Leviathan: The Tempest by pkfan2004
A Leviathan is torn between three forces within themselves: the Beast, the Man, the God.Original SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
I'm kind of an apologist for shit I like, so. Prepare to see some apologies. Leviathan: The Tempest is a fangame made by the guys on RPGnet where they took the premise of "what if there was a game line for the Creature from the Black Lagoon but it wasn't just 'how many nubile women can you kidnap for your underground lair'" and decided to make a more original setting out of it. I'm not gonna lie: this is gonna be kinda disorganized and in fits and spurts because they don't have a book like Genius, they have a wiki. And the wiki is not the most complete thing in the world, because the creators are currently working on making Leviathan God Machine Chronicles-compatible. Good luck with that, I mean it, maybe it'll make some of this game a lot...less clunky to deal with.
Now, like most fan games, Leviathan draws on some inspiration from the core series. Princess is a little bit of new Hunter with a lot of bit of old Changeling. Genius is a lot of Old Mage where technology isn't the bad guy. I won't lie, I'm not entirely well-read on a lot of the nWoD games. I know the basics.
To me, Leviathan is a touch of new Werewolf and a heaping spoonful of Promethean mixed together with Geist as an emulsifier. Beat into froth using a wooden spoon, add sea salt to taste.
A LEVIATHAN is an ostensibly human being with an old, old heritage. Deep within their blood is the blood of Gods, and they're just slightly lucky enough for that blood to be thicker than most people for them to be able to tap into that heritage. This is not always a good thing. A Leviathan is torn between three forces within themselves: the Beast, the Man, the God. There are consequences to giving in to one force over the others and they walk a very tenuous equilibrium.
The theme of the game is, and I quote, Monstrous Puberty. Becoming a Leviathan changes your mind as much as your body. Werewolves have an established society that knows what it's like to transform and become more than a man and walk between two worlds. The big difference is that a lot of werewolf society is...coherent, it's hard but not impossible to get training and support and balance from your parents and community. Even if you have to fall in with a new pack to find it, you can find it.
Leviathans, not so much. The secret societies of their kind barely remember any of their true heritage and a lot of it is cargo cult aesthetic, aping what they think they understand. Sometimes there are groups to help them, but most of the time a Leviathan is alone or only in touch with a few others. You're not so likely to have parents with the same abilities as you, and you're drifting apart from normal people day by day with the pulling of the tides.
The mood is Stagnation. The world has moved on from the Leviathans. Mankind are the masters of the world now, for better or for worse. Leviathans are an old relic from a dead time who were not able to pass down all of the old stories and tales to every new Leviathan. The older Leviathans know that their race may make progress, but they also known they've seen it centuries ago. The optimists say the school is swimming in circles. The pessimists say the school is swimming in circles in the grips of a whirlpool. Every year, every new generation, the Tribe must relearn what is lost. Every year, the world moves on further and further.
There is a Lexicon, because there must be a Lexicon. I will not be sharing it, I will be explaining stuff as it comes up because I think it's way more interesting that way. Rest assured, though, because this is a fan game, there are Splats, every Splat has a preference for ability and power, a general aesthetic and attitude towards the others, and there are schools of thought that they generally ascribe to.
Also, unfortunately, there is no art for this at all. There are descriptions of art they would like drawn but...that's kinda more boring and worse to include than no art. I will be chunking this out in easily digestible bits so it's less word clutter.
Once upon a timeOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
Let's talk origin stories. The Tribe, as they call themselves, don't actually know the complete story of their origins. The blood of Leviathans has some measure of genetic memory, and it has a way for them to tap into the great unconsciousness of their race, but it's not reliable or coherent in the slightest. It's amateur archaeology performed by a group of beings desperate for answers, inferring information from the things they find and the stories they uncover. The story they do tell is rooted in ancient mythology and mirrors a lot of creation myths told from early civilizations, cribbing heavily from ancient Mesopotamian and Babylonian tales.
Once upon a time, there was no world. There was only the Primordial Waters, an endless sea with no borders. There was no sun, there was no moon, there was only water. And from the water came Tiamat, the Mother of All Things. She formed the sun and moon from her own body and placed them in the sky and used her scales to make the stars. She made islands and atolls, rocks and sand and clay and silt. She made fish and kelp, coral and clams. The greatest thing Tiamat ever made were her seven children, impregnating herself and birthing each of them. These seven children were the Progenitors, and Tiamat created mankind to serve them. The Progenitors were great seaborne creatures like their mother, and mankind was confined to the sparse lands at the mercy of their masters. Humans were used as prey and food and lovers, and from their union the Progenitors created lesser members of the Tribe. These mixed children ruled as kings and demigods, fought as conquerors and heroes and kept man in check, and sometimes even they had enough potential to become a Progenitor.
Thing is, you can probably guess how this is going to go.
Some men created new gods to replace Tiamat, carving idols they kept hidden. There was dissent borne from fear and hate of their masters. They were not content to serve perfect masters in a perfect world.
From dissent came Marduk.
The Tribe will probably never know if Marduk was one man, or a group of men, or a resistance movement. Some of them believe he could conjure lightning and wield it. Others believe that the lightning was symbolic, the embodiment of man's resourcefulness and inventiveness. What is known is that Marduk slew Tiamat.
And here's where everything breaks down.
The death of Tiamat was the beginning of the decline for the Tribe and in the panic and chaos, a lot was lost. Nobody knows why the oceans receded and made more land for men to live on. Nobody knows what happened to the seven Progenitors. Nobody knows what happens to a creation goddess when you kill her. Here's what they do know:
The Progenitors are gone. Nobody knows how or why.
Their children (the kings and demigods and heroes and monsters), as a whole, are gone. Nobody knows what happened to them or why. Some think they were hunted down and killed for blurring the lines between their hated masters and treasured siblings, others think the most human were the ones who survived whatever purges mankind created. Others still think their most devout, most human servants turned against themselves to protect
of their kind.
All of mankind is related, somehow, and sometimes the line between man and the Tribe blur. This is how the majority of new Leviathans are born. The fertility and birth rate of Leviathans between each other is very, very low and unreliable, but the blood is tenacious. Even if every single living member of the Tribe was to die, there's always a chance of one being born from a roll of genetic dice.
The blood of Leviathans carries access to a great ocean of memory, and it is a literal ocean. It was once easily accessible by any member of the Tribe and they could learn and experience anything their kind has known. The death-throes of Tiamat created a storm, a terrible, wicked storm full of lightning and thunder, and that storm is the Tempest. It churns the waters and destroys or loses memories and things and it has thrown their collective memory into permanent chaos and disarray.
Lightning hurts. It really, really hurts. Hell, electricity in general hurts.
Mankind is the undisputed master of the world and what the Tribe exists as today could never hope to challenge that.
Marduk is still around, in a way, and is still protecting mankind.
Next time: the Schools of the Tribe (or Fish God Philosophy 101)
SchoolsOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
So the members of the Wicked Tribe (or just The Tribe or just plain Leviathans) tend to keep away from each other, but they also keep in touch regularly. By nature, they're pretty territorial and they don't like it when spheres of influence overlap unless they're in a deeper relationship. They're a support group as much as they are a family, and a lot of them are looking for new blood to bring under their influence and control. This is generally illustrated by the Schools of thought that most Leviathans gravitate towards. It's easier to get along with that cousin who shares the same ideas than the other who gets drunk and rants about the purity of blood and species superiority. The important thing about Schools is that they help bring structure to their lives and helps give an approach to the big questions of "who am I" and "who am I to mankind" and "who am I to the Tribe".
The School of the Abyss look for answers in the Rift, the storm-wracked mass consciousness, and they also study the idea of the Primordial Waters. The scholars are explorers and self-disciplined and they believe that there is no place of them in the world of man. The answer, the key to harmony, is to be aware of yourself, to be accepting of yourself, and to separate yourself from the world of man. Scholars of the Abyss tend to live in deep woods with lakes or on small islands by themselves. When you're alone, it's easier to find yourself and find Tranquility.
The School of the Sun realizes that finding yourself is good and all but you have to help the others who are suffering as much as you are. Scholars of the Sun try to become leaders and heroes and teachers like their ancestors, try to fill the gap between Progenitor and man again. A lot of them become cult leaders or politicians or madmen or visionaries, finding Tranquility through leadership, spiritual fulfillment and humility to the Tribe.
The School of Clay remembers that before their change, they were human. They've lost a lot of that experience and tether, but scholars of Clay seek the human world and seek to integrate themselves with it. This isn't easy, because being a Leviathan has a lot of effects on normal folks, but they try to build new identities between their worlds and build a bridge. More often than not, they're the diplomats between angry sea serpents and an angry mob, and they have to build the role that will find them Tranquility.
The School of the Reef remembers that the last time they let their guard down around men, they killed the mother of all things. The world is no longer one big safe ocean for them and you have to defend your family. Scholars of the Reef study mankind and hone their abilities and powers, ready to protect the Tribe in a hostile world. The extremists prepare for a time when they can attempt to undo Marduk's influence and return the world to how it once was. They find Tranquility through the idea that you should crush your enemies and protect your friends.
The School of Fog is more focused on how much was lost. They're the ones who scour the Rift for old artifacts and forgotten traditions. They want to rebuild the old alliances of the Tribe and bring back some of the old ways so they can remember what they had. They focus on uncovering history and maybe even creating a true genealogy of the Tribe to track what happened to families of ages past. If they can put some of their lost history on dry land, carve it in stone where you don't have to worry about the Tempest or losing yourself to the Rift, it would survive for future generations or Leviathans from normal human families. They gain Tranquility through figuring out the mysteries of the past and looking for reasons of belonging and purpose.
So why is it so hard for Leviathans to fit in the normal people? Well, from the outset of puberty, every Leviathan has three things.
1: the ability to transform. Leviathans can change their form at will with a little focus or they can do it reflexively/unintentionally if they really lose their cool. This is the hardest to control during puberty as your body struggles with hormones and emotions. Being seen in different stages of transformation also has some pretty light or pretty heavy effects on normal people who witness you.
2: their powers. Called Vestiges, every bloodline has a preference. They are Awareness, Elements, Fecundity, Might, Predation, Sanctity and Vitality. Vestiges are hard to figure out on your own and really do require knowledge of the Tribe or leadership and tutelage of an elder.
3: the Wake.
Transformation and Vestiges are controllable. A Leviathan can choose to stay in human form for a good long while, they can also choose not to use their Vestiges. You can't turn off the Wake. It is, basically, the exact opposite of Disquiet from Promethean. If mankind was built to serve Leviathans, and Leviathans are made to be Gods and Rulers Of Men, the Wake is the Leviathan's unconscious divine pull on the minds and hearts of their slaves. It's a psychic call that demands obedience and reverence. And it only gets bigger the more power you get.
By itself, the Wake essentially has an effective radius equal to the Leviathan's Sheol (or power stat). The longer any normal human being spends within that radius, the more likely they are to eventually start to give in to the call. On the fringes, it just raises their hair on the back of necks, a feeling of danger. Inside the radius, it starts small. "Wow, she's beautiful." "He's so charismatic." "Jesus, look at how tall he is, he could crush me like an egg." "She really knows how to lead a group." Little thoughts and feelings at the back of their minds. It affects everyone differently. Some feel passion and longing towards the Leviathan, some feel subservient fear like a gun is pointed at the back of their head. The longer they're exposed, the stronger the effect.
Imagine having completely human parents and they start giving you more and more leeway and freedom. You ask for the car and they give you the keys. You ask for $20 and they turn it over and throw in another $20. One morning you wake up and they're waiting outside your bedroom for you to get up. The kids at school feel the same way towards you. You're exempt from tests and your teachers fudge your grades. That popular cheerleader breaks into your gym locker to get your shorts because they smell like you. The football jock stands next to you in the locker room shower too close and he won't listen when you tell him to go away. They all fall over themselves for you, because they love you. They absolutely, unconditionally, love you. You give their lives meaning, you give them purpose, you give them leadership. Your vice principal desperately wants to tie you up and keep you and nurture you because she loves you so much. Someone bumps into you in the hallway and he breaks down in tears over what he's done as the other kids threaten him with violence for touching you.
You run away. You leave it all behind and find a place to stay with friends, crash on their couch. And one day, the neighbor next door knocks and smiles. She's made you cookies, and they're all for you.
The Wake absolutely wrecks most chances for a Leviathan to ever interact normally with people (face to face) ever again. Other Leviathans can feel your Wake, but are unaffected. And Leviathans are able to turn the Wake on higher and focus it towards people to immediately achieve what would take weeks. But Leviathans who tend to abuse the Wake also tend to fall very fast towards moral degeneration. It's mind control, 100%, and it's a slippery slope.
But there are two types of people who the Wake don't affect, and this isn't counting supernatural beings (which, for the record, are immune unless your Power Stat is significantly higher than theirs).
Next time, though, we'll start off with the seven bloodlines of the Progenitors: the Bahamutans, the Dagonites, the Lahamin, the Nu, the Oceanids, the Tanninim and the Thalassans. If you guys have any preference for who I start off with, go ahead. Otherwise I'll start with the Bahamutans.
BahamutansOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
BAHAMUTANS , CHILDREN OF THE UNCHAINED BAHAMUT (Big Guys, Bronze Age Brick Shithouses, Bahamanas (doo doo, doo doodoo))
"This is a good place. I like it here, and I spent years making sure it remains the sort of place I like. Usually this involves making sure punks like you don’t bother the good people of this town. Then it becomes the sort of place they don’t like. You still sure you want to set up shop here?"
Bahamut is kind of a stock creature in general pop culture and it's also known as a great fish that holds up the Earth in Arabian mythology. A lot of nerds know Bahamut as a big ol' summonable dragon king in Final Fantasy or as a Lawful Good dragon god. Unsurprisingly, Leviathan cleaves towards more Arabian mythology.
Supposedly, their Progenitor Bahamut/Behemoth was a massive whale/fish creature that could support whole cities on its back as it swam the great Primordial Ocean. A lot of Bahamutans reflect that, especially when they hit Leviathan Puberty or regular puberty. They get big and they get strong .
When a Bahamutan undergoes puberty, the world feels a lot smaller and their problems seem a lot less important than they used to be. They're forced to relearn their own strength; a simple jump shakes the house, a casual swing of a flyswatter makes it crack like a whip and dent the wall. A Bahamutan who learns their strength and learns to control it is the one who manifests fully as a Leviathan; the ones who don't or suppress and hold back their strength to be human end up stalling and become something...different.
See, puberty for a Leviathan is a test. It's a test where you are faced with something you must overcome, accept or understand. Sometimes you win by resisting, sometimes you win by defeating it. Every bloodline has a different test and a different approach. If you don't succeed or just hold on and refuse, you end up as a Hybrid. Hybrids don't have the struggle between Man, God and Beast that a Leviathan faces. A lot of them end up being a lot happier and live more easy lives; all they have to worry about is passing on some blood to help give another child a shot at becoming a Leviathan. Each bloodline has a specific type of special Hybrid called a Lahmasu, and the Lahmasu of the Bahamutans are called the Gugal (Great Bulls).
Gugal are big, strong and tend to look kinda fishy (as in, their physical characteristics have distinctively aquatic traits). A lot of Bahamutan families are full of Gugal because Bahamutans are reasonably fertile (and reasonably resistant) but actual Leviathans come slowly. They manifest in twos or threes and for some reason they're not born to struggling families or families in turmoil; the blood seems to know to wait until times of stability and prosperity before a new Leviathan will manifest. So, as a result, families are patriarchal/matriarchal and a lot of their kids are Gugal.
Bahamutan families are laid back and generally tend to take problems slowly. They also favor inclusiveness and cooperation. This is both good and bad. See, a lot of Gugal tend to be genetically identical to each other and their parents. They also tend to adopt the mindsets of their parents. Family and community is important and you don't think too different from the family. Anyone who does tends to be nudged, badgered, passive-aggressively sniped at or, in the absolute worst case scenarios, shouted down with the full power of their Bahamutan parents. Bahamutan bloodlines are prone to stagnation and complacency, ignoring Tribal politics and squabbling or new ideas and prophecy to just be content doing their own thing and changing nothing. Cults run by a Bahamutan Leviathan tend to behave the same way, but cultists are reliant on the Bahamutan's ability to shelter them from their mundane problems and fix them for them.
Not surprisingly, the sin their bloodline represents is Sloth.
The Vestige that all Bahamutans are born knowing is Vitality. You are an island in the sea and nothing will move you. The second Vestige is either Awareness, Fecundity or Might. The true form of a Bahamutan is something big . It doesn't really matter what kind of fish they take after, whatever it is, it's big. The wrath of a Bahamutan is also something terrible to behold because it comes in two forms: deliberate, passive and slow or full of ungodly fury and strength. And either can sink an island like their namesake progenitor.
Next time: DAGONITES, children of the Progenitor Dagon.
DagonitesOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
DAGONITES , Children of Dagon the Hierarch, Dagon the Arch-Heretic (or the Brady Bunch from Black Lagoon, Innsmouth Deep Ones, the Prosperous Children)
"When you put your trust in me, that makes me responsible for what you do. I know you did it out of love, and I know you regret it now. But what happened is still inexcusable. And I’m sorry, I really am, but I can’t trust that it won’t happen again. For what it’s worth, I will miss you."
The Progenitor Dagon is based on the Mesopotamian/Babylonian deity as much as the great Lovecraftian fish god. Out and out inspired by Lovecraft, the blood of Dagonites behave the most like "real genetics".
Dagonites are cold and calculating and obsessed with growth and progress. Be aggressive, be bold because that's how fortunes are gained and empires are made. They like to be leaders, and because they tend to be the most numerous Leviathans in the Tribe, they will often get to realize that dream.
Puberty for Dagonites is a lot more physical and visible in the real world than for the other bloodlines. A budding Leviathan will notice that something is different with their body, and not in the "oh I have hair there" sense. Dagonites start growing bumps and rashes that reveal patches of scales and webbing and gills; burst that strange lump on your arm and you'll release a handful of mutated, gribbly sea life that were living in a lump full of your own blood. From there, the big question is how much of those things within you are you, and how much comes from your strange heritage? What comes from your power and what comes naturally from your flesh?
See, Dagonites can't fail puberty and ascending to being a Leviathan like the other bloodlines can. The blood of Dagon is a dominant trait, and the more blood you have in your heritage, the stronger it is in you. Once it reaches a high enough saturation within you, bang zoom you're a Leviathan, it's happening whether you want to or not. And once one kid becomes a Leviathan in a generation, that tends to cause a metaphysical overflow of saturation that will kick off the puberty of a bunch more. It's not uncommon for one kid to become a Leviathan and then over the span of a year you end up with six more.
Puberty as a Dagonite reaches a peak where the other members of your family will take you aside and begin the rituals. Most Dagonites are born to Dagonites, and they have their own ways to celebrate the rising of a new Leviathan. Ritual is a strong facet of the life of a Dagonite family, so a Dagonite's puberty ritual can be the equivalent of a Quinceanera or a Bar/Bat Mitzvah, a grim moment of hoods and torches and chanting and daggers or a strange mixture of both. The big capstone to puberty is the urge to leave and make your own way in the world. Too many Dagonite Leviathans in one place can have...consequences, and not just in the sense of competition with your parents.
The Lahmasu of Dagonites are called Abuu (fathers) and they're simply your relatives whose blood doesn't have enough Dagonite blood in it. Physically, Dagonites and Abuu have bodies that scream "HELLO WORLD, I AM FERTILE AS HELL". Birthing hips, curves and soft features for girls, fit bodies, muscle, height and hair for boys. The Abuu take this to a weird extreme, in addition to bulging piscine eyes, possible slime, gaping mouths and patches of scales. The blood of Dagon makes men look like dads and makes women look like moms, and that's important for Abuu because in Dagonite families, Abuu are tools to use in breeding like mixing Chocobo types. They're still people, they're still family, they just have DNA you can use to continue your breeding experiments.
In case it's not clear, being in a Dagonite family is often a fucked up affair. When a Dagonite roams and leaves their family, they tend to carry the life lessons of how mom or dad ran the family and use them on people who've been caught up in their Wake. Dagonites also use their cults and families pretty interchangeably; Mother or Father Is God. Your family is your congregation or a business, you're the boss, what you say goes. The leader will tend to have concubines or paramours, breeding with them to make big ol' mess of children and from there you start pairing off people within your group to strengthen the blood.
It's very easy for a Dagonite family to be abusive or unhealthy.
And that's even for the people who try to be smart and careful about it. Dagonite parents can be distant, leaving you to be raised by other family members as they lead. They may not remember your name, they may only pay attention to you when you start to manifest the same powers they have. The families tend to be isolated and kept away from the world, the familiar faces only changing when a new worshipper is brought into the fold. Family life can be backwards and stagnant, mired in blind tradition and brainwashed obedience. Too many Dagonites in one place will lead to a stagnation of blood and DNA, breeding with the same people and pumping the same genes and blood into the pool. And because Dagonites are prone to "real genetics", they tend to be very unhealthy. A big enough family will end up with widespread disease, rampantly recurring genetic defects and feral, uneducated Abuu running around.
And sometimes a Dagonite parent will just cut their losses and go out for a pack of smokes in the middle of the night.
Dagonites favor the Vestige of Fecundity, capable of strange abilities involving fertility and growth. Their secondary Vestiges are Elemenets, Predation and Sanctity. The true forms of Dagonites and their general heritage favor creatures from the deep; anglerfishes, eels, lancetfish mixed with mammalian traits. And, surprisingly, Dagonites embody the sin of Pride. Even though it's not lust, it still makes a good deal of sense. They have ideas, big ideas, they try to put in motion but might never be able to back up. A common one is the idea that they can breed pure again, pool together enough humans significant blood heritages and systematically breed the Progenitors back into being. And it's their pride that causes their societies and works for the Tribe to crumble and implode, because in the end no matter their dreams and power they're still the little guy for now.
NEXT TIME: The Lahamin, children of the bloodline of Lahamu.
LahaminOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
LAHAMIN , Children of Watchful Lahamu, Lahamu the Celestial Eye (Sea Witches, Sunken Prophets, Fish With Three Eyes)
"You heard that I pay well for juicy gossip. So you've decided to come here, find out what you can take from me. But as it turns out, there is nothing you know I'm interested in, because I've been watching you, honey, and everything you know, I already know. So the question now becomes, what are you willing to pay to get out of here in one piece?"
Lahamu was the first-born daughter of Tiamat, sister and wife of Lahmu. The two of them are associated with silt and the sea bed, and that carries over to the children of their bloodline. Lahamin naturally favor the mystic elements of their heritage, placing more importance on the God over Man and Beast. Their Progenitor was gifted with preternatural sight and abilities and they follow suit, keeping eyes and tabs on everything they can. They're expected to act with subtly and to be secretive, to prize knowledge and prophecy and power to control people and money. Other relatives in the Tribe think they're cowards, too scared to get involved in a fair fight. Like other sea life that lives in the silt and sand, they're packing a few tricks up their sleeves that help like poisoned spines and potent venom.
Lahamin have...weird requirements to be a Leviathan. The purity of the blood within you really doesn't amount to much. They can predict genetics; the more Lahamin you're directly descended from, the better your chances. Environmentally, if you're the direct child of a Lahamin your chances are pretty good. The problem in predicting future Leviathans comes from the more mystical side of things. They can't control all of the variables and that annoys them; most Lahamin have another Leviathan of a different bloodline in their direct family tree. They just tend to slip in unannounced compared to the other races, there's no limit to how many of them can be born and there's no telling how many will manifest. It's the one nut they can't really crack besides assuming that they will be born when you least expect them.
Puberty for a Lahamin is a trying affair. The first thing that happens is that their Wake manifests. The second is that they can see into the hearts of men. And when you consider that the Wake forces people to love a Leviathan, it really makes them question just how much of what they know is a lie. A Lahamin who is able to find help from another Leviathan is likely to come through the whole mess with an answer and a handle on their humanity; no small feat when most Lahamin come into being alone.
They're also forced to understand quickly that acting on what they can see will have rippling consequences. Get the foreman at the lumber mill arrested because you know he killed his wife in a drunken rage and the company will be in a panic, jobs will be lost and the mill might even be shut down. Some of them end up seeing themselves as part of some ancient plan or system while others simply see themselves as manipulators with a guiding hand, or as powerful beings with the ability to help.
As a consequence of their genetics and upbringing, most Lahamin don't grow up knowing about Tribal society and politics. While this can be helpful, they also might be out of their depth when they meet more of their kind, forcing them to become the sly planners the others expect them to be.
Lahamin families are not happy ones most of the time. The descendents of Lahamu give birth in numbers and they're playing those numbers. It's common for parents to have a long, sad history of stillborn births and deaths at a young age from failure to thrive. If you're the direct descendent of a Leviathan, things get worse. Most Lahamin parents are either emotionally distant or literally not there, abandoning their families and children not long after birth. If they're distant, it's because they didn't expect you to live anyway. If they left, it's because you have to face nature and survive on your own without their help; that's the way it's done to be tough and thrive.
Most of the time, if a Lahamin finds the Tribe without being born into it, it's because they set out into the world to find the parent who abandoned them.
The Lahmasu of the Lahamin are called Mahhu (translation unknown, etymology unknown). Mahhu end up with the gift of sight as well. While they don't get the Wake, in return they wear their aquatic heritage quite openly. This is a big problem for Mahhu. The true form of Lahamin hew towards things that live in the seabed. Lahamin mix soft bodies with hard shells; molluscs, shellfish, trilobites, snails, soft worms, things with antennae and big unblinking eyes. Most Mahhu are abandoned quickly out of horror or shunned by mankind out of fear and live their lives protected by the Tribe or alone in hiding, living by using their powers to get business and survive.
Like Mahhu, Lahamin cults tend to be quiet, insular affairs. Most Lahamin limit the amount of people they convert into cultists by being selective in looking for people with formal power and status and skill. The majority of their cults are small or an informal web of contacts who don't know each other but all work for their Lahamin master.
The Vestige they are born mastering is Awareness, with a secondary preference for Fecundity, Predation and Sanctity. Their sin is Envy; a lot of Lahamin need to know or live vicariously through the exploits and knowledge of others. They're also envious of the general success the other bloodlines tend to have, comparatively speaking. But they have the plans to change that if they really want to.
NEXT TIME: NU, children of the Progenitor...Nu.
NuOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
NU , Children of Elder Nu, Nunet (or Slippery Ones, Waterboys, YOU'RE A KID YOU'RE A SQUID)
"You’re so beautiful. I saw you yesterday night, but I didn’t dare approach you. No, you didn’t see me. I was in the rain, outside. I saw you cry, in the dark. And I saw what you did to that poor man. Don’t cry! I wouldn’t do anything to hurt you. But would you please, just… look at me?"
In Egyptian mythology, Nu (or Nun or Nunet) was the deification of the watery abyss of the oceans. More cocky Nu claim that their namesake was the firstborn child of Tiamat. It's hard to tell Nu's gender because, well, Nu is the most connected to the oceans and elements. It's completely possible that the real Nu was just a mass of water that flows like a creature. Nu are naturally flexible and malleable, assumed by members of the Tribe to be fluid and introspective and in touch with their spiritual side.
That is, the Nu that grow up knowing about the Tribe. Nu tend to be born out of the blue (heh), but if someone is patient enough to map out the family trees, they'll realize where future Nu come from. The manifestation of a Nu is like a ripple in a pond, carrying down through all of their immediate blood relatives and spreading outward through them. The closer to the ripple, the less well that family line fares, often branching off into dead ends through hardship and physical impairment. It's only the lines that are far enough down the line that are healthy and fit enough to give rise to future Nu. As a consequence, these bloodlines are basically barely even related to past Nu; most of the time they're never related to any of the other bloodlines.
So most Nu grow up never knowing anything about their true heritage, and that can get really bad with puberty. Nu control water and Nu are water, and puberty is when that starts expressing. Step out into a rainstorm and the droplets home towards you until you accidentally tell them not to, creating a barrier between you and them. Swim in a pool and forget the barriers by accident and feel your skin lie on the steps of the shallow end even though you're in the deep end too. Puberty for Nu is a time of curiosity and experimentation. Inevitably, they will try to understand their powers and test their limits while unintentionally draining all the ambient energy around them. The Nu who find stability and control survive; those who lose themselves to the water have found an early grave or an inhuman form where the Wake still calls people to love them, losing all their powers for curses and no gain.
Nu families are only successful when their blood runs in them quietly . Higher presences of Leviathan blood either create physical deformities that lead to the death of that family or just hinder their chances of succeeding. This applies even to a full-blooded Nu parent. They love their children, even if they don't always survive. The ones who do bond with their parents over the curse of blood or are just human enough for their parent to be quietly grateful that they might have a chance at a normal life. Not mentioned in the core book, but I feel like Nu might give normal human children up for adoption to give them a real chance at a life they can't have. Even your kids aren't immune to the Wake.
Lahmasu of Nu are the Heqen (meaning/etymology unknown). They're relatively uncommon, due to the fact that they're frog-like amphibious people. The thinner the blood in one, the more transparent and liquid their skin becomes. Heqen often can't survive in the world on their own and most of them delve into symbolism and mythology, helping the Tribe by worshipping them and exploring theological matters. They carry the same bond with the Primordial Sea as the Nu and use it for introspection and developing symbolic systems.
Cults of Nu use Heqen and the Nu's own appearance to control their acolytes by showing them proof of what they claim, of old sea beasts and great oceans. Most Nu cults feed on the subservience generated by primal dread and anxiety they cause; their worshippers refuse to deny them what they want because they're scared of them.
As a result, they embody the sin of Gluttony. Like the ocean, they gulp and swallow what they want, from attention to love to worship. Nu like to be masters in control of organizations being fed by their worshippers. They're prone to their cup running over and making a mess with their over-indulgences. The Vestige the Nu embody is Elements, with secondary preferences towards Awareness, Sanctity and Vitality. The true form of the Nu is alien, a hybrid of jellyfish and cephalopods, spineless life mixed with tadpoles and frogs. What was a strong, flexible tentacle simply melts into water at your touch.
NEXT TIME: OCEANIDS, children of the Progenitor Oceanus.
OceanidsOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
OCEANIDS , children of the bloodline of Oceanus, Father-of-Seas (or the Beautiful People, Ubermenschen, Social Predators).
"People love beaches, perhaps now more than ever. You know why? Because there’s no roof. You’re totally exposed – the more you’re naked, the more you’re at ease. It’s the place in the world where you’re the most defenseless. Don’t you think it’s interesting that everyone rushes there?"
The Greeks and Romans believed that Oceanus was the embodiment of all seas. Greeks believed he was a Titan, a son of Uranus and Gaea with a flawless human body and rippling muscles. The Romans believed his lower half was that of a serpent, that he had claws and horns and a big beard. Either way, Oceanus was fucking his sister Tethys and their resulting children were the first nymphs, the Oceanids.
Of course, not much has changed as the son of Tiamat. Oceanus was considered to be the most physically human of all of the Progenitors, barely any of his monstrous heritage showing in human form. His kids are no exception. The Oceanids are graceful and beautiful and they believe they deserve to be the leaders of the Tribe because they believe Oceanus was the leader of the Progenitors. Even if they're not beautiful, they carry a supernatural presence , an air of divinity and control. As a result they tend to be cunning and manipulative to their own relatives and the other bloodlines will give them a wide berth; a smiling Oceanid is always up to something.
Oceanid bloodlines are nothing if not stable and reliable. Every few generations pumps out a few Leviathans and the number is somewhat constant. A lot of Oceanid families know how to predict when the next batch will come. The wild card is they never know which family will get them. Anyone who has the direct lineage of an Oceanid has the potential to become one, and sometimes families with reliable Oceanid inheritances lose their shot of getting one ever again because of a forgotten bastard or a family member cut their ties. Oceanid families tend to approach human families a lot to bring them back into the bloodline so they don't lose a shot at getting one in the future, keeping heavy track of genealogy. The one constant thing is that all of the Oceanids of a generation manifest at the same age at the same time.
Oceanids manifest puberty very differently than the other bloodlines. When puberty hits, the recipient will wake up to an adrenaline rush, boundless energy and a burning need to achieve their goals. They feel like kings and queens and will throw themselves into fulfilling their desires. But the goals will get bigger, and their powers will get stronger. In the end, what an Oceanid must put their energy towards beating is the need to control themselves and their powers. Success means you're a true Leviathan. Failure gives you the consolation prize of a free makeover. The strangest side effect is that their awakening affects all family members close to them in blood and location. When an Oceanid manifests, everyone becomes healthy and beautiful and fit. This is why families are so desperate to stay close together, to reap the benefits like junkies who need a hit.
Anyone who gets a dose of this resurgent, revitalizing energy becomes a Lahmasu, the Pelopsids. An Oceanid is graceful and beautiful but tactful and cunning. Pelopsids, while the most physically human of all Lahmasu, only get the graceful and beautiful part. They're hot but stupid, strong but clumsy. They don't have any hint of the finesse a Leviathan will get, so a lot of them are predators in the literal sense.
This isn't helped by Oceanid families. Oceanid families are a hybrid of Greco-Roman-Egyptian dynasties, antebellum Southern families and European aristocrats. Their Leviathan parent gladly fosters discord between the kids and rules them with their charm and wit and subtle touches as they watch the kids learn how to be predators and slowly pare themselves down to evenly-matched, skilled survivors. Many a Pelopsid's ability to get what they want and secure it has a foundation built on the corpses of siblings. Only the worthy survive. On the other hand, their vanity and tendency towards aristocratic splendor means that Oceanid families have a good sense of history and good book-keeping. A Oceanid would be lucky to grow up to unrelated families compared to that, but chances are good some long lost relatives would come knocking in the hopes that they would manifest and help keep their family healthy.
Oceanid cults tend to be cults of personality, but not in the Dagonite bronze-age sense. It's most just exultation of the Leviathan, social clubs where they can glorify their god and make them feel good in exchange for attention and favors and sex. Because their cults are more social over religious, there's a good chance they might tie into mortal institutions that have power and money and oversexed pretty people.
Oceanids represent the sin of Lust. They love sex, they love being beautiful, they love wanting and they love taking. But sometimes the predators bite off more than they can chew. Their main Vestige is Sanctity, their secondary Vestiges Elements, Might and Predation. The true form of Oceanids mix sea mammals and bright, beautiful sea life and fish. Think dolphins, orcas, manatees, tropical fish like angelfish and tangs rolled into one package. Remember what bright colors mean in nature, though: watch out, I'm dangerous .
NEXT TIME: TANNINIM, children of the Progenitor Tannin.
TanninimOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
TANNINIM , Children of the Sinner-Devouring Tannin, Tannin the Unbending (or the Hanging Judges, the Sayers of the Law, the Dreddful Bloodline)
"You think you’ve been pretty much invisible, don’t you? Well I’ve been keeping tabs on you since you showed up, and guess what: I am not amused. Now I’m not an unreasonable man. We can find a suitable arrangement, and we’ll stay here until we do. No, don’t get up. You’ll be more comfortable here on the floor."
So Tannin is a being that doesn't have as clear an origin as the other Progenitors. The name has its roots in Hebrew mythology. It means "sea dragon" or can be used as an alternate name for the Biblical Leviathan. Either way, the demon Tannin is often conflated with Rahab (another sea monster, but more Egyptian in origin) and in modern Hebrew tannin means crocodile.
That's pretty fitting for the Tanninim. Tanninim are aggressive in whatever they do, approaching their problems with clarity of thought and pure purpose. The rest of the Tribe tend to think of Tanninim as warriors on a good day and thugs on a bad one, taking and keeping control through violence. It's hard to change that image, but not all Tanninim in the Tribe want to. They're perfectly happy being judges.
When you're a Tanninim, your chances of being a Leviathan are more of an inheritance thing than a genetic thing. The power favors direct descent in blood and gender; sons get their powers from fathers, daughters from mothers. Cousin Jimbo is not gonna get the chance to be a Leviathan because his second uncle Lawrence has the power. On top of that, parental favoritism also helps nudge the inheritance. It's very uncommon for someone to be born out of blind genetic luck with the propensity to become a Leviathan.
Since becoming a Leviathan is a gift for a Tanninim, most of the time they manifest alone. Rarely you get two, and if that's the case there's a relationship of power and control between the two of them. Twin sisters who become Leviathans will have one of them become the dominant Leviathan through the nature of their powers and it's not always clear why. Maybe the older sister gets control because of age, maybe the younger does because they're more popular at school. What is clear is that a future Leviathan will pick up a physical trait or a tic familiar to the current Leviathan. The sisters' eyes shift from brown to green-heavy hazel or they both pick up the tic of covering their mouths when they smile. When the traits show up, it's common for their immediate ancestor Leviathan to take them under their wing and start training them, even before puberty.
Puberty, by the way, isn't fun. The skin of the Tanninim starts itching and burning until they get a drink of water. Then a spray with the garden hose does the trick. Then they need to pack their skin with mud or take a long shower. Eventually, a Tanninim can only ward off this burning sensation by immersing themselves in naturally running water. The big benefit of an elder Tanninim is that they will teach the younger how to control and withstand these urges, giving them a code to live by and the will to enforce it. Eventually, a Tanninim will develop an iron will and control over their Wake and their urges.
Puberty also affects the families of the Tanninim pretty heavily. Even with training and tutoring, puberty is a painful, nerve-wracking experience that puts the Leviathan on edge. Put the fact that the Tanninim will start trying to control and enforce his will on them and you have a fire waiting for the right spark. Lots of Tanninim will snap in the process of trying to hold their shit together, especially if they feel threatened by their families and they'll turn to violence in a heartbeat. The worst part is that violence is helpful for their development. When a family in the Tribe has a new Tanninim manifesting, a lot of them surrender to the coming storm and do their best to help their kid and do their best to clean up their messes.
Imagine what it must be like for a wild Tanninim and how a pissed-off Leviathan would deal with the police being called by their own parents.
Their Lahmasu are called Gibborim (Mighty). Most Gibborim are born or end up with the natural weaponry and tendencies towards predation that their kind have. They're armed to the teeth and most Tanninim families happily drill and train their Lahmasu towards upholding the rules of the family and enforcing them. They're often placed in families to help control and monitor them or used as guards for sacred sites. With the right training a Gibborim is a saltwater-fueled combat machine with terrifying precision and their Leviathans wouldn't have them any other way.
Outside of puberty and your little brother being a Tribal commissar with fangs like bullets, Tanninim families suffer from problems. Psychologists should never try to analyze and help their families. Surgeons can't operate on their kids. Nobody ever told the Tanninim that they shouldn't bring the Inquisition through their own house. Families are small and healthy, and a small healthy family is easy to control. Tanninim families tend to be rigid and following of tradition, almost to a fundamentalist level, and some of this is due to the Tanninim's actual heartfelt desire to protect them.
But sometimes the Tanninim forget what they're protecting against and go too far, or there's no war for them to fight anymore.
Their cults follow the same tactic, often treated like a private militia or team. Their cults have weakness, doubt or defiance systematically drilled out and whoever survives and adapts is in the cult. Tanninim cultists are disciplined and will unfailingly enter the line of fire for their god to get the job done. The final result can be between a Delta Force team, the Khmer Rouge and the Stasi of East Germany, all depending on what kind of person the Tanninim is.
Tanninim embody the Vestige of Predation, making every last one capable of a whole lot of deadly tricks and abilities. Their secondary Vestiges are Awareness, Might and Vitality, fitting for beings who excel in physical power as opposed to an Oceanid's own form of predation. The sin they embody, naturally, is Wrath. When outright violence helps you develop your godly powers and you're enforcing the law with tooth and claw, it's very easy to lose yourself in the carnage. The true form of a Tanninim is like someone slapped a dire template on an aquatic apex predator. They have wide, unblinking eyes and are often well-equipped with teeth, spurs, spines and claws. Look at most non-mammalian aquatic predators (and given their namesake, I'd say crocodiles) and imagine their form before the meteor hit and you have a pretty good picture of what a Tanninim truly looks like. Nothing about them shows any weakness.
NEXT TIME: the final bloodline. Thalassans, Children of the Progenitor Thalassa.
ThalassansOriginal SA post
Some of the names are not the best for the classes, yeah. A lot of them are kinda clunky. Speaking of!
LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
THALASSANS, Children of Island-Breaking Thalassa, Mighty-Armed Thalassa (or the Krabs Dynasty, Gold Rock Lobsters, Hoy Small Fries)
"Can I put a value on godhood? Can I estimate the worship of men and the adoration of children? Can I put a price on the heritage of the heavens? Hell yes I can. Everything I have, everything my heritage gives me, has been taken from another. I am a tick, sucking at the blood of society. The only redeeming feature, the only one, is that all of it was given freely."
In Greek mythology, Thalassa was a primordial sea goddess, the daughter of the primordial gods of air and day. She gave birth to Aphrodite (courtesy of the blood from Uranus' groin), the Telchines (boys with flipper-hands and the heads of dogs, awesome metallurgists) and Halia (a name that belongs to a lot of mythological figures and really nothing good happens to her).
So because her mutant monster babies are good at working with metal, her Leviathan equivalent's kids love gold. Seriously, they love gold. All Thalassans have a love for mercantile endeavors, working the system to their advantage and amassing wealth and material pleasures. Thalassa's big racket was taking sacrifices of money and gold from sailors in exchange for a safe passage. Some of her kids have the same idea.
Puberty for a Thalassan is like having a vote in a meritocracy. You need a bare minimum amount of blood to qualify for the change and high concentration doesn't matter. What does matter is everyone's opinion of you. Being loved, being respected, being looked fondly of, as long as you have a good reputation your blood has the power of the Tribe. If your family line keeps enough of a popularity streak, it condenses into a critical mass of potential and a new Leviathan is born. It's like an election where only the popular vote counts, and your vote is proportional to your reputation. Thalassan Leviathans manifest alone because the process of manifesting drains all the mystical potency of every family member with Thalassan genes around them.
Puberty for Thalassans is a test they must endure. The Leviathan-to-be is weighed down by water and the weight of history, crushing them and pushing them in any direction. This isn't a metaphor, their bodies feel heavier and they move slower. On top of that are the hallucinations. While the Tanninim have an unstoppable desire for water, Thalassan's can't look at a glass of it without seeing into the depths of the Primordial Seas, full of alien life. A Thalassan has to find another source of liquid nourishment until the hallucinations go away, or persevere and drink.
Thalassans differ from the other bloodlines inasmuch as they can actually fail puberty or come out different. The others don't have that chance, except for a Nu who gets lost to water. As the hallucinations and pressure from water and tides get worse, the Leviathan has a choice. Steel your body and mind, endure and swim against the tide and you become a Leviathan. Only a Thalassan with the strength to resist and endure is worthy. Get swept away by it and madness or an incomplete puberty await you. The final choice is to hold onto something and anchor yourself through the storm. Your anchor can just be stubborn resistance, a loved one or an external course of direction. Survive by holding on to your anchor until the waters crest and recede and you have a chance to become a Lahmasu or if you're very lucky you'll stay human.
Resisting the waves like that, though, is a dangerous affair. A lot of people who resist the call of the ocean end up returning to shore with mental damage.
Families of Thalassans take two forms. First, they can have a buttload of children like a Dagonite family, playing the numbers . Large Thalassan families have fertility but not hardiness; like other bloodlines, there are many dead ends on the family tree. Most families with light Leviathan blood and a strong mortal presence take this route. Second, they can have small, tight families, healthy and enduring but generally with only one child. They expect great things from this only child and they will put all their eggs in one basket, pushing them to achieve it. Most families in the Tribe or with heavy Leviathan blood will go that route. You can't have both with a Thalassan family.
Their Lahmasu are called Hemitheos (Greek term for "half-god", used to refer to a dead mortal who was lauded as a hero of the gods after death). Hemitheos get the strength and drive of their ancestors and most of them really are like Greek demigods. They have power and will but not always subtlety and sometimes they're just plain brutes. Thalassans love their Lahamasu dearly, though, and will sing endlessly in praise. It's like hearing about that cousin who became a doctor every weekend when you call your mom.
Thalassan cults are like big businesses and corporations, with the Leviathan at the top. They push for unity and cooperation to keep the good times rolling and to keep out infighting to stay successful. When times are good and the Leviathan can give out favor and goods, they're good . When times are bad, cultists grab and hoard what they can or backstab each other for their god's affection.
Thalassans favor the Vestige of Might. They may stand firm like a Bahamutan, and they're strong like one, but they can use that strength better than a behemoth can. It's all about the right amount of finesse. Their secondary Vestiges are Elements, Fecundity and Vitality. The sin they embody is Greed. Money is good, pleasure is better, just hold onto it all with two hands. The true form of Thalassans is a mélange of things that live between the shore and the water. You get a lot of crab influence, a lot of lobster, creatures with shells and strong exoskeletons. They take after the creatures of the tide pools and a lot of them have tentacles or claws. Claws are pretty good for pinching pennies.
So, where to from here? In my eagerness to share, I forgot that there are actual mechanical benefits to joining the schools. NEXT TIME I'll do a quick school recap for each of them, include the skills and cosmetic changes they get and include those little blurbs about how they view the other schools/supernatural creatures/mortals. Then we'll see where to go from there. I'm planning to go in order as it comes up on the wiki, but I'm not done yet. Not by a long shot.
The School of the AbyssOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
The School of the Abyss, or Tehom's Devotion, the Sunken School
"We don't fit in this world. Nothing's our size, nothing's strong enough, nothing can give us the truth. If you want to figure things out, you've got to shut your eyes and listen to the small traces of wisdom that still linger, out where no-one's trod them over yet."
The School of the Abyss focuses on finding their place in the world by exploring the Deep. The Deep is a part of the Rift, which is the collective soul of the Leviathan bloodline that is being ravaged by the Tempest (the storm caused by Marduk's slaying of Tiamat). It's a physical place you can access through water, and the Deep is far enough into the Rift where the waters of the Primordial Ocean can still be accessed. The reason they bother going that deep into the Rift is because there they're not alien and can find understanding of the self there. Mechanically, it's recommended you favor Empathy, Composure, Social and Mental skills.
They generally feel like Tanninim don't really go this route that often because Tanninim are meathead murder machines and they're fine with them not joining their club.
The physical effects of joining the School of the Abyss is that your Leviathan form picks up traits befitting deep sea life. They have soft forms, big aware eyes that can shine in the darkness or patches of bioluminescence. They also pick up the wiggly, loose traits of squid, octopi and deep sea life, gaining tentacles and flexible bodies.
Playable characters of the Sunken School get a free specialization in Empathy, Survival or Investigation. They also get a discount in advancing in the Vestiges of Vitality and Awareness.
• School of the Sun: "Talking about how great Mom and Dad are isn’t going to make them come visit."
• School of Clay: "Did you know that some whales beach themselves – repeatedly? I don’t know why I just thought of that."
• School of the Reef: "You’re wasting your strength fighting on the wrong battlefield."
• School of Fog: "You wait here. I can swim farther by myself."
• Typhons: "A tragic reminder of the sort of fight we have to avoid having."
• Hybrids: "Abominations – but pitiable. They exist in a world that doesn't suit them. Not unlike us."
• Other Creatures: "I have seen them, but they haven't seen me. Let's keep it that way. I don't plan on staying long."
• Mortals: "Let them have their world, as long as they stay out of mine."
"Maybe there are some people who can live without faith. Good for them. But we've always been the representatives of physical gods, incontrovertible proof that there is something greater out there. If you find yourself in doubt, look to your kin. Their faith will lift you up."
The School of the Sun believes in better living through religious devotion and they're interested in rediscovering their divine heritage. Their reasoning is that if gods controlled the Primordial Waters and threw them into disarray, then it's going to take the control of gods to fix that. They're interested in old temples and prayers and rebuilding the religions of the Primordial Ocean. Devotees of the Celestial School use their faith to provide solace and direction and reconnection with their ancestors.
Mechanically, you should favor Mental and Social skills and attributes like Expression or Persuasion and Languages, but not necessarily Academic or Occult. Resources and Status are important too.
Physically, devotees of the Celestial School tend to become grossly incandescent. Their true forms gain light colors, elegant back fins and spines. They mix the aesthetics of sharks, whales and sea serpents into their true forms.
Playable characters of the School of the Sun get a free Specialization Skill in Weaponry, Persuasion or Academics. They get discounts on the Vestiges of Vitality and Sanctity.
• School of the Abyss: "You admit that we're lost, but you expect to find yourself."
• School of Clay: "The shepherd rarely finds answers among the flock."
• School of the Reef: "While we search for our God, you run yourself ragged pursuing our demons."
• School of Fog: "Who we are is less important than what we're meant to do."
• Typhons: "Without duty, only the monster remains."
• Hybrids: "Tools and acolytes, turned from their purpose. Convert them or cleanse them, each according to merit."
• Other Creatures: "Wolves among our flock."
• Mortals: "Our charge and our distraction. Teach them what they ought to know, but pursue your own understanding first and foremost."
"We've always looked down on humans. It's easy, when you see them looking at you with those big moony eyes. But they've built this world, while anything our people did is long buried in silt and rotting algae. If I was you, I'd shut up and listen to them more often."
The School of Clay recognizes that humanity runs the world now and that the Tribe isn't human. What devotees want to do is find a place for themselves in the world of man, thinking it of less of an imprisonment on an alien planet than a chance for them to change themselves. They study human history and try to reconcile it with that they can find of their own, they explore family trees and DNA records to see where their own blood comes into play. They maintain contact with humans and a lot of the devotees of the school are historians or psychologists. The two main ways of learning from people are to A: be social or B: be an observer. Do what you feel is best, but keep in contact with mankind.
Mechanically, they do very well with Social attributes. Presence and Manipulation are thematically appropriate, as are Composure and Stamina or good Intelligence. For skills, go with Politics and Socialize, Academics and Computers, Empathy and Investigation. They also thematically favor Contacts and Allies but at an arm's reach. The people they're most likely to bring into their Cults are blood relatives and they don't necessarily want to risk overstepping their aspirations as observers by influencing strangers with their Wake. They also, thematically, favor firearms as weapons as opposed to natural weapons or melee.
Physically, adherents of Malkut's Devotion adopt forms that let them go between sea and land safely. It's less amphibious and more armored, like crabs and lobsters and reef fish. They also tend to gain attributes that lend towards observing: if not an armored body, then a body with camouflage. If not focused, unblinking eyes, they tend to get antennae in addition to normal eyes.
Playable characters get a free specialization in Politics, Firearms or Socialize. They get discounts on the Vestiges of Sanctity and Fecundity.
• School of the Abyss: "Who would leave a world teeming with life to skulk around a dead one?"
• School of the Sun: "Chanting and preaching - way to keep a low profile, buddy."
• School of the Reef: "You ever notice how Rambo just can't seem to get a break? Stop looking for trouble, and you'll stop finding it."
• School of Fog: "Dredging up our history will only tell you that we lost. I'm sitting at the winner's table, and I'm taking notes."
• Typhons: "If you can't go with the flow, you're doomed to obsolesence. Like these guys."
• Hybrids: "There are better ways to coexist with humanity than trying to make them more like us."
• Other Creatures: "If they keep their hands off, let 'em be - otherwise, well, it's always good to let off some steam."
• Mortals: "We came from here, and we've never left."
"If you believe we know better because we're bigger and tougher than mortals, then you've got to figure the Primordials knew best of all. Now those were big, fuck-off critters, and so clever no human can wrap their heads around them. Don't tell me they didn't see this world coming, and don't tell me they left no clues for us."
Protect the Tribe. That's all that matters. Keep yourself safe, keep your cultists safe, keep your family safe. Study your enemies, learn their weaknesses and what you can exploit. Their purpose is defense and their outlet is conflict. Leviathans who join the School of the Reef are often frustrated or confused by the human world. They find themselves restrained by it and they want a release. So they channel it into fighting back against their enemies or building new fortifications for their kind. It's not the healthiest outlet, but it keeps them busy. They also don't really pay too much attention to digging up their past history. To them, the only thing worth knowing is old wars and who won or who lost. But they're not all militia fanatics and guardsmen waiting for a criminal to cross their path. You're as likely to find someone who wants to protect , like a doctor of the Tribe or someone who keeps tabs on their kin and reports if there's a danger within. What's important is that you fight to protect in any way you can.
Thematically, Physical Attributes are good. They do good with all Power Attributes and they do good with Presence over Composure. Skills-wise, Brawl and any form of traditional fighting works well. The planners in the school should look towards Academics, Occult and Science for ways to best their enemies. Mental Attributes shouldn't be neglected. While socially you're gonna favor Intimidate, you can't win all battles with force. Being able to think matters.
Physically, you're gonna look the part; big rows of teeth, armored hides, rippling muscles, eyes that blaze with calculating fury, natural war-paint in the way your scales reflect.
Playable characters get a free Specialization in Brawl, Science and Intimidation. They get discounts on the Vestiges of Predation and Might.
• School of the Abyss: "They'd be better off if they spent less time gazing at their navels and more time listening to their gut."
• School of the Sun: "I know the progenitors gave us a purpose - it's to win."
• School of Clay: "Watchers rarely know when they're being watched."
• School of Fog: "Cooperation's a great idea, as long as you all do what you're told."
• Typhons: "Casualties are inevitable given the stress of our condition. Give 'em a quick death and an honorable sendoff."
• Hybrids: "Those we can control are able soldiers. The rest of the lot are obstacles to be knocked down."
• Other Creatures: "Anything that's a threat is going to find out the hard way how much we know about 'em."
• Mortals: "We're not like these guys anymore, and that's just as well. I'd rather die on my feet with my eyes open."
"There are things more clever and stronger things than us out there, but there's nobody who can take care of business like we can. In a week, I can gather ten people like you, as hard and as dedicated. Now tell me: who can stand against that?."
The School of Fog looks for answers in the Tribe and their blood. They take scholarly pursuits by questioning what they know, poring over relics they have, inspecting the legends and observing the social structure of the Tribe. They bump and jostle with the other schools on purpose, asking them questions they don't want to think about or prodding their beliefs. Some of the other schools find that annoying, but they won't stop. They like to think of themselves as the ones who form the lens that turns on the Tribe. The end goal, the ultimate ideal for the School of Fog is to completely figure out a divine lineage to unite the Tribe so that they can know for sure their origins and their history. It's a noble goal, but it's going to be a bumpy ride.
Mechanically, they do good with Finesse Attributes, Social Attributes. For Skills, look at Occult and Streetwise and the Social umbrella. For Physical skills, they tend to be slippery or stealthy.
Physically, adherents of the school look weird . Many limbs, eyes, heads and flexible, shifting forms are the norm. They adopt alien forms or things that match dead-ends in the fossil record or the thing a marine biologist has night terrors about.
Playable characters get a free Specialization in Occult, Stealth or Streetwise. They get discounts on the Vestiges of Elements and Fecundity.
• School of the Abyss: "What are you hiding from?"
• School of the Sun: "Haven't you heard? Buddha is not the Way!"
• School of Clay "Take your time. We'll always be here for you."
• School of the Reef: "You've got the strength, I have the vision."
• Typhons: "How lonely they must have been!"
• Hybrids: "What distant horrors do their bloodlines hint at?"
• Other Creatures: "Really? Tell me more."
• Mortals: "We're going to have to stand together to survive in their world."
1: pick your Strain, which bloodline you're a part of.
2: pick your School and pick the skill you get a Specialization in.
3: start with 1 point of Sheol, which is your Power Stat. You can raise it up to 3 at the start of play with 3 Merits per dot.
4: pick your Vestiges. Your two favored Vestiges come from the one set by your Strain and the second is one associated with your Strain. Then you can pick three Channels (which are basically powers attached to the Vestige). The first Channel has to be from your Strain's Vestige. The second can be from either favored Vestige. The third can be from any Vestige, which starts giving you access to that one. Picking your Vestiges also gives you access to Birthrights, which is one thing all Leviathans with access to that Vestige can do.
5: give yourself a free Specialization in Athletics: Swimming.
Finally, when you're determining Advantages, you have two things to figure out. First is Tranquility, which is the Morality stat. What Tranquility measures is how stable a Leviathan is, kind of like how Geist and Werewolf do it. How in sync are God, Man and Beast? The second is your Ichor, which is the fuel for your powers. Your divine power-fuel is determined by your Sheol.
NEXT TIME we can really sink our teeth into the mechanics of Leviathan. Chapter One was the world of Leviathan. Chapter Two was the Strains and the Schools. Chapter Three is Tranquility, Transformation, Ichor, Sheol, your Wake and more. See you there!
Sheol and IchorOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
Sheol and Ichor
"Sheol" is a Hebrew term that is used to refer to the place of darkness where the dead go, where all dead go. It's a place where the wicked and the righteous go that is free from the light and presence of God/YHWH. So why the hell would you name your power stat after that? Because one use of Sheol refers to a place of unified connectivity of the dead of the tribe, united into one. Though that definition is referring to the Tribe of the Israelites, it looks like Leviathans use it to mean the power of their Tribe in a unified source. It's descending into the grave of the Leviathan collective to draw on the power of the bloodline and of Tiamat.
It's a little...weird but I still think Sheol is a cool word.
So what does Sheol do? What doesn't it do! Well specifically what it doesn't do is keep you hidden in the human world. A lot of Leviathans who seek integration with the human world keep low Sheol. High Sheol brings a lot of trippy divine dividends but it makes it a lot harder to live in the world of man. What Sheol specifically does is this:
It determines your Ichor pool and how much Ichor you can spend at once without risking an Outburst (spontaneous transformation).
It provides a natural cap for your Skills. It also handles the cap for your Attributes in human form. Transforming enhances or modulates your Attributes as your body changes but with high Sheol you can draw more on that without transforming as much.
It's used for supernatural action rolls and helps protect you against psychic powers.
It controls the range of effect for your Wake. While your Wake is really effective if people are in your presence, anyone around you within that range of effect feels that psychic static chip away at them.
More Sheol means your blood is effective for supernatural things like making Hybrids.
High Sheol imposes a Ripple Penalty. Your Ripple Penalty is subtracted when you try to be discrete on a local level and it's added to all attempts to find you and get info on your whereabouts on a street level. When you're powerful enough to turn half a town into your thralls, it's not hard for the cops to figure out where you are.
High Sheol can be applied negatively towards Outburst checks and Affliction checks accompanying a Dereangement. Your blood and power
you to be in the proper form and Afflictions are physical mutations that indicate decay of Tranquility, morals and your spiritual beliefs.
- More Sheol means your blood is effective for supernatural things like being a big ol' bag of Capri Sun: Ocean Splash for a vampire and other supernatural beings that might try and prey on you.
What does Ichor do? Ichor is used to shapeshift voluntarily, use Vestige powers and turn on Birthrights. Ichor is easy to spend and it requires time and effort to regain. How do you get Ichor back?
Take a bath! Submerging yourself in a large tub of water for two hours gives you a point of Ichor back. If it's not a natural body of water, this can only work once a day. Oceans, rivers and lakes will give you a point every two hours as long as you're in the water. A big enough body of water can support multiple Leviathans. Also, be aware: being in a place where dehydration is a threat will make you bleed off a point of ichor every two hours.
Swimming in the Rift will let your regain a point of Ichor back per hour.
Have a cult! Every morning you wake up as the head of a cult, you get a point of Ichor. You can have them perform rituals in your honor but this tends to disrupt their lives and make them more noticeable. However, doing this gives you the cult's Zeal score+1 every morning.
Failing a degeneration roll gives you back Ichor equal to your previous Tranquility score.
You can break/kill shit! Engaging in the act of violence and destruction outside of battle can be used to help regain Ichor. You
do it yourself, you can't just commit arson or tell your cultists to do it. This is called Havoc and it requires a Resolve+Sheol roll after you damage something/someone. But there are rules: if it's inanimate, it has to be Size 5 or bigger, and if it's living you must wound or kill it. A dramatic failure forces an Outburst roll, a failure gets you no Ichor. Successfully damaging something inanimate gets you 5 points for every size above 5 in addition to the one guaranteed point. Successfully hurting someone/something gets you an additional point if they're either maimed or killed in addition to the one guaranteed point.
Suggested modifiers: -1 if the object is flimsy, -1 if the object/creature is already heavily damaged, +1 if you own the object/are responsible for the well-being of the creature, +1 if you already made a Havoc check in the same scene, +2 is the subject is living and sapient.
Being a Leviathan and not having a cult can be kind of trying for getting Ichor, but it can be done. There's a bit of a strong emphasis on using cultists, and we will be getting into cult mechanics and getting cultist later. So NEXT TIME , we will be looking at two things: Transformations and Tranquility. A reminder: this was made pre-2e, so no Integrity, so...yeah. You know what you're in for, but I'm gonna show you their Karma Meter anyway.
Tranquility and TransformationOriginal SA post
God damn it I have one day off and then I spend pretty much all day posting Leviathan stuff. Someone send help, please.
LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
TRANQUILITY AND TRANSFORMATION
Transformation is a potent tool in the hands of the Tribe and it's also a problem for them. On the one hand, it shows that you have control over yourself and your identity. On the other, losing control of yourself and your emotions shows how little control you have. It's a double-edged sword for them. Case in point: every step along the path of transformation increases the power of your Vestige Channels and Birthright. You can outright do more with your powers when you're not human. On the other hand, the more transformed you are, the more your presence causes the lizard part of the human brain to freak the fuck out.
There are 7 stages of transformation and each stage has a benefit and drawback called Depths. Depth 0 is human, Depth 6 is full Leviathan form. There's no clear indicators of what each form should look like but there's suggestions.
Depth 0: Human form. Unless someone can sense the Wake, you have no problem passing as human. You can only use Birthrights.
Depth 1: Near hybrid. You're mostly human but someone really inspecting you can see there's something off. Maybe you betray some aquatic heritage, maybe you just have a certain je ne sais quois. You can start accessing your Vestiges and hold your breath underwater as if your Stamina was a dot higher. Requires a Wits+Occult roll to notice you're not human, -1 to Social rolls requiring your looks, lower Striking Looks by 1.
Depth 2: Distant hybrid. You only look human from far away or with enough clothes on. Someone glancing at you can tell you're not right. You may look physically deformed or just bizarre or have an odd air. Access the next level of Vestiges, breathe underwater and swim without speed penalties. The Wits+Occult roll to see something is wrong gets a +2 to the onlooker. Social penalties requiring looks increase to -2.
Depth 3: The bestial. You're shaped like a man, sure, but you belong in a horror movie. You're definitely not human anymore. Access the next level of Vestiges, size increases by 1 (or 2 if your human form has the Dwarf flaw). Your presence scares animals and there's no contest to see you're not human. All social penalties have a -2 except for intimidation unless you can convince other people to trust you.
Depth 4: The horrific. The visual traits of your Vestiges are plastered across your body and if someone heard your voice over a telephone they'd know you're not human. Gain more Vestige power. The slightest scrutiny reveals that you're not human. -3 to all social rolls.
Depth 5: The terrible. You're not even humanoid anymore. You're almost as powerful as you can be but your body is almost wholly an aquatic/amphibious mashup. Gain more Vestige power. Your natural presence causes animals enormous terror. Your penalties increase to -4 and can't be reduced past beyond -2, even if you have a note from the President telling people to trust you. Atolls have a -3 but can be persuaded to trust you.
- Depth 6: Apotheosis. You're 100% Leviathan and you're in your true form. You're at least 10 feet tall and completely given over to your true self. You get +2 to size, cumulative to the previous increase for a total +3/+4. Your natural presence causes animals to run in terror. Anything alive in your Wake can immediately know you're there but not where you are. All social rolls automatically fail and you cause horror, blind panic and self defense. The Atoll penalty increase to -5. Unless you're in water proportional to 5 square feet per foot of you, you can go Stamina rounds before losing one Ichor a round because you can no longer breathe or survive on land. Either get in water or go human again. Run out of Ichor on land in Apotheosis and you have to make a Tranquility check every round and go progressively more mad the longer you're out of water. Long enough exposure will start filling health levels and you can die. Mortals, Hybrids and Lahmasu who behold your true form have trouble remembering just what they saw. They also have any Derangements cranked up to Severe for the next 10-Will hours as they go absolutely mad at looking at you.
It's not possible to transform higher than Depth 0 or lower than 6.
A willing transformation requires 1 point of Ichor per degree of change and a Stamina+Sheol-degree of change roll. A dramatic failure inflicts one point of lethal as your skin crawls and your organs slam against each other. Failure just means that the Ichor is wasted. Success shifts you to the degree you want. Exceptional success returns 1 point of Ichor in addition to changing. Suggested modifiers: -2 to shifting to human with Tranquility 1 or 2, -1 to shifting to human with Tranquility 3 or 4, +1 to shifting to human with Tranquility 8+, +1 if in water up to your waist, +2 in a body of water like a lake or larger.
An Outburst is a hard jostle to the stable nature of the Leviathan and are triggered by shock, distress, anxiety. They should happen but they shouldn't be frequent. Roll dice equal to your Tranquility to resist an Outburst. Outbursts are a threat to Tranquility at higher than 8 because they make a Leviathan question their control and situation and could result in a Tranquility check. A failure shifts you down a Depth or inflicts one Lethal if you had an Outbreak trying to shift lower or if you just can't change right now. A dramatic failure incapacitates you for 6-Stamina rounds and inflicts the rest of the failure state. Success keeps you as you are. An exceptional success might actually be beneficial to your Tranquility.
Tranquility is explicitly not morality/karma. What is it? How together your shit is. All Leviathans have their inner Human in the middle of an arguing, demanding Beast and God vying for attention and control. Disruption and degeneration are what happens when the Leviathan is having trouble holding themselves together. When you're at Depth 3 or higher in the transformation, you roll one less die on a Degeneration and Derangement/Affliction roll. Dipping lower than 8 causes Derangements and Derangements cause Affliction. An Affliction is a physical sign of your instability that shows up in human form. Minor Afflictions are things like odd, bulging fish eyes, bleeding black blood, visible rippling gills. Major Afflictions are things like smelling like a swamp, one of your hands fusing into a claw or a dorsal hump.
As a general rule, the following three types of things can cause Tranquility to slip.
1: acts of violence and bestial behavior.
2: abusing people through manipulation.
3: neglecting or denying a part of yourself by refusing to engage in your natures or by refusing to be in contact with people.
Here's the Tranquility scale. PCs start at 7. Having 8+ gives you +1 to transforming back to human and +2 to resisting supernatural compulsion.
10: Going a week without human contact (5 die).
9: Havoc check on an item, selfish use of the Wake (getting out of a tab at a restaurant) (5 die).
8: Indulging in a Vice, making an Outburst check, going a week without seeing a known Atoll in the area (4 die).
7: Going a month without human contact, going a week without changing form, large-scale Havoc destruction, assault, theft. (4 die).
6: Cultivating a Beloved, harming an Atoll, Havoc check on a living being (3 die).
5: Intentional murder, sadism, ritual violence, going a month without seeing a local Atoll, two weeks without transforming (3 die).
4: Using the Wake to compel people to do violent or sexual things against their will, resisting transforming for a month (2 die).
3: Cannibalism, killing an Atoll, going a year without human contact, mass Havoc (like conjuring hurricanes), Wake-induced mayhem (2 die).
2: Frequent murder, deliberately killing your own cult (1 die).
1: Eating the flesh of an Atoll, mass acts of depravity. (1 die).
A Leviathan who ends up accepting the Beast over the others becomes a TYPHON . A Typhon cannot be reasoned with. They can never transform back to human again. All that's left is a violent, impulsive monster driven by atavistic desires. They don't care about any power they can't just reflexively used, they don't care about cultists. Most Typhons who escape getting put down by the Tribe lurk and linger in the remote parts of the world eating and killing. There are stats for Typhon and they make up an enemy class.
A Leviathan who becomes a God more than the others did so because they abused their powers and their Beloved. They are called OPHION and they're bad news. See, they're scrambled and blown about by the Tempest like the Rift and they behave according to spur-of-the-moment whims and desires. Ophions are powerful but absolutely bug-fuck nuts; their desires can contradict each other and paralyze them with indecision until one spontaneously disappears. Like Typhons, most Leviathans in the Tribe want to put Ophions down but it's harder. You can predict their desires based on their Strain and their Vices, but you don't always know where they are, they can still shift into a human form and they can build a cult in no time flat.
And then there are the Leviathans who never transform, never lash out and desperately cling to the desire to be human again. Their fate is the saddest. A Leviathan who undergoes Tranquility loss by denying Beast and God is basically shutting down large parts of their own mind and personality through force of will. If it succeeds, then yeah. They're completely human again. But...they've intentionally lobotomized themselves trying to do so. A Leviathan who becomes human again will need help performing basic actions and they'll need someone to tend to them, having given up being a whole being to become a shell of themselves. It's not a pretty fate and I might change it, personally, but there really is no easy way out of being a Leviathan.
NEXT TIME: Mechanics of The Wake, Weaknesses of the Tribe, Beloved and Aging.
Banes of the TribeOriginal SA post LEVIATHAN: THE TEMPEST
PSYCHIC MIND-FUCKERY, BEING OLD AND HAVING WEAKNESSES: THE JOSEPH JOESTAR EXPERIENCE
Banes of the Tribe:
If you see this, run. They're near and they're looking for you, or someone equally powerful is nearby. That's the Sigil of Marduk and it's very, very bad news for a Leviathan. I mean, that's one of the actual symbols for Marduk. In Leviathan, the Sigil that the Marduk Society uses looks like Marduk riding in a chariot wielding a lightning bolt. But I kinda like that one more! It's kinda innocuous unless you know what it means. The Sigil is one of the major weaknesses of the Tribe.
So what does the Sigil of Marduk do? It wards places. A Dexterity+Craft roll following instructions will let you paint a Sigil. This is followed by a Resolve+Occult roll to place a point of Willpower into the Sigil. Without the Willpower, it's a forboding omen but it doesn't actually do anything. That Willpower can't be recovered until you turn off the Sigil by touching it. To protect an area, it has to have clear boundaries and you can protect various sizes of Temples by inputting more and more Willpower. Or you can have your friends make their own Sigils and they will stack. So protecting a Size 2 Temple needs 4 Willpower in a Sigil or 4 1 Willpower Sigils. However, you can perform something according to your Virtue in front of the Sigil and unlock that Willpower, fueling it with the goodness of the act rather than your strength.
Alternately, you can try to not put in Willpower at a -3 to the roll after you've successfully made a Sigil. Succeed and there's nothing stopping you from photocopying Sigils and taping them to walls or using side-walk chalk or using another symbol with personal meaning to you instead. The latter gives you +2 to crafting them, but is also easier for a Leviathan to pass.
The Sigil is pretty much used exclusively by the hunters of the Marduk Society or by an enterprising, experimenting academic. Why does the Sigil work? The Tribe doesn't know. Maybe it's because it represents Marduk directly. Maybe it's because it's been used to unite the warriors who carry on Marduk's work. Maybe it's just psychosomatic, their collective memories making them susceptible. What is known is that a Leviathan needs to make successes equal to your Sheol on a Resolve+Composure roll to leave or enter an area warded with a Sigil. If you fail, you can't try to pass that threshold for Sheol days. An Ophion, up against a bunch of Sigils, is well and truly fucked. Hybrids only need one success and can try again in a hour. But for Hybrids and Leviathans alike, the Sigil raises the hairs on the back of your neck and instills fear.
What's the other weakness? Electricity. Symbolic of man's ability to invent and learn and harness nature, lightning deals aggro damage to you and bypasses any Armor or Durability enhanced by your powers. Electric bashing damage only converts half of the damage to aggro, but lethal is one-to-one. And the Marduk Society has lightning guns, and a taser or a car battery dropped into water can work just as well. Hybrids don't have any Armor against electricity, but besides that there's no problem for them.
What aren't Leviathans weak to? Aging . Your human body will slowly age and top out around the mid-60s while your transformed self remains as young as you feel/think you are. Your hybrid forms, however, end up as a mish-mash between old human flesh and young beast flesh.
So let's talk about something a little more important than being old and being electrocuted. As previously mentioned, The Wake is the thing that wrecks social lives and interacting with normal people. What the Wake does is subtly nudge people into doing what you want like a threat you can't see. People look up to you, submit to you, fear you or will do anything you say. What counts as a ding against Tranquility? Whenever you use the Wake to get people to do something they would not normally do. If you feel like Subway and your co-worker wants to get Chinese, and you use the Wake to nudge him towards wanting sandwiches, that's kind of dickish. If you make him load his sandwich with hot pepper and olives, and he's allergic to olives, then that's definitely abuse. It's a fine line, use your head about whether it's appropriate or not.
But this is the modern era. The future is now! You can Skype with people, call them over the phone, e-mail them. It's great! But it's not a substitute for actual human interaction. Neither is your cult. If you want to keep yourself stable, you have to at least go grocery shopping and wave at people, but even then they're gonna be affected by your Wake. So how does the Wake really work?
Your diameter of influence is determined by your Sheol. Beings are directly influenced by you if they're in the diameter. People on the fringes just feel like something dangerous is around. Who does the Wake affect?
Immune: Leviathans, Atolls, Ahabs, most supernatural beings.
Possibly affected: Supernatural beings whose Power stat is two less than a Leviathan's Sheol.
- Fully affected: All normal beings, sapient and animal.
Passively making a Beloved is the Leviathan's Presence+Sheol vs. the subject's Resolve+Composure in a contested series of rolls once per day per person. Exceptional/normal success for a Leviathan adds 1 Beloved Point to the subject. A tie/human success means nothing happens. Exceptional success for the human removes 1 Beloved point. When Beloved points are more than half of a subject's Willpower (rounded up), the subject gains a minor derangement. The derangement goes into submission when they become a Beloved, or they lose the derangement if they lose all Beloved points. Beloved lose 2 points a week after being outside of a Leviathan's Wake for two weeks. Eventually, a Beloved will turn back to normal.
Intentionally making a Beloved is a Tranquility ding. It uses the same contested rolls but if their Willpower is less than the Leviathan's Sheol, subtract their Sheol from the resistance dice pool. Each round also costs 1 Ichor to focus the Wake. Each round is around three minutes of conversation. To win, the Leviathan must accumulate successes equal to the victim's Willpower. The victim must get successes equal to the Leviathan's Presence+Sheol.
Exceptional Leviathan success: if you do succeed in making them a Beloved, you get back a point of Ichor. Otherwise you just have a lot of successes to go towards turning them.
Normal Leviathan success: progress is made.
Both parties get required successes on the same final roll: victim is not Beloved, gains extreme derangement for Sheol weeks. The Leviathan can try again in 10-Sheol days (min. 1).
Victim success: Not Beloved, but gains a severe derangement for Sheol days. The Leviathan can try again in 20-Sheol days.
- Exceptional victim success: the victim is not Beloved and only walks away with a minor derangement for the rest of the day. The Leviathan can try again in 30-Sheol days.
So what exactly is a Beloved? A Beloved is a Leviathan's devoted, loving Cultist. They love you, they can't live without you and they will do anything you ask of them. It's a lot like adopting a religious dog because now you have another mouth to feed and worship you. Abusing Beloved is good way to lose Tranquility and get the rest of the Tribe mad at you. Having too many Beloved is a good way to lose control of your life and be forced to focus on your cult. And sometimes, abusing your Beloved or just normal exposure to your Wake creates an enemy dedicated to taking you down, an Ahab. But at least your Beloved can do things for you and go out into the world for you or watch TV with you.
NEXT TIME: Merits, Psychotherapy and Size. SIZE. SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIZE!
e: cut out a minor spoiler regarding a scene for a pretty rad movie.