Syzygy Ghoul : Descriptor

Published May 6, 2016 by

Unlike many abhumans, you are not some uncivilized savage.  You simply hold to a custom many of them find revolting: the consumption of the recently-deceased.  Doing so for a fresh-enough corpse allows you access to all the information it consciously knew, and to this end you, and others like you, brave the too-bright lights of the surface to seek out fresh new sources of information to bring back to your subterranean yudterim libraries.  And failing to do so risks devolution into the kind of sub-sapient instinctual beast that ordinary humans abhor.

Your skin and eyes are milky white, and your face is an expressionless near-mask. You probably have either long robes or actual masks that conceal your appearance from less-cosmopolitan minds that would impede your good work. You might carry a milk-colored blade made out of bones called a lunarum as the weapon offered by your descriptor.

You gain the following benefits:

You gain +2 to your Intellect Pool.
You are trained in all tasks involving linguistics, codes, and ciphers.
Night Vision:
You can see in darkness and dim light without difficulty.  You are blind in areas of bright light, including sunlight.
Blood Insight:
When you successfully deal damage with a melee weapon, you may immediately lick the blade.  Doing so gives you a flash of insight, reducing the difficulty of the next attack you make against the creature you damaged by one step. Enabler.
Eater of the Dead:
Singing the mournful dirge that has given your people the nickname of “Night Singers,” you begin to consume the flesh and brains of a recently-killed creature, a process that takes a minimum of ten minutes, and potentially up to an hour.  You learn everything the creature consciously knew, though your ability to retain this information is limited by your own brain’s capacity.  Additionally, you are considered trained in one skill the creature was trained in for the next 28 hours, though you can only be trained in one skill at a time in this manner.  This information, if important, should be preserved before it is lost, traditionally on a scroll of vellum made from the skin of the dead.  Few cultures appreciate the necessity of what you do, however, and the difficulty of positive social interaction with creatures who have seen you use this ability increases by one step.   Action to initiate.
Your face is an expressionless mask, your voice a toneless rasp.  Increase the difficulty of social tasks involving expressing empathy or displaying emotion by two steps.
You cannot metabolize cooked meat, and must consume raw meat each day to remain in adventuring trim.  Every day you have not eaten the meat of a sapient creature, make an intellect defense test, with a difficulty equal to the number of days it has been since you last ate the flesh of a sapient creature.  If you fail, your maximum intellect pool decreases by one.  You regain two points of maximum intellect every day you rest after eating the meat of at least one sapient creature.
Additional Equipment:
You have an oddity, a pair of black goggles that allow you to see in bright light, including looking directly at the sun and seeing it as a pale circle.  They work for one cumulative hour, after which they must be recharged by being left in a dark place for two hours.

Initial Link to the Starting Adventure: From the following list of options, choose how you became involved in the first adventure.

  1. You’ve made a deal with one of the other PCs that each of you thinks was a bargain: you get to eat them after they die.  You’re hanging around to make good on that investment.  That PC gains 5 shins and one oddity.
  2. You had a friend in a local undertaker, who always let you gnaw on any interesting corpses in the area.  One day, he or she suddenly left, and you’ve joined the group because they’re going in the same direction.
  3. A group of adventurers stormed your yudterim and stole several priceless scrolls of knowledge.  You are fully aware of the irony of joining another adventuring party for the chance to hunt them down.
  4. You are a culture rebel, trying to reject the syzygy lifestyle.  Unfortunately, you aren’t sure what normal people live like.  Adventuring for lost knowledge seems the least alien to you of all other surface career paths.  The other PCs were the first group willing to hire you on.

GM Intrusion: Eating raw flesh has its penalties. You may expose yourself to dangerous chemicals, poisons, or diseases the target is carrying.  Your combat insight may turn on you, instead horrifying you and requiring an Intellect defense roll to avoid being stunned on your next turn.  You may be temporarily overwhelmed by the predatory instincts of an angry beast, and go berserk until you can be calmed down.

I am aware the bits about needing to eat sapient meat are of my own invention, but they seem to fit the broader abhuman concept.