Preface: The idea behind this post was to make a suggestion for an antithesis to Feats called Afflictions. I don't know whether to make this something where the LT will have to decide which scenarios warrant Haunting ,or if it would be an ET affliction. Whether or not that becomes a thing, I think it can be standalone anyway. It's a bit choppy and I''ll be adding to it other the coming week, but I wanted to get it out there and garner opinions.
The Haunts of Vaasek
Mortals are curious, fickle creatures, their precarious emotions guided by their desire for self-preservation- their souls and morals wrought most by sensations of fear, desperation and betrayal. But perhaps most interesting, is the way in which their coping mechanism may materialise.
There are men who will crumble beneath the weight of despair, bending the knee to any who can best them. Some men grow furious at their betrayal, fighting violently to secure their own egos. Others sacrifice all they have been taught about decency and honour in the pursuit of their desperate need to live- as if they were worth the extra years.
Whatever the case may be, it is the height of these emotions that draws the intrigue of the Haunts, as if sharks that could smell blood a thousand miles away.
The Birth of the Haunts
When Vaasek shut himself within his own realm, he came to reflect on the emotions that had eaten at his soul, those that had plunged him into darkness. He would not forget that which had spurned him into action, but he no longer wished to harbour those feelings within him.
In a great act, he cleansed himself of any remembrance of Fear, Betrayal or Desperation that he harboured, forming three pools of putrid emotion that he could reflect on.
However, with time, these once still waters bubbled and writhed, life stirring within the stygian depths. Soon, a creature began to emerge from each pool, a personification of the discarded emotion that had birthed it- the Haunts of Vaasek.
What are the Haunts?
(A Soldier after battle, a signal to Fear)
When a Mortal feels a keen sense of fear, desperation or betrayal, the state of their soul shines like a beacon, one that soon catches the attention of a Haunt.
Aptly named, a Haunt is a creature spurned from the discarded emotions of Vaasek- the pools from which they had originally fed. With a taste for their respective emotion, their blind eyes scour the lands in search of targets, for they may only see where their target radiates.
An example of this can be seen during times of War, in which soldiers are put through considerable levels of stress and fear as they watch comrades and enemies alike fall to their agonising deaths, their senses heightened to levels beyond past experience.
It is here, on the cusp of PTSD, when emotion pours from sweat and blood that the Haunt of Fear strikes, drinking in the fright and exacerbating it to near intolerable levels. It is an intoxicating and addictive experience for the Haunt, and it is relentless in the pursuit of this.
(The Soldier in the depths of Corruption)
When a Mortal first comes under assault from a Haunt, they are plunged into darkness, their fears forming around them before they are confronted with a twisted perception of their reality. Before long, the Haunt itself will appear, pulling from a Mortals very soul before they fall unconscious
When they awaken, their lives are changed, for they are now of the haunted. Perhaps a fate worse than death itself, it is a constant state of turmoil and trickery, in which they are forced to feel that which drew the attention of their Haunt.
Appearance & Behaviour
(The Haunt of Betrayal and its cold aura)
Haunts appear comprised of ashen material, their forms an amalgamation of blackened flesh that appears like stone, yet fluid in its movement. They are typically seen adorning two, protruding horns, which sprout from their skeletal faces. These horns grow to considerable sizes, their claws almost as sharp and piercing.
Many choose to sprout their wings, which appear a hue of black smoke, yet seem in many ways just as material as the rest of their form. They are tall and imposing, and usually reach heights of 8 or 9ft.
Although they seem to have legs, they seldom use them as when they are seen, they are often looming over their victim in a state of silence. They do not make noise themselves, nor do they have any odour. They are almost non-existent in their presence, save for their terrible forms.
In terms of their behaviour, Haunts serve only their own ends, and are unrelenting in their torment of those around them. They do not speak themselves, not even when confronted by their would-be killers, and so it is hard to discern their personalities.
That is, if we can be sure one exists.
The Haunt of Fear
Fear eats at the Soul like a poison, a theme that follows with the Haunt of Fear, for reflected in his image are drops that singe the floor and kill the life around it. For those who are haunted by this entity, they will note that flowers around them begin to slowly wither and die, animals falling ill in their presence.
Stage 1 - One Month
When the Haunt of Fear has discovered you, it will replay the events that shook your soul again and again, repeating with extremity over the course of a week. This may occur randomly, or at consistent times. Additionally, the world will appear as though decayed, buildings on the verge of collapse, people weak and frail.
This theme will persist throughout the haunting, the target overwhelmed by a sense of the world having falling into a state of Apocalypse.
Stage 2 - Two Months
As the Haunt continues to ravage the soul, the victim will begin to develop random phobias and anxieties. Where one confident in a crowd, they may find that they have trouble speaking even on a one-to-one basis as creeping social anxiety sets in. They will continue to develop a phobia for every week leading up to the third stage.
Additionally, small animals may now die upon touch; birds, cats, dogs, et cetera. With their Soul drained, they are now incapable of using any Magic and will only produce small amounts of mana- enough to keep them on the verge of death.
Stage 3 - Three Months
Three Months in, the victims behaviour will begin to sour his relationships as those around him grow cautious, his very touch poisonous to life. Where plants and animals had died in his presence, now Mortals will fall ill to the touch.
Food and Water will taste rancid, falling to ash within his own perception. In reality, none of this takes place, his he is tricked, his soul tugged and manipulated by the Haunt as it continues to feed.
Stage 4 - Four Months
Where once a man may have stood, now only a husk remains, a fleshy sack devoid of all emotion but fear and fatigue.
It is here that the Haunt is most powerful, and may possess its victim. At this stage, the Mortal is lost, merely a vessel to the Haunt of Fear as it may strike fear at a glance, causing those around it to develop random phobias and too sour the taste of food as visions of decay wash over them.
This will only work in a close vicinity, and when a character moves far from the victim, clarift will return.
The Haunt of Betrayal
Betrayal leaves one feeling cold and alone, their hearts tempered by abandonment or the cruel barb of deceit. It is when a Mortal feels this most that the Haunt of Betrayal will appear. As it begins to feed, a Mortals vision will change before him, the world washed in sleet and snow. For the entirety of their haunting, the world will appear in a constant state of Winter.
Stage 1 - One Month
As the Haunt begins to feed, the target will feel cold in all situations. They will shiver without the comfort of many layers of clothing, their flesh devoid of heat. They will grow cautious of those around them, their sight betraying them as they see things where they are not.
Plants around the target will seem to slowly freeze, and water will turn cold.
Stage 2 - Two Months
With prolonged feeding, they will begin to assume that everyone is out to trick or spite them, and theirs heads will be filled with voices, tricked into thinking that they can hear the minds of those around them. Instead, this is a lie, a series of false thoughts that descend the victim further into darkness and isolation.
At this point, their lips and eyes will turn blue, their eyes glazed with cataracts. The mere touch of a plant will freeze it in place. With their Soul drained, they are also incapable of using any Magic and will only produce small amounts of mana- enough to keep them on the verge of death.
Stage 3- Three Months
As the Soul is drawn of mana, it grows cold, the targets eyes failing it completely as they go blind. In this state, the mere touch of plants and small animals will cause them to freeze in place, and water will turn to ice.
Stage 4 - Four Months
It is here that the Haunt is most powerful, and may possess its victim. At this stage, the Mortal is lost, merely a vessel to the Haunt of Betrayal. In the vicinity of this victim, characters will too hear terrible thoughts that they believe come from those around them.
Their sight will betray them as their friends and companions seem to laugh at them, or scowl at them in fury. They too will feel cold and alone, however, this effect will lessen as they move from the proximity of the haunted.
The Haunt of Desperation
Desperation burns like an untamed fire, one that reaches out in all directions and leaves a wake of desolation in its pursuit of survival. Indeed, when a Mortal is at a point of complete desperation, the Haunt will appear to feed.
Stage 1 - One Month
At first, the victim will see that the Haunt saves them from their terrible situation. As the Mortal goes about their life, the Haunt will randomly appear as a variety of terrible creatures, promoting this deep need for survival within their target as they fight desperately.
In this case, only the victim will see these beasts. To those watching, they will see only a man fighting with himself.
Stage 2- Two Months
When time has progressed, the victim will feel a random idea arise within their thoughts, one that will spur them into action. Whether it be greed, fame or vanity, they will feel their desire burst within them, forced to abandon any moral compass they may have had in order to achieve their needs.
If no particular desire arises, they will instead feel a sense of impending doom. In one way or another, they will view those around them as harbingers of their untimely fate.
With their Soul drained, they are also incapable of using any Magic and will only produce small amounts of mana- enough to keep them on the verge of death.
Stage 3 - Three Months
In this stage, the victim will begin to feel hot even in cold conditions, their interests drawn to fire and pyromaniacal tendencies. They will be forced to do anything to reach their desires, only to then be overwhelmingly drawn to burn them- whether it be partners, trinkets, et cetera.
Stage 4 - Four Months
It is here that the Haunt is most powerful, and may possess its victim. At this stage, the Mortal is lost, merely a vessel to the Haunt of Desperation. It will burn to the touch, and items and plants will burn without flame, appearing to crumble into charcoal or ash.
Those around the target will too feel a sense of impending doom strike at their hearts, each feeling their own brand of fear as they look upon their companion with concern. They will have visions of the world burning around them, but these effects will lessen as they leave the vicinity of the target.
Weakness & Signs of Affliction
(The Haunt of Fear and the Victims perception of Decay)
Signs of Affliction
When a Mortal is afflicted with a Haunt, it can be very challenging to determine if they are suffering from a real mental issue, or something of an outside influence. Fortunately, there are some meta-physical cues.
As these creatures are not under the direct sphere of influence that Kabalees have, their level of invisibility is not as powerful, and this lends them to being seen often. When in proximity to glass, windows, or water they will be revealed in the reflections, looming over their prey.
If one with a Magical proclivity were to touch the victim, they would see the Haunt flash into focus for a fleeting second. If a Mage is particularly astute and powerful, they would see the Haunt for the entirety of the time they were ahold of the victim.
The Haunts have an aversion to Holy Light, Electricity, Shamanic and Necromantic spells. In order to dull the effects of a Haunt, any can be used upon it or shone within the vicinity of the victim to allow them two real-life hours respite.
(A wound into the Soul)
In terms of purging a Haunt, one with an affinity for certain Magics; Lataumancy, Farseer, Necromancy and Holy may tap into the Soul of the victim. To achieve this, one must become aware of this haunting. They must have seen the Haunt to some capacity, and must have once felt the dread of the haunted.
When both have been achieved, a person may touch the haunted if they are permitted to do so. In doing so, they will see the image of the Haunt.
During this process, the victim must remain within a 5 block radius at all times, and the Mage must attack the Haunt. The individual playing the victim may immediately allow the Haunt to be damaged in RP, or will allow for a rolling process, in which all three rolls must amount to the value of 6.
If successfully damaged, they will find themselves thrown into a dream state, surrounded on all sides by a wall of taint, a weapon of the victims choosing in their saviours hand. At this point they will be able to hear their companion, who may guide them through voice alone.
Cutting through this corruption will reveal the feasting grounds of the Soul, ridden with corruption and taint. It is here that an image of the Haunt will fester, awaiting combat.
- Haunts may only be seen within a 5 block radius of glass, water or mirrors
- Haunts may not be controlled by any Magic, nor captured
- Haunts cannot be killed permanently, and can only be either weakened or purged
- Haunts are weakened by Holy Magic, Electrical Magic, Necromantic and Shamanic Abilities
- In the Dream State, the Haunt may suffer the same wounds as a Mortal, allowing it to be “killed” which will result in a successful purge.
- Those at Stage Two can no longer use Magic
- Those afflicted with Stage Three+ Haunting may not kill Mortals with their touches.
- For clarification purposes, there is only one Haunt of each type.