Yazidis: Friendly Exsurgents?

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Toaster Commissar Toaster Commissar's picture
Yazidis: Friendly Exsurgents?

So, upon re-reading the Zone Stalkers sourcebook, I realized what seemed odd to me about the Yazidi Kurdish authentics in the TQZ. I always assumed that the presence of Psi-Epsilon sleights meant that full-on alien horror mode (or at least a sleeper that eventually blossoms into alien horror mode), but the Yazidis seem to be stable and friendly transhumans from their write-up. Now, they could be some really long-term sleepers, but the tone of the blurb on them doesn't seem to indicate that. The book says that they're infected with some further mutation of Watts-Macleod that grants access to Exsurgent Psi, so does that make them viable options for PCs who want more oomph in their Psi abilities? Any other explanations out there?

Baribal Baribal's picture
Short answer: That section in

Short answer: That section in Zone Stalkers is probably all the official text that exists on the topic.
Long answer: Well, it could be that *every* async is a sleeper. And with the 2nd Edition take on Watts-MacLeod strains, it's not far out to assume that the Tause Melek of those Yazidi is an echo of a TITAN masquerading as that group's protector. Or maybe it's just their prior faith that shaped how the virus emerged in them. Or maybe all this appearance is just a ruse, and they're already actively working towards the viruses goal, presenting themselves as benevolent as a form of self-preservation and/or to lure in more viable agents.

Either way, the rule that players don't get access to Psi-Epsilon is just that, a rule, easily enforced or discarded. If the former, even when infected by the Yazidi, players won't be able to progress to Psi 3 for... whatever reason. If the latter, well, there you go, and you're free to litter the whole solar system with further opportunities to get to Psi 3. Asyncs are all on a spectrum of alien horror, both for themselves and for others, and that rule is probably best understood as "In the interest of balance and predictability in story telling, ..."

Whatever makes the best story for your liking.

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Toaster Commissar Toaster Commissar's picture
Thanks for the clarification!

I was just wondering there was any book clarification on them, but I guess it's all in the GM's hands. The Yazidi Tause Melek as an insidious variant of the Architect from the 2nd edition's strains is so good that I'll probably jack it for my campaign.

nerdnumber1 nerdnumber1's picture
Hard to tell

The section says that the Yazidi are infected with a mutant strain of Watts-MacLeod, so whatever is makes WM "safe" (or at least apparently safe for now) is probably still present in some form. Scenario actually isn't a psi-epsilon sleight according to the main rulebook and shouldn't need psi 3. It's just a psi-gamma sleight reserved for exsurgents. I'd say that "scenario" should be the only exsurgent sleight available for Yazidi-strain infected (whether this means they should be knocked down to psi 2 or not should be up to the GM). I don't think they mention the Yazidi having any other exsurgent-only sleights, though they are technically exsurgents themselves. Also, they might only be able to use the sleight as was mentioned: showing their history in an eyeblink (subjectively longer) with a high chance of infection. Maybe they even need the consent of the individual (they ask if you want a vision, rather than forcing it) for it to work rather than it just being a courtesy.

PCs might be able to get the strain to access this new sleight and the TITAN-off effect, but they will have to deal with not only the normal mental disorder from WM, but another one that compels them to return to the Yazidi (which can be seen as a bit insidious in of itself). It should not allow players to get psi 3 or any other exsurgent sleights beyond scenario. Nor should they have full access to scenario either.