• Tag Archives Verdant
  • The Lucid Effect 5: The Cat Lady

    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.

     

    It’s perfectly reasonable to cat around with this kitty causally. While it’s far to easy to fall into the grand debate, Eartha Kitt or Julie Newmar we’re looking at a different kind of cat lady this week. This is the recluse that lives for their kitties, yes, they live, work and function in everyday society  it’s only marginally true.  This is someone completely dedicated to their pets and while it doesn’t have to be cats the Cat Lady is one of those iconic images we couldn’t resist.

     

    To take care of her cats our lady has chosen a rather reasonable career as an accountant. Something she could mostly do from home, allowing her more time with her pets. We give her Law, Logic & Math as well as some social skills to ensure she’s both good at her job and can feign normalcy.

     

    After that we look at some kitty quality skills. Animal Handling, Domestic, and Study: Cats are all easy choices. Knowing how to care and clean one;s animals is important. To that effect we add in Zoology to represent a mildly obsessive study of the various breeds of cats.  We round this out with Perception, Scrounging, and Fasting, for finding missing cats, and dealing with the lean times when money is tight due to kitty issues.

     

    History 9 Fortune 8
    Career: Accountant 4 Intuition 7
    BG: Cat Fanatic 6
    Education 4
    Strength 5 Wisdom 5
    Animal Handling 4
    Domestic 4
    Study: Cats 4
    Dexterity 5 Intelligence 5
    Law 4
    Logic and Math 4
    Zoology 4
    Constitution 8 Mental 5
    Fasting 7
    Sense 5 Expression 5
    Perception 4 Etiquette 4
    Scrounging 4 Subterfuge 4

     

    Now, what’s better than your average ordinary cat lover? Why one that summon up her own pride.

     

    History 9 Fortune 8 Boons Value
    Career: Accountant 4 Intuition 7 Flesh Eater Ma
    BG: Cat Fanatic 6 Animal Speech Ma
    Education 4 Command Animals Ma
    Familiar: Eurasian Lynx Ma
    Strength 5 Wisdom 5 Summon Animals Ma
    Animal Handling 4 Natural Summoner Ma
    Domestic 4 Pack Master Ma
    Study: Cats 4 Predator and Prey Ma
    Dexterity 5 Intelligence 5 Drawbacks
    Law 4 Limited: Animal Speech: Cats Mi
    Logic and Math 4 Limited: Command Animals: Cats Mi
    Zoology 4 Limited: Summon Animals: Cats Mi
    Limited: Predator and Prey: Cats Mi
    Constitution 8 Mental 5
    Fasting 7
    Tough 6
    Sense 5 Expression 5
    Perception 4 Etiquette 4
    Scrounging 4 Subterfuge 4

     

    How our Cat Lady came to be touched by the Verdant we don’t know. However, we do know that she travels with a pack now. Faithful Lynx by her side, she can call up a pack of feral city infused with her Verdant energies cats capable of easily overcoming the average mundane.

     

    The Cat Lady represents a specialist character. Driven to do one thing closely linked to her concept the scope of many of her Boons are limited to only her feline friends. No self respecting dog fears the Cat Lady, but they should.

     

    The Cat Lady uses all 60 Experience as a New Lucid.



  • 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.



  • Tainted Souls 5: The Verdant

    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.

    To be touched by the forces of unbridled nature. That is what it means to be Verdant. The essence of life has passed through the Verdant’s body and their manifestations reflect this.

    While many Dark and Grave manifestations may be seen as curses and Slumbering Lucid often as blessing, the Verdant’s manifestations vary so drastically that either blessings or banes are possible. The powers of the Verdant are so varied so to are the manifestations that surround their Lucid. Players should consider their Boons or desired Boons when selecting their character’s manifestation.

    Characters with shiftier qualities most commonly have some physical representation of the beast the hide within. These changes may be drastic changes from the character’s former appearance or may develop subtle as the Verdant Lucid learns to interact with their Realm. Those Lucid with control over the nature may show signs of their favored element such as a light green hue to their skin, constantly sweating or smelling like rain.

    Few Verdant Lucid actually dwell within cities, and so it is perhaps for this reason it is easiest to feel their presence. The garden where grass and flowers feel that little bit more vibrant, the odd corner where all the cats seem to congregate for no discernible reason.

    GMs should be careful of these larger area manifestations, while they add detail to the world they lack the personal impact that manifestations should have on the character’s life. Consider them more as background elements and less as the character’s actual core manifestation.



  • Lucid Tales – Coins

    There was a distinct smell to a junk squat. It was a chemical smell that hung in the air, a smell that sober people knew instinctively to avoid. These instincts were cooked off, boiled from the primal lizard brain of a junkie’s mind. The smell of baking benzo carbazole meant pleasure not death to those so far gone they could be here.

    Pushing through the hall of addicts there was a different reaction. Those that still had mental faculties that extended beyond how to get their next fix scattered back into the walls. Feral eyes waiting for a badge, the swarm of armored men to come flooding in behind me. I wasn’t a cop. At least not in any sense they might comprehend judging from the state of this place.

    The carcinogenic stench was enough that I could smell it from the street. A late stage chemical hive, ready to burst, overflow spilling the death packed inside this worn out husk out into the world. Judging from glazed over faces from those too stoned to run I knew I was in the right place.

    Already I could hear people getting out of her way behind me. Turning into the stairwell residual training kicks in and I’m sprinting. Hand moves to where a shoulder holster had formerly resided. Cigarettes slap against the hand from inside the coat pocket as if to remind me I didn’t use a gun anymore.

    Rounding the fourth floor I gag gasping for air. There she was. Standing expressionless at the top of the stairs she waited for me.

    “How?” I hear myself say. Confused for a moment as to where the word came from. This wasn’t where we were supposed to meet. Worse she knew exactly where I had been going and now blocked the roof. As she sat at the top of the stairs her canvass jacket pooled, dripping down.

    “What do you think I am agent Harker?” She was in no hurry. Her words cold and smooth like polished steel. She knew my name and that made things worse. The only identifier I had for her was a case file number. “Ember, if that makes you feel more comfortable.” It didn’t.

    “What do you mean?” Trying to blank, words stumble out of my mouth. Can’t fight the training as the mental picture I had of this woman is updated from her display. The file had assumed she had been some low end fixer that had gone vamp. If that’s what the file said, I knew now it was only because she had wanted it too.

    “I had heard about you, the killer of Nephilim known to look the other way.”

    “Keepers.”

    “You are killers agent Harker, tell me why.” What good were any words I could muster?

    “I want to hear them, your words.” The stench of the drug lab, wherever it was in this building, seemed to thicken. Was someone starting a fresh batch of BCKD? It became hard to focus now. “Sit agent Harker, the fumes aren’t as bad.”

    Squatting back to the wall one leg eased out into a half slump on a stair. The other leg, two steps down, supported my weight. Hand clutching the railing I watched her, watching me. Pulling the pack of cigarettes from my pocket I offer her one. She shakes her head no and I go about the ritual of lighting my own.

    “Well.” Letting out a long exhalation of grey smoke I tried to put my thoughts together. “Well, you say killers, seems like your mind’s already made up. Maybe some of us are. I don’t know. Not if I can avoid it, but yeah, I’ve gotten burned for that.” Turning from her to the orange tip of the cigarette; ash drops onto the stairs below.

    “I don’t know who’ve you’ve dealt with in the past. There are always those that want power for the sake of power, to lord over someone. I know the Keepers, or the ones I’ve met, they’re not that type. It’s not about us, you know. It’s those people stuck in the real world, like that guy from tonight.”

    “Do you know what he wanted?” The calm in Ember’s voice turned arctic.

    “No.”

    “He wanted as many ampoules of ketamine as I could give him. You see agent Harker, he’s grown apart from his wife. Despises her now. She gets off on boys she brings home from the rave circuit. While K went out of style years ago he didn’t know that. What he did know is that his wife had talked about one of her partners ODing. A sad cuckold who’d rather see his wife dead, than live with the shame. That’s who you saved tonight agent Harker.”

    “How did you know?” A stupid question but I couldn’t help myself.

    “We are the children of gods; his sins are no mystery to me.” There was something about the way she spoke. “Nephilim.” Listening to her was like watching a period piece movie, but the dialog was sideways.

    “How old are you?”

    “Does it matter?”

    “No, I guess it doesn’t. So what happens now?”

    “That’s up to you.”



  • Lucid Tales – Our First Kiss

    She moved like heroin through a junkie’s veins. Never rushing, there was no point. Her prey always came to her. In the two AM light she was just another girl walking the street. No girlfriend experience just heat and sweat and bliss. That’s what everything she wore told you, from the black latex that sculpted her legs like swords to the thick leather belt straps that pretended to be a shirt. Black cherry stained her lips and eyes. Always moving; slow strides, a predator waiting for the right moment.

    If she saw me she didn’t say a word. We have a way of playing coy with one another, professional courtesy maybe. The other girls on the streets didn’t seem to notice when the neon from the bar across the street actually bothered to work. Maybe they didn’t care that every time the purple green rose sparked to life part of her seemed to snap out of focus, slipping back out of the shadows.
    Two AM and the heat still rolled up from the asphalt in waves of rubber and tar. I thought about lighting my cigarette but what was the point? My job was simply to stay still and pretend I was just another spectator.

    A low growl eases around the block. Headlights cast a robotic smile from behind a ram prow. The other girls scatter. They were too far from the red light district to pretend they were just walking home. Not her. Eyes stare into mirrored window of the police vehicle challenging them. I can feel her tell them to drive on without uttering a word. The light strip on the roof goes red yellow and back off. She watches expectantly. The police click their siren once and move along.

    The whir of the siren kicks off again as the turn the corner as if to say, we showed them. She hadn’t broken her stride as she paced the block. Looking at the concrete below me I force down a smile.

    Once I was naive enough to think cops took the job because they wanted to do the right thing. I was six. Now I wonder how many on the force weren’t just bullies that grew up or cowards waiting to prove how tough they are with their toys. Maybe I shouldn’t think that. It’s the kind of thought that if overheard meant you were never going to make it home. The kind of thought you’re never supposed to think even though you no longer bothered to play with those old toys.

    Another set of headlights, softer this time, radiating waves of guilt and fear. Inside the car was a tired looking man. Grey hair draped over his face in shame. The exchange was quick. She slipped into the car with hardly a word spoken. Timidly the vehicle lurched forward and into an awaiting alleyway. The engine idles with a purr.

    Dark shapes move inside the cab of the vehicle. She’s judging him. This was our third week together. She had to know I was judging her in the same way. Rummaging my pockets there’s a half used book of matches. Jáubā Lilly, I can’t help but look to the bar at the end of the street, absently tapping the matches against my hand.

    From below the yellow haze I watch as she mounts him. Bodies move awkwardly as they search for their rhythm. Arms slide around his neck as she leans in. Maybe it was a sense of tradition. Wincing I strained to see past the shadows. Lips graze his cheek as her head dips to just above her arms.

    A deep inhalation turns my cigarette into a vermillion flare. I was never good at following orders. We’re separated by half a block and a two lane street. My mind filled with a single message, let this one go. Under the shadows of towering buildings and the grey of the city night the spark seemed to catch in her eyes as they locked on to me, burning orange.

    Let this one go. You know who I am, what I am. Tonight you can be discerning, you know the ones, bastards, the beaters and abusers. There’s no point for this one. I had felt her message to the cops. No reason to expect she couldn’t hear me now. The question remained though, was she listening?

    He’s finished before my cigarette. All the while her eyes remained fixated on me. I don’t know if she could hear me but that was good enough. Out of the car, she hadn’t finished adjusting the vinyl thong that masqueraded as pants before it was out of the alleyway racing off at a speed I didn’t think it was capable of. Dropping the remainder of the cigarette my foot pivoted snuffing out the trail of smoke. She was moving towards me.

    It could have been that I was bad at following orders or maybe it was just time we met. Either way she was coming for me now.



  • Tainted Souls 1: Manifestation

    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.

    When a mundane becomes Lucid they open themselves to supernatural forces beyond their control. These forces change and alter every Lucid at a fundamental level. Some show outward physical changes, others acquire strange personality quirks. No matter how hard they try and hide these changes though, if one knows what to look for they can sport those tainted by the Realms.

    In this first installment of Tainted Souls we will look at the Manifestations themselves, what every Lucid experiences. How this change can impact character concept or personality and adds Role Playing potential. Subsequent articles will explore the individual Realms.

    While Manifestations may not seems life altering its important to consider that these are physical or mental changes that simply weren’t there before. One way to look at these Manifestations is as if the character had experienced a terrible accident. On day they are a normal functioning person, then comes their Elucidation now the character fears being touched, their skin is molting, they can no longer sit still, or have developed catlike eyes.

    Physical or psychological the character’s Manifestation can be extremely traumatic. Players should keep this in mind during play. Fractured Kingdom rewards character development and exploring one’s Manifestation can be an excellent tool for finding your voice in game.

    For GMs Manifestations can also be used to impact stories. Don’t forget they are there, if you need to keep a small sheet of your PC’s Manifestations for quick reference when meeting new NPCs. Remind characters they aren’t quite human anymore no matter how hard they may try and hide that fact. For GMs that wish to tie the Manifestation more directly to a character’s link to the Realms consider the following optional Role:

    Tainted Powers: Once per Session the GM may invoke a penalty on an appropriate roll based on a Character’s Manifestation. The penalty assessed is equal to the Character’s Lucid Ability. These rolls generally involve social interactions but may be used as complications in time sensitive situations. Players may invoke a Manifestation roll as well. Pass or fail the Character regains 5 Energy as their Realm’s energies flow through them.

    Ultimately, the Manifestation is another tool in the Player’s and GM’s arsenal for evoking cinematic gaming. It should be invoked when dramatically fitting but should not overwhelm the Player or cripple the character.