Shaman: The Masked/Chapter Two

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The rules for character creation follow most of the same steps as found in the nWoD core rules, but with a few changes.

Step One: Concept[edit]

This is the first step to making your character. One good way to start is to describe your character in a few short words. If you're playing as part of a group, it's a good idea to make sure to work together to make sure your characters gel together, both mechanically and plotwise.

Aspirations: Choose three aspirations. These are goals for your character as a person, or as a character in a narrative. Try to choose one or two short-term aspirations and one long-term one.

Step Two: Attributes[edit]

The next thing to do is assign your character's attributes. Put Physical, Mental and Social Attributes in any order you like, and then assign 5, 4 and 3 dots to them respectively. Every Attribute starts with one free dot to begin with.

Step Three: Skills[edit]

Similarly to before, order Physical, Mental and Social skills as you choose, distributing 11, 7 or 4 dots respectively between them. You don't get any dots in Skills at character creation except the ones you are allotted here, unlike Attributes

Step Four: Skill Specialties[edit]

Select three specific areas in which to specialize. This allows you to refine your character's knowledge and abilities.

Step Five: Add Shaman Template[edit]

This part is where things begin to diverge from normal mortals.

Sympathy[edit]

This represents the part of the World Soul that the Shaman most closely connects to. It determines the types of Masks they can most easily make, and what kind of Mask they can begin play with. Additionally, each Sympathy grants a small Gift, a supernatural power they can use at any time.

  • Animalists: These Shamans hold a natural connection to the beasts of the world. Animalistic Shamans have the Gift of Scent, allowing them to discern incredible details by “smelling” the resonance around them. Their favored Masks are Body.
  • Celestine: These Shamans have a natural sense for the alignment of the cosmos. Celestines have the Gift of Fate, allowing them limited knowledge of destiny. Their favored Masks are Caelum.
  • Dreamwalkers: Dreamwalkers are Shamans who can more easily manipulate the mind, as well as entering dreams. Dreamwalkers have the Gift of Eyes, allowing them to read the emotional states of others. Their favored Masks are Sensus.
  • Elementalists: The Elementalists speak to the raw forces of nature, be it water, smoke or thunder. Elementalists have the Gift of Power, allowing them to manifest the elements in small ways. Their favored Masks are Vis.
  • Speakers for the Dead: The Deadspeakers are Shamans who focus on the dead, speaking to ghosts and helping them pass on, or enslaving the dead as fetishes and zombies. Their favored Masks are Larua

Tradition[edit]

A Shaman's Tradition is the belief system from which the symbolism of their Masks descends. These Traditions are not hard and fast structures by any means, but they usually maintain the same core ideas on existence and how they should use their powers.

  • African: “African” is a bit of a misnomer, being a group of similar but distinct shamanic traditions. Such Shamans are very spiritual, sometimes worshiping the forces they work with, and their Masks are usually wooden, with exaggerated shapes and features modeled from human or animal faces.
  • Azteca: This Tradition tends to be the most warlike, being descended from the conquering Aztec people. They often have a skull motif, and tend to believe that the World Soul demands sacrifice. In modern times, this usually means a sacrifice of time energy and resources more than blood or flesh, but a few radicals exist.
  • Carnival: This Tradition arose out of the masquers of the Carnival of Venice, with smooth and delicate-looking masks of leather or porcelain. These Masquers tend to be merrymakers who use their Masks for their own personal enjoyment.
  • Goetic: Goetic Shamans make Masks that evoke imagery of demons and angels, calling back to the Lesser Key of Solomon. Goetics often take a transactionary approach to using their Masks. The second-youngest of the major Traditions.
  • Pagan: Descending from the European traditions of old, Pagan Shamans are very strongly tied to duality: Summer and Winter, Old and Young, Handsome and Ugly. They purport themselves to be the oldest Tradition, claiming a line straight back to the time of the Lascaux Cave Paintings.
  • Sock Puppets: The youngest Tradition by a long shot, The Sock Puppets are a Tradition focused on the “Mask” that comes from internet anonymity. They're generally lambasted, until somebody needs their technical expertise. They are unique in having the ability to make virtual Masks for interaction on the internet.
  • Shigong and Nō: Two closely related Traditions, both have common roots in the legends and mythologies of East Asia. While they were once very spiritual, many focus more on theatrics, evoking the dreams of the World Soul through performance.

Synthesis[edit]

This advantage, rated from 1 to 5, represents your general level of connection to the World Soul. This value starts at 1, but can be increased with experience. Your maximum number of Masks, as well as their maximum Power and minimum Identity, are determined by your Synthesis.

Synthesis Attribute Max. Nox/Turn Masks Max Mask Power Min. Identity
1 +0 5/1 3 1 1
2 +0 6/2 5 2 2
3 +0 7/3 7 3 3
4 +1 15/7 11 4 4
5 +2 50/15 15 5 5

Masks[edit]

At character creation, you gain a single Mask from your Sympathy's favored group of Masks, which possesses a Power of zero and an Identity of 3. This Mask is designed in the same way you would design any other Mask as per Chapter 3.

  • Power: Masks each have a Power rating, from zero to 5, which governs the variety and potency of the Mask's effect, as well as how much Nox each can hold.
  • Attribute Maximum: This value is added to your Attribute Maximum, stacking with the increase from Synthesis. You can buy up to the total maximum afforded to you by your Synthesis and your highest-Power Mask, but if you are not wearing a Mask, or your current Mask is of a lower Power, any dots past your current Maximum rating are suppressed.
Power Attribute Maximum Nox Storage
0 +0 Composure
1 +0 5
2 +0 6
3 +1 7
4 +2 15
5 +3 50

Identity[edit]

This represents how much of an identity the Mask possesses, and how hard it is to keep the Mask's persona separate from your own. If a Mask's Identity reaches 10, the wearer risks losing their identity to the Mask completely. Shamans have their own, personal Integrity rating which starts at 7, and a new Mask has a starting Identity equal to it's creator's Synthesis.

Compulsion[edit]

This is the psychological effect of taking on the Mask's persona and using its powers. Indulging the Compulsion of the Mask can replenish Willpower, but risks losing some of your identity to that Mask. Even if you use more than one Mask in a Scene, you may only gain the benefits of one Mask's Compulsions per Scene. For mechanical purposes, a Compulsion is equivalent to a Vice, so when an effect involves a Vice, the Compulsion may be applied instead.

Other Traits[edit]

World Soul Sense[edit]

The Shaman possesses an innate connection to the World Soul, which manifests in numerous ways. One such way is the World Soul Sense. Effectively, the Shaman possesses Unseen Sense. This Sense extends to any phenomenon covered by the Mask they are currently wearing, as well as any phenomenon affecting the purview of the Shaman's Sympathy. For example, an Animalist would perceive any supernatural affect pertaining to animals.

Resonant Sight[edit]

Shamans can naturally detect the resonance of things around them. Without rolling, a Shaman can get a general feel for the ideas that most strongly resonate with a person, place or thing. For example, a Shaman in a bank could feel the “greedy” resonance as the sound of falling coins, or could feel the crushing presence of claustrophobia and death in an old coffin that was once used to bury someone alive. Detecting residual resonance, or getting a more refined picture, requires a Wits + Synthesis roll (applying Mask Power if appropriate).

Lucid Dreamer[edit]

All dreams are lucid dreams for Shamans, and they are always aware when they are dreaming or otherwise in the Astral. They gain 9-again on any rolls to defeat powers that would put them in the Astral without their knowledge.

Twilight Sight[edit]

So long as they are wearing a Mask, a Shaman can automatically see and hear into Twilight, although they don't gain any way to directly effect Twilight. They may suspend this power's effect at any time.

Honorary Rank[edit]

Shamans, by virtue of their connection to the World Soul, can hold an honorary Rank among ephemeral beings. A Shaman has an effective Rank when dealing with ephemera equal to the Power rating of the Mask she is presently wearing. Ephemeral creatures can detect the Shaman's effective rank as if she were one of them, and her physical attacks count as Banes against ephemerals that or 2 or more Ranks beneath her.

Feed Spirit[edit]

Shamans can give up some of their Nox to feed ephemeral creatures, often as a gift or bribe. They can expend Nox from their Masks to generate Essence of an equal amount with a resonance appropriate to the mask (so a Mask representative of trees would release tree-resonant Essence, while a cat Mask would produce cat-resonant Essence). A Shaman can instead expend Nox from their own personal store, but this only provides half the Essence value, as much of the energy must be expended to force the proper resonance into the remainder. This can be obviously used to bribe ephemera, making it effective as a Bribe in Social Maneuvering.

Willing Vessel[edit]

Shamans can allow ephemeral beings to speak through them. By expending a point of Nox from a Mask (or two from personal stores) as if using Feed Spirit, a Shaman can give himself the Open condition, allowing them to enter and speak through her. Beware that this can open a Shaman up to unwanted Possession, and in this state, the Shaman's Possession Resistance (below) is negated.

Possession Resistance[edit]

That said, Shamans have an innate resistance to Possession. When Possessing a Shaman, subtract the Shaman's Synthesis from the possessing ephemeral's dice pool. This has no effect against forms of control that don't involve direct possession.

Supernatural Tolerance[edit]

When determining a Shaman's Supernatural Tolerance (such as when resisting the powers of other supernatural creatures), add together their Synthesis rating plus the Power rating of the Mask they are currently wearing (if they are currently wearing one).

Step Six: Add Merits[edit]

Your character receives ten dots worth of merits. They can trade Merit dots for dots in Synthesis or Power for their Mask, at a rate of 3 Merit dots per dot of Synthesis or Power.

Step Seven: Advantages[edit]

  • Defense: Lesser of Dexterity or Wits, + Athletics
  • Health: Size + Stamina
  • Willpower: Composure + Resolve
  • Initiative: Dexterity + Wits
  • Size: Base value is 5
  • Speed: Size + Strength + Dexterity
  • Integrity: 7