View Full Version : (NWoD Antagonist/Alternate Character Group) Kushtaka, Ghosts of The Snow (PEACH)

2009-04-27, 03:43 PM
Well, these guys were actually ment for a Hunter game-thus the references to hunters-I realized that given their focus on spirits and the whole "mysterious lurkers on the edges of civillization" would make them perfect for a more "morally gray" Werewolf game-especially since they posses no spirit side, just something...else that doesn't influence their behavior beyond listening to the dictates of the spirit realm and deciding wether or not to act on them. Admittedly, that makes them pretty alien, but no more than a thaumatuge is.

Also, their name isn't First Speech, it's drawn from entirely Tlingit (Alaskan) mythology, and a big part of these guys it that they don't know where they're from. They're certainly old-references to "shapshifiting ghosts of the ice" pop up around every so often-but as far as they're concerned, there was no Kurshtaka until one day in the slightly less distant past than the Urathra appeared, and boom, Kurshtaka. Not that they worry about it-they're far more concerned with manipulating the Hisil for their own ends.

Keep in mind that I'm making this up as I go along, so keep that in mind as I probably muck this up.

Kushtaka, (Shaman-Otter, Shadow-Corrupter)

Quote: "Why are you so unhappy? I made you better!"

Background: While Kushtaka originate in the Arctic Circle, their natural intelligence, combined with their ability to shapeshift, means that they have long since stowed away on ships and now can be found in any suitably cold climate, particularly ones where people have a tendency to already disappear, either by natural means or other monsters.

In their bestial form, Kushtaka appear as snow-white otters that are slightly bigger then the more natural variety. In human form, they appear either as how they did before they became Kushtaka, or as normal people from their native region. In either case, there is a distinctly otterish manner they possess, and close inspection (Wits + Empathy versus the Kushtaka's Morality + Subterfuge) will cause the illusion of humanity to briefly fracture, revealing a hairy lutrinae humanoid for a split second-something most humans will write off as a fluke or a waking dream, but then again, hunters are not most humans.

Naturally, the prospect of a race of monsters who can masquerade as humans quite convincingly is a frightening prospect-that's why we fear werewolves, after all-but that's not the most scary thing about them. Nor is it that they seem to have a natural ability to communicate with realms unseen. No, the most frightening thing about them is that some of them are human-people who, out of misguided kindness or simply a wish to propagate the race by any means necessary, were turned into other Kushtakas. Most hunters would simply write them off as having lost their humanity, they soon discover that, much to their horror, they can't-while a person is considerably more alien and strange after becoming a Kushtaka, they retain a basic sense of right and wrong. Indeed, that's why they have been so successful a species for so long-their personalities are fundamentally indisguishable from that of mortals' in both good and bad aspects.

Ultimately, the Kushtakas remind hunters of a piece of information many of them would like so desperately to forget-that ultimately, you can never, ever, be sure.

Storytelling Hints: Kushtakas have the same range of motivations and desires that drive mortals, although their natural abilities often means they become arrogant and callous-then again, so do many hunters.

When hoping to increase their clout in the human or Kushtaka society, they often make pacts with spirits-thus the nickname Shaman-Otter-to help them achieve their goals. Of course, spirits never do anything unless they're getting something in return, and Kushtakas occasionally manipulate events to ferment the creation of loci-places where the emotional energies of humans have become so focused that they begin to generate it. Unlike Urathra, Kushtakas have no concern for the ecology of the spirit world beyond the wish to avoid the creation of Wounds-loci of purely negative emotions-so they never work together and have even been known to fight.

When wishing to create another Kushtaka from a human, a Shadow-Corrupter (a pejorative name for Kushtaka that engage in this process) finds a human dying of starvation and/or cold-in game terms, this means someone who has filled her Health boxes with bashing damage from cold exposure or starvation-and feed her a combination of herbs saturated with spirit Essence and with hair from the Kushtaka's otter form. Once that happens, the victim/subject-no one said she couldn't be willing-begins to have hallucinations of the Kushtaka transforming between versions of her loved ones-or just different varieties of otter, if she was unfortunate enough to have no one that could qualify (it's usually a sign of a willing subject in this case-what is there in the human world for her?). For every hour, the Kushtaka makes a roll of Manipulation + Subterfuge against the victim's Resolve + Composure. The target number for each player is 12 minus the other's Morality.

Dramatic Failure: Not only does the subject fail to become a Kushtaka, he fully heals as if he had eaten his fill and gotten out of the cold. The Shadow-Corrupter's reactions can range from anger (for the obvious) to relief (for those who thought they didn't have a choice at the time). In any case, the victim has to go back to being on the edge of death before the Kushtaka can try again.

Failure: Successes fail to accumulate.

Success: Successes accumulate. Should the Kushtaka win, the victim begins to turn into a Kushtaka, and will have completely transformed after two minutes. The sensation of becoming one varies: some feel excruciating pain as their bodies reshape, some feel warmth and relief as their new fur washes over them and protects them from the biting cold, some feel an almost orgasmic sensation as they feel their (often subconsciously despised) humanity be cast off. The new Kushtaka is at full health, but unconscious for the next five hours as her brain begins to adapt to her new body. Should the victim win, it is the same as a dramatic failure for the Kushtaka.

Exceptional Success: Many successes accumulate.

Special: Should the victim have actually agreed to the Shadow-Corrupter's abilities in full knowledge of what is about to happen, assume the Kushtaka succeeds automatically on his first roll.

Possible Modifiers: Victim agreed but is unwitting as two what is about to happen (+2 for Kushtaka), Victim is loved one of Kushtaka (+3 for Kushtaka), Kushtaka is performing ritual out of genuine altruism (+4 for Kushtaka), Victim is fully aware of and is fighting against Kustaka's influence (-2 for Kushtaka), Kushtaka and victim are personal enemies (-3 for Kushtaka), Kushtaka is performing ritual out of sheer spite (-4 for Kushtaka, although he may take steps to counteract this during preparation, though this takes time).

Waking up, it isn't long before the victim-now a fledgling Kushtaka-suddenly realizes that there is fur where there really shouldn't be (IE, anywhere but the head), and that she is hearing the voices of spirits who want to make the most of their new ally. Obviously, this is incredibly jarring for even the most willing of people, and for those who became Kushtaka unknowingly or unwillingly, this can be sanity-shattering as they realize that they can never live a normal life again. Ironically, these Kushtaka-the ones that don't kill themselves anyway-become the most fervent Shadow-Corrupters, wanting to have some modicum of their original life back by transforming their loved ones.

When a newly-transformed Kushtaka awakens and realizes what he is-which doesn't take long, spirits are helpful when it comes to that-she immediately rolls Resolve + Composure - number of vital connections to previous life (ST's call):

Dramatic Failure: The poor creature can't handle the horrible truth, and her mind breaks. She becomes dangerously suicidal, wishing desperately to have nothing else but her own death. For the next 24 hours, she tries any way she can think of to bring the sweet embrace of death to her, and even after she recovers (somewhat) she still suffers the effects of a failure. If she lives long enough, that is. While most spirits would like to have a new foot hold in the material world, there are many who find the sweet taste of a Kushtaka driving the metaphorical stake through her heart to be delectable.

Failure: Even though she manages to handle the paradigm shift without shattering into a mental wreck, there is still now a signifigant portion of her self-identity now missing, and it shows. She develops one severe derangement, or two mild ones (Depression, Avoidance, Fugue, and Melancholia are all common).

Sucess: She handles the wake-up call admirably, although she is still signifigantly shaken by the event. She gains one mild derangement.

Exceptional Sucess: Not only does the whole "congragulations, you're now a weird otter-thing" manage to not make a dent in her, she almost seems...happy...about this course in events. That is terrifying for some in and of itself, but it won't hurt her mental state.

It should be noted that willing transformees are mentally prepared for the awakening, and while they often have a hard time adjusting to the voices that really aren't in their head, they tend to handle the realization pretty well. Assume that they have a roll one catagory better than normal (dramatic failures become simple failures, etc.), with an exceptional sucess meaning that they has an automatic +2 bonus on all negotiations with spirits, who are impressed by their ease at shifting mindsets.

Kushtaka Template:

Attributes: Intelligence +1, Wits +2, Manipulation +2.

Skills: Add the following: Subterfuge 1 (Passing as Human), Empathy 2 (Spirit Negotiation), Investigation 2 (Shadow Phenomenon).

Virtue: Any, though Charity and Hope are common.

Vice: Any, though Envy and Pride are Common.

Morality: Any.

Merits: Add Spirit Tongue (Book of Spirits pg 90: Allows communication with spirits in their native language), Spirit Ear 2 dots (BoS pg. 111 Allows perfect understanding of spirits), Residual Spirit Energy (BoS pg. 110, ability to transform blood into Essence)

Dread Powers: Dread Attack 1 (Illusion-Cloaked Claws), Strange Form 3 (Otter).

Coat of the Realms Unseen: Kushtaka fur is supernaturally insulated, allowing them to ignore Health damage due to extreme cold. This won't protect them from extreme heat, but neither will it harm them (although they won't like it).

Breaks in the Dam: Kushtaka, while they cannot "step sideways", have a good runner-up of an ability: By spending a Willpower point, Kushtaka are able to sense closed verges into the Shadow within 1 mile per success on a Intelligence + Wits roll. They have a vision which gives them a detailed view of the location, and have a vague idea of what the keys used to activate it are. By traveling to the location and succeeding on another Intelligence + Wits roll penalized by the strength of the area's Gauntlet, they have can gain specific knowledge of the needed keys. If they fail this roll, they lose a point of Willpower from the mental backlash.

So...Good? Bad? Utterly Despicable?

2009-04-30, 08:20 PM

Is the "furry, just ignore" reaction that bad?

2009-04-30, 10:13 PM
I think there might be fewer nWoD players than D&D players here.

2009-05-01, 03:02 PM
I think there might be fewer nWoD players than D&D players here.


Well, can you grade it?

I need feedback, it sustains me.

2009-05-01, 03:10 PM
I've not enough experience with nWoD to feel like I could. Did you try the Whtie Wolf forums?

2009-05-03, 01:26 AM
Well, I haven't really seen the new versions, so I only know half-way what you are talking about...
What is the TN/DC/Whatever-they-call-it for the roll to see how sane they remain? Also, I would think that having something/someone to live for would make it EASIER to remain sane... Although I am not sure how the social distance between theranthropes and mortals is enforced in the new version (or even in the old version for anything other than werewolves who have trouble with loses of temper resulting in perminant injury to loved ones...). Why isn't "This is disturbing, but at least I will live to make it back to my husband and children." a standard response, rather than "Oh no! I am such a freak! I can can't go back to them like this!"? It seems that more love -> more willingness to work past the situation. Heck, if I were playing one, I would have his final take on the whole thing be "Weird... but hey, superpowers... let me search out people who would appreciate this, get to know them, and for those who would probably use it to good ends... SHARE (with their informed consent)!"....

What is the Intellegence+Medicine roll to set it up so a willing target can freeze nearly to death without being too uncomfortable in the bathtub full of ice-cubes you are having them lay in for the purpose?

Keep in mind the only character I have ever really PLAYED in a White Wolf game was a Malk (older)/Cathrian(newer) with 5 dots in INT and Sciences(Biochemistry) whose long term goal was to embrace pigs (and a few cattle to make the Jews and Muslims feel a bit better about it) and set it up so that "Perpetual Youth Drug" was availible at distribution centers across the world to anyone who had been sterilized (so have kids first, then become nigh immortal... thus preventing a ruinous population explosion). Would have been a total violation of Masq, and in the new version he was going to have to research a way to embrace animals first, but that was what made the character INTERESTING.

When they fail to open a Gateway (or whatever it is called), is it a PERMANENT or TEMPORARY point of Willpower that gets lost?

I have half a mind to create a variant campaign that might be better called "The World of Dawn's First Light", rather than "The World of Darkness"... where the old secret masters have been overthrown by new ones (using mortal allies whose informed loyalty they won)... perhaps just as self-serving in the end, but ones that believe that, in the long run, it is better to rule openly by offering something people want, rather than secretly with manipulations that can crumble like a house of cards.

P.S. - Shameless Plug Follows
Did I mention that the online avatar of the pastor of the online church I am a deacon of is very close to BEING a kushtaka? No intrinsic magic, but a very large collection of magic devices, with a special knowledge of transformation magics, and an otter form... Yep... Oren Otter, leader of the Christian Furry Fellowship... services Saturdays to avoid conflicting with "brick and mortar" churches. All polite people are welcome, regardless of if they are Christian or Furry. Webpage HERE (http://www.taur.net/~ottercomics/monastery/fred.htm).