A Penny for Your Thoughts


Making a Monster

Name a person with a habit that she enjoys.

Indulging her habit, over time she becomes jaded and curious. Name her curiosity.

Because she's jaded, her habit becomes increasingly baroque and ritualistic.

Because she's curious, she becomes progressively prone to extremity. Extremity is measured in human harm - indulging her increasingly baroque and ritualistic habit, she inflicts increasing human harm. Describe how.

There's some threshold of ritualistic extremity over which she crosses. Some combination of ritual and human harm gives her her first access to nightmarish resources. Name the threshold and describe the nightmarish resources.

The nightmarish resources push her and enable her to make her indulgences even more ritualistic and extreme.

Eventually, she does something irrevocable and life-or-death. She kills, dies, conceives a child, brings someone back from the grave. This transforms her; she's now a monster, a creature all nightmare. She is a danger to humanity: her existence, her influence, threatens the lives, souls or humanity of us all. Name the horror her influence could make of the world.

In addition, she makes individual people into victims, slaves and acolytes.

Describe her now and create her character sheet.

- Stats: 14d6
- Traits: 2d4 2d6 1d8 2d10
- Bonds: 1d4 2d6 3d8 1d10 +1d10 per victimization.
- Relationships: none
- Belongings: any, including supernatural weapons.

For traits, include her supernatural resources.
For bonds, start with the listed dice plus 10d10 for victims. Name bonds for the listed dice; simply give the victims' bonds the victims' names, as you create them.


Victims are human beings from whom the monster takes power. This is, naturally, tremendously harmful to the victim.

At the beginning of play, the monster gets 10d10s' worth of victims. Each victim is worth 1-4 d10s.

For the beginning of play, create one victim: worth 2d10 but on the cusp of the third.

As you introduce subsequent victims, make the worth their fraction of the remaining dice.

Victims get stats, traits, relationships and belongings according to the usual NPC rules. Each victim also gets a relationship with the monster, rated in d10s, to reflect the monster's power over her.

Changes to the victim's status - increasing victimization, protection from the monster, the monster's finding new avenues of access, even full and final victimization - can happen only in play, usually as a result of conflicts won and lost, never at the GM's whim.

Making a Victim

Think of a person. Name her.

Some essential human quality attracts the monster to this person. The same essential human quality, in fact, attracts the monster to all of her victims. Name the quality.

Now: someone loves the victim for the same.

Someone loves the victim despite the same.

Someone depends upon the victim for strength, hope or happiness.

Someone's related to the victim by blood.

Someone cares about the victim on the strength of a shared relationship.

Someone sees the victim every day.

Someone has a professional interest in the victim.

For any given victim, more than one of these might describe a single person, more than one person might fit any of the descriptions, and maybe for one or two of the descriptions there might be no such person.

And then: the victim's worth d10s to the monster for how thoroughly the monster has victimized her.

Victimization is characterized by:

- Nightmarish events in the victim's environment.

- Nightmarish physical symptoms.

- Nightmarish behaviors and mood changes.

- Disturbing, inexplicable, nightmarish experiences.

Each of these, injected into the victim's life, is worth 1d10 to the monster.

Also, each of these is worth 1d10 to the victim's relationship with the monster. This latter is as important as the former: when someone's in conflict with the victim, and the monster's implicated in any way in the stakes of the conflict, the victim gets those d10s.

So for your monster's first victim, choose two. Think of them in order: which one did the monster do to the victim first, which one second; which one will the monster do next, which comes last? This is the order your monster will follow, from now on. Choose the order to suit the monster's nature and approach.

In addition to giving them order, give them escalation. Make the second worse than the first; the third worse again; the fourth worst of all. Supernaturally worse, psychologically worse, physically worse, morally worse.

Describe them in the victim's life. They're debilitating, dehumanizing; they're destroying her life and her relationships. Say how.

All of those people you named? Say precisely whom each of them blames for the victim's problems.

Next: the monster can victimize only whom she has access to. Her access to her victims might be direct contact, it might be proximity, it might be in conversation or communication, it might be through some medium - a nightmarish resource, a slave, an acolyte.

At every stage, in order to step up her victimization, the monster has to step up her access to her victim. This might mean finding a more direct way to reach her, progressively doing away with the medium between them; it might mean becoming more intimate with her, physically or emotionally; it might mean communicating more often or more clearly; it might mean simply moving physically closer.

For your first victim, describe an initial contact for the first level of victimization, an increase of intimacy or proximity for the second level of victimization, and prepare a third increase of access that the monster's about to undertake.

When your monster realizes the threat that the PCs represent, her move is to aggressively pursue access to her victims, and thus to aggressively escalate their victimization.

And finally: consider the victim who is suffering all four characteristics of victimization, and whom the monster then gains greater access to and victimizes further.

This person's victimization is complete. She's been consumed by the monster; she is no longer a person. She's dead and damned.

Add 3d6 to the monster's stats, add 1 die each to any two of the monster's traits or bonds, and increase by one the die size of any two of the monster's traits or bonds.

Unmaking Victims

To reduce the monster's power - quite explicitly, to reduce the d10s you get to roll on the monster's behalf - the PCs will have to cut the monster off from her victims. That means finding how she's accessing them, breaking that access, and blocking any alternate means.

Which, obviously, will conflict with the monster's interests.

Slaves and Acolytes

Slaves are human beings who've come under the monster's power and who serve - under duress, sometimes unwillingly - as her agents and thugs. She doesn't draw any power from them directly, but can use them for their own strengths, to protect herself or accomplish her aims.

Acolytes are former victims of the monster who've made a moral compromise with the monster sometime during the course of their victimization. Like slaves, they serve her, but fully and willingly - they take her interests genuinely as their own.

At the beginning of play, the monster gets up to three slaves and/or acolytes, combined.

For the beginning of play, create a slave.

Making a Slave

Think of a person. Name her.

Some essential human damage makes her both appealling and vulnerable to the monster. Name it.

Now: someone loves the slave, despite the same.

Someone (other than the monster) sees in the same an opportunity to exploit the slave.

Someone is related to the slave by blood.

Someone has suffered at the hands of the slave.

Someone has the slave's best interests at heart.

For any given slave, more than one of these might describe a single person, more than one person might fit any of the descriptions, and maybe for one or two of the descriptions there might be no such person.

Then: the monster has made the slave a promise that she's not going to fulfill. Name it.

The monster has given the slave something that the slave does not want. Name it.

The monster has a specific purpose for the slave. Name it. It's related to either a) increasing the monster's access to her victims, or b) protecting the monster's access to her victims.

Slaves get their basic stats, traits, relationships and belongings according to the usual NPC rules. In addition:
2d10 for her relationship with the monster, and you can assign more of her relationship dice to it.
2d4 and 1d10 for bonds of nightmare. They should relate specifically to the monster's unwanted gift.

Unmaking Slaves

If the slave ever loses the relationship she has with the monster - from fallout or by stakes - then she is free from the monster's power.

The former slave loses the bonds of nightmare that her slavery gave her.

Making an Acolyte

Think of a person. Name her.

She was a victim once. Describe her two, three or four victimizations, following the monster's pattern. This was some time ago, though.

Before the monster fully victimized her, she made some moral compromise, or one was thrust upon her. She surrendered to the monster in some important way; she became more useful to the monster as a servant than as a victim; she suffered some death or transformation that made her no longer human. Describe it.

Now: no one mourns her. Presumably they did once.

And then: she partakes of the monster's power and she acts on the monster's will, without the monster's bidding.

Acolytes get their basic stats, traits, relationships and belongings according to the usual NPC rules. In addition:
4d10 for her relationship with the monster.
2d6, 2d8 and 2d10 for bonds of nightmare. They should mirror the monster's own.

Furthermore, whenever you roll fallout for the monster, you have an interesting option: you can assign the two highest dice to an acolyte to take, leaving the next two highest for the monster.

< h3>Unmaking Acolytes

There's no unmaking acolytes. The PCs can destroy them.

If they destroy the monster without first destroying her acolytes, one of her acolytes will immediately rise to and assume her position - especially, her position with regard to her victims. You'll have to remake the acolyte as a new monster.

Changing Status

Once play begins, changes to anyone's status - someone new becoming a victim or a slave, a victim's increasing victimization or protection from the monster, the monster's finding new avenues of access to a victim, a victim's full and final victimization, a victim's moral compromise to become an acolyte - they can happen, but they can happen only in play, as a result of conflicts won and lost, never at the GM's whim.

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