Gaianar is home to a handful of beings that are more powerful than a mortal and less powerful than an Angel. These individuals were all once ordinary individuals. However, through both obsession and a lifetime of work dedicated to a specific concept, they have transcended the limits of the mortal lifespan and have instead become eternal.
Of course, Immortals aren’t gods. Immortals can be injured and killed. If you shoot an Immortal in the head, he/she shall surely die. However, Immortals do not age, they will not die from hunger or thirst (although they can feel hungry and thirsty), they do not die from disease (they can get sick, but they always recover), and they do not die from poison (again, they can be made to feel sick, but they always recover). Immortals can only die from physical violence (getting hit by a car, falling off a cliff, being shot, being incinerated, being dissolved in acid, being crushed in a trash compactor, etc.). They can survive asphyxiation if the cause is not from being strangled or hung. For instance, they would lose consciousness if all the air gets sucked out of the room due to a containment breach, but they would revive once the atmosphere is restored. But they would not survive the gallows.
Immortals stop aging at the point in which they achieved immortality. Therefore, some Immortals appear relatively young (such as the Dark Lord), while others appear quite elderly (such as the Coffin Man). All Immortals have at least one special power that is unique to them. All Immortals also have at least one weakness. The latter is generally not a “comic book weakness”. Instead, the weakness is usually psychological in nature. For instance, the Professor is afraid to leave his hometown and Coffin Man is a recovering alcoholic (albeit sober for decades).
There is no rule set for becoming an Immortal. Players cannot roll up a character and say, “my goal is to become an Immortal”. Should such a transformation happen, it must always be the end product of a lot of dedication, storytelling, and notable achievement. Moreover, Immortals always represent a certain idea. For example, the Professor embodies the pursuit of knowledge. The Doctor seeks to perfect medical science. The Dealer has plumbed the mysteries of gambling and random chance. The Smith has dedicated himself to weapons of war.
Immortals have more in common with regular people than they do with deities. While Immortals can benefit from devotional energy (a highly revered Immortal might get perks like extra spirit points some similar buff), they don’t require it to maintain their immortality. Likewise, a slain Immortal follows the reincarnation cycle (and is typically reincarnated as a mortal). They don’t have the god-like power to multitask. They cannot grant spells to followers like deities can. Immortal do universally possess a keen intellect (you won’t find one with an Intelligence score less than 15). They are also quite devoted to the concepts that caused them to be immortal (thus their Faith score is also never less than 15).
The list of Immortals is not exhaustive. The Game Master may see fit to add additional Immortals to the game should he/she see fit.
Character Class: Warrior (primary), Shaman (secondary)
Power Level: Moderate
Special Ability: Immune to drowning. Can swim indefinitely without tiring.
Special Weakness: She really hates oath breakers and will respond asymmetrically to people who break their word with her. She doesn’t let people get emotionally close to her.
The continent of South Point has the reputation of being the land of superlatives. If you ask any native, they will tell you that South Point offers the spiciest food, strongest rum, fiercest monsters, tallest forests, fastest rivers, sweetest tobacco, and bravest soldiers. Unlike what happened to North Point, the government of the South decided early on that the natural wonder and rare resources should be left either intact or used sparingly so as to never become exhausted. Therefore, the South relied much more on magic than technology. However, the North Point government knew of their neighbor’s unspoiled riches and repeatedly started wars in order to conquer, enslave, and exploit the citizens of South Point.
The Admiral of the Midian Fleet was a devotee of the Ancestral Mother and used her good relationship with the Ancestors in order to predict when the North would attack. While her fleet was smaller and less technologically advanced, the Ancestors lent her their power again and again to hold back the Northern invaders. Eventually, the North would tire of losing ships and sailors, and their politicians would broker a peace treaty. Such treaties typically only lasted long enough for the North to rebuild its fleet.
The seemingly endless wars lasted throughout the Admiral’s lifetime. She had joined the Midian Navy as a teen and gradually climbed the ranks from enlisted recruit to Admiral of the Fleet. She outlasted most of her friends. She presided over their funerals when they would be drowned at see or blown up by cannon fire. She learned to have a special kind of hatred for those who broke their promises. And no one broke their word as easily as a North Point soldier or politician. There came a time when she had approached retirement age and found that she was alone. She had never married, never had children, and all her friends were dead. She had given her whole life to the Navy and dedicated everything she had to defending the cliff city of Midian, her people, and her pristine beaches.
With nothing to look forward to – except more war and death – the Admiral walked into the sea to die. In the cold, churning depths of the Great Ocean, she fell into a different realm entirely. But rather that coming face-to-face with the Ancestral Mother (which is what she had expected), she instead was met by the calm, reassuring countenance of the Gaunt Man. The gatekeeping quasi-deity informed her that her journey was in fact just starting and was far from over. The Gaunt Man also told her that her people in Midian still needed her – even if she still felt isolated and alone.
The Admiral awakened on the beach, reflexively coughing water out of her lungs. She intuitively knew that she had been transformed in some way. It wasn’t until the years continued to pass that she realized that she had stopped aging. To this day, she commands the Midian Fleet. She appears as a strong and healthy older woman with pepper-colored hair and skin that is as black as ink. Her speech patterns are a bit archaic and she spends too much time alone. For even though the North and South had not warred for several centuries, she is still afraid to get too emotionally close to her crew and associates. Hers is a lonely vigil, but one she does willingly.
Character Class: Speaker for the Dead (primary), Priest (secondary)
Power Level: Low
Special Ability: He knows about anything spoken aloud within a 100-mile radius
Special Weakness: He is a recovering alcoholic (sober for many decades)
Coffin Man is a familiar face in Ex-Libris. He prides himself on making the “very finest coffins on West Point”. In all likelihood, this boast is true. Coffin Man exemplifies the stereotype of one involved in the funeral industry, for he appears as a frail, well-dressed elderly gentleman in his mid-70s, with wispy white hair, pale blue eyes, and a vaguely humorous voice. Corpses blessed in one of the Coffin Man’s funerals never rise up as Undead monsters. Likewise, disembodied spirits associated with funerals he conducts always find their way to the appropriate afterlife.
Unlike some entries in this list, Coffin Man’s power is listed as “low” because his class levels are fairly basic. While he has functions in both Speaker for the Dead and Priest, he is not a high-level caster. Instead, he simply has enough levels to do his job efficiently and effectively. Coffin man is a Priest of the Gaunt Man (the mysterious figure that helps the departed with arriving in the afterlife that is most appropriate for them). Due to his association with the Gaunt Man, Coffin Man is fluent in the funerary customs of all of the world’s religions.
His special power pertains to clairaudience. He is aware (and remembers) anything spoken aloud in a 100-mile radius. He cannot read minds, nor does this power allow him to intercept the written word. Because of his ability to eavesdrop, the Coffin Man is an excellent source of information for the goings-in in Ex-Libris and the surrounding area. However, this Immortal has to like the adventurers to spill the beans. It is worth the characters’ time to befriend this elderly, enigmatic figure.
Coffin Man’s special weakness is alcoholism. During the time of Scaxathrom’s reign, the Undead hordes made war against the living. While the continent of West Point faired far better than the land to the north, Coffin Man spent many years burying bodies of the slain as quickly as he was able. The years of a never-ending procession of hastily conducted funerals (particularly the funerals of small children) drove Coffin Man to find comfort in whisky. For a couple of decades after the war, Coffin Man was little more than a tattered scarecrow that scrabbled for spare coins that would be spent on cheap rotgut. After a time, however, he made peace with the past, and refocused his will for the future. To this day, he avoids alcohol. But it remains an internal struggle that he battles daily even if he tells no one.
In addition to his class-related abilities, Coffin Man has several ranks in carpentry, metal crafting, poetry, and artistic ability. He knows a great deal about the occult. And, of course, he does make the finest coffins on West Point.
Character Class: Wishsinger (primary), Warrior (secondary)
Power Level: Low
Special Ability: He is not easily deceived (detect lie with 90% accuracy)
Special Weakness: He is cursed with the “trappings of evil”.
The child of stern, domineering parents, the Dark Lord had a dream of pursuing a career in the performing art. His parents, however, were both veterans of the West Point Navy. They insisted on their son continuing the tradition of military service. They dismissed their son’s dream of being a singer and dancer as “effeminate” and “unworthy”. He was, in fact, routinely harangued into acting more masculine. As a teen, the Dark Lord engaged in occasional relationships with the opposite sex in order to get his parents off his back. In secret, however, he sought the services of a theater professor who gave him lessons in acting, tap dancing and singing. Becoming competent in acting certainly served the Dark Lord well at home, as he was able to better to project the idealized “young military man” that his strict, religiously conservative parents wanted to see.
The Dark Lord continued his education at the Caldeni Naval Academy and graduated in the top 10% of his class. It was at that time that he had a clandestine relationship with a young man who attended the Caldeni College of Fine and Performing Arts. In this case, the dancer in question was driven to perfect his skills in traditional folk dance and would later become the minor Immortal known as the Lord of the Dance. This was a relationship that the Dark Lord kept hidden from his parents. The tension of being in an “illicit” relationship wore thin on the Lord of the Dance, and the couple parted ways during the Dark Lord’s senior year of college. This parting was an event that the young sailor regretted for the rest of his life. It also caused him to have deep-seated resentment for his parents, for they made no secret of their disdain of inverts. He came to believe that if his parents loved him at all, that they loved a lie.
Despite graduating in the top tenth of his class, the Dark Lord received only derision from his parents. They had expected him to graduate with First Honor (or at least Second Honor.) Coming home with “merely” the silver sash of the top tenth was seen as a banner of failure and shame upon the ancestral home. The Navy, of course, saw differently and immediately offered the young man a commission as an Ensign on a mid-level, multi-purpose, coastline defense ship. Even that welcome news was insufficient for the Dark Lord’s parents, as they had anticipated their son to be given a role on a full-sized battleship right out of the academy.
With this final insult, the Dark Lord left home and did not return. He also did not join the West Point Navy. Instead, he offered his services to (and was immediately accepted by) a rum-smuggling pirate who welcomed the young recruit who had formal military training and knew the capabilities of most of the ships in the fleet. And so, the Dark Lord spent the next two decades moving up the ranks and ultimately attaining the role of pirate captain. His was an egalitarian reign. He was merciless and bloodthirsty, but he shared evenly with his crew. He integrated Wishsinging into the ship’s offensive capabilities and went out of his way to recruit young men and women with talent for tap dancing and singing. For the way of the Wishsinger is such that their spells grow more powerful when used as a chorus. The Dark Lord perfected a sonic waveform attack that would both deafen his foes and smash their enemy’s cannons. Once done, the boarding party would do the rest. The Dark Lord never took prisoners – unless the prisoner had a penchant for music and a willingness for a taste of freedom.
The Dark Lord’s reign of terror went on for many years. It was not until he faced down a pirate-hunter ship from the Isle of Gales that the Dark Lord met his match. It was also captained by his former lover – the Lord of the Dance. His ex-lover’s ship had a crew that was primarily Changeling, and the Dark Lord’s own crew fell under the sway of fifty espers working in tandem. The Dark Lord was forced to surrender without even launching a single attack.
The Lord of the Dance offered the Dark Lord a choice: death or redemption. That was more choice that the Dark Lord had offered most of his victims. And so, the pirate chose “redemption”. The Lord of the Dance explained the cost of this choice: He would have to spend the rest of his life making amends for what he had done. He would be cursed with the trappings of evil, even after he had turned away from evil. He would have no lover until he made amends. The Lord of the Dance did, however, say he wanted to be the pirate’s lover once he was redeemed.
The trappings of evil turned out to be a strange curse. Whenever the Dark Lord spoke, how words sounded sinister – regardless of his intent. His laughter always sounded like a diabolical cackle. His handshake was cold and iron-like. His eyes, previously hazel, turned to a merciless steely blue. A chilly, thin mist surrounded the prate’s mighty ship. Even further, the ship magically repaired itself when damaged.
His ever-loyal crew accepted their liege’s transformation as well as his new purpose. They would remain a terror of the seas, but they would hunt pirates, slavers, and those who smuggled guns and drugs. While the Dark Lord was grateful enough for his life being spared, the guiding beacon in the distance remains the hope that someday he could be reunited with his first love – the Lord of the Dance. It was a hope that is clearly reciprocated. Truly, these were two men who were destined to be together. But until the day of his redemption, day of reunion seems impossibly far away. As the years passed and his aging stopped, the Dark Lord at least knew he would have time. For time is something all Immortals have in abundance.
Character Class: Thief (primary), Mentalist (secondary)
Power Level: Low
Special Ability: He never loses at gambling and is generally lucky with random events.
Special Weakness: He is paranoid and thinks people (unspecified) are out to get him. He is particularly fearful of another low-power Immortal known as the Croupier.
A lifelong devotee of Abbon Mort, the Dealer first got into gambling after a rather unfortunate business deal in his younger days resulted in him owing a substantial amount of money to a loan shark. The practice of taking out one loan to repay another (multiple times, in sequence) ultimately had the predictable outcome of the Dealer owing money to a variety of criminal figures for whom forgiveness was not their strong suit. In an act of desperation, he flung his last few copper pieces onto the blackjack table – and won.
He tried again and won again. Emboldened by his newfound luck, he ran the tables until he was kicked out for being a suspected card counter. However, he wasn’t a card counter. It just turned out that the Dealer never loses at cards, or roulette, or slots. If it is a game of chance, he discovered that random chance would invariably flow his way.
After paying out his winnings to a few of the loan sharks that were closing in on him, he fled to Rivna (the sin capital of West Point). He discovered that he could lose on purpose if he set his will in that direction. And so, he quietly built a large reserve of cash by winning more often than losing and making his losses just visible enough to placate the casino bouncers.
It took decades to pay off his debts. It was during this time that the Dealer began to realize that he had stopped aging. In fact, his enemies grew frail while he remained young and healthy.
To this day, the Dealer remains an elusive figure. He typically takes on a handful of disciples each year in order to train them in the ways of gambling. Those who complete the training are gifted with a talisman that bears the symbols of the poker deck (heart, club, diamond, and spade). These talismans are lucky pieces that have saved the lives of its wearer more than once. Lord Robart of Brighton’s Reach is one such disciple.
Due to the decades of looking over his shoulder, the Dealer remains paranoid to this day. Despite the fact that his debts are paid and the loan sharks who harried him have been dead for almost a hundred years, he still fears that somehow, someday, he will get beaten or murdered over some debt he might have forgotten about. The other fear that the Dealer has concerns another low-power Immortal known as the Croupier. The latter also works in the gambling industry. Whereas the Dealer always wins, the Croupier has the power to make people lose. Therefore, the Dealer fears that some catastrophe on the scale of a matter-antimatter explosion would happen if the two ever made physical contact. (Note: Weird things would happen, if the two ever met, but it wouldn’t flatten a whole city).
Character Class: Speaker for the Dead (primary), Priest (secondary)
Power Level: Moderate
Special Ability: Flawless diagnosis (free action, no spell required)
Special Weakness: PTSD
The Doctor had not actually planned on choosing medicine as a career. She had originally been employed in law enforcement in the role of Speaker for the Dead. In that capacity, she helped the living achieve closure by solving murders and bringing the culprits to justice. She did, however, round out her education as a field medic. She had the level of medical training that allowed her to stabilize victims of workplace accidents until a real physician could take over.
All that changed, however, when the city of Awari was decimated by a virulent (and mutant) plague. Given the clever name of the “Scourge”, one of the side effects of the viral infection was that it radically sped up the victim’s metabolic rate until they died from overheating (this is the same effect as a fever, but a different cause). This contagious disease overwhelmed hospitals all over East Point. The continent was off-limits to the rest of the world for nearly a decade. Anyone with any kind of medical training was diverted to assist the sick. Most clergy, likewise, were seconded for their healing spells.
And so, the Doctor was taken off of crimefighting duty and spent the next several years working at Dockside Hospital – a Skid Row clinic that serviced the poorest of the poor. Over time, several of the doctors at the hospital succumbed to the Scourge and were not replaced. More of the burden got transferred to the former homicide investigator. There came a breaking point where she began to use her power as Speaker for the Dead to communicate with the spirits of dead physicians in order to continue her work. The spirits and ghosts were more than willing to assist, but it left the Doctor with the sensation of being stretched too thinly between two realms.
At the worst part of the plague, the Doctor would work eighteen hours, sleep for six, and work eighteen again. All of the various wards smelled like putrefaction, feces, vomit, and death. The screams of the dying never stopped. The Scourge had a fatality rating of 35%. Of the survivors, half had permeant immunity but also acquired strange burn marks at random places on their skin. The other half were vulnerable to reinfection but did not develop scars. The random brand-like scarring was another reason why the illness was called the Scourge.
Her nearly constant communion with dead physicians had the unexpected benefit of copying their knowledge to her own mind. Several years in, the plague began to recede as most of the survivors were of the “branded” variety and thus immune to reinfection. The disease started running out of potential hosts. By this time, the Doctor had gained enough medical knowledge from the spirits that she rarely needed to call upon them anymore.
The ordeal did, however, cause her to change careers. She had spent years channeling the dead for most of her waking hours. She found that she could not go back to a career that required that duty. Instead, she applied to medical school and earned the right to call herself a physician.
The worst years of the Scourge plague changed her, however. She became focused on treating illness before it could progress. Learning new techniques to combat contagion became an obsession for her. It took her a long time to realize that she had stopped aging. This realization came at the same time as she finally understood that her ability to diagnose an illness had a 100% accuracy rate.
To this day, the Doctor operates Dockside Hospital as the lead virologist. Enough time has passed since the Scourge, however, that she will occasionally partner with law enforcement to assist with a difficult-to-solve crime. But the medical arts remain her true calling. The screams of the past still haunt her. Because of this, she does not like loud noises and sometimes must retreat to a special soundproofed room that is decorated and furnished in such a way as to promote calm and tranquility. She has vowed to never allow another Scourge to consume her beloved city.
Character Class: Ranger (primary), Protector (secondary)
Power Level: High
Special Ability: Immune to death magic and can see through the eyes of any animal in her domain.
Special Weakness: She vigorously dislikes strangers. She has no spellcasting or spell-like powers outside of her domain.
In the northern reaches of North Point, there exists a huge natural spring that feeds the Crystal Abyss Lake and the Dani Thun River. This waterway is the “Mississippi River” of North Point. Due to the foolishness of unconstrained fascism and capitalism in North Point’s long-gone technological era, several parts of the river are contaminated with heavy metals and industrial solvents. For those who are brave enough to enter the Guardian’s domain, the water is cool, clean, and refreshing. However, interlopers don’t last long in this verdant paradise. If the wild animals don’t kill the trespassers, the Guardian of the Well of Life will.
Centuries ago, when the humanoid races first began to differentiate from humanity, Elves were treated with fear and suspicion by the Human majority. After all, the first generation of Elves all had Human parents. The Guardian was a child of that first generation. Her parents were obedient to the letter of the law by dutifully (but unlovingly) raising their “mutant” daughter until the day she reached age of majority. After that, she was expelled from the family home and told to make a life elsewhere. The first decade after being disowned saw the Guardian doing odd jobs and various kinds of hard labor. However, all that changed when she met the woman who would become her friend, companion, and lover. This person drew the Guardian into the role of Park Ranger in an obscure nature reserve around the Crystal Abyss Lake (which fed the Dani Thun River). There, they settled down into a rustic, rural life of maintaining the park, tending to animals, planting trees, and assisting the occasional camping enthusiast.
The hopes of leading a quiet life with her lover came to an abrupt end when Crystal Abyss Park was sold to commercial developer by the North Point government. Rather than see her precious forest cut down for the sake of factories and mines, she and the park staff waged a guerilla resistance effort against the developer. This war of attrition lasted for nearly a year. Then the government ended the hostilities by engaging drones against the park employees (and anyone else who had joined their cause). Nearly half of the forest was set ablaze, and the Guardian’s lover burned to death in that fire. And although the Guardian survived, she bears the burn scars on her hands and face to this day. Even with her scars, she has a rugged, weathered kind of beauty. But she rarely smiles, and her eyes convey a sense of unhealed sadness.
When the flames finally extinguished, the Guardian surveyed the ruin and was consumed by the need for revenge. Somehow, the force of Nature itself changed the Guardian in some fundamental way. Her burns healed (though leaving scars). She found that she could draw magical energy from deep within the world’s core and use it to foster regeneration of plants and trees in the regions consumed by the conflagration. She found that she could see through the eyes of any animal within the boundary of the park. While she did not “control” them, she could offer suggestions to them. One particularly agreeable suggestion was that they kill all trespassers. And so, they did.
No drone seemed capable of entering her domain. They typically dropped out of the sky a few dozen meters from the boundary. Soldiers with guns would be mercilessly attacked by wolves, bears, birds, and buzzing insects. Trespassers would find that vines would ensnare their feet and vermin would arrive en masse to devour them. After a few years of the Crystal Abyss Park proving itself as a death trap to uninvited guests, the government simply declared the region to be “quarantined”.
Crystal Abyss Park became a focal point for death magic (i.e., concentrated negative energy). Despite this, the nature preserve prospers under the Guardian’s careful watch. To this day, visitors would feel quite fatigued after an hour or so of exposure. But the Guardian is immune to this effect.
In addition to having significant ranks in Ranger and Protector, the Guardian is also familiar with plant and animal biology. She is capable of caring for sick or injured creatures of all kinds. To date, she has only tolerated an audience from just one adventuring party (who had come there to harvest negative energy, not lumber or other resources). Her primary weakness is that none of her powers work outside of her domain. If she leaves Crystal Abyss Park, she is still an Immortal, but she does not have access to her Ranger/Protector spells, and she cannot interface with animals. Whether she is truly bereft of her powers outside of her domain, or whether the loss of power is purely a psychological phenomenon is anyone’s guess.
Character Class: Mathematician (primary), Thief (secondary)
Power Level: High
Special Ability: Can possess unwilling subjects. Can be banished but it is unknown how to kill this person
Special Weakness: This Immortal has a problem with gloating. He thinks he is unbeatable despite having been beaten several times. Holds grudges.
Like most villains, Histra Dupri did not start off life with the goal of being a slave-owning, fascist despot that once controlled a manufacturing hell-hole city. Going from childhood to that point was a long journey in which life taught him some terrible lessons that changed him into a heartless, cruel tyrant who delighted in hurting others any way he could.
The child of two blue collar factory workers, Histra Dupri grew up poor, had little in the way of cultural enrichment, and had few friends. His father worked two jobs (shoe factory during the day and part time bartender at night) in order to pay the rent and thus was effectively absent in his upbringing except when it came to discipline. His mother worked at a textile mill and would start drinking almost immediately upon her return to the cheap flat. His parents thankfully only had one child. Between his mother’s constant drunkenness and narcissism alongside his father’s absenteeism intermixed with his preference for a heavy leather belt when it came to child discipline, Histra Dupri learned at an early age to seek sanctuary in the local library. This allowed him to minimize his contact with his parents (which suited them just fine as well.) Unbeknownst to Histra, his parents did not actually plan on having kids. His existence was unplanned and not particularly wanted. His father had a vasectomy after Histra was born.
Histra became a regular fixture at the public library. He did his homework there and he had a voracious appetite for STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). Between the bullying he experienced at school (as a scrawny, high-achieving bookworm) and the abuse he encountered at home (haphazard nutrition alongside routine whippings with a leather belt), Histra came to view the library as his sanctuary. He also learned that, unlike the fiction pulps, there were no heroes coming to rescue him. He gradually came to view most of humanity (and other humanoid sentient beings) as enemies. He knew his escape from his abusive situation would only be by his own wits and skill.
And so the young scholar redoubled his efforts to learn as much as he could. He graduated with Primary Honor at his high school and was offered a fully-paid scholarship at the University of Myracannon. There, he made no friends because he didn’t want any friends. He was a grey shadow that practically consumed books. He earned Secondary Honor in both his Master’s and Doctorate degrees. He graduated two years ahead of schedule.
But, rather than taking the obvious route of becoming a college professor, Histra Dupri got involved in the banking industry. There, he used his mathematical and engineering prowess to financially take over most of the manufacturing sectors in his home city. He also insinuated himself into the city’s organized crime network and quickly took over those operations as well. While this took two decades, Histra Dupri was effectively the uncontested ruler of Myracannon by the time he was 40. He quietly employed his underworld henchmen to murder his parents and his high school bullies. By the time he was 50, Myracannon was a closed city in which most of the working population were slaves and prison inmates. His work force also comprised people from anywhere in North Point who fell into debt that could not be repaid. Histra Dupri gave to Myracannon the exact kind of treatment he had received as a child.
The Tyrant-Mathematician was ejected from power by one of his own servants. As Histra did not trust humanity, he came to rely instead on Constructs for carrying out his will and enforcing his policies. However, he did not foresee one of his machines turning against him. One particular machine (later known as the Protector) escaped through a rift in time and came under the employ of a progressive reformer named Lord Robart Brightsky. In the original timeline, Lord Robart was assassinated and thus his civil rights reforms never got enacted as law. But Frank (the Protector) intercepted the assassin’s bullet meant for his new liege. Such an assault was injurious to a Construct but certainly not fatal.
Ordinarily, the change in the timeline would have made Histra Dupri the Tyrant no longer exist. But instead, he now exists as a disembodied intelligence of nearly godlike power. He has made two attempts to return to Gaianar in physical form. He was repelled once by the Protector and once by the Librarian. Histra has sworn revenge against them both. In particular, Histra also seeks to destroy the Librarian’s family. But, until he can manifest in physical form, Histra Dupri remains a malevolent whisper in the dark and a sinister force at the edges of his enemies’ dreams.
Character Class: Mathematician (primary), Investigator (secondary)
Power Level: Moderate
Special Ability: Immune to time-travel paradox. Intuitively gets along with high-level Constructs.
Special Weakness: Has a deep-seated fear of bad things happening to his adopted children. Has an enemy of nearly god-like power (Histra Dupri).
Like many employees of the prestigious University of Ex-Libris, the Librarian graduated from said University with a silver sash awarded to the top ten percent of graduates. He studied engineering (thus having several ranks in the Mathematician character class). Subsequent to getting his Master and Doctorate level degrees, he was hired as a research professor in the University’s archive unit. From there, he worked his way up through the science track until he became Chief White Librarian (different specialties are denoted by different colors).
As the head of scientific research, the Librarian was tasked with organizing and administrating a variety of scientific endeavors. To assist him, he surrounded himself with other powerful minds. One such person was Angus Zolotov. He and his lead assistant had very different views on the merits of the many possible avenues of research. The Librarian was more cautious whilst Zolotov believed that real progress required risk. A particular bone of contention was a project whose purpose was to create a permeant, indestructible archive for the whole of Ex-Libris. The idea was that if the library was ever destroyed, the books could be reprinted from the archive. The Librarian was not in favor of the archive being sentient whilst Zolotov wanted a super-sentient AI to manage the archive. Zolotov’s idea was that a sentient machine with access to the city’s knowledge would also be able to synthesize new ideas and therefore rapidly advance the city’s technological development.
It took only a few years for Zolotov to grow weary of the Librarian’s aversion to risk. One day, he took matters into his own hand and illegally created a rift in time (using a form of Mathematics that both unlawful and deleterious to one’s mental health). He then pushed his supervisor through the rip in spacetime and sealed it afterward. Suddenly, the banished Librarian found himself several hundred years in the future, in the port city of Touchstone (North Point). It took decades for the Librarian to recover his memories and re-establish himself as the rightful White Librarian. In his time of exile, he had created a new life in Touchstone, made new friends, and adopted a stranded, off-world Undead child – a Blossomite named Salamandra. Piecing his past together also caused him to develop a few ranks in Investigator.
The Librarian was still bothered by the hole in his mind that caused him to be unable to think about his past. When he was catapulted forward in time, his mind created a “backstory" that sort of made sense at first glance – so long as one didn’t peer too deeply. The timeline smoothed over the breach and thus he found himself in the rather ordinary life as a civil servant. This unusual situation got upended, however, when old friends (including a Construct and a Mummy) and old enemies (including a banished demigod named Histra Dupri) found him in the Touchstone Department of Public Works. And so, he spent several years on the run with his daughter (a cheerful, empathically aware skeleton with a mind for Mathematics like her adoptive father).
With his memories restored (more or less), he returned to Ex-Libris to reclaim the mantle of White Librarian that was rightfully his. There, he had to defeat the sentient AI (named Entity) that Angus Zolotov had helped create. This machine was fully sentient and had been brutally abused. It also referred to the Librarian as “father” since his signature was on the final approval for the project. The Librarian had carelessly been the cause of a project that had intercepted a living soul from the reincarnation cycle and bound it to an Akalla-class framework. This was not the Librarian’s only administrative failure. It turned out that the Librarian had signed off for a lot of projects without reading the proposals. Quite a few of them involved unethical experiments on sentient beings for the purpose of weapons development.
Rather than destroy the sentient Archive (which might not have even been possible, as it was an Akallah-class Construct), the Librarian made peace with the machine by freeing it from its impossibly cruel set of directives and also promising to be a real father. Despite Entity's nearly incomprehensible intelligence, it had the emotional aspect of a small child. It did, after all, have the living soul that was meant to incarnate some infant somewhere. Because of Angus’s meddling, that infant was stillborn and the Entity was made into a Living Construct.
The Librarian, while technically the “savior of the city”, also knows that most of the trials and tribulations that Ex-Libris faced were either partially or wholly his fault. The elation of being the father and guide to a young, child-like Akallah-class Construct was offset by having to locate and shut down a seemingly endless array of hidden, underground research labs that served as chambers of horror. He has made peace with Zolotov’s ghost, but his henchman’s melancholy, spectral presence does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Zolotov remains in the employ of the University and projects a mournful, depressing presence that unintentionally reminds the Librarian of one of his biggest failures in leadership.
Today, the White Librarian rules Ex-Libris with a troubled brow. While being a parent to two very unusual children gives him joy, he still must fight off political intrigue from conservative factions within Ex-Libris that would seek to return the city to fascism. Moreover, his archenemy (Histra Dupri) has threatened to cross over into this reality in order to use Salamandra's physical body as a vessel for his malignant spirit.
Perhaps his displacement in time caused him to stop aging. Or perhaps the karmic promise to be the guardian of two immortal children had an effect on his mortality. Either way, he has stopped aging. The Librarian would live forever if that is what it took to protect his children.
Character Class: Mathematician (primary), Jack (secondary)
Power Level: High
Special Ability: Intuition with regard to unknown technology
Special Weakness: Phobia about leaving Carthag (his hometown)
Appearing as a grey-haired, healthy, late-middle-aged man, the Professor has been a celebrated figure at Carthag University so long that human resources lost the record of when he was hired. At the very least, he predates the era of Scaxathrom’s domination. The Professor is responsible for the invention of the Whirligig and the operating system used in glass tablets. Therefore, personal wealth is not a problem for him.
Intriguing puzzles, strange technology, and scientific conundrums are what interests the Professor. It is useless to offer him money for a service. If the job is scientifically interesting, he will assist for free. At the very least, he will give useful insights as to how the problem may be solved. As a Mathematician, the Professor also excels at making Constructs. He is rumored to have accidentally created Gaianar’s first Akalla-class Construct.
The Professor’s special ability is to discern the function of mysterious magical, mechanical, or technological objects. This takes the form of flashes of intuition and insight that nobody else has. For instance, he might examine a featureless metal rod and then declare “Of course this thing is a communication wand!”, and then suddenly know how to trip a hidden switch that reveals the control buttons. This skill applies to puzzles (he can put a jigsaw puzzle together in real time), traps (“of course, the disarm sequence is 1,5,11,2,15, silly!”) and Constructs (“Oh, it’s just a boot sector problem in the operating system!”)
The Professor rarely leaves Carthag. His special weakness is that he is terrified to leave the city proper. During the time of Scaxathrom’s domination, the Professor was able to shield his home from the Viper Lord’s prying eyes by use of Mathematics and various occult lore. But the years of living in unrelenting terror took its toll on the Professor’s psyche. He simply does not feel safe outside the city, despite being one of the most powerful spellcasters on North Point. To leave the city even for a brief period requires that he make a Panic check with a -4 modifier. The Professor’s power rating is “high” due to his numerous levels in both Mathematician and Jack of All Trades.
In addition to being an accomplished Mathematician, he is also at least somewhat skilled in the occult, sculpting, and metal crafting. He is a competent engineer and a workmanlike architect. Technology and mathematics are, however, where his skills shine brightest.
Character Class: Protector (primary), Investigator (secondary)
Power Level: Moderate
Special Ability: He knows when someone is in danger within 15 miles. Immune to ossification.
Special Weakness: He has bad luck that typically manifests as comical (non-lethal) accidents.
The Protector (formerly known as Construct Frank) was fabricated for a very different purpose than his current calling. Originally, he was created to be a medium-duty security drone whose primary function was to investigate disloyalty to a god-like despot named Histra DuPrie. However, this drone turned against his master and rescued a handful of drudge slaves from the occupied city of Myracannon. Through a random accident, the Protector and his companions fell through a rift in time. Stranded in the past, they came to be employed by Lord Robart of Brighton’s Reach. Because the socialist nobleman now had powerful allies at his side, he avoided being assassinated. This caused the timeline to change in such a way that Histra DuPrie never ascended to power.
As if this accomplishment was not enough, the Protector, Lord Robart, Dulgar Gemfinder, and others rescued a captured Immortal from the clutches of an evil cult. This entity, known as the Architect, was revealed to be a fallen Angel that was given a chance at redemption. In this instance, the Architect was in fact redeemed but paid a heavy price in doing so. The Architect returned to the Plane of Radiance in order to be welcomed home by the True One. However, he returned broken and incomplete. The Architect’s restoration is a tale for another day. As a parting gift, the Architect bestowed upon Frank a gift of Angelic essence, and thus Frank was transformed into an immortal Protector.
To this day, he serves as the High Lord Protector of the city of Bali. His best friend, Dulgar, was tangentially granted immortality due to the two being spiritually bound (a long story as well).
Frank (the Protector) is a rarity amongst Constructs in that he is endowed with a living soul and has an empathic rating of E40. A strange side effect of the Protector’s unusual existence is his bad luck with trivial things. Frank tends to trip over items, and anything that can fall on his head certainly will. However, these frequent (and annoying) accidents are never life-threatening or significantly injurious. Frank also has bad luck with respect to Stillpoints, which is why he decided to settle down in Bali rather than continue the life of the adventurer.
Portfolio: Engineering, weapon crafting, war, greed
Character Class: Necromancer (primary), Warrior (secondary)
Power Level: High
Special Ability: His sister’s spirit will defend him in emergencies
Special Weakness: He occasionally draws random encounters from extra-planar entities.
Dwarves are, of course, renowned for their skills in mining, crafting, and fighting. The Smith was a paragon of mastery in all three disciplines. He seemed to have a knack for mining the purest raw materials from deep within the most terrifying mines. He could coax lumps of molten metal into precise and durable tools of death and dismemberment. He could create allows that were both lighter and stronger than ordinary steel. And he was equally adept at using his lethal creations in battle.
During the Scaxathrom war, the Smith also became fascinated by the occult. It was during this time that he experimented with calling upon unwilling spirits from faraway realms and binding these entities into the weapons he created. Whereas the physical incarnation of the Viper Lord tended to subjugate the living by way of his army of the Undead, Scaxathrom quickly determined that the Smith would serve better as an ally rather than as a foe. With the solemn promise of teaching the Smith the most potent diabolism possible for a mortal, Scaxathrom turned the master craftsman into a powerful henchman.
And so, the Smith created sinister weapons for the army of the Undead. They were used to subjugate or slay Scaxathrom’s biological enemies. He cared not that his own people disavowed him and used his name like a curse. He had what he wanted: power, riches, and the backing of an incarnate deity. He had a specialized facility in Scaradom that housed a grand forge, a library, a refinery, and two dozen drudge slaves to carry out his bidding.
One day, the Smith’s hometown of Bright Candle’s Watch was sacked by Undead forces and they decimated the resistance. The Smith’s sister escaped the carnage and made her way to Scaradom to beg that her brother defect to the resistance. The Smith made her a counteroffer and bid that she use her abilities as a Mathematician in service of the Viper Lord. They had a heated argument that drew the attention of the Smith’s liege. The Viper Lord detained them both and had the siblings explain themselves in a private audience. The Smith, fully knowing that his sister’s life was in imminent danger, begged his master to show leniency and mercy. Specifically, he asked that his sister not be slain.
Scaxathrom assured his valued henchman that his sister would not only not be slain but promised that she would in fact live forever. It was at that point that her soul was bound to a pendant. Her physical form vanished. That pendant hangs around the Smith’s neck to this day. The pendant can neither be removed nor destroyed. His sister’s spirit communicates to the Smith when he sleeps. As the centuries passed, her rage at her brother and her situation gradually subsided. She now uses the Smith’s dreaming hours to try to get her brother to repent and turn away from the path of spirit harvesting.
For all the Smith’s flaws, she still loves her brother. If the Smith is in real danger, the sister can briefly take on a ghostly form and use a limited number of Mathematician spells on her brother’s behalf before having to retreat back to the pendant.
One of the reasons that the Smith has not turned away from demon magic is that he seeks a way to restore his sister to incarnate form. But undoing the magic of an actual god has proven to be more challenging than the Smith had anticipated. This goal became a burning obsession. In fact, as the years of scouring abandoned libraries and ruins passed by, the Smith gradually realized that he had stopped aging.
Of course, researching into the most esoteric aspects of the occult doesn’t come cheaply. Some of the tomes that the Smith has acquired cost him as much as a battleship. So, to keep properly funded, he still relies on what he is best at: finely crafted, spirit-enhanced weapons and armor. The Smith’s customers usually pay two prices – one in coin and one in something else (such as a rare book, or something more sinister like blood sample or a donation of spiritual energy).
In the present day, the Smith has come to the full realization that he backed the wrong side during the Scaxathrom War. He betrayed his kin for the sake of power. The Viper Lord has come and gone, but the Smith’s regret remains. And yet, he cannot extricate himself from the circular pattern that he created. He wants to free his sister. That goal requires research. The research costs money. Therefore, he has to sell weapons to fund his research. Binding extraplanar spirits into weapons has made the Smith a lot of enemies in other planes. Occasionally, minions from the planes of Radiance, Shadow, Conflagration, and other places seek out the Smith for revenge. Sometimes the Smith can repel the invaders single-handedly, while other times his sister comes to his aid.
The Smith no longer resides in Scaradom. Instead, he lives a lonely existence in a heavily warded fortification atop a mountain peak near Cape North. There, he has only his books, his forge, and the whispering ghost of his sister.
Character Class: None (probably Priest or Necromancer when she reaches adulthood)
Power Level: Low (will increase upon adulthood)
Special Ability: Communication with the dead, the spirit realm, and residents of the Radiant and Shadow planes
Special Weakness: She will automatically be feared by religious fundamentalists.
The Child of Promise is the offspring of the Archangel Cyan and a human Priest on North Point. Umbra was born to become a bridge between the living and the dead. What that exactly means, and how her powers will manifest remains unknown at this time. Those with magical sight can perceive Umbra’s soul horizon as being vastly more potent than a regular Human’s and it bears power emanation from both the Plane of Radiance and the Plane of Shadow. Typically, these two types of energy are incompatible. Umbra looks primarily Human (of North Point stock). However, her Angelic heritage also shows by way of her blue hair and sky-blue eyes (from her mother). She does, of course, take the form of an infant, given that she is one year old.
For now, the world may have to wait a generation to discover her true purpose. It’s worth noting that anyone who attempts to physically or magically harm this special child will almost certainly (and immediately) face the wrath of Cyan or one of the other Archangels.
Histra Dupri. Human/Male. This is a Mathematician of nearly god-like power. He has been lost in time but he occasionally attempts to reenter the main timestream. A warning sign for his imminent arrival is when city streets reconfigure into concentric circles. He is a fascist dictator that (in a now-defunct timeline) once ruled the city of Myracannon with an iron fist. Under his watch, the city was essentially a factory hellscape staffed by brutally-abused slaves. His two main enemies are the Protector (the person responsible for the old timeline being rewritten) and The librarian (who repelled Histra Dupri's most recent attempt to physically manifest. Histra has sworn revenge against the Librarian by someday possessing his daughter (Salamandra). Thus far, however, he has not been able to carry out that plan.
The Croupier. Elf/Male. This is an Immortal of low power (like the Dealer). Whereas the Dealer always wins, the Croupier has the power to make people lose. Very strange things could happen if the two ever occupied the same room together.
The Lord of the Dance. Human/Male. Another low power Immortal, this was (and still is) the Dark Lord's true love. Whereas the Lord of the Dance used his power as a Wishsinger to become the world's greatest tap dancer and folk dance performer, his would-be lover took to the high seas as a pirate. He does hope, however, to be reunited with the Dark Lord once he has redeemed himself from all the years as a cut-throat pirate.
Watermark. Elf/Female. A moderate power sailor in the employ of the West Point Navy, she and her crew take on the most dangerous search and rescue operations that Gaianar has to offer. She has been known to even sail into Stillpoints to rescue those waylaid by maritime disasters.
The Prophet. Human/Male. This recluse lives in the Great Western Desert. He prefers to live alone, and he's made it difficult to be found. His power is to see the possibilities of the future. However, the future is never set in stone until the future becomes the past.