Surreal Painting




The painting radiates a continuous intoxicating aura, that makes it an excellent display piece in a gallery or party. So long as it remains viewed at a distance, or only briefly inspected, this is the limit of the painting’s effects. However, careful inspection (Wits + Investigation or Academics) of the painting causes a subtle suggestion to creep into the observer’s mind that the painting reflects a genuine reality. At which point the second power of the painting becomes clear, as the viewer is struck by a Major Derangement for one week following the inspection.

Intoxicating Aura (•••)
Those in the presence of this object feel moderately
(and pleasantly) intoxicated. The item might be a Cubist painting, an aromatic flower, even a beguiling melody. This inhibits some Mental and Physical rolls, but enhances Social rolls.
Cost: 2 Willpower
Dice Pool: Presence + Expression
Action: Reflexive
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The object suddenly gives off a
wretched, gall-inducing aura. Everyone within sensory- range of the object suffers terrible headaches (-1 dice pen- alty) and feels irritable. Some might even give into their Vices more easily. The negative aura fades once the object is out of a character’s senses.
Failure: The object fails to radiate its aura.
Success: Any characters within the object’s radius of power suffer a 1 penalty to any dice pool involving Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wits. However, all Presence and Manipula tion rolls gain a +3 bonus. The radius of power is equal to five yards per success gained on the activation roll (thus, three successes would be equivalent to 15 yards of effect). The character who activates the Power suffers the penalties and gains the bonuses, as well. The character must touch the object to empower it (she “removes a speck of dust” from a painting’s canvas, she mists her perfume in the air, she adjusts the volume on the radio or straightens a speaker), but she needn’t remain in the area of effect. She can leave the object behind, and it will continue exuding its aura.
The area of effect lingers (with or without the charac- ter’s presence) for one scene.
Exceptional Success: Successes gained go toward increas- ing the radius, but an exceptional success also allows the user to ignore the -1 penalty to Dexterity, Intelligence, and Wits.

Touch of Madness (••• or •••••) Some objects cause madness. Many incur insanity be- cause the object is incomprehensible, cursed, or otherwise saturated with some kind of negative resonance born as a byproduct of some other vicious power. Other objects pos- sess this ability as their only power, causing madness as their sole purpose. Such relics are generally wretched and strange: a shrunken head with metal teeth, a Nazi jackboot spattered with blood that never washes away, a Kali-Yuga mandala
that seems to shift and warp in front of the eyes.
The three-dot version of this Power requires a successful touch attack to deliver its effects. The five-dot version can do
it simply by having its user in eyesight range of the target. Cost: 2 Willpower for a mild derangement, 4 for a
severe derangement
Dice Pool: Manipulation + Empathy versus target’s
Resolve + Composure
Action: Contested; resistance is reflexive
Roll Results
Dramatic Failure: The user is subject to the chosen de-
rangement for the remainder of the scene; if he already possesses that derangement, he either gains a more severe version of it or another mild derangement of the Storyteller’s choosing.
Failure: The target achieves more successes and suf- fers no effects.
Success: The character gains more successes than the target. The target suffers the derangement of the character’s choosing. The target is under the potential sway of that derangement for a period of one week’s time. However, the character can lengthen this to one year by investing a full Willpower dot at the time of the Power’s successful use. Note that just because the target gains the derangement, it doesn’t mean he’s automatically given over to its effects; like anyone with a derangement, he’s afforded the chance to stave off the mad effects with an appropriate Resolve + Composure roll.
Exceptional Success: As with a success, except the target suffers a -2 penalty to any Resolve + Composure rolls meant to resist the derangement. This penalty remains as long as the derangement is possessed.

Resist Fire (• or •••)
Some objects grant their user immunity to particular condi-
tions that would otherwise cause great pain or detriment. In this case, a relic with this Power protects its user from fire, preventing burns and blisters for a time. The one-dot version doesn’t actu- ally prevent the damage entirely, but instead downgrades the normally-lethal damage to bashing (or, for vampires, it down- grades aggravated to lethal). The three-dot version prevents the damage entirely while active. Many objects possessing this Power are items of clothing: a hooded sweatshirt that miraculously survived an arson attempt (though perhaps its owner was not so lucky), a wedding ring that melted down into a seared lump of gold, or a singed garter worn by one of the country’s most prolific female arsonists. A relic with this ability also has the side-effect that the relic itself cannot be harmed by fire.

Debilitating Loss, Attribute or Skill (•• or ••••)
Some relics leave a user foggy of mind or weak of body, literally drawing away his fundamental traits. Perhaps it uses these traits to power itself, or perhaps the relic’s dark ener- gies simply taint a character, eating away at the memories his mind and body possess. Perhaps he forgets how to pick a lock (Larceny), or loses muscle tone (Strength). Maybe he’s now more prone to snapping at people (Composure) or feels unable to access all the knowledge he gained in school about chemistry (Science). The more potent the ability, the higher the loss. Loss of traits usually last for a day or two depending on what the Storyteller deems appropriate.
This loss is represented by a dice penalty equal to the dots in the Power used (-1 for a one-dot Power, to 5
for a five dot Power).
Skill loss is a two-dot
curse. Attribute loss is far more damaging, and is a four
dot curse. (Remember that lowering certain Attributes may af- fect others, such as Willpower, Health or


Surreal Painting

The Shadow Network AnachronisticJam