Balancers of Mika

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Deity: Mika
Sphere: Balance, Dragons, Retribution
Titles: Goddess of Retribution, Dragon Goddess
Holy Times: Vernal Equinox, Autumnal Equinox

The Keepers of Balance

Status: Public, Religious
Resources: 14
Skills: Awareness, Occultism
Region: Shire Lands
Titles: Acolyte, Priest/Priestess

Keeper Symbol A blue-white merchant’s scale in the shape of a dragon, with flame balanced in each bowl. The left flame is white, and the right flame is black. http://www.furnation.com/Iron_Tiger/updates/balancersymbol2.jpg

Keepers History

The Balancers of Mika are a recent Order, though the history associated with it is older than even Kith Kanaan. Mika was born carrying a legacy tied to both the Divine and Infernal Realms, but her soul was that of Katrine, the Mother of Dragons.

In 1025 AE, a worshipper learned of her true heritage, and began the process of her apotheosis. The ritual was a success, using the stolen divinity of Beryn, the dead god. Apon her ascension, Mika reclaimed her ancestral birthright, once more the wife of Arion. The Keepers of Balance were created, under Mika’s purview as Goddess of Balance.

In 1027 AE, Mika visited the Archon Shaden, head of the Horsemen, and requested control of the Order. Shaden accepted, and the ancient Order fell under her purview as Goddess of Retribution.

Roleplaying

Priests of Mika, Balancers, are devoted to neutrality in a very active sense. They seek to maintain the status quo, fighting sudden change whether most deem it to be positive or negative. As slow, subtle shifts are accepted, however, Balancers are most often seen rising to action on the side of "good," as it is those with selfish ambition who most often come forth to push change. In fact, with the demonic assaults and occupation of Anansie and Aranous, the current state of the world is seen as tilted toward "evil."

Balancers consider the Shire Lands holy, as it is the site of their first church and the goddess' area of greatest influence in life. They maintain ties to the other order of the Arin pantheon, but have a special kinship for the Horsemen, seeing them also as agents of their goddess. In fact, the only other order a Balancer may belong to is the Horsemen, as any other is seen as a conflict of priorities.

Laws/Tenets

  • The world exists in balance, seek to maintain it.
  • Strike not the first blow, but do not hesitate in due retaliation.
  • Show respect to those of true faith, even if they would not return it.
  • The Shirelands are sacred.
  • The ultimate balance to life is death.

Order Abilities

Aura of Retribution (Keeper Investment)

By spending an Action and two Essence, the Balancer can protect themselves with the blessings of the goddess for the Scene. During this time, any hostile action performed by the character removes the protection. When the character is damaged by an attack, the attacker suffers the same amount of injuries, up to the character’s Might. The Wounds the character suffers is reduced by the same amount. The damage inflicted upon the attacker is not Soaked and directly applied as damage. This damage manifests as wounds similar to what the character would have suffered.

Dragon Staff (Keeper Ritual)

The character performs a ritual before the High Priestess of the Cathedral involving a staff carved of dragon bone. This ritual requires the Balancer to reduce their Spiritual Attribute to 0 and perform a Death Save using their unadjusted Spiritual Attribute. If the character succeeds, the ritual is a success and the staff is blessed. If it fails, the character may not perform the ritual until their Growth has increased. The benefits of a dragon staff are only available to the person who performed the rite with it. To anyone else, it is a normal staff with the following attributes:

Dragon Staff
Damage: 6, Hardness: 10, Bulk: 1, Cost: 20, Special: 2, R When the character is attacked and suffers damage from any source, the staff gains power. If the character attacks a person who damaged them in the Scene with the staff, they gain a number of Minimum Successes on the attack roll equal to the character’s Might. Wounds inflicted by the dragon staff can only be soaked using the target’s Spiritual Attribute – all other forms of Soak are ignored.

Tapestry Awareness (Keeper Investment)

The character becomes attuned to the vibrations of the Tapestry, the web of creation that the Arin Faith believes connects all aspects of Fate. When there is a critical event within a number of miles equal to the character’s (Might), the character becomes peripherally aware of it. The character may then spend 2 Essence and ask the Game Master a number of questions equal to the character’s Spiritual Attribute in relation to the event that can be answered yes or no or which can be answered in short, simple sentences. The Game Master must answer truthfully.

Horsemen of the End

Statues: Private, Religious
Resources: 16
Skills: Integrity, Stealth
Region: Drachen

Horseman Symbol A Celtic-styled ring with a cross in the centre. Each point of the cross holds a stone. The top is white, the bottom black, the right yellow, and the left red. A symbol of each of the Four Horsemen.

The Four Horsemen
The legends of the Four Horsemen are very few. They are mentioned once, at the death of the First World, and the creation of the Second World. There is much speculation about what they are, but no evidence as to their true nature. Each has a Name, but these names have never been spoken. There are no rituals for summoning them, there are no reports of their being sighted, and even the gods do not speak of them.

Some have crafted stories of the Four, but even these stories are few. They are the destroyers, and all that has ever been written are folk tales about who each of them are – who they were before they were called to duty. After all, they could not have always been that way, could they?

Horsemen History

The Horsemen are killers serving the Aspect of The Warrior. They search for those who do not fall under the Five Virtues of the Arin Faith. Their cause is to protect Kith Kanaan from Judgement, ensuring that those who would destroy society from within are found and retribution is meted out. In most cases, the Horsemen only strike at those with no virtue, but they may also be hired.

When a Horseman is contracted, they can be sent after someone that the Employer feels has strayed from the Five Virtues. The Horseman will study the target, and if they consider the target worthy of death, will strike without mercy. The person who has hired the Horseman, however, is met with just as much scrutiny. The innocent are never accepted as a target. Horsemen may be contracted as guards and retainers, but those who hire them are kept under constant watch, and the contract must be renewed every month.

Those who contract a Horseman know that they will be scrutinized as much as the enemy. In some cases, that is reason enough to petition a Horseman. Tyrant who is about to fall to their enemies have been known to send a Horseman out to destroy their foes, accepting they will die soon after. Those who are innocent, but have asked for a petition against someone else who is just, are often given firm warnings, though some have disappeared, only to be seen a decade later – a Horseman themselves.

Shaden, The First Horsemen

In the distant past, when the world was young, a lone assassin named Shaden was spoken of. He carried the rune sword Midori, and would stalk those he called the unjust. Any who wished could petition him, offering what they could to send him against their enemies. If the enemy was "unjust," they would die. If they were just... the punishment meted against the petitioner varied.

It is said that Shaden was not touched by the great Dragons, though he would sometimes hunt down their servants and slay them. In return, the servants of the Dragons have been said to slay him many times, but he would always rise again and slaughter his attackers in the night.

As the world changed, others joined the crusade. The search for the unjust grew, and the stories of horsemen riding through the warring city-states grew with it. Men and women dressed in dark cloaks who would enter cities and leave corpses in their wake. Some would hang the skewered bodies against the city hall, with the word "Unjust" carved into their chest. Other victims would simply vanish. And, so the legends said, those who angered Shaden simply... died.

Roleplaying

The Horsemen are killers. They are dedicated to the hunting down of those who are "unjust." In the minds of the Horsemen, the unjust are those who believe they are better than those that serve them. They exist to prove "all are equal," and enforce it with lethal efficiency. They do not believe in any form of democracy, nor do they simply hunt evil. They instead, hunt those who feel they are above the rules they lay down, or who act out of self-interest. A paladin who is cruel to those he deems wicked, or who is arrogant and callous to his "lessors," will face the same fate as a tyrannical lord who tortures his slaves.

Most of the Horsemen are distant from those around them, as the role they serve does not often provide a warm personality. That said, however, they can be extremely loyal and dedicated to those who they consider worthy, and have contracted themselves as guards or retainers to those they consider just, to ensure a long rule or to protect the children of a just individual.

Those who contract a Horseman know that they will be scrutinized as much as the enemy. In some cases, that is reason enough to petition a Horseman. Tyrant who is about to fall to their enemies have been known to send a Horseman out to destroy their foes, accepting they will die soon after. Those who are innocent, but have asked for a petition against someone else who is just, are often given firm warnings, though some have disappeared, only to be seen a decade later – a Horseman themselves.

Laws

  • Strike Down the Unjust.
  • Never Kill a Child.
  • Educate the Innocent.

Order Abilities

Final Judgement (Horsemen Training)

The character knows how to perform a quick, lethal blow against someone who does not expect the attack. As a Full Round Action, the character may spend 2 Essence to make an attack against a helpless opponent. If the attack is successful, the target must make a Death Save with a Difficulty equal to the Successes of the attack. Failure results in the target’s immediate death, while success indicates the target soaks the Damage as normal. By spending 3 Essence, the character may attempt this form of attack against someone who is aware, reducing the target’s Defence by the character’s Might. If this reduces the target to a Defence of 0, then this Ability may be used against them.

Sacred Contract (Horsemen Ritual)

The character is hired by someone to kill a target, and seals it by making a Contract. This is done by performing a Results Roll, with an Essence Cost equal to the Difficulty of the roll. The character rolls Spiritual + Integrity, to determine the Potency of the Contract. The Contract remains effective for a number of weeks equal to its Potency. The character can spend Potency from the Contract to do the following:

  • Sense the Prey

The character can spend a point from the Contract to know the exact direction and distance to both the Target and the Employer for the Scene. The character can follow this sense, and if they come within sight of the Target or Employer, they will recognize the person immediately. This effect has a Potency equal to the character’s Might and counts as a scrying or divination effect.

  • Sense Virtue

The character can spend a point from the Contract and study the Target or the Employer for a Round. They can sense how well the target stands up against the Virtues of the Arin Faith. Each Virtue is assessed as ‘Strong’, ‘Normal’,‘Weak’, or ‘None’. If the subject is ‘Weak’ or ‘None’ for at least three of the Virtues, they are considered a suitable target for the Horseman. (See Below)

  • Stalk the Prey

The character can spend a point from the Contract while in pursuit of a suitable target. The character gains a number of Additional Successes equal to their Might on all Acrobatics, Athletics, Awareness, Climb, Endurance, Investigation, Search, and Stealth Skill rolls for the Scene.

  • Wound the Prey

The character can spend a point of Contract while attacking a suitable target. The character gains a number of Minimum Successes on the attack roll equal to the character’s Might for one attack.

Unseen Presence (Horsemen Benefit)

The character uses a Full Round Action and 2 Essence. For the Scene, it becomes nearly impossible to notice the character as anything other than mundane. Nothing the character does stands out, and the character is considered a part of the scenery. The character gains a number of Additional Successes on all Larceny and Stealth Skill rolls for the Scene equal to the character’s Might. If used while performing an attack, the victim of the attack is helpless against the attack, but immediately sees through the Ability afterwards. All others must spend an amount of Essence equal to the character’s Might if they wish to see the action being performed, otherwise it goes completely unnoticed.

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