|Heroic Action Role-Play|
Others have a monstrous heritage or invoke monstrous powers; I AM a monster!
You must choose a type of creature other than Folk when you play a monster. In most cases, this makes you vulnerable to powers directed at your creature type, such as summoning and binding powers. As a monster you have less affinity for Folk and often find their manners strange. You are not accustomed to all the talk and compromise involved in being Folk.
Monsters are advanced characters. Your GM will most likely want to supervise you closely. In general, it is best to pick a monster from mythology and build a variant of that for your character.
Monsters have powers defined by myth and by their association to the Forms of power. All Monsters must know the Form associated with their type of creature. Most of their powers generally come from this form.
Gifts. As a monster, you are the epitome of inherent power, a force of nature and power incarnate.
Your power draws attention. Your powers have side effects; they either have distinct and visible physical side effects or send shivers down the spines of people all around.
Whenever you use your power, it is obvious to everyone within ten meters times the sum of your and their Mind attribute that something odd is happening. This does not spoil illusion or invisibility; people can tell something is happening, but not exactly what or where. It is likely to make them more wary, however. Characters of your origin can sense your power ten times as far away. For those related to you, this sense can extend all the way across the world.
Trigger Action (Focus)
When others are watching you do power and their auras resonate with yours, your power increases. Whenever there are a dozen or more spectators who can see you use powers you can focus. Spectators are those who are not involved in the action - either because they were unaware of your presence before your power called their attention, or because they are bystanders.
There is something that stops you from using your powers. Whether this is psychological or an actual power drain is immaterial; in the presence of your bane, your powers fail. Some banes are common, others rare; this is balanced because the limitation and focus condition are so tightly tied. It is secret what your bane is; guard this secret well. Iron Susceptibility is similar to a bane, but well known and much less severe.
- Holy symbols.
- Some metal (e.g. silver, gold, cold steel).
- Specific flowers or herbs (wolvesbane, garlic).
- Types of wood (ash, yew).
- Certain books (Bible, Koran, Torah, pulp novels).
- Certain weapons.
- Specific words.
- Any memento of an old love.
- The bones of a former victim.
- Direct sunlight.
- Running water.
- Dogs with angel eyes (dark circles around the iris).
When directly exposed to your bane you cannot use your powers. It must be within ten meters and there should be no significant barriers; it it is kept in a container or behind a wall your bane does not trigger.
Trigger Action (Focus)
In any scene where you encountered your bane and survived, you can focus. You cannot focus when under the effects of the bane, but if the bane is somehow taken out of the action, the stress gives you focus.
Your power is tied to belief, and your belief is tied to a code of behavior. You must follow your ethos, or your power fails. It does not matter if you follow a god or a philosophy; what matters is that your ethos and tenets are central to all that you do. This is the basis of all divine power; if your god actually grants you these powers, or if your faith is just a psychological crutch you use to work your power is an open issue.
Each Powers act must be a manifestation of your belief. You cannot work power unless it fits your picture of the universe. Your power cannot work contrary to your code of ethics, and if you grossly violate the tenets of your religion at any time, you lose your ability to work power until you atone. Most religion have a built-in antithesis; there are opposing gods, devils, the dark side and other negative, opposed forces in most mythologies. If you fall from the path of righteousness, you can usually pick up and continue your studies under a new master, but this will mandate a drastic change in role and personality, and may turn you into an NPC.
Trigger Action (Focus)
When you are in the presence of others who share your faith and support your actions, you can focus. It generally takes about ten people to achieve this, but if you are acting directly in the interests of your faith even a single person will do. In extreme situations of faith, your own belief can be sufficient in itself.
Monster beliefs are often tied to their role in myth and ecology; as champions, guardians, hunters, maintainers of tradition and so on. You are a living myth, not just a believer.
You are the linchpin of all your power; when you cease to concentrate your power dissipates. You cannot create power effects that continue to work when you are not paying attention to them.
If you relax, fall asleep, or become unconscious all your power effects lapse. This includes any Inherent powers you have. Power effects end when a stance would normally end, such as when you are prevented from taking actions.
Trigger Action (Focus)
Whenever you are not using any powers, including stances, you can focus.
You have a special look you wear to work your power. This is distinctive, and marks you as odd; people in the know can learn things about your Tradition from it. It need not be a specific outfit, rather it is a range of outfits with some common and identifiable characteristic. The exact details vary, but specific colors, long robes, pointy hats, or embroidered signs and glyphs are standard. Variant costumes include extensive tattoos, nudity, a certain style of jewelry or accessories, or a very funky hairdo.
If your costume is damage and worn, burned or otherwise mishandled it still works and is still recognizable.
You must be in costume to work powers. Donning your costume is a basic action. It is possible to use powers while wearing the costume under other clothes, but this counts as a Disguise stunt.
You can always focus at any time when in costume, but it costs you a Fortune point to do so.
Monster costume is most often being naked or nearly naked.
Echoes add chance to your powers, and this does not stop at the effects you produce consciously. This can be because your powers affects the world in a very fundamental way, a form of backlash, a result of your rampant subconscious, or simply the workings of blind chance.
Your powers are subject to chance and strange effects occur around you constantly. What these side effects are can vary from time to time or have a set theme, as decided when you take the limitation. They are often origin-based. Echoes manifest spontaneously and outside your control. They are noticeable, and can give people in the know information they would not otherwise have. Technological powers cause technological side effects, such as brownouts or glitches. Mystic powers have effects similar to the ones you produce yourself. Echoes are generally funny, in a sadistic kind of way; they never obstruct the story, but can create setbacks and hindrances for you and (rarely) your friends. They are a great plot device for the GM to use when you are taking too much camera time or are using your power for tasks that should be role-played.
You can suggest echoes, or your game master can invent them. If you invent funny and annoying echoes, the game master will probably go easy on you with his own. In either case, it is the game master that has the final word on what happens.
Echoes makes small odd things occur around you, but this is mostly flavor, tough they can sometimes provide clues to enemies or distractions to you. When you use your powers in obvious ways, they manifest more strongly; on a Snakeyes roll when using obvious powers you suffer a Setback from your echoes.
If you invent a creative echo, you perform a Limit Break without being focused. Alternatively, you can ask the GM for an echo, in which case it might be slightly more severe for making him think one up on his feet. In either case, it is a Setback and usually manifests at the end of the round - after you've had a chance to use a Limit Break.
Blind seers and lame but magically powerful smiths are a staple of legends. This is also something the GM can impose temporarily on players, due to damage or other complications of limited duration. Perhament handicaps should be left for the player to decide.
You have some physical handicap that is tied to your power. Perhaps you developed your power to make up for the handicap, or it is a side effect of having acquired the power. You can even have several handicaps if you like. Some examples:
- Blind - Still has a general awareness of moving creatures within Mind meters.
- Deaf - You cannot hear spoken conversation and are easily surprised. The perception element of all your skills are equal to your Mind, but you can use the perception element normally with actions, including as an active defense.
- Lame - Prevent movement as a part of normal basic actions. On a full move action, you can take a normal move instead of a full move
- Crippled arms prevent most physical manipulation and the use of weapons and implements.
- Mute - Prevents mundane speech. Make sure to enforce this strictly.
- Albino - Highly sensitive to sunlight, imposing visual penalties and causing Hits with extended exposure. Looks spooky.
The handicap does not limit your power, instead the handicap itself is limiting. Your powers develop at the price of your physical prowess.
Whenever your handicap causes you acute problems, actual penalties, setbacks, or damage, you can focus. Willfully provoking your handicap does work, but the situation must actually cause you some penalty or discomfort. Using powers to overcome your handicap prevents you from using it to focus, but often powers will only negate part of the handicap, in which case you can still use the remainder to focus.
Brian is lame, but has the magical ability to hover. He needs to kick a fallen branch out of the way to clear a path for his friends. Since he cannot, he can focus, despite that Hover negates most of the penalties of being lame.
A disability might be normal for your kind, yet still limiting for you as an adventurer compared to a baseline human.
Iron impairs your power, possibly for one of the following reasons. The strength, versatility, and magnetic properties of iron makes it very important to technology, which is opposed to magic. Fey abhor Iron, seeing it as a manifestation of human encroachment. Alchemists claim iron is an impure element, easily corroded, the opposite of gold. Iron is highly magnetic. Encasing something in a cage of iron insulates from all electromagnetic fields, hindering many technological devices. Science offers another theory: nuclei of iron have some of the highest binding energies per nucleon. In other words, you cannot gain energy by transmuting iron into into anything else. Iron is the end of the road; no further transmutation is possible unless you put in a vast amount of energy. Whatever the reason - you probably don't even know why - iron impairs your powers.
Iron susceptibility is common among mages. Many magical creatures can be hurt by iron weapons. Part of it's function lies in that it is very common and well known; everyone knows you can stymie a mage by making them hold a naked blade or wear an iron collar.
Your powers are impaired by iron and iron derivatives, such as steel. You cannot use powers while in direct contact with iron or encased in iron, such as when wearing steel armor or inside a car. If you wish to use iron tools or weapons you must ensure that they don't get into direct contact with your skin; gloves, elaborate hilts and handles, and coverings such as gilding or tin coating are commonly used to overcome this. You can wear steel armor as long as it has been properly gilded; the noble metal negates the influence of the base iron. Of course, gilding is expensive, attracts attention, and is quite fragile meaning it can be accidentally scraped off.
When not wearing any iron you can use a Limit Break as if you were focused. A creature wearing metallic iron and Angels, Demons, Devils, Robots, Spectres, Undead, Virtues, and Whimsies are immune to such a limit break. In ^Blacksmith, Clockwork, Coal, Combustion, and Electronic societies, most civilized folk carry some iron object, such as a belt buckle or a tool. Wild animals and monsters very rarely do.
Your powers are strong against those who break rules or customs. Laws hold power, breaking laws makes people vulnerable, dishonest dealing and oath-breaking opens rifts in the soul and gives your powers leverage. Unlike faith, you need not believe in or be sympathetic to the laws you use; the magical laws are as immutable as the laws of nature, and you are using them, not judging them.
Which causes are just is very malleable. Anyone lying to you or breaking a promise is fair game. It does not matter if the promise was given in jest or under coercion. Customs, even evil customs, must be obeyed. Any oath breaker can be ensorcerelled freely, as can those who have betrayed the customs of fealty or hospitality, even if the rules were unfair. Those who owe gifts or favors are fair game, as well.
This is a severe limitation, compensated by a liberal focus condition.
All Justice powers must have some cause; it is impossible to directly affect a character with your powers if the character refuses to accept it and has done no wrong. Powers that does not directly harm a character, such as trickery and illusion, can be employed freely, and is often used to entrap a victim before more insidious power is used to take control of him. But if the target refuses to be mislead, he cannot be directly harmed or affected by your powers. However, you can still use indirect powers that affects the environment, changes the stage, or fools the senses.
If you fully fulfill the limitation, you can use a Limit Break as if you are focused. You cannot focus just because you can use illusion, trickery or other effects affecting the world rather than the target.
This is very common among faeries of all stripes.
Loss of Control
You are channeling powers beyond your control: sometimes these powers take you over and force you to go wild. You must specify the nature of the power you are connecting to, as this will influence how you focus and what happens when you lose control. In general, this amounts to a specific vice; focusing means tickling this vice, loss of control is when you are overwhelmed.
The actions you do when you lose control can be nonsensical or even destructive. You lose sight of your normal goals and live out your vice in an immediate and direct way. Such actions can indirectly benefit your normal cause, but you pursue them beyond what is reasonable and productive.
You risk losing control in certain situations, especially when doing things somehow relevant to the nature or source of your powers. When you roll Snakeyes on any task, the GM proposes an action your powers tries to force you to do. The GM can also make one such proposition of his own per scene. You can agree, and behave as suggested. In extreme cases, the GM might even take temporary control of your character. If you resist, you lose access to your powers for the rest of the scene.
When doing the type of actions you do when you lose control, you can focus. This can either be because because you gave in to the GMs suggestion or because you came up with a course of action the GM agrees is in accordance with your vice. When you are taking the initiative and choose to skirt the danger, you have to continue to act out your vice until it plays itself out, or risk losing your powers.
Many monsters have dark sides or suppressed natures that can emerge, making you monstrous in action as well as appearance.
Mark of Power
Your power has left its mark on you and you draw power from this monstrous nature. This can be a demonic or angelic form, sharp claws, obvious cybernetics, huge green muscles, or some other distinctive appearance of your choice. You look quite out of the ordinary and are likely to attract attention and be recognized. It is possible but difficult to disguise this, and it is always visible on close inspection.
If you are transformed into a mundane shape, you lose your powers. Mere illusions won't do, it has to be a physical change. The most radical variant of this is if powers are used to alter your shape, but failing to maintain your supernatural form also triggers power loss. If your form depends on powers, such as Mutations or Cybernetic Implants and these are dispelled, all your powers fail. If you are constantly in disguise for long periods, your powers will gradually weaken, tough you get plenty of advance warning of this.
This kind of power loss has a duration based on the extent of the change; minor changes can cause a power loss for the round, while greater changes can cause power loss for a scene or even one or more sessions in extreme cases.
When an NPCs reaction towards you changes significantly because of your appearance, you can focus. This creates the odd situation that you can often focus in less important confrontations on the street, but rarely when faced with cool villains - unless they have a particular prejudice.
This is ubiquitous among monsters, almost a must-have.
Hi-Mi-Tsu! - Xellos, the Mysterious priest, Slayers
You have some secret that must not become known. A magical secret can be almost anything. A technological secret is a wavelength, passcode or other sensitive data that is easily used. It can be nonsense, such as a particular number or the name of some higher being or your own secret name. It can be some fact about you, such as that you are a woman, your exact age or that you are the descendant of Zeus. It cannot be something people would ordinarily say; people will not accidentally blurt out your secret unless the GM is using this as a plot device.
It is possible to find your secret through research or investigation, but this is always an important story development and should have its own dangers and drama. You might intuitively feel when someone is close to discovering your secret, which often leads to dramatic confrontations at the point of discovery.
Anyone who finds out your secret can use it to blackmail you and to gain dominance over you, as you cannot effectively use your powers against them. If your secret ever becomes common knowledge, you are doomed. But this should never happen if you play your cards right; the GM can invoke this as a plot device, but as long as you play along, no villain would waste the hook he has on you by publishing your secret.
Anyone stating this secret in your presence negates your powers for the rest of the scene.
Whenever your secret is in immediate danger of being discovered or used, you can focus. This means that an involving secret is much more useful than an obtuse one.
Your powers give hints about you. Maybe your fireballs have your personal rune emblazoned on them or your electronic remote-control signals are poorly shielded. This can be very dangerous in combination with methods like Astrology, Power Secret, or Naming.
The information contained in your power signature for enemies to learn must be fairly important, and the GM decides exactly what it is. If you or they use secrets or information in methods, such information is a good pick. Other possible secrets include embarrassing facts that give large bonuses on interactions stunts, blackmail material, codes that give access to your telephone, bank, or internet accounts, personal information about loved ones that can be kidnapped, or your True Name.
Anyone who knows about you can recognize your powers by sight. Know stunts made against you by someone who has seen your powers or their results have a difficulty equal to your Mind or Know, whichever is lower. You never suffer power loss from this limitation, but might clue others in on how to give you Power Loss.
You can focus anytime, but all enemies get to do a Analyze Weakness stunt when you do.
You are dependent on an external supply of energy to work your powers. This could be an electric grid, the universal web of power, the stars being right, the mystic field of force that connects all life, or the attention and good will of a supernatural entity or god. This method tends to be universal; either everyone of a tradition uses it, or no-one does. This makes the method suitable for campaigns where mysterious and remote events dwarf the efforts of the heroes.
When you are out of contact or favor with your power supply, your powers don't work. There might be means for others to disrupt this flow of power, but mostly its something between you and your supplier. Unlike similar methods, this supply is either turned on or off at a remote location; it is not something you can carry an inventory of and use as needed, though there might be ways of getting around it.
Whenever you have been out of supply, your focus sharpens and you have an easier time focusing as your powers come back to you. This free focus lasts for about as long as the power interruption, measured in real-world time; if you were out of power for half a session, you can automatically focus for the remainder of the session.
You have a reserve of inner power, called mana for supernatural powers and by some technical term such as battery or capacitors for technology. You can use this reserve to fuel your power, but when you have done so you become weak and need to restore your power reserve afterward.
When you have used your power intensely, such as in a fight, you grow tired at the end of the scene. Once the fight is over, you cannot use powers until you have replenished your power; a short ritual taking about 15 minutes. Exactly what you do to recover power reserve depends on your power tradition; eating, meditation, prayer, reading, recharging capacitors or connecting to a power outlet are all examples. If there is a condition placed on your recovery that is out of your control, such as sunlight, use of a power outlet, or high wind, your recovery varies - it becomes 5 minutes with access to this recovery aid, 1 hour without the aid.
You can focus at any time. The first use is safe. Roll 1d6 when you focus this way. If the result is lower than the number of times you used this method to focus this session, the power limitation of Power Reserve kicks in immediately.
You have some unique item you must have to work your power. Talismans are reasonably large and obvious, like a staff, diadem, dowsing pin, special hat, gizmo or whatever. Without it, you are powerless. Unlike props, this is one specific item. Your talisman is a signature item; it will not disappear unless there is some plot-driven reason for it to disappear, and customs officials and other bystanders will generally ignore it. But its function is always apparent to others of your tradition and to everyone once you start using it for obvious effects. Those in the know might try to take it away from you.
This focus can be either destructible or indestructible. If it is indestructible, it cannot be replaced; you MUST get your unique item back. If it is destructible, it is still tough and hard to destroy, but it can be damaged, and you can replace it.
You suffer power loss when you are without your focus item.
Trigger Action (Focus, Combo)
When your focus item is directly involved in a successful use of your power, such as if you strike with your staff or throw your power diadem, you can focus. You can even do this as a combo with your Limit Break if the Limit Break itself fulfills the condition. This involves a bit of risk; you call attention to your talisman and could potentially lose it.
A monster's talisman is often attached to their body, but can be taken or destroyed with a stunt. Typical examples are a magical horn or a large glowing crystal on the brow. Accessories like collars, bridles, cuffs, and other worn jewelry is also common.
Your power is fueled by sexuality, both your own and that of your targets.
You must have regular sex to replenish your power. You must engage is some sexual activity each day (even if it is as modest as masturbation or sexual fantasies), and you must have a full-fleshed sexual encounter with a partner at least once a week.
Whenever you manage to create sexual tension you can focus. If this is with a friend, it must be a sexual act or a noteworthy development in your relationship. If it is with an opponent, a successful sexually-themed stunt involving Charm or Presence is sufficient.
Your powers work best when you are in a trance, and you are aware even when asleep.
When you use your powers, you enter a trance until your next shot comes up. You cannot use Trigger Actions while in this trance. You do not sleep. Instead you trance as above, and you can still act in this trance.
You enter into a trance (as above) for the rest of the scene. You can break out of the trance trough conscious effort - a Basic Action.
You have taken an oath, and your power only works while you maintain this oath. Stricter vows are likely to interfere much more with your power, but also to grant many more opportunities to focus.
- Vow against killing
- Vow against violence
- Vow of abstinence (from drugs, eating meat, or similar)
- Vow of celibacy
- Vow of fasting
- Vow of forthrightness (no sneaking, approach problems head on)
- Vow of poverty (entrust your upkeep to others, handle no valuables)
- Vow of silence
- Vow of truth (no lying or deliberate deception; silence is acceptable)
You can stand by and watch others breaking the vow with no consequences for you, but in this case you cannot use your adherence to the vow to focus (see below) unless there was some personal stake or advantage you gave up.
You must not have broken your vow recently to practice power. Willfully breaking the vow negates your power for a session, or longer for plot reasons. Breaking it because of coercion or necessity (and this might be frequent in case of such things as fasting) means you cannot use your powers for a scene.
When your vow makes you behave in a way that is irrational or causes a loss in the long or short term, you can focus. This applies even if just one of these three conditions are met; taking a short-term disadvantage might well work out to a long-term advantage, but it still allows you to focus.