Creature Of The Dark

A homebrew Miraculous Arc for Chuubo's Marvellous Wish-Granting Engine.

Creature of the Dark is a miraculous Storyteller (Red) Arc. It is for characters whose being is suffused with a story built around a dilemma, a psychomachia (a battle of spirits) or a choice. The drive that forces them into this choice is embodied as an awesome or terrifying hunger of mythic proportions. As the Arc progresses the character’s inner hungers, demons and angels will cross increasingly from the realms of metaphor into reality, and shape the world with their conflict.

It offers the following abilities:

  • Incarnation
  • Dazzling the Stage
  • Any Old Iron? (Starting at Arc 1)
  • Audience Participation (Starting at Arc 1)
  • Double Act (Starting at Arc 2)
  • Thinking of You (Starting at Arc 2)
  • Can I have a Volunteer? (Starting at Arc 3)
  • Guest Performance (Starting at Arc 4)

In addition, Main Characters receive the power Sickly while actively pursuing this Arc.

Choosing Your Dilemma

This Arc comes with an associated Choice, Dilemma or Psychomachia. (Hereafter all options will be referred to as the character's 'Dilemma'.) This is an internal struggle which acts as the defining theme for your story.

The important element of this dilemma is that there be two viewpoints, states of mind or outcomes that your character must struggle with. These do not *have* to be contradictory or in direct opposition, but one should always throw the other into sharp relief in some way. It is essential that there be some element of dualism to this dilemma, as many of this Arc’s powers involve making Bonds, Afflictions or other abilities that act in different directions to one another based on the character’s dilemma. A useful (but not compulsory) way to phrase it is: “I want… (first thing), but… (second thing).”

For example:

  • I want what I cannot have, but freely give what I have got.
  • I want to be charitable but I cannot bear to part with my wealth.
  • I seek enlightenment, but want to shape the world to my desires.
  • I serve the code of Angels, but have fallen in love with a Devil.
  • I hope for the future, but see only visions of despair.
  • I love to laugh, but happiness will kill me.

You’ll also want to choose two expressions of the different sides of your dilemma that can be used as a base for bonds, afflictions and other powers that will key off the duality of your struggle. For example:

  • “I must strive to possess what is out of my reach.” And “I must give of myself to those that need it.”
  • “I feel driven to help others.” And “I will never share what is mine.”
  • “I am free of desire.” And “I shape the world to my whims.”
  • “I must exalt and kindle that which is holy.” And “I feel love for the wicked.”
  • “I believe in hope.” And “I foresee ruin and despair.”
  • “My laughter uplifts the world.” And “Laughter is poisonous to me.”

Choosing Your Hunger:

You should also choose a 'Hunger' to be associated with this Arc. This should generally be linked to your dilemma in some way, but the connection does not have to be direct or obvious if you have something else in mind.

The Hunger might be expressed as a single word, but a more complex hunger could be written up as a sentence.

Examples include:

  • Lust.
  • Greed.
  • Need for friendship.
  • Obsession with control.
  • Desire for comfort.
  • A longing for silence.

You’ll also want to choose a way of writing your expression of that Hunger as a Bond, Affliction and/or Region Property. Something along the lines of:

  • The world around you is suffused with lust.
  • You covet more possessions.
  • You want to be friends.
  • It is so tempting to just give in to control.
  • Silence is beautiful.
  • You *must* seize your happiness.

Powers:

Incarnation:

Type: Miraculous Action.
Cost:

  • 0 MP- after a few minutes of concentration, manifest within an instance of your hunger.
  • 4 MP (2 MP at Arc 1, 0 MP At Arc 2)- Do this instantly

Spend a few minutes in concentration, dwelling upon your Hunger and how it manifests in another person, spirit or thing. You will then be able to project your consciousness elsewhere, incarnating, *living with* an instance of your Hunger that exists within someone else.

While you are incarnating within your Hunger your own body lies dormant, whether sleeping, daydreaming or performing some form of repetitive and inconsequential activity. This effect lasts until either a scene ends for the person or thing that is hosting the Hunger you are incarnating in, until something happens at your body which snaps you out of it or until you choose to terminate the miracle.

This miracle can be cast within a local range on anything, or can ignore the range limits on miracles completely if you have a Connection to the person or thing that is hosting your Hunger. (Though if that thing or person is in the Outside or in another world and you are in Town you might have to add Strike to the Miracle to breach an Auctoritas preventing you from crossing over.)

While incarnating in a Hunger you are not inherently able to take physical actions, use Miracles to directly affect the outside world or take all that many actions at all really. Such things fall more within the domain of Sentimental or similar Arcs. You do however gain insight into the nature of that particular instance of your Hunger and share in the emotions, memories and relationships the host feels in relation to this Hunger. While manifested you may use intentions based upon Connections to do purely internal actions such as gazing into a person’s heart or otherwise gaining insight into their character as related to your Hunger. You can also use intentions to persuade the Host to act in certain ways, but only insofar as they relate directly to your Hunger.

For example, if you manifest in someone’s Envy you can use intentions to divine who they are jealous of, and even get them to act on or suppress that jealousy. You couldn't generally persuade them to buy a bag of potato chips, unless doing so somehow allowed them to get one over on a person they were envious of. (It can happen, I guess.)

While you *can* perceive events beyond the immediate context of the Hunger you are manifesting in, it is not generally all that easy and any information gained is inevitable tainted by the emotional experience and biases of the host you are bonded to. The HG should impose an Obstacle on mundane sensing actions to gather such information based on how divorced they are from the emotion. (using the above example; sensing objects a target feels Envy towards probably wouldn't impose an Obstacle at all, but picking up details beyond the fact that the host is envious towards them would have a small Obstacle. Attempts to spy on the person walking across the street, who the host hasn't even noticed because they are so consumed with envy, would suffer a very large Obstacle.)

At Arc 3 you may incarnate in multiple instances of your Hunger at once (up to a number of separate instances equal to your points in the Sickness Issue, if it is higher than one) provided they are all located on the same approximate plane of existence. Alternatively you may choose to incarnate into the collective feelings of an entire region.

Dazzling the Stage

Type: Affliction based on your Sickness Issue.
Cost: -

The Magisters of the Dark suffuse themselves with those things that we desire and hate ourselves for desiring. They are our lusts, drives and urges to do that which we tell ourselves is not good for us. As such it is vital they dress the part.

This power takes care of that for you, allowing you to instantly don the regalia of the Dark so that you might find more amusing problems. Whenever you have 1+ points in the Sickness issue you will be able to perform a variety of feats as mundane actions, and can ignore any Obstacle that says you can’t. You may:

  • Use mundane intentions to flicker between shadows without passing through intervening places of light. This typically only allows movement on a local scale, but when combined with other powers or region properties it may allow movement over a longer distance or between worlds at the HG's discretion.
  • Throw your voice to nearby shadows.
  • Manipulate darkness and shadows as a solid (if sticky) substance.
  • Possess an item of relatively little monetary value that the person you are talking to would nonetheless like to have. (typical examples include candy, a fake Rolex, a packet of cigarettes or a battered locket with a photo of a precious memory.)
  • Acquire clothing, props and trade tools that are of shabby quality or questionable taste, but *just* appropriate enough to be borderline acceptable within the intended social scene.

Your ability to use these powers is technically an Affliction, and as such is protected by an Auctoritas equal to your points in the Sickness issue.

Note that your successes or failures in the objectives you employ these powers toward are still governed by your mundane intentions. The Affliction and corresponding Auctoritas simply protect your ability *to* perform these feats in the first place.

Any Old Iron? (Arc 1)

Type: Imperial Miracle
Cost:

  • 0 MP- Create a Tool bound to a surface wound 1/chapter
  • 1 MP- Create a Tool bound to a surface wound a second time or later per chapter.
  • 2 MP- Create a Tool bound to a surface wound a second time or later in a matter of hours.
  • 4 MP- Create a Tool bound to a surface wound a second time or later in a matter of minutes.

You may tear free a portion of your soul, wounding yourself in the process, and invest it into a Tool. This can be a regular tool like a wrench or hammer, or a weapon, an animal, an assistant carved from clay. It can even be some minor object that you create spontaneously. Anything that isn't a character in its own right really. You should generally choose a theme for your magic and stick with it, but the HG is encouraged to let you experiment a bit until you hit your stride.

Look at your dilemma and pick one choice, course of action or concept. The angel or the devil? Greed or charity? The Tool you create or imbue grants a +1 Tool bonus to the intentions of the wielder to further the choice, argument or concept-spirit that you have invested into it. This becomes a +2 Bonus at Arc 2.

To keep the Tool imbued with power and approximately in harmony with you, you must take a surface wound. This is a physical, mental or spiritual scar which represents the other half of your dilemma . It grants you a 1 point Bond. This Bond should be agreed between the player and HG and must express the opposing choice, action or concept to the one imbued in the Tool. You can delay healing this wound for as long as you will it to exist; once you wish it gone it will start healing at the normal rate. The Tool retains its enhanced properties until the wound heals.

If you take a further Wound at a later point that would clear the wound level this power is tied to then you can choose to either instantly terminate this power or to instantly take a new Surface Wound with exactly the same effects.

Audience Participation (Arc 1)

Type: Miraculous Action
Cost:

  • 0 MP- Starting Mid-Scene, allow somebody else to use your points in the Sickness Issue as Shine to liberate themselves from confinement or get into trouble for 1-2 actions. Swathe these qualifying actions in the Auctoritas Magister.
  • 1 MP- Starting mid-scene, allow that person to take a further enhanced action swathed in Auctoritas Magister.
  • 2 MP- Starting Mid-Scene, swathe that person in the Auctoritas Magister and enhance their qualifying actions.
  • 4 MP- Swathe that person in the Auctoritas Magister and enhance their qualifying actions.

Starting mid-scene, you may empower those actions taken by others that further the ethos of the Dark and swathe them in your Auctoritas Magister, an inexorable force that protects these actions from the influence of Miracles and the Outside. This power shields them in an Auctoritas equal to the Arc Trait’s rating.

Only certain actions may be empowered by this effect. These include actions:

  • Where the principle purpose is to escape imprisonment or confinement.
  • Which involve the target wrestling with your character’s dilemma.
  • Which act on your character’s hunger.
  • To shake free of an effect which would prevent the target from wrestling with your character’s dilemma pursuing your character’s Hunger.
  • Which constitute a (Be in) Trouble action, or would lead to the target picking up a point of a particularly trouble-related Issue. (Sickness and (In) Over Your Head are good candidates, but it varies depending on the context.)

Existing Intentions empowering such actions may be temporarily recalculated by the target as if your character possessed a Shine equal to your points in the Sickness Issue. (I.e. You overwrite the intention's skill with your points in the Sickness Issue.) The target does not have to use this Shine if they have a perfectly respectable skill for the job already. They can choose to take the action under their own power and simply benefit from the Auctoritas Magister.

To a limited extent the Auctoritas Magister may be used to protect the target’s person. If a qualifying action is defensive, or if something would hurt or transform the target in such a way as to impede an enhanced action, then if you have spent 2+ MP to activate this power the target’s body and mind are directly protected.

Double Act (Arc 2)

Type: Miraculous Action
Cost:

  • 1 MP- Imbue a Tool created by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with an Affliction 1/chapter
  • 2 MP- Imbue a Tool created by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with an Affliction a second time or later within a chapter.
  • 4 MP- Imbue a Tool created by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with an Affliction a second time or later within a scene.

At Arc 3:

  • 0 MP- Imbue a Tool created by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with an Affliction 1/chapter
  • 1 MP- Imbue a Tool created by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with an Affliction second time or later within a chapter.
  • 2 MP- Imbue a Tool created by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with an Affliction a second time or later within a scene.

At Arc 4

  • 0 MP- Imbue a Tool created by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with an Affliction 1/scene
  • 1 MP- Imbue a Tool created by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with a second time or later within a scene.

Invoke this power to imbue a Tool enhanced by ‘Any Old Iron?’ with power and an independent will of its own. This investment takes the form of an Affliction that possesses a rating equal to your Arc value.

The nature of the Affliction is based on the aspect of your dilemma that you imbued into it with ‘Any Old Iron?’ and the form it takes should typically be an outgrowth of the same magical style. A candelabrum might come alive (if it was not already), grow a cartoon face and participate in Disney-esque musicals. A bicycle might move around Town on its own and develop a crush on the Moped down the road. Or a monkey wrench might crave the blood of the innocent, and mould the fates of those around it towards murder.

As this is an Affliction, the exact manifestation of the power is chosen by the HG, with the input by the player. It should typically involve:

  • A desire/hunger (though not necessarily sentience if it would not be appropriate for the character’s style of magic);
  • An objective; and
  • A power or means to bring that objective about.

As an affliction it is not under the direct control of the player, but does give the player Will or MP when it acts to their detriment. In addition the player may benefit from the Tool Bonus on any intention to use social persuasion on the Tool itself.

When the player stops sustaining the miracle it is, again, at the discretion of the HG whether the Tool loses the relevant power or whether it continues to exist but no longer works in harmony with the player.

Thinking of You (Arc 2)

Type: Miraculous action.
Cost:

  • 0 MP- After a few minutes concentration, grant a 2-point Bond or Region Property based on your Hunger to a target 1/Chapter.
  • 1 MP- Use this power a second time or later per chapter.
  • 4 MP- Use this power instantly.

At Arc 4-

  • 0 MP- After a few minutes concentration, grant a 2-point Bond or Region Property based on your Hunger to a target.
  • 4 MP- Use this power instantly.

It isn't enough to hunger alone, you have to share it with the world! With this you can infect another with your hunger, and they can use it to further your legend. This grants them a 2 point Bond (or Region Property, if the target is an area) that lasts for as long as you sustain the Miracle. The bond or region property is loosely the same as the one you defined along with your Hunger at the beginning, though the HG is encouraged to allow minor alterations if necessary for the Bond/Property to make sense.

This miracle can be cast within a local range on anything, or can ignore the range limits on miracles completely if you have a Connection to the target. (Though if that thing or person is in the Outside or in another world and you are in Town you might have to add 2+ Strike to the Miracle to breach the Auctoritas preventing you from crossing realms.)

The player may combine this Miracle with Incarnation for free, paying the higher of any relevant MP cost.

Any Old Iron? (Powered Up) (Arc 3)

Type: Imperial Miracle
Cost: Each use of this power counts as a use of ‘Any Old Iron?’ but costs an additional 1 MP.

This power works exactly the same way as ‘Any Old Iron?’ save that if the player spends an additional MP then the player does not generate a Bond. Instead the player may now imbue two Tools with power, with each one manifesting one ‘side’ of the dilemma. Sustaining the miracle still requires “storing” the effect as a surface Wound, but there is no longer any Bond attached.

Using ‘Double Act’ on a Tool imbued with this version of ‘Any Old Iron?’ will also grant an opposing Affliction to the sibling-Tool.

Alternatively, the player may spend the additional 1 MP to imbue a single tool and gain a Bond as normal, but may hold the miracle within a Serious or Deadly Wound. The Bond is set at a strength appropriate to the Wound (1 point for Serious Wounds, 2 points for a Deadly Wound) but the Tool gains a measure of extra power in addition to the standard Tool Bonus, :

  • By storing the power as a Serious Wound, the Tool may manifest an Affliction as per ‘Double Act’ without the need to sustain a miraculous action, and gains a spread of 8 inherent skills. It is generally appropriate to give the Tool around 2-3 points in a superior or magical skill relevant to bringing about the tool’s mystic purpose, with the rest of its spread going to one or two point skills incidental to the objective or related to the function of the material or mundane purpose of the tool.
  • By storing the power as a Deadly Wound, you get the benefits of the previous Wound, but the Tool also gains an additional Affliction tied to either the Dilemma as a whole or the Hunger, with a rating equal to the player’s Arc and which is more blatant, disturbing and direct than the first Affliction.

Can I have a Volunteer? (Arc 3)

Type: Miraculous Action or (at Arc 5) Major Miraculous Action
Cost:

  • 2 MP- Imbue another with a Bond or Affliction related to your Hunger. 1/chapter
  • 4 MP Imbue another with a Bond or Affliction related to your Hunger a second time or later per chapter.

At Arc 4:

  • 1 MP- Imbue another with a Bond or Affliction related to your Hunger. 1/chapter
  • 2 MP Imbue another with a Bond or Affliction related to your Hunger a second time or later within a chapter.
  • 4 MP- Imbue another with a Bond or Affliction related to your Hunger a second time or later within a scene.

At Arc 5:

  • 1 MP- Imbue another with a Bond or Affliction related to your Hunger.
  • 4 MP- Imbue another with a very powerful Affliction related to your Hunger, and the Miracle is a Major Miraculous Action.

It is not enough that others hunger as you do. That hunger must raise them up, exalt them and eventually destroy them.

With this miracle you may temporarily grant another character a Bond or Affliction loosely the same as the one you assigned to your Hunger at the beginning of this Arc, though the HG is encouraged to allow minor deviations if it would make more sense for a given target. The rating of the Bond/Affliction granted is equal to your Arc level. It lasts for as long as you sustain the Miracle.

As with any other miraculous action made against them, if the target wishes they may take a Wound instead of suffering the normal effect of the Miracle. If they do this, the basic effect of the Wound should be based around the Affliction/Bond that would have been created, though subject to all the usual rules for mitigating wounds.

At Arc 5 the player may spend 4 MP to invoke this power as a Major Miracle to create a particularly potent Affliction, with effects that are vast, deep or simply really powerful. The Auctoritas of the Affliction is still equal to the character’s rating in this Arc.

Guest Performance (Arc 4)

Type: Miraculous Action, Major; Ritual Power; Unreal
Cost:

  • 0 MP- Send a character on a journey that mystically binds them to your dilemma 1/Book
  • 4 MP- Do so a second time or later in a book.

You may send a target character on a pilgrimage or vision quest tied to your dilemma, in which they will be assailed by obstacles, riddles or temptations relating to your struggle.

This is carried out as a Ritual, a tale narrated by the character of the player activating this miracle. The specifics of the tale are hammered out by the players and HG prior to activation. Once the Ritual is invoked, each player may narrate a part of the “performance”. (Typically with their character or a mythologised replica playing a role as tempter, guide, ally, antagonist or romantic interest.) Over the course of the tale the target will grow, change, shift location or be wounded in a way that links them thematically to the relevant dilemma.

This power ends with a forced scene break—that is, afterwards, unless people are taking actions to avoid it, time jumps forward by a variable amount as the world around you tries to contextualize the actions that you took.

At the end of the Ritual, each player describes a single outcome for the target; a lesson learned, a power gained, a person met, an object acquired, a friendship or enmity forged, a physical or spiritual change. The scope of this miracle to change either the target or the world around them is potentially similar to a Wish in nature, though by both its Unreal and Miraculous nature it is easier for outside forces to resist. (As with any normal Miracle an affected party only need to take a single Wound to avoid an undesirable outcome on themselves.)

These changes will generally continue to have some impact on the target and the world for the remainder of the Book, but given the Unreal nature of this power the HG and the target’s player have quite a bit of leeway as to the exact impact of these effects. (If the main character dies during the tale, for example, they will not necessarily continue to remain dead after the scene break. As an alternative, when something resembling conventional reality reasserts itself they may find that they have the power to walk through walls, see ghosts, or cross over into the realm of the dead when walking through graveyards.)

The changes made to the target are not inherently Miraculous, but do usually alter the capabilities of a character in a dramatic and potentially supernatural way. For example, if over the course of the tale the target eats the spring rolls and pork char sui of the gods and grows wings, the target can generally be assumed to have the ability to fly. (Unless the target or HG decides that it is particularly appropriate to the tale told that these be vestigial or damaged wings, incapable of carrying the character aloft.)

To complement the changes that the character has gone through the HG is advised to apportion out a small number of superior skills (generally three or four points spread over two or three skills) and to grant the target player a medium-strength miraculous power or a Bond/Affliction tied to a relevant Arc or Issue. As above, these effects usually last to the end of the Book, though they are generally overridden if the target becomes subject to a further use of Guest Performance or a similar power. If the player wishes to keep these new abilities after the effects of the tale fade they can take them as perks.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License