Different forms and intensities of immortality, deific powers represent varying expressions of this most sought after of abilities. A fear of death has motivated mortal beings since they first began to appear in the universe, and immortality - any form of immortality - is the ultimate assurance against that final fate. As such, most mortals would do just about anything to attain this state of being.
While there are assuredly more forms of perpetual life out there, the universe being a very large place, these are the six currently understood to exist by mere mortal minds. They represent varying degrees of immortality, ranging from barely being a demigod to full-blown godhood, with several stops in-between. The known deific powers include the following ascendant abilities:
Type: Deific Power
Duration: permanent (no maintenance required)
Cost: 16 points (flat cost)
Something of a variation on immortality, abstraction is the ability of a being to embody some concept or another. Just about any idea that a sentient being can imagine may be embodied via abstraction, which grants its possessor a life force that will persist forever. Or, at the very least, for as long as at least one mortal entity continues to hold onto the notion which an abstract being has tied themselves to.
Upon acquiring or being created with abstraction, a character will change dramatically. While immortality doesn't cause extensive changes to what makes a person a person, abstraction does - because it ties its possessor's mind, body, and very soul to the zeitgeist, or spirit of the moment. This subconscious undercurrent beneath the thought of all sentient beings bolsters the abstract's existence, but shapes him, her, or it as well.
How this works is that while they may have an independent, distinct personality, the appearance, behavior, and very thought patterns of an abstract entity are strongly influenced by that which they emblematize. This may be somewhat subjective, depending on the player generating the abstract and the Judge presiding over a game featuring this entity, but should at least reflect some common opinion on the subject.
For example, an abstract representing digital information might be wreathed in ephemeral ones and zeroes, look like some sort of grainy, pixelated image, or perhaps even appear like unto a cloud of electrons. Their behavior could be cold and clinical like scientific data, heated and ignorant like a forum troll, or perhaps just incredibly whip-smart - like the speed of digital data transmission itself!
An abstract may allow themselves to be ruled by the preconceived notions others hold about what they represent, or they may instead strive to not only retain their independent persona, but act contrary to what they embody. However, this can be tricky in the face of their inherent, level 3 Compulsiveness quirk, which is built into the power and constantly compels them to toe the line (and whose FEATs are never automatic).
While abstracts share two weaknesses with immortals, namely their vulnerability to death either in their home plane or when slain by immortals of equal or greater standing, they aren't vulnerable to total bodily disintegration. As they embody some concept or another, an abstract can reconstitute themselves after their demise even if their body is annihilated - as long as at least one person shares the idea they emblematize.
Instead, an abstract entity will possess a weakness that is related to whatever it is they represent. Abstract entities that embody the idea of fire might have no immunity to death when subjected to watery attacks or when assaulted while under water, for example, or one who has taken the concept of beards under their wing could be completely vulnerable to assaults with a razor - either conventional or electric!
Finally, the other powers an abstract entity possesses should be used to better represent their pet concept. Not all of them need to do so, mind you, but the more convincing an abstract is in showcasing their adopted notion, the better their ability to cause it to spread far and wide. And the more people that hold truck with it, the more faith an abstract can generate to further their ends - whatever they may be.
Type: Deific Power
Duration: permanent (no maintenance required)
Cost: 4 points (flat cost)
A character may work hard to garner the faith of mortal beings, and might even be able to avoid death now and then thanks to their powers - or sheer luck. However, this alone does not make him or her an immortal being. Ascending from the mortal to the immortal takes an evolution of one's life force, prompting it to change from one state to the other, and is rarely an easy task to manage.
Apotheosis, the process of becoming divine, can occur through a variety of different methods, as our fiction readily demonstrates. On occasion, one can find that which is divine within themselves through intense introspection and soul-searching. Alternately, this can happen as a result of interaction with items or energies beyond mortal ken. Other deific beings may even awaken one's divinity for reasons all their own.
No matter how one manages it, an apotheosis marks an individual as more than mortal. However, this does not necessarily render them immune to death. When a character's spark of divinity is first ignited, they become a demigod, a being who can still die permanently - but has one 'extra' life. What this means is that, if their other powers don't spare them from death, a demigod has at least one 'do-over' ready to bail them out.
After acquiring this 'extra' life, a demigod may work hard to acquire more. Each additional life is acquired through the completion of a grand quest, though a would-be immortal may not know what such quests entail at first. In fact, he or she may have to do research to determine which tasks they must complete to improve their bid for immortality, before actually going through with each quest in question.
Through hard work and intense dedication, a demigod can eventually pile up enough lives to ascend to true immortality. The tipping point is thirteen extra lives; once this amount is reached, the demigod is therefore considered a god, and subsequently has an infinite amount of lives to lean on. This may seem the zenith of one's career, but it is most often just the end of the beginning for most immortal characters.
Apotheosis itself has no rank number to speak of; one either possesses a degree of immortality or they do not. During character generation, apotheosis costs a player either one power slot (when generating a character randomly) or four points (when generating a character systematically). If a character acquires this ability after character generation, simply calculate its Karma costs normally.
Type: Deific Power
Cost: 20 points (flat cost)
The apogee of existence, immortality is the ability to live forever. The result of an evolved life force, one responsive to the desires of mortal sentient beings, immortality precludes the death of a character under most circumstances. They may be reduced to zero Health and Endurance, or even killed, but an immortal will almost always bounce back from such a predicament, seemingly good as new!
Other than being a temporary setback, being slain does have one serious downside for immortal beings: Karma loss. When an immortal is slain, even though they'll likely be getting back up relatively soon, they lose all of their Karma - even that set aside for character advancement. If they belong to a Karma pool, that pool will lose an amount of Karma equal to that it would normally lose if the immortal had left it.
At its core, immortality is a combination of the Agelessness and Invulnerability to Death powers. The former is already defined in the rules, but the latter is not, for it is an ability exclusive to fully immortal beings. A sort of 'meta' power, it prevents the mechanic of death from occurring to the character, even if they are slain as described above. Which is pretty handy, when you get down to it.
This is because an immortal character is relatively free to pursue whatever agenda they wish, no matter how long its realization will take. This may involve the generation of ever-greater amounts of faith, which allows an immortal to shape reality to their liking, or might simply give one the time they need to go about their business. The only impediment to this work, of course, is other immortals.
One weakness all immortal beings possess is that they can be slain by immortals of equal or greater standing. A god can permanently destroy another god by defeating them in mortal combat - if desired. This will not grant them additional power to speak of, but will at least get the impudent immortal out of their way. Of course, sparing a defeated immortal just might put them in one's eternal debt.
Another weakness immortal beings possess is that they can be slain, even by mortals, on their home plane. This weakness can be mitigated by first building a realm of power, and then a sanctuary within that realm. This contracts the amount of space an immortal is vulnerable to death within further and further, while at the same time making them increasingly more powerful in that area of vulnerability.
Finally, immortals typically possess an additional weakness, a hole in their seeming invincibility. For many deities, this entails full body disintegration; while a god can typically recover from most physical injuries, this level of damage leaves them nothing to repair themselves with. Of course, differing deities may well possess another weakness instead - particularly if they exist in a disembodied state anyway.
Immortality itself has no rank number to speak of - one either possesses immortality or they do not. During character generation, immortality is a bonus power, costing no power slots or character points. If a character acquires this ability after character generation, simply calculate its Karma costs normally (in other words, 250 Karma times 20 points, or 5,000 Karma before any additional costs).
Type: Deific Power
Cost: 12 points (flat cost)
A variant of reincarnation, the power of preincarnation allows its possessor to be reborn in a new body upon his or her demise - though this rebirth happens in the preincarnator's past! How this works is that, when a preincarnator is slain, their mind will travel back in time far enough that, upon being reincarnated within a newly forming body, they will achieve physical maturity at approximately the same time they died.
While the preincarnator is aware of their surroundings, they do not have control over their new body immediately. Instead, a personality based upon their own will begin to form within their newly born body, whose actions the preincarnator's mind can only observe passively. Upon reaching maturity, at or some time after their previous death, the preincarnator's original personality may then reassert itself and take control.
But what happens to the new personality? That depends on the nature of this power. Either the preincarnator's previous personality can simply shove the new one aside, or it can merge with its new expression to better continue its current existence. Each option has a good side and a bad side, and the character's player must make this decision for him or her upon their acquisition of preincarnation.
The reason preincarnation works this way is that it prevents the preincarnator from introducing paradoxes into the timeline. Were they able to act on their foreknowledge, a preincarnator would likely change the chain of events that caused their latest birth in the first place, thus rendering their own existence moot. Sure, they'd live on somewhere, but the current expression of themselves wouldn't know that, would they?
Preincarnation in and of itself has no power rank to speak of; a character either has this ability or they do not.
Type: Deific Power
Cost: 1 point per rank
Some believe that the souls of the living are rarely created. Instead, the newly born are infused with an older soul, one which has died at some point in the past and has been reincarnated in this fresh, new body. The idea is that these souls experience life again and again, the overall core of one's consciousness evolving over time as it experiences one life after another, even if specific memories are lost in the process.
Whether or not this is the case for most people, it is definitely the situation for the possessor of quintessential variation.
This power allows one an awareness of all the past lives their soul has lived, back through time. The character may have led any number of interesting lives, under all manner of differing conditions. They may've also had a series of boring existences, as well - it all depends on their personality. This, you see, is because all of these people trailing back through time, in essence, are them. Or some variation therein.
But how does one determine what these past lives were? One can simply create simple backgrounds for each - or just a few, depending on their needs. The thing to keep in mind is that they are not usually an uninterrupted stream of lives - most often, there are periods in-between each variation of one's quintessential being (incarnations) that swallow up some time that is never accounted for.
This time is usually spent doing... whatever it is one's soul does in-between its various iterations. Perhaps some cosmic agency tallies up one's good and bad actions, to decide where and when the soul will be incarnated next, or maybe it just takes that long for a soul to find its way into a new body. Who knows? Certainly not the character - they have no knowledge of what happens to them during their 'down time'.
This power seems at first like a form of immortality - and it is, after a fashion. But the important thing to keep in mind is that while the character's soul has been born again and again through the ages, each of their incarnations are not of the same mind. They've each been shaped by their own lives, and lived them as they saw fit, ultimately dying to be reborn again... culminating in the current expression of the character.
But how does the character learn of their past selves, you ask, since they cannot remember any details of their actual lives? Quite simply, he or she talks to them. Quintessential variation allows its possessor to speak, through time, with previous versions of themselves. They can converse with themselves (after a fashion) as much or as little as they like, and most importantly, can ask favors of their past incarnations.
When a former aspect of oneself was a mob accountant during Prohibition, it's quite easy to drum up resources that, with a little bit of compound interest, can add up quickly in the modern day. Or perhaps that prospector self from after the Civil War can be directed to buy land with rich Uranium deposits. And so on, and so forth. In this fashion, the wielder of this ability can alter the past to benefit themselves in the present.
Sometimes, the trick is convincing these past selves to do what one wishes, because it may not make much sense to them - unless of course, they also have full access to this ability, and can do the same to previous versions of themselves, too. Luckily, past selves cannot initiate contact with a later incarnation of their soul, for from their perspective they haven't become that person yet.
Or might not ever do so, considering the vagaries of temporal mechanics, and muddying up the timeline.
On the other hand, future selves have the ability to contact the modern day character. One might be asked by their eventual self, resident in the year 2356, to buy up all the GI Joe ™ comics they can - and to store them in a safety deposit box controlled by a trust fund. Or perhaps a self from the year 3532 will randomly pester you while high on some future narcotic to ask how the dark ages are. Or whatever.
In game terms, the character can contact a number of past versions of themselves that is equal to this power rank number. There may be more of him or her, but they can't reach those past selves (yet). The difficulty of contact depends on how far back one tries to reach through time; talking to one's previous incarnation is only a Feeble (1) intensity action, while moving back fifty iterations would be of Amazing (50) difficulty.
The difficulty of successfully getting one's previous iterations to actually make a meaningful change in the present is highly subjective, though common sense comes into play somewhat. Expecting gold to stay buried anywhere for several thousand years is possibly a fool's errand - but fifty is doable. One's best bet in this regard is to ensure that they ask favors of previous selves that is within their means and/or skill set.
Type: Deific Power
Cost: 1 point per rank
A form of eternal existence, reincarnation is the process of being reborn after one's death, starting over in an all-new body. Upon dying, a reincarnator's mind immediately takes root in new flesh, usually an infant of the same species, before its own, natural birth. Subordinating whatever essence may have otherwise planned the same, the reincarnator's life force will then steer its fresh form from that moment on.
While it's hard to permanently dispose of a reincarnator, since by their very definition they will be reborn again each time they die, killing one will definitely inconvenience him or her for a while. This is because, while a reincarnator is reincarnated after being slain, they still have to grow up again - and how fast an entity can accomplish this depends entirely on their reincarnation power rank.
When reborn, a reincarnator's body will develop to maturity at a speed equal to their current species' normal rate times their power rank number squared. A human who reincarnates, for example, would speed from birth to adulthood in just under six months with Typical (6) reincarnation, or a mere four turns if they attained this power at Class 5000 rank - not that this happens very often, but it's not unheard of.
The ascendant abilities a reincarnator carries with them from one iteration to the next depends entirely on their origins. Artificial modifications to one's physical form will not pass from one incarnation to the next, though they can be reproduced given the opportunity. Talent-like powers naturally tag along, however, as do any inherent powers that are innately tied to one's immortal life force (that which makes them reincarnate).
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