Nephilim Character Creation – Stasis

Note: I am slowly converting Nephilim, an old Chaosium game, over to Dresden Files FATE. I am just flopping all the posts on my blog because I can tag and collect them all later. This stuff is in no particular order. You can buy Nephilim in PDF from DriveThruRPG for ~$17. You should also buy Dresden Files RPG.

Nephilim aren’t human. They aren’t even human-like. They are Aristotelean creatures born from the fluctuations of mystical fields. When the mystical field grows big enough, out pops a Nephilim, sort of like magic-focused muon out of a super collider. Except even a sentient mystical field of pure force doesn’t exist for long. It needs a vessel. Luckily, the planet is crawling with walking, talking fleshy meatbags.

The fleshy meatbag solution works only until the meatbag wears out and dies. Sure, the Nephilim can keep it going for far beyond its sell-by date, but meatbags are ultimately made of meat, and they wear out. Theoretically a Nephilim can surf meatbags like a sort of meatbag slurry but that’s not always possible. The Nephilim needs to go somewhere while it waits for the next meatbag to come along. The solution is a stasis. The Nephilim binds itself to this object and, when its meatbag wears out, it pops into the stasis like a mystical freezer and it waits for the mystical fields of its particular kind to rise enough so it can pop out again long enough to take over a new meatbag until that one wears out. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes things got real interesting, the stars would align, and a huge number of Nephilim would all pop out of their stasis all at once and then things got weird.*

And if the stasis was destroyed, so was the Nephilim. For reasons utterly unclear and covered in handwaving, the Nephilim only got one shot at this stasis-binding thing.

The original BRP rules for stasis were hilariously bad. During the first incarnation, usually during some dismal point in Egypt’s far past, in a past that the great New Kingdom Pharoahs called “the ancient times,” the Nephilim would die for the first time and bind to a stasis. The problem was when the player rolled on the stasis object table and found it included such helpful things as ARCHITECTURE. It’s unclear what that meant except it was big and heavy and likely ended up buried under 20′ of sand. Or a PAPYRUS BOAT which would certainly not survive the ensuing millennia. Or a random piece of parchment.

Stasis rules are simple:

A stasis is an aspect.
The stasis aspect may be invoked to make the Nephilim’s life incredibly complicated.
The stasis should reflect the character’s first incarnation.
The stasis should make sense for the character and the game.
The stasis should be able to survive the millennia in a passably logical manner.
The stasis should also have a bit of fun color.

When I mean “make sense” I mean it should be somewhere that makes sense the Nephilim would pop out in that place at that time. Since Nephilim have a short duration once they leave their stasis, they are not going to travel the globe to find themselves a meatbag. They will incarnate in the body of the PC where the game is set. If the game is set in a major metropolitan area, the stasis could be in a museum or a private collection. Or buried underground. Or just unearthed from a famous dig and is now sitting in a university lab. It probably doesn’t make sense for the stasis to be an ancient Chinese military rampart if the game is set in Rome. But an ancient Chinese vase from Beijing would make sense in Rome — if it was recently stolen in a heist and now being sold on the black market!

So perhaps Elijah the Moon Serpent, who lived during the reign of Ahkenaten and worshiped the great Sun Disc and learned the way of the Solar Ka** has the stasis of a small scarab with the Aten disc. And the stasis is currently in the Egyptian collection in a local museum in a dusty corner where no one looks at it. It was buried since Early Christian times, but now our friend the Moon Serpent is free to go take over a curator and his first order of business is figuring out how to swipe the stasis…

I personally believe a destroyed stasis can be replaced but only after a great adventure and some serious ritual magick. I can find no reason it cannot be except to drive some player motivation to “keep it secret keep it safe.”  But a big adventure to replace a destroyed stasis while the Nephilim clings to its meatbag body is much more interesting.

I have received several very interesting comments! I am working on only talking about 1 topic/post right now but everything I see goes into the hopper of MY MIND. Thanks!

* The Incarnation of the Fool! Really, this might be a good time to mention this, even though it is in a footnote, that Nephilim tend not to be famous people in history because that brings the Knights Templar to their door. But the KT is another topic.

** And yet another topic.