Death makes a fascinating companion. He's such an interesting acquaintance that some people, including many Euthanatoi, don't know when to ask him to leave. Once you make peace with death, he tends to make himself at home.
Those who deal too closely with death begin to share its taint. At first, people simply shy away from the mage in question; over time, comfort with death turns to fascination and sometimes to obsession. The touch of mortality follows the mystick, sometimes killing insects and flowers in her presence. Sometimes, the effect becomes severe enough to kill small animals and chase healthier ones away. The aura of death becomes so strong that it erodes the mage's sanity and her soul. Most Thanatoics who turn barabbi reach this point just before the Fall. Death becomes such a fixture in their lives that life itself flees their presence.
In game terms, death-taint begins to take over when a Euthanatos:
- Relies too heavily on magicks involving death or decay
- Kills too frequently (especially with magick)
- Suffers some extremely traumatic event (torture, a friend's damnation)
- Spends unhealthy amounts of time around dead bodies and ghosts
- Continually botches Entropy or death-related spells, or suffers Paradox backlashes of 5 points or more with such Effects
The GM might have a Euthanatos player roll his Jhor level if something really traumatic happens (torture, a friend's death, etc.). If a critical event occurs, the player may make a Willpower roll to avoid deepening the death-taint. The roll's difficulty begins at 4 and goes up by +1 for each level of the character's existing taint (a Chakravat with 2 dots in Jhor makes his rolls at difficulty 6). Success means the Jhor actually falls one level (stopping at a base of 0, or difficulty 4). Failure keeps the taint at its current level. A botch gives the character an additional point of Jhor. This rating is permanent until some story event (see below) works the taint away.
All Chakravanti know the importance of keeping a balanced approach to death. Lose that balance, and you become the next Voormas, a symbol of what everyone fears from your Tradition. Death carries a powerful Resonance; if you can't control such energies, they will control you - and consume you.
Jhor begins as a morbid curiosity and progresses through the following stages:
- The mage feels drawn to death. Her conversations grow morbid; her wardrobe assumes mourning colors; her dreams feature death and burial motifs. People smile tightly while she speaks.
- The mage feels compelled to seek death out. She may haunt graveyards, read Romantic poetry, rent all six parts of the Faces of Death series, and so on. If there's a body (or an undead creature) around, she'll spend lots of time in its presence. People and animals become distinctly uncomfortable around the mage, and avoid her company.
- The mage grows exceedingly morbid. She never goes out in sunlight, and seems incapable or talking about anything without bringing up death. Her dreams become horror movies that fascinate and repulse her at the same time. Most "normal" folks keep their distance, and animals slink away.
- Death becomes the mystick's companion. She begins to show signs of corruption to those who can see them. Her aura blackens, and misty clouds surround her in the spirit world. To shapeshifters, she "stinks of the Wyrm." Mortal people and animals grow physically uncomfortable if the mage is around, and her dreams and conversations stay completely in shadow.
- Things begin to die when the mystick is around. Flowers wither, flies drop and grass turns brown as she passes. Children run screaming from the mage's presence, and her own thoughts make Edgar Allen Poe look cheerful. Living creatures instinctively avoid the mage whenever possible, and she becomes a psychic vampire, feeding off any vitality in her presence. If things don't die on their own, the mage might kill them herself. Mere death is no longer enough to satisfy her - now she wants to watch things suffer.
It's often hard to tell when you're on the way down the slope. Most Euthanatoi hover somewhere between the first and second stages just as a matter of course. When the mage notices her deterioration, she can sometimes fight the effects by making a serious effort to steer her thoughts away from death (through Willpower rolls) until her sense of balance returns. Long meditations on life and rebirth can also be helpful.
At stage three and onward, Flaws begin to manifest - Flaws like Dark Fate, Haunted, Psychic Vampire, Spirit Magnet (Banes), and Throwback. The final stages of Jhor are difficult to escape. Only an agama, a Seeking or a prolonged purification ritual can bring a mystick back from the fourth or fifth stages. An Euthanatos at the fifth stage doesn't want to come back; death has become the only thing she values. She must be brought back - or destroyed - by her companions.
As a side note, Euthanatos are not the only sorts to be affected by Johr; they're just the most likely to accumulate it, as well as those most versed in recognizing it.