Yaga

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To most, Yaga Baba was just a creature of myth, an evil witch of folk tales. The Ancient and Wise know better. The true Yaga Baba was a powerful Icon, a folklore memory of an ancient goddess of Life and Death once known as the Bone Mother.

This iconic Yaga Baba was the gatherer of the bones of the dead, the guardian of the elixir of life and death. Not so much a creature of evil, but one of the Underworld. While portrayed as the archetypical evil witch of fairy tales, the iconic Yaga Baba just as often played the part of hero; the wise woman who could bring transformation through enlightenment instead of through death.

Those who invoke the Bone Mother call upon the slumbering spirits to awaken. Once awakened these spirits are charged with guardianship over places. Bone Ways grants great power, as even the weakest of these spirits do not easily return to slumber once awakened.

The spirits who teach Bone Ways, do not teach it lightly. Kolduns desiring to learn this [[Discipline]] must first master at least one level of the Way of the Spirit. The spirits are not foolish enough to teach a Koldun who can not even see or hear the spirits he desires to awaken.

Governed by the [[Attribute]] of [[Stamina]], Bone Ways relies heavily upon the symbolism found in tales of Yaga Baba. Nevertheless, each power of Bone Ways can also be deliberately invoked to opposite effect, returning the same spirits to slumber. However, only spirits awakened by Bone Ways can be returned to slumber by Bone Ways. Just as importantly, the Koldun must always set boundaries for the awakened spirits, linking them to specific places or symbols.

==• The Forest Dark==

The journey to the Bone Mother's house was an adventure of darkness and despair. Tales often depict the traveler as wandering into an unknown part of the dark forest, or through the darkness of a cave; the traveler's torch or the moon's light serving only to create haunting shadows. He not only risked confronting that which is hidden by the dark, but fear of the darkness itself.

Like a spider setting a web, the Koldun seeks out a place of darkness and shadows such as a cave, forest trail, hallway or back alley. The Koldun awakens the spirits of the Dark and entices the spirits to attack anyone who passes through their corridor of shadows and darkness.

The power of the Dark is the ability to instill a phobia of darkness, and all the horrors darkness hides. They fill their victim's mind with fear and thoughts of death unitl he is forced to flee. Those who fall prey to the Dark, see all places of darkness as sinister. Some victims even fear darkness for years to come, and in extreme cases, the rest of their lives.

Cost: One [[blood point]].

Dice Pool: [[Stamina]] + [[Koldunism]].

[[Action]]: Immediate.

[[Roll]] Results

[[Botch]]:

[[Failure]]:

[[Success]]:

System: The Koldun defines the area (the corridor) the spirits are to guard, then spends a point of Willpower and rolls Stamina + Koldunism (Difficulty 5). Only one success is needed to awaken the spirits of the Dark.

Upon entering the darkened corridor, the victim must make a Courage Roll (difficulty 6), or be overcome by fear. If he succeeds, he can flee the dark unscarred or continue deeper into the darkness. Victims be warned! The Dark can repeatedly attack, once per turn until their victim leaves, or fails his roll.

If the victim fails his roll, he is overcome by fear and must flee by the same route as he entered. Any attempt to return, restarts the process but at a +1 Difficulty to the Courage Roll.

A botch by the victim results in a phobia of darkness, requiring a Courage Roll before enter any place of darkness.

==•• The Fence of Bones==

Tales of Baba Yaga, speak of the fence surrounding the yard in which her strange cottage stood. A fence of human bones, lined with skulls who turn to watch travelers pass. The gate was also of human bone, hung on leg bones instead of wooden poles, with hands of bone for bolts. Some tales even speak of the house also being made of human bones.

The fence symbolized the boundary between the living and dead. Outside the fence was the world of the living. To open the gate and enter, was to enter the land of the dead, a place of death and decay.

The Koldun invoking this power, invokes the spirits of disease and decay, using fences to define the area they are to haunt. The spirits will attack those within the boundary, invoking higher awareness of all the disease and decay which surrounds them. (Dead animals in the underbrush, sporing mold, disease encrusted rust, microbe infested water, worms, maggots and flies, etc.)

Through disgust or fascination, this higher awareness reduces the victim's ability to properly focus on his tasks. Easy actions suddenly become difficult, routine actions becoming challenging or worse. Returning to the other side (the living side) of the fence, returns the victim to normal.

The symbolic nature of the fence allows for anything which can serve as a clear boundary marker. A row of rocks, a ring of stones, a line of spears or columns of marble. Not all sides of the fence need to be the same material, nor take the form of a yard. With a little preparation an alley, box canyon, even a hedge maze, etc., can be used.

System: The Koldun defines the fence, then spends a point of Willpower and rolls Stamina + Koldunism (Difficulty 6). Only one success is needed to awaken the spirits of disease and decay. The onslaught of these spirits is non-stop, and causes +2 to all of the victim's difficult rolls.

This effect accumulates, increasing difficulties by +1 per hour, if the victim choses to remain within the fence.

==••• Well of Souls==

As an Icon of the Bone Mother, Yaga Baba is the guardian of the ancestral well of souls. Dipping into the well, she could draw forth the souls of the dead. By casting this souls into trees, pools of water or even into the wind, she could create Vily to aid her or torment others.

In slavic folk lore, Vily were spirits of the dead reincarnated as elemental creatures as punishment for the evils of their previous life. One of the most notorious were the Rusalki, the souls of suicides who returned as tree and water nymphs.

Much like Yaga Baba, the Koldun can reach into pools of water or into the wood of the trees and pull forth forth a spirit of the dead, incarnated into a physical body. Elemental creatures could also be summoned from fires and winds, but they are functional intangable, limiting the ways they can interact with the physical world.

Each Vily is linked to the pool of water or tree from which it was drawn. A symbolic well of life-force which feeds life into the Vily's physical form. If the tree is killed or dies, or the pool of water dries out or is drained the Vily's physical form also dies, sending the spirit back to where it came.

Some claim the Vily is not a true spirit of the dead, but a spirit of the forest cursed with the memories of someone who drowned or was killed within the forest. Being otherworldly creatures bound by pacts and codes of honor, they serve their masters silently, unquestionly until they are returned to the place they were called forth from. Others believe they are truly spirits of the dead, ghosts called back into the living lands. Each having its own desires, hates and agenda. Regardless of the truth, Vily relish the gift of a physical body.

Bound by strong magic, they obey the Koldun as if blood bonded, serving their masters silently, unquestionly until they are returned to the place they were called forth from. Nevertheless, this bond is never strong enough to erase the desire to pursue resolve any and all unfinished business the spirit believes it has with the living. If allowed they will seek out and finish this business.

They take upon themselves the same appearance they possessed at the time of death, even duplicating the clothing were wearing. They have the same level of Appearance as they did in life, but fail to pass for human. The elemental nature of their bodies gives them the appearance of smooth wood carvings (or ice statues) of great artistic quality.

The Stats and rules for Vily are the same as the Spectre (VTM rev, pg.282-283) However, as physical beings, they have the equivalents of Obfuscate 2, Potence 2, Fortitude 2, and Celerity 2. They have 10 health levels, and can heal a level of damage per turn. They only begin to suffer penalities from damage after the loss of their fourth health level. As long as a Vily's source of life (tree or pool) is intact, they can regenerate even if reduced to ash or steam. Their source of life also grants them the equivalent of an unlimited Passion pool which can be tapped from a distance. However, only one point of Passion can regained per hour.

System: If desiring a Villy of wood, the Koldun touchs a tree, and calls upon its spirit to sink its roots deep into the moist earth and into the underworld. Drawing forth from the lands of the slumbering dead, the tree pours out a spirit, incarnated into a physical body of wood.

If desiring a Vily of water, the touches a pool of water (a pond or small lake). Calling upon its spirit, the waters flow deep into the earth into the underworld and like a tidal force, it draws out one of the slumbering dead, spewing it from itrself as a physical being of water.

In both cases, the Koldun touches a tree or pool, then spends a point of Willpower and rolls Stamina + Koldunism (Difficulty 7). Only one Success is needed.

Each Vily must be awakened one at a time, and only one per tree or pool of water can be called forth. As a rule of thumb, a Koldun Charisma rating is used to determine how many Vily he can control at one time. For each Dot in Charisma, he can control one Vily. If the koldun calls forth too many, the bond with the earliest called is broken, allowing the extra Vily to ignore the Koldun and pursue their own agendas as vengeful spirits granted physical form.

==•••• Awakening the Hut==

Tales of Baba Yaga's hut describes it as being an uniquely evil entity. Able to move itself on chicken legs, it could see with it windows and speak through it door. It could understand human speech, and decide whether to allow a visitor to enter. Some even claim its thoughts were visible as powerful clouds of smoke, puffing from its chimney.

Awakening household spirits called Domovoi , the Koldun can grant his haven the power to protect itself. To the unenlightened, the haven appears to have a life of its own. Using powers similar to Vicissitude, Domovoi can cause windows and doors to flow between walls, appearing to vanish or appear. Create dangerous openings in the ceiling or floor. Use Obfuscate-like powers to hide furnishings, mask them as something different, or cover them with age and dust. Other powers might move furniture and paintings between rooms. They even use the eyes and faces of paintings and statues, invoking powers mimicking Presence and Dominate.

While these spirits may animate the outside walls, supports and portals of the haven, they can not truly leave the haven, nor do they have the power to cause it to walk or travel.

Although nature spirits, Domovoi use the wraith stats for the Old Soul (VTM rev, pg.282-283). This simplifies game mechanics. System: The Koldun must be within the haven, when awakening the spirits. He must also define the Haven. This can be simple in the case of a house, but becomes more complex in the case of an apartment, duplex, or a group of rooms within a large cavern.

Spending a point of Willpower and rolling Stamina + Koldunism (Difficulty 8), each success awakens one spirit within the haven.

==••••• Invitation of Flames==

To many people, the tales of Baba Yaga having travelers sit upon a shovel which she uses to slide them into her oven, is a gross tale of cannibalism, but there is a deeper meaning. Baba Yaga's fence of bone, the entrance of her house, and especially the door of the oven symbolize portals for traveling ever deeper into the land of the dead. To enter the oven is to step through the final gate, abandoning one's chance to return to the land of the living.

An import peice of the symbolism of the oven, is the fact that Baba Yaga invites her victim to sit upon the shovel. The victim is given a chance to choose his destiny just by refusing to sit, or sitting in a position which prevents him from being slide into the oven.

Drawing upon this symbolism of choice, the Koldun creates a strong fire in the hearth of a fireplace or stove within his haven, then awakens the spirit of the flames. For as long as the fire is maintained, the spirit will remain awake, watching all within the haven. Prepared to bring instant, flaming death upon any invited guest, but only if the guest chooses to attack the Koldun or enter places which have been forbidden. Otherwise, the guest is free to enjoy the Koldun's hospitality.

However, in many tales, the traveler tricks Baba Yaga into sitting on the shovel, and shoves her into the oven. This part of the story must not be forgotten. The spirit of the flame holds the Koldun toancient laws of Hospitiality which require a host to grant protection to his invited guests or suffer the gods disfavor. This prevents the Koldun from attacking anyone who he has freely invited into his haven, else the spirit of the flames attacks the Koldun.

System: Standing before the fire and having defined the boundaries of his haven, the Koldun spends a point of Willpower and rolls Stamina + Koldunism (Difficulty 9). Only one Success is needed, as only one spirit is needed.

The spirit of flame is a lesser elemental and has full control over its supernatural flame. This allows it to safely attack its victims, exploding them using spontaneous combustion, without setting fire to anything else in the haven. The Koldun, his haven and its furnishings are safe even if brought into direct contact with the burning victim. Unless the victim has special protection against elemental forces, he is reduced to ash in mere seconds

[[Category:Disciplines]]

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