Godlike: G.T.E. and Le Tenebres

   For today, it’s an optional rule – General Talent Experience for the non-commandoes in your game – and another character for the Godlike or Wild Talents system. Our character for today is Le Tenebres (“The Darkness”), a formidable “sorcerer”. While his background is a bit more specific (France) than usual, it’s also open to interpretation and to having him taking either side in WWII – and he’s effectively unaging, so he can appear in later, or possibly earlier, settings with no particular problem.

   General Talent Experience is an alternative to the TOG Commando Training package, designed to allow experienced resistance fighters and other talents to join the game without being placed at an almost-crippling 60 EP (the cost of 20 skill levels) disadvantage. In place of those 60 EP, General Talent Experience provides +21 EP and +20 Will to spend according to the “after the game” rules and a +1 bonus to any single Stat. That isn’t worth as much as the TOG package – Will is easier to come by than EP and the total is only 51 in any case – but it’s considerably more flexible.

   Now, this particular character is supposed to have a good deal of experience as a Talent, and probably will hook up with a Talent team (ok, that’s pretty much a necessity to actually play unless the game master opts to use him as an adversary – also fine, but requiring a bit of a power boost anyway) – ergo, he gets the General Talent Experience package. I’m not saying how much time and experience that it’s supposed to represent however… His initial attributes are given first, with an update covering the modifications to the more experienced version at the bottom.

Le Tenebres (“The Darkness”)

  • Attributes: Body 1 (2), Coordination 1 (2), Sense 1 (2), Brains 3 (4), Command 3 (4), Cool 3 (4).
  • Skills (20 + 2 for Brains)
    • Body: Health 1.
    • Coordination: Dodge 1, Stealth 1.
    • Sense: Sight 1, Touch 1.
    • Brains: Education 1, Cryptography 1, Language (Germanic Language Group, notably including English) 1, Language (Romance Languages) 2, Medieval Lore 3, and Occult Lore 3.
    • Command: Intimidation 2, Seduction 1.
    • Cool: Lie 1, Mental Stability 3.

   It’s hard to say if Le Tenebres is entirely crazy. He believes himself to be a medieval alchemist, to be centuries old, and to be a master sorcerer. He claims to have bound demons into his skin to protect himself against the weapons and fires of the inquisition. He claims to have survived the centuries by consuming the “life which is in the blood” in defiance of the proscriptions of Moses and his “jealous God, who fears that others may master the secrets of eternal life”.

   He feels that war has interrupted his studies, and brought peril – far more peril than earlier wars – but it has also brought out many, many, other magicians, both aware of the true nature of their power and deluded, from whom he may be able to learn many secrets – and against whom he may hone his existing sorceries, far beyond the levels necessary for dealing with merely human adversaries.

   Who knows? So many records have been destroyed in the war – and there are old tales. Who is to say that there have never been Talents on the loose in the world before? The claims of tribal magic, spirits, and witches go right back into prehistory. He certainly acts the part, and shows an extensive knowledge of history and the occult.

   On the other hand, there’s some evidence that Les Tenebres, under the name “Athanase Leon“, was a lecturer on History and Mythology at the Université de Paris, shortly before the war. He may just have snapped – and, while he isn’t technically a mad talent, many people would certainly consider him a borderline case.

   In any case, the Les Tenebres believes that the Nazi’s are fellow-practitioners of blood magic and serious rivals (rather than unconscious dabblers who do not understand what powers they are calling upon), and holds a considerable grudge against them for the way in which their “bothersome war!” has disrupted his gathering of occult lore, relics, and supplies. That doesn’t necessarily make him a “good guy”. After all, he is a vampire-sorcerer who is constantly looking for fresh blood, animals to sacrifice, hands of glory, the skulls of unbaptized children, weird herbs from distant lands, and other repulsive items. He could reasonably be encountered on either side.

   As for his powers – well, whether you call it “Talent” or you call it “Magic”, Le Tenebres can “cast” a wide variety of utilitarian spells, manipulate the elements directly, and can – via a lengthy ritual – summon his own “higher self” into his “current manifestation”. In the idealized form of that higher self, he is tougher, stronger, faster, handsomer, generally improved, has extensible wings, and is close to unrecognizable. If “slain” in that form, he will actually suffer little or no injury, although it will take him a great deal of effort to “resummon himself”. Secondarily, as long as he regularly drinks fresh blood, he is infused with an unnatural vitality, making him more resistant to injury and other “magics”.

  • Talent Basics:
    • Quirks: Believes himself to be a medieval sorcerer, cast out by the Church and pursued by the inquisition (2), is vehemently against conventional religions (2), sees other talents as rival magicians and fellow masters of secret powers, tends to try and discover what magical entities they call upon or are possessed by (1).
    • Base Will: 3 Command + 4 Cool + 7 (remaining from base 25) + 5 Quirks = 19 (18 when not in Self-Conjured form).
  • Talent Powers:
    • Goldberg Science / “Sorcery” (2D + 2 HD, 6) (Base 5/10/20): Viola (+5/10/20), Go Last (-2/4/8), Loopy (-2/4/8), Glow (-1/2/4), Nervous Habit (must mutter spells, -1/2/4), cannot create direct weapons or combat defenses, only “utility” devices (all in the form of a wand, -2/4/8), no one else can use such “items”, even if they remain within his line of sight (-1/2/4) = (1/2/4). Basically, he pulls out a wand, starts muttering spells – and things start to happen. He sketches doors in the air, and walks through them (Teleport). He heals wounds (Healing). He summons things (Fetch or Sidekick). He transforms matter (Tranmute). He finds hidden things (Detect). He translates languages (Hypeskill: language). He makes himself irresistibly attractive to women (Hyperskill: Seduction). It certainly looks like magic to anyone else anyway.
    • Telekinesis / “Elemental Mastery” (1D, 1) (Base 5/10/20) with Molecular Energetics (can also use pyrokinesis and cyrokinesis, generating heat and cold, +1/2/4), and Sonic Manipulation (he can generate or suppress sound, +1/2/4). Nervous habit (must gesture, -1/2/4), Linked (-1/2/4), Cannot Interfere (-2/4-8), “Glow” (use causes strange symbols to appear all over his skin, an observant character may note that they start at the hand with the rings on it, -1/2/4), Required Focus (rings inscribed with mystic sigils, -1/2/4) = (1/2/4).
    • Heavy Armor / “Demonhide” (1 Level, 1): Penalizes healing powers used on the possessor by -2 Width (-2), Penalizes sense/touch rolls by two dice (-1), Blood (user must regularly drink fresh blood to retain this benefit, -2), user can be repelled or held back by crosses, holy water, and similar items (-1) = 1/Level.
    • Zed / “Resistance to Magic” (1D, 1): Base (4/8/16), Precognitive (works normally against surprise attacks and does not require seeing the power in use first, +2/4/8), Cannot Attack (-1/2/4), No Range (-2/4/8), Blood (user must regularly drink fresh blood to retain this benefit, -2) = (1/2/4). In effect, this is simply a die pool which is automatically rolled to generate gobble dice against incoming talent attacks – as long as they have some physical effect.
    • Alternate Form / “Self-Conjuration” (2D, 2) (Base 5/10/20), Endless (+1/2/4), Form can extend wings, providing physical-style flight using the Alternate Form dice pool (+1/2/4), Regenerative (form automatically recovers (width of a check made using the Alternate Form dice pool) boxes of damage of any type every minute, +2/4/8), Expensive (-1/2/4), Backfires (-2/4/8), Mental Strain (-2/4/8), Nervous habit (must chant spell, -1/2/4), Very slow (spell requires several minutes, -2/4/8) = (1/2/4). Le Tenebres “alternate form” is basically an idealized version of himself – handsomer, stronger, faster, and in all ways improved. Oddly enough, it doesn’t look a lot like his base form: if you could stand them side-by-side, you’d say that they looked distantly related. His base form is notably older, scrawnier, less handsome, and considerably more worn. He uses it as little as possible, and HATES it if he’s “killed” in his Self-Conjured form and forced back into his base form for too long.
      • Hyper-Body 1D (Linked to Alternate Form, -1/2/4) = (1/3/6).
      • Hyper-Coordination 1D (Linked to Alternate Form, -1/2/4) = (1/3/6).
      • Hyper-Sense 1D (Linked to Alternate Form, -1/2/4) = (1/3/6).
      • Hyper-Brains 1D (Linked to Alternate Form, -1/2/4) = (1/3/6).
      • Hyper-Command 1D (Linked to Alternate Form, -1/2/4) = (1/3/6).
      • Hyper-Cool 1D (Linked to Alternate Form, -1/2/4) = (1/3/6).
      • Extra Tough (1 level, 1): (Base Cost 4 per level), Ageless (user is impervious to normal aging, +1), Linked (-1), Blood (user must regularly drink fresh blood to retain this benefit, -2) = (1/Level).

   Le Tenebres has taken the General Talent Experience package, as noted above. In his case this provides +1 Body (6 EP) and +1 Sense (6 EP), his Ritual Sorcery Power Stunt (6 EP), and Skill-1 in a campaign-appropriate Language Group (3 EP), +2D Sorcery (2), +1D and +2HD Elemental Mastery (5), +5 levels of Demonhide (5), +2HD and +1HD Upgrade to Resistance to Magic (5), +2 to Hyper-Cool (2), and +1 Extra Tough (1), and +1 Brains.

   This results in what should be taken as his “initial stats”:

  • Attributes: Body 2 (3), Coordination 1 (2), Sense 2 (3), Brains 4 (5), Command 3 (4), Cool 3 (6).
  • Skills (20 + 2 for Brains)
    • Body: Health 1.
    • Coordination: Dodge 1, Stealth 1.
    • Sense: Sight 1, Touch 1.
    • Brains: Education 1, Cryptography 1, Language Group (Campaign Related) 1, Language Group (Germanic Languages, this includes English) 1, Language (Romance Languages) 2, Medieval Lore 3, Occult Lore 3.
    • Command: Intimidation 2, Seduction 1.
    • Cool: Lie 1, Mental Stability 3.

   Power Stunt: Ritual Sorcery II (6 EP). Le Tenebres can gain bonus dice on any “magical operation” (in general, “Sorcery”, “Elemental Mastery”, and “Self-Conjuration”, since these are all part of the same basic “Magician” Miracle) by chanting and drawing strange diagrams, using weird occult components, and calling on various supernatural beings. In general, the more dice he wants to get, the more elaborate the ceremonies and the weirder the components.

Talent Powers:

  • Base Will: 21 (18 when not in Self-Conjured form).
  • Sorcery (4D + 2HD), Elemental Mastery (2D+2HD), Demonhide (Level 6), Resistance to Magic (3HD), and Self-Conjuration (2D).
  • Self-Conjuration Abilities: Hyper-Body (1), Hyper-Coordination (1), Hyper-Sense (1), Hyper-Brains (1), Hyper-Command (1), Hyper-Cool (3), and Extra Tough (2).

   OK, that’s still not an atrocity of raw power. There are plenty of Talents with stronger individual powers – and far fewer flaws in them – out there. On the other hand, his personal defenses are well above average and his versatility is considerable: if you need a support power, he can provide it. Of course, he’ll also try to get you to haul around a pile of moldy old books, a trunk full of noxious “mystical components”, and a selection of other tools, is relatively helpless in a physical fight, is quite unfamiliar with modern weapons, has no concept of military discipline, will constantly offend the locals by denigrating their religion, and keeps killing rabbits, birds, and other creatures to drink their blood. He may not always be worth the trouble of having him around.

   Besides, the way in which he can be held back with religious symbols makes a lot of people pretty nervous.

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