Mortal: Player Guide
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“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
- Clarke’s Third Law -
- Psychic Vampires
- Augmented Dexterity (••-••••)
- Eldritch Blood (• to •••••)
- Examine Ephemera (•)
- Inviting in the Dark (• to •••••; Style)
- Shapechanging: Mirror Swap (••)
- Nexus Walker (•• to •••••)
- Shared Soul •+
- Soul Bond (•+)
- Biomimicry Options
- Architectual Attunement (••• or •••••)
- Binding Command (••)
- Geomancy, Advanced (•• or ••••)
- Unseen Sense, Advanced (•••)
- Unseen Sense, Epic (•••)
- For keeping track of Ephemera, use the Vampire rules for Hunting, an example of which can be found here and in the Vampire Core where referenced, replacing Vitae with Ephemera, and gaining Empowered (Psychic Vampirism) instead of Sated on an exceptional.
Addons for Existing Templates
- Protocol at equal level
- At 2 dots this grants a +1 Dexterity boost, at 4 dots it grants a +2. This affects all derived traits. This can take your character above her normal Attribute limits.
- You use your Dexterity for calculating Defense.
- Thaumaturgy, Producer, Biokinesis •
- Your character’s body has adapted, on a magical level, to acting as a vessel for vampires and similar creatures, using their mystical energy to supplant some of the blood loss and positively associate themself with potential predators.
You regenerate wounds representing loss of blood or siphoned life force (such as a Strix’s breath-eating or psychic vampirism) twice as fast, which stacks with the benefit of Biokinesis. In addition, such bounty becomes even more potent, empowering or addicting potential predators: for each dot of this merit, choose one condition below; whenever such a creature feeds on you, you may inflict one of them per turn of feeding or use of their power:
- Energized (HD), representing the rush your mystically charged life force causes to them.
- Swooning to your character, representing the stimulating sensation and positive association it causes.
- Spooked, representing an otherworldly captivation with the strange potency of the character’s blood.
- Intoxicated, as the strange energy seeps into their mind and creates a pleasant haze
- (•••+) Empowered for a single power of their choice (or yours, if you know them), as the energy strengthens their own mystical abilities.
- (•••+) Reluctant Aggressor (HL), representing their unwillingness to harm such a potent font.
- (•••+) Steadfast, as the heightened energy touches upon just about anything they might do.
- (••••• only) Addicted, as the sheer indulgence the life force provides ends up having a physiological effect on them, making them crave it that much more. Unlike the normal version of the condition, it will fade naturally after a story, if not reinforced.
- (••••• only) Blood Enchantment (see below), the blood (or life force) becoming powerful enough to weave a small bit of its magic into the predator.
- Your blood/life force, unsurprisingly, becomes a tempting target for those that taste it, which can cause its own problems. A mortal is rarely safe from a blood-addicted vampire.
You’ve consumed a mystically potent font of blood or life energy, and it empowers your mystical abilities. You gain a +2 bonus on the activation roll for any supernatural ability, and a +1 bonus to any Clash of Wills or other secondary roll. You also gain the 9-again benefit on either if the power directly relies on drawing your own blood (or equivalent, like Vitae).
- Possible Sources
- Eldritch Blood
- Dramatic Failure on a roll this condition enhances. The condition naturally fades after a chapter.
- Psychic Vampirism
- When the psychic vampire draws out the Ephemera of a target they are also able to make a roll of wits+composure check may discern clues about the person from the nature of their Ephemera.
Dramatic Failure: you gain two pieces of information about the subject, one of which is a dangerous lie
Fail: you fail to gain meaningful information from the Ephemera
Success: you gain basic knowledge of the person you have fed off. Their age, state of health and mental wellness, whether or not they are human, if they are under the influence of drugs or intoxicants, if they are a person you are familiar with, and if they are a person that is related to you. If they are not human, you may know what sort of creature the ephemera came from if you have identified the signs of it before
Exceptional Success: you may detect fine details about the person such as the presence of mental conditions, the nature of their virtue and vice, and their integrity score
- Apostle of the Dark One, Thaumaturgy, Occult ••••
- The Apostle invites a shard of the Dark One into themself, another presence that empowers them but drives them towards darker pleasures and power over morality. The player rolls Composure + Occult and spends a point of Willpower, which grants increasing benefits and drawbacks; the character ‘’can’’ choose to use fewer dots than they have access to. The effects last until the character sleeps and cannot be ended early by the Thaumaturge.
- Dark Body (•): The Dark One’s presence in character provides a resistance to other supernatural intrusions. For each dot of this Style, add 1 to the character’s resistance/contested pool against supernatural powers when the character spends willpower to improve it.
- Drawback: The character’s body begins to reflect the unnatural changes, taking on an unnatural pallor or otherwise appearing “off.” When using Supernatural Merits, it becomes more blatant; perhaps their eyes turn black or their voice distorts. This causes a −1 penalty to mundane Expression, Persuasion, and Socialize rolls per dot in the merit.
- Dark Heart (••): The power of the Dark One starts to seep into the character’s heart and infects their magic, weakening their victims. Once per activation of this merit, the character can, through a lens of their own negative emotions (hatred, for instance), “mark” another character as their victim or for revenge. That target treats their resistance or contested dice pool against the character’s powers as an amount lower equal to half of this merit (round up) for the duration.
- Drawback: The corruption of the character’s heart colors their desires and behaviors. They effectively lose their Virtue while the Style is active, becoming driven only by their Vice.
- Dark Mind (•••): The Dark One attunes the character’s mind to the supernatural, drawing pleasure from its manifestation. Whenever the Apostle gains an exceptional success activating a Supernatural Merit, they’re treated as if their Vice was fulfilled.
- Drawback: The character’s mind is further tainted. For the duration, they take the Fugue condition, which must be resisted whenever the character’s Vice could easily be fulfilled. If they “black out,” they typically overindulge said Vice.
- Dark Life (••••): The character’s will becomes empowered to the point of overtaking their life force. When utilizing a Supernatural Merit, the character can take one or more points of lethal damage to add +3 dice to the roll or replace a willpower point cost for each.
- Drawback: The wounds are incredibly obvious, manifesting as bleeding burns that web across the Apostle’s body in occult patterns. The damage can’t be healed with supernatural powers, and if more is taken from the merit in a scene than the character’s Composure, they need to roll to resist their Fugue.
- Dark Soul (•••••): The growing shard can quickly fill the character’s soul with preternatural power. They can use Thaumaturgy merits for ‘’any’’ Supernatural Merits, not just rituals. For instance, Magical Nexus could provide its bonus to instant uses, prolonged magic could extend its duration, scaled magic could affect another target, and sympathetic magic could let it be used from afar, although appropriate penalties must be taken and cannot be cancelled out with the Thaumaturgy merit itself.
- Drawback: The Apostle’s soul is tainted by the Dark One’s presence. The Drawback of Dark Heart lasts for an additional day after the Merit’s duration ends.
- Psychic Vampirism
- Psychic Vampires can shapeshift into animals to hunt, Mirror Swap is more of an urban hunting form. By spending one Ephemera, Mirror Swap allows the psychic vampire to become a perfect replica of themselves if they were born the opposite sex. The shapeshift does not affect attributes as they stay the same, though will combine with other Psychic Vampire abilties to bolster the self (Nocturnal Supremacy, Burst of Speed, etc)
- Thaumaturgy, Occult ••, and Evocation/Invocation or Visionary Trance
- Your character is capable of traversing places of power by forging connections between them. By meditating at a Magical Nexus and bleeding over it (taking 1L damage), your character can attune to it. Between any two fonts that the Thaumaturge has attuned to, they can take 5 minutes to bridge their connections, becoming able to “step through” one they’re currently at and end up physically at the other, bringing carried equipment with them (size 4 or less). At 3 dots, the character can spend a point of Willpower to do so as an instant action.
By adding two dots to the cost, the Thaumaturge can bring one other individual with them per dot of Wits they have when they use this ability, so long as they’re touching them at the time.
- The Thaumaturge can only attune to a maximum number of Nexuses equal to their Thaumaturgy merit, but can replace them freely by attuning to a new one.
- Skinthief •••, Spirit Power •+
- While most benefits of the Cured Hide used in the Rituals of the SkinThief only take effect when wearing the hide, a few potent abilities allow the mortal to adapt to gifts from the flesh even while not being worn. In this case, through a system of rituals meant to attune the mortal to the Cured Hide of an Ephemeral being, he can use Influence and Numina (But no Manifestations) that the being has access to. Each dot purchased in this power allows access to one dot of the Spirit’s Influences or Numina, using a dice pool of Wits + Occult.
- The activation cost of Influence and Numina must be paid in willpower. Even if the character possesses Essence Pool as a merit, his body does not have access to that pool and must draw from their own will to power these abilities. If the character has no willpower left, they may use Health as per normal.
- Thaumaturgy •••+, Familiar
- A thaumaturge and their familiar share an intense bond, which allows them to borrow each other’s senses and utilize their powers through them. Your character has an even closer tie with them, allowing them to call upon each other’s abilities as if they were their own.
For each dot of this merit, choose one Supernatural Merit the thaumaturge has, and one Numina or dot of Influence the Familiar has. The thaumaturge may call upon and utilize the spirit’s power with a roll of Wits + Occult, and the spirit may call upon the thaumaturge’s merit with a roll of Attribute + Rank (as appropriate to the base pool, per rules for ephemeral beings’ skills). No roll is needed if it normally lacks one. Any essence cost of a Numina or Influence must be paid by the mortal in Willpower or lethal damage, and any Willpower cost of the Merit must be paid by the entity in twice the amount of Essence.
- The power is contingent on the bond between the mortal and the familiar. If the familiar is discorporated, or the mortal is in a coma (such as from full lethal damage), the bond weakens to the point that this ability can no longer be called upon, until they reform or awaken, respectively. In addition, the bond only works one way at a time; the mortal can’t call on the familiar’s power on a turn when it’s activating the mortal’s, and vice versa (although already active durations can overlap).
The following can be chosen as options by those with Biomimicry.
The merit is still limited to 4 dots
- Aquatic Adaptation
- The Mimic gains the ability to breathe underwater, as well as slightly webbed toes and fingers that give a +1 to both Speed when swimming and Swim rolls.
- Raptors Sight
- The character’s eyes take on the sharpness of a bird of prey, removing up to 3 dice of penalties from perception rolls relying on sight.
- Pit Sensors
- The Mimic gains a form of thermographic sensing, like those of the Viper family of snakes, becoming capable of ‘seeing’ via heat alone.
- Run like a Gazelle
- Maybe the length of your arms and legs shift to allow you to run on all fours, or maybe your knees bow backwards like a gazelles, but you have adapted for speed and mighty leaps! When running on all fours, add +4 to her Speed and double all jump distances. Like most Biomimicry additions, these changes are always fairly visible and obvious.
- Threat Display
- The majority of animals have mastered some form of threat display, or mimic behavior to warn off would be predators. Maybe it’s a collar of flared skin, a flush of toxic coloring, an obscene snarl, what ever the manner, it makes you more intimidating to others. This provides +3 to visually based intimidation rolls, but is as obvious as any other adaptation.
- Vocal Adaptation
- A partial shift of the throat and vocal chords that creates a growling, hissing, or other feral quality towards it, granting 9-again on Intimidation and Animal Ken rolls relying on vocalizations or speech. This also allows primal languages that rely on a harsher vocabulary (like First Tongue) to be spoken more easily.
- From the spider to the lizard, to the ant and many things in between, gravity isn’t the end all be all. Maybe it’s tiny hairs, or sticky pads, but you have a knack for denying gravity by climbing up seemingly flat walls, and even hanging from the ceiling.
- Academics or Occult •• and Advanced Geomany ••
Cost: 1 or 2 Willpower
Roll: Wits + Occult (or Academics) + Advanced Geomancy
- Your charcter is extremely intune with the energies that flow through the earth. As such it lets you you tap into the deeper energies of buildings in your sensory range. At 3 dots you may expend one Willpower and roll, you can get a general feel of the building and if any notable alterations that have been made. Spend an additional willpower to make an extended roll (minimum TN of 10). You gain a basic knowledge of any mundane and magical protections as well as ask two specific questions about the building.
At 5 dots you may expend one willpower and and reach out, feeling all buildings that you have previously studied (with the extended roll) and get a read on any changes that have been made. Additionally, when doing an extended roll study of a building the number of questions you may ask increases to 4.
- Exposing ones self to such a vast network of understanding can take a toll. On a failed roll you gain the Madness (Persistent) condition. On a successful roll your gain the Obsessed condition.
- Example Questions
Has there been any unusual activity in the last 24 hours?
Who put the protections in place?
Is there an easy way around the protections?
Are there any hidden protections?
- Evocation with the commanding add-on
- This merit allows the caster to use Evocation’s ability to command an ephemeral being as an instant action, requiring a point of Willpower and the usual contested roll. It does not need to target an entity that was specifically summoned, but the caster must be able to perceive it in some way. Note that this only works on entities that the Evocation merit has been purchased for.
- Geomancy •••••
- When you perform Geomancy on a space, along with the normal Geomancy benefit, any rolls made within the space with the chosen skill or attribute gain a die bonus equal to half your rating. They do not benefit from the 9again quality or better unless the roller possess the quality via some other means.
Additionally, if you would normally have 9-again on the once per chapter roll for the base merit, it becomes 8-again.
- Unseen Sense
- Your characters sixth sense for a type of supernatural creature is increased. By spending a point of Willpower she can extend the range of her unseen senses to 100 yards. As with Unseen Sense, the player can accept the Spooked Condition, in exchange for which the character can pinpoint where the feeling is coming from; this reveals all triggers of it within that range. If the target is using a power that specifically cloaks its supernatural nature, however, this does not work (though the Condition remains until resolved as usual), nor does it work against powers that use mental illusions to conceal or otherwise hide the character.
- Unseen Sense, Advanced
- Your characters sixth sense is increased to detect any supernatural creature, and she is able to distinguish between them. As with Unseen Sense, Advanced, the player can accept the Spooked Condition, in exchange for which the character can pinpoint where the feeling is coming from; this reveals all triggers of it within that range. If the target is using a power that specifically cloaks its supernatural nature, however, this does not work (though the Condition remains until resolved as usual), nor does it work against powers that use mental illusions to conceal or otherwise hide the character.
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