Thursday, May 16, 2013

System Shopped: Weeping Angels - Houses of the Blooded

Weeping Angels
System Shopped: Houses of the Blooded
by Tobie Abad

One of the popular adversaries in the Doctor Who series are these beings called the Weeping Angels.  My first encounter with them was when a group of friends wanted me to experience the show for the first time and they felt the best way to do so was through the episode entitled, Blink.

Obligatory Spoiler Warning:  If you are enjoying Doctor Who and have not seen an episode called Blink, stop reading RIGHT NOW.  If you have never seen Doctor Who, and you plan to in the future, STOP READING as well.  I do not want to spoil the wonderful episode for you.

Okay, assuming those still reading are people who have been properly warned, let me share why I love these  monsters.  The Weeping Angels are one of the alien monsters that the Doctor and his Companions fare against in a number of episodes.   This System Shop attempts to convert them into a playable Ork for the Houses of the Blooded game.

Wikipedia nicely has a comprehensive write-up on these alien assassins.  In brief, let me post the first few sentences here:
The Weeping Angels are an ancient race of aliens from the Doctor Who television series. Steven Moffat, their creator, attributes their appeal to childhood games such as Grandmother's Footsteps and the notion that every statue is secretly a Weeping Angel.
Their usual mode of feeding is to send their victims back in time, which creates time energy to feed on. When they are not being observed by another being, they can move very quickly and silently, but when they are being observed, they become "quantum-locked", occupying a single position in space and becoming stone. In this state, they are frozen and difficult to destroy. They cannot suppress this reaction. If two Weeping Angels were to look at each other at the same time, they would be trapped in stone form until an outside force moves them apart. To prevent this, they often cover their eyes while moving - this makes them look as though they are weeping.
Why would these be awesome to add to Houses of the Blooded?
In the game, there are places called Puzzle Houses which the Ven use to celebrate their elaborate parties and are built upon the ancient ruins of past shrines and castles which were once owned by the sorcerer-kings. 

With their labyrinthine passageways and twisting chambers, adding a silent and deadly assassin to protect these places would make them even more mystifying.  The added bonus of these Puzzle Houses seemingly twisting time as well for any occupants adds even more to the fun one can have with a Weeping Angel within its halls.

Imagine having the Ven confront a creature so beautifully deadly, whose very presence would instill Terror but to look away would be to let it win.  

How do these translate into Houses of the Blooded?
Weeping Angels can be represented as Orks, with a Terror rating of 5.  They are horrible monsters, but not creatures that would destroy cities by their lonesome.  The would be Rank 6 Orks, with the following Ork Traits:  Camouflage, Blind Spot (Covered Eyes), Immense Speed (Represented by Invisibility), You Can't Kill Stone (Represented by Rhino Skin at Rank 5).

How do I portray them similar to the show?
Start with just talking about the statues being present in the Puzzle House.  Perhaps as the story progresses, always mention or suggest seeing another such statue in the vicinity.  It should feel as if it is always somewhere nearby.

Then perhaps when one of the Ven is alone.  Or perhaps when one chooses to inspect the Weeping Angel, then you can have them make Cunning Risks to notice the statue suddenly in a slightly different position than earlier seen.  Perhaps the Ven pulls back in time to see the statue having one arm reaching for her.  

And then it begins.  Once the character is aware, a Courage Risk is needed to maintain one's gaze upon the Angel.  Each Wager grants the Ven one additional turn to do something without fear of blinking and letting the Angel get close.  If the player fails the wager, the Narrator can have the Angel whisk the Ven away to somewhere else in the Puzzle House.  And that's the beauty of the Puzzle House being the setting:  The Angels can throw the Ven here and there in the Puzzle House, to consume every new bowl of possibilities with each touch.   

When gazed upon, the Angel automatically becomes stone, and typically (with Rhino Skin at 5) it would be impossible to destroy stone.  However, Bloodswords particularly in the hands of skilled Wolves and Bears might be able to destroy an Angel with the right acts of Strength or Prowess.

One Last Scare?
Well, as they revealed in the show, the image of an Angel becomes an Angel.  So if the players ever tried to share their experience to other Ven, or narrate their encounter to any non-player characters, then you have every right to have some guest attend the next Althua with a life-sized work of Art inspired by the story of the Weeping Angel.

And suddenly, the players can have one last encounter with these loneliest assassins in the universe.

Don't blink.
Blink and you are dead.
Good luck.

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