Though the Christian faith thinks they have the corner on angels, true angels aren’t associated with any religion and have been around far longer than Christianity. They don’t have wings, they don’t sing in choirs– most of them, anyway– and they don’t spend their time in the clouds, looking down on the earth and discussing the will of God. What they are, however, is good.
Angels are human beings who died before their due time, whether by illness or accident or murder, who are chosen to be reborn as a force for justice, fairness, love, and general good in the world. They do not remember their previous lives, but they remain the same person they were, shrouded with a kind of aura that keeps anyone who might have known them from recognizing them– and always reborn far from home. Their lives may not have been perfect, but their cores are upright and they did the best that they could– and always will do the best that they can.
The most important thing that defines all angels is that they are good. They cannot be anything else, and if there was even a possibility of changing their basic nature to anything else, they would not have been reborn from their human lives. This does not mean they are perfect or saints, and they have vices and bad days just like any mortal, but in the end they will always try to do the right thing. As angels, they take it one step further: they are driven to do the right thing, with a little more experience behind them and a little more clarity about what the right thing really is.
Angels look exactly like anyone else, no wings or halos, with one exception: they seem to collect light, appearing just a little bit brighter than anyone else in the room. The older the angel, the brighter the glow becomes, until by their third or fourth century it can no longer be written off or ignored by those who don’t know about magic. Angels don’t age, remaining forever at the age and appearance at which they died, but most of them still don’t live long enough to reach this stage of brilliance, their second lives are active and often dangerous. They can be killed and take damage, just like any mortal being, and they scar and collect limps and creaks when hurt, though they do not develop long-term illnesses like cancer or genetic disorders. They must eat and sleep like any mortal being, though their endurance is a bit stronger than most humans’.
Unlike demons, angels are often found working together. They don’t usually form long-term alliances, as they often have slightly conflicting desires in what types of evil to combat and how, but with multi-layered problems, most angels are happy to help each other out. Though there are some angels that do form long-term bonds with other angels or other good people and travel or work together, though this is fairly rare.
All angels have some basic powers shared among them, but most have their own specific power set based on what general category they fall into. All angelic abilities increase in power and scope as they age, along with their glow. This is a function of age and experience rather than practice: no matter how hard one practices, there is only so fast an angel can progress. The reverse is not entirely true, though, for an angel who neglects his abilities will not improve much with age.
Unsurprisingly, angels have the ability to bless things, places, and people. Blessings do not denote the favor of a deity, however; they grant extra abilities, anywhere from resistance to disease to safety to increased probability of hitting something when you swing. Most angels don’t have much control over what exactly the blessing does and results are based largely on their type, though the older and more powerful the angel, the more specific control they have. No blessing is permanent, but the blessing of a three-hundred-year-old angel can last weeks, compared to the blessing of a newly reborn angel that can last no longer than a few hours.
All angels also possess a very narrow form of empathy with two distinct impressions: sensing dishonesty and sensing evil in the form of unreasoned anger, premeditated violence, and hatred. Both are largely unconscious abilities and only older and more experienced angels can shut them off– though they prefer not to.
These are the angels’ angels, drawn to newly reborn angels to explain what happened to them and lead them through learning about their new abilities. A shepherd can have as many charges as they feel drawn to, but most prefer to have two or three at most. Shepherds are the most knowledgeable about other angels; if an angel needs to find another, asking the nearest shepherd is their best bet. They tend to be the most parental of the angels, both to their charges and others, but also more than a bit smothering. These angels have the specific powers of sensing other angels, and ability that grows in range and accuracy as they age, and can always sense when a new angel is reborn if they are the closest angel to them.
An angel can be drawn to guard and protect anything: human beings, werewolves, abused children, animals– anything living. They can attach themselves to an individual or family who they feel needs protecting, or devote themselves to a broad cause like civil rights or the environment. Those who protect individuals or families will always know when their charges are in danger. Those who protect specific types of people get a vaguer sense of those in danger near them, and those with causes they fight for only have a general sense of “doing this would be good for the cause”, or the reverse. Guardian angels have particularly strong blessings and the ability to cast protective wards that grow in power and scope as they age.
Warrior angels are the ones who actively seek out injustice and set it right, often punishing the evildoers in the process. Some pick particular causes to focus on, like targeting demons or werewolves, but others are more generic. They are often nomadic and have a hard time forming close relationships, though they might like to, and often have the worst tempers of all types. They are physically the strongest and fastest of angels, with a slight magical increase to their abilities, and they have the hardest time resisting the urge to interfere in things that are technically none of their business.
Where there are those who hurt, there are also those who heal. Angels who fall into the category of healers have an empathic sense for pain and supernatural healing abilities, “healing hands”, that improve with time and practice. Healer angels sooth physical hurts, mental hurts, and emotional hurts to the best of their ability, often going beyond their mere magical ability and earn medical or psychology degrees. Some healers also style themselves guides, as well, trying to put people on the proper path.
All angels are reborn without a tier, because they can’t start to grow in their abilities before they know what they are. For the first ten years or so of their new lives, angels live under the tutelage of a shepherd angel, learning about the different things they can do and might one day do. Usually by the end of ten years– sometimes sooner, but almost never longer– an angel has chosen the path they wish to take in life and start to develop the abilities to help them along it, and only then do they and their shepherd part ways.
As soon as an angel settles into what they want to do with their new lives, they enter the first tier. This tier has a small radius of effect for skills such as empathy, blessings, and type abilities– usually close to fifteen feet– and a low degree of accuracy and control. Dedicated angels work through this tier, up to the levels of the second tier, for about a hundred and fifty years. The angel’s glow is easy to overlook at this level, as well as impossible to pinpoint on an individual in a crowd, and many people don’t even notice it. Angels die at this tier far more often than at the second tier because in their youth and zeal, their drive to right wrongs without stopping to think is strongest. Many first tier angels dive into the wrong problem and wind up in over their heads.
This tier is the one most angels reach around one hundred and fifty or, for the laziest, two hundred, if they live that long. The range and power of blessings, empathy, and type abilities increases, starting at one hundred feet and reaching a whole two miles in radius, on average, by the time they reach third tier. Their empathic and type abilities also grow slowly more specific and accurate, and they start to be able to resist the pull to right a wrong if it’s obvious they can do nothing or the wrong is too trivial, but it takes effort. At this tier, someone who knows what to look for can pinpoint who the glow is coming from, and it becomes harder for anyone to overlook it.
Most angels don’t reach this tier, as many die again before getting the chance, but it is generally reached around three hundred. This is the tier where angels can control the effects of their blessings, are as accurate as anyone can be with their empathic and type abilities, and when they are finally able to completely resist the drive to right any wrong in the immediate vicinity if there is good reason to do so. The angelic glow is now obvious to all and impossible to write off or overlook except by the most skilled in denial and skepticism. Mod Note: We will not accept angel characters over the age of 325.
- Angels do not age. They remain forever at the age they were when their first lives ended.
- Angels can bless objects, places, and people for a variety of helpful effects. Different types have slightly different strengths in blessing: guardian angels generally create at blessings of safety, healing angels blessings of health, warrior angels blessings of strength, and shepherds of inspiration. The power, scope, and duration of these blessings increases with age.
- All angels can sense lies and the threat of evil when it is nearby– the range expands with age– but specific angel types are drawn to needs their type can best serve. Healing angels are drawn to pain, shepherds to confusion and abandonment, guardians to danger, and warriors to violence, among other things.
- It is difficult to hide being an angel after about the three hundredth year, and even before that if you know what to look for most anyone can figure it out: angels have an inability to hide the glow they create as they age. Very young angels will not obviously glow, but older angels are very vibrant.
- Angels are infertile and cannot have children.
- As they are creatures of good and light, angels have a weakness to dark magic and negative energy. Demons in particular can be devastating if not protected against, and even then a curse can erode protections.
- Angels have a hard time resisting interfering where they witness a wrong-doing, even if they aren’t wanted or would cause more harm than good. The pull is incredibly strong the closer an angel gets to the “wrong” and the closer that wrong is to their angelic type. Older angels are more experienced at telling when their aid would be less than helpful and at resisting the pull, but even they still feel it strongly.
Even more widespread than the idea of witchcraft is the idea of demons. Western and Eastern cultures have their demons, so-called civilized and third world countries tell their own tales of demons that haunt and trick and destroy. True demons, like angels, aren’t associated with any religion, and they are forces for pure evil and chaos in the world no matter what culture they hail from.
Demons are human beings who died before their due time, whether by illness or accident or murder in cold blood, who are chosen to be reborn as a force for darkness, deceit, and general evil in the world. They do not remember their previous lives, but they remain the same person they were, shrouded with a kind of aura that keeps anyone who might have known them from recognizing them– and always reborn far from home. Their wrongs varied from petty evils like bullying and extreme selfishness, to much larger wrongs like rape and murder, and nothing can ever make them “see the light” and change their ways.
The most important thing that defines all demons is that they are evil. They cannot be anything else, and if there was even a possibility of changing their basic nature to anything else, they would not have been reborn from their human lives. This does not mean they are slavering madmen, however, and they have bad moods and good moods just like any mortal, but in the end they will always think about themselves first and others not at all. As demons, they take it one step further: they are driven to cause trouble, to bring suffering. It actually cheers them up to do so.
Demons look exactly like anyone else, no horns or hooves, with one exception: light seems to shun them, appearing just a little bit darker than anyone else in the room. The older the demon, the darker they become, until by their third or fourth century it can no longer be written off or ignored by those who don’t know about magic. Demons don’t age, remaining forever at the age and appearance at which they died, but most of them still don’t live long enough to reach this stage of dimness, their second lives often full of enemies. They can be killed and take damage, just like any mortal being, and they scar and collect limps and creaks when hurt, though they do not develop long-term illnesses like cancer or genetic disorders. They must eat and sleep like any mortal being, though their endurance is a bit stronger than most humans’.
Most demons are loners, fiercely independent and jealous of their powers and territories. Since they have no impetus for procreation, they have no reason to spend any amount of time together. Only rarely will a demon form an alliance with another for mutual benefit– more often demons, when they do actually come in contact with each other, will either wind up enemies, trying to trick the other, or at best in competition. The latter tends to mean the worst results for the rest of the world, as they try to out-evil each other.
All demons have some basic powers shared among them, but most have their own specific power set based on what general category they fall into. All demonic abilities increase in power and scope as they age, along with their shadow effect. This is a function of age and experience rather than practice: no matter how hard one practices, there is only so fast a demon can progress. The reverse is not entirely true, though, for a demon who neglects his abilities will not improve much with age.
Unsurprisingly, demons have the ability to curse things, places, and people. Curses are not like magical spells, however, being more a mental exercise in directing negative magical energy; they take away abilities and cause harm or damage, anywhere from lowering your immune system to an increased clumsiness to decreased probability of hitting something when you swing. Demons have much more direct control over their curses than angels do over their blessings, within the general area of their type’s expertise, and the more creative the demon, the more creative the curse. No curse is permanent, but the curse of a three-hundred-year-old demon can last weeks, compared to the curse of a newly reborn demon that can last no longer than a few hours.
All demons also possess a very narrow form of clairvoyance with only one result: sensing where the most effective way to ruin a proceeding, plan, or person’s day is. It is a largely unconscious ability and only older and more experienced demons can shut it off. It manifests not in an actual vision, but more as a “hot and cold” feeling that grows more accurate with age.
These are demons who affect the mind. They have the ability to be invisible, hence the nickname “ghosts” sticking best to their type, and while they cannot possess people the way legendary demons can, they can implant thoughts, feelings, and intentions into the minds of unwary mortals. Some mortals, such as psychics and mind-focused magi, can resist this but they rarely recognize that it is happening, and an angel will fully reject a demonic thought. For this reason, many demons merely focus on words; they are the most intelligent and best manipulators of the demons.
There are many kinds of hunter demons: those who hunt beings of good, those who hunt humans, those who hunt supernaturals, those who hunt other demons, and those who hunt whoever catches their fancy. These demons generally only focus on one individual, or one small group of people like a family or couple, at a time. Most hunts end in death, but some only in torment. Sometimes a hunter will fixate on ruining their victim’s lives before they kill them, and a few leave their victims alive to wallow in their misery– or drive them to kill themselves. Their special ability is an ability to sense where their quarry has been based on disturbances in the ambient energy of the world– a kind of psychic footprint that all beings leave behind. These demons are the most likely to guess when someone is another supernatural, based on this magical footprint.
Destroyer demons simply don’t care who or what they kill, destroy, or ruin. They are the most unpredictable of demons, they they are generally more focused on events and things than on people. They are the saboteurs, the ones responsible for when something goes wrong rather than when someone goes wrong. Destroyer demons revel more in chaos than in outright evil, though they are still distinctly selfish and evil themselves, and actual entropy seems to follow them, even without trying: things simply break more often when in their presence for more than a few minutes. Their curses are the strongest and most creative of the demon types.
Biological life is complicated and there are many small things that could go wrong to upset a body or even an ecosystem, and many demons focus on ecosystems rather than people, as a more subtle evil. Harbinger demons know and can upset those small things, experts in diseases and biological systems. They cannot get sick themselves, but they can induce sickness in other living things– the older the demon, the more likely the illness will take in more complex life forms, and the more devastating the illness. Young demons simply inflict colds and blights, and only on simple life forms or those already under the weather, but demons in their third tier can inflict oft-fatal plagues on humans. Harbingers are the most detail-oriented of demons.
Unlike angels, demons are born into their type. Their type best fits their personality they were when they died. However, it can take a new demon time to figure out how to use their powers. They are the most vulnerable at this level, however as basic understanding of their powers do come relatively naturally most progress to the First Tier within months or weeks of being reborn. There hasn’t been a demon recorded to take longer than three months to figure out their purpose.
As soon as a demon settles into what they want to do with their new lives, they enter the first tier. This tier has a small radius of effect for skills such as curses, clairvoyance, and type abilities– usually close to fifteen feet or an hour or two– and a low degree of accuracy and control. Dedicated demons work through this tier, up to the levels of the second tier, for about a hundred and fifty years. The demon’s shadow effect is easy to overlook at this level, as well as impossible to pinpoint on an individual in a crowd, and many people don’t even notice it. Demons die at this tier far more often than at the second tier because in their youth and inexperience, their drive to cause trouble without stopping to think is strongest. Many first tier demons mess with the wrong person and wind up in over their heads.
This tier is the one most demons reach around one hundred and fifty or, for the laziest, two hundred, if they live that long. The range and power of curses, clairvoyance, and type abilities increases, starting at one hundred feet and reaching a whole two miles in radius, or starting at fifteen minutes and reaching eight hours, on average, by the time they reach third tier. Their type abilities also grow slowly more specific and accurate, and they start to be able to resist the pull to cause trouble if it would get them in trouble, but it takes effort. At this tier, someone who knows what to look for can pinpoint who the odd dimness is coming from, and it becomes harder for anyone to overlook it.
Most demons don’t reach this tier, as many die again before getting the chance, but it is generally reached around three hundred. This is the tier where demons can fully control the effects of their curses, are as accurate as anyone can be with their clairvoyant feelings and their type abilities, and when they are finally able to completely resist the drive to create chaos in the immediate vicinity if there is good reason to do so. The demonic shadow effect is now obvious to all and impossible to write off or overlook except by the most skilled in denial and skepticism.Mod Note: We will not accept demon characters over the age of 325.
- Demons do not age. They remain forever at the age they were when their first lives ended.
- Demons can curse objects, places, and people for a variety of harmful effects. Different types have slightly different strengths in cursing: ghost demons generally create at curses affecting the mind, harbinger demons curses that affect the body, hunter demons curses of offense– no curse can ever be wholly defensive– and destroyer demons curses that damage and sabotage. The power, scope, and duration of these curses increases with age.
- All demons can sense the approach of the precise moment that a word or action would tip the balance of a process, plan, or person’s day from good and into bad. The older they get, more warning they get, and the more complicated the plots they can implement to divert attention from themselves when they make their move. Each demon is drawn to events and moments depending on their type.
- It is difficult to hide being a demon after about the three hundredth year, and even before that if you know what to look for most anyone can figure it out: demons have an inability to hide the shadow effect they create as they age. Very young demons will not obviously dim the area around them, but older demons are very obviously dark.
- Demons are infertile and cannot have children.
- As they are creatures of evil and darkness, demons have a weakness to light magic and positive energy. Angels in particular can be devastating if not protected against, and even then a blessing can erode protections.
- Demons are by nature meddlesome creatures. Because of the draw of their clairvoyance in understanding the best way to get under someone’s skin or cause a complicated machine to fail in a spectacular way, they have a very hard time resisting the urge to throw their particular wrenches in things. Jumping in with a curse or the wrong word at the wrong time tends to be noticeable and get a demon in trouble. The pull is incredibly strong the closer an demon gets to the moment or item of change and the closer that change is to their demonic type. Older demons are more experienced at telling when their interference would be safe to themselves and at resisting the pull, but even they still feel it strongly.
Belonging to a long line of individuals connected deeply with nature, elementals were, at one time, their own species. Legend speak of immortals with control over the elements and the earth itself, whose bodies seemed a part of nature and could merge with the very wind, earth, and ocean. If there are any true elementals left today, however, they have long since gone into hiding in their elements to escape hunters, persecution, and pollution.
There are humans, however, that still bear that spark of elemental power and connection to nature that their ancestors, the true elementals, had. They come in six varieties: earth, air, fire, water, metal, and electricity, each with a general affinity to the element of their ancestors and the ability to grow in that power with time and practice.
Because they are mostly human, modern elementals don’t look any different from a human for most of their lives. Some have odd elemental quirks that develop as they grow in their power– for example, an air elemental whose hair is always blowing in a breeze even though there is no wind, a metal elemental with copper fingernails, or an earth elemental that plants visibly lean towards. Any time they are actively using their powers, these traits manifest much more strongly, and in most elementals of moderate ability, but among those who work often with their element, they become permanent. The older an elemental gets, the closer he or she gets to their element. It is rumored that, like true elementals of old, it is possible for one to merge completely with their element instead of dying, but no one in living memory has managed the feat.
Elementals are, as a whole, very much “in the now”. They are very aware of things going on around them, particularly things connected to their element, but less likely to plan for the future or think about the past. They seem at a slight remove from the bulk of humanity, often having trouble relating to full humans with no spark of magic in them, though some are better than others. Each elemental type has a general trend in personality, connected with their element: earth elementals are slow and steady, fire elementals passionate, water elementals emotional, etc. However, the likelihood of any given individual following the tendency is a toss-up, based on their parents, how they were raised, and how much elemental is in their blood.
The elemental spark runs in families, and most of the genes that activate the power are a dominant ones, but it is still a toss-up as to whether the powers will manifest in any given child of a practicing elemental, and if so, how strongly. Only the children of two elementals have a better than fifty percent chance of inheriting the spark, and only the children of two elementals of the same type have a better than seventy-five percent chance.
First and foremost is the power elementals can command with practice, effort, and time. Earth elementals can create earthquakes and command plants. Air elementals can shift air currents and hear distant voices on the wind. Fire elementals can create and control fire and heat, and powerful water elementals change the course of rivers. Metal elementals weld and smelt and build with their affinity, and skilled electricity elementals can start your car from twenty feet away.
Not all elementals are strong enough for these things, of course. Even moderate mastery of elemental power takes time and dedication. Most elementals have much smaller powers, such as directing plant growth or being a human light switch, and many elementals don’t even realize what they are and learn to go beyond mere comfort with their element.
Typically, earth elementals are focused on stone, dirt, and plants more than people. They tend to be the most peaceful of the elementals, preferring to let things pass them by while they focus on themselves and their loved ones, but also the most indifferent if you can’t get into their circle of affections.
These are the most cerebral of the elementals and the most forward-thinking, though that isn’t saying much. They tend to be intelligent but flighty, and very transient in their relationships. When they are with you, they are very with you– but they aren’t likely to be with you for very long. Their powers extend to all aspects of air and its movement, including sound moving through the air and many aspects of the weather.
Passion is the name of the game with fire elementals. Whether it be temper, love, or supporting a cause, fire elementals tend to be explosive with their feelings. Their powers include controlling fire, creating fire through the manipulation of heat and spark, and dousing fire. The most skilled can create heat without flame and keep other people from being burned.
As their powers are tied to the powerful but extremely changeable element of water, elementals of this type are generally moody and often irrational, but also intensely loyal and care deeply about people. Sometimes too deeply. Their powers are only effective when there is actually water present– no water elemental will consent to living in the desert– which might help explain their tendency to be clingy with friends.
Stoic and strong, metal elementals tend towards construction labor or artistic pursuits. They are very industrious and down-to-earth, but remarkably stubborn, and they are at their best in a crisis. Their powers involve metals of any kind, no matter how rare or how pure, and their affinities often overlap with those of earth elementals.
In older times, these elementals were confined to worked with lightning, static, and friction. Today, they have a bit more to work with as technology has been progressing. With the invention of the lightbulb and AC electricity, these elementals are finding more and more uses for their gifts. These elementals tend to be nearly bipolar with their energy levels and require many stimuli to keep interested, while at the same time tend to be nit-picky and obsessively detail-oriented.
Most elementals at this tier don’t know they even have a power. They simply feel a little closer to and healthier when immersed in a particular element– an air elemental loving heights or an earth elemental being happiest in the garden– and cannot be harmed directly by that element. For example, a fire elemental would not be burned, an earth elemental would never be in a cave-in, or an electricity elemental would not feel pain from a static shock.
This is the tier most practicing elementals work in. They are aware of their connection to their element, though they might not understand it entirely, and have some small influence over things in it. Water elementals at this tier can move water, metal elementals bend and slightly shape metal, earth elementals seek out things buried and encourage plants to grow, and fire elementals manipulate small to moderate flames.
Older and more experienced elementals generally reside on this tier, where they have a closer connection with their element and more control over their immediate area’s element. Earth elementals at this tier can cause small earthquakes and accelerate plant growth, electricity elementals can completely control low-level technology and are branching into more complex devices, and fire elementals can start flames out of nothing.
Very few elementals reach this tier at all– only those with elementals on both sides of the family and who have spent most of their lives immersed in their element and practice diligently– and those who do never even touch it before the close of their first century. At this tier, elementals start to become one with their element, being able to merge their bodies with it. Earth elementals fully in this tier can walk through stone, air elementals disappear into the wind, and water elementals become water.
This tier is mostly mythological, reached near death of old age, the level at which an elemental ceases to be his or her own person and merges completely with their element. No one in living memory has ever reached this tier, and even recorded instances are few, far between, and much questioned. Mod note: Characters reaching this level cease to become PCs and should be considered, for playing purposes, “dead”.
- Elementals can gain some measure of command over their element, with time and practice– though most know that actual commands are less effective than polite persuasion.
- Elementals have a close connection to nature, particularly of their element, and so tend to be very observant when it comes to things relating to that element. Earth elementals make excellent farmers, and air elementals do well with music or studying weather.
- Due to the hint of immortal in their blood, elementals live longer than normal humans, with an average lifespan of one hundred seventy.
- Because of their closer connection to nature and the drop of immortal in their blood, elementals are more susceptible to pollution and illness than normal humans.
- As they are generally very literal people, elementals often have trouble relating to people, particularly people with opposite personalities to themselves. Most elementals have a small circle of close friends who are patient with them, but have difficult relationships with others.
- Elementals are weak against all aspects and powers of their opposite element: for example, earth elementals most easily fall prey to respiratory illnesses, fire elementals sink like a stone in water, and many electricity elementals find the touch of metals painful. The manifestation of elemental weakness varies some from individual to individual, but all have it in some form or another.
Many cultures have myths of changeling children, brought to a family by the fae or the spirits or the gods, and traded out with one their own in infancy, whether for that family’s good or ill. This is actually one of the truer legends, for the world’s oldest and most magical race, the fae, banished from the world entirely because they could not take the population growth and pollution, do still keep watch on things and like to influence things when they can. The most direct way they can keep their hand in things are through changeling children, the magi.
A fae child is taken from the fae realm and a human child is taken from the human realm, and after a complicated set of spells to imprint the human baby’s personality, appearance, and general “humanity” on the changeling child, the switch is made. Some of these changeling children are little angels, replacements for a family’s own baby when it sickened and grew near death. These children are gifts to the family, alike to their own child in every way but for health and power and sweetness of temperament, and the human child is let to die naturally in the fae realm, amidst comforts. The other changeling children are little terrors, unable to relate to their new family despite being unaware that they are actually not of that family, or often even to anyone else in the world that is not actually theirs, a curse on the family. The human child in these cases is sacrificed to give power to the changeling child.
Only changeling children can grow up to be magi (sing. magus or mage)– the powers begin to manifest with puberty– you cannot learn to become one. Magi among the most powerful of the supernaturals in sheer magical talent and ability, for they can manipulate the raw magic of the world rather than having to channel it through a spell, potion, or specific ability. They can directly access the ley lines and nodes where they connect without any kind of ritual or refining technique, to augment their own personal energies for feats no mere sorcerer could accomplish. A high proportion of sorcerers are, in fact, children of magi, who have a much stronger ability with magic than a normal human.
Though magi don’t know it, as an extremely few of them ever catch on to the fact that they even have fae blood to them, they are closer to being half-fae than to merely being human with fae magic, and it shows in a few ways. First, they usually share a fae’s allergy to iron in all forms, even sometimes in food. Second, it can also be difficult to hide when one is working magic, for the channeling of ley line and node power directly through one’s body and will has a second effect for magi: working with power outside themselves without structure causes fae-like wings to appear on their backs. These wings can be anything– feathered, skinned like a bat, merely smoke without substance, delicate like a lacy butterfly, or anything else imaginable– and they are not actually functional without further application of magic– some are even obviously vestigial, being very small– but they are definitely noticeable. Most magi don’t learn to hide them again until they reach the fourth and final tier, but must instead work around the problem. Thus, though creativity may not be an essential trait for an effective magus, it does definitely help.
One other trait is fairly important to magi, and that is self-confidence. A magus who isn’t decisive about his ability will never be able to adequately control the raw energies of the world, because it will sense this uncertainty and rebel. A common pitfall for magi, then, is over confidence, particularly among the darker kinds, but the most effective are aware of their limitations and what they can do.
A magus’ power falls into a variety of strictly-defined spheres or types. The types have direct opposites, just as elemental types do, and a magus cannot practice opposing sphere types, so while magi can work in multiple spheres, they can never work in more than four or risk opposing magics. However, as with sorcerers, the fewer spheres or types of magic a magus tries to master, the more likely he or she is to master them. Most magi only take two, making one their primary and the other their secondary. Magi who take three spheres never advance beyond second tier with their lowest, and those who take four never advance beyond first tier with their lowest two.
Magi use raw magic from ley lines and collection nodes without the need to structure it through a spell or potion, but this has definite drawbacks. The first is the most devastating: the results in the unpracticed can be devastating, even fatal, if they aren’t careful. A sizeable portion of magi don’t reach adulthood because they tried to take too much power too quickly, and it burned them out. The luckiest simply have no more connection to magic; the less lucky die. Restraint is another important trait in a learning magus.
The second and more common problem is that raw magic doesn’t often take well to being tapped. It has things it would rather be doing, its own agenda, and when it is tapped it often has unexpected consequences or backlashes for the one who tapped it. A magus might create an illusion by bending light to his or her will, and shortly afterwards wind up invisible for a few hours. The more powerful, difficult, and above all obvious a feat of magic is, the harder and longer the backlash will hit. Opening portals between two places will lay a magus out for much longer than merely summoning one’s keys to one’s pocket.
This sphere is concerned with affecting life systems and organic matter, whether in micro-organisms, plants, animals, or people. Those with mastery of this type of power can heal or harm another person. It is opposite the sphere of spirit, so that anyone working within it cannot practice spirit magics, and vice versa.
This type of magic focuses on inorganic matter such as stone, metal, water, or synthetic materials. Those working with it can manipulate it, reshape it, and transmute it. It is opposite the sphere of time.
A magus focusing in forces can affect anything non-corporeal in the natural world: heat, energy, kinetics, gravity, anything that constitutes a natural force. It opposes probability.
Whether what they do is grounded in brain chemistry or psychic-type energy, magi of the mind sphere can access and influence the minds of others. These magi can also resist most mental influences, with effort, for they know and have great control over their own minds. It is opposite the sphere of space.
There are realms besides the physical realm, and magi of the spirit sphere are most likely to know of them. They mostly deal with spirits, the voices of the dead, but they can influence and occasionally affect living spirits. These magi never stop seeing any spirits bound to the physical world unless they actively shut off the ability. This sphere is opposite that of life.
Anything that exists, exists within space, and magi who work in this type of magic can affect the dimensions and locations of objects and places. These magi will never be lost, and can often fit more into a given space than they technically ought to. It is opposite the sphere of the mind.
This type is related to chaos, fate, and luck. Magi of this sphere can see the lines of probability, most accurately guess the outcome of fate, and can manipulate chance and luck. It is probably the trickiest sphere to work large effects in, but the easiest to make small changes with. Though some might call this type of magic another kind of force, it is actually directly opposite forces.
Magi of this type can slow, speed up, switch back, and even travel through time. It is one of the most difficult spheres of magic to wrap one’s mind around. It is opposes inorganic matter.
At this tier, magi can only see ley lines and nodes, rather than touch them and use them. The only magic they have at their disposal is their own, so the only magics they can work are very small and backlash is almost nonexistent. This tier generally lasts from puberty until a mage’s late teens, some blooming earlier and some lingering later, generally depending on how hard they practice. At this tier there can be some experimentation with opposing spheres, but as soon as second tier is begun, the ability to work with opposing spheres fades.
This is the tier when actually accessing ley lines and their convergences becomes possible, first one and then the other, and as a result it is also the most dangerous. Unless they work with restraint, care, and respect for the power now at their command, a magus could burn out their magic or their life. The longer they practice, the more control they have and the less likely a burnout will occur. This is also the tier that wings first appear, usually to the immense shock of the magus. Most things a magus can do at this tier are still fairly small, and they start getting their first taste of backlashes.
Third tier is when control and channeling solidifies and the risk of burnout is minimized, and power is less important than refinement. They have the power to do what they want, but not necessarily the willpower. Backlashes and unexpected results abound for third tier magi, and many don’t advance beyond this tier.
Finally, at fourth tier, magi can hide their wings when they work with raw magic, starting with one aspect of them, usually visual, and working towards others, such as solidity, sound, or scent that might accompany them. It takes effort and makes the power harder to control, because it splits a magus’s attention between the desired result and the control of the wings. If they do not bother hiding, however, they have mastery of the raw power of the world and, as long as they are willing to deal with the backlash, are capable of doing most anything within their spheres of power.
- Obviously, magi have a strong advantage in their ability to manipulate raw magic with thought alone, if they wish to. They are also the only supernatural type who can unravel bungled spells directly.
- Though they do not live to an unnatural age, magi enjoy a certain longevity before they finally die. Most magi wind up at around one hundred before old age claims them. At death, magus return to the fae realm to continue their lives as true fae.
- Magi have an odd kind of luck to them. If there is a raffle that they have any conceivable chance of winning, they probably will; if there are two people standing under a pigeon’s roost, the one to get a present on their shoulder will not be the magus; and if they desperately need a door to be unlocked, someone will probably have left a door unlocked. This only applies to small things– magi do not win the lottery or have preternatural luck in a battle– but their lives do tend to be a tiny bit easier.
- While their biggest strength is their power, the biggest disadvantage to being a magus and actively using one’s powers is the backlash. The more you do, and the more often you do it, the worse the backlash gets, and the longer it lasts. It is usually related to the type of magic a magus practices, but sometimes can be completely random.
- Like the self-exiled fae, magi are allergic to iron– whether it be pure iron or in an alloy, or even in large concentrations in the water. No magus will take iron vitamins, and many are vegetarians to avoid the iron in meat. Exposure to iron lessens abilities and the magi’s immune system, and too much exposure can be fatal.
- For at most of a magus’s life, they are unable to hide when they are working with magic outside their self, because as soon as they start drawing in ley line or node power, their wings appear. They can get around this by storing magic elsewhere and “taming” it before use, or by using personal energies except when in greatest need or in private. Some magi learn spells to compensate, but most find this very limiting.
Psychics are fairly popular in the media, usually to be laughed at rather than taken seriously, and are fairly commonplace in society, asked questions about a client’s love life or career success for small change. While the bulk of these conventional psychics are frauds, the real thing does exist, and they aren’t all palm-readers. It is a gift that varies, and that some would call a curse, but that can be used for good or for ill.
Unlike most of the supernatural abilities that actually exist, psychic ability isn’t hereditary. There is no bloodline that is more or less likely to have a psychic in it, they have no history of it in their families, and they have no real reason, that anyone else can imagine, as to why they have these gifts. The religious call them gifts from the gods or demon-possession, and the secular call it a lucky break or a crazy quirk, but the fact remains that psychics are otherwise entirely human.
There really is nothing that unifies psychics, personality-wise or even ability-wise. The four types of psychics have little in common with each other, in powers or personalities. The only real unifying trait is that they usually have to deal with their emerging powers on their own, as there is no one usually no one else around them who has even had experience with the supernatural, much less telepathy, animal communication, clairvoyance, or telekinesis.
While psychic ability isn’t hereditary, the connection to the magic of the world does linger in successive generations. Children and grandchildren of psychics are much more likely to be effective sorcerers, and psychics and their progeny bolster the genes of other supernaturals, such as shifters and elementals, that do run in bloodlines.
This type of psychic encompasses both empathy– the sensing and influencing of emotions– and telepathy– the sensing and influencing of thoughts– and probably two thirds of psychics of this type have both rather than one or the other. The two gifts work hand in hand in the goals of understanding, helping, or manipulating people.
Unlike telepaths, animal telepaths cannot hear the thoughts of people, but understand the minds of animals. Animals do not have thoughts in words the way people do, but they have definite feelings and impressions of things in scent and sound. An animal telepath can convince animals to do as they wish and even, at higher levels of control, see out of an animal’s eyes.
A very straight-forward gift, telekinetics can move things with their mind. Lower tiers affect small items, higher tiers affect larger items. This power includes both simple telekinetics– merely floating things around– and teleportation– actually moving an item from one place to another while skipping the space in between. Most people do not have both abilities.
This is the more “typical” kind of psychic, in that they can see into the future– or, more commonly, into the past or present. Their visions are largely uncontrollable and often confusing, but the highest tier grants at least some control over directing and inducing visions. Clairvoyance is often the most uncomfortable gift to have.
At this tier, many psychics aren’t aware of their abilities– but they definitely notice affinities for some things. Telepaths are very good at guessing what people are thinking or feeling; animal telepaths are very, extremely good with animals; telekinetics have excellent balance and awareness of where things are, never clumsy; and clairvoyants just have feelings as to how the day is going to be, and generally wind up in the right place at the right time. Psychics only start to realize there’s something different about them towards the end of this tier, usually around their mid to late teens.
This is when psychics really know they’re different. Telepaths start picking up on stray thoughts that people didn’t actually say; animal telepaths start feeling things that aren’t their own feelings from nearby animals; telekinetics start moving small objects around, whether floating them or teleporting them, often without really intending to; and clairvoyants start to have visions of things that have happened and things that are happening. Two in three psychics remain on this tier without ever moving on to larger things.
Psychic abilities, like most abilities, are a balance between refining control and growing in power. Third tier is when power reaches its peak, but control is still shaky. Telepaths are wide open to any thoughts or emotions in the area and often accidentally project their own; animal telepaths feel as if they are smothered by animal sensations as opposed to human sensations; telekinetics throw somewhat larger things around without meaning to; and clairvoyants break into seeing the future, but have no control over when their visions occur and no way of sorting out what is most and least likely. A fair percentage of psychics do not survive this tier, whether in mind or body.
Working through the third tier provides psychics with the control they need to master their power. Fourth tier is the culmination of power and control, in which telepaths learn to block out others’ thoughts and manage their projections, animal telepaths can accurately see out of an animal’s eyes that is up to a mile away, telekinetics can lift or teleport something up to their own body weight– including themselves– and clairvoyants can, at least most of the time, control the appearance of their own visions. Only about one in six psychics reach this tier.
- Having psychic powers gives one an edge over other people, even at the lowest tier. Obviously, they can use it to understand people, to make their own lives easier, or just to be happier.
- There is a reason psychics have been given their powers, even if said psychics don’t know it. There is always some point where they use them, whether for good or for ill, that must happen– and usually if they use it the way they’re “supposed to” they are rewarded, whether through success or happiness or just something they want. Usually a psychic won’t know what this is, but it’s there nonetheless.
- Psychics have a natural affinity to spellwork, falling in the range most other supernaturals share when it comes to success rates, and some, frustrated with their own inability to control or advance with their own powers, try sorcerer work, as well. Sadly, they usually continue to be frustrated in their second skill, as well.
- Learning to control the psychic gifts is a headache and a half, often literally, and many don’t actually learn how. They are, in fact, often prone to develop migraines and various mental disorders, both chemical-based and trauma-based, as they learn to control their powers.
- Nearly all psychics have to learn alone, with no help from other people and very little practical help from books. Psychics, by the random nature of their appearance, have to be entirely self-taught.
- Before they know what’s happening to them, psychics have a tendency to be misdiagnosed as schizophrenic and wind up on medication that disrupts and alters their emerging ability or, worse, wind up in a mental institution. Eventually they usually get out again, or get off the drugs– once they realize they aren’t insane, if they haven’t gotten there since– but it can leave scars and can make learning to control their powers even harder.
The ability to wear a shape other than one’s own has long been a fascination of humanity, and nearly every culture has a shapeshifter myth or deities or creatures who don different shapes. These tales do have a grain of truth to them, in the form of actual shapeshifters who are often nothing like the legends say. They are not human, but they are not animal, either. They are their own species, a merging of both and capable of mingling with either, connected to and by the magic of the world.
The shifter trait runs in families more strongly than most other supernatural traits. A shifter and a shifter will breed true ninety percent of the time, and a shifter and a human with supernatural blood of any kind will breed a shifter fifty percent of the time. Most shifter parents are very close to their children until the children reach adulthood and settle into their forms, though whether both parents or only one remain close to their children varies depending on the parents’ personalities and animal natures. Regardless of who teaches them, though, it is strongly preferred that parents be able to teach their children rather than letting them fumble along on their own, so the child-parent relationship is very important.
Because they are both animal and human, shifters often react more on instinct and reflex than logical thought processes when in human form– and also often react in a more human-like fashion when in animal form. Their thoughts tend to blur between the two modes of thought. They can realize afterwards that their reaction wasn’t appropriate for the form and attempt to make amends or explain themselves, but often they won’t understand what, exactly, they did wrong. Their personalities and animal ranges are closely intertwined, so a small-cat shifter will tend to be very independent and a pack-dog shifter will be the opposite; a rodent shifter will tend to be shy and nervous, and a predator shifter aggressive and assertive.
Unlike werewolves, shifters aren’t forced to change with the moon– not exactly. They are, however, very strongly inclined to. The strong urge to change with the full moon is resistible, but it is highly distracting and even painful if they do so, and the night of the new moon makes shifting forms very difficult and painful, but not impossible. The moon-cycle shifts do not take their minds from them, though they do tend to feel closer to the animal they shift to, and more instinctive on those nights.
A shapeshifter’s primary power is, predictably, to change forms. They are limited to neither one set form nor given access to any form, but have a limited range of forms to choose from. Once they settle into their adult personalities and perceptions, the range is limited to a certain kind of animal, be it songbirds, water reptiles, pack-style canines, or hooved mammals. Animal range is based largely on personality, with a tendency to share species within a family, though it is unclear whether this is based on genetics or simple exposure to the animal range of the settled parents. Most shifters have a “favorite” form they prefer to use, despite having a range to choose from.
A shifter must learn a form before taking it, preferably through seeing and touching a real one, but some particularly strong in the gift can shift based on research online or television. Many shifter parents take their children on as many vacations as possible to introduce them to different kinds of animals, to give them the best range to inform their eventual settling. Generally, the more contact a shifter has with the animal, the more comfortable he or she is changing into it– or a variation of it. Shifters usually wind up with individual traits unique to them with each form they take, like a favorite coloring or a cowlick in the fur or feathers that they have in their human hair. Rarely do they shift into exactly the same creature, merely using the animal they learned from as a base to make themselves an individual. Shifters can be quite creative in customizing their animal forms.
Once a shape has been learned, it is there indefinitely or until the shifter forgets it. The more often a shifter uses a form, the more likely it is to stick in his or her memory permanently, though shifters that aren’t settled forget a form much more quickly.
Shapeshifters also have the benefit of a trade-off of senses based on their animal range and animal affinity. The former is only a slight change in human form, so that a bird of prey shifter will have slightly keener eyesight but very little sense of smell, or a pack-dog shifter will have a slightly improved sense of smell but poorer vision, but in animal form these senses are better than even a true animal’s. In human form, other animals tend to like them more than other humans, in part due to simply understanding their body language and communicating better, and partly just an inexplicable attraction. In animal form, this doesn’t apply, as most animals tend to be confused by them.
This is the stage at which young shifters can change into anything that they learn the form of, before they settle into their adult range of forms. Nearly all shifters have finished merging into the second tier by twenty years old, though some settle earlier. During this tier, shifters need more constant contact with a form’s inspiration to keep it, and they forget forms more rapidly, though they also learn them more easily.
All adult shifters are at this state, in which their range of forms has settled and they are limited to that range, but the shift is easier and more complete. The range of forms is determined by personality and familiarity– for example, no matter how much like a cat a shifter might be, if he or she never spent any time in cat forms, he or she will not likely wind up a cat-type shifter. On the flip side, if a shifter spends a lot of time in cat-shapes, regardless of personality, the chance of being a cat-type shifter increases and this will probably wind up affecting his or her personality. Forms retained or learned once moved to tier two are more or less permanent, unless the shifter almost never takes them.
- Obviously, shapeshifters’ main advantage is shapeshifting. Most shifters are most comfortable with one or two forms out of their range, and the luckiest ones wind up with forms they can take that are native to the area.
- Shapeshifters have much sharper senses in animal form, based on the senses their animal form would naturally have, and slightly improved senses in human form.
- In human form, animals tend to like shifters and be more comfortable around them than normal humans or other supernaturals. They are more likely to obey something a shifter has asked them to do and shifters often make pets of wild things that come around. In animal form, this does not apply unless the gift is very strong.
- Though they are not forced to shift with the moon cycle, shifters still have a hard time resisting the urge to shift with the full moon– it can even be painful, particularly if they must be out in the moonlight during the full moon– and have difficulty shifting on the night of the new moon.
- Shifters blur the line between human and animal behaviors, and thus can act strangely to either realm, confusing humans and animals alike. It can make social situations awkward when a shifter growls at a rival or licks their hand to groom back a stray hair.
- Because of their animal heritage, shifters have a shorter lifespan than humans. The more time they spend as an animal, the shorter their life will be. A shifter who spends seventy percent or more time as an animal rarely lives longer than forty-five, but a shifter who spends most of their time as a human can reach seventy. Most fall somewhere in between.
Throughout history practitioners of magic have been known as witches, wizards, priests, witch-doctors, shamans, god-blessed, and demon-worshipers– and that’s just in English. The current name in vogue amongst active practitioners is sorcerer or sorceress as a way to differentiate themselves from the layman who claim to be a witch but hold no real power. Some still call themselves and others by other names, but sorcerer is the most common. Thankfully, most of the persecution has stopped, but it still can be difficult openly being a sorcerer, so most keep their abilities secret, like other supernaturals.
Anyone can try to be a sorcerer with enough belief, study, and effort, but a mere human trying to mix herbs and follow the steps to spells has, at best, a fifty percent chance of success, and that only after years of study and extra-careful preparation. Most people don’t move beyond a one in four chance of success their whole lives. If a human has magic of any kind in their history, however, fifty percent becomes the average rather than the cap, with seventy-five percent at the height of their power late in life. Most accomplished sorcerers are human with shifter, psychic, elemental, or magi in their blood, too far back for the actual gene to manifest but enough to give them a connection to the magic of the world. The second-largest group among sorcerers are the direct children and grandchildren of magi, who have magic strongly in their blood and a seventy to ninety-five chance of magical success, depending on their dedication and experience.
Many supernaturals can practice magic, with a slightly lower rate of success than the magi-born– sixty percent unpracticed, and eighty percent after years of study– but most find the mix in powers uncomfortable and prefer to focus on their own abilities. Those who are exceptions are werecreatures, angels, demons, and vampires. Werecreatures are at a step removed from the magic of the world by nature of their curse, and angels, demons, and vampires are all technically dead. Angels’ and demons’ connection to the magical world is tuned to only angelic and demonic abilities with their rebirth, and a vampire’s connection to magic entirely taken up with giving it a semblance of life.
Mod Note: We will not make people actually roll for their results unless they want to, but if you play a character succeeding at magic more often than we think is reasonable given their class and tier, we will ask for an explanation.
There are very few unifying traits between sorcerers and magic-users. The only two that most of them share is dedication and patience, simply because to be able to cast spells both are required, but other than that they can be good or bad, friendly or asocial, hedonistic or aesthetic. There are as many views on magic as there are practitioners, and often as many arguments. Some see it as religion, others as an art form, and still others as a science.
Sorcerers generally choose to follow a type and focus of magic because it suits their personality best, but may or may not be the best at that kind of magic. An evil person may try his hand at death magic but be terrible at it, while a generally good person might find, to their dismay, that they are particularly gifted in death magic. Some of this is based on heredity and species– those with elementals in their family tree tend to be better at elemental magic, for example– but sometimes there really is no explanation for what one is best at.
Sorcerers can learn spells in any type of magic in the first tier, but if they continue to stay generic and try to practice all types, they will never advance beyond the first tier with any of them. Only when sorcerers specialize can they start truly becoming good at what they do. Each type of magic has multiple applications and focuses, and the fewer things a sorcerer tries to focus in, again, the better he or she will be in those things and the faster they will grow in ability.
This type of magic covers the foci of protections, healings, and cleansings. This is the easiest magic overall to learn, and often a “starter” magic. The downside is that the spells themselves can harm no one in preparation and effect, generally require quite a bit of preparation, and the caster must also be clean of negative or death energies before a spell can be cast. Magi and children of magi of the “good” persuasion tend to be good at this.
This type of magic has the foci of manipulating negative energy, harming others, and stealing power. It works best when power is drawn from blood and pain, whether of the self and others, and many turn to it for quick power. The downside is, obviously, it requires blood and pain for anything but the most basic spells. Magi and children of magi of the “evil” persuasion predictably find this magic easiest. Oddly, shifters tend to be a bit better at this magic, as well, particularly those who settle as predators.
This type of magic accesses the powers of the elements, but in limited, specified forms, along the six elemental lines. It is easiest to master among humans with elemental or shifter in their history and most easily accessible to shifters and elementals themselves, though elementals only usually resort to it at low tiers as their own connection to the elements is naturally stronger and more effective. This magic tends to backlash, either giving the caster temporary weaknesses to the elements opposite those they focus in or just cast in, or a temporary elemental trait of their focus or cast elements.
This is the power of fooling the senses, which is surprisingly applicable and easiest to hide. The most common foci are each sense. It is most easily accessible to psychics and those with psychic blood. The downside is that this magic is seductive and highly addictive, and casters often require help to keep from descending into their own illusionary world and being lost.
This is magic to determine probability, to see things from afar, alter one’s vision, and to attempt to see into the future and past. It is entirely passive, but also some of the most difficult magic. No one species, class, or bloodline finds this type of magic easier than another type. This magic backlashes by confusing a caster’s vision in some way, often based on what was seen.
Casual casters are on this tier, dabbling in spells and testing the waters. Those without the dedication, patience, and ability to cope with failure never get beyond this tier. This tier has the highest failure rates of spells and potions, usually with no effect at all rather than a partial or unexpected result.
Casters who are serious about learning magic and living by it rise fairly quickly to this tier, but then spend a lot of time on it. Simple spells start to come easily and with lower rates of failure and they start to try out slightly more complicated spells. Most casters stay on this tier for several years, if not decades, depending on dedication and talent. Failure generally winds up with a partial effect or no effect.
Established casters make up this tier, those who have been working their craft for several years at least. They have reached their full casting potential in simple spells and are near to it in moderate spells, now capable of trying out the rarer and actually difficult spells. Failures are at their lowest rate in familiar spells, and tend to have unexpected effects rather than no or partial effects– this can be either hilarious or dangerous.
Only one in ten casters reach this tier of spell-casting, which introduces the creation of new spells, as casters and potion-makers start to understand the components of their work well enough to experiment. Spell-writing starts the caster over at the highest failure rate, often with unexpected and even explosive results, but familiar spells are still at a low failure rate.
One in fifty casters persevere, or survive, to this last tier, which is one of highest accuracy and comfort in spell-writing as well as casting.
- The ability to cast spells and create potions infused with magic is a widely applicable and extremely useful ability. There is not much that cannot be done with magic, if you know the spell.
- After a few years of practice, sorcerers start to learn how to see magic in use or laid down on someone or something. They may not be able to tell what that magic is, but if the magic is something they could conceivably cast– at their “level” so to speak– they can see it’s there.
- Starting at midway through the second tier, or so, sorcerers can also see when someone has a connection to the magic of the world: that they are some kind of supernatural, but not what kind they are. This ability generally manifests as seeing auras around those with supernatural connections.
- The most important disadvantage of magic is that it takes much time, dedication, practice, and care to actually get results– and for most, even if they follow the steps of the potion of spell to the letter, there is still a significant chance that it will fail.
- Only high-tier sorcerers have the knowledge and understanding to create their own spells and potions, and many of them are jealous of their spellbooks. Even older tomes with common spells and recipes are often closely guarded, which can make learning magic difficult if one doesn’t have a sponsor or mentor.
- All aspects of magic have either a backlash or a balancing drawback to either be countered, battled, or just waited through.
The myth of vampires exists in so many cultures, in so many different forms, that is hardly surprising that there really are such creatures. Their origins are ancient and murky, some claiming they are children of devils, some claiming they are a spell gone wrong, others a curse from the gods. The only real certainty is that they do exist, largely living in hiding, all over the world. Some try to live opulently, usually those from particularly old families who can help each other out, but many just barely scrape by or go feral, particularly in the modern world when they are unable to renew identification after they were proclaimed dead by friends and family.
There are four basic types, some more common in different parts of the world: nightwalkers are largely European, daywalkers appear to have originated in Asia, skinwalkers in the Americas somewhere, and deathwalkers in Africa. The lines have spread all over the world, but as far as supernatural historians can tell– and yes, there are supernatural historians out there– that is where they originated and where the ruling seat of each type resides. All four types can be killed by fire, beheading, starvation– provided one can contain the hungry vampire long enough to get to that point– or a stake through the heart, though the stake must be left there. If a vampire has enough blood and energy in them and the stake is removed, they can regenerate and come back from their “death”.
All vampires share a few basic traits. First, they are dead, so they don’t eat, they have no heartbeat and they don’t breathe. They do need to sleep, but generally only right after feeding or when grievously wounded, as for them, sleep is closer to going dormant for a recovery or regeneration rather than sleep. Vampires stay “active” by consuming life– blood– and using it as their own, every four days for comfort and every nine for basic survival. If they kill a victim, they can last longer. This doesn’t make them popular with the living crowd. The majority of vampires cannot go out in the sun or risk burning to dust. Vampires with houses board up or use tin foil to cover their windows, and those without hole up underground where it’s safe. The only exception are daywalkers, but even they go out in the sun rarely, because it weakens them considerably, keeps their powers from manifesting almost entirely, and makes them need to feed more often. All vampire types require invitation to enter a private residence, and skinwalkers require it every time, not just once.
The different vampire types tend to look on the human race differently. Nightwalkers look on them as pets, playthings to manipulate, while daywalkers tend to look at them with arrogant amusement as they pretend to fit in. Skinwalkers have an odd dichotomy of hatred and desire when it comes to humans, torn between despising the evils of the living and a longing to somehow fit in still. Deathwalkers just like to kill them. Supernaturals are no different: they are all technically food, just with a little different flavoring, with the sole exception of magi, who tend to be tastier and more nourishing than most.
While vampires are technically immortal, as long as they keep themselves fed, the weight of too many years slowly starts to break the mind. Vampires are, after all, just humans revived by magic, and humans are not meant to live forever. By the time a vampire reaches four hundred or so, they start to descend into madness, and by five hundred the insanity solidifies into something completely irrational and usually violent. By the time this takes place, the next generation has to track them down and do away with them. Some vampires, when they sense this starting to take place, simply suicide to avoid the indignity of insanity.
The process of turning one into a vampire is twofold, but fairly straight-forward. A vampire takes the victim and drains them of most or all of their blood and then feeds the dying would-be vampire some of their own blood. The intended dies, and if the turning takes– sometimes it does not– they will rise again twenty-four hours later. It must be done under moonlight, preferably outside, except for daywalkers, who must time the moment of death and then rising for dawn or dusk exactly. Anyone can become a vampire, of any species or mixed species, with the exceptions of werecreatures, angels, and demons. Those who once had powers become cut off from them entirely once dead, and often keenly feel the loss.
Each vampire type has their own special abilities, but some are shared by all. Vampires have a unique connection to the magic of the world in that it is almost entirely taken up by keeping them alive, and they themselves are some of the most magical of the supernaturals, just by virtue of having magic literally running through their whole bodies. This makes them stronger, faster, more agile, and more enduring than a living human, and allows them to heal at a highly accelerated rate– and also makes them targets for sorcerers needing expensive ingredients for spells and potions.
Because it is what they need to survive, vampires have a particular sensitivity to blood. They are extremely sensitive to body temperature, can hear heartbeats of anyone within fifteen feet, and can smell spilt blood within fifty. This can be very distracting to them, especially when they’re hungry. For some vampires, particularly young ones, skinwalkers, and deathwalkers, the smell of blood when hungry can induce a violent, bloodthirsty mania, but older vampires learn to resist this.
Only two of the four vampire types have any shapeshifting abilities; the other two are required to be careful to hide their fangs lest they be found out. Daywalkers and skinwalkers have the luxury of hiding who they are, though both must drop the shape change in order to feed, and often lose it out of anger or lust. Skinwalkers, in fact, start losing control over their shape change when they hit two hundred, well before insanity starts to hit. Nightwalkers are usually very careful to hide their fangs when they smile and speak, but deathwalkers seldom bother. If they see you, they probably want to kill you, anyway, so why even try?
Most of the traditional traits of vampires, the ones most romanticized in popular media, are the ones belonging to the nightwalkers– the most common kind. They are the seductive, arrogant vampires who can incite lust and summon someone they have fed from before. They view humans as pets and themselves as a superior race– and themselves the highest pinnacle of that race– and generally turn only those they see as worthy, whether for their mind or face or body. The have no reflections and cannot be captured on film, and are particularly weak against religious beliefs of any kind. Someone holding a crucifix to them who doesn’t believe will cause them no harm, but someone who does believe can ward them off. Their bite is pleasurable.
This type is the closest to being human of the vampire types: they don’t really look dead, and they can walk in the sunlight without exploding into flame. That doesn’t mean they do, unless necessary, as to do so is very draining and makes it impossible to use any of their supernatural abilities. They have a mild shape-shift ability to hide their fangs, but they tend to lose control over it when their years start to weigh on them. Their strength and speed abilities are not as pronounced as other vampires, but they do have a mild empathic ability, mostly used to encourage humans trust them. These vampires try the hardest to fit in with humanity, mostly for their own amusement and benefit. They can be fended off with medicinal and magical herbs– including, yes, garlic– and their bite is moderately painful.
This form of vampire took their name from Native American myths of shape-shifting witches. The true forms of skinwalker vampires are all hideous, though they vary greatly. Some are physically hideous, others merely creepy, but all have a general aura that screams “I’m dead and want to eat you!” However, they have the ability to hide that appearance and look as they did when they were alive. The very young have little control over this shift, and the very old start to lose that control again. Their main power, besides their shape-shift, is the ability to disappear into shadows, and they are most weak against silver. Their bite is pleasant and they prefer to turn the outcasts of society.
The deathwalkers don’t like anyone except their own. They are pack-minded, almost hive-minded, and they are the most violent of vampire types. To their own and those they want to turn they can be amazingly charming and seductive, but if anyone steps out of line in the pack hierarchy, and once they do woo their intended victim, they become as harsh and cold as anyone might imagine. They revel in deceit, chaos, and bloodshed, and view anyone who doesn’t as weak and deluding themselves. Their particular strengths are in numbers and an ability to amplify emotions, causing passions or terrors in victims, and they are the unable to cross running water or resist counting piles of things that are not where they belong– grains of rice, spilled coins, what have you. Their bite is very painful and they revel in turning the arrogant only to tear them down again.
- Vampires have increased strength, speed, and agility compared to humans. Some vampire types have one more than the other, and the distribution of these traits varies by individual.
- Vampires have enhanced senses, but only regarding one thing: blood. They can hear a heartbeat and smell spilt blood. This advantage only applies to blood.
- A vampire can tell when their food is supernatural by the taste of their blood. An experienced vampire can even guess what kind by the taste, with some understandable margin of error.
- Individual vampire types have strengths and weaknesses according to their type.
- They are dead and must drink blood to live, and are cut off from any power or magic other than their own kind. This is a pretty hefty disadvantage.
- Most vampires, with the sole exception of daywalkers, cannot walk in sunlight or they will die. Even daywalkers cannot stand the sun for a long period of time, and cannot actually access any of their powers when in sunlight.
- Vampires are hated by the population at large. If they are not considered evil and feared, then they are considered fair game for profit or fueling spells and hunted. Sometimes they are considered both. The fact that many vampires do treat humans in a manner that could be considered evil doesn’t help.
- Individual vampire types have strengths and weaknesses according to their type.
While shifters are as far from the legends of mindless, hunting werewolves as you can get, there are, unfortunately, some out there who are just so cursed. Unlike shifters, they can’t change forms into any animal along a set range, they can’t change at will, and they aren’t born– they’re made. There are only a few lines, but those lines are long, and it’s sadly easy to join them.
The first werecreatures were unmagicked humans, cursed by extremely old and powerful demons. The curse took away their minds slowly, turning them into mindless killers who terrorized humanity, and it is strong enough to spread through fluid-to-fluid contact while the individual is in the cursed form. The first line, in Europe, was joined with the wolf, as that struck the most fear into the hearts of European humans. Since then, four more lines have been created by demons attempting to out-do each other: lions, originating in Africa; tigers, originating in Asia; cobras, originating in India; and bears, originating in North America.
Werecreatures have only one form they change into, and that shift is entirely out of their control. The shape is monstrous and a strange mixture of human and animal, much larger, heavier, and more wickedly weaponed than either. Appearance and size differs depending on species, but their vicious intelligence and obsession with the hunting and killing of prey– sentient or not– remains the same.
When in control, a werecreature is fully human– or whatever else he or she might have been before bitten. Any species but angels, demons, and vampires can be bitten and cursed, but the curse is strong magic in and of itself and interferes with what one originally was. A cursed witch’s spells would be less powerful, a cursed psychic’s control gets more and more difficult to maintain, a shifter’s ability to choose from a variety of shapes gets narrower and narrower, and an elemental’s connection to their element slowly deteriorates.
When not in control, werecreatures are not exactly mindless, though they often come across as such. They cannot speak, because their mouths are not made for it and because they refuse to waste time on communications, but they understand speech in whatever languages they understand as a human. Rarely do they heed speech, however, because all that matters to them is the hunt. It takes over their judgment, turning into an irresistible obsession. Whether they are intelligent about their hunting depends entirely on what type of were they are and their general personality as a human. Most individuals remember what they do in cursed form, despite having no control over it, though it has happened that some actively repress the memories for their own sanity.
A newly-cursed werecreature turns only on the full moon, and for as long as the moon is in the sky and full. The older the individual gets, however, the more and more often the change will come upon them: it might start by changing on nights of the new moon, or when they get frightened, when they get angry, when they get hungry, under any moonlight, etc. Aggressive and animal-like tendencies, habits, and reactions start to creep into their human lives. The longer someone is cursed, the harder and harder it becomes to hold onto their humanity. Werecreatures almost never survive intact past their fiftieth year cursed, and descend into hunting madness, eventually losing even the sense of intelligence that mark most hunting werecreatures. They rarely last longer than that, in life, as the destruction left in their wake ends in being hunted down, themselves.
First and foremost, werecreatures have the ability to turn into a monstrous animal-human hybrid, though they cannot control this change. Secondly, they can turn others into their type of were. This requires fluid-to-fluid contact in cursed form, most commonly blood and saliva. The process is painless and even unnoticeable up until the new were’s first moon, at which point the traits of a werecreature all activate with their first change.
All werecreatures are strongly resistant to magic of any type– spell, potion, raw, psychic reading or influence, blessing, or curse. This includes both helpful and harmful magic. No werecreature can be bound by magic for long, but neither can they be healed by magic. This applies in both human and cursed forms. They also have supernaturally extended senses in both forms, to aid in the hunt in cursed form and generally just to make them uncomfortable in human form. Living in a big city full of noise and bustle and stench when you can hear a whisper through a closed door or track a rabbit on a windy day doesn’t make for happy living. Finally, all werecreatures have slightly enhanced strength in their human form and nearly supernatural strength and pain tolerance in cursed form.
Werewolves are the oldest and most traditional of the species, but also the least powerful, in general– subsequent curses have apparently been perfected. They are the smallest in their cursed form at only seven feet tall, generally balanced between speed and strength, and lower on the scale of intelligence. They lean more towards bloodlust and slaughter than stalking and actual hunting. They are, however, one of the only werecreature types who can stand the company of others in their cursed form, and they have been known to form small packs of others of their kind. This pack mentality spills into their lives as humans before any other trait and, curiously, werewolves with pack in either forms tend to hold onto their humanity longer. Physically, they are the most human-looking of the werecreatures in cursed form, though they are still obviously not human.
Weretigers are perhaps the best marriage of size and strength to cunning and patience of the five species. They are huge, eight feet tall on average, and sleekly muscled with a tiger’s trademark stripes. They appear just slightly more human than animal, and their hunting style follows the pattern to an extent, being most inclined to stalk prey and lie in wait than to simply run it to the ground. The opposite of werewolves and werelions, weretigers are more likely to lash out at or even target other werecreatures before pure humans.
The most intelligent of the werecreatures in their cursed form, snakeweres resemble nagas of myth, with human-like arms and a torso attached to a serpent’s body, though their faces are decidedly inhuman, being largely snake-like. They grow all throughout their lives, and the more the curse grows, the more they grow. Most start out at about ten feet long, and the longest recorded has been sixty feet long. In their cursed form they become lightly scaled, though this is only a slight protection against damage, they retain their hood, and have uncanny speed more than unnatural strength. They are the most likely to hunt intelligently, using traps and tools and even psychological tricks, and they are the most patient of all werecreatures in cursed form. However, that really isn’t saying much.
Like werewolves, werelions are the only other type of were that can and do form groups to hunt and kill. They are more strong than swift and more bloodthirsty than clever, but because, like werewolves, they have a drive to hunt in groups, their impressive strength combined with larger numbers makes them formidable. They average about seven and a half feet in height, males retain their mane, and they tend to be the noisiest of werecreatures, reveling in their powerful roars. Also like werewolves, they tend to hold off their loss of humanity longer if they have a pack, whether of other weres or of humans or a mix of both.
Though they are by far the largest and most devastatingly strong of the cursed werecreatures, werebears are also the least intelligent. They tend to barge in and rely on their size and strength– they generally top nine feet in height– rather than use their wits. They can weigh up to a ton in sheer muscle and thick fur, generally possess exaggeratedly long claws and teeth, and look more animal than human.
- Werecreatures are resistant to magic that might damage, distract, or hinder them, though not from the effects of that magic: a magically created fire is still a fire.
- In both forms, werecreatures possess enhanced senses.
- In both forms, werecreatures have increased physical strength, and the hunting frenzy of the cursed form provides increased pain tolerance.
- Werecreatures are also resistant to magic that might heal or help them, though not the effects of that magic: a magically strengthened bandage is still going to hold just as well when wrapped around a were’s wounds.
- A werecreature’s shifting is entirely uncontrollable and grows worse as the curse grows with them.
- Werecreatures experience a deteriorating humanity with time, as well as deteriorating other powers in cursed supernaturals. Most do not last longer than fifty years cursed before they descend entirely into the beast, though those who surround themselves with a pack tend to fare better.
- There is no known cure.
Races recycled from previous game Convergence.