This text has begun to appear around the area of Nocturne. Some have heard it from spirits while doing seances. Some have dreamt of strange entities whispering the words to them. Others have seen ghostly text appear on documents they are writing late at night, only to have it fade away with the dawn. Some have even waken from a restless sleep, finding the text written on parchment in their own hand.
The Harrowing of the Foul
When summer’s warmth is left behind
And winter’s threat is not so kind
The darkest time in all the year
Falls after harvest fields are clear
When the Harrowing times arrive
The time the Foul does cloak the Earth
Each year, these nights, its dark rebirth
And those that serve will drink and feast
What meal, not fit for man nor beast?
Best shunned by those alive
And though the living face this dread
The greater threat is to the dead
The Foul does claw each resting place
To stave off torment that they face
Each grave this night a threat
The Foul brings with it bitter spite
Undead grow stronger Thirteenth Night
Beware the dead, those touched by Foul
The ghasts and haunt these nights do prowl
The dead must pay their debt
With undead strong and ghouls about
Too strong, the Foul, to be locked out
No sanctuary this night remains
To bring folk rest nor ease their pains
No safe place will protect
In ancient times the House of Weald
Brought magicks strong in woods and field
To circles full of leering faces
That grew outside in darkest places
No soul would they neglect
In these dark times when blood is spilled
The Foul’s dark hate is never filled
It gnaws at flesh and eats at life
And claims all souls who fall from strife
Those downed have fragile fates
If battle comes when darkness falls
Let healers heed the battle calls
Each wounded friend in dire need
For allies fall and always bleed
Too slow, the Reaper waits
At Harrowing Time the earth is churned
The undead claw to freedoms earned
Though corpses lurch and bones do rise
Worse still the ghosts with seeking eyes
That do not find remains
These spectral dead are stronger still
With anger comes the urge to kill
When Malediction feeds despair
These ghosts possess each soul they tear
Each spirit it profanes
With living spirit ripped away
The haunting ghost comes forth to stay
Where once stood ally stout and true
The hungry ghost will seek its due
Until the Harrowing wanes
Out of Game
The Harrowing Nights last from Friday until dawn on Sunday.
- During the Harrowing Nights, the typical sanctuaries are ruined. Players cannot take long rests in their hearths, or in the tavern, or even in their holy places as normal. In most of the lands, people lock themselves away. Around Nocturne, however, mysterious circles of Jack O’ Lanterns are said appear. Players may take long rests at these circles, exposed to those that might attack them. Those resting at a circle take all the power of one of the Jack O’ Lanterns while they rest. That is to say, if someone is already using a Jack o’ Lantern to rest you cannot use it until they are done. The circles start out small, with few Jack o’ Lanterns. Players can bolster the power of these circles, however. If you bring you own Jack O’ Lantern and place it at one of the circles, and keep it lit at night, the circles grow in power. More players can rest at one time. In addition, it is rumored that circles bolstered with more Jack o’ Lanterns can contribute more power to those that might use them to aid travelers, and perhaps other boons can be drawn from circles that grow in number if the Jack o’ Lanterns are carved with care or skill.
- During the Harrowing, Malediction weakens all living and Gifted things. Players who fall from damage always fall unstable, even if they fall from uncalled damage. Whenever someone falls from damage or takes damage when they have no Vitality they are unstable from the damage. Characters can be Stabilized normally, but further damage will make them become unstable.
- During the Harrowing, undead are more powerful and can be more resistant to some effects, particularly Death effect.
- Vampyr Undying gain an additional Void during the Harrowing. Unfortunately, feeding is almost impossible during the Harrowing without exposing oneself to Malediction. In game, Vampyr Undying can feel the Foul in the air around them during this time and avoid feeding during the Harrowing of the Foul.
- During the Harrowing, any of the Gifted that are inflicted by the Foul with a Haunting – “Inflict Haunting Trait” – are drawn into the Gloaming, and a corrupt spirit takes their place in the waking world to destroy any Gifted beings it finds.
As a corrupt spirit, you lose all abilities, armor and traits of your player character. Boons are suppressed. You become a spectral mockery of your Gifted character. You have only three Vitality, have the Undead, Malediction, and Haunting traits, and will strike uncalled with whatever weapons you carry.
Corrupted spirits do not speak or respond in a intelligible manner; their speech is limited to dark whispering of their terrible dreams, or soft cries of anguish. It should be obvious to any player who tries to communicate with you that something, by your whispers, is very wrong.
This effect lasts until you are defeated or cured – “Cure Haunting Trait.” If defeated you fall down and 10 seconds later your player character returns with whatever Vitality and Armor you had when you were inflicted. If you fell down unstable then you are stable when you reappear; this is an exception to always falling unstable rule of the Harrowing.
As bad as that is, there are corrupted areas of the Foul that can be much worse. If you are permanently inflicted by the Foul – “Permanent Inflict Haunting Trait” – the effect will not end when you fall. Instead the effect will last until you receive a “Cure Haunting trait” effect. If you are taken down then after ten seconds you will rise as a spirit and slink off into some dark place, only to slowly reform and come forth again to slay the living. You will try to reform just out of sight from the living; if you are forced by the area to reform within sight of those who are not corrupted your dark whispers or soft cries of anguish should be used to warn others that soon you will active once more.
If the attack is delivered as a Gesture or By My Voice attack then you will turn to a non-combat spirit first, walk out to the horrible thing inflicting you, and then become combat active – when you are no longer in the middle of the ranks of your one time friends who would otherwise beat you into submission before you took two steps.
Undying, Demonbound, and Grotesque player characters are particularly susceptible to these effects, but this corruption of the Foul can strike anyone.
~ Sometimes your spirit will glow with corruption during this time. You will put on a necklace with a soft light to indicate you are a corrupted spirit. This glow does not always occur.
~ It would be helpful to us if players who don’t normally carry weapons might hold an extra one at night. If you find your self inflicted without a weapon we will often have extras nearby.
~ Players who are non-combat or have some other medical reason to have a special combat status should contact plot if they should be immune to this effect.
~ In heavily corrupted areas, players who are drawn into the Gloaming and become corrupted spirits rely on living allies in the area to retain their lifeforce. If all of their Gifted allies are killed then they too might be killed.
~ We intend this to be fun and we expect players to be fair and fun to other players in all types of game situations. That said, players who would rather take a death or have some other detrimental effect rather than participate in this manner can drop me a line before the event.
To summarize:“Inflict Haunting trait” means you become a corrupted spirit once.
When you are dropped, you will be a spirit for 10 seconds and then you will become your character again in whatever state you left. If you were unstable you are instead stable.
“Permanent Inflict Haunting trait” means you become a corrupted spirit until you receive a “Cure Haunting trait” effect, and each time you are destroyed you will, after ten seconds, reform and “recycle” in some dark place and attack again.
If you go to reform, try to be in some dark place away from the players. If you must form near active players, take 10 seconds and use whispering and soft cries of anguish to warn them you are reforming.
If the attack is delivered as a Gesture or a My My Voice then you will turn to a non-combat spirit first, walk out to the horrible thing inflicting you, and then turn into a combat active corrupted spirit.
As a corrupted spirit:
~ All armor, abilities, skills, and boons are suppressed. Your actual body is trapped deep in the Gloaming.
~ You have 3 Vitality points.
~ You have the traits Haunting, Undead, and Malediction.
~ You have the ability to fight with whatever weapons you can find.
~ There will sometimes be extra weapons in the area you might be directed to if you have none.