With the powers and history posts behind me it’s now time to talk about the supernatural creatures that reside within the campaign setting. First, this post will be broad strokes – assume that most supernatural creatures exist within the setting in some form or another. This post will concentrate on the important monsters that make up the secret world of the supernatural in the campaign.
Monster Knowledge Skills
First, let’s note which hidden lore skills are available in the setting
Knowledge is Power
Skills used to identify what a particular ceteri is or what a given supernatural thing or place might be. These skills are organized by broad subject with creature classifications matched up with those in the bestiary (see Chapter XX, p. 00). Additionally, some skills are rolled at a penalty – for skills like this there is a notation. Wildcard skills can also be used in place of any skill they cover normally – at no penalty (if there is one).
- Alchemical Objects (potions, materials, etc.): Alchemy (Magical or Mundane), Chemistry (at -3), Hidden Lore (Alchemy), Metallurgy (at -3 for metal-based materials), Occultism (at -3), and Thaumatology (-5).
- Angels: Area Knowledge (Heaven at -7), Hidden Lore (Angels), Occultism, and Theology (Abrahamic at -5).
- Constructs: Hidden Lore (Constructs), Occultism, and Thaumatology.
- Cryptids (mutated animals, unknown species, etc.): Animal Handling (specific mundane animal), Biology, Expert Skill (Cryptozoology), Hidden Lore (Cryptozoology), and Veterinary (at -3 or more).
- Demons: Area Knowledge (Hell at -5), Hidden Lore (Demons), Occultism, and Theology (Abrahamic at -3).
- Faeries: Area Knowledge (Underhill at -5), Hidden Lore (Faerie), and Occultism.
- Free Spirits (elementals, artificially created spirits, etc.): Area Knowledge (appropriate Outlands specialty for elementals at -5), Hidden Lore (Free Spirits), Occultism, Thaumatology (for magically created beings at -3), and Theology (Shamanic or similar).
- The Forsaken (e.g., succubi, werewolves, vampires, and nephilim): Hidden Lore (Forsaken), Hidden Lore (Shapeshifters for werewolves at -3), Hidden Lore (Demons for succubi at -3), Hidden (Vampires for vampires at -3), and Occultism. Additionally, Hidden Lore (Angels or Demons) can be used in place of Hidden Lore (Forsaken), but at -4. Rolls for nephilim are at a -5 penalty even with Hidden Lore!
- Giants (ogres, jotun, giants, etc.): Area Knowledge (Appropriate specialty at -5), Hidden Lore (Giants), and Occultism.
- Inbetweeners (any being who occupies Between): Area Knowledge (Between at -3), Hidden Lore (Inbetweeners), and Occultism.
- Magical (includes those with magical powers, mystical writings, magical objects, etc.): Hidden Lore (Magical Objects), Hidden Lore (Magical Writing), History (Magical), Linguistics (at -5 or more), Literature (Occult), Occultism, Physics (Metaphysics), and Thaumatology.
- Nameless Ones: Hidden Lore (Nameless Ones). Note: Occultism can tell you that what you are dealing with is a Nameless One or one of their servitors – but unless a critical success is rolled it cannot tell you its capabilities.
- Outlands (any outer plane dimension): Area Knowledge (Outlands), Hidden Lore (Outlands), and Occultism.
- Psychics (psionic powers, psis, etc.): Expert Skill (Psionics), Hidden Lore (Psis), Occultism, Physics (Metaphysics or Paraphysics), and Psychology (Parapsychology). Electronics Operation (Psychotronics) can be used as well as long as you have the right equipment.
- Restless Undead (any corporeal undead, e.g., mummies, zombies, etc.): Expert Skill (Thanatology or Egyptology), Hidden Lore (Restless Undead), Occultism, and Theology (any appropriate specialty).
- Ley Lines (ley lines, nexuses, mana fountains or pools, etc.): Hidden Lore (Ley Lines), Occultism, and Thaumatology.
- Shapeshifters (any being which has one or more forms): Hidden Lore (Shapeshifters), Occultism, or Veterinary (for those with animal shapes – like skinturners). Note, this skill can be used to identify werewolves at a -3 to rolls.
- Vampires: Hidden Lore (Vampires) or Occultism. Note, this skill can be used to identify Forsaken vampires at a -3 to rolls.
The Laws of Cellini
One of the things I tried to do within the campaign was to create a few “laws of supernature” akin to the laws of nature. Benvenuto Cellini was a known goldsmith, painter, sculptor, soldier, poet, and musician of the no small skill during the Renaissance. He was less well known for the fact that he was a scholar of the occult, a sorcerer of considerable power, and a hobbyist monster hunter. Cellini was a brilliant man and more of an academic than a serious monster hunter. He was a member of the Venatori and helped to organize them (along with several others) into their modern organization. He also codified all that he learned of the supernatural world and the ceteri into the Libri Venatorum and included (posthumously) his treatise Le Leggi della Cellini, or “The Laws of Cellini” these laws serve as a marker for certain aspects of the supernatural world and have been used as they are for almost five hundred years. The Laws coming into being when Cellini, a man used his magic to coerce, deduce, and pry out of any spirit he could summon how to bind, dismiss, or destroy the ceteri. After several years of this, he wrote a treatise on the subject (which would not be discovered until his mysterious death in 1571). Cellini would go on to write a famous autobiography that would include dozens of occult and supernatural references that would be discounted by the modern world as outright lies or flights of fancy.
His laws have still survived and remain words to live by for those who would hunt monsters.
Abbrusciare le Ossa
If they can be found, a sure-fire way of getting rid of a ghost is to purify and burn their remains. Usually this involves drowning the remains in an accelerant (possibly with salt and dousing the smoking remains in holy water), but last rites and ritually destroying the remains works as well.
Despite any focus they might have, their earthly remains are what truly ties them to the material world and without them their connection to reality is broken, they are effectively destroyed. Though uncommon, some spirits have tethers – things they prized in life so much that it bound their souls in their death. Treat these as earthly remains. Once their remains (or tethers) are destroyed the only way for a spirit to save itself is to be bound to something else through the use of magic or sheer willpower.
Like most supernatural creatures, spirits despise “cold” or “meteoric” iron, it seems to interfere with their natural EM field (the same field parapsychologists claim to have detected at the supposed haunting of ghosts). When used as a weapon this forces an insubstantial target on our plane to temporarily destabilize and go back to Between. This works on all spirits whom this law applies too, even those using magic or psi powers to project their spirits from their bodies.
Against substantial targets, this manifests more dramatically, causing the ceteri considerable damage if they are struck by a weapon of cold iron and weakening them if in they are in its presence.
If you confront a ghost with the truth of its past there is a possibility you may lay it to rest. For example, say the ghost of a woman who killed her husband in a jealous rage were confronted with the truth that in fact he had been loyal to her (she thought him an adulterer) she would have to deal with her past. This usually requires research into the ghost’s past.
Also the name of one of his more famous works (another occult reference?), Le means “salt or salt cellar.” Simply put spirits do not like salt because it is a purifying substance, placed along a doorway or window it bars passage into that portion of a house. If all doorways and windows are protected then it’s next to impossible for a spirit to enter. The salt line must be unbroken and in a copious amount (sprinkles don’t cut it!). It can also be used as a weapon but must be at least a handful (at least 0.1 lbs.) and thrown directly on the spirit who must be within a yard of the attacker. Used as a weapon it causes great pain to the spirit.
Water is a conductor for the supernatural world; it eases the transition between planes of existence and the material world. It also acts as a resistor against the connection of certain spiritual energies that keep such entities in the material world. Running water can do devastating things to a spirit’s essence, as it carries off bits and pieces of them along the current. Most spirits won’t go within a few yards of running water (of course this doesn’t apply to spirits who were drowned, died at sea, etc.). Only natural running water seems to affect them this way (you can’t use a water gun!), however fire hydrants, busted water mains, roof runoffs, and other “natural” urban water sources seems to work – though are much weaker.
Riflesso di Sé
The reflection of a being’s self can potentially captivate or trap it. Since this draw’s on both physical and mental properties of the ceteri only those who are both physically and mentally “tough” can resist the effect. Those who are captivated stare at their reflection (typically, a mirror) in a daze, while those who can be trapped are held immobile until it’s removed.
Picking Over the Bones
Next up, I’ll talk about vampires, werewolves, and succubi – collectively known as the Forsaken.