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Author Topic: Tenebrous: Characters  (Read 3973 times)
Spawn of Ungoliant
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« on: December 14, 2013, 04:26:11 PM »

Tenebrous: Characters

Out of Character

I was running out of room in the main Tenebrous thread for all my characters due to word limits within posts, and wanted to have them all in the same place, so I'm just reposting them here.

Tenebrae Roster

Pareidolia

A computer expert, former hacktivist of the grey-hat persuasion, conspiracy theorist, and talented chaos witch, the Tenebrae operative known as Pareidolia (real name: Sabrina Cassidy) is unusual amongst the Tenebrae in possessing no inborn preternatural abilities – though gifted with a powerful intellect, all of her skills were acquired through study and dedication.  Pareidolia provides the Tenebrae with intelligence, technical assistance, and occult support.  She rarely leaves the confines of the Sepulchre, preferring to spend her time ensconced in a mass of cables, monitors, ritual candles, grimoires, laptops, devil-bowls, Thai food containers, jury-rigged gaming consoles inscribed with arcane sigils, partially disassembled clocks, coffee cups, scanners, stuffed animal corpses, wax cylinder machines, routers, ant farms, defaced   tarot cards, overflowing ashtrays, eldritch statuettes, paperback romance novels with the pages ripped out for divination purposes, antique phones, hand-annotated holy books, pornography, scratch-built robots, and other assorted bric-a-brac – and woe be to any who disrupt this perfect disarray or attempt to tidy her workspace!  She has a tendency for paranoia and intense agoraphobia, and possesses an anti-authoritarian streak a mile wide.  When she does head into the field she is cranky, rude, and skittish, but more than capable of doing her job.  Physically she is tall, lanky, and rather alarming in appearance, with a plethora of esoteric tattoos and hairstyles that seem to change with uncanny frequency.   Her familiar is a miniature pig named Toby II.

Even from within her cramped, messy domain, however, Pareidolia can assist the Tenebrae in the field, hacking into systems, gathering information, and relaying spells through screens, cellphones, and other digital outputs, communicating via headset.  As a chaos witch her particular area of expertise is probability manipulation and divination from apparently random information (incidentally, Pareidolia supplements the organization’s funding through the proceeds of online poker, which she plays compulsively, losing just enough to avoid tipping anti-cheating software).  She can conjure synchronicity fields to enhance the good fortune of allies, or sling jinxes to produce improbable catastrophes.  By sampling random data she can glimpse strange patterns in the “code” of reality, glimmers of possible futures and likelihoods.

Pareidolia rarely speaks about her past.  Before she become one of the Tenebrae she was an anarchist of the techno-utopian persuasion, but her wanderings and digital escapades eventually led her deeper and deeper into the world of magick.  Her ventures culminated in an act of cyber-mischief inflicted on the Department of Preternatural Investigation, when she spawned an arcane sigil-meme she called her “Circe-Worm” in their secure server that temporarily turned most of the D.P.I.’s technical staff into random animals.  The Tenebrae, impressed with her abilities, offered her membership in their organization – and sanctuary from the vengeful D.P.I.  She has now become an indispensable member of the team’s roster, especially given the tendency to archaism exhibited by many of the organization’s senior members, more comfortable with old books than digital databases.


Mandrake

The being called Mandrake is a homunculus, an artificial creature born of black alchemy at the hands of the depraved magus known as the Chirurgeon.  Created during the sixteenth century, Mandrake was sculpted from tallow made from the flesh of murder victims mixed with the seed of hanged men, the blood of cambion children, and certain esoteric herbs.  The Chirgurgeon created Mandrake as a servant and familiar, assisting the Chirurgeon with his diabolic rituals, powerless to resist his commands.  Compelled by the Chirurgeon, Mandrake used its powers to entrap sacrificial victims for Chirurgeon’s twisted experiments, subduing and sometimes killing them.  When the Tenebrae defeated the Chirurgeon during the recent Walpurgisnacht Incident or May Eve Massacre, however, they freed Mandrake from its creator’s control.  The liberated creature, horrified by its own misdeeds and wracked with guilt, attempted to destroy itself.  It was the newly recruited Tenebrae operative Spriggan who convinced Mandrake to keep living , speaking of his own troubled past and the fresh start he’d found with the Tenebrae.  Though Mandrake remains tormented by its past actions, it now seeks redemption by fighting alongside the Tenebrae.

In its “natural” form, Mandrake resembles a roughly humanoid figure of indeterminate sex with inchoate features, sculpted from sallow wax.  It possesses the ability to change this shape as it pleases, altering its physical form to resemble virtually anyone it wishes and extruding unusual body parts such claws or horns if it chooses; generally while in public it assumes as ordinary-looking a form as possible, usually of random gender.  The homunculus can also split itself into other, smaller versions of itself which can later re-form into a single Mandrake, sharing all the memories of its constituent parts.  Mandrake never speaks, however, for the sound of its voice maims and often kills any who hears it, though some preternatural beings (and those suitably warded) are immune to this ability.  As such, the homunculus relies on writing and sign language to communicate, although the Tenebrae have recently fashioned it a voice modulator that allows it to speak without harming those around it, its voice coming out in a flat, computerized monotone.  Due to its amorphous form the homunculus is highly resilient to damage: bullets and blades pass harmlessly through its body, though it is vulnerable to fire.  Mandrake is prodigiously strong as well as tough, able to physically overpower most foes.  It is, however, highly vulnerable to spiritual possession, functioning as a kind of “empty shell” that incorporeal entities can enter; this occasionally makes it a liability on certain missions, though on such missions all team members are generally assigned talismans and other protective measures to help deter hostile spirits.

Several other groups in St. Lazarus have, on occasion, sought to capture Mandrake, including the Department of Preternatural Investigation, the Order of the New Temple, the Scions of Hyperborea, and, of course, the Chirurgeon himself.  Were the homunculus ever successfully captured by such a group, it is possible it could be bound to the will of a new master.  It is this Mandrake fears most of all – being compelled once again into the service of those on the side of darkness.


Cruor

Cruor was born Caleb Gore, a surname which proved grotesquely apt considering his unique and often gruesome abilities.  Along with his twin sister Cassandra – now the villainous Lady Leech, who serves the Koroviev Crime Family – he has the power of haemokinesis: the ability to manipulate blood.  By concentrating intensely, Cruor can cause blood to rapidly thin or coagulate, boil, freeze, or reshape itself; using his own blood he can fashion weapons (frequently whips, hardened blades, throwing-stars, or clubs) and make-shift scab-armour.  These powers allow him to rapidly heal almost any wound he or one of his allies suffers, and he can also expunge blood-born poisons and diseases.  If large amounts of blood are available, he can evaporate it rapidly into a sanguineous mist.  By drinking blood he can also identify the way in which it was spilled in a form of limited retrocognition, and he can smell blood (and thus any living being with blood) from a considerable distance, though not with perfect accuracy.  Cruor’s bone marrow can produce blood at an accelerated rate, helping to fuel his powers.  While most occult charms and talismans fail to ward against haemokinesis, certain specially design apotropaic tattoos do block Cruor’s powers.

Caleb and Cassandra had a troubled childhood.  The child of Donna Gore, a prostitute who worked the mean streets of St. Lazarus in the crime-ridden district known as the Midden, they grew up in junkyards and back-alleys, surrounded by violence and poverty.  While the ultimate source of their powers is unknown, some have theorized that biochemical waste products present in the Midden’s water supply – possibly from the Sinistral Institute – affected Donna while she was pregnant; others point to the plethora of odd, frequently ancient and sometimes eldritch artefacts that periodically turn up in the landfills at the edge of the Midden, suggesting that Donna’s proximity to one of these occult objects may have affected her still-developing children.  Whatever the origin of their abilities, the twins soon discovered that their haemokinesis put them a cut above most of St. Lazarus’ street toughs and muggers.  They became members of the street gang known as the Lacerators, a rough-and-tumble band of switchblade-wielding youths who roamed the Midden and other impoverished districts of St. Lazarus causing trouble and engaging in a wide variety of criminal activities.  It was during this time that both Caleb and Cassandra became addicted to the street drug known as Ichor – an arcane substance of mysterious origins which may have further amplified their powers.  Though Caleb has kicked the addiction since becoming one of the Tenebrae he has relapsed twice, and the drug remains a constant temptation.

Cruor’s induction into the Tenebrae began when the twins were captured by the vigilante known as Revenant – being himself bloodless he proved immune to most of their abilities.  Both preterhumans were delivered into the custody of the SLPD; while languishing in jail they were approached by Tenebrae associates who offered the siblings a place on the team.  The twins both accepted, but Cassandra soon chafed at the restrictions the Tenebrae placed upon her.  The twins, previously close, grew further and further apart.  Cruor developed feelings for fellow Tenebrae operative Lamia and began spending less time with his sister.  Eventually the two quarrelled, leading Cassandra to leave the Tenebrae; she was recruited by the Koroviev Crime Family shortly afterwards.

A pale, gangly man with dark auburn hair, Cruor bears numerous scars – while he can heal most injuries, wounds closed through haemokinesis still develop scar tissue.  When not on missions with the Tenebrae he usually wears loose, concealing clothing to disguise these disfigurements.  When in the field, however, he typically doffs such clothing in favour of a loose tank-top or sleeveless vest, giving him access to his arms.  He carries a range of knives in his belt which he uses to open his blood vessels as required; he is also proficient with these knives in close-quarters fighting, both as melee and throwing weapons, courtesy of his days on the streets.  Streetwise and desensitized to violence, his toughened outer exterior and sometimes thuggish posturing obscures a compassion for the weak and helpless.


Hel

In ages past, Hel was the goddess of death, decay, and slaughter, queen of the Norse underworld and ruler over a realm of the dishonoured dead.  Now, centuries later, her powers greatly depleted from lack of worship, Hel has dwindled into a shadow of her former self, but she still possesses abilities beyond those of any mere mortal.  Appearing as a blond, statuesque woman of Scandinavian descent and brooding beauty, Hel’s semblance occasionally flickers (just for a moment – so quickly one can never be sure of one’s eyes) to reveal a different form: a blue-black corpse, horribly decayed, maggot-eaten and mottled from the depredations of frost, bones protruding from her necrotic skin.   Flesh creeps in her presence, animals bark or shy away when she is near, and she can scribe killing runes that slay any mortal who look on them, though this latter power drains some of her remaining divine puissance.  She can also call those who died dishonourable deaths to serve her, reanimating their corpses into obedient draugar.  Immune to all mortal disease and impervious to ageing, Hel lingers in the mortal world, her realm of Niflheim having long since been annexed by demon-kind in their rapacious conquest of the afterlives.

Following her exile from the underworld, Hel took to wandering the lands of the living, even adopting a “civilian” identity as Dr. Helene Larsen, a forensic anthropologist and later the administrator of a large body farm.  It was here that she was approached by Tenebrae, which had discovered her true identity – Hel functions as a nexus for the uncanny, attracting spirits and weird happenings, and an array of related investigations eventually led the Tenebrae to her door.  Though initially reluctant to accept a position in the organization, the opportunity to dissect some truly strange creatures – extradimensional abominations, spliced hybrids, otherworldly beasts, mutant horrors, etcetera – proved too tempting for the former goddess to pass up.  She now works as the official forensics officer of the Tenebrae while also accompanying other operatives on field assignments requiring her particular skill-set.  Able to tell the time of death and cause of death of any organism with a quick glance (or failing that, a quick taste), Hel can also revive the deceased to interrogate them, providing their deaths were dishonourable.  Her ability to reanimate cadavers helped the team escape from more than one tough situation, or at least hold out until reinforcements arrived.  Calling her draugar servants “zombies,” however, earns one a disparaging look.

With an extremely professional outlook, Hel is actually one of the better-adjusted agents on the Tenebrae roster.  Cold, aloof, and dispassionate, she prefers to be called Dr. Larsen, or failing that Helene – reminders of her past role as a major player in the Norse pantheon make her sad and annoyed.  She finds the code-names of other operatives (Cruor, Spriggan, Pareidolia, Miasma etc) “juvenile and ridiculous” and generally refers to her team-mates by their “real” names (Agent Gore, Agent Goodfellow, Agent Cassidy, Agent Finch...).


Spriggan

For the first thirteen years of his life, Rupert Goodfellow believed himself an ordinary child, albeit an unlucky one.  Apparently born to a pair of junkie parents in the labyrinthine slums of St. Lazarus, Rupert was soon placed in foster care and spent his childhood in and out of a slew of homes, rarely staying in one spot for more than a few months – in every instance, foster parents declared themselves unable to care for him, describing him as “disturbed,” though none could provide any substantive examples of abnormal behaviour.  Fellow children likewise found him off-putting for reasons they could not articulate.  It was in a high school science class while growing pea plants that Rupert’s abilities first manifested.  While other students’ plants were paltry things, Rupert’s grew to triple the size of an ordinary member of its species, and the peas it produced proved to possess intense psychotropic properties.  Other incidents quickly followed: a high-school bully who mercilessly tormented Rupert hung himself without warning from an oak tree, the verbally abusive physical education teacher was committed to Belladonna Sanatorium after being found babbling in Gaelic and painting the walls and floor of the gymnasium with Celtic knots, female students (and some of the female faculty) started violently fighting one another over Rupert’s affections, and the dead ivy covering the walls of his current foster home’s walls inexplicably revived and began spreading at a preternatural rate.

Simultaneously excited and terrified by the bizarre occurrences he seemed to be unconsciously causing, Rupert began learning to harness his powers, making his will a reality.  He found he could make himself so inconspicuous that teachers simply wouldn’t notice if he got up in the middle of class and wandered out of the school, that he could make people on the street see things that weren’t there simply by picturing them in his mind, and also – strangely – that the touch of iron in metal-working class burnt him as if it were white-hot.  It was at this point that the government operatives working for the Department of Preternatural Investigation took an interest in him.  Posing as social workers, D.P.I. agents plucked Rupert from his foster home and placed him in their custody.  After performing DNA tests they were able to confirm their theory – Rupert wasn’t human.  In fact, he was a changeling, a fey child left in the mortal world by Unseelie Sídhe.  Though now fully mortal – having eaten human food and lived amongst humans for his entire life – Rupert nonetheless possessed powers derived from his fey blood, a heritage traceable back to the infamous hobgoblin Puck.  While D.P.I. scientists began preparing a serious of experiments to perform on him, Rupert planned his escape from their facility.  Using the full range of his abilities he slipped out of the D.P.I. base.

Realizing that he couldn’t return to school or his previous life, Rupert struck out on his own, becoming a con man of exceptional ability, stealing fortunes on a weekly basis and burning through them just as fast, flickering through dozens of aliases, always staying one step ahead of the D.P.I. agents – and, later, hunters seeking to rid the world of fey, and previous marks he’d robbed.  The Tenebrae finally caught up with him a few years ago after rescuing him from the clutches of the Order of the New Temple, a splinter-sect of the Society of the Black Rose.  Though uninterested in glory or fighting evil, Rupert was convinced to hear the Tenebrae out when they promised they could tell him more about the nature of his powers and heritage while protecting him from the long list of individuals and organizations that want him dead.  As he learned more about his abilities and about the Tenebrae, Rupert found some of his cynicism and studied amorality beginning to ebb.  Finding a real family for perhaps the first time, Rupert has now become a full member of the Tenebrae, accepting the code-name Spriggan and joining the rest of the team in their efforts to fight fire with fire.


Miasma

Until she encountered the being known as Sepsis, Octavia Finch was a normal but gifted woman.  While pursuing a promising career in anatomical pathology she routinely volunteered in community outreach programs, spending many of her nights tending to the sick in the fetid depths of the Midden, including the refuse-clotted tunnels of its undercity, a crazed mishmash of storm drains, abandoned subway stations, bricked-over streets, and natural caverns.  While administering to the needy in this maze-like warren she became lost, somehow unable to retrace her steps and escape the maddening labyrinth of subterranean passages; little did she know that she had already been ensnared in Sepsis’ grasp.  It seemed the elemental creature of animate filth – an unclean intelligence thought by some to be the result of alchemical runoff, by others to be a primordial spirit only recently awakened – had taken a dislike to Octavia’s activities: by helping to cure the sick and alleviate the suffering of those who dwelt in the entity’s troglodytic domain, she posed a threat to its feculent rule, and so the being had decided to corrupt her – not merely to kill her but to transform her into one of its avatars, like Pyrexia, Verminous, and Tzaraath.  Trapping her in the putrescent heart of its domain, Sepsis filled her lungs with its noxious vapours, infecting her with its vile putridity.  But before the elemental could complete its horrific ritual and make Octavia its pestilential slave, a vessel for its will, a Tenebrae patrol intervened, happening on the rite in the nick of time, likely due to one of Pareidolia’s synchronicity fields.

Though rescued from the clutches of Sepsis, Octavia was not unchanged by her experience.  She found that she exuded an aura of decay, a pestiferous pall that taints everything she approaches.  When she is near milk curdles, water stagnates, wood rots, plants wither, and decomposition hastens (for this reason Hel has banned her from the Sepulchre’s morgue – even when wearing her suit).  Living people who simply draw near her find themselves febrile, spluttering with sudden congestion, breaking out in hives.  Her slightest touch proves even more dangerous, instantly passing on any number of preternaturally fast-acting diseases – often lethal and always disfiguring, tumours and sores spreading from the slightest brush of her fingertips.  Horrified by her own abilities, Octavia was eventually convinced to join the Tenebrae, who equipped her with a specially made suit to keep her from harming those around her.  Taking up the code-name Miasma, Octavia eventually learned to control her powers, discovering that she could generate poisonous fumes in her lungs, exhaling toxic clouds of vapour, and that she was herself immune to all forms of toxin or sickness.

Physically, Miasma looks like a normal, attractive woman of mixed Asian and European descent, albeit with a very slightly greenish pallor and eyes and nails tinted sallow greenish-yellow.  Because of the deleterious effect of her powers on those around her she almost always wears her custom-made suit, a black, body-hugging garment with a transparent visor and a specialized breathing-mask and filtration system, allowing Miasma to exhale toxic vapour as desired (to use her touch of disease she can remove one of her gloves).  While wearing this suit her abilities are suppressed, allowing her to serve as the Tenebrae’s doctor, though due to his haemokinesis Cruor serves as a field medic more often than she does.  She removes her suit only in her quarantined, air-tight chambers within the Sepulchre.  Though she has learned to deal with her condition she still grapples with the frustrations that come with it – for one thing, her condition means that she is utterly unable to return to her prior life.  Following her arrival she was quickly befriended by Lamia, no stranger to feeling a monster who hurts everything she touches.


Night Terror

A creation of the Sinistral Institute, the Tenebrae known as Night Terror was originally the result of Project Mara, a series of experiments designed to produce a new breed of spy and assassin.  Using genetic material recovered from bound Incubi and captured Hags – including the infamous creature Black Annis – the Sinistral scientists sought to synthesize a retrovirus code-named the “Oneiros Virus” allowing their subjects to produce lethal psychic projections or eidolons of themselves, similar to the phenomena known as astral projection; they primarily used street people captured from the Midden and inmates from Belladonna Sanatorium as prototypes.  James Faust, a man being treated at Belladonna for a variety of extreme parasomnias (including a homicidal, somnambulant killing-spree described by the media as the “Sleepwalker Killings”), was their first real success.  James had suffered from night terrors and other sleeping disorders since the mysterious joint-suicide of his parents; while an exceptionally gentle man while awake, while asleep he was tormented by images of violence and brutality, acts of sadistic cruelty which he sometimes replicated while slumbering.  The Sinistral researchers correctly surmised that the imbalance of chemicals present in his brain would enhance his psionic capabilities, and so Night Terror was born.  The Institute’s experiments gave James the ability to project a wraith-like version of himself into the physical world, a shadowy apparition able to slip through walls or doors, infiltrating even the most high-security facilities, invisible while keeping to darkened areas.  Through most-hypnotic suggestion, drugs, and psionic conditioning, James was forced to carry out a number of experiments on other subjects while slumbering in a sensory-deprivation tank, eventually learning to temporarily possess such subjects, slipping inside their minds.  While his astral-self remained unable to interact with the physical world directly, it could do so while possessing a host, even causing the host to commit suicide – though such an action would, inevitably, sever the astral tether connecting James to his double, a phantasmal umbilicus linking his two selves.  Whenever James awoke from an experiment he would remember the events of his “dream” only dimly, if at all, and believed the Institute was conducting trials to help treat his sleeping disorders.

Despite their precautions, however, the Sinistral Institute failed to account for the strength of Night Terror’s will while projecting his astral shadow; once again the repressed, aggressive side of James’ personality came bubbling to the surface, turning on his experimenters.  After possessing one of his captors his shade savagely killed the other researchers and the guards keeping watch on the facility.  When James awoke he found a roomful of corpses and a letter, penned by his astral double with the aid of its host body, explaining what the Institute scientists had been doing.  Bewildered and horrified, James escaped the facility.  He was nearly captured by the Institute’s agents, but fortunately the Tenebrae managed to intervene, bringing James to the safety of the Sepulchre.  Since then Night Terror has become one of the Tenebrae himself, though he spends virtually of his time in the Sepulchre, sending out his astral double from the safety of the subterranean hideout, ensconced in another sensory-deprivation tank.

With the help of the Tenebrae he has learned to explore and refine his powers further, even gaining the ability to recall some of his experiences while sleeping and curbing the hyper-aggressive tendencies of his slumbering mind.  He spends most of his waking hours reading and meditating, but has developed something of an unlikely attraction for Pareidolia – though extremely mild-mannered, neat, and somewhat sheepish he finds her haphazard, brash approach to life appealing in a way he cannot fully explain.  His closest friend in the organization, however, is probably Mandrake, with whom he feels great sympathy (after all, both were forced to perform hideous acts against their will).


Abyzou

“Abby” to her team-mates, the demoness Abyzou has several forms, the most common being an enfant terrible culled from the Japanese horror movies the entity loves with an all-consuming passion: scraggly black pigtails, pinafore dress, an obscene giggle, and sunken, flashing eyes.  Other common guises include what Abby refers to as her “jail-bait” form, resembling an older version of her schoolgirl-semblance done up in Gothic makeup.  In her true form she resembles a clawed succubus with writhing, black tendrils for hair.  A demonic mischief-maker and trickster who thinks of mortals only as playthings (or snacks), delighting in violent and usually gory pranks, Abyzou was taken captive and bound through occult rituals after the Tenebrae thwarted an attempt by the forces of Hell to gain access to the Tree of Life.  She now serves the organization unwillingly, having bargained six years, six months, and six days of service to the Tenebrae in exchange for her eventually freedom – though she takes every opportunity to try and circumvent the spirit of this agreement or commute her “sentence.”

Abyzou’s powers draw on the demoness’ ability to project images and words into the minds of other beings.  In addition to simply communicating with team-mates telepathically – a useful ability in conditions when standard communication devices are inoperable or unavailable – Abyzou can fill the brains of her victims with abominable visions, sometimes of horrors so extreme that the afflicted individual is driven hopelessly mad.  She cannot read thoughts or mentally dominate or possess other beings, but she can implant suggestions.  She can also psychically manipulate objects, either simply moving them telekinetically or warping them subtly: she might alter a light-bulb so that it burns red, twist a mirror to reflect a rotting corpse, transform water into blood, change the song on a radio so that the singer encourages the listener to perform depraved, sadistic acts, or cause a portrait to alter its expression.  Finally, Abyzou can unhinge her jaws and swallow victims whole, though this ability is taxing and gives her heart-burn.  After devouring an individual, Abyzou absorbs all of their memories.

Something of an imp, Abyzou has a cruel sense of humour and is a source of both amusement and constant annoyance for Tenebrae staff.  So long as she is provided a steady stream of horror movies, comic books, and gruesome snacks (sheep’s eyeballs, rotting cow’s livers, fried baluts, KFC Double Downs, etc), Abyzou causes minimal trouble.  If the market was out of offal and Blood Feast II: All You Can Eat – or whatever esoteric film Abby wanted to see that day – was unavailable, however, Abyzou gets bored.  Inevitably, little things start to go awry at this point.  Files of data and official memos suddenly proliferate with horrifically obscene adjectives.  Desk photographs of family members appear decapitated.  Ringtones change to piercing human screams.  The endings of the novels in the staff lounge change so that all of the characters brutally murder one another.  To punish such transgressions, members of the staff have begun carrying around small water pistols filled with holy water; when they see Abby on the prowl, looking for mischief, they spray the demoness as one would a misbehaving cat scratching the furniture.  The only Tenebrae agent to take a shining to Abyzou is Pareidolia, who seems to sense in the demoness something of a kindred spirit, though the two have something of a love/hate relationship.  Abby also adopts an extremely obsequious, sycophantic attitude around Endgame, referring to the reformed-Antichrist as “Your Unholiness,” “Your Beastliness,” and “Lord Endbringer.”

« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 04:16:49 PM by Steerpike » Logged


Spawn of Ungoliant
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 04:27:01 PM »

Roster Continued

Evil Eye

Formerly one of the Department of Preternatural Investigation’s top agents, Warren Chapel had a long and successful career as a U.S. Army Ranger and Delta Force Operator, followed by a stint as a member of S.H.R.O.U.D. (Special Hazard Response, Occult Undercover Division) before the D.P.I. recruited him.  A superb sniper and saboteur, he was selected for a special project in which his left eye was removed and replaced with an eye plucked from the head of a captured Gorgon.  The implantation was a success and so Warren became Evil Eye, capable of instantly ossifying the organic tissues with a glance.  With the aid of a long-range scope, this allowed him to deal death at an immense distance, although it also necessitated his constant use of sunglasses in the field, or a specially warded contact lens when not on a mission.  Using his ability and his well-honed skills as an assassin and infiltrator he assisted the Department in tracking down and eliminating dozens of demons, warlocks, psionicists, rogue preterhumans, extradimensional creatures, and other entities (though his eye has no effect on non-organic beings, such as ghosts, or those with the appropriate talismans); D.P.I. magi were even able to mystically restore several life-forms ossified by his gaze in order to study them further.

Though a staunch patriot and devotedly loyal agent, Warren gradually became disillusioned with the methods and goals of the D.P.I.  Things came to a head during the Millennium Diabolicide when the D.P.I. attempted to purge St. Lazarus of all demonic life-forms, including humans with demonic ancestry.  After refusing to dispose of a half-succubus child Evil Eye was temporarily suspended pending further investigation and likely disciplinary action.  Disgusted by the actions of his superiors, Evil Eye went rogue.  When he failed to attend his disciplinary hearing the D.P.I. sent out a team of agents to bring the AWOL agent back, led by fellow enhanced agent Devil Dog, but Evil Eye managed to evade them despite his former comrade-in-arms’ heightened tracking abilities.  While the D.P.I. agents continued their search Evil Eye contacted the Tenebrae himself (a feat few have ever managed) and offered them his services.

Evil Eye is a tall, powerfully built man of African American descent, with several prominent scars from knives and bullet-wounds and a series of pentacle tattoos on his arms signifying his “occult kills.”  His Gorgon-eye is bloodshot and discoloured, with a crimson, faintly luminous iris.  Though one of the few members of the Tenebrae at all close with Hel – who seems to admire his consummate professionalism – he is still distrusted by some of his team-mates, especially Spriggan and Pareidolia, who suspects him of being a D.P.I. mole sent to keep tabs on the Tenebrae (she also resents the fact he managed to circumvent her anonymity wards and get a message into the Sepulchre).  Apart from being a top-notch assassin and espionage agent Evil Eye also picked up a few arcane tricks during his time at S.H.R.O.U.D. and the D.P.I., and is capable of dispelling a variety of charms and glamers, magically enhancing his stealth capabilities, and performing similarly minor occult feats.  His weapon of choice is a highly customized M40A5 bolt-action sniper rifle (loaded with blessed, silver, or warded bullets as required).  He uses his Gorgon eye only reluctantly, but is highly adept with it when required, able to dispatch a roomful of men with a glance.


Lamia

The daughter of the paranoid schizophrenic, and witch Zelia Moon, Lamia was born in the early twentieth-century, though her appearance has remained virtually identical since her induction into the organization, a side-effect of her abilities.  Zelia Moon was a member of the notorious Ouroboros Coven, a group linked to the worship of a variety of dark gods and elder-beings who have been frequent foes of the Tenebrae throughout its tenure in St. Lazarus.  She was stripped of her powers by the Tenebrae and placed in Belladonna Sanatorium, but eventually managed to escape the institution, tearing out the throat of an orderly when he attempted to sedate her and badly injuring a doctor before making her way into the nearby woods of Casket River Valley.  For days before her escape she raved about an entity she called the “Father of Serpents” or “Snake Daddy,” claiming she would become the creature’s bride.  A thorough search was conducted for Zelia but turned up nothing, until her exsanguinated corpse was discovered nine months later, floating down the Casket River, pregnant, with discoloured puncture marks on her neck and breasts suggesting snake-bites.  Zelia’s corpse was fished from the water by some of the inhabitants of the valley, one of whom felt something squirm inside the cadaver.  Lamia was delivered by a local midwife through an emergency caesarian section, though the midwife nearly dropped the hissing, fanged infant in horror – Lamia was born with a number of grotesque deformities including scaly skin, slitted reptilian eyes, prominent fangs, and a forked tongue.

Sold to a travelling freak show by the unscrupulous locals who delivered her, Lamia had an unorthodox upbringing but did manage to find some measure of acceptance amongst the human oddities of the circus, being advertised by the carnival as “Serpent Girl.”  During her adolescence, however, she began experiencing night terrors and mood swings – symptoms most chalked up to puberty.  During one act, however, she was overcome with a sudden, insatiable thirst; she seized a child in the audience and clamped her fangs to the boy’s neck, draining him of blood in second.  As others rushed to intervene she fixed them with a strange stare that held them transfixed.  After drinking her fill she regained full control of herself and realized, to her horror, what she had done, then fled the scene of the crime and home of fourteen years.

For the next two decades Lamia wandered, disguising herself as best she could and feeding on animals as much as possible; when the thirst for human blood became overwhelming she would seek out the most depraved and vicious criminals she could find and slake her terrible thirst.  Legends proliferated of the Serpent Woman or Bloodsucker, and various agencies and societies began investigating the string of killings Lamia left in her wake.  Fortunately it was the Tenebrae who found her first, providing her with medicines to control her dark cravings.  She became an avid member of the team, using her powers to combat occult threats, finding a home amongst the strange, variegated group.  Having become an introverted, antisocial, distrustful woman, she slowly began to let down her guard, becoming gradually less withdrawn.

With the introduction of Cruor to the Tenebrae, Lamia found love for the first time.  The haemokinetic possesses the ability to rapidly replenish his blood supply and purge his system of blood-born poisons instantly, and so Lamia is able to feed on him without fear of hurting him; though their romance might seem unorthodox (Lamia is now nearly a century old, while Cruor is barely out of his twenties), their relationship is hardly the strangest to be found in the annals of the Tenebrae.


Mollusc

The creature known as Mollusc is of extraterrestrial origin but has spent most of the last aeon sleeping underneath St. Lazarus.  It was accidentally awakened from its slumber by the Scions of Hyperborea during one of their expeditions into the caverns beneath St. Lazarus, and managed to kill the Neo-Nazi lich Totenkompf (of course, the undead necromancer later re-formed) before being driven away by the dreaded Black Sun.  Scorched and confused, the ancient entity fled the tunnels for the surface, where it began wreaking havoc in St. Lazarus itself.  Fortunately the Tenebrae were able to capture the creature before it did serious damage; after some time, they managed to learn to communicate with the being, and eventually the entity joined the Tenebrae as a true agent.  Mollusc is a member of an ancient race, the Eld, who once dwelt on earth long before the evolution of humans, but were slaughtered in great numbers by rival colonists, which it calls the Usurpers (now, apparently, long gone).  Those few Eld who survived the massacre fled into underground sanctuaries and entered a state of hibernation.  Mollusc is unsure if any others of its ilk survive or whether it is the last of its kind, at least on earth.

With slimy, membranous skin, a clutch of tentacles sprouting from its scalp, bulbous, squid-like eyes, an obscenely long, barbed tongue, a pair of leathery wings, and six limbs fully prehensile, Mollusc is obviously inhuman, and so must be cloaked by a glamer whenever it leaves the Sepulchre.  The very sight of the creature has been known to unhinge some, although the Tenebrae – who encounter oddities and bizarre creatures with regularity – are thoroughly immured to this effect.  Even when Mollusc is glamered it exudes a noxious stench, one which severely perturbs animals.  With effort, however, it can use its scent-glands to intensify its malodorous secretions, nauseating those nearby.  Fully amphibious, Mollusc must take a long bath every day or begin to dry out and weaken.  If deprived of water for an extended period, Mollusc secretes a mucilaginous coating and cocoons itself, entering a state of suspended animation (identical to the one in which the Scions discovered it).  Apart from its great strength and agility, flight, tentacles, and often lethal tongue, Mollusc is extremely knowledgeable about prehistory and certain items of ancient lore; it is familiar, for example, with the dreaded Formless Ones (one of which inhabits the Sinistral Institute director, the creature known as Alienist) and with a variety of primordial technologies.  Its inhuman memory is flawless, and its intellect is far above that of a human; it is able to perform extremely complex calculations very rapidly.

Since becoming one of the Tenebrae it has taken an intense interest in modern history and science.  After the previous Tenebrae librarian, Chiaroscuro, was killed while on a mission, Mollusc took over as the organization’s librarian, flitting from shelf to shelf in the Sepulchre’s extensive archive.  Calm, cerebral, and inscrutable, Mollusc often finds human behaviour, society, and emotion confusing.


Fetish

A powerful priestess and sacred prostitute of Ishtar (also known as Inanna and Astarte), ancient goddess of sex and violence, Fetish – or Mistress Delacroix as she is known in civilian life – has been gifted with the power to mentally dominate others who have been lulled into servitude by her aura of lust, a preternatural attractiveness that proves irresistible to those of either gender.  Though Fetish can suppress the ability if she wishes, when activated those able to see her become enthralled, obeying her every command; only powerful otherworldly beings or those of exceptional willpower are able to resist her.  Once an enslaved thrall moves out of Fetish’s presence, her domination ceases to be effective.  By looking into a mortal’s eyes, she can know whatever they desire most.  All of these abilities are fuelled by her sexual activities as a courtesan of Ishtar.  Having spent years as a dominatrix before becoming one of the Tenebrae, she also possesses a whip blessed by Ishtar which she can elongate to fantastic lengths and which, when looped around an enemy’s neck or limbs, can constrict so powerfully that it cuts through flesh and bone.  She is highly skilled in an ancient form of martial art known only by the cult of Ishtar, a form of battle-dance.

A strong but easily angered woman, Fetish can be cruel and vindictive.  She first became involved with the Tenebrae after an incident involving the succubus Madame Meridiana, who was using her Petite Mort Escort Service as a means of collecting the souls of hapless johns, using the captured energy to establish her own “franchise” of Hell on earth.  Instructed by her goddess to cast out the Succubus – who posed a threat to the cult of Ishtar’s own empire of lust, her control of the occult energies generated by the desires of those in St. Lazarus – she helped the Tenebrae bring down Madame Meridiana and her daughters, banishing the succubi back to the Abyss.  Ishtar later told Fetish to join the Tenebrae themselves, to help guard the city against further threats to her power.

Physically Fetish is tall, statuesque, of partially Arabic descent.  Her skin is covered with cuneiform tattoos, and she has a wide selection of ceremonial robes and bondage gear, her garb often combining the two; her chambers in the Sepulchre resemble a classic BDSM dungeon and an ancient Mesopotamian temple.  She continues to run her own club, the House of Heaven, whose employees are mostly also cultists of Ishtar.  The feud between Hel and Fetish is notorious.  The Norse goddess considers Ishtar a “vulgar deity” and openly mocks her religion as the faith of harlots, while also noting that Fetish’s loyalties are divided.  Fetish, meanwhile, taunts Hel for being a washed-up goddess while her own deity, though much-diminished from her days of glory, retains her celestial seat and is still able to grant her followers power.  Of course, Hel is unaffected by Fetish’s powers.


Endgame

The Antichrist, prophesied to play a crucial part in the end of the universe, Endgame (“Evan” to his friends) was taken into the care of the Tenebrae after they plucked him from the den of a demon-worshipping during the chaos of the Millennium Diabolicide.  Identifiable by the “Mark of the Beast” on the back of his neck, Endgame has a resentful attitude towards his supposed destiny, steadfastly rejecting the role thrust upon him.  Raised by the Tenebrae, he spent much of his childhood in the Sepulchre learning to control his inborn powers.  First and foremost, Endgame can wield the power of deception: lies he tells are preternaturally convincing, and though truly outrageous or absurd lies can still be seen through and disbelieved, normal mortals are naturally predisposed to believe anything Endgame tells them.  Secondly, Endgame has a pronounced tendency to bring out the worst in people: when Endgame is nearby, those around him are more likely to give in to their darker impulses, to ignore their consciences, and to become more aggressive, hateful, and generally antisocial.  With a great deal of practice, Endgame has learned to moderate or tune this effect; when he wishes, however, he can unleash the full extent of this ability, causing all but the purest around him to degenerate into violent, boundlessly cruel brutes.  Finally, he can call upon his dark heritage to temporarily assume the form of the Beast, a hulking demoniac monstrosity with a multitude of heads, eyes, horns, wings, and hooves able to breathe hellfire and unleash terrible destruction.  Reverting to his normal form, however, is extremely draining, leaving Endgame exhausted.

At seventeen years of age, Endgame is barely old enough to be considered a true Tenebrae operative, and must always be accompanied by other members during patrols.  With long, black hair and a somewhat pasty complexion, nothing about his appearance immediately betrays his infernal power; he looks like any other teenager, and his tendency to sullenness, petty rebellion, and social awkwardness only adds to his illusion.  Endgame spends most of his time cooped up in his room in the Sepulchre playing video-games and listening to industrial rock (he dislikes overtly “Satanic” music, however).  Various Tenebrae have home-schooled him in a variety of subjects, including a wide range of occult topics.  He nurses a severe crush on Hel.

Were Endgame to ever embrace his heritage fully and undergo the diabolic rites necessary for him to take up his mantle as Endbringer, his powers would be greatly magnified.  The Whore of Babylon – better known by her modern moniker, the Babe – has attempted to seduce Endgame to the side of darkness on several occasions, hoping to restore him to his full status as an infernal messiah.  The D.P.I. have also tried to capture Evan, while the vigilante Reverend Gibbet and the fanatic known as Pentecost both want him dead.  Because of this plethora of factions and individuals after him, Endgame was forced to lead a sheltered existence within the Tenebrae’s sanctum, and has few friends his own age, the closest being Cruor.


Quadra

The woman once known as Teresa Racht (Tessa to her friends) was a child prodigy in mathematics, gaining a full scholarship to the University of St. Lazarus at the young age of fourteen, and graduating six years later with a double PhD in mathematics and theoretical physics with research concentrations in fractal geometry and quantum mechanics.  While her talents gained her much attention, they ended up translating into few real opportunities: her young age, brash, borderline arrogant demeanor, painfully honest mode of speech, and somewhat slovenly appearance resulted in a distinct lack of employment.  On the other hand, due to her great talent and diverse skill set, she gained the attention of the Tenebrae, who had no qualms about her eccentricities – compared to some of their members, such things were mild.  Young Tessa was all too eager to have real work, and quite engaging challenges at that.  They frequently contracted her to tackle esoteric mathematical problems relating to the possibility of parallel universes and higher dimensions. At this time, she was but an interesting and talented human, so they did not tell her the true nature of their organization, and she did not ask too many questions.

Teresa has a genius-level intellect, and despite the Tenebrae’s desire to keep her in the dark concerning some of the implications of the problems they presented her with, she began to realize what the data she was working with meant and began doing experiments of her own.  During one such ill-fated experiment, however, Tessa received what should have been a lethal dose of entropic radiation – directly to her face no less.  It was only through the timely intervention of the Tenebrae that she was not killed, as the organization had planted monitoring wards throughout her apartment.  Initially, it was thought she had been blinded, but in actuality, she had gained a higher degree of sight, her eyes warped by the entropic energies and gaining extradimensional perception.  She struggled with it at first, suffering frequent migraines, but she eventually came to master her new perception, as well as the other abilities that came with it.  Out of a sense of loyalty and gratitude, or perhaps simply lacking anywhere else to go, she became a full member of the Tenebrae, now known as Quadra.

Quadra could certainly be called cute, but she could also certainly be called slight, pale, and often rather unkempt – a scruffy waif.  Her eyes are actually hyperspheres, and seem to perpetually shimmer and change color from blue to purple to orange and back again; when she needs to go out in public, she frequently keeps them hidden behind large sunglasses, regardless of the time of day.  Although not overtly antisocial, she has deep resentment of authority, and tends to be easily distracted by “interesting” intellectual challenges, completely unrelated to any mission at hand.  Teresa’s office in the Sepulchre is unusual, to the say the least, organized in a way that only makes sense to her.  Her filing system violates most of the laws of physics as most would perceive them, and her desk is usually covered in elaborate towers of mathematical and scientific publications, unfolded polychora, origami animals, and various objects that have been displaced into the fourth dimension giving them strange and disturbing shapes.  These intricate towers seem impossibly precarious, but Quadra insists this is only due to the limits of three-dimensional perception and that they are in fact “quite stable.”  Her closest friends among the Tenebrae are probably Miasma, who cared for her during her convalescence, and Mollusc, whom she finds fascinating and questions ad nauseum, claiming its body is “fascinating” (Mollusc itself finds her attentions rather flattering and slightly unnerving).  Quadra has something of a professional rivalry with Pareidolia, finding the chaos witch’s methodologies highly suspect; the two do occasionally collaborate, but such cooperation is fleeting.

Quadra was created by sparkletwist.

Sabbatarian

One of the oldest human Tenebrae, Sabbatarian is a seasoned vampire-hunter who was recruited into the organization decades ago, and has risen to a position of considerable authority within the order’s loose hierarchy.  Gruff, curmudgeonly, and grim by nature, he remains a dedicated and capable agent despite his age and his afflictions, though he now spends most of his time within the Sepulchre itself, heading into the field only in extremely select circumstances.  Sabbatarian’s real name is unknown, and indeed the aged hunter speaks little of his past.  A black and white portrait of a woman (daughter, wife, or mother, none are sure) sits on his desk; some have speculated that the woman was killed by a vampire, leading him to undertake his life-long quest for vengeance against the creatures, but none know for certain.

Fifteen years ago, Sabbatarian was kidnapped by the vicious vampiric crime-boss known as Bloodbag, one of St. Lazarus’ kingpins of occult crime.  The Russian upyr tortured and mutilated him in the name of vengeance for all the vampires Sabbatarian had killed, chopping off several his fingers and one of his ears and permanently crippling his left leg.  As a final act of torment Bloodbag sired Sabbatarian, infected him with the vampiric pathogen in order to Turn him.  The old warrior managed to escape his imprisonment, fighting his way out of Bloodbag’s “dacha” in the outskirts of St. Lazarus, but by then it was too late: the Turning had begun.  He managed to return to the Sepulchre in time to receive treatment, forestalling his full transformation.  A steady battery of blessed saline and specially formulated drugs keeps Sabbatarian from Turning completely and becoming a bloodsucking monster, the very thing he hates the most.  The vampiric virus has changed him to a degree, however, endowing him with greater physical strength at night, a limited healing factor (insufficient to regenerate damage to his limbs, fingers, or ear but enough to heal flesh wounds rapidly), and fangs, which he usually keeps filed down (they regrow after a few hours).  He is also highly sensitive to sunlight and can cross running water only with difficulty; similarly, he can enter homes uninvited, but it takes an act of great willpower to do so.

Physically, Sabbatarian looks like a particularly pale, gaunt man of elder years, with a well-trimmed white beard and hair and bloodshot, slightly red-tinged eyes.  His nails and canine teeth are noticeably longer than normal even though he cuts or files them daily.  He carries a heavy walking stick, the top of which can be detached to reveal a sharpened stake.  Though lame, he does not otherwise project an image of physical frailty, retaining a powerful build and a certain fluid grace unusual in one of such advanced years.  Due to the longevity his partial vampirism has imposed upon him Sabbatarian has an effectively unlimited lifespan, and though now in his early eighties he looks no older than his later fifties or early sixties at most.  Some claim that each year he looks slightly younger than the year before, as his vampirism slowly takes control.  He insist that if the Turning ever threatens to be completed he will stake himself.  Though skilled with a variety of weapons, he prefers an old crossbow loaded with wooden stakes modified for use as quarrels.

Closest with Mollusc, Antediluvian, Mandrake, and other senior members of the Tenebrae, Sabbatarian is interested in recruiting Revenant to the organization, but the undead vigilante has repeatedly refused the Tenebrae's entreaties.


Dogface

While stationed in Iraq with the 1st Infantry Brigade, Private Rosa Moreno and her squad were conducting a raid on a small village suspected of hiding weapons and insurgents when they stumbled on a rusting cache of weaponized Ghul-spoor, an abandoned alchemical arsenal.  Accidentally exposed to the eldritch substance, Rosa became infected, slowly transforming into a Ghul herself.  First came the kleptomania, a desire to steal coins and other small objects.  Then came the hunger – an insatiable craving for meat, for spoiled food, for carrion.  She began hoarding her rations, letting them putrefy slightly before eating them; frightened by her own compulsions she hid her afflictions from superiors.  Eventually her cannibalistic appetites grew too strong to resist; Rosa was discovered defiling a mass grave outside of Basra, gnawing on the bones of the dead and feasting on their decomposing flesh.  Dishonourably discharged, she returned to the States and eventually found herself on the streets of St. Lazarus, homeless, scrounging in trash-cans for food.  At this point her physical changes began to manifest, her canines elongating, hair growing in greater profusion, eyes darkening.  Her features became increasingly hyena-like, her laughter louder and more manic, her appetites more and more twisted.  Believing herself a sufferer of Gulf War syndrome, she became ever more despondent and desperate.

During her time on the streets, Rosa encountered the sinister being known as Cain, only narrowly avoiding death at the drunken demon-hunter’s hands, and also tangled with Verminous, Sepsis’ insectile avatar.  Rumours of her exploits eventually reached the ears of the D.P.I., who dispatched Devil Dog to hunt Rosa down, but the canny former soldier outwitted the werewolf, using her newly acquired skills of mimicry and disguise to slip his noose.  She was eventually discovered by the Tenebrae digging up corpses in the cemetery under which the Sepulchre is located.  Captured and brought in for questioning, Rosa learned the truth of her affliction for the first time – she was slowly becoming a Ghul, the degraded alchemical substance she’d been exposed to gradually doing its work.  With dead man’s blood and immune-boosters supplied by Miasma, Rosa has managed to control her transformation, much as Sabbatarian has forestalled his vampiric metamorphosis.  Finding a home for the first time since her discharge, Rosa adopted the name Dogface in honour of her former service and joined the Tenebrae.

With short, dark hair, several scars, and a freckled complexion, Dogface has a hard, seasoned look about her.  Her powers include the ability to mimic any voice with perfect accuracy and to assume the visage of anyone whose flesh she has eaten.  With enhanced scent and the ability to climb on walls with her long, claw-like nails, she is a highly mobile agent and makes an excellent tracker and skirmisher, having refined her already considerable skills as a marksman (preferring the use of a customized HK45 semiautomatic).  Despite her daily medications, Dogface is still filled with an insatiable desire to loot any corpse she comes across and to feed on the flesh of the slain.  Her closest friends in the Tenebrae include fellow veteran Evil Eye, who has taken the young woman under his wing, and Miasma, who must also deal with the permanence of her sickness on a daily basis.

Dogface was created by Superbright.

Antediluvian

One of the Watchers sent down to earth by the powers that be to stand vigil over humanity and inform the Heavenly authorities on the species’ doings, the angel Sathariel – now known more commonly as Antediluvian – fell from grace voluntarily, like the other Grigori, having become jaded with the totalitarianism of Heaven and enamoured with mankind, unwilling to simply observe humans from a distance and resolved to protect them from harm.  Banished to reside on the mortal plane forever in a state of self-imposed exile, Antediluvian has been a foe to both angels and demons alike: the former seek out rebel angels like Sathariel to put an end to their insubordination, while the latter, in their ceaseless attempts to corrupt mortals, frequently run afoul of humanity’s shadowy angelic protectors.   Cain, also, seeks out such beings to destroy in hopes of purchasing his way back into Heaven’s good graces.  Having worked as a lone vigilante for centuries, Antediluvian was recruited to the Tenebrae some years past, finding in the order a group of like-minded individuals for the most part devoted to shielding humanity from harm rather than controlling or suborning them - though his choice to join was influenced by conflict with his half-angelic daughter, Catechism.

Physically, Antediluvian appears as a handsome human of indeterminate ethnicity, with piercing golden eyes, a leanly muscular build, and a mass of unkempt silvery hair.  Years of fighting and hard living have left him scarred and weather-beaten; though ageless, he is exceptionally grizzled-looking.  He can manifest his wings when he wishes, though such an action tears his clothing if he fails to disrobe beforehand.  His halo, likewise, is usually kept hidden, but it becomes faintly visible whenever he uses his powers.  He typically scorns the Tenebrae uniform in favour of a battered leather jacket, jeans, and wife beater.  As a Watcher, he can sense the moral intent of anyone by looking into their souls, and he can detect those being possessed or otherwise influenced by demonic forces.  His touch is anathema to Hellspawn, and he has the power to transform water into holy water, and to bless weapons with a touch.  These abilities have made him an especially valuable asset to the Tenebrae.

Despite his angelic nature, Antediluvian is no saint.  Like many of his Watcher ilk he has succumbed to the pleasures of the flesh, and indeed, he has acquired a reputation as something of a rake, seemingly favouring neither gender exclusively.  He has had several children in his time, but most died long ago.  His only living offspring is the Nephilim daughter Dove, code-named Catechism, herself a valiant warrior who uses her quasi-angelic powers to fight against evil; for a time the two worked side by side, Antediluvian training his daughter extensively, but Catechism became increasingly dogmatic, intolerant of all those she considered tainted by darkness – even those who had reformed their ways or strove to do no evil.  It was during a hunt for one such creature, the cambion Tenebrae Badseed, that the two parted ways – Catechism slew the young half-fiend in cold blood, over her father’s protestations.  Antediluvian joined the Tenebrae shortly after to help right the wrong his daughter had wrought.

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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2013, 04:28:01 PM »

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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 04:28:33 PM »

Rogues' Gallery

Voracious

Renowned archaeologist Josiah Blackwood was once the world’s leading expert on certain primordial human civilizations from the dawn of human history until he disappeared on an archaeological expedition in the tunnels below St. Lazarus, along with the rest of his team.  The official account – that the disappearance was due to a spelunking accident – was partially correct: such an accident did occur after a minor cave-in trapped Blackwood and his team in the tunnels.  What the newspapers didn’t know was that three members of the expedition, including Blackwood, survived the collapse for many days and in fact continued their exploration of the tunnels, unearthing evidence of an ancient, subterranean city beneath the modern metropolis above, fulfilling Blackwood’s wildest hopes and confirming suspicions he had long held but hadn’t dared advance to the scientific community.  Trapped underground in the ruinous catacombs of a primeval society, the team-members slowly began to starve.  When one of them was killed in a fall while desperately attempting to reach the surface, the other two were faced with a horrific opportunity to survive.  Blackwood’s surviving team-mate, unable to cannibalize one of his colleagues, shot himself in the darkness below the city.  Blackwood, alone and terribly hungry and still intent on bringing knowledge of the tunnels to the upper world, forced himself to consume the bodies of his team-members.

While sleeping in the lightless depths of the catacombs, the taste of human blood still on his tongue, Blackwood had a horrible nightmare in which he wandered a snowy waste while fell voices shrieked and gibbered on the wind.  Reaching an icy lake, he looked down upon the surface and saw not his own reflection but a monstrous, fanged creature, gaunt and emaciated, with a skeletal, animalistic visage, tattered lips, and eyes glowing with an awful hunger.  When Blackwood awoke, his belly growled and rumbled, but he was filled with great strength and renewed vitality.  Mustering his energy, Blackwood managed to climb back out of the caverns, but by the time he reached the surface the pain in his stomach was unbearable, and a terrible lust for human flesh filled him.  The first person he saw on the surface – a vagrant wandering the wintry streets of St. Lazarus and begging for change – became his first victim.  But the man’s flesh did nothing to sate Blackwood’s hunger; it only made it worse.  Now little more than a frenzied beast, Blackwood prowled the streets of St. Lazarus devouring whomever he came across.  With each killing he became more and more bestial, as the Wendigo spirit that had possessed him in the tunnels grew stronger.  Soon no trace of his former identity remained: he appeared as a huge, hairy animal, all fangs and wild hair, emaciated and reeking of carrion.  The Wendigo that was once Blackwood made a lair for itself in an abandoned building and began a string of serial killings that plunged the city into terror.

When the Tenebrae tracked the Wendigo to its lair the creature quickly put Spriggan out of action and devoured the draugar Hel sent its way.  It was Mandrake who took the beast down, wrestling it to the ground and disabling it with a paralyzing screech.  After falling unconscious the creature once more became Josiah Blackwood, bloodied but alive.  But before the Tenebrae could get Blackwood back to a secure holding cell, the D.P.I. burst into the Wendigo’s lair with guns blazing.  The team was forced to beat a quick retreat or be captured themselves, and Blackwood fell into the Department’s hands.  Code-named Voracious by the Tenebrae, Blackwood now languishes in a government holding facility, though given the feds’ track record with containment, it’s only a matter of time before he gets out again to resume his rampage.


Cain

Thought by some to be the primordial murderer of legend, Cain is an immortal – cursed with everlasting life, invulnerable and ageless.  Whether or not his origins are truly Biblical, Cain has wandered the world for many millennia; though he has found occasional solace in the arms of mortal women, he has watched all who he loved die, one way or another.  Ancient scars are still visible on his brow; any who strikes Cain activates the Mark, bringing upon themselves instant retribution – their own blow is instantly replicated on their own body.  Any wound Cain is given heals at a fantastic rate: if some part of Cain survives on even a molecular level he will eventually regenerate.  He cannot starve or die of thirst, is immune to all disease, and cannot drown.

Over the long centuries, Cain has come to long desperately for death.  In an attempt to redeem himself and find the peace he seeks, Cain walks the Earth in search of Heaven’s enemies.  Demons, of course, are his favourite prey: he has a hound-like patience and a thousand lifetimes of experience in hunting and in fighting (Cain is adept with almost any weapon, and can often be seen with a rusted shopping cart full of them), and with his virtual invincibility he is almost always victorious in combat.  By exiling demons back to the Abyss - essentially working as Hell’s parole officer - Cain hopes to eventually cleanse his soul and so be granted death.  His targets are not only demonic, however: he has also been known to track down other threats, including monsters, fey, rogue deities, mutants, extraterrestrials, and all other manner of creature.  Though he has worn many guises over his life, Cain is mostly commonly mistaken for a vagrant.  Grizzled and dark-eyed, Cain is thoroughly mad, and has been known to spend years locked in one of his ‘black moods,’ staring at brick walls in catatonia or gibbering in an antediluvian tongue.  Other times he is more stable, albeit grim and eccentric, with a black sense of humour and a propensity for anachronistic references.  He is an extreme alcoholic, sometimes going on weeks-long binges, and occasionally uses other drugs as well – unable to overdose or permanently damage his brain or other organs, he can abuse such substances with relative impunity.

While Cain has sometimes proved an ally to the Tenebrae, often-times his goals have been at odds with the organization, and frequently he sees operatives as threats in and of themselves.  Fortunately, Cain doesn’t limit his wanderings to St. Lazarus, but he has a habit of showing up in town just when things are at their most fragile, providing an additional complication just when the Tenebrae least need one.  He has a particular enmity with Abyzou, whom he has sent back to the Abyss on multiple occasions.  The demoness has temporarily defeated the demon-hunter herself several times over the centuries (including one memorable time when she had him confined in an oubliette in medieval Normandy), and she may be responsible for at least some of Cain’s madness.

It has been speculated that the only way for Cain to be destroyed is by his own hand, though obviously this theory is unconfirmed.


Gun-Bunny

St. Lazarus’ most colourful mercenary and assassin, Gun-Bunny is a young woman who sold her soul to the demon Abaddon in exchange for superhuman proficiency with firearms of all kinds.  Though skilled with virtually any barreled weapon, she prefers the use of her two scratch-built fully automatic machine pistols, Rack and Ruin, with which she is capable of truly spectacular feats or marksmanship, including remarkable trick shots (deflecting other bullets in mid-air, ricocheting bullets around corners, etc).  In addition to her unerring accuracy she can reload her weapons with shocking speed.  She displays a maniacal enthusiasm for her trade, often laughing uproariously during combat (when she isn’t sipping from her hip flask or chewing gum).  Unlike more precise killers-for-hire she invariably eschews the stealthy approach and usually causes grotesque amounts of collateral damage in addition to eliminating her intended target, relying on her enhanced reflexes to avoid enemy gunfire or other attacks.  When employers have pointed out that with her remarkable marksmanship she could pursue a more minimalistic strategy, she simply shrugs.  As a result of her bloody escapades she is notorious in St. Lazarus and has remained at the top of the SLPD’s most wanted list for several years.  She has been both an ally and an enemy of the Tenebrae at different times, depending on her current employer.

Physically, Gun-Bunny is an attractive woman in her early twenties with hair dyed bubble-gum pink, often styled in two pigtails.  Occasionally she wears roller skates.  She speaks with a heavy valley girl accent and occasionally speaks of her home “back out west,” likely implying a Californian background.  When pressed for her real name she has, at various times, identified herself with the names Candice, Cagney, and Kendra.  Considering herself already damned, she indulges in a wide variety of hedonistic behaviour, often with the aid of the excessive amounts of cash she charges for her services.  Extremely promiscuous and openly bisexual, she is a frequent patron of dance clubs in St. Lazarus’ Razortown such as Banshee, Writhe, and Original Sin, as well as the numerous raves that tend to crop up in abandoned warehouses in the Midden, often accompanied by the half-incubus Blaspheme, her on-again off-again boyfriend.  She insists that she shoots better when drunk and often takes a pull from a hip flask in the midst of battle.

During her bloody tenure in St. Lazarus she has accrued an alarming body count, recently passing the one-thousand mark.  Her most impressive job to-date is probably her slaughter of the Red Fang Gang, a large gang of lycanthropes, at the behest of the Koroviev Crime Family.  To date she has never refused a job if the payment was sufficient, has never been successfully arrested, and has never failed to dispatch her target.  When asked why she sold her soul Gun-Bunny claims that she was bored and found a spell for summoning Abaddon written in the margins of her high-school math textbook; conjuring the demon seemed more interesting than solving differential equations.  She claims to have hand-made Rack and Ruin in her father’s garage.


Cromlech

The undead arch-druid called Cromlech is the son of the legendary wizard Merlin and the witch Nimue.  Through his father he has demonic blood; through his mother he bears the blood of the Fomoire, signified by the long antlers protruding from his brow, although he has been known to keep them shorn down in order to remain circumspect.  During a Norse raid on Ireland during the ninth century Cromlech was slain, killed by a Viking axe that sundered his skull in two.  His followers buried his body in a stone chamber tomb, while his soul passed into the Otherworld.  Here he struck a bargain with the Horned God, Crom Cruach, who returned him to life in exchange for his service.  For each human sacrifice Cromlech is able to offer, the Horned God would enhance his dark powers and grant him further tenure in the mortal world. Upon returning to the mortal world, however, Cromlech discovered that centuries had passed – time flows at different rates in the Otherworld.  His body had been plundered from its tomb and placed in a touring museum exhibit at the St. Lazarus Archaeological Museum.  Breaking free of the display case, Cromlech proceeded to murder several security staff before fleeing into the depths of the city.  Though bewildered by the modern world, he quickly began a campaign of terror in St. Lazarus, ritually murdering citizens in a bid to claim the city for the Horned God.  The Tenebrae managed to thwart his ambitions at considerable cost, losing the agent known as Husk in the process.

Cromlech remained in Tenebrae custody for some years, but during the Beltane Breakout he escaped, forming an alliance with the creature Tommy Rawhead and the fungal horror Graveolent, fellow-inmates in the Sepulchre, to engineer an escape attempt which resulted in the single greatest security breach in Tenebrae history and led to the release of dozens of demons, Unseelie fey, eldritch abominations, and other creatures – using his Druidic abilities he was able to enhance the power of the rogue fey and the shambolic fungal creature, allowing them to overcome the wards on their cells and break out of the Sepulchre.  Cromlech now remains at large, certain to be plotting his revenge and devising new ways to serve his dark god.  He bears a particular enmity with Hel, who he associates with the Vikings who originally slew him.

Cromlech appears as a skeletal figure with antlers growing from his skull; his empty eye sockets flicker with an eldritch greenish light.  He typically goes robed (sometimes shearing his antlers) to avoid detection.  He prefers the use of a scythe in combat and is very skilled in its use, able to decapitate and dismember foes with ease.  Cromlech’s magickal talents are many and varied; not only does his demonic kinship grant him a degree of infernal puissance, his devotion to the Horned God has earned him many dark gifts, including the ability to call forth fey creatures from the Otherworld and compel them to his service, to manipulate the weather and the natural elements, to bind plants and animals to his will.  Sunlight weakens him and inhibits many of his powers, and holy water burns his flesh; holy symbols can keep him at bay, though Celtic and other pagan symbols have no effect, and Christian symbols are the most effective, particularly of St. Patrick and St. Brigit.


Horripilation

A depraved serial killer with a preference for children, Horripilation is perhaps especially terrifying because he is completely “ordinary” – he has no supernatural talents, no magick, no occult abilities, no otherworldly heritage whatsoever.  When the Tenebrae first encountered the monstrous clown they assumed he must be possessed, or perhaps some form of fear-feeding energy vampire, or an eldritch abomination using the form of a heavily muscled clown as a guise.  None of these suppositions, as it turned out, were correct: no demon or elder god motivates the hideous deeds he carries out, no phantom or alien parasite pulls his strings.  The urges he feels and acts upon, it seems, come wholly from himself.  True, Horripilation displays a level of guile that borders on the preternatural, and his skills in the construction of diabolical traps are ingenious, but his abilities are entirely those of a mundane mortal.  His origins are obscure and uncertain, but he seems to have once been a circus employee, Harris Blake (possibly an alias), responsible for the maintenance of rides in the now-closed Spinetingle Amusement Park – though nothing in his employment record would seem to foreshadow his murders.

A powerfully built man of indeterminate age with filed teeth and garish clown makeup, Horripilation’s modus operandi involves the construction of “Funhouses”: grotesque mazes he meticulously constructs in abandoned warehouses, derelict factories, forsaken housing projects, and other dilapidated buildings, of which St. Lazarus has no short supply.  These twisted constructions are filled with lethal traps – ball pits infested with spiders, starving rats, venomous snakes, and scorpions; a spinning disc that hurls riders against a spike-studded wall; jets that spurt flaming liquid; slides that deposit riders into vats of acid; animatronic animals that savage those who come too close.  Horripilation deposits the children he captures in such Funhouses, watching them through miniature video cameras scattered throughout the maze.  He then uploads this footage to various video hosting sites for “the public’s enjoyment.”  No child has ever survived till the end of a Funhouse, though some have been rescued by the authorities (and, occasionally, the Tenebrae) before being killed.

Horripilation has been caught several times and incarcerated, usually in the high-security ward of Belladonna Sanatorium, but he has always escaped, not hesitating to kill guards, orderlies, or other patients.  When interrogated about his motives he insist that he is simply “trying to bring a little more fun into everyone’s lives.”  An affable, even polite prisoner, he shows no remorse for his actions and claims to have given his victims “the experience of a lifetime,” but has proved somewhat susceptible to taunting and mockery, dropping his chivalrous, amiable façade and becoming aggressive and threatening, if only for brief periods.  He has few criminal associates save for the sinister mime-like entity Quiescence, some of whose gruesome performance-art pieces seem to be homages to Horripilation’s Funhouses.  When asked about the creature, the clown has declared the admiration mutual, calling her “a fellow artist.”  Several other copy-cat killers have attempted to replicate Horripilation’s methods; in each case they have turned up dead, apparently murdered by the clown himself (he has occasionally alluded to such imitators as “plagiarists”).

Though the Tenebrae generally dedicate themselves only to fighting occult threats, leaving non-preternatural crime to the SLPD and other “mundane” organizations, they have a particular grudge against Horripilation, as the clown is responsible for the death of three Tenebrae – Throwback, Chiaroscuro, and Black Scarab.  At the time of their deaths the Tenebrae still suspected Horripilation of being a preternatural entity, their most prominent theory being that his Funhouse murders were part of a ritual to summon the arch-demon Moloch, who demands child sacrifice.  Despite their powers – Throwback’s zoanthropic shape-shifting, Chiaroscuro’s shadow-magick, and Black Scarab’s entomopathy – all three fell prey to Horripilation’s traps.  As a result, they have made capturing Horripilation a priority despite his lack of eldritch ability.


Black Sun

Leader of the St. Lazarus chapter of the Neo-Nazi organization known as the Scions of Hyperborea – a splinter-sect of the Thule Society – Black Sun (or Schwarze Sonne, in German) is an uncompromising authoritarian who pursues his agenda with utter ruthlessness.  Created as one of the top-secret Nazi Übermenschen as one of the twelve Knights of the Death’s Head, he spent much of the later twentieth century cryogenically frozen in a bunker hidden under the ice in New Swabia, but was revived at the dawn of the new millennium by the Scions under the leadership of the Nazi necromancer Totenkopf.  Travelling to St. Lazarus following rumours that a gateway to the caverns of Hyperborea could be found beneath the city, and that certain ancient relics of tremendous power had a habit of surfacing in St. Lazarus, Black Sun has established himself as one of the major players in the city’s occult landscape.  Apart from pursuing these goals he and the Scions spend their time attacking so-called “degenerates” in St. Lazarus (Jews and other members of ethnic minorities, homosexuals, and others they consider “subhuman” or inferior), perpetrating horrific crimes, often as part of grotesque rituals.

During WWII Black Sun fought mostly on the eastern front as a member of the dreaded Einsatzgruppen, the murderous task-forces dispatched to implement the Final Solution during Operation Barbarossa.  Working alongside the hybrid horror Werwolf and fellow Death’s Head Knight  Blood Eagle under the direction of Totenkopf, Black Sun stalked through Poland and Russia, personally murdering hundreds and ordering the deaths of thousands more.  Infused with the chemical Vril, he developed potent preterhuman powers – specifically, a form of pyrokinesis.  Through concentration, Black Sun can create and manipulate lightless flames, enveloping himself in black fire or producing shadowy conflagrations.  He can also control existing fires, which turn black when he manipulates them.  Black Sun exhales flammable carbon monoxide gas (in the right circumstances, he can use his poisonous breath to asphyxiate his enemies).  In addition to these powers he has some skill with runic magick, using runes for matters of divination and in certain ceremonial rites, mostly carried out in the Scions’ secret base, the underground Führerbunker known as Wolfsschanze II in honour of Hitler’s eastern front headquarters.

Black Sun is physically formidable, with a muscular frame and an indomitable stare.  He typically wears heavy leather clothing (treated with flame retardants), highly reminiscent of classic S.S. garb.  He is completely hairless, all trace of hair having been burnt off his body.  Though in excellent physical condition he lost his left hand during a fight with a Soviet upyr.  In addition to being pyrokinetic he is a superb shot, wielding a Luger P08 usually loaded with ensorcelled incendiary rounds.  Though he has worked closely with Totenkopf, he and the lich have different approaches to esoteric Nazism, with the lich embracing a form Nazi Satanism and demonolotry with elements drawn from the Order of Nine Angles and Black Sun favouring racialized Nordic Neopaganism.  As such he has an intense reverence for Hel, and has tried to convince the goddess to leave the Tenebrae on several occasions.  Hel, for her part, has denounced Black Sun as a “worthless nithing.”  Black Sun has made few friends in St. Lazarus, though the Dvergar Dvalinn, when he can be roused, has been known to make weapons for the Scions.  He has a particularly strong enmity with the “bloodsucking Slavs” of the Koroviev Crime Family.  Black Sun is known to be especially interested in securing the spears of the Valkyries.


Revenant

A vigilante crime-fighter of the highest calibre, the undead police officer code-named Revenant was once Albrecht Craven, a homicide detective who was wrongfully convicted for the murder of his wife and children, cast as a madman and framed by his corrupt partner Derick Wallace, an officer in the pocket of the vampiric Koroviev Crime Family.  Sentenced to death, he was executed via the legendary electric chair “Juicy Jackie” and buried in the city’s cemetery.  Soon after being interred, however, Albrecht revived, clawing his way out of his own grave, returned to life apparently through the sheer desire for vengeance filling his cadaverous heart.  Some have pointed out that Albrecht’s death coincided with the traditional date of the Nemesaia, a festival honouring the goddess Nemesis, the personification of retribution; others claim that it was Juicy Jackie herself that imbued Albrecht with the spark of unlife, the deadly chair having become a manifestation of justice and righteous death after being used as an implement of execution for so many years.  Whatever the case, Revenant returned from the dead with only one desire – revenge against those who wronged him.

Revenant is a reanimated corpse, and his necrotic state is ready discernible – his skin is pale and grey, drawn tightly over bones, and he smells of embalming fluid and other preservatives.  However, he does not decompose as a normal corpse would.  He typically garbs himself in a heavy trenchcoat and a wide-brimmed hat to shadow his features.  His weapon of choice is a Magnum Research BFR with a rifle-length long cylinder enabling it to fire .50 Beowulf rounds.  Though this is a mundane weapon, Revenant rarely misses a shot.  He is preternaturally strong, and as an undead entity cannot be harmed by poison, disease, or similar weapons.  Mind-influencing powers usually have a negligible effect on him, and he has no need to breathe.  Normally lethal wounds, such as a direct shot to the head or other vitals, have no effect on him, barely slowing him down.  Holy water scorches his skin and sunlight (or powerful, artificial UV light) renders him weak and torpid.  Though disillusioned with the legal system and more than willing to kill when he believes an offender to deserve death, Revenant is capable of restraint and refuses to harm innocents.  For those he deems corrupt, however, Revenant is merciless, and is more than willing to use torture and extreme violence against those who dare to stand between him and justice.

Revenant’s hit-list includes all members of the Koroviev Crime Family, Derick Wallace, and the mysterious murderer who actually killed his family.  So far he has put Derick in the ground, along with several of the Korovievs.  However, Revenant does not confine his activities to those who wronged him specifically – in addition to seeking out and killing those who wronged him, he helps protect the streets of St. Lazarus from criminal threats both occult and mundane.  As a result he has had several run-ins with the Tenebrae.  Though the Tenebrae do not always approve of his methods, they often find themselves on the same side as the undead vigilante, though he has repeatedly refused offers of membership.  Despite the fairly amicable relationship between Revenant and the Tenebrae, he would not hesitate to use force against them if they were to obstruct his goals.


Devil Dog

One of the D.P.I.’s top field agents, Devil Dog (civilian name: Max Huger) is a former U.S. Marine, principally serving as a special operator, who was recruited by the D.P.I. following action in the Somali Civil War.  During his time at the D.P.I., Devil Dog volunteered for an experimental procedure to enhance D.P.I. talents, during which he was injected with a modified lycanthropic virus.  The experiment was mostly successful, transforming Devil Dog into a werewolf with full control over his powers, able to shift between human and lupine forms at will; however, he is still unable to prevent his transformation during the full moon (and is unable to shift back during a full moon), and though usually capable of holding back his bestial instincts they still sometimes get the better of him, urging him to feed on the flesh of fallen enemies.  Already a skilled tracker, Devil Dog now possesses preternaturally strong scent capabilities even when in human form.  Apart from his preternatural powers he is a superb soldier, accomplished leader, and skilled investigator.  What he lacks in subtlety and finesse he makes up for with efficiency and brute force.  

Physically, Devil Dog is a heavy-set, powerfully muscled man in his late thirties, of primarily Scandinavian descent (although he is, in fact, one quarter Apache, on his father’s side); as a side-effect of the lycanthropic virus in his system he is exceedingly hairy, though he keeps his hair shorn short (though he shaves with a straight razor every day, by noon he has a heavy stubble and by nightfall what looks like a week’s growth on his face).  He bears a number of scars from various wounds, as well as a “Semper Fidelis” tattoo on his back, an eagle, globe, and anchor on his right bicep, a bulldog on his left bicep, and an American flag on his chest.  When in his lycanthropic form he appears as a wolf-human hybrid with black fur, red eyes, and massive white fangs; in this form he is capable of either bipedal or quadruped locomotion, though he is faster on all fours.  While in his werewolf form he can shrug off almost any normal wound – only silver weapons can deal him permanent harm.  He can also preternaturally command the loyalty of other canine creatures, and often brings a pair of trained wolf-dog hybrids, Chesty and Daly, into the field with him.  Though he prefers to engage foes hand-to-hand he is capable with a variety of firearms and other weapons, preferring an M9 Beretta identical to those used in the Marine Corps.

Devil Dog is extremely patriotic and steadfastly loyal to the D.P.I.  He was appalled when Evil Eye, one of his closest associates in the Department, defected to the Tenebrae, and holds a grudge against the former operative.  He has made it his personal mission to track down the rogue agent, considering him a traitor of the worst variety.  An obedient and efficient agent, he does whatever it takes to get a job done.  Devil Dog played a central role in the Millennium Diabolicide, personally butchering hundreds of demon-blooded individuals during the government-sponsored purge of St. Lazarus.  He claims to feel no guilt for his actions – only pride.


Red Cap

The changeling code-named Red Cap – born Jamie Seehan – is the spawn of a Fear Dearg, a type of Irish goblin renowned for its violent pranks.  Raised as a human, Jamie didn’t discover his fey heritage for many years.  His parents were Patricia and Father Aidan Seehan, residents of the small town of Fuath’s Hollow in the Casket River Valley a few hours outside of St. Lazarus.  Baptist zealots, the pair found Jamie an unruly child, prone to mischief and rebellion, and so did their best to inculcate strong Christian morals in Jamie by any means necessary.  Jamie quickly learned to hate the Good Book nearly as much as his adoptive father’s belt – for Father Aidan Seehan knew his Proverbs by heart, knowing that he that spareth his rod hateth his son but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes, and that while foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.  When they found him idly torturing a stray dog or carving obscenities he should not have known into the floorboards his false parents would lock him for days in a small basement room with nothing but a Bible and a candle, providing him with just enough water to survive, letting him out only once he could recite passages by heart.  By thirteen, when Jamie was brought to his believer’s baptism, his back was a mass of scar tissue and his body was scrawny and undernourished.  When Jamie’s “father” thrust Jamie’s head into the murky water of the Casket River, something happened to the boy – a pent up rage, seething in his breast, was unleashed.  When he surfaced he was no longer Jamie Seehan: he had become Red Cap.

During his adolescence, Red Cap’s powers began to manifest themselves.  Both his parents started having nightmares and Patricia began sleepwalking, walking the streets of Fuath’s Hollow naked in the moonlight.  Wherever he went radios would flicker to life, spouting pagan prayers in a deep, unidentified voice.  Soon Aidan and Patricia began to blame their “son” for the strange events plaguing their household, his punishments only growing more severe.  One day, while sitting in the front row in church and staring at Adian as he gave a sermon, Red Cap fantasized about his father spouting blasphemies, describing pornographic acts of depravity and sin: then, inexplicably, Father Aidan began doing exactly as Jamie imagined, inciting his congregation to orgiastic acts, seemingly powerless to stop the torrent of lasciviousness spilling from his mouth.  When they returned home, they found that every Bible in the house had changed, the words on their pages subtly but undeniably transformed, the passages now slyly mocking God and advocating sin and excess.  Father Aidan grew irate, blaming Jamie for the changes, declaring that he’d been possessed.  Grabbing the boy he took him out behind the house to beat out the demon, but this time Red Cap refused to be punished.  Grabbing a garden hoe he turned on his “father” with preternatural strength, hurling him down and taking the rusty implement to Adian’s body, brutally dismembering and then decapitating him.  When Patricia rushed out of the house and discovered Jamie drenched in gore, holding Aidan’s head in one hand and the blood-stained hoe in the other, she screamed and fled, but tree-roots in the garden ripped themselves from the heathen earth and snared her ankles, pulling her to the ground.  Red Cap butchered her as well and loaded his parents’ pickup truck with the body parts of his abusers.  With Aidan’s key he broke into the church in Fuath’s Hollow and decorated the place with their viscera, draping the pews with their intestines and hammering their mismatched body parts to the central cross to form a headless hermaphrodite Christ.  Their heads he kept for himself as trophies.  After locking up the church again he drove out of Fuath’s Hollow and towards the city.

So began the bloody killing spree of Red Cap in St. Lazarus, a series of abominable serial murders and gruesome “practical jokes,” most of them targeting clergymen.  The SLPD found themselves stymied – the killer had left plenty of DNA, but it didn’t seem human, confounding every forensic analyst that examined it.  The D.P.I. became involved, but it was the Tenebrae who eventually tracked Red Cap down, using Hel’s criminological expertise to trace the changeling killer to his lair in the sewers of St. Lazarus.  The fey creature was incarcerated for a time in the high-security holding cells of the Sepulchre, but during the infamous Beltane Breakout he escaped Tenebrae containment along with many other captive extranormals.  He now remains at large, having evaded recapture consistently; it is only a matter of time before he strikes again.  Physically, Red Cap appears to man in his early twenties, short and very thing, with whitish-blond hair and reddish-brown eyes.  He favours dark red clothing and often fights with improvised weapons as well as Unseelie magick.


Sepsis

The being known as Sepsis is a creature of unknown origin but immense power.  Theories as to its genesis vary.  Some claim it to be the spawn of the Sinistral Institute, created when eldritch substances discarded in St. Lazarus’ sewers mingled and combined with the city’s effluvia.  Others argue the thing is an elemental spirit, a primeval manifestation of entropy and decay.  Still others insist the thing is an extraterrestrial intelligence, a servitor of the dread “Usurpers” that drove the Eld from earth in the planet’s prehistory.  Whatever the case, Sepsis is one of the most dangerous entities in the city.  Thankfully, it keeps mostly to the sewers and the tunnels under the Midden, preferring to use its “avatars” as its mouthpieces on the surface – the feverish Pyrexia, the entomopath Verminous, and the putrescent horror Tzaraath, humans Sepsis has granted its “Embrace” to.  Physically, Sepsis resembles a mass of animate muck, a roiling, oozing amorphousness composed of glistening blackish slime embedded with garbage and detritus; it is unclear whether the creature’s body is actually composed of waste or whether it simply picks up bits and pieces as it slithers through the tunnels.  Exuding malodorous gas, the creature rarely assumes any intelligible shape, but occasionally faces seem to rise to the greasy, mottled surface of its fluidic vastness – some have speculated these are the visages of those the thing has absorbed or fed upon.  The being does seem to require sustenance and has been seen devouring rats, vagrants, and sewage.

The true extent of Sepsis’ powers are not fully understood, but it possesses the ability to twist reality in a variety of ways, warping dimensions of spacetime to create maddening labyrinths from which there is no escape.  It can vomit forth parts of itself to act independently or reanimate corpses.  Its noisome vapours are highly toxic and its touch can impart horrific diseases; an aura of decay surrounds it, poisoning all that draw near to it, accelerating rot, breaking down organic material.  Attacks against the thing have met with limited success, at best driving it away, deep into the heart of its putrescent domain.  Blessed weapons are useless against it, as are silver, cold iron, and other materials that commonly harm preternatural beings.  The vast majority of wards are ineffective against it.  It has likewise proved imperious to psychic manipulation – its consciousness is simply too alien to affect.  The mere sight of Sepsis, however, has been known to drive some mad; homeless people can sometimes be heard describing glimpses of it.  It has been speculated that the creature dislikes sunlight, but this is little more than a guess.

Sepsis’ long-term goals and overriding motives are unknown.  Its avatars, however, rule over what amount to cults or fiefdoms amongst the city’s destitute, forcing those who live in the Midden to provide Sepsis with “sacrifices.”  It is uncertain whether the entity is simply feeding on such offerings or gathering bodies (or souls?) for some yet more unwholesome purpose.  So far, the Tenebrae have managed to contain the entity in the tunnels and limit the operation of its avatars, but the entity seems to be preparing for something.  Unless a means of defeating Sepsis is discovered before it enacts whatever horror it has in store for the city, St. Lazarus may be in very serious trouble indeed.


Bloodbag

Vitali Koroviev is the patriarch of the Koroviev Crime Family, a cadre of vampires and Russian thieves-in-law who immigrated to America following the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Since the early 1990s he has carved out a sizeable territory in St. Lazarus, controlling not only a significant portion of the city’s occult underground but a predominant share of mundane criminal enterprise as well.  Better known by his nickname Bloodbag (a moniker none would dare speak to his face), Vitali is a brutal mob boss who does not hesitate to use extreme violence to advance his goals.  Descendent of an ancient vampire clan of boyars that dwelt in Russia for centuries, Bloodbag lost most of his family during the Revolution, when Bolsheviks staked his kindred in their efforts to purge the Motherland of the nobility.  Bloodbag himself was sentenced to labour in the Gulag and spent decades labouring for the Soviets, eventually involving himself in the Bitch Wars following WWII.  After Stalin’s death, millions were released from the camps, including Bloodbag, at which point he began rebuilding his empire and his family.  By the time the USSR had collapsed he had become rich and powerful once again, striking out for America like many other Bratva at the time.

Now ensconced in St. Lazarus as a major player in the city’s underworld, Bloodbag has grown fat and indolent: weighing well over three hundred pounds, he sups on the blood of beautiful women every night, mostly sex workers brought over as part of the Koroviev’s human trafficking operation.  Thorny rose tattoos cover his limbs and chest, relics of his time in Soviet prison camps.  Despite his corpulence, Bloodbag is prodigiously strong, able to easily rip a person limb from limb, and though somewhat less agile than some upyr he is nonetheless preternaturally dextrous and quick.  He can dominate others with his gaze and possesses the power of flight; he can also command wolves, bats, and other creatures of the night.  A practitioner of blood magick, he has been known to exercise control over the weather, to curse his enemies, and to perform divinations using blood.  Like all vampires he is very difficult to kill, healing most wounds in moments, though sunlight, holy water, and blessed weapons are all capable of harming him, and a stake to the heart, followed by decapitation, would permanently destroy him.

Most of Vitali Koroeviev’s family dwell in St. Lazarus with him, including his son Viktor (better known as Vourdalak) and his wife Alexandra (sometimes called the Rusalka).  His previous chief enforcer, the ex-KGB upyr Bloodscent, was staked by Revenant, leading him to hire Lady Leech.  For some years now he has been in a protracted gang-war with the Neo-Nazi Scions of Hyperborea, whose skinhead thugs control the southeast side of the city, based in Crowswood and Blackchurch; the Korovievs control most of the north side, sharing the red-light and clubbing districts of Razortown and Morrowside with the Babe and her minions.  Bloodbag spends most of his time in the crypt-like depths of his headquarters, protected by dozens of bodyguards at all times.  S.H.R.O.U.D. and the D.P.I. are both intent on taking the mob boss down, but widespread corruption has stymied their efforts so far.


Graveolent

Created in a Sinistral Institute laboratory as the ultimate biological weapon, the being designated as Graveolent is a sapient fungus capable of copying itself almost infinitely so long as it possesses sufficient hosts to do so.  Greyish-green and reeking of carrion, Graveolent is able to duplicate itself through spores that colonize the flesh and brains of other individuals, spreading beneath their skin and eventually assuming control of their bodies, consuming them rapidly and transforming them into doppelgangers of itself.  In its “mature” form, Graveolent appears as a hulking fungal creature, a mass of fruiting bodies, slightly different every time in exact appearance, with an outline similar to that of its host.  A single iteration of Graveolent generally has between three days and a week to live – memories encoded in its spores enable copies of Graveolent to retain continuity between one another, and so the creature spreads itself from host to host, infecting as many individuals as it can.  Fully self-aware and intelligent, the creature conceives of itself as a glorious liberator ushering those it infects into harmonious homogeneity, beautifying their bodies with its corruption.  With pathogenic logic it seeks to bring all it touches under its control.  Able to exhale clouds of spores and spread itself by touching bare skin, Graveolent and its proxies can also generate a variety of other poisons in their bodies to render potential hosts unconscious, sickened, confused, or otherwise incapacitated.  Flame and fungicides destroy it, but it is near-impervious to most conventional weaponry.  Naturally, it prefers dank, dark environments and finds extreme heat, cold, and light abhorrent – indeed, blasts of heat or cold or beams of bright illumination can keep it temporarily at bay, disorienting it and apparently inflicting some fungal analogue of pain upon it.

Graveolent was originally developed to serve as a sort of super soldier.  The Institute envisioned a weapon that could be dispersed through the air, rapidly eliminating enemy threats and converting them into obedient thralls.  Unfortunately, a small sample of Graveolent escaped containment and quickly spread throughout the Sinistral Laboratory in which it was being inculcated.  Infesting several researchers, Graveolent freed the host in which it had originally been cultivated and nearly destroyed most of the Sinistral laboratory; a lockdown was declared and the laboratory purged using fire and potent fungicides, but in the mayhem a single iteration of Graveolent managed to escape.  The creature began spreading itself across St. Lazarus, at which point the Tenebrae intervened, destroying many copies of the creature.  A single host was captured and held in a special stasis chamber in the Sepulchre for analysis.  Unfortunately, Graveolent managed to form an alliance with the undead Cromlech; unable to infest the undead’s skeletal form, the fungus was more than happy to help the druid engineer the Beltane Breakout, a disastrous breach of the Sepulchre that led to dozens of incarcerated demons, fey, elementals, ghosts, and other horrors being freed from confinement.  While many of these escapees have been recaptured or eliminated, Graveolent remains at large.  Thus far it has confined itself to preying on the city’s extensive homeless population, and seems to be holding back from another full-out infestation.  This reticence is disturbing – it suggests the being has learned from its prior mistakes, and may be planning some new method of infecting St. Lazarus with its virulent spores.

Hosts freshly infected by Graveolent may not be aware of their own affliction, and indeed as infestation continues a host’s cognitive power is progressively degraded.  An ugly greenish rash beneath the skin and a strengthening odour reminiscent of rotting flesh accompanies infection, and once Graveolent has assumed full control over a host they begin to rot rapidly, decomposition speeded by the fruiting bodies spreading over their exposed skin.  Infected in the early stages will frequently seek out damp, dark places and feel a compulsion to conceal their flesh from others.


Troll

The cyber-criminal and anarchist dubbed Troll is a trickster, a mischief-maker and revolutionary who operates primarily in St. Lazarus, working out of a chain of basements, studio apartments, condemned buildings, and cheap hotels.  Unlike Pareidolia, whose digital pranks are rarely harmful in any permanent manner, Troll’s operations frequently stray into cyber-terrorism.  Few know the truth of Troll’s origins.  Originally nothing more than a talented young hacker, Eliphas Phillips made the mistake of breaking into the protected databases of S.H.R.O.U.D., the so-called Umbral Archive (that he even discovered S.H.R.O.U.D.’s existence is a feat in itself).  Stumbling into the Archive through a mixture of luck and ability without any of the usual precautions required for viewing such dangerous information, Eliphas accidentally released an entity the organization had quarantined deep within – an Egregore, a type of thought-form coalesced from internet folklore, communal belief, and occult energy, a pastiche of memetic myth.  Bubbling up from the collective unconscious and acquiring primitive self-awareness, the spirit had been imprisoned within the Umbral Archive for several years; when Eliphas broke into its digital prison it seized eagerly upon his mind.  As he read the strange sigils flashing across his screen, infectious information seeped into his consciousness, allowing the Egregore to take root within his mind, to merge with him to become something more – the being known as Troll.

Physically, Troll is twisted and hideous, having distorted Eliphas’ body over the years.  Hunched, pallid, and malformed, Troll rarely ventures into public spaces and prefers the use of a Halloween mask and loose clothing when he does.  Due to psychic confusion and mythological cross-contamination, Troll has some of the powers of a traditional, mythic Troll: he is turned to stone by sunlight and repelled by the sound of church-bells, and has significantly enhanced strength and toughness.  The majority of Troll’s powers, however, are digital in nature; a preternaturally gifted programmer, Troll has created computer viruses that drive users mad, sucked the souls of targets into his eldritch server through their screens, and engineered malevolent artificial intelligences.  Able to process vast quantities of data with incredible rapidity with his powerful intellect, Troll is supremely knowledgeable, with an eidetic memory.  He is fully conversant in multiple occult traditions and has dealt with and invoked demons, ghosts, fey, daevas, oni, jinn, and other tulpas and thought-forms like himself.  On several occasions he has allied himself with various preterhumans, occultists, and other groups when their common goals align.  By hacking financial systems and employing other forms of cyber-fraud and identity theft he can access virtually infinite funds.  Troll can  exert psychokinetic control over computers even from a distance, causing electronic devices equipped with microchips to malfunction or obey his commands.

Troll’s agenda is difficult to pin down, but he seems to resent all authority and repeatedly targets governments, large corporations, police systems, and religious institutions.  While he shows little regard for human life and considers most people “brainwashed” zombies in the thrall of prevailing ideologies, he usually focuses his attacks on those in positions of power.  Such attacks exhibit Troll’s decidedly cruel interpretation of “social justice” and gruesome sensibilities.  During an assault on the Sinistral Institute, for example, he created an addictive browser-game accessible only by Sinistral researchers that became so all-consuming that several scientists wasted away in front of their screens, neglecting to feed themselves or sleep, while during his attack on Strix Enterprises he programmed all Strix computers to emit a hypnotic screech that convinced employees that they were owls, causing them to throw themselves out of their office windows in an attempt at flight.  Despite his murderous inclinations, Troll has garnered a reputation amongst some radical groups as a heroic figure.  Enough of his human persona remains that he occasionally manages to curb his violent impulses and give back to those in need; bags of untraceable bills liberated from corporate bank accounts sometimes show up on the doorsteps of charities, schools, and non-profits dedicated to progressive agendas, a troll doll left atop them as a calling card.


The Chirurgeon

The deranged alchemist best known by his identity as the Chirurgeon has walked the earth for many centuries, his lifespan extended through arcane drugs, rituals, and profane experimentation.  On an unending quest to unravel the secrets of life and death, the Chirurgeon has travelled far and wide over the years, seeking out mystic knowledge in the far east, questing into certain monolithic ruins hidden in the Antarctic ice, delving into primeval temples in the depths of South America.  He began his career in the university at Wittenberg, Germany, but was expelled for practising unwholesome experiments on local livestock.  Taking to the countryside he began robbing graveyards, performing unusual operations, and testing a variety of fiendish machines, concoctions, and other inventions of his own design.  It was around this time that he first created the homunculus Mandrake, who served as his familiar and assistant for several centuries.  He acquired several grimoires and other esoteric texts, including the famed Mysteries of the Leech and the dread Liber Infernum, and began consorting with extradimensional beings (including, on one occasion, the demoness Abyzou).  Over time he became conversant in fields such as bioengineering, only increasing his capacity for evil.  The Chirurgeon claims that his guiding motive is nothing more than “an abiding curiosity” with the world rather than outright megalomania, and that his obsession with attaining immortality is simply a means of ensuring he can continue to slake his thirst for knowledge.

The Chirurgeon is skilled in several magickal traditions, but is most adept in the manufacture of potions, serums, and other alchemical substances, and in the creation of monstrous creatures with the aid of such eldritch chemicals.  Apart from Mandrake, the Chirurgeon is responsible for the horrifying amalgamated being Hecatonchire, the alluring but sinister Sylphid, and the abomination known as Headless, as well as many others.  Most of his creations are mutated or surgically altered humans or animals.  He particularly prizes preterhuman subjects and is especially fascinated by Cruor and Lady Leech, whose recuperative powers he believes may assist him become truly immortal.  In the past he has also expressed strong interest in capturing Mollusc and the undead vigilante Revenant.  While the Chirurgeon is capable of extreme strength and speed when the right battery of drugs are flowing through his withered veins, he is normally quite frail.

Physically, the Chirurgeon appears as a gnarled, weather-beaten man; though he covers himself in a ragged robe most of the time, his body is riddled with strange tumours, swellings, and nodules, his skin crisscrossed with thousands of stitches, his body resembling a hideous jigsaw puzzle of surgical scars.  He frequently sports unusual grafts and appendages; though his particular augmentations vary widely, one of his hands is always equipped with a range of scalpels, lancets, and other surgical blades in place of fingernails.  Sections of his skin constantly shift and change as he replaces them with scavenged flesh – as the philosopher’s stone still eludes him, he has taken to replacing his body parts with those of his victims to enhance his longevity.  Masses of intravenous tubing filled with bilious liquids writhe across his limbs and back, pumping a steady stream of drugs into his bloodstreams.  He exudes a telltale acrid reek of formaldehyde and other chemicals, as well as a distinct carrion stench as he continuously rots.  Over the years Chirurgeon has become virtually inured to pain, and can comfortably practice surgery on himself without anaesthetics.  He has a chipper, inquisitive persona and seems more detached and clinical than sadistic when performing his experiments on captive subjects.

While the Chirurgeon’s real and identity are unknown (even to Mandrake), he uses a variety of aliases, including Johann Wurm, Ludwig Auerbach, and Eric Riesendorf.  Some have suggested that the Chirurgeon may have inspired the Faust legend, and some claim that he orchestrated the Ripper murders as part of an elaborate ritual.  It is said he has worked with a range of notorious madmen, occultists, scientists, and fanatics – Paracelsus, Agrippa, Rosenkreuz, Swedenborg, Crowley, Rasputin, Steiner, Mengele.  In St. Lazarus, he has occasionally joined forced with other occultists such as Black Annis, Cromlech, and even the enigmatic Troll.  His single greatest rival is Alienist, the current director of the Sinistral Institute (actually a Formless One bonded to a human body).


Susurrus

An expert infiltrator, spy, and sabateur, the S.H.R.O.U.D. agent known as Susurrus (born Benjamin Winters) has the ability to implant psychic suggestions in the minds of others, subliminal compulsions so powerful he can erase his presence in the minds of his targets, rewriting memories with a few soft-spoken words.  His hypnotic abilities are potent enough to rival those of Alienist; he has successfully induced subjects to murder trusted associates, believe impossibilities, and betray closely guarded secrets.  Only those with heightened perceptions, extreme willpower, or inhuman psychological profiles (such as demons, extraterrestrials, synthetic beings, or similar entities) are wholly immune to his powers, though his conditioning can be disrupted or overcome through occult means, and those unable to hear Susurrus’ voice cannot be affected by it.  While he could use his abilities for personal gain, he is a dedicated government agent and one of S.H.R.O.U.D.’s greatest assets.

Susurrus’ abilities are not entirely natural.  His commanding whisper is the result of a surgical graft – his vocal cords have been replaced with those of a Siren.  While the operation was a success, it left heavy scar tissue around Winter’s throat; as a result he can only speak in a soft whisper.  Prior to his service in S.H.R.O.U.D., Winters served as a PSYOP specialist in the special forces (including time as one of the Green Berets) and acquired a reputation as a masterful interrogator.  Where other interrogators utilized water-boarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” bordering on physical torture, Winters was able to extract information from subjects using psychological manipulation and other “no-touch” interrogation methods.  He came to S.H.R.O.U.D.’s attention following his tour in Afghanistan when, during a particularly intense interrogation session with what he believed to be an insurgent, the man he was questioning revealed himself to be a Ghul, a type of anthropophagic, shapeshifting djinn.  The creature attacked Winters and his comrades, sprouting a mouthful of crooked fangs and killing over half a dozen men, but Winters fought it off and subdued the entity, imprisoning it in the interrogation room.  S.H.R.O.U.D. agents were quickly dispatched to wipe the memories of survivors and cover the incident up, but while debriefing Winters, Warren Chapel – better known by his code-name, Evil Eye – read the interrogator’s file and petitioned S.H.R.O.U.D.’s executive director, the Red Queen, to leave Winters’ memories intact and induct him into the organization.  The Red Queen consented and Winters was subsequently transferred to the secret S.H.R.O.U.D. base on Catafalque Island.

Apart from his suggestive voice, Susurrus is trained in hand-to-hand combat, marksmanship, infiltration, sabotage, and disguise.  A pale, sinewy man with large, dark eyes and a cruel mouth, Susurrus is short and thin; though not as physically formidable as some S.H.R.O.U.D. agents, such as Headstone or Nest, he more than makes up for his slight build through intense physical and mental conditioning.  He was a close friend of Evil Eye, viewing the older agent as a mentor, and even after Evil Eye left for the D.P.I. the two kept in touch.  Susurrus is uncertain how to view Evil Eye’s defection, and remains at privately convinced that the former agent’s induction into the Tenebrae is a top-secret project orchestrated by the Red Queen to gather information on the group of rogue demon-hunters and magi.

« Last Edit: December 18, 2013, 06:50:15 PM by Steerpike » Logged


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Rogues' Gallery Continued

The Babe

The Whore of Babylon described in Revelation, the entity known as the Babe is a harbinger of the apocalypse, sent by the chthonic powers to bring about the End Times and deliver the mortal world into the hands of Hell and its denizens.  Identified by occults as the Scarlet Woman or the Lady of Night, the Babe’s powers are related to human desire: she is charged with tempting humanity into damnation and servitude to the dark powers, playing on their depravity, carnality, and animal instincts.  Like the Tenebrae operative Engdame – the young Antichrist the Babe is perennially trying to sway to her side – the Babe brings out the worst in people: those near to her feel their baser desires amplified, their darkest impulses and most disturbing appetites and perversities empowered tenfold or more. With the slightest touch she can drive a mortal into a lascivious frenzy or make them catatonic with all-consuming pleasure, and she is skilled in the creation of diabolic potions and eldritch aphrodisiacs, and in other forms of sex magick.  

The Babe can assume a variety of physical forms, capable of modulating her specific shape in accordance with the predilections of those around her, so that she always appeals to their rawest, most “deviant” lusts.  Her powers affect mortals and non-mortals alike, although unusual psychological profiles (such as those possessed by aliens, elementals, or artificial beings) are sometimes resistant or immune to her abilities.  She draws strength from the indulgences of others, a form of empathic, psychic vampirism, and can sometimes be found in clubs like Original Sin, absorbing the ambient emotional energies of the crowd.  Frequently she appears (scantily) clad in red and purple.  Her “natural” guise is that of a powerfully built, voluptuously proportioned woman with red hair so dark it appears almost black, unnerving violet eyes, and a mouth made for speaking obscenities.

The origins of the Babe are somewhat mysterious.  Though susceptible to holy water and phrases she does not seem to be a demon (she cannot be exorcised, for example).  She is sometimes mistaken for Lilith, but Adam’s first wife is a separate figure, far more ambivalent towards Hellkin than the Babe seems to be; it has been theorized that she is a personification of “Sin” itself, a primordial manifestation of indulgence and desire.  Whatever her identity, she is an aloof and enigmatic figure who seems content to play the long game, slowly  acquiring allies and building an empire of pleasure.  After Madame Meridiana and her cadre of succubi daughters were banished to the Abyss by Fetish and the Tenebrae, the Babe emerged as the undisputed queen of St. Lazarus’ sex trade, operating dozens of brothels, escort services, and strip clubs in Razortown and Morrowside.  She maintains a tentative peace with the Koroviev Crime Family, dominating the vice trade, sometimes purchasing women from Bloodbag smuggled in through his human trafficking operations.  The Tenebrae have long sought the location of her actual lair to no avail.  Her closest allies include the half-incubus Blaspheme, the demonic entity Choronzon, the declining Aztec goddess Tlazolteotl who has recently found a haven in St. Lazarus, and members of the Ouroboros Coven.


Quiescence

The horrific mime-creature called Quiescence is a former denizen of the bizarre dimension called the Cloister, an unfathomable plane of existence taking the form of an infinite, non-Euclidean monastery of pain, its uncountable cells and oubliettes each dedicated to a particular form of exquisite agony, some of them so abstract that they cannot be described through language.  Though often mistaken for Hell by the uninitiated this labyrinthine realm of stone and suffering is quite different from the Pit.  Few of the Cloister’s Celebrants – entities simultaneously inmates and jailers, torturers and tortured, decadents and ascetics – have ever been glimpsed in this universe at all.  Those few other Celebrants recognized by the Tenebrae apart from Quiescence include the beings known as the Flagellant, Ire, the Bookkeeper, and Noumena, although none of the others have been seen since the early twentieth-century.  Stable portals to the Cloister are virtually unknown.  Occultists have been known to somehow “slip” into the Cloister through certain rituals involving extreme combinations of pain and pleasure.  Celebrants cannot be summoned or bound in the manner of many other extraplanar creatures; rather, they seem to be attracted by acts of extraordinary violence, convinced to visit this reality by particularly abominable deeds.  For a Celebrant to take notice in one of the curious mirrors they use to look upon our world, an incident must not only be unusual or especially monstrous, it generally requires great scale, allowing the Celebrant opportunity to participate semi-anonymously.  The Flagellant, for example, seems to have been enamoured by the Basque witch trials undertaken by the Spanish Inquisition in the 17th century, while Ire has manifested following the Wounded Knee Massacre, the Rape of Nanking, and My Lai.  The Tenebrae believe that Quiescence was drawn into this universe – and to St. Lazarus specifically – by a very specific event: the Millennium Diabolicide carried out by the D.P.I.

Unlike many Celebrants who vanished after participating briefly in the same events that “wooed” them, Quiescence has lingered in St. Lazarus for what seems an extended stay; some believe she has actually been excommunicated from the Cloister, or that she has forsaken it entirely.  Completely silent due to the aura of preternatural silence that she emanates, Quiescence communicates only though pieces of cryptic but appalling performance art, each performance stranger and more grotesque than the last.  Some have taken the form of macabre tableaux, mutilated bodies meticulously poised like dancers or lovers or duelling enemies.  Others have been more spontaneous, as when Quiescence entered a crowded department store in downtown St. Lazarus and proceeded to disembowel every customer, clerk, and security guard, adorning the shop’s mannequins with their entrails like bloody scarves, or when she hijacked every television signal in the city to broadcast soundless scenes of artistic torture for over twenty four hours before running out of victims.  As a Celebrant she is preternaturally strong, fast, agile, and resilient, but almost never engages in physical confrontation, preferring to flee if attacked.  An aura of perfect silence surrounds her at all times, making verbal communication impossible; she is capable of shrinking or expanding this aura as she pleases, though the maximum size is unknown.  Her most powerful ability is a form of reality manipulation: actions she mimes have physical effects, so, for example, if Quiescence acts as if she is grasping a sword, she can cut through flesh as if a sword were actually present.  As a species (if, indeed, they can be called such) Celebrants have no major weaknesses.  However, Quiescence can be easily distracted by works of kitschy, disgusting, or otherwise unpleasant visual art, becoming temporarily enthralled by such artworks and ignoring those around her unless she is under direct threat.

Physically, Quiescence appears as a slender woman of indeterminate age.  Several observers have commented that she bears an unusual resemblance to a bald Audrey Hepburn.  From afar she seems to be garbed in the traditional black and white stripes and white face-paint of a mime, but on closer inspection she is obviously naked – the stripes and paint are simply the natural pigment of her skin.  Her silent movements are exquisitely graceful.


Alienist

The shadowy director of the Sinistral Institute, the unassuming figure usually referred to simply as Alienist appears nothing more than a gaunt, sickly looking man with thinning hair and an unwholesome gleam in his bloodshot eyes.  In fact, he – it – is far more: the creature’s fragile body is host to one of the Formless Ones, an extraterrestrial species that warred with the Eld in earth’s prehistory.  Once a brilliant psychiatrist and neurobiologist, Dr. Bartholomew Frazen devoted his life to the treatment of mental illness, conducting research and treating patients at the Belladonna Sanatorium.  It was here, while treating a curiously well-spoken vagrant with all the signs of narcissistic personality disorder and  schizophrenia, that he was assailed by the Formless One.  The creature had parasitized the homeless man, usurped his consciousness and made his body a living puppet after the hapless drunk had wandered into the tunnels below St. Lazarus, those mysterious catacombs that some speculate are the ruins of an ancient, subterranean city.  How long the Formless One had lain dormant in those primordial passages none can be certain – thousands, perhaps millions of years.  As Dr. Frazen began treating the Formless One’s victim the entity abandoned its host.  The slithering, viscous alien oozed its way across the laboratory floor and entered the body of Dr. Frazen, taking the man over in moments.  Where before it had only the tattered remnant’s of its previous host’s mind at its command, now it absorbed the memories and abilities of a scientific genius.  Masquerading as Frazen it began to learn all it could of the modern world in which it found itself and of the clumsy ape-creatures that now seemed to rule the planet’s surface.

It didn’t take long for the Formless One to realize its options for growth were limited at the Sanatorium.  Using the resources at its host’s disposal it founded the Sinistral Institute, a company specializing in biotechnology, therapeutics, and robotics.  For decades now Sinistral has secretively pursued all manner of experiments and clandestine projects while ruthlessly gobbling up the competition, acquiring pharmaceutical companies, research labs, and other corporations.  Government contracts, commercial vaccines, and a plethora of other products have funded the Institute’s researches, all at Alienist’s behest.  What its ultimate goals are, even the Tenebrae do not know, though they are aware that the Institute’s director is far more than he seems.

Apart from a superhuman intellect, extensive knowledge of advanced extraterrestrial technology, and the resources of a fantastically successful biotech company at its disposal, Alienist has several unusual powers, including telepathy, telekinesis, and the ability to exert mental control over others, dominating their minds and forcing them to do its bidding.  More than one institutional review board has been compromised as a result of Alienist’s abilities.  Apart from its psychic powers it is a master manipulator with a megalomaniacal personality.  It can force its host body to perform physical feats which it should not be capable of performing, though ultimately it is somewhat constrained by its hosts physiological limitations.  In its natural form, without a host, the Formless One can reshape its semi-liquescent body as it pleases.  Only extreme cold can fix its form in place; if its host body is placed in a very cold environment, it becomes sluggish, and its mental powers wane.


Justine

A specially grown sex-slave genetically engineered by the Sinistral Institute to cater to the sadistic pleasures of certain perverse (and rich) individuals, Justine possesses augmentations that greatly increase not only her capacity to endure physical pain while remaining conscious but which rapidly heal even serious wounds.  Engineered for maximum sensitivity, with a hyper-responsive amygdala and an artificially low pain threshold coupled with an extremely high level of pain tolerance, Justine was black-marketed as the “Ultimate Victim,” a woman who could endure even the most hideous mutilations and restore herself to virginal purity, unscarred and perfect, only minutes later.  Justine was not intended to enjoy her function: quite the opposite.  Clients were very specific – they desired unwilling prey.

While Justine’s physical recuperative abilities were perfected, however, her psychological resilience was not.  While she performed as intended for six months, the mental strain of so many traumas eventually caused her to snap completely.  During a particularly extreme session with the client renting her, the various neural fail-safes and memory-dampers her designers had installed in her brain were overwhelmed and the submission protocols they’d implanted overridden: a surge of sudden, murderous rage filled her.  While her tormentor prepared to perform violent acts of sadistic perversion upon her body, she broke free of the restraints used to pin her down: the massive amounts of adrenalin surging through her body endowed her with extraordinary strength.  The deviant, disentangling himself, lashed out with the serrated blade he had been using to extract the screams he desired, but the wound he gave her was nothing compared to the injuries she’d already sustained.  Grabbing the knife from him she defended herself, pinning the man to the ground and hacking him to bloody tatters. When an attendant entered the room to collect her, she was waiting behind the door with the knife; as he entered she pounced on him, killing him swiftly and taking his pistol.  She proceeded to shoot her way out of the clandestine pleasure-den in which she’d been sequestered.

Taking to the streets of St. Lazarus, Justine was at first lost and confused, but she has proved adaptable.  The Institute remains keen to retrieve her, sending a series of operatives to track her down, including the dangerous cyborg code-named Meatgrinder and her clonal “sister,” Juliette.  Thus far, however, Justine has evaded capture, killing most agents sent to retrieve her and evading others.  Growing into life on the streets, Justine longs for vengeance.  She has became a vigilante, hunting down pimps and predators, posing as a prostitute long enough to move in for the kill.  She lives off money stolen from her victims; her skills grow.  Skilled with guns, with knives, with wire garrottes, with venomous lipstick and nails, she has re fashioned herself into a killing machine.  She has become adept at concealing herself, at treading quietly, at disappearing suddenly into the shadows.  All this, however, is mere preamble - practice for her true mission.

Having deemed her abilities sufficiently honed, Justine has begun seeking out the past clients who’d abused her.  One by one she is brutally torturing and killing them, eliminating armed guards when necessary.  Once she’s finished with these wretched individuals, Sinistral themselves are almost certainly next on her hit-list.
 

Whipstitch

The brutal hunter and serial killer known as Whipstitch is a Skinwalker, a man gifted with the shamanistic ability to change his form to that of any animal whose pelt he has collected.  Unlike most of his ilk, however, Whipstitch prefers the skins of other humans to those of beasts.  Amassing a vast “trophy room” of flayed skins fashioned into grotesque cloaks which he can use to appear as one of his victims, Whipstitch is considered one of St. Lazarus’ most notorious serial killers, almost as maligned as Horripilation or Red Cap.  He is currently incarcerated in the maximum security ward of Belladonna Sanatorium, but his body count passed one hundred before the SLPD managed to track him down – in fact, he was one of Albrecht Craven’s final cases before the detective’s false conviction and subsequent execution and resurrection as Revenant.  Were he ever to escape from the asylum, he would be certain to renew his brutal killing spree.  His old hideout, a derelict squat converted into a tannery and tailor’s shop in the Midden he called his “Hogan,” showed indications he was planning some kind of grand ritual, that his killings were not merely random acts of horror but rather elements in an occult scheme whose specifics remain indecipherable even to the Tenebrae.

A powerful witch, excerpt herbalist, and cunning woodsman, Whipstitch was born Leon Blackhorn and is of half-Navajo ancestry.  Little is known of his early life save that he moved to St. Lazarus some years ago to begin practicing his gruesome craft.  Rumours, spoken softly by those in the city’s underworld, tell that he murdered his family, perhaps even his whole tribe back out west, before moving to the city to practice his craft.  Able to move soundlessly and unseen even without the aid of witchcraft, he is adept in the creation of paralytic poisons and other concoctions to subdue his prey.  Though not a skilled as Horripilation in the construction of traps he does employ snares, bear-traps, and the like.  Footprints he creates fade after a few moments.  He is capable of mimicking most voices, and of ventriloquism; he can carve bone charms to instil fear or to charm others.  He hunts with a bow and a blowgun, as well as a flensing knife with which he is extraordinarily skilled; he can flay a person in only a few minutes, slipping into their stolen flesh to masquerade in their form.  His glowing eyes betray him – and the fine stitch-work lines sealing his hideous costumes – but both are difficult to notice by those who aren’t looking closely.  He can also turn into animals, but considers the act unclean and beneath him, preferring only to walk in the shape of “worthy prey.”  While wearing another’s skin, Whipstitch cannot enter someone’s home without an invitation, a weakness shared by all Skinwalkers.  While not preternaturally tough or durable, he is gifted with a minor aura of probability manipulation, causing guns to jam, swords to stick in scabbards, clubs to slip from their wielder’s grasp, and similar effects.  Only bullets dipped in white ash circumvent this ability; a shot from one, or other exposure to white ash, will cause Whipstitch to revert to his original shape.

Tall and slender but surprisingly strong, Whipstich has long shanks of greasy, black hair and cruel, yellow eyes in his natural form.  When not actively impersonating another person he often wears a leather jacket or great-coat made from human flesh, though it appears virtually identical to bovine leather to all save a trained eye.  He never travels unarmed and usually carries at least six knives, a garrotte, and a blowgun at all times, and often a crossbow, longbow, or dart-gun as well.  He disdains firearms and explosives of all kinds.


Out of Character

I ran out of room on the first page so I moved the Rogues Gallery here.  More to come - Lady Leech, Blaspheme, Phantasmagoria, Pentecost, Totenkopf, Choronzon, Tommy Rawhead, Reverend Gibbet, Black Annis, Headstone, Nest, Verminous, Pyrexia, Tzaraath, the Red Queen, Hecatonchire, Sylphid, Headless, Juliette, Jabberwock, Samael, Cleaver, Meatgrinder, Hecatomb, Pastiche, Livid, Scabrous, Catechism, and others.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 01:16:07 AM by Steerpike » Logged


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« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 04:29:42 PM »

Reserved for additional Rogues.
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