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  • Lucid Tales – Canaan

    There is little that makes sense when I step out of the amphetamine-laced walls of the hole I met, really met, Ember in. The stench lingered on me, the chemical smell of boiling drugs. Snorting into my cigarette, ash balloons out in small carcinogenic tornadoes  There was no telling where I was walking too, or if I was heading towards anything in particular as I spat the cigarette from my mouth.


    Filthy, not the cigarette, me. Walking into that apartment building, I had been righteous. Now, I was just a man that lacked the courage of his convictions. She called us Nephilim, the sons of gods and daughters of men. Whatever that meant.  Before, I had been a detective, afterwards, I still was. There was no divinity to Lucidity. We were the same scared children crying in the dark and looking for answers.


    Maybe that is what was appealing about the Keepers. The Keepers did not try to explain our nature or the supernatural connections. They understood that people with power tend to abuse the powerless and that meant protecting the innocent. Maybe that resonated with my cop mind. Was it that simple though? Ember was a killer, the Dark was a hungry place and she shared that ravenous need for life.


    Who did she kill though? Killers, would be killers? Wasn’t that the protection of the innocent as well? Was she damned because of her gifts? If she were one of them, they would call her a vigilante, mundane, weak and something ultimately destined for failure or death. She was Lucid, or Nephilim, or whatever, and so it was unlikely any beat cop, pimp or drug dealer was ever going to be able to stop her. Why should I though? What gave me any greater authority over her?


    Sliding down into the hard plastic of a transit stop bench my eyes drift over empty streets. What would it be if everything was even? What if she was just a fly by night vigilante and I was still a real cop? She would have killed at least four people, no matter how justified; she would be arrested, and be forced to stand trial. We weren’t normal though were we?  There was no arrest; there was no judge or jury of her peers. She was Lucid and a killer. According to the Keepers that meant she had to die.


    She wasn’t just murdering random people, Ember knew them. Knew them in a way no mundane cop or judge could ever know the heart of a man on trial. Did that matter? According to the Keepers it didn’t. The murder of the mundane was justified only in the most extreme cases of defense. In the eyes of the Keepers she had to die.


    What was I then? I had seen this woman, heard the stories that no one shares. Nephilim she called us, more than man. Did that make us the incarnation of angels and demons? Somehow, I did not believe Ember though herself a god.  So why the pretentious titles?  That alone would sanction her execution.


    Nearly four and there was no escape from the heat on the street. Trying to put together any coherent thoughts seemed doomed to circular logic. Sweating and staring down the street at the oncoming bus I felt like a line assembler in one of the big auto plants. Only my one arm, the one that screws down the frame’s bolts is malfunctioning. It keeps tightening down, and I can hear the frame grinding in my mind.


    The bus arrives with a wave of heat and dust and neon adverts for some casino down the line in Little Osaka. Wiping the sweat from my face, my palm comes away wet and dripping grey. Automatic doors swing open and I go from the hell of a jungle’s fires to bitter snow. The blast of control air jars me, turns me into brittle and I can hear little chunks of myself breaking off as I stand to get into the bus.


    What part of me was being left out in the morning heat? I needed to think, and to do that, I needed to understand who Ember really was. I needed to know what it meant to be Nephilim.

  • Off The Beaten Path 1: The Ala Wai Housing Tract

    Built along the Ala Wai Cannel, Waikīkī, this stretch of ten by two blocks sits between water reclamation sub-centers. Once a beautiful stretch of land as the infrastructure of Oahu became increasingly demanding the state EPA required the construction of a water treatment facility to clear the waterway before meeting the ocean. The Ala Wai housing tract grew in almost the same way.


    To support the growing number of tourists’ migrant workers were incentivized to move to the island in late 2061, before the Great War had begun to affect the United States. Originally designed to appear as a resort, the housing tract masked the water treatment centers and aeration tunnels. By 2085, Hawaii had become a haven for Japanese survivors and staging ground for US troops deployed to the Okinawa Prefecture. With the collapse of the tourist industry, the Ala Wai tract became a government-subsidized project for refugees and displaced citizens.

    Today Ala Wai remains a blight on Oahu. Inside the tract, buildings range from three to nineteen stories. Cannel facing ground floors hosting aeration generators and safety equipment to prevent the toxic waters from washing ashore. With near triple the population density of the rest of the city and crime rate skewing the numbers for all of Honolulu living in the Ala Wai is a virtual death sentence on job applications. Most survive working under the table for Water Treatment, or prostitution.


    Below the Waters, the legend of Moke Hyōsube


    People disappear in Ala Wai; sometimes they turn up, the body washing up at the far treatment substation. Kidnappers, fun-boys, or other mundane atrocity festering in the housing tract turns out to be responsible. There are times though when the sludge is smeared with blood, wild on the narrow access tunnels, this is when the name Moke Hyōsube is whispered through the ghetto.


    Described as a hairy lizard larger than a man, Moke Hyōsube is the polluted brother of the Green Lady. He is kinder, though far fouler, than his sister. Where she snatches children from Wahiawa’s gardens, he takes only those with black hearts from Ala Wai.


    The oldest residents of Ala Wai say they can hear the difference in the screams when Moke Hyōsube comes for his victims. No one admits to having seen Moke Hyōsube personally but everyone in Ala Wai knows his appearance, his stench, and rage. For those who cannot protect themselves Moke Hyōsube is a guardian spirit, or so they like to believe. Younger members of the community write the monster off as some imported legend. Still the bodies go missing, with only a trail of blood and sludge leading back to the cannel.

  • The Lucid Effect 1: The Kindergarten Teacher

    The Lucid Effect presents a new Lucid, first with only mundane abilities that encapsulate their former lives, and a possible incarnation with supernatural talents building off their previous skills.

    The Basic Template spends only basic Character Points and 5 Lucid Points.
    The Lucid Template fills out the character presenting a near complete New Lucid.

    As we kick off our second character creation series, we start with the Kindergarten Teacher. While we may not think about it very often teachers, especially for younger students develop skills they might not even realize they have. Skills such as tracking down lost children, debate for those parental disagreements, and even basic first aid.

    Basic Template

    Kindergarten Teacher


    History 9 Fortune 8
    Career: Teacher 6 Intuition 7
    Education 4
    Lucid 9
    Focus (Based on Realm) 9
    Strength 5 Wisdom 4
    Climbing 4 Animal Handling 2
    Lift 4 Domestic 2
    Study: Children’s Education 3
    Dexterity 5 Intelligence 4
    Dodge 4 Computers 2
    Sport: Kickball 4 Logic & Math 3
    Medical 2
    Constitution 8 Mental 8
    Running 7 Concentration 7
    Sense 5 Expression 4
    Perception 4 Art: Finger-paints 2
    Tracking 4 Debate 2
    Etiquette 3


    While hardly an expert in any field, the Kindergarten Teacher has a wide range of skills to draw on. In a pinch, teach can substitute their lack of an Unarmed Fighting Skill for Sport: Kickball and their time hunting down children in parks and playgrounds have left them adept at tracking. As a Lucid, this opens up multiple possibilities. Knowledge being a key element to the character our teacher will be taking a turn towards dark wish fulfillment. Playing on their already good perception and intuition our teacher acquires new senses and secrets not shared on the playgrounds.


    Lucid Template

    History 9 Fortune 9
    Career: Teacher 6 Intuition 7
    Education 4 Reading 9
    Lucid 9
    (F) Secrets of the Night 9
    Strength 5 Wisdom 4
    Climbing 4 Animal Handling 2
    Lift 4 Domestic 2
    Study: Children’s Education 3
    Dexterity 5 Intelligence 4
    Dodge 4 Computers 2
    Sport: Kickball 4 Logic & Math 3
    Medical 2
    Constitution 8 Mental 8
    Running 7 Concentration 7
    Sense 9 Expression 6
    Perception 4 Art: Finger-paints 2
    Tracking 4 Debate 2
    ESP 9 Etiquette 3
    Influence 6
    Lucid Boons Value
    Blessing Major
    Passive Reader Major
    Secret of Pain Major
    Secret of Suffering Major
    Empathy Typical
    Thought Reader Major

    Unspent Experience: 9


    Adding the Secrets of the Night, ESP, Reading, and Influence Abilities the teacher knows things those around him can’t understand, sees what’s going on, can predict what may happen, and guide others in the direction they see best. The Boons selected continue on this theme of knowledge, understanding and secrets.


    Blessing (Fortune/Supernatural – Major)
    Requirements: Reading 4 (Ability)
    Looking into the subject’s future, the fortune reader may implant a Blessing.

    Passive Reader (Mental/Supernatural – Major)
    Requirements: Lucid 6 (Ability)
    The strength of the character’s natural Telepathic talent is overwhelming and constantly active, picking up the thoughts and feelings of those around them.

    Secret of Pain (Wisdom/Dark – Major)
    Requirements: Secrets of the Night 6 (Lucid Focus)
    The Dark Lucid has learned techniques to cripple their foes with a touch of their fingers, radiating with Dark force.

    Secret of Suffering (Wisdom/Dark – Major)
    Requirements: Secrets of the Night 9 (Lucid Focus), Secret of Pain (Boon)
    Pain is merely the beginning. The character’s Dark abilities linger on, further tormenting victims of the Secret of Pain Boon.

    Empathy (Sense/Dark – Typical)
    Requirements: ESP 1 (Ability)
    The Empath may pick up on the emotional states of those around them.

    Thought Reader (Sense/Dark – Major)
    Requirements: ESP 3 (Ability), Secrets of the Night 3 (Lucid Focus), Empathy (Boon)
    As the character’s knowledge expands, they learn to do more than sense basic emotions. Now, the Dark Lucid can actually delve into the subject’s mind, reading the thoughts of any target within sight.

    These Boons allow the Teacher access to the minds of his students, as they never imagined and tools for discipline none would believe. While one wouldn’t call many teachers the front line type, players wishing to toughen up the teach may consider increasing the character’s Dexterity to 6 and picking up Quick 6 a key ability of the Dark and adding additional survivability. Alternatively, they may chose to focus more on the powers of the mind expanding on Thought Reader shifting towards Fear, or Mind Control, both tools of the Dark.

  • Land of Confusion 6: Audiopunks

    Pinpointing the inception point of new fashion can be tricky. Sure, there is Milan but high fashion and street trends are two different beasts. Starting in late 2191 there was a rising trend of implanted micro-speakers in clothing. These musical suitors ranged from tame background music and personal soundtracks for PR and celebrity types to blaring distortion effects used by musicians in concerts or impromptu performances. Like most fashion trends, it soon consumed itself and by the mid 90s was a nearly forgotten fashion mistake.

    In the last three years speck dotting as it later came to be known saw a major resurgence in what would come to be known as the Audiopunks. The first documented Audiopunks were at a right wing political rally in Portland, Oregon, ASA. Weaving into the crowds and speck speakers into over the top hair styles these progenitor punks would trigger distorted audio recordings of the speaker set to music whenever the speakers contradicted themselves. These first Audiopunks were beaten by extreme elements in the crowd. This only served to send the punk message through all the news feeds. Within two months, Audiopunks began appearing at speeches and public gatherings around the world.

    With the continuing cost reduction of PINTs, modern wearable computers, Audiopunks have become a kind of real time fact checking service. Groups set up gatherers who pull audio clips during speeches piping it through remixing software and out to other punks at a gathering. In countries like the ASA and Great Britain where there is a high number of Audiopunk gangs a growing number of politicians and corporate speakers have taken events in doors screening crowds for speck speakers, blocking data transfer in the area and other tricks to avoid the scrutiny of Audiopunks and their own words.

    Lacking any central organization clusters of Audiopunks crop up and fade away in unpredictable ways. Additionally, the political focus of Audiopunks seems equally as varied. The only real connective string being an ability to root out sound bites with incredible speed and efficiency. The PPB station Nis Oidua covers Audiopunk gatherings and plays a steady stream of remixes of punk recordings. While still only a few years old, that is longer than most political movements, or fashion trends.

  • Chatham House 6: The Reader

    The Chatham House articles discuss people that may be inserted into campaigns as ready made NPCs to add flavor or detail to your world. The character’s discussed in the Chatham House often have ties to various organizations, Baronies, Corporations, Governments, but operate outside the normal protocols.

    Books, three century old antiquated media. Who has time for books; you can get all the data online and compressed. It is faster and more efficient. Digital media is also easy to update. So what if for thirty years after the purge schools taught that Led Zeppelin was the flagship of the Nazi dirigible fleet? Eventually data that is more accurate was recovered, and we know now that they were part of the USO.

    Schools cannot afford traditional books. Instead, teachers use educational pages, pulling them up on subsidized monitors between info-breaks. Few people can afford or appreciate the older media but books; both fiction and non-fiction continue to circulate for the discerning buyer.

    One such buyer, Shelly Adder, or the Reader, is one such buyer. Maintaining a discrete store simply titled Ends on the edge of the art district Shelly trades in pre-war books. Not the manuals or technical guides that most corporate types like to snap up, they have too much of an obvious value. Anything else though is fair game including an extensive library of new age work.

    While she manages to stay open, Ends is never busy, in fact it is rare to see more than one or two people in the store at the same time. This may be from the price tag assigned to some of books she keeps. Occasionally scavengers try to pawn off books they may have found in the Wastes but it is rare for Adder to buy from anyone off the streets. How she procures her texts remains an unknown.

    Story Seeds
    How does she get those books? Characters may find themselves on either side of this mystery. The Reader has several sources and does not rely on any one supplier. Instead, she keeps them all at a distance to prevent any one person from knowing too much about Ends and her collection.

    The Reader has been compiling documents for years. While still incomplete, the Reader has a very different understanding of the events leading up to the Great War as well as other subjects. Adder is not the type to prevent people from browsing the shop for hours. There are very few people with access to her private library though.

    An occult understanding? Because so many books pass through Ends and the Reader’s hands there are few subjects she does not know something about. While few might think to turn to her, she may be one of the best sources for more esoteric works in Tiergarten.

  • Tainted Souls 6: Side Effects

    Tainted Souls explores the unspoken costs of Lucidity. The physical or mental changes brought on by becoming Lucid and how that may impact their lives and the people around them.

    While all Lucid have a tangible or psychological manifestation of their link to one of the Realms this does not have to be the only unusual quality about them. Players and GMs may opt introduce characters that have little quirks to their powers.

    Imagine the Dark Lucid, with their mastery over shadows, that when angered the lights flicker or their face grows dark. How about the Verdant Lucid that always seems to have cats and dogs following them? These side effects shouldn’t offer the character any advantage but may hint at the nature of a character’s power.

    These side effects can and should add depth to the characters and the overall narrative. Being able to add narrative around one’s character helps to draw the players into the story making them active participants and not simply casual observers. This also helps to solidify a player’s image of their character. And, while it’s an acting trope, getting to know your character can have a powerful effect on one’s performance.

    Players should not feel obligated to use side effects. This is tool to allow for creative play and should not feel like an impairment to players. However, letting players take on some of the qualities that don’t tend to get written down but make for dramatic effect is usually enough motivation to get the ball rolling.

    Depending on your players GMs should be careful of power gaming and trying to take advantage of side effects. The other precaution is that side effects may lead to scene stealing. Don’t let side effects bog down a game, the story is the important part.

    No mater what shape side effects take for a character or campaign remember that these are tools to add fun and interaction. The stories you tell are your own, as both GM and Players you have the tools to relate the world you want to play. Don’t let printed text keep you from adding personal flare.