Introduction from Morgan: The general concept here plays with Josh, who I’ve worked with for years now and become good friends in the process, as he is when meeting him and some of the things he likes to say in jest. Such as no one can take your books and tell you how to play. It turns out, J’osh the Vexing Son can absolutely take your books and tell you how to play. Both are naturally bibliophiles who spread a particular brand of madness.

This Horror is designed less as a villain to be defeated in the traditional sense, and more something that pops up every so often causing trouble. A lot of trouble, there is no doubt, but the source of the trouble is a mystery. It plays with horror themes and in a more whimsical fashion, though disturbing nonetheless.

J’osh the Vexing Son

The subject, with one of his corrupted texts.

There’s nothing J’osh the Vexing Son enjoys more than adopting a human guise and mingling with the masses. Spreading “the word” as the saying goes. In this case, “the word” is madness and the Horror’s favorite medium is the written word. Its texts appear innocuous at first, but it doesn’t take long for those who experience them to descend into a particular lunacy; one unique to each victim, but all possess a singular drive to spread that hysteria onto others. These poor Namegivers force J’osh’s corrupted texts on their friends, loved ones, random individuals they see on the street, anyone who could possibly come to understand the brilliance and obsession of those books. And slowly, ever so slowly, the delirium spreads.

J’osh the Vexing Son’s favorite guise is a mild-mannered middle-aged man, rather banal, but with something just a bit off. Perhaps a little too animated. There’s an excitement and gleam of something not quite right in the eyes. By the time anyone notices these details, it’s far too late and their sense of reality is almost certainly affected. Powerful illusions cloak his true form as he moves seamlessly between personas. Those unlucky enough to penetrate his guise only see themselves reflected back at them, with subtle twists and shifts, drawing them in and beginning their descent to madness. By astral space once the illusions are penetrated, J’osh the Vexing Son is an undulating, non-Euclidian pattern of contrasts that invites delusion to any who behold it. At times whispers repeat and reflect J’osh the Vexing Son’s voice, changing the tone and inflection over and over, inserting fleeting words, causing even the simplest statements to challenge the listener’s perception of reality as the echoes become the listener’s voice.

While capable enough, J’osh the Vexing Son prefers to avoid combat at all costs. Instead, it taunts and cajoles its victims, preying on their wants, desires, and insecurities. Ultimately, J’osh the Vexing Son has no desire to kill, only to spread its madness. The Horror gladly aids its victims in any way possible, seeing it not as a predator and prey relationship, but itself as a partner or mentor to its victims. Even the Horror’s perception of reality is strained at times.

Challenge: Warden (Twelfth Circle)

  • Dex: 12
  • Str: 10
  • Tou: 16
  • Per: 19
  • Wil: 17
  • Cha: 19
  • Initiative: 12
  • Physical Defense: 14
  • Mystic Defense: 24
  • Social Defense: 24
  • Physical Armor: 9
  • Mystic Armor: 16
  • Unconsciousness Rating: 132
  • Death Rating: 148
  • Wound Threshold: 24
  • Recovery Tests: 5
  • Knockdown: 12
  • Karma: 12 (48)
  • Movement: 12
  • Actions: 3
  • Unarmed: 24
  • Damage Step: 22


Awareness (31, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 129.

Corrupt Compromise (31, Standard)

Corrupt Karma (29, Standard)

Corrupt Reality (29, Standard): This can be used at any range against a marked victim or a victim in possession of a corrupted text. If successful, the victim also gains a Corruption Point.

Corrupted Texts: J’osh the Vexing Son maintains at most thirteen texts that bear its words and madness. These can be manifestations of the Horror, or existing books corrupted by its will. When one is destroyed, it manifests another or searches the physical plane for a new text to imprint with its essence of insanity, which costs J’osh the Vexing Son 5 Karma Points.

J’osh the Vexing senses whenever a suitable being ventures across one of these texts. When a victim reads the text, J’osh the Vexing uses Corrupt Reality to alter their reality to suit its whims. These are often pleasant at first, drawing the victim in before slowly twisting their perception of reality and making it indistinguishable from madness.

Cutting Words (31, Simple): As the talent, Earthdawn Companion, p. 52.

Cursed Luck (31, Free)

Disarming Smile (31, Standard): As the talent, Earthdawn Companion, p. 52.

Disguise Self (45, Standard): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 138.

Disrupt Magic (29, Standard)

Dual Nature: J’osh the Vexing Son has an astral and physical form. They are not independent, but both must be destroyed to kill the Horror. As long as one form survives, it can reform the other. Attacks that deal Mystic damage affect both forms simultaneously.

Favored Spell (Encrypt): The duration is measured in years.

Favored Spell (Ephemeral Bolt): J’osh the Vexing Son can spend a Karma Point to change the spell to True Ephemeral Bolt after the target decides to resist. The target doesn’t know this.

Graceful Exit (31, Standard): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 151.

Harvest Energy (31, Free): If the emotion is excitement, discovery, or related to losing touch with reality, J’osh the Vexing Son gains an additional Karma Point, and gains a Karma Point even if the test fails. This power can be used at any range against marked victims or a victim in possession of a corrupted text.

Horror Mark (31, Standard): This can be used at any range against a victim in possession of a corrupted text. J’osh the Vexing Son gains +2 to this test for every Corruption Point the victim has.

Karma Boost (Free)

Maddening Voices (31, Free): Before Initiative is determined each round, one Maddening Voices test is made and the result compared against the Social Defense of each opponent within 50 yards. If successful, the target is Harried for the round due to the voices surrounding them and tearing at their sanity. The penalties also affect Social Defense.

Madness Loves Company: Marked victims gain +1 to tests to convince others to read a corrupted text for each Corruption Point the victim has.

Mimic Voice (45, Simple): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 158.

Redact History (29, Sustained): J’osh the Vexing can perform a ritual that removes evidence of a target Namegiver’s deeds and existence, or the existence of a particular book or passage of the book (though this does not affect texts of different titles with the affected information or memories of the passage, often leading to a Mandela effect). The ritual lasts for one hour, during which time the victim must be immobile and touching the the Horror’s true physical form. J’osh the Vexing makes a Redact History test against the victim’s Social Defence. If successful, all written references to and depictions of the victim on mundane surfaces within 100 miles are removed, leaving only blank spaces. Memories and magic items are unaffected by this ritual. 

Spellcasting (31): As the talent, Player’s Guide, p. 168.

Spells (Player’s Guide): (J’osh the Vexing Son is a Twelfth Circle Illusionist and Tenth Circle Nethermancer) Encrypt (p. 296), Ephemeral Bolt (p. 296), Fun With Doors (p. 297), Send Message (p. 298), True Ephemeral Bolt (p. 298), Unseen Voices (p. 299), Blindness (p. 300), Displace Image (p. 300), Mind Fog (p. 301), Fog of Jeer (p. 302), Nobody Here (p. 303), Clarion Call (p. 304), Stop Right There (p. 306), Illusion (p. 308), Presto! (p. 309), Switch (p. 309), Chosen Path (p. 310), Memory Scribe (p. 311), True Switch (p. 312), Twisted Tongues (p. 314), Vertigo (p. 314), Walk Through (p. 314), Face Lift (p. 315), Form Exchange (p. 315), Other Place (p. 315), Astral Spear (p. 317), Ethereal Darkness (p. 319), Spirit Dart (p. 322), Chilling Circle (p. 323), Shadow’s Whisper (p. 324), Viewpoint (p. 330), Debilitating Gloom (p. 335), Step Through Shadow (p. 336), Shadow Tether (p. 340)

Witty Repartee (31, Free): As the talent, Earthdawn Companion, p. 72.

Special Maneuvers:

Forgotten Magic (J’osh the Vexing Son): J’osh the Vexing Son may spend two additional successes on a test targeting the victim’s Mystic or Social Defense to use Disrupt Magic against them as a Free Action.

Madness Carries (J’osh the Vexing Son, Maddening Voices): J’osh the Vexing Son may spend two additional successes on a Maddening Voices test to make a Horror Mark test against the victim as a Free action.