No Books of Men: World Building – Supernaturals, Pt V

Wyrdlings are kind of unique in the No Books setting. They share certain similarities with changelings from folklore (and admittedly with a certain RPG bookline which shall remain nameless), and this is on purpose. Stories of otherworldly beings kidnapping people, mostly children but sometimes adults as well, and spiriting them away to realms unknown are very fitting with the setting. Unlike the folklore (and closer to the aformentioned game line), the Realms people are brought to in this setting isn’t really meant for people and thus many perish. Those (un)fortunate to survive are changed, mutated by their experience and the emanations of the creatures which call those places home. 

While some Wyrdlings do see themselves as “fae-touched” it is worth noting that in No Books there is no such things as “faeries.” The fae (and similar creatures such as the Yosei of Japan or the Yakshi of India) are merely constructions and stories created by humanity from the piecemeal scraps of information brought back by survivors of encounters with the Elder Things and their Heralds. One thing that these legends were wholly correct in describing is, regardless of their actions an how they affect humanity, the entirely inhuman motivations and goals of the “Fae.”

Wyrdlings

  • Wyrdlings are not a “species,” but rather a set of “categories of the afflicted.”
  • The ultimate and defining characteristic are the mutations and alteration inflicted upon an individual, deliberately or not, by the Emanations of the Elder Things.
    • When done intentionally, the Wyrdling was intended to serve some arcane purpose in the grand designs of the Elder Thing. Usually directed by a Herald, they were set to this purpose and then seemingly forgotten. Most intentional Wyrdlings are never heard from again, instead becoming slaves (willing or not) to the Elder Things and their Herald overseers. Rarely, either because of a fulfilled purpose or simple neglect, they do manage to escape and return to Earth like other Wyrdlings.
    • Far more common are unintentional Wyrdlings. These are the poor creatures either seized by the ETs/Heralds and proved unsuited to a purpose, those seized but escaped before alteration, or those who simply “wandered in” to the other realms either through botched mystic rituals or weak points between Realms. As they were not created by intention, but rather through a form of “supernatural radiation,” there is far greater variety of changes than their intentionally created compatriots. Additionally, the form these Wyrdlings take are typically more heavily influenced by the individual’s personality and/or faith.
  • No “race” of supernatural is immune to the emanations and alterations of the Elder Things, but each is also affected differently by the changes.
    • Human/Mage:
      • These are the “stock” Wyrdlings, in the sense that the vast majority of Wyrdlings were mortal or Mage before their mutations took hold.
      • No two are identical. Whether created for a unique purpose or shaped by happenstance and personal belief, human Wyrdlings show greater variety than other supernaturals.
      • Most researchers fit these Wyrdlings into three broad categories showing similar traits:
        • Primals: Primary traits tend toward Ancient Gods, Mythical Beasts, and other Essential Forces. (examples: Satyrs, Kapre, Menehune, etc)
        • Constructed: Contrary to implication, not all Constructed are also intentionally created by the ETs, but rather represent unnatural elements and traits. Primary traits tend towards those of builders, inventors, artisans, and their creations. (examples: Galatea, Gremlins, Tengu, etc)
        • Elemental: Primary traits of the raw/natural elements, forces and concepts. The key concept is that they are the unaltered elements of nature and the world (including other worlds). (examples: Flame/Air/Stone/etc Elementals, The Flash (Speedforce), Jack in the Green, Bogeymen, etc)
      • Note: While Mages who become Wyrdings lose their magic, they often prove quite adept at learning how to use their new ET-based energies to acheive similar effects.
    • Vampires:
      • Lacking a Soul, Vampires are partially resistant to ETs and their emanations.
      • Thus it takes longer and/or more effort to induce mutations
      • When Wyrdling states are acheived, they tend to manifest in one of two ways:
        • Psychic:
          • No physical mutations
          • Mental Degradation (i.e. decrease in free-will and/or intellect)
          • Manipulative skills increase and become instinctive
          • Often ends with serving an ET or its Herald, though rarely consciously
          • Regardless of affiliation, they seek to spread their “disease” to mortals and Vampires alike
        • Physical:
          • Arguably the “lesser” of the two states, in that it usually alows free-will to remain.
          • No mental changes
          • Physically the form warms and becomes clearly inhuman
          • Typically manifests as tumors, talons, bulging eyes, hair sprouting in strange places, etc
    • Werewolves
      • Werewolves have partial resistance to the emanations of the Elder Things. Though the exact cause of this resistance is still contested, the current consensus suggests it may be related to the “curse” of lycanthropy and its effects on both body and soul.
      • Similar to Vampires, Werewolves manifest the effects differently. Unlike Vampires, the states of the mutations are not mutually exclusive but instead progressive. Once one stage has been reached, further exposure pushes the victim towards the next stage.
        • Stage 1: Few apparent changes. Physical changes start as eye color changing, “greasier” fur, and slight coat discolorations. Mental changes are minor and vary based on the ET causing the changes (i.e. Living City LycanWyrdlings become more obsessed with order while the Dark One leads to increased agression)
        • Stage 2: More apparent changes appear. Physical changes include (but are not limited to) increased size of all forms, larger teeth, and cosmetic variance of coat and/or other details dependent on ET involved. Mental changes grow more prounounced and begin to resemble mental disorders appropriate to ET (i.e Living City grants Obsession/Compulsion, Dark One Mania or sociopathy, Libram Eternis psychopathy or disassociation)
        • Stage 3: Physical appearance wholly warped and undeniably unnatural, and only reliable trends are directly related to ET involved. Mental changes are complete and victim is wholly dedicated to the cause of the respective ET, though loyalty isn’t always conscious as derangements may be too great for sapient thought.
    • Shifters
      • For the most part, Shifters are as susceptible to emanations from the Elder Things as any human or mage. Thus, for the most part their alterations are functionally identical to that of humans.
      • The one exception to the above statement is they (typically) retain their ability to shapeshift, albeit altered to suit their new “base form.” (E.g. a raven shifter which becomes one of the Constructed can still become a raven, but their avian form may seem closer to a clockwork bird)
    • Ghosts
      • While Corruption from the Elder Things is certainly possible, Ghosts share the Vampires’ limited immunity. Plus, due to the nature of their Fetters, it is rare for them to venture into other Realms or come to the attention of the ETs and their Heralds which would have to happen to change anyhow.
      • As incorporeal beings, Ghosts are exempt fom the physical mutations of their undead cousins, but are actually even more resistant to psychic mutation too.
      • Ghosts go through three stages of “mutation” as they are exposed to ET emanations over time.
        • 1st Degree: Minor and sub-conscious, self-destructive tendencies start to creep into their consciousness. Fetters seem to be in danger more often and Ghosts are less motivated to save them. Most see this stage as simple “bad luck.”
        • 2nd Degree: Self-destructive tendencies become more common and are now difficult for the Ghost not to notice, though they have little control of it. Additionally, they start to find it harder to resist commiting vioent and malicious acts against the living (i.e. begin acting more like “poltergeists”).
        • 3rd Degree: Either the Ghost destroys itself (through actively destroying Fetters), or it loses itself wholly to the emanations and become servents of the ETs and/or generalized Chaos (either willingly or unwilling and unable to resist).
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