Sunday, January 25, 2015

City of Curses: The Greenknives, or the Dafhrog (Fate Core)

The Dafhrog serve the Archdruid, and in that capacity, also work completely in secret.  Most
Ursyklon know of the Dafhrog and their origin.  Perhaps the most common image of the Dafhrog are the results of their work: people frozen and forever changed into trees.

Greenknives often never are charged with murder, sometimes openly striking a foe with a spell that traps another in bark and branch.  Modern Greenknives adapt pistols for the task, eschewing knives.

The Urzahad of the Ursyklon are best known amongst their people because of the traditional trial they perform all of those who worship Lupa the Wolf Mother.  The urzahadi is a rite in which all worshippers of Lupa are changed into a lupine form.  The Urzahad are not limited to being able to shift others into only wolves.  Different clans use different animals for their own rites, in addition to the Urzahadi.

The Urzahad that first learned he forced another to take the form of a tree or plant, however, that is a darker tale.  No Ursyklon clan honors trees or plants as their clan totem.  There is no rite to do so, because often the rite used is permanent, if used on one who doesn't know how to change back.

Fionn Dafhrog of Clan Boarroar lived in Gruudl when it used to stand outside of Crux.  The strongest of the Urzahad in the city, his marriage to the Skald Nijana of Clan Batscream was a auspicious day.  It was cut short when a raid of Fomor monsters, servants of the Aboleth, struck.  Led by one of the Arcanists of the University of Crux, the Fomor used teleportation magic to slay many during the marriage feast, including Nijana.

We do not know the name of the Arcanist, just that there is a grove that now stands in the Wolf Quarter known as the Mage-Trees.  Fionn struck each at night, creating a small glade of trees near Crux that hadn't been there before.  They say he eventually would mother-walk, becoming a woman and a mother to new branch of his clan dedicated to slaying enemies of the Ursyklon and living trees in their wake.  His secret name became the name of the new occupation, the Dafhrog or Greenknife.

The Greenknives Today
Dafhrog today train along with Urzahad, but almost all of those in Crux serve the Archdruid.  Another form of assassin to most, the ursyklon often claim that the Dafhrog never kill.  But the Dafhrog often have been at the root of atrocities directed back at the Ursyklon.

During an Othebean crusade, an entire village of Ursyklon were burned alive in response to a Dafhrog's assassination of a tiefling in Ithspan.  The Dafhrog learned some secrecy.  The Ursyklon protected them too- they despised being burned as witches and having to part ways with any part of their culture.

Today, the archdruid rarely allows the Dafhrog to publicly slay others.  More often they act as bodyguards for the Church of the Wolf Mother, or perform public executions by adding more trees to the groves of the Wolf Quarter.

Potential Aspects: Tree-Making Assassin; "You Will Stand Forever"
Stunts: Greenknife's Rite: You know the secrets of the Greenknife's rite- you must have some sort of permission (aspect or whatnot relating to the Dafhrog) to take this stunt.  You can spend 1 fate point when you take an opponent out, turning them into a tree.  This places a new aspect on them, replacing their racial aspect with "Well, Now I'm a Tree."  However, the opponent has a choice in the matter, they can choose to concede and die (becoming a tree permanently) or they can choose to take this as a new racial aspect.  If they take it as a new racial aspect, it can be reversed.  Although when or how, that remains open.
Note: Don't use this on player characters.  Its meant to be used against NPCs, not to kill off PCs.

Ursyklons are a proud race of feral halflings, interstellar conquerors who... well, you don't call them halflings to their faces.
Crux is the city of Curses, a setting I've been toying with for awhile now.  Dark fantasy in a early industrial era, not steampunk but unafraid to ask questions on freedom, choice and other things.