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Blood Stains

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Eh? Is that you, girl? It's about time! I have a blasted archive to run, and I can't lollygag all day in some café waiting for a single customer! I'm Gloamont Sanderson, genealogist to kings! I don't care if I was the one who insisted on meeting here. My time is valuable!

And this? Your family? This is the kind of trouble I don't want walking through my front door. So thank you for that.

So you want to know about your mother, and unlike those cheapskate sorcerers you had the coin to cover my considerably expenses. Well, it's been six weeks and have I got bad news for you.

I found her.

But before we reach deep inside this squirming sack of ettercrap I've opened, let's take a step back. There I was, handsome shopkeep that I was, minding my little business when a healthy young woman walks in with coin in her purse and mud on her boots. That combination means one thing: Adventurer. And adventurers mean trouble. You get yourselves mixed up in drama and intrigue and five-generation curses and then you come to me to dig up the dirt on your behalf. Last adventurer I took work from wanted me to research his "friend's" grandparents, so he could travel back in time and murder some evil overlord none of us have even heard of yet!

That can't be healthy.

But all you want is to meet your mom. Gave me a sob story about never feelin' like you belong anywhere, but girl, no teenager feels like they belong anywhere. But you're persistent. I hate persistence. And so I take the job before I notice your blue eyes. Not very common among garundi. I thought to myself, maybe mom's an Ulfen lass sailing south, and your daddy couldn't fess up to a little foreign indiscretion. I'd be remiss if I didn't admit to a certain fondness for family gossip. It's what makes me so good at my job.

But no. No Ulfen on any passenger manifests in or out of Botosami near the time of your birth. Not many passengers at all—storms kept 'em away. Unseasonable storms. Your mother's storms.

Your mother is Panrael, the Thunder of the Jagged Reach. A storm hag. A nasty one, too, by all accounts. Vengeful, cunning, short-tempered, possessive. Persistent. Yeah.

You're a "changeling," a "virga may" if you want it a little honey to wash that vinegar down. And don't shake your head at me, because I may be irritable and arrogant but I'm never wrong. Hag blood runs in your veins; old magic from places people never walk. I don't care if you've never cast a spell in your life, when you're mama gets ahold of you, she'll tear away every trace of humanity and decency that keeps it bottled up, and you'll be like her. They're like cuckoos, leaving their eggs with some other fool bird to raise, and once you're ripe they come back to pluck you... and I, I lost that bird metaphor along the way. Apologies.

Illustrations by Ken Hamilton

You understand, though, that you are in great danger, yes? And by proximity, so am I! I obtained your half-sister's folio in an auction selling all her belongings after she wandered out into the rain one night and never returned. She had also been researching Panrael; assembled extensive notes not just your mother, but hags and what they're capable of. I'm not a paranoid man, but your mother almost certainly has already called to her and transformed her, and that means now there are now two storm hags on your scent, and two storm hags who likely know I bought this folio!

And hags hate each other, especially mama and daughter! If there's two of them, that means they want three to make a coven. A coven means power, and power is the only thing hags love more than they hate. With a little training they can tap that bond for more magic, meaner spells, perform rituals to make spies or jinxes or curse a family for five generations! My family line is impeccable and does not need a curse, thank you quite plainly!

Your best bet is to do like me and find yourself a witch. I know, wizards seem educated and sorcerers seem powerful and you'd think a cleric would be ideal for repelling ancient evil, but hags don't give one whit about mortal gods. They worship power, and hags and witches draw from the same primeval font. Hell, some witches get their power by way of a hag, but you don't want to go to one of those. A witch can outwit a hag, because they're at least a little bit hag themselves.

Yes, even boy witches. Do you want to nitpick or do you want advice?

Kids these days.

Find yourself a nice vellemancer, they're wish-granters. Not as buff as an efreeti, but also a lot less likely to enslave you for a thousand mortal lifetimes. That doesn't work, look up an arakineticist—they throw curse magic around like hags do, and some of 'em can even turn that kind of magic back on a source. There are witch-hunters, too, like hexbreakers and malice binders, but I don't know how they'd take to a half-hag girl knocking at their door. If you're particularly vindictive, track down a hag-riven; they're changelings like you, but they escaped their mothers before they could be turned all hag. They're mean, and bloodthirsty, and want someone to take out all that misplaced aggression on. Great buncha ladies.

Now get out, and stay away from the woods. And the coast! Take the folio, too; I'm not giving your family any other reason to come looking for me! You're the third changeling I've worked up a genealogy for, and it never ends well. No one should see the inside of a stewpot more than once in a lifetime.

Crystal Frasier
Developer

More Paizo Blog.
Tags: Ken Hamilton Pathfinder Player Companion
Scarab Sages

12 people marked this as a favorite.

And for a second there it was like we had the web fiction back. Thanks Crystal!

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Woohoo! Hag-riven!

And that Verminous Witch is so pretty.

Hehe Ettercrap.

Silver Crusade

38 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

For those wanting to favourite this awesome story,

Crystal Frasier wrote:

Eh? Is that you, girl? It's about time! I have a blasted archive to run, and I can't lollygag all day in some café waiting for a single customer! I'm Gloamont Sanderson, genealogist to kings! I don't care if I was the one who insisted on meeting here. My time is valuable!

And this? Your family? This is the kind of trouble I don't want walking through my front door. So thank you for that.

So you want to know about your mother, and unlike those cheapskate sorcerers you had the coin to cover my considerably expenses. Well, it's been six weeks and have I got bad news for you.

I found her.

But before we reach deep inside this squirming sack of ettercrap I've opened, let's take a step back. There I was, handsome shopkeep that I was, minding my little business when a healthy young woman walks in with coin in her purse and mud on her boots. That combination means one thing: Adventurer. And adventurers mean trouble. You get yourselves mixed up in drama and intrigue and five-generation curses and then you come to me to dig up the dirt on your behalf. Last adventurer I took work from wanted me to research his "friend's" grandparents, so he could travel back in time and murder some evil overlord none of us have even heard of yet!

That can't be healthy.

But all you want is to meet your mom. Gave me a sob story about never feelin' like you belong anywhere, but girl, no teenager feels like they belong anywhere. But you're persistent. I hate persistence. And so I take the job before I notice your blue eyes. Not very common among garundi. I thought to myself, maybe mom's an Ulfen lass sailing south, and your daddy couldn't fess up to a little foreign indiscretion. I'd be remiss if I didn't admit to a certain fondness for family gossip. It's what makes me so good at my job.

But no. No Ulfen on any passenger manifests in or out of Botosami near the time of your birth. Not many passengers at all—storms kept 'em away. Unseasonable storms. Your mother's storms.

Your mother is Panrael, the Thunder of the Jagged Reach. A storm hag. A nasty one, too, by all accounts. Vengeful, cunning, short-tempered, possessive. Persistent. Yeah.

You're a "changeling," a "virga may" if you want it a little honey to wash that vinegar down. And don't shake your head at me, because I may be irritable and arrogant but I'm never wrong. Hag blood runs in your veins; old magic from places people never walk. I don't care if you've never cast a spell in your life, when you're mama gets ahold of you, she'll tear away every trace of humanity and decency that keeps it bottled up, and you'll be like her. They're like cuckoos, leaving their eggs with some other fool bird to raise, and once you're ripe they come back to pluck you... and I, I lost that bird metaphor along the way. Apologies.

You understand, though, that you are in great danger, yes? And by proximity, so am I! I obtained your half-sister's folio in an auction selling all her belongings after she wandered out into the rain one night and never returned. She had also been researching Panrael; assembled extensive notes not just your mother, but hags and what they're capable of. I'm not a paranoid man, but your mother almost certainly has already called to her and transformed her, and that means now there are now two storm hags on your scent, and two storm hags who likely know I bought this folio!

And hags hate each other, especially mama and daughter! If there's two of them, that means they want three to make a coven. A coven means power, and power is the only thing hags love more than they hate. With a little training they can tap that bond for more magic, meaner spells, perform rituals to make spies or jinxes or curse a family for five generations! My family line is impeccable and does not need a curse, thank you quite plainly!

Your best bet is to do like me and find yourself a witch. I know, wizards seem educated and sorcerers seem powerful and you'd think a cleric would be ideal for repelling ancient evil, but hags don't give one whit about mortal gods. They worship power, and hags and witches draw from the same primeval font. Hell, some witches get their power by way of a hag, but you don't want to go to one of those. A witch can outwit a hag, because they're at least a little bit hag themselves.

Yes, even boy witches. Do you want to nitpick or do you want advice?

Kids these days.

Find yourself a nice vellemancer, they're wish-granters. Not as buff as an efreeti, but also a lot less likely to enslave you for a thousand mortal lifetimes. That doesn't work, look up an arakineticist—they throw curse magic around like hags do, and some of 'em can even turn that kind of magic back on a source. There are witch-hunters, too, like hexbreakers and malice binders, but I don't know how they'd take to a half-hag girl knocking at their door. If you're particularly vindictive, track down a hag-riven; they're changelings like you, but they escaped their mothers before they could be turned all hag. They're mean, and bloodthirsty, and want someone to take out all that misplaced aggression on. Great buncha ladies.

Now get out, and stay away from the woods. And the coast! Take the folio, too; I'm not giving your family any other reason to come looking for me! You're the third changeling I've worked up a genealogy for, and it never ends well. No one should see the inside of a stewpot more than once in a lifetime.

Crystal Frasier
Developer

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Gloamont Sanderson wrote:
No one should see the inside of a stewpot more than once in a lifetime.

Glo is f%+!ing awesome.

Crystal, I absolutely adore these blogs.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I love it when they do write-ups like these. Great work as always, Crystal.

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Will Save(+4 for years of retail, +4 for budget concerns, -12 because Crystal wrote an AMAZING blurb for an item): 1d20 + 4 + 4 - 12 ⇒ (4) + 4 + 4 - 12 = 0

"TAKE MAH MONEY!"

Paizo Employee Developer

10 people marked this as a favorite.
Rysky wrote:
Gloamont Sanderson wrote:
No one should see the inside of a stewpot more than once in a lifetime.
Glo is f$%%ing awesome.

If we ever start doing novels again, I'm going to have to try and flesh this little guy out more

Silver Crusade

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
Crystal Frasier wrote:
Rysky wrote:
Gloamont Sanderson wrote:
No one should see the inside of a stewpot more than once in a lifetime.
Glo is f$%%ing awesome.
If we ever start doing novels again, I'm going to have to try and flesh this little guy out more

PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAASSSSSSEEEEEEEEE!!!’

Scarab Sages

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Quote:

Yes, even boy witches. Do you want to nitpick or do you want advice?

Kids these days.

This quote made me smile from the bottom of my boy witch heart.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Ah, a new Kineticist? Hope the burn isn't worse than normal.

Now based on the name alone, I'm hoping its spider themed and can entangle people in elemental infused webs. :)

Sovereign Court

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Is that last image a Verminous Witch or a Vellemancer?

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Roleplaying Guild, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber
KingOfAnything wrote:
Is that last image a Verminous Witch or a Vellemancer?

Given what the dress is made out of Verminous Witch is probably right.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Given that the image tag says 'Verminous Witch', I'm guessing the former?

Paizo Employee Developer

5 people marked this as a favorite.
KingOfAnything wrote:
Is that last image a Verminous Witch or a Vellemancer?

It honestly works well for either


1 person marked this as a favorite.

The artist is mislabeled as "Ken" Hamilton. The correct name is "Kent" Hamilton. With a T.


The link to the image says Verminous too.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Azten wrote:

Ah, a new Kineticist? Hope the burn isn't worse than normal.

Now based on the name alone, I'm hoping its spider themed and can entangle people in elemental infused webs. :)

Ara, as in curses, not Arachne, as in spiders.


Aww, that's too bad. :/


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

"Ettercrap" is my new favourite word. May have to find a way to drop it into my game tonight.


Ettercrap has it's roots after someone had their character's head bitten off.


Pathfinder Card Game, Class Deck Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

*content sigh* This little story had me chuckle and smile a few times. Wonderful job Crystal.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What a delight to read, Crystal! And yes, it did hearken back to those fabulous Web Fiction days. *Sigh*

And yes, this really is a very intriguing book, folks. If you have ever been the least bit interested in Changlings and/or Witches, you will want to at least take a look at this.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

I've often thought that given all the half- and part-human races in Pathfinder, and the various sorcerer bloodlines and the like, that a study of genealogy must lead to madness.


Does this book give any detail on how a Changeling can avoid the call of her mother to become a Hag? Maybe by killing her mother or just become more powerful than her (aka a higher CR perhaps)?

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm curious to see how Hag-Riven falls race-wise.

I have a character I've been trying to figure out direction for of a different race and this might be... helpful.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 4

This is a great little post - love it! <3


Quote:
I've often thought that given all the half- and part-human races in Pathfinder, and the various sorcerer bloodlines and the like, that a study of genealogy must lead to madness.

Well, given that there are magical items that actually boost a person's Intelligence and Wisdom to levels that we real-life humans will probably never even begin to imagine in our lifetimes, I imagine there are ways around losing one's mind in intense months long study.

Of course, there are also easier to ways to lose your mind in Pathfinder too as there are terrors in this setting that we can't even begin to fathom in real life.


Do Changelings descended from Blood Hags have crimson red hair?


2 people marked this as a favorite.

That hagriven looks like she could really use a hug.


Pathfinder Companion, Maps, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Berselius wrote:
Does this book give any detail on how a Changeling can avoid the call of her mother to become a Hag? Maybe by killing her mother or just become more powerful than her (aka a higher CR perhaps)?

There is a feat (Awakened Hag Heritage) in this book that gives you benefits (and minor penalties) for partially giving in to the call, so would not taking that feat be sufficient?


The bit about boy witches reminds me of a character concept I had. I wonder if there will be anything for males born from hags? Surely the don't only birth changelings?


Ah, Crystal!
I could read your writing all day long...


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Azten wrote:
The bit about boy witches reminds me of a character concept I had. I wonder if there will be anything for males born from hags? Surely the don't only birth changelings?

Hags only bear female children, but some changelings lack clearly defined sexual traits or may grow to express masculine identities.


Also there's nothing stopping a good-aligned Changeling from being embraced by the clergy of Arshea and asking for a magic gender switching potion. ;)


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Azten wrote:
The bit about boy witches reminds me of a character concept I had. I wonder if there will be anything for males born from hags? Surely the don't only birth changelings?

Probably not what you were looking for, but Tears at Bitter Manor did its own take on that...the caliban.


Great short story!

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