Darkened Thresholds - Artifact

Game Master JonGarrett

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"Evening now folks, you're listening to me, Kara Louise, and it's time for the Witching Hour. Now I know a lot of people don't believe in the strange, the odd or the spooky. But everyone in this neck of the woods has seen something a little odd. Heard a strange story they wouldn't believe from anyone but friends or family, may be seen something you can't quite explain. Maybe you should ring in later, talk about it on air. Share the chills"

"But first, a little news for those of you, maybe a little cookier, maybe a little wiser, who think you know what's really going on. If that sounds like you, there's a little town off the beaten track. Back in the woods away, a few dozen families. Had a little hunting trouble a couple of years back. Know the one I'm talking about? Good. Then maybe you should head out that way when you have a spell, because a little birdie tells me they need a bit of help out that way...and now, for everyone else, a little music."

~~~~~~~~

Welcome to Darkened Thresholds, a Monster of the Week game. You will play a Hunter, someone who protects humanity from the things you only see in the corner of your eye and can only hope are your imagination.

The basic premise of this game is that you are Hunters, defenders of humanity against the things the lurk just beyond seeing, the ones who solve the events others write off as weird quirks of fate or bad luck. It's not an easy job. It'll probably kill you. But there's no one else who can do it.

~~~~~~~~~~

Application

Actually creating a character for Monster of the Week is a relatively simple, easy process that's also partially communal. As a result of this I'm going to start by looking for concepts, rather than characters. The more you can provide and the better idea I can get of the character you'll make and the kind of player you are.

One thing to note is that, at this point, nothing is set in stone. If things change during the creation process that is fine.

With that, let's get to it.

Name: Fairly obvious. Or, perhaps, not. This will likely be the name the character is known by in the game world, but it might be a nom de guerre or a title rather than there birth name. If they had a birth name.

Concept: Just a couple of paragraphs describing the idea behind your character. Perhaps you're a reformed cultist seeking to atone for the wrongs you committed? An assassin who took out something supernatural and dedicated your talents to saving the world? Something called on to this layer of existence with a job in mind?

Possible Playbook: You can find details of the 12 base playbooks Here, and several other possible options are mentioned Here. It should be noted that each character will have a different Playbook, but that a concept can often work with more than one - a succubus could use the Monstrous or the Changeling for example.

Creative Example: Because this is such a different character creation, with so much still in limbo at the end, I decided I wanted to see how you guys handle the creative side of the game. So, what I'm looking for here is your addition to the World of Darkened Threshold. For a character aiming for the Professional Playbook this could be details on your Agency, what it is and how it functions. For others perhaps its a place, an area of weirdness that we'll encounter in the game.

This doesn't have to be related to your character, and beyond the idea that the game is set somewhere in the modern-day US (but filmed in Canada) you're free to do what you want.

~~~~~~~~~~

Frequently Asked Questions (that have never been asked)

OK, so with that, here's a few bits that might also be useful to know.

I've never played Monster of the Week before! I'm out!

Well, I can't stop you. But Monster of the Week is an extremely simple system to play, and I'll be happy to run you through the character creation and the rules. You can read a brief How to Play although it doesn't contain the entire ruleset.

What kind of tone are you expecting?

The game will be semi-serious with elements of tragedy, but pretty much everything I touch has a certain level of humour built in. Not every game will be a race to save people from the monsters, and not everything happy ending with have a grim twist. Think TV shows like Buffy, or books like the Dresden Files.

What do you, as a GM, expect from us as players?

The thing I really want to see in players is good, consistent posting. Posting once a day would be good, warning me about delays when you can, and the like.

More importantly, this game will live and die on story and creativity - and not just mine. This is a world that I expect everyone to actively add to, and your relationships with other players will mean as much as your battles with the monsters. Don't be afraid to engage with characters and NPC's.

Finally, basic literacy skills. I'm talking real basic - anyone who plays with me for five minutes will tell you my crimes against grammar are great and many - but capitalization, paragraphs, full stops and a quick sweep with an in-browser spell check shouldn't be too hard.

~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you for taking the time to read all that, and I look forward to seeing you folks later.


Dotting in.
I have a huge grin on my face reading these playbooks. They are exactly what I expected.

Not sure what I'll be leaning toward but a concept will strike me soon enough.

Currently leaning to Spooky, Expert, Professional or Crooked. They seem to call to some fun concepts.


Well, before I forget, I should mention that the extra Playbooks I'm using can be found on RPGDriveThru at the following locations - The Leader, The Changeling, and a bundle containing All the Rest. It should be noted that all of these are Pay What You Want, but I will be happy to share a sneaky preview with anyone who wants a look so they can know how many pennies to throw at these.

Also, because I'm sure someone of you will want it, the Core Rules are on sale.


Dotting. I'll work on making my general idea into a submission tomorrow. Tonight it's bed time. :D


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

As I said in the interest check thread, I'm very interested.

I was a fan of Buffy/Angel when it was on, and love the Dresden books as well, so I'm pretty well versed in the Urban Fantasy genre.

My concept, as posted earlier, is a Changeling or Monstrous -- specifically a normal human who has become something different. Something inhuman. What's more, they're no longer subject to the rules of humanity, and now have to deal with the very different constraints and laws of their new reality -- very much like

Dresden Files spoiler:
Molly Carpenter.

However, rather than going the route that Jim Butcher did with <spoiler>, I'm thinking demon/devilkind.

Vignette:

She didn't know how she got here. Everything had been so unreal ever since... it happened. Jessica had been trapped in a waking nightmare and this was just the latest.

"Behold, fiendish one! I have summoned thee to do my bidding!" she hears in some sort of strange language that she understands somehow. She peers into the gloom and can make out robed figures surrounding her illuminated by the ruddy candlelight. Diabolic symbols decorate the floor and walls and dance in the fire's light.

"As payment for your service, I present to you this offering: the death of a holy priest who has forsaken his vows! Once you claim his soul he will forever be beyond redemption!" The central robed figure raises a ceremonial dagger over a helpless figure. Panic seizes her; and though her mind still whirls in confusion, she recognizes what's about to happen.

"No, wait! Stop!" she cries out, holding out her hand and trying to interpose herself between the dagger and the victim. Something holds her in place, yet her voice causes the villain to pause. "Don't!" she pleads.

There is confusion in the cultist's voice. "This one is deserving of punishment! He has forsaken his vows, and left his place of prayer to indulge in the sins of the flesh." The robed figure gestures at the weeping man below. Jessica looks about in horror; they were about to kill this man in front of her. Everyone was looking at her and giving her perplexed looks from beneath their hoods. "I offer this sacrifice for your service! For the service of six hundred and sixty-six days, you shall have his soul! Do we have an accord?"

She felt something tug in her, a desire to accept. Some instinct within her knew that this would be a binding, unbreakable contract on her end. Something worse within her greatly desired the soul, which would give her knowledge and power. But she recoiled from the bargain and turned to flee. Jessica found she could go no more than a step away from the proffered sacrifice, her back hitting something as solid as a wall. She shakes her head in fear. "No!"

"You will do my bidding!" shouts the leader, outraged.

"I believe the lady said no," comes a voice from outside the circle. Suddenly, the basement is filled with sound of drawn steel, shouts, and screams. Jessica tries to run, but again she is trapped. Strangely, there was nothing holding her, no ropes or chains or glass, but it felt as if the air itself was a solid wall all around her. She looks down at her feet and sees an inscribed circle, inlaid with silver and etched with strange runes.

In a few seconds, the fighting is nearly over. The leader of the robed figures, clutching his side, limps to her. "Save us! Slay the interlopers! My soul and more if you just--" his plea is cut off by a solid clout to the head, causing the leader to collapse on the bound and thankfully still living man on the altar. Jessica can do nothing else but look on, horrified.

The newcomers, victorious, begin leading away the cultists and systematically dismantling the diabolic imagery decorating the dank chamber. Most of them give Jessica and the circle surrounding her a wide berth. Only one steps forward and truly looks at her. His wizened face is one of intense curiosity. Someone asks him out of the gloom, "You're going to banish her, right, Professor? I wouldn't deal with it."

Instead, the professor scratches his chin, and studies Jessica's terrified face. "Why didn't she take the bargain, I wonder?" he mutters as he begins to turn away.

"Wait! Please!" Jessica calls out, hammering on the invisible wall. "Can you help me? I don't know where I am. I don't know what's going on, but I'm not what you think I am! I'm a human!" she cries.

Scoffs and cries of incredulous laughter come from the newcomers. The older human also looks doubtful as he turns back around. He points to the symbols at her feet. "Do you know what those mean?" he asks calmly.

Jessica shakes her head.

"They form a circle of protection. Against evil creatures."

Jessica's lower lip begins trembling. "But I'm not evil," she says in a small voice.

"If you are a mere human, then you should have no trouble stepping across that threshold." The professor turns to walk away.

Jessica throws herself against the barrier, which stops her just as effectively as before. "Wait! No, this isn't right! I wasn't always like this! I don't know what happened; I was captured, experimented on! Please!" she cries out desperately.

The professor turns back around, regarding her curiously. One of the others asks, "You're not actually beginning to believe her, are you, Prof?"

The older man looks at the speaker for a moment, then back to Jessica. After a long pause, he murmurs to himself, "She didn't accept the deal."

One of the professor's companions steps close and grabs his arm. "It's too great a risk. It's for the best that you banish this thing back to Hell."

At that suggestion, Jessica broke down in abject terror. She collapsed in wracking sobs, helpless behind the magical barrier. However, the professor turned back to her and drew his foot across the circle. He reached out and took her hand, inviting her to step free.

Edit: So, apparently the Changeling is an adopted monster raised as a human and is now dealing with the fact that they were never human in the first place. Now the name of the Playbook makes so much more sense. I can run with that, though some of the Playbook moves have me thinking in some fun directions besides what I had in the vignette. I'll think on this some more.


Name: Jerry Harris

Concept: Jerry was a prison guard in the Midwest. He was good at his job, which meant he wasn't well liked by the inmates. That is, until Jerry found out that he was very well liked by one of the inmates, and he liked the inmate in return. When the other inmates discovered this, they were ready to turn on Jerry's beau in a heartbeat to lash out at one of the most least-liked correctional officers.

One gang in particular really wanted to see Jerry suffer. The dumb hick from Texas who ruled the pack -- Surprise! He's a vampire! -- really wanted to see Jerry suffer, so he sucked the blood right out of Jerry's lover right in front of him. Jerry was to be next, but the vampire and his crew of weirdos (that makes much more sense, now) underestimated Jerry's sheer grit and sense of not-putting-up-with-this-s+*~.

After Jerry's eyes were opened to the underside of the world, he left his occupation as a correctional officer, driven by revenge and the need to take these new types of hoodlums out of decent society.

Possible Playbooks: I can work this concept with a number of different Playbooks. The Wronged or The Professional seem like obvious choices, but The Mundane could also work. If you think The Hard Case could be a good fit, I'd like to see a sneak peak of that. I'll buy the pack if I use that Playbook.

Creative Example: I'm going to come back to this as it's late. I just wanted to get what I've thought about from the Interest Check thread down.


Stalwart wrote:
Edit: So, apparently the Changeling is an adopted monster raised as a human and is now dealing with the fact that they were never human in the first place. Now the name of the Playbook makes so much more sense. I can run with that, though some of the Playbook moves have me thinking in some fun directions besides what I had in the vignette. I'll think on this some more.

A certain level of re-fluffing can be done, so this could be someone who has become a monster, rather than being born and finding out.

Almonihah wrote:
Dotting. I'll work on making my general idea into a submission tomorrow. Tonight it's bed time. :D

People sleep? I mean, yes, sleep. A totally normal thing I also do. Yes.


I've got more ideas than I can use. Please feel free to use any of these even if I don't end up playing.

Some Characters:

#1 Dot Brenner:

Name: Dorothy Brenner, CPA ("Dot" or "Dottie")

Concept: Was introduced to the supernatural world at an early age and has spent most of her life trying to avoid it, including becoming an accountant on the grounds that that was the most mundane thing she could think of. It hasn't worked. She's content to leave magic alone, but it does not return the favor.

Possible Playbooks: Spooky, Chosen

#2 Sunny Clare:

Name: Sarah Alice "Sunny" Clare / Aktorazithal the Dark

Concept: Kidnapped as a child to be sacrificed as part of a demon summoning ritual. The ritual wasn't completed, but in the process, somehow, her soul was fused with that of a minor Shadow Demon, apparently inseparably. This has left her with a lot of strange memories, unexplained compulsions, and a knack for occult stuff.

Possible Playbooks: Spooky, Changeling

#3 Vic Bell:

Name: The Rev. Thomas William Bell ("Vic"--it's short for "vicar")

Concept:Born in England and never lost the accent. Encountered supernatural stuff for the first time while in seminary, and has refocused his life around hunting it while still attempting to make a career as an Episcopal priest.

Possible Playbooks:Expert, Initiate

And plenty of creative bits

#1 Radescu's Tea House:
It looks somewhat shabby from the outside, and only rarely seems to have many customers, but Radescu's serves as a meeting place for different occult factions. Radescu, the proprietor, is an enigmatic figure, whose true identity is unknown. The staff of the tea house consists of young, dark-haired women in black chinese-style robes, whose faces nobody can seem to remember.

#2 Wyvern Library:
The Wyvern Library is a private collection of books on matters esoteric. It can be accessed by members of the public by appointment, and contains rare and valuable volumes, some of which are the only copies known outside of closely guarded private collections. Unfortunately, they've also got a problem with security, and some quite dangerous books have gone missing

#3 Interfaith Cooperation Council:
The name is bland and unassuming, but the organization consists of religious leaders in-the-know on occult activities in the city, who may offer aid to monster hunters, or have their own agendas. Leaders include Father Paul Mendoza, Rabbi Stephen Kleinman, and Ted Conlan, the Unitarian Universalist youth minister.


Since I've got a few ideas, I'll be putting them into spoilers to keep form wall of texting the thread.

Concept #1: Kalisuel the Meek:

I am not that strong or brave. I'm terrible at this, but someone has to do it.

Name:
Kalisuel

Possible Playbooks:
The Divine's really the only one that would fit this one.

Concept:
Kalisuel is a meek angel with almost no self-confidence. She's been exiled and her one-time fellows would gleefully kill her. To make matters worse, she can't find a place here in the realm of mortals and lives as an outcast resting where she can and subsisting on whatever she can buy with money she makes from odd jobs or what she can scrounge or beg for.

Part of this is setting up an arc where she does learn that she's more capable than she thinks she is. It's a fun arc to play and I've done something similar with a paladin of mine. Another part of this is because I find the idea of the small, meek one being the most dangerous person in the room amusing. What can I say? My sense of humor is a bit wacky.

Creative Writing Sample:
Kalisuel tried not to gag as the stench hit her nose. Blood, rot, and death hung in the air, a miasma to the grisly decor she spied deep in the forest of the park. She'd followed the pack of vampires here, but they'd disappeared before she could confront them.

Why do I keep trying? I always manage to screw up.

Seeing that the cave seemed to be unguarded, she crept in to see if any of the vampires' victims were still alive. She doubted it, given the way they appeared to tear apart their victims' corpses to use as decorations. There was a chance, though, and Kalisuel couldn't ignore it any more than she could ignore a singing in her blood that begged to be unleashed upon the unholy blight this den belonged to.

"Well, well, what do we have here?" The voice dripped with mocking condescension and had a feral edge to it as it came from behind Kalisuel.

"Don't worry little girl, we're going to have a good time, the three of us," a second voice chimed in, this one heavy with poorly hidden hunger and lust.

"Oh, are you vampires," Kalisuel asked as she turned around. The two figures behind her were dressed in black leather and looked as if their last bath was a few weeks behind them. They looked at her confused for a moment before resuming their game.

"We are," the first one answered, leering at her as he stepped closer. "Why did you want to know? Looking for somethin' kinky to get up to tonight? The two of us could show you a good time."

"Oh no, I'm not allowed to kill humans, you see. Only monsters," Kalisuel answers as she summons a long sword alight with white fire into her hands. "Sorry, but this might hurt some."

===

Kalisuel limped back to the small hut she shared with a few other vagrants shared with her. the fight had been tough, but she'd slain them both and had rescued one of the people they'd disappeared to feed on and for other unsavory things. She hadn't stayed around for the police after getting through to them. She'd ghosted into the forest for most of the trip. She knew she would never receive a reward, and that was okay with her. Fame would only make her hunts harder.

The wound in her side throbbed and almost stole her breath. She hadn't been fast enough, and that had nearly cost her the fight. The divine essence that flowed through her like streams down mountains had healed the worst of it, but the wounds left were still painful. Perhaps it was for the best that she had been exiled, she thought as she ducked into the ramshackle structure of old lumber, pallets, and rusting corrugated panels. She curled up in the drafty corner that had been given to her and shivered as the cold cut through her threadbare clothing.

Yes, perhaps it was for the best.


Concept #2: Police turned Vampire:

I am in control of this curse, not the other way around.

Name:
Charlotte "Charly" Davidson

Possible Playbooks:
The Monstrous, The Changeling, possibly The Summoned

Concept:
Charly was a police officer fresh from the academy when she got turned. She was responding to a hostage situation turning sour with the rest of the SWAT team. Unfortunately for them, the criminals turned out to be vampires and the hostages were already thralls. The small unit was massacred and Charly was the only survivor when a team of hunters came in and slaughtered the vampires in turn. While they were thorough, they missed one that crawled away in a half-delirious state. Charly woke up the next night to find that she'd been turned and that she had been presumed dead.

While I want her to hunger, I also like the idea of giving her a vulnerability to silver. I think I'll just roleplay the need to feed instead of taking the feed curse. Besides, I have some scenes in my head that I think would be funny. Also, I am shameless stealing Seras Victoria's origin story from Hellsing. I just tweaked it a bit.

Creative Writing Sample:
Charly tried not to roll her eyes as the vampire rambled on and on about how they should be working together. She hadn't been impressed with him at first, and she was only growing more and more irritated with him as he blathered about himself, their superiority, and how good of a time he could show her.

"Uh-huh," she said, acknowledging what he said without really agreeing to it, "Just one problem with that."

"Er, what would that be," the vampire asked, his head cocked like a dog's that didn't understand what was going on.

Charly moved with lightning speed to pull the vampire forward while shoving the barrel of her pistol into his mouth. The idiot didn't even get a chance to cry out as cold steel scraped against his fangs.

"You're already dead," Charly stated in a voice as cold as ice and pulled the trigger.


These are the two that I have most fleshed out, but I have ideas for The Mundane, The Spell Slinger, The Crooked, and even an idea that could work as an alternate for The Changeling or as The Summoned. I can flesh these out if wanted, but at the moment, the two concepts above are my top two picks.


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Here's what I'm thinking for my character:

Name: Among Hunters he goes by Cheshire. The current pseudonym he uses in human form is Chester Carlyle. What his real name is? He's not telling.

Concept: Cheshire is a canny, cunning were-cat with considerable knowledge about the secret world. He's rather conceited, with a wide sarcastic streak that tends to rub people the wrong way in spite of his self-image insisting he's suave and charming.

He has a knack for showing up just as trouble strikes an area and sniffing out the Hunters going after it. He's good at making himself just useful enough to said Hunters for them to put up with his sharp tongue and dismissive attitude. He's not the strongest in combat compared to other 'monsters', but his speed and cunning are enough that he's thus far avoided getting killed.

Cheshire claims he was an ordinary man who was unlucky enough to run afoul of an angry warlock who cursed him with the form of a cat. Luckily he figured out a way to switch between forms sometime later, turning the curse into something of an asset.

Character secrets:
Cheshire was actually originally a cat. A warlock with more power than sense used him for an experiment, turning him into a therianthrope. Cheshire took advantage of the warlock's overconfidence and killed him in the middle of the night, taking his books and other belongings for himself, learning and gaining what he could from them before venturing into the world. Since then he's been using the Hunters to try to seek out other ways to learn more magic or other ways to increase his own power.

Possible Playbook: The Monstrous is the only one that allows shapeshifting, so this concept is pretty much stuck with it.

Creative Example: Can I just point you at a short story I've written previously, or were you hoping for something directly related?

Oh, right, you already said it should be something directly related. Let me think on that a bit.


Yeah, the story is cool, but the idea is for you to add to the world.


Hmm, checking things over. See if I come up with any good ideas.


Oops, guess I really didn't add that much. Going to be following BenBrown's example since his submission is a lot more concise than mine. Also going to include some of the ideas I left out.

Kalisuel the Meek:

Name: Kalisuel the Meek

Concept: A timid, klutzy angel that has been banished from her celestial order and is living as a vagabond at the start of the game. She's also on the order's kill on sight list for mysterious reasons.

Quirks: Has taken a liking to pears and apples since coming to the mortal realm. She is fond of anything cute and furry. Sometimes she comes off as quite unsettling.

Possible Playbooks: The Divine


Charly the Vampire:

Name: Charlotte "Charly" Davidson

Concept: Rookie cop turned vampire during a hostage situation that went really south. She's since been picked up by a mysterious organization that has deep pockets. When she isn't hunting other monsters, she lives in the lap of luxury in a modern 5,000 sqft. penthouse suite.

Quirks: Is a big geek and has turned one of the rooms of the massive suite into a cushy gaming/theatre room. She also takes great pains to appear calm, cool, and collected while there are a number of times where she's freaking out on the inside. She does have excellent control over her monstrous urges, though they do manifest themselves sometimes in odd quirks, like munching on a carrot or apple like a rabbit.

Possible Playbooks: The Monstrous, The Changeling


Big Benny K:

Name: Benard Kowalski

Concept: Russian mafia hitman turned monster exterminator. He looks about as trustworthy as a snake and is one creepy dude.

Quirks: Is a wine and food snob. He has gone to culinary school and often invites people over to his home for dinner. Seems to know the cooks for every restaurant in town. Can't stand the smell of artificial strawberry flavored things. Listens to classical music, especially anything for string quartets.

Possible Playbooks: The Crooked, The Hard Case, The Professional


Arabian Sage:

Name: Ahmed Entezam

Concept: The last in a long line of warrior sages that can trace their lineage back to ancient Persia, Ahmed keeps millennia of knowledge out of the wrong hands while using it to protect the innocent from the unknown horrors that stalk the night.

Quirks: Anime Otaku. Loves to read romance novels. Operates a nursery for a living and arranges flowers as a hobby. Has dated almost every single woman between the ages of 20 and 30 within fifty miles.

Possible Playbooks: The Initiate, The Spell Slinger, The Spooky


The Everyman Gardener:

Name:[b] Samuel Wise

[b]Concept: Samwise Gamgee. That is all.

What? Do you need more than that?

Okay, fine! He's one of the other hunter's gardener. He takes care of the roses and mulches the lawn clippings by day. By night he tries to help others kill monsters. With garden tools and lame puns if necessary.

Quirks: He often gets flustered around pretty girls. Is fiercely protective and supportive of those he sees as his friends. He eats way more than he should be able to.

Possible Playbooks: The Mundane, The Sidekick


Devil's Tears:

Name: Vivian Crow, True Name: Falithiel the Mute

Concept: A devil wanting to change and seek redemption is summoned to the mortal realm. She refuses the deal for more power, much to the consternation of the cultists. A group of hunters kills the cultists and bring her back to their base for observation after they note her peculiar behavior.

Quirks: Can't speak above a whisper in any form. Timid to the point of skittishness. She shies away from new people until she gets to know them. Reads voraciously. Often dresses in a gothic style.

Possible Playbooks: The Monstrous, The Spooky, The Summoned

Some ideas for what could be in this world.

Ibbleting's Antiques, Oddities, and Things:

It looks like a small, dusty shop tucked in some alley, but inside is row upon row of shelves and tables holding all sorts of items and books from just about anywhere or anywhen. It's run by three sisters; triplets named Ping, Ting, and Fling; that always faintly smell of ozone and frost. Items can be bought with cash, information, trade, favors, performances, or stories.

A word of warning, do not open the back door, do not steal from them, and whatever you do, do not harm them inside or outside their shop.


The Order of the Iron Light:

Note, this is the order Kalisuel was banished from.
Also note, these angels are not the biblical kind. these are more like demigods with infinite lifespans and ego problems.

Among the twelve holy orders of angels, this one is the most militant. They wage war against the monstrous and profane, slaying any monster they find, or any that dare consort with them. They make no distinctions between those that are evil, those that are redeemed, and those that are innocent. To be a monster is a death sentence to them and to fall into their company is to be like them. recently there's been talks among the other orders of reigning in the Order of Iron LIght, but so far its members are still free to do as they wish.

Sometimes, angels who do not do well in other orders are sent to the Order of Iron Light, figuring that if they don't manage, the order will handle the messy details.


The Hand of Nine:

A shadowy organization that operates with government funding and connections all over the world. Their purpose is to hunt the creatures of the night and maintain order. They sometimes find themselves at odds with the Order of the Iron Light, though there's a tenuous truce in effect at the moment. They employ several monsters in their roster to help track done and kill other monsters.

Besides hunting monsters. they also seek to understand them and perform experiments on samples gathered and specimens captured. Sometimes the Hand of Nine carries things too far and several monstrous agents of the organization have walked into one of their facilities never to be heard from again.


The Sisters of Magic:

A group of young female spellcasters that goes around causing a ruckus. While they remain unidentified, they are wanted for property damage, assault and battery, reckless endangerment, kidnapping, attempted murder, and murder. While accounts vary, officials agree that there are five members each operating under a theme. The leading theory among investigators is too many magical girl anime shows as the reason for the group's MO.

The group is dangerously delusional. They offer other young women with some magical talent or monstrous a choice of joining them or surrendering. Refusal often initiates an attack.


The Wizard's Bean:

Often found in the strangest of places and never in the same place two nights in a row, the Wizard's Bean is a coffee and magical supply shop for wizards, warlocks, witches, and whoever else needs items hard to find in more mundane stores. The owners are a brother and sister who seem to never age and whose ethnicity is very hard to pin down. The coffee beans come from a tree that grows in the center of the courtyard and is cared for by a dryad. Regulars often make a game out of trying to find a pattern to where the Ol' Bean will be. Supposedly there are rules and there's a pot for anyone that can correctly guess it or figure them out.

Whatever you do, do not use Starbucks terminology while ordering. The price goes up exponentially.


Ol' Barry:

Ol' Barry is considered by those still not aware of the strangeness around them to be a harmless, homeless old man if a bit eccentric. To those who are aware, there's an air about Ol' Barry that sets them on edge. There's just that faintest whiff of magic under all of that body odor. To those who frequent the underbelly of the magical world, Ol' Barry's name is synonymous with drugs, poisons, and assassins. His web of connections keeps him informed and too many find him too useful to do away with. Contrary to the face he presents the rest of the world, he's a spiteful and cunning man willing to wait decades for his revenge. There are rumors that Barry is a bodysnatcher, and with this body aging, it's only a matter of time before he finds himself a new one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay, after some thought and letting my imagination run, I've come up with two major concepts.

The first is based on that first vignette I posted -- a normal person changed into something not human.

Specifically, I want to make sure I'm well clear of the fairly tropey succubus/temptress demon. Instead, I'd like to make her a fury -- more like a fallen angel of the wrathful variety. Therefore, I think either the Monstrous or perhaps a reskinned Divine would be the best playbook for that. But I could probably make the Changling work for it as well.

The Changeling Playbook gave me another idea, however. This one is pretty dependent upon the setting being fairly static -- where all the action takes place in a single town like Sunnydale or Chicago, and less of a road-trip Supernatural/Mystery Machine romp across the country. The reason is that this idea is that the adopted/orphan character is actually a dryad and is linked to a large tree somewhere in town. Thus, she's bound to the area and can't stray very far or else she starts to get weaker the longer she's away.

Creative Example:
The coolest place in town is called the Covenant -- a record store-slash-coffee house that has a large back room with a stage for small, indie bands that play over the weekends. The baristas are surly and emo, but they make the best java and their music tastes are simply better than yours. Startup bands across the tri-state area are desperate to get good enough for a chance at a gig, or for one of the staff to recommend their album.

McHappilee's Doughnuts -- 24-hour donut shop that makes everything in the store fresh. A popular hangout in the mornings for students, cops, and harried adults in need of coffee and a morning sugar rush. The other time the shop is busy is at 2 a.m., when they put their bags of day-olds up for sale for a single buck to clear space for the fresh ones.


I'm really enjoying the stuff you folks are submitting, it's good stuff. I'll start weaving it into some kind of cohesive setting and story in a day or two.

On that note, I'll leave applications open for one week. We'll close it on 11.3.19. That should be long enough, I hope.


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Okay, I came up with an idea for my creative example:

Newton's Final Formula

History knows that Sir Isaac Newton, famous for his laws of physics, also had an interest in what scientists dispargingly term 'the occult'--alchemy, prophecy, and so forth. Pieces of his works in these fields remain, though tradition has it that much more was lost in a fire. When scientists bother to talk about the topic, they tend to shake their heads at the wasted potential--what other laws of the universe might he have discovered had he not been distracted by such things, they say.

They have no idea how close he was.

The fire that supposedly destroyed much of his alchemical work was a cover-up, for Sir Isaac Newton was, in truth, one of Earth's greatest metaphysicists, thriving in that strange twilight space between science and magic where any who would seek deeper laws beneath the traditional incantations must dwell. But though he kept his work secret there were those who knew of the discoveries he was making and coveted them for themselves.

They raided his study, and stole many of his notes before setting fire to what remained. But as often happens, there was no honor among thieves, and rather than work together these rivals each took what they had claimed for themselves, trying to work out greater mysteries from the crumbs they had stolen.

But they had missed the greatest prize, the jewel that was to crown Newton's work--a nearly-complete formula which the now-despondent scientist, now convinced he could never finish it without what he had lost, bequeathed to a friend. Just what this formula meant is a matter of great debate--some say it reveals some hidden law underlying all magic, the knowledge of which would allow one to work wonders the likes of which the world has never seen. Others say it is a darker thing, the a calculation by which one can master men's minds. Still others say it truly is the final formula, the recipe for an alchemical weapon capable of the destruction of the entire planet.

Whatever it is, students of the secret arts have hunted for both the formula and the scattered notes needed to understand and complete it for centuries, each convinced it will give them what they desire.


Andostre wrote:

Name: Jerry Harris

Concept: Jerry was a prison guard in the Midwest. He was good at his job, which meant he wasn't well liked by the inmates. That is, until Jerry found out that he was very well liked by one of the inmates, and he liked the inmate in return. When the other inmates discovered this, they were ready to turn on Jerry's beau in a heartbeat to lash out at one of the most least-liked correctional officers.

One gang in particular really wanted to see Jerry suffer. The dumb hick from Texas who ruled the pack -- Surprise! He's a vampire! -- really wanted to see Jerry suffer, so he sucked the blood right out of Jerry's lover right in front of him. Jerry was to be next, but the vampire and his crew of weirdos (that makes much more sense, now) underestimated Jerry's sheer grit and sense of not-putting-up-with-this-s!%#.

After Jerry's eyes were opened to the underside of the world, he left his occupation as a correctional officer, driven by revenge and the need to take these new types of hoodlums out of decent society.

Possible Playbooks: I can work this concept with a number of different Playbooks. The Wronged or The Professional seem like obvious choices, but The Mundane could also work. If you think The Hard Case could be a good fit, I'd like to see a sneak peak of that. I'll buy the pack if I use that Playbook.

Creative Example: I'm going to come back to this as it's late. I just wanted to get what I've thought about from the Interest Check thread down.

Creative Example:
"So, we ran a background check on you."

"Really."

"Yes. Even mundane solutions have value. We corroborated much of what you said. After your first job, you got successfully transferred to another jail--"

"Prison. A jail is where you hold someone short term until they go to a longer term prison."

"Right. You started at another prison. Death records and a couple odd new stories confirm your work there. And then a pattern emerges where you either get transferred again, or in some cases, you quit and were re-hired somewhere else. So, to get right to it: The Red Templars could definitely use someone of your conviction and experience in our northwest region."

"Northwest? Isn't that where the Daylight Soldiers operate?"

"Yes, but there's a lot of overlap in some areas for groups like ours. We've... tried to work together, but there's too much mistrust and too many disagreements for any alliances to last long. We sometimes work with Gaia Strike, but they seem to be falling apart from within. With a few exceptions, such as the Red Templars, the nature of our work tends to attract people who... aren't organizationally-minded. Even within teams, hunters tend to find it hard to trust that their own teammates aren't more --or less-- than they appear."

"You don't say."

"..."

"..."

"Um, usually this is the point where an applicant asks how they can trust us."

"Yeah, I can see that."

"You haven't asked that."

"Well. I ran a background check of sorts myself. On your organization. Because that's what I do. I find the monsters that hide in humanity's organizations."

"What did you find? Did you find a vampire?"

"No. I found three vampires. And a gargoyle. They were your southeast U.S. team and part of your Caribbean group."

"'Were?'"

"That's right."

"Oh dear..."


So, in addition to giving some more background to my character concept, I'm fleshing out the world by proposing that there's more than a few small monster-hunting organizations that operate mostly independently.

Dark Archive

Sarah O'Callaghan

Sarah is the granddaughter of Morris O'Callaghan, caretaker of the old cemetary up on Lawrence. He didn't mention it much, but among Morris' duties were making sure the dead stayed in the ground, for some reason a lot of folks around here were not too keen on knowing when to stay dead.

But now old Morris got a little too slow, got himself chewed up some. He survived, but he ain't going to be walking again. No-one else is stepping up to the task so Sarah's taken over, after all it wouldn't do for just anyone to be wandering around the cemetery at night.

Playbook Can be flexible on this one, Flake, Expert, Chosen, Initiate, possibly an unconventional Divine or Spooky.

The Cemetery: The old cemetery is restless and while it's often the dead that don't want to stay that way, it also attracts attention from all sorts of other creeps, it's not the only cemetery in town, but it's the oldest and when weird stuff goes down it's often here.
It's a dreary place, even the fanciest of mausoleums seem to fade to grey, the mist from the nearby lake lingers well beyond the morning hours and the statuary seems to watch you. Still, a lot of the older families prefer to be buried there. Tradition holds beyond common sense.


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Called: Captain, Captain Rose by very few.

Concept:
Military or ex-military, people assume by her attitude but aren't entirely sure. Which nation she is/was military or not of, also something people debate. When Captain's not around, of course. She wouldn't be having with such deplorable and annoying behaviour as idle gossip.

Captain is very loyal to her higher-ups. After years of training teams under her command, Captain has an attitude that everyone - other than her higher-ups - are subordinates. She is very big on reminding and keeping others to the rules and objectives. Ruthlessly so. If the rules say the punishment is death, she'll argue for death without any wavers in whatever is left in her heart no matter the circumstances. Captain holds others and herself to a very high appearing standard though how much she keeps the rules herself is her little secret.

Severe, cold and analytical, but gets the job done is how most who work alongside her would describe the Captain. There are a few stories floating around of shocking displays of humanity, but most don't believe them. She is full of far more surprises than most give her credit, but keeping others on edge of how far she will go to fulfill her job is a carefully kept image the Captain keeps.

She wears meticulous formalwear and her favourite weapon has a gilded rose engraved on it.

Possible Playbook: Crooked or Professional

Creative Examples:

Criminal Agency:

Blighters' Karma - Their code might not be more of 'normal' society, but it works for them. Their members would say it is fueled by how much normal society occasionally needs a kick in the pants - or a baseball bat to the face. They don't bother dealing with the corruption through legal means - most of the time - they just fit through the cracks and get the job done so people can get by when society kicks them while they're down. At least, that's what you'll hear if you talk to most of them about it. Getting any firmer details about them is a bit difficult.

Strictly hierarchal, information on an absolute need to know basis, members work in teams on specific tasks. Some are the face, working normal jobs, some get what needs gotten, get people where they're supposed to be, some get rid of people needing gone.

Few people see any of the higher-ups. Most teams go through training and then are held in control by a lead who has the only contact with anyone higher. The rumour is that the members all have a dark burn etched somewhere on their skin. Lower rank members will have one or two on the lower part of their bodies - easy to cover but easy to show too - while higher ranked members will have several going up their bodies.

It is said around town that if you really need something and don't mind where it's coming from, to look for a merchant's cart with a large black awning and no matter what they're selling, ask if the lusterless beads can be delivered and don't be persuaded to buy or leave until given an offering.

Professional Agency:

Adalets - named for the founding family that is still in charge after hundreds of years, their public face is a logistics corporation. Their headquarters is a tall skyscraper, blending in among a bunch of other skyscrapers of dark metal and dark glass.

Like many corporations, they have their fingers in a lot of pies, publically and behind the scenes. International aid NGOs, healthcare, food, education, tech, legal, mercenary bands, fashion, criminal networks...Adalets has been connected to all of them though getting anything nefarious to stick is difficult. They have an astounding and large legal and PR departments for a logistics company.

A rumour currently going around that they've been quick to laugh off has to do with their trucks and cargo containers being seen in the hands of various military-level equipped groups and criminal gangs. Which ones and the purpose depends on the telling - from syphoning off water to control to planning a destructive coup to smuggling people to just having had some of their equipment knicked by disgruntled ex-employee gone rogue. The corporation is dismissive, photos and videos can be edited, but new stories seem to show up every few weeks...


Still working on my creative examples, but here's what I've got for my main submission, since I'm still very much interested in this.

Name: Zeke Bjarnessen. His mama called him Ezekiel, and nobody else does. He's got nicknames, but only certain people can use them.

Concept: There's lots of fancy folk out there hunting monsters. Government suits with special-issue exploding pens. Divinely blessed champions with the Armor and Sword of the Almighty Himself. Ivory-tower sorts who've discovered secrets of the Man-Was-Not-Meant-To-Know variety. Sometimes the monsters themselves decide to fight back against their terrible kin.

Then there's Zeke. Zeke isn't anything special, at least if you ask him--but then, in his line of work, that does make him special. Zeke's exact talents and skillset vary by account. Some say he's a cunning hunter, who relies as much on his smarts and his tools to get the job done as anything else. Some say he's just cool as a cucumber, nearly inhuman himself with his collected attitude and singular tenacity. Most everybody says he's one tough S.O.B., but then, he'd have to be just to survive.

Where he comes from, how long he's been working, where he operates, and with whom, are all matters of speculation. A lot of folk peg him for ex-military, by the way he holds himself in a fight, but some say he picked that up in a third-world prison--and more than a few figure it's a mix of both. His tattoos might be patriotic, or rebellious, or downright criminal, it's hard to say--they've got that sort of ubiquitous look that just says not to mess with the owner. You can ask him yourself if you like, but depending on who you ask, Zeke's as likely to hit you with a crowbar as he is a disarming smile.

Playbook: I personally picture Zeke as the Hard Case, but options abound. The Expert and the Wronged both feel fitting, and the Crooked or even the Professional could do the same. The Mundane doesn't quite have the motif I picture for Zeke, even if I'm seeing him as embodying the idea of a plain old stock human who's just got enough gravel in his guts to fight back against the dark.

Coming up when I finish working on it: some info on the Jim Bowie Rest Stop just outside of town, where the food is good, the drinks are cheap, and there's always a little strange gossip going around.


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Hmm, I've got at least one somewhat interesting idea. May still need to think on creative examples some more though. Also may percolate other character ideas later.

Name: Kavax'Koatl. Has a bunch of titles he doesn't bother with most of the time.

Concept: Kavax'Koatl, the World Render, Dark Dragon of the End, and so on and so forth, has not been having a very good time recently. Not only has he been summoned into the mortal world in a mortal body (which is proving more complicated to operate than he would like), but it's way too early for the Apocalypse, and the summoner was apparently both badly misinformed and terribly incompetent. While perfectly fine with fulfilling his role when the time comes, Kavax is not at all interested in doing so early. In fact, he's now quite upset that he's going to have to do a lot of extra work to prevent an early Apocalypse from happening in order to ensure that the correct one can occur when it is supposed to. Also, turns out that while ending the world periodically might be his job, he's actually a pretty decent person when 'off the clock', if a bit acerbic and morbid at times.

Playbook: Either a Summoned or a slightly tweaked Divine.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I have to say, I'm getting more enamored of the dryad Changeling idea. I think it should work (but only if we don't do a lot of travel).

Here's a Creative Example tied to that concept:

The Magistrate, an American chestnut tree easily over 350 years old, is a landmark near the middle of the town (assuming the game's main setting is somewhere in the northeast. Otherwise, it's likely some other tree native to the region). Somehow mysteriously spared of the chestnut fungal blight, it stands tall and proud in a park behind the town hall and the community library. The Magistrate has long been a fixture of the town, including a participant of some of its most sordid past events. Criminals have been hanged from its branches, as well as a few innocents during the nation's more shameful eras. During the economic downturn during the 1970s and '80s, the park had been left to decay, and numerous other trees and brush grew up around the Magistrate, and for a time the stately tree was forgotten for a time.

That changed in the early 2000s, when an economic boom of the town and a resurgent interest in the town's history led a group of conservationists to explore the overgrown park and discover the Magistrate still alive and flourishing behind the brush. A civic effort to restore the park was started, and the community rallied around the Magistrate, though they also chose to keep some of the other trees that had grown up around it.

The Magistrate was the source of local gossip again roughly fifteen years ago, when an infant child was found nestled in its hoary roots by some park goers. No one was able to find the mother, so the baby girl was eventually adopted by the leaders of the town historical society, Everette and Lily Donohue. The baby was called Maggie, after the tree in which she was found.


At the moment, my idea is that you'll be moving within a US County sized area. The idea is sound, though, so if you want your tree to be smack bang in the middle of the County and to be unable to head past its borders (and play one off Hunters if we ever have games that go past those limits) then it sounds good.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Okay, yeah! County-sized area is perfectly reasonable. The way I figure it, the area that I can freely move is defined by plot. Any time you want to ratchet up tension, I might have to act under pressure if I start to stray a little too far.

For short road trips by the others, maybe I'll be the guy (gal) in the chair. And maybe there'll be magic spells and such that could give me a longer rope (with corresponding countdown for added drama).

JonGarrett:

I realized the Changeling playbook has some moves and features that play up the mystery of what the character really is.

Especially if there's ever a need for the game to switch settings (like the Angel spinoff to LA, for example), maybe there could be an ongoing mystery that Maggie isn't just a dryad.

So that's what I want to explore, as the game progresses and evolves (and assuming I'm selected -- ;P ). She starts out a dryad, but there's clues that she's something more. And that's the kicker. She was in disguise/hiding/exile/faerie witness protection or in some other way made to appear to be just a simple dryad to make sure she was overlooked by whatever forces or entities that have some vested interest in her.

So, the girl who thought she was human, finds out she's really a dryad, but then finds out she's something beyond even that... What do you think?


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Alright, thought of something to do for a...

Creative Example:
The Unnamed Ruins

Out a little ways into the countryside, there exist some old ruins, most likely Native American. They aren't exactly secret, and folks nearby even mention them from time to time, but nobody makes a big deal about them, figuring they're probably already explored or otherwise uninteresting. Their exact nature has never been determined conclusively due to the fact that every single expedition intended to travel to them has never actually gotten there, usually due to losing interest, insufficient funding, loss of equipment, or other seemingly mundane problems... meaning that no one has ever publicly determined exactly what they are or what their purpose might be. The supernaturally inclined community has already concluded that there must be some ancient curse or ward preventing people from approaching them... but what could be inside worth protecting so well?


Just thought of another concept that would be fun to play. I love these Playbooks. Lots of flavor that look like they'll be fun to put into play.

Name: Zachary Zanes

Concept: Boring accountant unknowingly works for large corporation that has interests in different industries. (Maybe Adalets, from D_Var_Stars' pitch?) He investigates some odd financial transactions that seem to add up to more money than they should be able to add up to. After doing a deep-dive analysis, the numbers start to make sense to him, and he can see how he can use the formulas to generate wealth as if by magic! He has stumbled across the arcane practice of wealth magic, financomancy.

(I apologize for "financomancy." [Not really.])

He continues to study his new talent, eventually being noticed and trained by financomancers (sorry not sorry) higher up in the organization. Things are going great until his company suffers a hostile takeover by a rival corporation. The rival corporation is run by aliens. Who abduct humans for food. AND he gets laid off.

Possible Playbook: Spell-slinger is an obvious choice, but it would be fun to re-brand Chosen or Initiate as some sort of corporate training program.

Creative Example: Department of Advanced Research-Commercial Accounting and Net Equity (A.R.C.A.N.E.). The Department of Arcane is a single isolated department... in every major global corporation. Using their ability to influence numbers and data points, the leaders in this organization creates profiles, assets, and sometimes even positions for its members in every business where the profit margin is high enough, both for its members and for the business, of course. It feels that destructive monsters and supernatural threats are always bad for business, so it has a vested interest in seeing them neutralized so that the world can get back to work.


In case this is helpful:

Andostre
Jerry Harris - Wronged/Professional/Hard Case
Zachary Zanes - Chosen, Initiate, Spell-slinger

BenBrown
Dot Brenner - Spooky, Chosen
Sarah Alice "Sunny" Clare / Aktorazithal the Dark - Spooky, Changeling
Vic Bell - Expert, Initiate

AdamWarnock
Kalisuel the Meek - Divine
Charlotte "Charly" Davidson - Monstrous, Changeling
Big Benny K - Crooked, Hard Case, Professional
Ahmed Entezam - Initiate, Spell Slinger, Spooky
Samuel Wise - Mundane, Sidekick
Vivian Crow - Monstrous, Spooky, Summoned

Almonihah
Cheshire - Monstrous

Stalwart
(fallen angel) - Changeling
(dryad) - Changeling

spinningdice
Sarah O'Callaghan - Flake, Expert, Chosen, Initiate, Divine, Spooky

D_Var_Stars
Captain Rose - Crooked, Professional

Helix Missionary
Zeke Bjarnessen - Hard Case, Expert, Wronged, Crooked, Professional

Razzocnor
Kavax'Koatl - Summoned, Divine


Stalwart Sounds like it could be some good character development, and potential Playbook Change depending on what happens.

Andostre It is helpful, yes, thank you.

Also, I've started assembling the lore of the game Here. You might notice some minor additions or changes to your stuff, to create a more cohesive setting. If I've changed anything in a way you don't like hit me up.

Most of the pages on the site now have something, bar Player Characters.


Did you see my thing? I don't see it on your site.


I did, and I do intend to include it when I do a lore section or the like. I haven't included a couple of others bits too, for various reasons.


I thought that might be it. :)


Dang, I was kinda hoping that you'd use the Sailor Sentai gang idea. :P

Still, very happy that you picked out a couple of my things to add even if I don't get in. And if you need some more ideas...

Ibbletings' Antiques, Oddities, and Things (Revised):

To the uninitiated, Ibbletings' Antiques, Oddities, and Things is nothing more than a rundown storefront that was closed and abandoned many years ago. To those sensitive to the arcane or are sensitive to blueberries tuned to 440 Hz, there's something most definitely odd about the place. To those who know, it is merely an illusion masking the true storefront. Standing on a specific spot and humming a little ditty, it is possible to see the marvelously crafted exterior. As if it had come straight from the turn of the 19th century to the 20th, stands a storefront of polished walnut and windows decorated in gold and silver leaf and crushed ebony.

Inside, you'll find the three Ibbleting sisters, Ping, Ting, and Fling. Platinum blue hair and pointed ears tell of fey ancestry, while the scents of frost and storm hint at their powers. They are quite charming and willing to haggle on the price of any potential purchase. Beware, though, for prices are not always as they appear. Many have agreed to a bargain only to realize too late that it was their dignity that was the price.

Beyond the other-worldly proprietors, there are the shelves, tables, cases, and more that are filled with the knowledge and lost treasures of a thousand lands. Lost works from throughout history can be found here alongside contraptions and artifacts that modern scholarship says cannot exist. Scattered around the shelving and on the walls and in alcoves are dozens of masterpieces made by the sisters themselves. On the ceilings are frescoes intertwining to tell a story that is different each time you visit. The store is built around an atrium reaching down seven stories with a garden dominated by an ancient tree at the bottom.

A word or two of warning if you plan to visit. First, the sisters do love their pranks, though they are harmless. Second, the curse of the sidhe is a terrible thing.

A little background on this one. I have a Pathfinder character named Ping Ibbleting that is a gnomish sorceress and one of a set of triplets. All three were artists and more than a little mischievous. I thought they'd be perfect as Sidhe-descended shop owners. I didn't do a good job of getting that across here, I think, but I did better than the first attempt.


Devil's Luck:

A small bar located in the basement of a building built in the late 1890s, the Devil's Luck is a hideout for those that hunt monsters and are of ill repute. The owner, "Shady Devil" Jim, is a middle-aged mafioso-type with an impressive burn scar across his chest, up his neck, and on his cheek, is often found lounging in one of the booths as a swing band plays a smoky kind of blues. If you need a few guys for a hunt, The Shady Devil himself is the guy to talk to.

Some have speculated that Jim has hired out second-story men for a few jobs targeting the Wyvern Library. Jim himself has so far refused to answer any questions with more than a chuckle and question about why he'd do it in the first place. Other rumors tie him to both Blighter's Karma and The Adalets, though hard evidence is surprisingly hard to come up with despite the persistence of the rumors.


Cade, the Black:

An unknown even to those who are aware of the supernatural shenanigans going on in Mutton County, Cade seems to be at the center of a lot of death and destruction. A team of hunters, geared up to take out a nest of over a dozen vampires, arrived to find the vampires dead and trail of blood leading to a wall and stopping. A local herbalist swears she saw a man get run through by a demon and keep on fighting until he'd turned the demon's head to a pulp who had to be Cade. A pack of caerbannog was found slaughtered near where Cade was said to live in Shane's Wood northwest of Spider's Gulch.

Dozens of stories about his supposed deeds exist among the supernatural community, along with rumors of his being a wizard, or a demon, or a spectre of death and vengeance. While many disagree on many of the particulars, there are a few things that remain consistent. Cade is a tall, fit man with long, black hair and eyes like red coals and dresses in black.


Glimmerock:

Strange things happen near Glimmerock. The thirty foot stone spire sits in the middle of a stone ring about a half-mile off the main road running through Shane's Wood. It's a popular spot for teenagers and college students who are into the occult, but while many such sights have already been cleared or rendered inert by the time they turn into major attractions, Glimmerock still has some odd magic about it. What exactly happens varies from story to story, but the stories keep coming from too many different people to be a fabrication.

Moinen's Kettle:

Passed around for generations, Moinen's Kettle is a mysterious artifact that came over from Europe over two hundred years ago. The kettle changes hands between moonshining families despite the excellent brews it makes due to a curse they all claim is on it. What the curse is and how it manifests isn't clear, but any family that has had the kettle swears it exists.

Key Manor:

Key Manor isn't so much a place as a thing. It can be accessed from any door, so long as the manor's key is used to unlock it first. The layout of the manor changes depending on who possesses the key, but two things remain constant, the exquisiteness of the craftsmanship, and the expansive library. The key is rumored to choose its owner. Rumors also say that Key Manor is haunted by those that have died within its walls during the many balls and galas that are thrown by the owners.


I might well use the gang at some point, but I think five people is probably too small for an organization.


JonGarrett wrote:
Also, I've started assembling the lore of the game Here.

Very nice. Do you know who the artist is for that background image? Good selection.


Unfortunately not. It was one of the cooler images to pop up an 'Urban Fantasy' google image search, but it's been used by so many places without credit that there doesn't seem to be a way to track it.


JonGarrett wrote:
I might well use the gang at some point, but I think five people is probably too small for an organization.

You don't have to. I just threw them in there because I thought it'd be funny. To be fair, their not an organization so much as they're a party of PCs on the other side of the GM/Player line. :D

I'm trying to restrain myself, but I am finding myself tempted to do a few more creative things. I can come up with stuff to use all night long. I might have a case of World Builder's disease, to be honest.


It happens. I have those moods from time to time, though I eventually burn out if I'm not careful to pace them.


I'm sure there will be a ton of world building to do as things progress. And yeah, they do seem entertaining - just need the right story for them.


Cool. Looking forward to seeing how this goes.


What's the deadline on submissions for this? I have something I'm putting together.


JonGarrett wrote:

I'm really enjoying the stuff you folks are submitting, it's good stuff. I'll start weaving it into some kind of cohesive setting and story in a day or two.

On that note, I'll leave applications open for one week. We'll close it on 11.3.19. That should be long enough, I hope.

Next Monday according to this post.


Yup.


Been super busy this week, I feel like I've fallen behind after seeing this thread explode! I wanted to get at least something down.

Character

Spoiler:

Name: Luis García

Concept:
The world is more than we know. More than any of us can ever know. I came from a long line of what you people would normally call ‘shamans’ and I was enveloped in this world since the beginning of my life; how fun right? What we see and what we don’t see are so inextricably linked that the fact that we choose to not see the truth continually eludes me and brings me more frustration than you can imagine.

Yet here I am waiting in my humble cabin, drinking a couple of beers, roasting a chicken; all while ensuring that my fetishes and baubles are strewn in such a way to protect me and whoever seeks sanctuary (and to not disturb my dinner). The woods in these parts hold dangerous creatures and secrets doubly so but the rent is cheap and the air is fresh so I can't complain about a few bad neighbours.

I know what they say about me when I go into the town, and yet what can you do? What I do to prevent the forest from creeping in is a sacred burden and one I would never wish on another... usually. However the spirits whisper and I feel that my burden may be lightened yet. A pack is forming and it is ready to destroy those that seek desecration to the world... perhaps they will be in need of my skills. Though for now, I can taste the stew finishing.

Possible Playbook: Expert, Spell-slinger, Spooky

Creative Examples:

Spoiler:

General Majors Memorial High School: The largest high school in the County is ripe with hormones, drama and young flesh for the creatures of night. It seems that every single year around Halloween there are strange disappearances. The police force calls them pranks but for those initiated into the true world, they know full well it is a more sinister purpose. They still have the best Football team (Go Wolves!) and a cafeteria that houses the worst food fights.

The Old Coalmines: Once a great part of the outskirts the old mines, the quarry and the surrounding areas have become nothing more than a shell of their former self. Sunken and more than half-collapsed, the mines seem to be surrounded by a perpetual smoke and fog from the fires that still burn below. No one really knows what started those initial flames, but many believe it to be sabotage and yet some others believe it to be something else. What people do know for certain is that the smoke and fog is toxic, and it is best avoided even for the most experienced urban explorers and thrill-seekers.

The Thresholders: When people think of the undead they always think of the rotting, shambling corpses seen by many movies (and Thriller). The Thresholders are an organization of various undead who are dedicated to the public relations aspect of undeath; that is to say they try to recruit others using the charms and allure of immortality. Whether or not they are benevolent or are trying to slowly build up their ranks is hard to tell, but they have plenty of years of experiences to share and are an excellent source of information (if you can stand the smells).

Parker-Luntelle Observatory: A familiar location for lovers and children on field trips, the observatory boasts the largest telescope in the county. Situated on the cusp of the Parker Falls and the Luntelle River, it is one of the highest points and one that always seems to have a clear sky above it. Legend has it that the original founder discovered some special material and built the lens from it, a lens that actually channeled the moon itself to cut through the sky. The legends (probably) aren't true, but the owners of the observatory keep the maintenance a very close secret.


No worries, it's been a lot more active than I expected too, but there's still time for any more applicants to join in.


JonGarrett wrote:
Almonihah wrote:
Dotting. I'll work on making my general idea into a submission tomorrow. Tonight it's bed time. :D
People sleep? I mean, yes, sleep. A totally normal thing I also do. Yes.

::peers suspiciously:: You are a human, right? I only like playing in games run by humans.


Everyone here is definitely a human. Absolutely none of us are aliens, robots, or so forth. Definitely no alien robots.


SodiumTelluride wrote:
::peers suspiciously:: You are a human, right? I only like playing in games run by humans.

There is reasonably little evidence I'm not. At least little enough for reasonable doubt. Probably.

Dark Archive

I don't know, I think I just about qualify as human - though I have my doubts some days.


Alright, here are my creative examples. None of them go essentially with Zeke or anything, although I certainly imagine he's a regular at the roadhouse.

Jim Bowie Rest Stop:

Everybody loves Jim's. It's a rustic little slice of local heaven, about twenty minutes out of town, just off the highway. Jim Bowie Rest Stop, the sign says, but everybody just calls it Jim's. It makes more sense that way--the place has nothing to do with the famous knife fighter, and it's more of a roadhouse than a proper rest stop. Locals love the good food and reasonable prices in the restaurant and bar. Travelers and truckers love the way it feels homey and novel at the same time, the way the gas and diesel are cheaper than every big station for miles, the way the trailers for rent out back are always clean and warm and surprisingly roomy. Even the yuppies and hipsters love Jim's, even if they say it's only ironically. It's got that classic Americana feel, all lumber and wooden furniture and smiling staff, with a pleasant mix of music new and old on the speakers, and lots of antlers and flat-screens on the walls.

And the hunters? The hunters love Jim's because it's a safe haven, a place for catching up, sharing info, and getting a hot meal and a hot tip from Jim Walters himself, the owner, manager, and usual bartender. Nobody's certain if Jim used to be a hunter himself (beyond deer, bear, and other big game), but he's a trove of useful advice, folklore and folk wisdom, gossip, rumors, and local history (not to mention local flavor--try the Mutton County Specials). He always seems to have time for a talk, even during rush hours, and whether it's the atmosphere or plain good luck, casual bystanders never seem to catch the more unusual topics of conversation.

Gallows Road:

The curious thing about Gallos Road is that it's in every town in Mutton County. Every settlement with named streets and more than a dozen-odd buildings has one leading out of town, sometimes up a hill, sometimes a winding path into the local woods. They might have different names, slightly, reflecting those details: Gallows Hollow Road out of Parkertown, Gallows Hill Road in Spider's Gulch. None of them are well cared for, and while they have their little differences--they range from cracked asphalt with potholes to wreck your tires, to overgrown trails as much mud as dirt--anyone who's been to more than one of them swears they're somehow the same.

They certainly all end the same way: abruptly, at some morbid landmark. Again, there's variation, but it all feels the same. Many just have some eerie clearing, with just enough markings in the ground to tell that the scaffolding and platform stood there--and often a patch of bare dirt over which the unfortunate would fall. Several have a gallows tree, some ancient, looming thing with dark bark and one sturdy branch at the perfect height for a hanging. They say most of these trees still have old, frayed ropes tied around those branches, and that you'll be beckoned to them as they sway in a breeze that always raises gooseflesh and the hairs on your neck, no matter the weather. Supposedly one ends at a still-functioning gibbet, working trapdoor and all, but everybody says it's "somewhere else."

Local legend has it that with each Gallows Road you follow to the end, you'll understand more and more that they are all the same, some weird pattern or curse connecting them across the county. Even as the horror of the realization dawns on you, you'll be drawn more and more to walk them all. If you manage to travel them all--and they say, in whispered tones, that nobody has... well, something terrible happens. Much like the roads themselves, the details of the story vary from town to town.

The other curious thing about Gallows Road: nobody knows where they came from. There's little record of hangings in most of Mutton County, certainly not enough to warrant so many locales, and none of the town records show funds or time dedicated to building scaffolds. Most locals don't worry about it too much, but where did they come from... and why?

The Gévaudan Society:

On the surface, it's another fancy old boys' club, complete with windowless meeting houses, secret handshakes, and benefits that can't possibly be as exclusive or empowering as the invite-only membership and swears of secrecy would like to suggest. Most people see it as just another alternative to the Freemasons or even the Rotary Club; probably more inclusive in some ways, and local to Mutton County, but far from a true "secret society" with actual conspiracies around it. The Gévaudans donate to and hold fundraisers, they have floats in the local parades, they contribute to concerts and theater events, their members are prominent citizens. The Society has a particular interest in conservation and the fishing and game industry: they sponsor classes on hunting and gun safety for all ages, and the annual fair they hold the weekend before hunting season opens is a beloved event for the whole family.

Beneath the surface, this all holds true, but there's one major note the public doesn't see: the Gévaudan Society is less a loosely historical organization for those with French-Canadian or native ancestry, and more an extended pack of werewolves dedicated to protecting their own through special measures of stealth and moderation. The more generous or naive sort might consider them humanitarian altruists, keeping humans safe from their own kin and other monsters in the wild places. But it's really not quite that selfless. The truth is, keeping humans safe is mostly a happy side effect of keeping them ignorant. Wolves can run much more freely if there are plenty of nature preserves and not so many angry mobs.

In recent years, membership has spread to include a few "outsiders," including at least one vampire and a handful of hunters (some are open-minded, and some think the whole society is just humans aware of the darkness in the woods). The old guard tend to view these newcomers with suspicion bordering on open disdain, but most agree it's a useful solution to declining membership in a rapidly modernizing world.

Straight Talk with Sandy:

Almost everyone in the county knows about "Sandy" Andy Sanderson; hell, plenty of people in certain circles everywhere have at least heard of the man. Locally, it's hard to escape his presence. He's the owner, editor-in-chief, and primary contributor to his own self-published newspaper, and a consistent writer for others. (On the rare occasion he writes a fully mundane article and actually gets published, he's a notably finer writer in a technical sense than anyone else around.) He has a weekly show on local cable access, and a daily show on local radio. He runs a podcast and a blog and maintains a vigorous social media presence online, where careful SEO management means he somehow shows up constantly in ads, search results, and newsfeeds for everyone in the county--and sometimes beyond, if anyone has the misfortune to visit one of his many pages.

In a bold identity and marketing move, all of these projects have the same name, Straight Talk with Sandy, and they all have the same goal: investigating and reporting on paranormal events, phenomena, and persons in Mutton County. Unfortunately for poor Sandy, though, for all his fame in these circles, he manages to miss almost every actual supernatural event, despite living in a veritable hotbed of the stuff. For every actual werewolf or vampire attack, Sandy instead hones in on a supposed sighting of Bigfoot or the chupacabra. For every bonafide psychic in the area, Sandy interviews another hoaxter. When he publishes a stunning exposé on which of the town's officials are actually reptilians in disguise, he passes over the actual skinchanger in their midst.

Despite this dismal track record, Sandy presses on. He shows up all across the county in his trademark "fact-finding suit"--worn but serviceable fishing gear, mostly--with his bushy eyebrows and wild mustache bristling with excitement. Those actually in the know about supernatural events love Sandy; some see him as a lovable mascot of sorts, and in any case he's a fantastic smokescreen. He also helps hunters in his own way: if Sandy suggests something ought to be looked into, they can mark it off their list as another red herring.


Hmm, feeling mildly creative.

Deepwood Nature Preserve:

The Deepwood Nature Preserve is one of the few remaining patches of old-growth forest in the area, that somehow managed to avoid being logged in the early days when nature preserves didn't exist. It is known as a pleasant park; safe, quiet, a place to get away from civilization and spend time among ancient, centuries-old trees. Unusual disappearances in the park are actually much less frequent than average for the area, adding to it's appeal. Still, there's something not quite normal about the Preserve; people say that some of the ancient trees move from place to place when nobody is looking, that the trails are never quite the same, and never lead to the center. The most astute notice that the borders of the Preserve seem to creep outward just a few inches every year, without any fanfare.

While how many of these tales are true is still up for debate, it is known among hunters and monsters alike that at least half of the Preserve rangers are actually practicing nature-mages, and that the center of the Preserve is a tightly guarded place of power for such. Hunters are guaranteed safety inside the Preserve, but only so long as they do no harm to any of the supernatural creatures that call the place home. Similarly, creatures such as werewolves and unicorns and the like can seek refuge in the Preserve, and as long as they do no harm to any humans inside its borders, the rangers offer protection from Hunters. This makes the Preserve a popular neutral meeting place anytime Hunters need to deal diplomatically with the more reasonable monsters, or vice-versa.

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