Wolf’s Wood is a recursion formed from the myths and legends of Robin Hood that has been invaded by a sentient mutagenic virus from the Strange. The virus, which calls itself Kymera, has the ability to infect, possess and mutate its hosts into fearsome, monstrous beings called daemons by the superstitious inhabitants of Nottinghamshire. The forces of the Sheriff of Nottingham have fought the alien invader’s infected hosts to a standstill, and a precarious stalemate currently exists. Kymera’s most powerful pawns are the former heroes of Sherwood Forest – Robin Hood and Maid Marian – now transformed into the monstrous half-animal Wolfshead and the arboreal fury known as the May Queen.
Silver is the recursion’s main defence against Kymera. The metal is anathema to the virus. Silver weapons disrupt Kymera and silver talismans worn in contact with the skin protect humans from infection. The Sheriff has forced his serfs to mine for silver, increasing their suffering and oppression, but ensuring that they are protected from Kymera.
Kymera’s daemons occupy Sherwood Forest, under the command of Wolfshead and the May Queen, while the Sheriff and his soldiers remains safe in Nottingham Castle. Those serfs who work the mines endure a punishing existence, and the yeoman farmers of Nottingham live in fear of attacks from the ‘daemon outlaws’.
At the heart of Sherwood Forest is The Wound, a fractal vortex connection to the Strange formed when Kymera first breached the recursion. The fractal vortex’s energy and connection to the Strange allows Kymera to exist within the recursion, overlaying the law of Mad Science on top of the original law of Standard Physics. If The Wound were closed, the recursion would revert to its original state and be governed again only by the law of Standard Physics. Were this to happen Kymera would not be able to survive, being subject to the same effects as if it had travelled through an inapposite gate. (See p 135 of the Strange Core Rulebook.)
The Wound disrupts the natural state of the recursion and makes it difficult for the awakened to utilise their knowledge of the Strange. Those attempting to do so are subject to increased difficulty and sense the underlying ‘weird’ nature of Wolf’s Wood.
Kymera & Infection
Kymera is the sole survivor of a prime world destroyed by a planetevore. It became a viral stowaway on a hunk of planetary debris thrown into the Strange, which ultimately crash-landed in the Shoals of Earth. Kymera’s aim is to enslave as many new hosts as possible: as it gains control of individuals with the spark, it steps closer to becoming quickened and thus gaining the ability to translate.
Kymera spreads by touch, so PCs who translate into Wolf’s Wood aren’t in immediate danger of infection. Physical contact (such as combat) with a Kymera host may result in a PC becoming infected and the PC must make a level 2 Might defense roll to avoid infection. If a PC is wounded by an infected opponent, they must make a Level 3 Might defense roll to avoid infection.
If a character has an amount of silver approximately equal to an arrowhead in contact with their skin, the defense rolls are modified two steps to their benefit.
Those infected by Kymera go through three stages:
Stage 1 – Incubation (Level 4) – Kymera wreaks havoc on the infected character’s body and mind as it attempts to gain control over them. Infected characters must make daily level 4 Might defense rolls. Failure inflicts 2 points of lasting (The Strange p353) ambient Might damage and causes a Harmful Mutation (The Strange p240). To successfully throw off infection by Kymera requires 2 consecutive successes at these Might defense rolls. Characters who have successfully thrown off infection are considered for any future rolls to be trained to resist infection by Kymera.
An arrowhead’s worth of silver worn for 24 hours causes 2 points of ambient damage but grants an asset on the roll to resist infection. After 24 hours the silver is tarnished and no longer provides an asset. It must be replaced for the infected character to gain an asset on the following day’s roll.
Stage 2 – Possession (Level 5) – When an infected character becomes impaired due to their Might pool reaching zero, Kymera attempts to fully take control of them. Infected characters must make daily level 5 Intellect defence rolls. Failure inflicts 3 points of lasting (The Strange p353) ambient Intellect damage and causes a Powerful Mutation (Strange Core Rulebook p241). The more esoteric mutations (rolls of 63+) should be treated as the result of interactions between the PC’s own abilities and the mutagenic nature of Kymera . If a character successfully makes 3 consecutive Might defense rolls, they have defeated the infection and are considered for any future rolls to be specialized to resist infection by Kymera.
An arrowhead’s worth of silver worn for 24 hours causes 3 points of ambient damage and grants an asset on the roll to resist infection. After 24 hours the silver is tarnished and must be replaced for the asset benefit to continue.
Stage 3 – Enslavement (Level 6) –Once a character becomes debilitated due to their Might and intellect pools both reaching zero, Kymera seizes control of their minds. Their mutated form stabilises, restoring their Might and intellect pools as they are assimilated into Kymera’s will. Those enslaved by Kymera are known as daemons by the uninfected inhabitants of Wolf’s Wood. The enslaved serve Kymera as daemons and can no longer be cured by the application of silver. There is currently no known cure for the enslaved. The GM is encouraged to allow PCs to come up with an inventive solution.
PCs who throw off any level of infection by Kymera may choose to retain their mutations while they remain in Wolf’s Wood, but translation to another recursion will remove these mutations. Alternatively, characters who have defeated Kymera infection may then switch their focus to either Metamorphosizes or Regenerates Tissue while in Wolf’s Wood.
PCs who survive infection by Kymera may choose to switch their focus to either Metamorphosizes or Regenerates Tissue while in Wolf’s Wood. Characters may not choose these foci when they initially translate to Wolf’s Wood.
The Daemons of Sherwood Forest
Most of the daemons are outlaws enslaved by Kymera: use the statistics for Criminals (The Strange p295) applying the results of one or more Harmful and/or Powerful Mutations (The Strange p240-241), but ignore mutations that cause Weaknesses.
More dangerous daemons can be represented as Commanders (the Strange p 304), applying one or more Powerful Mutations (The Strange p241).
Some of those daemons under the control of Wolfshead have been mutated into twisted approximations of wolves. Use the statistics for Umber Wolves (Strange p295).
The daemons typically use ambush or hit-and-run tactics, seeking to injure and/or abduct opponents in order to infect them. They prefer to fight within Sherwood Forest and only rarely venture out. While the daemons do still make use of the ranged attacks using bows commonly associated with the mythology of Robin Hood, this is done more to ‘soften up’ opponents as they wish to close with them and infect them in hand-to-hand combat.
GM Intrusion: The daemon mutates in combat, either gaining a different Powerful mutation or mutating to negate a special damage condition applied to it by the PCs.
Silver weapons inflict 1 extra point of damage against Kymera-infected hosts. Additionally, any damage inflicted on a roll of 17, 18, 19 or 20 is treated as permanent damage.
Minor Effect Suggestion: the searing pain caused by the silver weapon causes your opponent to be dazed for 1 round.
Major Effect Suggestion: the silver lodges in your opponent, disrupting the mutations caused by Kymera; they are unable to use one of their Powerful Mutations for 1d6 rounds or until they spend their action removing the silver.
GM’s note: It’s normally not worth tracking permanent damage for monsters, but given that Kymera’s daemons rely on hit-and-run skirmish tactics, retreating back into Sherwood Forest if things turn against them, silver weapons can have longer-lasting, permanent effects that will benefit the PCs.