Immortal is a term used to describe a human whose life has been prolonged beyond its natural span through unnatural or supernatural means, allowing them to live forever and gain various benefits and advantages over mortal humans.
Achieving immortality or at least extended life and youth is possible, but it is never easy and there is always a significant price attached. The easiest methods turn the individual using them into a murderous monster. Other, stranger methods exist, but all of them either involve stealing the lives of others or becoming something other than human.
In addition to the cost of becoming immortal, being an immortal in a mortal world is far from easy. Everyone around them eventually ages and dies, while she remain alive. Immortals live on a time scale different from those around them. While an hour is much like an hour for everyone else, someone who has lived for centuries could look back over this time and see the scope of history in a way that ordinary humans can only approximate by reading old books and otherwise immersing themselves in the minutiae of the past.
An immortal can see far more about the world around her than ordinary mortals ever will. However, she also sees a world of brief lives and endless deaths for the mortals around them. This knowledge removes the immortal from the concerns of those around her. Even immortals who are not forced to kill mortals to survive can come to regard them as fleeting beings. At this point, it becomes disturbingly easy to kill someone or even several hundred people, if their deaths could in some way prove useful to the immortal’s plans.
However, immortals are not singular beings. They live in a world that not only contains other supernatural beings, but other immortals. The company of others of their kind can be very precious, but it can also be a risk. Immortals who need to hunt others to stave off age and death can easily turn on one another. Even if they don’t, too many people disappearing or dying in one place can alert the authorities. Also, many immortals develop long-term agendas, and the presence of another immortal with a different, contradictory agenda can be very problematic.
Types of Immortals
The Chronicles of Darkness are home to a variety of rare individuals, lurking in the shadows or hiding in plain sight, who were born like any other mortal man or woman, but found the will and the means to transcend their mortality and live for centuries or longer. There are mysteries hidden among the great mass of human nature. A few become more than human — immortals.
Some come to eternity through years of study and sacrifice, some are born to it and others are chosen by spirits and other, stranger powers. A few hunger so desperately for immortality that they hunt down those who have gained it before them. All have their strengths and weaknesses, they all live their lives — hiding away or flaunting their differences — in the surge and ebb of mortality, no longer part of the human world that gave them birth.
- Main article: Blood Bather
A blood bather is an immortal who gains their immortality and supernatural abilities from the mystical power present in human blood through variations of the ancient and occult practice of the Bathing Ritual.
- Main article: Body Thief
A body thief, also known as a body swapper, is an immortal who uses supernatural powers in order to migrate or swap their minds and souls with those of other humans either through innate psychic abilities or through the practice of dark magic, with a number of exceptions.
- Main article: The Purified
The Purified are a strange sort of humans that achieved immortality by transforming themselves into part spirits. They are unrelated to other kinds of Immortals, like Blood Bathers or Body Snatchers, or even the Arisen.
There are a number of other types of immortal that are significantly less common than blood bathers, body thieves, and the Purified; knowledge of these immortals is limited due to their rarity and they are often confused for other supernatural creatures when their existence is known. Unlike the more common types of immortal and major supernaturals, lesser immortals are less removed from their humanity and do not gain as many benefits or powers.
The Visitors are a symbiotic form of worm-like spirit that grant humans immortality through secretly infiltrating their bodies and using them as a host to grow and survive. Humans hosting Visitors are the youngest form of immortal, as the Visitors came into existence during the 1940s following the detonation of the first nuclear weapons; originally nature spirits, a combination of the beliefs of human society and the effects of the atomic bomb on the spirit world warped them into creatures of flesh and blood that seek to either better or thwart the path of mankind.
Visitors become a living part of their host, infesting within the brain as they mature and communicating with their human vessel, alongside other Visitors, through a form of telepathy. Visitor hosts gain numerous supernatural benefits, such as regenerative healing and access to Numina, and retain their immortality so long as the brain remains intact. Visitors tend to claim numerous ancient and distant origins, such as being time travelers or arriving from another dimension, as a result of being partially molded by the cultural landscape of the United States.
Patchwork People are humans who retain life through medicinal treatments and regularly replacing biological components of their bodies with stolen organs, muscle, and tissue. Many Patchwork People live among the social elite, as they are the ones who can afford the highly secretive and lucratively expensive operations and procedures required for their branch of immortality, and otherwise resemble average mortals of their status. The true key to a Patchwork Person's immortality, however, is their pacemaker - a mechanical clockwork device residing beside the immortal's heart which supplies their body with a constant charge of energy more 'refined' than electricity, similar to the Pyros which powers the Created.
The medical knowledge and practices which allows these immortals to exist has been gathered and refined through undoubtedly horrid, inhumane research committed against other humans, meaning it cannot be patented to the general public even if it would truly revolutionize the world of modern medicine. The Patchwork People rely on physicians and doctors to grant them access to the necessary procedures to continue having obsolete bodily components replaced with fresher, newly-harvested versions, as their replacements will eventually wear and degrade unlike their artificial hearts.
Wardens are immortals who are bound to special sites and places that provide them with their superhuman abilities and their capacity for immortality. The sites in question can range from ancient sites of great historical and cultural significance, such as Stonehenge or the pyramids of Egypt, to natural wonders, including mountaintops and waterfalls, and even modern great cities, such as London and Rome. Wardens are drawn to protect the sites that provide their power and become concerned or paranoid about the presence of other immortals or supernaturals within them should they come to trespass.
Wardens are born mortal, becoming immortal through a combination of passion for a certain place and chance - the likelihood of becoming a Warden increases if one puts effort into immersing themselves in study of an essence-rich site. It is also possible for one to usurp a predecessor Warden through meeting set requirements and then outmatching them in a duel or challenge of sorts. Many Wardens live in solitude, as they are bound to their sacred sites and are unable to leave them without losing their supernatural powers and rapidly aging, making interaction with them rather limited.
Reborn are humans who, rather than pursuing physical immortality, have chosen to undergo true reincarnation to remain spiritually immortal. The Reborn accomplish the ability to reincarnate through various means ranging in effort, such as meditative practice or forbidden rites involving torture and debauchery, while others are simply naturally-occurring and require no effort to reincarnate. The Reborn do not fear physical death as a result of their spiritual immortality, understanding that they can potentially be reborn for dozens to hundreds of lifetimes.
The Reborn are born, live, and die as mortals do, except they retain memories of their past lives that seem to come to many of them in recurring dreams in their early youths. Nearly every Reborn runs the risk of truly dying before they are able to accomplish the means to reincarnate into another life, meaning many of them write their means down for their future incarnations to find. Unlike other immortals, they are otherwise mortal in all forms, allowing them to fall ill, sustain lethal injury, and die.
Eternals are immortals who have removed their own living essence from their bodies and store it within a crafted object, usually a piece of artwork or a sculpture, in order to last for as long as it does. This object is known as an Eternal's anchor, usually representing some deep-seated meaning or significance to an Eternal as they tend to be artistic and creative types. The choice to become an Eternal requires either occult knowledge or the tutelage of another Eternal to access and storing one's essence within an anchor is a permanent and irreversible process; however, as a result of the nature of their immortality, Eternals are one of the most difficult immortals to kill even if they are not particularly tough otherwise.
An Eternal survives for only as long as their anchor does, remaining ageless and surviving all other forms of death and destruction to their physical body. Should an Eternal be pushed to the point of death, they are guaranteed to return to life less than a day after their "death". Durable crafted objects that are certified to be owned by an Eternal, such as a sculpture or a carved gem, are considered to be preferable objects among themselves as they degrade very little with age and are fairly resistant to outside damage. Should an Eternal's anchor be damaged, they suffer wounds mirroring the means by which the anchor was afflicted, and the same principle applies when an anchor is destroyed.
Harvesters are immortals who gain their immortality through hunting other immortals and taking their power and nature for themselves. They evade the complex and difficult work required for other immortals to gain their status in favor of simply taking and stealing it, using a special ritual weapon imbued with a component of their own essence, known as their scythe, in order to accomplish this task. A scythe can be any weapon - a gun, a knife, a piano wire, etc. - although only one can ever be made per Harvester, with existing scythes being able to be used by other Harvesters who find them.
Unlike most other immortals, Harvesters usually act in groups ranging from a pair to a small troupe in order to successfully hunt their immortal adversaries. While many Harvesters make a variety of excuses to justify their actions, most are simply hunting for the sake of immortality rather than any righteous goal - even those that sincerely believe in their cause are, at the end of the day, stealing what others have worked for and using it to embolden themselves.
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