Alter Kindred

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Alter Kindred

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A custom talent that represents a character from an alter kindred.

The Fluff

The ability to shift form has long belonged to the unbound spirits of the forest. These spirits often appear beguiling during peace-time, and as vicious tree-creatures when they enter their ‘war aspect’.

With the aid of a particularly rare type of spite (lesser forest spirits) known as an alterer, the wood-elves of the alter kindred have essentially tapped into something similar, gaining a war aspect for themselves. The alterers are drawn to elves with an particularly strong affinity for the magic of beasts. Once the alterer has chosen a host it hovers stealthily near them, waiting for the gesture that will invite it in; this can be any wish for power, or any expression of desire for an ability belonging to a beast (even a wistful sigh when watching the flight of an eagle). In the instant this occurs the alterer cries triumphantly, and hosts of spites descend on the future host and carry it off to the sacred ritual grove. There, before an audience of elder forest-spirit kin such as dryads, branch-wraiths and other alter-kindred the spite devours the hosts inherent magic, and in exchange bonds for life with the chosen host.

The bond gives the host the ability to shift into a war aspect, much as it can itself. This usually involves branch-like talons or insectile claws and an increase of size. This, however, is only the beginning. After bonding the spite is able to use its stolen magic to attune to many types of creatures, gaining an insight into their nature. The spite can then share these insights with its host. Together the spite and host are able to learn how to weave the essential elements of the attuned creature into the host’s war aspect. An experienced host with a alterer spite attuned to many creatures can be a powerful and strange creature while in war aspect, with the legs of a stag, the talons of a dryad, the sinews of a cat and the eyes of a hawk. Legends tell of alterers attuning to mighty forest dragons, and their host becoming nigh-immortal and growing glorious wings to fly with.

Practically Speaking

Once the alter kindred talent has been attained the elf obtains the ability to shift into a war aspect. They gain the spite attunement for free.

Attunements

Attunements are acquired by locating a suitable (wild) member of the species to be attuned to, and placing the bonded spite upon it. The attunement process takes a week, after which the spite will find its way back to its partner (usually by transferring through a tree). Once attuned the player then has access to that creature’s advance scheme.

Attuned Creature Advance Scheme

Apply the scheme to the current one in the same way as you would when moving careers (i.e. leave or replace the higher modifier). These advances can then be purchased in the normal way (100xp per 5 top-layer characteristic, per 1 bottom-layer characteristic, per skill or talent).

Shifting into the War-Aspect

Voluntarily: It takes one full action to shift into war aspect. Once shifted any free or purchased advances are applied on top of the characters normal template (characteristics, skills and talents are added).
Involuntarily: If a willpower test due to fear or terror is failed, the character is damaged below half wounds, or a critical hit is taken then the character may take a willpower test; if this is failed (or not taken) the character immediately transforms into their war-aspect, but loses half an action the next time they would take one.

Attunements

  • Spite (Free)
    • +3 Wounds, -20 Fellowship, Natural Weapons, Predator**, Wrath of the Forest**
  • Great Wolf
    • +10 Agility, +2 Movement, Keen Senses
      The great wolves of the forests and mountains are fierce pack-hunters. These beasts are valued by the goblin tribes as fleet steeds upon the field of war. When wild they possess both caution and cunning, greatly helped by their sharp ears, keen eyesight and excellent sense of smell. An alter kindred possessing the traits of a wolf will often find the traits focussing around their legs, shoulders and face (usually the ears, eyes or snout).
  • Big Cat
    • +10 Agility, +1 Attack
      Great cats are found within many environments, from the lithe cloud leopards of the deepest forests, to the burly cats of the craggy mountains, and even the great, shaggy tigers of the far North. All great cats share one thing in common however; their amazing speed and agility. Alter kindred possessing the traits of a cat will often find their spine and limbs becoming more flexible and springy, and their muscles quicker to respond. Physically they will often find the cat traits focussing around their belly and forearms.
  • Bear
    • +8 Wounds
      These mighty creatures are known for their size and power. These creatures are greatly varied, usually being resourceful omnivores. Though the Ice Bears of the North, and the terrifying Dire Bears are distinctly carnivorous. An alter kindred gaining the traits of a bear will gain size and a thick hide where it matters; usually the bear traits focus around the neck, shoulders and chest.
  • Warhawk
    • +1 Attack, Keen Senses
      Magnificent creatures greatly respected as mounts by the wood elf tribes, warhawks are massive birds of prey. Soaring high on the thermals they use their keen eyes and sharp sense of hearing to spot their prey, usually large mammals such as deer and beastmen. Once identified they curl their wings against their bodies and strike down like an arrow through the branches, at the last possible moment their wings flare to break their fall, and their talons snap out at lightning speeds to crush the heads and necks of their prey. Alter kindred displaying the traits of a warhawk will often gain feathers on their head and around their eyes, and other hawk-like traits focussing around their forearms, their shoulder blades and the back of their neck.
  • Great Stag
    • +4 Movement
      These powerful and noble beasts are known as the soul of the forest. Drenched in fey magic they are often seen as portents of good or ill omen. These creatures will occasionally seek out a powerful wood-elf to be its rider. The alter kindred lucky enough to gain the traits of a great stag will invariably gain the long and powerful legs of stag, and often the antlers.
  • Quick-Silver Fox
    • +20 Agility
      Fey, cunning and as mercurial as their name; the quick-silver fox is a rare creature to find. These beasts are the size of a small wolf, with fur that shimmers like a silver mirror. They do however possess the white-tipped bushy tails of their kind. These creatures are as stealthy as they are quick, and their favourite food is anything brimming with grey, or illusion magic. Illusion magic power-stones will often draw them, and a den of them will always be near any nexus of grey magic. An alter-kindred clever enough to place his alterer upon a quick-silver fox might gain the silvery bushy tail, and silvery sinews of his find.
  • Dire Mantis
    • Scales(1), Frightening, +1 Attack
      Unlike its smaller kin, the dire mantis feeds predominantly on large mammalian prey. Dire mantids have jet-black carapaces, shot through with red, and are about the size of bears. These creatures are usually found in dank, mossy areas where the temperature is more even and moist. They are able to confidently attack prey larger than themselves due to their protective chitinous armour and speed. An alter-kindred brave enough to place their spite on a living dire mantis will often grow thick plates of chitin and gain swift mantis-like claws, other traits often focus on the face, chest and shoulders.
  • Great Eagle
    • Flier
      Among the most graceful of sentient creatures, the great eagle has always been a friend of the elves. An alter kindred blessed enough to attune to a great eagle will gain vast and feathered wings.
  • Dragon
    • +10 Wounds, Scales(2)*, Flier, Frightening
      These fully sentient, scaly, winged, death-breathing behemoths are probably the most powerful and terrifying creatures in the world, matched only by the greater daemons of the chaos gods. The most well-known dragons in the Empire are the rare fire-breathers who lair in mountains, but in the forests you may find the forest dragons. These mossy, antlered beasts spend their time in a magical sleep, awaiting a call from the forest. When this happens it may seems that a large part of the forest floor itself has grown wings and snaked into the sky to rain poison breath down onto the land. Very few are the alter kindred who have succeeded in attuning to a dragon. Finding one that is awake, or awakening one is difficult. And placing the alterer spite upon it is certainly impossible without its permission. It can take an alterer several human lifetimes to pay back a debt to a dragon that has permitted him to share its glorious form. An alterer with draconic traits will often find these subsuming his other animalistic traits; fur and wood turn to scales, insectile claws to dragon-talons, vast leathern wings grow from his shoulders, and mighty horns that resemble the dragon’s grow from his brow.

*Scales(2) costs 200xp to purchase, unless Scales(1) is already taken. (Maximum armour rating is still 5)

**New traits:
Predator: Prey animals are intensely uncomfortable around a creature that so embodies the essence of a predator. This includes horses and domestic food animals. As such the predator cannot ride prey animals under any circumstances. Other animals may see the predator as a threat, often avoiding it, but under certain circumstances may become more aggressive (dogs, mothers with young, etc.).
Wrath of the Forest: A creature with this trait is affected by the will of the forest. They become more aggressive with members of tree-threatening species (dwarves, green-skins), although not necessarily violent unless they see actual damage being done; they should certainly be encouraged to change to their original form before seeing a wood-cutter go to work. Additionally they have difficulty focussing on anything other than killing their enemy. They must take a standard WP test to do a non-aggressive action while an enemy is still alive.

Alter Kindred

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