Mar 28, 2013

Your Body is a Temple to the Black Vermin Gods Pt 1.

A couple of players in the Dawnlands game have remarked that there's a cyberpunk or transhumanist feel to it because of the relentless modification of the PCs' bodies. Two died and came back as undead last session, one with silver wiring for the nerves that were smashed in by a stone altar hurled by a golden golem, and the other with mercury blood that replaced the blood he'd lost when the altar shattered and lacerated him. I don't know why I like body modification as a theme in my rpgs (I have no piercings or tattoos in real life), but here are some of the kinds of modifications PCs can have:

Body Markings

There are four kinds of permanent marks on the body that can be made to have supernatural effects: Tattoos, Moko, Weals and Brands. PCs may pierce any body part they so please. This is a common way to hold charms and magic point stores, but is not itself magical.

General rules

All body markings require an artist with Craft (Skin Artist) to make a test. Receiving a body marking is a painful, often dangerous, process in the Dawnlands, and the recipient of one takes an amount of damage equal to the relevant factor when it is applied. The factor will be described in each entry. This damage cannot be blocked by armour or magic, and must be healed naturally. On a failed test, only the damage is inflicted, and no benefit is gained. This damage can cause major wounds. All body markings require the recipient to invest a number of improvement rolls equal to half the factor.

Tattoos (Factor: Spell Magnitude)

Spell tattoos may be used to hold folk / common / battle magic spells, with each tattoo of at least hand size holding one (and only one) spell. Spell tattoos may be of any magnitude. The artist creating the tattoo must know the spell at the correct magnitude. The spell counts as permanently active, and has the recipient as the target for any effect. If for some reason the spell effect would end due to a condition, it is suppressed so long as the condition holds then reactivates as soon as the condition is gone. Spell tattoos require the recipient to invest a number of Magic Points equal to the spell's magnitude which are not recovered unless the spell tattoo is removed.

Spell tattoos are common to all cultures in the Dawnlands. In Dwer Tor they are mainly used to control slaves and shunned by the upper classes.

Moko (Factor: Converted MP)

Moko are tattooed scars done by chiseling grooves into the skin and filling them with pigment. They convert maximum Magic Points into maximum Hit Points permanently at a ratio of 1 to 1. Any number of Magic Points may be converted, though a person with 0 MP still falls unconscious. The recipient does not automatically receive HP and must recover them by resting. 

Weykulni and Forest People are the most common users of moko, especially their warriors.

Weals (Factor: Converted HP)

Weals are bulging scars, often caused by the insertion of foreign material (including pigmented particulate) into open wounds. Weals convert maximum Hit Points into maximum Magic Points permanently at a ratio of 1 to 1, as the inverse of moko. A person may have a higher maximum Magic Point total than their POW using this method. 

The Kaddish use weals more than anyone else does.

Brands (Factor: Spirit Armour Points)

Brands here refer to scar designs caused by burning. Magical brands grant armour points in spirit combat (only). A person may have up to 6 points of armour against such attacks. Branding deals twice the normal damage receiving a body marking does.

Part 2 is here.

1 comment:

  1. One of the things I found most evocative about Planescape: Torment was the use of tattoos as magical items, so I approve of this!