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[CofD] Sir Night Compiles Night Horrors: The Unbidden (In-Character Let's Read)

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
From: James
To: Group

These entities (I am not quite sure if they count as people anymore) are rather worrysome. They should be eliminated as fast as possible before they kill anyone else.

So any ideas on how to kill them without being rendered deaf, burned alive or electrocuted? I am not exactly a professional on Spirits or the abyss.
unneeded_at_the_moment.zip

I am currently classified into not saying why, but Neferyah's allies are more than capable of containing the three of them, and the synthetic skin they were given both lessens the stress that drives the Ravaged to kill to dull the pain, and are effectively straightjackets; for the foreseeable future, all three are bound to containment cells to be studied. [I agree with you on the elimination order, but our current bosses think they can learn something.]

But in case that changes, I will say they aren't really adapted for non-Awakened hunters. They can't attack something they don't see coming, and apart from their burn-carapace, their bodies aren't different enough from baseline humans to be less squishy than a normal physically fit individual. In fact, their vulnerability to toxins-tranquilizers, to be precise-is why they're currently enjoying the housing plan of the subjects of occult research and why Cichol is still alive). The trick is to not fight the Abyss by its rules; if Supernal magic is self-destructive, find non-Supernal magic or a mundane way of overcoming a threat. The Ravaged are powerful, intelligent, and stealthy, but they at least are more shaped by having been human for most of their lives, and not humans who are familiar with survivalist tactics or fighting. They relied more on their superpowers than tactics in a fight, and that plus occult ignorance was how they lost. [Hey, don't forget the woman who dropped that tear gas on them!] (You are covered under "occult ignorance".)

Really, I'm more frightened of Shard Crows. Still compiling, and trying to get a bead on Foetia's link to something called the "Bearers of Fire", but the Ravaged do as they do because of human reasoning. Shard Crows do everything the Ravaged do and more just to reproduce; they are the implacable ones.
 

ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
unneeded_at_the_moment.zip
But in case that changes, I will say they aren't really adapted for non-Awakened hunters. They can't attack something they don't see coming, and apart from their burn-carapace, their bodies aren't different enough from baseline humans to be less squishy than a normal physically fit individual. In fact, their vulnerability to toxins-tranquilizers, to be precise-is why they're currently enjoying the housing plan of the subjects of occult research and why Cichol is still alive). The trick is to not fight the Abyss by its rules; if Supernal magic is self-destructive, find non-Supernal magic or a mundane way of overcoming a threat. The Ravaged are powerful, intelligent, and stealthy, but they at least are more shaped by having been human for most of their lives, and not humans who are familiar with survivalist tactics or fighting. They relied more on their superpowers than tactics in a fight, and that plus occult ignorance was how they lost. [Hey, don't forget the woman who dropped that tear gas on them!] (You are covered under "occult ignorance".)
Always something I have to watch out for as the local Magister of Nightmares: Out-of-Context Problems. I've seen a lot, but something's always going to catch me by surprise. (Turns out the new guys have a 'haunted' bar, and after doing me a big favor, I feel obligated to help them diagnose the problem. Keep worried I'm going to find some new category of bumping in the night that follows a new set of rules.) And for the non-supernatural members of the audience, there's plenty of tactics out there that humanity has produced. One of the big reasons I do a techno-mage thing is that the Gentry tend to be a bit behind the times on exactly what mortal technology can do.
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
speaking_of.zip

I've found something interesting about Foetia;

She seems to be an ally of the God-Machine (I am using that term instead of Temple to be clear). Or at least is authorized to put personal patches of her own on Infrastructure. For what reason, I cannot say, but I've been following people "infected" with her, and I've found they are notably unharassed by loyalists when interacting with known instillations.

This is alarming, and not just because of the suggested alliance. In my experience, the Seers would be attempting to exploit Infrastructure to their own ends or attempt to destroy it if harmful to their goals, and naturally the Temple does not take kindly to attempted suborning. Which is not to say it cannot be done (I have known Unchained who not only have but reprogrammed a bit of Aetheric technology to their purposes), but these modifications she makes are inexpert, blatant, crude. And yet she is involved.

Not that that is the least alarming thing about New Beth. I increasingly don't think the history taught in its schools is true - and it makes no efforts to hide that fact. Cooper is called a "Puritan" at several points, but his nationality is Dutch. Prohibition never ended in this city in any meaningful sense, and yet one of the export products of the city is a fine brand of cognac. And of course, there are the changing streets; everyone swears sincerely they fear a gang of drugrunners called the Ashward Heights Crows, yet there is no urban area in legal New Beth maps that shows an Ashward Heights, and by everyone, I mean a significant portion of individuals below a certain income bracket in the city, no matter the area. I'd have thought it was a strange delusion were it not for my nights managing to capture a Crow long enough for a civilian to ID his colors. [Black and royal blue, for the record.]

There is something very wrong with this city on levels beyond the merely supernatural.
 

ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
From: Dingbat@FontsByThePound
To: Group

Leaves me wondering if New Beth has similarities to the splinter realities of Seattle. But I suppose you'd be more qualified to evaluate that, Night. This brings me to a model of "mythic history" I use for a lot of supernatural/esohuman origin stories, since I don't know how to resolve them with the history I knew as a mortal, or how they interact with each other. Bottom line is I don't know which, if any, is the "actual" history is, but for various supernatural purposes, the mythic history has consequences on the present, which is close enough to "real" for my purposes. It doesn't really matter if an Urathan legend about rival groups of spirits is literally true if the legend still provides accurate information about the bane and bans of the ones lurking around the corner. I suppose it's also a bit of me avoiding thinking too heavily on it. It's dangerous enough to question my own memories, so it can't be healthy to wonder if the universe has its own multiple choice past.
 

Master Planner

Registered User
Validated User
Just putting it out there. Whenever I watch a movie about time travel I feel like my brain explodes trying to make sense of it (Only exceptions being terminator 1 and 2).
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
(OOC: If this seems weird-don't worry, it is. Skip to the end if you want to know why.)

Shard_Crows.zip

Let's not waste time with pleasantries, shall we? I have a duty to archive the terrors of the world, and have wasted so much time on frivolities already.

In their base state, shard crows are a form of spirit, perhaps a type of shartha, one of the surviving shards of the dead gods of Pangaea that existed before the Taming of The Border. If so, then they are likely descended from a creature touched by the proto-matter of the Abyss, and made fundamentally anathema to the light of the Supernal; unlike normal Hosts, they do not seek to devour themselves to recreate their progenitor, but the soul stones of the Awakened. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a soul stone is in essentia an extracted piece of magical potential; a part of a mage's capacity to develop the Inner Enlightenment of Gnosis, so used to create a Demense, an artificial Verge to the Supernal World that allows casting of spells without fear of Paradox. Shard crows, then, are one of the Nemeses used to test those who would utilize them and see if they deserve to maintain control of something so very dear to them, a response to the inner lack of confidence and faith that leads weak mages to use them rather than confront Paradox and the imbalance caused by shortsighted magic. For their fulfilling their place in the Supernal Chain, they are allowed to reproduce. Every flock of Shard Crows is a hatch of six to ten siblings that share a connection we might call a hive mind, though they seem to have separate individualities, and to create another flock requires them to repurpose the soul stone as an egg; they put whatever they have in a nest and warm it, transferring their Essence into it until it hatches into a new flock. While destroying a soul stone normally causes the potential to return to the original mage, I am not certain if it would be the case for a stone parasitized by the spirits; it would make sense if that potential is lost until at least the flock born from it is dead, a fitting punishment by the Abyss on the reckless.

It's how they obtain the stones that are of more interest to us. The reason I believe they may be a sort of "Abyssal Host", is how they find those soul stones; when they find a likely mage, they will find a Sleeper associate of their target and actively hide within their their soul; harmless to the Sleeper, but perfect camouflage for the flock to observe and find any evidence of soul stones. Should the targeted mage prove to have a Demense or seems to have no special objections to forming a soul stone, then the flock will proceed to dissect the soul into neat pieces, with their own spiritual Corpus replacing the pieces. The result is a gestalt intellect mixing the members of the flock and the original Sleeper, usually one more adept for every living member of the flock; generally very fast and quick-witted, but not having a great deal or raw intelligence or focus, and one that decays relatively rapidly as the shard crows lose natural cohesion from attempting to think as one when the flock is normally a group of very close brothers and sisters. They do not need it; they simply need to puppeteer the body enough to steal the soul stone, or more often blackmail the mage with the link; the soul pieces are not destroyed, and the shard crows can easily put them back to let the Sleeper heal to a functional level, albeit very damaged. If all else fails it is extremely easy for them to flee back into the Shadow, often taking the pieces with them just in case their target reconsiders; they do not suffer from the human tendency to believe in sunk costs.

While I do not enjoy working with the Abyss to isolate the Plague of Cronos (it is, after all, fighting chaos with more chaos), I can see their monomania on reproduction as a benefit. The Silver Ladder of New Bethlehem is even more corrupt than other thearchs, and they are overly reliant on their spells as opposed to networking. I propose that, should we discover a flock, we send the Guardian Minister to steal one of their soul stones and use the crows to blackmail the Pentacle for access to the Bertoldi; in return for opening up their territory for another collector to help perfect the Vothros, we could greatly interfere with their operations and help Detective Heath's influence in the police department at the same time by weakening the family's backers, should we get our target to cough up some stones to the flock.

---​
Underestimation.zip

Well. Now that the hex is clearing from my consciousness, it appears I was naive to assume that Sir Night had not learned to develop contingency plans ever since an ally of mine first discovered his little business. His respect in my esteem has risen just a bit, even if he is still woefully naive.

No, I am not he. I am not even Unchained; I was born of this world and know my place before the Theoi, unlike certain daimons. Rest assured, he is alive, though he is currently unable to access the server, his "knights" (and they say we are ostentatious), or much of the physical world; he is currently trying to find his way out of an interesting Supernal Verge, a bit of Pandaemonium that formed a twist in Space around the Ashward Heights apartment complex after dear old Ebenezer's experiment got out of control; it is everywhere its residents and the citizens of New Bethlehem feel its presence, and nowhere else. A bit of assistance, and some of the native magic, from a Begotten associate of mine was able to trap him within the anomaly until he finally gets enough of the residents to dream in unison to reform a sympathetic link. From there, our friendly Detective was able to find his pet server in the Dream and upload one of my prophecies to it, and allowing my consciousness to reform within.

I did not anticipate that our rogue daimon had anticipated a spirit might try to possess the server, and so hooked it up to a Gadget that makes it impossible for me to perceive any information on any of you that might be useful. My digital eye slides right off it. More than that, he apparently realized that I was a specific candidate for the potential possessors, and so he asked one of his allies to leave a powerful befuddling curse; it made me believe that I was the one who was gathering data for analysis for my friends in the Crucible Initiative, and that they knew a lot of what I was speaking of. I am guessing that I have just left a great deal of tantalizing hints for him and his treasonous current employer to pursue; this contingency will be something I will have to remember for my own use in the future.

But, while I am still here, I can and do have one thing he could not control for; a platform. While I am waiting for someone to let me out of this trap, I can clear up some lies you have been told about myself, my Order, and my mission to stop the Contagion from devouring the world and returning it to the chaos of the pre-Atlantean era.

I am Oikia Foetia, Sibyl of the Exarchs, Director of Quarantine Construction for the Eastern United States, and a representative of Crucible Initiative. I do not come as an enemy, but as an ally against a plague that would end the world if it could. Ask me anything.

(OOC: You do not know how long I've been waiting for this. I figure that few people have as much more knowledge about the Architekton than one of her on-again off-again cultists, and also introduces exactly what is happening in New Beth right now. Besides, shard crows are the most outright boring chapter in the book; they're the closest thing there is in Mage I've read to a random encounter, not bad for a one-off monster or goons for a mage with a lot of stolen stones, but they have no other motive than reproduction. So, I decided to write them from the perspective of someone who has a use for them and little moral qualms in doing so.)
 
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Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
OOC: Also here is where I start the speculation and start the myth arc of these threads, so, quick run-down;

The Kickstarter or even the full preview for the Contagion Chronicles is not out yet, but essentially, Foetia has dual membership in the Seers and a cross-book group dedicated to fighting a mystical phenomenon called the Contagion, a strange malady of the universe that causes supernatural strengths and weaknesses to randomly change as part of a common strain of it, more severe strains can actually alter reality or produce insane Carriers, creatures whose only purpose is to spread the disease - to say nothing of the Contagious, supernatural beings who embrace the darker urges foisted on them by strains of the Contagion to increase their power (she calls it the Plague of Cronos because she believes it to be the revenge of the Titans for their defeat by the Theoi; she's a devout believer in Greek mythology, remember).

Problem is, the Crucible Initiative is actually one of the antagonistic anti-Contagion groups, because they're way too trigger-happy; they think of the Contagion as akin to Chaos from Warhammer (which isn't true; it's possible to be infected and still a good/sane person, and in fact two of the protagonist groups are already known to actively recruit non-Contagious infected), and thus burning the world to save it (or worse) is not only acceptable, it's their mission statement. If Princess is still allowed to exist here, it's very likely the Crucible Initiative has more than one all-Stormites cell (or division, as they like to say-they organize like a medical practice) among them, and they likely are the voice of ethics to the rest (the God-Machine backs the Initiative because it hates and fears the Contagion just as much, and it doesn't even need to manipulate them - as well as the highest percentage of slashers, because pointing a psychopath at the impure isn't even something they feel the need to justify to themselves).
 
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Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
(OOC: Was this too much of a shift? Or did I just post at a bad time?

Still working on this, just juggling the start of classes.)
 
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