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Choose Taboos

 

Immortals are predators. They prey on human beings for their life-force when their own has diminished. Although an immortal does not die from having his life-force weakened, he does become feeble and is subject to attacks from the more powerful of his kind. By draining the life-force of mortals, he insures his own survival. Because animal life-force can drive an immortal to feral madness, they generally tend to avoid such quarry.

Unfortunately, stealing life-force from a human often comes with a price. The psychic trauma of the vampirism causes the human’s mind to lash out and imbed a curse on the immortal’s person. The curse, known as a taboo, haunts him wherever he goes. A taboo can be as innocuous as the immortal’s shadow moving independent of his own body’s gestures, or it can cause roses to bleed in his presence. The more severe variety may draw danger to the immortal, such as making him a lightning rod or making needles fly across the room at him.

The player should discuss what sorts of taboos are already possessed by his immortal personality and the narrator should rank the taboo by it’s severity. The more innocuous it is, the lower the rank. Listed in Appendix ! are a number of sample taboos and their relative ranks, provided as a guideline for players and narrators. Players receive +3 starting points for each level of taboo his character possesses.

 

Other Problems

 

All immortals share certain weaknesses other than those imposed by the trauma of a dying mortal superstition. Unlike other living creatures, immortals cannot metabolize poisons, especially those ingested with food or drink. This dooms the immortal for years, even centuries of agony until some remedy, usually supernatural in origin, can be found. Because of this defect, immortals are extremely careful about what they eat or drink. It takes a great deal of trust for two immortals to sit down together for a meal.

Ironically, immortals are susceptible to the very thing which they are proof against—the entropic effects of time. Immortals perceive time as a beautiful, devouring force which eventually consumes all it touches. In fact, a growing number of immortals realize that perhaps time and the Beast are one in the same, that somehow time itself acquired a malevolent sentience and became the Beast.

A by-product of time’s effect on the world is a dark energy force known as taint. Taint swirls about, clinging to living things and aging them. Immortals become vulnerable to taint through the improper use of their serenade powers. Failure to use a serenade correctly results in an invasion of taint into the aura of the immortal, blotting out some of his own life-force and replacing it with a useless mote of dim energy. Immortals afflicted with taint become weaker, eventually to become paralyzed and trapped in the shells of their own undying bodies. To avoid this horrific eventuality, they prey on living things, stealing their life energy to displace the taint out of their aura and back into the environment from which it came.

Taint’s presence in an immortal’s aura can be dangerous in other ways. His corrupted soul is made visible to creatures similar to himself when he is tainted. An immortal whose true form is a tiger, for example, would be tolerated, even aided by tigers who sense that he is somehow one of them. When this same immortal is tainted, the tigers see him as an entropic, negative version of a tiger and immediately will hate him. If taint becomes too pronounced in such an immortal, mortal creatures like himself will go out of their way to harm him. The same principle applies to immortals whose true forms are fire or stone. Fire will follow, even try to burn him, and stone will fall on him like a piece of metal drawn to a magnet.

The deadliness of an immortals companions, as the mortal versions of his kind are known, is never underestimated since they can do additional damage to an immortal who is tainted. Companions cause +1 damage for every point of taint an immortal carries in his aura.

 


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