Why don't we focus the Wings around the seven stages of grief? Shock, Denial, Bargaining, Fear, Anger, Despair, and Acceptance.
Tier 1: Rooms, Camps, Packs, and Wards
Tier 2: Wings, Factions, Compacts
Tier 3: Conspiracies
Written by Vree
I tried to have Wings built around different attitudes towards dealing with the Pathogen.
Medicals (new wing): Those who are searching for a cure for the Pathogen. They believe that the Pathogen is a disease that has to be conquered. Their special skills allow them to suppress the negative effects of the Pathogen, but also make their Infected potential weaker.
Evolutionaries: Those who want to harvest the potential of the Pathogen for the benefit of t mankind. They believe that the Pathogen is a result of natural evolution, and that through the pathogen mankind can evolve into a new species. They follow this principle in their own lives as well, and tend to have high Fusion.
Annunaki: Those who seek a different explanation for the existence of the Pathogen, as they do not believe its natural or man-made origin. They possess a strange skillset (even by Infected standards) that is seemingly closer to witchcraft than an Infected ability.
?Cambions?: ?Those who do not believe that the infection can be cured, and stress the importance of coming to terms with one's Infected status. Many of them willingly do what the Pathogen wants some of the time (kill a stranger or a bad guy) so that they can avoid Blackout and can resist it when they have to (do not kill a loved one).?
Joining a Wing: …Is a simple procedure. You simply have to know at least one other person who belongs to the same Wing (Contacts, Allies, Mentor, or Retainer), and have some basic knowledge about the Wing's principles (either coming to them on her own or having been taught by someone from the Wing). Most Wings are loosely organized, if at all, and consist instead of small groups whoo share the shame philosophy or goal. There is no membership fee either - however, while a member, the player has to live according to the philosophies of the Wing. Medicals have to follow through with a number of strict daily routines (take their medicine at a set time, spend some time on special exercise, etc.); Cambions need to satisfy their parasyte in small ways, Annunaki need to take part in meetings or research etc. This is mostly a roleplaying challenge (will a character remember to take his 5 o' clock pill even in the heat of things?), but the storyteller may also demand that the player spends a small portion of his exp on skills or Subversions preferred by his Wing while being a member.
For the record, I'm not extremely attached to the current Wings. They have…Good things and bad things going for them. So far I just tried to flesh them out a bit, but if someone says that they want us to look at it in a different way, they should.
Initially when I started making notes about this I wanted to squeeze in a whole section about real-world Pathogens and epidemic research centers, an idea that has now mostly turned into the "Medicals" Wing (horrible name btw) who were originally only an idea to make use of the "search for a cure" trope.
(Medicals are also the "give science and society some credit" group, another nWoD thing that I like [in the oWoD, these things were always corrupt or dysfunctional].) And I may end up writing some of this for the group anyway, because it's joke to have a game about Pathogens and no idea how they'd make this work IRL.
The Consilium (aka the Medicals)
Feel free to advise on a more satisfactory name.
Philosophy: The Medicals are united by one common goal: to rid themselves of the infection. most of them do it for themselves, though the "Holy Grail" of the organization is a cure capable of killiing all forms of the Pathogen, but such a dream lies in the uncertain future. Whether conducting or funding medical research, searching for the origin of the parasyte, recruiting new members or stopping the spread of the Pathogen, the goal before their eyes is to remove the Infection from the face of the Earth forever.
Organization: There are several pandemic research centers in the US that make excellent story hooks or campaign settings. etc.
Membership: Healthcare professionals, researchers, rich supporters, people who need to be treated, people who want a hospital room with medical surveillance and can are willing to make a small donation, people who can be asked a small favor in exchange for expensive medicine. Stopping the spreading of the Pathogen (either by fighting ATP zombies and other threats, or traking down other Infected) can be just as an important job, for those who prefer doing field work.
Gameplay tips: Medicals are often considered a weak Wing. Not only do they purposely keep their Resonance low, their Fusion also deterioriates thanks to their constant attempts to remove the parasyte.
Members rarely have additional Subversions other than their default ones. Instead, most focus their experience raising other Attributes and skills that can be used for research or Those who work out in the field may have a mastery of Survival and Firearms. They are still Infected, but they don't rely on it as much as the other groups.
Medicals retain most of their humanity and are a bit more safe from committing atrocities than other Infected. On the other hand, they often refuse to indulge in Subversions, hinder their own transformation, and use medicine to hinder and weaken the Pathogen, pushing Fusion lower.
Probably what they get the most criticized about is that they often purposely keep their Resonance low. However, thanks to this, their Blackout episodes are far less dangerous and shorter than others'.
If someone doesn't have money or talent to speak of, they can still join - as test subjects. Just a slight prick is a small price to pay if it may cure you, right?
Many members realize that even if there may be a cure it does not mean that it will be found in their own lifetime, and start seeking for other solutions. They still keep their Wing and ts advantages.
Advantages: Acquire medicine at a reduced price; able to have a hospital room ("Haven" advantage) at a reduced price; use special rituals (below).
Cleanse - Perform detoxication on the body. You lose some of your ATP on your next Blackout roll.
• Clearing the mind: Spend some time on mental exercises. You get a bonus on all Derangement/Decay rolls that result from loss of Fusion, making breaking off the connection with your Pathogen easier. Works similarly to Meditation.
•• Forcefully decrease your Resonance by one point. Complicated cleansing ritual involved that reduces the character's Health, and all ATP he has is lost.
••• Completely suppress the Pathogen for a short while (based on which stat?). While this technique is in action, the character loses all of the results from their Infected template, good or bad. (Does not suffer penalties from their primary Symptom, does not attract Chimera, etc.) Note that you lose some health while doing this, due to the parasyte already being a part of your body to some extent so cutting it off
(see: The Society, von Däniken's Ancient Astronauts, Call of Cthulhu, the Bible, and any amount of pseudoscientific theories and beliefs. (Don't forget, in the WoD these may actually be true.) )
Membership: The Annunaki consists of equal parts UFO believers, sciencists (pseudo- and real) and the members various past and present religions.
Philosophy: The Annunaki claim that evidence of the Pathogen in the records can be traced all through human history. While people may call them deluded, charlatans or devil-worshippers, the Annunaki search for the truth - and nothing will stop them from attaining it.
Some believe that the Pathogen is the work of some otherworldly intelligence, others cite aliens or the upsernatural.
Most Annunaki don't believe in modern medicine, or at least don't think that it can cure their condition. Some are downright hostile towards the Medicals; it is believed that the bad rep they get that that accuses them of cutting open any Iinfected on an operation table if they turn to them is mostly Annunaki propaganda.
Advantage: Looks like they may be onto something, because the Annunaki display symptoms that no regular Infected does. The Evultionaries, who are among their biggest critics, claim that the Annunaki merely harvest the power of the Pathogen: they tap into the basic nature of their symbiont, using that power to change and assimilate things around them. For most, though, what the Annunaki do seems like nothing short of magic.
Eldritch Magic works ther same way as Lovecraftian Superpower says: it's technically magic, but with disturbing biological imagery and components. Some hints of being fueled by Eldritch Abomination power may also work.
I have tried to re-imagine the Annunaki as the "closer to the supernatural" guild (though the name does not matter), but people did not take the bait, so maybe I missed the mark there xD
The "Religion of Evil" (I think that's @Zen's idea on them), I don't think is workable as a player choice. There "Crazy cult" is just a played out trope if we don't add anything to it.
What I was trying to do is to bring all of these options together: where the Pathogen is some sort of alien invasion; where it is a result of Wo D magic (or, for crossovers, other races, Mages or Vampires etc.); and wilder ideas where it's God's punishment, Chtulhu's influence, etc. Similarly, the Annunaki could just as well be cultist as pseudo-scientists, UFO believers, or conspiracy theorists. Who may even be right.
But then maybe I should ask @Zen what in his mind would be a group fit for a supernatural campaign xD
The grant for the Wing: My first idea was to dump all kind of effects on them that may have to be part of the Infected/mutant mythos, but what you'd not neccessary want in an average game. For example, psionics. Maybe even the zombie thing. I was also inspired by Wizard of Yog-Sogoth to make their abilities seem more magic-like.
Not just offensive abilities, either; something I like and what they could easily grab is the role of the "healers" throught Subversions among the Infected (Medicals, despite the appearance, are more like scholars than a "healer class").
Here are some ideas:
• Healing hands (inspired by RL "spiritual healers"):
The Annunaki touches the patient's skin, creating a hole without causing pain or bleeding. He can then reach into the person's body and make changes there. Essentially this allows for surgery without the use of any tools. (Bonus on Medicine rolls.) The wound closes again once the Annunaki has pulled her hands out, and leaves no mark.
••••• Festering Portal
The Annunaki creates a wormhole through which he can transport himself and others between two points. The entrance looks horrifying like a huge mouth filled with hook-like teeth, and the "tunnel" from the inside looks like someone's intestines. Any person who uses it has to make a roll so that they do not take damage as they overcome with dread and disgust.
^These abilities are still in an idea stage, no guarantee that the Annunaki will actually look like this.
How about modeling some of the Annunaki factions on the Book of Revelation's interpretations? These would be as follows:
Preterists believe that the progenitors' identity, origins and intentions can be determined through the old texts;
Historicists believe that the pathogen has left tracks can be followed through human history;
Futurists believe that information about the future can be decyphered from the records;
Idealists believe that that there is an even greater truth, and everything else should be taken as an allegory for this higher order.
By occupation they can be grouped as [warning, more horrible names]: Cultists, those whose aim is to find and communicate with whatever beings they believe are responsible for the Pathogen; The Tradition, biomancers who invent new bizarre subversions, and dress it up as rituals and mysticism; The Society, a secret society of influental people who are using of their abilities for their own advantage behind the curtain, and their influence to keep their Infected status a secret; The Institute, a group keen on "restoring the phyisical, mental, and spiritual unity of the body" through alternative medicine and spiritual training.)
Written by Vree
(see: Helstrom's Hive, The Brood, The Flood (Halo), The Many (System Shock), The Unity (Fallout) )
Organization: When they are no longer able to function as normal people, in body or mind, for many Infected the only choice is to flee and try to forge an existence independently from the rest of humanity, a near impossible task in an age in this day and age when people are so heavily reliant on others and when humans populate pretty much every corner of the world. Yet, sometimes, these pursued souls meet and realize than they do not have to fight alone. It is from their efforts that the Collective was born - a Wing whose goal, never clearly stated but often implied, is to leave the human way of life behind altogether.
The Hivers are elusive, and avoid contact with humans. Some raid sewers or underground caves. A few of them are able to make it to the few remaining wild and human free areas.
Membership: Many Hivers have left their lives behind because they had developed such special needs that they could no longer be fulfilled within the constraints of human society.Many have been mentally warped by the Pathogen, embodying the Evolutionary ideal, but in a gruesome manner: what little humanity is left alone and powerless, lost in the buzz of alien thoughts that now control the body.
The Hive lives in tight-knit groups, and members consider each other as family. They are usually the biggest advocates of solidarity among the Infected, though their form of unity is frightening to most other Wings at best. Their society does not follow a human model; even Cambion groups are tribal at worst, but the Hivers' instead is usually compared to an insect colony, based on the unique mutations that they possess.
Sometimes they capture Infected vistors and try to "initiate" them into the collective. Most of the time though, they just want to be left alone away from outsider's eyes.
They are unique in the number of Infected who were born directly into the Wing. For a few Hivers, the hidden community is all they have ever known.
Even stranger, Lost Ones and Chimera are an accepted part of the colony.
The first symptoms: Hivers are Unborn in a greater percentage than any other Wing. Even if they are not, their Pathogen tends to be more agressive.Occassionally the victims in an area follow a certain pattern during their mutations, which then turn out to be important roles within their Hive, as if intended that way by the Pathogen.
Relations: Few like to even speak of the Wing of Despair. For most Infected they represent a future that they desperately want to avoid. They have the best relations with the Evolutionaries and the Cambion; the first because they represent what they yearn to become; the other because they are just as far removed from humanity as they are.
Evolutionary: "They want to be like us…They do not realize our pain."
Cambion: "They are so angry at humanity, they even forget to care for their own survival."
Protector: "Rebellious children."
Medical: "They try to alleviate our pain, but they just keep causing more."
Annunaki: "Trying to understand what we are, while if they joined us they could experience it instead."
New subversion: Cooperation
Cooperation allows the character to work together more effectively with other Infected, and even with Lost Ones and Chimeras.
An unshakeable bond is created between the Infected and others with the same parasyte. Lost Ones, ATP zombies and Chimera pose no danger to the character anymore. The trade-off is the character has a harder time doing anything that may cause them harm as well.
If anyone under the Pathogen's influence tries to attack the character, they need to roll (at the beginning of the combat, and every round when they make a new attack), and vica versa. If it fails then the character cannot bring himself to attack their opponent. Simple-minded creatures such as ATP zombies will not initiate attacks by default, while others will only do it if provoked.
Characters who take this trait early on are often paralyzed upon the first meeting with an Infected monster, feeling a strange attachment to the horrifying creature before them.
(This trait is often picked by other types of Infected creatures, which is why they work so well together.)
Summons all other infected beings in the area to the character's aid. The signal is something of a high-pitched scream, not perceivable for regular mortals but noticable for other Infected and those with supernatural hearing. It is compelling for ATP zombies and Chimera, while other Infected can choose whether to respond to it. The identity of the character using the call cannot be determined, only the general direction of the source. The summoned creatures are controlled and will act according to their usual nature. Range goes up with Resonance.
••••• Hive mind
Inspirations: Guyver would be a great example of a Protector, one with a few mutations and subversions already and not afraid to show them; superhero comics - there would probably be a fad of teens trying to imitate superheroes, spreading like a meme/fad through chatrooms, who fight human crime-; Vampire Refugee s and Dhampirs (a subgroup who see their condition as a mission where they are the only ones who can face and hunt their own kind); and Mirror's Edge could be a good example of an unaffiliated/free-spirited Protector.