[Menagerie] Man

edited December 2010 in Out-Of-Game
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Man
Cool =0, Hard +3, Hot -2, Sharp +1*, Weird +2*

Man is a woman. Usually. Broadly speaking. At any rate, call her that for convenience's sake. She's built like a tree stump, thick and blunt, heavy bones wrapped in solid muscle. She works at whatever she can set her hand to, living among the tunnel dwellers. She's calm, quiet, sad-eyed, and utterly lacking in any sense of urgency. Most mistake this to mean that she's a little slow, which isn't at all accurate.

Man knows who she is, and she remembers her former life in outline. In some matters, she even remembers good detail. However, she does not know why she is here, out of the forest home, nor does she know if she's meant to ever return. She may be an exile, a spy, or something else altogether ... the relevant memories have been removed from her mind and isolated in the maelstrom by her brethren.

In any case, she's a natural at hunting megafauna. She can sense them moving, even understand the mood of the forest, locate many beasts just by the wakes they leave in the maelstrom. She's also built like the proverbial brick shithouse, and she's both unswervingly cool under pressure and utterly relaxed about dealing violence.

When she's out of armor, Man wears a sleeveless version of the crew's uniform (with a patch showing a knife and a revolver, crossed), but her armor is custom: people often think it's made out of the chitin of some giant insect, but that's not quite true. It's made of bits and pieces of scavenge, wood and leather and metal rivets coated in a sort of diamond-hard lacquer made from the excretions of some giant insect (2-armor). As if that were better.

It has a dark look, sometime black, but sometimes tinted with deep traces of color, sometimes iridescent, sometimes dull. It is fitted to her body, and probably nobody is exactly aware that she is naked underneath, that it mates to her skin with a fibrous weave of living tissues. When she opens her brain, she can feel its surface as if it were skin. It leaves marks on her when she removes it, but to most people they just look like some kind of ritual scarification.

Most of Man's weapons are local stock and manufacture, except for her many knives, which range in size from the fairly large to the extremely small (2-harm hand infinite). Each is carved down from glassy-looking shards of some kind of greenish resin, slightly translucent. Tiny beads of the same substance are embedded like body jewelry in her lip, her eyebrow, and the rim of her ear.

• Laughing Woman (ref)
• Open Hand and Bright Morning (ref)

She otherwise favors a battered old pre-apocalypse grenade launcher (4-harm ap close area messy), as well as a short-barreled magnum caliber revolver (3-harm ap close reload loud), for use as a deterrent and a last ditch defense. In her capacity as The Menagerie's heavy, she chooses shaped explosives and copper-jacketed hardened steel rounds for their armor-piercing properties.

Her barter is in the form of bits of forest dweller gear, tools, and remedies, which has more value that she'd expected down in the tunnels. [1-barter]

- History -
Kray+3, Nickle-1, Rabbit+1, Shade=0, Tavi+2, Wilson+2
Gunlugger special: if you and another character have sex, you take +1 forward. At your option, they take +1 forward too.
When you do something under fire, or dig in to endure fire, on a 12+, you transcend the danger, the pressure, the possibility of harm. You do what you set out to do, and the MC will offer you a better outcome, true beauty, or a moment of grace.

When you try to seduce or manipulate someone, on a 12+, only if they’re an NPC, they do it, and furthermore you change their nature. Choose one of the following; tell the MC to erase their threat type altogether and write it in instead.
• ally: friend (impulse: to back you up)
• ally: lover (impulse: to give you shelter & comfort)
• ally: right hand (impulse: to follow through on your intentions)
• ally: representative (impulse: to pursue your interests in your absence)
• ally: guardian (impulse: to intercept danger)
• ally: confidante (impulse: to give you advice, perspective, or absolution)


When you open your brain to the world’s psychic maelstrom, on a 12+ you reach through the world’s psychic maelstrom to what’s beyond it.
Angel kit: To use it to stabilize and heal someone at 9:00 or past: roll+stock spent. On a hit, they will stabilize and heal to 6:00, but the MC will choose 1 (on a 10+) or 2 (on a 7–9):

• they need to be physically stabilized before you can move them.
• even narcostabbed, they fight you; you’re acting under fire.
• they’ll be in and out of consciousness for 24 hours.
• stabilizing them eats up your stock; spend 1-stock more.
• they’ll be bedridden, out of action, for at least a week.
• they’ll need constant monitoring and care for 36 hours.

On a miss, they take 1-harm instead.

To use it to speed the recovery of someone at 3:00 or 6:00: don’t roll. They choose: spend 4 days (3:00) or 1 week (6:00) blissed out on chillstabs, immobile but happy, or do their time like everyone else.

To use it to revive someone who’s died (at 12:00, not beyond): roll+stock spent. On a 10+, they recover to 10:00. On a 7–9, they recover to 11:00. On a miss, you’ve done everything you can for them, and they’re still dead.
Battle-hardened: when you act under fire, roll+hard instead of roll+cool.
Insano like drano: you get +1hard (hard+3).
Lost: when you whisper someone’s name to the world’s psychic maelstrom, roll+weird. On a hit, they come to you, with or without any clear explanation why. On a 10+, take +1forward against them. On a miss, the MC will ask you 3 questions; answer them truthfully.
NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH: in battle, you count as a gang (3-harm gang small), with armor according to the circumstances.
Prepared for the inevitable: you have a well-stocked and high-quality first aid kit. It counts as an angel kit (cf) with a capacity of 2-stock.
Unnatural lust transfixion: when you try to seduce someone, roll+weird instead of roll+hot.
[-] get +1cool (max cool+2)
[ ] get +1sharp (max sharp+2)
[ ] get +1weird (max weird+2)
[-] get a new gunlugger move (prepared for the inevitable)
[ ] get a new gunlugger move (bloodcrazed or fuck this shit)
[-] get 2 gigs (fucking and technical work) and moonlighting
[ ] get a holding (detail) and wealth
[ ] get a gang (detail) and pack alpha
[-] get a move from another playbook (unnatural lust transfixion)
[-] get a move from another playbook (lost)

[ ] get +1 to any stat (max stat+3)
[ ] retire your character (to safety)
[ ] create a second character to play
[ ] change your character to a new type
[-] choose 3 basic moves and advance them
[ ] advance the other 4 basic moves

Other playbook moves: bonefeel, casual brain receptivity, deep insights, infirmary, juggernaut, lost, reality's fraying edge
«134

Comments

  • edited May 2011
    Gigs
    3-juggling

    Fucking
    - profit: 2-barter
    - catastrophe: entangled ... it should have been impersonal, but no, someone’s emotions come into play. The crew’s, the client’s, or someone’s attached to the client. (Is it your emotions?)
    - unworked: n/a

    Seeking answers (who am I?)
    - profit: you get a clue
    - catastrophe: you chase a red herring).
    - unworked: the mystery deepens, or something casts your assembled clues in a new, more complicated light. You’ve been wrong all this time.

    Technical work (medicine, a little engineering, this and that)
    - profit: 2-barter
    - catastrophe: shut out ... you've done your part, but some other asshole has undercut you and shut you out. Now you’re stuck with the labor or the goods, and no buyer who’ll make good.
    - unworked: n/a
    Moonlighting: whenever there’s a stretch of downtime in play, or between sessions, choose a number of your gigs to work. Choose no more than your juggling. Roll+cool. On a 10+, you get profit from all the gigs you chose. On a 7–9, you get profit from at least 1; if you chose more, you get catastrophe from 1 and profit from the rest. On a miss, catastrophe all around. The gigs you aren’t working give you neither profit nor catastrophe. Whenever you get a new gig, you also get +1juggling.
  • edited December 2010
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  • edited December 2010
    Ok, now that I have some space up there: gunlugger.

    Part of Wilson's gang ok?

    - Name and Look

    Name is Man. Transgressing gender.

    Custom homemade armor.

    Sad eyes, stocky body, and blunt face.

    - Moves

    Well, let's start with Insano Like Drano. I'm a pro, after all. And I think either of Battle-Hardened or Battlefield Instincts, depending on how I lay out my stats.

    Hm. Skip Bloodcrazed, for now. Skip Fuck This Shit, too.

    So either NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH, or Prepared for the Inevitable. I'll leave that choice sitting until I have a better idea of what everyone else is playing, though. I'm considering Prepared for the Inevitable -> Infirmary from the angel book, but I'll skip that if there's a real angel around. And, of course, NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH has that nice "I can go toe to toe with a mutant dinosaur" aura.

    - Stats

    Let's say: Cool-1, Hard+2, Hot-2, Sharp+1, Weird+2.

    And I'll take Battle-Hardened.

    Gear will depend on what my role in the crew settles out to be.
  • Definitely liking it so far. I'm curious, though, what you're looking for in "transgressive" gender. To be fair, I never really fully thought out the implications of that description, so I'm interested in what kind of feeling you're hoping for it to convey. A chick who dresses like a man, sleeps with anyone and anything, maybe? Something more?
  • Alright, things've percolated a bit. And I think the transgression is going to have a lot to do with body horror. We'll get to that in a sec - you'll have to tell me if it's too over the top.

    Man is from the jungle: she's one of the forest people. Some say the forest people aren't really people anymore, having been changed by the same processes that change all the other things living in the bramble. They eat the fruits of the forest, they wear the cast-off skins of monsters as clothing and armor, they speak to insects and trees ... or so it is rumored.

    Heck, some say that they can fly through the storms, cross great distances in the blink of an eye simply by stepping into the trunk of a tree, identify and track intruders in their lands by naught but the scent of human minds, even graft themselves with the flesh of monsters. Crazy shit.

    And purportedly, they had to put off much of their humanity to become so wholly accepted by the forest, and some suppose that they are now just another implement with which the world can strike at the broken remnants of man.

    Well, most of that is just talk, surely. When people disappear in the bramble, it's easy to claim it to be the work of the forest people, but really - there's plenty else out there that can murder a man. And sure they're insular, but it's not as if the tunnel-dwellers are clamoring to go visit, is it?

    And when forest people comes to the tunnels, traveling or trading or looking for a new home, they're pleasant enough. Odd, certainly. And yes, they carry strange implements and wear stranger clothing, and sometimes they have weird ... jewelry? Something like that? And they're unnervingly quiet, it cannot be denied. But they attend to their business, they never seem to cause trouble, and they often carry warnings and advice about threats moving out in the bramble. Good neighbors, really.

    (But secretly, no: they're not really that human.)

    Man is a woman. Usually. Broadly speaking. At any rate, we'll focus on female pronouns, for convenience's sake. She's built like a tree stump, thick and blunt, heavy bones wrapped in solid muscle. She works at whatever she can set her hand to, living among the tunnel dwellers. She's very quiet, very calm, and utterly lacking in any sense of urgency. Most mistake this to mean that she's a little slow, which isn't at all accurate.

    Man wears a sleeveless version of the crew's uniform when she's out of armor, but her armor is custom: people often think it's made out of the chitin of some giant insect, but this isn't actually true. It's made of bits and pieces of scavenge, wood and leather and metal rivets coated in a sort of diamond-hard lacquer made from the excretions of some giant insect. As if that were better.

    It has a dark look, sometime black, but sometimes tinted with deep traces of color, sometimes iridescent, sometimes dull. It is fitted to her body, and probably nobody is exactly aware that she is naked underneath, that it mates to her skin with a fibrous weave of strange tissues. When she opens her brain, she can feel its surface as if it were skin. It leaves marks on her when she removes it, but to most people they just look like some kind of ritual scarification.

    Most of Man's weapons are local stock and manufacture, except for her many knives, which range in size from the fairly large to the extremely small. Each is carved down from glassy-looking shards of some kind of greenish resin, slightly translucent. Tiny beads of the same substance are embedded like body jewelry in her lip, the rim of her ear, and in swirling patterns on her arms and hands.

    Man knows who she is, and she remembers her former life in outline. In some matters, she even remembers good detail. However, she does not know why she is here, out of the forest home, nor does she know if she's meant to ever return. She may be an exile, a spy, or something else altogether ... the relevant memories have been removed from her mind and isolated in the maelstrom by her brethren.

    In any case, she's a natural at hunting megafauna. She can sense them moving, even understand the mood of the forest, locate many beasts just by the wakes they leave in the maelstrom. She's also built like the proverbial brick shithouse, and she's both unswervingly cool under pressure and utterly relaxed about dealing violence.
  • edited December 2010
    Man is a woman, but as I say: broadly speaking. Usually. It changes from time to time. Occasionally she's a he. Other times, neither. Or both.

    That is, she physically changes sex on occasion, and she really only tends toward the female, with her excursions into other kinds of sexuality eventually returning back to that baseline. Sometimes, like on a failed open brain roll or something like that, she might change in more exotic ways, not necessarily limited to sex and gender.

    At the moment, Man has no real control over this. Generally, though, the change comes on her when she opens her brain in relation to some relevant topic or situation, though it also can come on (seemingly at random) while she sleeps or in reaction to serious physical or mental shock. It goes away after a bit - a single episode has never lasted more than a day or so.

    I'm looking at picking up the Weird->Seduce brainer move: she fucks around with your fetishes and gender preferences, sure, but she also meets you halfway, so to speak.

    Oh, and she doesn't always assume human genders. When she adopts some alien gender, it's generally extremely disturbing for all involved. Fortunately: very rare.
  • Want to play hopscotch? :-)

    Wow, that's out there, very weird but cool. Like to see where that goes.
  • edited December 2010
    The forest people have augury, as well as workspaces with life support. They combine these things in interesting ways!

    That's why I'm thinking about picking up a gunlugger's mini angel kit and eventually acquiring an infirmary. Though I'm also already thinking that I might be on course for a playbook switch to savvyhead ... Things Speak, Reality's Bleeding Edge, and Bonefeel would all be really cool, and the savvyhead can put together an infirmary of his own. So, maybe.

    I think the moves she takes out of other playbooks are going to be Weird moves. That probably means borrowing from other PCs' playbooks, though, since we've got a hocus and a brainer, and a skinner and battlebabe as well. Just brainstorming, I'm thinking about Unnatural Lust Transfixion and Lost, but I'll rethink if the relevant players don't want me horning in on their territory.

    With those two, I kind of want Man to be able to summon a monster out of the forest, fuck it (this is where the really disturbing gender-bending body horror kicks in), and thus command its obedience for a time. Not often, by any means, but I think that's just about the razor's edge of that 'transgressing' gender choice.

    And I think I'm taking NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH as my third move. I might still pick up Prepared for the Inevitable (very likely, actually, since there doesn't seem to be an angel), but we'll start with that. It's not that she's uncannily good at fighting, or anything like that ... it's just that she's not quite human, under the skin.
  • I'm thinking about Unnatural Lust Transfixion
    All yours! ^_^

    Wow seriously you've given that a lot of thought already.
  • Yeah. I envy Michael. Cool shit just pours off him in waves.
  • I'm turning over my Hx questions in advance. So far, we've got:

    - me

    - Nickle the child brainer
    - faceless Kray
    - Shade the dancer
    - Wilson, the boss

    - hocus
    - battlebabe

    One of these people has fought shoulder to shoulder with me, but apparently a good handful of us are part of the same hunting crew. So, multiple candidates. But probably either Wilson (because she's the boss) or Kray (because the gunlugger and the faceless are probably the hard front line, and thus literally fighting shoulder to shoulder).

    I think Shade is objectively the prettiest, simply by virtue of being a skinner. I'll hold out until I've seen the battlebabe, though, and I also reserve the right to have completely bizarre standards of beauty. I'll probably not practice that right, though, so: skinner or battlebabe. I suppose we can't rule out the hocus, but the competition's pretty fierce for that.

    Someone once left me bleeding and did nothing for me. Any volunteers? I pretty much am a freakshow, so it's not that hard to imagine.

    Of these people, Man thinks Wilson's the smartest. Gotta give the hocus and the battlebabe a chance, though.
  • edited December 2010
    Not that I need more animosity in my life, but I could have tried to manipulate you (meaning trying to make you take me in for a time...) and failed, leaving you bleeding. I can definitely see Nickel on the edge of terrified of you and a little bit fascinated. If nobody more interesting comes along, give it to me.
  • Awesome awesome awesome. I feel like I'm going to have let some of this stuff sit in my brain to truly let it seep in, but not a single thing that you said sounds anything but good. I really like the idea that Man switches genders if she fails an open brain roll, sometimes. Good stuff.
  • edited December 2010
    Random note: to be clear, it's not generally obvious when Man changes gender. She's a very squared-off, mannish woman, so when she flips to male she's just a vaguely feminine (but still pretty blocky) man. If she's naked or topless or otherwise showing a lot of flesh, you'd notice (and it'd be rather disquieting to watch), but otherwise probably not.

    The process is improbably quick, but not instant. Takes minutes? Something like that, and it might vary. Heck, maybe it really is instant, sometimes.

    Also, since Tavi has turned out to be the sniper, I find myself irresistibly drawn to the grenade launcher for Man's fuck-off big gun. I've already mentioned Man's many resin knives (backup weapon), and I think I'm going to pick ap ammo. Specifically, her grenades are actually these shaped high explosive charges, designed to punch holes through megafauna ... they don't have much trouble with conventional armor.

    Not sure about her last weapon. Rifle, smg, shotgun, or magnum?
  • Yup, totally with you about her sex changes not being obvious. Sounds good. I'm also assuming you were intending for the process itself to be relatively ignorable for Man? Maybe it's not comfortable, but she's used to it? So she's not like, screaming or anything while it happens.

    Grenade launcher sounds freaking awesome. Crazy tribal forest lady shooting grenades down the throat of a razordillo. Kickass.

    Shotgun or magnum, I think, but obviously your call.
  • Yeah, I think it's just a biological process that she has.

    Oh, ick ... Yeah. Actually, it feels good. Like mild foreplay. A little distracting, sometimes a little uncomfortable, but definitely not painful.
  • Let's go magnum. Ap ammo, still. It serves much the same purpose as Wilson's giant knife ... last resort when the monsters get too close to be firing grenades at them. Try and empty six armor piercing magnum rounds into the brainpan, and hope for the best.

    Also a much more practical weapon for when you're only fighting people.
  • edited December 2010
    And I have a thumbnail of how I'm picturing the forest people. Do you know the Dune books? The forest people are quite a bit like the Tleilaxu, though maybe not quite as relentlessly sinister.

    They're not shamanistic or tribal, really - their life and religion is tied up in the science of the psychic maelstrom and of the weird life the maelstrom has spawned. You could call them kind of spiritualistic, but that's only because the maelstrom is a largely psychic phenomenon.

    There's a ritual, religious element to all of this, but it's religious the way that Zen Buddhism is religious. There's no real worship involved, just philosophical groundwork with a concrete goal: they live in harmony with the earth in order to avoid attack and benefit from the strange bounties of the maelstrom and the apocalyptic world. More savvyhead than hocus.

    Nausicaa remains a good reference, too. There were forest people in that setting, as well as strange biotechnology that I'd take inspiration from.
  • That all sounds good. I have a feeling you'd have to be a pretty chill group if you're all constantly switching gender.

    "Hey honey, how was your day?"

    "Pretty good. I'm a woman now, by the way."

    "Oh, well, funny you should say that. I'm a man now!"

    "Indeed!"

    "Quite!"
  • edited December 2010
    It's possible that Man's thing is unique to her, or at least specific to her (and other forest people have their own biological quirks, due to being part of the forest ecosystem).

    It's also possible that it is actually just a subset of something more complicated. Perhaps forest people start out human, but they progress up through stages of mutation into something very not human, and Man is in some fluid, intermediate stage.

    It could also all be very deliberate and engineered. Might be that Man is like this for a specific reason, and that other forest people may or may not have their own specific, engineered traits. Possibly, as above, the elders have had layers and layers of engineered modification, to better attune them to the forest.

    (Have any familiarity with Exalted? I've never played, but I remember the Alchemical Exalted have a thing where they gradually grow larger and stranger, until they become the very cities that their people live in.)

    Might be that the forest people who come trading are the young ones, still pretty much human, and the ones that stay in the forest (the ones nobody ever sees) are something else altogether. Man's creepshow features are hints at that? 'Retire to safety' could mean something very weird, if so.

    Or maybe the forest people are usually heavily swathed in armor and clothes like Man's own forest gear, sufficient to conceal their aberrant features. Many of them wear these gas mask and helmet jobs, concealing them entirely, head to toe.
  • I've sort of wondered if the forest people age up into the monsters we kill, just no one knows.
  • edited December 2010
    That did cross my mind.

    (Retire to safety.)

    Probably not the killer deer and stuff, because really, nah. But maybe some of the less recognizable things ...
  • Man lives in a smashed up corner of an underground parking garage. The bulk of the garage is half shanty town, half 'open' market, but the corner back here collapsed at one point. The slabs of concrete fell in such a way that there's a warren of tunnels and chambers back there, all crazy angles and irregular ceiling height.

    The garage used to be under a city park, so there's no building rubble up above. So, soil and water dribbles down and collects in the corners, a little vegetation has taken hold, and there are even lances of sunlight stabbing down here and there. Most people avoid the area as being too vulnerable to the surface, but Man seems to appreciate it.

    She has a good-sized A-frame chamber back in there somewhere, with a little sunlight and a handmade cistern collecting rainwater. A concrete slab and some ragging makes a bed, another slab serves as a table/workbench, and that's most of what's there ... she's not much of a hoarder.

    +

    Man doesn't really have much trouble around the hold, despite her origins. On one hand, she's fairly intimidating and is known to work as a big game hunter - you don't mess with people like that without a good reason. On the other, while she's far from chatty, she's still more personable than most forest people, as some of her strangeness has worn down over the years. People are used to seeing her around by now, so the armor doesn't attract stares.

    In some circles, she's actually treated pretty well. In the stretches of tunnel where people are most used to seeing her, she's accepted as odd, but a good neighbor. She's private and even-headed, she always pays her tabs, and she's been known to step in (quite efficiently, as it happens) when the locals are being hassled by outsiders.

    She's also a forest person, and that's not all bad: she's not really equipped to act as a doctor, but she's helpful enough when someone comes by to consult on their child's cough, or when a broken bone needs attention. It took a while, and it'll take a while again if the crew uproots and moves, but she's a functional (if fringe) member of the community in the tunnels around her home.
  • I'm going to assume that I have ammo that's not ap, and that I can change loadouts when the mood strikes me.

    Around the tunnels, the grenade launcher isn't usually loaded at all, and the magnum is loaded with normal, non-ap ammo.

    In the field, the magnum is loaded with ap rounds, no question. Not sure about the grenade launcher - it might depend on what we're expecting to run into.
  • edited December 2010
    For some reason, ancient literary references keep coming to mind. A little odd, but there you are:

    The Thunder, Perfect Mind

    The Dhammapada, Chapter XXIII: The Elephant
  • edited January 2011
    I changed the picture at the top of this thread over to tinypic, because I think Christopher, at least, said that photobucket is blocked for him.

    Beyond that, I've been looking for another good reference pic for Man. I like the portrait shot, but it doesn't really say anything about build and body. (It's really kind of hard to find good images of women of Man's general build, incidentally.) In the end, it happens that 1980 Olympic gold medalist Ilona Slupianek (East Germany, shot put) is really almost an exact match to the image I have in my head:

    image

    So there you go.
  • Badass. For Man, I'd think it's a grenade she's holding in her right hand.
  • As mentioned up in the first post, Man's armor is alive. It's very basic life, though - the living membranes against her skin are really just connective tissue, with an overall complexity similar to simple plant life. It subsists on water and on the salts and organic matter in her sweat and shed skin, which has the not-incidental side effect of leaving her fairly fresh and comfortable in her armor, even on a long day out in the jungle.

    Her knives are also sort of alive. They're just thin slabs of shaped resin, so there's no actual organic life, per se. However, like many forest people artifacts, they are tied into the maelstrom by augury, and that imparts to each a spark of something like life. They can't actually do anything interesting - they're still just knives - but they're just as present in the living maelstrom as a tree or an animal.

    The knives are sort of like pets, actually. Again, though, they're simplistic ... they have about the same intelligence and personality as a pet spider would. That is, not much. They do have names, though, given to them when they were made. I won't come up with a list of names, since Man carries an unknown arbitrary number of them, so I'll just make them up as it becomes relevant. There should probably be some kind of theme, but I don't know yet.

    The armor doesn't have a name. It's more like a second layer of skin than a pet.
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