  Trying this with players prone to joking around, giggliness, or are defensive (in other words, most players) will just ruin the ambiance more so than if you said a single line of description while yawning.

The other thing is to set the mood in-game.  A bunch of weary characters just looking for a spot to sit down aren't going to marvel at the sparkling chasm - they're going to groan.  If you want the players to feel something then you'll need to reach them via their characters.  Spin tales of the chasm before they get there (briefly, don't make the players too suspicious).  Place a few NPCs to get them in the mood beforehand so they're looking at the journey as an exciting exploration rather than a humdrum task to get to more monsters or a terrifying flight across the countryside.

Remember your tone of voice as well.  Speak about it with wonder in your voice.  Slow down your voice and let each word fall upon their ears.  If you sound bored or matter-of-fact then the players will take their cue from you.

Sensory maps can also help here.  Exotic incense, candlelight / gaslight / torchlight, and a velvet tablecloth can all remind players that the game is more than just another slashfest.  It's a story.  You're the storyteller.  And what you're going to tell them is amazing.

Oh and giving your players the heads up at the start of the campaign that you want to aim for a rich and evocative setting can't hurt either.  There are some players who'd love to open their minds if forewarned but will otherwise enter the campaign with different expectations and lazy antics if they don't know that this time will be different.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Fianyarr Class: Rogue

Campaign World: Fianyarr.

Purpose: Whenever there's anything worth protecting there's always been someone who makes it their life's work to steal it.  Not all rogues are terrible thieves out to make a few coins, but plenty are.  Others make their coin by testing a noble's security and traps, investigating criminals by breaking into their well-secured buildings, or even making a point to go into the darker places of the world to steal horrible relics or wondrous secrets to help keep everyone safe and alive.

Every race has their rogues as does every social class.  There are famous heirs of noble families who steal to cope with their dwindling wealth or for their own excitement and interest.  There are the paupers on the streets who have slowly come up in the world using their own skills and abilities.  There are also those trained by certain societies to delve into ancient ruins to discover its secrets (or to protect others who are more academically aware).

Blessings of the Thief

Tunnelslider: A rogue knows just how to infuse their limbs with Glamour to help get them through tight places.  In fact, they can spend 1 Glamour to either wriggle free of restraints or squeeze through a tight spot. Changeling Tunnelgrub kith: core rulebook page 106.

Shadowfriend: The rogue can spend a point of Glamour to gain a +2 bonus to their Defense while they lurk in the shadows.  Changeling Palewraith kith: Winter Masques page 72.

Romancer: Rogues can put out a slight mystical distortion with a single point of Glamour that causes everyone who sees her during a particular scene to remember her differently.  People take a -3 penalty to describe the rogue or her clothing.  This effect also extends to attempts to visually read a location.  The effect is permanent but only covers the time spent under the effects of this ability.  Changeling Romancer kith: Night Horrors: Grim Fears page 46.

Improvised Thievery: The rogue gain a +1 bonus to all Larceny rolls and can spend a point of glamour to ignore penalties for poor equipment when using Larceny or Stealth.  Changeling Lurkers kith: Victorian Lost page 22.

Class Restricted Mechanics

Restricted Class Merits: Cacophany Listener (*** or ****), +Conlang Stealth (****), Danger Sense (**), +Disable Lock (*), Fence (* to ***), Hidden Life (* to ***), Le Parkeur (* to *****), Market Sense (*), Unobtrusive (***), Perfect Stillness (*),  Relic Analyst (*), Social Chameleon (* to ***), Spelunking (* to *****), +Trap Reflexes (***), +Trap Senses (**).
Fighting Style: Armored Fighting (** or ****), Aikido (* to *****), Dirty Fighting (* to *****), Fencing (* to *****), Improvised Weaponry (* to ***), Krav Maga (* to *****), Qinna (* to *****), Shurikenjutsu (* to ****), Swarm Tactics (* to **), Spetsnaz Knife Fighting (* to ****).

Psychic Power: +Counterspell Trap (****), Psychic Illusions - ignore prerequisites (*****), Psychic Invisibility - ignore prerequisites (*****).

Conlang Stealth (****): Once per session a rogue can use gestures to provide a +2 bonus to their team's stealth checks so long as their team members can see them.

Disable Lock (*): Reflexively break a lock so long as you have a piece of appropriate equipment and can make a Dexterity + Larceny check.  If the door is open as you do this, the lock will be broken as you slam it closed.  If the door is unlocked, it can't be re-locked.  If the door is locked, it can't be unlocked.

Trap Reflexes (***): A rogue's reflexes are always on high alert which means that once per adventure a rogue can re-roll their own failed save when a trap is set off.  If they don't have a roll to get out of the way, the trap's damage is re-rolled.  They must take the result of the second roll.

Trap Senses (**): A rogue always looks twice for traps which means that once per adventure a rogue can re-roll their own failed save to notice a trap.  They must take the result of the second roll.

Counterspell Trap (****): Though rogues have no personal affinity with casting magic, some do have a certain psychic ability to actually counterspell a magical trap.  The rogue must roll a Presence + Occult roll and match successes against the traps' power.  If the rogue wins, the trap stops.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fianyarr Golems

Not every golem can blend in.
(The Witcher)
There have always been people who would try to create artificial life in order to have a more active hand in how their progeny are formed and to gain mastery over the characteristics that their progeny will have.  It is no different in Fianyarr than in our world although in Fianyarr such attempts can become quite successful.  Of course, the creators don't always know the ramifications of their actions. 

Player Created Golems

While such creations are generally outside of the range of your average player character, one could always create a variant of the Circle of the Crone Homunculus and Gargoyle rituals.  Naturally such rituals would be difficult to accomplish but there are rules for how they work and how they can be designed so they are a good option for those whose players really wish to dabble.


The Storyteller could always include Prometheans, if they so choose, those the wasteland-like effects that follow them around need a little consideration.  Is it that they are sustained by the life energy of the world around them and so decay where they walk?  Do the Gods themselves or the Masters of the Paths shun and curse them?  Were they simply built wrong?  And most importantly of all, is their fate the only fate available for truly sentient golems or are they simply an anomaly?  Remember, too, if the goal is to run a group of Promethean PCs through Fianyarr that the definition of humanity is a little bit different when humans are only one of ten different races.  Which race do they attempt to become?  How does that affect their choices?  And does it even matter in the scheme of things?

Alchemical Child

The Alchemical Child is a replica of one of the mortal races that is created through alchemical processes and, despite looking like one of the races, lacks some essential quality which defines a certain personhood. This most likely involves an eccentric and stilted personality, lack of conscience and inability to feel anything beyond the scraps of emotion. Most often an Alchemical Child becomes more 'real' if people of the appropriate races are rendered down as part of the process. Their attributes, skills and merits are similar to most people but they lack any of the racial or class benefits and blessings. They can sometimes be formed in inhuman shapes or with specified mutations such as additional arms, eyes or even claws, though such additions are more often atrophied and useless. Some very rare Alchemical Children have access to psychic merits and magical rituals but most do not. On the plus side, they suffer no wound penalties and are immune to poison and disease.

Stone Construct

The Stone Construct is hand-carved from stone by powerful willworkers and repeatedly annointed with special compounds in order to bring it to life. The final step is to insert a small enchantment scroll into its mouth. It most likely appears as a gargoyle or a statue in order to blend with the surrounding materials as they spend their free time standing utterly still. Instead of Stamina they have Durability and their Durability can range anywhere from 1 to 6. Their Size can range incredibly high though most are made between Size 3 and Size 8. They have limited intelligence that is more based around finding their way around obstacles or accomplishing very simple tasks set by their master. They have no mental or social skills and their physical skills can never venture above 2. Merits are subject to the Storyteller's discretion but it's recommended that they have few, if any. What makes them scary is their implacable nature and the difficulty one has in damaging them, not their stylish fighting techniques.

Flesh Golem

The Flesh Golem is a nightmarish figure of twisted meat and bone, inspiring tales of Frankenstein's monster stitched together from other people to chimeras built from creatures. These entities are always entirely insane and generally quite difficult to control without a magical leash or other special collar. They are most often released to roam labyrinths around important artefacts or to protect the grounds when those who live within such fortifications have other methods of entry and exit - such as flying. Their attributes, skills and merits can vary wildly and some even manage to retain a few of the magical abilities, race and class blessings of some of the component creatures cobbled together. Even a relatively benign Flesh Golem will have at least one major derangement, most have at least a few minor ones as well.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fianyarr Race: Tiefling

Think this, but with black wings for the Tiefling.
Campaign World:Fianyarr.

 Nicknames: Wrongborn, Tainted, Monster.

Origins: The various races that descended from the First have always been enamoured by the strange and the exotic.  Some of them have fallen for the more predatory entities or been raped by them and the unfortunate progeny are known as the Tieflings which are marred by signs of their demonic parents and a predatory instinct that leads them to violence.

Demeanor: Tieflings have difficulties controlling themselves and considering their issues often fall toward impulse control and anger issues, this can turn out quite poorly for others their own age.  This can be quite distressing for the Tiefling as well as they are by no means immune to the kinder emotions of compassion, love, and a healthy conscience.  It's just that they find it really hard to bite back the bitterness and anger that is often stoked by other peoples' expectations and treatment of them.

Rumors: Other races often consider tieflings amongst them to be either a shameful revelation of lust and weakness or the result of a terrible act of rape.  Such societies often see Tieflings as being only worthy of a position as a soldier in the army (due to their violence proclivities) or enslaved and under the protection and control of their master (due to their beauty and exotic tendencies).  Many Tieflings are raised with this in mind and some even take solace in hierarchies which help buffer them against their wrath.

In other lands, tieflings are the products of willing unions between demons and the races of the First which are representative of ongoing treaties and placations.  Such individuals are often raised to be valued and integrated members of a society that knows how to treat them and understand that they must avoid pushing the tiefling's button.  In the worst case scenarios, tieflings are actually encouraged to become all the more violent and impulsive - and woe to any society who attacks them.

Racial Abilities

Attribute Bonus: +1 to either Strength or Presence.

Weakness: When the player is choosing a tiefling's vice they should determine what aspect of that vice is most important to the tiefling.  As an example, Gluttony might have subsets of food, drink, drugs, burning things, or adrenaline bursts.  When a tiefling is confronted with their particular subset of vice they must either indulge in it or spend a Willpower point.  If they are out of Willpower, they lose nothing but may still refuse to indulge their vice (though the temptation is doubtless greater).

While only some tieflings always have wings, all tieflings can unfurl wings that provide a +2 bonus to balance checks.  If the tiefling spends a glamour, those wings stiffen and allow them to fall 100 yards without taking damage.  After that point, they take damage as normal but ignore the first 100 yards.  They can carry another person or equivalent equipment and still slow their descent (Changeling Lurkglider Kith: Winter Masques page 71).

Ripper's Gift
A teifling can spend a Glamour to unsheathe their claws for a scene to such a degree that they are more like knives than claws.  Not only are the claws 1L but they must be used with the weaponry skill. Tieflings are also trained in the use of these claws and thus gain the Melee Specialty: Knives (Changeling Razorhand Kith: Winter Masques page 73).

Vice to Vice
Tieflings understand the pull toward vice in all of its glory and wonder and are therefore quite good at getting along with people who share their vice.  Therefore, if the target and the tiefling both share the same vice, the tiefling gains a +1 bonus to Empathy, Persuasion, Socialize and Subterfuge with the target.  The tiefling also gets Striking Looks 2 for free.  If they already have Striking Looks 2, the character gains Striking Looks 4 instead. (Changeling Succubus Kith: Winter Masques page 109).

Enthralling Mist
There's just something about a Tiefling that can really bring out the sexual interest in a person even when the tiefling isn't the target of such interest (i.e. if the target isn't normally interested in their gender).  The tiefling can spend a point of glamour to change a target's vice to "Lust" for 24 hours (vice behaves as normal) which also allows the tiefling to add half their Wyrd (rounded down) to all socialise rolls against the target. (Changeling Apsara Kith: Winter Masques page 108).

Racially Restricted Merit
(**, ***, or ****) Pledgesmith: While all races have the ability to benefit from, and use, pledges to provide greater weight between their oaths and vows, tieflings have the uncanny ability to get the most from such deals and bargains.  Tieflings who have pledgesmith do not have to spend a willpower to pass on a temptation that would risk a pledge in action and they also gain a +1 bonus to interpreting, negotiating, or convincing a person to take a pledge.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Flashpoint: Clearing the Dungeon

Proteus awoke feeling absolutely dreadful for his sociopathic enjoyment of certain events the night beforehand and he found that the pool he had slept in now contained flower petals. While the others drank some of Archer’s tea and discussed recent events (including assisting the actress in coming to terms with the dungeon she had been drawn inside), Proteus apologised to Lhye for smacking him when he interrupted the lusty encounter with the succubus. Proteus then noticed the smell of a rare flower, both pretty yet masculine, which led him out into the dungeon. The scent seemed to be coming from the ceiling but there was no reason for it.

Lhye followed Proteus out but he thought the scent was coming from Proteus himself. He could also feel a static charge moving like a curtain back and forth across his skin. He tried to concentrate to determine what the source might be and instead felt a sound like a dead god’s final scream. Yet the dead god’s voice sounded feminine ... who could that be? He also noticed when he glanced into the floating cat’s eyes that there was a spark that passed between them. This agathion is actually his new familiar! And it comes complete with a host of nice new spells.

Lhye spoke to the others through the still open doorway into the magic house and discussed what he had noticed. He figured it might have to do with the goddess of revolution had been worshipped by the vampiress they had been meant to deliver to the Aspis Consortium as well as a stylized image noted on the chestplate of Lavender Lil’s wife. That goddess was meant to sort of rise and be discarded according to need, could it be here?

Proteus countered with the idea that it might be the ancient and long-dead mother goddess of Dou-bral and Shelyn and he explained the mythos of Doubral, his father, sister and mother. He also had a sudden burst of inspiration surrounding metaphysics that could be used to create a conduit to whichever god is watching them. While Proteus couldn’t design the ritual, Lunjun surely could.

Lunjun required a little assistance from Lhye’s planar knowledge but seemed to mostly have it right on his own. Lunjun quickly figured out they needed the water from that shrine fountain Proteus stole, fur from a good entity, shards of a mirror to the Shadow Plane, and the temporary (month-long) sacrifice of internal essence (two points of a stat – player’s choice) from four people, an evil creature of unnature (succubus), good creature of nature (nymph) and an innocent virgin (actress).

Everyone was flabbergasted that the actress could be a virgin.

Lhye was grateful he had convinced the succubus she was a vengeance demon. Her madness might help him convince her to join in with the ritual and assist.

Archer wasn’t too sure about doing the ritual at all.

The ritual would use the power of this transdimensional pocket in such a way that it’s power source would be banished to its home plane and the pocket would dissipate in the usual way and land everyone in safety. It was the only way to disarm it nicely without destroying everybody. Of course, the Ghawwas had to be defeated first or else it would land among the citizens and cause a lot of pain.

They set forth to take out the Ghawwas, and mostly accomplished it through a number of enervation and strength draining rays courtesy of Lhye and Lunjun, followed by an epic critical hit by Archer, some strength draining poison from one of Proteus’ summons, and a whole lot of the succubus making it waste its rounds doing stupid things due to Suggestion.

It was at that point that I realised how cheesy at will Suggestion spells can be. I’m sure one of them would have died (Lunjun almost did but had some hefty heals put on him) if it weren’t for those Suggestion spells.

Afterwards, the succubus tried to seduce Archer (who brushed her off) before succeeding with Lhye (who felt dirty afterwards – an impressive feat for a whore from a Calistrian temple). The nymph cleansed the water while all of that was going on and Proteus (who wasn’t feeling very sexual anymore) slipped in and found a bunch of rubies hidden in the pool.

Afterward they all gathered together and followed the succubus as she showed them through the rest of the demi-plane to the final room which contained two chests. One had some scrolls, wizard’s spellbook (mostly with nasty or evil spells – all from Ultimate Magic), and other such things. The other had the Chelish Crux which everyone had a go at opening before Proteus succeeded on his second try through a series of fluke rolls.

The Chelish Crux contained an erinyes head (shrieking), two wands, four candles, and a booklet of information on the Delvehaven Pathfinder Society.

Now they had what they needed all they had to do was find the right place to cast the major ritual. The question was to do it here or at the place with the chain sphere. But that’s a question for the next session to resolve.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Adding a touch of mysticism

Sisters of the Night are well-entrenched in New Narakort.
(The Witcher plot reference)
Roleplaying games by their very nature are quite categorical.  They need to be.  They are a collection of coherent rules systems bristling within a pair of book covers.  These categories and mechanics are great shorthand for Storytellers but they also mean that the world works quite mechanically and that most encounters with a particular entity are like any other encounter.

All demons are allergic to cold iron.  Trolls have this many hit points at the base.  Vampires only take bashing from brawl attacks. Loci regenerate essence at this rate and can be destroyed in this manner.  Ghosts can't be touched unless you have certain powers.  Such things aren't bad to begin with. They actually add richness and depth by contrasting them from the player characters but after awhile they become mundane especially since such information is most often an Occult roll or Know Religion roll away. Fianyarr can be a whole lot more interesting with a bit more thought.

So what to do about it?

First of all, remove the lock + key mentality and add a greater variety of banes that may affect the creature for good or ill. Individualising them is a good idea as well. Also be sure to throw out a few rumors and myths out there if the players rely on a single die roll or do some research. Prewarn them, though, that this is how things are going to be and ensure that you tell it to them in brief stories rather than simply handing out a one line summary. When you hand out the information never say: "Werewolves take aggravated damage from silver." Where is the sense of mysticism in that?

Ideally create a prop or hand out with a short myth or story containing the information they want. This could be a short story or a poem or a faux page from a bestiary but it shouldn't be longer than 250 words - less than that if you are including multiple versions or myths. 50 - 100 words is best. Pass it to the players who succeed so that the player character must use their own words to describe it. Perhaps create two such stories that are similar but different and award one to those who fail, one to those who succeed, and perhaps even one to those who succeed exceptionally well. The failed one should be mostly lies but include at least one truth, no matter how obscure, as myths should always contain a grain of truth. The successful one should include at least one lie as myths are never absolute. If you do one for an exceptional success then it should be entirely accurate. If you do this, your players may well experience a greater sense of curiosity toward the creatures as there is still something new to learn.

Never give away all of the information on an entity. That's why you only need 250 words. Familiarity breeds boredom and boredom is the grand sin of roleplaying games so don't give everything away at once. Seed details through the creatures' lair, eating habits, and how it reacts to the PCs. Don't only mention banes and methods of killing the creature in the mythic pages either. Include a range of information that may be beneficial or at least interesting.

The other benefit of handouts rather than reading it out is that not only does it mean you can avoid making it up on the spot but also the players are forced to interpret it on their own and to describe it in their own words - which always leads to mistakes that don't happen when all the player has to do is gesture to the Storyteller and say: "I say what she said."

Finally, most people love handouts (so long as they're short).

Also remember that the players, in particular, should always be guessing. If they've had access to the bestiaries than change it up on them. Make a werewolf using changeling contracts, make it curable, or make a werewolf that can turn into a form like Garou without being consumed by anger. Make a vampire that can taste food just fine, thank you, and which loves a spot of tea. Perhaps it's more of a revenant but happens to need blood to survive and therefore is a little too devoted to its goals but otherwise isn't a bad chap. Make a vampire that reeks of the charnel pit and is entirely wild and monstrous ... yet who still must bend down and count any seeds thrown down before it. Change the health levels, the attributes and the skills. Change the powers. Make it fresh and exciting. Player minds are quick to categorise even if they try hard not to so it can be a great idea to mix it up a little.

Does this mean that every vampire or werewolf must be different? No, not at all, but the first time a character encounters the creature should feel memorable and important to them and that feeling is hampered if the player knows the creature's stats or is trying to pick which clan a vampire is. Realising that he has no point of reference can make the player a bit more open to being surprised and amazed and that's vital to a fantasy game.

Mysticism is about immersion, after all, and thinking about stats breaks that immersion.

The other trick beyond stats, of course, is a sense of realism. So if you do include a Daeva Ordo Dracul in Fianyarr (which you could), then have a think about what that person would be like, how their curse has affected them, and what it means to be them in the society around them. Most monsters are kind of plonked down in a vacuum with, at best, a bit of a consideration about what they eat. You can often make the whole thing more interesting by questioning your decisions with: "What will that mean?" and "Is that the only option?"

There is a female Daeva Ordo Dracul who is all alone in the larger town because the rest were killed by local hunters. "What will that mean?" She keeps herself hidden and hardly ever ventures out except through her ghouls. "Is that the only option?" Well, I suppose she could be integrated in the town. Perhaps the hunters know what she is but are okay with that so long as she obeys the rules. "What will that mean?" Everyone might know about her in order to keep a closer eye on her. Her feedings might be regulated as well. Everything quite disciplined. She'd also have to have done something pretty spectacular to prove herself to the hunters so they don't want to kill her. "What will that mean?" Maybe she's the daughter of someone important or maybe she actually went out of her way to save the town, perhaps even revealing the bad guys to the hunters, and now she just wants to sit back and do her research. "What will that mean?" People seeking occult knowledge and vampire hunters might well approach her for further information. Some may even try to kill her. She's probably quite proud of her position in the town, used to discipline, fairly upfront about things but naturally works with her vice quite a bit if you can get through the rather brisk exterior.

The players may arrive expecting a decadent or monstrous vampire and end up getting chewed out for trekking mud on the doormat and do they know they're breaking protocol with the Hunters of the Avenging Light by coming in here? If they want to read her books, it's a tithe of blood for her and coin for the Avenging Light and they'd better put the books back and treat them with care as they're aging. Oh, and no funny business. Hmm, you seem like fun ... you could stay back for further lessons. A rousing game of chess, some insightful philosophical debate and some ... well ... best not to kiss and tell.

I think one of the reasons why Terry Pratchett is so fantastic isn't just the comedic appeal but the fact that he not only turns tropes oon their head to surprise the readers but he also takes things to their logical conclusion. He actually thinks about what it would be like to have certain powers or be treated a certain way and how that might affect a person. Often we as Storytellers get so taken up by plots that we forget to truly characterise or think outside the box.

There's enough trite repetition in Fantasy Land. Best to break out and make something fresh and original. Wouldn't you say?

Unless the trite repetition and tropey goodness was the point, of course.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Immunity to Death in Solo or Duo Games

This article was inspired by my plans to run Masks of Nyarlathotep with only a single player.  Those who know anything about the highly lethal and wonderfully awesome (primarily pulpy) Masks of Nyarlathotep campaign will likely be divided into two camps by the title of this article.  One would be scandalised by the very idea of it!  Naturally anyone can play the game however they please (Cthulhu players are some of the most tolerant players I've ever seen) but it really doesn't seem like it'd be something they would do.  The other group  might look longingly at the title - thinking lovingly of now-dead PCs, though they, too, might think it could lose something to have a form of immortality.

The most pragmatic might think: "Well, if it's a solo game, I suppose you might have to.  But then, why would you play it as a solo game?"

Well it is hard to get a group of people to play a highly lethal investigative game (at least around these parts) and because I'm crazy.  Also because I wanted to play this out a little more as a psychological game and that's easier to do in small numbers.

But firstly I wanted to address a common misconception: Lethality doesn't equate to fear and lack of lethality doesn't equate to a lack of fear.

Sure, it equates to horror.  Having to watch numerous characters be crushed like bugs certainly adds to feelings of helplessness and "Glad It's Not Me" vibes that surely fits into a horror genre.  Especially if the deaths are well-described and imaginative.

But it doesn't necessarily lend itself well to fear. You see, when a character dies they're ... well ... they're dead.  That's it.  Depending on their method of death one could almost call them one of the lucky ones.  From a pacing perspective, all of the attachment held to the character is destroyed and the build up of tension disperses.

Consider, for a moment, a movie with a really intriguing protagonist.  The tension increases, increases, increases ... then the protagonist dies.  A new protagonist steps in.  The audience goes, "hmm", but they watch and they start becoming invested in their plight and start rooting for them and then ... the new protagonist dies.  Perhaps this time by falling off a high wall.  The audience starts to raise an eyebrow and shuffle about in their seats.  It looks like this is a slasher movie rather than a psychological one and the audience begins to anticipate their demise and wonder how it might happen.

Don't get me wrong. This isn't always what happens but it can happen and it does happen occasionally. Especially when you reach levels of very high lethality.
But what about games with low lethality like Pathfinder or D&D?  They're not conducive to horror.

Well, no, they're not.  I mean, you can do horror games in them just fine for the first few levels but after awhile it becomes difficult not because of the characters' resistance to death but more because they're flinging fireballs and hacking giant trees in two.  The characters lack vulnerability, their options are far less limited, they are geared for running headfirst at their enemies and there's a player expectation for a combat every session that doesn't always leave a lot of space for complex character growth and the slow release of terrible revelations.  As always, it can be done but the system just isn't designed for it.

The horror genre that induces fear is all about one thing.  It's about identification with the protagonist followed by a fear of what might happen to the protagonist.  When the protagonist (in this case, the PC) dies then that identification ends and there's nothing left to work with anymore until the player becomes suitably invested in a new character which both takes time and isn't guaranteed to be as strong.

So what about making the PC immortal?  What is there left to fear in that?

Well, immortality isn't invincibility.  That is a key difference that can allow a whole range of cruel outcomes. 

Describe the pain of injury. If your system allows it, inflict movement penalties as nothing makes a player understand that their character hurts like knowing when their beloved PC is forced to crawl for the exit with a shattered femur.

Provide some sort of incentive to avoid things could kill them.  Perhaps, in the case of immortality, it takes them 1d20 hours to come back to life - a lot can happen in 20 hoursup.  Perhaps their return to life means that someone they know has their life snuffed out.  Perhaps there's no in-game immortality but someone else will always end up taking the bullet like, say, that NPC they've grown to love. It depends on the players.

You can also really ratchet up the terror with situations where death is better.  A cultist who might hack off their limbs and leave them drugged in a basement or stuck in a cage qualifies.  As does being buried alive.  As does insanity.  In fact there are plenty of ways to improve buy-in, boost the fear, and even make the character regret their immortality.  After all, the PC can be tugged between situations where failure brings an awful situation without release or where failure will lead to something terrible happening to those they love.

In many ways, it's easier to identify with the threat of loss and grief rather than the threat of dying oneself.

Finally be aware that Immunity to Death loses its meaning in large-scale games of three or more players and can throw off your horror for a number of reasons.  The players know you can't devote large reams of time to dragging them through threatening realms and while they might wish it otherwise it does have an impact on their character's perceptions of their own jeopardy because of the perfunctory nature of earlier deaths. 

Also bear in mind that immortality, either through out of character or in character mechanisms, won't work for every group. Just like some people will be immunised to fear if there's a good chance they'll lose a character once a year, there are other people who won't give a damn unless the scythe is poised above their skull. Different strokes for different folks and all that.

What do you guys think?  Can Immunity to Death work - especially in a horror game?  What are the problems or benefits of it in regards to your own group of players?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cthulhu Monster Balance

Anyone interested in a really insightful consideration of how to balance, and choose, different Cthulhu monsters for different tasks? Or how to determine whether some Cthulhoid critter might well be too problematic to use in a story? The wonderful author of Libraries and Leviathans has done a fantastic article on just that. I couldn't recommend this article highly enough. Thought-provoking stuff and well worth reading twice! This is quite a handy little article because Cthulhu monsters are all quite powerful beasties and sometimes you don't want to just have a TPK. You want to have a story as well. Now I just need to find an article about this with the very difficult to balance World of Darkness system and I'm all set. Happy reading!

Fianyarr Class: Ranger

(Dragon Age)
Campaign World:Fianyarr.

Purpose: The wilderness is every bit as dangerous as the cities but it is dangerous for a different reason.  The predators that roam the forests and plains are rarely descended from the First and when something goes wrong there may be no one else around to save you.  Poisonous creatures, dangerous weather, natural hazards and predatory beasts all lurk out there and it requires a certain amount of training and experience to truly be at home in the wilderness.

Rangers are paid to be guides through the wilderness, trackers of thieves or wardens of the roads.  While farmers and other rural individuals may know the areas surrounding their properties, a ranger makes it their purpose to know the area for many miles around.  They also pay keen attention to travelers so that they can learn something of the wilderness beyond even their own experiences so that they will be ready if someday they may need to go there.

Blessings of the Wild

Keen Sense of Smell: While most of the races of the First have the best eyesight rangers are well aware of the importance of a good sense of smell.  Rangers gain a +2 bonus to scent and may also spend a point of glamour to have a sense of smell equivalent to that of a dog.  Changeling Cleareyes Kith: Winter Masques page 67.

Goblins Tongue: A ranger can spend Glamour to add a +3 bonus on all social rolls with magical beasts.  Changeling Chimera Kith: Winter Masques page 106.

Scavengers Nature: Rangers must learn to subsist on what they have as the wilderness isn't always friendly enough to offer good food.  A ranger gains a +2 bonus to resist poison and disease (even magical poisons and disease) which becomes a +3 bonus if they have ingested the poison or source of disease.   Changeling Roteater Kith: Winter Masques page 67.

Cautious Hunter: Rangers gain a +2 bonus Survival rolls to track or trap prey and can spend a point of Glamour to re-roll a Survival check.  They must take the result of the second roll.  Changeling Farwalker Kith: core rulebook page 118.

Class Restricted Mechanics

Restricted Class Merits: Ambidextrous (***), Animal Companion (* to *****), Direction Sense (*), +Eye for Tracks (***), Fae Mount (* to ***), Feral Mien (***), Friend of Beasts (* to **), Hedgebeast Companion (* to ***), Gunslinger - can be used with a light crossbow (****), Make Do (* to ***), Outdoorsman (**), Savage Kenning - Specify (***), Stunt Rider (***), +Trackless Step (***), Trained Observer (* to ***).

Psychic Powers: Animal Empathy (** or ****), Animal Rapport (*** or ****), Biokinesis (* to *****), Cryokinesis (* to *****), Dowsing (*), Pyrokinesis (* to *****), Pyrokinetic Immunity (** or ****), Thermokinesis (* to *****).

Fighting Style: Armored Fighting (** or ****), Archery (* to ****), Sojutsu (* to ****), Two-Weapon Fighting (* to *****).

Eye For Tracks (***): Rangers have a nifty ability to notice tracks and can re-rolled a failed Perception check to spot tracks nearby.  Not only this, but they may make an Intelligence + Survival roll to guess at the shape, habits, and behaviors of a species from its print even if they haven't seen one before.  They get one hint for every success and one false hint for every 1 that comes up on the dice.  These false hints won't be life threatening errors but may be of interest.

Trackless Step (***): Some rangers have a knack for making his tracks impossible for anyone who isn't an expert to find.  Attempts to locate the rangers' tracks are impossible unless the tracker uses supernatural means, scent or Eye for Tracks, in which case opposed rolls are made between the two characters' Wits + Survival.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Fianyarr: The Fae

Beware the Fae Ferryman who may take you across the river
... to Arcadia.
(The Witcher)
The Fae in Fianyarr may be considered Angelics or Demonics though more often they are too unearthly and ... aloof for such labels.  They are too busy delving into their stories and playing with proscribed fates in defined stories rather than actually bonding with the mortal races for good or ill.  The Fae also deny the existence of the First People and consider themselves to be more akin to a race of gods who, despite their immortality, must obey certain rhythms and tales year after year.

When designing the fae in this model you should consider the pagan gods like those of Greece and Egypt where powerful entities repeat similar actions according to their portfolios and gather mortal worshippers which they guard jealously.  While most of the races are well aware that these are not gods, merely powerful entities that may, at best, be temporarily banished from their Arcadian Realms of Divinity through slaying their Avatars in this world, there are some who do worship at their altars and considering them to be gods and goddesses of their realms.

While there are rumor of demi-gods borne on mortals, more often these are merely other fae who have been given the role of such a figure though few among the mortals are aware of whether the fae have any reproductive strategy to produce more of their own.  In truth, their procreation would create a tiefling or an aasimar and not a demi-god.  Those thought to be demi-gods are actually what happen when a fae's tale loses relevance and they are forced into banishment for a period of time or until they accomplish a certain number of quests.  Once they have accomplished the agreed upon quests they are then allowed to rejoin the Arcadian Realms as a True Fae in their new guise.

Building Your Own Fae

While you don't need to use the True Fae rules from Changeling: the Lost Equinox Roads, you are certainly welcome to do so if you have that book handy.  There is no reason why these semi-divine beings couldn't be designed with Contracts, Titles, and other such creation rules.  Of course you could build them however you like as they are meant to be able to feign being gods.  You could give them Disciplines, Gifts, Numina, or even abilities you made up yourself.

A Fae can have attributes and skills from anywhere between 1 and 10.  Their attributes can be spread out at 10 / 7 / 5 and their skills as 21 / 13 / 7.  After all these are meant to be powerful figures who are dangerous to fight and who, if they were in our world, would have inspired tales of not only the Celtic Fae but also of Heracles, Athena, and Thoth.  They should be obscenely powerful and wherever they tread stories will follow.

There are methods to appease them, however, forever and always.  If you obey these rules, which thankfully most nearby mortal races know, then you will be safe from those depredations.  This might mean taking care of a shrine, bowing whenever you see one, or ensuring certain sacred festivals are followed.  It also means never, ever unfavorably comparing a True Fae to a mortal or other creature.  No one else should be declared to be more beautiful or more intelligent than the True Fae.

Using Changeling's True Fae

There are some distinct personality differences between these Fae and the Fae as written, not to mention the fact you'll likely need to sprinkle a few more attribute and skill dots around.  As to personality, these True Fae are often quite similar to humans in personality - they're just more archetypal and larger than life.  They are also quite predictable and are not necessarily toxic to mortal life.  They also won't kidnap you simply to experiment upon you though you might find yourself taken as a bride or servant or turned into a stag if you don't obey the rules of the area.

There are also a number of Fae in the Changeling books who would be quite anachronistic to use in a fantasy world.  Even if you take their stats you will likely need to tweak them to make them generally less unknowable and more akin to a god - often with a portfolio or other aspect that connects them.  This doesn't mean that you couldn't use Fae based on myths of huntsmen or playful fools, but twin doctors might not be as appropriate.

Tweaking Jack Frost

You can find the article that includes his statistics over here.  Add 1 to his Manipulation, Socialize, Investigation.  The next thing you would want to do is consider how he might fit into the theology.  A male youth connected with snow and the cold, with fun within the cold, both represents its benefits, its temptations and its perils.  Parents would likely warn their children about dancing off with Jack Frost, about how he might lure them onto the ice with pretty patterns, or encourage them to stay out after dark.  Jack Frost, being a youth rather than a child, might also be a tempting figure for young lasses.

The next thing you would need to do is determine his relationships with all of the other local fae.  Perhaps he is thought to be the rebellious son of Old Man Winter?  Or perhaps he exists in duality with Old Man Winter as both sides of manhood - old age and youthful exuberance.  Is there an Aphrodite figure who might try to tempt him even while she is married to someone else?

Also bear in mind that the local fae in the area, if worshipped as gods, will make an impact on people's expectations of archetypes.  A Jack Frost figure suggests a playful innocent archetype that is most often reserved for young women rather than young men.  How might this impact on the local tribes?  Might people try to be more like him?  Or is he a cautionary tale due to too many people dying out in the snow (less likely with Yuki tribes)?

More True Fae?

If you take a look at my Changeling: the Lost tag in this blog you'll be able to find a few more True Fae among them.  Alternatively you could purchase the various Changeling: the Lost books and grab a few Fae from over there.  Or, y'know, just build them yourself.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Fianyarr Race: Nixie

The Female Nixie
(AndrAIa from ReBoot)

Campaign World:Fianyarr.

Nicknames: Sirens, Swamp Hags, Nymphs.

Origins: When the First walked upon the races some settled within the waters and proclaimed this place their own.  They delved deep within the seas, rivers, mangrove swamps and other beautiful underwater places and marvelled at what they saw there.  When the bridge between the heavens and the lands were sundered, the First within the waters were forced into their mortal shells and adapted to that realm.

Demeanor: Quick-witted and curious explorers, by nature, their people are a fierce and independent lot who admire cleverness above all else.  However, other than a powerful desire to explore the unknown and marvel at the beauties of the world, they are quite individualistic and each settlement has a culture and customs all their own.

Rumors: Other races often confuse the Nixies with the otherworldly beings that also make their homes in the waters.  These confusions and misunderstandings can lead to terrible and bloody wars that have led many Nixie communities to hide their land-based homes or pretend to be human while on land by veiling their hair in hoods or scarves and wearing long-sleeved clothing.

In other lands, the Nixies are courted as ideal wives and husbands with members of other communities seeking them out and either romancing them or stealing them, depending on the area.  Nixie communities will stop at nothing to return any stolen members and will grieve and rage until such individuals are returned.  If, however, a Nixie is seduced and freely leaves his home the Nixies regard the event as a happy one and bonds are strengthened with the successful spouse's family and community.

Racial Abilities

Attribute Bonus: +1 to either Wits or Manipulation.

Weakness: The Nixie must roll Resolve + Composure to avoid investigating an unknown situation once their curiosity has been piqued.  If they fail, they do not need to investigate the situation right away if to do so would be foolhardy but they do need to immediately start preparing for such an investigation.

Poisonous Bite
The Nixie may spend a point of Glamour to unsheath their venomous fangs.  This allows them to make a poisonous Brawling attack that deals no damage from the attack but does pack a poison whose Toxicity is equal to the Nixie's Wyrd (maximum 5; no save against the damage).  (Changeling Venombite Kith: core book page 102).

The Nixie can spend a point of Glamour to open their gills, close down their lungs and raise their fins so that they can breathe underwater and swim at twice their usual speed.  The Nixie cannot breathe air until another Glamour is spent to deactivate this ability and reactivate their lungs (Changeling Waterborn Kith: core book page 110).

River Maiden
The Nixie may spend a point of Glamour to have a voice so beautiful and distracting that it makes it difficult for listeners to use social rolls against those around them.  Those who can hear her voice have their social rolls penalised by half of the Nixie's Wyrd, rounded down (Changeling River Maiden Kith: Winter Masques page 107).

Water Dancer
The Nixie's lithe form allows them to gain a 9-Again on any Socialize or Expression rolls that involve agility as well as gain a +1 to Dodge (Changeling Dancer Kith: Chanteling the Lost 114).

Racially Restricted Merit
(****) Kiss of the Deep: The Nixie can provide a character with a burst of her own water breathing ability with a kiss to the lips and the expenditure of a point of glamour.  This allows the character so blessed to breathe water for minutes equal to the Nixie's Wyrd.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Character Traits Part 2

Following on last week's Character Traits part 1 we have...

Poor Impulse Control
When you want to do something you tend to just do it.  It’s not that the consequences don’t bother you, it’s just that you don’t often give yourself time to think of those consequences.

Anger Management Issues
You’ve learned that the best way to manage your anger is to simply vent it and then escalate it to whatever levels are necessary to cow your enemies.  You might never be physically violent, at least with the majority of people you meet with, but you’re certainly willing to give them a piece of your mind and that might even turn to a screaming match.

Delicate Sensibilities
You just don’t react to stress well.  While other people might put on a brave front, you’re likely to get very distressed and try to avoid the whole situation.  You’re unlikely to cope with gore or getting dirty very well although, of course, everyone has their weaknesses and strengths.  You might be quite capable of conducting an autopsy but just can’t stand anything that seems remotely erotic.  

Emotionally Stunted
You just don’t feel very much.  Or at least, you don’t know what to label your feelings and therefore don’t know what they mean.  Sometimes you feel bad (Angry?  Sad?  Nauseas?).  Other times you feel good (Happy?  In Love?  Relief?).  Since you don’t know what you’re feeling you find it hard to deal with those feelings as you don’t know what caused them or how you can re-create them or make them go away.

You have a tendency to talk about your life to everyone you meet.  You might know better than to explain that you were attacked by some sort of spiny monster the other day, but that won’t stop you from mentioning that you’ve met a black marketeer or that two of your team members are getting up to things that their spouses wouldn’t like.

Bone Idle
Nothing’s worth doing that isn’t worth getting someone else to do it.  Sure, you’ll get involved with the cases and go along with the others.  You may even be very enthusiastic when it comes to investigation and survival, but there’s a lot of other things you’re likely to avoid ... like chores.

You just don’t understand the need to scrimp and save and use only what you need.  Instead you burn more petrol than is necessary, you eat more than you have rations, and you otherwise throw out what you probably should have saved.

Religious Blinkers
You hold a religion near and dear to your heart to such an extent that you re-interpret everything you deal with to fit that particular framework.  For example, a Christian might label all monsters as demons and all humans with magical abilities as witches who have signed their souls over to the Devil.  While such a person may still adapt their reactions to monsters who don’t seem to care about supposed ways to ward them off, their first reaction to a monster might still be prayer and holy water.

You have come to deal with the dangers of coincidence and luck by forming a few superstitions to help you get through the night.  Perhaps you believe your plane will crash if you don’t have your lucky rabbit’s foot or you think that someone’s idle comment will come truth if they don’t knock wood.  Being prevented from fulfilling your superstition will make you feel quite agitated as though it is now guaranteed to happen.

You just can’t help but see the bright side of life and while this generally leads you to live a happier and more fulfilling life it can land you in trouble.  You might assume that an air raid won’t happen tonight because your beloved is on leave, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.

In Love
You’ve been lucky enough to fall madly in love with someone but, unfortunately for everyone else, that same person is so frequently on your thoughts that you sometimes prove a little distracted.  You’re also prone to telling other people all about your loved one and that can get a bit irritating.

You can’t stand being bored so you quickly learned that you could explore fantastic wonderlands inside of your own head.  Unfortunately, attention turned inward is attention that isn’t being focused on the world around you so when you’re daydreaming – which is whenever you have nothing else to do and sometimes when there’s dull things you ought to be doing – you’re too distracted to notice things.

Select a phobia from the list in the Insanity section however you have a mild version of this and do not have to roll to deal with it if circumstances persist.  However, you will do what you can to avoid it if it is unnecessary.  For example, an arachnophobic housewife who won’t deal with spiders if they can help it but can, and have, killed the odd spider they find if there’s no one else to do it.