Saturday, 13 June 2015

Denizens of the Wicked City 1: The Unkindness (playable character class)

She will cut off your fingers and turn them into candles. You will not need the light they shed because she will already have eaten your eyes.
The Unkindness

It started like this: on the night following a great battle, a woman and a raven roamed the battlefield, stealing from the dead. The woman took their valuables. The raven took their eyes. The raven was good at spotting bodies in the dark. The woman was good at turning over face-down corpses, and prizing open full-face helms. They made a good team.

The woman had been a shaman, once, before the wars ate her loved ones and destroyed her life. She knew about spirits; and soon she realised that just as the raven followed her, so too did a spirit follow the raven. The spirit was a raven too, in its own way, or at least raven-like: if it had possessed a body, it would have had something like wings and something like feathers and something like a beak. The spirit, too, liked corpses. She made offering to it, and burned corpse-candles for it, made from dead men's fingers coated in their fat. The spirit prospered. The raven prospered. The woman prospered most of all.

Years passed. The wars went on, and that meant that there were always more corpses. Lines blurred. The spirit took their valuables. The raven accepted the corpse-candle offerings. The woman ate their eyes. A ragged flock developed around her: widows and orphans, mostly, their whole lives broken by the wars. She taught them to live on the bounty of the dead. They wore flapping black rags and were accompanied everywhere by great clouds of ravens. People called them The Unkindness, and shunned them with extremely well-founded superstitious dread.

Well: all wars end eventually. Order was restored, and the woman (just how old was she, now?) was declared a public menace: the first few bounty-hunters failed miserably, but then a thin man came from a far-away country and shot her full of silver bullets, and that rather appeared to be that. Her flock dispersed; but they did not forget her, or what she had taught them; and when they found others like themselves, ragged and desperate, they taught them, too, how to call so that the ravens would listen. Today, members of the Unkindness can still be found, here and there, wherever there are battlefields to be picked over or graves to be robbed; they know surprising secrets, and are sometimes hired by unscrupulous individuals to assist in matters of stealth and intrigue. They pilfer the valuables. They light the corpse-candles. And they eat the eyes.

An Unkindness of Ravens: To play one of the Unkindness, you must have a constitution of 12 or higher; whatever else they may be, the Ravens are survivors. You are either the last surviving member of your family or community, or an outcast from it; the Unkindness recruit only those who have no-one else to go to. Game information is as follows:

  • You can only use simple weapons. You cannot use heavy shields, or any armour heavier than heavy leather (+3 AC).
  • You get 1d6 HP per level.
  • You get +2 to all FORT saves. (Included in table below.)
  • You are weirdly difficult to kill. You do not die unless reduced to a number of negative HP equal to twice your level, and whenever you are reduced to 0 HP or less you will recover 1 HP every three hours until you reach 1 HP, at which point you get back up again.
  • You gain a bonus to all attack rolls (melee and ranged) equal to half your level, rounded down.
  • You can talk to ravens. They usually treat you as a friend, especially if you feed them some nice, tasty eyeballs. They won't risk their lives for you, but they can scout for you and tell you what they've seen. You are followed everywhere by a flock of 2d6 ravens (reroll each month), who will act as spies and spotters for you as long as they are well-fed.
  • If you eat the eyes of a human or animal corpse, you will gain a sudden vision of the last thing they saw before they died. This vision lasts for one second per level: so a fifth-level Raven will see the last five seconds of the target's life, and so on. This impression is purely visual: you won't know what they thought, or felt, or heard, only what they saw.
  • You can make corpse-candles, by taking a human finger, covering it in human fat, adding a wick of human hair, and lighting it. Such candles attract the 'benevolent' attentions of the raven-spirits who are the patrons of the Unkindness, and shed a weird, flickering light, which will be full of the shadows of birds even if no birds are present. Anyone within 10' of a lit corpse-candle will move completely soundlessly as long as they pay any attention at all to where they tread, and gains +4 AC vs. ranged attacks coming from outside the circle of illumination. Shiny objects, no matter how tiny, will always flash out unmissably brightly when illuminated by corpse-candle-light, which makes them a boon to looters. One corpse-candle will burn for one hour.

Raven Summary Table

Level
Hit Points
To Hit Bonus
Fortitude save (FORT)
Reflex save (REF)
Willpower save (WILL)
1
1d6
+0
12
14
14
2
2d6
+1
11
13
13
3
3d6
+1
10
12
12
4
4d6
+2
9
11
11
5
5d6
+2
8
10
10
6
6d6
+3
7
9
9
7
7d6
+3
6
8
8
8
8d6
+4
5
7
7
9
9d6
+4
4
6
6
10
10d6
+5
3
5
5

Starting equipment: Layer upon layer of tattered black rags (treat as heavy leathers, +3 AC), rusty hatchet (1d6 damage), sling (1d4 damage), pair of pliers, spoons (for easy eye removal), 1d6 pre-prepared corpse-candles, 2d6 ravens which follow you around everywhere, bag of looted trinkets worth 1d6x10 sp. 


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