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"Sascha" Vykos, Caine's Angel
In the game "Vampire: The Masquerade" there are several clans of vampires, but one of the more horrifying is the Tzimisce clan. Masters of physical transformation (referred to as "Vicissitude" in the game), the Tzimisce practice evolution through transformation. Usually these transformations are fairly nightmarish in appearance, but occasionally it can include changes in gender, as well.
One of the luminaries of the Tzimisce is the vampire known as Sascha Vykos. A master of Vicissitude, Vykos often takes on a fairly androgenous appearance. The creature was originally Myca Vykos, a male heir to Carpathian royalty, who came to the unfortunate attention of the Tzimisce clan, and soon found himself a member of their ranks. Some time later, Vykos apparently encountered another vampire known as Sascha Ivonavitch, who turned out not to be a man at all, but rather a woman who had been disguising herself as a man since her youth. The two subsequently became lovers, and Myca proposed a remarkable solution to Sascha's "problem" and used his mastery of flesh to transform her into a handsome young man.
Unfortunately, once Sascha realized the price at which his transformation had been achieved, he fled back to his own clan and was soon killed at a calamitous meeting known as The Convention of Thorns. Enraged, Myca mutilated himself and reappeared years later as the androgenous and terrifying Sasha Vykos.
Image: Sascha is an alien beauty. Its limbs are long, slender and graceful, but it moves with power. Its face is like a work by Michelangelo, perfect and flawless in form. Not even the master artist could capture Sascha's cruel countenance, however. The network of scars, tattoos and piercings that cover its androgynous form only add to Sascha's enigmatic beauty. What appear to be thin, black tattoos on its body are skin clefts that open like a babe's toothless mouth. Sascha's skill with Vicissitude allows it to speak through these mouths as well, creating a chorus of its voice to unnerve even the most strong-willed opponent. Sascha displays these marks like trophies, sometimes stroking them with tenderness. Sascha's most compelling feature, however, is its eyes. It watches everything around it the way a coroner dissects a cadaver. It never blinks or looks away; it simply stares.
Roleplaying Hints: You look at people the same way mortals study a goldfish: with detached interest. You've already decided how to kill them; it isn't a matter of whether someone should live or die, but when you plan to dispose of them. It all depends on how long they prove useful to you. Your mindset is no psychotic fantasy, however, but a pure, analytical observation. You are a scientist at heart: practical, thorough and detached.
This character is also from "Vampire: The Masqurade" and similar to Sascha Vykos, above is a member of the Tzimisce clan (with a similarly disturbing background). Calling herself "Doktor Totentanz," she was originally belived to have been Dr. Heinrich Lundt, an SS race biologist whose enthusiasm for his work attracted the attention of a Tzimisce. Changing both name and gender to suit her proclivities, Totentanz has since served the Sabbat as fanatically as she once served the Third Reich, and is considered to be one of the more powerful vampires in the Tzimisce clan.
Aberrant Worldwide, Phase II
In the "Aberrant" superhero game, each hero (or "nova") gains their powers from a genetic quirk referred to in the game as the "Mazarin-Rashoud node." As in most popular superhero comics, the character gains his or her powers in response to some external stimulus or stress that causes their powers to activate. (Threatening situation, radioactive spider bite, trying to figure out their 401k statement...you get the idea.) However, the cool twist here is that not only does the person get super-powers, but the powers generally have some basis in wish-fulfillment, as they manifest based on the person's conscious or subconscious desires, fantasies and needs. What's more, this metamorphosis also extends to their physical body. (Starting to see where I'm going with this? )
In one of the supplements, we're introduced to "London Fog," the premiere London-based nova, who turns out to be more than she appears...
Background: London Fog was born in 1974 in Islington. Her birth name was Benjamin Jeffrey Emory. Nature played a cruel trick on the child. She was born with the unshakable conviction that she was female, but she had a male body. She spend most of her early years hovering between confusion and self-loathing, only to have shifted firmly into self-loathing upon reaching puberty.
Benjamin ran away from home at 15 and tried to start the process of sex reassignment. Unfortunately, Emory lacked the funds for the expensive procedure. The police caught Emory and returned "him" to his parents.
At 18, Emory chose to forego higher education, choosing instead to try to find work to get the cash for reassignment. This began a long chain of low-paying jobs throughout London, none ever paying quite enough for Emory. At 20, Benjamin Emory legally changed her name to Deborah Emory and lived as a woman. Her life continued in much the same vein over the following 11 years. Expenses (especially England’s rising cost of living) made pursuing surgery impossible, since England’s socialized medicine system would not cover it.
In late 2005, Emory abandoned hope. Estranged from her family (who refused to accept the change), neglected by English law (that made it illegal for her to legally alter her birth documents) and unable to save the money for surgery, she decided to finish it. She walked to the middle of Hungerford Bridge, spent a few minutes working up the nerve to jump, and when she saw a police officer approaching, she steeled herself and leaped, only to regret the decision to the core of her being a brief fraction of a second later.
A strong wind preempted Emory’s suicide attempt. Inside, she exploded. The world around her flared into brilliant, flowing light, as she suddenly perceived weather around her as energy patterns that she could control. Even more significantly (to Emory), she discovered that she’d somehow transformed completely into a woman. The newly-manifested M-R node also gave her headaches the likes of which she’d never before experienced, the intense pain triggering random electrical discharges into anything nearby.
Emory directly checked herself into a Rashoud facility, where the resident experts tended to her headaches and taught her how to control her powers, and she was released after a month of care and training. With Utopia assistance, Deborah Emory legally changed her name again, this time to Elizabeth Deborah Barton, to more clearly divide her old life from the new. Again with Utopia assistance, she located an agent who specialized in municipal defenders and started negotiations to fill that role for London.
On January 14, 2006, Barton had her first opportunity to present herself to London. She stopped what threatened to become a rampaging fire in downtown London with an incredible downpour. Her appearance also accelerated the negotiations her agent was in with the London city government.
In 2007, a tabloid reporter outed her. She responded poorly to questions on the topic, and her agent threatened well-funded legal action if a retraction wasn’t printed. One was (albeit buried on page four). London Fog doesn’t discuss the matter in public, but it’s common knowledge (if not universally believed).
Image: Elizabeth Barton is a tall unorthodox woman. She looks mostly normal, except that in place of hair, she has a streaming, nearly intangible, fog crowning her head. Her eyes reflect the weather (bright blue on a sunny day, dark gray on stormy days), and her body throws off harmless flickers of electricity. She likes to dress in a casual mode and rarely dresses for the weather. Since she’s as comfortable in Antarctic winds as she is in a tropical jungle, she dresses primarily out of personal preference and avoids ostentatious or over-done fashions.
Roleplaying hints: You’ve got it made, you’re a popular nova in one of the most famous (and oldest) cities in the world, you have everything you could ever want, and your name is a household word. All that’s left to do is to enjoy yourself and indulge your sense of duty. You won’t hesitate to use your position to try to change things for the better (and have in many cases). You don’t like to openly acknowledge your past, but you’ve done your best to improve rights and opportunities for English transgendered people and will continue to do so.
Gear: London Fog trenchcoat, cell phone.
Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 5, Stamina 5, Perception 3, Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Appearance 5, Manipulation 3, Charisma 3
Abilities: Academics 3, Athletics 3, Awareness 4, Biz 2, Command 3, Computer 1, Drive 2, Endurance 3, Intimidation 3, Rapport 3, Resistance 3, Science (Meteorology) 4, Style 3, Survival 5
Backgrounds: Allies 3, Attunement 2, Backing 4
(London Government), Eufiber 3, Followers 3, Influence 4, Node 3, Resources
Powers: Mega-Dexterity * (Accuracy), Mega-Stamina *** (Adaptability, Resiliency), Mega-Perception * (Electromagnetic Vision, High-end Electromagnetic Scan), Mega-Charisma * (Commanding Presence), Bodymorph (Fog—Density Control [Decrease] **) **, Flight *, Immolate (Lightning—Lethal) **, Quantum Bolt (Lightning—Lethal) ***, Weather Manipulation (Alter Temperature, Fog, Weather Alteration) ***
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