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Sunspotter

Giant Robot Fists, for Non-Robots

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Check out the Engineer Pursuit from Into the Steam; it has an Invention Talent that was designed to mimic things like magic goggles and the like.

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Hooooo boy. So, I’m finally back in the full swing of writing and brewing, and now that I’m back at my wheelhouse thread, I’m getting to a unique augment that’s been brewing in the back of my head for quite some time now. The story didn’t really form immediately after, but once I had the idea, I knew it wasn’t going away until I wrote it. The story and the augmentation ultimately became inseparable in my mind. I always do my best to come up with the kind of individual that would have each augment in some sort of headcanon, Carter and Toby were both fully formed in my head before making it to paper, and the subject of this upcoming story is too.

Full disclaimer. I am going to put my best foot forwards in regards to this story. I want to portray Dani as humanly as possible, even in a more fantastic setting like malifaux. I don’t want to offend anyone, nor do I want to make this come off as some cheap grab for “diversity”. This is going to be my story, written as I want it to go. It’s being run by a few individuals only because I want to make sure it’s as good as it deserves to be.

If you have any subjects you’re sensitive to, please, check the spoilered box below. It does contain some story spoilers, but It also contains some of my rationale behind everything.

 


If you’re sensitive to subjects involving gender dysphoria and transition, or Cannibalistic implications, but still want to use the augment, you can Ctrl+F !?! and it’ll take you straight to the Grave of December augment. The writeup of the augmentation itself contains neither, and you should feel free to refluff it if you would rather not breach the topic of the CoD in your game.

Dani, the character in the story, is trans. If you’re wondering why the hell I’d put the subject of the cult of december in such close proximity to this, the biggest thing that stuck in my head after reading more about the cult’s tenuous history of gender-based power struggles, was just what would happen if someone who didn’t fit the standard mould would feel december’s call.

Under no circumstances should it be assumed that I’m trying to conflate the two different forms of identity issues presented, rather they’re intended for direct contrast. Someone coming to fully accept their gender identity, and that it should hopefully be accepted by those around them, is a very positive process. That being said, I’ve been told it’s much like greif, in which denial may become a factor. Self-acceptance should never be conditional. I want to make it clear that Dani’s identity has always been her own, while the touch of december is something clearly forced upon her.

Also, Rasputina’s response should hopefully be understood in the context that she would also understand what it’s like to be something outside of a system eager to reject, that she would accept Dani’s identity once she fully understood it, perhaps to the point that she’d wish to help in what ways she can. That acceptance doesn’t make the acts the cult commits any less abhorrent, but just like good people can do bad things, bad people can have some good in them too.

Also, with fully realized shapeshifting magic being a thing in setting, I don’t believe it’s too much of a stretch for someone like Dr. Mueller to exist.

TL;DR: Acceptance good, eating people bad.

 

There was a certain chill that Dani couldn’t shake from the moment the Malifaux express passed through the breach. The stagnant air of the cabin hadn’t changed so much of a degree, but for a split second, her breath swirled in front of her. It couldn’t be repeated, nor did the rest of the cabin even seem to react. She’d heard stories of individuals...changing on the ride to Malifaux. Perfect. Just another thing to add to her plate.

It was no secret what happened to those that practiced magic the guild didn’t approve of. In fact, the symbol of that fate bore morbid fruit through her east facing window. It was easy to think one was clear of that possibility by never so much as touching a grimoire, but Malifaux always seemed to have it’s own plan for people who dared to step foot in it.

She kept her head low as she carried her steamer off the train. Even in the slightly humid air her overcoat was pulled tightly over her shoulders. It didn’t especially help to warm her up, but it at least added a gossamer illusion of safety for her trek into the city. She wasn’t going to let some bizarre incident put a damper on her new life. This was a place she could actually live for herself, far away from anywhere her naegling parents might try to find her.

As Dani walked through the downtown streets, she could feel the small book of scrip shift about in her pocket. She knew it wasn’t wise to carry that much at once, but she figured it wasn’t liable to fly away on the walk between the train station and the bank. As good as the pickpockets of Malifaux were said to be, she figured none of them could reach through solid leather. Nothing about the luxury of the area made her feel out of place. In fact, the gilded facades were vastly too familiar to be comfortable.

Another chill ran up her spine. She remembered the argument with her parents. They didn’t care how she wanted to spend her own money, the only thing that they cared about was the family image. How she wore her hair was already an almost daily point of contention, but being in spitting distance of a cabaret? Sacrilege! Charlie was already out boozing and treating bordellos like hotels when she was at college, but no. He wasn’t available, her being a twin meant she had to be the good son her father wanted.

The worst part was that they were always the ones footing his bills.

If they had enough to make sure he was living in the lap of luxury, fine. Since that was how they wanted to play it, then there was more than enough in the “family” account to top off her own savings, and a particular train ticket to boot. She’d already had the bank wire her own account ahead of her, but she knew the transaction was between the two, they still might be able to reverse it across the breach. That’s why she knew she’d have to move the scrip manually. Each and every red cent was headed to the bank, save for what she needed to lay her head for the night.

But then she overheard music. A cabaret show. The tune was audible from a theater close by, and it was a good one at that. Jaunty. Energetic. Almost nostalgic. Dani figured she could justify floating a little bit of her liquid assets if it meant maybe feeling at home for the first time in a while.

The clerk at the bank till almost seemed perplexed by the size of the deposit, but cracking the seal on the telegraphed records put it quite nicely into perspective. Only a few minutes later,  and everything was set to go. The ease of it all put a real spring in her step. She didn’t even have to stress her surname once to get things done; maybe that meant things were going to turn out different here.

The tables at the Golden Ram were some of the best she’d sat at in ages. Nothing but filigreed class and velveteen daydreams. The kind of place a well-to-do citizen could wile away the hours in a paradise of theater and music. It felt bittersweet to be in a place like this. The last show she’d sat down for was a stone’s throw from Oxford.

Al decided to treat her right after graduation. He wanted her to have one more night where names didn’t matter. He wasn’t a Caine there. She wasn’t the heir apparent to a construction empire. They were just two well-paying customers, sipping honey wine and calling back to the Master of Ceremonies. She didn’t even know how he convinced her to get all dressed up and painted, much less managed to get her on stage. She thought the crowd would laugh, but they were stunned. He wanted them to hear the same siren song he heard through his dorm floor every afternoon.

The corseted waitress broke her out of her nostalgic reverie with a glass of mead. She was back in reality. Where Al was gone. The ten foot oaf disappeared off the face of the planet, along with the class Valedictorian and a smattering of other Oxfordians. The rest of her friends. All she had to go back to was a manor house of chains in the shadows of Baton Rouge.

It wasn’t fair. She wanted to be happy for the time they had together, but she wondered why they didn’t take her with them. Maybe she shouldn’t have told them everything. They were nothing but supportive every step of the way, hell, Al was the one who stood with her to get her first good party dress. But they could’ve gone to Malifaux first… Knowing everyone, they’d be worried about the city eating her alive. Of course they couldn’t tell her where they were going. If she knew for sure, she’d have been on the next train after them…

But the possibility of finding them… She couldn’t find the energy to be happy. That chill was back, crawling up through her veins. Everything felt so muted. She shouldn’t be alone. It wasn’t right. As she tried to hold back her tears, her breath froze in the air. She should be happy, but everything was going wrong again. If someone noticed, she could be face to face with the guard. She put her glass down on the table, trying to catch her and head towards the exit, but nearly doubled over from panic.

Sitting in a foggy crystal glass, tossing flickering reflections over the table, was her drink. Frozen over.

Dani staggered out of the club, barely holding herself together. She could tell it was supposed to be hot, yet she felt frozen to the core. Someone had to have an answer as to why this was happening. The first man to answer her, from a king to a pauper, she was going to listen to no matter how bizarre it sounded. Then truth trod along in the form of a scraggly old beggar, the guild guard dragging him by his wrists towards a checkpoint.

“Ya look cold boyo! I’ve seen that chill before, Y’gotta freeze yer outers if y’ever want yer innards ta warm up too! North! The mountain!  go before December if ya want an answer!” And just like that he was gone, dragged cackling to parts unknown. It wasn’t much to go on, but the certainty with which he spoke shocked her. The map from the train station showed a town called Ridley, and above that, a mountain range. The mere thought of it caused her breath to puff up again. A matter of months was out of the question. Not three hours later, and she was on the next train northbound to Ridley Station.

The trek wasn’t easy. She’d bought every amenity she could, but it wasn’t keeping her warm. A ground sweeping parka and boots. A first class sleeper ticket. Even a half a bottle of the finest brandy she could find did nothing to warm her up. Not even hot meals were filling her anymore. The whole journey, she prayed the fogging windows in her car were just due to the temperature outside of it.  

She spent a solid week in Ridley, searching for someone to take her into the mountains. Most looked at her like she was insane. Those that didn’t very kindly explained the threat involved with going up to the mountains; if the cold didn’t kill you, chances are some frozen maneater would in it’s place. Yet she was numb to everything but her pursuit. She tossed aside rumors of a metal-armed steamfitter, or a doctor that could bend flesh to his will. She could pursue all that once she had her answer. Once she could suppress the chill in her heart.

Paydirt came with the Ridley Geological Survey. They were headed into the mountains to investigate reports of soulstone deposits, and were accepting all able hands. A muffler and a set of goggles, and Dani was on her way, almost indistinguishable from the rest of the crew. The farther north they traveled, the colder Dani got. It wasn’t the temperature though, there was no difference between the high winds flowing off the mountains and the warm southern breeze. It was all inside of her, and she felt like she was freezing solid.

Supplies were running low, but Dani couldn’t find it in her to care. Whether or not she ate, she felt as hungry as the day before. The longer they treked along the mountain spine, the higher they went into the ridge, the more she felt the temptation to simply throw off her parka. The wailing mountain winds were starting to warm her, despite a good portion of her compatriots nearly dying of frostbite from an improperly closed tent.

The night watch didn’t help ease her her feelings that something was wrong. It didn’t matter that the Yamisaka was winterized, it wasn’t like she could shoot it anyways. She saw all the horrors that the people in Ridley told her about. Walking ice, coming to life and prowling the edges of the camp, but nothing dared to approach. She swore she saw the eyes of predators, glinting in the night. Studying her every move.

The only solace she found was that this was some sort of permanent camp. The pickaxes had long since come out. Supposedly, the deposit they sought was right under them, and intermittent blasting slowly formed a cave for shelter. The tables were turning again. Now, Dani was the only one who’s breath wasn’t showing. All the insulation that was supposed to be keeping her safe felt like it was strangling her. Then the call rang out. All the workers in the camp flooded into the dig site. If there was any sort of opportunity for her to try opening up her coat, then she may as well do it while everyone was clamboring over the find.

It was obvious even from the entrance. A light blue, crystaline stone, pulsing with energy. A beating, frozen heart. Even so much as looking at it made Dani shiver in her boots. She’d found what she was looking for. Without thinking, she wandered through the crowd. She needed a closer look with every fiber of her being. But then the shouting started.

“By god son, Close your coat! You’ll freeze to death in here!” In no time at all, a row ran through the crowd. The miners were beyond furious, and she couldn’t tell exactly why. What they were saying made no sense.

“The ice witch did this! We were fooled from the start!”

“She snuck in one of  her patsies into the expedition so she could keep an eye on us! No wonder we never got attacked, she was behind our lines the whole time!”

“Grab the stone, but make this bastard pay first!”

Dani stumbled back in horror, being pushed towards the stone by the crowd. She was crying, and her tears fell frozen to the ground. This was it. She was going to die because she wanted answers. To understand something she couldn’t control. It was so cold. She wanted it to end. She wanted to freeze solid. There was one last thing she could think to do.

She threw off everything she thought was there to protect her. The coat. Her gloves. Her wool cap. even the lead lined vest she’d snuck under the whole affair. Her hair used to be a dirty blond, as it fell into her vision,she saw something had bleached it white as the snow falling outside. They would know who they killed, but there was one question left before she went. She’d get the answer. It might even kill her before they could.

With one outstretched hand, Dani touched the stone. First there was silence. Then in the howl of a blizzard, chaos erupted.

The first few rows of the mining crews hadn’t just stopped moving when she held the stone, they’d been completely frozen into statues. Others behind them tried to knock their way through, but pillars of ice erupted from the ground separating her from the living crew. Through the bulwark of crystalline glaciers, she saw men and women in blue fur cloaks, and prides of horcats ripping the living miners to pieces. She was separated by glass from a human slaughterhouse. Dani feared herself at that moment. She knew that she should be horrified by what was taking place before her. Yet she couldn’t feel anything if she tried.

The pillars dissolved away, leaving her standing face to face with a small company of the blue robed figures. It wasn’t hard to think that she was next, but instead, they nodded at her to follow. when she tried to remove her hand from the stone, it instead popped out of the wall, like a gem falling out of a socket. By the moment, any remaining feeling drained from her left arm.

The trek led them into the night, finally arriving at a brutal looking temple hidden in the crook of the mountains. Deep within its sanctum was something Dani didn’t expect. a woman, no older than thirty, lounging upon a throne of ice. Her gaze alone saw the girl shivering in her boots again. What may have been seen as respect when the woman stood was simply her knees giving out from under her.

“Child. For reasons I do not understand, December has seen it fit to touch your soul in a most peculiar way. The aether around you courses like a blizzard, and when his heart was threatened, you lashed out with his might.” Rasputina’s voice resounded with an echo of force, her words reverberating through the icy walls of the temple.

“So you know why this is happening? Please, teach me how to control this! Tell me what I have to do, I’ll do anything you need me to…” Dani desperately blurted out, her voice cracking slightly from stress. Beyond anything else, desperation was showing in her eyes.

“Not in all ways. Only my handmaidens have been so blessed as to receive a fraction of the power you have. Those of your kind that wish to follow in their ways must undergo… changes to follow in their wake” Rasputina’s eyes narrowed to slits. The more she observed her supplicant, the more a disconnect between body and soul became apparent.

“Please then, let me become your handmaidens Miss! I know I might not be the most becoming amongst them, but I’ll do whatever it takes… Please, just help me control whatever this is! I beg of you…” How she spoke of herself… it clicked immediately. The peculiar looks shared amongst the assembled cultists were brought to rapt attention as Rasputina lifted Dani to her feet. As the ice witch lifted the soulstone, the younger girl’s arm dissolved to powder.

“You were not yet ready to wield the power of this stone darling. You haven’t even eaten your first true meal yet. I know though, the perfect fool to slake your hunger has already been ordained. There is a man named Doctor Mueller in Ridley. He is a magician with power over flesh and blood. Long ago he promised a service to me, but has since refused many times. Now, the fool comes back to seek forgiveness.

I have no problem merely handing you to his favor for his more… standard services. This will be on the condition that he is your first feast. Then, when you return, truly... becoming as you put it, I will return the stone to your posession in a form you can control more easily. Then, and only then, shall you shall begin the rites to join the silent ones.”

Dani knew she should object. That she should accept any fate than what this woman was offering. But something, deep in her stomach, seemed to get her over the last branch of the offer quite easily. This may be the first proper meal she’d had in days. A smile crossed her face. Finally, for the first time in weeks, her heart started to warm.

-

TELEGRAM FOR JORDAN LYCARD

MR. LYCARD -STOP-

I REGRET TO INFORM YOU OF YOUR SON DANIEL’S PASSING -STOP-

DANIEL WAS LAST CONFIRMED LEAVING FROM RIDLEY WITH THE FAILED GEOLOGICAL SURVEY TEAM TRYING TO FIND A SOULSTONE DEPOSIT IN THE NORTHERN MOUNTAINS -STOP-

NO CORPSE HAS BEEN RECOVERED, THOUGH I HAVE IT ON GOOD WORD THAT IT NO LONGER EXISTS -STOP-

WHILE IN RIDLEY, I HAD A CHANCE ENCOUNTER WITH A STRANGE GIRL WITH WHITE HAIR, AND A GREAT FROZEN CLAW CONNECTED TO NUMEROUS DEATHS AROUND THE AREA -STOP-

SHE WISHED TO ISSUE YOU THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE UPON HEARING OF YOUR RELATION -STOP-

“WHO YOU HAVE SIRED, YOU HAVE FAILED. WHAT SCRAPS OF DANIEL EXISTED HAVE LONG SINCE BEEN EATEN AWAY. I HAVE CONSUMED HIM, AND GROWN STRONGER FOR IT.” -STOP-

I HAVE NO REASON TO DOUBT THE VERACITY OF THIS STATEMENT -STOP-

I SHALL RETURN FROM MALIFAUX FORTHWITH TO COLLECT THE PRE-ARRANGED PAYMENT -STOP-

I AM SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS -STOP-

DETECTIVE MERIWETHER WALTERS

 

!?!

:tome:tome Unique Prosthetic: The Grave of December

While almost every single one of the augments found in malifaux are made from mechanical components, not all are touched by metal. The only common component common between all augments is a soulstone conduit of some sort, both to power the construct, and link it to it’s user. The grave of december is for the most part, a product of it’s unique soulstone. The heart of december naturally frosts itself over, and if left for too long, will become the starting seed in a mighty glacier. However, this process was introduced by the introduction of a runestone, giving the now-living ice all the instruction it will need. If the heart of the user isn’t already frozen solid, the tendrils of ice digging into their form will do that work on it’s own.

This prosthetic replaces an arm, and will be as strong, if not stronger than the former limb. If the limb is to be modified, only those familiar with the construction of the limb can modify it.

(Prosthetic: Clockwork Full Limb [Ice-based])

(Enhancements:

Enlarged Limb
Rending Claws (Executioner’s Claws)
Integrated Boiler
Unique Components [2]
(Free slot))

This augment may be advanced as a pursuit

Step 1: Glacial Heart
Step 2: December’s Aegis
Step 3: Winter’s Fist

Glacial Heart:

The fated gains the frozen heart talent. All attacks made with this limb or weapons held by this limb give the slow condition when damaging. If the fated already has the frozen heart talent, they gain a number of wounds equal to the number of times they would have gained the frozen heart talent past the first, then move to the next step in this pursuit immediately.

December’s Aegis:

Whenever the fated causes the slow or paralyzed condition to an enemy, they gain the following condition: Boreal Armor+1: Whenever the fated is damaged, reduce the damage taken by the value of the Boreal Armor condition, to a minimum of one, then reduce the value of the Boreal Armor condition by exactly one. If the fated would gain the burning condition, reduce the value of value of the Boreal Armor condition by that much, then prevent the burning condition.

The fated gains the following manifested power

Touch of December:
Acting Value Intelligence+Sorcery
AP:1
TN 13
Range: 8 Yards
Effect: Target ally gains the Frozen Heart Talent until the end of the round. You may increase the TN by +2 any number of times. If you do, that ally keeps the talent for that many extra rounds.

Winter’s Fist:

This limb may be counted as a grimoire for the fated. It contains the following Immuto and Magia:
Magia: Elemental Strike, Elemental Retribution, Berserk Fury
Immuto: Blast, Increase Damage
Special: The Ice immuto is automatically added to all spells cast through this grimoire once, without raising the TN of any spells. When Berzerk Fury is cast through this grimoire, the target’s attacks cause the slow condition, and the target gains the Frozen Heart talent until end of round

The fated Gains the following Ability:
Ice Mirror: the fated may draw line of sight for spells including the Ice Immuto through any friendly character or object with the Frozen Heart talent that they can see within 10 yards. Increase the target number for all spells cast this way by 1. Those spells may not declare triggers.

The fated may control any number of Gamin through the Ice construct ability, though for every construct controlled, add +3 :tome to the ability’s TN. Ice walls and pillars summoned by this character count as if they have the Frozen Heart talent.

Attacks the fated makes against paralyzed targets gain :+fate to the damage flip.

(As a short aside, I realize that the cast value for the previous augments was fixed. That was intentional, as I wanted to make sure I didn’t lock out non-casters. this particular augment has proper formats, because it’s assuming the character was a silent one first. If it’s desired, I could go back and do my best to fix the previous augments to proper standardization)

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4k veiws... Good god.

so uh... I'm not dead, I've just been writing a lot. like, a lot a lot. like, hundreds of thousands of words across various projects, including something that'll hopefully impress some people who may or may not see this post. I have things in the works. I don't have the 2e core book, because unfortunately, my art bag with the splats has gone missing, again, and i was hoping to get it back before making the investment. I'm still waiting on ToS with bated breath. There will be an actual post to justify this post of me gawking in short order.

TL;DR:

http://alexanderlozada.com/iasip/?IlNvb24oVE0pIg==

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