Saturday, December 28, 2019

SOS: Do you believe in a Smiling God? (part 2)

                                                         source unknown

You can find part 1 here.

Agents of the Smiling God are protected from death, though not from injury.  It is said that you can judge a Strexcorp Executive, or Priest of the Smiling God's rank by his scars.  The more he has, the higher he rises in their esteem.

But there are those among the ranks of Strexcorp that do not seem scarred at all.  They glow with vitality, an ageless quality to their bodies and a blinding quality to their smiles.  These individuals take orders from few and give none themselves, but their word is always heard and respected.  Most of Strexcorp's personnel have never seen one of these strange people and even fewer know who they serve or why they have so much authority.

Only the Agents of the Smiling God, those gifted his mystical protections, know the truth.  For some of the Agents of the Smiling God are granted the right to "See him smile".  This is a ritual of grave importance, one terrifyingly dangerous.  Not all who are called to this fate take up the Unscarred People's offer.  Of those that do, some of them never return.  They vanish and are never seen or heard from again. 

Some are, though.  They return, all smiles. 

They never speak of what happened to them.  But they have been changed.  Their scars are gones, replaced by smooth flesh, youth and a wide, toothy grin.  Their cheerful masks never slip and they never, ever express any emotion besides happiness. Even when doing unspeakable things to their former brethren, they never crack.

This is the truth: these people have become the Children of the Smiling God.

                                            from The Stepford Wives

Statblock:

Child of the Smiling God
HD 5  AC 12 (natural DEX) Atk Shuriken (+3, 1d4/1d4/1d4 + save vs disease) or Concealed Claws (+4, 1d6+2/1d6+2 + save vs disease)
Mor 19      Saves special

Saves: Agents of the Smiling God are ludicrously lucky.  When forced to roll a save, they instead roll a d6.  On a 2-6, count that as a successful save.  The Agents are also hard to kill; if they take fatal damage, they may roll a save.  On a success, they survive with 1 HP.  This can only apply in situations where it is possible for them to survive without bending the laws of reality.  Note that even if they survive, they are still likely to suffer some kind of terrible injury. 

Save Steal: If this creature fails a save against death or damage and a lesser Agent of the Smiling God is nearby, this creature can remove the 1d6 save from that creature and pass the save. 

Superior Stats: Children of the Smiling God have a STR and DEX of 16(+2).  They are incredibly quick and athletic, despite their mundane appearance.

Filthy Touch: The Children of the Smiling God carry dangerous viruses and pathogens in their blood, flesh and tissues.  When wounded by their claws or shuriken, make a CON save.  On a failure, you have contracted Sunsmile.     

Tactics:
- Sneak up, attack from ambush
- Get into melee range if possible
- If outmatched, throw shurikens and retreat

<Referee's Note>

Sunsmile:

A disease that does 1d4 WIS damage a day.  It causes the infected to be sensitive to light and easily dazzled and disturbs sleep.  It fills the minds of the infected with dreams of the Smiling God.  It does not cause death by itself, but it causes the infected to eventually have their senses so addled that they can barely sense anything, leading them to all sorts of terrible fates.  The primary cause of death for the infected is accidents, whether that be getting hit by a motor vehicle or falling off a ladder.

</Referee's Note>

                                                             source unknown

Slaves of the Smiling God

They are almost unknown to anyone, not even guessed at by 90% of all Strexcorp.  The remaining 10% might have heard of them, but have always never seen them.  Only the tiniest fraction of all Strexcorp's employees have ever seen one of the Slaves and lived to tell the tale.  The Children are the only ones who seem to interact with them, but this is idle speculation among the few who know.

All of Strexcorp, knowingly or unknowingly, advances the will and plan of the Smiling God.  But sometimes, a more direct approach is called for.  Sometimes, divine intervention is necessary.  This is what his Slaves are meant to do.  The Slaves of the Smiling God are his avatars, his hand directly at work.  This a truth that all who have the misfortune to meet one of these creatures come to know, along with the ghastly truth about the Smiling God.

As far as we know, there are four of them.

                 by Nicolaes Maes (1643–1693), and to Abraham van Dijck (ca. 1635?–1680?)

The Happy Mother        

She is the "Mother" of the Children, as well as all of Strexcorp.  She resembles an older woman, with a kind smile and crinkles around her mouth.  But her skin, it seems subtly tinged yellow, as if she has jaundice.  And her smile, it seems to radiate no warmth.  Her teeth gleam, flashing like knives, but no warmth comes through.  Her eyes are wrong too.  They are distant, as if she was not looking at you, but staring out into the naked void, or scrutinizing the way your RNA duplicates.  And while she's definitely old and wrinkled, she seems to walk and move with definite grace and radiates a strange vitality.  This is a bit odd, as she has been old for as long as people can remember.  When the current CEO was just a child playing in the company nursery, hearing stories of Strexcorp's virtue and the bravery of her soldiers, he saw her, watching him- and she was old back then. 

Signs the Happy Mother is near:

- Yesterday, people began to suffer small bouts of amnesia.
- Time seemed to slow to crawl.  The clocks must be malfunctioning, or maybe you were just tired, as the hours crawled by.  An hour feels like a day, which feels like an entire week.
- Sometimes, when you opened a door, it did not lead to the next room, but to a beach of black sand, bordering an ocean with waters the colors of absinthe.  Wait and watch and eventually, two suns will rise to fill the sky and turn the shallow water emerald.  If the door closed behind you, you would be stranded on an distant world far from where you are.

Statblock:

The Happy Mother
SHP 5  AC 13  Atk Serrated Fingernails (+5, 1d10 poison)
Mor 17    Saves special

Damage Threshold 5: All Outsiders have a Damage Threshold.  The Happy Mother only take damage from sources if the amount of damage equals or exceeds her Damage Threshold.  If a source of damage cannot equal or exceed the Threshold, instead ignore it, as if it did no damage. 

SHP: Stands for "Super Hit Points".  The Happy Mother has 5 SHP.  Each time the Damage Threshold is equaled or exceeded, she loses 1 SHP.  When she hits zero SHP, she dies.

Saves: Agents of the Smiling God are ludicrously lucky.  When forced to roll a save, they instead roll a d6.  On a 2-6, count that as a successful save.  The Agents are also hard to kill; if they take fatal damage, they may roll a save.  On a success, they survive with 1 HP.  This can only apply in situations where it is possible for them to survive without bending the laws of reality.  Note that even if they survive, they are still likely to suffer some kind of terrible injury.

Save Steal: If this creature fails a save against death or damage and a lesser Agent of the Smiling God is nearby, this creature can remove the 1d6 save from that creature and pass the save. 

Regeneration: The Happy Mother regains 1 SHP a round.

Seize: As an action, the Happy Mother can pull an object or creature toward her using her will.  If it is an object, people nearby will pick it up and toss it to her.  If it is a creature, he must save or walk towards her. 

Tactics:
- Value your own life above others   
- Focus on the mission
- Get irrationally angered if your skin is breached
- See that the will of the Smiling God is done

When the Happy Mother is wounded, her skin seems to crack like porcelain, to reveal dark-green, almost black, inhuman, necrotizing flesh underneath.  Her skin quickly regenerates, covering up this unsightly part, but this angers her.

If you crack open her shell, she will fixate on that person, trying to kill them more than anything else. 

                                              by Dwight D. Eisenhower

The Joyful Knight

He is called a Knight, but looks nothing like one.  This is an intentional choice on his part.  He is the Smiling God's fist, his vengeance made manifest.  He is all-but unstoppable.  He hacks and coughs and people rarely think him dangerous, until far too late.  He smiles at people and they burst into mad fits of giggles or wheeze until their chests scream at them, their diaphrams contorting unnaturally.  Then he stares and those same people begin coughing up blood, hacking up their lungs in bloody chunks, killed from the inside by some horrific disease that took only seconds to shred their respiratory system.  Count yourself terribly unlucky if you see him, as it's likely to be the last thing you ever do.

His appearance changes, but he tends toward being male, with sallow skin, his veins red with blood-poisoning.  He looks terribly unhealthy, haggard and ash-faced.  He seemingly attempts to conceal his frailty with an overcoat that is much too big on him, flapping about his malnourished frame like a sail, along with a broad-brimmed hat, which he pulls down to shield his face as much as possible.  And while this looks odd from a distance, it shouldn't be any different than any other person dressed that way.  But there is something about the Joyful Knight that is unnerving and unnatural.  His movements are too precise, as if he is following an instruction manual, or inputting commands into a computer terminal instead of rambling forward like a human normally would.

Signs the Joyful Knight is near:
- It all started yesterday, with strange voices speaking out of TVs and radios, promising "That the light of his smile would warm us," and that "He feels such joy at being able to see us".
- It then escalated to terrible dreams afflicting certain members of the populace, nightmares of terrible, consuming light and of enormous, pearly-white teeth.
- Then strange music began to play, filling the ears of all nearby.

Statblock:   

The Joyful Knight
SHP 5  AC 13  Atk Toxic Touch (+5, 1d10 poison)
Mor 16    Saves special
Immune to Poison, Toxins and Disease

Damage Threshold 5: All Outsiders have a Damage Threshold.  The Joyful Knight only take damage from sources if the amount of damage equals or exceeds his Damage Threshold.  If a source of damage cannot equal or exceed the Threshold, instead ignore it, as if it did no damage. 

SHP: Stands for "Super Hit Points".  The Joyful Knight has 5 SHP.  Each time the Damage Threshold is equaled or exceeded, he loses 1 SHP.  When he hits zero SHP, she dies.

Saves: Agents of the Smiling God are ludicrously lucky.  When forced to roll a save, they instead roll a d6.  On a 2-6, count that as a successful save.  The Agents are also hard to kill; if they take fatal damage, they may roll a save.  On a success, they survive with 1 HP.  This can only apply in situations where it is possible for them to survive without bending the laws of reality.  Note that even if they survive, they are still likely to suffer some kind of terrible injury.

Save Steal: If this creature fails a save against death or damage and a lesser Agent of the Smiling God is nearby, this creature can remove the 1d6 save from that creature and pass the save. 

Infectious Laughter: The Joyful Knight can, as an action, cause those whose eyes he can see or those who can see his smile, to save.  Those who fail their saves start laughing uncontrollably.  They can either choose to spend their action laughing and nothing else, or they can do something else but take 1d6 damage as their body convulses.  Even if you pass your save, being able to see the Knight's smile or letting him see your eyes causes you to take 1d6 WIS damage a round.  If this damage ever exceeds your WIS score, the Referee should treat that as a failed save.  The Joyful Knight may only use this ability once every 1d4 rounds.

Pneumoniac: As an action, the Joyful Knight can cause up to four creatures to save.  Those who fail their save take 1d10 damage and start bleeding out of every orifice.  Those who pass their save take half damage and only start bleeding from the nose and eyes.  The Joyful Knight can only use this ability once every 1d4 rounds.

Tactics:
- Pretend to be a sick person
- Open with "Pneumoniac"
- Assault the most injured person
- Retreat if your life is ever endangered

                                                          by Mike Walton

The Laughing Maid

A ghoulish creature, a feminine skin over a whirlpool of malevolence.  The Laughing Maid pretends to be human, but she's very, even intentionally, bad at it.  She is tall and her skin seems stretched, pulled taunt over a frame that's just a bit too big, her muscles bunching and twisting underneath in strange, malformed coils.  All her features seem a bit too sharp, as if they're made of knives.  On top of that, the Laughing Maid's behavior is so odd it cannot be written off as normal.  She's always chuckling to herself, laughing at some joke she refuses to share.  She will touch the faces of others if allowed, her razor nails pricking their soft skin.  She kills easily and thoughtlessly, and if confronted with a baby or a small animal, she will usually take the time to kill it.  She never seems to understand why you might find this objectionable.

Signs the Laughing Maid is near:
- Began a week ago with phone calls from an unknown number.  It was this woman who was attempting to explain a joke.  She never finished though, as she keeps breaking out into fits of giggles.  She apologizes profusely, but never manages to finish the joke.  The phone calls get cut off after about a minute.
- Then Time began to flow strangely, the days stretched on and on, with no end in sight
- Then a door opened to reveal a planet of enormous ferns and mud flats, underneath an alien skies that eventually fills with two suns.

Statblock:


The Laughing Maid
SHP 7  AC 11  Atk Barbed Appendages (+6, 1d8/1d8/1d8)
Mor 17    Saves special
Immune to Cold Damage
Immune to Acid Damage

Damage Threshold 7: All Outsiders have a Damage Threshold.  The Laughing Maid only take damage from sources if the amount of damage equals or exceeds her Damage Threshold.  If a source of damage cannot equal or exceed the Threshold, instead ignore it, as if it did no damage. 

SHP: Stands for "Super Hit Points".  The Laughing Maid has 7 SHP.  Each time the Damage Threshold is equaled or exceeded, she loses 1 SHP.  When she hits zero SHP, she dies.

Saves: Agents of the Smiling God are ludicrously lucky.  When forced to roll a save, they instead roll a d6.  On a 2-6, count that as a successful save.  The Agents are also hard to kill; if they take fatal damage, they may roll a save.  On a success, they survive with 1 HP.  This can only apply in situations where it is possible for them to survive without bending the laws of reality.  Note that even if they survive, they are still likely to suffer some kind of terrible injury.

Save Steal: If this creature fails a save against death or damage and a lesser Agent of the Smiling God is nearby, this creature can remove the 1d6 save from that creature and pass the save. 

Shape-Changer: The Laughing Maid has two forms, her human and her true form.  Her human form she can change as an action.  Her human form is always female and usually looks like her description above.  She can attempt to alter her human form to look like another woman, but this requires her to make a Disguise check.  She may also switch to her true form as a free action, regardless of her previous form.

Baleful Charm: As a free action on her turn, the Laughing Maid can exude an aura of dreadful charm that unnerves all who are in her presence.  Those who can see her must save.  On a failure, they take 1d6 WIL damage.  If the amount of WIL damage taken ever equals or exceeds someone's WIL attribute, they are charmed by the Laughing Maid and come to find her presence comforting.  They now love her and will not lift their hands in violence against her.  They also gain the Conviction, "I love the Laughing Maid.  I will not fight her and I will seriously consider any request she makes of me."

Mistress's Command: As an action, she can force someone to save.  The person receives a -4 penalty if they are already charmed by the Laughing Maid's aura.  On a failed save, that person will mutilate themselves with whatever is handy, most likely their weapon.  Drinking the blood that flows from this wound will heal 1d8 HP to any creature who does so.  The Laughing Maid may only use this ability once every 1d4 rounds.
   
Glass Nails: As an action, the Laughing Maid can forgo two of her attacks and make a special attack against one creature.  This causes 1d8 damage on a hit, plus it inject poisons into the creature that causes it to take 1d6 damage a round (max 3 rounds/3d6) as heat like a terrible fever burns through the veins of the afflicted, turning their skin a subtle yellow.

Tactics:
- Pretend to be human for as long as possible, but be unconvincing on purpose
- When forced to fight, activate "Baleful Charm" immediately
- Use "Glass Nails" on the strongest target
- Then focus your attacks on the next strongest person
- Use "Mistress's Command" to harm those affected by "Baleful Charm"

Her true form is millipedal, covered in a shell of golden chitin that is easily shattered.  When it is, the smell of rot and corruption oozes out, along with viscous fluids.  She has two liquid eyes, three arms and many dozens of legs.  Creatures that are exposed to her fluids or spend too much time around her mutate into freakish monsters.

                                                            source unknown

The Gleeful Servant

His spiraling laughter spills down the staircases of Strexcorp's corporate headquarters, as well as the abandoned apartment complex you are investigating and the gloomy home of your grandfather, where you spent your summers during those gray years of childhood.  He is utterly mundane in terms of appearance, about average height, maybe a bit shorter than normal, with a face that's neither ugly nor handsome.  His smile is hollow though; his eyes know too much.  He is always impeccably dressed, favoring a vest over starched shirt and slacks, sometimes with a long jacket laden with shining buttons, or a fetching bowler hat.  Yet there is something about the man that makes your skin crawl.  Is he just massively insincere?  No, it couldn't be.  He seems so earnest.  After all, he is always smiling. 

Signs the Gleeful Servant is near:
- It began a few days ago with some residents of the local area suffering bouts of amnesia
- Then for some of those same people, they began suffering from terrible dreams where a mild-mannered man in a fetching hat helps them commit terrible crimes.
- Then when he comes, memories begin to overlay reality, leaving characters fighting their inner demons and suppressed traumas as he comes through.

Statblock:

The Gleeful Servant
SHP 8  AC 10  Atk Poisoned Spurs (+6, 1d8/1d8/1d8/1d8 poison)
Mor 16    Saves special
Immune to Poison, Toxins and Disease

Damage Threshold 5: All Outsiders have a Damage Threshold.  The Joyful Knight only take damage from sources if the amount of damage equals or exceeds his Damage Threshold.  If a source of damage cannot equal or exceed the Threshold, instead ignore it, as if it did no damage. 

SHP: Stands for "Super Hit Points".  The Gleeful Servant has 8 SHP.  Each time the Damage Threshold is equaled or exceeded, he loses 1 SHP.  When he hits zero SHP, she dies.

Saves: Agents of the Smiling God are ludicrously lucky.  When forced to roll a save, they instead roll a d6.  On a 2-6, count that as a successful save.  The Agents are also hard to kill; if they take fatal damage, they may roll a save.  On a success, they survive with 1 HP.  This can only apply in situations where it is possible for them to survive without bending the laws of reality.  Note that even if they survive, they are still likely to suffer some kind of terrible injury. 

Save Steal: If this creature fails a save against death or damage and a lesser Agent of the Smiling God is nearby, this creature can remove the 1d6 save from that creature and pass the save. 

Shape-Changer: The Gleeful Servant has two forms, his human and his true form.  His human form he can change as an action.  His human form is usually male and usually looks like his description above.  He can attempt to alter his human form to look like another man, but this requires him to make a Disguise check.  He may also switch to his true form as a free action, regardless of his previous form.

Flesh Destruction Wave: As an action, he causes one creature to take 3d6 damage, save for half.  Those who fail their save have their flesh distorted, cancers blooming in their body like reverse radiation decay.  They also gain a mutation.  Those who pass their save are burned by an invisible heat source, blistering light from an unknown source burning their flesh, searing it like an ant under a magnifying glass.  The Gleeful Servant can only use this ability once every 1d4 turns.

Blink: The Gleeful Servant can, as a free action on his turn, cause the lights to flare, dazzling all nearby.  This also causes him to teleport to anywhere within 50'.

Clairvoyant: The Gleeful Servant can, as a free action at the beginning of combat, roll 1d6 d20s and use those numbers for his next 1d6 rolls.  If he does not wish to do so, he can discard the numbers and roll normally.

Tactics:
- Open with "Flesh Destruction Wave"
- Teleport next to the most dangerous person
- Rip them to shreds
- Repeat as necessary

His true form is that of camouflaged, millipedal creature with no eyes (he sees fine but cannot be blinded) and three arms.  His head is half-missing, in the part that's gone, there is an invisible sphere that displays floating, moving 3D images of the vast, eternal War raging in the Heavens.

                                                 by raerae

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

SOS: Do you believe in a Smiling God? (part 1)

Strexcorp Synergist Incorporated, or more simply Strexcorp, is a hypercorporation that spans the Birova sector, being concentrated on the Planet of [expunged].  It first broke the inter-planetary boundary in 4078, making it a rather new corporation.  Strexcorp has made up for their novice status through clever maneuverability and ruthless practices.  Their CEOs seem almost prescient, able to predict the movement of the Sector markets and compensate for things that haven't happened yet.  Rumors of insider trading and corruption have swirled around this corporation for decades, mostly because of this. 

Strexcorp is also clothed in dark rumors about its other practices.  The Executives are said to maintain a terrifyingly large assassin cadre, a fact that puts the first few of Strexcorp's acquisitions into a new light, as most of those lesser corporations suffered from the deaths of their founder or a major partner just days or weeks before a deal was struck.  Strexcorp Security has also proven itself to be particularly ruthless, breaking strikes and crushing opposition by workers with ruthless efficiency.

Yet despite these facts, most of Strexcorp's employees seem happy enough- too happy, even.

                                                             source unknown

The Happy Church

Another odd thing about Strexcorp is that it has an official company religion.  The Church of the Smiling God is in many ways the public face of Strexcorp, as it is what most people who know anything about Strexcorp, besides the quality of their sugary drinks and anti-depressants, think about first.  However, experts on the company insist that it is the other way around; Strexcorp Synergist Incorporated exists to serve the Church of the Smiling God. 

The Church of the Smiling God itself is a mystery cult, with doctrine being concealed and divided into layers.  Only those deemed worthy can ascend to the next level.  However, some facts are known about the Church.

Firstly, the Church of the Smiling God is monotheistic, devoted to the worship of the Smiling God, who is believed to be a real entity.

Secondly, the Smiling God is said to desire everyone to work hard and be happy.  He will protect you and keep you safe, if it is his will.  No one really knows exactly what his will is though.  Clerics in the Church of the Smiling God claim to know it and some of the high-level ones have some idea.  The Children of the Smiling God claim with absolute certainty to know the will of their "Father". 

Regardless of this ignorance, it is assumed by most, and taught by the Church that it is the Smiling God's will that we do what he wills and avoid what he denigrates.  To shirk your duties or to show sadness is considered contrary to his will, though the latter is usually considered a small transgression. 

Thirdly, some of the Clerics of the Smiling God are said to be able to perform miracles, such as traveling great distances instantly, blinding the unrighteous, afflicting the enemies of the Church with disease and predicting the future.  There is no evidence for these miracles, but some of the higher-level congregation swear they have been to secret masses where they have seen such feats and most of the laity seem to take it on faith. 

Fourthly, the Smiling God's enemies are also detailed by the faithful.  Chief among these are the Caged, who are described as creatures who do not smile due to their enslavement; the Heeled, who do not smile due to their appetites; the Splintered, who do not smile due to their passivity; and the Lucid, who smile too much.

Brown-Nosing


Advancing up the ladder at Strexcorp requires you to be a member of the Church of the Smiling God and to move up within the Church.  Certain positions are restricted to those who have the right amount of religious knowledge and/or proved their devotion to their God.  

As such, while not all Strexcorp employees are actually worshipers of the Smiling God, the higher up the corporate ladder you go, the more likely someone will be.

<Referee's Note>

An Employee of Strexcorp has a X-in-20 chance of being a worshiper of the Smiling God, where X is equal to the number of HD he has.  Frowners, Clerics and Children are automatically worshipers. 

A worshiper of the Smiling God gains the following ability:

Saves: Agents of the Smiling God are ludicrously lucky.  When forced to roll a save, they instead roll a d6.  On a 2-6, count that as a successful save.  The Agents are also hard to kill; if they take fatal damage, they may roll a save.  On a success, they survive with 1 HP.  This can only apply in situations where it is possible for them to survive without bending the laws of reality.  Note that even if they survive, they are still likely to suffer some kind of terrible injury. 

</Referee's Note>
 
Merely maintaining your position is actually quite difficult as well, as Strexcorp is a highly unforgiving work environment. Conformity is encouraged, along with discipline.  Employees exercise together, live together in dorms segregated by sex and caste and participate in Church-mandated feast days together. 

Alongside these facts, Strexcorp Security and the Frowners are always watching, looking for anyone who isn't working hard enough, or is engaged in forbidden actions, using forbidden words, expressing illegal opinions or does not appear sufficiently happy.  When these unfortunate souls are found they are either publicly punished, made into a Conditional Laborer, or they simply vanish and are never seen or heard from again.    

Employee Handbook:


                                            by Jjeons Kim

Corporate Security

These men are the boots on the ground, so to speak.  They enforce the will of the Board of Stewards.  They seem to revel in violence, glorying in it.  They are highly disciplined soldiers, equipped with high-quality blink rifles and given carte blanche to do almost anything. 

Statblock:


Strexcorp Security
HD 1  AC as armor  Atk as weapon
Mor 12 or less  Saves special (see below)

Tactics:
- Be relentlessly cheery
- Refuse to acknowledge the possibility of defeat
- Fight with fanatic bravery
- Always try to take them alive

Arms and Armor:


Strexcorp Security Officers usually wear no armor on Company property, but their training still gives them an AC of 11.  When in a situation that is somewhat dangerous, they wear diffusion vests (armor meant to protect against lasers), giving them an AC of 13 + the chance of reducing a laser shot.  When going in to crack some skulls they wear either diffusion vests or a ceramic plate vest over body armor 14 + the chance of reducing the damage from a laser/SP weapon.

In low intensity situations, Strexcorp Security Officers carry Civitas Laser Pistols, which do 1d8 fire damage (firearm rules apply, see here).  They also usually carry stun batons, which do 1d4 damage + 1d6 temporary DEX damage from the electric shock.  If this damage reduces someone to zero DEX, they cannot move faster then a slow walk and operate as if they had a DEX of 3.  This DEX damage returns at a rate of 1 point a minute you are not being electrocuted.   In more dangerous situations, they carry Hamburg Laser Rifles, which do 2d6 fire damage (see above) and Chastener Batons, which are little more than solid bars of metal with handles attached- they do 1d6+STR damage on a hit.

When a larger group (greater than 4, or a prepared group) is required, Strexcorp Security Officers will also carry:

- A wire Net-Launcher that can be electrified, 1 of them will carry a battery that can be attached to the metal net.
- Meat Hook Grappling Gun.  Fires a spiked harpoon that is designed to impale flesh and latch onto armor or bone.  Usually attached to a line so the person hit can be reeled in. 
- Caltrop Cannon.  An air-powered cannon that can fire a wave of Caltrops, scattering them over a 50' square area.  This is hilariously lethal, for obvious reasons.  It does 3d6 damage fired like this.  It can also be used to fire blasts of hard rubber balls, which bruise and cause pain, but are non-lethal (3d6 non-lethal damage).

                                                      by Chuck Walton

Strexcorp's Armored Infantry Corps, the Last-Chancers

When an employee, Debtor or enemy of Strexcorp is on the verge of death, and nothing can be done besides putting what is left of their shattered form into a suspension tube and hoping for the best, a company representative will come forward and ask them if they want a Second Chance.  Those who accept are given it, those that aren't are immediately taken off life-support, given brief funerals, then recycled.  This dual path is explained clearly to the person being given the choice.  Most choose the former.  Even in agony, most desire to live.

Those who desire to continue living are placed into specially designed suits of powered armor, fitted with not only with life-support meant to keep them alive, but also plenty of dangerous toys.  These men and women are then inducted into Strexcorp's Armored Infantry Corps.  Corpsmen of this unit have their powered armor outfitted with high-intensity blink weapons, small missiles, grenade launchers, incinerators and occasionally, powerful melee weapons.  Even without that though, the powered armor enhances the strength of the Last-Chancer, meaning he or she can pull someone limb from limb as easily as you can crack open a cold beer.

The problem with the Last-Chancers are two-fold.  Firstly, Strexcorp is cheap.  The powered armor that is modified to give the critically injured a second chance is not of the highest quality, with the modifications usually worsening any problems that do exist.  This leads to vulnerabilities, ensuring that a Strexcorp Corpsmen is not as dangerous as someone with a suit of powered armor that has been properly maintained. 

That being said, the second problem is that there aren't enough of them.

Statblock:

Strexcorp Armored Infantry Corpsmen
HD 1d4+2  AC 16  Atk Fists (+3, 1d8) or Weapon (varies, see below)
Mor 13 or less   Saves 10 or less is a success

Powered Armor: Corpsmen wear powered armor, meaning they receive a -4 penalty to stealth unless they are in an environment too loud to notice them, such as a battlefield.  They also receive a +4 bonus to saves that might be easier if you were encased in layers of ceramite and servos.  They receive a matching penalty if what they are attempting would be more difficult for someone wearing powered armor.  For purposes of STR checks and barehanded damage, they have a STR of 18(+3). 

Weakspot: Corpsmen Armor is also cheaper and generally more degraded than most suits of Power Armor.  The modifications to it certainly do not help matters.  As such, all Corpsmen have a weakness, a hidden vulnerability in their suits.  If exploited, this weakness can permanently cripple or kill a Corpsmen.  To determine what the vulnerability of a specific Corpsmen's suit is, roll on the Weakspot table below.

Irregular Loadout: Corpsmen do not have a standardized loadout, but they are all armed.  To determine what a Corpsmen is carrying in terms of arms, roll on the Loadout table below.

Tactics:
- If carrying a melee weapon, wait for covering fire then flank
- If carrying a ranged weapon, fire at the most critical target
- Do not take needless risks

Weakspot Table
1d6

1- Cracked Fusion Core.  AC 10, Damage Threshold 6.  A most dangerous malfunction.  If struck, the Corpsmen must save.  On a failure, the core immediately begins going critical and 1 round later, it explodes, doing 5d6 damage to anyone within 1d6*10', save for half.  On a failure, nothing happens, but the Corpsmen must immediately check Morale.
2- Leaking Leg Servo.  AC 12, Damage Threshold 8.  The servos embedded in one of the legs of the Corpsmen's suit is dribbling, meaning its external casing is broken.  If damaged, the Corpsmen must immediately save.  On a failure, the servo is broken and one of Corpsmen's legs is disabled, making movement impossible.  On a success, the servo is still functional, but the Corpsmen must immediately check Morale or retreat.
3- Sealed Suit.  AC as normal, Damage Threshold 12.  The Corpsmen's suit is clearly designed to resemble a suspension pod.  If the suit can be breached, even in a small way, the Corpsmen must immediately save or die.  Even on a successful save, a Corpsmen who survives this is guaranteed to retreat, unless no escape route is available. 
4- Crumbling foam gel.  Only damageable by sharp melee weapons.  This suit's gel foam pads that support the ceramite plates of the armor is crumbling, causing the plates of the armor to thump into each other.  If someone were to stick a sharp object under them and use the blade the lever, the plates could potentially be pried loose, reducing the Corpsmen's AC by 1 point.  Every time a Corpsmen's AC is reduced, he must check Morale or flee. 
5- Exposed Control Cables.  AC 18 for ranged, 15 for melee, immune to blunt damage.  Some of the cable fibers that link the armor's various movement and computer systems together have become visible.  If damaged, this disables 1dX [1= The Head, Corpsman cannot turn it; 2= Right Arm; 3= Left Arm; 4= Left Leg; 5= Right Leg; 6= Life-support, Corpsmen must spend an action to redirect the Armor's commands through one of the redundant systems.  Every round he does not do this, he must save or die.]
6- Visor Replacement.  AC 16, 1d3 targets.  The visor on this suit of Armor was removed and replaced with several cameras, loacated in various places on the suit.  If destroyed, the Corpsmen would be effectively blind. 

Loadout Table
1d12

1- Fists.  As per the Statblock.  The Corpsmen can make two fist attacks though.
2- Great Weapon, Primitive.  One attack that does 1d8+3 damage. 
3- Barbed Whip, Primitive.  The Corpsmen can make two attacks that does 1d6 damage each, or he can choose to grapple his target on a hit.
4- Gauntlet Blades.  The Corpsmen can make two attacks, each one dealing 1d6+3 damage.  These are the larger type of blades.
5- Shock Maul.  The Corpsmen can make 1 attack, doing 1d6+STR damage + 1d6 electric damage.  If the electric damage would reduce someone to zero, it instead reduces them to 1 HP and stuns them until they pass a DEX saving throw.
6- Autoaxe.  The Corpsmen can make 1 attack, doing 1d10+STR damage. 
7- Light Stubber.  The Corpsmen can make 1 attack, doing 1d10 damage, save vs firearm.  The Corpsmen can also lay down suppressing fire with this weapon. 
8- Incinerator.  The Corpsmen does damage in a 10' wide, 30' long line with this weapon.  The gel this weapon sprays is highly flammable and dangerous, water will not extinguish it (unless its an incredibly large amount of high-pressure), though submerging someone in water will scrape it off them.
9- WASAP Missile Launcher.  1 shot does 4d6 damage in a 30' range, save for half.  The Corpsmen must then take an action to reload.  The Corpsmen also only has 1d4 shots available with this weapon.
10- Meat Hammer Shotgun.  This weapon is a favorite from a desperate, backwater world you never want to visit.  It is basically three shotguns lashed tied together and fired simultaneously.  It kicks like a stampede and is barely usable by a normal person.  Even the Corpsmen have a bit of trouble with it.  Also, an absolute pain to reload.  Does 4d6 damage at close range, 2d6 at medium range and 1d6 at long range, save vs firearm. 
11- Impaler.  1 shot does 3d6 damage.  Requires a full action to reload.  Fires a spike of metal as long as your arm.  Does sharp, or maybe blunt damage.
12- Laser Array.  Can make four laser rifle attacks, all against different targets.  A bundle of Blink Rifles wired together to fire in a wave.  Hideously inaccurate, but good at laying down suppressing fire.

                                                      by Darkodev

Debtors or Interns or CLs (Conditional Laborers)

Hypercorporations did not become the way they are by spending money where it was not necessary.  Thus, like all their competitors and rivals, Strexcorp keeps its workforce to a minimum.  The majority of the workers, in Strexcorp mines or farms or factories, are actually the employees of local franchises.  These franchises receive mandates and decrees, as well as the relevant equipment to continue functioning from the Corporate Headquarters, who provide them with protection and legitimacy.  In exchange, the franchises shoulder the majority of the labor cost, but get to keep some of the profit, as long as HQ gets their cut. 

These chains of obedience and fealty are usually life-long, but occasionally, they break.  A franchisee cannot make his payments or violates something in the Corporate Charter and is dragged before a Oath Court, or perhaps an employee owes, either a franchisee or the Company itself, an extensive amount of money and end up being forced to sign a very cruel contract, along with promising to pay back what they owe.  Regardless of how it begins, the Debtors are essentially the slaves of the holder of their contracts.  They usually retain a few basic rights and treatment isn't universally horrible, but it is generally more unpleasant than even the most menial of the employee.

Strexcorp is infamous for its use of Debtors, as it uses them not only as a means of recouping a loss, but also of punishment.  Those who refuse to "put on a happy face" will be reprimanded, then punished and if that doesn't work, made CLs. Debts are usually racked up based on the "lost productivity" the employee caused by misbehaving and until that sum is paid down, the employee will find themselves the property of their once employer.  These CLs can often be seen in Strexcorp facilities, performing pointless or bizarre tasks in public, such as cleaning in between floor tiles with a toothbrush, selling useless products or propositioning passer-bys for company-sponsored proposition.  This is meant as a constant reminder of what fate awaits those who defy the will of Strexcorp.    

All Debtors are kept in line through the promise of eventual freedom, mixed with punishments of various types.  Strexcorp is particularly insidious with its CLs, implanting them with small, remote-controlled electrical emitters that are wired into the brain-stem of the Debtor.  These devices do not allow mind-control or for the handlers to read the thoughts of the CLs, as the propaganda the Debtors are fed claims.  Instead, these devices have a far more insidious purpose.  They are loaded with drugs that can be injected via remote control.  The most common type of drug is called "Hapi" and it produces feelings of euphoria, empathy and enhanced sensation.  Strexcorp uses this to reshape its Debtors, addicting them to these drugs and making them never desire to leave.  Many of these Debtors will be so addicted after they have paid off their debt that they will remain under the protection of Strexcorp, in exchange for just another hit.

Some Debtors, particularly those who seem especially pliable or those trained in violence, sometimes end up being sent to fight the company's battles.  These Debtors are loaded with remote injectors that pump them full of combat drugs  Pity these poors souls - and shoot to kill. 

Statblock:  

Combat Debtor
HD 1/2  AC 10/13  Atk Laser Pistol 1d8/Pistol 1d8 (enemies get +4 bonus to saves) or Combat Knife (+1, 1d6/1d6)
Mor  5/15 or less      Saves 7 or less is a success

Drug Injector: Combat Debtors have small, discreet devices stuck into the backs of their necks.  These devices can be yanked out if a successful attack is made against AC 16.  The devices are single-shot, and can only be used once before needing to be replaced.  If they are removed before the injection is made, then the Combat Debtor can never utilize the bonuses of the 'Combat Drugs' ability.  Once injected, these drugs last for 1d4+2 rounds.

Combat Drugs: When injected with their combat drugs, Combat Debtors use the numbers on the right side of the "/".  These d

Tactics:
- Be cowardly and sniveling until the drugs are injected
- Then fight like wild-men
- Let the others give you cover then sprint in close to stab the enemy up

                                                         from here

Invictives

"Forward!  Forward!  What are you, afraid?"

Invictives are the servants of the Smiling God, the public face of the ministry.  They are warrior-priests, battling brothers in arms, clad in glittering armor and carrying oversized weapons.  While most of the Priests of the Smiling God focus on his kind eyes or his wide, blinding teeth, the Invictives speak of his protection, of how he brings victory through the subjugation of their enemies.  They demand that others give over their fears, so that the Smiling God can slurp them up.  The Invictives demand nothing short of heroism of their charges - and they are usually willing to provide. 

Invictives fight ferociously when called upon, but more then that, their strength lies in their ability to motivate and inspire the common ranks of Strexcorp soldiers to heroic acts of courage and self-sacrifice. 

They are an unsophisticated bunch, but a blunt instrument is sometimes necessary.

Statblock:

Invictive
HD 2  AC 13  Atk Blink Pistol (1d8/1d8, save vs firearm) or Buzzsword (+3, 1d8+1)
Mor 16 or less      Saves special

Saves: Agents of the Smiling God are ludicrously lucky.  When forced to roll a save, they instead roll a d6.  On a 2-6, count that as a successful save.  The Agents are also hard to kill; if they take fatal damage, they may roll a save.  On a success, they survive with 1 HP.  This can only apply in situations where it is possible for them to survive without bending the laws of reality.  Note that even if they survive, they are still likely to suffer some kind of terrible injury. 

Buzzblade: It takes a free action to start up a Buzzsword's engine, though this free action cannot be done in melee combat. While the Buzzsword is running, the Invictive fails any attempt at stealth.

Exemplar of Courage: While an Invictive is visible or not fleeing himself, all Strexcorp soldiers can reroll failed Morale checks.

Combat Maneuvers: Invictives are also skilled at noticing weaknesses in an enemy's defenses and are good at coordinating attacks.  To see what strategy an Invictive decides to use, roll on the Combat Maneuvers table below.

Tactics:
- Use Combat Maneuvers
- Provide an example to inspire courage
- Always be on the front lines

Combat Maneuvers
1d6

1- Strike the Flanks.  Have the majority of allies lay down cover fire and pin the enemy where they are, then lead a small team around to the side to attack them where they are unprotected.
2- Retreat then Encircle.  Stage a false retreat, then when the enemy chases after you, let them over-extend then surround and eliminate them.
3- Hammer and Anvil.  Split your forces into two and have one group move around to behind the enemy while the other takes cover and remains immobile, to force the enemy to stay where they are.  Then, cursh the enemy between your two forces.
4- Piecemeal.  Attack, then retreat.  Stalk the enemy, firing occasionally, but never from outside cover.  Minimize risk to yourself while hurting the enemy as much as possible.  This tactic is only to be used against a superior enemy.
5- Barrage.  Have your soldiers fire their blink rifles in a wave, laying down suppressing fire.  Then slowly advance on the enemy.  Keep a small number of soldiers not doing this.  When they get close, have them burst in on the enemy and cut them down, while they are still worried about the barrage.
6- Blockade.  Have the soldiers dig in and wait.  Let them come to you and dash themselves against your defenses.  If you are not found wanting, you will endure while they perish. 

                                                            by Jakub DK

Frowning Men or Frowners or Weepers

The Office for Spiritual Development and Moral Progress is an official sub-organization attached to the Church of the Smiling God.  It is a secret organization, but anyone who has been at Strexcorp for any amount of time has seen their work.  When managers or co-workers suddenly disappear without a trace; when a small establishment in the company town is suddenly shut down and burned to the foundations; when a kill-team of heavily armed, masked men in white-washed body armor and opaque face masks bearing the knife-slash of a humorless smirk, it is always the work of the Weepers.

The Weepers, or Frowners, or Frowning Men, these are all just a handful of names attributed to the Religious Police deployed by the Church of the Smiling God.  They are the militant arm of the Church, deployed to find sinners, traitors and deviants hiding among the Strexcorp labor force.  They are everywhere, operating in total secrecy.  Occasionally a group of Weepers can be seen wearing their uniforms and masks, but this is a rare occurence.  Most often, they are little more than an unsaid rumor, a nightmare that can be woken up from.  But they are everywhere and they're always watching.

The Weepers are most common on Strexcorp facilities or on any of the planetoids that the Company owns.  They scour the live feeds and recordings from the many millions of surveillance devices scattered all throughout Strexcorp holdings, looking for evidence of treason, deviance, impiety or lack of happiness.  Someone who does not act jovial in public or with others can be a target, though this is less common then the rumors say.  The most likely targets are those who violate the company charter or who speak ill of the Management, the Company or the Smiling God.  Strexcorp employees know that one must never say anything bad when discussing those subjects, for the Weepers are always watching. 

Along with their surveillance network, the Weepers also maintain vast webs of informants, who spy on their cohorts and report back any treasonous words or deeds.  Informing on your neighbor can be a good way to protect yourself, but it is no guarantee.  Too many people have been dragged into the night, screaming about how he was good, how he told the Weepers everything.  In the end, none of it mattered. 

The Weepers are said to wear masks because they shed bitter tears of regret for the things they must do to other members of the Strexcorp family.  Others say it is because behind those masks, they are grinning ear to ear.  But the darkest rumor, the one thought by many but rarely vocalized is that whatever is behind those masks is not human at all.

Statblock:

Weeper
HD 3  AC 15 (Diffusion-Tile Armor)  Atk Blink Rifle (2d6, save vs firearm) or Shock Gauntlet (+2, 1d6 electric/1d6 electric)
Mor 18 or less   Saves special

Saves: Agents of the Smiling God are ludicrously lucky.  When forced to roll a save, they instead roll a d6.  On a 2-6, count that as a successful save.  The Agents are also hard to kill; if they take fatal damage, they may roll a save.  On a success, they survive with 1 HP.  This can only apply in situations where it is possible for them to survive without bending the laws of reality.  Note that even if they survive, they are still likely to suffer some kind of terrible injury. 

Shock Gauntlet: If someone is grappled by someone wearing a shock gauntlet, they take 1d6 non-lethal electric damage every round, if the gauntlet wishes it so.  This continues until the person would be knocked below zero, in which case they instead drop to 1 HP and are stunned until they pass a DEX saving throw.

Diffusion Tile Armor: This armor can reduce the damage of one a laser shot a round by 1d12 damage, or reduce 1 shot by 12.  However, doing the latter prevents the wearer from using the damage reduction power of the armor until the tiles are replaced, and reduces AC by 1 point. 

Suicide Pills: Weepers know many secret pieces of information.  To prevent the secrets of the Smiling God and his mortal servants from ever escaping, Weepers carry suicide pills.  If one of them is in danger of being captured, have them make a Morale check.  On a success, they take a sucide pill.  Also, note that the power of the Smiling God is not so weak that a mere suicide pill could harm one of his servants, should he not wish it.  If the Smiling God has use for a Weeper, the suicide pill will not work. 

Tactics:
- Never go into a fire-fight without a plan
- Use terrain, surprise
- Focus fire on the most heavily armed/dangerous individual
- Use Shock Gauntlets to disable those who get too close
- Never be taken alive    

                                                       by daemonmac14

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

SOS: The Powers of the Emptiness

                                                          source unknown
Powers:

All magic that does not come from rituals comes from the Powers, which are powerful collectives or individual creatures from within the Emptiness.  Many of them are directly associated with or tied to one of the Hollow Kings, who claim to be the most powerful beings in the Emptiness, if not the entire universe.  The Powers might actually be the Hollow Kings, or perhaps the Kings themselves are nothing more than another mask of something truly unknowable.

All the Powers share a particular motif and method of operation.  They all have unique and contradictory goals, so they war against each other.  Their goals can be known, though they rarely are, as these goals are based on the logic of creatures too far removed to be truly comprehended by us.  Additionally, even if we could understand them, most of these creatures don't have the desire to tell us, or know that us knowing the truth would be counter-productive, so they keep their silence.  The only things we can truly know about the Powers is what they choose to reveal to their followers, who usually only know of their Master's motivations and current will.  To borrow an example from the Christian religion, God's motivation is Love.  He loves you and wants to be with you.  His will is that you believe in and act like his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as much as you are able.    

Still, we can determine something about the Powers based on how they operate and what they appear to be.  To determine these things, roll on the tables below.  For one particular organization, roll only once, but for a longer game, roll several times, then determine the Powers' relations with each other.

This Power's existence is first hinted at through...
1d4
1- An Agent of the Power that seems to possess strange powers or cause strange things to happen around them.  Examples: a man who causes electrical devices to act oddly when he is around or a woman whose boyfriends tend to fly off the deep end and go insane or kill themselves.
2- A victim of one of the Power's Agents or Principals.  Examples: a woman who ended up lost in an impossible location or a savage murder committed through impossible means, such as a man being attacked by a tiger in your loft apartment, while his wife rocked their 3 month old to sleep in the other room, neither of them hearing a sound.
3- An artifact either created by or otherwise important to the Power's Principals or Agents.  Examples: A book associated with the Power's motif that causes strange dreams and gives you headaches when you try to read it for too long or a recording of an important person seemingly being tortured, despite the fact that this person is still alive and seems fine.
4- A strange occurrence caused by sources unknown to the players, but caused by the Power.  Examples: At a dance club, there is a gunfight and many people are injured, with several killed.  The police are never called.  Or, the witness to some mysterious event disappears or dies in a way related to that Power's motif, such as stepping into a puddle and vanishing without a trace or disappearing in the night, to be replaced by a person who looks nothing like them, but everyone treats as if it were the original person. 

This Power is associated with...
1d20
1- Gold and silk.  Luxury and decadence.
2- Rot and Flowers.  Devouring the dead to feed the living.
3- High Mountains and stark natural beauty.  The solitude and indifference of the natural world.
4- Painkillers and Whiskey.  Things that numb the senses, depression and suicide. 
5- Bleached bone and sand.  Crushed computer components and broken masterpieces.  The end.
6- Sex and Pain.  Whips, straight razors, fetish gear, corsets and stilleto heels.
7- Fire and Medicine.  Phoenixes, rebirth, salvation through suffering.
8- Water and slime.  Hidden things moving beneath the algae mats, huge leviathans stirring in the deep, crushing pressure.
9- Darkness and Masks.  Anonymity, secrecy, conspiracies, informants, double and triple crosses.
10- Strange, ethereal music and exotic drugs.  Revelations, light, trances, hypnosis, sudden reveals and grand unveilings.
11- Austere stone and dense, common metals.  Iron, bronze, carved stone, fertile soil, agrarian life, quietly mourning a lost world.
12- Featureless white cubes and bright yellow buttons.  Customer service smiles, bright pastel colors paired with white, casual Fridays, cubicle farms, consumerism and company picnics.
13- Secret messages and lights in the sky.  Men in black, subliminal messages hidden in advertisements and media, secret chat-rooms, circles, schizophrenia, madness, objects concealed inside people, an underground resistance movement.
14- Mutation and a red Sun.  Deformity, wheelchairs, crippling injuries, blood, a promised hope, the end is nigh.
15- Horses and black, liquid eyes.  Small mammals acting strangely, inhuman laughter, strange footprints, scratches on wood.
16- Sickness and hallucinations.  Fever dreams, seeing things that aren't there, infirmity, joint pain and a cold that never really leaves.   
17- Dice and guns.  Gambling, high-stakes wagers, cheating, betting or selling your soul, youth or life, boredom, crime one last job.
18- Pets and Technology.  Fish, lizards, terrariums, fish tanks, cages, transformation, memory loss, neglect.
19- Technology and Intelligence.  Mathematics, logical postulates, ancient works of philosophy, pessimism, smoking.
20- Inversion and fools.  Clowns, jackanapes, merriment, madness, drinking, bad decisions, the inversion of the social or natural order.

                                                    source unknown

Agents:

All of the Powers have Agents.  They are the servants, the Foot-soldiers, the congregation.  They enact its will in the mortal world and advance its plans.  Some of these Agents are unwitting, they do not know that they serve the Power at all, or they do not know the true extent.  They may think that they serve a secret society or a criminal syndicate gang but nothing more, being themselves unaware of the truth.  Alternatively, they may know much, and revere the Power itself as a God.    

To see how the Agents of this Power act, roll on the tables below:

The Agents  of this Power are known for their...
1d8

1- Discipline.  The Agents of this Power function like a military force.  They have a strict hierarchy and obey their superiors with no hesitation.
2- Zeal.  The Agents of this Power fight un-intelligently but with a shocking ferocity.  When not fighting, they spend almost all their time performing rites and praying.
3- Intelligence.  The Agents of this Power are all quite intelligent and are rarely known to make mistakes or fall into traps.  They are agile liars, but even they may be in the dark about what the Power desires.
4- Normality.  The Agents of this Power are all quite mundane, most of them being no more skilled than any randomly selected person would be.  You would never look twice at one, unless you knew what you were looking for.
5- Cowardly.  The Agents of this Power are not brave souls and are quick to retreat should things turn against them.
6- Savagery.  The Agents of this Power are uncivilized folk who hold primitive customs and behave like a pack of boderline-feral beasts whenever they can.
7- Cruelty.  The Agents of this Power are known to harm others because they can and torment those who fall into their power.
8- Willfulness.  The Agents of this Power seem to operate independently or in small groups, with little in the way of coordination.  They seem to regard laws as guidelines and orders as suggestions.

The Agents of this Power are largely motivated by...
1d10

1- Money.  The Agents of this Power have been promised riches or wealth in this world.
2- Power.  The Agents of this World have been told that great changes are coming and they have been promised seats of great importance in the new regime.
3- Safety.  The Agents of this Power are scared of the dangers the world holds and cling to the promise of safety provided by the Power they serve.  This is often accompanied by their Principality being highly charismatic and acting as a surrogate parent.
4- Ideology.  The Agents of this Power are all followers of some system of thought.  The Power does not reflect this ideology, but they are either using it as a tool, unaware of what a terrible idea that is; believe it shares the same values as them, an incredibly foolish error; or they believe that it has commanded this system of thought and its guaranteed outcomes be put into place; equal chance of each.
5- Fear.  The Agents of this Power are terrified either of this Power and what it might do to them if they refuse to obey its will.  They revere it like a terrible God or an absolute, mercurial Monarch.  This motivation is often coupled with another, reroll and add the other as what they originally feared.
6- Religion.  The Agents revere this Power as a God and worship it.  They have priests, holy writ, temples and all the other trappings of religion.    
7- Coercion.  The Agents were tricked or coerced into serving the Power.  Perhaps they accepted an offer for something they thought mundane, or they made a choice without truly knowing the implications.  This motivation is often coupled with another, reroll and add the other on top as what originally drew them to the Power in the first place.
8- Virtue.  The Agents of this Power think that the Power is Good and believe it is their duty to serve it, as the Power is righteous.  They may believe the Power is an extension of an ordinary religion or moral system, or perhaps it is something else.  Regardless, they believe it is Good.
9- Knowledge.  The Agents of this Power have peered behind the veil and glimpsed the cogwheels of fate spinning, and now they can never unsee that.  Their eyes are wide open and will never close again.  They must know.  So they press on. 
10- Love.  The Agents of this Power love the Power, because of what they believe it has done for them.  Who knows how true their beliefs are, but each of them will have a testimony about their "come to Jesus" moment, though their testimonies are likely to be far darker than anything you'd hear at a tent revival.

The Agents of this Power...
1d4

1- Do not for a second suspect that they are actually in the service of a Power from beyond their Universe.
2- Do think there is something weird going on, but they have only half-glimpsed shapes, suspicious conversations they overheard the management having and that one wing that no one is allowed to enter as evidence.  They have no idea, but they definitely suspect that some of the scenery is made of cardboard.
3- Do think that something dark is occuring here, but most don't think it is supernatural.  They suspect corruption, favoritism, nepotism, vice, sin and/or criminal activity.  They may be right, but they're definitely missing most of the pieces. 
4- Know exactly what they've gotten into, or at least, most of it.  They do not know the Power's plans or true character, but they do know a lot.  They know their Master's will and they know something odd is occurring.  

Some of the Powers also empower their Agents, endowing them with special traits, abilities or quirks.  So, how are the Agents of this Power blessed? 

1d6

1- The Agents of this Power are not blessed at all.  They have been duped, fooled into serving a Power that cares nothing for them.  They are ordinary and the Power uses them for cannon fodder and meat.  The Power itself acts totally through its Principalities.
2- The Agents of this Power are robbed of their humanity and made into part of vast collectives.  The Agents are made a part of the Principalities, which are a part of the Power itself.  There is no individuality, no division, at least in the minds of the Agents, Principalities and most likely, the Power.
3- The Agents of this Power are blessed with certain natural virtues, such as wealth or goodliness, but otherwise are ordinary.
4- The Agents of this Power are given small protections, such as the bodies of their victims burning to a crisp to destroy physical evidence, fortune seeming to always favor the Agent or the Agent being subtly alerted to each other's actions and being given advice on how to protect each other in small ways: covering up incidents, manufacturing or destroying evidence, coming to act as reinforcements, etc.
5- The Agents of this Power have magical abilities, but they are subtle and relatively weak.  The Agents can influence the wills of others, endure things that an ordinary man would not survive, send messages across impossible distances or do something similar.
6- The Agents of this Power have either a small protection or a weak magical ability, equal chance of either.  The Power also has a method that it grants them of transcending their humanity and surpassing it.  Agents that transcend their humanity still look human, on the outside, but they have been granted amazing powers in exchange for their humanity.  For example, the Agents of this Power before their transformation can sense people are looking at them or cannot be seen on video cameras, have their picture taken or be recorded, but only one of those.  An Agent after his transformation would possess both abilities, as well as the ability to teleport when no one is looking at him to any place within 100', as long as no one is observing that location at the time.

                                                           source unknown
The Principalities:

If the Agents are the servants, then the Principalities are the knights, the governors, the human face attached to something alien and unknowable.

Originally, I intended for these guys to basically be Outsiders, but now I am not so sure.  I want the supernatural to be something as wondrous and spectacular as possible in Sea of Stars, so I am redoing the Empty-Men, making most of them Principalities.

Statistically, these guys are Outsiders, as described in this post.  But they need a make-over.

For starters, I will not be stating where the Host ends and the Power begins.  The line is gray.  Is this a monster wearing human skin, or a person with incredible abilities?  And even if it was a human originally, how human is it now?  The Power, it changed them, making them more like it.  It's like, the Power is using the human, and not the other way around.  The Principalities will still possess their dual forms, but one form will always be that of a mostly normal human, though some of the Principalities will have small tells, such as a persistent scar, an odd number of fingers, or maybe just something about them is uncanny- they just don't quite the nuance of humanity.  Their true forms will be, of course, terrifying, alien and rarely seen. 

Secondly, fighting these guys should be like staring in your own personal horror movie.  The Principalities are relentless and vaguely supernatural.  They seem to vanish when you stop looking at them, they display incredible physical prowess and no matter what you throw at them, they just refuse to die. 

The Principalities do possess supernatural abilities, but I will be refluffing these abilities to be subtler.  Shooting lasers out of your eyes or breathing fire is not something I want for Sea of Stars.  It's too, overblown.  I want to preserve the mystique of the supernatural, so none of that will be permitted here.  That can be saved for the ludicrous high fantasy of Nukaria or some kind of OSR superhero hack.

                                                     source unknown

Friday, December 13, 2019

OSR: Hags

They were good once.  Virtuous, noble, beautiful even.  And powerful.  Her skills and talents were once in a decade, once in a century.  She became the talk of the community and likely served them well with her spells and knowledge.
But along the way, something went wrong.  Like the Half-Ghoul who steals life, a bite at a time, she did something bad.  She took that first bite, took the first sip of that terrible wine.  Perhaps she felt there was no other way, or it was an accident.  Yet she was blamed for it, accused of a horrible deed.  Or maybe she wasn't.  Maybe she was able to cover up her deed.  Or maybe, her situation was desperate, so no one thought it was unjustifiable.

But just as the Half-Ghoul goes from eating the dead, to the Undead, to the living, slowly sacrificing more of himself to his appetite, she does the same.  One compromise, one secret sin, the worsening of circumstances, it leads to another.  What was only to be done once e, or in the most desperate of times, slowly becomes more familiar to her.  It's a long, patient road she walks, but regardless, it leads to the same place.

Eventually, all pretense is shorn away.  Either her crimes become known, or her actions unjustifiable, or she simply comes to it no longer useful, she flees or is driven out.  And there, beyond the reach of Law and Justice, she broods and waits.  And as the years pass, as she grows older and and stranger, she changes.  Tired muscles that should have withered grow wiry and misshapen and surging with unnatural vitality.  Wrinkled skin turns tough as leather armor; while fingernails that used to crack and break easily now grow long and hard, sharp enough to open a man from neck to navel.  And her once noted magical abilities flower into something fearsome indeed.  This is the story of how a helper becomes a horror, and how a good maintained past its natural duration can fester into a malignant evil.  This is the tale of the Hag.

                                                       source unknown

Mode of Being:

Hags are foul creatures, twisted by years of living in unrepentant sin, consorting with Dark Powers and other vile practices.  They are wicked, hating what is good and watching the suffering of others with glee.  It is these small cruelties that usually drive a Hag.  Hags can be motivated by things like money and power, but just as often, they succumb to more petty vices.  A Hag is just as often motivated by a desire for revenge against those who wronged her in the past, or if that person is dead or unavailable, merely someone who resembles the original target.

Hags also love to strike bargains, offering their power or knowledge, for a price.  But these bargains are wretched and Faustian, usually causing as many problems as they cause.  In fact, that is one of a Hag's favorite things to do: offer a solution that replaces a current problem with a larher one.  The other thing Hags love to do is to cause a problem,  such as poisoning the well to cause illness, then when the locals come to her,  offer a gruesome solution that will be just as painful.

Black Sororities:


Hags keep tabs on and maintain contact with each other.  All Hags know who all the other Hags near them, if there are any.  As such, if one Hag ends up in trouble, she will often retreat to one of these other Hags and ask for their help.  If the other Hag is feeling generous (unlikely) or feels that helping might benefit her plans, she will help.  Of course, Hags have little love for each other and find as much enjoyment in watching one of their own fall as any other. 

That being said, if a Hag is killed without the permission, tacit or otherwise, of any Hags connected to her, such as within a Coven or a Master-servant relationship, the superior Hag will have to try and take revenge, or otherwise be thought of as weak.

A note on Covens: these are alliances between Hags on a semi-permanent basis, usually composed of 3 Hags, though larger ones can exist.  Not for very long though, as once more than three Hags are involved in a social situation, cliques form and the various members start scheming about how to destroy the others.  That happens in a Coven, of course, but usually limiting it to three members limits the amount of back-stabbing to an absolute minimum. 

Foul Magicks:

Hags possess natural magical abilities, but they also possess knowledge of rituals.  These rituals can be done by anyone who knows how, though a Hag is unlikely to give out this information to anyone, unless that person were as corrupt as them or the Hag felt it would benefit her.  These rituals can be performed by one Hag, but are more effective as part of a Coven.  As the Referee determines, a Hag may know one or more of these rituals. 

What can Grannie do for thee?
1d6

1- Foretelling.  Hags can peer into the future and receive omens of what is to be.
2- Scrying.  Hags can spy on unwarded creatures from far away.
3- Birth Changeling.  Hags can sacrifice a child and create a new creature that resembles it perfectly, but has an inhuman soul.
4- Alter Weather.  Hags love to conjure storms or cause droughts.  One Hag can only alter the weather for short periods or in a local area, but a Coven can do truly terrifying things with this ritual.
5- Create Poison.  Can be applied to a piece of food, mixed into water to cause disease or sprinkled on fields to blight crops.
6- Alter Form.  Hags can create smoke that mutates those who are surrounded by it.  They can also use this ritual to transform someone into a beast, ala Princess in the Frog.

Types of Hag:

                                           by berserkerart

Sea:

Perhaps these foul specimens began their lives under the sea, themselves originally belonging to some aquatic race, before undergoing the same slow transformation as their land-dwelling "sisters".  Or perhaps they were originally land dwellers themselves, before striking bargains with some horrible creature from beneath the waves.  Or maybe the Sea Hag's mother was not actually wedded to a handsome sailor taken by the sea, but instead was taken by the sea herselfin another, more intimate way.  Regardless of her origin, Sea Hags are horrific in appearance, covered in scales and corded with muscle beneath, a wet fringe of tangled hair resembling limp seaweed dangling from her head, in some grotesque parody of a woman's flowing locks.

Sea Hags are aware of how they look to people and most of them despise the fact that they are not beautiful.  As such, they seek to corrupt beauty wherever they find it, whether that beauty be contained in an object, custom or person.  Sea Hags are also the most direct of all Hags, as they are the youngest when they complete their transformation, so they still bear the passions, as well as the follies, of youth.  As such, compared to other Hags, a Sea Hag's manipulations are childish and simple. 

This is not something the Sea Hags care about though.  They tend to scorn their "aunts" and "grandmothers", as they address other Hags, usually in mocking tones.  They claim to be creatures of action, while other Hags tend too much time nursing their grudges and plotting, while Sea Hags actually do things.  Of course, if a Sea Hag ends up in trouble, she will often end up retreating to one of these other Hags for aid and protection, if she is not part of a Coven.   

Sea Hags dwell in places of ill repute next to the sea, though due to their unsophisticated nature, most of them reject the trappings of civilization.  An abandoned cave along a rocky shore or a rotting shipwreck perched on a faraway sandbar is good enough for her.  For servants, Sea Hags recruit the ruffians of land and sea, bringing aboard Lobstermen and Crablings to guard her subsurface holdings, while strong-arming pirates and scavengers to keep an eye out for things above water.  Most of these creatures who end up serving a Sea Hag do so because fighting her is a losing proposition, or simply because the arrangement is mutually beneficial.  A pirate crew with a Sea Hag at their backs is much stronger than one without, and that goes triple for a Sea Hag Coven.  For this reason, captains of pirate crews and leaders of underwater raiders are often willing to partner with Sea Hags.  The leaders entertain the notion that they are intimidated by the Sea Hag's power and obey her out of fear.  In reality, of course is that while Sea Hags are powerful, they are not as strong as they claim.  One of them can only do so much damage.  As such, the officers are usually wary of Sea Hags, but aren't (that) scared of them. 

This is just another piece of evidence to prove the fact that officers are dumb, and should listen to their NCOs more often, especially when their NCOs are telling them that teaming up with the horrifying fish-woman with magical powers is an idea that can only end badly.

Additionally, Sea Hags are known to raise hostile sea life to protect their lairs, raising or taming such creatures as giant octopi, enormous crabs, Lobstrosities, poisonous sea snakes, large sting-rays, saltwater crocodiles or dolphins.

                                                       from The Witcher 3, source

Statblock:  

Sea Hag
HD 3  AC 14  Atk Claws (+3, 1d6+2/1d6+2) or Death Glare
Mor Stand and fight on a 13 or less    Saves 9 or less is a success

Horrific Appearance: A Sea Hag's true form is shocking and disturbing to behold.  When you first see a Sea Hag or when you see her drop a Player Character or hireling to zero HP, you must save.  On a failure, you become frightened of the Hag and take 1d6 WIL damage for every round you spend fighting the Hag.  If this WIL damage ever equals or exceeds a creature's WIL score, that creature must flee and gains the Conviction, "I wil never fight that Sea Hag ever again."

Death Glare: As an action, a Sea Hag may glare at a creature, exerting psychic force on it.  This attack only works if the creature can see and notices the Sea Hag.  If the Sea Hag is observing from a concealed position, it automatically fails.  The creature, if it was not frightened by the Sea Hag, takes 1d8 psychic damage from this attack, no save.  If the creature was frightened of the Sea Hag, the creature must save or drop to zero FS (Fighting Spirit).

Illusory Appearance: As an action, a Sea Hag may create an illusion over itself to alter its appearance.  However, whatever it transforms into will be ugly still, though it won't be supernaturally repulsive, like the Sea Hag's true form.  The Sea Hag may dispel this illusion as a free action.

Amphibious: Sea Hags can breathe air as easily as they breathe water.

Powerful Swimmer: Sea Hags can swim faster than any land-dwelling creature.

Tactics:
- Try to lure into water, if they follow, grapple and drown them
- Ambush and frighten
- Use Death Glare on frightened creatures, then rip them to shreds

Sea Hag Coven:


All Sea Hags within the Coven gain the following ability:

Coven Casting: When the Coven is together, all the members of the Coven gain access to a pool of Spellcasting dice that they can use to cast spells with.  Any member may access this pool, but these spellcasting dice are otherwise normal, burning out on a "5" or "6" and returning after a long rest.  The Coven can also, upon casting a spell, imbue an object with their magical power.  If they choose to do this, when the object is used, the spell is released.  For example, a cask of wine would be imbued with the spell Curse, so the first person who drank it was cursed. 

A Sea Hag Coven has 6 spellcasting dice and gains access to the following spells: Curse, Liquefy, Monsterize, Steel Intangibility, Tentacle Swarm, Vagina Dentata.

Sea Hag plot hooks:
1d4

1- The Duke's daughter has been kidnapped!  On the way to her wedding, the young Annette Manders', daughter of Duke Manders' was kidnapped by fishmen, led by a terrible seaweed Queen!  The girls male bodyguard and driver were killed, but her handmaid was found later, naked and scarred, her face marred by horrible cuts, the other attractive parts her body similarly damaged.  Rescue her, please, before worse happens to her!
2- A homely woman shows up at a noble or rich man's house, preferrably when he isn't home, and starts asking where he is, as she has born him a son.  This woman will make a fuss until she is asked to provide proof, to which she will promise to show you.  She will take you down to the shore and show you the enormous, half-human, half-sea monster baby that this woman apparently gave birth to. 
3- An important man or woman in town, a real pillar of the community, apparently molested and killed a child in an act of hideous violence.  There is extensive proof, but the accused swears that they did not do it. 
4- You see a group of robed people about to toss a baby into the sea or a similarly large body of water.  If this sacrifice is stopped, a Sea Hag will emerge from beneath the waters to extract her payment in other ways.

                                             by albe75

Green:

Green Hags are the overseers of tangled, overgrown forests, misty moors, salty fens or miserable bogs.  They dwell amid corruption and filth, happily tending herbs useful for magic and poisonous flowers amidst de facto graveyards.  They even seem to revel in this fact, going out of their way to put on an air of false joviality, always trying to look on the bright side, but in the most insincere way possible.  They make pots of skulls and plant flowers in them, or tapestries of flayed skin to decorate the walls.

Green Hags are master manipulators, cloaking their true identities and intentions behind layers of deception.  They use their illusion powers to their full extent, making sure to spread confusion and alarm wherever they go.  An example Green Hag deception might go like this; the Green Hag disguises itself as a concerned citizen and tells the players that she suspects that a shrine worker has been engaged in illict behavior.  Then, she will travel to the shrine worker's residence. ambush and kill him, then hide the body.  Once the party arrives there, tell them she knows nothing about illict behavior and be very cooperative.  Then, use the shrine worker's body and frame one of the player character's for murder.  Then the Green Hag will retreat to watch the seeds of Chaos that she has sown germinate.

Sometimes a Green Hag will deceive as part of a grand plan, but just as often, deception it an end onto itself.  The Green Hag just wants people to doubt and be afraid.  She wants people to be unable to trust, as she finds herself unable to do that.  She resents the bonds of trust and love that people share and is secretly envious of those people, though she would never admit this to anyone, even herself.  So the Green Hag goes out of her way to damage those relationships through lies and deceit. 

Green Hags themselves usually see people as divided into two categories: those who trust, ie the weak and foolish, who are free to be exploited; and the wise, who do not trust and instead base all transactions on power.  If you are one of the former, the Green Hag will exploit and deceive you.  If you are one of the latter, the Green Hag might try to recruit you into one of her schemes.

For lairs, Green Hags will make their homes in caves, isolated cottages, dank grottos or underground burrows, either dug by the Green Hag herslef or more likely, by her servants.  For servants, Green Hags recruit brutish men, becoming a surrogate mother to them, telling gruesome stories and feeding them porridge.  She will also do the same for foreign barbarians or bands made of members belonging to the Savage Races.  Additionally they sometimes recruit lesser Folk who are more interested in bloodshed than ideology as well as other beasts that love muck and filth, such as Otyughs, Ogres and Ettercaps.  They also love vermin, particularly larger versions of that, taming and training giant spiders, dog-sized wasps and Stirges.  This isn't all though- a Green Hag can tame almost any animal, given enough time, so her pets and servants are only truly limited by what is available near her home.  Hopefully there are no giant snakes or panthers near her.

                                                       by LindaB

Statblock:
Green Hag
HD 4  AC 15  Atk Claws (+4, 1d6+3/1d6+3)
Mor Stand and fight on 15 or less  Saves 10 or less is a success

Spellcasting: Green Hags have 3 spellcasting dice and 3 spells prepared.  Her spellcasting dice burn out on a 5 or 6.  The spells she has prepared are Fogbank, Illusion and Light.

Chaos: If a Green Hag casts a spell with 2 or more spellcasting dice, she has a 2-in-6 chance of invoking Chaos.  If she does invoke Chaos, roll on the table below.

Chaos of the Green Hag
1d6

1- One random creature starts coughing.  He loses his next action as he pukes up 1d6 snails, 1d4 snakes and 1d3 dog tails.
2- A skull suddenly appears and starts whispering.  Only one of the player characters can hear it.
3- A random animal nearby swells like a balloon, before exploding into a shower of gore.
4- The ground for 30' around the Hag transforms into a patch of peat bog.
5- A dense, foul-smelling fog rolls in and fills the area around the Hag for 100'.  Visibility drops to nothing, you can see 10' in front of you and no more.
6- Everyone within 50' of the Hag must save, including the Hag.  Those that fail their save lose their action and spend it cackling, howling with laughter at an unsaid joke. 

Illusory Appearance: As an action, a Green Hag may create an illusion over herself to alter her appearance.  The illusory disguise must be of the Hag's general size and shape, being a Medium creature.  Additionally, the illusion fails to stand up to physical inspection- if the Hag is disguised as a maiden and you touch her hand, you will not feel the soft skin of a young woman, but the rawhide flesh and sharp claws of a Hag.  The Green Hag may dispel this illusion as a free action.

Mimicry: Green Hags can mimic the sounds of creatures they have heard, including the roars of beasts or the voices of others they have heard.  You can only tell these sounds are the product of mimicry by an appropriate DC or saving throw.

Invisible Passage: As an action, a Green Hag may turn herself invisible.  She remains invisible until she makes an attack or casts a spell.  Additionally, Green Hags are skilled at sneaking around, so they leave no trace of their presence, unless they fail a DC appropriate stealth check.  DCs are Referee's Discretion, examples being 5 for leaving no trace on a hard-packed dirt road and a 20 for deep snow.

Amphibious: Green Hags can breathe water as well as they can air.

Tactics:
- Divide enemies, lure into hazards
- Sneak up invisibly
- Ambush, then retreat

Green Hag Coven:


All Green Hags within the Coven gain the following ability:

Coven Casting: When the Coven is together, all the members of the Coven gain access to a pool of Spellcasting dice that they can use to cast spells with.  Any member may access this pool, but these spellcasting dice are otherwise normal, burning out on a "5" or "6" and returning after a long rest.  The Coven can also, upon casting a spell, imbue an object with their magical power.  If they choose to do this, when the object is used, the spell is released.  For example, a cask of wine would be imbued with the spell Curse, so the first person who drank it was cursed. 

A Green Hag Coven has 9 spellcasting dice and gains access to the following spells: Acid Rain, A small Death, Bad Taste in their mouth, Curse, Gamma Infusion, Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Meshi Ora!, Steal, Summon Plague, Venomous Fluid.

Green Hag plot hooks:
1d4

1- A young man is accused of forcing himself on and stabbing a maiden to death.  He denies it and claims he was seduced, after which she tried to kill him.  The maiden's body, if investigated, doesn't seem to be suffering any stab wounds.
2- A wife thinks her husband is cheating on her, as he has been acting very suspiciously.  The husband has been sneaking off and will not tell her where he goes.  He also seems to have strange wounds on his body.
3- The party, while traveling through the waist, realize they are being stalked by some shadowy monster, who never stands its ground, only acting to harass them, before retreating into the mists.
4- A group of bandits attempt to stop the party and demand money.  If defeated, the bandits will flee, promising that they are going to go tell "Mommy" and then you're going to sorry you ever messed with them.       

                                                       by Tiffany Turrill

Bheur:

Bheur Hags are creatures of frozen passion and compressed hatred, bitter old crones that despise youth, passion and potential.  Having wasted theirs on wickedness, pursuing pleasure or folly, they sit and scowl down at other mortals, despising them for the thing the Hag can no longer have.  This feeling is so great it demands recompense, vengeance!  So the Bheur Hag sets out from her home on a mission.  If Sea Hags take and Green Hags manipulate, Bheur Hags devour.  They do not care to take from others, that is mere machinery to them.  The real joy is depriving others of the natural virtues that they possess. 

Like the Sea Hag, they despise beauty, (all Hags do, in truth) but more then that, Bheur Hags hate innocence and passion.  They hate warm summer days and chasing your beloved through a field of dew-damp grass, huge silver moon shining down on her white dress, turning her blonde hair to a regal garb and her pale skin the finest porcelain.  They hate that first, romantic kiss while the fireworks go off, of meat roasting on a spit over an open fire, of the hearty stew that your Mother made for you when you were sick.  They hate the glee you felt whenever it was time for Goblinwatch or the joy you felt when you first won the town riddle contest at 21, along with the razor-sharpness of your mind.  All the signs and tokens of youth are infuriating to Bheur Hags.

Slothful creatures as they are, Bheur Hags do not attack creatures who are strong and vital, but only those who have been wounded, slowed, or hindered.  They are predators, picking off the weak, slow, old and inexperienced.  They take sadistic joy in destroying those weaker then themselves, as well as the helpless rage of the strong, when they cannot protect their inferiors.   

Bheur Hags pick and choose their targets carefully, though if things escalate, they have no problem in destroying a whole village.  What they will do is select one person, usually someone virtuous, beautiful and most importantly, young, and then the Hag will devote her resources to destroying that person.  She will be as careful as she can not to tip her hand.  An example would be a young nobleman, who is kind-hearted, wealthy, but kind of clueless.  The Bheur Hag will have his young bride poisoned on her wedding day, have his Father die in a mysterious "accident", slander his reputation, kill one of his rivals and plant clues that it was him, then threaten his friends into abandoning him.  Then, she'll set his house on fire.  Once this young man has lost everything precious to him, only then will she kill him.  

Bheur Hags are most common in cold climes, or in places where the sun never lingers long.  They make their homes in isolated ruins, frozen keeps set far above where any sane creature would make its home, metal spires rising from above a permafrost-ridden plane or in caves concealed in the folds of snow-capped mountains.  For servants, they recruit the savage Yeti and other hardy races that can endure the cold, such as Mimes or Dwarves.  They sometimes also recruit cold-hearted Unseelie Fey, the denizens of the Winter Court, subjects of Mab, the Queen of Air and Darkness.  But most of all, their favorite servants are the Undead.  They bind Ghosts to them through foul rituals and raise the scraped skeletons of lost travelers to serve her evil ambitions.  They are known to keep packs of Ghouls, Half-Ghouls and mundane cannibals on "retainer", by feeding them her enemies.  The Ghouls keep her company, the Half-Ghouls act as cannon fodder and the mundane cannibals serve as her eyes and ears in the midst of her enemies.  They lure prey to her and provide her with information she needs.  And of these groups, the Ghouls are the most important.  If a Bheur Hag ever loses control of her Undead, she knows they will turn on her in an instant.  In such a situation, having a bunch of creatures who love to eat Undead around is a true asset.  Plus, Ghouls are great at making conversation.

                                                            source unknown 

Statblock: 

Bheur Hag
HD 3  AC 12  Atk Claws or (+2, 1d4+1/1d4+1)
Mor Stand and fight on 12 or less  Saves 9 or less is a success
Resistance to Cold Damage

Spellcasting: Bheur Hags have 4 spellcasting dice and 4 spells prepared.  Her spellcasting dice burn out on a 5 or 6.  The spells she has prepared are Bloody Feast, Create Servant, Enslave Undead, Freeze Ray and Ring of Frost.

Chaos: If a Bheur Hag casts a spell with 2 or more spellcasting dice, she has a 1-in-6 chance of invoking Chaos.  If she does invoke Chaos, roll on the table below.

Chaos of the Bheur Hag:
1d6

1- The area for 50' around the Bheur Hag is plunged into magical darkness.
2- The next time a fire spell that does damage is cast, the Bheur Hag is automatically the target.
3- The next spell within 50' that does elemental damage does the opposite type of damage.
4- The Bheur Hag's body heats up to 200 degrees F.  This does not hurt her, but it does damage anything she's touching.
5- The nearest corpse rises as a 1d4 HD Undead under no one's control.
6- A wave of power passes out of the Bheur Hag.  All creatures within 30' must save or be stunned as their muscles lock up from the cold.

Illusory Appearance: As an action, a Bheur Hag may create an illusion over herself to alter her appearance.  The illusory disguise must be of the Hag's general size and shape, being a Medium creature.  Additionally, the illusion fails to stand up to physical inspection- if the Hag is disguised as a maiden and you touch her hand, you will not feel the soft skin of a young woman, but the rawhide flesh and sharp claws of a Hag.  The Bheur Hag may dispel this illusion as a free action.

Tactics:
- Scount carefully
- Send in minions to gauge strength and wear down
- Assault with extreme prejudice, devour the fallen, repeat as necessary

Bheur Hag Coven:

All Bheur Hags within the Coven gain the following ability:

Coven Casting: When the Coven is together, all the members of the Coven gain access to a pool of Spellcasting dice that they can use to cast spells with.  Any member may access this pool, but these spellcasting dice are otherwise normal, burning out on a "5" or "6" and returning after a long rest.  The Coven can also, upon casting a spell, imbue an object with their magical power.  If they choose to do this, when the object is used, the spell is released.  For example, a cask of wine would be imbued with the spell Curse, so the first person who drank it was cursed.

A Bheur Hag Coven has 12 spellcasting dice and gains access to the following spells: Break the Chains, Blood Pressure, Curse, Explode Corpse, Hailstorm, Knock, No More Room in Hell, Ounce of Prevention, Release Me, Sepuchral Voice, To Dust, Vampirism.

Bheur Hag plot hooks:
1d4

1- A young woman's parents are desperate for help.  Their daughter was to be married, but her bridegrooms keep dying.  It's always accidental, supposedly, but as it has happened six times before, no one trusts the family anymore.  Please help.
2- In an isolated village, an old man with no surviving kin disappears from his home on a cold night.  No one knows where he went.  Then the same happens to a bitter spinster.  Then to a child who stepped out to go to the privy.  People start disappearing left and right.
3- In the middle of the night, an army of zombies attack a remote town.  The villagers flee inside their small fort and try to wait out the attack.  They might manage to do so, but every night, they are attacked again, with all the fallen joining the ranks of their unnatural attackers.
4- A young witch comes to the party and asks them to help her.  She is trying to do some research, but monsters keep attacking her.  When the party escorts her to the place of her supposed location, the monsters turn out to be a pack of highly intelligent and courteous Ghouls who ambush them and either try to kill or trap them in a prison created by the Bheur Hag.  Thus defanged, the Bheur Hag leaves to go wreack havoc on whatever place of civilization the party was last seen at, whether that be a mountainside town or a run-down inn along an isolated road.

                                                      by JLeichliter

Night:

Magic, while sometimes dangerous, is an undoubtable good.  Magic allows mortals a chance to fight back against monsters much stronger than them and to change the world.  That being said, it is still dangerous, because it has such potential for good. And the greater your potential for good, the worse you will be if you fall.  For this reason, governments, religions, even Deities place restrictions on certain types of magic.  Examples of such magic include such things as Necromancy; Biomancy that seeks to fuse and combine the opposites, male and female, two different races, etc; Magic that seeks to contact the powers beyond Heaven or stir the Elder Evils from their slumber; and of course, Magic that deals with souls.

The soul is a complicated thing, but conventional wisdom states that it is our bridge between the bestial and the divine.  Mortals dwell in this gray area between the two, similar to both, but belonging to neither.  To attempt to meddle with that delicate balance is madness and heresy, an abomination against the laws of God and men.  Those who attempt to do so and have their crimes discovered are driven from society, hunted like the Necromancer, branded with the name "Witch".

This is a title that the Night Hag wears with pride.  They are the "female" equivalent of the Lich, an open rebellion against all of Reality, a declaration to tear down the universe and remake it in their image.  This is what the Night Hag represents. Wherever they go they bring death, suffering and chaos.  They sometimes are known to create long terms plans, grand schemes involving enormous amounts of magical power, slaughter and suffering.  But just as often, a Night Hag is content to slip through the cracks in the great powers, evading the Agents of the Law as easily as they hide themselves from the Slaves of Heaven.  Here, in the shadows, they perpetrate small acts of wickedness, seeking not the destruction of a whole people, evenb though such things are often the goals of an ambitious Night Hag, or a Coven of the same, but the ruin of a single man.  And not just any type of ruin.  What she seeks is the more desolation of this man, to force him to betray everything he stands for, to make him fall and to willingly reject the Good.  A Night Shade who can do this is to be feared far more than any who can whisper death to Kings or plunge whole cities into darkness.  For the Crown will pass to another and in time, even the greeatest of cities will be nothing but a heap of rubble, forgotten by all.  But Man lives forever, so to pollute him, to transform a small immortal into an everlasting horror, that is the greatest feat of wickedness imaginable.

Night Hags do not do this merely for their own amusement, but they also do it because Night Hags deal in vile treasures.  Artifacts crafted by the Dark Powers, magic items that were once used by history's greatest villains, magical debts and last but certainly not least, the souls of mortals.  A mortal's souls can be useful for many purposes; they can be used to power an ascension to Daemonhood; or to fill the bodies of the slain, to raise them as Undead; or if the mortal whom the souls belong to still lives, to make them your slave.  Night Hags corrupt mortals so that they will be more likely to sign over their souls to the Hag.  The personal satisfaction they get at watching something good be twisted into a grotesque parody of itself is just a bonus.

Night Hags are creatures who thrive on loneliness and isolation.  They sometimes make their homes in rubble heaps on the desolate frontiers or elaborate cavern complexes hewn out of bare stone.  Just as often though they will dwell in supposedly haunted mansions or in seemingly abandoned buildings in the middle of a city or town.  The dungeon of a forgotten keep can serve the same purpose to the Night Hag as the catacombs beneath a sprawling metropolis.  As for servants, Night Hags chiefly recruit among wicked or vice-addled men, men with insatiable appetites for all that is dark and foul.  They enable these men, as long as they serve faithfully.  They are also fond of taking in those who have grudges or small seeds of anger, then fanning them into an inferno.  Pariahs such as Werewolves, Vampires, Mutants and other freaks are welcomed by them, then skillfully molded into useful tools.  But that is not all.  Night Hags are masters of soul manipulation and fleshcarvers of incredible talent and unspeakable sadism.  They create many unique and terrifying horrors, both of living flesh and dead, reanimated by souls called back from beyond the pale, bound to the Night Hag to serve as Undead terrors.  And should even those prove insufficient, Hags can also call upon horrors from beyond our universe to serve her.

                                              by Bruna Nora

Statblock:

Night Hag
HD 4  AC 16  Atk Claws or Weapon (+2, 1d6+2)
Mor Stand and fight on a 13 or less   Saves 10 or less is a success

Spellcasting: Night Hags have 5 spellcasting dice and 5 spells prepared.  Her spellcasting dice burn out on a 5 or 6.  The spells she has prepared are Baleful Charm, Blight, Dream a little Dream of Me, It's only a Paper Moon, Morbid Metal and Wave of Mutilation.

Chaos: If a Night Hag casts a spell with 2 or more spellcasting dice, she has a 1-in-6 chance of invoking Chaos.  If she does invoke Chaos, roll on the table below.

Chaos of the Night Hag:
1d6

1- For the next 1d10 minutes, it starts raining blood for 1 mile, centered on the Hag.
2- If someone died within the last 1d6 minutes, in the presence of the Hag (when they died) that person suddenly finds his body healed and "returns to life".  This person will be hunted down by the Slaves of Heaven for violating the Laws of Death, but for now, they are alive!
3- All creatures within 100' that can laugh must save.  The first person within 100' that fails his saving throw must make a melee attack against the nearest creature.  This consumes the creature's action.
4- The next successful attack within 100' misses instead.
5- The next missed attack within 100' hits its intended target instead.
6- Choking black smokes explodes out from the Hag, filling the air for 100' around them.  Anyone in the cloud must save.  On a failed save, they lose their action as they start choking.

Shapeshifter: As an action, a Night Hag can change her shape to that of another creature, whether a beast, another species or a specific person that she has seen before.  She adopts the physical stats of that creature, unless that creature is stronger than her, in which case she uses her original physical abilities.  She also cannot transform into any creature larger than Medium sized.  She also may not cast spells while shape-shifted, unless her new form has the ability to speak a language and opposable thumbs, or appendages roughly as dextrous.

Tactics:
- Ready an action to cast It's only a Paper Moon to teleport out of danger if struck
- Cast Morbid Metal to prevent them from hurting you
- Once a safe distance away, open up with Wave of Mutilation
- Use their own weapons to cut their throats or use It's only a Paper Moon to teleport creatures into hazards

Night Hag Coven:

All Night Hags within the Coven gain the following ability:

Coven Casting: When the Coven is together, all the members of the Coven gain access to a pool of Spellcasting dice that they can use to cast spells with.  Any member may access this pool, but these spellcasting dice are otherwise normal, burning out on a "5" or "6" and returning after a long rest.  The Coven can also, upon casting a spell, imbue an object with their magical power.  If they choose to do this, when the object is used, the spell is released.  For example, a cask of wine would be imbued with the spell Curse, so the first person who drank it was cursed. 

A Night Hag Coven has 15 spellcasting dice and gains access to the following spells: Ash Cloud, Baleful Moon, Create Servant, Combustication, Curse, Death Mask, Demonic Vigour, Fingers of the Thunderhead, Funeral Fog, Lucky, Me and My Shadow, Soul of Things, Star Dust, Storming Through Red Clouds and Holocaust Winds and Two Black Crows.

Night Hag plot hooks: 
1d4

1- There is a story of a gambler who cannot lose, who seems to be protected by Heaven itself.  Others suspect darker powers behind this man's impossible luck.  When you investigate the man, a concerned young woman will come and offer to tell you how to acquire the same Fortune that this man has.  The ritual is a bit gory and somewhat unsavory, but without it, there is no chance of defeating the gambler.  The Night Hag, is, of course, the source of the gambler's luck; as in, she is helping him cheat.  With a little skill, she will try to make you into cheaters too.
2- A Night Hag attempts to convince a pair of rival city-states to go to war.  She skillfully manipulates events, having messengers disappear or messages altered, threatens or black-mails various officials into enacting small pieces of legislation or doing small, illegal things, building tension between the two states.  Eventually, when the tinderbox has been prepared, she tosses in a spark and watches it explode.
3- A Night Hag begins manipulating the dreams of a religious individual, sending dreams that seem to be prophetic or from a divine source and use that person as an unwitting pawn to spread her influence through an otherwise noble organization.  She may be seeking to target one specific individual, or just to rot the organization from within so it can be turned toward her purposes.
4- A Night Hag spreads rumors of a treasure in an isolated, dangerous location, then posing as different people, hires two different adventuring parties to recover the treasure for her.  Then she stalks them, posing as one of the other adventurers to harass or attempt to stop the other party.  She starts small, trying to force real recriminations.  Her goal is to get them to fight each other.  The winners of this conflict will be given the opportunity of serving her, while the survivors of the losers will be given their chance for revenge, in exchange for the same.

                                                      by Krystian Biskup