Tagged: Occult

Making a Monster: The Striges

Sorry for broadcast delay folks, its been the traditional cavalcade of family weddings and sickness. In recompense, here’s some design notes regarding the last little arc of our Flying Circus game.

Though Flying Circus obviously draws very heavily from historical sources when it comes to how its planes operate, the setting has been from the beginning plugged as, I suppose, a kind of diesel-punk laced high fantasy. Now we were operating in an odd place here, as a lot of the setting info is not yet published and we had adopted a slightly alternative setting anyway. Not wanting to jump straight to dragons, I decided to bring in an alternative airborne creature.

Naturally, the solution came in the form of a strange multilingual pun.

Now, our setting Maralto draws heavily on Italian imagery, and the Italian word for witch is strega. We can trace the route of this word back to the Latin strix, for screech owl, and its distant cousin strige does in fact parse as “a bird of ill omen”, which could be seen as equivalent to the bad reputation that crows and ravens have in English speaking countries. So naturally this gets thoughts of psychopomp birds stirring around in my brain.

The Striges then, within our setting, are a kind of revenant. When a strong-willed witch or sorcerer dies and that death cuts short the great work of their lives, the screech owls of the ghost world may offer them a choice. Rather than carrying them on into the great unknown beyond death, the owl may bring their spirit back into the world, repairing the body in their own image and fueling it with a hunger for blood, vengeance and the shadowy magic of the netherworld.

With this flickering magic surging through their skeletal frames and between their grey feathers, the Striges are given a near immortal chance at vengeance or, more rarely, closure. Their shadow wings carry them as fast as a fighter plane, and the long claws on their fingers can tear horrific gouges in steel plate and flesh alike. Perhaps most alarmingly, these avian horrors seem beyond the reach of death; though they can most certainly be wounded and broken in the manner of mortal things, the shadows will knit them back together in time. There are rumours that only burial with full funerary rites in consecrated ground will spell a true end to these creatures, but given the rarity of priests willing to cooperate with such actions this remains speculation.

So there you have it. Our terrifying owl-channelling sky witches were based on an old Italian play on words and some bits of James O’Barr’s The Crow, with perhaps a smattering of the Strix from Vampire the Requiem. But ain’t it funny how inspiration works that way…?

Good hunting to y’all.

Paddy

Sacrifice by Paul aka howzey AN$ND

Sacrifice by Paul aka howzey on Flickr, CC A N$ ND

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Flying Circus Ep 3: Birds of Ill Omen

After a bender culminating in some ill advised purchases, squadmates Francesca, Zelig and Geneve find themselves once again on the wrong end of debt collector’s attention. Despite not really understanding how the homeless mystic will pay them, they decide to take Drifty’s offer to clear the skies over the mountain pass… and run into the horrors of both Maralto’s magic, and its past.

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Flying Circus is a roleplaying game currently being developed by Erika Chappell, who has created a great many quirky and fun indie-games to date under the umbrella of Newstand Press. Check ’em out!

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Pic is MM00005148x by Florida Keys Public Library on Flickr, CC A.

Don’t Rest the Dead Ep 2: Don’t Rest the Dead Pt 2

After a messy encounter with a projection, Henry and Tyler limp on into the depths of the ghost ridden factory, in search of the truth and their missing compatriot. But as the ghost-world around them gets more nightmarish and pervasive, will they survive long enough to understand?

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In case the title didn’t make it completely obvious, these sessions were played using Evil Hat’s Don’t Rest Your Head, a tension-pumping horror game of insomnia, delusion and unreality. Definitely worth checking out.

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Pic is memento mori by kaelin on Flickr, CC A SA.

Don’t Rest the Dead Ep 1: Don’t Rest the Dead Pt 1

After a previous investigation went catastrophically wrong, Corax Incorporated “cleaners” Tyler and Henry are sent in to deal with an abandoned industrial complex’s ghost problems. But with their own souls already tiptoeing on the edge of the abyss, will they be able to resolve the horrors of the past?

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In case the title didn’t make it completely obvious, these sessions were played using Evil Hat’s Don’t Rest Your Head, a tension-pumping horror game of insomnia, delusion and unreality. Definitely worth checking out.

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Pic is memento mori by kaelin on Flickr, CC A SA.

Blades Ep 9: The Alarming Real Estate Caper Pt 2

With the source of their tribulations located, the Disciples make their way to Brightstone in the hope of warning the interloper away from their turf. Will wit, lies and contract sorcery prove enough against the power and wealth of one of Doskvol’s noble houses?

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Blades in the Dark is a creation of John Harper and is distributed by Evil Hat. Like its ancestor, Apocalypse World, it has begun to spawn a legion of new games… so check out Forged in the Dark if you’re interested.

Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell CC A N$ 1

Pic is Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell on Flickr, CC A N$.

 

Blades Ep 8: The Alarming Real Estate Caper Pt 1

With their reign of terror on the Docks having some unexpected side effects, the Disciples of the Depths formulate a plan to avoid eviction from their alms house. After all, they stole it fair and square… can Miss Ruby the Spider, Veleris the Hound and their recently returned friend Talitha the Leech staunch this redevelopment plan?

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Blades in the Dark is a creation of John Harper and is distributed by Evil Hat. Like its ancestor, Apocalypse World, it has begun to spawn a legion of new games… so check out Forged in the Dark if you’re interested.

Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell CC A N$ 1

Pic is Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell on Flickr, CC A N$.

Blades Ep 7: The Astounding Tentacle Assassination Pt 2

With injuries like these, Vand the Whisper, Veleris the Hound and Miss Ruby the Spider could really do with a cocktail, a massage and two weeks on a beach in Iruvia. What they have is two canisters of Leviathan Oil, some hastily trained orphans, a bag of improvised explosives and a priest to kill.

Time to do the Deep Lord’s work.

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Pic is Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell on Flickr, CC A N$.

Blades in the Dark is a fantastic game, and you’re likely to be hearing a lot more of it and its descendants from us.

Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell CC A N$ 1

Pic is Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell on Flickr, CC A N$.

Blades Ep 5: The Underground Knifefighting Fiasco Pt 2

Its a filthy damned mess for the Disciples of the Depths in this episode as Veleris the Hound, Vand the Whisper and Miss Ruby the Spider conclude their brutal dealings with the Gondoliers and then do what they can to handle the fallout. This one is going to need stitches…

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Blades in the Dark, the game of heists and skulduggery in a haunted industrial metropolis, is brought to us by John Harper and Evil Hat games. It is rich, exciting and captures the feeling it was aiming for perfectly. So stitch some razors in your cap and give it a try!

Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell CC A N$ 1

Pic is Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell on Flickr, CC A N$.

Blades Ep 4: The Underground Knifefighting Fiasco Pt 1

Join the crew on another jaunt in service of the Lord of the Depths in this grisly episode of our Blades in the Darkgame! Can Veleris the Hound, Vand the Whisper and Miss Ruby the Spider infiltrate the Gondolier’s subterranean canal network to find a safe home for the whispering Coral Crown?

As it so often is in this game, the answer is “Yes, but…”

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Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell CC A N$ 1

Pic is Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell on Flickr, CC A N$.

Blades Ep 1: Ship of Fools

Join the Liberation Industries crew as they take John Harper and Evil Hat’s gripping crime romp Blades in the Dark for a spin.

Nothing is ever simple in Doskvol… at least not for cultists of the Lord of the Depths trying to spread the good word to the unbelievers. Will Vand the Whisper, Veleris the Hound and Miss Ruby the Spider be able to secure a haunted artifact without too many explosions or murders?

Of course not. But its the journey that’s exciting.

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Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell CC A N$ 1

Pic is Urban Explorer Aboard Derelict Frigate by Tom Blackwell on Flickr, CC A N$.