- They had been watching the warehouse for hours when the Darkspawn came. It wasn't an attack, no, they were running. The Darkspawn ran straight into the firing lines in a blind panic. In moments monsters were reduced to smouldering corpses in a rain of noble magic. Then the Princesses saw what the Darkspawn were running from.
- It was enormous, taller than the warehouse and tearing the building apart like tissue paper as it strode forward. Its body was human, with its flesh peeled away exposing muscles intertwined with unearthly clockwork. Its movements stuttered in an unnatural mimicry of human grace. It gave out a scream of screeching metal, the sound staggered the Princesses. In its cry they felt its despair, impotence, and something else.
- "My God. That thing's a Princess!"
The Dethroned are born from suffering, and from their birth they'll create little else. It's not as if she plans it, for all intents the Dethroned are incapable of planning anything. No, things just happen around her. A fallen Noble is like a poisoned wound, spreading toxins through the Dark World. Her very presence twists the Darkness around her until it reflects the events and pain that led to her fall.
The Nature of the FallenEdit
When a Princess calls upon the final transformation, the Darkness corrupts each of her innate traits into a mockery of itself. Her Inner Light trait inverts, becoming an Inner Night trait, which acts as Supernatural Tolerance and limits her abilities - though to the transformed maximums on the Inner Light table.
The Charms the ex-Princess once knew are lost to her. Instead, her Inner Night draws her deeper, body and soul, into the substance of the Dark World, which both gives her power over that world and its inhabitants, and imprisons her within it. Each dot of Inner Night grants a Dethroned a Chain, a power to command either her land or her subjects. The Dethroned also develop black magics called Hexes that project their corrupted power into other forms.
Where she once had Wisps, the Dethroned now has Clouds, fragments of misery and despair that fuel her Chains and Hexes. Inner Night determines both the maximum Clouds she can keep, and the number she can spend in a turn; the limits are identical to those Inner Light sets for Wisps. The Dethroned have two standard ways of regaining spent Clouds, and several Hexes grant additional ways to regain them.
- Merely by existing, a Dethroned constantly remembers the pain and grief that led her to abandon the Light. She regains 1 Cloud each night at midnight.
- Witnessing (or causing) the suffering of others confirms a Dethroned in her choice to cleave to the Darkness. Her Inner Night gives her a Sensitivity dice pool, identical to that given by Inner Light. Each time the Dethroned is present at a tainting, she rolls this pool, with all modifiers that apply to the tainting; for each success, the Dethroned regains 1 Cloud.
It must be noted that although the Dethroned have become creatures of the Darkness, they do not have the Darkened Condition or any of the powers being Darkened can confer. In particular, they fell into the Dark World at the moment they became Dethroned, and lacking the power to Enter Darkness, they cannot leave that world.
Chains of the FallenEdit
All Dethroned are bound to the Dark World until they die, and all are given authority over it; but the amount of that authority varies with their supernatural strength. As Inner Night rises, new Chains manifest.
Fortress of Regrets (Inner Night •)Edit
Even in their fallen state, every Dethroned retains their natural authority, and extends it over the part of the Dark World they now must reside in. The first Chain, the Fortress of Regrets, is that part of the Dark World which a Dethroned claims for her own. It is warped by the memories of her sins, failures and losses of faith, so anyone inside the Fortress is walking through an endlessly repeated allegory of her fall.
The Fortress has all the traits of a Tainted Place, but it isn't reflected in the world above - it's sustained by the Dethroned herself, and only her death will banish it. Its Size is equal to the smaller of the Dethroned's Resolve and Composure, and its Severity equals the Dethroned's Inner Night. The curses within the Fortress reflect the circumstances of the Dethroned's fall, and encourage others to follow her example.
A Dethroned can move her Fortress just by walking through the Dark World while concentrating; when she approaches its boundary the Fortress shifts ahead of her. No other power can move the Fortress or alter its curses. If the Dethroned moves her Fortress into a Tainted area's image, its curses stack with the area's own Taint, but its Size and Severity don't.
Companions in Misery (Inner Night ••)Edit
The second Chain expands the authority of a Dethroned from her Fortress to the creatures of Darkness that shelter within it. Any Dark being who enters the Dethroned's Fortress or meets her in person changes their goals and loyalties, becoming a willing supporter of her despair and hatred; her whim is their law. At the moment a creature of Darkness meets the Dethroned, or after the creature has spent a scene in the Dethroned's Fortress, the Dethroned's influence twists the creature's will. It's this power which makes intelligent Dark beings very wary of the Dethroned - they imagine themselves to be masters, and don't wish to lose their autonomy.
Action: Reflexive and resisted, Dethroned's Presence + Inner Night - target's Resolve
- Dramatic Failure: The creature proves indomitable; it immediately gains the Steadfast Condition.
- Failure: The creature keeps its selfhood for now.
- Success: The creature accepts a role in the tale of the Dethroned's fall; it takes the Dethroned Follower Condition.
- Exceptional Success: The creature barely recalls its life before meeting the Dethroned. The Dethroned Follower Condition lasts for one week per dot of Inner Night after it leaves the Dethroned's Fortress.
Gates to Lamentation (Inner Night •••)Edit
With the third Chain, the Dethroned perceives the light of hope that shines (compared to the rest of the Dark World) in the images of Tainted areas. In her fallen state, however, even that dim light's a painful reminder of what the Dethroned lost. She lashes at it, drives it from the land it illuminated, and claims that land for her own.
While within the image of a Tainted area, the Dethroned may tear off a small part of her soul, and plant it into the Tainted area to claim it as a Gate to her Fortress. It costs her 1 Cloud to claim a Gate, which she can't recover until she relinquishes her claim by taking back the part of her soul she planted in it. (That is, her pool of Clouds shrinks by 1 for each Gate she claims.) While her claim remains, the Dethroned's Fortress combines its curses with the Gate's - every curse on the Fortress applies within all its Gates, and every Curse on one Gate applies in the Fortress and every other Gate.
The Dethroned's soul fragment changes the appearance of a Gate, layering the symbols of the Fortress proper over the existing geography. It also creates gateways, roads or passages which don't exist in the world above, leading to the Fortress and to its other Gates. No matter what the real distance between the areas these gates link, any character who finds one may pass through it, reaching the other side in a single turn - a considerable convenience for those in the Dethroned's service. However, the fragment of a former Noble's soul also opens a path from the world above for the Light-touched: anyone with Sensitivity can try Entering Darkness into or out of a Gate.
Spawn Darkchild (Inner Night ••••)Edit
Every Dethroned constantly molds the stuff of the Dark World to reflect her memories; the fourth Chain, though, lets a Dethroned impart a semblance of life and motion to the Darkness, and creates servant for herself, Darkspawn who never were alive. Many a Princess has realized the first sign that a Dethroned is in the area is often the similar Darkspawn who start entering the world.
The Dethroned can create a Darkspawn as an instant action, spending one Willpower point. The newly made monster takes a turn to get its bearings, before it begins to act independently; it automatically has the Dethroned Follower Condition. It will not be intelligent. The Darkspawn created this way will reflect the Dethroned's fall in some fashion, and most Dethroned will make two to four distinct “species” of Darkspawn, each reflecting a specific role in her perpetual tragedy.
Welcome to My Personal Hell (Inner Night •••••)Edit
With the fifth Chain the Dethroned can use their corrupted power to invade the world above, though fortunately even they can't hold territory for long. When the Dethroned is in one of her Gates, she may spend 4 Clouds to collapse the entire Tainted area above into its Dark World image. Anyone moving out of the Tainted area ends up in the Dark World near its image. People outside the Tainted area in the world above can still enter it, but cannot retrace their steps. The worlds separate again at the end of the scene; if they haven't left, the Dethroned remains in the Dark World, creatures of Darkness can choose which world they end up in, while all other characters return to the world above.
Recalled Torment (Inner Night ••••• •)Edit
Any of the Dethroned will interpret current events as a recapitulation of her personal tragedy. With the sixth Chain, though, she can make her companions share her interpretation, even when it bears no resemblance to the truth. The Dethroned may spend 1 Cloud as an instant action to create a belief in everyone who currently has the Dethroned Follower Condition from her. The belief must be about a matter of fact, so it can't convey an order to her followers; and it must harmonize with the Dethroned's past before she fell. (For example, a Dethroned could create the belief “the intruders have come to burn me as a witch” if she had faced witch hunters in life.) The belief is unshakeable for at least one scene; after that, each character affected will believe it until shown convincing evidence of its falsehood.
- Drawback: The Dethroned makes her followers believe as she wishes only because she has persuaded herself. The belief she creates is fixed as firmly in her mind as in those of her companions.
Call of the Pit (Inner Night ••••• ••)Edit
A potent Dethroned cannot be separated from her domain against her will, and no part of it can escape her presence. The Dethroned may call on the seventh Chain to merge her body into the substance of the Dark World, swim as a distortion in the earth to any location within her Fortress, and emerge again, rebuilding her body from its foundations. Merging with the earth is an instant unrolled action that costs 1 Cloud within the Fortress and 2 Clouds elsewhere; returning to flesh takes another instant action and another Cloud. While merged the Dethroned may not take any action except emerging. However, no attack or power can reach her except through a sympathetic connection.
Mistress' Care (Inner Night ••••• •••)Edit
The boundary separating a Dethroned from the beings under her rule becomes porous with the eighth Chain. When a being that gained the Dethroned Follower Condition from her takes damage or falls into distress, the Dethroned reflexively makes a Perception roll. On a success, the Dethroned becomes aware of her follower's situation, understanding it as well as the follower does itself.
The Dethroned's power to create beliefs also expands; she may use Recalled Torment to inform her followers of a task she wants done. Everyone with the Dethroned Follower Condition who can understand the Dethroned's desire must try to complete the task as if it were part of their assigned role, until someone has actually done so.
Despondent Labyrinth (Inner Night ••••• ••••)Edit
Under the ninth Chain, the Dark World’s decayed substance tamely reshapes itself in obedience to the Dethroned’s will. The Dethroned may spend 2 Clouds as an instant action to transform the terrain and buildings of her Fortress, or of a Gate, into almost any shape she desires, and move characters and objects within it to arbitrary places in the reshaped area. There are a few limits on this power: the Dethroned can’t reshape an area more than once per day, she can’t create impossible terrain or unsound buildings, and she can’t make any part of the area impossible to get into or escape from. Characters in the area when it’s reshaped must succeed on an extended Wits + Survival roll with a threshold equal to the area’s Size to understand the changes and navigate the area properly.
Reshaping a Fortress is permanent. A Gate stays reshaped while the Dethroned claims it; when her claim lapses, the area reverts to an image of the world above it in weeks equal to its Size. If the Dethroned uses Welcome to My Personal Hell on an area, then reshapes it, both worlds are reshaped identically.
All Hope Abandon (Inner Night ••••• •••••)Edit
The final Chain turns the grief of a Dethroned into a blight that can infect almost anyone. Companions in Misery is able to inflict the Dethroned Follower Condition on any mundane character who is not under the Light’s protection (a Beacon or Sworn is safe, as are supernatural beings), if they are in its area of effect for long enough. Further, for this purpose only the Dethroned’s Fortress extends into the world above her Gates. The few Dethroned with this ability invariably spawn whole cults of Dark worshipers whenever they surface, which thankfully is not often.
Hexes of the FallenEdit
No two Dethroned develop their tainted powers in exactly the same way, apart from their Chains. Each Hex is a separate power, and a Dethroned can have any Hex.
The Dethroned can claim another Dark being as an extension of herself, to act as her agent beyond the Dark World. Doing so costs her 3 Clouds, and she must succeed on a roll of Presence + Inner Night - the target’s Resolve. Once claimed as a familiar, a Dark being gains a pool of Clouds (which is initially empty) and access to some of its mistress’ Hexes; when using a Hex it has an effective Inner Night of 1. (Hexes that are available to familiars will say so in their descriptions.) However, it has the Dethroned Follower Condition permanently - the Condition cannot resolve or end. Familiars are usually sent out of the Dark World to spy and gather Clouds for their mistress.
Whenever a familiar is with its mistress, the Dethroned can consume part or all of its flesh to restore her power. Consuming a familiar is a normal Bite attack [CofD 89] except that it does lethal damage to the familiar. Each point of damage inflicted transfers one Cloud from the familiar to the Dethroned, and if the familiar dies from the attack the Dethroned gains all the Clouds left in its pool.
The Dethroned can wound enemies at a distance with a dark magical blast. The blast is a Firearms-based attack with a range of 10x Inner Night yards that never takes range penalties; its Damage is 0, and its Initiative modifier is also 0. (Like normal weapons, the blast does lethal damage when it hits.) The blast costs the Dethroned nothing but its action for the turn. The Dethroned can spend Clouds either to increase the blast’s Damage (adding +1 for each two Clouds spent) or to give the blast autofire - 1 Cloud for a short burst, 2 for a medium burst, and 3 for a long burst or covering fire.
With a hair of coiling serpents or a body of grasping vines the Dethroned can reach out in every direction at once. She may apply the autofire rules to any attack using Brawl.
Cry of AnguishEdit
A Dethroned exists in eternal torment and some have learned to use their suffering as a weapon. The Dethroned spends a point of Willpower and rolls Inner Night + Presence + Intimidation vs. Composure + the target’s Inner Light - her Shadows; if she wins the contest, the target’s Sensitivity triggers, adding dice to the pool equal to the margin of success. Cry of Anguish only works on characters who draw power from the Light (Beacons, Sworn and Hopeful); anyone else reacts only to the sound of someone in pain.
The fallen Noble sings out a song of madness and despair. She spends up to 5 Clouds, and rolls Presence + Expression - the highest Composure possessed by a non-creature of the Darkness in the area. On a success, whenever a character reaches a breaking point during the scene, they roll at a penalty of at least the number of Clouds the Dethroned spent.
Kiss of a PrincessEdit
The Dethroned can bind a Cloud into a mundane character. She rolls Inner Night + Presence + Intimidation; the target contests with Composure + Integrity. If the Dethroned wins the contest the target immediately gains a level of the Tainted Condition. In addition the Dethroned may regain Clouds through her victim; whenever a tainting takes place in the targets presence the Sensitivity of the Dethroned activates. If the Dethroned is a Misery Glutton she may also benefit from the victim’s misery as per the rules for that Hex.
The Dethroned may end the Tainted Condition at any time, and reclaims the Cloud she bound into the target if she does so. Otherwise the Condition resolves or ends in the usual way. The Dethroned cannot regain the spent Cloud by any means for as long as the Tainted Condition remains. If a Dethroned knows Kiss of a Princess her familiars will as well.
Mark of TormentEdit
The Dethroned can hex someone to become a magnet for suffering much like they have become. The Dethroned spends two Clouds and rolls Manipulation + Expression vs. Composure + Supernatural Tolerance. If the Dethroned wins the target gains the Tainted Allure of Vice Umbra, with a Vice of the Storyteller’s choice. Using Mark of Torment does not turn the target into a Darkened, the Dethroned is able to inflict an unwanted Umbra on a mere mortal. The Mark of Torment remains until the Hex is removed with counter magic. Charms that remove Umbrae or Charms that undo lasting magical effects will eradicate the Hex.
If the Dethroned knows Mark of Torment, its familiars will as well.
The Dethroned are everything a Princess should not be, and they draw mindless strength from that. Whenever a character reaches a breaking point in their presence, the Dethroned regains 1 Cloud if the character fails the roll. Whenever a character spends their last Willpower point, the Dethroned regains a point of Willpower. Should a character, through their own free will or otherwise, commit suicide in her presence, the Dethroned regains all spent Clouds and all spent Willpower.
If a Dethroned is a Misery Glutton her familiars will be as well.
Misery loves company, and the Dethroned finds her existence easier to bear when others suffer as she does. Whenever anyone with power from the Light is within the Dethroned’s line of sight and makes a Sensitivity check, the Dethroned gains one Cloud for each success they roll.
The Dethroned has swelled into immensity. Her Size is 10 (increasing Health), and her other traits are modified as under Size Changes. Dethroned may take this Hex more than once; each instance after the first adds +4 to her Size, and modifies other traits accordingly.
One Thousand Weeping EyesEdit
The fallen Noble is keenly, painfully aware of events that mirror her own fall. If anyone commits a similar action within (Inner Night) miles of the Dethroned’s location (in either Earth or the Dark World) she is instantly aware of it. This Hex does not imply she reacts in any particular way, though more than a few Dethroned mindlessly lash out when their unnatural senses are triggered.
Oozing void seeps from every wound, scabbing over as a protective layer against the blows of the light. The fallen Noble regains either one point of lethal, or two points of bashing damage per turn as a reflexive action. Bashing damage heals first, lethal only being removed when there is no bashing damage in her Health track.
Even the integrity of the body is not sacrosanct to the Darkness. The Dethroned no longer has a single body, instead existing as a swarm of radius (Inner Night + current number of unfilled health boxes). She follows all the normal rules for swarms.
The Dethroned perpetually surrounds herself in a haze of polluted emotions and her own sins. Everything within Inner Night yards of her is exposed to a Toxicity 3 poison, resisted with Stamina + Resolve + Inner Light. Should she kiss someone, which requires her to be in control of a grapple, the spiritual poison is far more acute, and its Toxicity rises to 7.
The fallen Princess is perpetually alert and awake, unable to sleep or dream. She never takes penalties for tiredness, and as a roleplaying note, will always be aware and twitchy, never letting her attention slip. Any powers which would cause her to lose focus or cease to pay attention automatically fail.
What is mundane darkness to a creature like this? All penalties to actions based on poor visual conditions are reduced by three, to a maximum of 0.
So long as someone cares for you then redemption is always possible, but sometimes, it’s really hard. A Dethroned is too far gone to redeem herself, it will need someone to carry it for that first step on the way. After a Dethroned is defeated – its health must be filled with lethal damage or worse – but before it is swept away on the formless currents of the Darkness (about ten minutes) any Princess can try to reach out to it through Sensitivity. This is an extended action with a dice pool of Belief; each roll takes one minute of concentration, and the Princess accrues one Shadow per roll. If the Princess reaches the threshold of the Dethroned’s Inner Night, the Dethroned feels that somebody understands its suffering. The soul of the fallen Noble departs from its tainted body and takes up residence deep in the Princess’ soul.
From this point on the Princess simply has to remove the Shadows she gained while catching the Dethroned’s soul. She may not use Charms that remove Shadows, such as Choke It Down, while she is carrying a Dethroned within her soul. Overcoming the Shadows upon her soul is easier said than done when she’s probably collapsing under the emotional weight of the Dethroned’s unceasing grief (not to mention rolling chance dice for transformation and Wisp recovery), but if somehow she does ever remove all her Shadows then when she next falls asleep she will see for the first time the face of the one she’s sacrificed so much for. Together they will climb through the Crawlspace, travel through the Dreamlands, at the edge of the Light itself they will say their tearful goodbyes before the redeemed departs.
As for what happens next? Who can say. Perhaps the redeemed soul will have a chance to make up for what she has done in her next life, perhaps she hangs up the crown that grew too heavy and moves on to some manner of afterlife? As for the rescuer, unless she wants to leave her life behind to enter the Light she’ll have to get back to her royal duties the next day. But redeeming a Dethroned does grant two dots of Belief, as well as fully refreshing her Wisps and Willpower.
The Witch in the WoodsEdit
Her memories come in snatches. She remembers being cast away from her village for her magic. She remembers trying to raise two children alone in the forest, sometimes she can even remember their faces. She remembers relying on her magic to feed her family, she remembers hating her magic for making her an outcast, and she remembers her magic failing her because she hated it. Sometimes she can almost remember enough to ask why she ate her own children, but most of the time she can’t even remember why you wouldn’t.
The Witch in the Woods dwells deep within the Dark World, she lives in a log cabin deep within a (small) forest that looks like a washed out watercolor. She puts up a good pretense of being able to think, but it’s all a script, eternal and unchanging. She lures Darkspawn to her, and sometimes living children, she attempts to take care of them as a mother should but it never lasts. In the end she always eats them alive to keep them safe deep within her own Tainted body.
In battle the Witch is a deceptively dangerous foe. Though she appears as a frail old woman the Witch can take an enormous amount of damage. If she is significantly injured she is likely to call Darkspawn to her aid, disgorging the strange malformed children that she has eaten. More serious wounds can cause her to discorporate into a swarm, as severed body parts return to life to defend themselves and to stitch themselves back into a whole. If the fight is going her way The Witch is likely to see her attackers as her own misbehaving children, and ofter to forgive them if they apologize (and she will, until one day she eats them for their own good) but if the fight turns against her she will recast her attackers and begin begging them to spare her because she has a family.
- Attributes: Intelligence 1, Wits 3, Resolve 4, Strength 6, Dexterity 4, Stamina 6, Presence 2, Manipulation 1, Composure 2
- Skills: Athletics 3 , Brawl 2, Stealth 1, Weaponry 4 (Knife)
- Derived Traits: Health 11, Willpower 6, Size 5, Defense 3, Initiative 6, Speed 15
- Vice: Violent (She will do anything to protect her children)
- Virtue: Hopeful (Her children may not have much, but she tries to keep their spirits up)
- Inner Night: 5
- Hexes: Cry of Anguish, One Thousand Weeping Eyes, Regeneration, Swarming Horror, Unceasing
- Fortress Curses: Strength -1, Stamina -1, resisting disease -2, Health, Vice (Gluttonous)