Given a choice the Darkness doesn't do Virtue. Sometimes it doesn't have a choice. Sometimes the only hook it has is a person's Virtue so the Darkness does it's best to twist that Virtue right around and back into Vice again.
The Deluded Vigilante always wanted to be someone special with cool powers. Not to be superior or to abuse them, but to do something positive and interesting with their life. This wouldn't be a problem except that powers they got came straight from a realm of pure evil. They think that they can use their powers for good, protecting the night from hidden threats be it crime or Darkspawn; as their name implies they're deluded. Their powers are isolate them from humanity and tempt them into pouncing on flimsier evidence with ever increasing brutality.
The Darkspawn created when a Deluded Vigilante falls often resemble urban legends. Mysterious killers who hunt down anyone who commits a seemingly innocent "crime".
Fortunately a Deluded Vigilante considers herself on the side of the angels. If the Princess arrives soon enough this makes it easier to talk some sense into them, offering powers that aren't inherently evil - such as becoming Sworn and a couple of Bequests - usually works.
The possibility of an un-deluded vigilante exists, such an exceptional individual would almost certainly have at least 7 Willpower and could be a great ally if the Princess needs to work with powerful Taint or the Dark World. Though even then such potential is probably put to better use as a Sworn.
- Type: Darkened
- Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 2, Resolve 3, Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2, Presence 3, Manipulation 1, Composure 2
- Skills: Crafts 1, Investigation 2, Medicine 1, Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Drive 2, Firearms 2, Stealth 2, Intimidation 3, Persuasion 2, Streetwise 2
- Derived Traits: Health 7, Willpower 5, Size 5, Defense 4, Initiative 5, Speed 12
- Integrity: 4
- Vice: Violent. Brutal justice.
- Virtue: Just. A typical expression.
- Umbrae: Faceless in the Crowd, Dark Dreams 1
- Caligines: Shadowblade 1
Humans are social creatures, they easily learn the importance of forming a coherent group with a cultural identity. Like most things to do with humanity it has both it's good side and it's bad side, and like most things to do with humanity it can be corrupted by the Dark. Conformity becomes the goal instead of the means. Relationships become a way of scoring points. People outside the group become “the enemy”.
Malicious Gossips rarely become true Darkspawn, their Sins are just too... petty. Slander and malicious gossip rather than serial murders and gruesome torture. They remain as Darkened putting on a smiling face and living their lives. The communities they call home tend to be cesspits of petty one-upmanship (even if they remain pretty or idyllic on the surface), either because they dragged it down or because every better community saw through them and sent them packing. Living alone of course was never an option.
- Type: Darkened
- Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 2, Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2, Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 3
- Skills: Academics 1, Computer 1, Investigation 2, Occult 1, Politics 2 (Neighbourhood), Athletics 1, Drive 1, Stealth 2, Empathy 2, Expression 2, Intimidation 1, Persuasion 2, Socialise 3 (My People), Streetwise 1, Subterfuge 2 (slanderous gossip)
- Derived Traits: Health 7, Willpower 4, Size 5, Defense 3, Initiative 5, Speed 9
- Integrity: 5
- Vice: Envious. It isn’t enough to succeed, others must fail.
- Virtue: Peaceful. The Gossip has no stomach for violence.
- Umbrae: Umbrae: Subtle Tongue, Tainted Allure of Vice (Treacherous)
Survival... needing to survive can bring out the best in people, it can bring out the worst in people but some say what it does is bring out the truth in people. Sometimes it would be best if the truth remained hidden. Eating human flesh when you're starving isn't enough to make a Darkspawn, it's not even enough to make a Darkened but when the ground's already Tainted by whatever sins put a human being into such a position, when the Darkness already has a hold. Some people get a taste for human flesh, and if the supply dies up they'll take matters into their own hands.
Corpse-Eaters still look human, under the thick layer of filth and the accumulated results of terrible table manners. Then they open their mouths, stretching their human looking lips back to their ears and unhinging their jaws to reveal a mass of broken stained teeth in all shapes and sizes three layers deep.
- Type: Darkspawn
- Attributes: Intelligence 1, Wits 2, Resolve 5, Strength 4, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4, Presence 1, Manipulation 1, Composure 3
- Skills: Athletics 2, Brawl 2 (grapple, bite), Stealth 2, Survival 3, Intimidation 2
- Derived Traits: Health 9, Willpower 8, Size 5, Defense 5, Initiative 6, Speed 9
- Umbrae: Roteater
- Calignes: Loathsome Weapon 2 (Jaws), Flesh of my Flesh 3
Grotesque fat sloshing around within drooping folds of loose skin. It's the voice in the cupboard, the presence under your bed. It's every mother's worst nightmare: The Cradlesnatcher. They pass like a shadow of silence and leave behind empty beds and broken families. In life Cradlesnatchers were the servants of organised crime and politicians everywhere. The briber and blackmailer who corrupted or at least neutered the innocent so they could not oppose their employers, though even those scum of the earth would pale in horror if they saw what they would have eventually become.
- Type: Darkspawn
- Attributes: Intelligence 1, Wits 3, Resolve 3, Strength 4, Dexterity 1, Stamina 3, Presence 3, Manipulation 1, Composure 2
- Skills: Politics 1 (School), Science 1 (physics of light), Athletics 2 (Squeezing into things), Brawl 3 (grapple), Stealth 4 (Bedroom, Moving Silently), Survival 2 (The Dark World), Intimidation 2 (Children)
- Derived Traits: Health 9, Willpower 5, Size 6, Defense 5, Initiative 3, Speed 11
- Condition: Fearful (of dogs, cats, and being under a blanket)
- Umbrae: Light is Dark, Faceless in the Crowd.
- Calignes, Void Magic 1, Nowhere Untouched 2, Grotesque Bulk 1, Zombie's Flesh 2, Voice-Eating Hunger 1
Sometimes, when a new Darkspawn tears itself out of someone who has betrayed all they love and given everything in the name of their own hubris, the corpse is left behind, putrid and rotting. Instead, that traitor's tongue squirms free, sprouting centipede-like legs of whispy shadow, and crawling around far, far too quickly. Such beings, Heartleeches, are the epitome of the madness of paranoia and the terrible things that mistrust does to a man, for no-one even remembers them when they're gone. Small, globules of inky darkness roiling off them, they find sleeping people, and whisper into their ears, filling their dreams with Darkness. Some say that they can even crawl down the throat of a sleeper, and whisper from within their gut, in the mad, sensless burbling of the Beyond, but that is just paranoia in its own right. Right?
- Type: Darkspawn
- Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 2, Resolve 1, Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 2, Presence 2, Manipulation 5, Composure 4
- Skills: Investigation 1, Athletics 2 (Scuttling), Brawl 1 (Trying to Escape), Stealth 5 (Bedrooms), Survival 3 (The Places No-One Thinks To Look), Animal Ken 3 (Inspiring Fear), Empathy 4 (Only for the purposes of negative emotions and judging someone's Morality; 0 otherwise.), Intimidation 2 (Inspiring Paranoia), Persuasion 4 (Everyone Dies Alone)
- Derived Traits: Health 4, Willpower 5, Size 2, Defense 6, Initiative 8, Speed 8
- Umbrae: Light is Dark, Faceless in the Crowd, Scuttling Spider’s Sense
- Calignes: Diminutive Size 3, Avoid All Eyes 1, Everyone Dies Alone 4
Long of arm and hunched over are the Lickermen, those among the Darkspawn which hunt for the innocent and sup from the taste of violation. They are shrivelled, like a long-dried, starved corpse, their leathery skin loose around their too-small bones, and a vile, blackened tongue as long as a man's arm protrudes from a mouth otherwise sewn up with stitches of their own bone. Examination reveals that they are sexless; whatever they were before they were monsters is gone. As they pass by, they wuffle, like some kind of tracking hound, and they are often used for that purpose by Mnemosynes and Cataphractoi who want a stalking hound which is mostly reliable. In combat, they will flee against anything they think they cannot beat, but will gleefully attack anyone alone, especially children under the age of seven, and individuals with a Morality of 8 or higher. They do not eat the body, however, for they cannot open their mouths; it is the destruction of innocence that they seem to feed off.
- Type: Darkspawn
- Attributes: Intelligence 1, Wits 5, Resolve 3, Strength 1, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2, Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 2
- Skills: Craft 1 (Improvising Weapons), Investigation 2 (Lost Things), Physical Skills: Athletics 3 (Climbing), Brawl 2 (Tongue), Stealth 4 (From Surprise), Survival 1 (The Dark World), Animal Ken 1 (Inspiring Fear), Empathy 3 (Only for the purposes of negative emotions and judging someone's Morality; 0 otherwise.), Intimidation 2 (It's Behind You)
- Derived Traits: Health 4, Willpower 5, Size 4, Defense 8, Initiative 5, Speed 8
- Umbrae: Taste of Sin, Hunger Means Nothing
- Calignes: Diminutive Size 1, Loathesome Weapon 2 (a blackened, barb-like tongue), Void Magic, Enervation
They say all evil needs to win is for good people to nothing. Well evil won here and it won because the good person who was Tainted simply did nothing. For convenience they turned a blind eye to the curse that surrounded them, the living shadow that delighted in others suffering.
Perhaps they still find it convenient, they still don't need to worry about the shadow. They don't need to worry about anything any more. Now the shadow thinks for both of them, but then the Princess sees a flash of recognition, terror and guilt deep within the glassy zombified eyes. Not so convenient then.
- Type: Darkspawn
- Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 4, Resolve 2, Strength 2, Dexterity 5, Stamina 2, Presence 2, Manipulation 3, Composure 2
- Skills: Investigate 1 (shiny things), Athletics 3, Brawl 2, Larceny 5 (Sleight of hand), Stealth 5 (just a shadow), Survival 2, Intimidation 2, Subterfuge 2
- Derived Traits: Health 7, Willpower 4, Size 5, Defense 8, Initiative 2, Speed 12
- Umbrae: Animate Shadow, Cold Flesh, Hunger Means Nothing, Light is Dark
- Calignes: Zombie's Flesh 5, Loathsome Weapon 1 (Claws).
The Shadow Edit
- Attributes: Power 2, Finesse 3, Resistance 2
- Derived Traits: Corpus 7, Willpower 5, Size 5, Defense 3, Initiative 5, Speed 5
- Other traits as under Animate Shadow.
Not all Darkspawn were once people, in fact most were not. Shadowwraiths are formed not from people, but from their little mementoes. Sometimes when a prized possession is lost within a Tainted place or the Darkworld the memories, the humanity, invested in such an object can give form to the Taint. It becomes twisted and corrupt, a hungry creature of the Darkness.
Shadow-wraiths are immaterial beings and have the simplified traits of such beings, such as ghosts and spirits. The Hollow as a Shadow Umbra allows them to materialize more easily than a spirit, and much more so than a ghost.
- Type: Darkspawn
- Attributes: Power 6, Finesse 2, Resistance 4
- Derived Traits: Corpus 9, Willpower 11, Size 5, Defense 6, Initiative 6, Speed 13
- Umbrae: Hollow as a Shadow, Light is Dark, Roteater
- Caligines: Avoid all Eyes 1, Enervation 1, Loathsome Weapon 3 (claws)
Dr Arnow Edit
Needs must be met, I merely provide a service.
Mr Arnow as he was called was a fine upstanding Victorian gentleman. By fine and upstanding we wish it to be understood that he had a great deal of money. He was in fact the rotten scum of the Earth. A man who saw his fellow humans as nothing more than a resource, and a slum lord who treated his tenants in the most awful manner. His cruelties tainted his tenancies and through that, himself.
At first Mr Arnow delighted in his status, believing he held vast powers at the tips of his fingers. All too soon he learned that he could never master the Darkness, instead the Darkness had already mastered him. Now a Mnemosyne called Dr Arnow he resides in the Dark World and sends his Darkspawn servants to capture victims from the world above as parts for his Dolls. Every Doll he creates is another chance for people to fall to temptation, to Darkness.
Dr Arnow is old (though a good chunk of his life was spent frozen in the Dark World) and powerful, but he is a coward at heart and prefers to avoid direct involvement.
- Type: Mnemosyne
- Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 2, Resolve 3, Strength 4, Dexterity 5, Stamina 3, Presence 2, Manipulation 5, Composure 5
- Skills: Academics 2, Crafts 5 (dolls, flesh), Investigation 2, Medicine 1, Brawl 2, Firearms 3, Expression 2, Intimidation 3 (Psychological manipulation), Persuasion 3 (Psychological
manipulation) Subterfuge 2
- Derived Traits: Health 11, Willpower 8, Size 8, Defense 2, Initiative 10, Speed 17
- Shadows: 4
- Vice: Ambitious. Money no longer has any meaning for him, but power is always the sweetest currency. By spreading Vice and Taint he increases the Darkness’ power and thus
the portion of it delegated down to him.
- Virtue: Patient. Moderation is the key, don’t overplay your hand. Find a method that works, than stick to it.
- Merits: Dark Palace 2, Safe Place 2 (He’s twisted his small corner of the Dark World into a Victorian dollmaker’s workshop.)
- Caligines: Grotesque Bulk 5 (He’s ludicrously tall but thin and spindly), Zombie’s Flesh 3, Handful of Dust 3, Everyone Dies Alone 4, Void Magic 1, Enervation 1, Enervating Hex 2, Grasping at Shadows 2, Shadowblade 3, Such Pretty Eyes, I Think I’ll Keep Them 3, Dance, Puppet, Dance 4 (He sends puppet dolls to attack), I am Your Master 5, Taste of Sin 1, Crafted with Love and Care 5
A lie is such a blunt tool, I find a well placed truth to be far more dangerous.
Dewain does not seem like much, a crippled African man in his late teens who speaks with impeccable manners. This is his greatest defence, he slides beneath notice. Unlike many of his peers he has no power base to defend him from Princesses or even mortals, only by avoiding attention does he survive.
Behind the mask is the banal evil of the Darkness. A born Sociopath even before he first encountered Taint, the Darkness has eroded the edges of his personality, leaving behind something simple and directed. Once he manipulated for personal gain, now he manipulates people simple simply because he can. The worse atrocities he can push people into, the better. His usual method is simple, tell the right person the right truth and watch the fun begin.
Wherever he travels, Dewain is always accompanied by his maid Tamila.
- Type: Mnemosyne
- Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 3, Resolve 2, Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 1, Presence 2, Manipulation 5, Composure 3
- Skills: Academics 2, Investigation 3 (Horrific Truths), Medicine 1, Stealth 2, Survival 2, Expression 2, Intimidation 3, Persuasion 4 (Telling the right truth), Streetwise 2, Subterfuge
- Derived Traits: Health 6, Willpower 5, Size 5, Defense 3, Initiative 6, Speed 2
- Shadows: 2
- Vice: Cruel. Hurting people because why not.
- Virtue: Honest. Dewain scorns deception - his voice is his only weapon, and people must trust his words to be hurt by them.
- Condition: Disabled [GMC 181]
- Caligines: Void Magic 1, Nowhere Untouched 2, Walk in Darkness 3, Taste of Sin 1, Evil Influence 2, Sin Whisperer 3, Drink Pain Like Wine 4, Such Pretty Eyes, I Think I’ll Keep Them 3, I am Your Master 5
You are working too hard again, I'll run you a bath and cook dinner.
Tamila was one of the first things Dewain used his dark powers for. Even before he became a Mnemosyne he sought out powers that would give him control over others, the Caligo I Am Your Master. With it he sought out Darkspawn to make his own. Tamila was the first he found, and the one he kept by his side when he began his current subtle way of life. When Dewain found Tamila she was nothing more than an animalistic monster in human flesh, but he's trained her beyond that. Now she serves as a one woman domestic staff, bodyguard and pushes the wheel chair.
Tamilia is a striking African woman who wears an increasingly tattered maid's uniform at all times.
- Type: Darkspawn
- Attributes: Intelligence 1, Wits 3, Resolve 5, Strength 4, Dexterity 5, Stamina 4, Presence 1, Manipulation 1, Composure 5
- Skills: Crafts 2 (Domestic), Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Stealth 2, Survival 1, Weaponry 4 (Polearms), Intimidation 2
- Derived Traits: Health 9, Willpower 10, Size 5, Defense 7, Initiative 12, Speed 17
- Shadows: 4
- Vice: Violent. Tamila is still a dangerous brute, enjoying nothing more than ripping into flesh.
- Virtue: Loyal, to Dewain. For a Darkspawn being the right hand of a successful Mnemosyne is about as good as it gets.
- Merits: Fast Reflexes 2, Fleet of Foot 2, Iron Stamina 3, Striking Looks 2
- Umbrae: Roteater
- Caligines: Grasping at Shadows 2, Shadowblade 3, Loathsome Weapon 2 (jaws), Flesh of my Flesh 3, Vile Gobbets 5
I am the who when you call who's there?
The Boogyman is not the strongest Cataphract, though he is one of the strongest Cataphractoi. The Boogyman is not the oldest Cataphract, though he is one of the oldest Cataphractoi. But the Boogyman is the worst Cataphract because in his reign of terror he has a special focus. Children.
For over two thousand years he has ruled one kingdom or another in the Dark World, drawing minions and wining their loyalty with bread and circuses: an unending supply of young children to torment and consume. It hasn't all been fun and games, no matter the culture, not matter how much people disbelieve in the supernatural. If you target children their parents are going to come after you.
Aided by the priests of Nox the centurion Cornelius led his legionaries into the Dark World and slaughtered the Boogyman's citizens. The shamans from a dozen native American tribes joined together to send an unending swarm of maggot Spirits to devour the Boogyman's kingdoms. The Caliphs' greatest scholars created alchemical fires and the Japanese crafted swords of pure jade.
In time every kingdom the Boogyman has founded fell to those it preyed upon but the Boogyman itself survived, fled deep into the Dark World to found it's kingdom anew. Whenever the Boogeyman creates its kingdom he builds it to look as much like the world above as he can, but with hidden and grotesque traps in every corner. He builds with a particular focus to schools, playgrounds parks or homes – places children are likely to know well. This as much as everything he does is a cruelty, it blurs the nice safe division between the Dark World and Earth for any child to escapes. Children do escape too, The Boogeyman finds the sweetest sensation is hope breaking apart and so he plays fair and gives children hope. He always has a soft spot in his heart for the children who try to keep their companion's hope alive, if they fail he keeps them apart from the others. He tries to turn them into a Mnemosyne and set them to destroying the hope they once protected.
- Type: Cataphract
- Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 4, Strength 6, Dexterity 5, Stamina 6, Presence 8, Manipulation 3, Composure 3
- Skills: Crafts 5 (The Dark World), Investigation 2, Medicine 2, Occult 1, Athletics 3, Brawl 4, Stealth 5, Survival 3, Expression 2, Intimidation 4 (Children), Persuasion 3 (Followers),
- Derived Traits: Health 12, Willpower 7, Size 6, Defense 6, Initiative 6, Speed 17
- Shadows: 8
- Vice: Hateful. It’s simple really, all he wants is to make children suffer.
- Virtue: Persistent. He pursues children without rest; driven out of one kingdom, he goes on undaunted to the next.
- Umbrae: Normally he uses Cold Flesh, Grotesque Bulk 1 (loathsomely fat and sweaty), Hunger Means Nothing, and Zombie’s Flesh 5.
- Caligines: Avoid All Eyes 1, Bogeyman 2, Void Magic 1, Nowhere Untouched 2, Walk in Darkness 3, Enervation 1, Grasping at Shadows 2, Taste of Sin 1, Voice-Eating Hunger 1, Such Pretty Eyes, I Think I’ll Keep Them 3, I am Your Master 5
Dr. Goldstein (the Ring-Eater)Edit
Don't leave. We can't leave until we figure out what the problem is between you two. Pay no attention to the rattling. (Cataphract)
No seriously, it's a good idea to get away from here. I said get away. *demonic* GET AWAY!!!! (Dybbuk)
Once, he was a shrink. He's pretty sure of that, even if his memory isn't so good. He used to be the person failing marriages went to before the divorce lawyer, and he was good at it too-not the best, but he was regularly referred to by other, successful customers. The fact that they appreciated him was probably good for his sanity, too-Ishmael Goldstein himself had struggled with borderline personality disorder and depression for most of his life, a product of his parents' own relationship difficulties being visited on their son. Eventually though, everyone fails, and for Ishmael, it couldn't have happened at a worse time in his life. His own wife had begun to cheat on him, his daughter grew distant for reasons he couldn't explain, and to top it off, the failed treatment happened to be that of a city councilman, meaning Ishmael was facing losing his medical licence to make his patient happy. Caught in a spiral of self-loathing and feelings of rejection, Mr. Goldstein came home, kissed his sleeping wife, locked himself in the guest room, and proceeded to follow in the footsteps of many psychiatrists and BPD sufferers before him - with a bottle of sleeping pills.
The Darkness had other plans for him. Thus, even as Ishmael's soul left his body, an infinitesimal fragment of the Outer Dark, drawn by his daughter's recent Blossoming, filled the vacuum left behind. Now an enigmatic, cerebral Cataphract with a soft, too-white smile and a penchant for nibbling the flesh off the ring-fingers of his victims, Dr. Goldstein has a new practice in the Dark World, kidnapping couples he sees in the midst of even the tiniest, most inconsequential argument for "therapy" in his Palace of Dark Delights. A very composed and lucky few able to keep up the appearances of "working through their difficulties" to his satisfaction and are returned to their homes, likely to face a life of traumatic stress from thereon, but alive, and unDarkened. Those who are too panicked to coherently address-or even remember-the "issues" he sees or too quickly for his liking (he noted that on occasion, patients will lie to keep up appearances) are killed and returned to Earth, their ring fingers nothing but bone...or worse, implanted with Shadows, so that they may "understand where your counselor is coming from". They become ticking time bombs, the Darkness slowly devouring their capacity for love...
...Except for some reason, there's two Dr. Goldsteins. One is the font of Dark energies wearing his skin, and the other is, in fact, the real Ishmael Goldstein-or at least, his unusually cognizant phantasmal afterimage in Twilight. Normally, it doesn't happen due to the corrosive effect the Darkness has on forming anchors, but on rare occasion, a Cataphract who's death was almost perfect for forming a ghost-the proper design for the house, the method of death enabling one's soul to get cold feet, attachment to the physical plane-will have his own ghost rise from the grave, as was the case with Dr. Goldstein. Needless to say, the shock of finding himself floating above his bed was nothing compared to finding his body had apparently decided to get up without him (after that, realizing it was a monster born from a force of entropy disincarnate was almost a relief). Always a fairly calm man in between his BPD-induced stormy moods however, Ishmael logically deduced that what God wanted to remain on Earth for (though he wasn't a devout person before, being unliving proof of an afterlife tends to change your mind) was to stop the monster now wearing his body like a coat (and given how ghosts work, destroying Dr. Goldstein the Cataphract will probably resolve Ishmael's unfinished business and allow him to move on to the afterlife). The problem with this is that, due to Ishmael's religious convictions about what a ghost is, he has become a dybbuk, the Jewish version-one noted for it's inability to communicate with the living. While his powers of possession are most useful in warding away potential victims-he's saved dozens of lives by faking seizures and leaving evidence of the Ring-Eater's hunting grounds-there's really not much he can do other than make windows rattle-and the Cataphract is aware of his prescence.
Thankfully, one of the rules about exorcism is that one needs Morality to do so - something Darkspawn are in short supply of. But Dr. Goldstein is clever. He may not be able to rid himself of the dybbuk, but someone else might. Say, a gullible Noble or two...or three...or a nakama....
Appearance: Dr. Goldstein - or more accurately, the Darkness wearing Goldstein's flesh - is the archetypal shrink; Chubby, besuited in tweed, and with kind, inquisitive eyes that usually have sunglasses to disguise his distinctive pupils. He also tries to be unassuming as possible-partially out of habit from the living Dr. Goldstien, mostly because drawing attention to himself begins to show certain...oddities. His teeth look more like porcelain than enamel, his slight girth like well-embalmed dead weight and the fact that his shadow is occasionally missing. Like many serial killers however, Dr. Goldstein is very good at diverting attention from his more unnatural qualities, right up until he feels he has no choice then to activate a False Transformation. What is his true form, devoid of humanity? A round, squat, squamous thing with many eyes and many limbs, with a great maw in his belly, inside of which pulses a constant storm, always ready to be vented outwards in a destructive gale of black magic.
The Dybbuk, on the other hand, doesn't have an appearance to begin with - Ishmael believed the dead were possessing spirits, and that has been represented by him being nothing so much as a great mist, with lights akin to that of an amoeba's organs scattered about him. He doesn't even have a real voice when he's possessing someone, either-instead, they become a more frantic, more demented version of themselves that is constantly twitching, as if trying to leap out of their own skin...unless one develops an effective means of communicating with him (see below), in which case he uses whatever means are available (telekinetically moving the wedge of an Ouji board, misting over a mirror before drawing letters in it) to communicate extremely laconic, straightforward messages (in particular things like D-O-N-T-T-R-U-S-T-M-Y-B-O-D-Y and W-E-A-R-I-N-G-M-Y-S-K-I-N, if he thinks his contactees asked a question that allows him to segue into that). This does not require Numina - rather, it's the Essence released by the rite allowing him to work around his lack of a voice, more like a form of Ghost Sign.
Storytelling Hints: Dr. Goldstein is meant for two purposes. Firstly, he is meant to play with PCs expectations of ghost stories - just imagine how priceless the looks on their faces will be when they realize the mysterious, body-hopping ghost is actually the good guy, and their patron is a monster who, quite simply, should not exist. The second is to provide a definite end to any debate over whether the Cataphract is the same person whose body was animated by the Darkness - a definite no. The Cataphract’s soul is long lost to its body, even to the point of possibly forming a ghost, and what’s left is simply a dark spirit, wearing the previous occupant’s body and memories like a human suit. Sun Protection Factor 3000.
For his part, Dr. Goldstein does his best to look like the victim, ordering his Animate Shadow to create poltergeist activity that seems directed at him, using his Caligines (especially Call the Black Dog - he’s learned how to manipulate it so that the dreamer is hunted by something of Goldstein’s choice, such as a bloodthirsty ghost) to subtly put his dupes on the wrong course, and attempting to confuse the issue of what a dybbuk actually is. Of course, the Ring-Eater is still a Darkspawn, and does whatever is within his power to fulfill his purpose - “fixing” relationships. His minions are under standing orders to find problems for him - they deliberately go about ruining the relationship between couples (stealing momentoes, delaying dates, erasing memories of anniversaries - that sort of thing), which they then show to him. For his part, Dr. Goldstein is aware of the fact that he is the cause of many relationship difficulties, but to his Darkness-spawned mind, he is simply provoking troubles that would have happened anyway and are to be nipped in the bud (no one said a Cataphract’s arguments were sensible ...)
By contrast, Ishmael may not be able to communicate normally, but he does his best to use his hosts to direct player characters to information about Jewish ghost lore. He doesn’t actually know if the old rituals and ceremonies will work, but he believes the Cataphract to be the source of legends of shedim, the grave-haunting demons of Semite myth, and thinks it’s his best shot. It won’t work the way he intends, but given what does happen (see below), it’s likely he won’t be too upset. Thanks to the Darkness wearing away at the barrier between worlds, trying to exorcise Ishmael using Catholic-inspired rituals of denial or similar “cast thee out” exorcisms is a very bad plan - besides quite possibly sealing one of the few controls on a young Cataphract’s growth in the Underworld, it also forms a portal there, as per the rules in Book of the Dead. Naturally, Dr. Goldstein will attempt to fool any well-meaning priests into doing so, knowing that even if the exorcism fails, he will quite possibly have a potential threat on an impromptu nekyia. On the plus side, the stabilizing effects on the corpus of ghosts the Underworld has will allow the Dybbuk to manifest as a human with perfectly normal speech, likely to beat some sense into the trapped exorcist before attempting to help guide them out to fix their mistake.
On the other hand, rituals meant to appease ghosts, such as Chinese wandering ghost offerings or, appropriately enough, Jewish exorcism rites, have a rather different effect than normal. Firstly, Ishmael does not contest the roll - remember, he wants the rite to succeed so he may somehow weaken or destroy the Cataphract. Rather, the Darkness within the Ring-Eater subconsciously senses the attempt to communicate with his wayward soul and rolls Resolve + Composure to resist, which manifests as a rather different “feeling” then the Dybbuk (imagine the lightless depths of an underground lake as compared to a well-lit freezer). The contest is resolved as normal, with failure on the part of the exorcist meaning that the Cataphract becomes aware of the attempt - he will attempt to persuade the exorcist that the Dybbuk is beyond help, and failing that, attempt to either kill her or flee. If and when the exorcist wins, every net success allows Ishmael one minute of coherent, two-way communication. If nothing else, the exorcist will likely realize she hasn’t been told the whole truth.
Dr. Goldstein, the Ring-EaterEdit
- Attributes: Intelligence 4, Wits 3, Resolve 3, Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3, Presence 4, Manipulation 5, Composure 2
- Skills: Occult 3, Academics 4 (Psychology), Investigation 2 (Psych Profiling), Medicine 3 (Pharmaceuticals), Athletics 1, Drive 2, Firearms 2, Empathy 4 (Psychological Diagnosis), Intimidation 3 (Creepily Serene), Persuasion 5 (Break The Cutie), Socialize 2 (Lowering Psychological Defenses), Subterfuge 2
- Merits: Meditative Mind 4, Dark Palace 3 (His offices as reflected in the Dark World), Safe Place 1 (the reflected offices)
- Derived Traits: Health 8, Willpower 5, Size 5, Defense 4, Initiative 4, Speed 11
- Shadows: 5
- Virtue: Generous. The Ring-Eater honestly believes he is helping people avoid the utter despair of loneliness that led to his creation.
- Vice: Jealous. The Ring-Eater despises that people can find happiness in their relationships without him, and of the love that his wife once felt for him.
- Umbrae: Animate Shadow and Dark Dreams 1 are the ones he retains as a matter of who and what he is. If he needs to masquerade as normal for a long period of time, he tends to use Hollow as a Shadow and Subtle Tongue. Else, he uses Subsumed by Another Shadow and Tainted Allure of Vice. In a combat he may assume Miasma of Madness, Grotesque Bulk 3 and a few levels of Zombie’s Flesh.
- Caligines: Avoid All Eyes 1, Bogeyman 2, Handful of Dust 3, Everyone Dies Alone 4, Enervation 1, Enervating Hex 2, Call the Black Dog 3, Shadowblade 3, Such Pretty Eyes, I Think I’ll Keep Them 3, Taste of Sin 1, Flesh of my Flesh 3, I am Your Master 5, Voidblast 5 (Uses the storm in his heart)
Ishmael the DybbukEdit
- Rank: 2
- Attributes: Power 4, Finesse 2, Resistance 4
- Derived Traits: Corpus 9, Willpower 8, Size 5, Defense 2, Initiative 6, Speed 11
- Essence: 15
- Integrity: 6
- Manifestations: Twilight Form, Fetter, Possess
- Numina: Dement, Host Jump, Innocuous
- Anchors: Dr. Goldstein’s offices in the Dark World, his house (still lived in - since Ishmael is usually hanging around Dr. Goldstein and doesn’t possess the inhabitants, it’s only slightly morbid due to the deathly Essence saturating the area).
- Virtue: Generous. Dr. Goldstein was indeed an ideal psychiatrist. He was very kind in life, and he remains so in death - even if he can’t exactly do much now other than save people from his possessed body.
- Vice: Pessimistic. When Dr. Goldstein was alive, he suffered from a creeping sense of self-loathing, combined with a tendency to demonize people close to him for every perceived fault and slight (and begging for forgiveness by said people when he came to his senses). Sometimes, the Dybbuk wonders if his path is an attempt to prove to himself he isn’t completely worthless. (The Ring-Eater has reduced this Vice to a caricature.)
- Ban: Ishmael cannot cross a doorway to which a mezuzah is affixed, or on which the prayer Shema Yisrael has been written.
- Bane: Jade (shared with the Ring-Eater.)