Janus [creature]

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
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Slimcreeper
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Janus [creature]

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:28 am

Janus

Janus are strange and obscure creatures. They appear to be large humanoids, twelve feet high or more, draped in heavy, shapeless robes that they weave from the bark of trees, reeds, or grasses. To bear their weight, their thick, column-like legs end in heavy, round feet similar to an elephant’s. They may appear to be male or female. They use their three-fingered hands to make and use simple tools. Their heads are their strangest feature, having one face in the front and one in the back. They are literally of two minds, as each face has its own personality. Their heads can turn almost completely freely on their thick neck. As they are speaking, the face to the rear might decide to interrupt the one in the front, spinning the head around to offer their opinion on the matter at hand. If the faces are in sharp disagreement, the head may whipsaw back and forth as both faces try to get a word in edgewise. Most Janus speak more than one common language, in addition to their own tongue.

As you have certainly deduced, they are certainly sapient, but there is no evidence they are Namegivers. Furthermore, there is no evidence of whether or not they reproduce, or if they have family and children as we understand it, or even age. Every Janus appears to be of middle age. No one has ever reported seeing an elderly or youthful Janus, much less children.

Most Janus live in villages in remote swamps and forests. They are very protective of their territories and their privacy. They don’t seek out conflict, but will not back down from a fight. They are intelligent opponents, and will use their abilities skillfully to isolate, weaken, and defeat the strongest threat. Even so, they are not bloodthirsty. If none of their number is killed, they will not seek to kill intruders. They are particularly dangerous in their own territory - they have the ability to create magical doors from nothing, and use them to move around their foes and take advantage of the terrain. Furthermore, in addition to their physical might, they can funnel strange magical energies that seem to sap the very life out of creatures.

Some t’skrang treat with reverence, as it is believed that Janus can tell which eggs will be fertile by touching them. There are those of other races that believe the Janus can predict the course of a pregnancy through certain mystical rituals. Whether there is any truth to any of these beliefs is unknown.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/11UO ... sp=sharing

Slimcreeper
Posts: 1019
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Janus [creature]

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:29 pm

I thought about making Flesh to Dust basically wither limb. I didn't mostly because I wanted the any first encounters with it in combat to be scary in the 'we've got no established response to this effect' way. My one worry is that it might not cause a Wound with Flesh to Dust in combat, meaning that cool, scary power wouldn't come in to effect.

My other thought was temporarily lowering the target's Death Rating. In that case, Flesh to Dust wouldn't cause any damage. Instead, the target's Death Rating would be reduced by the effect test. To restore it, the target would need to make a recovery test. The Death Rating would be restored by an amount equal to the Recovery Test result. The Recovery Test would not heal any actual damage - you'd need to spend another Recovery Test to do that. I like that more - I think it would be really scary without making it actually to much more deadly, but I was afraid it was too complicated.

ragbasti
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Re: Janus [creature]

Post by ragbasti » Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:40 pm

Why not both? ;)

Make it a sort of negative wood skin, that reduces death rating by the test result and if it causes a wound, it also imposes the wither limb effect.
Death Magic is a scary thing, nothing wrong with warning the party ahead with a few legends or tales to establish the GMs "I told you so"-precedent 😅

There should be a special maneuver to prevent it from happening though.

Slimcreeper
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Janus [creature]

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:45 pm

Alt: Flesh to Dust (18) As a standard Action, the stronger-willed of the faces can turn to a target and inhale sharply, pulling the target’s vitality from their bones. The target’s flesh blackens and shrivels. Make a Creature Power test against a target’s Mystic Defense. Flesh to Dust has a range of 30 yards. If successful, the Janus makes a Flesh to Dust. The target’s Death Rating is temporarily reduced by the result. Because this is not damage, no armor protects against this effect, and it cannot cause wounds. If the effect takes the Death Rating to zero, or if it takes the Death Rating to less than the target’s Current Damage, the target dies.

To restore their Death Rating, the target must take a Recovery Test as normal. Their Death Rating is restored by an amount equal to the result of the Recovery Test. The Death Rating cannot be increased above its original value. Using a Recovery Test in this way doesn’t also heal damage. The target will need to make additional Recovery Tests to heal any actual damage.

Slimcreeper
Posts: 1019
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2016 11:44 pm

Re: Janus [creature]

Post by Slimcreeper » Sun Dec 27, 2020 3:50 pm

Shut the Front Door (Opponent, Attack) An opponent can spend 2 extra successes on an Attack to prevent Janus from using their Flesh to Dust Power until the end of the following round. If the attack deals a wound, the Janus cannot use it for the rest of the scene.

Alternate for Dust to Death Special Maneuver:

Alt: Withering Breath (Janus, Flesh to Dust) Janus can spend two extra successes on a Flesh to Dust Creature Power test to cause one of the limbs of the target to wither, as the Wither Limb Spell (PG p. 333).

Not sure if I like Withering Breath as much, though that may be because I like the name Dust to Death so much ...

ragbasti
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Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 5:09 pm

Re: Janus [creature]

Post by ragbasti » Sun Dec 27, 2020 4:52 pm

It's a nasty power but I think appropriate for what you've established.
If things explode, that's just the way of it 😅

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