Sunday, April 28, 2019

TwK: Modern-Day Psychopomps

This is meant for my Those who Know setting, which is set in a modified version of the Present Day.  This was inspired heavily by this post.

This is what happens after you die.


Have the player recount all his deeds, good, bad or otherwise.  Only count major decisions- ie, ones that affected the game.  Whether or not if he recycles or holds the door open for women is irrelevant here.  Use this to calculate his Goodness score. Start at ten, then modify it based on his deeds.  For every good act, he gets a +1 to his Goodness.  For every evil act, he gets a -1 to his Goodness score.  Then the player should roll.  If he rolls under his Goodness score, he has earned himself a Good End.  If he roll overs his Goodness score, he has earned a Bad End.

However, there are some conditions that must be accounted for.
Firstly, if the character is a genuine Christian, the Herald of the King will automatically arrive.
Secondly, if the character has sold his soul, the Outsider or other entity that the soul was sold to will arrive to claim what is owed it.  This applies to those who have struck Faustian bargains, Warlocks, etc.
Thirdly, you may qualify for two or more of the following categories.  If in that case, both Psychopomps will arrive and argue over who has the legal claim to you.
Fourthly, your Psychopomp will take 1d10 minutes to arrive.  If you slip away, you might be able to escape this death.  Just know that even if you do, you will not escape Death.  

Good End(s):

Herald of the King
HD 7
Qualification: Genuine Christian and/or lived a Saintly Life (the two may not be exclusive).

Above you, the sky opens and golden light pours down upon the earth.  Strange, ethereal, but also beautiful music fills the air.  Suddenly, a human man with a long, snow white beard atop a white horse appears.  A jeweled sword hangs from his waist, and his garments are the finest silk, embroidered with silver and gold thread.  He bears a personal invitation, addressed to you by the King, inviting you to Paradise.  He will tell you as such and offer you the invitation.  You are free to decline.  He will not stop you.  Why would you though?

Destination: The Presence of the Lord: Paradise.  For you, there will be no waiting.  You will get to meet all your loved ones who have fallen asleep and await the resurrection with them, joined with them and all the saints in eternal joy, bliss and consciousness.


Man with the White Wings
HD 5
Qualification: Lived a very good life

He has wings of white, woven of sunshine and twinkling and stars.  His face is beautiful, so much so that it brings tears to your eyes.  He is here to let you know that it's okay.  In the end, Good wins.  You don't need to struggle anymore.  You can rest.  He will embrace you, then carry you away from this place.

Destination: Purgatory.  You are not yet finished.  There is still much work that needs to be done on you.  You will be taken to the Celestial Fire where you will be cleansed, your imperfections burned away.  Then, once you are purified, you will be perfect and worthy to meet the King.


Dead Friend or Family Member
HD [What they had while alive]
Qualification: Lived a moderately good life and had a friend who was good

He or she looks exactly as he or she did while he or she was alive at the prime of his or her life.  Your sister who died young may be a grown woman or your father may your age; or the battle-brother you lost in the field may be an aged man, yet still fully and powerfully alive, despite his grey hairs and bushy beard.  Your friend will embrace you and bring you with them, out of the wretched, rotting world you once inhabited.

Destination: Purgatory.  (see above).

Lukewarm End(s):


Celestial Auditor
HD 4
Qualification: Be a Christian who is lax in their faith or someone who is still heavily burdened with sin (the two may not be exclusive).

The Auditor looks like a person you displeased in a life, wrapped in terrible glory.  It could be your second grade teacher after you punched over Tommy's model of the solar system at the science fair or your first girlfriend's father.  The Auditor will usually resemble an authority figure from your life, glowing like the sun and bleeding from dozens of battle wounds.  At its waist the Auditor carries a sword and in its hands, it carries a scroll detailing every bad thing you've ever done.

You are in big trouble, buddy.  The Auditor is here to crush what's left of your rebellious spirit and scare you straight, as it were.  They are going to make you an offer you can't refuse, essentially.  Though you can refuse it.  Here's the deal: you aren't perfect.  Not even close.  They had been told there would be plenty of time to get you ready for the Big Man upstairs, but then your troublesome free will just had to get in the way.  As such, you have three options. 

1: You can go with the Auditor, who will take you straight to Purgatory.  You will need a lot of work done, but eventually, you will be ready to see the King.
2: You can come work as one of the Celestial Arbiters, Heaven's Holy Hitmen.  They could use someone as talented as you.  It'll be hard, grueling and dangerous work, and you're likely to die violently.  But it's a lot faster than Purgatory.

3: This option isn't always available, but the Auditor may be able to return you to life, assuming your body wasn't totally destroyed.  If you got your head chopped off or burnt to a crisp or dissolved in acid or eaten by a Troll, this isn't an option.  HOWEVER, if the Celestial Auditor returns you to life, then you must promise to it that you will turn your life around.  The Celestial Auditor assures you that it will not be so merciful if it has to see you again.

Destination: Either Purgatory or Celestial Arbiter HQ.

                                                      by d-i-a-b-o-l-i-q-u-e-s.tumblr.com
The Old Woman
HD 4
Qualification: Lived an entirely lukewarm life, with no faith in God, yet no wretched sins

She wears a black veil and her clothing is a matching hue.  Her face is always sympathetic and vaguely familiar.  Does she resemble a person you once knew?  Or did you see her once, but forget until now?  She will speak to you in a hushed whisper and will offer you a hard candy from her purse.  She will ask you to take her hand and hurry along.  There are wicked ones about, she will warn you, so stick close.  She will take you to a safe place, where you can rest until the Day of the Lord, when all people will be gathered before the Great White Throne.  When is that?  Who can say?  She certainly doesn't know.  Until it comes, she has work to do.

Destination: Sheol.  A grey, still land full of the dead, awaiting judgement.     

Bad End(s):

Mr. Screwtape
HD 6
Qualification: Lived a wretched life

He's sharply dressed in a black business suit with cuff-links of dark stones that gleam red around the edges.  He is vaguely handsome, likely bald, oozing a sleazy, insincere charm.  The only thing odd about him, besides the fact that he is here, is two two small, red horns growing out of his head.  He is here to make you an offer.

His offer is simple: a life for a life.  You give him your soul and he will create for you a new body.  You'll live and he'll get paid.  Everyone wins!  He's open to negotiate, of course, but you won't get much out of him.  After all, he holds all the cards here.  He already has the right to claim your soul.  He's trying to be nice, to do you a favor.  Why do you have to make this so hard?

If you refuse, he's going to take possession of you, whether you like it or not.  If you get away though, he's probably not going to put too much effort into chasing you.  After all, if you're trying to cheat death, that's his ballgame.  You two are bound to meet again, soon enough.

Destination: Screwtape isn't going to take you to Hell, he wouldn't even know how to get there.  He wouldn't even go there, even if did know how to.  So he's just going to take possession of you.  What happens next?  Who knows?  You might be given to one of his friends to be tortured until the Last Day, when their claim over you expires.  Or you might be dismembered and used to create some diabolic weapons, where you will exist in a state of perpetual agony until the Last Day.  Or he might just eat you.


Father
HD 6 [+1 for each of the Sovereign's Sacred Treasures he has]
Qualification: You belong to him

He is wrapped in dazzling light, so bright you cannot see his face.  He wears a robe of cloth-of-gold and his fingers are heavy with jeweled rings, opals, lapis lazuli, onyx and mother of pearl adorn his hands.  He will approach you and touch your face and you will realize how cold his touch actually is.  Yet it is not unfamiliar.  You will realize he has been with you for a long, long time, whispering into your ear, giving your dreams, controlling your actions.  He is your Father and you cannot escape him.

Only the most depraved and wicked will find themselves meeting him on this side of Eternity.  What will Father do to them?  For some, if they prove pliable, if they will do as he commands and worship him, he may restore you to life.  Or he may reject you and cast you down into the grave, where you will be trapped inside your rotting corpse, still conscious but unable to do anything until the resurrection of the body.  Whatever he does, it is all in service of his plans, which are far-reaching and nigh-unfathomable.  Regardless of what he chooses, he will do it with a smile on his face.  He has nothing but contempt for you.

Destination: Hell isn't a place, it's a mode of being, as you're soon about to discover.

                                                                by SidharthChaturvedi

Breaking the Law

Most people, if approached by a Spirit bearing a book of names and a giant sword will meekly submit and let themselves be led away to whatever fate awaits them.  You could certainly do that.  Let's say you don't however.  Let's say you run away.

The Psychopomp will likely try to apprehend you.  Some will not, but others will go to great lengths to make sure you are captured and taken to the appropriate afterlife.  So your first obstacle will be to evade the Psychopomp.  For that, you will need to learn how to fight like a Ghost.

What even are Ghosts anyway?


The world is made of two overlapping spheres of existence, the Spiritual Realm and the Temporal Realm.  The Spiritual Realm is the source of all immaterial things, such as souls, minds, spells, emotions, ideals, vice, virtue and etc.  The Spiritual Realm also links our universe to higher planes of reality, so this is how Outsiders access our reality, but crawling down, using our collective subconscious as a rock-climbing wall. 

The Temporal Realm is the one you experience with your physical senses every day.  It is largely governed by the laws of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.  The only interference in these laws comes from the free-willed agents, such as Humans and other persons, that inhabit the world.

Embodied Humans inhabit both of these world simultaneously, your soul interfacing with the Spiritual Realm while your body does the same for the Temporal Realm.  However, suppose something goes wrong and your body or soul is separated.  This is the phenomenon known as death.  We discussed what happens when you die above, but let's speak about the other aspects of only being connected to the Spiritual Realm.

First, you can no longer touch or affect anything in that belongs exclusively to the Temporal Realm.  Anything without a soul or not infused with magic, you cannot affect it in any way.  Additionally, these objects cannot effect you.  You can pass right through them, as if they weren't there.  That is because, for you, they aren't.

Second, you can touch or affect objects or persons that have at least a toe-hold in the Spiritual World.  For example, you could grab a magical item or touch a person.  However, if the object or person you are attempting to manipulate has a stronger spirit than you, you may not be able to affect them much.

Third, most people won't be able to see or notice you.  You can stand right behind someone and scream at them until you run out of breath (which will never happen) and they still won't hear you.  However, some people will.  When you do anything to a living person, they must save, with a penalty or bonus to their save based on their belief in the Spiritual Realm and their level of magical talent.  A person who is a strict empiricist/materialist will receive a penalty to their save to see or hear you as they have trained themselves to ignore any small omens of the supernatural and rationalize them away.  Meanwhile, an intensely spiritual person or someone with a strong belief in Ghosts, Spooks or Boogeymen will receive a bonus to their save to see you.

Additionally, if someone has magical abilities, such as a Semblance or the ability to cast spells, they receive a bonus to his save equal to his class level to notice you as well. 

Finally, some people, such as Prophets or Sorcerer-Kings will immediately notice you.

Fourth, you are immortal.  A Human Soul is immortal.  You cannot die, no matter what happens to you.  However, you can be damaged. 

Fifth, the Sun is dangerous.  It will burn you to a crisp.  Some people speculate that the Lake of Fire is actually the Sun.  Perhaps it is.  Sunlight burns Undead through the protection of their enchanted bodies, so for you, it would even more dangerous.  Avoid it if you don't want to know what it feels like to be incinerated one atom at a time. 

Sixth, you can possess people.  This is dangerous and not always successful, but it can be done. 

Seventh, as you age, you will change.  Ghosts tend to degenerate over time, deforming into shells of who they once were.  The Ghost becomes consumed by one particular emotion, feeling or passion.  This also affects their appearance, so you can get meet ghosts that are giant, alien monsters and or people with archaic clothing and queer accents who can also walk through walls.

For the Referee:    

Fighting as a Ghost:

Treat HP and FS as normal.  Roll Horrible Wounds as normal.  However, a Soul will regenerate any damage to it, given enough time.  It is still as painful as it would be if you were alive though.  It's much worse than being alive, actually, as while being chopped apart in your body, you can die to escape the pain.  Here you can't do that.

Additionally, every time someone receives a Horrible Wound while a Ghost, they receive a Conviction that is based on the person who injured them.  For example, if your soul is carved up by the Ghost of a murderer and you get your face cut off, you might receive the Conviction, "Killing women and skinning them is the only thing that brings me joy."

Sunlight Damage:

Ghosts take 10 damage a round they are exposed to natural sunlight.

Possession:

Use the same rules that Outsiders use for this one.

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