Geist: The Sin Eaters
Some Manifestations are subtle, laying curses on a target or infusing the world around her with the energies of death. The Rage is not subtle at all. At the Sin-Eater’s direction, her geist reaches out and attacks someone. The precise nature of the attack varies depending on the Key used to unlock the Rage. Further, the Sin-Eater can change the appearance of the Rage at any time, as long as it’s thematic to the Key used — a blast of Bestial Rage could send carrion crows to tear his opponent apart or summon a cloud of wasps and bees that crawl all over his flesh. Unless a Key specifically manifests the attack in the physical world, the Rage is generally invisible. The target can perceive its effects, as can certain supernatural creatures using powers such as a vampire’s Aura Perception or a warlock’s Mage Sight.
The basic power of the Rage allows a Sin-Eater to attack a target at a range of up to 20 yards per dot of Psyche. The activation roll for the Rage is also the attack roll, with each success dealing lethal damage unless the unlocking Key alters the type of damage. Unlike other ranged attacks, the target’s Defense normally applies to the Rage, unless a specific Key alters it.
Cost: 1 plasm
Dice Pool: Strength + Key Skill + Rage rating â€“ target’s Defense
Dramatic Failure: The plasm wracks the Sin-Eater’s body, dealing a point of lethal damage.
Failure: The attempt to manifest the Rage fails.
Success: The Bound manifests the Rage, directing his geist to strike at someone. The target takes one point of lethal damage per success.
Exceptional Success: The terrible wounds inflicted by the Rage serve to remind others why they don’t want to fuck with a Sin-Eater. All Intimidate rolls until the end of the scene gain the 9-again quality.
The Elemental Rage Keys
The Sin-Eater infuses his attacks with the power of one of the four classical elements, altering its effects as appropriate. Note that each Elemental Key must be acquired separately.
Cold-Wind Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 143 ]
The Cold Wind Rage chills its victims to the bone. If the Cold Wind Rage inflicts damage, its victim suffers a â€“1 penalty to all rolls until the end of the scene. Damage inflicted by the Cold Wind Rage is bashing, rather than lethal.
2 Dots: The penalties from repeated attacks stack, up to a maximum of -5.
3 Dots: Pounding winds toss the character’s foes around like dead leaves. With the expenditure of an extra point of plasm, every point of damage knocks his opponent 5 yards away from the Sin-Eater.
4 Dots: The Sin-Eater can strike shards of icy cold deep into his opponents’ muscles. All uses of the Cold Wind Rage now deal lethal damage for no cost, and the Sin-Eater can increase his dice pool by spending plasm up to his Occult Skill rating.
5 Dots: The Sin-Eater can freeze his opponent’s heart in his chest. This costs two points of plasm and a point of Willpower. His opponent adds her Stamina to her Defense. If the attack roll succeeds, re-roll any dice that did not succeed, as if the roll were a rote action
Grave-Dirt Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 143 ]
Victims of the Grave-Dirt Rage feel tremendous pressure crushing them, as if they’re being buried alive.
2 Dots The Sin-Eater’s target is weighed down, reducing her Speed by one for every point of damage caused.
3 Dots: The Bound can make his target feel like she’s being buried alive. This power costs two points of plasm and is resisted by Composure rather than Defense. Each success removes a point of the target’s Willpower rather than targeting her Health.
4 Dots: This power holds its target in place, preventing her from moving. If the Sin-Eater deals any damage, he can reflexively spend a point of plasm to reduce the target’s Defense to 0 until the start of the Sin-Eater’s next turn.
5 Dots: The ground opens up to swallow his target. He spends three points of plasm and rolls as normal, but ignores armor. Every point of damage subtracts one from the victim’s Dexterity. On an exceptional success, the victim is buried, and will start to suffocate if still alive.
Pyre-Flame Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 143 ]
The Pyre-Flame Rage wreathes its victims in ghostly flames. This does not ignite inanimate objects.
2 Dots The Sin-Eater can spend an extra point of plasm to set his target’s clothes on fire. The victim takes one point of lethal damage each turn until the flames are extinguished.
3 Dots: This power leaves terrible illusory scars. The player spends one point each of Willpower and plasm (up to a number of each equal to her Occult Skill) when activating this power, and each point spent applies a â€“1 penalty to all the target’s Social rolls until the end of the scene.
4 Dots: The Bound can empower her flames to do terrible damage. All subsequent uses of the Pyre-Flame Rage deal aggravated damage.
5 Dots: The flames feast on the victim’s body. By spending a point of Willpower and two points of plasm, the player can spread the resultant damage across her victim’s Physical Attributes as well as her Health. Such damage is healed at the same rate as ordinary damage.
Tear-Stained Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 143 ]
To victims of the Tear-Stained Rage, the air around them suddenly turns into water, choking the life from them. The shock costs the victim a point of Willpower in addition to the damage caused, but all damage inflicted is bashing.
2 Dots The Sin-Eater’s victims feel incredible thirst. Instead of damage, the victim suffers as though he had gone without water for two days per activation success.
3 Dots: The Sin-Eater can spend two points of plasm to fill her victim’s lungs with tears. He takes one point of lethal damage per turn, for a number of turns equal to the activation successes.
4 Dots: The Manifestation chokes the victim with the tears of the dead. All subsequent uses of the Tear-Stained Rage deal lethal damage.
5 Dots: The Sin-Eater can drown her foes in tears. This costs three points of plasm. In addition to the effects of Tear-Stained Rage 3, the victim cannot take any actions while he drowns.
Industrial Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 143 ]
The Industrial Rage turns man-made items against its victims. A Sin-Eater using this power must channel it through a weapon — whether it’s a revolver dating from the Old West or a traditional reaper’s scythe. Using a weapon in this way adds the weapon’s bonus to the activation dice pool, but the activation roll suffers technology age modifiers according to the Industrial Key, above. The Sin-Eater doesn’t have to strike his opponent with the weapon; a symbolic gesture is enough to trigger this Manifestation. That said, his geist can’t exert its power out to any greater range just because the Sin-Eater is wielding a hunting rifle. The range of this Manifestation is unaffected by the weapon used.
2 Dots When attacking with the Industrial Rage any piece of man-made technology with more than two moving parts, the Sin-Eater’s attack ignores two points of the object’s Durability.
3 Dots: By spending an extra point of plasm, when the character attacks anything of Size 4 or less her attacks count as a Killing Blow (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 168): Apply the whole Manifestation dice pool as automatic damage.
4 Dots: The Bound can turn any complex machines in the local area against his target with a gesture. This power only works if there are man-made objects with two or more moving parts within an area equal to 10 yards per point of Psyche. With attacks coming from every corner, his target doesn’t stand a chance of defending herself. The player spends 2 plasm, and rolls Presence + Crafts + Rage rating. For each success, the Sin-Eater may fling one object of Size 3 or below at her target. Each object does three dice of bashing damage that the target cannot defend against. If the Sin-Eater also spends a point of Willpower, the objects deal lethal damage instead.
5 Dots: The Sin-Eater is able to prepare for a devastating shot. The player may spend a point of Willpower and roll the appropriate dice pool for his weapon. On his next turn, he adds the successes from the activation dice pool as bonus dice to his attack roll.
Passion Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 144 ]
The Passion Rage digs through the victim’s memories, bringing back moments of weakness and pain to cripple the Sin-Eater’s foe. When the Sin-Eater unlocks the Passion Rage, she inflicts mental trauma that deals bashing damage. The victim resists this power with the lower of his Resolve and Composure, rather than Defense.
2 Dots The Sin-Eater can intimidate her foes by combining her own image with her victim’s fears. Spending an extra plasm when activating the Passion Rage allows the Sin-Eater to use the Intimidation Skill against that person as an uncontested action.
3 Dots: This emotional onslaught may make a victim freeze in terror. The player may spend an extra point of plasm to reduce her victim’s Defense to 0 until his next turn.
4 Dots: This attack focuses the victim’s thoughts on his own mortality. For each point of damage dealt, the Sin-Eater can spend two points of plasm to drain one point of Willpower from the victim.
5 Dots: At this level, the Sin-Eater can devastate her target’s mind. The player spends 2 plasm and 1 Willpower, and rolls Manipulation + Empathy + Rage rating â€“ the lower of target’s Resolve and Composure. Each success reduces one of the target’s Mental Attributes by one point. This Attribute damage heals at the same rate as lethal damage.
Phantasmal Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 144 ]
A Sin-Eater that unlocks the Phantasmal Rage can conjure realistic illusions that scour her foe’s body. At early levels, the injuries inflicted by this Manifestation are illusory; even debilitating wounds fade as the victim’s head clears. As the Sin-Eater unlocks new powers, she can create illusions that draw a victim into harming himself. The illusions created by this power are resisted by a character’s Composure, rather than his Defense.
The illusion of damage is a powerful one. Mark damage dealt by the Phantasmal Rage with a horizontal line in place of the usual ‘X’ for lethal damage. This damage counts as lethal damage, but normally vanishes at the end of a scene. Any points of illusory damage that have been converted to aggravated damage revert to lethal damage at the end of the scene.
2 Dots The Sin-Eater can create a spectral opponent that strikes at his target. The player spends 2 plasm and rolls Manipulation + Persuasion + Rage rank. Success creates a spectral combatant with a dice pool equal to this power’s activation successes. This apparition deals illusory damage, and acts just before the Sin-Eater. The main use of this combatant is to stack numbers in the Sin-Eater’s favor. The opponent lasts for three turns, then dissipates into mist.
3 Dots: When a Sin-Eater unlocks this ability, he can unleash a dream hunter — a small part of his geist that lingers in his opponent’s mind and strikes when she falls asleep. The player spends 2 plasm and rolls Presence + Persuasion + Rage rank versus the target’s Resolve + Psyche. If the Sin-Eater is successful, the next time the victim falls asleep, she’s haunted by terrible nightmares. She suffers illusory damage equal to her Strength. This damage remains until she next sleeps for more than six uninterrupted hours.
4 Dots: The character can create illusions so terrifying that his victim is hard-pressed to respond. This power costs an additional point of plasm. If the character deals any damage, his target must spend a point of Willpower to do anything other than moving his Speed directly away from the Sin-Eater.
5 Dots: With the expenditure of a point of Willpower, any illusory damage caused by the Phantasmal Rage is treated as aggravated damage rather than lethal.
Primeval Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 145 ]
Skill: Animal Ken
The Primeval Rage calls forth animals to strike at a Sin-Eater’s enemies. Initially, those animals are spectral extensions of his geist, but at higher levels mundane creatures may join in on the attack.
2 Dots The Sin-Eater can manifest more than one creature — a murder of crows, a pack of hell-hounds, or a wake of vultures. His attacks are thus harder to defend against. Every point of plasm spent in addition to the one necessary to activate the Primeval Rage reduces the target’s Defense by one point.
3 Dots: This level of Manifestation conjures a swarm of venomous insects that crawls across the target’s skin, painfully biting and stinging. The player spends 2 plasm and rolls Stamina + Animal Ken + Rage rating – target’s Stamina. Success summons a swarm of insects to harass a foe. The swarm acts at the end of the Sin-Eater’s turn and has an attack dice pool of four dice, to which the target’s Defense does not apply. The insects attack for one turn per success.
4 Dots: The Sin-Eater can augment his attacks with animals in the nearby area by spending a point of plasm. On a city street, rats and feral dogs come to his aid, while in rural areas he can attract cougars, wolves, or even bears. Precisely which animals are in the area is up to the Storyteller. Add a number of dice to the attack equal to the Size of the largest attacking animal.
5 Dots: The Sin-Eater may spread his attention to more than one foe at a time by spending a point of plasm per extra target. This power doesn’t allow the character to make more than one attack; instead, roll once against the highest Defense of all the targets, plus one per extra victim. If the roll succeeds, allocate the successes among the targets. No target can take less than one point of damage if the player rolls enough successes.
The two, four, and five-dot powers of the Primeval Rage can all apply to the same activation roll. In addition to requiring lots of plasm, the Sin-Eater must spend one point of Willpower to use two subsidiary powers, or two points of Willpower to use all three. This is costly, but the combination of powers is potent enough to be worth it.
Stigmata Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 145 ]
The Stigmata Rage calls to the primal energies of blood and death. The ritualistic damage inflicted to activate this key allows a Sin-Eater’s geist to affect ghosts just as easily as he can affect living (or unliving) creatures, and calls on blood to inflict terrible wounds. This Manifestation requires a Sin-Eater get closer to her foes than other uses of the Rage — the range of this power is just two yards per dot of Psyche.
2 Dots The Sin-Eater can make humans bleed from their eyes and ears, while ghosts expel similarly vital fluids into the air. In addition to the damage caused by the base attack, her victim becomes woozy and distracted. Every two points of damage dealt (rounded down) also inflicts a -1 modifier (maximum -5) to Mental rolls for the duration of the scene. Successive attacks don’t stack penalties; the highest penalty always applies.
3 Dots: The Sin-Eater may spend an extra point of plasm to force more of his victim’s fluids from his body. At the end of the victim’s turn, he takes a point of bashing damage until he receives medical attention (success on a simple Intelligence + Medicine roll suffices) or the scene ends.
4 Dots: This is one of the most disturbing powers available to a Sin-Eater. She forcefully vomits burning, acidic blood infused with her geist’s essence. She must spend an extra point of plasm, but deals aggravated damage rather than lethal.
5 Dots: The Sin-Eater can force her victim’s blood out of every pore. This is akin to Stigmata Rage 3 but costs an extra Willpower. The damage inflicted each turn is aggravated instead of bashing.
Stillness Rage Key [ Geist: The Sin-Eaters — Page 146 ]
Far from impotent, the Stillness Rage is anger boiled into controlled malice, poison placed in the food, or a stiletto through the heart, rather than a frenzied attack with a kitchen knife. Without supernatural perception, neither the target nor anyone else can trace an attack made through the Stillness Rage back to the Sin-Eater. Defense does not apply against the Stillness Rage.
2 Dots The Sin-Eater can reach through solid barriers to strike at his target. By spending another plasm when activating the Stillness Rage, he completely ignores cover.
3 Dots: This permutation of the Silent Rage is more subtle still — the Sin-Eater can strike at his victim’s sight. The player spends 1 plasm and rolls Dexterity + Brawl + Rage rating â€“ target’s Wits as an instant action. With success, the Sin-Eater’s geist steals his victim’s sight. She’s struck completely blind for one turn per success. Any sight-based Perception rolls automatically fail.
4 Dots: The Sin-Eater can strike from any angle. He spends an additional point of plasm on the attack, and ignores his victim’s Defense.
5 Dots: This gruesome power can steal a victim’s breath from his mouth. Ugly purple bruises appear on the victim’s throat and she gasps for breath. The player spends 2 plasm and rolls Strength + Brawl + Rage rating â€“ the target’s Defense. If successful, the victim suffers two points of lethal damage per turn and cannot apply her Defense to any incoming attacks. This power lasts for one turn per success.
Stygian Rage Key [ Book Of The Dead — Page 80 ]
Area Of Effect: 20 yards per activation success
Underworld. While other Keys tap into blood as the river of life to commune with the dead, the Stygian Key taps in to the essence of Death itself. It’s the Key of ultimate endings; possessing it grants a Sin-Eater power over death and decay. While modern occultists claim that “death” is often a symbol of transition and change, that’s spin applied by the living to help them sleep at night. Death is the End, the line between a living, breathing person and a lump of broken meat on a mortuary slab. The only real change is that between a vital, creative being and a ghost formed of memories and regrets.
Manifestations unlocked with the Stygian Key grant influence over death, decay, and rot. Not just the death of living things, but the death of sensation through means such as darkness, silence, and blindness; the death of the future by inflicting sterility; the death of enjoyment thanks to depression and kindling feelings like la petite mort, the little death felt after sex. Unlocking a Manifestation with the Stygian Key invokes the lex talionis: An eye for an eye, and a death for a death. The Sin-Eater has to kill a living thing. Most use small animals like mice that are readily available from pet stores and are small enough to hide in a pocket. A larger sacrifice does offer more power to the Sin-Eater, but carries risks of its own — not least of which is the involvement of mundane authorities. The Size of the creature equals the bonus gained to the roll to a maximum of +5 dice.
Unlike other Keys, a Sin-Eater has to seek out the Stygian Key. If he wants the dangerous knowledge of the dead, he has to find it for himself. Earning the Key changes his geist in subtle but noticeable ways, and those with the Stygian Key can recognize each other by perceiving the scars of the Underworld. Those changes also prevent the Key being shared between members of a krewe — knowing the nature of death is an intensely personal thing that cannot be shared.
A Sin-Eater must learn the Stygian Key by studying the Underworld itself. She must cross at least three of the Rivers, taking a draught of the “waters” of each along with her each time. The Sin-Eater then has to entreat a creature of the lands of death to teach him. Ghosts can’t perform that service; instead they have to seek out one of the Kerberoi, a creature that has no memory of the living world. The Kerberos imparts secret knowledge to the Sin-Eater and her geist, but that’s like receiving the ingredients for a meal rather than a cooked dish. To cook the dish — to make use of the Stygian Key — the Sin-Eater has to return to the living world and sacrifice part of herself. She might give up her memory of her first husband, scar her face, or deliberately cut into her own muscles. That sacrifice costs her one dot from an Attribute of her choice. The damage will heal, but only over time; she does not recover the lost dot until the end of the next story.
The Stygian Rage is anything but subtle. Even at low levels the geist putrefies flesh and weakens bones, and can easily disfigure the Bound’s victim. At higher levels, the Sin-Eater can leave his victims fully aware but caged in a prison of dead flesh. Due to the ugly wounds inflicted, every successful attack using the Stygian Rage applies a -1 modifier to the victim’s Social rolls until the damage is healed.
2 Dots: The Sin-Eater can infect his foe with a necrotizing virus that spreads out from one point to consume her body. Instead of applying the damage from the Rage all at once, the victim takes one point of continuous lethal damage over a number of turns equal to the activation successes. Until she heals the damage from this power, the victim also has a -1 penalty to all Dexterity rolls.
3 Dots: Corrupt plasm rots the target’s muscles, leaving her weak. Only later will she notice the strange crawling lumps under her skin where the maggots are consuming her dead meat. The Sin-Eater must spend an extra point of plasm when Manifesting the Stygian Rage to activate this power. Instead of dealing damage normally, the Sin-Eater’s player divides the damage dealt across the victim’s Physical Attributes in any way she sees fit. The victim’s body regrows the dead flesh at a rate equivalent to healing lethal damage.
4 Dots: The Sin-Eater can inflict terrible infections that eat the victim’s flesh from within. As a reflexive action, the Sin-Eater can spend 1 plasm when activating Stigmata Rage 2. If she does, the power deals two points of damage per turn, rather than one.
5 Dots: Even though the physical trauma heals over time, the victim is scarred for life. The Sin-Eater spends two extra points of plasm and a point of Willpower when unleashing the Stygian Rage. The damage dealt is aggravated instead of lethal. If the victim takes even a single point of damage, she permanently loses one point of Presence. This point does not heal over time, and her maximum Presence score is lowered by one (hence a normal person cannot have a Presence score above 4 after being a victim of this power). Only supernatural healing can restore the loss. Using this power repeatedly against the same target doesn’t cause further loss of Presence.