Yet More Expanded Powers & Taints

Yup. More of them. You know that you love me. I love you.

This time I’m assigning point costs to the powers found in a few other oWoD books. In this case, Subsidiaries: A Guide to Pentex, Dragons of the East, Kindred of the East and Werewolf: the Wild West. None of these really need any updating, so I’m not going to give the full details of these powers in this post.

At the bottom of this post, I’m also providing a couple of new Taints, mostly inspired by or lifted from Flaws found in Mage: the Ascension Revised.

Subsidiaries: A Guide to Pentex.

The Powers in this book are aimed at the Goblins, which are pathetic gamer-fomori and are mostly being played for laughs, but while weak these powers are still quite serviceable. The gems of the lot are Graceless Oblivion (virtual immunity to all social-based powers and maneuvers? Yes please and thank you!) and Master of Fate (everybody likes to not botch their rolls).

Creeping Crud (1 – Fomori only)
Execrable Ooze (1 – Fomori only)
Graceless Oblivion (2 – Fomori only)
Insidious Diet (1 – any)
Master of Fate (2 – Fomori, Drones & Kami)
Stench of the Convention (1 – Fomori only)

Dragons of the East

There’s only one power in this book’s section on Fomori/Bakemono that’s truly unique:

Hive Body (3 or 4 – Fomori, Gorgons or Kami) – For 4 points, the vermin are poisonous.

However, two of the monsters in the book, the Plague Zombie (obviously a disease-ridden monster) and the Demon of Iron & Violence (which is essentially a cybernetic battle-beast) have powers that fit quite nicely in with the Possessed, and both are arguably specific breeds of Bakemono themselves so I see no reason not to adapt these powers:

Enhanced Reflexes (3 extra Actions/turn) – This is easy enough – I can just add another tier to the power: Extra Speed for a 9-point (!) option.
Limited Invisibility (4 – All) (see p. 98)
Plague Carrier (4 – Fomori) (p. 99)
Death Fertility (4 – Fomori) (p.99)

Werewolf: the Wild West & Kindred of the East

These two books have exactly the same list of Powers. I’d have only listed W:WW since it was published first, but I believe that KoE was more popular, so I’ve got it here too. These two books mostly use a very generic listing of Fomor powers for their Mockeries and Bakemono, but they do have a pair of powers I’ve not found in quite the same form anywhere else.

Quills (5 – Fomori & Gorgons) I’m actually a bit surprised that this power doesn’t crop up in the Book of the Wyrm or one of the core Werewolf books.
Slick Skin (5 – Fomori, Gorgons & Kami) This is really just a stronger version of Slobber Snot from Freak Legion. Perhaps I should do a rewrite that merges the two with a variable point cost. I think I will, since I’ve always thought that the name “Slobber Snot” was far too infantile to take seriously, and besides is actually slightly misleading.

New Taints

All but one of the following Taints were mostly adapted from Flaws found in the revised edition of Mage: the Ascension but left out of Werewolf: the Apocalypse. Geas is the exception – that one is just included to correct a perceived oversight in the existing list.

Degeneration (3, 5 or 7) Any possessed character may take this Taint. Your character will die without the aid of magic or science to sustain her. At the lowest version of this Taint, your character simply does not have the natural healing factor with which most mortals are born. All wounds he suffers remain until treated by supernatural means. He will not heal any damage otherwise.
At the five-point version of this Flaw, your character is actually falling apart. A hideous disease might be eating him up from inside, or maybe he’s a victim of beetles and/or natural decay. Whichever version you take, your character takes one health level of damage after three months, one a month later, another a week after that , one more three days beyond that, one the next day and a final one an hour after that. In short, your character’s health deteriorates at an accelerated rate, following the progression for natural healing backward until he is dead. Obviously, the character doesn’t heal normally, either.
With the nine-point version of this Flaw, your character falls apart at the same rate as before, but the damage is aggravated. Obviously, this Flaw is meaningless (and should not be allowed) in short -term chronicles and one-shot games, and a character with this Taint cannot have the power: Regeneration.

Echoes (1-5 – All) Your character manifests the traditional marks associated with the supernatural. Maybe it’s a little quirk like not having a shadow or a reflection (that one can’t negate the Taint: Spirit Reflection – you won’t be able to see yourself but you can certainly see the Bane…). Perhaps milk curdles around you or mirrors break when you look into them. Perhaps any plant you touch dies and withers to blackness in seconds. In any case, these little traits are inconvenient and can give the character away to their enemies… or make new enemies for them.

Geasa (5 – Kami) Your Kami has an additional Geas that functions in exactly the same way as the one Geas that is always levied on all Kami. Select another Geas for your character, and treat it with the same amount of respect as the first. Fear circumstances where multiple Geasa become mutually exclusive (it was this circumstance that brought down Cúchulainn, after all). For a more detailed and specific approach, see Lesser Geasa.

Green Thumb (1 – Gorgons or Kami) Flowers spring up in your footsteps and trees bloom at your touch. Your hands are as warm as sunlight or stones from a cheery hearth. While this is wondrous and beautiful, it also tends to draw attention from certain forces that can and will inconvenience the character’s existence.

Lesser Geasa (1 to 5 – Fomori or Kami) This Taint must be attached to a Power, Merit or Background. There is something your character must or must not do, and his life, his luck, his power (and perhaps his very soul) depends on it. If he disobeys, the consequences are dire, if not deadly. The value of a Geas depends on how easily it is broken and the penalty for violating it. If the penalty is the loss of some Merit, Power or Background, deduct the Geas’ rating from the value of the Merit or Background and make that number the value of the Taint. For example, your character’s spear may be a five-point Fetish, but you have been told, “If you ever raise this spear unjustly, the Lunes who gave it to you will take it away.” Never raising one’s spear unjustly is a small sacrifice, so it’s worth four points, making a one point Taint.
Your Geas should be at least one point less than the total value of the Powers, Merits or Backgrounds to which it’s linked. In other words, you cannot get a Power, Merit or Background for free just by piling on strictures and limitations. Storytellers should examine each Geas to make sure it makes sense in terms of story, rather than just being a pile of bizarre restrictions and commandments that could only be explained by faeries dropping acid at a christening. Storytellers should also blackball any Geas that does not cause actual problems. Losing your soul if you die is a problem, and so is losing an Monstrous Strength if you lose your virginity. However, it’s to be expected that you’ll lose all of your Attributes, enhanced or otherwise, when you die, so this is not a legitimate problem unless your character also has some way to come back from the dead.
The point value of the Geasa suggested here is only approximate, and it will vary depending on character and circumstances.

Value  Geas

  1. Inevitable circumstance or incredible sacrifice: When you die, if you ever let the sun touch your skin, if you ever allow your feet to touch the earth, if you ever speak another word
  2. Almost unavoidable circumstance or significant sacrifice: Remain a virgin, never harm a living creature, never tell a lie
  3. Everyday circumstance or common sacrifice: Never back down from a fight, never tell a secret, never refuse hospitality, never marry, never have children
  4. Unlikely circumstance or a small sacrifice: Stop and pet every cat you see, never eat any animal product, never harm a certain type of animal or a certain type of person, never raise your sword in anger
  5. Easily avoided circumstance or trivial sacrifice: Never break bread with a red-haired man, say your prayers every night, take your vitamins, never harm the king, don’t eat ham, keep one small secret

Classic penalties for violating a Geas include suffering a dark fate, losing one’s being severed from one’s possessing Spirit (which is fatal), or having one’s independence from the spirit broken (losing the Unpossessed Merit),  having luck turn from good to bad (losing the Lucky Merit), being deserted by the being to whom the character is Consecrated (especially if the Geas was a pact you made with the beast), losing all one’s friends and losing one’s worldly possessions. Consequently, most characters try to keep their Geasa secret, lest they be used against them by enemies. Unfortunately, it can be possible to divine them magically with certain gifts or rituals… Elaborate traps have been devised to force Geasa-bound individuals to violate all their Geasa in succession, leading to their flamboyant destruction. Perversely, Geasa, curses, holy vows and binding oaths are also marks of great status. Simply put, unimportant people don’t have Geasa, and someone who takes a binding oath or makes a sacred vow (and keeps it) is worthy of respect. Traditionally, there is very little that may be done about Geasa, and thy must simply be lived with. However, with bans imposed by totem spirits and the like, characters who violate them accidentally may attempt to atone for their crime. A character who has vowed to never eat any pork, then suddenly finds ham in her pea soup, might be able to atone for the trespass by  fasting and making various acts of restitution and purification. However, if a character violates an oath willingly and with full knowledge — and survives — he becomes an oathbreaker, one of the most foul epithets. The destiny of an oathbreaker is scarred permanently, and the marks show clearly to the eyes of any spirit.

Mayfly Curse (4 or 6 – All) This is a fairly common ailment among certain strains of Pentex-crafted Fomori, and is not unusual among exogenic Gorgons either. Your character matures at an accelerated rate and declines at the same. At the lower level, your character ages one year every two months, which means that when you’re physically 18 years old, you’re chronologically three. At the higher rate, you age a year every week, making you 16 in less than four months and 52 by the end of the year. It’s not much of a lifespan, certainly, but it’s more than sufficient for shock troops. This Flaw can be combined with any degree of Aging. Storytellers should certainly forbid this Flaw as meaningless twinkery for any short-term or one-shot games!

Permanent Wound (3 – Fomori & Kami) For one reason or another, you have a wound that never heals. Even if you repair the injury by supernatural means, it reoccurs at sunset or sunrise of each day (your choice as to which). This wound causes your character to suffer the Wounded health level with lethal damage that cannot be soaked. Such damage is cumulative with other injuries (and it could kill a badly wounded character if it reoccurs while he’s already injured), but it is not self-cumulative. That is, your character’s bleeding head wound doesn’t cause any more damage the next morning or evening if he hasn’t bothered to heal it magically for a day. The Power: Regeneration will not cure this particular injury, though it may repair any other wounds that you may have sustained.

Slow Healing (3 – All) The character’s body’s natural healing processes are impaired. You heal all of your character’s wounds twice as slowly as everyone else. All supernatural healing abilities heal half the damage they should, rounded down. Characters with the Power: regeneration only heal one health level every other turn, and cannot heal during strenuous activities even if they possess Rage.


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3 Responses to “Yet More Expanded Powers & Taints”

  1. Anonymous Reader Says:

    Can you give some examples of point values for the Echoes taint?

    • casewerk Says:

      Sure thing!

      For 1 point, maybe the character’s brows meet in the middle or he has a pentagram in the palm of his hand.

      maybe for 2 points, a character might not have a shadow.

      Somebody in my chronicle has got a 3-point Echo where nearby plants visibly (not swiftly, but visibly) bend towards and attempt to touch or brush her.

      Another 3 -point Echo might be a powerful aura of misery that can be felt by everybody in the character’s presence.

      a 4-point Echo might crack any mirror that the character looks in.

      a 5-point echo might cause any milk within 30 yards or so of the character to curdle.

      • Anonymous Reader Says:

        So the more outlandish and obvious the Echo becomes, the higher the point cost gets?

        Also, don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but there’s this Japanese animation called “Wolf’s Rain”. I found a video on it while searching for W:tA stuff on YouTube, and the whole show is like almost like an animated W:tA chronicle with an alternate werewolf system. There’s even an apocalyptic nuclear winter, crazy nobility that seems suspiciously similar to Wyrm-tainted individuals, and a 200-year old maiden who was made of flowers and can talk to wolves and plants. (Kami, anyone?)

        You might want to check it out in your spare time, see if you like it. Might give you ideas for your chronicle, alternate systems or a few more charms.

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