Homo sapiens immortalis

Build Points: 30

“From the dawn of time we came, moving silently down through the centuries, living many secret lives, struggling to reach the time of the Gathering, when the few who remain will battle to the last. No one has ever known we were among you…until now.”

As is said, Immortals date from the “dawn of time.” No one knows who the first Immortal was, or if he lives still. What is known is that Immortals have been around for at least 5,000 years. The oldest known Immortal was Methos, but he disappeared around the time of the Awakening. Their current numbers are unknown.

Immortals are like the rest of (meta) humanity; they live, they love, they feel pain. Some die. Immortals walk through time, battling one another, playing the Game. They cover the spectrum of humanity; some are good, some are bad, many are just trying to live their lives.

The Game: The Game is what Immortals call their constant battle against each other. The millennial battle that will eventually end in the Gathering; a time when the last remaining Immortals meet in one place to fight to the last man. The winner receives the Prize. No Immortal knows what the Prize entails. Some believe that it will be deific power, that the winner will become unto a God. Others believe that the Prize will be ultimate knowledge. Others believe that the Prize is mortality; the chance to grow old, have children, and lead a normal life. No one knows, but most Immortals seek the Prize. Like most games this one has rules, but only three.

1. Singular Combat: The first rule of the Game is simple; combat must be one-on-one. It is a breech of etiquette for more than one Immortal to engage another in combat. However, it is not unknown, and there is no real way to enforce this rule. It is thought that this rule was developed because when more than two Immortals are involved, the channeling of the Quickening may be disrupted.

2. Holy Ground: No Immortal shall battle another on holy ground. No one is quite sure of the origin of this rule, but it has not been broken since 79 A.D., the year that Pompeii was destroyed. It is held by many that the destruction of Pompeii was the result of Immortals battling on holy ground. Immortals have no inherent ability to sense holy ground, so most err on the side of caution; if an Immortal claims to be on holy ground, if you don’t know better, it is best to heed his warning. Of course, some Immortals have found ways to circumvent this rule.  

3. There Can be Only One: The third rule of the Game, and the motto, if you will, of most Immortals. They know that when the Gathering comes, only one will be allowed to live. The best an Immortal can hope for is that he never has to take the head of a friend or lover.

Immortals have been around, playing the Game, for at least five millennia. The Awakening had no real effect on them other than making it easier for them to display their abilities. Before the Awakening, it might have been difficult for an Immortal to explain away his regeneration or the Quickening after a successful battle, but with the return of magic, the general populace has become, to a degree, more used to the unusual.

The biggest change brought about by the Awakening is the metahuman Immortal. Immortals have been found among dwarves, orks, and trolls. There have been absolutely no elven Immortals to date. 

Immortals have the following modifiers and abilities.

Immortality: From birth, an Immortal ages normally. Despite the name, it is possible for an Immortal to live to and die from old age. An Immortal who suffers a violent death, known as the Quickening, is Awakened as an Immortal. Those who do not suffer violent deaths stay dead. Once Awakened, an Immortal ceases to age physically. The only way for the Immortal to be killed after the Awakening is for his head to be removed from his body.

Taking an Immortal’s head in combat is difficult. It requires a called shot (+4 TN), and must deal physical damage that exceeds the Immortal’s Overflow. Of course, an appropriate weapon must also be used. Taking the head of a downed Immortal is much easier.

The Quickening: The Quickening, in addition to being the Awakening of the Immortal, is also the name given to the energy that powers and sustains Immortals, and to the process of absorbing that energy when an Immortal is slain. Quickening is a new attribute, possessed only by Immortals. When one Immortal kills another, he absorbs the victim’s Quickening, adding the victim’s rating to his own. Along with the Quickening, the victor absorbs some part of the victim’s power, memory, and personality.

The victor gains a number of skill points equal to the absorbed Quickening. These points are used to learn bits of the skills known by the slain Immortal. Five points of Quickening will earn one point from the slain Immortal’s Active Skills, or two points will earn one point from his Knowledge skills. If the slain immortal had additional power, such as magic use, or Adept abilities, the Quickening can steal these as well, on a 20-for-one basis (20 points of Quickening buys one point of Force, or 20Q=1F). If the victor possesses the same skills and abilities as the victim but at an equal or higher rating, the Quickening cannot increase these abilities. If the victor possesses the same skills and abilities, but at a lower rating, the Quickening cannot raise these above the victim’s rating.

For example, Connor (Quickening 75) has just slain Kurgan. Kurgan had a Quickening of 103 (he was an old and experienced Immortal). Connor adds 103 to his Quickening rating (now 178). The Kurgan had no special abilities, just skills, so Connor can learn up to 20 points worth of the Kurgan’s Active Skills, or 51 points worth of his Knowledge skills, or any combination thereof.

Along with knowledge comes personality and memory. If the victim had a greater Quickening rating than the victor, the victor must roll a Willpower test. The Target Number for this test is equal to the difference in Quickening ratings, divided by 10 (round normally). Failure indicates that the victor begins to adopt some aspect of the victim’s personality. This maybe a personal habit like biting fingernails, or a complete personality change, depending on how much greater the victim’s Quickening was. Continuing, Connor must roll a Willpower test against a Target Number of ((103 – 75) 28/10) 3. He is successful, and absorbs no active components of the Kurgan’s personality. Also possible is a “Dark Quickening” (see below).

The Quickening takes a number of turns equal to the victim’s Quickening rating divided by five (Q/5). It deals damage to the victor. The damage, resisted normally (impact armor applies) is based on the victim’s Quickening. The power is equal to the Quickening /5, and the Staging is 2. If the victim’s Quickening was 10 or less, the Damage Level is Light. If the victim’s Quickening was 11-30, the Damage Level is Moderate. If the Quickening was 31-100, the Damage Level is Serious, and at 101+, the Damage Level is Deadly. All Quickening damage is Stun, unless the victim had a rating of 500+, in which case, the damage is Physical. The Quickening deals identical damage (but Physical) to all metallic objects in a radius of (Quickening rating /10) meters.

Continuing the example, the Quickening takes (103/5) 21 rounds (just over a minute) and deals 20D2 damage to all metallic objects in a 10 meter radius. Connor must resist 20D2 Stun damage.

It is possible for an Immortal to “steal” a Quickening. When more than one Immortal is present, and one is slain, the Quickening is normally transferred to the victor, but if another Immortal is present, he may attempt to intercept the Quickening. Normal initiative and Reaction tests can determine the outcome of this attempt. If the Quickening is intercepted, the interceptor receives the energy and damage.

In some cases, the Quickening may split between the present Immortals. Some of the Quickening may dissipate, entering no Immortals.

The Buzz: Immortals have the ability to sense when one of their kind is present. This is known as “the Buzz”, and manifests as a tingling in the back of the skull. Generally, an Immortal can sense another Immortal within a range of (target Immortal’s Quickening) meters. For example, most Immortals could sense Kurgan when he was within 103 meters. Pre-Awakened Immortals can also be sensed, within a range of (sensing Immortal’s Quickening/5) meters. Pre-Awakened Immortals have a different Buzz than normal Immortals. Kurgan could have sensed a Pre-Awakened Immortal within 20 meters.

Rapid Healing: Immortals heal rapidly from physical wounds, although not nearly at the speed that certain Para-animals heal. To determine how long it takes for an Immortal to heal, he must roll a Body test. The Target Number for this test is 2 + Wound Level (Light =1, Moderate =2, Serious =3, Deadly =4) + Overflow. The time required is six hours divided by the number of successes. If no successes are scored, it takes 9 hours. If the roll is botched, it takes 15 hours.

Severed body parts will regenerate at a rate of roughly one-half inch per year. If the severed part is held to the “stump” for the duration of healing, it will be reattached. Wounds heal without scarring unless they are on the neck or head.

Immortals and Magic: Immortals can learn to use magic, and in some cases, may absorb the ability from a slain Immortal. To astral perception, Immortals appear to be completely mundane unless they are capable of using magic (Sixth World Awakened), or unless the perceiving character scores at least seven successes on his Assensing test.

If an Immortal is “killed”, then until he regenerates back to life, he is, for all intents and purposes, dead. He appears dead to technological and magical sensing.

Flaws: All Immortals have the Bio-Rejection flaw, and a variant of Flashbacks. These Flashbacks seldom last more than 1d6 combat turns, and can be negated with a Willpower (4) test. They are also not tied to any single stimulus, and are normally of events from the Immortal’s past. For example, Connor sees an Immortal that he hasn’t seen in 160 years, and this triggers a flashback to the last time they met.

Sterility: Immortals, Awakened or not, are sterile. The cause of this is unknown.

Dark Quickening: Sometimes, an Immortal takes too many heads from Immortals who had deviant or evil personalities. If and when the GM feels it’s appropriate, he will call for a Willpower test. Failure on this test results in a personality change of the highest order. If the Immortal is normally a “good” guy, and he has absorbed too many evil personas, he will become evil, acting out his most base desires. If the Immortal is more of a “bad” guy, a failed test results in his becoming helpful, friendly, sometimes even cheerful.

The general method used to determine when a DQ is necessary is when the Immortal kills another Immortal who had an opposing personality and a higher Willpower, the GM will note this. When the Immortal has slain a number of qualifying Immortals that exceeds his Willpower + a random number, the GM will call for the test. The Target Number will typically be the number of qualifying Immortals slain.