The mazzeri are a Corsican tradition of nightwalkers. Some fight Infernal witches or mazzeri from surrounding villages, much as their counterparts in other lands do. Mazzeri use stalks of asphodel as weapons. All mazzeri also have an extra duty. They are forced to stray, and hunt, through the Corsican night. Some take animal form, while others retain human form and use weapons. In these visions, the mazzeru has no choice but to kill one or more animals. Then, by inspecting the face of each dead animal, the mazzeru can determine which villager it represents. Those killed by a mazzeru are likely to die within a particular period of time — as short as three days in some villages, as long as a year in others.
Note that the mazzeru cannot choose who, or even if, to kill. Those mazzeri who accept this, and choose to have disturbing dreams without it affecting their waking life, do not gain a Flaw. Some mazzeri feel in some way responsible for the deaths they foresee, and attempt to prevent them. These mazzeri have a Story Flaw, and may, with some care, save those who they have hunted in their dreams.
Hedge Magic: Revised Edition, pages 115-116
Mazzeru (Corsican Nightwalker)
Favored Abilities: Nightwalker; Animal Ken, Premonitions, Second Sight
The mazzeri are the endemic Nightwalker tradition of Corsica. The main responsibilities of a mazzeru include not only the yearly fertility battle or mandrache on the eve of August 1st between the troupes of neighbouring villages and periodic night battles against the evil stregoni but also their feared ability to predict the death of others by symbolic encounters with animals during their involuntary straying.
Required Flaws: one Minor Personality Flaw, Tainted with Evil, Visions
Common Virtues: Ways of the Forest or Maquis; Versatile Phantasticum
Common Flaws:Dark Secret (mazzeru by night); Offensive to Animals.
The mazzeri tradition once possessed greater magical powers linked to its pastoral origins, but the knowledge of these more potent practices is mostly lost apart from a few rare Gifted individuals that have learnt to self-initiate these forgotten Mysteries.
Rumoured powers include the ability to ward against animals and other dangers, banish and control storms, engage in scapulomancy (the art of predicting the future from roasted shoulder blades), grow to giant size and even control the native wildlife.
Mystery Virtues: Augury (scapulomancy), Death Prophecy, Storm Calling*, Summon Animals, Warding; Forest or Maquis Lore, Personal Power (Assume Giant Form).
* detailed in Against the Dark, page 128-129. Mazzeru use this power predominantly to move storms away from their village in a defensive manner.
Some mazzeri feel responsible for their nightly visions and seek to redress their guilt. A few become signadori by day, working for the good of the local community in an attempt to redress their nocturnal sins by providing guidance, healing and defence against evil spirits.
Other mazzeri become incredibly devout Christians, reflected by the Pious (Major or Minor) Personality Flaw or similar Flaws such as Dutybound or Vow – a few of these more religious mazzeri may even possess the True Faith Virtue and/or possess various Holy Methods and Powers.
A third group of reluctant mazzeru denies their powers completely, believing their night encounters to be merely nightmares. Such individuals are typically marked out as unusual regardless of how well they conceal their powers and often have the Second Sight and Premonitions Virtues. Their straying powers are reflected by the Dark Secret Major Story Flaw and the often possess the Visions Minor Flaw
This southern variant of the mazzeru tradition is concentrated around the southern village of Chera but similar hedge magicians can be found in parts of northern Sardinia. Unlike their northern cousins, culpadori are almost exclusively female and hunt in packs, invariably taking on the appearance of wild dogs in their phantasticum form. Male culpadori are very rare but invariably shepherds from the Culioli clan, possessing other hedge powers such as the ability to ward against storms, soothe or call wild animals and extensive knowledge of the magical properties of the herbs and stones of the island. These individuals also more commonly possess the Versatile Phantasticum Virtue and can readily assume their spiritual animal form at times other than fertility battles.
- The Dream Hunters of Corsica, by Dorothy Carrington (the main resource I used)
- Granite Island: a Portrait of Corsica, by Dorothy Carrington (the historical text)
- Mazzeru is a PC game based on the Corsican folklore, with a teaser trailer