Hello friends! For our FINAL Kickstarter preview article, we’ll be discussing Rituals and Artifacts, or means by which players can, at sometimes great cost to themselves and their psyches, utilize the power of the Elder Gods for themselves.
Everything has its price. Cars, bullets, that snazzy new feather boa you’ve been eyeing: as the saying goes, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Members of the Collective know this as well, trading part of their psyches for a glimpse behind the veil into greater truths of the Universe. While that knowledge is enough to break some, other clamber for more. They want knowledge. They want understanding.
They want power.
Rituals are prolonged, powerful ceremonies that call upon the will of the casters as well as powerful patrons. Although much can be granted in these Rituals, much is expected of the Casters, and the price for such power is high.
Rituals exist within the game world for two reasons: as a thing the Characters may want, despite their better judgment, to accomplish or as a thing that their antagonists are doing that they will try to stop. This chapter deals primarily with the former; while some knowledge of RItes and their functions may be helpful to players, when it comes to villains casting arcane rituals, it’s probably best that it’s something of your own creation that the characters (and therefore the players) have to discover and, hopefully, stop.
Within the game itself, Rituals and Artifacts should not be easily accessible. Players should either have to spend a fair amount of time researching and learning about them or, occasionally, should they stumble into a party’s lap it should be a momentous, ominous and portentous occasion. Many of these Rituals are reflections of the chaotic, and frankly evil creatures that grant their power for their use. For that reason, many well intentioned members of the Collective learn about Rituals as a means of stopping them rather than casting them. Many of these individuals then become blinded by the power they perceive that these Rituals can give to them. Rituals are well-guarded secrets for a reason: their successful casting can have a huge effect on the world, and their failed casting can be even more disastrous.
Rituals are laid out in the book thusly:
Name of Ritual: This is the name of the Ritual. If you need further explanation on this, please close the book and take a nap. We’ll be here once you’re feeling better.
Components: You’ll note that this is listed as a number rather than a set list of required components. While we have a list of these a Director can use (table forthcoming), this represents how many arcane, Eldritch, or otherwise hard to obtain components are required for this Ritual. Whether the caster needs to find a book of arcane knowledge, a crystal with which to focus their power, or some other, more horrible material to see their Ritual through, the component cost represents, in decidedly not-game terms, how many Macguffins the players need to find to pull off their Ritual. However, some Rituals require a specific component to cast: this will be listed here.
Eldritch Price: Rituals are not meant for the people of our world to cast. Whether or not the being called upon lends its power willingly, there is always a price for delving too deep and too greedily into the unknown. The Eldritch Price represents the physical, mental, spiritual, and psychological effects that must be paid upon casting a Ritual and must be paid in full before the Ritual is complete.
Casting Time and Ritual Requirements: This designates how long the Ritual, once its components have been gathered, takes to complete as well as any necessary preparations (inscribing a circle of power on the ground, waiting for a thunderstorm, dancing naked under the light of the full moon. You know, normal Ritual stuff).
Primary Attribute: The primary attribute used in conjunction with the Ritual Casting skill to determine how successful the Ritual Cast is.
Effect: At long last, this is what the Ritual does.
And a few example Rituals:
Eldritch Price: The primary caster loses complete memory of the preceding 48 hours. If this is cast upon multiple people trapped in the Circle of Power, additional casters are required to sacrifice their preceding 48 hours of memory as well.
Casting Time and Ritual Requirements: The Ritual takes one hour to complete. A circle of power, inscribed from one of the components, must be marked clearly on the ground. The designated target(s) must be blinded and gagged and placed in the Circle of Power which they are required to remain in until the Ritual’s completion.
Effect: The designated target(s) lose, at the primary caster’s discretion, between one week and one month of their memory. At the time of the Ritual’s completion, the primary caster may “suggest” memories to the targets.
Into The Realm of Shadows
Components: 3. One of the components must be an item significant to your target- a lock of hair, an Heirloom Item, etc. This component may be shared among the party.
Eldritch Price: As you seek to enter the Realm Where Shadows Lie, the shadows come at you first. Make 2 Reality checks. The first is at normal Rollover for your Character, the second is +2 Rollover. Upon failure, suffer a random Scar.
Casting Time and Ritual Requirements: You must burn or otherwise destroy the item significant to your target to begin the Ritual, and utilize the other two over a casting time of thirty minutes. Once the casting is done, when your target nears sleep you will feel a compulsion to join them within the Realm Where Shadows Lie. At that point you may craft their Dreamscape with the Director, using the target’s personality as well as what you are trying to accomplish.
Effect: You enter the dreams of your target. Gain 6 Assets to all Attribute Checks while within the Realm Where Shadows Lie. You create a Dreamscape into which your target is projected when they fall asleep. You may interrogate, intimidate, or incept thoughts and suggestions into your target.
Found deep within the forgotten corners of the Earth, or within places of power, or in the service of a being who’s been lucky (or unlucky) enough to find them, Artifacts represent items of great power and, often if not outright sentience, at least some amount of intelligence. Artifacts are meant to be given out sparingly in the course of a Character’s Journey.
Artifacts have three qualities that define them: Personality, Boon, and Bane.
Personality: An artifact, if not outright sentient, is blessed with the powers and shortcomings of the Elder Gods. Once attuned to an artifact you may yet change the artifact, but the emotional and psychological weight of the artifact will also change you. Artifacts should change the person that wields it and change with them; a “personality” that does not have to be strictly followed but that helps the Hero become closer to the original recipient of the Artifact. A Character who seeks to get around this by blatantly ignoring the Personality of the Artifact is in violation of The Spirit of the Game and can have it de-attuned as the Artifact deems you unworthy.
Boon: Oh yes. This is what you’re here for. The boon of an artifact is the bonus it grants you for your trouble.
Bane: Nothing is without its price, especially where it comes to power. Every artifact has a bane, typically commensurate in power to the boon.
Some Sample Artifacts within the Corebook:
If a regular photographer were to inspect this camera, they’d think it was a broken hunk of junk and toss it. The flashbulb receptacle is busted and the lens is completely opaque. For those in the know, and those willing to Attune, however, this camera can be a gateway into the past and the future.
Personality: When you can predict the future, no matter how you can do it, it leads to a bit of a big head. You begin to believe that you’re vastly intelligent; almost certainly more intelligent than you actually are.
Boon: This camera can hold 10 pictures worth of film. Upon development in a dark room, the pictures will show the room not as it is when the picture was taken, but as the room will appear 24-48 hours from the time of development, either past or future. Any significant events (murders, break ins, possessions, etc) will be shown. Additionally, any supernatural beings within the room can be seen in these pictures.
Bane: When you can see the past and the future, you realize the present isn’t quite what you thought it would be. You see glimpses of what has gone and what may come in your everyday life, and it becomes difficult to see what’s actually there when you become used to seeing what has been and what might be. Suffer liabilities to Observation checks equal to (2 + number of pictures you’ve developed using the Prescient Lens that week).
A pair of magically possessed tap shoes that will be sure to make you an instant star of the stage and screen. These shoes are dapper to be sure. Fine Italian leather with silver and gold accents; they’re sure to draw some looks from passersby.
Personality: These shoes make you feel like a star of the silver screen. You crave attention from others and will do almost anything to attain it.
Boon: While attuned to this pair of shoes you may do some truly amazing things. With a click of the heels your feet start to tap a rhythm that enthralls the people around you. Once a day, You may make a Performance skill check with 4 assets against each creature within Rat-a-Tat range. On a success the creature drops what it is holding, and can perform no actions for 2 rounds. If a creature that has been enthralled takes damage from any source the effect ends. While wearing these shoes you may also walk up walls and across ceilings by dancing like Fred Astaire. If you suffer damage while dancing on a wall or ceiling you must succeed at a Vim check equal to the damage taken or fall from your precarious perch.
Bane: While wearing these shoes you receive 2 Liabilities to the skill Sneak. Also, when forced to make a reality check if you roll a natural 2-3 you begin tap dancing uncontrollably for 1 hour. You can still act while this happens, but any Vim or Vigor checks are done at 5 Liabilities. Also, you look ridiculous.
That’s it for this week’s Kickstarter preview and, indeed, for Kickstarter previews in general because if I haven’t mentioned it enough WE GO LIVE NEXT TUESDAY!
As always, let us know any questions and we’ll see you next week!