An afflicted Osiran seeking a purified self
=Name: The Stranger (Alias: John D. Stiff)=
Jimmy Osborne was not a fascinating man.
He had a steady full-time job as floor manager of a supermarket in Arizona. He was in his mid-forties, unmarried, though going steady with his girlfriend of five years. Every weekend, he’d make a point to watch a movie with friends and visit his mother.
Two years ago he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and put into a chemotherapy program. He was placed on extended leave by his company.
Three months ago he proposed to his girlfriend. She said yes and they were married in Phoenix.
Two months ago he shuffled off this mortal coil. His final words were heartfelt and inspirational to all his friends and family.
Six weeks ago, a corpse struggled to keep from drowning in a lake close to where he was buried, and through the sheer effort of flailing wildly and the painful use of a Transmutation that extended his reach, it managed to force itself onto the grassy shore before realizing that it shouldn’t be.
Five weeks ago, a limping man bearing superficial similarities to Jimmy Osborne was taken into lockup after loitering on the premises of a supermarket after a police report matching his description was reported in by a recently widowed Miss Osborne, who caught a pale man snooping around inside her house. He had stolen several personal photographs, among other things.
Four weeks ago, a man sick with cancer ran into the sweltering desert, attempting to escape an irrational mob accusing him of terrible, terrible things that had never happened. The man would find refuge in an abandoned recreational vehicle before deciding he needed to reevaluate his unnatural existence.
The Stranger understood a lot about Mr. Osborne. If nothing, he retained his memories. For a while after he awoke gasping for air, crude weights tied to his leg to pull his body down into the murky depths as to deny him his miserable existence, he had certainly believed himself to be Osborne. Despite the holes in his memory which he initially attributed to amnesia, he remembered his job, his wedding, even his cancer treatment in stunning detail. The Stranger certainly understands what he went through; He feels the tumors; Infected flesh palpitating with every throb of his heart, the chemicals marinating within his body, slowly being cooked by the hot, Sonoran sun. It took some time, but eventually he shed his denial and persona. If he were Jimmy, why was he not upset when he found the photographs incriminating Miss Osborne as being unfaithful a year before Osborne was diagnosed? Why could he not recognize the woman who created the body he was inhabiting? It couldn’t be mere memory loss. His new behavior, physiology and the reaction of those around him didn’t sync up. He understood that he was a new creature. A monster wearing the flesh of a dead man, and dead men have no want or need. The only thing that would be left of him was his now rather battered body, some memories and a wedding ring. It holds no real sentimental value for the Stranger, but he holds onto the trinket anyway, if only because it is a non-reactive metal in a world that demands it rusts and flakes away in his presence. He keeps it to remind him that he has yet to find himself.
The Stranger grimly follows a logic that he hopes might help him chip away at the alien retention plaguing his mind, to purify his own identity, body and soul. Because of how vivid his memories of Mr. Osbornes chemotherapy was, he took that as a starting point. His body was poisoned, and even with all the macrophages and lymphocytes attacking the cyst, even with the help of Topoisomerase inhibitors, the cancers eventually spread through his body and killed him. And yet here he was, memories in tact, in a way, still alive. Maybe this was just a step in his purification. In short, his philosophy is: “I am a toxic cyst, and if I don’t keep moving, I will poison the land around me. Antibodies will come to destroy me. However, were I a tumor, I can perhaps put myself into remission so I can rejoin the boy as normal tissue. I must find a chemical composition that will purify my body and spirit. I must, if I am to truly live.”
One week ago, he found a Firebranded Mark telling of a settlement founded by other walking corpses. Was he truly not alone in this struggle? Would he find his Creator, who had would have snuff out his flame before he could even take his first breath?
5 days ago, he began his long walk to Assembly.
Chronicle: Promethean: Assembly
Concept: Cancerous Drifter, a Biological Anomaly to be Cured
Refinement: Cuprum: Refinement of Copper (Self)
Choosing a Transmutation for the Stranger was difficult. He studies a mix of what would constitute the Refinement of Iron and Quicksilver, by improving his form through traditional means and through Pyros, along with research of how his wasteland effect, this spreading cancer, affects the local flora and fauna. This is not his final goal as of this moment, however. Copper is what the Stranger needs right now. Physical perfection through alchemical use is his final goal, but as of right now, he must understand WHO he is. His memories are not his, so he has no true identity. He views himself as completely devoid of personality and absolutely socially stifled, which he attributes to his lack of the sum of his own memories. His initial foray into the refinement of Gold did not work out too well, as the Transmutations he was imbued with on creation didn’t help quell the disquiet of the people he should have been familiar with. Picking the title of “The Stranger” seemed the way to go, and he swore he would only choose an alias when he builds his character from the ground up. His inital goal is keep moving, to keep thinking. He might not have much, but he has his thoughts, which is enough. When moving becomes too much, he waits and studies before moving again. His body and curse can wait. He must find himself first.
The Stranger lives up to his Osirian Heritage by thinking everything in terms of practicality, and the consequences it may have in the long run. Things may take longer to finish with him in charge, yes, but they will be pulled off without a hitch. Unfortunately, as with all Prometheans, he suffers from deep jealousy and resentment towards humanity for having what he does not. It’s not entirely the fault of his personality; He is quite amicable despite his appearance and the curse of the Divine Flame. However, almost as if his body picks up on subtle cues, his cancerous organs begin creating excessive bile in the presence of what he perceives as unattainable happiness. His Torment builds when he sees the laughter of a child or a couple making out in the park and he wants to strike out at them, or take them into some deep hole and bury them alive. It was because of this overwhelming jealousy that others have what he cannot that he dropped his refinement of Aurum and slithered away into the desert to reflect on himself.
In life, he was not a brilliant man and he did not have an exceptional brain. However, in his life after life, the Stranger would find himself driven to find a cure for his condition. He spends hours sifting through stolen medical textbooks, philosophy and religion. What he lacks in his ability to retain, he makes up in with his passion for anatomy, the human body and his studies of what makes a man.
As ill as his body is, the superhuman Promethean condition and his own physical modifications to his body over the past few weeks have rendered him far more capable of action. Instead of limping and shuffling as he did when he was created, he can now run and jump and lift and sprint with the capacity of a normal, healthy human. While promising, this hasn’t helped the constant fluctuation of his humours, and it certainly hasn’t helped him feel healthier. Every moment he still continues to feel sick to his stomach, and the lumps pulsating under his disfigurement keep threatening to tear through the dried, mummified layer of tissue that imprisons it. Still, it’s progress.
The Stranger still has a long way to go when it comes to dealing with humanity. He sticks out like a sore, pale thumb. While he walks with seeming confidence, he doesn’t understand the nuances of humanity. He simply can’t comprehend that he is creepy to behold, even looking past his Azoth-infused disguise and sickly pallor. He stares. He licks his lips and fidgets under his coat. He speaks bluntly and without consideration of other peoples feelings. It’s not that he is incapable of empathy, he is simply too naive and inexperienced to have proper dealings with humanity, and his overexaggerated envy makes conversing, even with other Prometheans, very difficult.
(M) = Merit granted Specialty
(RM) = Granted by the Residual Memory Merit
- = Homebrew rules, as listed in the Merits section.
•••oo Medicine Chemotherapy (RM)
•oooo Science Chemistry
The stranger has one advantage over most other Prometheans: He has residual memory swimming in his brain. He doesn’t retain much about his bodies previous experiences, just vague flashes of occasional insight. The exception to this was his cancer treatment, which he remembers in stunning detail, grimly recognizing it as a massive boon. He remembers every off remark the nurses made about his charts and every drug they injected into him. It’s not pleasant, but it helps. While those memories gently prod him along, he remembers, with some inital confusion of how he came about this knowledge, in understanding how to work a computer, or how to count inventory to ensure that nothing is missing. If anything, he’s a careful monster masquerading as a careful man. His knowledge of Science and the Occult are his own, though, ballooning over several weeks of frantic studying.
•oooo Athletics Body Control
•oooo Brawl Natural Weaponry Claws
The Stranger has been honing his body. Arizona isn’t nearly as dead as people would believe, and the deserts are crawling with monstrous Pandorans. His wanderings lead him over a nest of small, scorpion-like Firetouched, which would stalk him, patiently waiting for him to exhaust himself before feeding, and in fighting the swarm, he honed his abilities of stealth in order to shake them off his trail before they would inevitably catch up a day later after he had ample time to rest, or to actively fight them off with claws imbued by his Natural Weaponry Transmutation. His Body Control specialty is the result of practicing the refinement of Copper.
ooooo Animal Ken
••ooo Socialize Team Leadership (RM)
Socialization is not his foray. While he does exert an air of control about him, he knows that he simply isn’t fit to be among humans at this point. He does retain foreign memories of working the supermarket for years and years and all the leadership decisions that Osborne made, but very little of that is applicable at this point. What good would counting produce, hiring temps or ordering more leather jackets be to him, a mummified, diseased corpse wandering the Sonoran? Perhaps someday he could put it to use, and enlist the aid of others with his knowledge of correspondences.
• Acid Stomach (Strange Alchemies, p. 55)
To a psychiatrist, were he willing to evaluate the Stranger before the disquiet drives him to madness himself, Mr. John Stiff would appear to be a classic case of manic-depressive disorder. His mood swings are actually caused by the tumors in his body overshooting his humours, causing him to take on the temperament that would usually be reserved for a Frankenstein or a Galteid or a Golem before he eventually switches back to his regular, reserved persona. It’s true the attacks have been getting less and less frequent as he learns to control his body, but they still happen. The Stranger only recognizes how an imbalance of Bile is created: When he’s witnessing happiness that is out of his potential grasp, and when he prepares himself to eat. He finds that when he’s in a foul mood, even sand is nourishing to him.
• Lair (Core, p. 96)
The Sonoran desert is a big place. People can get lost driving through it, especially if they drive through it with an unreliable GPS, far off the road. If your RV breaks down and you wander away from it in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to find civilization, then the RV becomes fair game for monsters to move into. The Stranger has made his home out of this rusty metal carcass, and he keeps his books on medicine, philosophy and chemistry here. He also keeps a small black and white television with a VCR hooked up to a car battery that he uses to watch old videos he finds in garage sales on the outskirts of civilization.
This lair has no dots in size and a single dot in security, representing its difficulty to find and reach in the sweltering desert.
• Fast Reflexes (Core, 110)
The Stranger’s body may be weak in comparison to the more able bodied undead cousins, yet his mind and reflexes are sharp, allow him to recognize potential danger just before it strikes, giving him just enough time to prepare his nerves for combat.
•• Residual Memory (Core, p. 97): Medicine – Chemotherapy and Socialize – Team Leadership
His head hurts constantly. Memories that aren’t his plague and help him at once, beckoned by a tiny, metastatic tumor in his head. Perhaps it’s because of this foreign lump, however, that this monster has memories of things he never experience? Perhaps its alive, and shares sentiments with the Stranger, wanting to fix itself, make itself whole. After all, stranger things have existed, not the least a walking, miserable corpse it drags around. If this is the case, then thematically, it seems to have stored all the information it could on fixing its condition, as well as other assorted knowledges the Nepri may use.
•• Hideous Anyway (Strange Alchemies, p. 58) (Homebrew: Persuasion bonus instead of Intimidation, intimidation penalty.)
You can always instantly tell when someone is undergoing chemotherapy. They are pale. Their eyes are sunken into their skulls. They have no finger and toenails. Their hair is gone. While his disfigurement is all these things as well as a glamor of desiccation and lumpiness, unfortunately his Azoth seemed to have forgotten to hide everything except for the obviously dead parts. Thus, he always appears to be on the verge of collapsing or throwing up. People avoid looking at and coming near him, even without disquiet affecting them, simply because of a natural avoidance written into their genes by their ancestors telling them to stay away from the diseased.
This merit has a homebrewed modification. The original merit provides a benefit to Intimidation while simultaneously imposing a penalty to persuasion. This does not apply to the Stranger. Instead, were someone to come face to face with him, they would feel obligated to help this seemingly ill man out of sympathy, making the benefit transferred to Persuasion rolls, assuming they are not suffering from disquiet, while being less demoralized by this supposedly meek man. The Stranger receives 9-again on Persuasion rolls, and loses 10 again on intimidation, with ones subtracting from the total successes.
Erratic Cambium (Homebrew Flaw)
The Stranger is a potent cauldron of diseased tissue and growths. They pulsate within and without his organs like coiled, gently breathing snakes, and occasionally the body may force them to contract without consent. When his liver, spleen or gall bladder begin to pulsate, the Stranger feels a gentle pain shooting up his body before his entire personality seems to shift. It’s a rapid attack. One moment he is his regular, stoic self, before succumbing to a depressive, melancholy state or overeager mania.
The Erratic Cambium flaw comes into affect every time the Stranger is forced to roll for Torment, whether he succeeds or not. One of the three temperaments foreign to the Nepri is chosen by the storyteller or by random roll (1-3 being the Frankenstein temperament, 4-6 the Muse, 7-9 the Golem and a 10 being Nepri), and this new temperament lasts for an entire scene. After the scene, the excessive humour is drained from the Strangers body over the following hour. Were the stranger to permanently change his humour balance, then the Nepri “logical” temperament will be added to replace the now prominent organ. Despite the temporary abundance of foreign fluid, his Torment will remain not change from the Nepris usual cold stoicism.
Whenever the Stranger exercises his envy vice or prepares to eat, he takes on the choleric temperament, becoming angry and vengeful. Because his naturally sick state is compounded by an excess of bile, he must roll Stamina + Resolve to keep from vomiting, which deals a bashing damage as the unnaturally potent acids burn his throat and mouth and he chokes.
Desiccated corpse, cooked and dried by the desert sun.
Tight skin covering discolored lumps that cover the entirety of his body
Genitals removed as per Nepri resurrection ritual.
Metamorphosis ••• – Procrustean Shape (Core 141)
25 XP to spend
Metamorphosis • Natural Weaponry (Core 140)
20 XP left
Vulcanis •• Electroshock Recharge (Core 155)
6 XP left
Sensorium • Translator’s Eye (Core 146)
1 XP left
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