Federation-Apocalypse Session 84 – Cooking Up Some Investigations

   The kids seemed mildly distressed by the thought of acting as support against Lord Sanwell – but were more than willing to explain the contracts they were under.

(Sandy) “It’s quite all right sir, ma’am! We’ve been given the powers in advance for our indenture, and if I hadn’t thought that they were worth the price, I’d have gone home or just stayed here rather than signing up! It was all explained in advance!”

   It was kind of frustrating to Abigail that she couldn’t really argue with that. On the other hand, how bad was Sandy’s world if Thralldom was the best available choice? She asked about that too…

(Abigail) “So where was home?”

(Sandy) “A world called Balearia ma’am! It’s listed as a “Steampunk Victorian” universe.”

   Abigail started pulling data. It certainly looked like Gelman had been given fairly complete access to a great deal of it… Baelaria didn’t seem all that bad. A bit exploitive of the underclasses maybe – and the kid would be considered an adult there.

   It did look like the benefits were decent, and choosing to sign up would be understandable if that “advance payment” was good enough. It wasn’t every employer who was willing to pay up front – but not too many employers demanded that kind of service either!

   Still, she could understand why the kid might have signed up. On the other hand, this Sanwell character couldn’t be up to any good if he was snagging hundreds of thousands of kids! She doesn’t have as many moral objections as Gelman did – but it was worrying. People in desperate situations did crazy things, but – although the thralls were obedient to the point of being creepy – they did seem to be happy enough.

   Hm. What all were they being paid? She hadn’t exactly had a full summary, but it looked like the terms of the deal were available online…

   An online, annotated, spirit-contract with full disclosure and a time limit? Not too traditional there.

   Hm. Some money of course, and free access to all the facilities, and psionic abilities, and magic, and shapeshifting, and perpetual youth, and regeneration, and returning from death, and martial arts talents, and equipment, and enhanced attributes, and any physical or mental weaknesses were repaired for them, and the ability to open and close the dimensional gates, and more… In exchange, they were linked with “Lord Sanwell” and at his service until they grew out of it – which would require several centuries.

   Abigail didn’t want to say so in front of Gelman – not with his religious prejudices – but that honestly sounded like a pretty good deal. Plenty of people spent their entire lives working for less, and throwing in “immortality” made “a few centuries” sound a lot more reasonable. Were those powers available any other way though?

   Most of them were – and the training probably wouldn’t take as long – but they got them in advance, got a decent effective salary during their indenture, and they were guaranteed to live to enjoy all those powers.

   That wouldn’t have sounded like a big point before she’d talked to her own Thralls – but it seemed that immortality like she’d always taken for granted was a rare commodity in the multiverse.

   WAIT A MINUTE! What if Marty started looking closer to home for ensouled individuals? He might be trying to turn Julia into a slave! He seemed to be functioning as “Lord Sanwell’s” strong right arm…

(Abigail, hurriedly) “Well, Gelman, I have to get home. If you find him, tell me.”

(Gelman) “I’ll keep an eye out.”

   She thanked him and hurried home. Her daughter might be in danger…

(Julia) “Yah! See! Nothing to worry about! I WANNA GO TO MAGIC SQUIRREL LAND!”

   Abigail remained very quiet. She’d be calling her lawyer in the morning.

   Wait, Julia had a pony? Where had she gotten a pony! Was Marty sneaking in while she was away?!?

   She fed it some barley – and it promptly spoke to her telepathically.

<It’s just me ma’am; it was to keep her distracted>

   Oh, one of the Thralls doing the baby-sitting.

<Well, that’s all right.>

Kadia? There are a lot of fun things to do there!>

<Yes and no… Hey, I have a question.>

<Certainly ma’am>

<Say two people have each hired some of you. They start fighting and ordering you to attack. What would you do?>

<If they’ve each got that authority we’d fight ma’am. It’s not like it can really result in any permanent damage>

<Good.>

   She couldn’t let Marty anywhere near Julia right now…his moral compass had been bad enough before, but now he was dealing in child slavery! She could tolerate a lot, but not that! She’d dismiss the ones she had now if she could; they could feed Marty information. It might be a good deal for them, but HER child had someone to take care of her! And she always would!

   She snuggled Julia.

   Would it be bad to take her to the carnival at least? She seemed to have convinced herself that “Magic Squirrel Land!” was candyland and disney and muppets all wrapped up into one – and it was a nice place. Besides, if she didn’t let her have a peek, she might wheedle the thralls into sneaking her in! An hour at the carnival should do nicely. Maybe disguised in case Marty showed up.

   OK, that didn’t seem too likely – assigning eight kids to try and recruit one seemed more than a bit inefficient – and Julia was under “Lord Sanwell’s” age limits – but who knew what Marty might get up to? His moral character hadn’t been all that good to begin with!

   Oh well. A trip to “Magic Squirrel Land” was reasonable enough.

   Julia enjoyed the carnival, and turned out to have a 110 credit balance on her account. That seemed like a bit much for a seven year-old! Oh well, she had been doing well in school lately – and she had the Thralls to thank for that.

   Gelman was right. It was REALLY easy to get used to that kind of service.

   She let Julia buy some new stuffed toys and a new staff. It seemed like anything really major would require parental consent at that age anyway.

   While Julia was playing she did a little looking into how “Lord Sanwell” had wound up in charge of Kadia anyway – and the story she got certainly sounded absurd to her. This boy had simply CREATED a world? Designed to suit his purposes and whims? Built to give his followers a place to hang out between jobs and resurrections? Sure… Some information on, and recordings of, “Lord Sanwell” were available though.

   She got some classical popcorn as a snack and watched the recordings.

   A very through, and apparently quite honest, presentation.

   Could the boy actually have made Kadia? And that recently? That would help explain why Gelman was so upset… That would shake the entire structure of his religion – not to mention her own vaguely protestant faith. What could be up with the boy? He was acting like a rebellious teenager, but on a cosmic scale! Where were his parents?

   What there was on them suggested a fairly normal family… (which would probably explain why they weren’t disciplining their cosmically-empowered son), and apparently currently visiting Kadia on a vacation. It looked like the computers were automatically filtering out attempts to get into touch with them though; she wasn’t on their contact list, and there were apparently quite a few people who wanted to talk to them about Kevin. Still, he apparently did have a fairly normal family and at least one fairly normal sibling.

   Still, somebody should beat the boy to within an inch of his life for behaving this way! Every day! For a month! She kind of wanted to do it right now! Even if he was apparently officially of age! (Core was a strange place. Why had Gelman wanted to move his family there, again? Oh, never mind).

   Meanwhile, Julia was trying the low-gravity flight-with-strap-on-wings pavilion. She wanted to see what it was like to fly WITHOUT riding on Blackie. After some initial confused flapping, she’d started having a lot of fun… Still, she’d tire soon enough. Even in low-gravity, flapping your arms to fly was a lot of work.

   She actually got sleepy – so Abigail scooped her up and headed home. She was definitely calling the lawyer in the morning. She needed to “amend” the custody agreement – as in; “You are not getting ANYWHERE near her.” That might be difficult to do without his agreement, but she could make a case for moral turpitude – and Marty was pretty notorious. And that was in a city where no one looked askance when things got crazy on the New York Stock Exchange floor and it turned into a massacre.

   She put Julia to bed and went to catch up on her restaurant and catering. It was so hard being a single mother… Still, she had to wonder what it was like to live somewhere where death meant not waking up tomorrow?

   It seemed that the Thralls had done a lot of it for her – which left her plenty of time to ask (and to amend the orders to help with the cooking only when she was there to supervise; she liked working!). Apparently not returning meant a constant small undercurrent of uncertainty and fear, with a lot of doubt – and a lot of people being missed because you would never see them again. It didn’t sound like fun.

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Federation-Apocalypse Session 84 Part A – The Dark Side of Magic Squirrel Land

   With Julia still agitating to visit “Magic Squirrel Land”, decided to check it out. After all, if Marty had thought it was a good idea, there HAD to be a catch – and she could leave the Thralls to babysit Julia.

   The exit, was in a modest park, with a carnival over the hill, a couple of playing fields, a dragon having a picnic, and a gryphon building a nest in a treetop.

Well at least that explained Blackie.

   It looked like… soccer, some sort of maze, and… jousting? It must be some kind of amusement park!

   Abigail went looking for the staff to ask some questions.

   There were lots of little glowing things around, the carnival seemed to have a staff, and there was occasional traffic down the hill. Still, the bugs didn’t seem too promising. She went to poke around the carnival.

   At the moment, there was a sword-fighting tournament in the bowl, the usual carnival games, exoskeleton-based flight suits, and a selection of rides. Most of the concession booths had staff though.

   It looked like they blended a lot of magic with the technology here… She had to wonder how Gelman felt about that. For that matter, she wondered how she felt about that. Only a few days ago, she’d thought that magic was something you only found in fairy tales and fantasy movies.

   She located an unoccupied staffer to ask about the place’s history. The kid looked about fifteen…

(Staffer) “Good afternoon madam! Care to play? It’s try to knock the weight to ring the bell at the top of the pole; if you can, you win a prize!

(Abigail) “Sure, why not?”

   It was 5 millicredits per attempt – but the system informed her that she currently had a 25,000 Credit Balance.

   WHAT?!?

   How… Why?

(Abigail) “Credits? Twenty five thousand? But I don’t keep that much in checking!”

(The booth operator was also rather surprised) “Wow! That’s about forty years salary!… Didn’t you know?”

(Abigail) “Okay, how did I get that much money in my account?”

(Operator) “You’d have to ask the system, ma’am; it only responds to directed personal queries to maintain privacy”.

(Abigail) “Where is it?”

(Operator) “You can ask any one of the remotes”

   The operator beckoned one of the little glowing things buzzing around, and it promptly came over.

   Wait, those things were devices of some sort? That obeyed on their own? Sentient devices? How could there be that many of them? And so small? Magical sentient devices?

(Abigail) “Who made a deposit to my account? And where are your arms and legs?”

“Your account in Kadia was generated automatically Ma’am, based on the registered existence of an off-universe support arrangement with Marty Tabard. Given confirmation of identity, your ten credit arrival bonus has been registered.”

   Abigail was a little dumbfounded. She’d literally had to pull teeth to get the alimony. Still, she wasn’t going to reject the money.

(Abigail) “Thanks, uh . . . what’s your name?”

“I am a remote unit of local node 1794 of the sector DRV subnet.”

   A remote unit? Abigail wondered where the device in charge was.

“Can I be of further assistance?”

(Abigail) “Sure, can you give me the address of the Gelman household?”

   The device hesitated for a moment – then announced the Mrs Gelman had provided permission, and provided an address.

(Abigail) “And where is Marty Tabard? We need to talk.”

“Mr Tabard is currently in transition between missions, and should be available for some hours. He is currently in ARV sector.”

   Abigail tried to smile, even if it did come out a bit predatory.

(Abigail) “Thanks, 1794.”

   She tried to knock the weight to ring the bell, just for old times sake. They didn’t have many carnivals in Long Island.

   She actually won. Was whoever was in charge of these games actually honest? That was pretty unusual, and said that at least Marty hadn’t set up the carnival. She had a choice of stuffed animals, candy, small toys, a pocket music player, and lots of other junk. At least that was fairly typical for a carnival… Although the candy actually turned out to be quite good. How could whoever was in charge be making a profit if he or she actually provided worthwhile prizes with honest games and such a tiny entry fee?

   She didn’t bother with the swordfighting or other attractions. She had things to do with Marty that promised to be much more fun if she could catch him. Of course, if he spotted her before she caught up with him, he’d become hard to find pretty fast.

   A penthouse?! Apparently with a pool, hot tub, and built-in bar?!? Living it up on the sly out of reach of the courts was he! She’d show him!

(Abigail) “Let me in or I’ll rip the place in two!And what is up with this color scheme? You STILL don’t have any taste!”

   Marty, of course, had been informed when Abigail arrived and headed up to see him. He was on the net with Jarvain at the moment – but his first impulse had been – of course – to hide. Then he’d thought a bit about force fields, and just had the girls get out of sight and sent his Thrall-houseboy to answer the door. He’d known this was coming eventually; Abigail was violent, not stupid.

   He’d only taken on the kid because a live servant was as a status symbol and because Elera and Minel were enough girls for him at the moment anyway.

(Houseboy) “Good afternoon Ma’am! My name is Kelian, can I help you? Master Marty will be just a moment.”

(Abigail) “Just a moment? How many does he have in the bedroom?”

Abigail was too angry at the moment to notice that she was addressing an underage boy.

(Kelian) “At the moment he’s checking in with a mechwarrior pilot that’s a friend of his Ma’am.”

(Abigail blinked…) “Didn’t think he had military pals… Well, let me in! I need to talk with him.”

Kelian ushered her in of course.

(Kelian) “Can I get you anything while you wait? He shouldn’t be more than five or six minutes.”

(Abigail) “How about a bowl for this candy? And what’s your favorite food?”

(Kelian) “I like funnel-cakes ma’am.”

   Well, a bit of cooking always diverted her. It looked like all the ingredients were available in the kitchen too, for a wonder. Perhaps the staff did the shopping? If it was up to Marty, there’d have been nothing but snacks to go with the booze. On the other hand, the kitchen was suspiciously clean and tidy. No doubt Marty went out all the time and hardly ever used the place!

   She whipped up some quick funnel cakes. One for the boy – another kid, a lot like the ones working for her now that she’d taken a good look at him – and the other one for Marty’s face.

   Kelian was more than happy to have some funnel-cake.

   Marty turned up of course. He always appeared when sweet, greasy, fattening food was in the offing! It was suitable for kids of course, but Marty didn’t exercise enough!

(Abigail, with a predatory grin) “Here you go, honey!”

   She pulled her skillet out of the void to start the beatdown.

(Abigail) “DO I LOOK FAT TO YOU? DO I LOOK LIKE YOU? YOU COULD HAVE TOLD ME ABOUT THE SQUIRRELS!”

   It took her a few minutes to notice the lack of screaming in pain and begging for mercy – and even then it took a moment longer to realize that the pan was slamming into invisible barriers while Marty rolled on the floor laughing.

   Marty wasn’t gloating – but he found it SO funny. Now she was getting a taste of not being able to hit someone!

(Abigail) “Huh? Oh, don’t tell me I killed you! I’ll have to clean up!”

(Marty) “I’ll be fine dear! How’s Julia? She was fine on this morning’s report of course.”

(Abigail) “She’s good. She wants to visit… Why aren’t you bleeding and twitching?”

(Marty) “No time for that! I’m very busy these days! You’ve lucky to have caught me here!”

   Abigail was seething and fuming at that point. She take another swing at him – but the only mark on his face was from stray bits of funnel-cake, and even THAT was just because he’d been scarfing the stuff up! She took another swing at him in a desperate effort to teach some humility – but it just bounced away!

(Abigail) “Aughhh! What’s wrong with this skillet?”

   She tried throwing it at him, and something simply caught it and put it gently on the stove – which had incidentally been cleaned up behind her, along with the rest of the kitchen?

(Abigail) “I need an aspirin…”

   Still, it seemed important to thank the nice little houseboy.

(Abigail, to Kelian) “Thank you; That was very considerate.”

(Kelian) “It’s just the automatic systems Ma’am. Violence is only allowable by mutual agreement. And I only picked up some major elements; the automatic systems did most of it.”

(Abigail) “Now I really need an aspirin.”

   She thrust her finger in her jerk of an ex-husband’s face.

(Abigail) “You are DEAD the next time you come over!”

   She stormed out, unwilling to listen to whatever biting response he came up with – although Kelian rushed after her to apologize for him.

(Abigail) “He’s always been that way . . . he’ll never change.”

(Kelian) “People rarely really do Ma’am!”

(Abigail) “Could you at least grab my skillet for me? It’s a family heirloom.”

   It was too. Solid cast iron, perfect for fighting and cooking!

(Kelian) “It’s coming along now Ma’am!”

   The remotes were bringing it.

(Abigail) “Well, thank you. I’d shake hands, but I don’t think you have them.”

“We can generate a hand to shake if you would like it Ma’am.”

(Abigail) “No, just give me my skillet. The jerk’s place is hurting my eyes.”

   She left them a tip, strolled around until she calmed down (a process which took about an hour), and went to see Mr Gelman. She didn’t want to scare poor Sophie and Isaac, so she called beforehand too.

   Sophie was delighted to have her come by.

(Abigail, with a very gentle hug) “Oh, Sophie. How are you holding up, dear?”

(Sophie) “Hello Abigail! It’s so nice to have you come and visit! It’s really very quiet here…”

   Abigial found the place more than a bit boring – but she could understand why Sophie and Fred would be happy in Kadia.

   They spent some time chatting about all the things housewives chatted about, with particular emphasis on the children. Abigail inquired about Ruth, since she’d gotten into trouble earlier and heard all about little Isaac’s new ID and how Ruth was wanting to install cyberweapons in mammoths – and how Sophie was slightly worried about Ruth; since it was so easy to pick up odd powers, who knew what kind of trouble Ruth might get into!

(Abigail) “Heh. Well, that’s one reason to watch Julia like a hawk around here! What are you going to do with Ruthie, though?”

(Sophie) “Well, it is just as long as they’re here – and Ruth seems to be content enough with the competitions! She’s been doing very well!”

(Abigail) “That’s a relief. Say, where’s your husband? I need to talk to him too.”

(Sophie) “He’s working downstairs; there was so much extra space here that we just set up an office”.

(Abigail) “I Thought he’d relax a bit once he got the chance. Come to think of it, it seems to have done some good for him. The dark circles around his eyes are already vanishing… Nice to see you again.”

   Downstairs, Mr Gelman was – of course – checking files. He’d discovered that Amarant Solutions currently had hundred offices scattered over seventy worlds, and was opening more at a great rate. The company was trading in commodities he’s never even heard of – as well as in people, albeit almost entirely by purchasing them.

(Abigail) “Gelman, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!”

   Gelman rather felt that way. In Battling Business World people couldn’t actually die – so Hitler had tried to turn the Jews into his own personal janissaries/super-soldiers. What was being done to the Thralls seemed all too similar. It didn’t seem to be forced, which was something – and nothing horrible happened to the ones who refused – but still… What if they wanted to back out? There was no sabbatical or escape clause. It might not even have been too bad on a small scale, with a few volunteers – but the SCALE was appalling!

(Gelman) “Ah, Nice to see you Abigail!”

(Abigail) “So what is my rat of an ex doing? No good, I’m sure!”

(Gelman) “I wish I could say something nice… But the scale here is horrendous! The shipping alone would be fine – if incredibly complex – but the dragonness currently co-ordinating the operation is pretty ruthless, and they’re… well… have a look here for yourself. They’re dealing in millions…”

Abigail read… and read… and read. Finally, “How good is the soundproofing down here?”

(Gelman) “The local sentient devices say it’s “active force field and vacuum damping”. It seems to be close to perfect.”

Abigail yelled for about ten minutes. The content could be best summarized as:

(Abigail) “WHAT IS HE THINKING? I MARRIED A SLAVE TRADER? I KNOW THEY DID THIS WILLINGLY BUT SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE!… And you know what the worst part is?”

(Gelman) “I keep thinking I do, but then I think some more…”

(Abigail) “As long as the jerk is here, we can’t lay a finger on him! He has to consent to being attacked!”

(Gelman) “Why am I not surprised? It’s good for Sophie and the Kids – but Marty doesn’t seem to spend much time here at least.”

(Abigail) “Hey! I have an idea! Let’s find out where he’ll be next and give him a surprise!”

(Gelman) “Fair enough! He certainly can’t object! He knows its coming to him!”

(Abigail) “Any ideas where that is? I think you’re working with him… Sorry about that, by the way.”

(Gelman) “Oh, it’s not so much with him, as just trying to keep the operations straight! He and “Lord Sanwell” have been simply opening offices in whatever bizarre universe comes into their head and the dragon-lady has been reorganizing them at whim!”

(Abigail) “Hmm . . . and I’d rather not leave Julia alone to look. I wonder if we can talk through the kids. Does that telepathy cross worlds?”

(Gelman) “Hm. It must to some extent; otherwise how could they get their reports in? But the kids said it’s very short range… Sandy! Come here a minute!”

   Another youngster. Oddly similar to the others come to think of it – all about the same age, all healthy, all physically fit, etc…

(Sandy) “Sir?”

(Gelman) “How far does your telepathy reach?”

(Sandy) “A few hundred feet at most normally sir! Usually only fifty or sixty feet – although some places boost it and we can use magic to boost it in some worlds.”

(Abigail) “How about here, young man?”

(Sandy) “The range around here is usually about 120 feet Ma’am; there’s a slight boost. Magic can be used as well to let us contact other Thralls some of the closer realms. In a real emergency we can contact Lord Sanwell directly over the link with him, but that’s only for really important stuff or if he calls, because there’ s lots of us, and he can only talk to so many of us at a time.”

(Abigail) “I wonder how close that gate makes my house to here?”

   It turned out to be about fifteen minutes by the shortest route – and, as far as Telepathy went, out of direct range, but reachable with magic.

(Abigail) “Well, it’s not like we’ll need to keep contact all the time. Why don’t you have one of your kids message one of mine when you find out where he is?”

(Gelman) “Sounds like a good idea… Confound it! It’s so easy to slip into casually exploiting them!”

(Sandy) But we’ve been paid for our services in advance sir!

(Abigail sighed) “I forget to give them breaks. They don’t even ASK. I’m starting to see your logic.”

(Sandy) “We don’t need many breaks sir, ma’am; we all get the ability to delay that sort of need for later, and there’s always plenty of time for it while you’re resting!”

(Abigail) “Yes, but . . . oh, wait, the bond. I really don’t know how I feel about that. I guess we’ll have to discuss it with their boss… Think you’ll need support?”

The Angbokor Guild

   Here we have a Party Template that started off as as an individual characters special set of tricks, was shared with others to become a Party Template, spread to become a sort of Package Deal – and may be on the verge of becoming a new subrace.

   The agent possessed subtle, if minor, magic and a mind like a naked blade. There had been many successes – but the final mission went too far, and called for one betrayal too many. The shattered oathstone left in the agents chambers was an unmistakable resignation, but that was not an option that the agents masters would accept. The agent knew far too much.

   There was pursuit, swift and violent.

   That had been anticipated. At the edge of the forest, the agent cast his aura about a bird of prey, and sent it fleeing into the trackless depths.

   That night a sorcerous fire burned in the forest, and the agent died in a holocaust of arcane energies.

   Later, across two borders, Angbokor arrived in a sizeable city – and promptly vanished into its shadows.

   Today, each member of the Angbokor Guild is recruited from amongst the hunted, those who are marked for death. Each accepts a partial death – undergoing Angbokor’s ritual to cast their old self upon a beast and take an aspect of the beast upon themselves. The new rises from the ashes of the old.

   The Guild supports itself through specialized thefts, espionage, and undertaking special missions for those who know how to contact them. They have few loyalties except each other.

  • The Angbokor Guild is picky about it’s recruits circumstances – being pursued unto death by more powerful individuals and groups without actually having done anything to truly merit that (they don’t feel that offenses such as thievery merit death) – but doesn’t demand that it’s recruits possess anything in the way of initial abilities; they’ll willingly accept level zero youngsters, and will hide and care for hunted children until they’re old enough to recruit. Unfortunately, this means that their lowest-level members are level zero.
  • Whether rightfully or wrongfully, the Guild sees itself as being made up of victims, and thus it’s members see their exploitation of society as only just – but that same worldview sends them to the rescue of other victims and drives them to strike back at those who abuse their power, motivations which count as the Compulsive disadvantage.
  • The Angbokor Guild always has enemies. When you make a habit of taking in and hiding those with troublesome knowledge, inconvenient heirs, and other victims of the powerful, that’s pretty much inevitable even without considering their habit of supporting themselves by theft and making trouble for the mighty. Finding that powerful individuals and social groups are turning their influence against you is a standard feature of life in the Angbokor Guild, and counts as the Hunted disadvantage.
  • United by their mystic ritual, and by powerful instinctive bonds, the members of the Angbokor Guild will go to great lengths to look after each other, to support and protect the younger members of the group, and to rescue any of the members who get caught – giving the entire group the Obligations disadvantage.

   That gives the Angbokor Guild a total of ten character points to spend on it’s template – zero for accepting level zero members and ten for it’s three disadvantages. It also means that this “party template” has effectively completed it’s transition to Package Deal status, and could be treated either way.

   In any case, the Angbokor Guild Template/Package Deal includes:

  • Shapeshift, Specialized in a particular animal form (3 CP). Each member of the guild can take on the form of the animal that his or her aura was transferred to – even long after that animals death.
  • Cloaking/the character “detects” as a simple animal of the type he or she can transform into. This extends to thought-detection, lie-detection, and alignment detection – all fairly useless, since they will pick up a simple animal mind – but going to this extreme means that a sizeable chunk of animalistic instincts leaks over into the character’s mind and that the ability cannot be turned off. The user will sometimes need to make will checks to resist instinctive urges, will be judged unacceptable as a priest or follower by many gods, and will be quite ruthless and primal by civilized standards. (Specialized, 3 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized and Corrupted for Triple Effect (a 3 CP bonus)/only for Favors, only with groups that the guild has either performed services for in the past or has blackmail material on; hence using such a favor either expends a valuable resource or can draw trouble to the group (3 CP).
  • Specific Knowledge/the Angbokor Ritual (1 CP).

   In most settings, the Angbokor are considered a mysterious and dangerous group, distrusted by the authorities, and rumored to steal children and to make pacts with dark powers – somewhat in the way that the gypsies were often seen, albeit with more justification. After all, they have a near-unique aptitude for disappearing; an Angbokor who drops into animal form can readily slip away – and is almost impossible to locate through supernormal means. Even the most rigid social system is unlikely to have much luck attempting to trace one apparently-normal crow across the countryside.

   When they rescue some fleeing youngster, what story is the pursuit likely to put out? Who knows how many secrets they hold, or when one of them will take rat-form and slip past the guards and pass tracelessly through a dozen wards? Who knows how many there are, and where they might be hiding?

   As a player-character group, the Angbokor are best suited for “mission impossible” or intrigue-heavy campaigns; their abilities aren’t all that valuable in a fight – but they’re very good for stealth and infiltration.