Thursday, May 28, 2020

TwK: Slashers

                                                       source unknown

A brief taxonomy of Undead:

Ghosts are the remnants of mortals that remain in this world, trapped in loops of repetitive behavior.  The Ghost of the Splatter Man continually hunts and kills those who resemble those who victimized him in a past life, while the Ghost of the Moonlight Fiddler seduces maidens and causes dogs to go feral and attack their owners, believing them to be intruders.  There are many varieties of Ghost, with the fully personable being the most famous type. 

The Lesser Undead are when the soul of an evil mortal is recalled from Sheol and imprisoned in a corpse.  This existence is hellish, causing the trapped soul to feel only anger, envy, sorrow and pain.  These include such things as Zombies, Skeletons, etc.

The Greater Undead are created when a sufficiently powerful evil spirit or Demon is summoned and permitted to inhabit a corpse, as well as to torment the lower souls that remain within the body after death.  This category includes things such as Wights.

Ghouls are mortals who transform slowly into Undead through the consumption of corpses.  They begin as mere cannibals but rapidly become something less than human.    

Vampirism is caused by a sexually transmitted disease.  It slowly strips you of everything, until you degenerate into a near-feral monster.

Liches and Mummies are methods of preserving life by willingly becoming an Undead.

Revenants are Undead who are created by agents of Heavenly Justice.  They are impossible to bind and obsessed with killing their murderer.  They are only unleashed when no other suitable agent is found to exact the Justice of Heaven.

And then, there is the Slasher.

Note: The term "Slasher" in the way I am using it and many of the results on the table down below are stolen or inspired by the comic series Hack/Slash.  I highly recommend reading it if you can, though I would skip the last volume, #6, as the series takes a dip there and never really recovers.

Murderer, am I

Slashers are Undead created when a particularly heinous murderer is slain.  However, just like the Revenant, they are not permitted to die.  Forces from beyond the Grave fill them with power and inspire them to take up their black crusade again.

However, unlike the Revenant, Slashers do not have a specific target that they pursue unerringly.  Slashers target groups of people or attack indiscriminately with no regard for who or what their victims are.

Additionally, unlike the Revenant, which goes to his rest after his target has been slain, Slashers never truly die.  Chop them to bits, burn them to ashes, blow them into a fine mist, it doesn't matter.  They always come back.

Base Slasher Statblock
HD 5
AC none
Atk Weapon (1d8/1d8) or Special Ability (varies)
Mor 20*
Saves 12 or less

Undead: Slashers are Undead.  They do not feel pain or get tired.  They are immune to poison and disease.  They do not need to eat, sleep or breathe.  Any spell that says "Undead" in its title or description is talking about something like this.

Sunlight Vulnerability: Slashers take 1d6 radiant damage for every round they spend in sunlight.

Already Dead: Unless decapitated, cut to pieces, burnt to ashes by sunlight or reduced to zero HP by a magical attack or weapon, Slashers have an X-in-6 chance of their body knitting itself back together and recovering from the damage they took, where X is equal to the number of HD they have.

Indefatigueable Purpose: Slashers cannot be turned or controlled.  They are immune to Charm and Fear spells.  Similarly, they are immune to any Undead Control Spell.  Slashers also do not feel fear, though they will retreat if a tactical advantage can be grasped (though most Slashers aren't that smart).

Tactics:
- Sneak up on a target
- Attack the one that fits your standards most closely
- If attacked, fight the most dangerous one
- Never give up and rarely retreat

                                                      from Hack/Slash

So what Slasher will you have the misfortune of meeting?

1d10
1- Hacksaw Joe.  An enormous man in a featureless mask.  Kills with any melee weapon that he can find and mutilates the bodies with a hacksaw, hence the name.  He attacks anyone who disturbs the peaceful atmosphere of his modest mountain home.  Special Ability: Teleport.  Hacksaw Joe can disappear into thin air whenever no one is looking at him and reappear where no one can see.

2- Father Wrath.  A man in a white mask and the garb of a Roman Catholic Priest.  He wields a sword concealed in a massive crucifix and a rosary made of wire and ball bearings.  He slices with the first and strangles with the second.  Father Wrath kills sinners, with a preference for fornicators, adulterers and those who have committed sexual sin.  Special Ability: Sin Sense.  Father Wrath can sense the presence of someone who has unconfessed sexual sin, which includes anything that wasn't intra-marital sex.

3- Dr. Grotesque.  A man who has stripped off his skin to reveal bare, bloody muscle.  Over this, he wears a lab coat.  He's a psychotherapist who seeks to "cure" people of their hang-ups by kidnapping them and subjecting them to physical pain, which unlocks mental pain, at least according to him.  Special Ability: Grotesque can force someone to tell him a piece of personal information or a secret if he injures them.

4- Acid Angel.  A beautiful blonde with fair skin and an enormous tattoo spreading from her crotch up to just below her shapely breasts.  The tattoo depicts an enormous Gorgon, with long coils and dozens of wings.  She seeks to seduce and kill men who resemble the ones who shamed her while she was still alive (athletes, handsome guys, cops).  Special Ability: Acid Wash.  Acid Angel can secrete acid strong enough to melt through steel from her hands every 1d4 rounds, or turn any water she touches into the same strong acid.  She is immune to her own acid.

5- The Scotsman.  A man horribly burned over most of his body, with a few tufts of red hair poking out of the ruin of his scalp.  He plays the bagpipes.  He kills Englishmen, Welshmen and the Irish, with the exception of the Scotch-Irish.  He usually operates in the United Kingdom.  Special Ability: He can breathe fire.

6- Duke Saxon.  A man in a World War I British Army Uniform, with full gas mask and helm.  He carries a rifle with a bayonet attached, though he only ever shoots people in non-fatal areas.  His preferred method of killing is stabbing with the bayonet or smashing limbs and heads with the rifle butt.  When he speaks, he speaks like a British gentleman.  He is exceedingly polite.  He kills anyone wearing an a uniform, military men or associated with any military or law enforcement organization. Special Ability: Every 1d4 rounds, he can produce a cloud of mustard gas. 

7- Atlanta.  A woman in a one-piece swimsuit, skin blue from hypothermia, perpetually soaking wet.  Her eyes are cold and dead and she is covered in wounds, with bits of trailing skin flowing behind her, as well as exposing shredded meat and ribbed flesh.  She carries a fishing spear.  She attacks anyone who goes into the water, though her usual hunting grounds are from South Carolina to Corpus Christi, Texas, along with most of the Caribbean.  Special Ability: Return.  Atlanta can summon her spear and have it return to her hand as an action, unless it is destroyed completely.

8- Bobby.  A man with flesh green-brown from rot, his face covered by a surgical mask, his eyes burning with unnatural light. He wears scrubs, heavy boots and a filthy lab coat.  He carries a gravedigger's spade and kills by smashing people's heads in or burying them alive.  He is dedicated to revenge against a particular group of men in a small town, including a Sheriff's deputy, but he will kill anyone who harms an animal.  Special Ability: Pet Cemetery.  Bobby can raise the corpses of dead animals as his undead minions.  These Undead obey him and will seek to keep other enemies away from him and his targets.  

9- Pumpkinhead/Samhain.  A man in black, with a swirling cape and a Jack-o-lantern mask.  He is a ruthless and peerless warrior, skilled in his use of a knife, among other weapons.  He fights with skill and precision, acting more like an assassin then a maddened killer.  He kills whoever his masters tell him to and anyone who might discover their plans.  Special Ability: Samhain can radiate an aura of fear or charm, depending on what he prefers.  Anyone who sees him must save. On a failure, they are charmed/frightened.  Those who fail their save take 1d6 COG damage a round as long as they maintain visual contact with Samhain.  Those who are reduced to 0 COG by this ability either flee or fling themselves at his feet.

10- Ms. Hack.  A hot young woman with black hair and brown eyes that have seen too much slaughter, Hack is dressed to kill, usually in something irresistibly sexy.  She also carries a large amount of weapons with her and is skilled in knives, bludgeons and fisticuffs, though her weapon of choice is a baseball bat studded with enormous nails.  Hack will tell you that she only kills Slashers and other killers, but do not underestimate her.  She is suspected to have killed many normal people in her travels and likely will not hesitate to take your life.  Special Ability: Riposte.  Hack, when she is damaged by someone, if she attacks them on her next turn and hits, can roll a die equal to the damage die rolled against her and regain a number of HP equal to the number she rolls.  For example, if she is successfully attacked and takes 4 damage from a 1d6 dagger, if she attacks and hits that person, she can regain 1d6 HP.  

                                                     from Hack/Slash

Thursday, May 21, 2020

OSR: Random Ogre Generator

This post is inspired by Arnold K's post on the same subject.  The statblock is also his, modified only slightly by me.

Ogres are a widely misunderstood creature.  Things that are not Ogres are often called such and Ogres are often declared to be other things.  The true origin of Ogres is unknown, but most assume they are birthed by some type of monstrous mother.

The truth is far more unpleasant.  Ogres are created, usually by Hags, but also by some other creatures.  They are made from children.

                                        by Mike Azevedo

The Manifold Ogre

An Ogre is a child twisted into a monster.  They are emotionally immature, their childlike neuroses magnified and unrestrained.  Ogres are driven largely by sensual pleasures*- namely food and warmth.  However, they also possess those childlike desires to be loved and cared for someone stronger and wiser then they.  As such, Ogres will sometimes seek out masters to act as a parental figure of sorts, such as a Hag, a Folk, a renegade Wizard, a bandit chief or really anyone who will adopt them.  Ogres prefer to select monsters or villains for this role, as they know that their behavior would usually be punished by other authorities and lead to rejection.  Ogres all fear rejection, and one that has been scorned too many times will usually abandon any attempt at companionship and lead a solitary life.  Most of these Ogres are utterly miserable, but the ones who come to tolerate the solitude becomes Cyclopses.

However, one thing that is often not discussed about Ogres is that they come in many shapes and sizes.  Ogres, like all creatures, have a soul that can influence their body.  However, for an Ogre, this effect is much more pronounced due to the transformation they endured.  As such, Ogres are all different.  For Ogres possess not only the cruelty of children, but also their creativity. 

*Ogres can also be motivated by things like cruelty or the rush of Power found in controlling people, depending on their individual sophistication.  However, generally an Ogre will be motivated by their animal self/Id: they want to be warm, well-fed, and feel safe.  Additionally, Ogres could be motivated by their passions, including perhaps sexual passion, depending on the Referee's individual preference and comfort level. 


To create an Ogre, roll on the tables below:

This Ogre is...

1d6

1- Fat and Large.
2- Square-bodied.
3- Musclebound.
4- Thin and Tall.
5- Gaunt, with stick-like limbs.
6- Short and Broad, only about as tall as a man, but much thicker.

Its body is...

1d8

1- Partially translucent, like the Ogre was sculpted of ice and his organs were poured in through his mouth.
2- Hairless.
3- Hairless, covered in bumps and warts.
4- Hairy or covered in fur.
5- Covered in thick skin like an elephant or rhino.
6- Scaly.
7- Covered in feathers.
8- Deformed and ungainly.   

The Ogre's hide is...

1d10

1- Green.
2- Brown.
3- Black.
4- Grey.
5- Blue.  The shade is 1d3 [1= Sky Blue; 2= Cobalt; 3= Navy Blue.]
6- Purple.  The shade is 1d3 [1= Lavender; 2= Royal Purple; 3= Indigo.]
7- Spotted.  The Ogre's hide is 1d3 [1= Brown with red spots; 2= Yellow with Black spots; 3= Blue with Green spots; 4= Red with Purple spots; 4= Purple with Yellow Spots.]
8- Counter-Shaded. 
9- Striped.  The Ogre's hide is [1= Orange with Black stripes; 2= Red with White stripes; 3= Purple with Grey stripes; 4= Black with Blue stripes.]
10- Color-Changing.  The Ogre's hide changes color 1d3 [1= Based on the Ogre's mood; 2= Based on the Ogre's health; 3= Based on the Ogre's environment.]

This Ogre also has...

1d12

1- Nothing special.
2- Horns.
3- Sharp claws on its hands.
4- A 1d4 [1= Forked; 2= Muscular; 3= Spike-Tipped; 4= Prehensile] Tail.
5- Cloven Hooves.
6- A Third Arm emerging from its 1d4 [1= Shoulder; 2= Back; 3= Abdomen; 4= Where a tail would be.]
7- A head like a 1d6 [1= Bull; 2= Pig; 3= Bird; 4= Fish; 5= Snake; 6= Ant.]
8- Chicken Feet.
9- 1d6 extra eyes randomly stuck all over its body.
10- A beak instead of a mouth.
11- Potruding teeth or fangs that poke out of its mouth.
12- A mane of thick hair or fur.

                                     from Where the Wild Things Are

Ogre
HD 4
AC none
Atk Club (1d8) + Fist (1d6)
Mor 12
Saves 11 or less

Bully: The ogre insults, intimidates, or shoves a creature.  The target must make a COG check in contest with the Ogre.  If the Ogre wins the contest, the creature takes 1d6 COG damage as his mind is dragged down to the Ogre's level.  Each round the Ogre takes another action to bully that creature, they automatically take the COG damage.  If this COG damage ever reduces a creature's COG to 0, they run away, potentially in tears.  They also gain the Conviction, "I am unworthy of what I have.  I must prove that I am valuable" or "I like to pick on creatures weaker than myself", with an equal chance of each.
For purposes of Bullying, an Ogre has 15(+1) COG.  For purposes of remembering things, evading traps, seeing through deceptions or paying attention to non-exciting or scary things, they have a COG of 8(-1).  

Omnivore: Given enough time and ketchup, an ogre can eat anything softer than metal.  They are immune to harmful effects of things they've eaten (e.g. acid, poison, green slime).

Tactics:
- Bully any nerds (Wizards, Sages, Scholars, etc)
- Try to scare off any enemies
- If they hurt you, hurt them back, more
- Grab people and throw them
- If no people can be found, throw rocks, small trees or carcasses

Ogre Plot Hooks:

1d6

1- An Ogre has marched into a village and is eating the villagers out of house and home.  Anyone who does not give in to its demand for food and drink is bullied or beaten with a giant club until they agree to go along with it.  Please get rid of it, we don't care how.
2- An Ogre is harassing traveling merchants and stealing their trade goods and horses, which is most unusual for an Ogre*.  The only people who seem immune are the members of the local trading house, which charges expensives dues and takes a cut of the profits.  Go and figure out the secret why.  Secretly, the trading house bribes the Ogre to not attack them in exchange for wheels of cheese and sweetrolls, while also encouraging it to attack those who don't bear the trading house crest.
3- An Ogre is raiding the town of Bartlett!  But before you arrive, the Ogre has already been driven off by a heroic stranger named Iron Kel.  Then, the nearby town of Brandy Falls is attacked by an Ogre.  Find out what's going on.  Secretly, Iron Kel is the leader of a group of bandits who have been posing as adventurers and the Ogre is part of their group, as it sees Kel as a surrogate father.  This is a great scam they've got going and none of them want to stop.
4- The towns people of Newton have finally had enough with the Witch who lives outside of town on Barrel Hill.  She's gone too far and created a monster!  Go kill her before she unleashes it on the town.  In reality, the Witch is just a female Magic-User and the monster is an Ogre who has bullied her into becoming its "Mother".  The "Witch" is too scared to act against the Ogre but the Ogre just wants someone to love it.  However, it is still an Ogre and presents a serious danger to her.
5- An Ogre has walked into town and demanded "stabby guys".  The Ogre refused to explain what they meant, only repeated the request.  The locals figured that meant Adventurers, so they came and found you.  When you get over there, the Ogre will tell you about this glorious garden overflowing with delicious foods and magical medicines.  The Ogre has accidentally stumbled upon a Wood Giant's farm and wants your help to break in so the Ogre can steal watermelon sized pears from one of the Giant's trees.  The Ogre can't do it themselves because it isn't sneaky enough and because it is afraid of the Giant and its servants.
6- The famous Adventurer, Nathan Oakarms, has gone missing.  There is a reward for returning his bones back to his hometown.  However, most of the people looking for him are actually interested in finding his weapon, the magical axe Blackrazor.  Blackrazor was a magical axe that could cut through anything non-magical.  Secretly, Blackrazor was also a demon weapon, a weapon made magical through the demon sealed inside it.  Unbeknownst to anyone, an Ogre passing by found Blackrazor and has picked it up.  The outsider trapped inside has been encouraging the Ogre to try and free it, which the Ogre has been going along with, either because it believes Blackrazor's lies, because it has no reason to refuse or because it likes Blackrazor and wants to help the demon.    

*As someone with a child's understanding of the world, Ogres don't understand money usually.  They like treasures and shiny objects, but coin rarely seems important to them.  They might have some lying around their lairs and they might understand that people want it, but they're unlikely to care about why.

                                            from The Odyssey wiki

Other Varieties:

See here for a more thorough explanation.

A Cyclops is an Ogre who takes up a monastic lifestyle in order to avoid suffering as much as possible.  Their eyes gradually become one eye and they gain the ability to see the future.  This makes them even more grumpy, as they only see things that annoy them, and Cyclops are so very easy to annoy.

Cyclops Plot Hooks:
1d3

1- A Prophet is passing through the nearby area and it keeps messing up the Cyclops' predictions.  The Cyclops and the Prophet are currently engaged in a struggle of foresight, with the each sending secret attacks toward each other, using causality as their weapon.  The damage they are doing is growing.  Find and stop them from fighting or decide the battle, before they end up destroying everything around them.
2- The villagers reported seeing a freakish monster nearby.  Go kill it.  When you meet the monster, you will find it is an Oranorn.  The Oranorn has no intention of hurting anyone, it's only goal is to try and kill the Cyclops who lives near here and eat it.  The Oranorn will try to manipulate any poor fools sent to kill it into doing the grunt work for it.
3- A Witch has cursed the Queen to betray her people and give birth to their destroyer.  The King is distraught and needs an Oracle to tell him how this curse could be broken.  Unfortunately, there are no known Prophets or Seers within the Kingdom.  Well, there is the Cyclops, but no one would be foolish enough to try and ask them for help.  Right?   

Ettins are what happens when an Ogre eats an especially Evil person.  The evil that composes that person cannot be digested by the Ogre's vice-based body, so that person remains in the swirling miasma that is the Ogre.  Sometimes, this evil flowers, causing something resembling the evil person they ate to emerge from their shoulders. 

The first head is always that of the original Ogre.  The second head can vary.

Ettins Second-Head Personalities:
1d6

1- Bandit.  The Bandit wants to steal money and target rich people.  The Ogre doesn't care about money and avoids the rich because they have armed guards.
2- Serial Killer.  The Serial Killer wants to kill people because he gets off on it.  The Ogre doesn't think that killing for this reason is a good idea, but the Serial Killer could possibly talk them into it.
3- Cultist.  The Cultist wants to help their cult and complete the evil ritual the cult is attempting to perform.  The Ogre doesn't care about the cult or their goals and just wants to eat tasty things.
4- Thief.  The Thief wants to find the treasure they buried near here, but can't remember exactly where it is.  The Ogre is probably on board, but keeps getting distracted by tasty or pretty things.
5- Kobold.  The Kobold wants to go back and help his tribe.  The Ogre thinks that sounds dangerous, as the tribe previously shot at the Ogre last time.
6- Madman.  The Madman wasn't mad until he was eaten, but he was a bad person.  Now he is though, and he is slowly developing an entire religious system around Ettins.  The Madman will encourage the Ogre to seek out and find other bad people, to eat them.  If the Madman learns how, he will try to produce his own Ogres.      

An Ogre Mage is what happens when an Ogre develops magical abilities.  Ogre Mages, as they are still children at heart, tend to favor spells that have large, colorful and loud effects.  Things like Fireball, Freeze Ray, Liquefy, etc.  

Ogre Mage Plot Hooks:
1d6

1- A series of wildfires are threatening the pleasant town of Mt. Farvir.  The locals blame the priest for preventing them from revering the native spirits and intruding with foreign religion, the priest and the foreigners blame the locals for insufficient respect for their God.  In reality, this is no divine judgement, only an Ogre Mage who found a copy of the spell "Fireball".
2- A Troll has been seen stalking around the boundaries of a local village.  Please get rid of it.  The Troll is aware that this will occur, it is trying to lure adventurers here to get rid of the Ogre Mage, who is attempting to push the Troll out of its territory.  The Troll would do it himself, but the Ogre Mage is too dangerous to rumble with.
3- The Wizard's daughter has been kidnapped!  The Ogre Mage will only turn her over if the Wizard brings the Ogre Mage all his spellbooks.  The Wizard wants to fight and though powerful, he is old and frail.  Please save her.
4- A Necromancer is believed to be operating in the city, having created a massive and monstrous Undead to serve it.  Try to decipher what the Necromancer's plan is and stop it, as the city authorities are baffled.  It seems like the Necromancer is operating at complete random.  This is because the Necromancer is an Ogre Mage who is just disturbing the dead and robbing tombs to feed his new Ghoul buddies, who think he's a riot.
5- An Ogre Mage is conducting wild magical experiments, in the hopes of impressing a Sage or Wizard, in the hopes that the latter will become his new mother/father figure.  Unfortunately, the magical experiments are also having strange effects on the nearby lands.  Find and put a stop to this, please, before all the cows grow three eyes and their milk makes us do the same.  
6- The local children are telling stories of a magical creatures that lives in the woods and breaks into homes to steal sweets and drink milk from the cows.  Folk, the adults decide.  They are sending you out to negotiate with them, armed with cold iron and honey.  You will find no Folk out there, only an Ogre Mage with a sweet tooth and a upset tummy (from all the sweets). 

Oni are often thought to be or misidentified as Ogres, but they are related at all.  Among Adventurers and natural philosophers, Oni are called 'False Ogres'.  They deserve their own post, however. 

                                       from World of Warcraft

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

SOS: The Diabolic Scholars of the Institute

                                                by Mercvtio

"is the fact that beforehand a monstrous act against nature - something of the order of incest - must have taken place; then how is one to force nature to reveal her secrets other than by victoriously going against her, that is, though an act contrary to nature.  I see this recognition sketched out in that hideous trinity of Oedipus' fate: the same man who solves the riddle of nature - that double-edged Sphinx - must also violate the most holy order of nature as both parricide and spouse of his mother.  Indeed, the meaning of the myth seems inescapable, that wisdom and especially Dionysian wisdom, is an unnatural horror, and that the man who through his knowledge plunges nature into the abyss of annihilation experiences in his own being the disintegration of nature.  'The point of wisdom turns against the wise; wisdom is a crime against nature."

- Frederich Nietzsche, the Birth of Tragedy

The Institute and the Study of that which is forbidden:

Turn back now.  You will not like what you find this way.  The path of illumination is long and harsh and rarely arrives at the destination you set out to find.

Blast you!  Fine, carry on.  But heed my words, traveler.  One day, you'll end up just like me.

The Right and Left-Hand paths:

The Right Hand path is the path of Revelation.  It exalts truth and reality.  It venerates order and seeks to impose it on Chaos.  The Right Hand Path will usually preserve a system that is unjust, in the hopes that it can be preserved.  It fears chaos and subversion above all else.

The Left Hand path is the path of transcendence.  It believes that the secrets of happiness, wisdom and all good things lies not in an order, but in the Chaos that underpins it.  It believes in diving into those hidden things, that which is taboo or forbidden.  It believes the created order misguided or even evil.  It raises the individual above all things.  It fears stagnation and arbitrary power more than anything.

By proceeding onward, you will be following the Left Hand path.

The Steps:

There are many euphemisms your instructors will no doubt use, but I will speak plainly here, with the original symbology.  Much of this will be written about in religious language, which were the words originally used to describe the process.  However, as you know, the Institute does not believe in deifying nor exalting the Powers.  Unlike those who do, it is the official verdict of the Institute that the Powers be treated as what they are, psychic projections of Human feelings, anxieties and fears.  The Powers are not alive nor do they act in our world.  Accept and internalize these tenets before continuining. 

From there, to open yourself to the Left-hand path requires an act of desolation.  The links between you and the psycho-corporate mass of Humanity need to be broken.  You must rebel against your programming.  You do this by performing your Act of Desolation.  This is usually a profane or wicked act, ranging from the disturbed to the truly hideous.  They are not all bad, but generally, they often are.  Universally however, they all feel wrong.  Each one is a crime against nature, which is the only way to open the Left-Hand path.  Do not allow yourself to succumb during this move- many a great man have crumbled at this threshold, breaking as they attempt to cross.  Remember Oedipus!

From there, your studies will begin in earnest.           

"Sell your soul"

It is often presented in fiction as dramatic, as with a single stroke of the pen, your destiny is decided.  This is mere myth, which while on its face, untrue, conceals something deeper.  It is possible to do so, to decide one's life with one action.  Usually however, it is not one bold move, but a thousand smaller moves, many small steps that take you to your destination just as surely as hailing a cab and proceeding straight there.

To gain the knowledge, and power, you seek, you must mold yourself into someone who makes the correct choices and align your spirit with a specific perspective, a mode of being.  But even more then that, you must act. 

You will find tomes of power, bearing strange philosophy, bizarre mental exercises and soul-bending conundrums.  You will speak to wizened mystics with ashen souls and cold, mocking voices sheltering wherever blasphemies are permitted to take root.  You will meditate in darkness or light, relying on your own training or consuming large amounts of psychedelics to open the doors you have willingly concealed from yourself.

Yet all these steps are pointless unless you act on them.  All the knowledge in the world won't help you if it remains mere information locked up in your skull.     

Studying is more then just learning.  You must take what you learn and put it into practice.  And above all, be patient.  Communing with and making yourself a channel for one of the Powers is a task that can take years of patient practice.  But once you can open yourself, you will be ready to take the next step.    

The Open Paths:


There are 5 Open Paths we have prepared for you.  I will provide more details below, as best I am able.  You are taking notes, right?  If not, start now. 

Besides the 5 Paths, there are others.  But The Smiling God and The Palace are not as generous and their servants more greedy, having managed to hoard the information relating to these Powers under one roof.  Our access to information on such powers is largely non-existent.  We only have scraps and fragments, not sufficient for study on their own. 

To walk the Way of Light or to study The Court is forbidden.  Such is the path of treachery- of black-hearted monsters, evil spirits who will be remembered for how they betrayed Humanity for their own selfish gains.  For this, may they be shriven and scorched with fire.   

                                               source unknown

The Way of Inferno:

To follow this path requires allegiance to The Blaze.  This is not a path I would recommend for you, it is one that is glorious, but short and violent.  The servants of The Blaze live fast and die hard.  Likewise, they tend to be distrustful of authority, including that of our Elder Brothers.  Additionally, because of its nature, those who walk this path tend to never be considered for leadership positions, nor advance to the upper levels.  Most don't mind that and you may never wish to lead, but it's best to keep one's options open.   

There are few among us who could teach you anything useful about The Blaze, but the few that have stayed with us are quite impressive.

To walk the Way of Inferno, what you need do most of all is rebel.  Disobey the rules, whether that take the form of laws, customs or traditions.  Be a firebrand, if you'll excuse my pun.  But most importantly, rebel against Logos.  Shun the rational part of yourself as much as possible and embrace your emotional side.  Teach yourself to act on your emotions.  Don't think, just act.  There are those who say that you should aim to be as animalistic as possible in your decision-making, that if you are a true servant of The Blaze, it will protect you.  I tend to hold to the middle way, that one should emphasize emotions, but keep your reason with you, just in case it becomes necessary. 

Inferno Novice
HD 2
AC Ceramic (Blunt 1d8) or Diffusion Tile Vest (Lasers 1d8)
Atk Laser Rifle (2d6, save vs firearm) or Firebomb (2d6, save for half + 1d6 per round until extinguished)
Mor 13
Saves 9 or less

Ally to Disaster: Inferno Novices are the allies of disaster.  Whenever a danger posed by a man-made disaster occurs, such as smoke inhalation from a fire or shrapnel from an explosion, it does its best to avoid harming them.  If they must make a save against such an effect, they receive a +4 bonus to their save. 

Tactics:
- Throw grenades at clumps of enemies
- Use the chaos to pick off the survivors
- Use fire and smoke to cover escape

Inferno Novices, when not disguised or traveling incognito, favor long robes made of quilted fabric with layers of belts, buckles and zippers.  The fabric of these robes are flame retardant, and the intricate nature of the stitching enables them to keep superhot air out, to protect against, well, fire.  They also wear rebreathers to protect themselves from the smoke caused by the fires they inevitably start whenever they fight. 

Inferno Novices are also known to shave their heads and get tattoos of flames on the non-visible parts of their bodies.  Some will also go so far as to shave their entire bodies, to leave themselves hairless. 

When called into dangerous situations, Inferno Novices will wear heavier armor and respirators to filter out smoke and prevent damage to the lungs.  They also usually wear thermal imaging goggles that enable them to see heat signatures through thick smoke.  

                                         by mrcbax

Inferno Expert
HD 5
AC Ceramic (Blunt 1d8)
Atk Kero-Whip (1d6 sharp + 1d6 fire + grapple) or Autopistol (1d8, save vs firearm, can target 2 adjacent creatures)
Mor 15
Saves 12 or less
Immune to Fire and its effects

Laser-Resistant: When they take damage from a laser weapon, the opponent should roll damage twice and take the worse result.

Ally to Disaster: Inferno Experts are the allies of disaster.  Whenever a danger posed by a man-made disaster occurs, such as smoke inhalation from a fire or shrapnel from an explosion, it does its best to avoid harming them.  If they must make a save against such an effect, they receive a +4 bonus to their save. 

Direct Destruction: As an action, an Inferno Expert can cause a disaster or direct a pre-existing one.  For example, an Inferno Expert can cause an object in a fire to reach its flash point instantly, exploding into a ball of flame, or trigger a pipe explosion, or a power outage, etc.  If any of these disasters could cause damage, a saving throw should be allowed if possible, and the damage done should be 3d6 or less. 

Tactics:
- Rush in under a hail of bullets
- Break out the whips
- Use the environment as a weapon

Inferno Experts are mostly older men and women, with long manes of tangled hair and muscular frames, clearly the work of many years of dedicated physical training.  Their bodies are covered in dozens of burns and scars, from fire as well as other instruments.  They used to fear fire, but after conditioning themselves and embracing the riotousness of The Blaze, now none of nature's undirected weapons scare them.  Fire is included on this list, but that is because to become an Expert in the Way of Inferno, you must become so close to the fire that it no longer burns you, even when you stand in it.

Inferno Experts are not harmed by heat or flames, though plasma can still burn them.  Lasers merely tickle them, however.       
They are mostly known for their use of the Kero-Whip, a metal whip that through a sophisticated piece of technology, constantly lubricates the whip's fibers in a flammable liquid.  With the push of a button, this liquid can be ignited, transforming the Inferno Expert's whip into a long thread of burning fire.     

                                       by marcel benes

The Way of Shackles:

To walk this Way requires allegiance to The Cage, a most difficult master.  While none of the Ways are easy, I always thought that this one was the most difficult.  It requires abasement, a humility so many in this order lack.  It is a groveling in the dirt, and it is usually in vain, for The Cage is never satisfied.  Yet at the same time, Shackles might also be an easy Way to follow, as it only requires acceptance.

If you wish to follow the Way of Shackles, there are plenty among us who could teach you.  It is the second most common Way, I suspect, though that could just be an impression I gained because of their meticulous record keeping.

To walk the Way of Shackles, rob yourself of your pleasures.  Give up drinking and women and staying up late.  Go to bed and rise at regular intervals.  Slowly move down, till you are rising at the crack of dawn and retreating at the first sign of shadows.  Give up music and ice skating and poetry.  Exercise regularly.  Read only works that educate and inform.  Eat plain foods that are calorie rich.  Read subversive literature and learn the crimes of the authorities set over you, but never act on this information.  If you can, convince yourself that nothing can be done.  If possible, come to agree with those authorities.  But do not forget us, nor your oath to us.  If such a thing is impossible, come to think of us as those authorities and align yourself perfectly with us.  

Shackled Acolyte
HD 2
AC Ceramic Vest and Helm (Blunt 1d10)
Atk Stun Baton (1d6/1d6 electrical, non-lethal) or Bola (save vs DEX or be knocked prone)
Mor 12
Saves 9 or less

Socialization: The Shackled Acolyte can, as an action, give an order.  All non-Diabolic Scholars who hear the voice must obey the Shackled Acolyte or be harmed.  Each time someone takes an action contrary to the Shackled Acoytle's Order, they take 1 damage and must make a COG save.  On a failure, they also take 1d4 COG damage.  If this reduces a creature's COG to 0, that creature must obey.  If a creature chooses to obey, they only to the letter of the order.  Additionally, those who are acting under orders need obey only one order at once.  Newer orders automatically supersede old ones.  Creatures who have not been raised in society or have rejected it through a monstrous act against nature are immune to this ability.    

Tactics:
- Use 'Socialization' to try and get the enemies to stop fighting
- Throw bolas at the enemies with ranged weapons
- Target the prone and vulnerable

Shackled Acolytes are the peace-keepers of the order, carrying out judgement and maintaining the often tenuous links between the various path-schools.  They always wear blue.  Looking at an Acolyte, you can determine their position within the hierarchy by the shade of blue they are given: the rawest recruits were sky or powder blue, while the NCOs wear Ultramarine or Cobalt while those about to graduate to Stewards clothe themselves in Midnight or Egyptian Blue.  Their uniform, for that is what it is, consists of a long blue coat and matching trousers, with braids on the shoulder and lacy collars.  They usually wear short chains, usually concealed within headbands or silk scarves, wrapped around their heads, chests and left hands. 

The usually wear body armor, but only put their helms on in case of an emergency.

                                                   by Stefan Celic on Artstation

Shackled Steward      
HD 3
AC Ceramic Vest (Blunt 1d8)
Atk Chastener Baton (1d6/1d6 lethal or non-lethal) Laser Pistol (1d8, save vs firearm)
Mor 10
Saves 10 or less

Oversocialization: The Shackled Steward can, as an action, given an order.  All non-Diabolic scholars who hear the Steward's voice must obey the Steward's command or or be harmed.  Each time someone takes an action contrary to the Shackled Steward's Order, they take 1d4 damage and must make a COG save.  On a failure, they also take 1d6 COG damage.  If this reduces a creature's COG to 0, that creature must obey.  If a creature chooses to obey, they only to the letter of the order.  Additionally, those who are acting under orders need obey only one order at once.  Newer orders automatically supersede old ones.  Creatures who have not been raised in society or have rejected it through a monstrous act against nature are immune to this ability.     

Know your Place: As an action, the Shackled Steward can target one creature within 30'.  That creature must make a CHA check that should be compared to the Shackled Steward's COG- 15(+1).  If the creature wins the contest, it takes no damage and becomes aware of the Shackled Steward's attack, as well as the Steward's position, if it was not already known.  If the Steward wins, that creature takes 1d10 damage.  The Shackled Steward may only do this every 1d4 rounds.

Tactics:
- Open with 'Know your Place'
- Keep your distance unless the enemy is vulnerable
- Let others take the risks
- Move in if you see a weakness to exploit 

Shackled Stewards dress all in black, to separate themselves from their Acolytes.  Unlike those same Acolytes, who are sneering and belligerent toward those who refuse to toe the line, the Stewards regard everyone with a mix of condescension and quiet contempt.  They speak quietly amongst themselves and snicker at the others, especially those of a lower rank.  They are insufferably smug and endlessly self-assured. 

                                                   by Jeremiah Briggs

The Way of Hunt:

To walk this Way requires allegiance to The Peak, an aloof and distant Power.  The Peak does not demand much of its adherents, but it gives little as well.  This is the Way for those who are supremely self-reliant and feel the constant need to improve themselves.  It is also the topic of many cruel jokes, but I feel comparing it to stunt casting is nonsensical, The Peak is a perfectly valid path, it just happens to be one that is only rewarding to a specific few.  That is no crime, as far as I am concerned.

The servants of The Peak are both few in number and sparsely spread across our organization, but the few we have are very driven.  You will not find finer men in all of our organization.

To walk the Way of Hunt, shed the restraints of civilization and the softness it has forced upon you.  Become accustomed to hardship as much as you can.  Spend time outdoors as much as possible.  Learn survival techniques.  How to find water, how to identify edible plants, how to track, fish and hunt.  Learn your knots.  Take up a martial art and train until your knuckles bleed.  Learn how to use weapons, both of the modern and primitive varierty.  Master the use of a knife.  And above all else, train.  Harden your body to the peak of its potential.  Strength is good, but agility and quickness will serve you better.  And stealth.  Train in the art of invisibility.  I am unsure why that is so important, but I have a strong suspicion it has to do with the large number of our brethren who walk this path disappearing without a trace, or dying violently.

Hunted Student
HD 3
AC Hardened Bodyglove (Blunt 1d6, Sharp 1d6)
Atk Knife (1d6/1d6) or SP Pistol (1d8, save vs firearm)
Mor 12
Saves 10 or less

Secrets of the Hunt: Hunted Students receive a +2 bonus to hunting, tracking or hiding in a natural environment or one with foliage.  They halve this bonus when in an urban environment.  They can double any bonus they do receive if they have some time to disguise or camoflague themselves. 

Martial Arts: Hunted Students can reduce the damage of a melee attack by 1d6, assuming that the weapon their opponent is using isn't an Autocutter or Powerblade.  They may do this for one melee attack per round.

Tactics:
- Rely on the element of surprise
- Lure the opponent into melee combat
- Stab them repeatedly   

Hunted Students are paragons of physical fitness, with sculpted bodies and solid frames.  They are scrupulous in their diet and care of themselves.  They generally dress in bodygloves that show off every irresistible inch of themselves, usually in dark blue or green or occasionally, black.  When they know they need to fight, they will dress themselves in camo and paint their faces.  Despite their strong builds, they tend to very sneaky, capable of slipping by most defenses.

They are generally well-liked, and not just because they're usually really attractive.  Hunted Students are known to be straight forward, hard-working and motivated.  They are generally reliable and only occasionally leave their comrades to die.

Their favorite thing to do is tell ghost stories and gossip.  Their favorite topic of conversation is always where the rest of the class went or what happened to them.  For every time a new group of students are recruited for the Way of Hunt, they start getting picked off quite quickly.  It's rare for more than 50% of a class to make it to the end of the year, with the numbers who disappear or get involved in horrible "accidents" gradually trailing off, but it never truly hits zero.  They say only when you become a Master will you be safe.       

                                                       by Mike Franchina

Hounded Master
HD 6
AC Preternatural Toughness (Sharp 1d6, Blunt 1d6)
Atk SP Rifle, with Bayonet (2d6, save vs firearm) or Bayonet (1d6+1) + Butt Stroke (1d6)
Mor 14
Saves 13 or less     

Secrets of the Hunt: Hounded Masters receive a +4 bonus to hunting, tracking or hiding in a natural environment or one with foliage.  They halve this bonus when in an urban environment.  They can double any bonus they do receive if they have some time to disguise or camoflague themselves. 

Martial Arts: Hounded Masters can reduce the damage of a melee attack by 1d8, assuming that the weapon their opponent is using isn't an Autocutter or Powerblade.  They may do this for two melee attacks per round.

Tactics:
- Be unafraid of anything
- Rush in if you can hurt your opponent
- Go in hard and fast
- Utilize stealth if possible

Hardened old men, embattled and surrounded on all sides, yet they stand proud, unafraid.  The Masters of the Way of Hunt have seen it all.  They have dueled gods and monsters alike, and now they are unbowed and peerless.  They know what happened to their friends and students and colleagues and mentors.  They know who is responsible.  They plan on finding him and making him pay.  Occasionally, one of them finds out his location and races off to try and find him. 

None of them have ever succeeded. 

                                         from modb

The Way of Web:

To walk this Way requires allegiance to The Order, a name that disguises the Power's true nature.  So does the name of this Way.  This is the path of those who follow The Conspiracy, a secretive Power that shrouds herself in illusion, a tempting but always elusive target that slips through the fingers of anyone who attempts to seize her.  This Way requires a devilish patience and a soul shriven of principles.  You must be flexible as a cat and just as willing to wait, standing by a mousehole, waiting for hours till the unfortunate creature pokes its head out, only to then pounce as if you had only just started waiting.  However, that is not enough.  It also requires one to be fatalistic and willing to accept tragedy, suffering and absurdity.  One must be both hunter and prey when dealing with The Order.

You would never guess it by asking your colleagues, but the path of The Conspiracy is either the most common or the second most common of all those with us at the Institute.  Those who walk the Way of Web do their best to keep this fact concealed and some go so far to impersonate those walking the Way of Inferno or Shackles.  Still, as long as you can cut through the tedious rhetoric, you will find teachers to guide you and peers to measure yourself against.

To walk the Way of Web, become an unprincipled man.  Become skilled in deception.  Learn to lie and cover your tracks so your lies cannot be discovered.  Assume false identities.  Develop the ability to betray.  And never, ever trust anything you read, see or hear.  Only trust yourself, if you can. 

Order Operative
HD 1
AC Diffusion Tile Vest (Lasers 1d8)
Atk Laser Pistol (1d8, save vs firearm) or Concealed Dagger (1d6)
Mor 11
Saves 7 or less

Covert Signals: Order Operatives can communicate with each other without words through a series of small gestures as long as they can see each other.  They also have a complex verbal code that they can employ to discuss private matters in inoccuous terms.

Suicide Pill: If an Order Operative is about to be captured, he must make a Morale check.  If he passes, he will attempt to take his own life rather then allow himself to be interrogated and risk exposing others or "The Plan".    

Tactics:
- Remain in hiding for as long as possible
- Conceal yourself from detection
- Strike from the shadows
- Never reveal the plan   

Order Operatives are the useful idiots of our Order adepts.  They are endlessly devoted to their ideological convictions, which namely are that the Institute is the only thing standing between humanity and total extinction.  The fact that they are somewhat correct only makes them more infuriating. 

When they aren't in disguise they wear the grey uniforms of The Order, with polished buttons, plumed hats and intimidating, official-looking greatcoats.  They tend to wear body armor under their thick outer clothes and constantly preen themselves, striving to look their best.  They are insufferable.  

                                         source unknown

Conspiracy Controller
HD 3
AC Hardened Body Glove (Sharp 1d6; Blunt 1d6)
Atk Concealed Sword (1d6+1) or Collapsible Laser Rifle (1d8, save vs firearm)
Mor 14
Saves 10 or less

Covert Signals: Conspiracy Controllers can communicate with each other and with Order Operatives without words through a series of small gestures as long as they can see each other.  They also have a complex verbal code that they can employ to discuss private matters in inoccuous terms. 

Escape Route: Conspiracy Controllers can always find an escape route from a dangerous situation or an area they are confined in, even if an area is otherwise impossible to escape from. They can find hidden weak spots, long abandoned maintenance tunnels, predict inexplicable power outages or otherwise make a mockery of your defenses. 

Tactics:
- Never take risks
- Let others do the fighting
- Never reveal yourself until you absolutely have to

Conspiracy Controllers are a ruthless bunch, not to be trusted.  Unlike their lesser subordinates, they despise each other with a quiet loathing that you won't ever see until you stand between two of them.  The Controllers regard themselves as above everyone else, possessing superior wisdom and judgement.  They whole-heartedly believe that the Institute is the proper tool for the guidance of mankind, but they all disagree on the matter of who should lead it.  They all dislike the current leadership, though they would never say so publicly.  Each and every one of them is scheming against the others.  Unlike their subordinates, they have no illusions of a grand master Plan.  They all have their own missions and objectives and seek to wrest control from the Board of Supervisors or more often, from the Committee of Information and Data Security, the unofficial official head of Order adepts in the Institute. 

When not melting into the crowd in disguise, they wear flawless white, in an almost ironic statement, a bold declaration to the world of their innocence, purity or invulnerability: perhaps all three.  "If you disbelieve, prove it," was the challenge their glittering brocade and starched clothes seemed to suggest to me. 

They protect each other and cover each other's secrets.  They are a brotherhood of secrets and a family of vendettas.  Few survive the elevation, but those that do are the most fearsome and cunning individuals in the entire Institute.

                                                             from Warhammer 40,000
 
The Way of Maw:

To walk this way requires allegiance to The Maw, as the name implies.  It is the path of endings, entropy and inevitability. It is not for the faint-hearted, nor the idealistic.  Those with grand ambitions should and likely will look elsewhere.  This is a path that leads to no destination but one, a stubbornly inflexible way that crushes all who attempt to resist the flow.  Join with the path forward or be drowned.

While it is the position of the Institute, and of this scholar in particular, that the Powers do not think or act as their naive cultists believe, and thus their belief in predestination to be foolish, I for one hold to the opinion that if any Power were to select and draw people to itself, it would be this one.

Those who walk this Way are few and those who have traveled this path long enough to be able to say anything meaningful about it are so few that they can be counted on two hands.  Nonetheless, if you choose to follow this Way, a suitable teacher will find you.  That is as sure a reality as the open grave.

To walk the Way of Maw, develop a cynicism about everything, especially society and humanity.  I recommend religiously following the news bulletins on the planetary networks.  Avoid books, especially old ones.  Ignore any positive fluff stories, like you didn't already.  Become an expert of scandals, atrocities and cover-ups.  Cultivate the idea of an omniscient, malevolent conspiracy that controls the world, or succumb to nihilism.  Indulge in every sensual pleasure you can, until you find fine food tastes like ash and sex is as tedious as brushing your teeth.  Cut yourself off from every person who might love or want to help you.  Learn to evaluate people's faults and judge them harshly.  Forget how to forgive.

Doomed Disciple
HD 2
AC Diffusion Vest (Lasers 1d8)
Atk Sword (1d6/1d6)
Mor 16
Saves 9 or less

Deathless: If a Doomed Disciple is dropped to 0 HP, they have a 50% of being able to continue to stay alive at 1 HP.

Tactics:
- Rush in, heedless of danger
- Fight like a fanatic
- Accept your death with grim stoicism

To learn that you are damned inexorably does funny things to a man.  Some find themselves lost in a morass of sorrow, while others become enraged and rebel against the idea.  Neither of these are good responses- the first is useless and the second rarely remains with us.  We seek the third kind of common reaction, the one who nods, for in their heart, they already knew.

Our Disciples usually dress in minimal armor, often customized with ghoulish designs and macabre sensibilities.  They usually wear lots of leather as well, tight-fitting and black.  I am fairly certain this is some kind of inside joke, as none of them have ever been able to properly explain it to me.

They tend to be a happy-seeming bunch, throwing raucous parties and engaging in all sorts of degenerate and risky behavior.  We tolerate this, because we know that deep down, they feel exactly the way we want them to.  

                                    source unknown

Imperiled Elder   
HD 4
AC Preternatural Toughness (non-magic or non-holy 1d8)
Atk SP Rifle (2d6)
Mor 14
Saves 11 or less

Deathless: If an Imperiled Elder is dropped to 0 HP, they have a 50% of being able to continue to stay alive at 1 HP. 

Charm of Suffering: An Imperiled Elder can, as an action, absorb the damage caused by an incoming attack or effect.  They can then trap that suffering in a charm.  This causes the attack to do only superficial damage.  If that charm is then smashed or broken, the damage immediately jumps to the nearest person.  An Imperiled Elder can only do this to one attack at once.

Tactics:
- Be careful and tactical
- Fight from the rear
- Use your charm only when you have to

We are the oldest members of the Institute, the oldest Way, the one most forgotten.  We are not here to advance the mission of the Institute, for like all human institutions, what is done here will ultimately come to nothing.  I am wholly convinced of this.  Perhaps progress of a sort can be achieved, at least temporarily, but on a long enough time scale, everything comes to nothing.

Or perhaps, that is the wrong way to look at it.  After Lightner's humiliation and failure, perhaps I just want it to be true.  If that man, the greatest of us all could not achieve the Eschaton, then what hope do we lesser men have?  

                                                by Linda Mota

Sunday, May 10, 2020

TwK: Fresh Kill (part 1)

The following is a little thing I cooked up based on Lumpy Touch's Gorefield series.  It would probably be best played as some kind of horror themed one-shot or as the start of a Those who Know campaign.  I intended for the characters within to be level 0 characters, with only the starting abilities below.

                                         source unknown

Premise: You are one of the bright, shining lights amidst the fog of fools that is humanity.  Your potential is being squandered here.  This is why you are being hunted by Gottsmaw.

Gottsmaw is a Monster, a creature of terrible power, perfect violence and sublime terror.  No one knows what he is, whether that be beast or Demon or God.  It is known that he is cruel and highly intelligent, as well as being very, very hungry.  He is the center-point of this adventure.  Gottsmaw will stalk you, following until you prove yourself to be too difficult to kill or until he devours you.  He is always acting, always planning and always watching. 

The Starting Point:
The Town of Gottsfield.  It resembles the town of Hawkins, Indiana or any other small, midwestern town.  It's population is homogenous and country-minded.  It has several tiny, white-painted churches and an abandoned steel mill surrounded by a rusting, chainlink fence.  Some of the fences are painted pristine white and surround manicured lawns, green grass heavy with dew, leading to shady verandas and rocking chairs.  Other yards are unfenced, with patchy grass and gravel driveways leading to old, crumbling farmhouses, the edges of the lawns flanked by patches of woods and knee-high grass, the latter often surrounding heaps of rusting junk: old cars missing their wheels, rusting hulks of farm equipment and refrigerators that need to be brought to a landfill.  People don't lock their doors at night, the cafes are full of retirees sitting around chatting and the best breakfast the diner serves is chicken fried steak with potato wedges and red cabbage.

You:


Roll 1d12 to determine your place.  Reroll any duplicates, so that no man has the same result.  You will also get the six things below: a Special Item, a Place to Avoid, a Blessing, a Curse and a Scent Rating. 
 
Your Special Item: One thing you start with that everyone else will need to acquire.

Your Lucky Number: At any point in the adventure, you may swap out anyone's d20 roll for your
 Lucky Number.  You can do this once. 

Your Color: If you wear your color, that item of clothing functions as armor against Gottsmaw's attacks along as he has taken the form of your enemy.

Your Place to Avoid: You should not go here, or you will suffer terribly.

Your Blessing: What you can do that no one else can.  Your Talent, your Gift. 

Your Curse: What affects you and only you.  What will destroy you, in the end.

Your Scent Rating: How likely it is that Gottsmaw knows where you are.

Who are you?

1d12


                                     by Morbid Fixation

1- The Royal. 

"I keep having this dream.  I'm sitting in a cafe, discussing something with myself.  The other version of me, he's very agitated, telling me something very important.  I can never hear them though, as the air is full of music.  The music is very loud, but it doesn't hurt me.  It's almost soothing, actually.  I always try to get up and follow the music, but the other version of myself usually tries to stop me.  Sometimes they grab me or hurl themselves at my feet and silently plead with me.  My therapist tells me this is probably just my anxiety.  He also thinks it might be related to my insomnia, but I doubt it."

You are a well-to-do or beloved resident of your town.  People regard you as special and defer to you.  If you go missing, you will be remembered fondly and subject to many rumors.  Your funeral is sure to be spectacular.  Your color is Pink and your lucky number is 20.
    
Your Special Item: You start with a key to the Gardener's Residence at the Country Club.  The key is old, stolen a generation ago, but it should still work.

Your Place to Avoid: The Theater

Your Blessing:
The authorities and magistrates will look upon you favorably and will always show mercy on you, if it is your first offense. 

Your Curse:
You have kingsblood flowing through your veins, a most potent ingredient, as well as a delicious meal.  The Foxhounds will pursue you will all haste.  If given the choice between you or another, they will pick you.     

Your Scent Rating:
7.  There is a 70% chance that Gottsmaw is nearby, watching you.

                                    from Wallpaper Nexus

2- The Noble.

"My boss is breathing down my neck, so I decided it was time to go find a place out of the way.  Hopefully they'll find someone else to bother in the meantime.  I decided here was as good as any place: I've got a pretense and money for coffee, so I'll be funny.  Still, I can't help but feel there's something rotten here, like the whole town is under a shadow.  It's like, everyone is just a bit too theatrical.  It's a performance.  But where is the audience?  Maybe I'm just being paranoid.  I must be spending too much time cooped up with my research.  A little fresh air will do me some good."

You are a high-ranking person in your society.  You do not have much in the way of money, but you have a profession that people respect on credentials alone.  Maybe you work for someone powerful, or maybe you come from a field people associate good things with, such as a scientist or professor.  At your wake, people will talk about your passion, about how you loved your work.  They will bite back bitter tears about how little attention you paid them.  Your lucky number is 18 and your color is light purple.

Your Special Item: You start with some badge of office or an item that proves you are who you say you are.

Your Place to Avoid: The Forest

Your Blessing: You may double your CHA bonus on any attempt to convince, intimidate, bluff or bully someone who doesn't know anything about your profession or respects that same profession if what you're attempting to persuade someone of something based on your position.  Ex: If the professor tells an NPC that this substance is actually radioactive and that the NPC need to leave immediately, the NPC  
 
Your Curse: There is someone in town who will hate you for his or her own reasons.  Maybe they hate everyone of your race or profession, or maybe it's because of some unfinished business from when you were younger.  He or she will do whatever he or she can to make your life harder.  The longer you stay, the worse it will get. 

Your Scent Rating: 5.  There is a 50% chance that Gottsmaw knows where you are. 

                                        source unknown

3- The Judge.

"People often ask you, is it hard?  In the past, you might have said, 'Yes'.  Not anymore.  Now you don't even need the blood-suckers to talk.  You just eyeball the subject and if he has the look, you know where he stands.  You can smell them.  The only problem with this skill is the jury.  They are so much less clear-sighted then you.  Sometimes, when you look over to the bench, they almost seem to be sleep-walking, moving and responding to queries, yet at the same time, there is a glazed look to their eyes.  Maybe sleep-walking is the wrong way to put it.  Now that you really think about it, hypnotized fits much better..."

You're a person with real authority, real power.  You might be an actual magistrate, or perhaps you were appointed instead. Regardless, you have actual authority and can make commands.  If things start going bad, people will expect you to step up. You won't let them down.  Your obituary will mention how your loss was tragic.  Your lucky number is 16 and your color is royal purple.

Your Special Item: You start with the privilege of rank.  People will grant you a lot more leeway than some others and if you're frightening enough, they might buckle and do what you ask.  You can also pull rank on most people.

Your Place to Avoid: The Wrong Side of the Tracks

Your Blessing: You start with a servant who will do whatever you ask of them, except tasks that are especially degrading or suicidal.

Your Curse: You will be scrutinized.  If you break the law where people can see, you will get into huge trouble, much worse than any normal people.

Your Scent Rating: 8.  There is an 80% chance that Gottsmaw is nearby, watching you.   

                                                        by erinino 

4- The Knight.

"They call you an amoral killer, a borderline psychopath with no conscience.  But you're only what they made you.  You used to be just like anyone else.  Then they got their claws into you and lured you away with promises of college and a good degree, along with the sense that you could do something 'real'.  You're not bitter though- you agreed with them.  Working a 9-to-5 desk job for the next fourty years, slowly digging out bits of your soul and smearing them on pieces of paper, that sounded like hell to you at 19.  So you enlisted.  Now you jump whenever you see a pile of trash because it might be an IED and you can disassemble your service weapon, clean it, then put it back together by candle-light.  Not to mention the obvious fact that you were taught how to kill.  But you doubt you'll need that skill anymore, right?"  

You are a man skilled in the way of violence.  Maybe you are a peace-keeper or a constable, tasked to use your violence for a righteous cause.  Maybe you are a soldier, recently returned from a tour of duty, jumping at fire-crackers and piles of garbage that might contain IEDs.  Or maybe you are a common thug, a brute who used your talents for personal gain.  Depending on how you used your gifts will determine how many people come to see you lowered into the ground and whether or not your silver-haired mother is presented with a flag, or one of your old comrades comes along to curse you for dying and leaving him, or if your chewed corpse is left to rot in a muddy ditch.  Your color is indigo and your lucky number is 9.

Your Special Item:
You start with a weapon that would suit your background.

Your Place to Avoid: City Hall

Your Blessing: You start with training in weapon skills and the ways of violence.  You may reroll any melee damage rolls you make. 

Your Curse: The local authorities will be suspicious of you at first sight and they will seek you out to blame when trouble first starts occuring.

Your Scent Rating: 4.  There is a 40% chance that Gottsmaw knows where you are.

                                by SeventhLevelStudios

5- The Thief.

"The greatest, that's what they'll call you.  This is just a minor setback.  If things had gone according to plan, you would be high and dry, soaking up the sun in Tahiti right now, pocketing your ill-gotten gains.  Alas, things didn't go according to plan.  But how?  You were so careful.  There was no one- oh.  Right.  No one except him.  You can't believe you didn't think of it earlier!  That bastard, he screwed you!  Well, we'll see who gets the last laugh."

You are a thief, a smooth operator.  Slick as they come and light on your feet, you're a born opportunist.  You could be an actual cat-burgular, or you could be more abstract.  Perhaps you work in mergers and acquisitions.  Regardless, you're good at getting what you want.  You've likely left a trail of broken hearts and shattered dreams behind you.  Someone is definitely going to celebrate when they hear you died.  Your color is dark blue and your lucky number is 19.

Your Special Item: You start with a key.  This key can open any one lock you find.  Once you declare what the key does, it will only open that lock.

Your Place to Avoid: The Bar

Your Blessing: If attempting to take something by stealth, you may add double the appropriate modifier.  If no modifier is being called for, you may add a +2 bonus to the roll.

Your Curse: Every time you take something that isn't yours, steal something or do something crazy, there is a chance equal to your current Scent Rating that Gottsmaw takes notice of you.

Your Scent Rating: 3.  There is a 30% chance that Gottsmaw knows of your existence.

                                                    source unknown

6- The Councilor.

"I've heard of hopeless cases, but this one takes the cake.  How am I supposed to argue against this?  The fact that these arguments are absurd is irrelevant, neither my employer nor anyone else seems to care.  The fact that the person you're attempting to refute doesn't seem to exist is also troubling.  Everything about this situation, it reeks of danger.  But at the same time, the payout is more then some people might make in a lifetime.  Maybe I should check it out.  Just poke my head in and if it's a dog's job, then I'll bail.  I promise."   

You are a servant of whoever you pays for.  The service you offer is knowledge.  You can do what others only see on TV and know enough that you also know that it's not nearly as glamorous.  You might be a lawyer, or an archivist, or a historian, or a crime scene investigator.  You know things and end up being paid handsomely for the deal.  But this, has got to be the weirdest situation you find yourself in.  Your death won't be noticed for a few weeks, until the college or your firm thinks to call you.  The casket they bury will be empty, as your body was never found.  Your color is cyan and your lucky number is 13. 

Your Special Item: You start with a book that contains large amounts of obscure information.  If something is a mystery, you may declare what it is based on what you read in your book (and cite your sources).  This could only pertain to something that is likely to be written in a book and would not work on something such as forbidden, suppressed knowledge, personal secrets or that which is unspeakable.  Additionally, after your declaration, your book will only ever reveal information about that subject.

Your Place to Avoid:
Sports Fields

Your Blessing: You have a contact in town who you can call upon to perform a service for.  Roll to determine what kind of service.  Your contact is 1dX [1= A prostitute; 2= A police informant; 3= A police officer; 4= A rich man; 5= The nosy neighbor who sees everything; 6= The insane old lady who knows some dark secrets about the town.]  Your contact will do one service for you, but any more then that requires quid pro quo.  

Your Curse: You have a superior officer who you are accountable to you, who will occasionally contact you and order you to do something.  Refuse at your peril. 

Your Scent Rating: Scent 6.  There is a 60% chance that Gottsmaw knows where you are.

                                               by Ed Prather

7- The Custodian.

"I've looked anywhere for someone to help her, but nothing's worked.  Doctors shrug their shoulders and therapists shake their heads.  I've talked to priests but nothing they did ever helped me.  So I was skeptical- I'm sure it's a scam.  But they say he's the genuine article, a real miracle worker.  And for the first time, I dared to hope.  I just hope that it doesn't turn out to be the bait in a trap." 

You are a caregiver, a protector, a nurturer.  You are in charge of protecting someone else from danger, trouble or strife. You have devoted your life to self-sacrifice and bettering your charge.  Your charge will usually obey you, though everyone, including him, has days where the flights of fancy seize them.  You must keep your charge safe.  If you were to die but he would live, you would count that a worthy trade.  Your color is lime and your lucky number is 6. 

Your Special Item: You start with a method of contacting your charge.

Your Place to Avoid: The School

Your Blessing:
If your charge or another person you love is endangered, you can draw upon strength you didn't know you had, rising to the occasion, adding a +1d6 bonus to any roll or saving throw.

Your Curse:
If your charge dies, your Scent Rating increases to 10.

Your Scent Rating: Scent 5.  There is a 50% chance that Gottsmaw knows where you are.


                                               source unknown


8- The Hunter.

"I just spent the last four hours sitting in a tree, feeling my buttcheeks freeze together as frost spread across my jeans, waiting to see if I could see anything.  I saw rabbits and squirrels and a coyote, luckily there was only one.  But not a single deer!  Then, just as I was about to call it quits, I heard all the birds go silent.  Something huge moved down beneath me, maybe a bear, except it sounded much bigger than any bear I'd ever seen.  I didn't dare look, because if I did, somehow I knew that it would see me.  And even though it scared me shitless, I still kind of want to go back.  Try my luck against that thing- whatever it was." 

You are a person most comfortable in pursuit of game.  You're an adrenaline junkie.  You live for the thrill of outsmarting your opponent, of locking antlers and being the one left standing in the end.  You could be a big game hunter or aa survivalist, pitting yourself against the forces of nature.  Or you could be a man pursuing far different prey, such as a bounty hunter or a repo man.  If you die, Gottsmaw will remember your passing fondly.  Your color is dark green and your lucky number is 7. 

Your Special Item: You start with a scope, binoculars or a pair of night vision goggles.

Your Place to Avoid: The Police Station.

Your Blessing: You are good at sneaking and tracking, adding a +4 bonus to do either. 

Your Curse: Your abilities are impaired when you have to escort amateurs along with yourself.  For every person who joins you in sneaking or tracking, you gain a -1 penalty.

Your Scent Rating: 3.  There is a 30% chance that Gottsmaw is aware of your existence. 

                                                source unknown

9- The Soothsayer.

"You can't believe he would try that.  Does he think you're some kind of invalid?  You saw his gambit coming from a hundred miles away.  You admit, the first time you met, he played you like a game of poker.  This time though, you're prepared.  You know his tricks and this one reeks of the same.  It's got his grubby fingerprints all over it.  So we'll just see who has the last laugh this time."   

You are a gifted thinker, one blessed with foresight.  Not in the sense of being clairvoyant or telepathic, but simply that you are good at predicting how things will go.  You might be a political analyst, writer, philosopher or a stock broker.  You are wise and to those who know of your talents, your word carries great weight.  Someone's going to lose a lot of money when he doesn't predict your early passing.  Your color is yellow and your lucky number is 15.  

Your Special Item: You start with a deck of tarot cards, a set of dice, some sheep knuckle bones, or a knife and the willingness to butcher a live animal.  Using any of these methods, you can see omens of the future.  These omens are likely to be vague, but they can warn you of where Gottsmaw is or what his plans are.

Your Place to Avoid: The Magic Shop

Your Blessing:
You have the gift of foresight.  Once per session, you may ask the Referee a question.  If the Referee decides that you could guess the answer based on the information you currently have, then the Referee will answer you.  The Referee must answer truthfully, if he chooses to answer you.  If the Referee decides that you could not predict what was about to happen, he will not answer.

Your Curse: Other people will usually ignore your predictions and go ahead, confident in their own abilities. 

Your Scent Rating: Scent 7.  There is a 70% chance that Gottsmaw is nearby.

                                                  source unknown

10- The Shepherd.

"It's a difficult thing, taking care of an animal, especially if it's not a pet.  With a pet, you can devote all your energies to helping it, spend any amount of money and do whatever is necessary.  But with something like a pig, it's different.  You can come to recognize the animal's personality, his traits and mannerisms, even come to like it.  But you know, at the back of your mind, that this can't last.  It casts the whole thing into a melancholy light.  But you'll get over it, I suppose.  It's only a beast, after all."   

You are a tender soul, one suited to the management of soft, fuzzy things.  You work with animals and you're good at it.  What animals those are can vary, as can your relationship to those beasts.  Perhaps you are a trainer, or a keeper, employed to keep large or exotic beasts safe.  Maybe you are wealthy and own a few of the most interesting beasts as pets.  Or maybe you just work at the local shelter.  Regardless of your occupation, you are good at it.  As such, when you pass, a lot of your furry friends are going to be left wondering just where you went, and why you never said goodbye.  Your color is brown and your lucky number is 2.

Your Special Item: You start with an animal companion.  Your companion is a beast, but one that is smart and loyal enough to usually obey your commands.  Call them your service animal and take them everywhere. 

Your Place to Avoid:
The Slaughterhouse

Your Blessing: You get a +4 bonus to attempt to calm or soothe any sort of animal.  You also receive the same bonus when it comes to remembering things about an animal, that species, their behavior and etc.

Your Curse: Animals will seek you out, whether you want them too or not.  Some of them will be helpful and might be able to do something for you.  Most of them will be neutral, however, and depending on your actions will either become allies or enemies.  Some of the animals will be spies for Gottsmaw.  Regardless of what those animals do, none of them will help you if you are targeted by the apex predator. 

Your Scent Rating: Scent 3.  There is a 30% that Gottsmaw knows of your existence.

                                           by M. C. Escher

11- The Artist. 

"I can't seem to actually produce anything good anymore.  An idea pops into my head and I become obsessed with it for a while.  But then, as soon as I self-reflect, I hate it.  Have I lost my touch?  Much of what I produced in the past was somewhat derivative.  No, that's silly.  I am an artist.  I just need something to inspire me." 

You are a sensitive soul, one not geared toward competition.  You always saw the climbing of society's hierarchy and endless social games as unnecessary or bothersome.  Instead you sat on the sidelines, watching others rise and fall, not troubling yourself with enemies or things like winning and losing.  You only wanted to capture the moment you saw, the feel of that stretch of time, to make others see what you saw.  This feeling is what lead you to art.  It is your passion, your one ambition.  You can be anything from a painter to a poet to a film-maker, but whatever you are, you are trying to make others see.  You might think you would die for you art and now you'll get the chance to prove it.  Luckily for you, if you die, your work will become all the more valuable.  Your color is rust red and your lucky number is 11.  

Your Special Item: You start with an antique camera that takes actual polaroids or uses film.  Unlike a digital device, this one will actually be able to record the surreal things that are about to start happening to you.   

Your Place to Avoid: The Gym.

Your Blessing: You may take an action to observe the world around you and try to notice the presence of the Master of the Hunt.  If you see the Master of the Hunt, you can take an action to attempt to guess his powers, his weaknesses, etc.  You have a chance equal to your Scent Rating of guessing correctly.  You can increase this chance by painting pictures, taking photographs, making sculptures, or otherwise creating art about what you saw.  Each time you do this, increase your chance of correctly guessing by 10%, to a maximum of 50%.  

Your Curse: The glory of Gottsmaw draws you and if you are not careful, will consume you.  Every time you correctly guess a fact about Gottsmaw or make a piece of art about him, your Scent Rating increases by 10%, to a maximum of 50%.

Your Scent Rating: Scent 1.  There is a 10% chance Gottsmaw knows of your existence.

                                         by Jim Fitzpatrick

12- The Pariah.

"The stares are the worst part, you know.  Some of them are just ugly, but I can deal with those.  They're not exactly hateful, but they seem accusatory.  They almost want to know why I exist, or why I chose here.  Why couldn't I go trouble someone else, they seem to ask.  Assholes.  They just don't want their consciences pricking them, but they don't want to do anything about it.  The ones that are really bad, are the pitiful ones.  Up until recently, I would have described them as the worst.  Thank you, I would have said, for making me feel worse.  But there's something worse than being disliked or even pitied.  It's someone looking at you like you're a bacteria under a microscope: or a corpse on an autopsy table, or a steak dinner."

You are someone that society dislikes.  For some reason, people would rather you not be around.  Maybe it's through no fault of your own.  Maybe it's because of your race, your orientation, your place of origin, or events outside of your control.  Or perhaps those are all normal, and it's your fault.  Maybe you did something bad in the past that no one ever forgave you for. Or maybe you're just an asshole.  Who knows?  Your color is candy red and your lucky number is 1.

Your Special Item: You start with a concealable weapon. 

Your Place to Avoid: The Public Square

Your Blessing: You can hurt him.  You may ignore all resistances and immunities when rolling for damage against the Master of the Hunt.

Your Curse:
Your blood sings to him.  If you ever drop below max HP, you must save if the damage was non-sharp.  On a failure, you bleed.  Taking sharp damage counts as an automatic failure.  If you ever fail a saving throw and bleed, your Scent Rating changes by 1d10..

Your Scent Rating:
Scent 0.  There is a 0% chance Gottsmaw knows of your existence.  But every time you bleed, your Scent Rating does up by 1d10.