Velotha's Flock Revisited: The Trial and Roles

in gaming •  2 months ago  (edited)

Another part of the prose revision of velotha's flock, which you can check out on DriveThruRPG in its free verse first edition. Some lore, some mechanics, it's all good. If I can say so myself.

The Trial

Most korakthropes born into our world undergo the Trial, an ordeal that is unique to each individual and typically starts in adolescence or early adulthood.

The Trial is not necessarily dangerous; many wereravens undertake an artistic or scholarly endeavor, some endure a period of asceticism or hermitude, and others have tasks that are directly related to the pursuit of the Promised Land or the well-being of the flock.

The Trial is a compulsion, but one which the individual can generally ignore; it nags at them, and they feel subconscious pulls toward the . Korakthropes that have not yet completed or received the Trial are referred to as Fledglings. Wereravens who hail from the Garden and were alive when Velotha held her court there do not experience the Trial, though they are referred to as Elders rather than Fledglings.

Roles

Once a Fledgling undergoes a trial, they become part of the flock in earnest. This earns them privileges and respects, but they also tend to develop one of several abilities that are referred to as roles, since they make the Fledgling particularly adapted to survival in our world in ways that they are not normally adapted to.

Fledgling

Fledglings are still peculiarly tied to the world, feeling strong and unmitigated emotions that they cannot necessarily control. Some claim to be able to see the destiny of Fledglings based on ties to the supernatural world or cues from their behavior, but these predictions are rarely accurate.

A Fledgling consults the moon whenever they use a token to redraw the tarot. If it shines, they do not consume the token as they normally would, and still gain its beneficial results. This does not apply to other uses of tokens, although it is not otherwise limited.

Elder

Elders still remember the Garden, can hear Velotha’s song echoing in their ears. They are disconnected from our world, but experience has taught them how to pretend that they belong in it. Among the Elders it is particularly likely that one will find those passionate about the pursuit of the Promised Land or a return to the Garden.

Elders gain a bonus token at the start of each session of play. If they use this token to redraw the tarot, they may take a specific result from the tarot instead of rolling or drawing for it, including the Queen.

Cleaners

Cleaners are those who have been adapted to remove traces of wereravens from the world. They tend to be held in high regard by the flock, since they protect their nesting places from demons and monsters by hiding all evidence of the flock’s presence.

A Cleaner may make an ALU[+1] test to remove the trace of a korakthrope’s presence using an action in combat or over a period of about fifteen seconds, or an ALU[+3] test to remove it outside combat when time is not of the essence. This only removes tell-tale evidence (e.g. it won’t fix a broken window, but will remove a Voyager’s feather-evidence safely), but it can work on everything from memories to bloodstains.

They may also use this ability to remove evidence of Kelö-ur’s creations, if it becomes necessary. The forces of the Adversary have similar abilities of their own and mortals cannot consciously detect their influence.

Demon Hunters

These sorts of ravens are the boldest, smelling out and hunting down the enemies of the flock. They are spoken of in hushed reverence, both champions and terrors. Those who fight monsters should take care, after all. They relish the hunt, and claim to be able to catch the scent of evil on the wind from miles away.

Demon Hunters may consult the moon twice when they are in the presence of Kelö-ur’s creations or the Adversary’s servants. This overrides the usual penalty in such circumstances.

Omen

The Omen is the most dangerous of raven, both to their adversaries and themselves. They bring destruction and pain indiscriminately, but they are also the last resort in the flock’s battles. A lone Omen is more dangerous than ten fighters in the right situation.

By spending a token, the Omen can force every character present to take a test of their choice, both in attribute and difficulty, or suffer a hit. This may be explained by a quasi-natural phenomena, or manifest as an obviously supernatural power.

Psychopomps

Some korakthropes experience visions of Paradise and Hell during their trials, and go on to understand the world of mortals unlike others in the flock. This connection binds them to mortals, especially those who are in the moment of their death.

A Psychopomp may ask questions of any human corpse they encounter and receive an honest, though not necessarily helpful, answer. Sometimes the dead can answer questions that they do not know.

Fallen angels are under no compulsion to answer, since they merely inhabit a form instead of being living creatures, but they may answer the call if they so choose (and they may lie; the Psychopomp may make an ACU[0] test to see if this is the case).

Psychopomps interacting with dead Korakthropes usually lose their minds in the attempt. They roll a RES[-2] test or die. They cannot accidentally do this; they will realize what they are attempting before they are in any serious danger and can call off the effort at that point.

Seers

Seers see angels, fallen or otherwise, and their visions are helpful for the flock. While the Creator rarely takes an interest in wereravens, they can still ask for favors from angels or the faithful and sometimes receive second-hand aid.

Seers see the invisible world of spirits that is home to angels and demons, and also immediately recognize fallen angels taking on mortal form for what they are. Sometimes they can also witness psychic phenomena emanating from the collective unconscious, getting a broad feel for the state of communities of mortals, though their abilities don’t give them any bonuses towards individual mortals.

Seers can also see the presence of Kelö-ur’s minions. They can know that they are present, but gaining further information requires a deliberate attempt to pry into things that should not exist. A RES[0] test is required; if it fails the Seer is blinded until the next sunrise (both their special abilities and regular sight stop working). A -4 penalty is the usual effect of this blindness, with certain Acumen tests becoming impossible.

Voyager

Voyagers are barely connected to our world. The flock speculates that they may be linked to the Garden or the Promised Land, but the truth will perhaps never be known. However, they are useful for their abilities and their powers.

A Voyager may, as an action in combat or without any special restrictions outside combat, immediately teleport to any place they can see with their own eyes. They can go through barriers and use reflections off of mirrors and other surfaces to guide this teleportation, but they cannot use a recording or live video feed on a display.

A Voyager leaves behind a single feather (with a color determined by the limitations of their clan) when they teleport in this way. Any deliberate damage to the feather causes an immediate Hit of damage to the Voyager, which can kill them. A Cleaner can disarm such a feather safely; otherwise it loses its effect after a week.


Designer's Notes

The two new roles are the Omen and the Voyager, which are both tied into either associations that ravens have in reality (Omens) or that tie into their nature in Velotha's Flock (Voyagers).

I changed a few of the existing roles a little, either to make them work better (Fledglings), or to make them more meaningful (Elders). Also, I figured out what the terms for determining the moon and tarot dice results are going to be, and they're neutral so that you can use the same with either dice or cards so I don't need to do the awkward work-around shuffle.

One of the effects of the transition from free verse to prose is that I feel more beholden to be specific about what things do. With free verse my rule was always "However the guy running the show wants to interpret it", but now it's more "Here are the restrictions."

That's one of the reasons I plan to maintain two versions of the second edition; one in prose and one in free verse. They will be compatible in the sense that the rules will be identical, but the free verse game will be designed with more of a "Whatever the GM says" mindset and the prose one will be the canon that I'd run with at my table.


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