Combat Aftermath: Healing and Rejuvenation
If an immortal is fortunate to avoid being slain in his combat, there is the matter of healing to attend to. Many immortals can rely on their own powers to heal themselves, such as the panacea and the use of serenades. Others must heal at a slower, more normal rate.
The panacea is a ferocious healing power. As long as the wound it is healing was not sustained from close-quarter combat with another living thing, this ability reduces the wound level by 1 each round. Thus, a mortal wound becomes a crippling wound on the next round, then a severe wound, then impairing, then light, finally to be completely healed on the 5th round. In game time, the worst wound sustained from the fall off a skyscraper is 15 seconds. Older immortals often throw those they believe to be immortals masquerading as humans off buildings to see if this healing power kicks in, a practice which is most unfortunate for those who are truly human.
Immortals heal quicker than most humans, depending on the strength of their soul. The stronger the soul is, the quicker the body mends. Humans with strong souls can heal as quickly as immortals with the same soul rating.
An immortal (or human) who has a soul rating of 5 or less will heal his current wound level to the next lower level every 9 days. A severe wound, for example, becomes an impairing wound in 9 days, then a light wound in another 9 days, finally to heal completely on the 27th day.
A character with a soul rating of 6 to 10 heals 1 level of wound every 6 days and a character whose soul rating is 11 to 15 heals a level wound every 3 days. Keep in mind that situations necessary to healing (such as a relatively germ-free environment, first aid and common-sense medicine) is required for normal healing to proceed.
Immortals are well aware of the dangers of being slain, so often take precautions by setting up a contingency plan for regaining their lost life-force. Many immortal create sanctuaries within which they store life-force for the day they might be killed. Within the sanctuary is an object, usually an elaborate altar, bed, coffin or other resting place known as an ark. The ark is the central focal point of the sanctuarys stored life-force, the place where an immortal materializes when he is slain elsewhere.
With enough energy, a spirit can completely reform itself, including forming a new vox out of the stored life-force. Stored within the spirits essence is his original neural-patterns (thoughts, emotions, memories and identity). The shard, trapped by his soul, is also there, waiting to be made flesh again. Characters who have lost their real voxes must form a new one. This is expensive, costing 3 points of their soul, a permanent expenditure, to do so. Thus it is always desirable for a character to regain his own vox. The vox must be present within the ark for the spirit to reform with it as part of his new body.
The amount of energy required to rebuild the actual body of an immortal is staggering. The number of points required is equal to the memory cost for all the characters original attributes. In system terms, a player rebuilds his characters attributes (except for soul) all over again.
Instead of using memory, as he did when building the first body, a player builds the new body on life-force points his character has collected during his adventures within the game. He can gain these from willing humans or from other willing immortals. Life-force is the ultimate currency in the immortals world, traded and sold for favors.
A Sanctuary can be constructed from any building or large object within which the immortal can fit The sanctuary is attuned to the immortal when he places 1 point of his soul into it. Thus consecrated, he can start depositing other life-force into it.
Having placed one point of soul into his sanctuary, a character now has one empty slot in that attribute. He can place points from his other attributes as well, as many as he likes, creating other empty slots. Weakened, he now ventures forth to restore those missing attributes, usually by trading favors for payment of the life-force of others. He can steal it from mortals, or gain it willingly from immortals or sympathetic mortals. Animals are never considered willing. Many sacred places around the world, to which adoring mortals would come and willingly give up their life-force through sacrifice, are sanctuaries of powerful immortals.
Life-force from enchanted objects cannot be drained nor invested into a sanctuary.
A sanctuary is the key to an immortals piece of mind, his retreat from a deadly world bent on his destruction. Inside it, he is more powerful than in the world beyond. He feels more secure here than anywhere else in the world. While an immortal is within his sanctuary, he can use the life-force of his ark as if it were his own soul. For every 10 life-force resident, he gains 1 soul to use while within the Sanctuary.
For game purposes, a sanctuary is measured by its square footage, whether that includes a building or a tract of land or both. Temples, castles, lakes or sacred groves are good examples of sanctuaries inhabited by immortals.
For every 1 soul an immortal possesses, his sanctuary extends 100 square feet over the ground and 10 feet above it or below it.
The center of a sanctuary is the ark. This is the seat of an immortals power, the place he will reform at death. It can be anything from a crypt to a certain tree within her sacred grove, as the Greek myth of the dryad demonstrates.
An immortal away from his sanctuary, with no trustworthy servants to guard it, leaves it open to being discovered and drained by other immortals. Invading immortals steal a sanctuary by placing more of their own soul within it than the original owner did. In system terms, a character is required to permanently expend a number of soul points into a sanctuary that is greater than the points invested by its prior owner. If, for example, the original owner invested the required one point of soul into his sanctuary, another character can invest two to take it over. Thus, it is wise to build the resistance of a sanctuary by investing enough soul to make taking it over difficult, if not impossible. The most powerful sanctuaries in the world have a resistance of 15 or more, that is---15 soul placed within them. The resistance of a sanctuary can be built over time, but requires soul points to increase. Other attributes points will not do.
Once a sanctuary has been seized, it can be drained of its life-force (except for the resistance, which can never be drained.) The structure remains a sacred place instilled with soul, which can even come alive if deserted long enough.