Bloodlines – Part 2: Bloodlines & Mortals

While every Bloodline is unique, many share common qualities with other bloodlines that have similar progenitors. These categories and the examples of bloodlines are a mere sampling of the wide and diverse world of the supernatural that exists around us. Folklore, myths, and legends should help you create your own bloodlines and characters with distinctive powers, philosophies, and goals.  Each of these categories include suggestions for supernatural gifts and flaws in a very generic form.  Use the system you are most familiar and comfortable with to create your character.

Those with a supernatural bloodline usually come into their heritage sometime after puberty but has been known to skip a generation or two. Those unaware of their ancestry often wind up in mental asylums under heavy medication and therapy as they see and hear things that most humans cannot. Some do not begin to experience the supernatural world until they witness a catalyzing event. Some of these events are as simple as seeing someone enter the Hidden for the first time, while others have their first taste of power when in dire circumstances.

Chaospawn

Those with chaos in their veins are known unflatteringly as Chaospawn. Most have the bloodlines from an Uzhastik Lord, but they can be descended from any spirit of chaos, entropy, or disorder. The more obvious and grotesque are usually hunted down by the Inquisition on the rumor of their existence. While many do feel the pull of their parentage, chaospawn are just like any other bloodline and have the free will to choose their fate.

The Uzhastik bloodlines all derive from the twisted space and void outside the known universe and those terrifyingly powerful beings that dwell there. No two Uzhastik lords share the same appearance, and some cannot keep a single shape for more than a moment before shifting to another. Their visages have been described as beyond the ken of anyone sane, but many have tried to describe them in more detail with varying results.

Their children generally share elements of their horrific and unnatural appearances in their reflections, and quite often share their hunger for our reality. Many of their powers derive from their strange and twisted visage along with insanity inducing or reality warping powers. Those devoted to the Cult of the Ebon Dawn often have occultism, rituals, and spell based powers.

While the Uzhastik are monstrous chaospawn from beyond reality, Imps are homegrown creatures of discord and mayhem. They thrive in the far depths of the Hidden and come to seed anarchy and chaos amongst mortal folk whenever the desire takes them. While not as numerous as their more hideous cousins, these gremlins still find ways to mate with mortals and breed true.

Pure-blood Imps are usually short, often only a foot or so tall. Their skin ranges run the gamut of the rainbow but have been traditionally described as reddish or a pasty unhealthy yellowish white by mortal storytellers. Horns are common as well as tiny wings and tails. Their love for mischief and mayhem is their best unifying feature, but it also makes them very unlikely to work together with others of their bloodline.

Chimera

Chimera are the spirits of the Hidden from far flung spiritual realms. Their bloodlines are often considered similar to that of the Feyblood, but they are the more esoteric spirits of the unnatural world. Pure-bloods are sometimes just as capricious as the Feyblood, and many tend to be more individualistic and solitary in nature. Chimera include spirits of human conceptual notions such as inspiration, love, knowledge, and fear as well as creations from the Slumber and elementals of pure magic.

Djinni are powerful spirits of elemental magic that are attracted to places of great power. Their bodies are made of crackling magical energy and glow and pulse along with their moods. Ancient storytellers saw this shifting energy and, not understanding what they saw, described it as flowing smoke and air.

While most Djinn are formed from the magic of the Hidden, it is possible for a sorcerer to draw too much power through their bodies and become a Djinn. These new Djinn lose most of their humanity and empathy even as they keep the memories of life. Eventually these memories will start to wilt and fade as they usually no longer care about their former mortal life.

Pure-blood spirits of inspiration are known as Muses after the classical Muses of mythology. While most of the spirits of inspiration are feminine in nature, there are male Muses who exist also inspire mortals. These spirits travel to the Slumber and Earth to invisibly inspire mankind with new stories, songs, inventions, and artwork.

Muses generally have subtle powers that help them stay out of sight and gift people with inspiring ideas. Phasing, Telepathy, and Enhance Another are common powers for a Muse. They rarely have any offensive powers or abilities, preferring to nurture and inspire and flee when necessary.

Dragons

The bloodlines of Dragons are the direct result of ancestry from those great and powerful creatures of legend. Also known as Royals, they tend to be strong, tough, very charismatic, and often found in charge of organizations. Many of the great heroes of myth and folklore had some dragon blood running through their veins, but the supernatural community can never seem to agree on exactly which ones.

Pure-blood dragons are stereotypically greedy, self centered, and extremely arrogant. They are physically very powerful and have tremendous magical gifts. While they do enjoy besting the lesser races in contests of all kinds, they are typically very sore losers. Pure-blood dragons are also known to find isolated shelters deep in the Hidden and sleep for years, decades, or even centuries.

There are many feuding families of dragons, and these feuds can come and go or last for centuries. The following three noble families are good examples of dragon-blooded houses striving for dominance.

While Vlad Dracul was not a pure-blood dragon, their blood flowed throughout his veins and House Dracul. He was inducted into the Order of the Dragon, a knighthood of dragon-blooded warriors who sought to protect Christendom from heretics, pagans, and those who sought the downfall of the Holy Roman Empire. His descendants are also very prone to extreme violence, tend to have a rough sense of honor, and demand the utmost of respect at all times.

Their most famous ancestor was Vlad Tepes, who later became known as Dracula. The notoriety, along with the dire misinformation presented in the stories, has greatly angered House Dracul. While they have tried over the years to suppress the book and its derivatives, they have yet to be successful and it has become even more distant from the truth.

House Lusignan is a widespread noble family descended from a pure-blood dragon named Melusina in France during the 12th Century. The legends that surround her refer to her as a beautiful wife who bore the Count many children until he broke an oath and drove her away in her true form. The same legends describe her as a powerful sorceress who was able to build a magical castle for him and his descendants.

Having fallen on hard times, the descendants no longer hold political power or status as a family, although many individuals are still wealthy and powerful from their own merit. The castle has long since crumbled, but their supernatural lineage remains intact. Their house is spread throughout the hidden and is known for their desire for privacy and their more esoteric supernatural gifts.

House Quetzalcoatl is descended from the great feathered serpent of meso-american myth himself. Most of the family is centered around Central and South America, but have been seen in the Hidden and throughout the world after the arrival of colonization. It has never been a prominent or large family, but they have enjoyed great power to control and harness the winds as well as being extremely wise and knowledgeable.

Feyblooded

Humanity has known since times of antiquity that they are not alone and that nature spirits lurk in the wilds. These spirits are collectively known as the Faerie and their part-mortal descendants are the Feyblooded. Nature, animal, and elemental spirits are all pure-blood ancestors and have very little regard for anything except their domains. This often makes them capricious and unsympathetic towards humanity, just like nature.

Pure-blood Faerie includes giants, nymphs, trolls, sirens, pixies, faerie lords, fire elementals, ogres, raven spirits, living trees, goblins, and many more. They are one of the most numerous groups of supernatural bloodlines and are spread widely across the Hidden. Their link to the natural world acts as a tether that keeps drawing them back to Earth, regardless of what humanity has done to it.

When people speak of the Fey in hushed tones, they usually are referring to the Faerie Lords. They are beautiful, awe inspiring, terrifyingly powerful, and bewitching in gifts and demeanor. They have been described by those witnesses lucky enough to escape as slender, mercurial, fair haired, and often sporting butterfly wings. Many poor souls have gone dancing with the faerie lords who are never seen again.

The powers of the pure-blooded Faerie Lords tends towards any gift that can confuse, trick, or ensnare a mortal. Control People, Shapeshift, Invisibility, Disguise, Flight (Winged) and Illusion are all common gifts that have been handed down through their mortal bloodlines. More militant Faerie Lords often have Superhuman Agility, Defense Bonus (Blindingly Fast), and Fighting Bonus (Blindingly Fast) as powers.

Pure-blooded Sirens are beautiful and extremely dangerous water spirits who have become infamous in literature for their ethereal songs drawing sailors to their doom. Pure-blood Sirens feed from the life essence of mortals to sustain their life and immortality, supping upon their last gasps of life as they meet their final fate. Thankfully, many of this bloodline do not share this hunger.

While many are completely human in appearance, many more are the inspiration for mermaids complete with long supple fish tails. Some are seemingly formed whole from the water they live in, translucent and eerily unnatural, resembling water elementals. Sirens can usually be found in the Shallow Hidden in underwater caves and grottoes near rivers, seas, ponds, and lakes.

Sirens usually have less physical and more eldritch powers at their disposal. Common powers and flaws include Liquid Form (Water), Control People (Song – Males Only), Sustenance Flaw (Mortal Life Essence), Invisibility, Shapeshift, and Superhuman Allure.

Nephilim

Angels, the pure-blood creations of God, are awesome and terrible to behold. While only the truly dead understand what lies beyond the veil of death, others throughout history have beheld angelic power and majesty. Nephilim are the forbidden children of unions between an angel, or one of the fallen, and a mortal.

It is believed that those of the celestial host find these bloodlines to be abominations, but angels very rarely deign to speak with anyone who isn’t an angel. It is known that angels have destroyed powerful Nephilim without hesitation nor warning. Those from a fallen bloodline are often actively sought as allies, and are rarely shunned, by their demonic progenitors.

Nephilim tend to have an inhuman beauty and aura of power about them and they are sometimes confused as dragons. Until their reflection is revealed, they share common qualities of enhanced strength, toughness, and agility. Their celestial nature can raise even half-breeds to the level of pure-bloods of other bloodlines and they are often sought as allies by many groups and factions.

The children of fallen angels are colloquially known as Fallen Ones along with their demonic progenitors. While many are drawn to the corruption and evil singing in their blood, not all Fallen Ones are evil. In fact, since the partially mortal Fallen Ones have free will, some have actually changed their bloodline to that of a Shining One. This process is long, arduous, and the stuff of legend. Most Fallen Ones never make such a difficult change and remain tainted with their parent’s sin of rebellion.

The powers of a Fallen One are nearly identical to those of any other Nephilim. The biggest difference is in the form and appearance of their powers. A miasma of taint and corruption tend to surround these bloodlines, and is often seen in the reflection and the powers inherited. Their wings are often bat like in appearance, sometimes shredded and rotting while flaming weapons tend to have the stench of hell-fire surrounding the flame. Curses and injury inflicting powers are also common.

Many heroes of ancient renown may have been numbered amongst the Shining Ones. Unlike their fallen brethren, they feel the pull of goodness and light, but like them it still does not control their destiny. Their free will has allowed corruption to drag down Shining Ones before, turning them into Fallen Ones. It is far easier for a Shining One to fall than a Fallen One to drag themselves back from the pull of the abyss.

All of the bloodlines have a myriad of powers and the Shining Ones are no different. It is believed by scholars that every member of the Heavenly Host has a responsibility and the gifts to carry out their God given mission. Whether or not this is true, every angel has a unique set of powers that they may bring to bear. The more militant among them have more physical gifts such as Superhuman Strength, Agility, and Body as well as a Fighting or Defense Bonus. Angels of mercy tend to have healing gifts or ways to succor those in pain or anguish.

Ragebound

Everyone has felt the heat of rage fill their mind pushing them to make rash decisions at some point in their past. The Ragebound bloodlines feel that they are precariously balanced on that precipice for much of their lives, trying not to give in to the powerful emotions swirling through their brains. That single thread binds their bloodlines together as curses from their spiritual fore-bearer.

In some cases this is a literal curse that transformed an ancestor, while in others they are descended from a liaison between mortal flesh and a spirit of rage. Several creatures from Japanese folklore are examples of an individual Ragebound discovering their inner rage and fully expressing it for the first time. Others become the progenitors of a new bloodline as they willingly allow a rage spirit to bind to their soul and grant them vengeance upon others.

The ancient Berserkers of the north lands were of Viking descent who went into a trance before battle and found that little could harm them in battle. It is believed that three ancient cults gave the Berserkers their power: the Ulfhednar (Wolf Warriors), the Svinfylking (Boar Warriors), and Finnish Bear Cults. They fought as demons, able to turn iron and flame aside with their bare skin and rip the limbs from their enemies.

Most Berserkers have human looking reflections with just small differences that highlight their lust for rage and battle. Others have a translucent animal spirit that envelops them as they fight, making them seem more eldritch and unnatural. A few have a reflection of their Berserker ancestors complete with the animal pelts and bare skin.

Berserkers nearly always have powers that benefit them in battle. Superhuman Strength, Body, Defense, Toughness, Regeneration, and Melee Weapon are all very common powers among the Berserkers. Very few have more subtle and merciful gifts, but some may have learned a handful to better honor Odin or other ancient gods.

The more monstrous of this bloodline are called Ragestained by the other bloodlines and many members have been confused with Chaospawn. These poor people have a reflection that is gnarled, twisted, and horrifically monstrous. As time goes on, they tend to pull themselves away from others and live solitary lives bereft of people and the reasons to rage.

These poor souls often have powers derived from their misshapen reflections, with tentacles and Superhuman Strength being very common. Other powers such as poisonous secretions, giant maws, and fear inducing auras are also in keeping with their hideous visages. Very few Ragestained will have anything subtle or merciful about their gifts.

Some spirits of rage are more material and bestial in appearance and demeanor. When these pure-blood creatures bite or claw their victims they can pass a curse onto them, creating a new bloodline. This new bloodline curse passes genetically from generation to generation, but cannot be passed to anyone else with a similar bite or mauling. These Were-Creatures can have the shape of any animal but usually have the form of meat eating predators, most commonly werewolves.

There are several clans of werewolves who are feuding over long passed slights, the most notable being the Barrons & McCreedys. This feud started in the American Mid-West during the California gold rush over a contested mine claim, an accidental death, and not enough cool heads. Their feud continues to this day with each clan perpetuating the violence and death.

Were-Creatures usually have very visceral and physical powers such as Melee Weapon (Massive Maw), Superhuman physical attributes, and Fighting Bonus. They often take Animal Form, Hybrid Form, or both to switch between their inhuman shapes. Most Were-Creatures also purchase the Weakness Flaws for silver and wolf’s bane but this is not absolutely necessary.

Returned

The Returned are those who have returned from the grave to live again and those whom they share this gift with. They number vampires, revenants, liches, and any other departed spirit that returns to the land of the living. While they do not have families, being bereft of true life, many have found supernatural ways to extend their scions and progeny and gifting them with the powers of undeath. While most are technically pure-bloods, most of the Returned have approximately the same level of power scale as other bloodlines. Many of the Returned cannot pass on their bloodlines.

They are known for being vicious, cunning, and very dangerous and many have a distinct lack of empathy for the living. While those most recently returned still cling to their former life, they find that those passions fade as time moves on. Eventually most returned find existence to be ashes lingering in their mouths but unable to move on.

Many powerful returned are susceptible to sunlight and find that it burns or weakens them. This weakness should be reflected in the purchase of a Weakness Flaw. Most also hunger for life in some way, be it the suckling of blood, the eating of human flesh, or the devouring of life energy. This hunger only grows as they nurture their power.

When a soul departs its body before it is ready, leaving so much undone, it may come back to our world if the will and drive of the departed are strong enough. While this is thankfully a very rare occurrence, it happens just enough to drive ghost stories and tales of Revenants returned. A very select few Revenants are brought back with rituals and ceremonies that exist to facilitate the return of the departed. Revenants cannot pass on their bloodlines.

Most Revenants do not return to their physical bodies after they die. Instead their insubstantial forms are able to manifest a physical form when they need one. A power that allows them to be non-corporeal such as Phasing or Gaseous Form should be taken by a Revenant. This physical form can take many forms, looking like the character did in life, as the character did just after death, or even as a shadowy form with glowing red eyes. In most cases this physical form cannot be manifested in direct sunlight and should be represented by the Weakness Flaw.

While many creatures and spirits of the Hidden feast on the blood and life energy of mortals, Vampires are those mortals that were killed by another Vampire and then brought back to un-life. The original pure-blood Vampires are extremely physically powerful, masters of most of their skills, and exceptionally dangerous. Their bloodline “descendants” are those that the pure-blood have turned and their progeny as well. Vampires are sterile and unable to copulate for procreation.

Different bloodlines of Vampires create progeny in different ways and are mirrored in folklore and modern fiction. The most common way for a Vampire to further the bloodline is to drain the victim completely of blood and then as they are dying place their mouth to suckle the vampire’s own mingled blood. Other bloodlines are created from the Vampire sucking their victims over multiple days, leaving them dead after the final meal. Regardless of the method, only mortals, and not bloodlines, are able to be turned into Vampires.

Once the victim has died and been drained of blood, their soul begins to depart their mortal flesh. The process of vampirism will try to anchor the soul into the freshly deceased corpse, but the soul is always given a chance for the afterlife. Most souls choose to go to their final rest, but a small number cling to the desire for the mortal coil and refuse to go. This is usually not a conscious choice and instead more of an instinctual need.

Nearly every culture has at least one Vampire legend and they are vastly different in the powers and weaknesses that are portrayed. Most Vampires have weaknesses to sunlight and some bloodlines have further weaknesses to wood, silver, garlic, and religious belief. Their powers tend towards the physical, but some bloodlines have the ability to change their form or control the minds of others. Don’t feel you have to be constrained by Hollywood’s traditions, there are enough legends to make truly unique bloodlines.

Some ghostly spirits are not strong enough to exist outside of a protective shell and seek refuge inside objects and buildings. These possessed items, known as Constructs, can be nearly anything and can include personal artifacts, human sized automatons, houses, dolls, and jumbled monsters assembled from different corpses. Constructs have complete control of their shell, but cannot leave their anchor and once it is destroyed they are invariably sent to the afterlife.

Most Constructs have powers that replicate the abilities of their shells. Many that take refuge in non-humanoid objects have Telekinesis and are known as poltergeists. Those in humanoid shells often have more physical powers to help defend themselves from attack. They also share the weakness to sunlight, having their motive power and other gifts reduced or eliminated during the day.

Witnesses

When a human witnesses the supernatural, their own scotomas and mental predispositions help keep the witness from understanding what actually occurred. The magical energies associated with powers usually degrade and obscure electronic recording methods. The difficulty penalty to witness or record supernatural occurrences rises with the relative power of the event or gift.

Like most witnesses, those experiencing the supernatural will see events based upon their own preconceived notions and prejudices. The Inquisition uses these to help shape a non-supernatural narrative of events and people eagerly assist them in their disbelief. Those that remember and speak out are often dismissed as crackpots, junkies, and the mentally deranged.

Characters that begin to experience the supernatural regularly will slowly become acclimatized by seeing the uncanny and impossible. While they will begin to sound more and more unhinged to other mundanes, they will begin to suffer lower penalties to discerning the supernatural. If they speak out at this time about the truth of what they have experienced, the Inquisition will be forced to deal with them. Sometimes this involves bringing them into that organization and sometimes simply silencing them.

Mortal Magicians

True mortals can never learn spell magic, have supernatural gifts, nor cast rituals without aid. Those mortals in the know however may use objects of power to accomplish what they themselves cannot. While many magicians of legend are actually descended from a bloodline, some mortals have discovered ways to mimic the supernatural and steal their power.

Magicians are usually solitary, secretive, and arrogant in their pursuit of power. While they do not have bloodlines, they do have traditions where they pass their knowledge down to an heir or apprentice. They try to keep themselves hidden from the rest of the supernatural world as many bloodlines do not take kindly to being poached and their bodies harvested for magic.

There are traditions of mortal magicians that have found methods to preserve bodily parts of the supernatural and use these Talismans to evoke some measure of power from them. The more powerful the unwilling donor, the more useful and strong the evoked power may be. Pure-bloods are always heavily desired by magicians who will often go well out of their way for the opportunity to harvest a fresh corpse of one. Dragon blood, satyr genitals, demon-monkey paws, faerie wings, and many other organs are in demand on black markets and in shady deals between dark magicians.

Talismans will have only one power that best represents the body part and which was possessed by the donor. If the donor does not have the power, it cannot be found in the freshly made talisman. Once the power has been taken for a talisman, no other talismans may be made with that power from the same donor. Making a Talisman will require an extended action using a Lore or Occultist skill.  They should require days or weeks of effort to create.

Magicians must attune themselves to any talisman they acquire through ritual and meditation. This requires a Meditation or Occultist extended action over several hours spent attuning.  More powerful Talismans may require days of strict meditation and fasting.

Anyone attempting to create, attune, or invoke a talisman will have a penalty based on the relative power stored within.  Mortal magicians using a talisman will always suffer an additional difficulty to any skill checks using or attuning a talisman created by others. Any cost created by a gift enshrined in a Talisman will be borne by the bearer.

Talismans are long lasting sources of power if cared for, but they are not limitless. A botch while using a talisman may be spent to make the talisman unusable for the rest of the encounter. A talisman will begin to show signs of strain after the first botch and will become unusable after the third botch acquired.

Mortal magicians may attempt to use the magic stored in a talisman to cast a long lasting ritual. The amount of energy that may be spent to power a ritual is equal to roughly three times the normal cost of the power stored within the talisman. Regardless of how much the talisman exceeds the needs of the ritual, once used to energize a ritual the talisman will be permanently spent.

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