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Blood & Ink: Naga

October 1, 2009

Concept

Half snake merchant traders who trade in wonderous things- “Dried lion’s roar”, “vial of winter moonlight”, “Hope”, and offer to take/give Traits at a price…

Description

Once, perhaps twice in a lifetime you might see the golden palequin, the colorful garb of the servants, cheerily carrying a merchant of indescribable wealth.

Most know of the Nagi Clan as traders in the most rare, exotic and fabulous goods, and only the priesthood really know they’re not human. The rich and well informed might know that the Nagi also trade in the very stuff of who you are – they can trade ointments to make you forever beautiful, give sight to those born blind, grant wings to fly… nearly anything… if you can pay the price.

The Naga consider themselves traders in karma. “Every desire contains the seed of it’s own downfall”, and they shake their heads with a sad smile. It’s like a grand experiment to see what people do, when given exactly what they ask for.
It’s not like they give an unfair deal, it’s just that people rarely realize how many of their problems are born of choices they make over and over. And how few learn that the magical solutions aren’t so magical, after all, in the end.

Only the royal Temple priesthood knows the rituals to summon the Naga. They are powerful allies in changing political landscapes, though they shake so much up it is never done lightly.

Stats:
Wi 7 Pe 6, Ag 4 Sp 3 Po 3 Fo 4 Hea 5 Ref 4 MW 10 Ste 6 Hes 3 Res G4 Cir 3

Su 3 Li 5 Mi 6 Se 7 Tr 8 MW 9

Traits:

Ophidian, Cold blooded, Dissent Parasite, Good Listener, Named, Practiced Smile, Gift of Babel, Trader of Traits, Trait Fashionista, Magical Entourage, Second Sight

Skills

Persuasion 5, Haggling 6, Appraisal 5, Aura Reading 5, Soothing Platitudes 4, Falsehood 4, Desperate People-wise 4, Greedy People-wise 4, Music Appreciation-wise 4

IMS:
(no weapons, generally runs from fights)

Beliefs
There are no shortcuts to happiness, though that doesn’t stop people from trying to buy them
Every desire carries the seed of it’s own downfall
Just once, I’d like to see someone shape their own destiny into something joyful and happy… alas.

Instincts:
Always keep your snakey-half covered
Always give a customer what they want, as long as they pay the price
Once a month, always gift some child or pitiful person with something- it’s good karma!

New Traits

Magical Entourage (13 pts)

The Naga has a number of forgettable servants who appear to serve drinks and food, carry goods, or carry the Naga around. They’re all very forgettable, since they do not actually exist. It requires a Perception vs. Ob (Naga’s Will) to actually focus on one and realize how bland/non-descript they are. The servants can do simple tasks, and travel about as far as the other side of town, but they cannot engage in any contests successfully or Help in any conflict.

Trait Trader
(30 pts. Actually put it as high as you want. It reallly should never be in the hands of PCs. Ever. This trait cannot be loaned via transference, nor made into an antecedent via Enchanting)

Naga can remove or add Traits to mortal humans.

Removing a Trait requires a willing subject takes a number of minutes equal to the Trait’s pt. value. The Trait is transferred into an object, usually a potion or vial, though other things might work as well (this object can be used as an antecedent for enchanting).

Adding a Trait requires the object be injested/used upon the subject in some manner. The subject need not be aware or willing.

Anyone who willingly has a Trait added or removed by the Naga also gains an Emotional Attribute, opened at an Exponent equal to the Trait’s pt. value (maximum 9). The Emotional Attribute should reflect the reason/motives for the character having a trait altered- Greed and Hate are common, though people seeking joy/better times might get Grief. Honor and Shame might also fit. Corruption is always good if the trait is strictly for power…

The specific Emotional Attribute depends on the GM- the Naga character themselves is unaware of what might happen, all they know is “Changing yourself has a way of revealing who you really are…” (Also, anyone who steals from a Naga also gets Corruption, automatically…)

Naga typically charge a Resources Test at OB (Trait’s pt. value) to add a wanted trait or remove an unwanted one. Alternatively, you can trade another trait equal or higher in value if it’s valuable. Some “unwanted traits” are rare and still of worth to the Naga as well (“Aura of Malevolence! How rare these days! I can’t wait to put this on my poodle here…”)

Naga do not have all traits available – they actually keep an inventory! Assume they have most/all 1 pt character traits, and progressively rare as the point value goes up.

Trait Fashionista (8 pts)

Naga can choose to take on, one of their traits in inventory that’s a 1 or 2 pt. Trait. They gain no Artha from using it, and never really choose based on practical or pragmatic reasons- it’s all for fun. “I wonder what it’d be like to be Timid today? Let’s try it out!”

It can also be disturbing to see a Naga sporting the Mole you just let go of, quite proudly, too…

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6 comments

  1. You’ve over-costed the traits, I think.

    I’d do more like 4, 10, 3.

    Also, what’s wrong with a human getting the trait trader thing? I can see someone who’s just naturally magically gifted, or someone who “bought the business” from a Naga.

    yrs–
    –Ben


    • The Monster Burner has a couple of cost rules in it that I’m using as guidelines. Anything which is a “rules breaker” instantly starts at 5 pts.

      The Trait Trader has room to be highly problematic in a lot of ways – “Hey, I’m going to go round up all the sick, crippled folks, “heal” them by pulling traits, and then go have my servants gifts of fine wine sprinkled with these Traits to my enemies…” It basically rolls Jesus Healing and Uber Cursing into one.

      BUT- players technically have access to this by Summoning- they just have to pay Summoning prices to get the Naga to agree to use it in the way they want. (“And make sure Lord so-and-so ALSO becomes Honorable!” etc.)


      • Yes, but …

        Okay. So you take away all your buddy’s traits. Now they get less Artha. Go you.

        You give them to enemies. Okay. Most are not overwhelmingly bad.

        yrs–
        –Ben


        • Consider that Traits are actually the hardest thing to develop/remove in play in BW.

          Also consider that with Trait Trader- you can undo the Prices of Summoning (“Oh, you want me to chop off my hand? Awesome. Hey Jim, come fix this!”).

          Or that you can KEEP chopping off your hand, and having your buddy stockpile “One Handed” to go pour in the town well… (note, getting the Emotional Attribute opened doesn’t increase doing multiple times of the same thing…though I’d probably give a few Hatred/Corruption checks for self-maiming marathons…)

          I just don’t want to have to think about all that.


  2. The emotional attribute as an additional price is brilliant.

    MW should be 9, unless some trait works like tough.


    • Thanks, just fixed it, there’s been some stat fiddling with these guys. I might bump them back up- I didn’t realize “Corporeal Summons” gave Grey Stat monsters as the examples! I think I’ll bump up the stats a bit, but call all these monsters “Minor Corporeal Summons”.

      ETA: Also, I wanted the trading to have a long-term cost that wasn’t a lame “and now you’re cursed!” kind of thing, but more of something that affects the characters’ behaviors. Emotional Attributes are fun because they can be helpful as much as harmful, but they definitely push conflicts into play.



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