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[Continuum] [Rough plot concept] The Alembic of Dr. Faustus

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  • [Continuum] [Rough plot concept] The Alembic of Dr. Faustus

    Continuum can be very easily used to run a campain in the vein of "Uncharted", "National Treasure" and the like. But of course, you need some fabled treasure, everybody is after, as a central McGuffin. So, what about

    The Alembic of Dr. Faustus?

    Dr. Faustus, the infamous diabolist and sorcerer of german mythology, is, as some of you may already know, not completely fictional. All the folk-tales, books and plays about the fabled warlock were based on a rather shady figure named Johann Georg Faust (1480 - 1541). He was an alchemist and astrologer of quite ill reputiation. His contemporaries reviled him as a pompous charlatan, and worse (to them) a homosexual.
    In 1541 Johann Georg Faust died under mysterious circumstances in the little town of Staufen, in his rooms in the "Hotel zum Löwen". The people, who found his horribly disfigured corpse, reported the stench of sulphur. While modern historians believe, Georg Faust accidently killed himself in an alchemlical experiment, that went awry, the good, christian people of Staufen came to a different conclusion. Faust must have been killed by the devil himself! And thus, a legend started.

    So much for the real historical background. In the Trinity-Verse, there was, of course, also an Johann Georg Faust, just as there are the same Dr-Faust-Legends as in our world. But the historical accounts about Georg Faust read a bit different than in our world. Where as in the real world, all educated people, who wrrote about the real Faust, picture him as the fraud he most likely was, in the Trinity-Verse, the writings of Fausts contemporaries Trithemius or the Thübingen professor Joachim Camerarius read much more fantastically. It seems, that the Georg Faust of the Trinity-Verse really could have had some, lets say, "unusual abillities".

    Also, in the Trinity-Verse, all accounts about Fausts Death in 1541 mention a strange "alembic", a giant alchemical apparatus made of brass and iron, that, miraculously survived the explosion in the "Hotel zum Löwen" without a scratch. To Fausts contemporaries, the alembic was clearly an object of darkest witchery. So, the townsfolk brought the alembic to the nearest church - from where it vanished just seven nights later, just before the inquisition could take a look at it. Fausts two assistants, Christoph Wagner (later said to be a warlock himself) and Kasper (the historical source of the "Kasperle", the german Version of Mr. Punch) where accused of having stolen it - just because the two vanished in the same night.

    Over the course of many centuries, a lot of groups and persons have searched for the alembic - out of quite different reasons - despite the fact, that the legends about what the alembic actually does, vary widely. Just to name a few examples:

    The church made several attempts to find and destroy the alembic.

    The English nobleman Philip Wharton, 1st Duke of Wharton, founder of the infamous Hellfire Club, is said to have been obsessed with getting his hands on the Alembic.

    And in the 1930s it was of course the inevitable Heinrich Himmler who had Keller dug up in half of the German Reich to secure the Alembik for the Nazi regime.

    Now, in 2018, interesst in the alembic sparked once again, after a supposedly genuine diary of Christoph Wagner appeared in a Hamburg auction house.

    What Faustus and the Alembik really were:
    To put it bluntly: Dr. Faust really did have "magical powers" and was in league with inhuman forces! Johann Georg Faust was, what later generations would call a "Psion", and even a "Proxy". Faust was the result of an early attempt by the Doyen to manipulate mankind, or, to be more precise, a private experiment by a renegade Doyen, who operated under the moniker "Mephistopheles". While Faust, who in the beginning, really just was a rundown charlatan with some dormant psionic potential, tried to "summon Spirits", the alien approached him and offered him real powers.Thus, a pact was closed. But calling a pact with the alien a pact with the devil, was not completely unfoundet. Mephistopheles was (and still is) a quite mallicious entity.
    So, after a while, Faust, who just was a small-time-criminal but not completely evil, came to resent the pact.
    The alembic was nothing else, than the attempt by Faust and Mephistopheles to construct a kind of Prometheus chamber using the means of early modern times. Christoph Wagner was the first (and only surviving) test person. He became a psion in the Alembik, but paid for his new powers with a nasty cancer that left him to die in agony only a few years after his master.
    Fausts Death in 1541 was the result of an attempt by Faust, to rise up against Mephistopheles. In Order to increase his "magical" Powers, so he could beat and banish the "devil" in duel, Faust stepped into the alembic - and died spectacularly. After that, Christoph Wagner and Kasper really did hide the alembic somewhere...

    Now let's see what you could do with the stuff from here. There are still some questions left unanswered:

    - what kind of PSI actually fits the historical Faustus best?
    - Is the Alembik still functional and could its biggest flaw, namely beating those who enter it with numerous, deadly tumors, be removed?
    - Is Mephistopheles still or already active again - and if so, in what form?
    - Who is still interested in alembics, where is it now, and what kind of obstacles could be put in the way of the SC looking for it?

  • #2
    Dr. Faustus was gay? Thought he had a crush on Helen of Troy.

    “No one holds command over me. No man, no god, no Prince. Call your damn Hunt. We shall see who I drag screaming down to hell with me.” The last Ahrimane says this when Mithras calls a Blood Hunt against her. She/her (I saw the Chief Technology Officer for a big company do this so I guess I’ll do it too).


    • #3
      The mythological Dr. Faustus indeed had a crush on Helen of Troy (who was, if I remember that correctly, just a devil in disguise - at least in some of the several dozen Faustus-Tales).

      The historical Dr. Faust was repeatedly accused of "sodomy". He was even called "The great Sodomite and Necromancer" (in that particular order). Of course, this could have been just "bad press" (the 1500s where very, very, veeeeery far from beeing "woke") but assuming he could just have been gay is not that far off.


      • #4
        Just awesome! No words to describe the ideas!

        Now for the questions I give my opinions:
        - Biokinesis is probably the one that makes him the most “devilish”, even more if combined with some VK to distort others’ flesh. I would put it a bid different from regular Psion, maybe creating a psiad from a latent.
        - Personaly I would make it not functional, at least not as a Prometheus chamber, I would make it work as a Ares or a IAD, empowering the user beyond regular level.
        - Mephistopheles is active and possibly one of the Doyen that created the noetic barrier around Earth after Hammersmith. Probably going around trying to figure a way to repeat Hammersmith in a contained environment to understand the “multi energy” aspect of humans.
        - Sure Aeon will try to put it in a lead box in the Babel Dossie to avoid issues. Maybe Le Fantomes were contracted to steal it from whoever have it. I would make a small society constructed around the Alembic that has being trying to reactivate it, maybe with a psiad exploring it now and then without control and thinking the visions of future or distant places comes from Mephistopheles (as prophecies) while it’s actually their own Clairsentient powers empowered.

        House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
        Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
        Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux


        • #5
          Modern Age was quite a fascinating moment, an age of Discovery, and when science and mysticism still mingled. From that time, I'd throw:

          The Golem of Praga: that's the 1500s for you, supposedly by the hand of a real rabbi. Biokinesis involved?

          John Dee: mathematician, astrologer, alchemist, occultist and whatnot, favored by Queen Elisabeth I. He supposedly communicated with angels and was handed from them a writing system. Doyen action?

          Giordano Bruno: condemned to death by its writings on the nature of the Trinity (ahem), getting acquainted with Heliocentrism had him suggesting that stars then should be suns with their own planets and people. A poetic soul, a capital "I" Inspiration, was he hinted or... had he witnessed?

          Ψ The Corps is Father. The Corps is Mother. Ψ