Thursday, June 30, 2016

RPG Blog Carnival: Gates & Portals in Kismet

Aperture Tapestry -  Produced in pairs and singly sold in secret, these magnificent textiles conceal magic of great utility and devilry.  The calligraphy across the top is a riddle that provides clues to the tapestry's activation phrase. Solving the riddle causes the central geometry to unfold a dimensional pathway that leads to the mated tapestry. Woven by the witch women of the Leopard Queen's heresy, possession is akin to membership in the eyes of zealous clerics. 

Traversing the filled space is not without odds hazards abd opportunities. The pathways butt against the little big places of ensnared djinn. Many the daring thief has been trapped with their marks. 

Heaven'sWord - Commonly crafted in the Hanging City of Teshra, these wondrous items resemble the Warlanders' idolatrous Living Carvings. A palm sized cube of bronze, etched with the names of the Almighty, in it's inactive state. Uttering the command word causes the 99 Hallowed Names to spread vine like, filling any aperture or hall it's in (DC 20 to break through.) Activation in open air forms a piece of  calligraphic sculpture and against a wall, a lattice you can climb (DC 5.)

Living Carving - These are figurines of wondrous power, carved from the wood of the Living Tree.  In addition to their normal abilities, they can also cast an appropriate 1st - 2nd level Druid spell 1/day.

This month's RPG Blog Carnival theme is Portals & Gates, the seed article is found here

RPG Blog Carnival: The Good Neighbors

"Man creates gods in his own image, and the gods which literature has handed down to us, Thor, Bran and Pallas Athene among other, reflect the aspirations, the love of war, honor and poetry of their worshippers who were basically the aristocrats of their respective societes.

However, the people who had no written language, and at whose dwellings the travelling Bards did not call, must have had their own divinities.  They had local gods who looked after their crops, their houses and the vagaries of weather.  These deities could be blamed for tragedies and blessed for good fortune.

While the beliefs in Pantheons of thunder gods, war gods, gods of love and poetry has survived in classical and medieval manuscripts, the simpler rural gods have lived on by means of oral traditions as faeries."
- Brian Froud, Faeries

Localized, pantheistic scraps kept sacred in the hearts of believers through the long, monotheistic night.  Across the globe, wild spirits, house gods, little people and associated folklore punch above their weight in the human subconcious, even in the modern day.  While salt over the shoulder and a bowl of cream may appease your average brownie, the demand for blood and lives runs high as well.  When there is no offering, they take what they're owed.

Taniwha (Maori)
 Living in aquatic depths, Taniwha personify dangerous currents or deceptive breakers.  By lairing in  treachous waters, they function as protective guardians of people and places.  In some traditions they covet a human wife, turning vicious and predatory by envy.
Monster Queen - to possess and control
Elemental body (Water), Crushing Force, Lair
Harm- Taiaha 2-harm Armor- Soft like water armor-2 Health: 6 Health
Unique Moves
The Taniwha can only be killed in its lair.  If it takes enough damage to die, it disperses instead.
When the hunters miss a roll; the Taniwha reforms and stalks them through the pipes.  On the next miss it attempts to pull one of them through a grate, sink drain, etc. 3-harm (someplace too small for them to fit) and into his Lair.

Leshii (Russian)
A spirit of dark forests, the Leshii delights in leading humanity astray. Whether misleading lights, confusing direction, or outright Faustian bargains; the more people die in his woods,  the more powerful he becomes. After such a long existence, the Leshii now conspires to swallow the world in dark glades and pluck the sun from the sky with conifer claws.

Monster Tempter - to draw others into evil deeds
Ethereal, Genius Loci, Shapeshifter

Harm-  Primordial Curse 3-harm, close, area,  magic, mark unstable.  Green shoots 2-harm, long, area, messy Armor-  Fallen pine needles and rotten flesh armor-1 Health: 14 Health
Unique Moves
Grant Magical Power. The Leshii may gift a human with magical ability. These sorcerous gifts are wild and strike back at their user on cruel ways. Like a Monkey's Paw.

Kelpie (Scottish)
Occupying the lochs and pools of Scotland, kelpies appear as attractive strangers and drown their would-be paramours. Once submerged they devour everything but the entrails, throwing the fleshy ropes to shore.

Monster Devourer - to consume people
Aquatic, Shapeshifter, Bound to the Depths
Harm- Slimy hoof deals 4 damage Armor- the Kelpie's supernatural nature grants armor-1 Health: 10 Health
Unique Moves
Black Water Honeytrap- The Kelpie approaches people near a body of water with a handsome or beatific mein. Flirting ensues. As soon as they touch, the victim is suddenly riding the fey beast and plunging into the water unable to let go. 
Sodden Brains - Keeping the skulls of its victims, the Kelpie will bargain their knowledge in exchange for terrestrial favors. You must ingest the stuff to obtain the information.

This month's RPG Blog Carnival theme is the Fae, click the image below if you;re interested in the other entries.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

MotW: Think of the Children

 In horror fiction threats to children are common, emotional appeals to the reader's and characters' parental instincts. But everything has offspring, even monsters.  Without individual immortality we reproduce to escape extinction.

Hijos Del Sol Negro
Descended from the cihuateteos' affections, their children are equally monstrous things.  Not human enough for full corporeality these amalgams of filth caked children and chicks leave trails of afterbirth wherever they go.  The cihuateteos only seek to coax new life from their carrion wombs, raising the offspring is unimportant considering it a distraction from greater duties and desires.
Monster Executioner - to punish the guilty
Ethereal, Senses guilt

Harm- bludgeoning guts 2-harm, messy, magic Armor- ectoplacenta provides armor-1 Health: 5 Health
Unique Moves
Strung Up
When hunters don't roll 10+, they get tangled in the Hijos sticky guts.  The Keeper gain 2-3 hold and can spend it to negate the hunters' moves to escape.

The Black Eyed Children
These spectres appear when someone is alone, knocking on the door, ringing the bell, and begging for entrance.  Once inside they force the victim to play a perverse form of "House" rife with overcooked Gothic horror atrocities.  The Children's silly games only end when "Mommy/Daddy" finally expire from deprivation or fatal wounds.
Monster Torturer - to hurt and terrify
Immortal, Night Walker, Regrowth

Harm- small, rending hands 1-harm  Armor-none  Health- 5 Health
Unique Moves
Are You My Mommy? 
Grown-ups can't resist the Black Eyed Children asking this.  When a hunter rolls a miss they lock eyes with the Child and are spiritually whisked away to the Black House (Maze).  Their comatose body becomes the Children's doll.  Killing the Child doesn't bring back the victim, you'll have to retrieve them from the Black House.

Maria's Children 
La Llorona seeks the ghosts of her three children so they can all go to Heaven.  But Gustavo, Luciana, and Ramon remember their dying moments, Maria's hands pinning them beneath the river until they stop struggling.  Spectral existence is everything they could have hoped for and more, running rampant with childish poltergeist activity. Hunters will have to trick the children into reuniting with their mother.
Monster Trickster - to create chaos
Ethereal, Poltergeist

Harm- helter skelter 2-harm Armor- none, they'll be back Health- 5 Health
Unique Moves
Puppet Hurricane 
In a tantrum everything not nailed down starts whirling through the air, check unstable on everyone's sheets and take -1 forward for each child in the scene.
The Hellion
 Naked, screaming, and covered in blood the Hellion's birth is still off in the future but its birth pangs hint at its emergence through the bodies of its worshipers.  Every in utero kick and wail echoes through the faith, tearing a simulacrum from their bodies.  These tantrums grow more intense as the hour of birth grows near. 
Monster Parasite - to infest, control and devour
Immortal, Object of Worship

Harm- Soul Rending Wail 4-harm magic, ignores armor Armor-divine flesh doesn't part for the mundane 3-armor vs non-magic, 2-armor vs magic  Health- 15 Health
Unique Moves
Jealous and Angry GodTo look upon the divine is to know it exists, its very presence compels supplication and sows seeds of faith.  Seeing the Hellion is believing, making you a potential womb.


Monday, June 13, 2016

MotW: The Voodoo You Do Part 2

One of the central elements of Afro-Carribean faiths is community and its vices of greed and dishonor, any villainous portrayals should definitely exemplify the pursuit of power at any cost.  Below is an example of a morally and spiritually corrupted group, the Cult of the Hellion:

Tilly Adrieux - Voodoo Queen of the Underground - This bokkor has gathered together a large community of believers and called them the Cult of the Hellion.  Spiritual stewardship of her followers is a low priority, they are just means to an end and that end os power. Eschewing the mainstream powers, she is in bed with the Skin Thief, a meaty abomination from the Otherside.

Monster Queen

Sorceress, Manipulative

Harm- Ritual Dagger 2-harm, magic Armor: The loas' favor grants armor 1 Health: 9 Health
Unique Moves

Sympathetic Magic - With a bit of hair, blood, fingernail clippings, or just a footprint the Queen is able to reach out and hex the target with the any of the following effects:
Curse of the Torn Heart - 2-harm, magic, ignores armor, mark unstable.  Cause 1-harm
Seedless Curse - Full Cronenberg body horror as the cursed individual bleeds out their genitals in chunks. Mark unstable.
Curse of the Rotten Core-The cursed is infested with long white worms that responds to ambient magic.  The more magic around, the more active, the more they core out the cursed.

Favor of the Gods: The Queen can also place one of these effects on a character, either through eye contact or a sympathetic link while she is ridden by the corresponding entity.  Copied from the previous post.
Damballah - Serpent of Wisdom - "gift" someone with the curse of babble, rendering them unintelligible to others.
Erzulie - Life's Lover - Slip someone Love Potion #9, you decide how self-destructive that gets.
Khalfu - Master of the Left Hand - A character's ordered thoughts scatter into chaotic noise, focusing on a basic task becomes next to impossible. 
Legba - Guardian of the Crossroads- A character crossing an intersection may find themselves hit by a car, or teleported onto the wrong side of the tracks.
Ogun - Master of Iron and War - Bullets just can't seem to miss you.  Mark unstable and take 1 harm everytime you're shot at.
Baron Samedi - Custodian of the Dead - Paralyze a hunter with a case of rigor mortis, frozen until the next dawn.
Chango - King of Fire, Sky, and Smoke - Unsubtle, someone cursed by Chango gets a tag along thunderstorm.  Maybe it's small or maybe it's large.

The Faithful -The Cult of the Hellion worships the Skin Thief as a living womb and Tilly as the midwife.  The Cult kidnaps the homeless to feed the Thief's hunger for flesh and skin.  The congregation is silently experiencing a crisis of faith, questioning their monstrous object of worship.

Minion Thief

Stealthy, Eyes everywhere
Harm- Mob violence 2-harm
Health: 6 Health
The Skin Thief - Put an elephant seal through a coarse sausage grinder and spackle the finished product onto Andre the Giant's skeleton.  That's the Skin Thief.  It leaves little pieces of itself behind wherever it goes, that's why the Cult tries to keep it locked up.  Its swelling corpulence splits the human husks it hides within keeping it dependant on the Voodoo Queen and her Cult.  Fed a ritual diet, the Skin Thief incubates a gestating divinity expecting birth on the next full moon.

Monster Parasite

Mimic, Rubbery Flesh,
Harm- Ripping and tearing 4-harm, magic 
Armor: Its corpulence grants armor 2 Health: 15 Health
Unique Move
The New Flesh- When roused to violence the Skin Thief exerts an intense gravitational pull on the meat of others. Everyone in the vicinity takes 2-harm that ignores armor every move. 


Monday, June 6, 2016

Monster of the Week: South of the Border

The monsters stalking the Mexican nights are born from a cornucopia of Indio oral traditions and syncretic Spanish Catholicism.  Native monsters stalk the night, serving the Black Sun, and often consist of leftovers from previously crashed epochs; while the Spanish colonial evils are a mishmash of betrayals and spirits. 

Cihuateteo - The ancient Aztecs viewed every thing as an object of war and every task a battle.  Men went out to take life while women brought life into the world.  Women who died in the throes of childbirth were honored as fallen warriors, their remains strengthened warriors in life, and their spirits accompanied the setting sun westward as the feared cihuateteo.  Haunting crossroads, spreading madness, stealing children and tempting men to sexual misbehaviour.  They possess skull-like faces and eagle talons for hands.  They are servants of the nocturnal deities Tezcatlipoca and Tlazolteotl.  They gestate the stolen seed of victims to birth surrogate monsters.
Monster Breeder

Hypnotic, Immortal, Creature of the Night, Shapeshifter - cloud of bats
Harm- Grime encrusted talons deals 2-harm and unstable, messy Armor: The Smoking Mirror's favor grants 2 armor Health: 9 Health
Unique Move
Gather the Seed - hunters that get close to the cihuateteo find themselves drawn into her embrace, until another hunter deals 4 points of harm the victim is unable to get free.  After three moves, if the hunter hasn't been freed the cihuateteo releases them and retreats.  Its belly full of stolen essence, pregnant with surrogate child.

El Cucuy- A Latin American twist on the Tonton Macoute.  El Cucuy differs because it has adapted to the times, taking the shape of a faceless sicario or DEA operator.  Rather than the large iconic sack favored by his cousins Cucuy prefers the smaller, discrete black bags forced over his victims heads.
Monster: Devourer
Terrifiyingly Fast, Incredibly Stealthy, Phasing
Harm: Frozen grasp deals 2 harm, ignores armor Armor: Ethereal, can only be affected by magic Health: 11 health
Unique Move
Black Bag. - El Cucuy throttles the character and attempts to slip his bag over their head.  these are either two separate soft moves or one hard move.  Either way the bagged character suffers -1 forward and takes 1 harm every player's move.

La Llorona- A beautiful woman named Maria drowned her children in a rage, a red handed revenge against her husband who left her for a younger woman.  Realizing what she'd done, she leaped into the river and drowned with them.
Questioned at the Gates of Heaven as to the wherabouts of her children, she is barred from the afterlife until she gathers them.  Trapped between the physical and spiritual world, she is forced to wander in search of her sodden babies.  He incessant weeping giving her the name "La Llorona" - the Weeping Woman.
Monster Torturer

Weight of Grief, Phasing
Harm- Piercing Cry 2 harm Armor: Ethereal, cannot be harmed except by magic Health: 8 Health
Unique Move
Am I Your Mother? - Whenever the hunter opens themselves to a soft move, La Llorona tears open psychic wounds of maternal abuse and becomes the wire mother.  The hunter suffers -1 forward and becomes unstable.  If its a hard move, she becomes the comfort mother.  The hunter canot harm her and will protect her against others.

Cueyatl- Born from the blood of Tlatecuhtl, the primoridal frogmother, mingling with the life giving waters of el Ombligo de la Luna.  These batrachian horrors stalk the museums and bloodlines enshrining the divinity of the Fifth Sun seeking the resurrection of their mother beast.  They tend to appear in large groups of 6 - 11.
Monster Beast

Rubbery Flesh, Toxic Touch, Sticky Tongue, Amphibious

Harm- Barbed Tongue 1 harm, strips equipment Armor: 1 armor Health: 9 Health

 Next we'll re-visit African rootwork, the Invisible Ones, sympathetic magic, and the Big Easy.