Friday, January 16, 2015

Demonspawn

(Based on "The Dragon-Blooded" by Calithena in Fight On! #2 and the anime Claymore)

There are people who have within them the semi-dormant blood of ancestral demons who mixed with their line in ages past. Over time and with exposure to violence, the blood awakens and grants the bearer unholy strengths alongside surges of blood-lust, eventually transforming their body and mind into something corrupted and demonic. Society fears such folk, and fully supports the actions of an organization of demon-hunters named The Order of the Lily and the Torch, who purge such elements wherever they can be uncovered.

PCs can choose to be demonspawn in addition to their particular class and/or race. This makes them Chaotic (in the LotFP way of magic-touched, rather than a description of morality) and grants a set of abilities that grow over time. The more power the character gains and the more they are corrupted by over-reaches of that power, the easier it is for The Order of the Lily and the Torch to find them and bring them to "justice". Other characters that are unable to convince The Order of their ignorance of their companion's true nature will suffer as well, for aiding and abetting demonspawn is almost as terrible of a sin.

Essentially, a character chooses to have a secret growing edge over other characters, in exchange for starting a countdown on that character's lifespan.

How it works:
At first level the character gains a random power on the chart below. Each level thereafter, they have a 50/50 chance of either increasing a single existing power or gaining a random new one.
Each effect lasts a single turn, except for the wings, which last a solid minute. For the powers other than the wings, the use of the power is not visible to others at rank 1, but at rank 2 there is a brief fluctuation that may be noticed by those near (1/6), and will likely be noticed by the target. At rank 3 the change is obviously visible and lasts until the next turn, being noticeable by any nearby.

Rank 1 Rank 2 Rank 3
Demon's Arms +1 Damage +2 dmg & +1 to-hit +3 dmg, +2 to-hit, first-strike
Demon's Legs +1 AC +2 AC & 200% move/jump +3 AC & 300% move/jump
Demon's Flesh Heal 1 HP Heal 2 HP & Damage-resist 1 Heal 4 HP & DR2
Demon's Wings Glide 1/2 run speed Glide full, fly 1/2 run speed Glide double, fly full
Demon's Eyes Save or morale check Save or paralyzed Save or controlled

Using a power costs one demonic surge per rank of power used. Powers can be used at a lesser rank than maximum if so desired. Characters can use two demonic surges per level per day. Using over that amount is risky - for each surge over maximum used, roll 1d10 on the following chart and add your Corruption ranks:

1-4 No effect
5-7 Gain one rank of Corruption
8-9 Visible fluctuation in limb's appearance, +1 Corruption
10-12 Limb changes for several minutes, +2 Corruption, Save at +2 or berserk
13-14 Limb changes for full day, +3 Corruption, Save or berserk
15-16 Limb changes permanently, +4 Corruption, Save at -2 or berserk
17-18 Assume demonic form, permanently berserk, NPC

Berserk: save again (with bonus/penalty) or attack nearest entity you know about. Success means you're standing there frothing at the mouth and grinding your teeth at them instead. If you make three such saves in a row you can stop berserking. Or three turns without a target.
Limb Change: gain rank 1 power bonus and using that limb's power costs 1 less while limb is changed.

The Order of the Lily and the Torch:
On a given week there is a 60% chance in a city, 20% chance in town, 1% chance in village that there is an agent of the Order. They are able to sense demonic presences. Chance they detect a character each day is x/20 where x is level + ranks of corruption. They get -1 per city block the character is away. On sensing a demonic presence they will send a messenger to fetch a team of Purifiers, who will arrive in 1d2 weeks. After sending the messenger, the agent will attempt to find out the source, trailing discovered demonspawn in order to be able to lead the Purifiers to their target.
In Strigastadt, replace the above city/town/village with wealthy/middle-class/poor neighborhoods.
If hirelings see proof of a demonspawn PC, they must make a loyalty check or desert at the next opportunity, tipping off locals and attempting to notify the Order of demonic presence.

Secrecy:
I like having secrets within a group - as long as the secrets don't involve actively fucking over other characters. At the game table I intend on keeping the demonic nature of a character secret, and have chosen powers that can hopefully, at least at the first rank, be used on the sly. A wink at an appropriate moment can signify doing additional damage with an attack, for example. Hopefully the other players will be surprised when the final reveal comes, though I have my doubts as to how long this secrecy can be kept up in practice. :)

Thoughts? Suggestions? I'd love to hear 'em! I need to convince someone to play as one before they can be properly tested, so the values above may need heavy adjustment.

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