Thursday, October 27, 2016

Blog or Treat: The Sorrowful Ones

"You'd better watch out for the faceless ones...Because they might be coming for you"
                                                                                                       Crucial Conflict, Faceless Ones

Children can be very frail and complicated things. They're emotions not yet fully developed, can slide into a deep state of depression at the littlest of things. Of course, much care must be taken when they do fall into such a state and they need to be watched closely. While depressed, their mood can change sharply. They can become more prone to violence or they can become more low energy an apathetic and, in the worse case, they can simply.... simply disappear.

Of course most of the time it's because they ran away or fell to wilds of an internet predator... but some times... some times.... it's because of something far, far, far worse....

The Sorrowful Ones, also known as the Faceless or Shadow Ones, are a race of unseelie, twisted fey that seek harm against humans. They stand about 5'8'' and weigh around 95lbs on average and look gout and  lanky with spindly thin and unnaturally long limbs. Their skin is molted and festering in appearance, its tone a zig-zag pattern of blacks, greys and browns that give it the appearance of a living shadow which helps it hide among the darkness while it stalks it prey (+2 to Stealth when in dark and shadowy locations but they stand out in well lit areas getting +2 to spot them in those conditions). This camouflage also covers it's face, obscuring its features, the direction its dark saucer like eyes are looks and any expression that may give some sense of emotion and empathy to the thing and instead giving it the impression of a faceless darkness staring out at you. They do have genders but there is little sexual dimorphism between them. 

Intellectually they are sapient but not as mentally developed as humans and still have an almost animalistic  outlook which gives them a very alien mind compared to us. Despite this they are still surprisingly cunning will, for the most part, choose their fights very carefully. They naturally have very low empathy and can be very cruel and sadistic, even to others of their own kind. Because of this, pleas and begs for mercy have no effect on them. If anything this will only anger them or invite a greater show of their sadism.

They are solitary creatures and are very territorial against encroachment from others of their kind.  In urban environments they tend to nest in abandoned buildings, in sewer works or subway tunnels and tend to claim a 2km (1.24 mile) radius as their own. In more rural areas they will nest in barns and forests and may have up to 6km (3.72 mile) radius territory. If an area starts to run low on their prey then they will move, looking for richer grounds. Normally they will tend to try to find the nearest unclaimed area but if they are strong or desperate enough or the nearest claimed area is just too tempting they will try to kill the Sorrowful One who controls it and take over.

Not much is known about their breeding habits outside of the basics. Their does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to their matting patterns and the male will generally abandon the female after impregnation. The female will then have an 8 month development cycle and then give birth to a litter of around six. The female with then provide the most minimal of care for them for three years before abandoning and leaving them to fend for themselves. Do to this, no more then half survive to the third year and of this the strongest sibling usually kills off the others to stamp out competition or they are killed by their parent if they linger in her territory for to long after being abandoned.

Their internal structure is also very alien to ours, it's decayed looking flesh can stretch to impossible degrees and it's skeleton is rubber and flexible letting it contort it's body in ghastly and unnatural ways. It's internal organs, expect for it's brain, is mostly a single homogeneous mass that can have different parts pick up the slack if an area is damaged . This fact makes them extremely hard to injure with bullets making slashing weapons and clubs preferable. While they do not have much lifting strength, the twitch force of their muscles allows them to make surprisingly powerful blows given their size and they are more then capable of sending a full grown man flying across the room if need be (they have Striking ST 14)!

Their eyes are much larger in proportion then most creatures and are well adapted for night vision (they have Night Vision 6. See Basic Set pg. 71), though unlike normal creatures they do not have tapetum lucidum since its glow could betray their camouflage and instead rely on both their massive size and their unique structure to amplify ambient light levels. This comes at the cost of both not having any color vision at all (at best they see subtle shades of grey and black. Treat as Colorblindness) and not being able to handle normal daylight, in normal lighting conditions their eyes become over saturated and can barely focus (-6 to vision rolls if the light level is bright enough to give no penalty to vision).

While they only have a very crude concept of language they do speak but it is in the ultrasonic range, far outside of the normal human range making them seen eerily silent to us.

They also posses ineradicable healing capabilities, even in a state of near death the can all but fully recover from their injuries in a few hours. They can also regenerate lost limbs and exterminates just as quickly as well. This does have a side effect, this rate of regeneration consumes massive amounts of energy and quickly tires them out. Rapidly healing burns 2FP when they first start healing and 1FP per minute (or fraction there of) the healing continues for while regenerating a body part costs 4FP to start and then 2FP per minute afterwards. They do have the ability to control their healing factors activation and will suspend it if they need to recover FP. Do to this regenerative ability Sorrowful Ones have extremely long natural lives and possibly may never die do to old age. Though of course with how aggressive they are with their own kind, very few live long enough to test this fact. It is known that some examples are in the neighborhood of a century old and they are among the most hostile and strongest ones recorded and have greater intellect, at lest nearly on par with the average human, showing that only the smartest and strongest survive for long in their world.

Also as with most fey, the sub-dermal tissues of a sorrowful one are highly reactive with iron. Inner tissue that comes into contract with it dies almost instantly. While this tissue will heal, it will do so slowly and will take days or even weeks to recover. Also, a limb severed with an iron weapon will not grow back!

Now, it is the manner of how the Sorrowful Ones feed where things really become... troubling. They are what is generally referred to as "psychic vampires", that is they feed off of the mental energy of humans, generally the energy created through emotions, though in their case... they have a very specific type of emotion they feed off of and a very specific source of this emotion that they hunt; the despair and sorrow of prepubescent children. Once they have found a mark, they wait until they are alone and asleep. They climb into their room from a window and then get also close to the child as the can and then hit them with a psychic attack that sets off hormones that not only trigger what is effectively an artificially induced state of depression but also overwhelms them with stress draining leaving them physically drained as well. Once the state of depression is triggered, the Sorrowful One begins to feed off of it. They must feed for at lest 30 minutes to get the minimum energy they need though they only need to feed once per night to sustain their selves. They can only effect any single target once per night so they will continue this feeding, coming each night after night, driving the child further and further into depression with the low physical energy this blight gives them helping to keep them at home and isolated. There is a point though were the kid hits "rock bottom" and the Sorrowful One can not extract any more useful nutrients. Once this happens its mouth will stretch and contort to an impossible degree and they will begin to consume the child whole like a snake to ingest the last bit of emotions directly as well as get the physical nutrients they need. Once fully consumed the Sorrowful One is in their at their most vulnerable. Laden down with weight of a full child inside of them, they must make their way back to their nest where they will rest until they have fully broken down and digested the child's remains.

A Sorrowful One's psychic attack will work on a  adults, however they will gain no nourishment off of them if they do use it on one.

They choose their marks very carefully, looking children who live in their own room or are alone a good deal of the time (given modern tends with both parents having to work, finding their mark alone is disturbingly common these days) and that are in a room that grants them easy access to climb in from a back alleyway or other low traffic area. They also prefer children who are as close to puberty as possible so they also try to be careful about making sure their mark is the right age though they are known for making mistakes (especially these days were our hormone laden food if causing some children to hit puberty at earlier and earlier ages) and having their prey hit puberty mid feeding will send them into a murderous frenzy where the kill the now useless child and the entire household in rage!

Keeping the parents from noticing their child state is also important since given that their psychic attack triggers a "mundane" chemical depression,  modern treatments for depression can help cure the child of the Sorrowful One's affects. If a parent does suspect something, depending on the situation they will hold back for a few days and hope the parent stops noticing. If they don't, the Sorrowful One will use their psychic attack on them hoping the state of low energy depression will keep them disinterested in their child. If that fails, they will kill them.

If a Sorrowful One is noticed, how it will react will depend on the situation but in all cases it becomes  extremely dangerous as it will do anything to keep a "witness" from living. If it is a child that notices or a frail adult, they will just kill them outright with a quick snap of the neck (and if was a child they will then eat them and run). If it an adult, they will pretend to flee, hide just out of sight, wait until they lower their guard and then attempt to knock them over from behind, straddle them and then deliver hammer fist like arm slams to their victims face until they are stunned. They will then gouge out their eyes before either strangling them or if something heavy is near by that they will bludgeon them in the head until they crack their skull. If pushed into an actual fight they will open up with a psychic attack to drop their opponents energy level and then they will try to back off and try to escape. If they can't escape they will start throwing whatever they can grab at their opponent and then try to charge and tackle them to the ground them while they are distracted by the projectiles. If they tackle them to the ground they will once again try to strangle or bludgeon them but if the can't they will try to grapple them and force them to the ground. Also while Sorrowful Ones can throw punches and kicks they almost never do and prefer to use hammer fist likes arm slams only as means to stun or distract so that they can use grappling to bring their opponents to the ground.

ST: 9             HP: 14            Speed: 6.00
DX: 12          Will: 14           Move: 6
IQ: 8             Per: 12            Weight: 95 lbs.
HT: 11           FP: 11             SM: +/-0
Dodge: 10     Parry: 11         DR: 1 (Tough Skin)

Arm Slam (14): All out Attack (Double), 1d-1 cr. Reach C.

Arm Slam to the Face (9):  All out Attack (Double) to the face (-5), 1d-1 cr. Reach C.

Grapple (14): Reach C. No damage.

Tackle Slam (14): Move and Attack (Slam), 1d+1 cr. 

Eye Gouge (10): 1d-3 to the eyes, must have both hands free. Reach C. 

Sorrowful  Hunger (12): Roll an Quik Contest of the Sorrowful Ones Will -1 per yard between them and the target and the targets Will. If the target loses the contest then they lose 1d FP. If this drops them to less then 2/3rd of their FP total then they gain Chronic Depression (12 or less), if ti drops them to less then half their FP total then it becomes Chronic Depression (9 or less) and if it drops it below 1/3rd their FP total it becomes Chronic Depression (6 or less). The FP lost to this attack will not heal through normal rest but instead requires successful anti-depression treatment before they can start to recover.  Once a prepubescent child hits Chronic Depression (6 or less), the Sorrowful One will start The Consumption.

The Consumption (-): The Sorrowful One must first successfully grapple the target with their mouth. On the Sorrowful Ones next turn if they maintain the grapple the target is considered pinned and must make a Quick Contest of the higher of their ST or HT vs the Sorrowful Ones ST. If the targets wins they take no damage but if the lose they take 1HP of damage per point they failed the contest by.

Unseen Sight: Well adapted for living in the dark, Sorrowful Ones have Night Vision 6. Their eyes though are hyper developed for seeing in the dark and can hardly focus in normal light levels. If the light level in an area is  high to give no vision penalties, it is too bright for their eyes to focus and they instead have -6 to spot things.

Night Walker (16): Their bodies have natural camouflage in dark and shadowy locations giving them +2 to Stealth rolls. However if they are in brightly lit areas, the contrast helps them stand out and they have -2 to Stealth instead.

Inhuman Biology: The internal biology of most fey are completely alien to most normal beings and have features like a single mass of homogeneous organs that make them more resilient to piercing and impaling damage. They take only ×1 damage from impaling and huge piercing, ×1/2 from large piercing, ×1/3 from piercing and ×1/5 from small piercing.

Healing Factor (-):  Sorrowful Ones heal alarmingly fast! They heal 1HP per minute and can regenerate detached limbs in half as soon as they recover full HP! This is so long as they are not injured by iron weapons, iron weapons negate their healing factor and regeneration. Healing costs 2FP to activate and then 1FP/min to sustain while regenerating body parts costs 4FP to activate and 2FP/min to sustain. If they run low on FP, a Sorrowful One has the ability to suspend their healing until they recoup their FP.

Cannot Abide the Touch of Iron (-): As with most fey beings, iron is extremely deadly to them. All damage done with iron weapons is doubled and on top of that any wound caused by an iron weapons does not rapidly heal and instead only heals at the normal rate. Also any limb chopped off by an iron weapon will not regenerate! A weapons must be at lest 90% iron to count.

Traits: Appearance (Monstrous); Bad Temper (9); Bestial; Callous; Combat Reflexes; Constriction Attack (Engulfing; Feature, done as a bite attach); Damage Resistance 1 (Tough Skin); Fatigue Attack (1d; Accessibility, can only be used once per day on a single target; Malediction 1; No Signature; Symptom, Chronic Depression (12 or less) at less then 2/3rds HP; Symptom, Chronic Depression (9 or less) at less then 1/2 HP; Symptom, Chronic Depression (6 or less) at less then 1/3rds HP); Injury Tolerance (Unliving); Night Vision 6; Regeneration (Fast; Accessibility, only on non-iron damage; Costs 2 FP); Regrowth (Accessibility, only on non-iron damage; Costs 4 FP); Reduced Consumption 2; Sadism (9); Ultrasonic speech.          
Skills: Bawling-14; Stealth-14; Urban Survival*-12; Wrestling-14;
Features: Hyper Adaption (Specific Environment Camouflage); Hyper Adaption (Night Vision).

Notes: If you are using the Intrinsic Fright Checks (GURPS Horror pg. 139) they have a modifier of -1.
*If the Sorrowful One lives in a different environment then change their Survival Skill to match it.

Designer Note: The Sorrowful ones are not meant to be a major challenge for a full Monster Hunter campaign and is intended for a more street level, "Normal Joe vs the supernatural" type scenario, though it could also work in a "Monster Hunters: Year One" style of game were you focus on how a group of normal people become monster hunters.

When running a game with them it is important to make sure the players do not realize what their weakness are at first since this will give them some staying power as a threat. Really hound the fact that normal people aren't going to know off hand what a fey is or that they are weak to iron and make the players put in work to discoverer this fact. The internet it gong to be the PC's main way of getting information on these things but keep in mind that there is going to be a lot of sites that have either complete BS or at the best a mixture of fact and hyperbole. If they do a Research roll, on a normal success they end up finding just enough to confirm what they are called with a few of the players guess at lest partial confirmed the higher their succeed the roll by. If the get a critical success or a normal success by 5 or more then they find enough information to figure out that they are a type of fey and are weak to iron. If they fail the roll they either find nothing or realize that the sites they found are filled with nonsense. On a critical failure they find nonsense but they mistake it as fact (i.e. they're convinced that silver is their weakness instead of iron).

Also be sure to limit your players access to weapons, too much fire power will make short work of a single Sorrowful One even with their resistance to firearms. However letting a PC have a medium power pistol like a 9mm should be allowed (so long as they pay for a license perk if needed for the area the game is taking place in and they keep their Guns skill to a reasonable level for a civilian shooter) since it can actually help build up the horror since the player is bound to have his character rush in and shoot at it the first chance they get only to find that it's barely phased which in turn help drive up the terror.

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