Deva: The Reborn
Lesya is the coloring of a Deva’s soul, the lens that warps their view of the Shrouded World. Both a blessing and a curse, that altered vision allows one Deva to see things in a way that others can’t, or won’t. Some scholars of the Reborn believe that Lesya is what allows a soul to return and become one of the Deva. A karmic stain dragging them back to the world. Others think that for better or worse the Lesya occurs as a soul returns rather than when it leaves. A remembrance of the soul’s last experience in the world, or a backlash against the return of a soul that had rightfully passed on.
Regardless of what actually causes it, a Deva’s Lesya always reflects the significant forces that control their life, or their death. This is not an objective measure, but most often based in the perspective of the Deva themselves. A person who dies in great pain after a hit and run on the street might return with the Lesya of suffering, but they are just as likely to return with a renewed focus on the things they left undone (Desolation). They might even obsess in their last moments over the seeming randomness of their passing, and become focused on finding some meaning in it (Exposure). In addition, those who spent their lives immersed in one of the Lesya, are as likely to be influenced by that as by the transient events of their death. Someone who spent their entire life chasing thrills and indulgence is likely to develop the Lesya of Craving, regardless of their means of death.
Each Lesya increases the Devas’ sensitivity to certain types of Resonance, as well imparting a permanent Condition. In addition, the Deva gains Affinity for supernatural creatures that align with their Lesya. During character creation, a Deva’s Lesya determines one of their starting Gates.
Suffering This Lesya occurs when a person’s life or death was defined by pain, violence, or conflict. This Lesya might cling to an innocent that suffered terribly, or to a person that brought great pain to others. Those who possess the Lesya of Suffering find it difficult to remain dispassionate, often swinging between extremes of outrage and sympathy, love and hate. Because of their intense and often savage natures, those who bear the Lesya of Suffering are known as Tigers among the Reborn. Tigers are most likely to view themselves as devils, returning to the world either to avenge their own suffering or atone for the pain they caused. In either case, their penchant for violence of one kind or another makes them ferocious as both allies and enemies.
Tigers are Impulsive, often feeling that righting a wrong is more important than gaining a long term advantage. Whenever an Impulsive character sacrifices a long term advantage to act on their moral convictions, take a beat.
Resonance: Violence, pain, anger, and love.
Affinity: Beasts, dream creatures
Scent of Suffering: Once per session a Tiger may ask “What is the greatest locus of suffering in this scene?” And the storyteller must answer truthfully. Scent of suffering excludes the Deva themselves, and characters they are already intimately familiar with. It will inform the Deva of the existence of a concealed target, but not their location. Once the target of this power has been revealed, the Deva may attempt to uncover more detail about them with a successful Wits + Empathy + Passion roll. Such a roll reveals whether the target is the cause of suffering or a victim of it, and the general nature of the suffering.
Desolation This Lesya occurs when a Deva’s passing was marked by grief or loss. Typically the sorrow of the departed’s loved ones, or because the Reborn left unfinished a task that had defined their lives. Cranes, as they are known, tend to be of very even disposition. They have already died with the lives incomplete, and returned again to complete their tasks. After overcoming that kind of upheaval, any other setback or distraction seems trivial. Of all the Deva, the Cranes are the most likely to see themselves as returning angels or gods, brought back into the word to fulfill a higher purpose. While the pull of such a higher purpose provides the Cranes with clarity, it also distances them from more immediate concerns.
Cranes are Dispassionate, finding it difficult to get worked up over what they see as the ‘little things’. This can make it difficult for them to seize advantage in the moment, as they simply don’t feel the urgency to deal with an issue right now. Whenever a Dispassionate character looses an advantage due to delay, even if that delay is for a longer-term gain, take a beat.
Resonance: Sadness, loss, emptiness, calm
Affinity: Sin Eaters, Geists
Guiding Star: As the Cranes are drawn toward their goals, so too can they feel when others are drawn to them. Deva of this Lesya always sense when a person they observe has an aspiration directly related to them or members of their circle. No roll or active effort is required, but the Crane gains no insight into what the nature of the aspiration is.
Craving Dragons are those Deva who Return with the Lesya of Craving. They are named for their great appetites and their affinity for the natural world. Often these Deva were thrill seekers, or indulgent in life. Equally often, they found their deaths pursuing those hungers. While other Deva sometimes consider the Dragons to be superficial or flighty, they understand the importance of seizing each moment as it comes. Both adaptable and impetuous, Dragons may inspire and frustrate in equal measure. They are the most likely of all the Deva to view themselves as one with the natural world, a soul transformed in the natural course to an animistic spirit.
Dragons are Insatiable, leading them to pursue personal satisfaction even when it distracts from their current goals. Whenever an Insatiable character complicates matters for themselves or their Circle by pursuing their immediate desires, take a beat.
Resonance: Hunger, lust, greed, nature.
Affinity: Spirits, Claimed
Tempter’s Eye: Once per session the Deva may read the desires of a target they are currently interacting with. This interaction can be anything from a conversation, to an exchange of blows in combat. A successful Wits + Empathy + Life roll reveals the target’s strongest immediate desire, while an exceptional success also reveals a deeper want such as a vice or long-term aspiration.
Deprivation Deprivation is the Lesya that clings to those who lack the basic requirements of survival. This applies not just to the life of the body however, but also fulfillment of the soul. A person who starves in a frozen wilderness is likely to develop the Lesya of suffering, as is one who ends their life in the throes of depression or other spiritual crisis. Known as Shadows for their generally quiet and introverted demeanor, those Deva who carry this Lesya feel deeply isolated from the world around them. This often means they keep their own council, and must make an active effort to include others in their thoughts and plans. Prone to introspection, they are often inflexible in their goals and thinking once they set themselves on a path. These tendencies also make the Shadows resolute allies, and implacable enemies, undeterred by any adversity. Of all the Deva, those with the Lesya of Deprivation are most likely to view themselves as literal ancestor spirits. Ghosts that have taken a slightly different form.
Shadows are Stubborn, refusing to give up their goals in the face of adversity. Whenever a Stubborn character refuses to change their course of action, despite unexpected complications or dangers, take a beat.
Resonance: Starvation, depression, endurance, the underworld.
Bone Whispers: Once per session a Shadow may meditate on an inanimate object or location, drawing out it’s resonance and reading it for clues as to the object’s history. The Deva must focus on the subject for at least ten minutes to activate Bone Whispers. A successful Intelligence + Composure + Death roll reveals the most recent event that left an impression on the object’s resonance, while an exceptional success provides a more detailed description of the object’s history. All such information is conveyed entirely through resonance, making individuals and locations difficult to pick out unless the Deva is already intimately familiar with them.
Exposure Like a storm, the mysterious forces of the Shrouded World sometimes sweep through a person’s life, leaving chaos in their wake. Those who are swept away in the storm are known as Tempests, and they are often as unpredictable as their namesake. While the Lesya of exposure will regularly touch those who desperately seek to peer behind the veil of the world in life, almost any form of death may be caused by the movement of unknown forces. Because of this, Tempests can be the most difficult to categorize of all the Deva. Whatever their origins however, all these Reborn are sensitive to the movements of fate. They respond to deeper currents than they themselves understand, which can be a source of frustration for both themselves and their companions. No matter how much of the shrouded world one thinks they understand, there are always more mysteries beneath. Many Tempests refuse to accept a simple reason for the Rebirth. They see their own existence as either an accident, or as the byproduct of some unknown scheme. Others are likely to pick any given reason for the return, based on their personal beliefs in life.
Tempests are Quixotic, often bending to influences they are not consciously aware of. This tendency is equally likely to undermine the Tempest’s plans or open new doors for them. Whenever the character abandons a plan or obvious course of action to act in accordance to local forces, take a beat. Such forces can include prevailing Resonance, or the presence of powerful supernatural creatures. Even myths and superstitions, repeated by the mortals of the area.
Resonance: Fear, mystery, inspiration, intuition.
Affinity: Bygones, mortal mystics, others.
Uncanny Inspiration: By opening their spirit to the flows of Chi, a Tempest may seek otherworldly guidance in accomplishing their goals. This guidance is not without risk however, as the path revealed to them is never a safe or certain course. Once per story, a Tempest’s player may ask “What course of action will take us closer to our current goal?” The Storyteller must answer this question truthfully, but the answer will always draw the Deva more deeply into the mysteries of the Shrouded World.