41 minutes ago
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Happy Easter to everyone that celebrates it. :)
Now, on to darker topics....
In the world of the City, sometimes even songs can’t be trusted.
A man in a bar hears a bluesman sing a traditional ballad about a betrayal and the grim things that followed, and he goes and shoots his business partner. A housewife listens to an old record that spins a tale of woe about a wayward man and a woman’s revenge, and serves up a rat poison dinner to her husband.
What thaumaturgists know as a murder ballad is a malevolent alien presence which can hide within traditional songs recounting a murder. The exact song which conveys the entity or infection varies--perhaps even from one day to the next--but it may be that target individuals are somehow “marked” ahead of the performance and the song is chosen to maximize the chance of influence. What the entity ultimately desires is to induce the target to commit violent murder.
The performers who act as conduits for the ballads are called Murder Balladeers. At first, they’re unaware that they’re carriers of virulent murderousness, but over time the horrible true becomes clear. Early on they may turn to alcohol or drugs to escape the guilt, but eventually most either become corrupted willing participants or else take their own lives.
There are some stories that Murder Balladeers develop other music-based magical abilities over the time they carry the malefic influence, but this has not been verified.
Target is someone with angry or resentful feelings toward another--but not typically murderous feelings. The narrative of the song played will have elements that can vaguely relate to the target's present situation. A failed saving throw means the target’s anger and resentment will suddenly grow, and the target will attempt to murder object of his or her anger within whatever time frame is feasible (typically 24 hours). While the target is emotional, he or she is not without reason, so the attack will be as planful and calculated as the time permits. If the target is restrained or prevented from completing the attack for at least an hour, he or she receives a second saving throw. After 24 hours--or after a completed murder--the whole experience will seem dream-like to the target.
Dispel magic cast during the song's performance will negate the murder ballad's effect, and protection from evil or the like will bar its influence.