Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and I figured the best way to celebrate is to make some Irish-themed Dangers for out City of Mist games! I already wrote a bunch of player characters from the Fianna but let’s look at this from the MC’s perspective now.
Faeries are a constant in Irish legends, starting as the Tuatha Dé Danann of myth (who included many of the old gods of Ireland) and becoming a shadowy people who lived in Otherworld and interacted with humans (who displaced them as residents of Ireland). Later versions (especially post-Christianity) watered this down to Good Folk, Little People, or aos sí who live in the spaces between human civilization and watch. I’ve always found this perspective fascinating, that Irish legend tells of these powerful gods and goddesses who were pushed out by your ancestors. Of course they’re going to be mad and that’s why there’s so much bribing with fresh milk and such. There are a ton of stories throughout Ireland, and that’s not even including the Gaelic folk stories from Scotland, Wales, the Isle of Mann, Brittany, and other regions but here we’re focused on Irish stories!
There are already lots of options for including an Irish twist to your City of Mist game, of course. The red caps of the Longshore Union in the core book are the most available option but there’s also a banshee Rift at the center of a case in Nights of Payne Town. These are the ones that I can think up off-hand, although their might be others. But now let’s fill out that roster!
You’ve probably heard about this one but start by forgetting everything you know (and burn those Lucky Charms commercials with fire). The oldest account of leprechauns is a medieval tale called the “Adventures of Fergus mac Léti,” an Ulster king who fell asleep and was dragged off by a trio of leprechauns. When he woke up and grabbed them, the leprechauns bargained to grant him a wish each if King mac Léti released them. This is the core of the leprechaun story: they are small folk who trick humans but if you catch them then you can name your price for their freedom. In a lot of modern tellings they always give a pot of gold, but any wish is in keeping with the folk tale roots of this legend.
Honestly, this is a difficult danger to write since there’s an amazing modern version of a leprechaun (and a fantastic acting job to boot) in the Starz series American Gods. Mad Sweeney is one of the best characters in a truly awesome show. If you’re familiar with the character then you’ll note that I’ve purposely gone in a different direction here, just to spice things up. If you want Mad Sweeney, though, my recipe is to combine the Smuggler stats and the Trickster stats from the core book and you’ll get someone who could be a smarmy courier for Mr. Wednesday without issue.
Christina Dahl ★★★
For years, Christina Dahl was known as a high stakes card shark in the Fortune Row district of the city. She won a series of poker tournaments and raked in millions over the course of a few short months. She was living her dream, buying an expensive penthouse and living it up in between tournaments. Unfortunately, Chrstina blew through all her winnings surprisingly quickly and found herself increasingly desperate to keep up her new lifestyle. That’s how she found herself at a private game of cards with a stunningly large pot. She wasn’t leaving things to chance and so made a decision that came to haunt her: she cheated. No one noticed at the time (Christina was careful to temper her greed and come in second) except for the manager of the Zodiac Casino, Mandla Klerck. Now Christina is under the thumb of Klerck and the casino owner and outplays other card players on behalf of the Zodiac. In exchange, Klerck doesn’t turn her into the police… or worse.
Befriend – | Hurt 2 | Threaten 3
- Successfully bluff (remove up to two tiers or alertness statuses from others or give outplayed-2).
- Win a hand out of nowhere (Deny Them Something They Want).
- Win the whole game, creating a story tag such as stack of chips, stacked deck, etc.
- Signal to Zodiac guards to create a new Danger: Security Guards and give threatened-1.
- Use like to harm or restrict someone (clothing-caught-3, crowded-lobby-3, cleaned-out-3, clotheslined-3, etc).
- Slip away during the chaos (Deny Them Something They Want).
- Grant a wish in exchange for freedom (remove up to one tier of a negative status).
- Make small talk or flirt to build up trust.
- Find something lucky on the ground.
- Flick a poker chip across her knuckles before making it disappear.
The “joint-eater” is a bizarre little faerie that takes the form of a newt who crawls down people’s throats and acts as a sort of mystical tapeworm. You might eat and eat but the alp-luachra feeds on half of what you consume so you never grow fat and might eventually waste away from malnutrition. In a nineteenth century book of stories, the prescription for having an alp-luachra in your stomach is to eat as much salted meat as you can fit and then lie down next to a stream. The dried-out faerie will crawl out of your mouth and into the stream to get a drink and you can walk away and leave it there. I tried to capture all this in the form of an insidious and cruel danger who can work its way into a PC’s life until they are successfully purged.
Finn Lehr ★★★
There are a lot of information brokers in the city, many with far-reaching and powerful networks. Finn Lehr is relatively small time as far as brokers go but he has a knack for getting targeted information from specific targets through his unique powers of leverage. He gets inside people’s hearts (although it feels like a pain in their stomach) and twists until they give up what they know. Once he’s inside, he can use his powers from across the city or pull himself fully into that part of his psyche buried in his victim and come with them. He can’t see or hear anything while in this hidden state but he can twist even harder and then come out when his victim is on their knees. Finn Lehr isn’t particularly tough or brave but this hiding ability makes it hard to get rid of him. The only surefire way is to use his allergy to salt, though this is a weakness he keeps closely secret.
Hurt or Subdue 2 | Threaten or Scare 2 | Salt 4
- Full of Tricks: Once per scene, when Finn Lehr is present, the MC can make a hard move as an intrusion.
- Eat This!: Finn Lehr hits someone in the stomach, leaving a knotted and painful bruise (gut-wrenched-3). Lehr can only give this status to one person at a time; giving it to another removes the gut-wrenched status from any other characters who have it. Once someone has an influence status, Lehr can give them gut-wrenched-1 as a hard move even if he isn’t present or is hidden within (see below).
- Devour Essence: As a hard move, Finn Lehr gives drained-3 on the victim of his gut-wrenched status if he is in the scene. If he is not in the scene or is hidden within (see below) this becomes drained-2. For every tier of drained the target takes after applying its defenses, Finn removes one tier from a harmful status he has or gives himself a positive status with one tier.
- Hidden Within: While Finn Lehr is bonded within his victim he cannot take physical harm or subdual statuses. Give his hurt or subdual spectrum a maximum of -. Any attempts to do so affect the victim instead. He can manifest physically as a soft move (though he still maintains his gut-wrenched status on the victim) and can disappear into them again as another soft move.
- Hit with unnatural strength (hurt-1) or fire a pistol (gunshot-1).
- Make a deal, offering information in exchange for letting him go.
- Show off his perfect teeth in a disturbing smile.
Given that the Wee Folk were usurped by the Irish people in tales and forced to live in the unwanted and wild places, they were always looking for means of revenge. Stories abound of faeries stealing people away into the Otherworld, inspiring tales like Rip Van Winkle and leading to traditions like dressing in costume on Halloween to avoid particularly dangerous times of year. Sometimes friends and family didn’t even realize what had happened as faeries sometimes leave a magical double in the stolen person’s place. For babies this led to the idea of “changelings” who might be faeries raised by unsuspecting human parents while the human baby grows up among the Fair Folk. Adults, though, might spy a spectral copy of themselves, particularly in the early morning mists, and this fetch is a sign that the person is being targeted by faeries and must beware. Or they’re drunk or something, hard to say.
The Doubling Disease ★★★★
This hallucinatory disease convinces victims that they’re being followed by a double of themselves. They see this double following them down the street, watching them from dark alleyways, and peering at them from their reflection. Even from the first symptoms the doubling disease’s victims are sure of two things: this is definitely a copy of them that they’re seeing and not some look-alike and this copy wants to kill and replace them.
- Insidious: When you spend a Clue to ask a question about the Doubling Disease, the MC can ask you one question as well (as in the 7-9 option of Investigate). The disease seems to move in anticipation of your actions based on these questions, even though it’s not an intelligent being… right?
- Spreading: When the Doubling Disease enters the story, give it spreading-2 on its spread spectrum. When its spread spectrum has no statuses on it, it has been quarantined.
- Too Late: When the Doubling Disease spectrum spread is maxed out, it is too late to stop the disease. Create a new Danger: Mob with a size factor depending on how large an area has succumbed to the Doubling Disease (minimum of 3). If the whole city is affected you can instead cut to a month later after the riots have destroyed the city’s infrastructure.
- Around the Clock: At the end of downtime, all infected people and anyone who hasn’t been quarantining takes an infected-1 status. The Doubling Disease increases the tier of the status on its spread spectrum by one.
- Convince a victim that someone nearby looks and acts like their copy, tricking them into attacking a random bystander (seeing-double-3).
- Worsen the condition of an infected person (infected-3).
- Have the copy pop out of somewhere in a menacing or creepy way (create a story tag).