A free RPG resource: consequence on character of talisman, curse or encounter with Outer God
Suitable for Yellow Dawn & Call of Cthulhu
Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur, first published in 2007, is an RPG written by British Science Fiction & Dark Fantasy author David J Rodger – it blends the Cthulhu Mythos and cyberpunk genres in a post-apocalyptic setting. It also has three novels set within it: Dog Eat Dog, The Black Lake and The Social Club.
CREDIT: Featured Hero Image – by Sprucemuce on DeviantArt.
The character is made an offer, either of immortality (for a price) or through some kind of talisman or charm of good luck. The potency of this consequence would dictate the giver is an Outer God, or profound worshiper of such. I have selected Nyarlathotep due to the benefit-with-a-sting-in-the-tail but GMs should feel to change this.
Once accepted, there is an immediate an apparent demonstration of this charm in action – either a bandit / armed robber uses a firearm on the character, or some kind of accident unfolds around him / her. But the result is remarkable because the character is unharmed.
In fact, in any situation where bad luck, a failed luck roll, or some kind of indirect incident would harm the character, there is now an 80% chance that some kind of “hand of God” intercedes and leaves the character unharmed.
Similarly, any time a character is about to receive a wound (HP) through aggressive action of another, there is an immediate 20% chance that something intercedes: weapon jams, round fails to go off, the blade snaps or snags on something.
The character may feel blessed.
They are, in fact cursed. This is a terrible invention by some acolyte of Nyarlathotep who has followed the principle that a gift, or reward, should always have a sting in the tail.
If the character is ever wounded, they discover that they do not bleed; rather the wound fills with a red, jelly-like substance, and remains like that. Shredded flesh, exposed bone, torn muscle, remain in that state for the remainder the of the character’s life…oh, wait, they’re immortal, so they will never die. True, but they may find that the majority of their extended existence is as a kind of monster.
Any cut, any wound, remains as a gory reminder of the damage sustained.
The only “benefit” is that all damage is cut by HALF due to reduced shock. But any wound forces an ANXIETY check, with the COOL loss for a failed check being the same as the (modified) value of damage done. Once insane, they become a puppet of the Outer God.
To make the life of the character truly miserable, they are not only at risk of walking the earth as a living monster, they are also a pariah, a carrier and spreader of a Red Peril, or Red Infection. Any person who comes into contact with the character has a 5% chance, per encounter, per day (maximum of once per day), of contracting the Red Peril. They are now a carrier. They won’t know they are a carrier until they start to display final symptoms. This happens when they roll a ‘1’ on 1d20, one roll per day. Until this point, every person they meet has a 5% chance, per encounter, of becoming a carrier – and so on.
– Intense fever. All character STATS are reduced by HALF, and suffer -40% to all Skill checks.
– Red jelly-like substance leaks from their nose, mouth and anus.
– They are in agony, and start to lose 1 STR per day from this jelly (their modified blood) leaking out. Nothing can stop it. Except, perhaps, a ceremony; a supplication to something from Beyond
– Visions of a fleshless, humanoid figure, neither male nor female, without hair or fingernails, and a red, jelly-like texture to their exposed musculature. It is a horrific, sinister apparition that is only ever glimpsed in mirrors or in distant parts of a room, grinning, mocking, waiting…
– Once their STR reaches zero (their real STR, not the HALF STR), they collapse, screaming in TERROR as the Red Peril (figure) walks towards them in their final dying vision. The creature FEEDS from this fear. It is why it happens.
You should read two incredible novels that feature the eerie, cosmic horror of the Cthulhu Mythos:
GOD SEED: See what the Outer God Nyarlathotep has in store for all humanity – read spotlight on this fantastic novel
EDGE: encounter a monstrous new addition to the Great Old Ones as it oozes back into our reality after centuries of absence, with brutal consequences for a group of snowboarders on a New Zealand mountain – read spotlight on this gripping technology thriller