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No price is too great...
There are things which must be done. Actions that rend the soul and fracture the mind, eroding one's sense of self, but necessary actions nonetheless. If the serial killer presents a choice between stopping him and saving his latest victim, most would preserve that life to track down the psycho another day. He Who Fights Monsters would pay for the preclusion of repeat scenarios by sealing that victim's fate. An Artifact that could save lives or destroy civilizations has only one fate in the hands of this Archetype: irrevocable disposal. No matter the cost to humanity or the loss of potential benefits, some things are just too important to be left to chance, or - worse yet - reliance on mankind's "better nature."
Most would rail against this Archetype's means and often becaues the ends seem so tragic, but He Who Fights Monsters does what he has to do, paying a price other cannot pay, should not be expected to pay, and would not pay even if presented with the choice. He is not a martyr, though. He sees himself as an agent of order, paying evil unto evil. There may be no place for him in the better world he helps create, but he sees himself as a small price to pay for bringing that world about.
Besides, that world is a long way off, and there is much work to be done.
He Who Fights Monsters is not a Warrior. - He Who Fights Monsters sees only one, very final solution to the world's ills: destruction of the murderer, annihilation of the destroyer, and erasure of the annihilator and everything he touched, built, and stood for. The Warrior draws a line in the sand and says, "No further." He Who Fights Monsters burns the beach to glass for the sake of the mainland. The Warrior meets a problem on it's own terms, possibly operating outside the rules to win his own personal war, but unwilling to compromise who he is, needing to keep the moral high ground to win the war as much symbolically as literally. He Who Fights Monsters ultimately heeds no morals, and operates by way of escalation, always trying to outmatch the opponent or problem, because the threat the opponent poses is too great to allow to even exist. There are no rules outside of capability and the limitations imposed by the laws of the universe. Perhaps the best distinction is this: the Warrior's strength lies in his dedication to a cause, while He Who Fights Monsters is fueled by his methods and the absolute nature of their results.
It is easy to say that this Archetype is difficult to follow and still maintain one's sanity and morality, but it is not so easy to determine whether the world is better or worse off than if it simply did not exist. This is reflected in the Taboos this twisted, nearly suicidal child of the Warrior and the Fighter must adhere to, since no cost is too high for the destruction of his current target. He must give no quarter and take no prisoners. If he participates in any fight in any way, his opponent (or the entirety of the opposing force, at GM's discretion) must die by the end of that fight, no matter the cost to self, allies, surroundings... everything is less valuable than the prospect of victory over the enemy. This Taboo is beyond the Avatar's choice; this is a restriction on failure. He can intend to stop the "monster" all he wants, but there is no comfort from good intentions when staring failure in it's cold, judging eyes. If the cause of an Avatar is furthered by allowing an opponent to live, He Who Fights Monsters may allow this to pass... for a while. All monsters must eventually be destroyed, and attunement will start to fade if the monster is allowed to live past their usefulness or causes more harm than good, and the GM should retroactively apply Avatar: He Who Fights Monsters skill loss for every failure to stop the madness when the Avatar had the chance in the past. Of course, this is a topic for much debate.
Tyr (Norse), Judas Iscariot (Christianity), Gilgamesh (Mesopotamian), Achilles and Hector (Greek), Abinadi (Mormon), the archangel Uriel (Judeo-Christian), the Youkai (Japanese)
As it's name implies, the current envisioning of this Archetype is comparatively modern, as it's name implies(being a reference to Neitzche's warning from "Beyond Good and Evil"). The concept is very old, but it is believed that a Godwalker recently (sometime in the last century) ascended, changing the nature of the Archetype in the process. Because of this, quite a few of the symbols are rarely esoteric or antique, as compared to others. These symbols include an eye surrounded by black or void, a burning building with one man inside, a torn or damaged "red cross," and a mushroom cloud. Some dukes have reported two other symbols that seem to have denoted the presence or influence of He Who Fights Monsters, however: a basilisk and a sword with a broken blade.
Suspected Avatars in History:
The shadows of He Who Fights Monsters are seldom clearer than in the tale of Pyrrhus of Epirus, namesake of the pyrrhic victory. Anytime a victor over what is seen as an evil regime becomes as bad or worse than the victim he supplanted, this Archetype's name is whispered. Examples often cited include Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Jefferson and even Malcolm X. This last example has caused much discussion involved with the nature of the Archetype: Malcolm X - if he was indeed an Avatar of He Who Fights Monsters - changed his ways from the radical hardliner he was famed to be and into a pacifist leader... shortly before he was assassinated. His death is used both for and against the supposed wisdom of this Archetype, all the while chants of "conspiracy" fly in hushed tones. Most street gangs and organized crime syndicates that originally formed as neighborhood protection groups can be said to have fallen under the sway of the Archetype once they become something more sinister. The rise of the antiheroes popular in the 90's (Spawn, Azrael, Deadpool, etc.) is cited as the Archetype asserting it's influence on the world in that decade.
1%-50%: He Who Fights Monsters is acutely aware of the damage he may cause in his quest for justice at any cost. To pay for these transgressions, the Avatar may bypass any Violence or Self checks by taking damage to his body instead. This manifests as 3 damage for each level of each check. Thus, a Self-5 check could be mitigated by automatically taking 15 points of damage. This damage has no apparent cause, much like the Pornomancer blast, but there are signs that something is wrong, like a strange bruise with no impact point, coughing up blood or even weeping blood. This damage heals at half speed and can only be healed by rest or magical mending.
51%-70%: Few things are scarier than finding yourself face to face with a monster that wants you dead, even if you are a monster yourself. The Avatar may make a Major Intimidate check during battle any time he declares a focus shift. If he succeeds, the target of his focus shift is denied the bonus from that focus shift for one turn. On a matched success, the effect persists until an Unnatural - 4 stress check is passed. This persistent effect applies to all combatants - friend and foe alike - who witness the unsettling determination exhibited by the Avatar. Everyone who passes a Notice check would apply except those characters whose last action involved a focus shift of their own, since their attention was turned elsewhere, but the moment they are unfocused, the Notice check should be rolled.
71%-90%: The avatar has attained an intensity for completing his archetypal function unparalleled by less dedicated combatants. On a successful Avatar check, the cap on a focus shifted is increased to half of his Avatar skill level (round up to the nearest 10). The object of this focus shift retains the cap of a +30% focus shift, assuming the previous channel is not affecting him.
91%+: He Who Fights Monsters has truly become a monster himself, and not even he is safe. Once per session, the Avatar may state - aloud - a purpose for the near future. This statement may be made at any time except during combat after the first round, and if made during the first round of combat, it is his only action that turn. Until this goal is met, he will always retain his last, single wound point and suffers no wound penalties, no matter if the damage should have killed him, no matter the severity and horror of the wounds in question, so long as he is directly pursuing his stated goal. Once his goal is met, the effect ends, with all that this would imply. He does not retroactively apply ignored damage, but he should probably those gushing wounds looked at. Major damage - maiming, gunshots to the head, a partial decapitation that didn't stop that crazy freak in his tracks - should be handled and narrated by the GM with care. This channel does not prevent damage, rather it spreads it in such a way that it is survivable beyond reasonable probability while the Avatar simply ignores the pain. "Lost" arms will remain attached and functional until the goal is met, but will drop as soon as the goal is met, punctured eyes will somehow retain their integrity until the mission is complete. Then the full ramifications of the Avatar's actions will come crashing home without mercy, even the mercy of death. If, however, the stated purpose is not met by the end of the session or the stated purpose is unavoidably impossible to complete before the end of the session, the Avatar drops dead immediately, and with no apparent cause, even if he was perfectly healthy and unharmed at the time of death.
VandalHeartX | profile | May 15, 12 | 4:47 am
Yeah, I know, it's long. I tend to do that.
VandalHeartX | profile | May 15, 12 | 4:47 am
And now I see all my editing mistakes, holy crap.
VandalHeartX | profile | May 15, 12 | 6:16 am