Tuesday, September 24, 2019

OSR: The Brotherhood of Broken Chains: Traitors

[The following is a compilation of a series of documents transcribed by Interrogator-Lord Marwen of Soliko, agent of His Imperium, the Emperor of Joyous Exultation, Lord Marzan's prayers be upon him.  The information contained within should be recognized as the opinions and thoughts of a law-breaker and do not in any way reflect the opinions, thoughts or desires of His Imperium or the agents of the Emperor or his loyal subjects.

All subjects detailed below are considered outlaws and law-breakers under Imperial Law.  All agents of His Imperium, if they encounter one of the individuals below should make all efforts to seize them, so that they may be brought before a Justice of His Imperium to receive due punishment.  Additionally, if any subject of His Imperium possesses the sufficient strength or skill with arms to apprehend one of the criminals, they should be awarded just compensation by an agent of His Imperium.

The Individuals detailed in this specific file are not a natural grouping found in the documents, but organized and sorted by me, the agent of His Imperium.  In the original documents these profiles were scattered among others, with only passing reference to the others.  These appear to be a group who has made an enemy of the group's leadership.  The agent of His Imperium does believe that they could be useful, though not as much as the group mentioned in File I37-b-95.  The agent of His Imperium does not think this group would be good informants, but as they are consuming Brotherhood resources and presenting a threat to the Brotherhood's leader, all efforts should be made to allow them to continue their escapades in peace, unless they choose to start actively antagonizing His Imperium's agents or government.

For more information, consult File E137-a-2 in the Imperial Archives for more information on the Brotherhood of Broken Chains' leadership and supposed history, File E137-b-56 for information on a particularly relevant group of criminals, File E137-f-31 for a look at some of the low-level members of the organization and File I37-b-95 for a group of enemies who could potentially become useful to His Imperium.  So says the agent of His Imperium.]

                                             by Tim Cantor

Gino Siddarth [Sid-arr-the]

Gino Siddarth is a Quarrian, one of the Blue People, and an exiled prophet of the Church of the Moons.  Despite his obvious connection to the Divine, Siddarth was expelled by his own people and forced to wander beyond his own lands for his heresy.  For you see, the Quarrian religion teaches that there are only four Moons and each of these are the only ones worthy of worship, with some notable exceptions.  Some Quarrians do not share this belief however, as a small minority observe a different number of moons.  Some say there are only two or three, or maybe even five.  Most of these Quarrians keep these beliefs to themselves, worshiping as if there are four moons, even if they can only observe a few of them.

Siddarth was not so wise.  He instead preached his own doctrine to anyone who would listen, declaring that there were seven moons, with three of them hidden from the view of most.  He demonstrated his own incredible powers as proof of the fact that the Gods approved of him and his message.

Unfortunately, the Church of the Moons had their own miracle workers, ones more numerous and greater than Siddarth, who managed to capture and bring him before the Minister's Circle, where he was tried and convicted of heresy.  Though even there, it seems his Gods were with him, as the ranking Ministers merely exiled him.

It was not long after this that one of my operatives brought Siddarth to me and I recruited him.  At first, I was mistaken in my perceptions of him, believing him to be a conman or demon-possessed and his Gods were either tricksters, or he was one himself.  Unfortunately, this turned out to not be the case. 

Siddarth proved to instead be a fanatic, which is a species of mortal much harder to control.  I have no idea why Siddarth threw in his lot with the band of doomed fools that he did, but I suspect it because of something his Gods revealed to him. For his sake, I hope that is true, as by the time I am done with him, Siddarth is going to need some divine intervention.

Weakness: Siddarth possesses two weaknesses.  Firstly, he is a true believer, and would not nothing to upset or offend his Gods.  I am not sure yet how this could be exploited, but it must be considered.  If one could learn his rituals, he could be easy to ambush.  Secondly, Siddarth is not well liked by his compatriots.  While none of them can be described as especially loyal, as a Quarrian from the strange South, his bond to the others is much weaker than it could be, as they are all natives of the humid North.  If Siddarth was ever in serious trouble, it's probable that the others might abandon him. 

Statblock:

Gino Siddarth
HD 4  AC 12  Atk (+3) Magic Spear- Quicksilver 1d8/1d8 or (+0) Dagger 1d6
Mor 9   Saves 11 or less is a success

Bearer of the Word "CLEAR": Siddarth has the ability to speak one of the Secret Names of God as a full action.  Whenever he does this, hurricane force winds blast out for 100' around him, instantly blowing away any fog, smoke, gaseous poison or anything else in the atmosphere.  It also extinguishes all but the largest fires and everyone within 50' but him must succeed a STR saving throw or be blown away.  However, after using this Secret Name of God Siddarth attacks at (+0) for the next 1d6 rounds as he has the air sucked out of his lungs.  He also cannot talk or use the Secret Name again until he the same number of rounds have passed.

Magic Spear- Quicksilver: Siddarth's spear is magic, made of glimmering, moving silver.  As an action, he may throw the spear at someone.  If he does this, he cannot attack with his spear, but if his spear hits someone it will transform into sticky goo and cover one part of that person's body.  Each round, the goo will begin spreading, seeking an orifice it can squeeze itself through.  The goo is toxic, though someone exposed to it won't immediately die.  It is also thick and impermeable, so if it manages to force itself into someone's mouth and down their throat, suffocation will be the more immediate danger.  However, the silver goo fears fire, and will not go near it.  Anyone who is surrounded or on fire the goo will flee from.  At any point, Siddarth may command the goo to return to him and return to being a spear.

Tactics:
- Throw your spear at the most dangerous person
- Use your Secret Name to blow people into dangers, off high places, etc
- Avoid melee combat if you don't have your spear

Status: Traitor.  Gino Siddarth showed the great foolishness to abandon my organization and me to go on some mad quest with a few other treacherous operatives.  I sincerely hope his Gods wanted him to do this, as nothing but a holy quest could justify the suffering he is going to endure, once he is captured and brought before me once more.

                                                        by unknown

Avain [Ah-vain] of Balmy Beach

In this profession, where the ability to betray is considered an art form, few have ever mastered this skill as thoroughly as Avain of Balmy Beach.  When I was young growing up on the Northern frontier of the Empire, I learned many pieces of advice that would serve me invaluably in my various vocations.  These pearls of wisdom included such sayings as "Reason is rotting wood, but faith is gleaming gold," or a "A weapon is only as dangerous as its wielder".  One of the less profound, but perhaps the most important thing I learned in my formative years is to never trust a Goatling.

For while, they are often friendly and even beguiling with their soft fur and colorful clothing decorated with bows and ribbons, they will also cheat you out of every cent they can and not lose a moment's sleep over the theft.  So when I met Avain, with his honeyed words and beautiful shirts, I knew it was not a matter of if but when he tried to cheat me. 

What I failed to predict was the sheer scale of the theft Avain attempted.  After contributing to an attempt to steal from me, one I still suspect he played a larger role in then he lets on, he tried again later on, stealing not only a rare book, but also helping in luring away five other operatives into joining their treacherous conspiracy.  And while I do not for a second believe that Avain is the leader or central figure of this conspiracy, I also know not to trust a word out of his mouth, unless it could benefit him.

Finally, a note.  Avain lies like he breathes, a skill I originally found quite appealing to my organization.  Though it turned out to be a double-edged sword as the problem of recruiting a deceiver is that you have no idea when he's trying to deceive you.

Weakness: Avain possesses no loyalty to his compatriots, though they seem to at least tolerate him.  He has also made plans  for what might happen if their little scheme fails, sending me a brief outline of their plan and their intentions, though he has been vague enough to not directly tell me where he is going.  Still, I have a good idea.  And while his ability to betray is often a strength, it is also his fatal flaw.  If Avain thinks his current compatriots are going to lose, he would sell them out in a second.  He'd even be willing to cooperate.  Though given Avain's ability to lie, I pity the fool who believes anything he says.   

Statblock: 

Avain of Balmy Beach
HD 2  AC 10  Atk (+1) Dagger 1d6 
Mor 6  Saves 7 or less is a success

Pathological Liar: Avain is an agile liar.  He has a +10 bonus to any roll made to deceive someone and avoid a Sense Motive check or something of a similar sort.  He is not immune to magic or other powers that could force him to tell the truth, however.

Tactics:
- Do not fight unless you have no other options
- Be very nice, helpful and friendly
- Try to de-escalate conflicts
- If fighting does happen, hide behind your allies or run

Status: Traitor.  Avain sent me a brief copy of him and his compatriot's plan in the hopes of winning my approval and maybe earning a bit of leniency for himself, should their scheme fail.  And to show my appreciation for him, I plan on welcoming him back in my own special way.

                                                  by unknown

Execuna [ex-eh-U-nah] of House Trifgan

Execuna is a Lizarian covered in copper scales with yellow fringes, giving them a gilded appearance, along with dazzling orange eyes and a small fringe running down her head to her mid-back.  Combine this with her shapely form and dense clumps of muscles and she resembles the common pornographic depiction of a cold-blooded concubine.  I came upon this unusal Lizarian after she was recruited in a most unusual way- she was strong-armed into joining my organization after encountering a team of Brothers on a mission, pursuing the same objective she was.  She was working with one of the other future traitors at that point, though neither of them were part of my organization at that point.  The two of them were attempting to steal a certain tablet depicting the location of an ancient stronghold, said to be full of cursed treasure and the corpse of an ancient Sorcerer-King.  They managed to take the tablet, but on the way out met my operatives, who forced them to turn over the tablet and then brought them along, believing that the pair could benefit my organization.  This hunch proved to be correct, as Execuna and her then companion proved to be assets too valuable to pass up, so they found themselves recruited.

Execuna then went on to have a long and accomplished career with the Brotherhood, carrying out many missions and achieving much in my employ.  She was a skilled thief and infiltrator, but she also possessed an even greater talent at being a leg-breaker and a strongarm herself.  She never had the discipline for assassination or truly delicate work, but she was highly skilled and crushing my enemies underfoot.  Her talent with the sword is not to be underestimated.  She trained with the First Sword at Brotherhood HQ and he described her as being one of his greatest successes.  If she had just had a little more discipline and a little more loyalty, I could have made her a legend.

Alas, it was not to be.  Execuna was skilled with her blade, but she was also a belligerent woman.  Her temper got her into trouble numerous times, up to the point that I was tempted to order a Brother to simply follow her around while she was at headquarters, but that seemed like a waste of effort.  However, her temper concealed something more dangerous about her- her stubborn and unbreakable will.  Execuna was a creature who simply resented following orders from anyone but herself.  This is what drove her to throw in her lot with the others foolish enough to attempt to defy me.  For while Execuna is by no means an idiot, her heart was always simple.  She craved those things that children crave, of sweet treats and warm hugs and most of all, of running free beneath an endless sky.       

Weakness: Execuna has a terrible temper.  She is ordinarily charming and roguish, but make her angry and she'll transform from an efficient operative into a explosive fireball of all-consuming rage.  

Statblock:

Execuna of House Trifgan
HD 4  AC 13  Atk (+4) Sword 1d6+3/1d6+3
Mor 9   Saves 11 or less is a success

Penetrating Thrust: As a free action, Execuna may make one of her attacks break through someone's defenses.  Against this attack, the target may not roll his damage die and add it to his defense roll.  She may only do this against an opponent that is surprised, not ready for combat or 1d4 rounds after last using it.

Armor-Piercing Strike: As a free action, Execuna may make one of her attacks do no damage.  Instead, on a hit, it damages the armor of the target, reducing it by 1d6 points.  This ability only works on targets who have armor that could be damaged by her sword.  Targets with natural armor cannot be affected by this ability as well, simply taking normal damage. 

Sword-breaking Blow: As a free action, Execuna may make one of her attacks do no damage.  Instead, on a hit, it destroys the weapon of the target.  The wapon is only destroyed if her sword could destroy it.  If not, then it is simply knocked away and the target is disarmed.

Tactics:
- Target the most irritating or most dangerous person, with preference to the former
- Focus all your energy on destroying them
- Only shift targets if someone else angers you

Status: Traitor.  Execuna joined with some other poor fools in their foolish scheme.  It truly was a waste of potential.  Or at least, it will be.

                                                         by missmonster

Petreli Vivi Dawa Manz Mugrai

I have something to confess.  I have been writing these profiles on my operatives as if I personally inspected each and every one, but this is simply not true.  My organization is vast, with many teams and divisions and many, many operatives.  It is not so many as I could not conceive of them all, but it is a sizeable number.  Perhaps if they were all gathered in one place, my organization would number several thousand in number, equivalent to a small cities or a prosperous frontier town. Needless to say, I do not know most of them and most of them do not know me.  I am only able to keep my organization together through the diligent efforts of my intelligence network and my bureaucrats and administrators. 

This system is not perfect, however.  Many low-level operatives of the Brotherhood do not last many missions or never do more than their base duty, or end up trapped in missions that do not provide the ability to advance.  Some criminal networks in other parts of the world have Brotherhood members secretly embedded in them, with these members forwarding certain items or a percentage of their profits back to my organization through covert channels.  But even among the Brotherhood's active, full-time operatives, there are those who can largely escape notice, flying below the radar, usually unintentionally.

[This confirms a long-held theory within the department.  It would explain why the Brotherhood is always gallivanting all over the known world and why they are able to keep abreast of the agents of His Imperium so easily, their information network extends to all the places where a thief might want to be.]

This is the case for Petreli Manz Mugrai, full name Petreli Vivi Dawa Manz Mugrai.  She is a Frogfolk, with rubbery, moist skin, a fondness for water and huge, liquid eyes.  She reportedly had a very cheerful demeanor and was always quite helpful, a most unusual trait in my organization.  Of all those interviewed, no one was able to explain why she sided with the traitors.  Most of the reports that even bothered to mention her did not mention her attempting to filch treasure or looking for any particular piece of information.  And there was only one report of her being involved in an incident at HQ. 

Manz Mugrai is an enigma.  No one knows much about her or even acknowledged her existence.  She wasn't interested in treasure or information or revenge, nor was she mad or eager to indulge forbidden desires.  Thus, she reveals herself to be the most dangerous class of Brothers: the kind in it for personal reasons.

Weakness: I want to draw your attention to that discipline report again.  It involved a rather one-sided fight between Manz Mugrai and an Oxman Brother.  Apparently the Oxman had angered Manz Mugrai, who challenged him to a duel.  The duel didn't go well, with the Oxman flattening Manz Mugrai and putting her in the hospice for several weeks.  It was only be a timely intervention of a senior Brother that she walked away at all.  And while the Oxman in question was, at the time of recording, months away on a mission, my operatives did manage to verify, with some certainty, that this Oxman was engaging in the marital act, so to speak, with Osel of Limestone Garden.  So I imagine Manz Mugrai would do almost anything to protect her beloved compatriot. 

Statblock:

Petreli Vivi Dawa Manz Mugrai
HD 1  AC 15  Atk (+1) Fist 1d6
Mor 10  Saves 7 or less is a success

Parry: Once per round, Manz Mugrai can reduce the damage taken by any attack by 2d6.  She can only do this against an attack that could be reduced by blocking or a martial stance.

Jab: As a free action in response to being attacked, once per round, Manz Mugrai may make an attack against her attacker.  This attack does 1 damage on a hit and gives the attacker a -1d6 penalty on his current attack.  The penalty is applied regardless of whether or not the jab hits.

Tactics:
- Be realistic
- Don't bite off more than you can chew
- Unless it's to Protect Osel

Status: Traitor.  I have nothing but pity for Manz Mugrai.  Partially because I suspect she had nothing to do with this conspiracy but ended up getting dragged into it and partially for what I am going to do to her once I get my hands on her.

                                            by spookyspoots

Viozar [Vee-oh-czar] Blood

Is there anything more useful than anger?  It can motivate mortals to great feats, motivate you to endure great suffering and can even guide you toward self-improvement.  Yet like fire, it is a tool that must be used with caution, as anger can fester into rage and rage is helpful to no one.  If anger is a torch, rage is an out of control blaze, devouring everything in its path.  That is the reason why Viozar Blood left my organization to wander the wastes with a bunch of capering fools.  His own rage consumed him, until he was left with nothing but a desire for revenge, not just against the people responsible for his current condition, but against the world at large.  I fear for those who end up in this warrior's path, as it is sure to be an unpleasant experience.

Viozar Blood is a Crocoling, cold-blooded and covered in thick, natural plate.  He's tall and muscular as you would expect from that race, however, that is where the similarities with him and other Crocolings end.  For Blood also suffered extensive damage in a battle with the Orzanian Empire.  Fortunately, he was rescued by a war-artisan who was on the same battlefield. This war-artisan had an artificer in his employ, who was able to create elaborate prosthetics to enable Viozar to survive and to continue his career as a soldier. 

Unfortunately, the implants could not restore the original functionality of Viozar's body.  He lost his ability to perform the marital act or to even sire offspring, along with sensation over almost half his body.  He also more resembles a Construct than a man, something that clearly bothers him.  The implants did affect one more thing.  They planted a seed of hatred in Viozar's heart, a seed which grew and grew until an entire grove of tainted plants emerged, each one laden with the fruits of vengeance.

This leads me to believe with no doubts in my heart that Viozar betrayed the organization to pursue his revenge.  I told him I would give him his chance, but he was impatient.  So let's see if he was ready to leave the nest, or if he's only going to make himself food for a stronger man.        

Weakness: Viozar is consumed with hatred for the Empire.  He will always target agents of the Emperor, or subjects of the same, or people he thinks to be one of those categories.  Additionally, if he has the chance to hurt someone belonging to either of the previous categories, he will take it, unless it is an obvious trap or suicidal.

Statblock:

Viozar Blood
HD 3  AC 15  Atk (+2) Wrist Blades 1d6/1d6 or (+0) Bite 1d10
Mor 9    Saves 9 or less is a success

Concealable Blades: Viozar has two large blades concealed in his augmented wrists.  He is wearing metal, but he doesn't seem to have any weapons until he extends them as a free action.

Predator's Eyes: Viozar can see the heat given off by living creatures, enabling him to hunt in perfect darkness.  That being said, his vision is not infallible and can be rendered useless by being in a hot environment, such as a place where the rocks have been baking in the sun all day, or next to a bonfire.

Tactics:
- Try to ambush using stealth
- Darkness is your ally
- Attack suddenly with overwhelming force

Status: Traitor.  Viozar left to pursue his own vendetta, but I suspect that if he survives his foray with the other traitors, he will get himself killed attempting to assassinate a Provincial Governor or something similarly foolish.  Perhaps that is for the best, as if he falls into my hands once more, I intend to see how much of his prosthetics I can remove while keeping him alive.

                                                       by szaman86

Osel of Limestone Garden

Osel is in many ways, the archetypal Brother.  On one of the occasions where I found cause to leave my headquarters and travel to a distant land, I found her working in a silver mine, ripping precious ore from the earth for her uncaring masters.And while in all the other slaves I found only a vague, undirected resentment and an exhausted resignation, in her I saw something more, a glimmer of quiet, inner strength.  I knew at once what that was and freed her immediately.  Osel was given no chance to decline my offer, not that I suspect she would have, at the time. 

I personally trained and educated her in the ways of the Brotherhood.  First I taught her to crawl, then to stand, and finally to walk.  She began to run soon after that, much to my satisfaction.  Then I taught her how to lie, followed by how to control, to manipulate.  I never had to teach her to hate, that was one skill she already knew.  And she was good at it, too.  She grew rapidly under my tutelage.  I taught her everything she knows, with few exceptions.  I then assigned her some missions, all of which she passed with flying colors.  Even though she was barely minted at that time, I felt I was looking at a future pillar, maybe even a successor, if I ever passed.

Now, I want to address the rumors.  I understand how it looked, me spending so much time with a muscular, broad-shouldered Oxwoman, with her sweet smelling hair, and an initimable softness to her frame.  Yet that was never the nature of our relationship.  I never loved her like that.  She was a project to me, closer to a daughter or a little sister.  If she had asked me for such a thing, I would have done it, but only to please her.

But she rose too quickly, her appetites expanded.  She desired those things that were never meant for her.  She began to develop visions of grandeur.  For the longest time, I thought she shared my vision, but it appears I was fooling myself.  She dreamed of things far beyond my organization, of Power beyond what I could grant.  If only I had known, maybe I could have disabused her of that notion.  Alas, I was unaware of her intentions until she attempted to steal from me.

Or at least, that is what she claimed that she was doing.  I always suspected that she had much bigger plans, but I had no evidence and I felt that condemning my favorite pupil on the spot would have been too much.  It is the biggest regret of my life.  Had I killed her then, maybe all the later trouble she caused me could have been avoided.  I am just lucky that my Shadow didn't catch on at the time.  Had she been aware of my thought process at the time, she would have killed me on the spot.

Weakness: Osel is endlessly ambitious.  If she possesses one weakness it is that she will sacrifice anything to achieve victory.  She would allow all of her compatriots to die and the world to burn to a cinder if it would allow her to achieve her own ends.  And if she were to achieve them, well let's just say that it would probably result in a smaller-scale version of that.

Statblock:

Osel of Limestone Garden
HD 4  AC 13  Atk (+4) Weapon+3/Weapon+3
Mor 8  Saves 11 or less is a success

Arsenal: Osel carries a number of different weapons, including a bow and arrow (1d6+STR), a spear (1d8), a sword (1d6+STR- her STR is 15(+1)) and a concealed dagger (1d6).

Flying Snow: Osel can lighten her body, enabling her to jump vast distances, run along walls and walk on the surface of water.  However, while her body is lightened, she takes +4 damage from all physical sources and does -4 damage.  She may change her body back and forth as a free action on her turn.

Serrated Strike: Whenever Osel attacks someone and hits, if she doesn't like the result when she rolls for damage on a successful attack, she may roll again.  If the new roll is less than or equal to the original roll's base damage, she may add it to the damage done.  If it is higher, she may use that as the damage her attack dealt, and ignore the first roll.  She may do this once per day per weapon.

Tactics:
- Attack from range
- Use Flying Snow to gain the height advantage
- Use your technique for superior maneuverability
- Never get trapped on the ground or in a fight against superior numbers

Status: Traitor.  Osel is the true architect of this little endeavor.  She has bitten off more than she can chew and doesn't even realize it.  I hope in the end that her ambitions devour her, because I am not sure what I would do if I ever saw her again.  I can't imagine it would be good for either of us, though.
I have ordered Orvan to capture as many of the traitors as possible, but I have also permitted him to kill them.  With most of the traitors, I have granted him leave to follow his own judgement.  The one exception is Osel.  I want her alive.   

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

OSR: The Brotherhood of Broken Chains: Broken Blades

[The following is a compilation of a series of documents transcribed by Interrogator-Lord Marwen of Soliko, agent of His Imperium, the Emperor of Joyous Exultation, Lord Marzan's prayers be upon him.  The information contained within should be recognized as the opinions and thoughts of a law-breaker and do not in any way reflect the opinions, thoughts or desires of His Imperium or the agents of the Emperor or his loyal subjects.

All subjects detailed below are considered outlaws and law-breakers under Imperial Law.  All agents of His Imperium, if they encounter one of the individuals below should make all efforts to seize them, so that they may be brought before a Justice of His Imperium to receive due punishment.  Additionally, if any subject of His Imperium possesses the sufficient strength or skill with arms to apprehend one of the criminals, they should be awarded just compensation by an agent of His Imperium.

However, if any of the individuals mentioned in this file are to be caught, the agent of His Imperium strongly believes that they would be much more help alive and should be brought in for questioning and contrition.  Maybe they could be turned against their so called 'Brothers' and provide valuable information on the internal dynamics of the Brotherhood.

For further research, consult File E137-a-2 in the Imperial Archives for more information on the Brotherhood of Broken Chains' leadership and supposed history, File E137-b-56 for information on a particularly relevant group of criminals or File E137-f-31 for a look at some of the low-level members of the organization.  So says the agent of His Imperium.
]

There is a certain subset of Brothers I like to refer to as my 'Broken Blades'.  These are Brothers who are too useful for me to be rid of, but to troublesome to be permitted free rein.  As such, I keep them around, for the moment, but this is a situation that may change, depending on their performance.  For if any of my Broken Blades snaps again, I will arrange for their immediate termination.

                                                      by artikid
Vani, Daughter of Mettix

Vani is one of those Brothers who is a problem because I can't quite determine what my problem is with her.  Is it because of her impulsiveness?  Possibly.  Vani has difficulty keeping herself under control.  To put it simply, she is a degenerate, constantly falling in with rough men.  I'd say she lets herself be taken advantage of, but that undermines Vani's own contribution, which I am not going to understate.  The woman is notorious for her torrid affairs and infidelity.  I have permanently barred her from coming back to the island, forcing her to work out of one of our safehouses, on account of a certain incident where three senior Brothers got into a punch up over who's baby was growing inside her, as she was quite pregnant at the time.

I honestly don't know how she does it- her appearance is strange, or so I am told, even for a flat-face.  She is a Human, but with sagging skin, a large, pronounced jaw and strange, serrated teeth.  Yet for some reason, she never has trouble finding men.  I suppose that shouldn't be that much of an accomplishment in an organization composed mostly of unattached men whose central creed is based around breaking down the creeds, codes and restrictions that bind us, but still, it strikes me as odd.

Another thing that troubles me is that my spies have reported to me several times that Vani was pregnant and was going to or have already given birth to another child.  They told me this so I could prepare for her replacement, as most females in my organization who get pregnant retire from it, which is an acceptable risk, with certain exceptions.  However, Vani has never approached me or any of the other Pillars to ask for permission to retire.  Instead, she has always reported for duty and her children always end up vanishing under mysterious circumstances.  She is doing something with them, I am sure of it.  I have a Brother currently assigned to monitor Vani, with her objective to find out what Vani is doing with those babies.  And whatever she is up to, I have a contigency plan.  

Weakness:
Vani is fiercely protective of her children, at least while they are with her.  She will not do anything to risk them and will flee from any situation that might endanger them.  I am also told by my chief Physician that she is pregnant right now.  I wish her all the best, though she would be advised not to put her children before her Brothers.  That would be, unwise.

Statblock:

Vani, Daughter of Mettix
HD 3  AC 13  Atk (+3) Trident 1d8/1d8
Mor 7  Saves 9 or less is a success

Darkvision: Vani, Daughter of Mettix has incredible vision.  She can see in anything but pitch darkness, though when she is in the dark, she becomes highly sensitive to light.

Water Breather: Vani, Daughter of Mettix is a powerful swimmer and can breathe water as well as air.

Succubic Secretions: Vani, Daughter of Mettix, as an action, may secrete a pheremone cloud that affects all males within 15'. All within this cloud must save or be charmed by Vani, Daughter of Mettix, operating under the Maxim, "I love Vani and want to protect her."

Tactics:
- Charm some males
- Avoid direct conflict if possible
- Fight near water or darkness, preferrably both
- Ambushes are your best friend

Status: Active.  Vani is currently deployed with the rest of her team on a mission of minor importance, though she and her Brothers have been told otherwise.  I do not particularly care about the outcome of this mission in particular.  This game is a test, meant for them.  I have dispatched one of the senior Brothers to monitor their mission.  She will watch and wait, and see how this affair goes.  Regardless of what happens next, I look forward to reading the reports.

                                                     by NateHallinanArt

Baggolio Yori Utiko Manz Vorge

Baggolio Vorge is a skilled and cunning thief.  He was a highly successful cutpurse and highwayman, relieving many a nobleman of their jewels and silks.  He had made quite a name for himself in his local area, but the thing about successful criminals is that the second they get any notoriety, it tends to get to their heads.  Vorge was no exception to this rule and was soon boasting about his talents.  Thus, when he was asked to come along on a job to rob the Temple of a minor God, he decided he could pull it off. 

I've heard all about his plans and even knowing how they panned out, I am still impressed.  It could have worked.  But in every heist, there's always that one unexpected factor, that one situation you never thought to prepare for.  Every system, not matter how sturdy, hides the potential for Chaos.  And Vorge knows this better than anyone, as the night he attempted to rob that temple, he made the unfortunate discovery that the Deity had returned early.  Vorge choose to beg for mercy while his allies choose to flee, abandoning him.  He made the smarter choice, as most of his allies died soon after, cut down by the Deity's retainers or obliterated by the Godling.  Vorge was going to be sacrificed for his crimes, but an agent of mine intervened, springing him from the dungeon before the night that it was due to occur.  I still have no idea how that Brother did that under a Deity's watch.  Maybe the Brother bribed the Deity with a better sacrifice, or simply convinced it that Vorge wasn't worth such a noble death.  Or maybe the Deity wanted Vorge to end up in my clutches the whole time and permitted his escape.  If so, such a God is far crueler than I ever could be.

Vorge is an excellent thief and while he claims otherwise, he is also a skilled taker of lives.  His precision, focus and cunning made him a natural choice for team leader.  However, Vorge presents a problem for me in that he is just a little too smart for my organization.  For while the Brotherhood has a great need for intelligent operatives, it does not have the need for operatives smart enough to wonder why they should be taking orders from me.  So often do these types forget what their betters, nay, what I have done for them.  I hope that Vorge does not entertain such thoughts, or he may find himself returning sooner than he like, in a form he'd never want to be in.

Weakness: Vorge is proud.  He thinks himself more clever than he actually is and is thus, vulnerable to being tricked.  He won't fall for an obvious trap, but he will fall for something a little more complex.

Statblock:


Baggolio Yori Utiko Manz Vorge
HD 3  AC 15  Atk (+1) Daggers 1d6/1d6 or if thrown, (+3)
Mor 5  Saves 8 or less is a success

Knife Fighter: If Vorge manages to land a successful hit with his knives from melee range, he may, instead of making two attacks, burn one attack to automatically do 1d6 damage to the person he struck earlier, as long as he is in melee range.

Tactics:
- Throw knives at strong opponents to soften them up
- Then get in close and try to hit
- If you hit, use 'Knife Fighter'
- If you don't hit, start over

Status: Active.  Vorge has been told he and his team are on a simple mission to infiltrate an Imperial Governor's manse and retrieve a few valuable pieces for me.  However, I have also left a series of clues to reveal that this mission is actually an attempt to root out a traitor among their team.  Vorge believes he has discovered this due to his own cleverness.  And while this is completely false, the mission's secondary purpose may turn out to not be, especially if Vorge gets any funny ideas...

                                                                by GORILAZ4EVAR
Kina Artlett of Maggino Park

Kina Artlett is a Doeling, one of those delicate, skittish folk that have been comfortably squatting beneath the bulk of the Orzanian Giants towering over the world.  However, while the Doelings are usually characterized by their agreeability and conscientiousness, Artlett is anything but.  According to some of the other Doelings I've had cause to speak to, Artlett seems to fit their definition of madness well. 

This isn't much of a problem for me, though.  After all, where would the Brotherhood be without the mad?  Artlett is consumed by the belief that he is a much better fighter than he actually is.  He consistently underestimates his opponents and overestimates his own abilities.  He is not a frenzied individual, prone to rages or fits, but seems quite lucid.  His madness manifests in that whenever he assesses an opponent, he is almost always wrong.  It'd almost be amusing, if it wasn't so sad.

This is why Artlett is here instead of assigned to another squad.  For while I have absolutely no worries about Artlett even thinking about betraying me, his madness has destroyed almost all of the potential he had, crippling him.  And the worst part is that he doesn't even realize it himself.  The amount of pity I feel toward this unfortunate Brother amazes me.  Sometimes I worry I have grown soft. 

Weakness: Kina Artlett cannot gauge the strength of his opponents.  He almost always underestimates his opponents and often quite seriously.  It is a miracle he hasn't decided to pick a fight with an opponent absurdly stronger than him yet, as there is no internal reason for him to not have done so already. 

Statblock:

Kina Artlett of Maggino Park
HD 1  AC 12  Atk (+1) Fists 1d6 or Sunday Punch
Mor 11    Saves 7 or less is a success

Inaccurate Assessment: Kina Artlett is insane, so his reason has consumed him, warping his reality into a self-reinforcing loop.  This means that Artlett consistently underestimates his opponents.  When assessing an opponent, Artlett has a 5-in-6 chance of underestimating an opponent.  He will be correct in guessing an opponent's strength occasionally, but that is pure, dumb luck.

Sunday Punch: Kina Artlett can make a stronger punch that does 1d10 damage, but only against targets with weak armor.  It also doesn't work against those wearing helms.  Artlett may only use his Sunday Punch every 1d4 rounds. 

Tactics:
- Inaccurately assess your opponent's strength
- Rush in and attack the closest or strongest opponent
- Be totally fearless

Status: Active.  Kina Artlett is currently on two missions.  The first is from me and is to accompany his fellow Brothers on their retrieval mission.  The second is self-assigned and it is to fight every single strong warrior in the world.  I wish him success in both of his endeavors.

                                                            by ZhaKrisstol
Nazaria Golga

The Brotherhood of Broken Chains is an organization that has persisted for so long because of its segmented, compartmentalized nature.  Brothers are only told what they need to know and squad leaders only know slightly more.  Among our ranks, knowledge is often more valuable than gold and guarded far more zealously.  It could be said that the best way to think of my organization is not as a cult or a criminal organization, the hypocrites, but as a vast web of secrets.

But nature abhors a vacuum and since facts are difficult to come by, my operatives have busied themselves with inventing all sorts of wild theories about how the organization functions and what my final goal is.  I have even utilized this process myself, using certain loyal Brothers to insert rumors into the main body of the organization, to misdirect operatives from certain ideas and to plant others in the minds of a select few.  However, most of these rumors are simply home-grown.

Most of these tales are wild and salacious, falling in and out of favor.  There is one tale I wish to recount here, though, as it is very popular and very long-lived.  It is the story of the Executor.  The Executor is a secret operative who directly serves the Master of Chains, an Elder Brother who possesses almost as much power and knowledge as the Master himself.  But unlike other Brothers, the Executor has only one mission.  To find those who are going to, or already have, betrayed the Brotherhood and to eliminate them.  From there the rumor has spawned dozens of competing theories about who the Executor is and what they are.  Some say that the Executor is my Shadow, or a Senior Brother everyone would recognize.  Others insist that the Executor is actually some sort of magical beast or hideous monster, or maybe even a vile demigod that dwells in the lowest levels of my stronghold, feeding on the souls of traitors.  A few even suggest that the Executor is hiding in plain sight, pretending to be some low-level Brother while hiding their true potential.  This is the theory I have worked hardest to discredit through covert means, as it is true.

While I do not refer to her as, nor even use the title of, Executor, I do have a Brother who secretly receives assignments from me to remove certain Brothers from the organization.  Her name is Nazaria Golga and she has proven most effective at her job.  Golga is a ruthless and skilled operative, with almost no regard for her own safety and the frozen, burning hatred I find oh so useful in this line of work.  Golga has filled the position for several years now, skillfully maintaining her cover while exterminating traitors and suspected traitors.  Several times I have even ordered her to infiltrate highly secure prisons to terminate Brothers who had been captured and I supected would crack under pressure.  I never expected her to actually succeed at these missions, but she has.

This is actually a cause for concern, if I may be honest.  Golga is a killing machine, of course, but the level of success she has achieved is nothing short of pretenatural.  I have decided that I will keep her where she is for now, but I am also making plans to remove her from her position, as well as from my organization, permanently.  This will be my immediate course of action if I find out that Golga's victories were of anything other than her own merit.    

Weakness: If Nazaria Golga possesses a weakness, it is that she takes great pride in her unbroken string of successes.  She will make any and all attempts to complete a mission, even at great risk to herself and others.  She is obsessed with victory.

Statblock:

Nazaria Golga
HD 5  AC 14  Atk (+4) Atlatl 1d8 or (+1) Dagger 1d6/1d6
Mor 9   Saves 10 or less is a success

Enchanted Spears: Nazaria Golga has imbued her Atlatl's spears with magical power.  Anyone who is hit by one of them receives an additional effect, a -1 penalty to all attacks and damage rolls per hit.  At any point, Golga may lift these penalties from someone as a free action.  See 'Spontaneous Combustion' for what happens when she does that.

Spontaneous Combustion: If Golga wishes it to, any person with a -1 penalty on him has that penalty removed from him, but he also takes 1d6 fire damage.  This stacks per -1 penalty, to a maximum of 3d6.  Once the initial burst, the target also takes an additional 1d6 damage per round he is still on fire. 

Tactics:
- Lay penalties on the most dangerous foe
- Light them up
- Avoid melee combat unless absolutely necessary

Status: Active.  Golga is a highly skilled operative, which is good, because she would be wasted doing almost anything else.  Right now, she is traveling with a group of Broken Blades who are on some issue of minor importance.  Her primary mission is not to complete the mission, but to watch the group.  If any of the other Brothers commits one of the unpardonable sins, she is to immediately terminate the offenders and bring me back proof of their demise. 

Sunday, September 8, 2019

SOS: Magic in Space

So I'm designing a new Sci-Fi setting and I decided I was going to finally give in to my desire to have a low-magic setting where the only type of magics were the type that were either natural and inexplicable or only accessible through Carcosan type rituals.  Thank Mr. Kangaroo for inspiring me with his post, which is here.  That is one of the primary influences for this new setting, along with what Dan D has written about Mothership, what Skerples has written about his pirate campaign and its all topped off with a heaping helping of Warhammer 40,000.  

                                              by Takeda11

The State of Magic in Sea of Stars:

There is no caster class or reliable magic.  Most people don't even believe in magic.

<Referee's Note>
This will be my official position as the Game Master, by the way, until revealed otherwise.  That way, when I spring Cthulhu on the players, it's going to be so much funnier.
</Referee's Note>

But sorcery, witchcraft, magic, it is very real.

So with that established, let's talk principles.

Firstly, all magic, sorcery and spiritual weirdness comes from the Emptiness.  The Emptiness is the Spiritual Plane that overlaps the Physical Plane.  This is your Astral or Immaterial Plane, the Empyrean, etc.  All magic comes from here, along with all living creatures with souls, though that is secret knowledge.  The reason it is called the Emptiness is that when traveling through it, no sensor can determine if anything is outside. 

But the fact that the Emptiness is the source of magic is a secret.  What is widely known, at least among some communities, is that the Emptiness is how Mankind circumvents the FTL limit.  By opening a portal into the Emptiness, starships can easily cover the vast interstellar distances that would take far longer otherwise.  So traveling across the galaxy is possible, if your ship has an Emptiness Drive.

Ships that travel through the Emptiness must also follow Emptiness Security Protocols, or suffer.  ESPs include such things as preventing people from gazing out into the Emptiness through translucent spaces, not at all hard on most space ships, as those windows are actually just viewing monitors hooked up to external cameras.  Among these Protocols are rules where starships who tranverse the Emptiness must also have networks of symbols carved into their frames.  Very few know exactly why, but these symbols prevent any weirdness from overtaking them.  Voidborne widely refer to these symbols as 'Ward-Nets', no matter how much their captains try to use other language.  But Voidborne are a superstitious and bizarre group, so who really cares what they think.  Regardless, ships with damaged ward-nets tend to not return.

Looking out into the Emptiness is said to be extremely hazardous, usually leading to madness, revelation or both.  Being physically exposed to the Emptiness is even worse and all the stories on the subject say it leads to sudden, unavoidable death, but the stories do not agree on why.

How do I get some?

There are only two sources of magic.  Firstly, you can perform a ritual.  All rituals require some kind of materials and usually require specific ceremonies.  They are often hazardous, but can provide some incredible powers.  As for where you can learn rituals, you will find them hidden in forbidden tomes, scratched on the walls of abandoned asylums and in the hands of would-be magicians. 

If you don't have time for that, though, you can sell your soul.  Not really, usually, but some of the creatures from the Emptiness can provide you with special powers or abilities.  However, they will need something in return, usually sacrifice, but they can also require allegiance, favors or even worship.  But more on that later.      

How to Perform a Ritual:

To cast a ritual requires you to make any preparations you wish to, then make two 1d20 checks.

The first check is your Incantation Check.  This is based on whether or not you performed the ritual correctly, whether you pronounced the words correctly, whether you drew the symbols correctly, whether you danced well enough, etc, etc.  If your roll equals or exceeds a ritual's DC, count this as a successful check.

The second check is your Invocation Check.  This is based on whether or not you manage to successfully draw upon the power of the Emptiness.  If your roll equals or exceeds a ritual's DC, count this as a successful check.

Now, for the tricky part. 
If your Incantation Check and your Invocation Check both succeed, then the ritual is successful and works as it is intended, though if you were trying to do something stupid with it, it might still end up causing trouble for you.
If you succeed on your Incantation Check but fail your Invocation Check, roll on the 'Innate Magical Turmoil' table. 
If you fail your Incantation Check but succeed on your Invocation Check, roll on the 'Perils of the Emptiness' table.
If you fail both your Incantation and Invocation checks, nothing happens.

Also, be sure to include any relevant modifiers:

- 3 to both checks if the true nature of what is being attempted is not understood (the meddling amateur penalty)
- 2 to both checks if the preparations are botched, interrupted or rushed
- 1 to both checks if the proper materials were not used, such as substituting wine for blood or something like that
- 1 to both checks if the veil between worlds is stronger here (mostly this occurs at sanctified or holy places)
+ 1 to both checks if the proper materials are used
+ 1 to both checks per additional caster helping with the ritual (max +3)
+ 1 to both checks per HD of the creature sacrificed, if one was (max +3)
+ 1 to both checks if the veil between worlds is weaker here, or the stars are right (+2 if both are true here)
+ 2 to both checks if the caster has sworn allegiance to one of the Hollow Kings and invokes one of them by name   

                                                    by MarcSimonetti

Rituals:
 

1d20
1- Door, Down, Down, Down.  DC: 10.  You will need a door, a dark room, a knife and a sacrifice.  First, carve the required symbols and words into the door.  Then kill the sacrifice and paint the door in its blood, then recite the words as carved.  Then open the door.  Do it correctly and when you open the door, you will be in a dark place, full of suffering and malice.  But here, deals can be made, certain allies can be recruited and rare resources gathered.  Also, stolen objects or items of a sufficiently vile nature can be found in great number.  But evn if you perform this ritual correctly, beware all the wickedness on the other side following you back.  To determine what exactly you see when you open the door, roll on the 'We need to go deeper' table below.

2- Nearly Departed.  DC: 4+[1 per Undead being raised].  You will need a place with a great number of dead, incense, funerary bells, a sacrifice, a brush, a bowl and the ability to dance.  Arrange the corpses around you, being sure to keep them separate from each other.  Bleed the sacrifice, but do not kill it yet, and collect the blood and be sure not to spill a drop.  Then take the blood and smear a little bit of it on each of the corpses you intend to wake.  Recite the words of preparation and if you know the names of the deceased, read them aloud.  Then ring the bells and sing a dirge, and at the height of the song, when you are at your loudest, kill the sacrifice.  If you have done it correctly, the marked corpses will animate and join in the merriment.  Finish the song and then stop.  If you have done the ritual correctly, the dead will rise and obey you.  If you have not, the dead will not be under anyone's control and free to do as they wish. 
  
3- Flight from Death.  DC: 4.  You will need a weapon, a high pain tolerance and a victim.  Say a prayer to the Red Princes of Murder over a weapon.  Then hunt down an intelligent creature and kill it with that weapon.  Then butcher the creature.  Collect that creature's blood and organs, mashing the latter into a mash.  Additionally, if the creature killed was a male, cut off its manhood and add that to the mix.  Mix with blood till you have something resembling a bloody porridge, then eat it.  If done correctly, this ritual will grant you that creature's plundered vitality and next time you are near death or when you wound yourself with the murder weapon, that creature's vitality will rush into you, healing you an amount equal to the creature's strength.  If you do this ritual incorrectly, a piece of the murdered creature's soul will enter you, leading to all sorts of problems.

4- His long shadow.  DC: 6.  You will need a drop of a creature's blood, a piece of flesh or etc; a container for fluids, certain poisonous herbs and a live salamander.  Gather a sample from the creature you wish to harm and mix it together with the other ingredients, then kill and add the salamander.  Blend together till combined, then distill until it resembles a clear liquid. Then administer the liquid to the creature you wish to harm.  If this ritual was done correctly, the creature's pre-existing wounds will worsen or his wounds will become infected.  This doesn't guarantee death but it is likely, all but certain with sophisticated medical technology or sorcery.  Do the ritual incorrectly and the creature will sicken, but not die.     

5- Raiding Oneechan's Wardrobe.  DC: 10.  You will need mud, sticks, twigs, animal dung, animal blood and the heart of a freshly slaughtered animal.  Have one person take off all his clothes.  Mark him with the runes, either painting them on or carving them into the person's skin.  Then smear the person in mud with dung and sprinkle them with blood.  Then have them eat the raw heart of the freshly slaughtered animal.  Then, under the light of the moon, dance around this person, singing the song as instructed.  If you have done it properly, the marked person will transform into the animal whose heart he just ate.  He will remain like that until sun shines upon him once more.  While in animal form, he retains all of his mental stats and gains any abilities the animal might have had, along with its physical stats.  He also loses any abilities that require a human body, though, unless his new body can also perform those actions.
    
6- Cave Guardian.  DC: 4.  You will need a series of chemicals easily accessible, mortar and pestle, charcoal, a fragment of bone, a sacrifice and a fire.  Mix the chemicals together, along with the charcoal.  Add water to make a paste, then smear it on the sacrifice into the appropriate shapes, marking them with the runes.  Then attach the bone to the sacrifice.  Make sure the sacrifice is restrained so that he cannot damage the runes.  Then, offer him to the spirits of primordial Chaos and hurl the sacrifice into the blaze.  If you have done your work well, the sacrifice will be consumed by the flames and the fire will spring to greater heights, burning brighter and hotter in degrees depending on the vigour of the sacrifice.     

7- Man among the ruins.  DC: 6+[1 per dose of clay substance you wish to make].  You will need a computer or calculating device, an electrical device, a power source and some cheap good produced by machinery, not by hands.  Smash the computer into pieces.  Do the same for the power source, the electrical device and the cheap good.  Take the shards and place them in a metal bowl, then burn them.  Recite the words over them, as instructed.  If you have done it correctly, when you are finished, you will find the bowl filled with a sticky, rubbery substance that resembles clay.  Any machine that has a bit of this gray susbstance stuck to it will begin malfunctioning.  The more complex the machine, the less you will need.  Once the substance has caused something to not work, the power will have left it and it will crumble into dust.   
 
8- Back to Hell.  DC: 10.  You will need sunlight, a small box, a thing of natural beauty that is not alive (no live puppies or etc) and a happy memory.  Place the small box in the sun and place the object of natural beauty in the box and let it sit outside for as long as you wish.  Do not let it be exposed to cloudy skies or night.  Then, designate a happy memory and let it flow into the box.  You will forget it while the box remains closed, but it will return to you, as soon as the box is opened.  Then seal the box.  If you have done the ritual correctly, when you open it in the presence of the Undead, all those with fewer HD than half the amount of hours the box sat out in the sun are instantly destroyed.  Those with greater than half or equal HD to the amount of hours must save or be destroyed.  Those with greater HD are not destroyed, but merely damaged.  If you have done this ritual incorrectly, nothing will happen when you open the box, but you will have not forgotten the happy memory either.
     
9- Puppet Master.  DC: 10.  You will need a piece of paper, something to write on it, a method of attaching the paper to a creature, a marker or a knife and a creature.  First, write a series of instructions on the paper.  You may write as much as you like, but the more you write, the less likely they are all to be completed.  Then attach this paper to the creature you wish to control.  Cover the creature's various motor centers in small glyphs.  You can carve these in, but drawing on the creature's skin will also work.  Then, whenever you wish, snap your fingers or say the magic word and the creature will spring into action, performing whatever action you commanded it to do.  But beware, if the paper is removed before you can give your command or while the creature is carrying out your orders, it need not obey or continue obeying.
        
10- Incite Disaster.  DC: 15.  You will need a doll, a mirror, a ladder, a salt shaker, a lock of someone's hair or some fresh blood or a tooth, a ribbon and some creativity.  Collect your sample and tie or apply it to the doll.  Then speak the incantation and make a sympathetic connection between the doll and the person who it is connected to.  Then throw the doll at a salt-shaker to knock it over, move it under a ladder, without going under it yourself and have it break the mirror.  This will cause the doll to accumulate bad karma.  Then, whenever you wish, destroy the doll in such a way that the sample of tissue or blood is also destroyed.  This will cause all the bad karma the doll has accumulated to head back to the creature who it was linked to, causing that creature to immediately suffer some sort of catastrophe.  This catastrophe will always make sense based on wherever the creature is.  For example, if he is walking on a mountain path, he might find a rockslide heading toward him or if he is standing outside during a thunder storm, he will be struck by lightning.  Depending on the amount of bad karma the doll has 'acquired', the disaster will vary in severity.  Additionally, there is almost always a chance that the creature survives the disaster.
  
11- Sorcerous Insurance.  DC: 4.  You will need a chest, some fresh blood, a large amount of currency, a piece of paper and a pen.  First, take the fresh blood and paint a sigil on one of your possessions or body parts.  Then, paint the same sigil onto your chest, and be sure that the chest could contain the body part or possession.  Then fill the chest with a sufficient amount of currency to purchase a new body part of that sort or that possession.  Make sure your possession is not something sufficiently rare, unique or magical, as otherwise the ritual will automatically fail.  Then write a note specifying that if the current possession or body part you have is damaged, you would like a replacement.  Place the note in the chest and seal it.  Do not open it unless the possession or body part you designated is lost, stolen or otherwise needs replacement.  If it does, if you have done the ritual properly, when you open the chest, you will find the currency and note missing, along with a replacement for what was requested.
           
12- Transform and Command Slave.  DC: 15.  You will need a creature who has some particular vice and knowledge of what this vice is. You will probably want other materials, but they are not required.  You must then confront the creature and inform it of its vice and offer it a chance to indulge that vice.  You must not coerce it into making this choice- it must choose of its own free will.  If it chooses to do so, the creature begins transforming, turning into a sub-human Sin Beast, a creature who will recklessly pursue its impulses until it is killed or destroys itself.  You may, however, shortly after it transforms, bind the Sin Beast to you.  Do this properly and the Sin Beast will obey you, but only as far as the letter of your commands go.

13- Hateful Blade.  DC: 10.  You will need a drop of someone's blood, some paint and a weapon.  Mark the weapon with the appropriate, then dip it in the blood of the creature you wish to harm.  Then inform the blade of all the terrible things the person whose blood it just touched has done.  It need not be true, only believable.  If you have done the ritual properly, the blood will boil off the blade, leaving it pristine.  If you have done it incorrectly, the blood will instead transform into smoke.  If done properly, the blade will seek out the creature whose blood it tasted.  Depending on the amount of blood, the blade's pursuit abilities will vary.  A blade will only a few drops shed on it will seem to guide the user's hand toward that creature.  A weapon immersed in the blood, on the other hand, will seem to be guided by the blind workings of the deterministic universe, the laws of motion itself aiding the blade in striking its target, Final Destination style.

14- The Tomb's embrace.  DC: 4.  You will need a mostly air-tight container, a sacrifice, and a weapon.  Trap the creature, or just its head, in an air-tight container, then kill it.  Strangulation is recommended but not required.  Keep the container sealed as best you can.  If you have done the ritual properly, when you open the container, a cloud of cold, clammy fog that raises the hackles will emerge and surround everything nearby.  Anyone injured in this fog has any damage taken multipled by the sacrifice's HD.  If the sacrifice only had 1 HD then when rolling damage roll twice and select the larger amount.  The fog remains for a number of minutes equal to the decades the sacrificed creature lived.  If you have done the ritual improperly, nothing will be released from the sealed container but a murderous ghost.
           
15- Volcano Milk.  DC: 4.  You will need hot, but not scalding water, ash from a wood fire, a chunk of igneous rock and ground pumice.  Heat the water to a warm temperature and mix the various ingredients into it.  Then speak the words over the water.  If you have done it properly, the water will begin bubbling and releasing aromatic smoke.  Do not drink or touch the water at this point.  Then, have the creature you wish to affect either drink or bathe in this water.  Doing this will curse them with hot blood.  The creature will feel an intense, internal heat and his bodily fluids will reach temperatures far hotter than they should.  Depending on the amount ingested or how much of the creature's body was immersed in the water, the temperature will increase, from simply too hot to scalding to flesh-melting.  The creature himself will not be affected by his or her heated fluids, but will instead, depending on the intensity of his or her internal heat, feel much hotter all of the time, may "glow" with attractiveness and may have light shine out of any orifices he or she has, besides his or her mouth.

16- Funerary Garb.  DC: 4.  You will need a knife, a fresh corpse, perfume, a strong stomach and a steady hand.  Bless the corpse, consigning it to rest peacefully and not stir when you start cutting.  Then remove its face and peel it off.  Once you have done this, place it over your face and recite the words.  If you have done the ritual properly, your appearance will change to that of the corpse while it was alive.  Your voice, face and even scent will change, but you will not gain any special knowledge of who the corpse was.  The change lasts until you, or someone else, removes the face or until you expose your disguise to direct sunlight, after which it crumbles away and immediately ends.
   
17- Time on my Side.  DC: 10.  You will need a time-piece, access to moonlight, a candle, a knife and matches.  Take an unlit candle and scratch a line into it with the knife.  Then burn the candle down to that line, but no further.  While the wax is still hot, gather some of it and drip it first onto your time-piece, then your flesh.  Do not scrape it off.  Then extinguish the candle.  Then hold the time-piece up while bathed in moonlight.  Keep it there for as long as you wish, but it should be at least 1 minute.  That is the minimum amount of time.  Be careful if you tarry longer, you might attract attention you would not like.  Then shut the time-piece and hide it from the moon.  Do not let her see you, nor your theft!  Then, whenever you wish to use the power locked in the time-piece, whisper a condition into it, such as "If the President comes out on stage," then, if that condition occurs, the power will be released and you may make a number of actions equal to the number of minutes you bathed the time-piece in moonlight.
     
18- Me, Myself and I.  DC: 20.  You will need a large mirror, a dummy, some of your personal possessions, a lock of hair, a knife and possibly a sacrifice.  Take the dummy and decorate it, dressing it in your clothes or adorning it with your possessions, then attach a lock of hair freshly cut from your hair.  A drop of blood will also work.  Then, draw the symbols as instructed on the mirror and speak the incantation over the dummy.  Then, if you are using a sacrifice, slay it and drench the dummy in its blood.  Finally, press the dummy up to the mirror.  If you have done the ritual correctly, the dummy will vanish and someone else will be standing there.  It will be another version of you.  To determine  what self shows up, roll on the Alternate Self table below.

19- Destroy Time's Tyranny.  DC: 10.  You will need a notebook or other object that can permit writing, the means of which to write on that tool or object, a pair of masks, and a knife.  First, before the point of turning from one day to another, at midnight, seal yourself alone in a room and place the two masks on the floor in front of you.  Recite the words as instructed.  Then cut both of your index fingers and wait. At exactly midnight, mark both masks with your blood.  To the one on your left, say, "To who I was," and to the one on the right say, "To who I will be."  Reverse this if you are left handed, or do it whatever way you prefer if ambidextrous.  Then, take both masks and keep them with you.  If you ever wish to know the answer to a question, write it in the notebook, then close it.  Then put on whatever mask that designates the future.  Nothing will happen and that is normal.  Then take off the mask and re-open the notebook.  If you have done the ritual correctly, you will see an answer written by yourself, in the future.  You might, upon opening the book, also find questions from your past self. Do not be alarmed if you cannot remember being in those circumstances.  That is also normal.   

20- Prince of Freaks.  DC: 4.  You will need a bowl of water, a toad's skin, a cookoo bird, a broken mirror and a piece of flesh, bone or some blood from a disfigured creature.  Mix the ingredients together and stir well, until you make something resembling a crunchy batter.  Anyone who touches this batter with bare flesh will find the affected area of skin becomes disfigured.  Splattering someone or pouring it him or her is the best way, but the batter can also be diluted by mixing it with large amounts of water.  This lessens the intensity, but allows many more creatured to be affected by it.  Once it touches someone, the batter dissolves into the creature's skin and is gone.  

We meed to Deeper:

1d6
1- You arrive in an enormous, seemingly endless office building.  People are constantly running around, carrying books of paperwork and forms in need of certification.  The people all here seem to either be just a little too invested in their work or highly skilled slackers who are merely experts at looking busy.  Paranoia and casual cruelty is absolutely rampant here, and there is a definite undercurrent of violence.  Occasionally a group of armed men enter an office, grab someone and drag them into the elevator, kicking and screaming.  That person is never seen or heard from again and everyone else just pretends like nothing happened.  All the elevators only go down and all the clocks simply read, 'Too Late'.
2- You arrive in a rainy city under a perpetually overcast sky.  It seems to be evening, though the sky will never get any brighter or darker than the evening half-gloom, nor will the clouds ever go away.  The city is quiet, with people quietly going about their business.  Neighbors quarrel quite severely with each other and the lack of intellectual life in the city is quite disappointing.  But it's not that different than any other city.  The city's government is hopelessly corrupt and the syndicates are ruthless and dangerous, but its not as bad as it could be.
3- You arrive on the rocky shore of a lake of fire.  As per Goblin Punch's Hell.
4- You arrive in a dark, grey land populated by silent shades.  At first, the shades call to you with syrupy-sweet voices, urging you to come with them.  But as you travel, the shades will grow more aggressive and less friendly.  Eventually, they will attack you.  They do not derive pleasure, only a small amount of satisfaction in hurting you.  They do it anyway.  There are also far worse things here, creatures that prey upon the shades and you in equal amounts.
5- You find yourself waking up in a hotel room, ready to start a new day.  You have a task you came to do, you remember.  But as you go to do it, one or more of your companions dies through an attack or a freak accident.  As soon as this happens, the day restarts from that morning.  This repeats, forever, until you manage to get out of there.  
6- You find yourself in an air-filled underwater cave.  If you stay in the water for too long, it will mutate you into a creature that cannot survive on land or anywhere else but here.  Holding your breath and breathing air will delay this process, but neither of those is a long term solution.    
      
Alternate Self Table:

Modifiers:
- Add +2 if a righteous person voluntarily sacrifices themselves
- Add +1 if you sacrifice a valuable possession or treasure
- Add +1 if you yourself are a righteous man
- Subtract -1 if you are wicked
- Subtract -1 if you offer a sacrifice of a living creature that does not wish to offer itself

1d10
0 or lower: Hellbound Self.  This version of you is all you hate, despise and fear about yourself.  He is you if you let your worst habits consume and control you, then let those same habits get worse for thousands of years.  He is terrifying, imposing and utterly seductive.  He drips disgust and perverse glee, as well as liquid sensuality.  His words are like honey, his fingers like steel.  You know he is probably a liar, but his promises, they sound too good to pass up.  Besides, what's the worst that could happen?  Your hellbound self has all your abilities, plus an additional number of levels in another class to make him a 9th level character.  He can also teleport when no one is looking at him, to other places where no is looking and possesses the ability to steal the life and youth of others.   
1-2: Evil Self.  As an Alternate Universe Self, but actually evil.  May declare this outright, but is much more likely to lurk in the shadows, remaining on your good side for as long as possible.  If you start doing evil things in his presence, he may even encourage you, or reveal his true colors, so to speak.  He need not be an enemy, but he is definitely not a good person.  Your evil self will possess all of your abilities, but flavored to be slightly darker.  For example, if your class is Wizard, he is a Necromancer.
3: Undead Self.  This version of yourself sacrificed his soul to gain the world.  Does he regret it?  Possibly.  Never being able to go out in the sun, being shunned by society, being a twisted abomination created by dark powers, these may be problems he never thought about or they may have been his realities for as long as he lived.  For abilities, he will possess all of your current abilities, plus all the benefits and drawbacks that come from being Undead. 
4-7: Alternate Universe Self.  This version of you is basically just you, but from a parallel world.  He is slightly different, but not by much.  Maybe he has styled his hair differently or wears different clothes.  The choices he made will be different than yours, but not by much.  Maybe you choose to go track down a long lost enemy, even though the enemy hadn't been seen in many years, while he isn't choose to hope that the very same enemy was dead, or would never return.  If you talk with him, you might even be able to find the divergence point between your worlds.  Your Alternate Universe Self will possess either all your abilities, or if he is from a universe vastly different than yours, an equal amount of levels in a different class.      
8: Self-droid.  This version of you has exchanged mortality and humanity for iron and immortality.  Your self-droid is possesses your mind/soul, but otherwise his body is composed entirely of robotic components.  He is you, but stranger.  He is the type of person who would willingly sacrifice all the benefits of a human body for his own purposes.  Driven doesn't even begin to describe it.  Is he insane?  Maybe, but also maybe not.  He might have just made the smart choice.  Your self-droid  will possess all of your abilities, plus all the benefits and weaknesses of having a sophisticated, superhuman body. 
9: Experienced Self.  This version of you is seasoned by a long life, what you might become after years of this process.  He will be older than you, though whether or not he is decreipt will depend on how much older he is.  He will know things you do not and remember things you haven't done yet.  He is wise and likely considers you a punk kid.  For abilities, your experienced self will have all your abilities, plus +1d3 levels and a wealth of fighting experience that you do not.  He may suffer from the predations of old age, though.      
10: Righteous Self.  This is you at your most heroic.  This version of you will aid in any good endeavor, but will balk at anything evil or unsavory.  He is not necessarily you at your strongest, but he is you at your most confident.  Your righteous self will have all the abilities of a character of your level, plus a bonus equal to his level to resist all spells and abilities of evil creatures. 
11+: Heavenly Self.  This version of you is a beautiful, radiant creature, shining with the light of divinity and providence.  All you are and all you could become.  Compared to him, you will feel small, weak, and pathetic.  These are accurate assumptions.  But your Heavenly Self will have nothing but great love for you.  Your Heavenly Self will possess all the powers of a 9th level character of your class, plus the ability to fly and conditional immortality.     

Other Possible Rituals:

- Summoning.

- Mancy.

- Astral Projection.  I couldn't find a good example of this, so I'll probably have to write one myself.

                                                       source unknown

Creatures native to the Emptiness:

Passing Fancy: A shred of personality, the lingering remains of a dream, fragments of habit, drifting freely through the Emptiness.  These Fancies are drawn to intelligent creatures like moths to a flame, circling them impotently.  Sometimes though, one manages to penetrate someone's internal defenses.  This causes the person to become slowly fixated on whatever the Fancy embodies, an old habit or remnant of one, such as writing furiously in a notebook, even if the only thing they ever write is nonsensical scribblings.

USes [Us-es]: Imagine if you took every first impression of yourself, every half-glimpsed image of you buried in everyone's subconscious, from your parents to the person who you bought a candy bar from two years ago then never saw again and then combined all those impressions of you.  That's what an USes is.  It looks like you, but distorted, as if its body was drawn by a caricature artist looking at your reflection in a cloudy mirror.  It acts like you, almost, mimicking some of your habits and traits, but poorly.  Underneath the thin veneer of personality it's hollow though, a thin shell with nothing underneath.     

Figments: Figments are imaginary monsters, living delusions, walking hallucinations.  They can only be seen by people who believe them and the more people that believe in them, the stronger they are.  Figments defy the standard rules of physical creatures, mostly because they aren't physical.  They act more like the killer in a slasher movie than a real person with a knife, an abstracted representation of mankind's inner neuroses, except unlike in a movie, there's no guarantee you walk away from this on.  Actually, not that I think about it, that makes it almost exactly like a movie.

Empty-Men: An Outsider.

Hollow Kings:  A Daemon Prince, as per my original post.  They don't refer to themselves that way though- they call themselves the Immortals, or the Chosen, or the Forever People, or they just abandon all subtlety and declare themselves to be Gods.

                                            from Kalimantras dot com

When things go wrong:

Here are the tables to roll on.

Innate Magical Turmoil
1d20

1- One caster spends his or her next action vomiting a glowing, opalescent slime.  The slime smells like sugary cereal.  It tastes horrible.  Otherwise, it is normal.
2- One caster takes 1d6 damage as the incantation twists his innards.
3- Nothing happens at first.  Several hours later, a cat, pigeon or frog appears in the possession of one of the casters.  The animal is totally normal, but the caster is convinced that he or she loves this animal and would do anything for it.  Nothing can dissuade him or her from this course of action.
4- One caster glows in the dark for the next 1d10 minutes.
5- One caster's skin changes color to 1d4 [1= Black; 2= Red; 3= Yellow; 4= Blue.]  
6- One caster has all his or her hair fall out, leaving him bald.  His hair will grow back.
7- One caster gains a mutation.  After 1d6 turns, he may save.  On a successful save, the mutation goes away.  Otherwise, it is permanent.
8- The weather changes where the casters are.  It changes to 1d6 [1= Sunny; 2= Rainy; 3= Thunderstorm; 4= Tornado; 5= Foggy; 6= Snowy.]  The weather change lasts for 1d8 hours, then the climate returns to normal.
9- One caster is blinded for 1d10 minutes.  After the duration ends, the caster regains the ability to see.
10- A ball of bubbling energy flies out of one of the caster's mouths and hovers in the air before him.  Then it makes an attack against another randomly selected target.  Any creature struck by this orb takes 1d8 electric damage.
11- One caster has his age altered by 1d10 years.  There is a 50% chance he gets older, with an equal chance he gets younger.
12- One caster suddenly realizes that he is in danger of falling into the Room Without Walls.  He also knows the warding symbols that he can carve into his flesh to prevent this fate.  Doing this will require 1d6 hours and do 1d4 damage.  It will also make the caster much stranger in appearance.
13- A wave of energy explodes out from the casters and strikes everyone within 100', including them.  Every person for the next 1d10 minutes is surrounded by a glowing aura, giving them -1d4 to stealth and AC.
14- For the next 1d10 minutes, loud music can be heard from the ritual site.  This music will suit the mood of those at the ritual site- if they are agitated it will be shredding heavy metal, if they are calm, it will be the gentle tinkling of a piano.
15- On all the walls not being observed, blasphemous graffiti will appear, describing chilling threats and scorning the Gods, along with strange characters or runes that are hard to look directly at and induce migraines in those who stare directly at them.  Pictures on the wall also start to weep blood.
16- If there are any bodies within 100', they immediately reanimate as Undead and go on a rampage, attacking the nearest living creature they can find.
17- All view screens or holograms in the area become distorted, the people in them acting out disturbing scenes, either committing evil actions or simply doing distressing things, such as crying until they weep tears of blood.
18- Nothing appears to happen.  Then, shortly after, an old enemy coincidentally arrives, having arrived in a sheer fluke.  Only pick an enemy who could have some kind of reason for being near the casters.  If the casters do not have any old enemies, have someone who would have a reason to be antagonistic toward the casters suddenly arrives.
19- A hallucinogenic fog blankets a 50' space, centered on the casters.  Everyone in the cloud starts suffering wild hallucinations for 1d6 hours.
20- A swarm of wild animals suddenly bursts into the same areas as the casters and begins causing problems as an ordinary swarm of that type of animal would.    

Perils of the Emptiness
1d20

1- One caster receives a vision of a gruesome future, involving someone he knows being murdered and an unlikely culprit doing the killing.  The vision has a 25% of being a true premonition, otherwise it is simply incorrect.
2- All casters involved in the ritual must save.  Anyone who fails their save, if they touch another living creature within 1d10 minutes fuse with that creature.  Both creatures retain their minds but now inhabit one body.  The casters do not know this.
3- All creatures involved with or participating in the ritual must save.  Any creature who fails his save switches bodies with another creature.  The Referee should choose another creature who failed his save as well, or if none is available, the closest available creature.
4- One caster, randomly determined, has all the power of the ritual flow into his body.  He gains a number of Stat points equal to the Ritual DC and may allocate these points in any way he wishes, increasing any of his stats up to 18(+3).  He also gains 1d4 additional Luck Points.  However, along with all these benefits, he will find he is actually dying as the enormous mass of power within him burns through his mortal frame.  He will be the strongest man in the world, for a brief period.  Then he will die.
5- A portal opens in the center of the ritual site.  This portal leads to another point in space.  This portal begins sucking in everything within 50' for 1 minute.  Anyone who is pulled through the portal ends up in another location.  Roll on the 'Wormhole Express' table to see where anyone who falls through the portal ends up.
6- The closet 1d6 animals to the ritual site gain human intelligence and the ability to speak.  These animals are intensely self-interested and excessively violent.  They will also be somewhat grateful to the casters for blessing them with consciousness and can be recruited to act as hirelings.  Alternatively, they may just return to the wild, to terrorize other animals and humans with their new intelligence.
7- All the casters must save.  The first caster to fail his save has a latent psychic entity implanted in his mind.  For 1d4 weeks, this seemingly has no effect.  But then, once the allotted time has passed, the entity will be done germinating and begin growing.  Within days, the caster will simply have strange thoughts popping into his head, thoughts he might not have.  Within another week, he will begin to feel strong compulsions to do specific things that he must make a saving throw to resist.  Within another week, whenever the caster goes to sleep, the psychic entity will assume control of his body and begin doing whatever it wishes.  During this time, the caster's body will change form, either subtly or distinctly, depending on the specific nature of the entity.  After another week, the entity will have grown strong enough that it cannot be contained by a mere mortal and the caster will die, the burden of carrying such a powerful soul being too much for his mortal body to bear.  If the caster wishes to live, the entity must be extracted or destroyed before this occurs.
8- One caster, randomly determined, has a sudden premonition of his own death.  He sees flashes of how it will occur and what source it will come from.  He will know if it is a bullet to the brain or being hung from a sturdy oak.  He will also be able to feel the phantom pain of his fatal wound.  If the hangman's noose is what does him in, he will feel the coarseness of the rope around his neck.  As the fated hour approaches, the pain and the flashes of insight into the future grow sharper, more distinct.  As the Referee, you should roll 1d20.  This is how many days that the caster has before the future catches up with him.  This fate is not inevitable, but it's not easily avoided either.
9- One caster, randomly determined, next time they enter a place with a lot of people has one particular NPC latch onto them.  This will be a NPC of the opposite sex who has fallen in love with that caster.  However, it will quickly be revealed that this particular NPC is dangerously obsessed with the caster and will do anything for them, and do anything to those who harm, threaten, seem romantically interested in, or even make strange looks at the caster.  Additionally, each time the caster goes to a new place with a significant number of people, he or she gains another NPC lover.  All the caster's lovers will be equally obsessed and equally psychotic.  They will all despise the others, if they ever encounter each other.
10- One caster, randomly determined, develops a strong craving for human flesh.  For the next 1d6+1 days, the caster gains no nourishment from any other type of food.  If the caster resists these cravings, they pass and the caster is fine.  If the caster consumes human flesh, even if it is just a small amount, the cravings immediately disappear for 1d10 days.  However, once that happens, they return, stronger than ever.  This cycle reoccurs, with the cravings getting stronger and more human flesh being required each time.
11- One random caster turns invisible.  This invisibility is permanent and doesn't affect clothing or equipment.  Enjoy being naked.
12- One random caster turns into a beast under some kind of astronomical event or time of day.  That event is:
1d6
1- The Full Moon, the animal is a terrible Eurasian Wolf.  The caster's instinct is to hunt game and look after his 'pack'.
2- The New Moon, the animal is a black panther.  The caster's instinct is to run and hide.
3- Night-time, the animal is a fruit bat.  The caster's instinct is to find tasty fruit.
4- Day-time, the animal is a labrador retriever.  The caster's instict is to be annoying and follow around one particular person.
5- A lunar eclipse, the animal is a Carnosaur.  The caster's instinct is to hunt big game. 
6- A Solar Eclipse, the animal is a Maggot-Wurm.  The caster's instinct is to go on a rampage.
13- One random caster loses his turn as he vomits up:
1d6
1- 1d6 live serpents
2- 1d20 pale, eyeless cave fish
3- A large, glistening black egg
4- A cloud of white butterflies
5- 1d4 baby octopuses
6- A baby  
14- For the next 1d10 hours, one random caster has any fluid they touch turn to:
1d6
1- Blood
2- Gasoline
3- Molten Steel
4- Liquid Nitrogen
5- Wine
6- Hot Cocoa
15- One random caster finds that he drains the life of anyone he touches.  Touching the caster or letting him touch you does 1 damage a round, gradually weakening the other person until he or she dies.  The caster gains the accumulated damage as temporary hit points that last for 10 minutes, before disappating.  However, this life draining effect never stops.  Don't shake anyone's hand or touch any babies.
16- An obelisk of polished pink granite appears before you, shining and reflecting all the light around it.  A booming voice fills your mind, demanding to know what you desire.  The first person to speak his desire aloud has it granted as per a wish. The person should then roll 3d6.  If he rolls a 12 or less, the wish is twisted to mess with the person who made it.  If it is higher, the wish doesn't ruin the person's life. 
17- For the next 1d10 hours, one random caster is immune to non-magical weapon damage.  He can still be hurt by everything else, including fists and bare hands.  The invulnerabilty wears off at the exact worst time.
18- One random caster finds his body has become unstable.  Whenever he is below max health, he has muscle spasms and his limbs occasionally, involuntarily move.  If he ever gets down to a quarter or less HP, he must save.  On a failure, his skeleton rebels against him and rips its way out of his body.  This is almost always fatal, unless the skeleton can be asked to take up its post once again.   
19- All portraits, paintings, pictures and other images of people temporarily animate and gain the ability to speak for 1d10 minutes.  They begin screaming terrible profanity, uttering blasphemies and revealing the secrets of nearby people to anyone  who could possibly hear them.  Otherwise harmless, but probably quite traumatizing. 
20- One random caster, the next time he sleeps, has a vision of a laughing man with long, flowing hair bound in braids, strung with bells.  He wears fine garments and wears a crown of gold, though it is hard to tell, because from the top of his head to his mid-chest, he is soaked in blood, with small drops of it everywhere.  He is holding an ornate sword and standing on a high hill, overlooking a burning city, staring down with an emotionless expression.  The man then turns and walks down the hill, carefully stepping over the fresh corpses of a dozen attackers, all who were slain by his sword.  The dream then suddenly ends as the man turns and notices the caster, fixing him with a stare.  The caster awakes in a cold sweat, grasping a single bullet, which he knows is intended for the man the caster saw.

                                             by BryanSyme