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Gwafa Abdullah


"As the world falls to ruin, I ascend."

Age: 37

Gender: Male

Place of Birth: Cairo, Egypt

Occupation: Director of Cultural and Technological Preservation; Morale Committee Chairman

Race: "Mummy" (Magic-Infused Human)

Appearance: Sekhem is a twisted being, in some ways more than human, but less in just as many ways. While tall and strongly-built, his features have shriveled and eroded, giving him the facial resemblance of a burn victim. His skin is a dry, dessicated brown in color, no longer grows hair, and has the texture of parchment. To appease his vanity, his disfigurements are usually hidden behind linen bandages that cover the entirety of his body, save for his dark, bloodshot eyes and perpetually-snarling mouth. The clothes worn over Sekhem's bandages vary depending on his taste, but always included is a floor-length suede trench coat, with a pronounced collar that evokes images of the burial headdresses of pharaohs of old. Suits are Sekhem's usual preference, sometimes with a fedora and gloves, but he will opt for more utilitarian black combat fatigues when the situation calls for them.

Powers: At the height of metahuman society, Sekhem was one of the most dangerous sorcerers in the world. In these fallen times, he may be the greatest magician left alive. Sekhem is a practitioner of the ancient magical tradition native to North Africa and Asia Minor: a tradition later bastardized into the hermetic magic of Pharaonic Egypt. He calls on the power of the supreme chaos: the primordial maelstrom of energy that preceded the gods, and indeed much of the known cosmos. His knowledge of ancient spellcraft is mighty, but not omnipotent, as he is restricted to the techniques known in his past life. Sekhem bears mastery over death and its progeny, able to raise myriad servants of unliving flesh and soul. The stars and their secret masters are well-known to him, and he may call upon them seeking wisdom or power. Base materials are his to command, with intrinsic power over both the natural elements and the artifacts of mankind. Fate is his domain as well, able to grant boons of fortune or most maleficent curses at his choosing.

Sekhem's very flesh has been utterly transformed by the power he wields. He does not age, and his mortal needs have drawn close to nothing. His leathery flesh is unnaturally durable, able to withstand harm that would kill most lesser men. Even should he be felled in battle, the arcane spark within his soul can resurrect him at further cost to his sanity. He wields the strength of several men, and his mental fortitude is inhuman in its power. Something beyond the comprehension of man lurks within his soul, and while not wholly visible, it can be felt by any creature with a soul. Its influence varies, between the enchanting glory of a god-king and the sickness of the mind that true understanding of mortality brings. Though creatures of magic and the mightiest champions of mankind are safe from his influence, common men are driven by his presence either into fanatic devotion or madness, usually both. By unleashing the latent eldritch power from within himself, Sekhem may take on the form of an alien avatar of incomprehensible matter and geometry; the "true form" hidden between his atoms.

Skills: In his previous life, Sekhem was a distinguished scholar, and retains his skills from his past experiences. He speaks Arabic, English and French fluently, and has great understanding of numerous dead languages. He is intimately familiar with ancient human history and mythology, and is an eloquent man of letters. After his "rebirth," Sekhem has devoted much effort to arcane study and theory, though he is not apt to sharing his discoveries and revelations.

Equipment/Resources: Sekhem essentially carries no weapons, though he can summon tools to aid him, such as a blessed ankh of divine electrum, an animated golden medallion of a scarab, and a khopesh forged from pure light and darkness. Aside from these things, Sekhem seems to possess a nigh-endless supply of linen bandage with which to dress his deformed flesh. The living mummy has an almost literal cult in the underbelly of the Citadel, mostly dedicated to espionage, counterespionage and managing his "empire."

Weaknesses: A terrifying enemy of mankind for years, Sekhem is far from easily dispatched. That said, his primary weaknesses lie in his crumbling psyche. Despite his intelligence, Sekhem is quick to allow his pride to blind him, and can be manipulated by those adept enough to exploit this. He is prone to outbursts of irrational paranoia and other psychotic behavior, which can be capitalized upon by his enemies. As the man is exceptionally difficult to kill, and even harder to keep dead, physical violence is usually a poor means of combating Sekhem. That said, as magic is his greatest strength, it is also a great weakness, as magic can be used to pull at the ancient framework of spells keeping him "alive," and quickly weaken and deteriorate his physical condition.

Psychological Profile: Sekhem can be laconically described as a cunning politician, corrupted mentally and morally by degenerative megalomania. He retains his intelligence, creativity and social intuition, all of which making him a dangerous foe. However, his rampant narcissism and paranoia are pitfalls to which he frequently falls victim. His morality has crumbled to dust with his madness; he demands power and respect as he believes he is deserving, and will crush any in his path to achieve his goals. Even so, he is at least somewhat aware of his own insanity and corrupt nature, and will take efforts to disguise it behind a persona that is equal parts an imperious king, an erudite wizard, and an affable businessman.

Biography: Gwafa Abudllah was born into affluence in Cairo. His mother was the daughter of a member of the National Assembly, and was an ethnic Berber. His father was a well-respected pediatric oncologist for the 57357 Hospital. As such, Gwafa grew up in a comfortable, culturally rich, and intellectually enlightened home. He proved to be a bright boy, earning good marks in his private school, and his parents adored his curiosity, doting upon him many books and toys such as telescopes and aquariums. As Gwafa grew older, he found his calling in studying the history of the ancient world, taking special interest in both the history of his native Islam and his legendary homeland.

He studied at Al-Azhar University, earning his undergraduate degree, and then traveled abroad to Oxford to earn his doctorate in anthropology. His grandfather's political clout was able to secure Gwafa a place in a reputable archaeological team, with whom he traveled for years, studying ancient ruins and lost civilizations. It was in the years following the emergence of Zenith that his team made a breakthrough discovery deep within the Rub' al Khali in Saudi Arabia. It appeared to be an ancient city, deep beneath the sands. However, their radio-imaging equipment suggested that ruins at that depth spread throughout Asia Minor and into much of North Africa. Having possibly uncovered a truly lost, ancient civilization, they quickly began their excavations. Once the ruins had been uncovered, the young and eager Gwafa lead the expeditionary team into the catacombs that had been preserved beneath the sands. It was in the bones buried beneath the Empty Quarter that his fate was changed forever.

Happening upon a sarcophagus in the sand-flooded tombs, Gwafa found himself unnaturally drawn to its mystique, as though it radiated power. He wandered toward it, as though in a trance, and with great effort heaved off its tremendous, stone lid. The warnings of his expedition mates (urging him to be cautious of traps or to not disturb the historical sanctity of the tomb) fell on deaf ears. The coffin had been opened, and the being within seized Gwafa within its deathly power. An ancient sorcerer-king of the Nameless Empire, which would be succeeded by the Egyptians, this particular mummy was an distant ancestor of Gwafa himself, and was imbued with the unholy magics of undeath. Their biological bond resulted in the two beings, Gwafa and his ancestor, to be fused into one. The resulting creature was a half-living human, scarred and exalted by tremendous cosmic power. He called himself Sekhem, and only the world was large enough to be his kingdom.

After the unexplained death of the entire expedition crew, the ruins returned to anonymity, and the powerful Sekhem began to unfold his grand schemes of global conquest. From the shadows he manipulated world leaders, taking on a role remarkably similar to that of the mythic Illuminati. Always separated from his scheme by several degrees, he elevated lesser villains to sow chaos where needed. Though more heroic forces were vaguely aware of his presence, the shadows surrounding him were too great for him to be confronted or brought to justice. As such, his schemes unfolded nearly unabated, as even his "failures" pushed the world toward the precipice of destruction.

As the world fell, Sekhem made his move. The territory that was formerly southern California held one of the largest concentrations of superhumans in the world, and there he began his master plan. By allying himself with the remaining superhumans, they together constructed the Citadel, a last bastion for mankind. His peers were far from trusting him implicitly, but in their desperation could not turn down such a powerful ally. As the Citadel stabilized, Sekhem stepped back from his role as a mover and shaker to assume a more humble position scavenging and preserving what remained of human culture and technology. Sekhem as well took it upon himself to maintain a library in the Citadel, and on occasion personally leads scavenging expeditions into the ruins of Los Angeles. Even so, he as well claims to the dubious title of "Chairman of the Morale Committee," running a ring of secretive clubs, bars, brothels and other such low establishments in the Citadel's seedy underbelly. These places are maintained by the elderly and the invalid, as well as survivors that Sekhem has been smuggling into the Citadel. Other superhumans hesitate to end his operations, as the Morale Committee has also established a cinema and a youth center for more tasteful leisure.

To maintain his underground operations, as well as spy on the activities of various other key players in the Citadel, Sekhem has established a network of informants and underlings, comprised of both normal humans and some lesser superhumans. While structured like a criminal organization, the temperaments of his followers more resemble religious devotees than hirelings. Some other superhumans are aware of his slowly growing faction of supporters, but none are sure of its true size and control, and thus refrain from rushing to dismantle it.
Spiro Leandros


"Just pretend like you understand what's important."

Age: 23

Gender: Male

Place of Birth: Chicago, United States

Occupation: Secretary of the Militia, Executive of Judicial and Penal Affairs

Race: Psion (Human)

Appearance: The superhuman known to the public as Sphinx is rather mundane in appearance in comparison to some of his peers. Aside from his costume, consisting of blue, hooded robes, emblazoned with various arcane patterns in white, he looks mostly like a normal young man. His skin is vaguely tan, owing to his Mediterranean heritage, and his hair is dark and thick. Sphinx's features, usually hidden in the shadows of his hood, are neither especially handsome nor particularly ugly, with a sharp jaw and a narrow nose. His eyes are normally grey-blue in color, but blaze with spectral light when he uses his powers. He is of average height, and his build is somewhat thin and waifish; as befits one that literally fights with their mind.

Powers: Sphinx is one of the greatest telepaths ever known, and in these dark times is likely among the most powerful psions alive. With his telepathy, Sphinx can enter the mind of anyone within roughly three kilometers of himself. Simple mind-reading is child's play to him, as is telepathic communication; his true talents lie in shaping (or destroying) the minds of others. Sphinx can dig through minds down to their subconscious, and often has better access to a person's memories than they, themselves. These memories can then be altered or removed to Sphinx's liking. Similarly, Sphinx can insert ideas and thoughts into others' minds, or twist their current thoughts in a different directions. He is skilled in creating illusions by distorting the sense and perceptions of others, even capable of inducing hallucinations to "attack" his enemies. Should Sphinx feel sufficiently threatened, he can overwhelm the minds of his enemies, and in doing so induce tremendous mental and physical pain, unconsciousness, paralysis, or even stun their automatic bodily functions. His most powerful ability is that to completely take control of another's mind, though he can only mind-control a single person at a time.

Skills: Having led a relatively sheltered existence, Sphinx has few practical skills. He is decent in information-gathering and in manipulation, and has some skill in managing logistics, but beyond that he relies solely on his powers.

Equipment/Resources: Given his relatively weak body and his lack of practical skills, Sphinx carries almost no equipment on his person, and lives off of the resources of the Citadel.

Weaknesses: All of Sphinx's powers manifest in the minds of others, and have no impact on the physical world. This said, he is effectively helpless against forces or enemies that do not possess minds to manipulate. Foes with susceptible minds can protect themselves through magical and technological means, or through rigorous training to block out invasive telepathy. Inhuman creatures are inherently more resistant to Sphinx's powers, requiring more effort on his part to influence their minds. Other telepaths are his bane, as they can easily take advantage of any mental connection he forges to wreak havoc on his mind. His more powerful techniques put a great strain on his mind, and he runs the risk of inducing hemorrhaging in his skull by overexerting himself. Lastly, Sphinx is a thin, unathletic sort of fellow, and is practically useless in physical combat or in most menial labors.

Psychological Profile: Despite his decidedly superhuman abilities, Sphinx is utterly human in his personality. He carries a public persona of an aloof and mysterious being of omniscient power, but in private company among his peers he is a friendly, sociable character with a quick wit and a dry sense of humor. Though he can be high-strung at times, Sphinx is far more casual in demeanor than most other superhumans, and acts as a voice of moderation and outside perspective to his peers. He is calculating and logical by nature, but is not without empathy. Sphinx tries his hardest to do the right thing, and help others as much as possible, but often sees the value of practicality over ethics. He is not afraid to make difficult decisions that others would baulk at, as long as he is confident that it is the "correct" decision. Even so, he does not see himself as infallible, and has moments of weakness wherein he questions his own ability and righteousness.

Biography: Spiro Leandros was born to two hardworking parents of Greek-American descent in the city of Chicago. Raised in Greektown, Spiro was brought up in a tight-knit community by his civil engineer father and his mother, a nurse. However, the closeness of the community merely lead to Spiro's ostracization as his powers emerged. His telepathy manifested at a young age, and shaped the young Spiro's behavior oddly. He knew things that a boy his age shouldn't have known, and this knowledge often made its way out of his mouth. Adults were made uncomfortable, even fearful, by him, and other children acted on their parent's superstitions by tormenting him. Spiro's parents had no idea how to raise such a strange boy, and after some time gave up trying to understand him.

As a result of his solitude, Spiro grew up as a dark and lonely youth. He was easily preyed upon by a Greektown gangster, known mostly by his epithet of "The Sphinx." The Sphinx was a psion as Spiro was, and detected the boy's potential after meeting him by chance in a gambling den. Seeing an opportunity in the boy, the Sphinx took Spiro under his wing, raising him as his protegee. Under the Sphinx's tutelage, Spiro had everything that he had been wanting for as he grew up: understanding, encouragement, purpose and something to challenge him. He was trained to improve his psychic powers, with which he showed vast potential. But as his powers grew, so did his usefulness to his mentor. The Sphinx used Spiro as a child soldier, using him to collect information and plant false leads to rival gangs and the police, as such factions had the Sphinx himself under heavy surveillance. Spiro was under the assumption that he was protecting the both of them, and not furthering criminal activity, as his mentor had been routinely wiping his memories and implanting him with false ones.

At the age of eighteen, on an inconspicuous day, Spiro decided to challenge his mentor to a surprise bout of mental sparring. However, as he intruded into the Sphinx's mind, he discovered the extent to which his "benefactor" had been manipulating him. As he discovered this, the Sphinx knew that he had lost the boy's trust, and had to kill him before he became a dire foe. What would have been a friendly duel quickly became a struggle to the death. The Sphinx possessed a far more powerful mind than Spiro, but the young psion used this to his own advantage. He lured the Sphinx into his mind, and in destroying his own memories, destroyed the other psychic's mind in turn. Spiro forgot his youth, his parents, his upbringing, and his former master. The Sphinx forgot how to breathe.

Now a self-made amnesiac with only vague recollections of his life, and a sense of guilt which he could not explain, Spiro decided to turn his powers to the benefit of others. He adopted a vigilante persona, emulating Zenith, who had come to the forefront of world history. Spiro decided on adopting the moniker of "Sphinx," for reasons that he could not quite place. He worked as a young, yet potent psychic hero for some time, mostly acting as an informant for more physically-powerful heroes, and all the while further honed his abilities. As the world descended into chaos, Sphinx did his best to defend his home city of Chicago, but it was merely prolonging the inevitable. After Chicago fell, Sphinx heard rumors of a superhuman-run safezone in Los Angeles, and made the perilous journey to the West Coast to join the Citadel. Since then, Sphinx has worked as the logistics manager of the Citadel's militia forces, its highest-ranked judicial arbiter, and the warden of its small prison.

Name: Sulk Mandragora

Race: Aconite: A humanoid race of ephemeral beauty and mystique, the Aconites commanded a vast interstellar empire in ages past. Wielding their great mastery of science and magic, they modified their own race to be without physical flaw, and to possess inborn psionic power. However, this served only to deepen their pride and vanity, and in time their empire crumbled until their homeworld was conquered by the Crux Tenebre, and their race was driven to near-extinction.

Age: 583

Gender: Male

Appearance: Like the other few remaining members of his dead race, Sulk is possesses a fey, almost supernatural beauty. Skin the color of bleached bone, long hair of pure white that turns to bright cerulean near its tips, and emerald eyes that burn with psionic power. His form is lithe and powerful, and his features appear as though wrought by a master sculptor. Marring his ephemeral beauty are a variety of battle scars across his chest and limbs, a tapestry of sailor and prison tattoos across his back and over his hands, and the Crux Tenebre's pirate branding on his left forearm. When outside of battle, he prefers to wear only a pair of loose-fitting trousers, and supportive wrappings about his wrists, ankles and midsection.

Homeworld: Phantasmagoria: Once a lush paradise world and the capital of the Aconite Empire, Phantasmagoria has since been reduced to a smoldering wasteland of black glass and glowing radiation. Nominally within the core-systems of the Crux Tenebre, after being rendered uninhabitable by atomic warfare, Phantasmagoria is considered a backwater planet of almost no value. The few surviving Aconites scrape out an existence deep underground, scavenging for technology and mourning the lost glories of their race.

Alignment: Lawful Evil

Role: Captain

Skills: Sulk's years of survival in Phantasmagoria's underground made him a tenacious survivor by nature, and imbued him with instinctive knowledge of scavenging and some principles of engineering gleaned from his father. Given his many years of experience both in the military and as a privateer, Sulk is a skilled warrior and voidship crewman, particularly adept in open-void combat and boarding actions. With centuries of experience commanding voidships, he is more than competent in his role as captain, and is an effective tactician in voidship combat. As part of his inborn Aconite nature, Sulk is a psion of considerable power, specializing in the psychic disciplines of telekinesis and telepathy.

In battle, Sulk's choice of armaments are his relic Aconite weapons and armor. While the armor itself serves as an effective voidsuit, providing a number of life-support and utility functions vital for open-void combat, it is also infused with psycho-reactive crystals that allow him to project a telekinetic protective field from the suit. His shield is imbued with similar crystals that amplify the effect into a concussive blast or a wide-range forcefield. His Aconite war-axe has these same crystals along its blade, giving it either supernatural cutting power, or a concussive burst effect on its strikes. His arquebus does not fire traditional ammunition, but explosive bolts of psychic power that can blast an enemy across a room and punch through heavy void-armor.

History: Aconites, the scions of a dying world and a long-dead empire, are a race all but lost to the universe. Sulk was a rarity among their kind, as it was a near-miraculous occurrence that he was born at all. Already slow-breeding by the nature of their long lifespans, the likelihood of two Aconites producing a child following the death of their race was even more slim. Raised in the subterranean ruins of Phantasmagoria, Sulk's mother died of rad-sickness not long into his childhood, and he was raised largely by his father. The underground was never meant to be home to Aconites, much less to raise a child, and so Sulk's youth was difficult and turbulent. By the time he was grown enough to care for himself, the lasting trauma of having survived the Crux Tenebre's war of extermination as well as the death of his wife drove Sulk's father to madness. An engineer by trade, he found some uncertain relic or another deep in the underground, and sat tinkering with it for the rest of his days, barely stopping to eat or drink.

Unwilling to watch his father slowly die from madness, Sulk set off on his own into the underground, hoping to escape the hellish life that it presented him. With raw ingenuity and tenacity, he managed to rig together a basic void-shuttle, a craft barely powerful enough to get him off-planet. After escaping the ruined husk of Phantasmagoria, he drifted for some time on the ether winds, before being picked up by a band of smugglers that had used one of the planet's moons as a hideout. Sulk was taken in by them and learned the void-sailor's trade, as well as the life of a privateer on the void seas. Sulk spent many years as a smuggler and mercenary, moving between many pirate bands, sometimes even commanding ships of his own, always skirting about the edge of the law.

Eventually his life of lawlessness caught up with him, and he was apprehended by the martial police of the Crux Tenebre. Charged with high piracy, he was presented with two options: death, or a lifetime of penitent servitude in the Crux's penal legions. Too much of a survivor at heart to surrender to death, he was taken in as a conscript marine upon one of the Crux's mighty warships. Conscripts were given such dangerous duties as performing boarding actions on enemy ships, and only the skilled managed to avoid certain death. Sulk proved to be among their number, as he quickly proved to be a vicious and effective warrior. Any time not spent in combat was spent either in a cell or performing menial duties, and in this time Sulk reflected inward, meditating and honing the psychic power deep within him.

After decades of penitent service to the Crux, Sulk's opportunity at escape presented itself. A brief sortie near Phantasmagoria's star, meant to purge pirate activity in the area, brough him back in contact with the privateer band that originally took him in. Though over two-hundred years had passed since then and none of the original crew remained, their iconography was the same. After cornering the band's captain with his squad of fellow conscripts, Sulk turned his gun on his squadmates, and revealed to the captain his pirate branding, and the tattoo of the band's crest on the back of his hand. Together they escaped to the surface of Phantasmagoria, and then hid deep in the underground, seeking to wait out the battle in the void overhead.

A psychic impulse lured Sulk to a particular corner of the underground, which felt strangely familiar to him. When he reached the point that the call had led him, he found his father still working away, just where he had left him two-hundred years ago. The man greeted his son as though he had only been gone a few minutes, announced his work complete, and then keeled over and died. The mysterious relic was now revealed to be a ship, which Sulk's father had spent his last remaining years repairing. The vessel was strange, most certainly not Aconite in origin, and yet had been buried underground for thousands of years. Sulk and the pirate captain boarded the ship and activated its long-dormant launch protocols, revealing a silo leading all the way up to the planet surface. Barely understanding how to pilot the strange ship, they accidentally launched it directly into the ongoing void battle above, and lingered just long enough before escaping via Hypertravel that the ship was logged in the Crux Tenebre's records.

Discovering the ship to be a legendary vessel spoken of it pirate tales of the deep void, Sulk named the ship Nova Dawn, and took on the pirate captain as his first mate. Slowly the two built up a band of mavericks and outcasts, and sought treasures and fortunes lost to the currents of time and the whims of the Void. Nova Dawn has sailed for more than a hundred years now, and while none of its original crew remains save for Sulk, its legacy lives on as one of the most infamous pirate ships to ever sail the Void.

Personality: The concept of an infamous pirate captain brings certain ideas to mind, and Sulk embodies many of those aspects. While he is ruthless and craves wealth and fame, he is not cruel, and keeps his focus sharp enough that his greed does not cloud his mind. He is a strong believer in codes of honor, bonds of loyalty, and the repayment of debts, especially among pirates and outlaws. Not necessarily superstitious as many sailors are, he is still keenly aware of the influence of the supernatural, and has a strong respect for such forces. That said, he actively distrusts and despises authority, and in some cases goes out of his way to disrupt it out of spite. Above all else he values freedom, both his own and that of others, as both a youth spent in Phantasmagoria's claustrophobic underground and decades spent a prisoner have ingrained in him freedom's true value.

Other: Sulk

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