Beast: The Primordial: Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes by Kurieg
PostOriginal SA post Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes
What is even going on on this cover, dude's pied pipering a bunch of people off a waterfall? But everyone on top of the cliff is wearing white shirts and most of them have ties, everyone falling into the pit is wearing more colorful clothing? And why is it called Conquering Heroes?
I know I said that I wasn't going to review this because I, somewhat naively, thought that it would be bland and toothless with an eye towards them maybe changing things towards the better.
Instead we got a housebound hacker named Null Snyper who feeds by Swatting streamers. And that is somehow among the least objectionable parts of her character. This book is bad, amazingly bad. In my opinion it's even worse than the Beast Corebook.
The book opens up with a story written by Matt McFarland himself. In which a man interviews a small boy for what I presume is a special school, he's not a child psychiatrist(that's another character) and they don't really specify what he's being interviewed for.
At least this kid has some vocabulary, thought Vince. That’ll make it go faster.
“Want to hear what happened to my dog?”
Vince put down his pen. “Sure.” He already knew, of course; it had been in the referral report. This kid had been bounced around in foster care for the past 18 months, and one of the families he’d lived with had a dog and a 20-something son with anger issues and a penchant for drinking. He’d run over the dog in the driveway and then passed out, and the foster mom had found the boy — Richard — trying to bury the poor thing in the backyard. Vince wasn’t sure of the particulars after that, but he knew Richard wasn’t with that family anymore, and the foster mom who’d come with him to the evaluation seemed like she had her head on straight.
“Arlow murdered it.”
Vince kept his poker face, but barely. He made a mental note to write that down, at least to ask the school psych. “Who’s Arlow?”
“I used to live with his mom.”
Past tense, complex sentence, possessive pronoun. Interesting he’s using ‘it’ to refer to the dog. “OK. And then what?” Vince felt weird about this; kids didn’t normally open up to him about this kind of thing. If they had the language skills to do it, they didn’t need him anyway.
“Arlow ran it over. With his car.” Richard didn’t seem sad. He didn’t even seem angry, really.
Richard nodded. “I loved Niko. He sat with me when I was scared.”
Change in pronoun to ‘he.’ Regular past tense, irregular past tense, complex sentence, relating past events, talking about feelings, what the hell am I even doing assessing this kid? “What made you feel scared?”
Vince paused. He wasn’t sure how far to take this, and he still needed to finish the damn test. He had two other kids to assess today, and Richard was pretty obviously going in the DNQ file. “Monsters aren’t really real, though.”
“Are too. Sometimes people turn into monsters when they get mad.”
Oh, hell. Please don’t let this turn into a call to DCFS. “Who does that? Who turns into a monster when they get mad?” Vince kept his voice low, friendly, and warm, and looked Richard in the eye. If the kid was being abused, it was better to hear about it now than later. Richard fixed his gaze, and Vince almost shuddered.
That night Vince has a nightmare where his dead mother comes to him and tells him to follow the Thunder.
The next day Vince decides to go to Richard's daycare and see if the kid is having behavioral issues, anything to get him admitted to the special school since he's sure the kid needs help. He finds out that Richard has already left and probably won't be back since he apparently cut another kid, except "They ain't found no knife." When he goes back to work and talks to Grace, the child psychiatrist, and we find out two things, first Richard is four, second the other child was obviously lying because his wounds weren't made by a knife but by CLAWS. Also the Richard is probably going to "DNQ" (Does not qualify) for any program at their special school.
At the meeting the following day Richard is the only one who argues to Qualify the kid, and the rest of his co-workers basically ridicule him.
He walked down the hall to the psych’s office and sorted the reports out by case manager. Donna, Jim, Mia, Beth…Grace. Fuck.
He stood by Grace’s desk, staring at the report, staring at the photos pinned to the cube wall, staring at her fucking chair, willing it all to catch fire. Fuck her, he thought. She can’t see it. She doesn’t see it. This kid is going to hurt someone for real, and she can’t hear the thunder.
He turned. Grace was standing there; he was blocking the entrance to her cube.
“Yeah. Just dropping off some reports.”
“Okay, thank you.” Polite. Neutral. Just like a goddamn psych.
Don’t say another word, thought Vince. Not another fucking word. Just get out, get your coat, go home, walk the dog.
He stood aside, and Grace brushed by him to get into her cube. He turned to leave. Walked two steps. He was five feet from the door when she said it.
“I think you should have skipped the meeting.” She was sitting down, now, looking at her screen. Not even really talking to him.
“Yeah?” Vince glanced down to his left. He was standing by Beth’s cube. She had a geode paperweight sitting on her desk. He thought he remembered her saying her son had given it to her for her birthday.
“Yeah. It was kind of embarrassing, actually.” Typing. Not looking. Not communicating. Not paying attention. “He doesn’t qualify. You know he doesn’t.”
Vince picked up the geode. It had to weigh a solid three pounds. He turned. “Well, I think he does. I think we’ll be sorry for not keeping an eye on him.”
“Well, Vince, we can’t just qualify kids for services to keep an eye on them. If he gets to school and he can’t succeed, then we’ll—”
Vince brought the geode down on her head. He heard a distinct crack. She gasped, a wet, broken sound, but she couldn’t scream. He raised the geode again and brought it down. It glanced off exposed bone and drew a ragged stripe of flesh from her cheek, snapping the frame of her glasses. She fell out of her chair and tried to push herself up.
Vince crouched down next to her. “He qualifies,” he hissed. “I said he fucking does. He’s going to hurt people.” He raised the geode again and brought it down on the base of her skull, near the brainstem, near the medulla oblongata. Something shifted under the rock as it landed, and Grace collapsed, eyes open, barely breathing, staring at nothing.
Vince stayed there, squatting next to her, until the raspy breathing stopped. He waited for someone to come running. No one did. The only people in the building were custodians, and they’d done their sweep of these offices already. He grabbed a garbage can and pulled the empty bag out, wrapped up the geode, and carried it back to his cube. His right hand was bruised and had a fleck of blood on it, but he was otherwise clean. He put the geode in his coat pocket, and walked out into the cold.
Thunder rumbled in the distance, and Vince counted the seconds. It was close. The storm was close. He tightened his grip around the stone.
So many storms, his mother had said. How many others would qualify for his services?
That’s why we do this work, he thought, starting up his car. Because someone has to. Because no one takes care of these kids.
He pulled out of the lot and turned right, following the thunder.
So yeah he just fucking murders his co-worker out of the blue for saying that he's wrong and then goes off to presumably murder a 4 year old Beast.
McFarland has learned fucking nothing.
There are absolutely no noble reasons why anyone would ever decide to hunt Beasts, nope, never. And Beasts have to be careful when hunting Heroes lest they
What makes a Hero in any time and age? Is it the impetus to take up sword and shield to defend those less capable? Is it the desire to right perceived wrongs, to drive back the terrors of the night? Some would say yes to both, yet the truth of the matter is more complex and often much dirtier than that. The desire to be known as a Hero is every bit as intoxicating as doing good, often leading someone to see things in blacks and whites, while the rest of the world exists in shades of gray. Everyone is the protagonist in their own story; everyone believes they are the hero, the savior, and the person doing the right thing, regardless of how far from the truth they really fall. Those Heroes who take it upon themselves to hunt Beasts are all of these things, and worse.
How then, does a Beast come to conquer such creatures? The fairytale version tells us of the creature lurking in its cave, terrorizing people until a hero comes to save the day. But these are not fairytales, and this is no way for a Beast to really live her life. Why should she wait until some Hero comes by to stalk and hunt her as though she is prey? Sometimes she does take the initiative, hunting Heroes before they can hunt her, but she must be careful of the Horror inside. She must balance the terrible hunger she feels with the need to survive. Because if she isn’t careful, she may find herself becoming a true terror, a Beast without reason or purpose, killing and living only to satiate her hunger.
Themes and Mood
"Insatiables?" you ask "What are those?", why they're a brand new creation, something even stupider and worse than Beasts. We'll get into that later.
Two themes pervade this book; the first is that sometimes good people do terrible things because they think they are right, and the other is that sometimes terrible people use the expectations of others to get away with their terrible deeds. Heroes throw their followers at problems, caring only for the final outcome, destroying a Beast, and not for the many innocent lives they endanger. Beasts give in to their Hungers, giving up any pretense of providing a lesson in favor of embracing their Legends and Myths. Insatiable are selfish creatures driven wholly by the Hunger inside them, caring nothing for the havoc they wreak as they feed for prolonged periods in an area.
"Most Heroes Are Selfish And Bad" is the new party line. And they now hunt all supernatural creatures because we need everyone to know how bad they are.
The concept behind this book is not to display Heroes who boldly go forth and conquer Beasts. While some of the Heroes examined here believe that this is their mission, most do so for selfish reasons. Instead, those who take on these monsters are the heroes and the creatures found within these pages are the ones who need conquering. Heroes and Insatiable alike prey upon supernatural creatures, seeking them out to kill them to satisfy either a bloodlust or a hunger they cannot satisfy through any other means. Heroes looking for their next power fix tend to lose any vestige of the heroic demeanor in which they protect innocent victims, and instead throw followers and sycophants into the clutches of the Beasts they hunt.
As far as Insatiables...
Insatiable are also born of the Primordial Dream, but their existence predates that of Horrors. The Insatiable live in a deeper, more primal place within the Primordial Dream, allowing them to move about nearly unseen by both Heroes and Beasts alike, but also preventing them from really connecting to humanity the way Horrors can. They instead must hijack people with a connection to the Primordial Dream, but not those who are fully realized as either Heroes or Beasts. The process is spontaneous, as the Insatiable is constantly looking for a way to feed its Hunger, and jumps on any opportunity that presents itself.
Back of the Book Summary is that Insatiables are exactly like Beasts except even older and more inscrutable, and they're always 100% evil with no hope of redemption. If I didn't know any better I'd think this whole book was just one gigantic parody. Unfortunately Insatiables are the last thing the book covers, second are Beasts antagonists (Because they've undergone the merger, retreat, or incarnation), and first up are Heroes.
The Insatiable are creatures from a time before man, a time before the dreams and fears of man filled the Primordial Dream. In this time, the terrors of the world were not fears born of legends, but instead were the very landscape of the earth. These terrors live on, even though they are no longer prevalent thoughts in the minds of dreamers. Some of the Children believe they are some kind of progenitor species, created and then discarded by the Dark Mother, but they themselves believe they come from an entirely different entity called the Primogenitor. These creatures capture and take over those with any connection to the Primordial Dream before they come to realization as either Beasts or Heroes. They have an insatiable hunger they constantly try to fulfill by devouring human and Beast prey alike. This chapter details mechanics and powers specific to Insatiable, including rules for taking over a Beast’s Lair, or the Beast herself.
Next TIme: How to hunt Beasts when you're a Youtube Superstar. No, really.
Part 1Original SA post Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes - Heroes:Part 1
The associated story for this picture is a bunch of Heroes, sitting in an open bar, betting on a bunch of Heroes killing Beasts and streaming it on the internet.
Because we have to make Heroes look as bad as possible. Also because we want to make heroes look as bad as possible, there's this sidebar quote.
Rorschach: Aspirational figure.
Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise in this. But, there are so many deserving of retribution… and there is so little time. —Alan Moore, Watchmen
The legends always go that whenever the darkness births a monster outside the city walls, a hero rises up to defeat them. These stories propagate like wildfire because who doesn't want to imagine themselves the hero who takes up arms, stands up to terror and prove themselves brave in the foe that everyone agrees is unwanted? No shades of gray exist when the dragon is razing the countryside and demands tribute.
Modern heroes would never admit to thinking of themselves this way. Asked why they take up the hunt they simply reply "if we don't, who will?" That their power is a burden that demands action. That they alone have the clarity to see what must be done and justice demands that they do it.
The book goes off again on how Heroes think they're special and that they need to show people their real purpose. And therefore they're wrong. But, honestly, they have nightmares. The primordial dream is the one telling them that these things are wrong, it's not their fault that they can't dream deep. The game suggests that Heroes should just suffer in silence forever because the only ones who are allowed to judge those that are different are Beasts.
The trouble is what they call "Wrong" is something they barely understand and can't really define. It's "Wrong" because it's different, because it goes against the familiar status quo. A Hero’s instincts tell him that the ripples upending his dreamscape when he sleeps are not supposed to be there. When he tries to explain it to his friends and family, they advise him to take a vacation from stress or see a therapist, and ignore what seems to him an obvious threat. He can’t see beneath the surface of the dream, so his imagination fills in the rest; what do millennia of human history tell us lurks in the unknown to disturb the peaceful slumber of the unwary? Monsters, of course.
The Many Faces of Heroism
seriously? I just feel dirty having copied that sentence. The game has never, ever, presented a Beast that was worthy of help. If you were to hear a story about someone who goes out of their way to help a Mass Murderer, or a Rapist, you'd say that they were mentally disturbed. Not worthy of praise.
Not everyone reacts the same way to this shallow awareness of the Primordial Dream. Some don’t become Heroes at all, instead finding other ways to indulge their primal instincts or learning to tune them out. A rare few even take it upon themselves to help the Beasts they track down, heeding the message that humanity can only progress by accepting its fears and turning them to productive change. Generally, though, human nature reacts poorly to the unknown and the different, with irrational fear and a desire to show dominance. From these primitive instincts arise base needs that drive those who slay Beasts. Like the Children themselves, Heroes feed primal hungers, but they do it in reaction to their mortal enemies rather than for any true purpose. Heroes rise for as many reasons as their diverse personal histories suggest, but patterns do emerge.
We get three more paragraphs demonizing heroes, dividing them into three rough groups. Group one are the people who wish to lash out at the unfamiliar, but since they can't kill
I'm getting really fucking tired of all the game ascribing these insane convoluted justifications for Heroes. "Can't accept the primacy of something greater"? That seems unnecessary, they fight because they're forced to acknowledge that beasts exist thanks to their dreams. Also: it suggests that Beasts have "primacy" in the world of darkness, which is stupid. Is this supposed to be written in character by a Beast cause the authorial voice here is hilariously fucking skewed.
For the Hero who feels inadequate or scorned in his everyday life, slaying Beasts fulfills a need for the validation of a self-image no one else sees. It gives him the chance to justify his existence. He needs to prove that he’s the cleverest or the most skilled, that he knows something others don’t, that he’s a good person despite the haters, that he’s been misunderstood all this time, or just that he’s in the right. He’s deluded himself into thinking he’s the underdog in a war he created, desperate to be the “good guy” in a fight against the Beasts’ “evil.” He can’t stand to accept the primacy of something that’s nothing like him — it would debunk a lifetime of assumptions and shatter his ego, and he can’t let that happen. He fights to grasp at legitimacy and set himself up as the “us” versus someone’s “them.” He kills because to hold back would be to admit that he was ever wrong.
The Hero's Journey
Okay so now the Hero that doesn't go out actively seeking Beasts is lazy? I don't think it's healthy to hate something that you, yourself, created this much. Given the current description of Beasts as given the only way a Beast can be "good" in BHM's mind is if they're actively feeding Beasts victims.
Unfortunately for the Hero of our story, the Children don’t conveniently line up for the chopping block. A Hero often spends more of his time looking for Beasts and planning his approach than actually killing them, especially since it usually takes multiple tries against any one Beast before he succeeds. Not all Heroes go out of their way to find villains to vanquish, of course; some stumble from disturbance to disturbance, living an unrelated life in between calls to arms and letting the Primordial Dream do the hard work for them. For many, though, that’s not enough.
Some heroes delve into libraries searching for ancient lore on the Beastly modus operandi. Some find ways to delve into the Primordial Dream, attempting to find Beasts by their Lairs. Others use modern media, looking for reports of nightmares and rise in phobias in certain areas. Even if they're only finding Vampires and Fae, the Children are rarely far behind. At this stage in the hunt Heroes will often work together, as they haven't decided to outright backstab each other yet. Others will let another Hero do all the hard work and then literally backstab them to steal the kill. Still others will embrace the competition and make it a race.
See the only reason Beasts are able to work together is because they know the secret truths that no one else knows.
The View From Outside: Beasts
From the Children’s perspective, one Hero is bad enough. Two or more teaming up presents a new level of horror. Imagine watching violent fanatics rile each other up to compete over who can commit murder first and congratulate each other over it afterward. Beasts are good at making friends in the supernatural world for protection, but nobody wants to live like a contestant on a sadistic game show where the whole audience drools in anticipation of spilling her blood.
Fortunately, the observant Beast comes to recognize that such a partnership is tenuous and can’t last. With careful manipulation, she can use the Heroes’ own tactics against them, playing up their unhealthy need for competition to turn them against their fellows and expose all the little ways in which they sabotage each other. Even Heroes who organize around competition and agree to friendly rivalry have trouble keeping their egos out of the way; a clever Beast can deliberately make waves to kick the race into high gear and fabricate foul play or dishonorable conduct on one side or the other to exacerbate the rising tensions between Heroes. It’s a risky gamble, but it often has more appeal than waiting for the mutually-inspired frenzy to come to her doorstep. The major advantage Beasts have over Heroes when it comes to teamwork is that the Beasts understand how it’s really supposed to work.
Despite the fact that the stories say that they're 'destined' to kill Beasts, they're often woefully under-equipped. Which is surprisingly honest for whoever wrote this I guess. Sometimes the solution is more firepower, just throwing everything and everyone up to the police force and tanks at a Beast. Other heroes use guerilla tactics, tracking the Beast back to their lair and waiting until they're susceptible to anathema. Other Heroes realize that other supernatural creatures might not like Beasts and can sometimes sick Vampires or Werewolves on a Brood.
Or they can be straight up fucking villains.
Beast-slayers call themselves Heroes, but that doesn’t by any means imply that they’re above blatant manipulation and trickery. Particularly patient or cruel Heroes go out of their way to learn what the Children value so they can take it away or threaten it. A Hero might take hostages, blackmail the Beast or someone to whom she’s close, persuade someone the Beast trusts to betray her, keep her under surveillance or hire a private eye to learn all her secrets, or even run a long con to earn the Beast’s trust himself before stabbing her in the back in a vulnerable moment. Some Heroes use potent poisons, drugs, or supernatural relics and sicknesses to weaken a Beast until she can’t mount an effective defense.
Please ignore the spots later in this chapter where we show Heroes working to mutual benefit with Hunters.
The View From Outside: Hunters
On the surface, Heroes and hunters make natural allies, but a Hero’s appreciation for her hunter comrades is rarely reciprocated for long. Conspiracies and compacts with less sympathetic approaches to the Vigil might back a Hero for a time to reap the ancillary benefits, and might not even care that her uncanny powers come from a dark source, but many are just as suspicious of the Hero’s ability to track down Beasts as they are of the Beasts themselves, and organizations like the Long Night certainly don’t attribute the Hero’s obvious connection with the Children to some God-given blessing. Even a group like Ashwood Abbey comes to recognize that a Hero is just a different kind of beast with an opposing mythology defining her existence, and she’s likely to land in the “monster” category before long.
Heroes profess to understand the Vigil, but what pushes them to hunt is far more selfish and deluded than the average hunter’s “humanity for humans” creed or the loss-fueled vengeance that drives him. Hunters who adhere to strict codes or struggle with the morality of their lifestyles often refuse to work with a Hero once they see to what lengths she will go for a kill. Her propensity for dragging innocent people into her fight as followers doesn’t endear her to them, either. Inevitably, her insistence on taking the kill for herself and talking about her rightful destiny are deal breakers to the team-oriented cell that’s just trying to keep the streets safe.
A Hero’s singlemindedness about Beasts in particular doesn’t make sense from the Vigil’s perspective, and even when the Hero agrees to help hunt other monsters in exchange for aid in her own pursuits, she rarely cares enough to uphold her end of the bargain. She doesn’t truly understand what drives the hunter to see a vampire, a possessed victim, and a Beast as equal threats, and ultimately any alliance she makes is just an excuse to use the hunters as a means to an end, until they become hindrances to her own self-aggrandizement. In the end, a hunter hunts for humanity’s sake, while a Hero hunts for her own.
So let's get some sample Heroes.
CANDY RASMUSSEN: VOICE OF THE VICTIM
The people want to hear your every single scream. I need you to scream for everyone you ever hurt. Do you think you could do that for me?
Candy was a media and politics student, she never stood out or made a fuss. She wasn't an exeplary student, but she was comitted to her degree as a keen scholar of modern online media as a vehicle for news. She didn't have much time to make friends but her charisma shone whenever she was in front of a camera. She was gifted in wordplay and evoking emotional responses, her lecturers told her repeatedly that if she could find the right script to follow she could change the world. Unfortunately she had no desire to use someone else's words, using a camera, the back wall of her dorm room, and her own impassioned opinions, she started making improvised op-ed pieces for the local student body, her viewership barely peaked the high single digits.
But she had one fan, she found flowers waiting for her after three days of broadcasting, and a new camera after two weeks. A note was attached asking her to go to the university's media library. Curoius, naive, and flattered by the attention, she encountered her fan at the appointed time and met a shy, nervous, damp sophomore named Jess. As candy thanked him he gushed about the validity of her points of view, offered to host her vlogs on his moderately popular debate society website, and only asked for minor input on the content of her Vlogs. "Rasmussen weighed the creepiness of the offer against the opportunity for increased publicity and accepted within minutes."
To their mutual surprise, they formed the perfect team. To the point that everyone on campus knew Candy's face and words. Candy kept on waiting for the other shoe to drop with Jess' romantic intentions but his interest in her, and her voice, was purely platonic. They became friends and confidants. Jess suggested a few bylines and worked on bringing in sponsors and increasing viewership, while Candy ascended the ranks of the student union, becoming a major voice for their rights.
Then the nightmares started, terrible dreams of suffocating under mucus, sewage, and filthy water would jolt her awake "Where she inevitably found her skin covered in grime and her bed despoiled." The horrors started severely affecting her studies and work, until during one night of terror she sleepwalked across campus to the media library, unknowingly drawn to the source of her nightmares.
Entering the room in which she first met her friend Jess, she beheld something terrible. Hunched over, hulking and dripping in viscous fluid - a slipperly approximation of Jess writhed in the midst of reels and filming equipment. Rasmussen broke from her daze to see the true form of her yearlong companion. Jess just looked over her shoulder and formed a jagged smile, beckoning Candy to join him, before moving to hook up a video camera. Turning his back on Candy proved to be a fatal error. Horrified and betrayed by the friend who infected her dreams, she grabbed Jess' lighter from his dropped rucksack and put it to a shelf of old celluloid, locking the door on the Beast trapped within. She stayed long enough to hear his screams as the highly-flammable nitrates ignited around the trapped Collector.
A Hero was born.
Jess' death was reported as a tragic accident, and Candy felt abandoned by her deceased companion, but with the nightmares banished she pursued her medea goals in earnest. Without Jess' support, however, her channel plateaued. She had the charisma to win subscriptions and monetary support but was unable to find suport beyond her campus. She tried to tackle hard subjects such as poverty, sexual health, religious freedoms, and political corruption, but the world failed to care about her or her opinions. Slaying Jess was a pyrrhic achievement at best. As her own sophomore year loomed she was prepare to quit the life of a media personality. But then the nightmares started again.
The dreams were different but not identical. She saw the giant face of a man with boulders for teeth that overwhelmed her with his bulk from the sky. She eventually recognized the face as that of a local bank manager who was controversially released from prison, and she had mentioned in her vlog the week before. With her remaining pull she arranged for him to come to the university as a guest for a fifteen minute segment. She wanted to be sure he was like Jess: a monster responsible for the torment of innocents.
The Anakim laughed at her questions about ethics, openly mocked her when she asked if he learned anything from his incarceration, and called her a naive wet liberal. After the interview Rasmussen, with tears in her eyes, addressed the camera in a heartfelt, apparently unrehearsed speech:
“The sad truth is we’ve made this world a gray, uncaring place where everyone does the bare minimum to get by. The people want to believe in ideals, but harsh reality tells them hope and faith are mistakes. To hell with the needs of innocent victims crushed beneath the wheels of grinding prosperity. The man who sat beside me is a crook — a beast. Nobody will address this because he has the most expensive lawyers in the country. But let me tell you now, live: the people need to hear the strong voice of someone bold enough to tell the greedy magnates, bent politicians, and violent criminals they’re wrong. Their victims won’t take this any longer. The beast beside me, and everyone like him, need to be shown we won’t take their shit any longer.”
She went viral within hours, her face became a meme and a watercooler discussion across the state. She was immediately named in a lawsuit from the banker, and she went on to publicize this in her show. Her viewership went up and the banker received regular harassment and threats of harm. When asked to comment on the danger posed to her former guest, Candy remarked, "Let him be threatened. The rest of us have to live that way our entire lives due to predators like him." She knew he was a Beast when he appeared on her show, but she also knew she couldn't do anything against him personally. But she was able to shift public opinion against him. Another hero happened to watch her broadcast, and while Candy wasn't responsible for the explosion that consumed the Beast's lair, she lit the fuse.
The man responsible for the Beast's death - a Hero calling himself the Web Weaver - began writing her fan mail encoded with the identities and locations of other Beasts he had tracked but was unable to personally engage. Recognizing a kindred spirit, Candy laced her vlogs with the information. One night she presented a special report on urban decay, unobtrusively highlighting the physical counterparts of several Lairs. Another time she performed an expose on gang culture, highlighting a group that was actually a Brood of Beasts. Every week there was a segment dedicated to someone or somewhere connected to Beasts.
Candy's Vlog -Voice of the Victim- focused primarily on sufferers and perpetrators in the area around her university. But her popularity grew and she started getting wealthy supporters from across the country. Her website became popular for anyone with an axe to grind against any perceived wrongdoer, but it also provided support to authentic victims of abuse and hardship as Candy was swift to respond to any pleas for aid or sympathy. Heroes began using VotV as a network to pass information about targets, safe houses, and victories over Beasts.
Beasts also noticed VotV's actions as their addresses, places of work, and families were featured on a publically visible website. The popularity of the site also became a particular concern for Beasts who laired on college campuses. A youthful Brood attempted legal action against the Hero but found no traction, so the idiotically decided to kidnap her. And broadcast their plans on twitter. By the time they actually got to her dorm room there was a small army of students and teachers frantically and violently defending her. Candy uploaded video of their unsuccessful raid that evening along with her voiceover mocking the "Vengeful Beasts". She also declined to press charges since she knew full well that other Heroes would make sure they never hurt anyone ever again.
Following the attempt on her life she strengthened her fanbase into a cult of personality. Understanding that her best and only defense against Beasts was the loyalty of her followers, she made herself well known across multiple online and television channels as "That girl who stands up for innocents." With support from the faculty she appeared across multiple news networks in interviewes where she stated her lack of fear, and encouraged the downtrodden youth to attend seminars hosted by her on campus, as well as counseling chats online- both of which were broadcast live and uncut. The subsequent media covereage of her untrained, but astute, "massage of victims emotions"(which seems harsh) became a hit. Those in need of a caring ear for their problems or a shoulder to cry on found one in Candy and her website. All the while Beasts raged as this 'Paltry do-gooder' was surrounded by adoring supplicants and defenders. Heroes cheered as still more information filtered out of her Vlog and led to more Beasts falling. She's one now one of the best known Heroes in the world. Some Beasts even wonder if she's a mortal patsy being played by a group of Heroes. They're fooled by her guiltless appearance and and good works with the genuinely downtrodden. "Few Beasts want to cleave through innocent puppets in order to reach her. They just watch, frustrated, as she plants targets on the backs of those who can't assail her without their own identities and lives being exposed for the world - and heroes - to see."
Candy never found out if Jess intended to infect her with his nightmares, or if they were a byproduct of their closeness. SHe never discovered whether Jess intended for her to stumble into her lair, or if she was destined to enter and slay the Beast. The overriding emotion she felt with the discovery was humiliation, and it's one she's never been able to shake. She struggles to reconcile his death as anything other than Murder, Jess was her best friend until she killed him. This feeling of guilt colors everything Candy does through her vlog and public works. She serves the cause of other Heroes because she genuinely believes their targets deserving of "painful deaths". She then directs the money she gets from Heroes towards increasing her public image and assisting genuinely innocent victims of persecution and hate. She sees the shy and reluctant Jess in many of the youths who come to her channel for assistance. She tries to assuage her guilt, if only briefly, by being a force of good in the world.
Candy’s reasoning is one of misguided altruism. She believes Beasts taint what they touch and harm what they love. She blindly ascribes most of the world’s ills to the activities of Beasts, ignoring the possibility of human corruption when a Beast could bear the blame. For all her attempts at charity and compassion, her methods and the results always come back to hurting Beasts for reasons largely in her head.
Of course not all of her followers are altruistic, some intentionally direct her at targets of no supernatural stripe in order to see them brought low. "Candy refuses to pry deeply into the stories submitted, unprepared to acknowledge that people may dupe her. She has to believe she’s doing good deeds, and that she’s not a monster acting as a broker for even worse monsters." She sees no one as a friend, but sees Heroes as allies. The only people she genuinely cares about are the innocents who use VotV as a place to voice their genuine ills. She invests much of the money contributed to her website to support groups for "victims" and increasing her own exposure, through accident or skill every investment has paid dividends so far.
She’s encountered several Beasts face to face in interviews and during exposés, holding her own as an indignant and outraged member of the public. She lambasts her targets without pause, before setting her entourage on them then, or later. She fears getting close enough to a Beast to realize they may have a decent side, so she doesn’t allow such creatures to get a word in edgewise. Candy attempts to target Beasts her viewership will judge unsympathetically. When she does profile an innocent-seeming brood, childlike Beast, or unobtrusive Lair, she has the skill to twist a tale and make a mostly harmless person into a ravenous public enemy.
Candy has accompanied bands of Heroes on hunts for Beast families. She never actively participates in an assault, instead voyeuristically recording the Heroes’ sadistic attacks. She experiences a thrill from watching Beasts being put down, though nausea occasionally overwhelms her while watching the footage. Her goading dialogue, recorded over the visuals, excites and sickens her in equal measure. She stores these videos on a well-hidden external hard drive, and only loads them up when she’s not brought the life of a Beast to an end in recent months. She’s beginning to realize she has an addiction to slaying Beasts, even if the only part she plays is as information network to the real killers. She doesn’t know how to break this feeling, and doesn’t understand the Primordial Dream, but such discoveries aren’t pressing. Candy derives enough pleasure from her popularity, success, and how she helps innocents while throwing Beasts under the bus, that she’s content — at this time — to plow on.
For a Hero, she sure puts a lot of barriers between her and us. There’s so many people following and obeying her, I doubt she’ll ever hunt us personally.
She has no appetite for engaging beasts directly, and has only killed one herself. She knows the power conveyed by slaying a Beast and no small part of her desires more power, but she's pragmatic. She feels safer when she can "manipulate others". She will gladly sacrifice any number of followers to bring a Beast down, as she knows the cause is worthwhile. She harbors minimal desire to engage a beast one on one, frustrating many Beasts who would love to end her activities. She knows her limits and operates from behind a monitor as much as she is able.
Rassmussen hates vampires about as much as she hates us. She was a slave to one of them, but slipped free of her mistress' mental control and burnt the vampire to death. Seems she learned a thing or two while in her service, given how she can influence a crowd.
Nope. She's just good at public speaking. Some Carthians have been monitoring VotV as a means to pass on information in a similar fashion to how Heroes use it. But neither the Vampires or the Heroes are aware of the other faction. A Daeva has offered to embrace Candy but she's stringing him along until she can figure out if they're servants to Beasts or not.
If she wasn’t so eaten up with regret for killing her precious Jess, she might amount to something. Until then, she’s about as useful as her channel is at assisting victims, as she calls them.
Some Heroes hate Candy because she's a highly visible point of failure and knows way too much about Hero activity around the world. They'd be very happy if she ended up dead.
Here's a fun exercise, read through Candy's story and replace every instance of "Beast" with "Rapist". This entire thing is textbook victim blaming to a degree that makes me feel ill. She was groomed by a collector to make her famous, so her videos would be more sating. And he approached her in her sleep at least once because she was physically coated in his slime at least once. And she feels so ashamed of being defiled that she uses her channel as a force for good in the world as far as she understands it. Then the "Description" chapter doubles down on demonizing her as much as possible for reacting to the depredations of Beasts.
And that's before we even get to the story hooks.
"If only this rape victim could be shown that being raped was good for her, and that rape is a force for good in the world?"
One of the Beasts in the protagonists’ brood receives an invitation to participate in a Voice of the Victim interview. Logic dictates making an appearance on the show would be foolish, yet such an opportunity may lead to the brood getting close enough to Rasmussen to stop her activities. Perhaps she can be convinced that her agenda is one of blind aggression and talked into giving up her role as a Hero. Then again, if the brood prefers a more violent approach, stopping her in a more lethal fashion is an option. No doubt, she’ll be recording everything taking place around her, no matter what.
Beasts are all good people who should never be maligned, except when not then they need to die.
As is the way with all families, Beasts don’t necessarily get along. When Candy Rasmussen broadcasts a special on a group of “unsavory individuals who prey on the innocent,” the characters realize she’s talking about a rival brood in the same city. They’re forced to decide whether or not to warn them. If Heroes take out their longtime enemies, it frees up territory and removes a big thorn from their collective side. Then again, perhaps blood is thicker than petty rivalry.
Yes let's have our protagonists literally invade safe spaces to stalk their victims. This will make them sympathetic
As one of the Beasts enters a church, a therapist’s office, or another place of quiet refuge, they spy a heavily-disguised Candy Rasmussen exiting. Supposedly, Rasmussen goes nowhere alone, yet in this instance she’s unaccompanied by any of her hangers on. This is a golden opportunity to stalk the Hero, engage her while she’s undefended, or simply find out more about her. What darkness does she contain that drives her to a place of counseling and contemplation, and is it possible to reach her with words instead of resorting to claws and Horrors?
Her statline is nothing exciting except for a specialization in Melodrama and Rabble-Rousing. I"m surprised her life isn't "Meddling Teen" (It's actually Philanthropist).
DANIEL GREENE: THE SILVERSMITH
I know your weaknesses. I’ve cut off your escape routes. Can we get this over with? I’ve got a ton of orders to ship out, and the post office closes at five.
Danny's parents were Hunters, constantly on the road sniffing after rumors of monsters, Danny never really knew safety. His mother went into labor while hunting a vampire and he was born in a barn in rural Nebraska. He was barely hours old when his father smeared monster blood across his forehead to anoint him in the family tradition. He grew up in a series of temporary homes, left in the care of family friends and other semi-retired hunters. When most kids were learning their ABCs, Danny learned monster lore and how to make simple protection charms out of wire and string. When he had a Christmas it was celebrated with occult grimoires and handcrafted hunting gear.
Due to the transient nature of his parents lifestyle, his formal education was lacking. His mom taught him how to read, write, and basic math sprawled across a hotel room bed or the table at a diner, geography, history, and science were left entirely by the wayside except where it benefited an apprentice hunter.
At the age of 10 his parents left him in the care of his aunt Marissa to hunt a dangerous Vampire and never returned. Rather than turn him over to CPS she decided to raise him as her own. Though she had once been a Hunter in her own right, she vowed to give Danny something resembling a normal childhood, with his own bedroom, toys, books, and enrollment in school. Of course he was now a fourth grader with giant holes in his education that was new in town and had no friends. He was mercilessly bullied and his instinctual distrust of strangers made him a friendless outcast until the day he turned sixteen and dropped out entirely. Marissa attempted to convince him to go back but Danny had already given up. Her ultimatum of "Go back or get out of my house" resulted in him packing up and hitting the road.
With a happy title like that you can guess how this went. Since his only real education was 'how do I kill monsters' he fell into old patterns, and soon made a name for himself amongst other independant hunters as "the crazy kid with the death wish".
DID WE MENTION DANNY IS GAY?
Danny was well on his way to a violent, bloody end, but that changed the day he met Ben.
It happened like a Hollywood romance: During a busy lunch rush at a diner, Danny found himself sharing his booth space with a stranger who seemed to be allergic to silence, a cute twentysomething who introduced himself as Ben. Whether it was sheer loneliness, attraction, or the novelty of a social situation with someone who wasn’t shouting at him or calling him names, Danny soon found himself lingering over coffee and pie, listening to Ben talk about everything from music to politics to current events. Even though Danny didn’t have much to offer, he was happy to listen, and Ben was happy to talk.
DID WE MENTION THAT DANNY'S GAY BOYFRIEND IS A BEAST!?
Lunch turned into dinner, dinner turned into a movie, the movie turned into spending the night, and almost before he knew it, he was in a relationship. For a time, Ben gave Danny everything he desperately craved: attention, affection, and respect. In a frighteningly short period, Ben became the whole of Danny’s world, even though he sometimes felt a thrill of fear at the look in Ben’s eyes, like he wasn’t a partner, but a plaything to be devoured.
When the nightmares started, Danny didn’t think anything of it. He’d always had recurring dreams of loneliness and isolation, was used to being chased by bullies and monsters through his sleep, and a few night terrors were par for the course when one hunted monsters.
DID WE MENTION THAT DANNY'S GAY BEAST BOYFRIEND IS ALSO EMOTIONALLY ABUSIVE AND MANIPULATIVE!?!?!?
He didn’t notice until months had passed that the nightmares always coincided with Ben’s mood swings into anger and condescension, always following that fearsome expression on his face. Danny tried to convince himself he was imagining things, and was even successful for a little while, but eventually, he couldn’t ignore it anymore.
Seriously the first two Heroes the book full of "Irredeemable heroes to be conquered" presents to us are literal actual victims of Beasts. This is extremely fucked up and I feel unclean.
So Danny saw Ben for what he really was, and Danny vaulted the table with a carving knife. Under the cover of darkness he weighted Ben's body down and tossed it into a swamp, then packed up his belonging and holed up in a Hotel for a while. When he emerged he was no longer a "mere mortal hunter", he was a Hero.
Danny soon found evidence of another Beast's predations but found the monster too powerful for him, luckily another Hero happened to be hunting that same Beast and saved him. The Hero, a woman named Cecily Souza, ripped him a new one for interfering in her hunt, but when she discovered that he had only recently awakened she took him under her wing. He didn't stay with her long but it was long enough to realize that things were more complicated than his parents thought, and to take a long hard look at his childlike recklessness.
He returned to his aunt Melissa's house to secure her support in his new purpose, counting on her decades of experience with her former vigil to help formulate his long-term strategies and plans of attack. Her council lead to two more kills and two more humiliating defeats before she died of breast cancer. But he inherited her network of contacts and allies.
After a serious injury from a fight with a Makara sidelined him for nearly a year, he found himself at wit's end since he was unable to follow his lifetime of training and instinct in hunting. Reaching out to his contacts he found another Hero willing to teach him metalworking. After a year of practice his skill was great enough that he began attracting customers. Satisfied customers brought repeat business and soon he was a trusted entity in the worlds of both hunters an Heroes. If someone needed an expert blade, Danny was their man. His online handle, silversmith78, is considered an authority on the occult, folklore, and talismanic magic, and his customer satisfaction rating is proportionately high.
Danny's now in his mid-30s but he's got the life experience of a 70 year old and the scars to match. He doesn't rush into anything be it a one-night stand or the Lair of a Beast he's been stalking for months, he's suspicious by nature and prefers to view situations from all angles before making a decision. While Danny often disseminates the information he gathers to hunters and the occasional fellow Hero, he's still a formidable foe in his own right. Unless given a compelling reason to act quickly, however, he'll take his time to stalk the target and understand his chances of success. He's got little patience for theatrics or monologues, he strikes fast and hard. His preferred weapon is a sword but if explosives are what works it's what he'll use.
He's not unsympathetic to the victims of Beasts, but he's prone to using them as bait to draw out his current target. He respects mortal Hunters who take up the vigil, and assists them as he can, but rarely goes out of his way to help someone he doesn't know very well. His neighbors view him as a kooky hermit or a dangerous loner. Despite his outsider nature he has little trouble blending into the populations of any town or city, as "Strong guy with disheveled hair in jeans and a t-shirt" fits in pretty much everywhere.
Danny Greene? Man, what a freak. I knew him in school, and he was just as weird then as he is now. He had that budding serial killer look, y’know? Now he’s got all these strange people coming and going at all hours of the day and night. I swear he’s started a Satanic cult or something up there. Which makes sense, I guess. If I’d pegged anyone for a cult leader, it’d be him.
Danny lives in a small town because it's easier to spot people who shouldn't be there. Any other rumors are just small town folk starting rumors because their life is interminably boring.
The Silversmith knows how to keep us out of dreams. Look, let me show you. He has this Etsy store where he sells this shit. See that? ‘This handcrafted, personalized dreamcatcher is designed according to ancient dreamlore to offer security and protection against the horrors that stalk your sleep.’ There’s nothing else it could mean, worded like that.
His trinkets don't do jack shit against Beasts, but the descriptions are worded in such a way to appeal to victims of the Begotten, every purchase is investigated using their shipping address and name as a starting point and he's turned up more than a few genuine Beasts this way.
I swear, I got the email yesterday. Greene’s flipped his shit. He’s working with the goddamn monsters now. Beckett out in Amarillo said he was down there last week and Greene sat in a café, talking to one of those Giants. Greene gets up, leaves town. Three hours later, the safe house is hit. Local cell of hunters completely wiped out, man. And it’s on Greene’s hands.
Danny will occasionally allow a Beast to pass unmolested but he'd never betray Heroes or Hunters to them. Any rumors to the contrary have been spun by rival Heroes or Beasts.
There are three kinds of Heroes, kid. You got your fanatics, that track you to the ends of the earth and face you in your hoary den and other melodramatic bullshit. Then you got the idealists, the ones who go on grand quests and slay the dragon and rescue the princess. Then there are the pragmatists. Silversmith? He’s one of the latter. And, he gives zero fucks if you’re a Begotten, human, or other kind of boogeyman. If you’re a monster, he ends you. But sometimes it works out. I’ve used him as a cleaning service from time to time, making sure a pack of wolves or fangs end up somewhere he can find ‘em. Enemy of my enemy, and all that.
Danny sees few distinctions between Beasts and the other Horrors of the night, he'll prioritize a Beast if prioritizing is necessary but anyone who preys on the weak is fair game to him. He was raised as a Hunter after all. And some Beasts will take advantage of this and manipulate their enemies into his path while laying low in their Lairs. Because Beasts are the good guys.
Story Hook time.
Seriously? This is the fourth time that Beasts are prompted to off each-other using Heroes as an intermediary. The fuck happened to Family?
The Silversmith is sighted in an area the brood frequents, but it’s difficult to discern if he’s there for a member of the brood, or another Begotten who resides nearby. A canny Begotten may be able to capitalize on his presence to rid herself of a rival, or perhaps call upon other Begotten in the area to attack the Silversmith in force, removing him as a threat permanently.
Finally a reasonable plot hook, good job.
A cell of hunters friendly with the Silversmith is wounded after losing a fight with a pack of werewolves, and is spotted fleeing to his house in order to recuperate and rearm. An opportunity for alliance rises when the werewolves give chase to the cell; the Silversmith’s home is well-defended, but those defenses may crumble under a joint attack by both Begotten and shapeshifters.
Also a good plot hook, and it gives Beasts something to be scared of.
Hunter activity has taken an uptick. Normally, Beasts don’t pay too much mind to mortal idiots who try to take them head-on, but times are not normal. Recently, two prominent members of the Begotten community have turned up dead, sliced to pieces by sharp blades. Also recently, a survivor of an attack reported that the hunters are carrying weapons that allow some of the innate abilities of Heroes to transfer to the hunters carrying them. While the single longsword recovered from a scene has no maker’s mark, the hunters call themselves the Silver Smiths, which is evidence enough for some to consider retaliating against the Silversmith before he can arm more hunters with his Hero-making weapons.
His stat block, however, is unremarkable, he's probably a threat to another Beast one on one, but he's only got two Gifts despite the fact that his backstory explicitly calls out him killing at least three Beasts. And he'd hardly be the unholy terror of Beast's Nightmares that he is if he's only offed fucking two of them.
That said the character is fine. He's not evil, he's human. He's had a deeply flawed upbringing and is living a functional life within the framework that was given to him. He's not in it for his ego, he's in it because he deeply believes he is helping people. Other than the fact that he was BETRAYED BY HIS GAY LOVER BEAST he's a perfectly functional and well rounded antagonist...
That the book somehow forgot to demonize the same way it did Candy. Regardless, I think I need a shower.
Up Next: A character who is only a Hero in the loosest definition of the word but sure why not.
Part 2Original SA post
Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes - Heroes:Part 2
The hero chapter is apparently as long as the other two chapters put together and I’ve been dealing with some family issues, so I’m going to be dialing down the fidelity a little bit so we can get to the really egregious shit rather than the just tonally inconsistent shit.
Dwight Whittaker: The Web Weaver
You might think different, but you’ve been trapped ever since you blundered into my web. I caught you a year ago and we’ve been playing ever since. Time for the game to end.
Yup, the same web weaver from Candy's Story.
Dwight apparently propagates some myth about him being a half-arachnid monstrosity because he poisons people. It's completely untrue, they also believe that the web weaver has some kind of military background. Since he's an expert at rigging elaborate traps and orchestrating assassinations. And Dwight would have loved doing that in service of his country. But he's probably the first hero that was actually psychopathic before hearing the call.
....this seems like it's making a problematic judgement one way or the other.
He exhibited an unhealthy admiration for al-Qaeda and the Islamic State’s nuanced approach to bomb design and placement. The review board classified him as “suitable only for tactical planning, and never to be utilized as an active disposal specialist.”
Anyways, Dwight decided this was bullshit and went AWOL after rigging his former commanding officer's Jeep to explode 3 weeks after his departure, ensuring the Terrorists were blamed. He fled to Brazil and assumed his current name while working security for logging companies and academic researchers. He studied alongside the research teams and became a lay expert on native toxins. He also fell in love with a Sao Paulo professor named Sam dos Santos Cruz. But then the research team camped on top of a Namtaru's lair. When a research team stopped to work it was his job to clear the forest floor and ensure the team's safety, searching for signs of indigenous peoples and dangerous creatures, "The one threat he was unprepared to face was one able to attack the dreams of its prey."
One hot night while the rest of the science crew slept, "Only Whittaker remained awake. He stared into the flowing water and thought deeply of the professor." Then everyone started screaming cause they drank poisoned water and ate tainted food and oh look there's a Gorgon made entirely of millipedes, Dwight wasn't tripping balls so the Gorgon ran away, and then Dwight realized that he couldn't find Sam. He delved into the rainforest and recovered each one of the researchers but not a one knew what happened to Sam, Dwight spent days searching for him even after the scientists moved on, and eventually he camped out the site where the Namtaru attacked them and littered it with booby traps. Roughly eight IEDs and molotovs later the Namtaru disappeared into a nearby tree and was never seen again. And the book is burying the lead on this one but 1)Sam was a guy, meaning we have yet another Gay Hero 2) Sam was the Namtaru, he was gaslighting the research team into being a better meal and was planning on doing the same thing to Dwight but his hero powers protected him, though Dwight doesn't know any of this. This is the second Hero in a row who was awakened by his gay beast lover trying to emotionally manipulate them into a better meal.
And yes, the book would like you to believe that Sam is the wronged party.
Anyways, after that whole ordeal the rest of the science team thought he was just dehydrated and hallucinating, but Dwight couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong. The team gave him a Science Without Borders scholarship and he went trekking across Australia and Central America. In Cote d'Ivoire his nightmares led him to a Beast that looked decidedly human, he only briefly weighed the possibilities that the Beast was undeserving of punishment before he remembered what happened to Sam(or what he believed happened to Sam) and hated that Beasts were able to best him. And, well...
Yeah, dude's a psychopath, this does not however excuse the fact that SO WAS SAM.
Stalking the creature for a month, Whittaker discovered the humans the Beast was calling family, and decided to see whether the monster was capable of feeling loss. Dwight kidnapped a child from the Beast’s family home, and stashed him several miles away. He then began to send cruel, mocking letters to the address from which he snatched the boy. He described how the child had been administered a poison that within a week would cause a painful death. He left clues to the child’s location, taunting the Beast into acting without calm or control. Dwight reveled in his role as a nightmare, luring the Beast into his web.
The Beast eventually traced the boy’s assumed location and arrived at a seafront boathouse. He didn’t find the boy, but did find a cell phone, with Whittaker already speaking on the other end. Dwight explained how he released the boy earlier that day, but poisoned every other family member with a neuromuscular blocking toxin via their water tank, which would swiftly lead to respiratory failure and suffocation for everyone the Beast loved. Expecting a negotiation, the Beast began to respond. His voice triggered the explosive in the cellphone, messily decapitating him. Dwight returned to the boathouse, and sprayed a web in silver paint on the headless body. He left Côte d’Ivoire without a second thought to the people he poisoned.
Anyways, Dwight returned to the US under his assumed name and has been roaming the country killing Beasts and marking them with his silver web mark.
Dwight loves the web-weaver persona and has absolutely no illusions about not going out on his own terms. He always has either an explosive device or an instantly fatal poison pill on him at all times. He wants the Web Weaver to live on past his own death.
Yes, his weakness is that he's snide with those he has under his power which is different than Beasts because HEY LOOK OVER THERE!
Dwight has a habit of grading others by their value as bait or competition, and prefers to do this at a safe distance. He’s developed a chart based on letters — A to E, with A being prime lure material and E nothing more than collateral — and numbers — 1 to 5, with 1 being unapproachably dangerous and 5 being pathetic. When he has to interact with people face to face, he’s awkward, and tends to make the person opposite him uncomfortable. He fails to blink, licks his lips a lot, and smiles at inopportune moments. Heroes who meet Dwight classify him as a “cold fish,” not realizing much of the ineptness he displays is affected. His truthful persona is cold, but he deliberately makes people fear him. It brings him pleasure to know those around him don’t know how to react to his mannerisms.
When the Web Weaver is stalking a Beast, he pushes people aside, breaks into houses, and cuts throats if he believes it will bring him closer to his target. He believes such actions are justified. On the rare occasions when a Beast has approached him to talk, threaten, or beg, Whittaker can’t help but be snide. He doesn’t realize this to be his own weakness. His pride forces him to exalt in the ingenious nature of his traps and a Beast’s predicament, and could one day lead to prey playing possum just long enough to turn the tables on the Hero.
We've already gone over the fact that Sam was the Namtaru.
“The Web Weaver has dens laden with traps all over the country. He stalks us and studies us, and sticks juicy bait down in them designed to lure us in. I heard he’s figured out a way to impose his personality onto his dens, just as we do with our Lairs.”
Dwight has only recently learned about Lairs and has begun capturing Beasts alive to torture them and try to figure out a way how to make his own.
“If you make this Hero when he’s stalking you, he’ll disappear and pursue a different Beast. Weaver’s a coward; only attacks those who don’t see him coming.”
Dwight loves his Anonymity, if you try to bring him out into the light he'll retreat further into the shadows. The only thing that really gets his attention is references to his life before the Amazon. Then he starts trying to blow you up even harder.
At least the game is pointing out the massive hypocrysy of Beasts loving their mortal families while torturefucking everyone else who's "lesser".
A prominent Eshmaki in the region disappears, leaving her Lair abandoned and decaying. The only obvious clues to her whereabouts are the spray-painted silver web of the Web Weaver marked on the manhole cover beneath which she made her home, and a handwritten note coaxing other Beasts to attempt rescuing her. Although it’s clearly a trap set by Dwight Whittaker, this particular Beast has acted as a mentor and friend to Children all across the city, and the longer he has her, the less likely her survival becomes.
• When six members of the Beasts’ mortal families all come down with wasting illnesses, the first suspicion is that a nasty flu is going around. When some of them receive tox screens from their doctors and the results indicate a lethal dose of spider venom in their systems, it’s apparent the Web Weaver is attempting to weaken the brood’s network of loved ones. How Whittaker is administering the poison to all of them while avoiding the notice of the Beasts, and what he intends to gain from multiple murders is a source of fierce conjecture. If his aim is disharmony, it’s working, as these Beasts desperately prioritize their human relatives over the needs of the brood.
• A 60 Minutes special focusing on AWOL soldiers features a harrowing interview with a pair of elderly parents who didn’t even realize their son was missing. The old man appeals for anyone who recognizes his son Leon to get in touch with his family, the network, or the army. The photo shown to the viewers is of a much younger Dwight Whittaker. The Beasts — and even some Heroes — who encountered the Web Weaver and survived recognize the Hero and take advantage of this insight into his identity and weaknesses by using his family, or knowledge of his military service, against him. An investigation into Whittaker’s past presents the possibility of exploiting his many concealed weaknesses. It also paints a huge target on snoopers’ backs, as Whittaker reacts violently.
Dwight is exactly the kind of Hero the game wants us to believe is the most common variety... yet they couldn't resist making him Gay, and there's yet another instance of the first beast he encountered being 100% in the wrong, even if his second victim was (maybe) innocent.
His stat block is fine, he's no good in a stand up fight and works entirely off of poisons and explosives, which are at 4 and 5 respectively.
Emily Esser: Soul Eater
You think They are your friends, but I promise you it is a lie. They are only using you, and sooner or later they will expect you to turn against your own kind to further Their goals. You must renounce your allegiance to Them before it is too late.
And now we get to the point where the game starts to seriously stretch the definition of what a Hero is.
Case in point, Emily is a Proximus, to put it obliquely (as I understand it) they're the "Wolf-Blooded" or "Ghouls" of the Mage line, they aren't hugely supernatural but they are at least a half-step above baseline humanity. Specifically.
Over the next four years, Emily learned how to swallow the souls of the recently deceased in order to keep them from passing on to the next world, as well as how to regurgitate the soul and bind it to someone whose soul had been lost. The sorcerers promoted her to the rank of Soul-Tender and placed her in the service of Anomandus — a mage with a reputation as a healer of afflictions of the soul. He arranged for Emily to operate as a nurse in the ICU of a local hospital, where she would collect the souls of the recently deceased and bring them to him. Anomandus would implant these into the victims of soul theft.
Emily never really questioned the morality of this as the dead "Don't need their souls anymore" and like transplanted organs they save lives. This seems like a rather sweeping statement about the nature of the soul to put as a bit villain in a supplementary splat-book for a gameline that almost no one likes. Then her master Anomandus brought over his cousin Phillip "Taken in after a desperate altercation that left his face scarred and bruised" and his soul looked like "a sandy pit filled with scorpions", but to Emily he was always "The Stranger". Anomandus started increasing his demand for souls, getting angry at Emily for not satisfying his demand. She couldn't be in two places at once nor could she work every hour of the day, so Anomandus' solution was to start swallowing the souls of the dying rather than waiting till they came free on their own. This of course wasn't exactly something she was okay with, as it was physically painful. All the while the Stranger sat in the corner and smiled.
Now I'm just gonna copy the next bit.
At first, Emily did as she was told in spite of her misgivings and even though the souls of the living tasted like blood and burned her chest and throat like unquenchable fire. A week passed and then two. After a month of coughing up blood, Emily finally decided she had had enough. She confronted Anomandus with an unwelcome truth — she wasn’t harvesting more souls than she had been before. The souls of the living had torn her up inside, and she was spending hours in the bathroom every day — either squatting on a toilet in gut-wrenching agony or bent over it as she retched up bloody bile. The loss of blood had left her too weak to do the job that served as her cover story in the ICU, and very soon she would likely be a patient at the hospital instead of a nurse.
She had burning soul diarrhea. This is a thing that someone just wrote.
Anyways, Anomandus didn't give a damn, and Emily realized the Stranger had corrupted him. So Emily resolved to kill the Stranger to save her Master. Anomandus laughed her off cause he was just going to let the Beast slaughter his way across the city while Anomandus slurped up the newly free souls and disposed of the bodies. Then the Stranger moved to attack Emily and she knew that he was going to kill her, in a moment of desperation she vomited up her own soul to keep the Stranger from feeding on it. At that exact moment, conveniently, the Sentinel and her deputies showed up to arrest Anomandus for his shady soul shit, and the Stranger decided that he could survive in a stand up fight against six mages.
He didn't, fyi.
Emily stayed behind to try and find her soul, but she couldn't, however the Stranger's soul was still around and with some trepidation she ate it. It was the best thing that she had ever felt, and she instantly knew that there were other mages being tainted by monsters like the Stranger. At Anomandus' trial she sensed another Mage that had befriended a Beast, unlike her master this mage took Emily's warnings seriously and they lured the Beast into a trap and she waited while the wizards killed it, and Emily ate his soul. Unfortunately, the Beast Souls eventually faded away within her, and Emily felt weaker, she tried to return to her job to bind a soul to herself, but it faded away even faster, the Stranger had made her a Soul-Eater in truth, and only the souls of Beasts could keep her from becoming a Reaper like Anomandus.
And she's right.
Emily scoured the city for more signs of the Children. Her path led her to a shapechanger who had allied herself with a Beast. Emily convinced her to turn against the monster, and then she fed on the shadowy soul. Thus began the Hero’s unending journey. After five years of hunting for Beasts among the supernatural creatures that people the world, Emily has become convinced that the Children are the ones who tempt them to use their occult powers to engage in selfish depravity. They are the voice of hubris, the unchecked rage, and the callous disregard for human suffering that turns otherwise sensible supernatural creatures into monsters like the Beasts. The prevalence of horrors in the world only proves how insidious and widespread the Children’s influence has become.
Emily seeks out the supernatural creatures she can see are tied to Beasts, and warns them about the monsters that they're working with. She uses her special abilities (Oh boy does she have a bunch of new powers) on the target to drive a wedge between the Beast and their ally, then waits for the inevitable confrontation so she can slurp up the soul.
“I had him right there in my Lair — fleeing from me through waist-high water infested with leeches. He kept muttering to himself about how this must be a nightmare, but both of us knew he wasn’t going to wake up until my jaws clamped down on his leg and dragged him down. I don’t know what happened. One minute he was scrambling to escape, and the next he was just gone, leaving me alone with my Hunger. How is that even possible?”
Any living person that Emily eats the soul of is immune to Nightmares, this takes a toll on her and she knows how horrible it is to be soulless so she only does this in cases of dire emergency. And she needs to touch her target to do this which might let the Beasts find her.
“We were damned near inseparable for 20 years! I can’t even tell you how many secrets we learned, how many opportunities we had to betray one another, or how many times we saved each other’s lives, but it was probably north of a thousand. Then one day she comes to me with tears in her eyes and demands to know the truth about me. What truth? That the Children are in league with the Gentry, keeping her kind divided so that they are easy to recapture. The accusation wounded me. I thought she had learned to trust me, right? A month later, she shows up with some Summer Court heavies to put me down. What the fuck? I barely escaped with my life. I hear she’s still hunting me, and maybe I should do something about that, but dammit, I still consider her my friend.”
Except that's sort of true annywaaayyyyy~ But yes, Emily's unique set of gifts let her completely undermine the special relationship Beasts have with their friends and it's kind of great.
“My aunt says that when she was in the hospital after her heart attack, she had to share a room with a homeless woman who obviously had a long history of being abused. If my aunt so much as closed her book too loudly, her roommate would break down in tears as often as not. Then this new nurse comes in — Emily. She’s nice enough to my aunt, but she seems real interested in the woman on the other side of the curtain, says she can help. That night, my aunt had a vivid dream about Emily pulling a demon out of the homeless woman and wrestling it into submission as it bit and scratched her. The next day, Emily looks like she fell down a flight of stairs, which my aunt thought was really weird. Even weirder, a week later, this homeless woman who couldn’t go three hours without sobbing uncontrollably walks out of the hospital a new person. Gives Emily a hug. Gives my aunt a hug. Talks about how she’s going to go back to college and finish her degree. My aunt says it had to be some kind of miracle.”
Putting a soul back into a Soulless person can change them rather drastically and might attract supernatural attention to Emily, and more meals.
• He was a useful friend to have — not too great in a toe-to-toe fight, but always able to figure out what was really going on and tied in tight enough with the local sorcerers that they never got in the players’ characters’ way. Now he has come to the brood begging them to hide him from every Mystagogue in the metro area. He wants to clear his name, but no matter what anyone says or does the Mysterium remains convinced that he’s a Scelesti spy. It all started when that young Esser told him that his association with the Children would lead him to a precipitous fall into hubris — as if a mere Proximus could educate one of the Awakened on the subject of Wisdom! Yet it seems she
has somehow turned all his peers against him.
• The Beast that Anomandus befriended was an old friend or mentor of one of the player’s characters. The Reaper recently finished serving his sentence (or so he claims), and he wants help getting his revenge on the Proximus who murdered their mutual friend. Normally this would be an easy task for a mage, but Emily has some powerful friends who have been hiding her location from Anomandus. Since his fellow mages won’t help, he has come to the brood for assistance. What he isn’t telling the players’ characters is that he has spent the last several years studying Emily’s Gift, and he now understands that he can draw her out of hiding by convincing a Beast to place the Family Ties Condition on him. This plan will work eventually, but in the meantime, the brood has formed a bond with a Reaper who is not even remotely interested in overcoming his soul-stealing habits, which attracts enemies to their door that are even more dangerous than a lone Hero.
• The players’ characters find themselves opposing an especially-depraved Beast who has thus far defied all attempts to topple him because of his friendship with a very powerful community of kin. They hear rumors of another Beast who was once connected to the same community before a softspoken Hero mounted a whisper campaign that so poisoned them against him that he had to flee for his life. The characters’ enemy is engaged in all kinds of behavior that Emily would find particularly abhorrent, so perhaps they can find a way to unleash her against their enemy.
You know, as much as she is a walking violation of everything a Hero is supposed to be, I love her as an 'antagonist' in a Beast game because she undermines the one thing the game places as inviolate, their "Everybody loves me" poochy powers.
She has a new Anathema "Chosen One" Which works like Weaponbound anathema except it applies to a person of her choosing, usually the person whom she senses has a tie with the Beast. Which gets pretty crazy when you apply this to say, a werewolf or a mage rather than a sword.
Yes, let's give a mage the ability to treat all their spells as rote actions(E.G. you get to re-roll all failures once) against a Beast. And the only way to resolve it is to kill your friend.
High Satiety: Meeting her Weaponbound weapon in combat spells almost certain doom for a Beast whose Horror cannot help to defend her. Attacks made against the Beast with her Weaponbound weapon gain the rote action quality. The weapon inflicts its normal damage, plus an additional two points of aggravated damage (so a sword that inflicts 2L damage would inflict successes rolled + 2 in lethal damage, and then two points of aggravated damage as well).
Middle Satiety: As her Horror awakens, the Beast is better able to defend against her Anathema’s power. Attacks made against the Beast with her Weaponbound weapon gain the 8-again quality, and deal an extra two levels of lethal damage.
Low Satiety: While still dangerous, a Beast whose Horror is active can face her Weaponbound weapon with far less fear. Attacks made against the Beast with her Weaponbound weapon gain the 9-again quality, and deal an extra two levels of lethal damage.
Beat: Someone attacks the Beast with her Weaponbound weapon.
Resolution: The Weaponbound weapon is destroyed.
She also has a new gift called Family Rivalry, which lets her sense anyone who has the family ties condition. And she can use social maneuvering against these people to convince them that the Beast is bad for them, once she opens the final door they gain the Peer Pressure condition, and if the target is connected to a Beast that's currently sated then the Hero can mark them as a Chosen One with a point of willpower.
Peer Pressure hurts your ability to resist social maneuvering from your own kind, and can only be resolved by cutting family ties with the Beast, if you accept aid from the beast it worsens to Black Sheep. Which also lowers the effect of any of your social merits with your peers by 2. The only way to resolve this is to kill the Beast or make the beast flee beyond reasonable range of pursuit. If you again accept aid from the Beast or go more than a month without trying to kill the Beast this worsens to Pariah. Your peers now regard you as Hostile, all your social merits disappear(Sanctity of merits applies) and the only way to resolve it is to personally kill the Beast.
Also she's a "Soul-Eater" Which is overly complicated and involves a ludicrous amount of willpower expenditure, but she can sense if people are supernaturals and what kind with a wits+occult roll. "Digesting" a soul lets her go a week without being soulless, a horror lasts 3 months. Also there's this which I don't understand.
Needless to say she's a great antagonist for a group of Beasts, but she's not strictly a Hero by any definition. She barely interacts with the game in the same way Heroes do, she just takes your Beast's NPC friends and turns them into laser focused death machines.
Grace Teller: Reality TV Star
Next up on Grace Hunts in Hollywood: the season concludes as our heroine invades the monster’s lair and puts an end to it!
Okay, this one also makes absolutely no fucking sense but for different reasons.
When Grace was four, her mother gave birth to her severely disabled brother, and her parents were caught in a never-ending struggle of living from paycheck to paycheck. Grace did not take the transition very well, which is understandable considering she was four and surprisingly the book makes the same judgement, and she eventually realized the sacrifices her parents had to make but a small part of her still remembers how abandoned she felt as a child. Eventually her mother put her into the community theater program and Grace excelled. Her path was set, she was going to be an actor.
Insert struggling actress cliches here, small loft apartment, eating ramen, working as a waitress, etc etc etc. Then a young Ugalu came into his powers in her neighborhood, and he didn't have anyone to show him the way. So he starved himself until his horror lashed out which reaffirmed his commitment to not giving into his horror's hunger and the cycle repeats. So Grace started stalking him, realizing on some level that they were caught in a battle of good vs evil... so she started vlogging.
And because we're in the world of idiots, everyone thought that this was just a very dedicated performance art piece, that there was no "Black Feathers"(as she named the Ugalu) and it was all fake. Grace knew how the story would end, and that everyone else saw that the Ugalu was a person (And "I really wanted to" isn't a great murder defense) So she wasn't sure how to reconcile the fact that her "show" could only end with Black Feather's death. Then she got a producer... She killed the Ugalu, they CGIed out his face and made him look more monstrous, and everything was okay. Then she got another season order for 13 episodes.
Grace knows that in the eyes of the law she's a cold blooded serial killer but the law doesn't know she's actually killing people.. somehow... even though she's literally filming her actions... Yeah. There have been five seasons of this so presumably she's killed five beasts.
Hot Topic, end of statement.
She is estranged from her parents, even though she knows they're still struggling with money, but she knows that she lives in the digital age and she is essentially 'always acting'. Her integrity is starting to slip since she's actively documenting the lives of the people she's stalking and killing and forcing her to deal with that is probably the one thing that can bring her down.
“Now, listen, son. If you want to succeed as a Hero, you gotta get yourself some followers. Look at the lady out in Hollywood, the one with the fake reality show no one but us knows ain’t fake. See the questions she asks her fans to answer for her? They think it’s part of the show, audience participation and all that. She asks them to find some piece of information, some random bit of data, and now she’s got a couple hundred folks doing her research.”
Yeah Grace crowdsources her research, fucking lol.
“Yeah, we get that question a lot. The answer is, no, Grace Teller doesn’t work with Network Zero. She never has. I don’t think she even knows we exist. She shouldn’t, not if we’re doing our job right.”
Network Zero is trying to figure out if grace is worse than the people she hunts, for now they haven't made up their minds. Grace has no idea a supernatural world exists outside of her monster of the week.
“Casting call! Want to be part of the hottest new unreality show’s upcoming season? Dreaming of fame and fortune as L.A.’s new monster hunter extraordinaire? Grace Hunts in Hollywood is ready for some fresh faces! We’re looking for potential new talent to work with Grace as her new apprentice. Age: 20s-30s. Gender: Any. Ethnicity: Any. Must be athletic; martial arts or surveillance training a plus. Send acting resume and recent headshots to the casting office. Per the request of Grace, you must also send in a thousand-word description of your most vivid dream and the impact it’s had on your life. Union only.”
Grace would love for a Hero co-star to share some of her burden but actually finding one would be difficult.
“That chick with the show? It’s not pretend; it’s real. Believe me, she killed my sister in her last ‘season.’ You couldn’t tell it wasn’t fake, though, not with all the special effects work they did. If you knew what you were looking at, though…damn, I watched my sister get murdered on TV. The worst part is, I heard she just got her show renewed for two new seasons. That means she’s going to kill two more of us. Maybe me. Maybe you. Look, I know this guy. Kind of loopy, says he spent some time in this magical fairyland that messed with his head. Nuts or not, he’s got my back and can do stuff I can’t. And Trung says he knows this other lady who’s some kind of vampire scientist. Yeah, yeah, I know. We need all the help we can get, though, and I’d rather hang with a vampire than see more of us die. Are you in or not?”
Of course the beasts are onto her, it's fucking ridiculous.
Stats-wise, at least she actually has the gifts to account for her recorded kills, and her integrity is only four, that's not as low as Web-Weaver. And it's actually the upper-limit for Heroes so
Jada Cole: Lightseeker
I was born to end you. Thank you for helping me see that.
Only child, told she was special, strong personality, center of attention and always led the games that her and her friends played. She was always drawn to stories with a lone hero with the power to right all the wrongs in the world, as well as any number of fantasy and science-fiction tales. She became best friends with another girl named Connie who was willing to play the damsel to Jada's hero. They planned out hundreds of daring capers and rescues and were like sisters despite their differences. But Connie started growing up and realized that the stories were growing old and admonished Jada for her "Childish" interests. Jada stuck to martial arts and comic books, while Connie moved to gossip and boys and also systematically turned all the other children in the school against the weird girl. You get no stars for realizing that Connie is a Beast.
By the time they've entered highschool, Connie is the popular kid who leads the most elite clique, Jada is in the comic book club. Jada is of course fascinated by her friend's transformation from damsel to monster. And started noticing that anyone who stood up to Connie was quickly shut down and was shaken for the next few days looking tired and haunted. Then one day Jada walked into the bathroom while Connie was dressing down a freshman, screaming and berating her while tears streamed down the younger girl's face. Jada announced her presence with a slammed door and tended to the victim while Connie burned a hole into Jada's back with her glare, and Jada knew her childhood friend was gone. That night she had nightmares, the world was too large and her existence was meaningless. She was constantly overpowered and dominated, shunted aside and abandoned. When she woke up she was sure that Connie was something inhuman and evil. And that she had known that this kind of evil has existed her entire life.
So she does what any well adjusted member of the comic book club does when confronted with elemental evil. Trains herself in martial arts, dresses up in biker gear, and goes out to hunt evil as "The Lightseeker". Of course she knew she wasn't strong enough to kill Connie, not yet, so she started out with lesser evils.
Yup. Mind you she's never actually killed a beast at this point, just a giant pile of vampires as she tries to work her way up the hierarchy towards stronger prey. Yes they will conveniently ignore this fact and give her 3 heroic gifts regardless(including real world and fucking Open Gate, what?). Yes this is yet another Hero set upon their path by a close friend/relation that victimized them. Yes I am getting tired of this bullshit.
A few days into investigating one of the weakest threats on her radar, she realized her town was heavily populated by vampires. Those, at least, she could take out. After all, everyone knew how to kill a vampire, right?
About a week later, the first pictures started showing up on her blog, photos of people who always seemed slightly blurred, video clips that would burst into static when they panned over a certain someone. About a week later, the video was of another blurry figure, this time with a stake in its chest. The next morning there was a new video, panning over a pile of ash a few hours after sunrise, with the message “so it does work, they’re real.”
“She looks like she never sleeps anymore. Have you noticed that? I worry about what her home life is like, she’s been coming into school with bruises lately…but she’s happier than she’s ever been. I asked her about it, and she said she’d taken up martial arts. It’s so strange.”
Jada spends her nights listening to the police scanner and Batmanning it up stopping muggers and drunken brawls. She sees this as a worthy pursuit to keep herself in fighting shape.
“She’s telling anyone who’ll listen that monsters are real, and she’s the only one that can stop them…I mean, she’s always been obsessed with those TV shows and books with zombies and vampires and stuff, but…we’re in high school, and now she’s going on about how it’s all real? Break in reality much?”
Her parents are writing off her escapades as teenage rebellion. And yes the supernatural community hates her guts.
“Tch. A vampire here or there, fine; they are the young, stupid ones anyway. That wasn’t a problem. But she’s been branching out lately, and getting better and better at tracking us down. She’ll overestimate herself soon enough, I’m sure, and something will get the better of her. Full of bravado, that one, without enough skill to back it up.”
Beasts see Jada as a nuisance, and her killing of weaker supernatural creatures is unsettling, but killing her would lend credence to her claims.
• A blog has recently shown up and gone viral, documenting various monster killings, complete with photos of the vanquished creatures when available. Mortals cry fake or suspect a viral movie campaign, but the methods and details ring alarmingly true. The supernatural community as a whole is looking to find out what they can about this blog and how they can either shut it down or use it for their own purposes.
• The vampire population has grown uneasy and is looking for help in apprehending and destroying Jada for the damage she has done to their community and their secrecy. The vampires think she is aligned with a Hunter organization, but the characters’ Brood recognizes her as a Hero. They must decide if they want to offer their assistance to the vampires in dealing with this threat, or let the vampires deal with her on their own.
• In order to save her own skin, a newly Devoured Beast has pointed out the more powerful Beasts around town and has agreed to act as a mole in exchange for safety from Jada. This Beast asks for your help in snooping around for information on other Broods in the region. She is also willing to team up to take out Jada, but is physically weak, meaning the hardest part of the task would fall to the Brood to undertake.
Seriously Jada isn't as impressive physically as they set her out to be. she's Mental primary and only has Brawl 4, no weapons, no martial arts merits. And why is that Beast setting her on the path of stronger Beasts and not weaker ones. What? But so far Jada's not even really a Hero, she's a Hunter, and not a very good one.
Dr. Jameson Stone: The Dream Killer
Son, you just go on to sleep, don’t pay me no mind. After I’m done, you’ll never have another sleepless night, I guarantee.
Ugh. Trust me this gets stupider.
The depths of the human mind have always fascinated Jameson Stone, whose single mother battled insomnia for years, and who originally became a doctor to banish suffering from the lives of people like his mother. As an adolescent he poked and prodded at the emotional states of his peers, convincing them to try strange potions and rituals that he’d read about in some obscure magazine or other and taking notes on their reactions. Later in life, he dabbled in psychology, neurology, and even paranormal oneiromancy before settling on a career as a physician, with a specialization in sleep disorders. The inquisitive and philosophical Dr. Stone never shied away from trying experimental techniques and treatments, inventing new devices to track a sleeping patient’s brain activity and prescribing meditation with medicines, herbal remedies, and mental exercises in every combination he could devise. His colleagues’ concerns about the illogical and, at times, unethical bent to his methods fell on deaf ears.
While on call on the late shift during a sleep study, he was accosted by nightmares that jarred him awake with absolute certainty that something was wrong in the testing lab. He ran down the hallway to see one of his patients, a sleepwalker, brandishing her own bed like a baseball bat and using it to menace the other testees. Stone realized that she was still sleepwalking, and possessed by some evil presence. After she killed one of them he grabbed the nearest weapon at hand and bashed her skull in. Avoiding the bed somehow by???????????
After that he embarked on a detailed study of the Primordial Dream and it's ghastly children, and has come to the conclusion that all sleep disorders are a result of the Primordial Dream, and it is his sacred duty to destroy the Primordial Dream and free humanity from it. "choosing to ignore all the obvious real science, psychological study, and human empathy that should have tempered his wild ambitions." ...what? The Primordial Dream exists, why is the game admonishing him for not sticking to "Real Sciences"?
He's convinced his patients to engage in cutting edge treatments as he tries to figure out how to end a dream without waking a sleeper, how to stop someone from waking entirely, and how all of those things extend to the 'nightmare dimension'. He refuses to rest until he figures out it's secrets and banishes fear forever.
Stone knows that Beasts are monsters, but they're also useful research tools. He tries to lure them in as assistants or subjects and then subdues and kills them once he learns all he can. He prefers to convince them that he's doing this with good intentions but he's not above drugging, kidnapping, and restraining them. He's not a combatant and he avoids direct fights instead crafting medicines and monitoring his targets to strike when they're vulnerable. He's usually not so desperate as to use his hospital and patients as collateral, he's rightly assumed that Beasts wouldn't care anyway, but he does see himself as more important than his subjects and will sacrifice them for the good of his mission.
He works the night shift as that gives him a convenient way to dispose of bodies and hide his work from his wife and daughter, who know him only as a loving and thoughtful man.
“I’ve heard some weird shit coming from the sleep test lab in the middle of the night. I don’t know what they’re doing in there, but I’ll tell you what, I don’t clean that room until the sun comes up. One of the patients told me she saw the doctor hook up a tube to a man’s head and suck his brains right out. Said his brains were poisoned, and the doc, he drained out all the poison and then put the brains back in, good as new. God help me, I believe her.”
Nope, he doesn't do this, the patient is misremembering something that he heard while sedated. But there are enough parallels that a Beast can put together the clues.
“They say one of us lurks around the hive in these parts, a Makara, working for the Dream Killer. He brainwashed her, twisted up her dreams and made her a kinslayer, and now she goes around dragging us back to his lab so he can twist up our dreams, too. You’ll know her by the tune she’s always whistling.”
Yup, he's brainwashed a Makara somehow and turned her into a race traitor or something. Her job is to basically fuck with other Beasts until they're starved and vulnerable and bring them to Stone on command.
“I’m applying for the internship program at the local hospital. The doctor there is famous for his work in sleep disorders and dream interpretation; he’s a genius — and I heard his interns get all kinds of extra bennies. Free experimental drugs, confidential expeditions, and supposedly, he can get you into a secret government conference. Only the best of the best get accepted. Don’t repeat this, but I heard some people come out of this program changed. Better. I don’t know exactly how, but I’m going to find out.”
Fucking what? The book says this is all bullshit but does say that he can take interns on 'field trips' to the primordial dream and sometimes they get supernatural merits out of it.
That last one seems like an interesting plot hook....
• Traveling through the local hive, one of the characters’ Horrors runs across a Chamber withered from some unknown corruption, a dead husk of a place where mad dream-spirits roam and Beast powers don’t work properly. Further investigation of the phenomenon reveals the corruption spreading slowly through the hive like a disease. If it isn’t stopped, it could seep into the characters’ Lairs as well, and the outcome would be devastating. Will the Beast’s Nightmares sputter out in the real world, too? Has the disease connected the Primordial Dream with some hidden depth of the Underworld somehow? Was it caused by the murder of a Horror gone wrong, or a vast shared nightmare of death among thousands of humans at once, or something else? Regardless of the source, the characters can trace it back to Dr. Stone’s experiments.
• The Makara that Dr. Stone tamed for his own Heroic purposes turns out to be someone the characters know from the past, and once she becomes aware of their presence in the area, she guns for them singlemindedly with all the subtlety and cunning at her disposal. Perhaps they remind her of a shared history her warped mind can no longer abide, or perhaps Dr. Stone knows about the connection and wants the newcomers out of the way. Perhaps deep down, the Makara wants to be rescued, but doesn’t know how to ask.
• One of Dr. Stone’s experiments goes haywire, affecting the dreams of humans all over the area. Powerful, devastating nightmares constantly wrack the people’s sleep, teaching nothing and feeding no one, making it impossible for life to continue as normal. Businesses and schools shut down one by one as the dreamers lose sleep and go mad, although the hospital itself seems unaffected in the chaos. Beasts who try to feed find that they receive no sustenance from minds already saturated and numbed with oneiric terror. Was the epidemic an accidental side effect, or did the doctor inflict it deliberately for some elaborate scheme? Can the characters use their primordial powers to save humanity from nightmares in a strange twist of fate?
for a Mage game.
His stats are what you'd expect, but he has two special gifts, one that lets him close down Lairs really really well, and one that lets him go into the dreams of a sleeper and see the tell-tale signs of a Beast, giving him bonuses for applying Anathema or tracking the Beast down, or can even take control of the nightmare from the Beast and shut it down entirely.
He's weird. I get that he's a Hero, and he's at least engaging with the game on it's own terms, but he's even less of a combatant than the soul eater.
Up Next: A soccer mom scorned and three psychopaths, including a really bad Dexter expy.
Part 3Original SA post
Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes - Heroes:Part 3
Let's get started again.
Marlena Sarcosa: The Sentinel
I cannot and will not let that monster do as he pleases. I do this for my children, for your children, and so no one else will ever have to be his victim.
With a quote like that you're damned right we're getting another sympathetic Hero.
They call her many names in her neighborhood and in the district where her kids go to school. They call her bitch, welfare queen, and the girl who couldn’t keep her legs shut. She knows they whisper these names quietly behind her back, but she does not care. She knows who she is, and what she has to do. She is a mom, and the only words that ever hurt her are the ones that come from her children. As for the rest of the world, she could not care if it does what she says or gets the fuck out of her way, as she believes only she can protect her kids from the terrors she’s seen in the world.
FOR FUCKS SAKE!
Once, she trusted the system to help her. She was grateful for everything the system provided for her. Her family had a home, and her kids went to school thanks to the system. But, it failed her family when they needed it most, and it cost her Vera, her wife of three years. She lost her when one day Vera came home from a cleaning job talking about the strange woman whose house she cleaned that day. That night, Marlena dreamed of a vast marsh where her feet were stuck in the mud. She watched as Vera strolled through the wetlands, completely oblivious to the creature swimming next to her. She woke up screaming her wife’s name when the creature went to devour her, and, a few minutes later, she received a phone call from the police saying that Vera’s body was discovered in an empty parking lot not far from the house she had been cleaning.
Yup, she's a hispanic lesbian single mother who made so after a beast killed her wife.
The next time she saw the woman, Marlena saw the monster from her nightmares, acting like a human and pretending that nothing had happened. She turned to the system for justice but found none, and then the Beast came for their children. Marlena "Paralyzed the beast with her words" and found the strength to tear it apart with her fists, meaning she somehow had Real World and Vanquisher's Strength Gifts before she had even killed a single Beast. She waited for the Police to come and arrest her but they didn't, for some reason. She once wanted to be a happy homemaker, but Marlena realized that she had no choice but to be a watchful guardian of her children. A part of her died with Vera but she became stronger.
Marlena has changed every part of her life, she works out after seeing her kids off to school, she does brainteasers to keep her mind sharp. She's dedicated herself to fighting a war only she can see. Her guiding light are her four children, two of which are Vera's. Once a beast tried to hold leverage over her through her children, the Namtaru was dredged from the local river in pieces. She traveled with a Band for a while, and still calls on her fellow Heroes from time to time. But she finds them too unfocused and prone to infighting when the real concern is protecting her children.She's never comfortable around others, even around people she knows, because she's known plenty of betrayal in her life. She's seen neighbors turn to drugs, children caught up in gangs, and her ex-wife's trusting nature led to her death. So Marlena sees people for the threats of what they could do, which has served her well in surviving.
Also.. she's really good at making clothes.
She's joined the PTA to keep more abreast of issues that have arisen around her children's school. But keeps up the facade of just being a firebrand speaking up against misallocation of school funds and demanding better grades from teachers in those schools. Truthfully she'd like to stand down from her role as a Hero, she is missing the best years of her children's lives, but she is dedicated to making sure that they're allowed to live those lives.
She's a mom, she carries herself like a police officer most times, when she allows herself to relax she returns to the woman she was when Vera was alive, just infinitely more exhausted. Seriously they're saying the same thing over and over again just in different words.
“You always hear about that mother lion shit, right? About how you should never fuck with a lioness’ cubs or else she will tear your face to ribbons? Well, a buddy of mine learned the hard way. He tried to mess with this checkout girl at the grocery, thinking she would be the one to satisfy his Hunger. Well, that guy’s not a friend anymore. He’s not an anything, anymore.”
AKA. "Skinny guys fight till they're burger"
“Honestly, I hated dealing with that woman. She was the kind of person who would make your life hell just to find out what was really in the Salisbury steak in the cafeteria each day. I used to say I hated her, but then one day she saved my life. I don’t know how she knew I was seeing someone behind my wife’s back, but right before the thing transformed into a skeleton and tried to suck my soul out that woman kicked in the door and kicked that thing’s ass. Since then, if she asks me for anything, I give it to her. And I’ve never cheated on my wife again.”
She's got tons of information on everyone due to her paranoia but she hasn't tried to blackmail anyone yet. In fact she doesn't risk anyone's lives except her own, only acting on the information she finds.
“We heard there was a witch at the local school. Said she could make a man freeze just by glaring at him and saying something in Spanish. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen her do it. Mr. Bradford came down to the school to try to meet and greet with the parents there, and this woman just cornered him outside of the school. She made Mr. Bradford and his giant gorilla of a bodyguard stand frozen in their tracks like they had been hit by a freeze ray or something. She’s got the whole school wrapped around her finger cause of her sorcery.”
Yeah, no, she has no supernatural powers over anyone who isn't a Beast, she just engages in the debate tactic of "Don't stop talking until they acquiesce." Bradford's bodyguard was a "Alakim" who was using his boss's position to feed. Also Bradford "was a real estate developer who wanted to get the school to agree to raising tuition in order to pay for a new sports center on the premises" because sure?
“You ever notice those run down neighborhoods near 16th and Franklin? The ones that were by that mall that closed? Well, every time I think about going near there something just sets off my senses. It’s like everybody near there knows who you are just by walking by. I can’t even drive by that place without what looks like a few moms in hoodies whispering among themselves and calling the cops. They say there’s some kind of neighborhood watch leader there that’s got the whole place tuned up like a military base, so I stay clear of it as much as possible.”
Marlena is basically a one woman neighborhood watch that delivers on her promises to remove threats.
Oh come right the fuck on, you specifically said she didn't do this earlier.
• One of your Brood is finding his name slandered online, which is making it difficult for his human self as he quickly finds himself the target of an online smear campaign. Labeled as a threat to the community, the perpetrator behind this campaign, Marlena Sarcosa, is quickly bringing people over to her side by claiming that your Broodmate is “a ravenous monster in human clothing.”
She gets a lot of plot hooks, but I really like that last one, since it actually holds beasts accountable for the actions of their peers.
• Something is disturbing the Primordial Dream, and the ripples this disturbance is causing are echoing not just in your dreams, but in the dreams of a Hero. The Hero is an adamant foe of all Beasts, but the Primordial Dream hints that by working together you will be able to save the Family. But, whose family is it referring to?
• A Hero has gone on the warpath, rallying her Band to her side and setting herself against any Beast that crosses her path. The Hero’s face is familiar, as she is the grieving mother from the news whose son has gone missing. Her rage is palpable, and she has destroyed a notorious Eshmaki whose Lair was destroyed as an example to all others. No one knows if returning her child to her will calm the Hero’s fury, but the Hero will either lead to the Brood’s destruction or her own.
• Lately, you have heard rumors of a creature moving into the nearby neighborhoods and taking control. No one is sure who he is, but the police refuse to touch him and he manifests strange, unexplainable abilities. Soon the people of these neighborhoods flock to him like a cult, and his power is growing daily. Rumor has it that he used to live on the east side of the city, but was driven out by a Hero there who kept him from entering her neighborhoods. Perhaps she has some clues as to who this person is and where his powers come from.
• Rumors have reached your Brood that a Hero on the east side of the city is finally getting what’s coming to her, and on the news, you hear a story about a mother’s kids kidnapped from their school. While she may have been responsible for a friend’s death, you know that targeting her children will enrage Marlena, and this will be the last straw that drives her towards bringing unending pain and misery upon you and your Brood, unless you act on this.
Her stat line is actually built like someone who can hold her own in a fight. But she has integrity 7 somehow. So...
Martin Whist: The Silencer
Please be quiet. I can’t think with all this screaming.
And this one is just insufferable. Martin had always been a strong swimmer, and he spent his summers working the beaches as a lifeguard. And it was assumed he'd spend his life on the water, maybe he'd join the navy like his father, or go north to Alaska and get work on a fishing boat. His mother suggested marine biology, his girlfriend wanted him to just keep the sea as a hobby, none of those options seemed particularly good or bad to him. At 17 he stood on the beach and waited for an epiphany to come to him, it didn't. What did happen was some bikers drove by blaring their engines loud enough to rattle the teeth in his skull, and the sound didn't stop even after they left. From that moment on the way he percieved the world was changed, he heard everything. The swish of his pant legs, the pop of his girlfriend's gum, the tak tak tak of his friends on their phone keypads. The noise never stopped.
His grades slipped, he couldn't concentrate, his parents chalked it up to senioritis. His mom finally took him to an audiologist and the test revealed his hearing acuity was well above average but nothing seemed to be wrong. The problem was that it kept getting worse. He couldn't sleep without both earplugs and noise cancelling headphones. He couldn't drive with the radio on, couldn't watch TV, and could barely stand the hum of a computer screen long enough to do homework. In three months he went from a B+ student to failing. His parents took him to a neurologist, but the tests were again inconclusive.
The day spring break began he drove to the beach and dove into the ocean, and for a few brief moments he finally knew peace. The ocean wasn't silent but sound traveled differently and for whatever reason that was enough. He learned how to dive, both with and without SCUBA gear, but with the respite from the noise he could learn to endure.
Then a Makara showed up and tricked him into diving too deep and then the noise came in the water too because Beasts ruin everything. It took him two months to decide to finally kill her, and three months to find her. A co-ed partying with her friends around a campfire too loud for him to stand, he tracked her back to her car and shot her in the back. And again the ocean was quiet. But it didn't last.
Seriously I'm pretty sure this guy was an Unsub on an episode of Criminal Minds. The Hero's call is manifesting as a psychological condition that he can't control and can't prove and killing is the only way that makes it stop.
Martin did get his boat. His parents aren’t sure where he got the money; they know he got a job after high school and they’re disappointed he never enrolled in college, but they figure with tuition prices what they are, maybe he’s making a smart choice, in the long run. After all, when they read his emails, he seems happy. He won’t talk on the phone, but then he has that weird condition that makes sound so intense. He’s doing all right, they think.
Martin is decidedly not doing all right. The monster he killed was one of many. The oceans are his safe place. He doesn’t even need the whole ocean, just a few miles of coastline, just enough that he can dive and be at peace for a while…but he always hears them. He dives, and he hears the creatures, the obscene, inhuman things that pollute his waters. He marks them, he hunts them, then he kills them, and in so doing, he grows stronger.
As he grows stronger, though, the world around him grows louder. Martin sees this happening, but he cannot stop.
Martin doesn't speak unless he has no other choice. He wears earbuds at all times and seldom makes eye contact. He shops online to avoid interaction, and learned ASL to have some method of communication with his followers. And they are quick to learn ASL because he strangled the last guy who just wouldn't shut up. He doesn't want to kill and doesn't particularly enjoy it, but he needs to make the noise stop. He uses long range guns (wearing proper ear protection) as his preferred weapon of choice, the noise is loud but it's brief and he can prepare for it.
Appeareance wise he's a man in his mid 20s with a heavy tan and loose clothing, he wears drawstring pants because he can't stand the sound of a zipper.
“You think you’re safe just because you can swim? Bullshit. You’re not safe. Ahab. Jonah. Perseus. Read the classics; you’ll find all kinds of dudes who can’t wait to set out to sea and conquer it. There’s a reason for that. It’s all the same Hero. I don’t mean it’s literally the Biblical Jonah, but he’s the latest incarnation. He’s on a whaling boat sometimes, other times it’s just a little trawler and he’s there with a big fuck-off shotgun. He remembers all these other hunts. He’s not just a Hero, he’s the guy who looks at the ocean and thinks, ‘I can beat that.’
“OK, laugh if you want, but that attitude is nuts, right? The ocean covers most of the world, so think about the arrogance it takes to think you know it, or that you can beat it. And yet here’s this guy, this one guy over and over, who keeps taking on the Leviathan, the kraken, the sea serpent, the whale, and winning.”
Martin's dumb enough to take on Makara in the sea, and strong enough to actually do it.
“He’s a smuggler. He runs guns, drugs, and diamonds. Comes out of Mexico, South Africa, Florida, Cuba, wherever, delivers the stuff to buyers in international waters. Killing monsters? I’m sure he’s tagged a couple of us, yeah, but I think it’s incidental. Really, it’s all about the money. Everything else is just him cultivating an image, or people misinterpreting what he’s doing. You ever see him, just sink his damn boat and call it a day.”
Taking on smuggling jobs is how he makes his money, but his followers handle the details, he just drives his boat.
“I saw him once. I was eating conch fritters at a little stand by the ocean in Nassau, and he goes cruising by on his boat. I was talking to Marie — yeah, that’s the one, the one that liked to magic herself a set of gills and swim around by the reef. He looks at us, and I mean, he had to be 50 yards away and his motor’s going loud, but I swear to god, he heard us. I headed inland. I’d heard the stories. You see the Styx, you head for the hills. Marie, she hadn’t heard the stories, or maybe they just didn’t have the same gravity to mages, I don’t know. All I know is she went swimming and I haven’t seen her since.”
Martin has absolutely no compunctions against going inland to kill a Beast if he must, he just prefers to stay near the ocean so he can get into the silence as soon as he makes it happen.
The last one is actually sort of interesting but... yeah what would happen?
Obviously, Martin Whist works best in a story set on a coast or out on the ocean. His followers are eerily silent, communicating in sign language or with other visual signals, and Martin himself is efficient, fast, and deadly. Here are few possible story hooks using the Silencer:
• A Makara approaches the brood looking for help. She caught Martin’s attention and now she’s afraid she’s marked. She wants to get inland, far from the ocean, but Martin grabbed her laptop, which contains journal entries naming other Beasts, complete with photos. Can the brood help their unfortunate sister? Are their pictures in the journal?
• A representative of the local changeling Court approaches the characters (assuming an established relationship). He tells them that a motley of changelings died off the coast; pieces of their bodies started washing ashore this morning, including that of his brother. He wants to investigate, but the other Lost in the area are understandably terrified of whatever did this, and he himself can’t bring himself to look too closely at what happened to his brother. Why did Martin kill these changelings? How can the brood learn the truth without coming to Martin’s attention? If they tell their changeling friend about Martin, will they also join his inevitable quest for revenge?
• Martin manages to kill an Incarnate. This has a strange effect: It calls up a hurricane, but keeps the eye of the storm focused on Martin’s boat. The eye of the hurricane is calm and silent, and although Martin is finally free of the noise of the world, he is terrified that he will never be able to leave his boat again. Can the characters get to the boat, perhaps using the Primordial Pathways? If they do, how else might this killing have changed Martin Whist?
Martin's pretty well statted out, but he's a long distance killer so the group is basically playing against a sniper. Good luck running that game.
Michael Bellinger: Stalker of Beasts
It’s not enough that I kill you. You have to say you’re sorry for every ounce of pain you’ve ever inflicted and brother, you’ve inflicted a lot of pain. Let’s get started!
Let me make this simple.
Dexter, this guy is Dexter.
Michael Bellinger has a peculiar type of story for a Hero. All Heroes are intended to be part of the lesson mankind is supposed to learn from the tale, or at least they are to provide further explanation for the moral of the story. Michael Bellinger is bordering on the opposite of that, or perhaps he represents a new kind of story, born of the 21st century. He is a murderer who is a Hero because of who he murders, and not for who he saves.
Son of hardworking parents who put in extra hours at a rubber factory to ensure their son had the life that they would not. He excelled in school and attended NYU on a scholarship. He was the butt of many jokes with his heavy Tennessean accent and lack of fine clothes or electronics. His first semester he spent working at the campus bookstore and taking out loans to help him survive at college.
It was one night when he was working at the library that he noticed a strange man entering the humanities section. The man would spend many nights there reading books about Greek and Norse mythology, occasionally laughing so hard that it echoed throughout the library. Michael noticed that he could hear the man’s stomach gurgling, and occasionally the stranger would excuse himself to walk the older part of the library where they kept the film and newspaper archives.
One day, as Michael was returning old research magazines to their holders in the archives, he heard the man laughing again, and this time a young woman was screaming in fear. Michael hurried up the metal steps of the archives and peered down the hallway. What he saw made little sense to him. A young woman had passed out at a cubicle, and above her stood the man, but he was no longer just a human being. It was as if the space of the library had stretched around him, and the man appeared like a giant of legend, with one great peering eye coming out from his forehead. In that moment, Michael saw wisps of light flow from the woman and into the giant, who seemed to hungrily devour them. The giant, not noticing that Michael had discovered him, seemed to shrink back to his normal size and left the library.
Michael called the campus police to help the woman but didn't tell them what he saw. She told him that she had dreamed that a large man pursued her through a valley and tore everything around her apart with her bare hands and ate it. This dream set Michael on his first hunt.
He gave a mathematician a cup of coffee with a sleeping pill and waited for the Giant to feed. He felt drawn to the Giant but didn't feel helpless, he was completely in control of his actions, and with the help of the hunting knife his dad had given him he slit the beasts throat before he knew he was there. The beast choked out "It should not be this easy" on his own blood and tried to get away but Michael killed him with another flick of his blade, feeling the rush of energy flow through him.
Since then killing Beasts has become his life's work. He doesn't feel the same attraction to others that he does to Beasts, in fact he's tried killing normal people but gets no satisfaction from it. He tracked down a vampire and it did nothing for him, only Beasts fit the deal. But he knows that if he gets too obsessed with hunting Beasts he can't pull himself back in. He lost his job at the library hunting a Makara in Aruba, and almost lost his scholarship when his academic advisor demanded to know why he was wasting so many credits on Greek mythology on a medical scholarship. Despite all of this he graduated and has a job as a psychiatrist in a private mental health clinic.
He's had several close calls with the Police when he was starting out, and it was lonely for him at the start, but he's overcome the problems and has begun to excel at what he does. His primary method of hunting is observation, learning everything he can about his victim (favorite foods, their favorite victim) he hates surprises and his meticulous planning contains room for a wide number of wildcards that can come up as he hunts. When he finally moves he strikes swiftly and brutally, leaving no room for compassion or mercy. He tries to trap the Beast in public away from their Lair, if forced to fight in a Lair he makes sure to know his escapes, after a time when an Anakim managed to give him a nasty dragonfire scar across his back.
For Michael, savoring the kill comes after a successful hunt. He knows he cannot afford to stop after killing a Beast and observe his kill, and he knows he cannot afford to take any trophies. The only thing he dares leave behind with his victims are small generic calling cards that say “You’re welcome” on them. The police have picked up on the calling card at several brutal murders across many different cities and have created a file on what they believe is a serial murderer. So far, his low number of kills has kept Michael low on the priority list for the FBI, but as he continues to kill more Beasts, he becomes a greater priority for them.
On the Beasts' part, they're divided. On the one hand... wait.. I'm going to quote this for posterity.
What is this? Beasts admitting that Heroes serve a purpose?
On one hand, he is serving a valuable part in his story by being the Hero the Primordial Dream needs him to be. The Primordial Dream, in its unknowable wisdom, has bestowed its gifts upon him and made him an effective minion of destruction.
Holy shit, like, actual good storytelling design. The idea of Stories evolving and changing and pulling both Beast and Hero down along their path rather than NOPE CAMPBELLIAN EPIC 24/7 SUBVERT SUBVERT.
What many Beasts find disturbing is the strange nature of this Hero. Many Beasts recall tales in the Primordial Dream that have brave heroes championing cities, or overcoming overwhelming odds to save their families. Michael is a brutal killer whose methods seem to suggest he is different from other stories. One Ugallu scholar suggested that Michael is the result of modern stories intruding upon the Primordial Dream, where he is a version of the Great Hunter whose story is as an obsessive killer. Surely, his methods are not that different from a hunter. He observes his prey, and stalks them carefully before striking and bringing them down.
He's ingratiated himself into modern society because he's a high end doctor. But he forms no lasting friendships or relationships. Everything he does is out of practicality to separate himself from the murderous persona he maintains outside of the public eye.
Someone put a lot of work into thinking this guy's stuff out. He's creepily detailed and functional.
Michael is 5'11", and dresses to fit in wherever he is. He intentionally keeps his hair buzzed short and wears a hair piece so that he can change his identity when it suits him. Often, he will wear a bulky winter coat or zip up hoodie to help him hide his knives, and he meticulously grooms himself to try to keep down any body odor. When keeping a low profile, he smokes cigarillos and cheap cigarettes to keep a heavy tobacco stench around him, but when stalking Beasts he makes sure he is clean and his clothing does not contain the smell. His paranoia will not let him venture out into the world if he thinks his appearance will give him away. He wears flashy jewelry when he is out in public but does not keep anything on his person that could identify him.
His second most distinguishing feature that his coworkers will tell you about is his frequent nose bleeds. Michael suffers from a rare form of hypertension, and, at times, his nose bleeds for no reason at all. He relies upon this illness to excuse himself from others, using it as a means to get away from people he does not want to be around as well as providing a convenient excuse for allowing him to slip away.
“I had a run in with something that disturbed me to my core. I’m not saying that lightly, considering you’ve seen how I feed. I found this man waiting for me in my Lair, and he looked as calm as could be. Most Heroes look prepared for a fight, and some even have that same fucking smug look on their faces. This guy is just standing there like he’s upset that I’m late for an appointment. He very quietly picks up this cleaver, which very quickly didn’t feel like any cleaver I’ve ever felt, and fights me like I’m…like I’m fucking boring him to do so! The worst part was the fact that I had to run for my life, as I couldn’t stop this fucker. Feels creepy as shit, and I’m a fucking creepy guy!”
The suggestion the book gives is just throwing weak and ineffectual beasts at him until he loses his lust for the hunt because he finds them boring and stolid, and goes back to murdering people again. Which is kind of hilarious.
“Dr. Bellinger has saved my life, and I don’t mean that in a cheesy way. When I came to him, I had a stalker, and he was hurting my life. He was always following me around, and I swear I saw him in my dreams as this ravenous serpent that would poison everything I held dear. I know, that’s anthropomorphizing my own fears on my stalker, but Dr. Bellinger didn’t treat me like someone who needed a lecture. He listened to me, and, more importantly, he helped me. He told me he pulled some strings and he got the police to take care of that asshole permanently. I was so happy that I think I dreamed about Dr. Bellinger fighting the serpent, and though it was a really bloody dream, it felt good to watch him hack that thing to pieces. He’s my hero.”
Though he excels at and feels intense gratification from his kills, he does actually care about his clients. He's a humanitarian at heart. Even those that don't have problems relating to Beasts get his full and undivided attention when they come to see him, and he makes himself available after hours for emergency calls as long as they don't interfere with his Hunt. He uses his practice to do genuine good in the world outside of fulfilling his need for violence.
“I had the weirdest run in with a human in Natick. I was separated from my pack and doing our weekly booze run when I noticed I was being followed by this man in plain clothes. I didn’t know if he was being ridden by something or was serving those Pure bastards but I thought I’d turn the tables on him. I lured him into a nearby cemetery and prepared to pounce on him when I discovered that he had planned on me luring him there. He had hidden a high caliber rifle in one of the trash cans and was blowing holes in my hide, all with this slow and steady precision like he wasn’t surprised at the massive wrecking machine that was now standing before him. After a few minutes, he stops firing and just stares at me with his creepy brown eyes, and he frowns and starts to pack up his rifle. I bellowed at him to finish the fight, and he just said, “I’m terribly sorry, but you are not what I am looking for.” How about that? I get all ready to fucking kill this guy and he acts like we just had a first date! I was so fucking stunned that I stood around for 30 seconds with my mouth open like an idiot. By the time I tried to find him he had already got away!”
Michael has no real affection for killing anyone but a Beast, and doesn't seek out knowledge of supernaturals that aren't Beasts. That said if he knows that a mass murdering vampire will cause more problems alive than dead, he will kill it. He'll just complain the entire time.
I love the idea of Beasts being afraid of what a Hero can do to the Hive. Also I'm pretty sure that last bit is a Dexter plot.
• Something is disturbing the Primordial Dream. Visions of hunger are slowly showing a predator who walks in the shape of a Hero. These visions show a methodical stalker appearing on the horizon, and following his prey from afar before striking to kill. Though you just regard it as a dream, when you describe the image of the stalker to your Brood you learn that one of them has seen this man recently, and wonders if he was following her…
• Someone destroyed a local Namtaru who was known for trying to keep her Hunger in check. Some Beasts even say that she had discovered a new way to satiate her Hunger before she disappeared. The only information on what happened to her is a mysterious note left behind in her Lair saying “You’re welcome.”
• A member of the Brood has been framed for murder, and the police are actively hunting him. Several other people in the city are also suffering from a similar frame job, one of them a Hero named Michael Bellinger. He offers a truce to the Brood and to share what he knows about the police chief responsible for the allegations, and wishes to meet on neutral grounds. The Brood knows Bellinger’s reputation, but they need his help, if they think they can trust him.
His statline is fine, I do love the idea of Beasts being completely incapable of dealing with a 90's antihero.
Tereza Markusa: Dead Eyes
Show me your insides, monster. If you have what I want, you die. If not, I turn you over to them. Trust me, Death is better.
And we have achieved peak stupidity. The writeup is even short and low effort.
Seriously this is plot shorthand for "TEENAGE REBELLION!"
Tereza spent her adolescent and teenage years getting into fights, shoplifting, trying out as many drugs as possible, and painting nihilistic wall murals wherever it was forbidden. She attracted plenty of flunkies who tried to be just like her, but never quite understood that she wasn’t any kind of rebel. She just couldn’t find satisfaction. The world appeared dim and dismal to her, promising nothing but asking too much, gray and cold and filled with empty people. The human race seemed doomed to labor mindlessly until it evaporated with the oceans or blew itself to kingdom come. Nothing helped — narcotics, alcohol, danger, sex, violence: all disappointments. Was she destined to succumb to the crush of society, after all? Was there nothing to set her apart, nothing to inject life into existence?
Anyways, her parents kicked her out and she kept going in and out of jail. On her third visit she dreamed of a vast canvas that she painted with bright colors. Then black spotches marred her canvas and it buckled and warped. For the first time in her life she felt truly alive and needed to get rid of whatever was marring her canvas and wake the world up. When she murdered the beast who was the warden of the facility she felt a rush of power, like taking a breath after years of drowning.
She was transferred to a high security facility and she began to despair, longing for another rush and fearing a return to monotony. To her surprise a lawyer and a corporate suit came to see her, asking her questions about the creature: what it was, how she knew it was there, how she managed to kill it. Then they offered her a job doing it full time, complete with a clean slate.
She was hired by Cheiron Group.
As long as she kept bringing samples back they'd let her kill to her hearts content, and upgrade her besides.
When she killed her first Vampire though, it felt wrong, no rush, no paint dreams, no wakeup call. Then the scientists told her that she wouldn't undergo the upgrades just yet because they found some anomalies and needed to run more tests. And they wondered why she hadn't tracked down another monster in her dreams. She went on another killing spree killing creature after creature trying to get the same rush, keeping her extracurricular activities a secret from her employers lest they send her back to jail.
It took months before another painting nightmare led to another Beast, and she hid that from the company too. Choosing to kill it and scratch her itch rather than bring it back to the researchers to study. She's kept up this cycle, killing way more than her quota and killing Beasts off the books, this makes her a liability but she's obviously too dumb to care given how she's written. She's also trying to figure out what's going on all on her own. What makes some monsters different, why does she have powers without the surgery, she wants to improve her tracking ability as that will make her more valuable to the company but she's having trouble figuring it out on her own.
She's a rebel disgusted by becoming a corporate drone but she needs her cover to keep killing. She wants Beasts, to kill, Cheiron wants them alive. This is a problem.
Also she's a painter and a trendsetter and blah blah blah.
“I’m told she dropped the werewolf like she was making breakfast, and when she went after his brood, she was like a rabid animal. They barely got out of there; she could run faster than her bike and she had a dozen soldiers with her. Watch your back. She’s got it out for us, and she’s not alone.”
I'm sorry but nooooope, she's not strong enough to kill a Gauru form werewolf, almost nothing short of a Demon going loud is. I don't care that this isn't the explanation they give for this in the rumor blurb, nope.
“Who, Dead-Eyes Markusa? Man, have you ever been out on a hunt with her? She’s crazy. I heard from Jamaal she takes on targets by herself, no implants, no nothing. She never smiles, never gets angry, and never even blinks. I bet she pisses ice water. Jamaal thinks they took out her soul when they recruited her.”
Apparently she's good enough that she's got actual Hunters scared.
“She’s really here? You’re kidding! I have to see her again. You should have seen the way she moved, how she lit up the floor…the whole place worshipped her, but she never said a word until that guy tried to grab her ass. She wrestled him down, broke his arm, and beat the crap out of three of his buddies. This time, I’ll find out her name.”
Ugh..... SHE'S SUCH A REBEL EVERYONE WANTS TO BE HER LOOK AT HER WONDERFUL ART SHE'S SO GREAT AND Fuck it can i be done with this chapter already.
Seriously she is a hunter with Hero powers, she isn't a Hero. This is so fucking dumb.
• The characters stumble upon evidence that someone working for the Cheiron Group has launched a secret investigation into Tereza’s secrets. Further poking around reveals who she works for and, if the characters didn’t already know, that she’s a
Hero with ties to the Primordial Dream. They have the opportunity to aid the investigator and potentially shut down an enemy, but in doing so they’d be helping an organization that dedicates itself to hunting monsters down and harvesting their powers.
They can see that the investigation is on the wrong track, though, and left unchecked, Tereza forces a confrontation with the characters one way or another — even if no Beast lives among them.
• Tereza’s hunters harry a local coterie of vampires to the point of desperation. The vampires find out somehow that the Hero in charge of the hunter cell is after Beasts and will do anything to get her hands on them. They decide to give her what she wants, luring the brood with promises of an alliance and then betraying it in an ambush designed to turn them over to Dead-Eyes Markusa in exchange for leaving the vampires alone.
• Tereza has found an ally in seeking answers: a mage from the local Consilium. Together, they delve into the Hero’s dreams to solve the Mystery of her connection to the Children. With the help of magic, Tereza’s close to working it out, but the mage’s brute force interference has disturbed the local hive. Any Beasts in the area notice something’s not right and can try to trace the disturbance back to the pair. Can they make a friend of the mage before Tereza becomes even more dangerous? Or will they end up inadvertently helping the investigation out by getting involved?
This chapter is done. I am done with dumb Heroes.
Next Time: We've completely ignored what it means to be a Hero, how about we start fucking with the rules about how Beasts work. Good. Good.
Beasts: Part 1Original SA post
Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes - Beasts: Part 1
The chapter fiction this time is a hero who realizes he's being stalked by a Beast. He knows that she's stalking him and that she's been on a serial-killing spree to draw him out, so he figures that she's stalking him as her next victim. He ducks into an alleyway and readies his gun then turns around to shoot her, but she teleports behind him and stabs him in the kidney with a stiletto then starts undergoing her incarnation while the Hero laments that his failure allowed this. Also I'm pretty sure Stilettos are not the size of a grown man's skull.
There's a single page of fluff before we get to the sample Beasts. Mainly that Beasts sometimes come into conflict because they have no real greater social structure beyond that which they construct themselves "Family ties grant a lot of freedom, but such freedom comes at a cost." Sure.
So Beasts, who are as a rule good and innocent in the world and performing a service by teaching humanity 'lessons' see a state where morals and ethics no longer apply to them as infinitely desirable.
Some Beasts fall to their Horror and become the Beast Rampant, while others make a last-ditch attempt at survival and become Unfettered. Some Beasts plunge headlong into a union with their Horror and become the Beast Incarnate. Whichever path these Begotten take, the end result of claiming an Inheritance is often remarkably similar: an extremely powerful creature devoid of all moral or ethical sensibility. For the majority of Beasts, this is a condition to aspire to, the end result of being what they are.
How the hell do the writers not get why we think Beasts are the bad guys, particularly after we see this asshole right here.
Luca Rohner: The Corporate Ravisher
The fact is, your firm simply has not been performing to the standards set at acquisition. Let your personnel know we begin liquidating assets tomorrow.
Why yes, his title is "Business Rapist".
The only only child of wealthy Swiss bankers, Luca never heard no while growing up. He had a small army of personal tutors and servants who tried to tell his parents about his anti-social personality traits but his parents simply thought he was just "too clever" for them.
And he is a gigantic asshole.
Luca did struggle at times with the sense of social isolation that plagues most Beasts in their childhood. He alleviated his angst by virtue of the fact that most of the people he spent his time with were paid to pay attention to him. The semblance of companions was generally enough to satisfy Luca’s social desires — though they ensured the boy never learned how to relate to others as equals, only as servants, or later in his life, prey.
Cruelty, as a result, has always come naturally to Luca. His spirit shone like a beacon in the Primordial Dream, attracting a Horror so ancient it had earned a name. The Sorrowful Dancer thrived for centuries, gaining strength by crushing hope and stripping away the happiness of its victims. Luca drew the Dancer like a moth drawn to a flame./quote]
He's so rich he doesn't even get a stock horror off the shelf, he gets a bespoke horror SO EVIL that it's just for him. And he was devoured in his early adolescence, meaning his first victims were his tutors and servants.
[quote]He enjoyed gradually breaking down his victims, watching them slowly lose control of themselves and their lives as he toyed with them. Though he encountered some other Beasts who tried to convey the cultural importance of using his feeding to teach important lessons, such sentiments never sunk in for Luca. He could not have cared less about fear as a teaching tool; he was too busy reveling in the tears of his victims to pay any mind to their spiritual development.
For college he went to Oxford, because of course he did. And he engaged in some youthful rebellion, mainly he fed the shit out of people, attracting a hero named Dennis Brand. They fought for two years, Lucas used his financial ties to undermine Dennis' livelihood and attacked and killed Dennis' family. Eventually Luca set a trap, he went to a lavish New Years Eve party and lured Dennis to the roof.
So he somehow achieved lair 8 by the age of twenty and became an incarnate despite the fact that the hero "landed a few lucky shots"? Whatever. And that last sentence is true, Luca is constructed entirely of straw.
Dennis came prepared for physical combat. He didn’t expect Luca’s mind games, nor the traps Luca had carefully laid out beforehand. Luca kept baiting the Hero, wearing down Dennis’ confidence by luring him into these traps. Dennis got in a few lucky shots, but not enough to turn the battle in his favor. The Hero eventually realized Luca was merely toying with him, but by then it was too late for him. Despite the injuries Dennis inflicted, Luca quickly gained the advantage.
The night ended with Dennis dead and Luca becoming a Beast Incarnate. Absolutely no one and nothing could stop him now. Luca graduated soon afterward, and returned home to Switzerland where he quickly built up his Myth. Now, the high finance and business communities fear Luca as a corporate raider; a ruthless CEO who destroys companies, ruins firms, and yet somehow always manages to turn a ridiculous profit at the end of each quarter.
Seriously, he's like a hallmark christmas movie villain except someone took it seriously.
One of Luca’s favorite tactics is to find well-performing, mid-size firms with solid bottom lines and thriving corporate cultures. He’ll buy a firm out, then institute a long list of changes, ostensibly to maximize efficiency and profit. These changes, however, have nearly the opposite effect. Luca gleefully runs the firm into the ground, destroying profitability and morale alike while blaming the firm’s managers for failing to live up to his expectations. The sordid business usually ends in late November, when he lets everyone go abruptly, just a few weeks before Christmas. As he enjoys the thrill of destroying families as well as careers, Luca prefers doing this to family-owned businesses. Nothing is quite as sweet to him as watching college funds and retirement accounts evaporate as the former owners try desperately to please Luca and fulfill their impossible obligations to him.
I think whoever wrote this is projecting just a little too hard. In the sense that I am now reading this book in 1080p off of the surface of the moon.
Interns are another favorite target of Luca’s. Every year, he brings in a new crop of bright young financial wizards: MBAs eager for a chance to prove themselves and secure a spot at Luca’s firm. The application process is grueling, and the winning interns walk in expecting to put in 14 hours a day, six days a week at minimum, for a full year. At the end of this year, the remaining interns are guaranteed a cushy job which secures their financial future. As a result, the interns are willing to put up with all manner of abuse for their chance at the brass ring.
Without fail, Luca chooses one or two “favorites,” usually the best and brightest among the interns. Thrilled that Luca singled them out for individual mentorship, these interns invariably see all their dreams crumble, and eventually regret the day they heard of Luca Rohner.
Luca systematically isolates his chosen prey from their family, demanding longer hours and higher productivity. He does extensive background research on his targets, then engineers a myriad of personal crises — a work emergency at the same time grandma takes a turn for the worse in hospice, a mandatory trip during an anniversary or wedding, an eviction happening at the same time an important project is due, and similar impossible quandaries. While this continues, Luca slowly wears down his victim’s sense of self-worth with carefully chosen barbs and backhanded compliments.
When the year is up, the targeted intern doesn’t even become a permanent hire. More than a few interns have ended up in a care facility or even committed suicide once Luca has finished with them, which only feeds Luca more. He takes special delight in attending these funerals and comforting the surviving loved ones.
Also "Everything he does is legal" and heroes can't touch him cause he's the incarnate.
<INSERT RICH ASSHOLE STEREOTYPE HERE, CONTINUE FOR FOUR PARAGRAPHS>
Also he hates werewolves and changelings, oh I'm sorry "Feral puppies and broken trauma-fairies", only occasionaly deigning to work with mages and vampires that help his corporate interests. He is the Apex of Zurich and the entire city is a miserable hellhole as a result.
“Sure, he’s killed at least one or two people. That’s part of becoming the Beast Incarnate; someone has to die. That’s not what I’m talking about, though. The man’s a serial killer, even if he doesn’t hold the knife. The police are so far deep in his pocket though; they’ll never do anything about him.”
He's a Ravager, not a Predator, the only people he's directly killed are Dennis and some of his servants while figuring out his powers as a teenager. Indirectly though he's got a death toll in the hundreds. But even if he was directly tied to a death he's so rich he'd never see trial not to mention a jail cell.
“If you feel anything for Luca, feel pity. Don’t fear him, and don’t admire him. From the outside, yes, his life looks fantastic. He’s ridiculously wealthy and has the respect of his whole industry. Take a closer look, though. He doesn’t spend any significant time with anyone he’s not paying. No family, no friends. That’s a sad state of affairs for anyone, but if you know anything about what Luca really is, you know how his kind value friendship and family. And Luca doesn’t have any of that. Must make for a pretty lonely life. Maybe that’s why he’s so cruel all the time.”
He might be an Incarnate but he's still a beast, so he feels the pangs of family. He just doesn't get friendship, so he surrounds himself with underlings that he's convinced himself are his friends. When they inevitably quit he just hires more.
“I heard that there’s a team of Heroes that have banded together to hunt down Luca. It’s a bad business, he’s likely to bring heat on all of us with that kind of firepower all looking for just one Beast.”
He is being hunted, but not by Heroes. Just some lawyers, police officers, financiers, and government agents who have realized that he's basically tunneling a hole through the business world. They have no idea what he is but they're definitely going to raise alarms in the supernatural world once they do.
No he doesn't... he rather explicitly does not, destroying is 'life' is enough... you've even said that book, stop.
• A close friend, ally, or family member (perhaps even a Retainer) of one of the characters has succeeded in becoming part of Luca’s new crop of interns. Initially, this appears to be good news — the character will eventually benefit from the intern’s success. However, the character’s apparent good fortune quickly becomes anything
but. The intern, chosen for special attention by Luca, begins to slowly unravel. Even the support of the intern’s associates isn’t enough to stave off the pressures of working for Luca. Depending on how close the intern is with the characters, Luca may even end up attacking their Merits in an attempt to disrupt the intern’s life. The characters
(and the intern) eventually realize Luca is more than just a horrible boss and must come up with a way to stop him and save their friend. As Luca is a Ravager, he won’t simply relinquish his hold on the intern, he must destroy his prey in order to successfully feed.
Beast satan has hired you as his bodyguards, this seems like an idea that has no downsides.
• A member of the global business community wants to meet with the characters. Johann Strauberg is part of a small cabal of business and government leaders who, sick of the chaos Luca is wreaking across international markets, have decided to put an end to his corporate existence. However, Luca outmaneuvers them at every turn, able to retaliate in unexpected ways. Now the members of the cabal are under some kind of sustained attack — unable to sleep or function during the day. Johann, slowly realizing that Luca is somehow more than human, has put out clumsy feelers to members of the supernatural community. Johann isn’t quite sure what Luca is, but can promise access to a wide array of Merits (including high-level Professional Training in certain fields) in exchange for the characters’ assistance in dealing with Luca.
• As Apex of Zurich, it’s only fitting that Luca receive an invitation to the Yule Ball, a lavish gala hosted every December 21st by the Invictus Prince of the city. The Prince has extended his invitation to anyone Luca cares to bring. Luca, knowing the importance of making a good impression, wants an entourage for the event. He hires the characters as his attendants for the evening. What Luca doesn’t know is that another Kindred, the local Hierophant of the Circle of the Crone, understands what it means to be an Apex and is intent on displacing Luca and assuming that role for herself. Luca’s arrival is the end result of a year of her machinations, and she’s determined to assassinate him before the sun comes up. Now it falls to the characters to protect their charge against a coterie of vicious, determined vampires and their allies.
Anyways, his stat line. He has no combat skills, at all, and physical attributes are tertiary. He has armor all the time because of his Atavism, and he has flight and uncanny speed, but he's infinitely killable. Just toss a werewolf in death rage at him. Problem solved, world made better.
James Bernard: Cru
Everyone's afraid of something. Let me remind you what that's like
I'm holding off on the picture for now, trust me, you'll understand.
James was a fairly normal kid, smart, athletic, excelled at the things boys were meant to excel at. Burned some ants, caught frogs, etc. Then high school started and his grades started to slip, he fell to second string on the football team, he dreaded turning in his report card to his father but his father simply shrugs, said he needed to try harder, and that he should cancel his plans for the weekend. That weekend his father took him out hunting "The best way for a boy to release stress" and everything clicked for James, his grades went up, his performance in football improved, and his father and him made their hunting trips into a common occurrence.
Even in his dreams James still hunted, but eventually the dreams started to turn on him. Instead of fighting the animal the animal caught him, killed him. His life spiraled out of control as the dreams got worse until he lashed out in the real world, stalking one of his friends and beating him bloody. Then the dreams got better, but it never lasted, he was facing the threat of expulsion after one too many incidents. He tried to keep his rage in check until his pet rat bit him, then he ate the rat. And he felt better. That night he dreamt of stalking a panther through the undergrowth of a warm jungle. Except this time he too had claws.
The pursuit was always one of his favorite parts of the hunt, feeling the trees fly by as he pelted forward, his heart pounding a drum beat in his chest. With another vicious growl, he threw himself forward as the panther leaped to scale a tree, and was rewarded with a deep bite into its thigh. Dragging the cat down again, he dodged a swipe of its paw and returned it with one of his own, pressing his advantage as it went sprawling across the ground. Before giving it the opportunity to catch its footing again, he darted forward. This time his teeth sank into its throat, and with a triumphant growl, he tore it wide open, standing victorious over the bleeding creature. All was right in the world at that moment; he felt it somehow crystallize and become real. This was no dream; this was exactly what he was, and what he was always meant to be. The stalker in the dark, the ruthless predator. It was so much simpler than everything else.
When the feeling didn't fade after he woke up, he knew something was wrong. He tried to push it to the back of his mind but it wouldn't go away. It worked for a little while but then the nightmares came back, and people in the neighborhood started having them too. Hunting helped but it was too impersonal for his horror, eventually he came to the compromise of wounding the prey then stalking it down to finish it off with a knife. He made it through college like this, keeping his hunger barely at bay for fear of it lashing out. It still happened on occasion, and he saw how people reacted when it came out. His lair kept expanding, though he tried to avoid going there if he could, he still didn't trust the Horror.
He graduated, got an entry level office job and a wife, as was expected of him, for years he just kept his nose to the grindstone and tried to ignore the monster living in his head. Until the hunting stopped working. The Horror wanted more, it was tired of scraps of game. It hated the formula. And the stress rose in his mortal life as well, a possible promotion, his father's failing health, his wife wanting to start a family. All James wanted was an escape.
While this is viscerally cool, the horror just can't go "Yeah fuck, I'm taking over now you're terrible at all of this."
It came one night after dinner, when his wife was doing dishes and she dropped some on the floor. The shattering sound resonated within him for a moment, and everything that was bothering him melted away. Footsteps silent as he paced into the kitchen, he watched for a moment as the woman that meant so little to him (now that he thought about it, anyway) swore quietly to herself and picked up the larger pieces of broken porcelain. He bent to pick one up himself, wickedly pointed, placed a gentle hand on her shoulder, and drove it into her neck. From deep within him, something growled its satisfaction and demanded more.
He recalled only that it was brutal, and he had drawn upon powers beyond anything he had attempted before. It felt much like that first triumphant dream had, so long ago. Something was awakening within him, filling up the empty space that had caused so much discomfort. The claws he couldn’t see suddenly grew from his fingertips, the fangs that gnashed at her bloodied face sprouted from his aching gums, and dark, matted fur grew over his limbs and back. Finally, his Horror had what it always wanted, and never again would it have to go without. Beyond the walls of their pristine little community was a patch of woods that called to him, resonating with his Heart. When the Beast was finally satisfied with its kill, it took off for them, leaving everything it had known previously behind.
Literally a Gauru form werewolf.
After his wife's death the police looked for him, but with no tracks and no body they quickly gave up the chase. Right now Cru is hungry, and he hunts his little patch of forest. He doesn't care about anything as long as it doesn't intrude on his forest, if it does it is prey.
Cru’s philosophy is simple: If he can’t kill it, it can kill him; if he hasn’t killed it yet, it might kill him. To this end, he is a brutal and relentless stalker, using all of the benefits of his Family to outsmart those who might want to find him. While he operates mostly on instinct, he does realize that getting caught means the end of him. The chase is of little importance to Cru, and he hunts opportunistically, preying on whomever or whatever happens to wander into what he claims as his territory.
“After that guy went psycho and murdered his wife, they say he ran away into the woods there and killed himself, too, and he haunts them now. That’s why they don’t grow anymore, and they don’t feel right. He’s out there, waiting for other victims.”
He's not a ghost, but he is h
“You can hear it howling every night. It hates the light, tries to stick to the shadows, but anyone that’s seen it swears that werewolves are real. Can’t be, though, might be a coyote or a regular wolf...at least, that’s what people say before they see the claw marks on the second-story windows. Even then, some try to explain it away. As for me, the werewolf thing doesn’t seem too far off, except that it only seems to come to town on the new moon.”
On a dark enough night Cru will return to the community to hunt anyone who's outdoors late at night. If he can't find a human he'll kill a pet, and hunt more voraciously on subsequent nights until he's satisfied.
It’s the damnedest thing; I’d been waking up from this terrible nightmare all week, and when I mentioned it to my husband, he said the same thing. The same dream, over and over. Even our daughter started having it, and she’d wake up screaming. She’s 12, mind you — she hasn’t been that scared of a dream in years. I talked to some other mothers about it…same story. At least one person in their family was experiencing it, if not all of them.”
Cru has basically unintentionally turned his little piece of suburbia into a Hero factory, he doesn't really care but he does like it when his prey comes to him.
Honestly at this point I guess the game is just operating on the default assumption that "Beasts Make Heroes" which makes everything in the fluff section of the Heroes chapter utterly baffling. But whatever.
• Teenagers have made it a game to go into the woods at the edge of the community, and all come back reporting something horribly wrong that they can’t put their fingers on. Recently, one of the intrepid teenagers has gone missing. Normally, Beasts wouldn’t get involved, but she is the daughter of a local mage who believes she was taken by one of the Children. He has asked the characters to help him investigate the woods and find his daughter.
• There’s been a sudden spike in the Hero population, and they all cite the same nightmare of something stalking them through dark woods. The Heroes don’t know who to target, and members of the characters’ brood are now in danger. The characters must either dispose of the Heroes, or find out what is awakening so many and put an end to it.
• The Apex has put out a bounty on the unhinged creature wreaking havoc and threatening to expose the supernatural world. One of the character’s friends is an Eshmaki who has been targeted by those seeking to fulfill the bounty. She asks the characters to help her find the true Beast causing the problems and clear her good name.
Stat wise he's not unkillable, but he's got 7 defense, lots of strength, and a ludicrous brawl pool. And his Atavisms are set to make him one hell of an ambush predator. So good for you game.
Martin O'Sullivan: The Empyrean Swimmer
I’ve forgotten more than you could even imagine, of countless realms between the stars and the beings which exist there.
Martin was born the son of a good Irish father, though this should not surprise you at all. He was raised to be a shepherd like his father and grandfather before him. But he always dreamt of wondrous lands where he would learn fantastic and hidden lore that he would almost immediately forget upon waking. The local priest told him that dreams were gifts from god and his angels, so Martin felt sure that these places existed somewhere and he only had to seek them out.
At age 12 his father deemed him old enough to take him and his brothers to drive the sheep to Galway. There he discovered two things, the sea, and ships. At every opportunity Martin slipped away from his sheep tending duties to slip into a sailor's pub and listen wide-eyed to their tales of travel and adventure. Martin knew he was born to be a sailor, not a farmer. His father would hear nothing of it, however. Shepherding was honest safe work, and no son of his would be a Sailor.
He spent the next year pining for the sea as his dreams grew more intense. Eventually he formed a plan. Again his family went to Galway, again he tended the sheep for thirteen days. On the fourteenth day he rose before dawn and crept from the inn and made his way to the Wharf. There he picked his favorite ship and plied his case to the Captain. The captain had need for ready hands but he was in no mood to hire a poor shepherd from a landlocked village. But the gleam in his eye and the boy's obvious passion for the sea got him hired on as a cabin boy.
Martin never felt so at home, and it was at sea that he found his Horror, the Swimmer manifested as an amalgamation of every sea tale the young boy had ever heard, and some he hadn't. He gleefully accepted his horror's offer and became a Makara. The ship then became his lair, and the young collector gathered secrets. First meaningless secrets like who had stolen some extra ratoins or helped themselves to the captain's brandy, but he craved more. At harbor he would seek out academics or mystics and stalk their sleep repeatedly, stealing knowledge until they had nothing left. He created several Heroes in this way but by the time they were on the hunt his ship was long gone.
The more he gained the more he wanted, we're talking "Sacrificing crew members in necromantic rituals" and "Capturing vampires to torture for information". His sanity started slipping more and more as the secrets consumed him until one night when he was on watch he dove off the bow of the ship and swam deep. So deep his lungs burned and his eyes bulged. So deep his lungs collapsed.
The Empyrean Swimmer kept on going.
The empyrean swimmer doesn't remember anything of his former life as a sheep herder. What it does remember is that boy's longing for freedom, adventure, and knowledge. Now it swims the primordeal dream and realms beyond hunting for lost and forgotten places. At times it has swum the springs of Arcadia and the streams of the Hisil. This desire for more knowledge is the Swimmer's Ban. It's Bane is the young boys lust for the sea, it cannot leave the water. Which means little in the primordial dream but does mean something if it's manifesting elsewhere. It can rest atop the deck of a ship at sea (not a river, or docked), but can't go below decks. It can move over land through canals and aqueducts but not pipes or plumbing. It must remain a body of water. While manifesting it appears as a giant octopus made of barnacles, coral, and seaweed. It's eyes hold no compassion, just an intelligent overwhelming hunger.
Communicating with the swimmer is a strange experience. It's intelligent enough to have retained language, a voice, and the capacity to use it. But it is a spirit of the Primordial Dream and has no understanding or empathy for those with physical bodies. The only thing it understands is it's ban, the hunger for knowledge. And this inquisitiveness is the only topic capable of holding it's attention for any length of time.
“What most people don’t know is that there are many planes of existence. Even among the people who do know about other realms, they generally only know about one or two. The Empyrean Swimmer has been to all of them, multiple times. You may encounter it in places you never thought even possible. It always comes home to the Primordial Dream, though.”
The swimmer's favorite realm is the Hedge, for it is ever changing and therefore forever full of new things to learn. It also enjoys the underworld and gleaning the secrets of the dead.
“If you want knowledge about things beyond your own front door, you need to seek out the Empyrean Swimmer. I hear tell it has been collecting a great amount of information about all the other supernatural creatures in the world, things they would never want you to know.”
It knows things about almost every supernatural group that can touch one of the alternate realms of existence, meaning it has a dearth of knowledge about Vampires. Which can be helpful because the only way to get information out of the Swimmer is to provide information it doesn't have in return.
“I hear the Empyrean Swimmer has a vast library filled with volumes upon volumes of lore and magical artifacts. They say it keeps these things in some kind of underwater lair; if you can find it, you are likely to find riches beyond your imagining.”
It's a spirit, it doesn't own anything. It remembers more than a library can hold, and it probably knows where an artifact or two is.
Meaning there's an Aegis Kai Doru cell trying to hunt down the Swimmer, naturally.
What is this feeling in my chest. I... I don't hate this. This is an amazing plot device character that isn't cloying or annoying. It has a stat line but it's also got "Realm Gateway:Fucking Everywhere" and it hates fighting so you're not really going to fight this thing ever.
• A legendary Beast (perhaps even one of the Incarnate) threatens the characters and they must track down their enemy’s personal history if they are to have any insight as to his weaknesses and vulnerabilities. Predictably, however, the Beast has taken care to obscure all accurate information regarding such history. In the course of their efforts to track down this information, the characters discover the existence of the Empyrean Swimmer and realize this creature likely has the knowledge they seek. The spirit gives away nothing for free, though. If they wish to know how to defeat their enemy, the characters need to trade some secret the Empyrean Swimmer does not know. Unless the characters have already built up a store of occult secrets, or possess any particularly juicy personal secrets, odds are they’ll need to find something new. Since the only lore the Empyrean Swimmer reliably doesn’t possess is regarding Kindred, this means the player characters are going to have to visit the local vampire court in the pursuit of new secrets.
• Jinever Marques, despite being a mage, has never been overly concerned with unlocking the secrets of the universe or accumulating untold cosmic power. Jinever uses her powers to build the most wondrous and magical zoological garden in the known world. Her demesne is full of tremendous and rare creatures: bushes of everblooming roses watered by the Fountain of Youth, magically constructed unicorns gamboling in their enclosure, captured werewolves contained by electrified silver. Jinever recently learned of the Empyrean Swimmer, and is determined to add it to her next exhibit. For this reason, she hires the player characters — or, rather, attempts to. If the player characters are themselves Beasts, they’ll likely balk at Jinever’s offer and instead turn their efforts to protecting the Swimmer against Jinever’s machinations. After the characters turn her down, Jinever turns to a more amoral team of magical mercenaries, whom the player characters will have to oppose.
• At some point during its travels, the Empyrean Swimmer confronted its limitations. Though it is free to travel through worlds, it remains constrained by water and finds travel through the material world difficult. As a result, the Empyrean Swimmer has chosen to take one of the characters as a protégé — someone it can have perform various tasks on its behalf in exchange for tutelage and protection. The protégé must also be either a Makara or a Collector, though both would be ideal. The Empyrean Swimmer tasks its protégé with goals of increasing difficulty and dangerousness. However, in exchange, the Empyrean Swimmer will teach the character quite a few Nightmares, share fragments of occult lore, or reveal the location of much-coveted magical artifacts.
• A vortex of spiritual chaos draws the player characters in, as disruptions in the Primordial Dream spread chaotic nightmares. The Empyrean Swimmer chose to take one of its extremely rare trips into the material world just as a cabal of mages enacted a portal-closing ritual. As a result of the ritual, all nearby extra-dimensional gateways are now closed. The Empyrean Swimmer is now trapped in the material world. It has never encountered this problem before, and has begun to panic, lashing out at the parts of the world it can still touch. At night, it invades the dreams of nearby sleepers, carelessly stealing Essence in an attempt to return to the Primordial Dream. The characters must figure out what is going on, then help the Empyrean Swimmer return home.
Adam Cutler: The Silver Bay Serpent
Don’t think about what’s happening those thousands of feet below you. You really don’t want to know.
Only son of lighthouse keepers, lived in a small house down the hill from the bluffs, always swam in the treacherous waters despite the fact that his parents yelled at him about it every time he did. He didn't care. As he grew older he saw the summer people come and go, and he heard the giant malevolent creatures that lived below the wave. He knew they hated them, they brought garbage and poisons with them and cared little to what it did to the water. When the waves frothed and foamed they ran away while he walked into the undertow and was pulled under in a trance. Feeling their monstrous tentacles thrashing and grabbing at him and then, all at once, going still. The grip would return and drag him under until the air burst from his lungs and the sun turned into a small pinprick in the distance, as the jaws closed around him.
His mother called the dreams "Common Sense" but they persisted and he continued to feel the call to the ocean. More ferocious on days when he attempted to dive deep in search of the answers to his nightmares. He had no idea what he would do if he actually found a cave full of monsters but he wanted to do it regardless. Near the end of the summer season he had a particularly vivid dream that woke him in the middle of the night, he strode to the top of the bluff and leapt down into the surf below, the trance from the dream persisted, drawing him to an unexplored part of the bay with rock formations that blocked the way, he found a piece of wood lodged in the mud bearing the faded letters "Carey Marie" (Which near as I can tell is only the name of a Suite Life of Zack and Cody character). He returned to his house, hid the wood away, and returned to his dream. This time when the jaws closed around him he opened his eyes and he was the serpent, he ruled the monsters that lived in the waves and he no longer had to fear the water, and above him sat the dark reflection of the lighthouse, creaking and foreboding.
Life was easier after that as Adam formed a symbiosis with the serpent. His horror was never content away from the water but that was fine with Adam, but it also hungered for the names of those that dared to challenge the open sea and "Declare themselves it's master". College was the best, he traveled abroad, collecting foreign names, and several chambers that he could have claimed as his, but it was far more satisfying to make one that was unquestioningly his own. A degree in marine biology ensured a life near the water, and a "healthy supply of names when he needed them", but for all his travel he was always drawn back to his lighthouse and the little bay that he needed to make his.
The Horror was not content to simply be, it wanted to be known, to take back the comfort from those who so foolishly thought the water was always safe and could never hurt them. To that end, he found himself occasionally trawling areas of the ocean known to be treacherous, and spent a particularly satisfying summer in the Bermuda Triangle. The tropics were never home, though; the waters were too warm, too clear, and he longed for his murky Atlantic. Little by little, he stretched his influence, his patience wearing thinner with the years, and his list of names growing longer and longer, individuals drowned far out at sea or whole vessels swallowed by the hungry tide. Sean. Michael. Paul. Gina. Rosey. The Fair Freedom. The unique and contradictory Shoreman’s Home.
Tales of his hometown began to spread, the waters were far more dangerous than they should have been, weather too unpredictable, skies turned black and tides turned deadly within moments. Kayakers who had pushed too hard, swimmers who overexerted themselves, boats certain that they could navagate the cove, all swallowed by the water. It drove some away but it also drew bolder individuals with more interesting names.
The Legend Grows
And here's where it gets stupid.
When his parents passed they left the lighthouse to Adam. His sprawling lair was littered with names, both of people and of boats, but it wasn't enough, his serpent wanted more. It drove him to the North Atlantic, and told him to dive.
Yup, somehow his horror is responsible for the Titanic sinking. He basically instantly incarnated after figuring this out. And he swam home, the serpent had no need for a boat. By the time he reached his bay the storm was so ferocious it broke the banks of the marina, capsizing boats and houses.
It sprawled across the ocean, half the ship here, the other half hundreds and hundreds of feet away with its own sea of debris between the sections. The serpent was delighted; it knew this place. It remembered. At once, as Adam’s eyes probed the dark and finally came upon the one enormous piece it was looking for, he understood. Underneath the rust and corrosion, only three letters were even partially legible — A N I — but the location and the serpent’s memories all fell into place. They had called it unsinkable, they had ventured into his territory, and he had taken their challenge. The Titanic had sunk, like everything else that challenged him.
If he bothers to appear human he is solitary and unobtrusive to behold. He has the thin build of a swimmer, and is quiet and reserved though he remains alert of everyone around him. He carries himself with an aura of supreme confidence and natural superiority. Anyone who has a problem with this finds themselves faltering after just a few moments of intense scrutiny. The air around him is cold and smells of the ocean, his long hair is damp and his skin looks just a little too rough. While stationary his stillness is inhuman but he moves quickly when provoked.
He's not prone to working with other beasts, as he made his name and legend completely on his own. Woe betide the Beast who asks for help in a task that Adam thinks they can handle on their own. He's undoubtedly the Apex of his region and the lairs near his are Decayed, stinking of salt and rust and ready to collapse at a moment's notice. If there is something worthy of his attention he never offers aid without promise of reward, a new name for his collection is good motivation, provided he's hungry. He's more likely to help with an offer of protection for his beloved ocean.
He has presence 8.
You want to fuck this snake.
You are compelled to fuck this snake.
I like the repeating scale pattern that doesn't actually follow his body or curve and is obviously just a mirrored photoshop layer
“It happens at least once a summer. A perfectly calm, sunny day, not a cloud in the sky, and then out of nowhere, the worst storm you’ve ever seen. I’m talking hurricane levels. The sky just turns black, and you’ve got maybe five minutes. No one in the water after the rain starts ever makes it to shore. Some people, ones with houses close to the water, say they can see something in the bay. Same story, year after year, different people every time. A huge serpent in the bay.”
Adam's lesson is a simple one, respect the water fucknuts. The first storm is a warning, the second one is the teacher. In the winter the storms are lighter but more frequent, and are usually accompanied by long sunken boats torn in two.
“That lighthouse, on the hill there? The owners died years ago. Left it all to their son. They were townies, never traveled much. But, the boy just vanished one day. The lighthouse, though — it’s never stopped working. It’s funny...doesn’t seem to spare many ships. Nights with a new moon, there’s always something dashed on the shore in the morning. No one around here will go inside. They say someone tried a few years ago, talked a big game about how they could take on anything inside, ghosts aren’t real, all that. Vanished, just like the boy.”
The lighthouse has been a chamber of Adam's lair for so long it's become a thing unto itself. It doesn't have a speck of graffiti or a single broken window as the teenagers know full well to stay far, far, away. On some occasions the light goes out and the doorway leads not inside, but to the chamber.
“The fog comes in sometimes, real thick. Too thick, some say. Can’t see your own hand in front of your face, but you can hear. Something’s moving. Something’s hunting. If you hold still, keep to yourself, it won’t bother you. When the fog comes in, some of them start screaming. I overheard someone talking about a dream they had once, walking and walking in a real thick fog, until the ground wasn’t there anymore. Woke up when they started to fall, but not before knowing something was watching them. Maybe that’s what makes ’em start to holler. When the dream starts coming true.”
If Adam is hungry and the sea is too quiet, the fog rolls in and Adam goes a'hunting. Those that react to the fog become the target of more direct, specialized lessons.
These are stupid. These are all incredibly stupid. As powerful as he is, his power is literally "A bay somewhere in the north-eastern US really sucks." And, like, how would you even get something from his hoard by accident?
• The tightly-knit local community has turned on the characters, the outsiders, and accused them of being responsible for the recent string of disappearances relating to the Silver Bay Lighthouse. The characters must investigate the problem and clear their names.
• A member of the brood came into the possession of an antique boat nameplate. The group traded it away to a mage in payment for services rendered earlier that year. It turns out that the nameplate was stolen from the serpent’s hoard. He demands the characters repay their debt — either by returning the stolen property or paying in blood.
• During a trip, a storm causes the characters to make an unexpected landing in Silver Bay, forcing them to remain until it blows over. From the first night, the brood suffers nightmares induced by the serpent. They get the overwhelming sense that the Apex here does not like outsiders. They must meet with him and appease him before he kills them outright for trespassing in his territory.
Also: his stat line? Dumb as shit. He's got defense 11 and Armor 10 so he's damn near unkillable... but he has zero dots in brawl, and no dots in firearms. He's strong and dexterous of course (nowhere near as high as his presence though FUCK THE SNEK) but he's..just... there. Like the other incarnate. They're highly specialized plot devices rather than characters.
Up Next: An even stupider strawman than the business rapist
Beasts: Part 2Original SA post
Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes - Beasts: Part 2
Let's finish off the Beasts so we can get into the... interesting stuff.
Kiele Kano: The Sky Crawler
<The swift unspooling of silken threads, faint against the silence>
As a child, Kiele Kano had an insect collection that she loved to display under glass. Her favorite was a pet tarantula that she loved to watch eat. Her classmates hated her because she was very observant and had a long, accurate memory. She was long accused of cheating but she was just very good at remembering her studies. In high school her friend Desiree joined her in the snooping.
When Kiele confronted Desiree, she insisted it was a joke, and convinced Kiele to drop the matter entirely. Years later when the nightmares began, it was in Desiree that Kiele again confided.
The two of them made up stories together about the people they watched, imagining they held precious secrets that could destroy lives or win them fame and fortune. One day, when a group of angry girls cornered Kiele in the locker room and demanded to know what private knowledge she’d stolen from them, she was bewildered until one let slip that Desiree had told them about Kiele’s pastime spying on everyone, conveniently leaving herself out of the picture.
In her dreams, she stood at the front of a distended lecture hall naked and confused under a spotlight with all eyes upon her from all directions. A thousand faceless people stared and stared, consuming everything she was. Only their eyes were visible in their silent transgression. They weren’t supposed to be looking, but they did look, and she was helpless to escape their attention. When she finally realized it was she who saw them as they truly were, and all they saw was an illusion she wore to cover her true nature, she ripped the eyes from their faces, clothing her body with them like a suit, and in that instant she was Devoured. She became the spider queen of 1,000 orbs, building lofty webs and seeing everything.
You get absolutely zero points for guessing that Yes: Desiree is a Hero. Upon seeing her friend transform she bought a gun and hid it in anticipation of a time when she would need to take action. It fell apart when they couldn't agree on who deserved Kiele's predations. Kiele was starving and couldn't wait anymore, and neither could Desiree, when Kiele turned her back she heard and felt the gunshot, but she was barely able to limp back to her Lair.
Kiele wanted to forgive her friend but resentment burned inside of her, not just for Desiree but for herself. "For all her 1,000 eyes, she’d been blind to the enemy plotting right there inside her web the whole time." But she couldn't do it herself, instead she went on a rampage, feeding until sated, then retreated to her lair and waited until the Sky Crawler broke free. Her first act was finding Desiree.
The Sky Crawler flits from dream to dream hunting people who harbor a dark secret about some act that they feel the need to keep secret at all costs. It then slips from their dream into the nearby shadow to stalk the target and learn the depths of their crimes. Having gathered all the intelligence it needs to pass judgement, it appears to the victim and terrifies her. It will fully manifest and consume the target if the crime is dire enough.
The Horror isn't picky, and will feed on Beasts who engage in deceit and treachery. It loves feeding on heroes, but only ever in their dreams because it's bane is fucking stupid. It can occasionally be convinced to help out a Beast in harrying a Hero, but it refuses to work with anyone guilty of hiding "important truths" for any reason, and will take offense at such an offer usually attacking immediately. The only way to get the sky crawler off your back if it's angry at you is to exploit it's bane, the blood of a Hero will remove all it's powers. Yup.
Oh, also it's webs are made of greasy human hair and it communicates entirely through keening human screams.
“Beware the great Sky Crawler, servant of Fate, bane of the wicked. It walks on the underside of the sky and combs the stars for tales of human treachery. If it doesn’t like what it reads there, it descends from the heavens on threads of starfire to devour you whole. If you are one of the wicked, do not dare to dream, for in dreams its greatest power is revealed.”
Nope, it's not divine. Just really good at hunting down secrets and compelled to do so.
“She ascended beyond our kind to dwell wholly in the Primordial Dream as the Dark Mother once did, but keeps her many eyes on the world. She slips through to snare people and Beasts alike in her questing webs and takes them away, deep into the Dream, to rot in her Lair until they become shadows to do her bidding.”
It does occasionally drag people bodily into their worst nightmares where they either die, or confess the depth of their crimes.
“A monster lives here. You’d never know it if it found you, though, not until it’s too late. It appears to you as a dark-eyed man or woman. It seduces you into betraying everything and everyone you love, until you’ve given all of yourself to it. Then it drinks your blood, your pain, and everything else, and leaves your empty husk behind for your scorned family to find.”
The Sky Crawler will use her influence to intensify petty betrayals into something she can feed off of. The blood draining is just something that came up when she and a Vampire shared some territory.
“My Mastigos buddy told me a real doozy the other day. There he is, traversing the Temenos, minding his own business, when he runs across what he thinks is your run of the mill nightmare goetia. He figures he can handle it. Boy is he wrong! It traps him in its web and scares the shit out of him, ‘til he spills all his secrets. Stuff he’s never told anyone. He said he’s never seen anything like that monstrosity, and he thinks it’s still following him around even now. He thinks it’s an acamoth and the Abyss is seeping into the Astral, but the way he said it…it sounded kind of familiar. Like I’ve had that dream before, you know? Maybe we all have.”
Nope, he somehow stumbled into the primordial dream, it can't get to the Temenos. But it is stalking him because he's a fucking mage, and how many secrets do they have.
• A brood shares the unsettling experience of seeing a mass of shining black eyes watching them from the shadows wherever they go. Wherever the eyes appear, they find a Hero not far behind — sometimes hunting them, sometimes unaware of their presence. After some investigation, the brood discovers that the Unfettered wants their help to punish the Hero and fulfill its Hunger without getting too close to it. If they agree, they can dispose of the Hero themselves or put him to sleep and let the Sky Crawler deal with him in dreams, but taking the latter route doesn’t satisfy the Horror for long and it comes back for more soon after. If they refuse, the Sky Crawler views the refusal as a betrayal of their kinship and hunts them instead.
• A changeling approaches the characters with a strange tale. She says that in trying to pull a regular nightmare from a dreamer’s mind, she accidentally pulled out the image of something else, something she sensed was infinitely larger and more terrifying than a mere dream actor. She doesn’t want to run into it while dream-delving and she especially doesn’t want it to notice her, so she seeks the Beasts’ help investigating what it wants and how to best avoid or appease it.
• A Hero is on the brood’s trail, but it’s not like any kind of Hero they have dealt with before — it’s a dead one. Desiree’s ghost hounds them with strange abilities ghosts shouldn’t have, like an uncanny knack for tracking them down. Doing their homework reveals to the brood that this ghost Hero isn’t just here for kicks: She’s trying to find closure for failing to kill Kiele when she had the chance. The characters can discover the pair’s tragic story and put Desiree’s spirit to rest, but doing so inevitably finds them crossing paths with the Sky Crawler.
Oh yes, an NPC that sees any refusal to acquiesce to it's immediate demands as a betrayal worthy of death. Fantastic.
Oh and her Ban is "She must punish those with dark secrets, what constitutes a dark secret is mostly up to her." because fuck you PCs how dare you keep that white lie from your parents YOU MUST DIE NOW.
Alvin Zane: Slimy Lobbyist
You’ll spend tonight at a luxury hotel playing a game involving lines of white powder, a $100 bill, and a woman young enough to be your daughter. Whether or not the police catch you in the act depends on whether you convince the committee to send this anti-drug bill to the Senate floor today.
Oh... oh, we're doing this now are we?
Alvin Zane’s great grandfather was a steel baron who made his fortune during the early 20th century. His grandfather sold his stake in Zane Steel and used the proceeds to create Zane Plastics, which swelled the family fortune even more. His parents began investing heavily in robotics and computer companies when those technologies were still largely unknown outside of science fiction. By the time Alvin was born in 1966, his parents’ fortune exceeded a billion dollars.
Wait what? He had a happy childhood? The book plays this off by saying that he's slightly sociopathic, and doesn't really get relationships, only seeing people as knobs and levers you turn to get a reaction. In art class his senior year of high school he saw a picture of the Prophet Jeremiah with a Manticore standing above him. Jeremiah was the prophet who foresaw the downfall of his nation and tried to preach against it. But Alvin couldn't shake the Manticore from his nightmares. Sometimes the manticore hunted him, sometimes he was the manticore, many nights he whispered in the ears of those who coveted power and offered it in exchange for obedience. If they accepted it his counsil would lead them to deeper and darker acts of depravity until they unmade themselves.
Alvin’s parents spent very little time managing their empire. His father often joked that they spent more time writing checks to their favorite charities than sitting in on board meetings. They were noted philanthropists who made large donations to the colleges, art institutes, and charities that served the people of Chicago. They also made significant donations to candidates for political office and were active in the local political scene, and young Alvin grew up watching these interactions with great interest.
Alvin’s parents did everything they could to foster a close relationship with their son. His mother helped him with his homework. His father took him camping. They took him to church every Sunday and on trips all over the world every summer. They shared their love of music, art, and books. They worked to teach him self-control and humility even as they lavished him with praise and showered him with gifts.
The night of his 18th birthday came with his devouring, and he took it up without looking back.
Gaining a Foothold
Alvin spent the next 6 years integrating himself with Chicago's political machinery while studying law at the University of Chicago. These were lean years for him as his peers weren't really powerful, or competing with him, and his Hunger refused to feed from them unless it was starving, which meant he attracted a few heroes. But once he started building a reputation as a campaign manager he was able to feed regularly. He struck out against his candidate's political rivals and left their careers in ruins, this kept his Horror in check but he longed for more. Then at 35 his parents died in a car accident, leaving Alvin the sole heir of the Zane fortune.
He invested the fortune into several PACs and Super PACs and refined his feeding method. He contributed to a campaigns and manipulated events to put his prey into office, then he would threaten to withhold further funds unless they used the power of their offices the way he demanded. Some balked, but enough caved to ensure Alvin had a steady food supply. If he was peckish he'd show up in person and make outrageous demands until they relented, if the threat of losing their most powerful backer wasn't enough he had blackmail.
At this point half the elected officials in Illinois owe him their allegiance, he pays particular attention to those who's political views oppose his own but are careless about accepting donations. Once a cycle he picks one of these rising stars as his special prey, pumping their campaign full of money and ensuring their victory, then a few weeks after they're sworn into office he shows up and starts demanding that they start voting on a bill, or throwing cases out of court, or pressing charges against companies he needs out of the way.
At first it's just things that they might have done anyway, then come the visits to the top tier golf courses, or visits to social events, at both Alvin uses Nightmares to ensure future meetings. As time goes on he starts making them operate against their own interests and more in line with his. Or proposing legislation that makes absolutely no sense (the given example is "A fierce proponent of gun rights proposes a budget that includes supplying schools with enough guns and body armor for every teacher and child", which I'm fairly certain was a thing someone actually suggested.) At the same time the social events start taking a darker cast, usually involving drugs, hookers, and embezzlement before evolving to armed robbery, rape, and murder. The escalation feeds the beast until the victim is either arrested or resigns in disgrace.
Only three of his victims have killed themselves, and Alvin sees them as disappointments. If he's feeling peckish he visits his past victims in prison to top himself off by offering them a way out that he will decidedly not provide.
He's Wilson Fisk, okay? Seriously.
He's actually gracious enough to give up the hunt if his victim returns the money within 10 days, or somehow manages to weather Alvin's assault without losing their resolve. To date only one person, and that was with supernatural help, but he knows when he's bested. That doesn't mean he's not going to try again next term.
Despite his unshakable emotional detachment and his Hunger, Alvin remains fairly true to his upbringing. Like his parents, his politics are fairly liberal, and most of his victims are of a conservative bent — the better to discredit their political views in the eyes of the voting public. Moreover, while he freely admits that he’s a monster, he still feels that he serves God by humbling those who succumb to pride and using their fates to warn others about the hazards of seeking temporal power. He continues to carry the banner of his parents’ philanthropy, and although he is by no means gentle with his prey, the city would miss his charity work if ever Alvin suddenly vanished. The fact that he is an unmarried billionaire with no children of his own has only made him more eager to give away his money to the causes he supports.
“Welcome to Zaneland, the best feeding ground this side of the Mississippi! Breathe deep. You can practically smell the fear and desperation of the people who live here. If there is an earthly paradise for those like us, this is it. The hunting is rich, and local law enforcement is so gormless and poorly funded that you can tear a man’s throat out with your teeth and never see the inside of a police car, much less a jail cell. Just one warning: Steer clear of local politics until you know what you’re doing. Yeah, the politicians are all narcissistic demagogues so corrupt that they practically leave a trail of slime behind them when they walk, but Boss Zane owns half of them. Trust me. You don’t want to get on his bad side.”
Zane's increase in power has pushed him to put worse and worse people in power, and unfortunately that's definitely worsened the local social environment even if it's taking assholes out of power eventually. Probably the worst part is that his success has inspired imitators of his Prey, who don't have people in their corner to take them down.
“My connection to Alvin Zane? I only met him once, back when I was running for a seat in the state House, to thank him for his PAC’s generous contribution to my campaign. We talked policy for a bit, which was awkward because I disagree with the candidates he usually supports on pretty much every issue, but then he got this pensive look on his face. ‘You seem like a nice guy,’ he says to me. ‘Why do you want to get into politics?’ So, I told him about my immigrant father and my high school civics teacher and how I think our state needs to turn itself around. I mentioned how much my mother had admired Alvin’s parents, and I guess it got pretty personal. Mr. Zane sat there quietly and let me talk. When I was done, he says to me, ‘If you accept my campaign contribution, I expect you to pass legislation for me that will keep you up at night. I need to know you will do whatever it takes to earn my support.’ That sounded shady to me, so I asked for clarification. He told me that my first test would be to skin my pet dog alive and then eat its heart raw. I was shocked, horrified. He says, ‘If you aren’t willing to play ball, Jeff, then give me back my money.’ So, I called my campaign manager and did just that. I lost that race, but guess who threw his support behind my opponent? I don’t think my rival ever had a dog, but his son died in a freak accident, right? No matter how crazy it sounds, I can’t help but wonder whether that was just the price of accepting the support of Alvin Zane.”
I have to admit, I thought hair-eye-spider was going to be the edgiest thing I had to read today, but nope here we have mister Zane asking people to eat their dog's hearts.
See, Zane's in the business of teaching lessons on a state-wide scale, seeing someone do evil shit and then get punshed for it teaches the lesson to everyone. He doesn't want to bring down actual nice guys even as he acknowledges that he's a fucking monster.
“As much as I admire what he has built, Alvin Zane has finally flipped his shit. His new PAC, Citizens for Public Safety, has not only convinced the governor that supernatural creatures exist but that they must be eradicated. If House Bill 2835 soars through Zane’s well-oiled political machine the way it’s expected to, our paradise will soon be a police state — ubiquitous surveillance, arrest warrants for anyone even suspected of possessing occult connections, and literal bounties on the head of anyone who fails to meekly show up in court on the appointed day. I hear his PAC is supplying intelligence to monster hunters like the Barrett Commission, the Union, and even fucking Taskforce V.A.L.K.Y.R.I.E. so they can exterminate us. It’s also secured pledges of financial support from Deva Corporation, which apparently wants to set up some sort of regional headquarters somewhere in the state. This last decade has been really great, but I’m getting out now before Zane gives my address to the first Hero who sniffs around the capital.”
Zane wants to get the rest of the Beasts out of Illinois for two reasons, one: he doesn't want competition, two: he blames them for the social ills his constituents suffer under. He refuses to believe that his political empire is hurting the state that he loves. He's going to fall, and when he falls he's going to fall hard. And whatever fills the hole he leaves will probably be worse.
Also those are some pretty good plot hooks. Honestly I don't hate him, he's well rounded and at least acknowledges his own monstrosity. But at the same time he's a conservative boogieman of "LIBERAL TRYING TO UNDERMINE OUR STRONG MORAL SOCIETY" which is a strawman I don't really like.
• A gunman goes on a shooting spree in a public place where the characters happen to be at the time. Before they have time to react, the shooter fires on police who gun him down. The killer turns out to be State Representative Robert Butler, a legislator well known for his vocal opposition to gun control measures. Even before the public has time to absorb these events, however, Freedom From Fear PAC issues a strongly-worded demand that the state legislature take up a bill to weaken existing gun control laws — ostensibly in hopes of preventing such tragedies in the future. At the same time, Citizens for Public Safety insinuates that supernatural creatures in the area used mindcontrol powers to provoke Representative Butler’s rampage in order to feed their twisted Hungers. The characters soon come under suspicion and must go to ground to avoid being used as supporting evidence for House Bill 2835. Complicating matters, one of the victims killed in the shooting had a powerful supernatural patron who wants revenge on the characters.
• One of Alvin Zane’s representatives approaches the characters and requests their assistance. It seems that after years of playing politics from the shadows, Zane has decided to run for governor, and he wants the characters’ help. Why the sudden interest in public office? Alvin claims that he hopes to redeem himself after decades of putting demagogues into positions of power by seizing the governor’s mansion and using his political influence to repair the damage he has done. Considering his unsavory reputation among voters, however, he fears that the dirty campaign tactics he has deployed for the last 20 years might not be enough to defeat his opponent, and he hopes the characters will help tip the scales in his favor. They would not be working for free, of course. Zane already wields so much power that he can give the characters just about anything they might want — up to and including protection from the strictures of House Bill 2835.
• Rumor has it that Alvin Zane has his sights set on becoming Incarnate. In the process of expanding his Legend, he has managed to piss off just about every supernatural creature in the state. While no one really wants Alvin to achieve his goal, he has already become too entrenched to simply topple. However, money is the source of the lobbyist’s power, and stripping him of his wealth is a sure means to disable and destroy him. A supernatural ally of the characters who is in on the secret invites them to join the conspiracy to part Zane from his money. This might involve con artistry, hacking bank accounts, blackmail, or any other means at their disposal. They can run these scams on their own or team up with other conspirators. Unbeknownst to the characters and their allies, the conspiracy is a tool in the hands of one of Alvin Zane’s oldest rivals — one who hopes to fill the power vacuum left behind when the lobbyist’s empire finally collapses.
Janice Esterhaus: Tears on the Sand
<Sounds of growling and scrabbling, a half-grunt and half-warning bark from a dark building.>
Oh this is going to be
She was born the sixth of eight children to a deeply religious family on the East Coast of the United States. Janice’s parents believed in discipline for discipline’s sake, and Janice was punished harshly, even as a toddler, for what might be just a minor infraction in another family — such as crying, fidgeting, eating too little, eating too much, or refusing to immediately obey an order from her parents.
Too large family, overstressed mom, only way to get attention is to do something that invites punishment. Mother doesn't speak to her except to criticize, father doesn't touch her except to beat her in punishment. Her siblings were friendly enough but she couldn't interact with them without starting a fight which brought more punishment. She didn't want that treatment, but it was the only way she knew how to interact with the world. Keeping to the rules just meant you were ignored.
Of course she was Home Schooled, but her parents let her go to High School with the rest of the kids. But now she's isolated from her siblings, under-educated, and has no social skills! The teachers initially took pity on her but her default method of getting attention quickly wore out their goodwill. Paradoxically she started to love detention as it was the only time she got to sit in quiet and think. She started deliberately breaking rules on tough days to avoid going home.
Track and Field provided an escape, she's wasn't social enough for team sports but track focuses on the individual. Her teachers were thrilled that the "ugly duckling" had bloomed into a swan capable of running a 7 minute mile. But her parents hated it because the track uniforms were immodest and athletics were unseemly for a young woman. And every medal she won was just another sin of pride in their eyes. She only lasted one year before her parents made her quit in an epic fight that actually brought in Janice's coach in her defense. As a result Janice stopped acting out to get attention, now she started acting out to get revenge against her parents who had taken away the one thing she was ever really good at and loved doing.
This new willfullness of her brought with it a commensurate increase in punishment severity and frequency. Nights without food, or sleeping in the garage were the mildest punishments her father could come up with. Her new escape came in dreams of the day when the tables would be turned on her parents, with her being bigger and stronger and forcing everyone to love her and do what she said. Sleep became her new escape, which meant she was now beaten for being lazy. She sought validation and quickly found her soul, an ancient tyrant named Tears in the Dark who thrived on the tears of the penitent. Once she accepted her heritage as an Anakim Nemesis she felt herself freed from any sense of ethical or moral obligations. She started breaking rules at a rapid pace: smoking, drinking, shoplifting, lying, brawling with her classmates. The meager punishments of her teachers and parents meant nothing to her now. At night she would dole out punishments against those who she believed had wronged her. Her father was her first victim and her first kill. Her horror took delight in breaking him down bit by bit until one night he simply did not wake up. His murder, and the absolute lack of suspicion cast upon her, just emboldened her further. Of course, now a widow, her mother couldn't deal with Janice on her own, so she used part of her husband's life insurance policy to send Janice to "A New Start For Troubled Teens" a reform school/summer camp in the New Mexico desert.
Isn't this the plot of Holes?
For a teenager brought to A New Start, life is utter misery. Even boot camp has better conditions. The students, or clients — a euphemism the staff likes to use — have every minute of their day highly regulated. Privacy is nonexistent; even the showers are communal. Education is minimal, as the clients spend most of their day on hard manual labor: digging ditches, building fences, hauling rocks, or cleaning the camp buildings. Those who break any of the camp’s myriad of small rules are denied sleep, meals, or even water (a dire prospect in New Mexico).
Anyways, Barracks full of angry children and an underpaid staff of barely competent bullies meant Tears in the Dark could feast to it's lack-of-heart's content. Janice also made her first and only real friend during this time, a changeling named Madeline. After being used as a human pet for a year, Madeline was sent to A New Start since she had apparently run away from home and came back confused and rebellious. The two of them served as a decent balm for each other, making the camp slightly more bearable. And while Janice was able to help Madeline cope with being a changeling, the reverse was not true. As Madeline had no idea what a Beast actually was, and thought that encouraging Janice to revel in her horror and pursue more supernatural power was a good idea. Janice began to lose her grip on reality, but Tears in the Dark did not want to leave the realm of free meals, so Janice came up with a plan.
Miraculously Janice became a model camper, at least on the outside, as a part of a long con to become a junior counselor at A New Start. She quickly rose through the ranks until she was the chief counselor at the camp. Madeline stayed on as well to support her friend, hurt by her distance but Tears was exerting more and more control over the young beast. Soon Janice's lair expanded across the whole compound, she had never met another beast and had never heard any kind of warnings against letting her Beast grow too powerful, exerting too much control, having too much freedom. By the time Madeline figured out that she had convinced Janice to do something wrong, it was too late. "Janice Esterhaus" was gone, and Tears in the Sand had been born.
Tears no longer draws a paycheck from A New Start as they had her terminated for abandonment a long time ago. Nonetheless Tears thinks of the camp as hers, she's safe from any would be heroes and no one will believe a troubled teenager. Every 18 weeks a new crop of victims arrives. Tears finds the standouts, the strongest, smartest, best-liked, and breaks them down. She's especially attracted to male petty tyrants and female mean girls.
Madeline, for her part, stays on as a Staff Counselor plagued with guilt over what she pushed Janice to become, quietly making sure that Janice remains hidden and supplied with enough victims to keep her stated. And enforcing the only rule that she has been able to make Tears understand - no killing.
Janice had a long, successful career at A New Start before succumbing to Tears in the Dark, and appears to be in her late 30s or early 40s, though that’s the only human aspect of her remaining. Now Tears on the Sand stands nearly seven feet tall, built like a cage fighter and covered with a thick, cracked skin that has more in common with an alligator than a person. Her long, formerly-brown hair is matted and coiled, turned the color of desert sand. Similarly, her nails have grown into sharp, jagged talons. Tears on the Sand vaguely remembers the use of clothes, and so wears little more than the tattered, soiled remains of shirts and trousers stolen from her prey. Tears on the Sand only bathes when it rains; as a result, the first hint her victims have of her approach is often the smell.
Madeline is a Venombite Kith, though her mortal seeming is a mousy, nervous, brown-haired woman about the same age as Tears. The nearest freehold is two-hours away and she refuses to leave Tears alone for that long, so she's not joined a court and is fairly starved for companionship. Her primary concern is protecting her old friend. She lies, cheats, and steals to keep Tears safe, and she refuses to accept that her friend has become a creature devoid of human intelligence or warmth, hoping that Janice will come back one day.
For her part Tears cannot function as a person. Some part of her recognizes Madeline as a friend, and she won't harm or attack Madeline unless she attacks Tears first. The campers and faculty are fair game though, she prefers to feed on faculty. If Tears judges a punishment dealt to a student is unfair, she'll ravage the faculty and leave the student alone.
Occasionally another supernatural creature gets sent to the camp by their overwrought parents, changelings get sent to the nearest freehold by madeline, Beasts sometimes gain Tears' strange form of friendship(Until they break a rule), others are novelties to the rampant beast.
“That changeling at A New Start used to be lovers with that Beast she has holed up there. That’s the only reason she’s stuck around for as long as she has. It also explains why she’s so defensive. She’ll fight you if you try to get to close. You want to deal with Tears on the Sand, you gotta go through Madeline first.”
Nope, it's just guilt. Madeline has deliberately broken several rules in an attempt to get Tears to punish and feed from her, but Tears refuses.
“Tears on the Sand owns the whole place, top to bottom. Madeline might be the face of the operation, but it can’t run properly without the Beast to control things. I don’t know the legal stuff behind it, but I’m pretty sure they have someone else fronting the business side of things to make it look legit on the surface. I bet you could come in with lawyers and sweep the whole operation out from under their feet.”
On a financial level? No. On a metaphysical level? Hell yes.
“Nah, man. I’m serious. You’re new, so I’ll be nice. There’s something that lives in that shed out there, and it’ll get you at night. If you want to be safe, sneak some food out during lunch and leave it by the door. Yeah, no worries. We gotta look out for each other, right? But, for reals. The thing also don’t like messy people. I know the showers suck and the laundry room ain’t much better, but don’t be a chump. Keep your clothes clean and take regular showers, the way the rules say, and you’ll be okay. No, I swear to god I’m not fooling you. This is for real, man. The teachers don’t know squat, but whatever is living out in that shed is real.”
This is mostly what the kids have been able to piece together about Tears, not all of it is true, but she's in no position to educate them otherwise.
“There is no queen of the werewolves, don’t be ridiculous. Even if there were, we would not bow to a creature such as the one that lives by the isolated camp for unhappy adolescent humans. That thing is pathetic and sad, utterly reliant on its fae minder. No, it doesn’t control us any more than you do.”
There is a werewolf pack that lives in the desert near the camp, and they're aware of Tears and Madeline. At some point they might have feared her but now they pity them both as an object lesson in maintaining a link to your humanity.
"It's like Salute Your Shorts except with more murder."
• Legends and rumors about Tears on the Sand have circulated among Beasts for years, but no one has been able to get close enough to the camp to verify them. An opportunity to do just this comes to the Brood when John Finch, the co-owner, dies suddenly and his widow Carol decides to sell the business. As part of the process, Carol needs her land surveyed and appraised. By taking the job, the characters gain access to Tears on the Sand. Tears on the Sand, however, can sense the Horrors entering her territory and isn’t pleased at the incursion. She makes this displeasure known to Madeleine, and recruits her to help drive the characters away. The player characters must navigate an increasingly-hostile territory while attempting to both complete the job they’ve been hired to do and learn the truth about Tears on the Sand.
• Suitable for an introductory chronicle, the characters come together as clients, a group of unruly adolescent Beasts who have just gone through or are on the cusp of their Devouring. While Tears on the Sand is hostile to the incursions of adult Beasts, she makes allowances for the newly-arrived fledglings. After all, it’s not their fault they’re here. Almost instinctively, Tears on the Sand attracts new Horrors to the camp, hoping to help the nascent Beasts go through their Devouring while avoiding the worst abuses by camp staff. Once Madeleine realizes what’s going on, she sees the young Beasts as her chance to make amends for what she sees as her mistakes with Janice.
• The characters — who may be clients, faculty, or a mix — face a unique threat when a particularly determined and pitiless pair of Heroes arrive at the compound posing as FBI agents. They’re here for Tears on the Sand, whose constant, mindless predations have finally alerted the pair to her presence. Using forged warrants to gain control of the compound, the Heroes run roughshod over everyone in their determination to locate and kill Tears on the Sand. The FBI agents arrive with only Tears on the Sand in their sights, but may become aware of the other Beasts at A New Start as they search. Betraying Tears on the Sand to the Heroes before they learn of any other Beasts at the camp could save the rest; but are the characters willing to sell out one of the family? They must also contend with Madeleine’s extreme protectiveness – she may not understand the exact relationship between Heroes and Beasts, but she knows they intend harm to her friend, and she won’t stand for it.
• Madeleine contacts the Brood, asking for their help. Over the past several years, Madeleine has been carefully studying whatever fragments of Beast lore she can find. She’s desperately trying to understand the nature of the Begotten in general, and what has happened to her friend in specific. After struggling through a particularly difficult occult text written in a Latin cipher, Madeleine thinks she has finally figured out how to turn Tears on the Sand back into her old friend Janice. She needs the help of the characters to perform the magic, however — or at least, she thinks she does. Once the characters arrive and take stock of the situation, they quickly realize that Tears on the Sand is a Beast Rampant, and in their eyes, there’s nothing wrong with her. The only ‘solution’ to her condition is to kill Tears on the Sand if she is too much trouble. Such a solution is unacceptable to Madeleine, despite the fact that Tears on the Sand is acting out more and more violently in response to the presence of the strange Beasts. The characters must determine the best way to bring the situation to a close, even if that does mean eventually killing Tears on the Sand and/or Madeleine.
Her statline is about what you'd expect. Honestly she's not a bad character, but just one that's hyper specialized for a single type of chronicle that you'd really need to shoehorn in. I do love the plot hook where Madeline brings in a beast band to try and fix her and the beasts go "nope she's fine, just keep her fed."
But that's all the beasts. But now it's time to double down on the idiocy. Cause you see, Matt decided to try and make Beasts more palatable by creating something even worse than Beasts.
Up Next: If you stare too long into the Abyss, the Abyss makes you burn your house down
Insatiables part 1Original SA post
Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes - Insatiables part 1
The intro fiction for this chapter involves a Beast walking down the street when he feels something wrong with his lair. So he finds the nearest entry point and pops in for a look. He finds a stranger sitting at a table, someone who doesn't belong except for the fact that he does. He seems right, perfect for this place, in fact the Lair seems to be warping around him to suit the stranger's needs. Then the stranger cocks his head, turns into that thing on the above image and screams "I'VE COME HOME!"
What are the Insatiables? Well, if I want to be a pithy shitstain (and I do) they're Beasts but Worse. Beasts "always feel different and out of place until the moment they are devoured and their horror defines them". Insatiables are normal people who just sort of get... consumed one day.
The Lamashtu. The Obscene Ones. The Nightmares of Beasts. No matter their true name, the Beasts know them by one name in particular that best describes who and what they are: the Insatiable. They are not just creatures whose Hunger cannot be sated, but entities that forcefully intrude into the world and disrupt the ebb and flow of the Primordial Dream with their actions. They are creatures made of concepts alien to how humanity thinks. They are the nightmare that is the Hunger left unchecked and given horrific form, and they feed not just upon the dreams of man but on the fears of the Beasts themselves. They are monsters whose hunger cannot be reined in, and it is from this lust to fill the emptiness inside of them that they gain their powers.
Hoo boy that's a lot of capitalized nouns. We'll get to them later.
As he struggles to reconcile the strange environments he sees in his mind, he eventually crosses a threshold and appears in the Moment that inspires his Insatiable. This alien concept then devours his spirit, replacing it with the Insatiable. He is his old self and something new, existing simultaneously and tumultuously. The newly-orphaned creature sees the world with new eyes for the first time, and the Hunger grows inside of him. The Hunger always grows. Soon, the Insatiable takes over his reasoning, and he feels compelled to do nothing else but find ways to feed — specifically, to find Beasts to prey on.
Some Beasts believe that the Insatiables are some failed creation of the Dark Mother, an early attempt to harness the hunger that defines her. Others think that they're byproducts of an age before mankind's fears touched the dream, abandoned now that Horrors fill it's depths. The Insatiables find Beasts fascinating, both as prey and fellow predators. They are kin, but Insatiables don't feel the pull of family. Each one sees other Insatiables as kin, but also as competition for food and territory, because their their "Schism" will interfere with any surrounding Insatiables. They're particularly obsessed with Lairs, because they can't build any of their own. But they can steal them from Beasts, corrupting them to their own purposes.
There are other similarities, they have nightmares and atavisms. And they can reveal their monstrous forms to humanity, but they don't resemble any earthly horrors. Oh no, they're much stupider (again, we'll get to that later).
Oh, yeah, and when they feed they literally feed. They have to consume their victims to get satiety.
Insatiable are horrors from a time of primordial struggle and hunger, and as such feel that to survive they must feed as often as possible. An Insatiable is not the subtle predator that the Beasts try to be and, worst of all, they do not release fears back into the Primordial Dream. When they devour their victims, they devour their fears completely, and starve the Primordial Dreams of the stories that sustain it. Born with a ravenous hunger that goes beyond the hunger pains that Beasts feel, the Insatiable are driven not just by satiating their appetites but the constant pursuit of them. They are gluttons starved of any ability to keep their own Hunger in check, and though they have not become mindless predators who seek to do nothing but feed, their Hunger is always on their mind. This hunger drives them to not only seek out humans for a meal, but also other Beasts and supernatural creatures.
For their part Insatiables do not believe they are descended from the Dark Mother, at least not alone. They claim that before the dawn of Man there were other creatures like the Dark Mother that roamed the Primordial Dream, and one of them was the Primogenitor. It fell in love with the Dark Mother and... yeah it fucked the dark mother and now we have Insatiables. Beasts think that this story is a pile of shit, since neither the Dark Mother or the Primordial Dream give them any answers about what the Primogenitor is. Regardless, they still have Atavisms and Nightmares, so the Beasts can't completely dismiss their claims of kinship.
The Unsated Hunger
God this is edgy as hell time for more quoting.
The world owes them. Insatiables are reminding me of some kind of bizarre false flag of Beast, a parody of what Matt thinks we think Beasts are. Also they're breaking the cycle because they aren't allowing fear to flow back into the Primordial Dream, this was not stated to be something that was important before now but sure I guess it is now. But the game has done enough dancing around the proper nouns. Let's talk about Moments.
Whether the Dark Mother intended for the Insatiable to be the ones that keep the Beasts in check or they were an accident of cosmic circumstance, the Insatiable pursue and prey upon Beasts as a superior predator would. They view the Beasts as a resource like any other. Beasts either feed their desires and their hungers, or are destroyed, and if the Insatiable inflicts pain and suffering on the world in the process, they do not care. They owe the world nothing, and the world deserves the pain generated from the Insatiable’s Moment.
The Insatiable absorb points of Satiety from their victims in the same way a Beast feeds upon their prey, but the mortal never survives the process with an Insatiable. The Insatiable do not feed by devouring the dreams of human beings, though they do absorb these dreams and terrors as they feed. Instead, the Insatiable devours their victim brutally and carnally, often leaving behind gnawed bones and chunks of flesh scattered about. While this might not seem similar to how Beasts feed their Hunger, it has disastrous effects on the Primordial Dream, as the mortal’s fears do not flow back into the Dream, but are instead devoured by the Insatiable.
Insatiables don't have families, since they don't have horrors. Instead they are memories of a time when the environment was scarier than the beasts who lived in it. A Makara might have a horror of a great sea beast, an Insatiable will have the soul of a hurricane.
Insatiables have souls of natural disasters, sort of, it's very fucking confusing and they don't really explain it well at all.
Oh yeah, also they're elemental. Earth, Fire, Air, Water, and VOID.
The Moments do not always manifest as primordial eras, and some are inspired by modern times. An Insatiable of the Molten Earth may project the feelings of violence and hatred for fellow human beings, while a Freezing Hell may cause the people in the area where he makes his home to become obsessed with hoarding their food and possessions in preparation for an upcoming calamity. An Insatiable of the Void causes her victims to believe that the world is coming to an end, so they must get rid of all their possessions and ignore laws because it will all end, and a Primordial Seas may turn an upper-class neighborhood into a bloodthirsty cult that serves her whims by delivering her food and culling the middle class in order to keep them in their place.
Just to give you an example of how poorly explained this shit is.
See, they're mountains and caves and canyons and.. whatever. Clashing Faults feed by brutalizing their prey as they devour them, often pulling their victims into the ground to devour them to suffocate them as they are consumed. Their dens tend to be caves and valleys, and show no emotion as they feed as they are a constant of the universe and need not show remorse.
The Clashing Faults are a world of towering mountains crumbling before the shaking earth. They are the caves that lure in those seeking shelter from the elements and then cave in on themselves, crushing those seeking a safe place to sleep under their stone grip. They are the lands that split apart into massive canyons and seas that drain in from the ocean, drowning all in their path. The Insatiable from this Moment lack compassion or empathy, and remember their founder as the one who cradled the Dark Mother as she slept and whose form held up the world.
Insatiables with the Moment of Freezing Hell are perpetually cold, but they are also "The animals that starved for warm blood and fresh food in an age when the world was barren and cold." So the are animals now? They're more patient than their kin and are prone to eating fat and drinking blood of their prey. They keep their dens in cold places and walk in freezers, keeping their prey on ice until they need to feed. Their Horrible Form(Yes, another proper noun) appears like snow drifts that flow like water or vortexes of wind and snow.
Remember when the earth was a ball of molten rock and sulfer? That's where these guys come from. They want to see the world cast down and made anew, but they see it like burning away old growth to make room for new trees. They are quick to anger and prone to destructive tendancies, they prefer to cook their prey as they devour it, alive. Their dens are in burnt buildings and coal mines, storing their prey inside piles of kindling.
Oh did you think that the freezing hells were the water moment? No they're Air. They think that the Primogenitor is a "Great jellyfish that roamed the seas", and embody the fear of "Killing to live and sacrifice so others may live." I... don't even know. They apparently feel the pull of their hungers even more acutely than their siblings, and give into their violent instincts while feeding. Their dens are like animal nests, thrown together out of whatever's avaliable, and their horrible forms are composed of the bodyparts of animals in strange fusions of flesh and bone... i guess?
By your powers combined I am THE CRIPPLING FEAR OF INEVITABILITY. They do not represent the night's sky but the "Unknown darkness that makes up the space between the stars. They are the cold shadow that blankets the earth and gives cover to predators seeking to hunt in the dark. When the first fires cooled and the light of volcanos and meteor strikes did not light the sky, the world was held in a dark grip." They are the fear of the unknown. Of Infinity. Of basically everything else that the game can't properly define.
They don't conform to anything, even each other. They aren't aliens, they're gamma ray bursts, they're nebulae, they're plants from planets with atmospheres so alien that it defies belief. Their dens are equally confusing, made to fit whatever suits the Insatiable at that moment.
We finally get a good explanation about why the way Insatiables feed is bad, Beasts represent primordial, but knowable fears. A child that burns their hand on an oven knows that ovens are hot. An insatiable instead convinces the child that turning on the oven will turn the kitchen into a volcano and that they will die in a sea of lava. Their manner of feeding damages the primordial dream and begins to twist the area around them, neighborhoods give way to mob rule as they burn their neighbor's homes to get rid of the impostors that live there. Students are suddenly afraid of leaving their dorms because the quad is a literal sea of monsters. Fears of man are pushed out of the Dream and replaced with pure irrationality.
Since insatiables don't have Lairs, they instead create physical dens. They have no mystical defenses to protect them, and appear clearly to anyone who discovers them. Instead Insatiables use dens as a public statement to the world of their might and glory, as well as a place to rest after a good meal. Dens are full of trophies, in one form or another, and their locations are often important. They're also disconcerting places to be, as they are full of rotting flesh and effluvia, anyone other that the Insatiable that created it suffers the Sick tilt until they leave.
I'd continue on but it's late, and I'm mentally exhausted from general RPG news that's occurred in the last two days, so "character" creation will have to wait.
Next Time: More Fucking Proper Nouns
Insatiables part 2Original SA post
Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes - Insatiables part 2
Creating the Insatiable
A more pertinent reason why the Insatiables aren't meant to be used as PCs is that they're mechanically non-functional. Even more so than Heroes. They theoretically have advancement mechanics but not really, and the main way for an insatiable to be a real threat to a Beast is to have them level up on other Beasts off screen by GM Fiat so that they actually stand a chance against a player band.
Insatiable are not simply Beasts that are hungrier than their counterparts. They are ravenous monsters that strike out at the world and tear apart society with their horrific powers and the maddening effects of the Schism. They are not intended as player characters, as the Insatiable represent living, irrational concepts of reality that have no rhyme or reason to exist. Where a Beast constantly struggles with her Hunger, an Insatiable is his Hunger, and exists only to feed it.
Once you've gotten the attributes, skills, and specialties out of the way, you pick your Insatiable's Moment. Which gives them a special power. Primordial Seas take a -2 penalty to willpower and social rolls but gain a dot of Strength and Wits. Freezing Hells gain a dot of stamina and 2 extra health but take a -2 penalty to Intiative. Molten Earths can spend a point of satiety to make their unarmed attacks to deal aggravated damage but they take 1 point of Aggravated damage in the process, how long does this last? The game doesn't say! Clashing Fault gain Armor 2/1 but take -1 to defense. Finally, Void can spend a point of willpower to invoke Impossible Vista, even if they don't have the power, in the area around her for a number of minutes equal to their current willpower, if they have Impossible Vista they get a +2 bonus to the roll to activate it.
What's Impossible Vista you ask? Well, it's an Esurient, a class of Insatiable only powers.
Yes, their powers are called Hungries.
By that token, I really hate the way the Moments alternate back and forth between different methods of Address, Primordial Seas are a plural, Freezing Hell is singular. The Molten Earth has a term of address for some reason, Clashing Fault is singular again, and "Void" is just a word, for some reason they didn't use "Unfathomable Void"? it's just inconsistent, and ultimately doesn't matter since insatiables are just NPCs anyway. Why do they need this level of splat fidelity when they're explicitly NPCs?
Back on Topic, the storyteller just assigns Esurients to the Insatiable as they feel is necessary based on how strong the Insatiable is supposed to be. Same with Nightmares. Atavisms... well, they're only supposed to have them if they're Subverted(Yes, that's a proper noun) a Beast's Lair, or they've stolen them with an Esurient. But the ones from the Esurient are explicitly temporary. Also: The insatiable gains all the bonuses a Beast gets from undergoing the Merger... except as mentioned earlier Insatiables don't have Lair dots natively, and Lair dots are explicitly temporary so you'd have to constantly re-apply and re-calculate the Merger template and bonuses. "Except they do not gain the bonus to detecting ambushes" That's... that isn't a power they get by default, that is one of the powers that they are allowed to pick in exchange for one of the Lair dots they lose when they go into the Merger. Did whoever wrote this just think that the list of potential Merger powers was just a list of what Merged beasts got once they merged? In addition to the Merger powers that they may or may not get, there are a couple of other things Insatiables get by default.
Insatiables can appear as a normal human being, or manifest their Moment the same way a Merged Beast becomes a physical embodiment of their Horror. But Moments aren't assembled bits of human folklore like Horrors are, instead they're more like sentient angry concepts. So an Insatiable's Horrible Form might appear as a swarm of fanged spheres, or a gaunt giant with no orifices or features save for a black hole in their sternum. The human mind is incapable of processing a Horrible Form, either way, since it has no amalgam in our collective unconscious. Mortals instantly flee and rationalize away the encounter, if they are forced to spend a scene or longer in the presence of a Horrible Form they gain the Shaken condition. Supernatural creatures must roll Resolve+Tolerance or gain it as well.
Insatiables don't conform to rational concepts of biology, and any power that affects their body doesn't gain the benefit of extraordinary successes when used against them... wait, fucking wait. They're Abberations so they're immune to critical hits? This isn't D&D! For fucks sake.
Insatiables start with 0 Lair, and can gain points by stealing access to a Beast's lair. This lasts for as long as they maintain control of the Beast or their Lair, and afterwards they lose one dot of Lair per day. They can steal Atavisms from a Beast who's Lair they've subverted and retain them even after their lair falls back to 0. They can also spend points of Satiety to temporarily boost their lair rating, creating nightmare realms out of nothingness, they only last one day per point of Satiety spent. But some Insatiables think that these temporary lairs are their only true homes and thus devour mortals at a frightening rate to keep their dream alive, literally.
An Insatiable also does not show up in the Primordial Dream and leaves no lasting residue of his appearance apart from the Schism (ed: yes, another proper noun that they're referring to out of order). To Beasts, Insatiable appear as faint ripples in the Primordial Dream, but do not stand out among the other dreams and fears. A Beast or supernatural creature using a power to detect an Insatiable suffers a -2 penalty to any dice rolls associated with searching, though an Insatiable who uses any of its powers becomes immediately noticeable as a foreign presence that feels wrong and damaging to the world. Heroes cannot sense Insatiable the way they do Beasts due to this phenomenon, and even Schisms do not necessarily alert a Hero to an Insatiable’s presence, making them a threat only Beasts are equipped to deal with.
Let me repeat that.
"making them a threat only Beasts are equipped to deal with"
Yup, this is Matt's justification, we must accept the child rapist because only they can fight the dude who eats people.
The Act of Subversion
Functionally, there are two versions of Subversion, one that works better if the Beast is hungry, and one that works better if the Beast is full.
The Insatiable cannot build their own Lairs. Like owls, they instead steal the nests built by others and make them their own. An Insatiable is a covetous creature, stealing Lairs away from its victims and then tossing them aside when it encounters an even greater Lair. Like most things, it’s the thrill of the hunt and of devouring that appeals to the Insatiable, not the actual conquest. That does not mean they are looking only to borrow a nest. The Insatiable aim not only to take control of the Lair and the Hive it is be bonded to, but to gorge themselves upon the Beast and the things that make up his existence. An Insatiable, once it has targeted a Beast, will aim to devour everything about that Beast until there is nothing left.
Subversion of Contentment
And they open up with a curve ball. See, up until now they've talked about how you use Subversion to take over a Beast's Lair. But if the beast is full you instead take over the BEAST PLAYER CHARACTER. This requires skin contact, either by passing by and touching them, or by crushing them in a hug with their monstrous void tentacles, either way, you make an extended contested roll of the Insatiable's Strength+Satiety vs the Beast's Composure+Willpower. (It should be noted that usually you don't roll willpower, you roll Composure+Resolve as Willpower is a derived trait. Is the Beast rolling Composure+Composure+Resolve?) The beast loses a dice for each point of Satiety above 5, and gains a dice for each point below 5. For each success the Insatiable gains the beast loses a point of Composure and Presence(Meaning they actually lose two dice because of the aforementioned Composure being rolled twice thing) before they roll again. When each attribute reaches zero the Insatiable subverts the Beast's consciousness and gains control for one hour per point of Satiety the Beast used to have as the Moment pushes the Horror aside and takes control of the Beast. It says that this is an immediately recognizable act as the Horror rails against it. But it's also an extended contested action with no time interval, that can apparently be initiated by gently touching their hand as you walk by. Does it continue after the Insatiable removes contact? Is it instantaneous despite the multiple rolls? Is there any way for a Beast to actually break free or an explanation for what happens if he wins the contested roll? None of these questions are answered. Also does the Insatiable physically enter the Beast when they're controlling their mind? They sort of imply that they do. At least they do address the massive breach of player trust that mind control is.
"You are likely not a monster, but you are playing Beast."
Subversion of Hunger
This is the version that they were talking up earlier, when a Beast is hungry their Lair is somehow left vulnerable (despite the fact that their Horror is more active when a Beast is hungry but the fact that they've forgotten Beasts thematic mechanics is the least of this book's problems at this point). "Her constant hunger is so visceral that it pervades everything she does; she not only hungers for flesh and terror, but power and dominance. The only way to have everything is to take everything from her prey." To do this the Insatiable stalks a Beast, noting which entrances and exits he uses to get to his lair. Then she waits until the Beast leaves and pierces through the layers of the Dream to enter herself. This takes 3 points of Satiety if they're entering from the material world, or 1 point if they're entering from another Lair in the same hive. Once in the lair they must touch a thematically important object. Such as the brackish swamp water for a Beast that's a poison spitting hydra, or the bones of a Harpy's victims. This results in an extended and contested roll against the Lair's owner. with the Insatiable's Satiety+presence(remember: he had to spend 3 Satiety to get here, probably) vs the Beast's Willpower+Lair(Rolling willpower again?), each roll takes 30 minutes of time, If the Insatiable has made it to the Heart of the Lair she gains +2 to the roll. and a Beast is instantly aware that something is going on in their Lair and will immediately act to do something about it.
After each roll, if the Insatiable has more successes than the Beast, she works to reshape the lair to suit her needs. Each additional success steals a point of Lair from the Beast, temporarily transferring it to the Insatiable. If the Beast gains more successes the attempt fails and the Insatiable loses any gained lair dots. If the Insatiable gains no successes the attempt fails and they can't try again for one day. Once the Beast loses all the dots of his Lair, ownership transfers to the Insatiable until driven out by the Beast or she relinquishes control over it. The Insatiable must visit the Lair daily to maintain control as the Primordial Dream itself fights against the defilement. When the Insatiable relinquishes control or is forced from a Lair, it degrades by one point a day until the dots are fully restored to their owner.
This is more mechanically complete, but it still has problems. It simultaneously states that the Insatiable can leave, but also can't leave. Cause they have to come back once a day (Spending an absurd amount of Satiety to do so every time) but if the Beast "forces them out" Then they lose control. I'm not sure which it's supposed to be.
Also: Why is this the subversion of hunger? There's no mechanical benefit if the Beast is hungry.
Beasts try to stay anonymous, usually, attracting attention means Heroes, which means you're probably going to die. Insatiables don't care about that, they consider everything in this world transitory, and don't care if they kill one man or twenty as long as they sate their hunger. The strange nature of the Insatiable causes ripples in the Primordial Dream, centered around their Dens. The more an Insatiable feeds in an area, the more it changes how mortal humans in the area interact with each other. It starts slowly and people often overlook the effects as just outbreaks of bizarre behavior. A Little League game turns into a shouting match between parents who used to be friends. In church the friendly pastor might suddenly give out a fire and brimstone sermon about all of the congregations sins that he somehow possesses secret knowledge of. As the influence of the Insatiable fades, these events also fade from their minds as random events not worth remembering.
But if the Schism gets worse, these strange behaviors heighten the emotions and paranoia of those that spend more than an hour in the area. People act impulsively, or suffer from delusions. They often suspect their neighbors of harboring violent thoughts and others abandon long-held ideals for beliefs that grant them temporary comfort. Many Insatiables take advantage of this growing paranoia to build a cult around themselves to help feed their Hunger. Once the Schism reaches it's peak, conflict overwhelms the area as people give in to violence and destructive influences. Mob rule sets in as threats to the community are driven out or killed, as the individual members fall under a grand delusion. A delusion in which the Insatiable always plays at least some part as their Moment bleeds through into their minds. A Molten Earth schism might see a dozen arsonists start fires to burn out the secret disease that is spreading under their noses. A Void schism might have people bury their still living neighbors deep beneath the earth to stop them from rising as zombies. Insatiables can influence the way their schism goes by making suggestions to members of the local community, as by the very nature of the phenomenon they're seen as right and correct.
Wow, deep cut on Florida.
If an Insatiable dies or leaves the area, her Schism slowly fades as the Primordial Dream repairs the divide between itself and reality. Slowly, people come to their senses and regain rational thought, and many wonder what drove them to such strange behavior. For most, they choose to believe simple explanations to their actions: tainted water sources, a polarizing news story, or having it simply described as a daily occurrence depending on the location of the incident, such as “Well, that’s Florida for you.”
Schisms are rated between 1 and 10, each month of constant feeding increases the Schism by 1. All social rolls made within the affected area suffer a penalty to the local Schism rating and, oh, am I reading this correctly? Yes. Okay. THE LOCAL GAUNTLET IS LOWERED BY ONE PER POINT OF SCHISM TO A MINIMUM OF 1, AND THE NATURE OF THE SCHISM BY IT'S VERY NATURE ATTRACTS GHOSTS AND VIOLENT SPIRITS. Right, got that out of my system. Needless to say this is very bad bordering on Catastrophic, and would probably be stopped by a local Forsaken pack before Beasts even heard about it happening. The Schism's radius is one mile per point of Schism. Beasts are instantly aware if they're in the radius of a Schism, and can determine it's strength with an Occult+Intelligence roll.
As we go through this, remember that Insatiables are all under the Merger, meaning that they need to spend a point of Satiety a day just as a matter of course. And actually getting to a Lair that they "own" costs 3 Satiety.
The insatiable spends a point of Satiety to make her limbs grow stronger, or longer, or something else, that lets her inflict the Staggered Tilt instead of inflicting damage with a melee attack, the Tilt lasts for one round per damage the Insatiable would have dealt. Please note: THE STAGGERED TILT DOES NOT EXIST
Body of Mouths
The insatiable is covered in mouths, each one is capable of both speech and biting. In a grapple they're 2L weapons that can't be controlled by the opponent against the Insatiable, additionally attempts to hold, restrain, or damage the insatiable suffer a -2 penalty. Damage? Like all damage? Not just damage in a grapple? What?
This does not, apparently, actually involve setting someone on fire, instead it's electrifying your skin while you touch someone. You spend a point of Satiety to deal 2 Lethal damage to anyone who comes in contact with you (For what duration?) anyone affected by this touch must make a Stamina+Survival(..what?) roll to avoid gaining the Paralyzed Tilt. THE PARALYZED TILT ALSO DOES NOT EXIST.
Channel the Lifeblood
Is this a reflexive thing when they're damaged? or is it "once they've taken lethal damage they can make ranged attacks with their blood?" I have no idea.
The Insatiable challenges the raw elements of the moment of his birth, channeling them through his body and unleashing them upon his victim. After the Insatiable has taken Lethal or Aggravated damage, he can channel that pain into a raw physical attack composed of the elements of his Moment. The Storyteller makes a ranged attack using the Insatiable’s Strength + number of Health boxes filled with both Lethal and Aggravated damage; the attack has a rating of 2 lethal.
This is an Insatiable "Leaving Behind a Calling Card", letting other Beasts and Insatiables know they're in the area and willing to kill them. They must partially devour a creature while it's alive, but leave behind the corpse. Spending a point of satiety imbues the corpse with a supernatural aura that makes anyone who looks at it violently ill, and supernatural creatueres feel ill at ease with the senseless and violent death. Mortals take a -2 penalty to social and mental rolls for a scene, supernatural creatures can resist it will resolve+composure(yay, they got the dicepool right!) beasts can add their Lair dots to this roll to resist.
To activate this power an Insatiable must spend A POINT OF LAIR and then has free access to use it for the rest of the scene. Then they must spend 2 points of Satiety to target a victim with the power, rolling the Insatiables Satiety(which just got lowered by 2)+Strength against the target's Resolve+Stamina. If the insatiable gains more successes, the target is thrown into an Illusion that sees the environment warped to the Insatiables own design. Those trapped this way can attempt to escape by spending a point of Willpower and rolling resolve+composure(good for you!). If they fail, they must roll Stamina+Survival or suffer 2 lethal damage each round, as the character believes the environment is attacking them. Those removed from this delusion often show physical signs of damage despite not having actually gone anywhere.
The Insatiable come from moments in time that no living creature has ever seen, and for a brief time they can trap their opponents in these vistas. Once affected by this power, the target actually believes he is in another time and place, and he cannot help but struggle against the primordial elements he sees there. The vista is different from one Insatiable to the next, but it is as grand and awe inspiring as it is brutal and terrifying.
A point of lair is insane, especially when you remember that a Void insatiable can just inflict this on everyone around them for a single point of Willpower, ignoring the secondary satiety expenditure as well.
The Insatiable can spend 2 points of willpower to get a +1 bonus to stealth and project an image onto the senses of others, it has to be a specific image and can't be subjective. But it can be "A Mail carrier" or "The beast I'm hunting".
Laws of Man No Longer Apply
Since the Insatiable is by it's very nature something that defies nature, they can impose this on reality around them. They can't cause sweeping changes, but they can nudge the laws of probability in their favor.
I'm sorry what. No, no, you need to be more fucking specific than this. "dealing with his environment"? "yeah there was a gust of wind and that lets me punch you better." One satiety to get a flat +2 bonus to all rolls for the rest of the scene is absurdly strong.
The player spends a point of Satiety and adds a +2 bonus to rolls in which the Insatiable is dealing with his environment for the rest of the Scene. He is able to manipulate the bullets fired from a gun to better seek their targets or is able to stay warm despite being locked in a freezer. In addition, the Insatiable ignores all penalties due to Environmental Tilts.
An Insatiable with this power can manipulate her Schism to directly control people affected by it. Each week an Insatiable can spend 5 points of satiety (-1 per point of Schism to a minimum of 1) to force humans who hear her commands to obey her. They may roll Resolve+composure to resist but are at a -1 penalty for each level of the Schism's rating. This lasts for one week per level of the Schism. Does your Insatiable have a level 6 schism? Congratulations on your brand new zombie army.
This is just Horrible form again, except the shaken condition kicks in immediately rather than after a Scene.
Though Beasts are able to briefly manifest their guise as a monster from mythology for only brief moments, Insatiable are able to manifest their forms more fully. With Terrible Form, they are able to assume forms that do not conform to any shape that seems possible in our world. An Insatiable of the Void may turn its body into chunks of burning meteorites caught in a swirling tornado and an Insatiable of the Primordial Seas may assume the form of a swarm of stinging tentacles that merge into a knot of corded muscle. These forms are insidious and frightening to behold, and can shatter the minds of those who look at them.
She manifests the terrible form in a show of immediate power, manifesting the effects of her Horrible Form more powerfully than normal. Humans automatically suffer the Shaken Condition when forced to look upon her form, and must attempt to flee the area through any manner, even if that requires a fight or injuring themselves. Supernatural creatures are immune to the fear effect, and roll Resolve + Supernatural Tolerance to resist gaining the Shaken Condition.
We Can See Your Insides
...you can spend a point of Satiety to make a person's skin translucent.
Anyone who sees this has to roll resolve+composure or gain the sickened tilt (which doesn't exist, it's the Sick tilt) for the rest of the scene.
The existence of clothing appears to mean nothing to this power.
Your Power Is Mine
By spending a point of satiety and touching a Beast, an Insatiable can steal a Nightmare or Atavism for the rest of the scene by succeeding on a Satiety+Manipulation vs Satiety+Lair roll.
Okay, let me go over my opinions on Insatiables in General before I go into the examples. Mechanically they have all the failings of Heroes writ large. They go through Satiety on a massive scale, and would need to be killing 3 people a day to keep up with all the things they need to spend it on. Requiring a pile of ST Fiat. Schisms are powerful but require that an Insatiable acts offscreen for an extended period of time, they have access to Atavisms, which are powerful, but require them to have succeeded in a mathematically unlikely roll at some point offscreen. That's also the only way for them to have a supernatural resistance stat at all. So like Heroes the only way that an Insatiable is a danger to anyone is if there's a conga line of weak beasts Jobbing to them off screen.
Also Insatiables in general get plot hooks in addition to the individual insatiables plot hooks.
• The local gas station comes under new management, and the sweet old couple who used to run it have disappeared. The new owner, who introduces himself as James Johannson Jeremiah Johnson, always talks to customers as they come in. He sells everything at 50% off, and the gas station has become popular among local teens and those seeking late-night snacks. But, those who visit the gas station notice how cold the owner keeps the air conditioning, and people have started to disappear. The police dragged a teenager from the lot behind the gas station who complained that she was deathly afraid the avalanche would get her.
• Fairpoints Mall, once a regal and upscale shopping center, has fallen on hard times in the past 10 years. Lately, the mall has gained a reputation for violence and small riots as customers turn on each other viciously in order to get items that are on sale. Footage of the riots shows a woman walking in the background, whose dark eyes sit above a knowing smile. The Insatiable is encouraging the customers to give in to their needs for survival and supremacy and has turned the mall from a battleground of economic survival to a trap to bring out the worst natures in people so she may feed.
• Mycroft Park has become a rental complex that caters to those who prefer their privacy and do not wish to associate with others. They have banned any form of public events and have built large fences and walls around the units. The isolation has led to many renters refusing to leave their homes at all, as many feel a predatory nature surrounding the area. The Insatiable of the Void prefers for his victims to stay where he can watch them, and the high Schism of the area has led to the inhabitants fully believing that if they try to leave they will die.
• Dr. Leonardo Trent, a local philanthropist, has moved into one of the neighborhoods off Ritter Street that has been all but abandoned by the city. The people love Dr. Trent, whose radical landscape designs and powerful speeches have made the people believe anything he says. Those who look up his name online find he has moved from neighborhood to neighborhood over the years, and that he always leaves once the previous neighborhood burns itself to the ground. Dr. Trent has encouraged the people in the neighborhood to begin hoarding gas in drums in their garages.
“I wouldn’t do that…the Authority might be watching.”
Good lord that man has a punchable face.
The Authority began as a boy named Carlton who was picked on by his older siblings throughout his entire life. He dreamed of one day bringing ruin to them and living his life without hastle, that day came one day when his fists turned to lava and reduced his brothers to bloody smears and viscera on the carpet for his parents to find. He ran away from home that day and began the regular process of using his lava fists to rob unlucky innocents he came across, but leaving them to go about their lives. He only killed the truly despicable in his city, like thugs and drug pushers. For a while there was talk of a robin hood figure who stole only what he needed to survive in his pursuit of the criminal element. It wasn't too long then, before his activities brought the attention of the Forsaken that were in league with the local drug trade. They warned Carlton to leave the area as his exploits were also affecting the surrounding spirits, but "he knew this was far from the truth" (No we know this is explicitly true). He was just a thorn they wanted out of their paws, so Carlton beat a few of the wolves senseless (how) and turned to the remaining forsaken and demanded their loyalty (How?) "It was a choice between being burned by molten hands or following a new leader, since their previous pack leader was a pile of ash on the ground. This revealed a new aspect of Carlton's power: the ability to control others through fear, without ever having to lay a finger on them." I'm sorry what? Do you know how the Gauru form works? Just... I.. fine.
So now he had his own pack of Werewolf bodyguards who were probably racking up breaking points towards flesh like crazy. He took down all the rest of the drug trades and crime families leaving him at the head of the only remaining family that previously belonged to the Forsaken. Word of the street vigilante faded from public view, and the Authority began making the rounds of the various underground circles. He ruled the crime of the city with an iron fist, who people needed to ask for permission to operate in his city and who had law enforcement on his payroll. No one dared go against him because of his "pack of hounds".
A Reputation that Precedes
That was a year ago, and no one remembers that the Authority was once a homeless vigilante. To most the Authority isn't even a man so much as a construct that lives in the shadows. No one knows his true name outside of his most loyal followers who will crush anyone who would oppose him before they could even scratch the outer surface of his organization.
His close advisers are a bunch of Changelings and Forsaken, some have taken it up as a job, others as a safe harbor that someone with only the wealth and resources of the authority could provide - including protection from the Gentry and Pure. The rest of the supernatural community sees those who serve the Authority as traitors to their own kind out for a quick buck, something with the Authority has no problems leveraging to assimilate other outcasts into his organization.
When someone under his care steps out of line they are dealt with swiftly, quietly, and usually by someone else. In the rare case that he deals with a problem himself he turns it into a spectacle to serve as a warning to any other transgressors. The last person to merit such attention was kept at an abandoned construction site for days before he gathered all his minions to witness the death sentence. Elliot stepped out of the crowd, screamed "This is what happens to the disloyal!", punched the ground open revealing a pit of lava, threw elliot into the lava, then ordered his guards to riddle him with bullets.
That seems conter productive for several reasons.
Incredibly punchable man in an impeccable suit. His horrific form is a creature several heads taller than a human made of lava, with a human skeleton only barely visible inside.
“I hear the best time to strike is the full moon. That’s when his wolves are on a leash, and he can’t keep his eyes everywhere. I know a guy who’s been running drugs under his nose every full moon, hasn’t gotten caught yet.”
Things do get more chaotic on the full moon, because he actively doesn't do anything, instead getting off on the fact that everything goes to shit if he's not actively involved in keeping everyone in line.
“I don’t know what it is, but they say he’s got a thing for redheads. They don’t get any kind of special pass or anything, but he seems more interested in them. I’d keep your head covered, or maybe even just dye it. Better to not get noticed, ya know?”
Long ago, someone told a young Carlton that he had no soul. Did these onlookers see into the boy’s future to see the abomination he would eventually become? No, they were insulting him due to his red hair and freckled complexion. “At least I’m not a ginger,” is something he became too used to hearing at too early an age. This shaped much of his worldview once he discovered his nature as an Insatiable.
This rumor is two pronged. Yes, he sees other redheads as under his protection and goes viciously after anyone showing offense to redheads, even if it’s only hearsay. He sent an entire coterie of Kindred to their final deaths after they stalked a redhead and left him to rot, and has also gone as far as to destroy businesses (sometimes quite literally) who discriminate against his kind. Likewise, he sees a kinship with other redheads and often employs them within his organization. Messing with a redhead in the Authority’s city sometimes means messing directly with the man in charge.
• A group of Forsaken approach the characters in hopes of making a deal: They need a certain group of drug pushers taken out and their inventory torched to send a message. The plan should take place during the full moon, the only real time the stash is protected to a lesser extent than normal. If they investigate, the location belongs to the Authority, so the question becomes whether or not to proceed. In either case, the characters find out those same Forsaken committed other crimes that same night. Sending the group was simply to avert blame and to put the characters on the Authority’s radar instead of themselves, which warrants another talk with the Forsaken.
• The Beasts’ brood begins seeing several new criminal elements around their territory, as well as reluctance for the police to intervene and stop the occurrences. This starts small, with street corner drug sales, until they actually spot a secret deal with the police themselves. A major rezoning takes place that threatens to remove the Beasts from their homes and, more importantly, to tear down the location they use to enter their Hive to put up a shopping mall. Tracking down the source of the terrible changes to their territory is of the utmost importance, and everyone just says the same name…the Authority. Who is this mystery person, and how can the brood stop him?
• The characters recently procured a mystical item on their last adventure, perhaps from a Hero they vanquished. They then receive a call from a person who says they represent Mr. A, a businessman who would like to purchase said item from them for a handsome sum. Showing up to meet with the Insatiable face to face is an interesting prospect. Giving in to their base urges of destroying the Insatiable on first contact is a valid one, but so is hearing him out. Could they possibly be the first Beasts to be hired by the Authority? What if they don’t want to sell the item? Have they made a potential ally or a terrible enemy?
His stat line isn't bad, he's got a pretty good melee combat suite, but he's also got a pack of werewolves.
The Blind Man
Little Blind Man, We see you’ve come, So now we’ve got to run, run, RUN! [screamed]
Old Blind Man, Go on your way, Unless you’ve come to bid “Good day.” [in a deep voice]
The Blind Man, Don’t look like that, Eat her instead, SHE’S NICE AND FAT! [shouted]
— The Blind Man, by Anon
Wait... is.. is this just ascended creepypasta?
Yes it is. Whatever.
Legend tells of an elderly Persian who walked the length of the Achaemenid Empire while wearing a fastened blindfold. Wherever his road took him, violence and decay followed in his wake, eventually warping the land itself into vistas beyond anything natural for the region. Whenever someone attempted to aid the old cripple, he stood in place and considered. Factors completely arbitrary to most people determined whether he would either opulently reward or slowly and painfully murder the would-be altruist and his entire family.
Tales hold that the same blind wanderer arrived in Béziers during the Albigensian Crusade, having inspired acts of fanatical violence in the people around him during his journey. A layer of metal was folded over his eyes and bolted to his temples, yet somehow he made it to the town despite his lack of sight. The resident Cathars insisted on removing the torturous device on his head, despite his protestations. The town soon fell to the purges of the crusades, chaos and bloodshed reigning. The Blind Man departed to the smell of burning flesh, a chunk of it hanging from his mouth.
The Blind Man patrolled the battlefields of the Napoleonic Wars, clad in the uniforms of the dead, a bloody, scabrous bandage over his eyes. Whenever he rested and was given alms, soldiers’ corpses would spring forth with disease enough to eliminate entire regiments from the region. Water grew foul, King Cholera reigned, and he would slowly dance among the choking, dying young men. He helped along those who begged for their mothers as they expired. The tale holds that those who begged for their father received comfort, and sometimes even healing, from the Blind Man.
Spawning the Primogenitor
The Blind Man is an omen of the coming of the Primogenitor, he actively spreads his rumor (mixed with small moments of kindness to keep the unpredictability going) in hopes of spreading his influence. But he's more than a simple wandering field of destruction, wherever he travels he leaves behind small eggs, oozing them out of his body. What's born of these is unknown, as most people react instinctively by smashing them when they see them, to obliterate the wet mess. The Blind Man's belief is that once he is the carrier of the Primogenitor and once he covers the planet in his eggs, he will be reborn.
Even other insatiables think this is unlikely, but he's gained a cult of followers that waxes and wanes depending on how hungry he is that century. The tales have him as a traveller but he tends to like moving into an area, setting up shop, stealing some lairs, and spreading his eggs before moving on. According to his followers the time when he will spread his eggs for the last time will come soon, and the Primogenitor approaches.
The Blind Man’s appearance is not static. From tale to tale, he alters slightly in the description: one time being a tall, stooped male bearing deep creases across his kindly Kurdish features, another being a rigid, wiry man, tight of muscle and wearing a perpetual grimness upon his weathered Nordic face. The only constants see him carrying a cane, typically white in color, appearing at least 50 years of age, adorned with something obscuring his eyes — typically shades in the current era, and wearing clothes marked with pink or black blotted stains around the location of his navel and groin.
He's always cordial and polite, even while he's eating someone alive, and uses courtesy as a way to get his way into places that he shouldn't be. He's not actually blind, of course, he can see just as well with his eyes covered as without. Because he doesn't have eyes. "When visible, the holes in the Blind Man’s head clearly contain tiny, shifting centipedes and earwigs, steadily birthing a thick ring of little white eggs on his eyelids and in his eyelashes. Occasionally a bug will drop from one of these orifices, but the Blind Man pays this no heed."
Now I've been slow playing this, but it's time for the big show.
Yup, that's enough for today. Fuck the rumors, plot hooks, and stat line. I don't care anymore.
The Blind Man’s blotted clothing is as result of a thick trail of what resemble fish eggs progressively leaking from his navel, urethra, and anus. Particularly around his navel area, a coagulated mass of pink and black eggs comes forth when the Blind Man strains his abdominal muscles. Horrifyingly, the Blind Man has from time to time passed these eggs off as salmon roe or sturgeon caviar, as they bear a sour, fishy odor. Those who consume his “produce” have their fertility dramatically increased, and gradually produce their own eggs in a similar fashion to the Blind Man, the only difference being that mortal-produced eggs possess a coat of thin white fur. This invariably drives the afflicted unfortunates insane, as they cannot stop the egg production, resulting in self-destructive harm. The Blind Man believes that by participating in the birthing, they increase the speed at which the Primogenitor will be reborn.
It’s rare for the Blind Man to reveal his true self, even preferring to remain in the form of an old man when inside a stolen Lair. It typically takes violence and great impoliteness for the Blind Man to appear in his Horrible Form; a wretched, flaky, yonic monstrosity coated in armies of shifting bugs and eggs. These insects and their ovum are constantly belched from a cavernous maw, roughly where the Insatiable’s stomach should be, as wispy layers of skin shed off and swirl in the breeze. Two small, button-like eyes are the only mundane elements to this otherwise alien form.
I've heard rumors to the effect that the Blind Man is actually a refugee from a previous lovecraft themed work by this particular author, which explains a lot but doesn't excuse it. This is just fucking stupid and disgusting.
Next time: Why not, you've been patient. Null Snyper
Insatiables part 3Original SA post
Night Horrors: Conquering Heroes - Insatiables part 3
Colette: The Lovesick Girl
Hold me closer. Hold me tighter. Give me your love, now! Now I said! I need it! Fine, I’ll just take it myself.
Colette grew up with absent parents, more interested in their own affairs then their daughter, so when the dreams of cold permeated her dreams she didn't really have anyone to turn to. "A girl with a stronger will may have come upon a sense of independence she had been lacking her own life and become determined to change. Instead Colette sunk deeper into her new state as an Insatiable and sought only to fill the void inside her." That... seems kind of victim blamey.
Anyways, she went downstairs to her mother to hug her and try to fill the empty void in her heart, instead she just froze her mother to death. Then she went to her dad's workplace where she found him with his gay lover that he was cheating on her mother with. They both died as well, of course, but she felt no justice, just a slight abating of the emptiness inside of her. Without parents she moved onto the streets and started building her Den in an abandoned building near some night clubs.
You Are My Family
Colette spent a while playing the wounded bird routine, finding lovers who would try to "fix" her and draining them of all warmth. It was even more satisfying for her if they showed genuine affection for her. Eventually she left enough bodies behind to garner the attraction of a Beast, and Colette finally felt genuine familial affection for another being.
So yes, she's a creepy stalker girlfriend who kills her lovers, except now humans are only snacks, she longs to find the Beast that will actually make her feel whole inside.
Her first was with Malik, a Namtaru who fascinated Colette to no end. She followed him home and snuck into his Lair, a place of pure fire that would have kept anyone else at bay. The flames gave way to the Lovesick Girl’s steps, however, and allowed her cold heart to pierce their defenses. Each time he returned to his home, she was nowhere to be found, but his flames were dimmer than before. After weeks of attempting to hunt her down, Malik finally found Colette in his Lair trying on several sets of his clothes with a giant smile on her face. “They are a perfect fit!” she exclaimed, even though they hung off her like she was a tiny mannequin in a plus-sized store. When Malik took on his Horror form, hoping to scare her away with the heat of his gaze, she only reached for him, drew him close and kissed him deep. He felt the revulsion he normally inspired in others coursing through his own body, and he pushed her away and demanded she leave. It was too late, though; his power was now hers and she had never felt closer to another being until that day.
There....there aren't any mechanics for that last bit. There's all sorts of bits in these Insatiable entries where they describe them doing something supernatural that the rules just don't support.
Every interaction with Colette makes her victim ever more infatuated. The same longing she has held in her soul since she was a little girl now becomes a part of each and every person she encounters, even if they don’t realize it at first. They have dreams of her face, her hands, her lips, and wake up shaking and cold with the knowledge that only that girl they met last night could warm them again. Their relationships begin to wane, as they are obsessed only with meeting Colette one more time. They frequent the clubs hoping to bump into her, and either go home alone in despair or go home with a random person to attempt to fill their own void. Colette infects her targets with an intense emptiness, a reflection of the hunger she feels every day.
The Lovesick Girl looks to be like any other girl with dark hair and Latin roots, and knows how to camouflage or stand out based on her clothing choice. Regardless of her garb, however, she always looks sad and in need of help, begging anyone she meets to want to reach out and care for her. Colette is a Venus fly trap for charity, much to the folly of so-called “good” people. In her Horrific form, this becomes even more obvious, as her arms and torso peel away to reveal a gaping vortex, sucking the air out of the area and leaving it chilled. Her legs plant themselves into the ground with black, slightly metallic roots, and the rest of her body becomes wisps of energy grabbing everything it can and throwing it into the black hole. Colette consumes everything she can in this form, leaving nothing but a crater in the ground, swelling whole buildings or city blocks into herself if not stopped.
“You can’t go home with just anyone. What if she’s the Lovesick Girl? You may never come back again. Be careful, and be aware, she could be anyone, but she’s dangerous.”
Rumors of her have spread amongst the nightclub scene, but she preys on men and women with equal frequency.
“I hear the Lovesick Girl only punishes bad people, those people who are mean to her, or put other people down. Be nice and you might survive meeting her.”
Being extra nice and gentle to the Lovesick Girl confuses her and makes her run back to her Den. Someone who's trying to kill her might use this tactic to follow her back and start smashing all the trophies she has taken from her victims, somehow this weakens her maybe.
I'm reasonably certain that's not the Ventrue's clan weakness anymore, it was in Masquerade but not Requiem...
• The Beast characters’ brood return from their latest conflict or adventure to find their Lair ransacked, and with a weaker connection to the Primordial Dream. Stepping into the area, they immediately notice that nothing except the most superficial of items are missing. Possibly an old jersey the one Beast hasn’t worn in weeks or another’s favorite candy dish, but anything of real significance or power is left without a scratch. An overwhelming confusion hits the Brood until they find a letter from their intruder reading, “Hello, my love. I have taken only small mementos
this time, but the next time I come back I’ll show myself to you and you’ll love me back.” It becomes a puzzle to figure out what she took and why, figuring out which of the brood she is actually targeting, and when she plans to attack again.
• The Lovesick Girl’s legend has grown over the last few months, with more bodies turning up and even more mentions of her actions coming through the grapevine. The usual rumor mill isn’t even enough to contain the damage she is doing right now and is instead leaking over into the local news coverage with investigations into a possible serial killer. Having this much attention brought in by an Insatiable is the exact reason Beasts are sworn to destroy them practically on sight. This type of story doesn’t have a single goal; instead, it is composed of hunting and disposing of the Lovesick Girl, mixed with attempts to quell the public knowledge already surrounding them and hopefully fixing the flow of spirits to the Primordial Dream before too much damage is done. On top of all of that, the other supernatural creatures in the city are sure to blame the brood if they can’t handle their business quickly and quietly.
• A local Ventrue of the Invictus approaches the protagonists’ brood. He is weakened and needs help. He tells a story of how he can only feed on the saddened and he finds club girls to be the easiest to prey upon, but now this predator has been turned into the prey. He says he’s been seeing a beautiful, melancholy girl nightly, despite knowing better, and his inner beast is growling closer to the surface with each meeting. Without the Beasts’ help, he is sure to lose his humanity, but there is great favor to be gained with his clan if they can rid him of his succubus.
Her statline isn't anything to write home about, other than the fact that her Moment is apparently "FROZEN hell" (it's Freezing Hell) and she carries a CAR BATTERY around with her everywhere to use as a weapon, even having a specialization in it.
Null Snyper: Internet Scourge
If u can’t take criticism, GTFO n00b! LOL
Welp, the Quote tags are going to be getting a workout today.
Maria Figueroa was an outcast all through her schooling. She was constantly bullied for being different, and while others would occasionally pretend to be her friend it was only until they got what they wanted and left her by the wayside again. And she was always the one who got in trouble while the other kids got to keep on with their perfect little lives. The only place she ever felt at peace was when she could escape to the school library's computer lab and go online. On message boards her looks and accent didn't matter, she could re-invent herself constantly. A new screen name was a new person, "She could shed that self as easily as she shed sweaty, rank clothes."
Yup, she's an internet troll Insatiable, and she for some reason can feed over the internet, unlike other Insatiables.
As soon as she graduated high school and was on her own, she saved up enough to buy an old laptop. She spent every moment of her free time engrossed in it. Her favorite forum was one that criticized people’s self-made costumes. Members of the community would take pictures of other people’s cosplay and upload them for everyone to ridicule. Maria gleefully joined in savaging the images. One picture turned out to be of a regular poster to the group.
Betrayed and hurting, the girl posted a heartfelt message asking the forum to remove the picture and for everyone to go easy on her. Her pleas only enflamed the forum’s response. Maria in particular tore into the girl, unleashing so many years of pent up fury. All the things she wanted to say for so long to her tormentors, all the power she never had before, she now brought to bear on the girl she, only days before, called a friend. When word came that the girl committed suicide, a wave of euphoria washed through Maria like she never felt before.
Suddenly, her eyes were open to senses she never imaged. She could see the void within herself and her empty, hungry tendrils reaching out across the electrons. She could touch any part of the internet she wished. All she had to do was stretch a little bit, and she could snuff out any life she encountered with but a few keystrokes. Maria let the void expand, completely consuming that pathetic person she once was. In its place was Null Snyper, a predator who could be virtually anywhere at once.
The Webs She Weaves
She bored of costuming forums quickly, egos were too fragile to provide a satisfying meal. She experimented with support groups and various fandoms, poisoning any group she touched. Tempers would flare and the eventual flaming crater would inevitably end with at least one community member dead by their own hands, the chaos and betrayal were delicious. As she explored the Webs he found that she had an instinctual understanding of networks, and any questions she had could easily be answered with a quick search. Combined with some hacking scripts she found she started subverting webcams around the world to be her eyes, microphones became her ears, and like minded trolls became her hands.
Yes, she's weaponized Gamergate to Swat people to death. I feel like I'm watching an episode of CSI:Cyber.
Recently, Null Snyper discovered the adolescent man-children that exist where gamers and men’s rights activists overlap. She felt nothing but contempt for them, but she decided to try flexing her internet muscles. Instead of driving people to suicide through direct online interaction, she whipped up an angry mob to go after her targets. Through empty rhetoric and carefully coordinated campaigns of doxing and harassment, she terrorized players, game developers, and journalists in the industry who don’t share her trolls’ views. The first time she saw a man killed by police, live on webcam as a result of a swatting prank, ecstasy, unlike that from any other death she caused, filled her completely. She knew she was on the right track.
Now she maintains a carefully cultivated legion of followers. Certain circles avidly follow Null Snyper’s exploits and celebrate her as a master troll. It only takes a word or two from her to unleash the fury of hordes of aspiring trolls longing to make a name for themselves. They’ll dox anyone or breach private accounts if it means gaining a small measure of notoriety by attaching themselves to her reputation.
She's a shut in, she never leaves her apartment, not when she can order everything online.
The game would really like you to know how much this horrible troll woman stinks.
Her physical appearance is unkempt. She dresses slovenly and never bathes. She never interacts with anyone in person, so she sees no reason to bother. For her, the physical is a pointless waste of time that shackles her, preventing her from reaching her full potential. Everything she needs is available to her through the computer. If she had some way to shed her body and exist entirely as information in the cloud, she would take it without a moment’s hesitation. Ironically, since she stopped caring about her appearance, she now looks more like her self-image from her youth. Her face is pimply due to her poor hygiene, and her stench reeks worse than it did even when her family tried to save money by using less water. She has an emaciated frame, bordering on skeletal, from subsisting on mere emotion without tangible flesh.
She's never consciously assumed her Horrible Form, but it's basically a spider made out of black-hole-stuff, her uncountable legs extending down every available internet connection to snap their many maws at her victims, as long as she has an open connection to someone at the time of their death she can feed. However the lack of actual flesh is slowly starving her, she's not a beast, she needs to eat. But her army of Doxxers have given her the contact information of someone near her, and that particular harassment campaign is almost at it's end. Soon he will be dead, either by his hand or hers, and every so often she pulls up the address and just stares at it in anticipation.
“Null Snyper is so active in the men’s rights activists’ forums, we’re probably looking for a socially awkward male in his teens to early 20s.”
Nope. She's stopped thinking of herself as human a long time ago, but she thinks of herself as female mostly out of habit and biological necessity. Whatever personality she uses in the MRA forums is just another mask.
“Every single one of Null Snyper’s victims said that he knew impossible things about them, as though he were watching their every move, but there’s no sign he was ever anywhere near the victims.”
Hackers can learn everything man. Live in constant fear.
Oookay. One: she wants to subvert a Beast's lair to upload herself to the internet. Two: She can apparently subvert a Beast's body over the internet too even though that explicitly requires physical contact? God whatever.
• A Hero has his sights set on the player characters. He always seems to know what the characters are going to do, but they know nothing about him. They need information — who is he, what is he after, and just what is his connection to the characters? After making a number of inquiries, they discover the name Null Snyper, and how to contact her online. She is happy to make a deal with the characters, but is the information worth the price she asks?
• One of the local Begotten is doxed. Now, a coordinated campaign of harassment has begun. Null Snyper had an epiphany on how to use the Primordial Dream to integrate herself more fully into the realm of information, but she needs a Beast’s Lair to enact her plan. It’s a race against time as the characters attempt to find the source of the harassment before the operation reaches its bloody conclusion.
• There is a dramatic uptick in local police violence. Null Snyper is trolling an online police support group to increase the chances of a fatality during a swatting prank. It has the side effect of raising tensions between the police and the local citizens. Riots are threatening to break out all over the city. It’s difficult for Beasts to satiate their Hungers in the middle of a small war zone. Can the characters discover the source of the police brutality and defuse the situation before their own hunting is compromised?
• Null Snyper discovered a solution to her dilemma. She is petrified of leaving her Den, but she must devour to survive. A chance encounter with one of the Begotten on a message board opened her eyes to the Subversion. Now she can finally live her dream. All she needs to do is find an online Beast close to one of her targets, and she will be able to feast while staying safe. Luckily for her, one of the player characters or their allies just happens to fit that criteria.
Anyways, her statline is basically a non-issue, she'd go down to a stiff breeze, but A) She can use webcams as "eyes" for the purposes of Nightmares. B) She can cause Schisms in online communities. and C) She can consume emotions as long as she's got an open network connection to her victim at the time of death, but she only gains half satiety from this. The Schisms in online communities thing is just.. sigh Maybe wait like, one or two books before you completely subvert all of the hard and fast rules you've made for this new antagonist splat. Not 5 pages.
Peter Slaughbal: The Unrelenting Clown
This circus is an ocean of delights! Dive right in for the night of your life!
....It's a fucking murder clown.
Like seriously this is just a stock murderous clown trope, you already know everything that this thing would say. The only thing that's unique about it is that a mortal hunter used some occult rituals to trap him in a painting 30 years ago, and he's escaped in modern day after the Hunter's descendants sold the painting in an estate sale. They even reference the recent uptick in clown-phobia with the fact that he is extra nice to kids because he wants them to know that Clowns are safe and friendly. It makes the betrayal all the sweeter.
Wilmot: The Blitz Boy
Those are sirens. They usually mean rescue’s on the way. Not for you though. Get underneath me now.
Yes, the London Blitz.
He first manifested his Moment during the blitz in 1940 when he and his family were trapped in their Cellar.
The rumors of the "Coventry Cannibal" persist to this day.
Wilmot suffocated his mother as she slept. He blamed his younger sister for the act, and convinced his brothers to help in tying her up until rescue came. Wilmot spoiled the perfectly good rations. He blamed his paranoid older brother, and along with his twin, broke the boy’s head against the cellar floor. He waited a week, his bound sister begging for release and subject to his torments, his twin swiftly succumbing to lack of food and clean water, his elder brother a drooling mess. As their fear reached a crescendo, Wilmot killed and ate all three of them. By the time the cellar was unearthed, Wilmot had already fled. He knew the drain ran directly beneath the house. They could have escaped at any time.
Come and Play
He spent the rest of World War II roaming the country, preferring to inhabit Air Raid shelters, underground railway stations, and other enclosed spaces. The threat of death by German Bombs was enough to drive him into a frenzy. He'd convince the wardens that his mother was in a shelter and join the huddled masses inside. If he was hungry he'd lure some children away from their parents with promises of hidden treasures in the darkness, or someplace safer to hide. If he was full enough to express patience he'd befriend a family with tales of being an orphan, convince them to bring him home with them, and then kill those who showed him kindness before moving on to other towns.
While the Blitz obscured his actions from mortal authorities, Beasts eventually caught wise. Now he plays with a bit more subtlety, he joins schools with forged paperwork showing him as a transfer student. He diligently attends lessons, befriends children, and wins their affection with copious amounts of sweets. Inevitably he forms a Schism. Teachers grow abusive and vice versa, in this time he lures his victims to an old air-raid shelter or a cellar with only one exist. After they beg and plead for days and weeks, he devours them in his Horrible Form... how he goes for weeks without feeding I have no idea, probably because whoever wrote this didn't read the rules for the Merger. Those children who escape his attention all commit suicide within months of freedom, their dreams and waking moments are filled with air-raid sirens and death brings sweet release.
He's a 10 year old boy still somehow despite being over 80 years old. His presence attracts Heroes attention more than Beasts, but since they can't actually detect him they go around mistakenly killing sex offenders and Beasts for his crimes. As he becomes more aware of Beasts he now wants to subvert their lairs for his own, the perfect place to crush and suffocate someone.
As a war boy, Wilmot looks small, underfed, and timid. In his Horrible Form, the Blitz Boy looks anything but. When Wilmot strikes, his tiny shell bulges and throbs from hundreds of thumb-sized pustules beneath the skin. The rapid inflation of plasma inside him forces all air from his body in a noise that echoes the alternating pitch of an air-raid siren. Within a minute, the boy’s skin ruptures down the sides, and a segmented amoeba bearing multiple thin, stiff black hairs from each cell gushes forth at remarkable speed. The Blitz Boy is never more satisfied than when consuming his prey in a confined space, squeezing the oxygen from them, filling every pore and orifice. He enjoys the hopeless struggle of prey and the sudden slowing of their thrashing motions.
When Wilmot is having fun, he retracts from his Horrible Form just as a victim is about to expire. He allows them to recover their breath, and even treats them kindly for a while. Sometimes he kisses them, tells them they are safe, and that he loves them. Then he starts again, the sirens blaring.
“They say he only preys on kids’ fears. Squeezes them out and bathes in their misery until it’s time to feast.”
He prefers children as prey if only because he's been doing this for longer than most people have been alive. When he needs to target adults he is attracted to the innocent and the stupid, he doesn't want a challenge or to take on a Beast. If he can feed from a vulnerable homeless man or an Ex-Convict recently released from Jail, he will.
“He’s a territorial little shit, that’s for sure. He’ll maul anything in his vicinity — Heroes, Beasts, even his fellow Insatiable.”
WIlmot is in the property market, surveying lairs for one that he wants to make his own. But he's not yet abandoned his Den, and will violently attack anyone who finds it. Beasts would avoid his lair if they could, but he moves often.
I hate that first one because it's not really a point in which the player characters can get involved, it's entirely self contains. It's just the author saying "PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT BLOND WHITE KIDS SHAME ON YOU SOCIETY!" It's trite and dumb.
• A little girl with a perfectly photogenic face goes missing while on her bike route home from school. She’s from a particularly wealthy family, who understandably pays fortunes to have the disappearance of their child publicized. Due to the marketable appearance of the girl and her parents’ well-spoken public prayers for aid, the story of her disappearance goes national within days. She isn’t a victim of the Blitz Boy. He has been snatching children from less affluent families for months in the same region, and nobody’s batted an eyelid. Now the press, police, and public are turning their attentions to all the missing children. The school Wilmot’s attending is under the effect of a Schism he’s caused: four teachers in as many months suspended for mistreatment of pupils. As the dragnet closes around the Insatiable, he plans for one last meal in the area before planting evidence, and therefore blame, on one of the disbarred faculty.
• A cell of hunters approaches the characters’ brood, and makes it clear it’s not interested in conflict with the Beasts. Their Conspiracy has been researching the Coventry Cannibal for years, along with the whereabouts of the boy missing from the cellar. Their belief is that the murderer kidnapped the boy, but facial recognition software has turned up a picture of Wilmot in a class photo from a school within the brood’s stomping grounds. The hunters want permission to interview the boy — who they suspect is some kind of immortal — so they can find the cannibal. They don’t understand the Blitz Boy’s true nature, but the Beasts may well do.
• Beasts in the region begin suffering nightmares they cannot shift. A dreadful wailing causes sleep deprivation throughout multiple broods, and tempers flare. Suspicion falls on inter-Family politics, and Beasts hazing one another, before an underground-dwelling Makara falls silent and stops meeting his companions. When his brood attempts to reenter his Lair via the Primordial Dream, they find it more revolting than before: human bones littering the floor, chocolate bar wrappers, and sodden school textbooks. Wilmot decided he didn’t like this Lair enough to stay for longer than a night, but he intends to shop around in the same city. The question becomes where he’ll strike next.
His stat line is actually fairly impressive, he's got a good array of Esurients and Atavisms, but he's also a little boy, he doesn't have much defense and health as a result.
But that's it, the book is over.
Ultimately I think the book undermined it's own premise more than it helped, there are far too many sympathetic heroes and Monstrous beasts to keep their desired narrative going. And Insatiables do more harm than good, they're too monstrous. Like someone else said in the white wolf thread "If your 'more but worse' splat is has to be starting murder cults and burning down entire cities to be considered an appropriate threat then your PCs probably need to be re-evaluated as well." But for now I'm free.
At least until Beast releases something worse.
There will always be something worse.