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On the Immortals

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  • On the Immortals

    Okay, so similar to my Old Gods of Irem thread I wanted to make a general purpose thread to talk about immortals in whatever way people want to talk about them. Me personally I've gotten ideas for new immortals, mostly born out of what was originally my irritation that there weren't more templates in the WOD:Immortals books under the last chapter when there were "obviously" so many other potential examples to explore. Welp, here's one of my ideas. Hope you like it. More to come....whenever I get a mind to write more, I suppose. Although if one of you enterprising fools wants to throw in some story ideas or new powers or whatever for immortals new or established go right ahead. Also, if you want to tell me how amazing and great this idea is I won't stop you (but seriously, comments and criticism and ways to expand the concept, especially giving it some "crunch" to go with the "fluff" would be welcome).

    The Fallow

    Who They Are

    It begins with the flicker of thought, a moment of awareness in a sea of endless darkness. Dreams of Duat wash away like a departing tide. A sense of self, still primitive and reeling from its journey back into flesh and bone, imbues the remains of the immortal. Slowly, painfully, dead eyes crack open, once more taking in the sting of the sunlight. Motion comes next, as life returns to limb and sinew for the first time in centuries, creaking and stretching over the dessicated husk of the corpse. The creature arises into a new world, so alien from what they knew, unprepared for what humanity has wrought in their absence. And so it goes, until the life that suffuses them once more ebbs, forcing them back into the silence of death to await the cycle once again. It is a familiar pattern the mummies repeat endlessly throughout time.
    It is this experience in kind that breeds sympathy and contempt for the Fallow.
    Fallow are not, in the strictest sense of the word, true immortals. Physically speaking they appear no different from a normal human being. They must eat, they must breath, and given a sufficient passing of time they will grow old and die as assuredly as any mortal must. The Fallow are merely delaying the inevitable. There are times when a farmer will choose to plow a field but plant no seeds so that the soil might recover and grow enriched between great harvests. Soil in such a state is said to be fallow- inert, inactive, dormant. And such too is the case with the Fallow. Whether through deliberate method or strange twist of fate (or Fate) the Fallow found a means to cut themselves off from the passage of time. When employing this method, the Fallow usually remains completely ignorant of what transpires around them. Arisen scholars believe that the Fallow something almost akin to creating a relic- effectively entrapping Sekhem within a location or their own body for a period of time. Many seem to fall into a period of slumber or hibernation, dreaming strange dreams as their bodies cease to age. Outside these periods of dormancy a Fallow tends to be either focused on the proper means to re-enter this state of suspended animation or otherwise full of questions and confusion about the changes wrought in the world.

    How It Works
    As is so often the case among immortals, the methods of the Fallow vary tremendously between individuals (or at times a small group that collaborated on a method of stasis together). Broadly speaking the Fallow either invokes his techniques on the physical body or on a specific location. Many became Fallow through methods that they believed to be natural for the place and time they come from. Herbalists and Alchemists have crafted potions and elixirs to put themselves and their clients into a deep sleep. Others, especially in the last two centuries, have attempted to craft machines of various sorts to keep them alive across the ages. Others wrought more dramatic transformations on themselves, metamorphosing into rock or tree or other substance capable of whethering the elements. Others spent decades crafting mystic sanctuaries that would stifle the flow of time for anyone within. Rarely, the Fallow achieved their immortality quite by accident, such as the hapless soul who falls asleep within a fairy ring of toadstools and wakes a century later, or the mountain climber that finds himself frozen in an avalanche until the mountain thaws decades later. Some Fallow simply find a particularly unnatural place that obeys its own rules, such as a cursed village that vanishes and reappears only on certain days of the year or alignments of the stars.
    The final consideration is the method of waking from this dormancy. Most commonly the Fallow will build these methods into their state of hibernation. A potion maker carefully measures the period the concoction has an effect on the body and pours out the appropriate dosage. A man transforms into a pillar of stone until the full moon has shined upon him 1001 nights. The sleeping king awakens when his nation is under dire threat. Others are not so lucky, and are forced to rely purely on happenstance or the study of some learned outsider to invoke the proper methods to reverse the process. Also of note is that the process of waking may need to occur in stages, the Fallow at first being mobile but weak and sluggish until additional steps are taken to restore them fully. Those who have transformed may well find portions of themselves not yet restored, for example, or one kept alive by a strange machine may require large sums of protein. Usually those who fail to fully meet these requirements eventually fall back into a state of hibernation. Of course, depending on circumstances the Fallow may welcome such a return, seeking to be only a temporary visitor to learn the fate of the world before becoming dormant and progressing into future eras to explore. Or the Fallow may dread the return, perhaps going so far as to find a replacement so that they can return to whatever sort of mundane life they can find.
    Fallow Society
    Fallow, by their nature, tend towards solitude. The form of their immortality effectively requires some amount of isolation and abandonment of what is now in order to embrace what is yet to come. The majority of Fallow, those who became immortal deliberately, were prepared to endure such a loss to a certain extent (albeit, there are tragic cases of Fallow unable to awaken at the intended time, and discover far more of the world they came from has vanished than they had been prepared for). Those who became Fallow through circumstances beyond their intentions take the change in era far more harshly, often succumbing to intense despair or rage for a time. A large minority of Fallow employ a single method simultaneously, intending to brave the new age they awaken in together. Indeed, whole families or even small villages have at times learned to incorporate these periods of wakefulness and sleep into their ‘daily’ lives, accepting the ever changing outside world by maintaining a sense of comradery and familiarity among one another (of course, there are also examples of that same sense of closeness eventually souring- when a Fallow community implodes, it implodes dramatically). Even more isolated Fallow can develop something of a community, since their methods by necessity require them to remain in a single location epoch after epoch. Some find themselves objects of wonder, research or even veneration. Others become a sort of mentor or protector, similar in ways to the Arisen themselves. Another noteworthy trend among the Fallow was a sense of desperation. Some entered their dormancy in order to escape some terrible fate, such as the fall of an empire or the rampant spread of a deadly plague. Others were already facing death and sought suspension with the hope that some cure might exist in an untold age that could save them. On a more sinister note, some Fallow learned their methods from entirely inhuman sources, and become the keepers of a slumbering nest of sinister creatures awaiting an age when their kind might rise again.

    Arisen As Foes
    Most mummies view the Fallow as annoyances and hindrances. At best they are foolish and ignorant, stumbling out of their slumber hungry for knowledge or desperate to complete their awakenings. They are similar enough in the way to the Arisen to attract enemies and attention, and for this reason alone might be targeted by a mummy desiring secrecy. Moreover, Arisen occultists believe their method of immortality involves capturing and containing Sekhem in some way or another, and the more traditional of the Deathless believe it is their duty to return this captured power back to the world as surely as they must send relics on to Duat. Likewise, the sliver of Sekhem still resonant in their bodies draws the Shuankhsen to the Fallow like flies to honey. However, while a minority of Fallow are merely hapless victims of circumstance or merely survivors of a bygone age, the most learned among them are very much threats unto themselves. The methods they employ can at times be extended into offensive uses. Mummies that underestimate these immortals can find their cults one and all sent into unwaking slumber or transformed to stone, the Fallow able to demand anything he might desire to reverse the process.

    Arisen As Allies
    Few Arisen miss the parallel between their own existence and the Fallow. Most are not so cold hearted that they do not feel sympathy for the Fallow’s struggles to adapt to this damnably alien, modern world. Fallow are also living receptacles of knowledge of one or more eras past, which can be of immense use to a Mummy settling in a new locale or in need of some obscure piece of occult lore. Many Fallow also bear the potential to create Neithian works of architecture or relics, and are of potential use to the Guilds. If the methods the Fallow employ can be reproduced, perhaps the Mummy can preserve more faithful servants and sorcerers by the same trick. Finally, if the Fallow uses a specific location to preserve their being the Arisen will likely be required to investigate further- the region will often be suffused with Sekhem or hide some terrible Lifeless horror from Duat’s darkest depths. And exploring such places is always easier if one has a guide….


  • #2
    Hm. An interesting idea. I’d add something like Fallow are able to sorta turn back their aging as time goes by, as honestly while the idea is really interesting, there doesn’t seem to be much seeming reason for Fallow to enter their Stasis State besides “to enter a later time”.

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    • #3
      Thanks for the input. I think if there was some rejuvenation involved I'd rather it be an optional event rather than part of the default (as with blood bathers and body thieves having certain unique powers in addition to the "standard" abilities they use to stay alive). I think the fact that they age outside of stasis is a good built in motivator to return to stasis when the fear of death begins to haunt them again. Besides, we have a few examples of rejuvenation among the other immortals, so I'd rather do something more unique with the Fallow. I wanted to expand on the last chapter of WOD Immortals with examples in other stories and myths. The Sleeping King and Rip Van Winkle were definitely inspiration for the Fallow.

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