Foul Play

By Moe Lane


(Epasta ad Mors Mortis per Avii Aqutile)
(Command/2, Focus/4)
(Thanks to Popeman for the bad Latin)

This Ritual is never taught to anyone who is not owned body and soul by Hatiphas. Just why this is so is currently unknown: it may very well be because of simple misanthropy. Sorcerers aren't really supposed to have fun, after all - even nasty fun.

The ritual itself requires the usual Sorcerous junk - candles, pentagrams, mystic oils and unguents - plus two other things: a living duck and a piece of whoever it is that one would want to inflict this ritual on. After the daylong ritual (which, incidentally, turns the duck into a dead one), the Sorcerer may designate the target to be the natural enemy of all duckdom. For the next (CD) days, any duck that encounters the target will fly into a murderous rage, fighting to the death. As ducks usually only peck for 2 Body Hits (1 Body Hit, if a duckling) an attack (skill roll of 6), this may not seem so much of a problem; of course, ducks are rarely solitary creatures...

Time: one day
Essence: CD


Corporeal Forces: 1
Strength: 2
Agility: 2
Ethereal Forces: 0
Intelligence: 1
Precision: 1
Celestial Forces: 0
Will: 0
Perception: 1

Toughness/2 (the bloody things seem to shrug off bullets, as any hunter will tell you. They're always finding ducks with old gunshot wounds, believe it or not.)

Body Hits: 6

Skills: Dodge/4, Fighting/4, Flying/6, Swimming/3

This is, like, you know, a duck. It quacks, swims, and flies. It pecks for a straight 2 Body Hits per attack, presuming that you somehow annoy it enough. Ducks usually don't go looking for trouble, though. Indeed, the only reason why I'm even bothering with this one is that, sometimes, trouble goes looking for them.

You see, once upon a time there was a Demon Prince named - no, not Vapula - Kobal. Yup, that's not much better, I know. Anyway, once upon a time Kobal decided that it would be useful (and more importantly, funny) to have natural weapons against the Host. For reasons best known to himself, he picked ducks. So, he fiddled with their genetics a tad.

Hey, Superiors can do that sort of thing: if you can swallow them being able to make sentient creatures from scratch, then you can swallow this.

Anyway, what he did was make them explosive. That's right: there are ducks out there that explode for 4d6 damage when they come in contact with angel flesh (ducklings explode for a mere 2d6). Sort of like a matter/antimatter reaction, except without the entire vaporization of continents and hard radiation thing. OK, the analogy isn't perfect, but it gives you an idea.

There's only two problems: first, violently exploding is usually not the most evolutionarily sound strategy for the members of any given species, so there aren't that many ducks with this, and I use the term very loosely, advantage. Second, well, the experiment didn't go perfectly well: there's a roughly equivalent number of ducks out there that violently explode when they touch demonic flesh.

No, of course there's no way to tell which kind of duck you have: you have to pick one up and test it. Every time that a celestial grabs a duck, roll 666: on a Divine Intervention, you have a Demonic Duck Bomb and on an Infernal Intervention you have an Angelic Duck Bomb. On any other roll you simply have an annoyed duck.

Kyriotates should note that they are immune to this problem, but they can't tell what kind of duck they're currently possessing, either. This can lead to awkwardness - and, of course, dissonance. Those with the Malakite of Creation or Scabbard Attunements should also note that all of this means that technically all ducks can be seen as potential weapons.

Generally, celestials only go for the Duck Maneuver when they have no other options: you never know. Angels tend not to use it, even then: it's just not nice. Of course, demons have no such scruples, although they'll reach for a duckling first: less potential damage to your hand and the critters are more aerodynamic.

So, now you know why so many angels reluctantly keep a tennis racket around...


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