Supernatural Natures in Cairn or Similar Systems
These are something like races in games like D&D, but "Race" is a very modern concept, and often ends up being analogous to modern stereotypes we could do without.
These are something like curses, but the sort of curse that makes for a good story.
These characters are both doomed and highly unbalanced. They are intended to be played by someone who will enjoy playing a character in a downwards spiral due to an unwise pursuit of power, and with other people who will enjoy having such a character at the table. They might be especially good for solo games, where it isn't as much of an issue if they are a bit disruptive. As of now, these are not playtested at all and may not actually work in game. I may eventually iterate on this and release this as an actual product.
Treat these like backgrounds. For instance, the Faustian probably knows something about the rituals for summoning devils, and other such forbidden lore. You may choose to look physically different, but it could also be a secret that you must hide.
You gain a new stat, Doom. Roll 3d6. You may swap it with any other stat. When you use a power related to your supernatural nature, roll Doom. On a failure, something goes wrong, although the power still works in some way. Whether you succeed or fail, reduce Doom by one. If Doom reaches zero, your fate imminently arrives. You may heal 1d4 to Doom by spending a week or more in relaxation. This may only happen once between uses.
thekernelinyellow wrote a blog post adding a few more, which you can find here.
You, once an ordinary human, have journeyed to the land of Faerie and returned safely.
- Bane: You cannot touch iron.
- Boon: You are seen as having a strange and unearthly beauty that transcends any cultural beauty norms that may exist.
- Boon: You have two of the following spells: (1) Befuddle, (2) charm, (3) thicket, (4)sleep, (5) control plants (6) masquerade, (7) read mind, (8) illuminate. When you fail your Doom roll, the spell goes off, but in way that twists your intentions.
- Your fate: When Doom reaches zero, the faerie court comes to take you away forever.
You, once an ordinary human, have spent a full year without seeing the sun, in the dark places beneath the earth, and your body has started to remember the earth from which it came.
- Bane: You have reduced sight in the sun. Every day you are exposed to direct sunlight, you lose a point of Doom.
- Boon: You cannot be affected by the poisons and drugs of plants that grow in sunlight, and can subsist on dirt and rock. You see in the dark.
- Boon: You can spend a point of Doom to: cleave any rock, build a stone structure ten times as fast as any human for one day, create a strange and wondrous item of a type that you have the knowledge and skill to create. Then, test Doom: on a failure, there is a fatal flaw, or the change is impermanent.
- Your fate: When Doom reaches zero, you turn to stone the next time you are exposed to direct sunlight.
You, once an ordinary human, have taken critical damage from another were-creature and failed to dispel the curse within a month. Through strange rituals it may be possible to take on this curse voluntarily.
- Bane: You cannot touch silver. If you catch sight of the full moon, test WIL or transform: you are affected as if by the spell Frenzy for the duration and take on a bestial shape. In this shape, non-silvered attacks are impaired.
- Boon: You may treat your bite as a weapon doing d8 damage, but in doing so your face takes on a hint of your shape when transformed.
- Boon: When you would take STR damage, from any non-silvered source, you take damage to Doom instead and immediately replenish your HP. Test Doom. On a failure, you transform as though by the light of the full moon. You can test again each round until you succeed.
- Your fate: When Doom reaches zero, you transform permanently.
I need to come up with a name for this one:
You, once an ordinary human, have in some way transgressed on an animal court: stealing and eating their food, slaying a noble of the court or a creature protected by the gods, or similar. You have gained an animal skin which you cannot be parted from.
- Bane: You have an animal skin which takes up an inventory slot when you do not wear it. If separated from it, you will become very sick. There is some element of human life that is now difficult for you, e.g. eating certain foods.
- Boon: you may talk to a particular type of animal, and it will not generally be hostile. It may be willing to trade favours for you like a human does.
- Boon: you may put on the skin of that animal and transform into that animal, as Beast Form. You spend one Doom every time you put it on, and every consecutive day you spend wearing it. Test Doom to see if you remain fully in control: on a failure, there is some element of your animal nature which takes over.
- Your fate: When Doom reaches zero, you turn into that animal permanently and forget your human skills, memory and language.
You, once an ordinary human, have made a deal with a literal devil.
- Bane: You cannot enter a consecrated space. .
- Boon: You have two of the following spells: (1)swarm, (2)smoke form, (3)raise dead, (4)mirrorwalk, (5)hypnotize, (6)hatred, (7) greed, (8) filch. When you fail your Doom roll, your demon calls in a favour. Refusing will lead to problems.
- Boon: You can also spend 2d4 doom points to: acquire a large sum of wealth, acquire a position of power and influence, acquire a remarkable skill in something. This also permanently reduces your maximum doom stat.
- Your fate: When Doom reaches zero, you must pay your side of the bargain. Your devil comes for you.
You, once an ordinary human, have been chosen by a god to fulfill its will.
- Bane: Pick an aspect of mortal life that you no longer participte in, as appropriate to the god in question.
- Boon: You can generally obtain followers, though not necessarily useful ones, and you are likely to cause political problems in doing so.
- Boon: You have two of the following spells: (1) command, (2) cure wounds, (3) ward, (4) control weather, (5) earthquake, (6) pacify, (7) raise idol, (8) raise spirit
- Your fate: When Doom reaches zero, your apotheosis promised by your god approaches, or your mortal enemies catch up to you.
Ones I might do later:
- Galatean - created by human hands, come to life. Some sort of reverse-doom mechanism to become a real boy
- Vampire I guess
- Cairn of course: https://cairnrpg.com/
- The World of Darkness series of ttrpgs
- Heart the ttrpg
- Tam Lin, Thomas the Rhymer, and all the subsequent literature based on stories of passing into the fey realm
- D&D dwarves and gnomes, but also Norse mythology in general, and folklore about trolls and other similar creatures.
- Werewolves obviously
- Swan maidens, crane wives, selkies, and other animals that can take off their skins. Reimagined a bit to be a human crossing over and not an animal.
- Faust and that whole tradition
- When you go to an art gallery and go through the section with all the saints being killed in gruesome ways. Also probably some influence from the horror project "The Other Happy Place" which I've been following (content warning: insects, body horror, probably lots of other stuff on that one)