While incorporeal, Gnashers have no physical Attributes and both Alertness and Intelligence change to match their victims when possessing a host.
Inherent Traits: Anger Issues d4, Air of Mystery d6, Allergy (silver) d8, Animal Enmity d6, Crude d6, Eerie Presence d6, Formidable Presence d4, Light Sleeper d4, Out for Blood d4, Quick Learner d6, Steady Calm d4, Unbreakable Will d4, Unusual Knowledge (supernatural) d6
Inherent Skills: Discipline d6/Possession d10
Gnashers are sadistic supernatural spirits, devoid of form and requiring physical hosts in order to torment others. Just how nasty Gnashers truly are is up to the GM, be it frightening small children or eating the guts out of old ladies. The typical Gnasher has no desire beyond inflicting pain and suffering on its host and anyone else it can get its host’s hands on. Subtly is not their hallmark and Gnasher will normally set about inflicting terror, mayhem and debilitating injury on their environment and everyone in it as soon as they take control of their victim. Gnashers will frequently jump from host to host, as their individual victims tend not to survive the abuse for very long.
Some few Gnashers do possess a degree of self discipline, preferring to conceal their presence and act circumspectly, but they are rare. (In my campaign, these are the half dozen or so who were smart enough to avoid being imprisoned long ago and have been sneaking about doing their own diabolical thing ever since.)
Traits and skills:
Gnashers retain their own will and general maniacal intent when possessing a victim but adopt all the skills of their host, forgetting any such skills they may have enjoyed in previous hosts. The knowledge of those skills just isn’t there any more. Thus a Gnasher possessing a truck driver may be quite skilled at driving an eighteen wheeler but, should they jump to a preschooler immediately thereafter, would have only the vaguest clue how to operate such a machine.
Nevertheless there is a tendency for a bit of bleed over from countless prior victims, reflected in the Gnasher’s inherent Quick Learner asset. Gnashers also retain their own inherent skill of Discipline d6 and the specialty skill Possession d10, regardless of their hosts original Discipline skill.
Agility, Strength and Vitality, as well as Alertness and Intelligence, do not change in the host when possessed by a Gnasher but their d10 Willpower is carried over, regardless of the host’s original Willpower dice (even if it was higher).
All the host’s original role-playing Traits (such as Faith and Good Natured) are lost as well. Traits of a physical nature (such as Illness or Little Person) are retained. Skill related traits are also retained, such as Talented or Advanced Education.
Thus a Gnasher would be able to freely use a victim’s Wealthy, Hardy Constitution and Sure Footed assets but would also suffer their Addiction, Allergy and Ugly complications as well, while completely losing traits such as Lucky and Phobia.
The Gnasher inherent traits (given above) are adopted on top off these changes. (see Appendix I: Traits & Gnashers for a detailed list)
Gnashers take control of their victims through a simple opposed check of Willpower + Discipline/Resistance vs. the Gnasher’s Willpower + Discipline/Possession.
Winning the opposed Willpower check to possess a victim grants the Gnasher in question a cumulative +1 skill step bonus to possess that person again at any time in the future (up to a maximum +4 skill step bonus). Thus a Gnasher attempting to possess someone after successfully doing so three consecutive times previously enjoys a +3 skill step bonus in their fourth attempt.
Losing such a check likewise drops a cumulative -1 skill step penalty to any subsequent attempt to possess that person (and eliminates any cumulative bonus from prior successes). For example, after failing to possess someone twice already a Gnasher would suffer a -2 skill step penalty on a third attempt.
Once their Discipline/Possession dice have been reduced to zero by repeated failures they can never again attempt to possess that person. However, no amount of successful possessions will ever grant a Gnasher automatic possession of any individual person.
Gnashers can jump freely from person to person whenever they like, doing so as one action with the opposed Willpower check counting as a second action. Thus a Gnasher may attempt to jump out of one person and into another during the same turn but suffers a -1 skill step penalty on the attempt to do so. They may even make multiple such attempts per turn against one or more prospective victims, with normal cumulative penalties for multiple actions, as the GM determines appropriate. Waiting until a subsequent turn eliminates these penalties of course and Gnashers can float about in ethereal form as long as they like. (They tend not to for longer than necessary though, since it just isn’t any fun.)
However, if the host dies while the Gnasher still possesses them, they’re rendered quite vulnerable for a short period of time. The death of a host is slightly disorienting and requires a Hard Psychic Resistance check (Willpower + Willpower) to recover from. The check is made each turn, beginning the first turn after the host’s death, and decreases in difficulty (from Formidable to Hard to Average, etc.) each turn until successful (or until the fifth turn when they recover automatically). The Gnasher can take no other actions until the check is made successfully or they recover automatically.
Typically Gnashers aren’t troubled by this phenomenon enough to avoid possessing a host to the point of death. Many even enjoy the experience of their host’s death, especially a truly nasty one, and gladly suffer the minor inconvenience. However, it is this moment at which a Gnasher is most vulnerable and they suffer a -6 Difficulty modifier to any other actions or checks during this time. Thus any magic spell, psychic power or similar effect used against them, especially which relies on challenges to their Willpower, are highly effective while they are so distracted.
Any Gnasher aware that this vulnerability might be exploited will naturally avoid falling prey to it. However, experiencing a host’s violent death can be quite tempting.
Individuality in Gnashers:
Most Gnashers, roughly three out of four, have the standard template given above. Many however have individual traits and abilities of their own. Meta-talented Gnashers, who carry this ability over into their victims, are not extremely unusual. Likewise Gnashers with inherent Magic or Psi abilities are fairly common. As such the GM is free to design Gnashers with singularly challenging abilities for their players to go head-to-head with. A Gnasher with the ability to teleport their host about would make an interesting enemy, for example. Likewise a superior model of Gnasher, a more self-disciplined individual with a full range of magic spells at his disposal, would make for a truly formidable Big Damn Villain.
* - indicates Traits which are actually replaced by the Gnashers own inherent Traits. Out for Blood d8 in a host would be reduced to d6, for example.
Assets retained in hosts:
Attuned to Nature
Attuned to Technology
Born Behind the Wheel
Fast on your Feet
Head for Numbers
In Plain Sight
Loyal Companion (Note: the dramatic change in personality could easily alter this)
Rank and Privilege
Assets lost in hosts:
Devoted to a Cause
Complications retained in hosts:
Allergy* (Note: Gnashers have their own Allergy which is gained in addition to any the host may already have.)
Low Pain Threshold
On the Run
Out for Blood*
Complications lost in hosts:
Honest to a Fault
Toes the Line
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