The King is Dead

Monday, January 20, 2014

Accursed: Hiding Ones

Just in case you didn't get the pun.

Everyone has secrets.  Everyone has dark urges and dirty thoughts they keep hidden.  Everyone has a monster inside.

Loki the Transgressor, the Warlock-Witch of Nordheim, took no interest in the captive Outlanders who formed the initial stock of Accursed.  Like O-koroshi-hime, she (sometimes he) had been recruited by the Crone for the temporal power she already wielded in Nordheim; he (sometimes she) was well compensated with plunder.  S/he reveled in releasing her/his berserkers upon the battlefields and appeared well-satisfied with her/his place in the war.

That was all a ruse, of course; it was just one of the countless subterfuges the Transgressor plotted against both allies and enemies.  S/he wasn’t interested in making her/his own Witchbreed from the Outlanders because they were going to be mere soldiers in the Bane War.  S/he didn’t want to simply conquer Morden; s/he wanted to sow chaos.

When captives were taken from the Armies of Light, when nations fell to the Witches, then Loki became interested.  It was then that the possibility arose to break the rules, to plant seeds of chaos that would sprout long after the fighting was done.  Loki cursed the captives s/he took and let them loose again; Loki worked her/his magic on babes in the womb and let the mothers escape.

The nascent Hiding Ones fought for months or even years alongside their companions in the Armies of Light, unaware of what the Warlock-Witch had done to them even as the curse worked its changes.  Their personality flaws grew worse; some grew bitterly jealous when they were passed over for promotion, others became callous toward the suffering of civilians and their fellow soldiers, and still others grew prideful and reckless.  In all cases, a simmering rage began to boil in the unwitting Hiding Ones’ breasts.

One by one, the Hiding Ones’ inner monster was unleashed.  Jibes between rivals suddenly turned deadly when one party was seized with a maniacal strength and tore the other apart.  Frightened soldiers went mad and slaughtered their own squads.  Wounded warriors returned home turned on their families and friends.  Horror crept secretly amongst the people only to reveal itself in sudden violence.

Those Hiding Ones who survived their initial attacks of madness discovered that Loki had saved her/his cruelest jest for them; after their spate of madness, the Hiding Ones returned to their normal selves with full memories of the awful deeds they wrought.  Most surviving Hiding Ones now live nomadic existences, seeking cures for their afflictions or staying one step ahead of the authorities.  Worse still, those cursed children have come of age – some deep in the hearts relatively free lands like Hebron and Manreia – and soon they will experience their first fits of madness.

Witchbreed Package
All Hiding Ones gain the following racial package:
  • Brute Form: When Hiding Ones lose their self-control, they change into a powerful Brute Form.  The exact characteristics of this form may be different between individuals; some manifest as hairy, Vargr-like creatures, others resemble Devolved Men, and some take on unnatural skin tones like green or red.  This transformation into a brutish personification of id reduces Smarts by two steps (to a minimum of d4) and Charisma suffers a -2 penalty.  The Hiding One also gains the benefits of Hardy, Hulking Hands, and Maniacal Strength.
  • Hardy: While in Brute Form, if a Hiding One is Shaken, further Shaken results do not cause a wound.
  • Hulking Hands: The heavy fists of a Hiding One in her Brute Form do Str+1d4 damage.  Hiding Ones in their Brute Forms are never considered Unarmed Defenders.
  • I’m Always Angry: It might manifest as a lingering self-loathing that makes the Hiding One irritable in the company of others, or it might be jealousy of all who don’t share his burden.  It might even be a genuine contempt for humanity fueled by the Hiding One’s hidden sense of superiority.  In any case, Hiding Ones who are wounded (including a Shaken result from physical damage) or lose a Test of Will in their human form must make a Smarts roll or involuntarily assume their Brute Form.  Hiding Ones in their Brute Form already who are wounded or lose a Test of Will must make a Smarts roll or go Berserk as per the Edge.
  • Maniacal Strength: While in Brute Form, a Hiding One’s Strength and Vigor increase by two dice steps.  This can take both attributes over d12+2.
Racial Edges
Hiding Ones have exclusive access to the following Racial Edges. These Edges can be taken at character creation if Edge selections are available and the requirements are met. Alternatively, they can be purchased with Experience Points as the character grows and develops.

Extreme Size Change
Requirements: Hiding One, Novice
Some Hiding Ones add significant amounts of bone and muscle mass when they transform.  A character with this Edge grows to Size +4 when he transforms, gaining a +4 to Toughness but characters trying to attack the Hiding One add +2 to their rolls.

Infravision
Requirements: Hiding One, Novice.
While in Brute Form, the Hiding One can see in the infrared spectrum -- allowing him to see opponents' body heat.  The character halves lighting (and invisibility!) penalties when attacking living targets.

Slow Regeneration
Requirements: Hiding One, Veteran
The Hiding One makes a natural Healing roll once a day.

Acceptance or Defiance
Most Hiding Ones seek an end to the curse that has severed them from their families and friends, but some grow to revel in the raw power of their Brute Form.

Stage 1: Acceptance
Whether motivated by revenge against the Witches or fiendish joy in her madness, the Hiding One begins welcoming the change and the rage.
Effect: The character suffers a -1 to resist I'm Always Angry.  She adds +2 to the damage she does with her Hulking Hands.

Stage 2: Acceptance
The transformation comes easier and easier as the Hiding One becomes more and more a monster.
Effect: The Hiding One's Strength increases by three steps in Brute Form.  I'm Always Angry suffers a -2 penalty.

Final Stage: Acceptance
The Hiding One is quick to fall into a berserker rage while he grows even tougher to subdue.
Effect: The Hiding One's Vigor increases by three steps in Brute Form.  The Hiding One's suffers a -2 penalty on Smarts rolls and all related skills while in Brute Form.

Stage 1: Defiance
The Hiding One begins to control her rages.
Effect: The Hiding One suffers only a one step penalty to Smarts when she assumes her Brute Form and gets a +1 bonus to resist I'm Always Angry.  The Hiding One's Strength bonus is reduced to one die. Her Brute Form becomes more human-looking and imposes only a -1 penalty to Charisma.

Stage 2: Defiance 
The Hiding One gains even greater self-control.  When he assumes his Brute Form, there is hardly any physical change.
Effect: The Brute Form now imposes no Charisma penalty.  The Hiding One's Vigor bonus is reduced to one die and he gains a +2 bonus to resist I'm Always Angry.

Final Stage: Defiance
The Hiding One is now completely human again.  She has mastered her will so much that she can no longer be fooled by others.
Effect: The Hiding One loses the benefits of Brute Form (including Hardy, Hulking Hands, and Maniacal Strength) as well as the penalties of I'm Always Angry.  The hand-to-hand combat experience gained means the Hiding One is still not considered an Unarmed Defender when unarmed and may take the Martial Artist and Improved Martial Artist Edges even though they are not normally available in this setting.  She is immune to Test of Will.

Today -- January 20th, 2014 -- is my Two-Year Blogiversary!

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