Sorrow-Frozen Heart

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Court Contract
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Lords of Summer 99
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This is a Changeling House Rule To bring this Contract in line with the other Contracts from Lords of Summer Prerequisites have been adjusted.

Sorrow is the paradoxical torment: the suffering that eases suffering. In Arcadia, pain was a species: a hundred races of hurt, each devoted to its own method and taste. But Sorrow set itself apart from the simple animal pains of Burning, Cutting and their cousins, for it induced a special numbness: a fatalism that allowed contracted changelings to endure other discomfort. Sorrow is a pain of contemplation. Once the Lost accepts its inevitability, other hurts fade.

Contract Levels

• A Mere Vessel for Loss

The changeling focuses on her own sorrow to exclude debilitating physical conditions. Numbness sets in, followed vitality, driven by a sense of the inevitable. She can ignore the effects of pain and discomfort.

Roll Results

  • Dramatic Failure: The character is overwhelmed by physical pain and discomfort, even minor irritations that she could normally endure. She suffers a –1 die penalty to all actions until then end of the next turn.
  • Failure: The character feels physical discomfort normally.
  • Success: Reduce the character’s dice pool penalties for physical discomfort, pain or illness by the number of successes scored. This includes wound penalties, drowsiness, nausea — any physical irritation, no matter which actions these would normally penalize. This does not remove the actual injuries. A cut still bleeds, bones are still broken, flesh is still burnt and so on. This effect lasts for a scene.
  • Exceptional Success: In addition to the effects of a standard success, the character cannot be incapacitated by physical injuries or sensations for the rest of the scene.

•• Fear is Nothing

The changeling takes refuge in sorrow: memories of a terrible loss or knowledge of a doom to come. He accepts his destiny with fatalistic fervor, warding off fear.

  • Prerequisites: Mantle (Winter) •• or Court Goodwill (Winter) •••
  • Cost: 1 Glamour
  • Dice Pool: Composure + Expression Skill + Mantle(Winter)
  • Action: Instant
  • Catch: The character empties his hands and leaves them open at his sides, as if he feels no need to arm himself against danger. (If necessary, he can arm himself after invoking the clause.)

Roll Results

  • Dramatic Failure: The character drifts from his sorrow into fear. He suffers a –2 penalty to dice rolls to resist a source of fear, or reduces the applicable Resistance attribute by one for the purpose of determining a fear-inducing power’s effects if that power’s dice pool is normally reduced by the attribute.
  • Failure: The character deals with fear as well or as poorly as anyone else.
  • Success: The character reduces the dice pool of supernatural powers that might cause him fear by his Wyrd dots. This effect lasts for the scene. He can freely ignore mundane sources of fear or disgust. Things like butchered corpses and big, growling dogs don’t faze him at all. Mundane terrors cannot induce derangements while he is in this state.
  • Exceptional Success: As for a standard success, except increase the penalty of fear-inducing powers by the character’s Wyrd + 2. Furthermore, the character does not suffer from any Phobia derangements for the rest of the scene, even if they were imposed beforehand.

••• Grief is Stronger than Death

The changeling is so immersed in his own sorrow that her injuries are irrelevant.

Roll Results

  • Dramatic Failure: The character’s attention snaps back to her body, leaving her vulnerable and clumsy. Add a die to the next attack directed against her during the scene.
  • Failure: The character does not benefit from the clause.
  • Success: The character staves off the effects of injury. When she is struck in combat, tally the damage (any abilities or equipment that would affect it apply) and leave it aside for the rest of the scene. The character can “ignore” damage equal to her successes. Do not apply it to the character’s health levels. Once the scene ends or she runs out of successes, inflict all of the damage that she “ignored” in the order in which it was inflicted. This takes effect over successive turns, effectively “paying back” the wounds that were delayed.
  • Exceptional Success: As a standard success, but the character also benefits from one point of armor until the power’s effects end.

•••• Remorseless Strike

The changeling has as little regard for others’ pain as his own; all are doomed to sorrow. He strikes with cold savagery, holding nothing back. Compared to his own pain, the enemy’s suffering means nothing.

Roll Results

  • Dramatic Failure: The character is struck with a torrent of overwhelming compassion. He cannot harm another person for the rest of the turn.
  • Failure: The character fights and acts normally.
  • Success: If the character’s next Brawl or Weaponry attacks inflict any damage at all by scoring at least one success, the target suffers additional damage equal to the character’s Wyrd. This damage is of the same type as the original attack unless the character’s using a cold iron weapon.
  • Exceptional Success: The unrelenting force of the blow also stuns the victim for a turn. Note that this assumes that the target has a Size of 5. If the target’s Size is more or less, the victim suffers the stunning effect if the clause’s successes meet or exceed that Size number.

••••• A Cold Hand on the Heart

The changeling learns how to give others the “gift” of his sorrowful fatalism. They share her power and outlook.

  • Prerequisites: Mantle (Winter) •••••
  • Cost: 3 Glamour + 1 Willpower
  • Dice Pool: Composure + Expression Skill + Mantle(Winter)
  • Action: Instant and Contested. Roll the target’s Composure + Wyrd to resist (though he may choose not to do so).
  • Catch: The character clutches the recipient of her power with one hand and anoints her forehead with the ashes of a suicide or someone who died from a crime of passion.

Roll Results

  • Dramatic Failure: The target’s unaltered emotions flow back to the character. She cannot use Contracts of the Sorrow-Frozen Heart for the rest of the scene.
  • 'Failure: The target feels none of the character’s sorrow.
  • Success: The target’s fatalism rows powerful enough to benefit from either the first, second or third clauses of this Contract. The character chooses the recipient’s benefit. Use successes scored on The Coldest Comfort to determine the effects of the clause on the target. If the recipient uses Fear is Nothing, use the character’s Wyrd to determine its benefits instead of the recipient’s. The character can cancel the effects of this power at any time.

There are significant drawbacks to the power. The recipient’s sorrow is taxing; he loses a Willpower point. The power also automatically wracks the recipient with sorrowful, fatalistic Bedlam. The clause’s effects also automatically end if the recipient regains Willpower points from satisfying a Virtue. A changeling can choose to deny that inspiration and stick with The Coldest Comfort, but a mortal cannot. The Coldest Comfort cannot affect supernatural beings other than changelings. Normal humans can be subjected to this power, but at a grave price. The recipient suffers a new, permanent mild derangement (one that belongs to the character or a new one determined by the storyteller) at the end of the scene unless he succeeds at a Resolve + Composure roll. If the recipient already suffers from a mild derangement, “upgrade” it to a related, severe derangement. Thus, a changeling can turn a mortal into a powerful ally, but repeated uses of this power will drive him irrevocably insane. Fortunately, a mortal can evade this danger if he fulfills his Virtue while he’s under the throes of the clause. Its benefits cease, but he finds his own way out of maddening sorrow. Needless to say, using this power on a mortal usually demands a Clarity check.

  • Exceptional Success: The powerful emotions the clause arouses are refined enough to prevent the recipient from losing a point of Willpower.

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