Friday, March 7, 2014

CDC Guide to Demonic Manifestation

Over a decade ago I ran a modified Unknown Armies/weird modern game I called City of Ocean. It was the first extended campaign we used our Action Cards homebrew for. It may well be the weirdest thing I've ever run. I've written about the game before and you can see some of my brainstorming notes here. You can also see a little of my post-mortem after the campaign here. Since I'm using the idea of City of Ocean as a place again in my new campaign, I thought I'd post a couple of bits from the original game. The new one doesn't use any of this stuff (or does it). COO originally took place in a world where "demons" were known of, considered a contagious problem, but still not fully understood. 

Below is a Center for Disease Control webpage from that setting:

IDENTIFYING DEMONIC MANIFESTATIONS
This pages contains brief sketches of the fifteen common demonic manifestations as well as links to pages containing a more thorough discussion. The CDC uses the Mignola-Crane system for demonic identification. NOTE: material here is intended strictly for general use. If you suspect a demonic manifestation, immediately contact your local authorities.

Vampires
AKA: Feeders, Nosferatu, Dracul [Mallleus vampiris]
Traits: Vampires have been traditionally ascribed a number of abilities and vulnerabilities, however these are the exception rather than the rule. Vampires commonly require relatively fresh bodily fluids from a victim. Often Vampires are physically augmented. As a rule, they dislike sunlight and some symbols dependent on the manifestation victim. [Permanent manifestation]

Werewolves
AKA: Lupins, Howlers, Skindancers [Malleus lupus]
Traits: Werewolves is the name given to the larger class of people whose manifestation causes them to change into an exaggerated form of any animal. Predatory mammals are the most common form, but others are known. Werewolves may change back and forth between the two states, but may also remain in the new state. Manifest victims will often take up sympathetic traits to their animal state. [Cyclical manifestation]

Succubi/Incubi
AKA: Seducers, Tempters, Callers [Malleus incubi]
Traits: These demons can possess apparently extraordinary features: beauty, strength, health, voice, etc. They use this illusion in order to seduce their victims. The consequences of this seduction varies from demon to demon (see also STD’s and You). [Cyclical manifestation]

Zombies
AKA: Undead, Corpses, Zvundi [Malleus mortis]
Traits: This manifestation kills the host immediately. The zombie then operates patterned reflexes and stimuli responses. The body no longer responds to biological decay; however many zombies try to mimic old responses such as eating and respiration. They are drawn to the biological responses of living beings, usually with dire consequences. [Permanent manifestation]

Ghouls
AKA: Eaters, Burrowers, Teethheads [Malleus depuli]
Traits: Ghouls invariably manifest a number of physical traits: a second set of teeth, a greenish-gray tint to the skin and a immune system which prevents any wound from healing. Ghouls usually try to feed on living flesh. They also usually patch damage to themselves with grafts and limbs from their victims. [Permanent manifestation]

Screamers
AKA: Mongers, Panics, Whirlwinds [Malleus quiritas]
Traits: Screamers are notoriously hard to follow or detect. They create severe emotional states within an area. The effect can be conscious or unconscious on the part of the demon. Some screamers can create intense physical, telekinetic or pyrotechnic effects in an area. [Cyclical manifestation]

Invunches
AKA: Fear-eaters, Twisteds [Malleus torquitas]
Traits: These beings apparently have a powerful empathic sense. They can effect individuals to create an “altered state” for them. They use this either to destroy a particular victim or disrupt a larger group. Invunches have altered connective tissue in their bodies, allowing them to contort and twist their limbs in a variety of directions. [Permanent manifestation]

Sorcerers
AKA: Warlocks, Cursers [Malleus devoveo]
Traits: These manifestations are always male. They have a wide variety of psychic powers at their disposal. These powers are nearly always shaped by a concept of “cursing” or “punishing” a victim. In many cases, this causes a sympathetic effect in a victim. Sorcerers usually exhibit a set of odd behavior patterns reflecting certain prohibitions and weaknesses. [Permanent manifestation]

Liliths
AKA: Centipedes, Mind Worms [Malleus licentia]
Traits: These manifestations are always female. Liliths possess powers of suggestion bordering on mind control. Liliths burn through the bodies of those they possess, moving on to another host in through contamination. This is the only case where a vector has been established for demonic manifestation with any certainty. [Permanent manifestation]

Homonculi
AKA: Crawlers, Redcaps, Fomor [Malleus homonculi]
Traits: Homoculi are easily identified by their physical traits. Once possessed, a victim loses weight and physically shrinks. The most common size is down to that of a medium dog, but cases have been known of homonculi as small as a mouse. Homonculi manifest a variety of other traits. Some have been known to fasten on to a victim like a lamprey. [Permanent manifestation]

Ahrimani
AKA: Antichrists, Adversaries, Devils, Atlantaens [Malleus tyrannus]
Traits: These demons despise all forms of spirituality, philosophy and worship. Their exact talents remain uncertain, but they have exhibited strong empathic, telepathic and perception altering abilities. The methods for detecting Ahrimani are complicated. However, when angered they manifest a “second self” which can be seen. [Permanent manifestation]

Grendel
AKA: Butchers, Rippers, Chainers [Malleus occisor]
Traits: Grendel show their manifestation only over the course of time, after the consumption of victims. Grendels become larger and more distended the more victims they consume. Some have rendered themselves immobile over time. Grendels excrete pheromones which affect the human nervous system in a variety of ways. This can be counteracted by frequent bathing. Those with personality disorders are the Grendel’s most common victims. [Permanent manifestation]

Haunts
AKA: Ghost, Revanant, Wraith, Spectre [Malleus phasmati]
Traits: Haunts manifest purely as a psychic event tied to a particular manifested victim. Over time a haunt can become more and more powerful, eventually having a nearly physical existence. Haunts can only be conventionally affected by harm to their host. [Cyclical manifestation].

Faradays
AKA: Ah’Pook, Death Cops, Exterminators [Malleus ignotus]
Traits: These demons stop existing in a conventional sense. Their psychic power is tuned to concealing themselves and erasing evidence of their existence. The possess the ability to create powerful apparent changes to reality for a victim. However, the purpose of these changes is uncertain. Faradays kill victims, but usually openly. Their other behavior and purpose remains a mystery [Permanent manifestation?]

Chimera
AKA: Serpents, Banes, Belial [Malleus diabolus]
Traits: The most classic appearing demon, Chimera usually have some kind of horn and change to the skin. The degree to which this occurs varies from manifestation to manifestation. Chimera can possess a variety of abilities. However, they also always possess one “weakness” which may be physical or psychological. [Cyclical manifestation]