New archetype: Revenant

The release of Glimpse of the Abyss has rekindled my creative juices for Feng Shui, and the first effect has been interest into dusting off and revising a custom Archetype that embodies my preferred FS character concept: a combination of the best parts of Ghost and Magic Cop to make a supernatural-magical "demon hunter" and vigilante avenger, a type that is plentiful in anime, an equivalent of the Magic Cop, but combining supernatural powers and sorcery instead of gun and magic.


In life, you were a staunch individualist or a self-driven person that was determined to make one's damned best to find happiness and make the world just and safe for anyone and anything you cared for. Maybe you were an honest cop in a corrupt department, an activist fighting corporate despoiling of the land, a vigilante striking at crime in your neighborhood, or a rebel fighting against an oppressive government. Anyway, your zealous jest for justice and happiness run afoul of the powers that be, and you were felled by treachery and superior force. Even death could not keep down your conviction and thirst for justice and revenge, or your determination to care for what you had left behind, so you refused to let go of earthly cares and find peace. Your soul roamed the Underworld, learning all kinds of things about supernatural powers and the secrets of magic, until you discovered how you could break the bonds of death and walk the Earth again. You rose, and discovered that in your zest to return, you let the powers of the Underworld trick you: you are no more a human, but a frightening supernatural creature animated by magic, and your body wears the face of a stranger. However, never one to let stings of misfortune fell you for long, you discovered how to master the innate supernatural powers of your form, and your instinctive proficiency for sorcery, and how to cloak your monstrous nature in the appearance of humanity. In time, you returned to fight for justice and freedom with redoubled power, but you discovered how deep and large corruption and oppression may run. Besides the ones that killed you, criminals, tyrants, and monsters abuse the innocents in every land, and the discovery of the Secret War has revealed you that the good fight must be brought to every time as well.

Juncture: any

Bod 5
Chi =0 [Mag = 8]
Mind 5
Ref 5

Divide 6 points among primary attributes, spending no more than 3 on any one attribute.

Creature Powers +5 (=13)
Detective +3 (8 ) [Max 12]
Martial Arts +8 (=13)
Sorcery +5 (=13)

Add 6 skill bonuses.


3 Creature Powers
2 Sorcery schticks

Unique schticks:

Human Masquerade: The Revenant can use a version of Transformation to take human appearance, and can make Creature Powers checks without reverting to monstrous form. While in human form, the Revenant may employ any Creature Schticks which don't call for obvious, blatantly inhuman physical features. For example, Blood Drain or Insubstantial may be employed, but Brain Shredder or Tentacles may not. The alternate form will have a single minor physical feature of the player's choice which marks it as a supernatural creature, such as inhuman eyes like a cat or long pointed nails like a mandarin. The Schtick may not be employed to change Physical Attributes between forms. Touching a bane will cause the Revenant to revert to monstrous form.

Equalizer: The strength of the Revenant's conviction is so powerful that its aura may overwhelm the ambient chi flow, making it immune to temporally local negative modifiers for Sorcery and Supernatural Creatures. When activated with a successful Sorcery check against a Difficulty of 5, the schtick alters the magical atmosphere of a small area so that its juncture modifiers for Sorcery and Supernatural Creatures are set to 0. This occurs within a circular mobile area that is centered on the user, with a radius equal to the Outcome in meters. The duration of this effect is equal to the Outcome in sequences. The effect is terminated prematurely if the user touches a bane.


  1. Magical Healing: Revenants can't be healed by characters using the Medicine skill, unless the practitioner was trained in the 69 juncture.

  2. Banes: A Revenant finds the touch of blessed objects, holy ground, and religious symbols repellent and painful. It also suffers the same reaction when touching two natural substances of the player's choice, such as silver, cold iron, salt, unworked wood, running water, naked stone or uncut jewels. A Revenant touching an holy object or an amount of bane material that is at least palm-sized must succed at a Willpower check against a Difficulty of 15. If they fail, they recoil from the touch, and suffer two points of Impairment for a number of sequences equal to the Outcome of their Willpower checks. A Revenant also finds almost impossible to harm anyone that wears or is standing in a bane: attacking a protected character requires a successful Willpower cheack against a Difficulty of 20.

Wealth Level: poor.

Nice. Kinda reminds me of some of the earlier archetypes on the board with the same general theme. Only thing I would add is maybe an option to choose Guns or Martial Arts, for those Crow-types (though if the guy was a gunslinger in life, I've got no problem with him using a spectral version of the guns he used in life as a Blast power for either Creature Powers or Sorcery).

Well, another forumite and me did discuss a previous, more tentative version of the archetype here

Were you referring to that, or to other kinds of discussions ?

The option to swap MA for Guns is IMO really not feasible in most cases, since a good score in Martial Arts skill is pretty much mandatory in order to use many Creature Powers effectively that are highly appropriate for the concept, and a Creature Powers-Sorcery power combo is a big, basic part of the purpose of the Archetype (i.e. to be a more earthy and badass version of Ghost). So having three good combat skills (Creature Powers, Sorcery, and Martial Arts) is pretty much necessary for the concept.

OTOH, I also acknowledge that in several cases, having a proficiency with ranged weapons may be appropriate for the concept (e.g. an ex-cop, soldier, or detective Revenant from modern junctures). The optimal way of giving the Archetype proficiency with ranged weapons without ruining its purpose (i.e. default good efficiency in Creature Powers, Martial Arts, and Sorcery) would be to add Guns as a fourth combat skill. As a matter of fact, there is a canon Archetype (Abomination) that has 4 combat skills (Arcanowave, Creature, Guns, and MA), so I suppose it could be theoretically done. OTOH, some players and GMs may have serious qualms about adding a fourth combat skill according to their own evaluation of proper game balance and power level, even taking this one precedent into account.

I indeed suppose you could use Blast for either Creature Powers or Sorcery in the form of spectral guns to represent the cases where the Revenant was an ex-gunslinger type in life and his combat powers would express so. As a matter of fact, a big point of the Archetype is to fight and solve difficulties by sorcerous/supernatural powers, not mundane weaponware. This is probably the simplest way of expressing it.

Following some discussion in another forum, the opportunity has been suggested for a lower-powered version of the archetype, in the opnion of some FS fans apparently not among the regulars here.

Admittedly, the lack of a standard point-based system to build custom archetypes from scratch and twist canon ones, makes the task rather liable to get contentious.

Anyway, here's the low-power version of the Revenant Archetype:

Creature Powers +4 (=12)
Detective +3 (8 ) [Max 11]
Martial Arts +7 (=12)
Sorcery +5 (=13)

Add 4 skill bonuses. Swap Sorcery with Creature Powers or Martial Arts, if desired.

As I said over on RPGnet, I think that's a fairer allocation given you've got three combat AVs.

Yes. However, as you can see above, the advice I got in this forum by rbingham2000 was essentially the opposite of your own on RPGnet, and so in order to make a most complete possible discussion, I thought it was nice to post the results of our discussion here, too. Since I got radically opposite feedback opinions, I thought creating two optional versions of the same concept was the best thing.

As I said, I truly regret the lack of an structured rulesystem to create or modify archetypes, since eyeballing it is just too open to individual hunches.

Personally, I think the archetype works well enough whether it uses a AV 13/13/13 or a AV 13/12/12, it's not such a big deal, since in FS you got to use only one kind of attack at a time, barring some specialized Fu and Stat Schticks that are not absolutely available to this archetype without a huge investment of experience and training. The 3-combat AV combo is still firmly in the generalist range either way, the hallmark AVs of the specialist (14-15) are not available for the archetype. I think it may be an adjustment to fit the playing style of individual groups, it's not a game-breaking issue.

Apart from this AV issue, however, I notice that all of you seem to deem the Archetype sound enough to be used, there's no real contention about the validity of the archetype concept. That's pleasant for me, since it's custom-fitted to fulfill a game niche and high-fantasy character concept that I quite fancy and IMO was inadequately covered by existing canon archetypes (Magic Cop is too mundane, Ghost is too effeminate).

I though skills with '=x' meant that this was the level the skill was set at. . . so what does the Revenant spend it's 6 skill bonuses on?

Well, whatever skill the Revenant fancies, besides combat ones. :wink:

Seriously, the archetype is already a generalist as combat goes, having three decent skills (except Guns, which is quite purposefully barred to it). It suffices. Those skill bonuses are to personalize the character, picking some non-combat skills. I'd reckon that good "auxiliary", non-combat skill choices for this concept may be maximizing bonuses in Detective, buying some ability in Intrusion, or Medicine, or a mix of the above, but other choices are certainly possible. E.g. Intimidation, Seduction, or both can certainly be appropriate choices for some Revenants.

Oh grand, I understand now. I note the equalizer schtick. I guess that makes the revenant popular amongst certain 'types' of PC party! Do you play the juncture/location modifier rules? Does anyone else out these ignore them? We do - perhaps due to laziness, I'm not sure. I've had 2 FS GMs now and neither plays that rule set so I have no idea what it is like to play in that environment. Have you tried the Revenant in game play and seen how it fares?

Alas, not yet. My group has been playing Ars Magica in the last few months (great saga !) and after completing the last story we are currently on hiatus. We have yet to decide whether to continue it or switch to some other game. FS is one of the options discussed, but nothing is fixed so far.

I must admit I had not thought much about the effects of the equalizer schtick on other PCs, mostly I knew I did not care for the revenant character concept being crippled by the juncture/location modifier rules.

It did not seem appropriate for a Crow-like archetype, being all drive and determination enough to defy death, to be hassled by something so trivial as juncture modifiers. Then I noticed there was an existing Abomination schtick that it neutralized the modifiers, and it looked like an excellent trick to duplicate with a unique schtick.

As a general note, I do not like juncture/location modifier rules much. I am favourable to downplay/ignore/sidestep them away. IMO they unfairly penalize magic/supernatural characters too much in modern settings away from HK.

The problem with writing off the Juncture modifiers is that it should have a dramatic impact on the setting. Simply put, magic is so powerful that without some means of 'dampening' it, the Ascended shouldn't be able to dominate two entire Junctures--and in a similar vein, dumping the high-magic modifiers would completely alter how the Ascended operate in the future, ancient China and most particularly the Netherworld.

One possibility might be to say that Juncture Modifiers don't apply to Innerwalkers (ie, those who've traversed the Netherworld). This would make magic rare in the low-magic ages, but not completely nerf magic-wielding characters from the modern era.

Well, it looks like a rather interersting idea, in theory, but in practice I've not understood how you would implement it. Does it mean that for Innerwalkers Magic, Supernatural and Abomination (yeah, to be fair the rule needs to address them, too) juncture modifiers are always set to 0 everywhere ? No crippling from low-magic ages, but no boost in ancient times, either. I like it, it's balanced, and it replicates the effect of an existing Stat stchick.

That's what I was suggesting, yes. Note that this means that NPCs (or non-Innerwalker PCs) from low-magic eras suffer a penalty relative to the Innerwalkers, while those from high-magic eras gain a boost, so long as they remain on their home turf.

An odd aspect of this is that when, say, the Lotus sends a Sorcerer on his first Netherworld mission, that operative becomes LESS useful in his home time, as he's no longer gaining the bonus. In one of those little ironies of time-travel stories everywhere, then, Gao Zhang could actually be partially responsible for the fading of magic as time goes forward, as he attempts to co-opt or eliminate all of the active magical characters in 69 AD.

All so true, but just by referring to the Stat Stchick that replicates the effect of this house rule, we can assume that a Magic Stat Stchick can allow Innerwalkers to rebuild their ability to be influenced by good junctures.

Something like this:

Prerequisites: Magic 11+, being an Innerwalker.

Aura of Magic 1: The character is subject to positive juncture modifiers for sorcery, supernatural creatures, and abominations, but ignores negative ones.

Aura of Magic 2: For the character, the juncture modifier for sorcery, supernatural creatures, and abominations in any age is always +1.

Aura of Magic 3: For the character, the juncture modifier for sorcery, supernatural creatures, and abominations in any age is always +2.

Oh, sure--but Sorcerers with Magic 11+ and three stat schticks aren't going to be that common, either; after all, they've got Sorcery Schticks to buy, and unique combination Schticks, and so on and so forth.

True to a degree, but a magical/supernatural character, like my own Revenant, will only need Magic 11+ and one Stat Shtick to get 0 Modifier in "bad" junctures, and whatever bonus they bestow in "good" ones, for both Sorcery and Supernatural Powers. Not a bad deal, and substantially better than canon.