If you happen to be a player in this game, please do not read this series. There will be spoilers and some of this information is subject to change.
My goal here is to go through the process that I used to create this Horror, while not delving too much into the context of the campaign it has come from. One reason for that limitation is the amount of effort to relate and absorb that level of detail isn't likely to have enough payoff. That said, if you have questions, always feel free to let me know. Another reason is that without the direct elements that tie into my own game, it should be easier to borrow pieces or the whole thing for your own purposes, if you would like.
The initial questions for creating a Horror that I proposed were: What is the Horror supposed to do? What kind of story do you want to tell with the Horror? What powers does the Horror possess? How do the basic assumptions of the setting work? That was the order I posed them in, but won't necessarily be the order I address them.
How do the basic assumptions of the setting work? This is specifically related to the fallibility of the Greeting Ritual. This is a high-level, campaign-based decision that should really be made before it becomes a plot point. Failing that, when you decide, don't go back on it. Ever. This campaign is using the default assumption: The Ritual of Greeting is a custom based on superstition, but there is no power behind it.
What kind of story do you want to tell with the Horror? I wanted this Horror to tell a story of juxtaposition. While within my game it exists in contrast to another Horror, that isn't strictly necessary. It is meant to ask some difficult questions, about what it means to be loved and accepted. It exists in contrast with other Horrors, and in a strange way can provide hope and terror in equal measure, depending on how you look at it.
What is the Horror supposed to do? Building on the kind of story I want to tell, this Horror is obsessed with beauty and pain, seeing them as the essential parts of life. It is fascinated with life, flesh and spirit, having little use for inorganic things. It doesn't feed from the pain it inflicts on others, but from the pain they inflict on themselves. While it doesn't truly have a gender, it clearly identifies as a female and prefers to be addressed as such.
What powers does the Horror possess? Everything she can do is an extension of her concept for now. Flesh and bone crafting are certain. Her form is one of beauty and perfection (in her eyes), and it should be malleable, able to adapt to her needs and whims. Most of her powers are less about immediate gratification and more about the long term. She invests. Her Mark is subtle and different - instead of just feeding on the pain, she can take it and the memory of it. She can help those with her Mark work through their pain, driving them on, giving them the endurance they need to accomplish their goals no matter what. In her presence, she is beautiful in the way that everyone's mother is to them. She is calm, serene, eternally patient and wise, but above all, she is to be obeyed.
These are all of the pieces that I worked through to create this Horror. Most of the details are laid out above, but I will collect them here into something more coherent to convey the final product. What I'm not going to do are give stats here - they are arguably the easiest part and should be tailored to the game. For me, the concept is the most important element, and the most difficult to flesh out.
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She feeds from pain, but takes no pleasure in causing it. It is a contradiction for her kind, but the fragment of a story tells of a Horror that Marked a pregnant woman and through that link, came to understand a perfectly exquisite truth about Namegivers: they are more than willing to inflict pain on themselves. That pain was sweet and succulent, joined with the miracle of birth, of flesh and blood. Witnessing the act of giving a Name, perhaps inadvertently she was given one as well. It is as good a clue as any to what drives this Horror.
She is an artist. A seeker of beauty, but not necessarily in a conventional way. In all things, she sees an inner beauty of what can be, of how the flesh, blood, bone and spirit can be molded and sculpted into perfection. Many within Barsaive have been influenced by her works, directly or indirectly, as her knowledge of blood magic is incomparable. It is not uncommon for her to collaborate with an alchemist or Nethermancer treading new and dangerous territory in that field, acting as their inspiration and muse as the seek enlightenment.
She wants to be a creator. Just as she surrounds herself with the beauty of her creations, with those that have chosen to follow her, there is the understanding that they are not truly hers. They are the remnants that she has adopted and made her own. There is that sense of emptiness that while she can create creatures and constructs, she cannot create as a Namegiver does. The true gift of life and the ability to give Names eludes her. Above all, she wants to have a child.
Because of this, the Mother can not only feed from a blood elf, but is fascinated with them. Their constant self-inflicted pain that is so uninteresting to nearly all other Horrors is a sumptuous feast to her. It is a quiet theory, but not one without merit, that the unthinkable act the elves of Wyrm Wood engaged in was a quiet suggestion from her. There certainly are more than passing similarities between the ends they went to and much of her own work. Then again, it could simply be independent work that went in the same direction, or she could simply been inspired by their acts.
Being in her presence is a calming experience. A sense of peace surrounds her and whenever she speaks, it sounds exactly like the listener's mother. Despite her appearance, which may be considered terrifying, there is something beautiful and compelling about it. It is the same kind of beauty that is associated with the viewers' mother - that there is more to the beauty than just the form. There is one exception to all of this: obsidimen. At the best of times, she has no use for them and at the worst of times, she has uses for them.
Beyond her tremendous talent with blood magic and manipulating living objects and spirits, she has some peculiar gifts to offer those that bear her Mark. It is her desire not to drive them insane, or to cause wanton fear and destruction through her suggestion. Instead, she drives them to their goals, pushing them to their limits. Giving them strength to go harder and longer, taking their pain and fear. It is that pain and fear that she feeds on - that which is inflicted willingly on the Namegiver. While she can certainly feed from what she causes, that feels very "base" to her; she is above such things.
Those under her influence are more inclined, in general, to employ blood charms. After a time, even undergoing extensive body modification. It could be simply that she is drawn to those who already engage in such activities. They are often very driven and prone to taking risks, going far beyond the point others would give up. As well, they tend to become fascinated with art, their tastes slowly changing and becoming stranger. An adept that practices embroidery may start making strange asymmetrical designs that, while attractive, are somewhat unnerving, or a dancer's motions may start incorporating awkward motions that give the performance a somewhat alien quality, or moves that would be excruciatingly painful and pushing well beyond their endurance.