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Geniuses in general
Tropes applying to all Geniuses
- All Theories Are True: Geniuses literally have the ability to force this trope on reality. As long as they a theory to base their invention on, they can make said invention work, even if the theory doesn't make any sense.
- Blessed with Suck: Geniuses are capable of bending science to their will in order to create marvelous inventions that would be impossible to create with normal science. However, this ability comes with a growing insanity, they become unable to do real science, and any attempt they would make to explain to normal people how their inventions work will have disastrous consequences. Becoming a Genius is pretty much the worst thing that could happen to an actual scientist.
- Foil: To Mages. Magic Versus Science aside, Mages work on the idea all of reality is a Lie and they awakened in a way allowing them to see the truth. Geniuses work on the idea they are insane and none of what they do is entirely real. Predictably, they usually have a hard time getting along, though the Scholastics have managed to reach an agreement with the Free Council.
- Gadgeteer Genius: The Genius' main ability is to create marvelous inventions known as Wonders.
- Just Between You and Me: Justified; A Genius can invoke this trope when he has an unwilling person captured or resrained in order to recover Mania.
- Mad Scientist: The entire concept of Geniuses was to adapt this trope to the New World of Darkness.
- Magic-Powered Pseudoscience: While Geniuses definitely are highly intelligent, they aren't doing actual science to create their Wonders; they are gifted with a form of supernatural ability known as Inspiration, through which they can force the laws of physics to bend to made-up science.
- The Power of Creation: Mania, the Mana-like energy they use to power their abilities, is more or less described as the raw creativity of their mind made into energy- though even they don't really know for sure what it is.
- Squishy Wizard: Much like Mages, Geniuses are physically completely humans unless they chose to alter themselves, so for all the incredible things they are capable of creating and using, they can be killed as easily as any regular mortal if you make sure they don't have access to their Wonders.
- The Spark of Genius: Inspiration essentially grant people the ability to enforce this trope on reality, allowing Geniuses to bend the law of physics with their inventions.
- Super Intelligence: All Geniuses develop an increase in mental capacity at their Breakthrough, granting them a bonus dot in mental attributes. In addition, they can also spend Mania to temporarily boost further their mental attributes.
- Techno Babble: The Geniuses' main weakness, Jabir, which is also sometimes actually called this trope. As a Genius' Inspiration grow, not only will he lose the ability to do real science and perform regular experiments, but his attempt to communicate his ideas to others will only result in nonsensical gibberish they can't possibly understand.
- Technopath: To an extent. Geniuses can use Mania not only to use and activate their Wonders, but also to power, understand, enhance or dismantle regular technology.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Actually adressed. The rulebook points out that since Geniuses need more space, supplies, electricity and equipment to experiment and build Wonders, they tend to have more need for the Ressources Merit than any other Template. To reflect this, the lack of this Merit at a high enough level results in penalties when trying to create Wonders. The book also offers complementary rules to the merit with various options to explain how a Genius gets the money he needs, each with its own advantages and drawbacks.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Geniuses are quite literally mad scientists, and they are at risk of losing their contact with reality if they try channeling too much Mania.
Grimm, the Catalyst of Fury
"I am nanometers from perfection and no longer answer to any mortal authority. They weren't there for me and I won't waste time helping them as I rise asymptotically toward the ultimate virtue. Every corpse I leave should be one less investigation to make, instead of one more open case. But I'm not here for human justice any more. When you see the Paolenti penthouse burn with white fire and the dreams of serpents, you'll know that, and so will every other man-mask-wearing machine-demon in this city. They'll never love me for the things I've done, but I never asked for love. Only for perfection."
Traditional Planet: MarsDefined by anger and a need for vengeance, justice, and/or the need to just plain vent. Naturally, they're the best at building weapons of every kind. They're also prone to being irrational and generally flying off the handle. As one might expect, they tend to take a very... direct approach to problem-solving.
- The Berserker: They are defined by their anger and their fury; some are rampaging madmen while others are righteous vigilantes, but Grimms always are terrifying in their wrath.
- Bloodbath Villain Origin: Well, they aren't necessarly villains, but Grimms almost always get their Breakthrough in violence. Countries suffering war, revolutions or other similarly violent events are very likely to give birth to Grimms.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Their chief derangement lends itself to this.
- Genius Bruiser: Because of their inclination for violence and destruction, they tend to have pretty good physical attributes and skills compared to other Geniuses. They are still Mad Scientists capable of building destructive inventions.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Grimm are mostly known for being driven by their anger and their temper, meaning they are very likely to be impulsive and easily irritable.
- No Social Skills: They usually aren't quite as good as other Geniuises when it comes to social skills. It's not exactly easy to socialize when you are perpetually angry. In fact, many actually prefer the company of wild and avoid interactions with human beings.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A lot of them are driven by a desire for vengeance or justice, so you can fully expect to use their newfound abilities to wreak havoc or whoever they believe have wronged them.
- Tranquil Fury: Some of them, particularly those of military origins, do manage to contain their anger through a life of discipline and service. Even then however, their rage keeps burning beneath the surface.
- Vigilante Man: Some of them try to temper their anger with a sense of justice, and as such deliver their wrath on bad people and the atrocities happening in the world.
- When All You Have Is a Hammer: Their main Axiom, Katastrofi, serves to create Wonders that are meant to destroy things. And they are very good at that.
Hoffnung, the Catalyst of Vision
"You've seen it on the billboards and the trash-strewn alleys, amidst the halls of the powerful and in the tenements of the desperate: the Change. It's coming, and soon everything will be different. Our world will transform itself in fire, if necessary, in blood, certainly, and be reborn, fresh and new, to gaze out on the universe with innocent and wondering eyes. And I am the herald of that Change. So forgive me if I cannot hear your words or your screams. They are too small. Do you hear the mayflies screaming tonight? Neither do I."
Traditional planet: JupiterDefined by hope and ambition, Hoffnungs seek to change the world. While this may seem like a good thing on the surface, many of them have a definite consequentialist mentality or unusual ideas of what a better world looks like. Good at change and transformation. They also have a marked tendency to be extremely arrogant. Since they frequently have more contact with Muggles than the other Catalysts, they know better than anyone else what effects mere mortals fiddling with their inventions can have.
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Narcissism is their signature derangement. It doesn't matter how nice and humble they are at the beginning- deep down, every Hoffnung is utterly convinced he is right about everything, and this can very easily cause them to turn into egomaniacs.
- The Determinator: Nothing stops them from trying to achieve their dreams.
- The Leader: Seeing how they are ambitious and driven by their desire to change the world, they frequently end up getting or trying to get in positions of leadership.
- Shapeshifting: Their main Axiom, Metaptropi, specializes in everything related to transformations and reshaping the world.
- The Social Expert: As much as a Genius can be anyway. Hoffnungs tend to put an emphasis on social attributes, frequently trying to get in positions of powers like politicians so they can get the influence required to change the world. Out of all the Geniuses, they have the least problems with creating regular devices or interacting with normal people.
- Take Up My Sword: Out of all the Catalysts, Hoffnung are the most likely to have received deliberate training from another Genius. Many are heirs of an entire Legacy of Inspired, sometimes pursuing the dreams of their mentors.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: Every Hoffnung wants to realize his/her own utopia, and such utopia always justifies the means.
- Visionary Villain: When they go bad.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: In theory, wanting to make the world better is a pretty nice goal. Unfortunately, a Hoffnung's definition of better can very well be horrible by normal people's standards, such as replacing everyone considered as "undesirable" with robotic slaves.
Klagen, the Catalyst of Loss
"When I was in high school my teacher told me that there are more people alive today than have ever lived. Don't worry: she lied, then got cancer. (Not my fault.) We live atop a mountain of corpses. The Earth is swimming in humans, above and below the ground, so when I see you trying to raise the dead, I'm torn. On the one hand, I recognize your despair. On the other hand, do you really want to spend the rest of the week fending off a zombie apocalypse as the Earth vomits up her dead? AGAIN? Come on, man, think this through: every time you try this, we end up fighting zombies. I hate zombies. Just put the syringe down."
Traditional planet: VenusDefined by sorrow, loss and regret at some personal tragedy, Klagens are often called Cassandras for their tendency to see further tragedy in the offing and seek to prevent it. Sadly, having all the credibility of MAD scientists, they often live up to the name. They make excellent doctors and repairmen, but perhaps understandably have a tendency towards depression. They also tend to be the most down to earth and sensible of the Catalysts (at least, insofar as the term "sensible" applies to mad scientists), and often serve as the voice of reason in the collaboratives they join. This makes it all the more unfortunate that they are the least common Catalyst.
- The Atoner: A frequent motivation for them. Many Klagen are trying so hard to prevent new tragedies because they seek to undo the damages they have caused.
- Dark and Troubled Past: All Klagens went through some form of tragic event during their Breakthrough. Unlike Grimms, this is rarely a violent one, but it's always sad and reveals how cruel the world can be.
- Cassandra Truth: There is a reason they are nicknamed after the Trope Namer. Klagen typically do realize when something will go bad, and do everything they can to prevent it, but since like all Geniuses they are unable to attempt that without looking mad, people rarely believe them.
- The Eeyore: They are motivated by personal tragedies, and their efforts to prevent new ones tend to be ignored, so it's no surprise that they often end up depressive, or even fatalistic. Their derangement even is depression.
- Ignored Expert: Comes with being the Only Sane Man around lots of mad scientists who just can't wait to start tampering in god's domain.
- Long Lived: Exelixi automatically prolongates their lifespan, so they tend to live longer than the average human. A Klagen with sufficient mastery of the Axiom can survive over a century.
- The Medic: They have a very strong tendency to practice medicine, as this is a work where tragedies are very likely to happen (such as failing to save a patient in time). Even those who weren't doctors before their Breakthrough can experience a desire to study the profession. Moreover, their main Axiom, Exelixi, focuses in part on repairing things, including healing living beings.
- My Greatest Failure: A frequent origin for them. A Klagen can easily be responsible of the very tragedy that caused his Breakthrough, and blame himself for it.
- Only Sane Man: By Genius standards, anyway. They're often the closest thing to a voice of reason that Geniuses have.
Neid, the Catalyst of Banishment
"First let me tell you that human beings without mathematical souls are transparent to God and thus mean nothing to Him. So you ask, why does God (who is the Equation) care about window-souls? He doesn't, but the Devil, whom I define as our negative thoughts, does, and directs window-soul humans at us to destroy us. These humans think they think and feel, but they are without the highest Number and their feelings are only our self-doubt. Destroy your self-doubt, be free of their hatred. Or destroy them, and be free of your self-doubt. Vengeance is time- and space-symmetrical, like any good equation."
Traditional planet: SaturnDefined by jealousy and bitterness, Neids are driven by the need to "show them all!" When a developing Genius feels rejected by his peers, when he blames his failures on "the man" keeping him down, that's when a Neid is born. They're good at mind control and apparently "psychic" powers—the more "out there" fields of mad science in terms of credibility and morality, in other words—and have a frankly unsurprising tendency to be paranoid and untrusting. Not without good reason, of course; many of them seem like magnets for mockery.
- Because You Were Nice to Me: Neids are unshakably loyal to people who earn their trust. Good luck doing that with the paranoid wrecks they are, though.
- Driven by Envy: They are defined by jealousy and bitterness. Most Neids are motivated by their jealousy toward those who can have the credibility and reputation forbidden to them.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: A frequent motivation for their attitude. Many Neids want so hard to demonstrate the truth and worth of their convictions because they are really insecure about it. Those who started out as mediocre scientists, for example, are trying to prove how Inspiration has transformed them.
- Mind-Control Device: They specialize in building this using Epikrato. Since people won't listen to Neids, they try to forcefully make them listen, and nothing does that better than the ability to control minds.
- No Social Skills: Their arrogance and inclination to paranoia tend to make them rather asocial. Unlike Grimms however, they usually are pretty good at Subterfuge, and tend to have plenty of social merits through old contacts and owed favours.
- Properly Paranoid: They tend to be convinced everyone around them is either trying to mock them or steal their research out of jealousy. While their paranoia plays a big role in giving them this point of view, Geniuses in general do easily get a lot of hatred and jealousy from mortals, so you see where they are coming from. In fact, their paranoia make them more likely than any other Catalyst to notice spies and enemies, since it gets directed more often at real than imagined threats.
- Psychic Powers: Their main Axiom, Epikrato, specializes in simulating psychic-like abilities.
- The Resenter: Neids are very likely to resent people who get credit when they don't.
- They Called Me Mad!: Their typical attitude toward mortals. Like all Geniuses, Jabir makes it difficult for them to expose their research to the public without looking like insane people, and they are by nature paranoid on the topic, so they end convinced everyone see them as crazy and get obsessed with "showing them all".
Staunen, the Catalyst of Curiosity
"I'm afraid I don't see things like you do. I mean it: I'm afraid. What if the things I find beautiful drive you mad? What if they hollow you out like clever little squirrels getting nuts for the winter, except the nuts are your eyes, and winter is, I don't know, maybe the Rapture or something? And I'm just smiling while your face gets ripped apart because I think it's beautiful? These things worry me sometimes, when I'm not looking at the night sky. So I spend a lot of time looking at the night sky, and not looking at your face and thinking about squirrels."
Traditional planet: MercuryDefined by curiosity, wonder, and awe, Staunens simply love learning about the universe. They want to know more, they NEED to know more... even about those things that no sane person wants to think about, much less meet in person. As one might expect, they are very good at building scanners and communicators, and prone to fixation and obsession. Of all the Catalysts, they're the most interested in occult matters.
- Bold Explorer: Many of them are explorers who wish to discover new horizons and new places, exploring the world for his own sake.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: The weirdest Catalyst. With their interest in clearly non-scientific matters like occult, their tendency to obsess over strange questions for years and their adventurous nature, Staunen are frequently seen as out of touch with reality even compared to other Geniuses.
- Curiosity Is a Crapshoot: When you mix Mad Science with mad curiosity, anything is possible.
- Everything Sensor: Their main Axiom, Apokalypsi, focuses in part on creating scanners and sensors meant to analyze anything.
- Forgets to Eat: Considering how obsessive they are, this happens a lot. Their peers usually have to drag them out of this.
- For Science!: They only want to learn... and learning justifies the means.
- Occult Detective: In addition to frequently being detectives and investigators, Staunen are fascinated with everything alien and extraordinary, making them the most likely to get interested in the occult.
- Seeker Archetype: They are, above all, motivated by the desire to learn more, and as such, actively seek new secrets to uncover. Many were investigators, journalists or explorers before their Breakthrough.
- Super OCD: With the emphasis on "obsessive". Staunen have a bad habit of getting obsessed with things no sane person would find engrossing.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Part of what makes them so terrifying is that they won't let that trope get in the way of their curiosity. It doesn't matter if it's something no sane person would want to know, they will still obsess over it.
Foundations, Baramins and Programms
The Peerage in general
PeerageThe Foundations as a whole. The "good guys" (in theory), they were originally founded to fight evil snake-people ruling from Lemuria.
- Anti-Hero: The book makes it very clear the Peerage only are the "good guys" in loosest sense of the term, because they actually try to limit the damage they would do to humanity, in contrast to Lemuria. Objectively, they still have little concern with helping humanity.
- Changing of the Guard: All the foundations are undergoing or have recently undergone massive cultural shifts, from an old generation that favored conservationism and large structures to a fast moving, dynamic, even radical younger generation. This shift began when the old generation intentionally dismantled the large social structures of the Peerage. They were being corrupted by power and so they destroyed their own power. For all it's faults the Peerage is dedicated to helping Mad Scientists avoid the perils of their own insanity.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Subverted, the Peerage do believe that the Inspiration comes with responsibility. Responsibility to stay low, keep quiet, and try not to do anything too crazy.
- Genre Savvy: They know that they are Mad Scientists (emphasis on "Mad").
- I'm Not a Hero, I'm... a Mad Scientist: The Peerage encourages its members to distance themselves for humanity; in their view a mad scientist trying to help is just a disaster waiting to happen.
- Mad Hatter: Their insanity allows them to make Wonders, after all.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: For older (or old-fashioned) Peers being truthful is Serious Business. The Scholastics do this the most note .
The International Union of Artifice
The International Union of Artifice
"Good, fast, and cheap: you get all three. And if you talk like that to my people again, you're going to wake up as a collection of spare parts."Originally quiet reclusive Geniuses who just wanted to be left in peace to build their Wonders. They have since radicalized with younger Artificers emphasize a punk DIY ethos as a way to remain free from, or oppose, The Man. Artificers give players a chance to play the mad scientist who builds awesome stuff and represent the fear that we will have to adapt for new technology whether or not we want it to.
- Bungling Inventor:They can slap Wonders together faster than any other Geniuses, but unless they spend an hour testing it out, they won't know what the persistent fault is. This can cause problems.
- Doing It for the Art: In-universe case; Old style artifiers tend to be reclusive humble mad scientists who just want to make stuff. Averted with younger artificers who delight in the communal aspects of creation and are often politicized, angry and demanding.
- MacGyvering: Due to the simple problem that building anything takes money or resources (bought with money), many Artificers take the Dumpster Diver trait, which lets them cobble together amazing inventions from trash. Even those that don't are capable of building things like power armour and time machines with stuff you can buy from stores.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Artificers come from all walks of life, but the younger ones tend to be, shall we say, "unpolished".
- Weird Trade Union: Some of them take that "union" bit literally.
Fellowship for Manifest Direction
Fellowship for Manifest Direction
"Like even the strongest iron bar, every man has a weak point, and it can be found."Created as a Fellowship to organise the Peerage in the invisible war, the Directors grew to become the Peerage's social and organisational experts. Charismatic, skilled and as brilliant as any other Genius they are nevertheless corrupted by naked ambition. Directors let the players be bond villain style masterminds and represent the fear that "the elite" will step on the little guy for their own benefit.
- The Beast Master/The Minion Master: Many prefer to let Beholden or robots do their dirty work.
- Bond Villain Stupidity: The younger Directors accuse their elders of this.
- Diabolical Mastermind: A not-entirely-inaccurate stereotype of the foundation.
- The Face: Often in player parties. This is important, since a Genius' ever worsening Science-Related Memetic Disorder causes Jabir, which makes talking to normal humans rather difficult.
- Gone Horribly Right: The Fellowship was explicitly founded to provide the kind of organized leadership Lemuria had. Almost immediately, the Directors became every bit as corrupt, racist, and fanatical as the leaders of Lemuria. The Foundation was extensively reformed in the early twentieth century, but things were looking bad for a while.
- Guile Hero: When they're not outright Manipulative Bastards.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: Older Directors love this trope.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Briefly, they were every bit as racist and politically incorrect as Lemuria. They've cleaned up their act.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The most socially powerful Foundation.
Center for Circumferential Navigation
Center for Circumferential Navigation
"I've seen things you wouldn't believe. Hell, I've seen things I don't believe."The Navigators were formally part of Lemuria, there they faced discrimination for their race and ended doing maintenance, transportation and front line combat for their so called betters. After abandoning Lemuria they eventually joined up with the Peerage, after the invisible war was over. For a while the Navigators were known for being practically a military, but the old generation has given way to rugged independent explorers. The Navigators exist to give players the opportunity to play adventurers and Science Heroes, to saner individuals they represent the fear of being caught in the crossfire of the powerful.
- Appropriated Appellation: The name Navigator is intentionally humble in defiance of people who used to see them as second class Geniuses. The attitude is gone, but the name remains.
- Badass Army: Their function is to serve as the Peerage's army and scouts, and given most of them are explorers equipped with Powered Armors, it's safe to say they fill this function well.
- Badass Bookworm or Genius Bruiser: They can use Mania to enhance their physical abilities.
- Defector from Decadence: They didn't leave Lemuria because it was full of evil people who oppress them. They left because it was full of Obstructive Bureaucrats and Insufferable Geniuses who couldn't even do Armageddon right.
- The Drifter: Many of them spend their time travelling from city to city, saving people before moving to a new location.
- Fantastic Racism: An interesting aversion; most templates and factions in the New World of Darkness usually have somewhat negative stereotypes toward other types of supernaturals. The Navigators don't; instead, their stereotype has them praise supernaturals for being "good in a fight", and "usually a lot more reasonable than people make them out to be".
- Mildly Military: While still possessed of military trappings, formal organization and protocol have been relaxed in recent years.
- Powered Armor: They make a tradition of building and wearing their Wonders as either armors or equipments intended to make them fly and improve their fighting skills.
Reformed Society of Progenitors
Reformed Society of Progenitors (formerly Children of Demiurge)
"It'll work this time, I promise. It won't hurt anyone."Mad biologists and transhumanists, who recently had to purge their ranks after most of them went insane (more than usual).
- Evilutionary Biologist: The "Evil" part is downplayed after the purge, but Progenitors do have an interest in mad biology and creating new, better living beings.
- Hollywood Cyborg: The absolute best at making implanted wonders. Worth mentioning that their implants aren't necessarly mechanicals; they do plenty of biological implants as well.
- Mad Doctor: They usually practice medicine Genius-style.
- Professor Guinea Pig: While the original Progenitors would gladly experiments on animals and human beings to further their research, the new iteration focuses on upgrading themselves with their Wonders, an attitude that somewhat disturbs other Geniuses.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: The original Progenitors used to be considered the most impressive, skilled of the Foundations until they went completely insane, leading to the purge. Nowadays, this has left such a big impact the current generation still has problems shaking off the bad reputation they got because of this.
- Transhuman Treachery: The new generation Progenitors' increasing interest for transhuman practices has caused a lot of concern among other Foundations, who fear they might turn out like this. While there probably are some cases, not all of them are subjects to it.
- Upgrade Artifact: They can do this.
College of Scholastic Theory
College of Scholastic Theory
"If it's true, someone wrote it down, even if just to refute it."Respectable, neat academics who believe it is important to manage their own insanity with a dedication to logic and truth. Or at least they used to, older members unraveled mysteries to uncover the truth. Younger members create mysteries and delight in bizarre non-linear thought. Playing a Scholastic is an opportunity to be the mad scientist who knows strange secrets, while to everyone else they represent the fear of things man was not meant to know and the people who publish them.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: A little Schliemannian globetrotting is much more exciting than hitting the books.
- Badass Bookworm: They're the oldest Foundation, and have been fighting Lemuria the longest.
- Master of Illusion: A prerequisite for any would-be conqueror of the human mind.
- Non-Action Guy: Older Scholastics are often content to stay inside and theorize.
- Odd Friendship: The ancient, methodical College of Scholastic Theory gets along pretty decently with the modern, revolutionary Free Council. Well, better than Mages and Geniuses usually do, anyway.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Because puckishness just isn't the same without the odd couplet here and there.
- The Smart Guy: They are described as the "brains" of their collaboratives.
- Took a Level in Badass: They started out as a small philosophy cult who really liked truth and objected to Lemuria's historical revisionism. Now they're the most influential organization of Mad Scientists in the world, led a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits to overthrow the Ancient Conspiracy that controlled mankind since the beginning of history, and all Inspired culture (even Lemurian) has been heavily influenced by them.
- Trickster Archetype: A popular persona for younger Scholastics, much to their elders' chagrin.
Lemuria in general
LemuriaThe "bad guys"... sort of. They believe that humanity needs to be "fixed," to be put back on track, and will do anything to achieve this goal.
- Animal Motif: Snakes, due to their origins.
- Anti-Villain: They want to use their knowledge and inventions to help the world and improve it. Problem is, they completely fail to realize they are insane and would just spread Havoc.
- Comes Great Responsibility: Lemurians believe that the Inspired have a moral duty to set humanity back on track. Pity a different trope is in play.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: By definition all Lemurians believe that human development took a wrong turn at some point, such as the replacement of Platonic philosophy with Aristotle.
- Evil Counterpart: To the Peerage.
- They Reject Our Reality: And substitute their own.
- Insane Equals Violent: It's pointed out that not all Lemurians do evil, but their insanity makes it so easy.
- Reality Warper: They can warp reality according to their vision of it.
- The Reptilians: The original Lemuria was founded and led by shapeshifting snake-men Manes who were manipulating humanity from behind the scene. Nowadays however, most of them have been exterminated, and the current incarnation of Lemuria is controlled by human Geniuses.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Unlike the Peerage, they don't know that they are insane. They believe that everyone else is.
"There was so much potential. So much promise. So much that failed us, all those years ago. But not this time."Atomists represent the idea that technology can solve human, social or political problems. They tend to be utterly dismissive of (if not outright hostile to) the proposition that the human element is important or in any way greater than just another number on their spreadsheet.
- Determinators: They are the best at warding off Havoc- it happens sooner or later, but maybe next time...
- Dystopia Justifies the Means: While they all believe that technology can create a paradise, some have very disturbing ideas on what that paradise would look like. (For instance, one might think being slaves to immortal machine overlords sounds like the ideal human condition.)
- Expy: Of the Technocracy. They're also based on some hardcore fans of Robert Heinlein, Larry Niven, and Ayn Rand.
- I Want My Jetpack: Or Hovercar/Invisible Zepplin/Robotic Spider/Horde of Gorilla Cyborgs.
- Raygun Gothic: They're still bitter the world didn't turn out like this, and seek to "fix" things so that it will.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: All they ever wanted was to bring us into the future- not that they ever cared about the people who would have to live in it.
- Zeerust: Not a defining trope, but certainly not uncommon, being formally founded in the 50s at the dawn of the Nuclear age means many of their elders have a pre-apocalypse Fallout style of Mad Science.
"Now if you look here, you'll see that this is how things really work. Actually, really, positively work. But ignore that, that part is still being corrected."Etherites believe that a single unified theory can explain everything. (Though what that theory is differs from Etherite to Etherite). In general, they care more about "proving" their pet theories than actual science, mixed in with some of the worse cultural attitudes from the Victorian era.
"We're all just cogs in the Great Machine. Whatever we think we choose was actually predestined, part of the process. Part of the Plan."The Mechanists believe that the universe, and everything within it, follows simple laws and theories, to the degree that they become fatalists who take no responsibility for their actions. Word of God says they don't have any overarching theme, they are merely cool.
- Clock Punk: A favourite aesthetic, given their belief that the universe, and even the people, are just clocks following slightly more complicated routines.
- Expy: Fatalistic and grim, with a focus on destiny, similar to the Euthanatos.
- Face–Heel Turn: Sorta. Geniuses espousing what is now modern Mechanist philosophy have always been around, but the Baramin itself officially formed after a schism in the International Union of Artifice.
- The Fatalist: They reject the idea of free-will and consequentially the idea of responsibility.
- Never My Fault: Because they don't believe in free will, they never acknowledge that anything might be their fault— as far as they are concerned, it's always part of some higher mechanism the world works on.
"No. No. This is absolutely wrong. Look, just let me fix it. All of it."A more mystical branch of Lemuria, Oracles tend to believe that what they do is mystical and spiritual instead of mad science. The oracles represent moral fundamentalism and often dress and act like priests of obscure or antiquated philosophies.
- Black and White Insanity: An inevitable consequence of being fundamentalist Lemurians.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: An Aesthetic popular among them.
- Expy: In keeping with Lemuria's Tradition parallels, the Oracles resemble some of the less sympathetic portrayals of the Celestial Chorus.
- The Fundamentalist: They believe in absolutes and are incapable of seeing a middle ground.
- Instant Expert: Their Grant: if it's scientific or academic, they can spend a point of Mania to know it.
- Sinister Minister: Not all of them, but enough to be worth mentioning.
- Tautological Templar: Since they define themselves as the "good guys", many Oracles firmly believe all of their actions are moral. Even when they make hallucination dust from toddler bones.
"Hmm. That's an interesting point, but is there really any kind of absolute truth out there? Anything that is immutable?"The Phenomenologists believe that there is no universal reality. Consiquently they choose to live in whatever reality suits them best and act appropriately, even if it's outright harmful to those around them. They are a reference to post modernists and the Science Wars in particular.
- Believing Their Own Lies: They can lie so well because they believe in what they're saying... at that moment, anyway.
- Consummate Liar: They can spend a point of Mania to gain a exceptional success on a subterfuge roll. This is because they aren't actually lying, they genuinely believe anything they say.
- I Reject Your Reality: Even more so than other Unmada. Phenomenologists will reject their own reality when it suits them.
- Surveillance as the Plot Demands: They're in charge of Lemuria's intelligence operations.
DharmistsAn extinct foundation.
Numericals (ascendant)Eternal September, many Geniuses saw their dreams of an internet where the intelligent ruled a virtual world overrun by housewives posting cat pictures and businessmen buying golf shoes. The Numericals hate how the internet has become as stupid as meatspace, and seek to reform reform it into what it should have been.
- Eternal September: They want to bring this to an end.
- Expy: Less overt than some of the other Baramins, but their retro computer shtick pretty well mirrors the Virtual Adepts.
- It's Popular, Now It Sucks: The Internet, that is.
- Serious Business: They have very strict beliefs about the Internet, but not a case of Internet Tough Guy as they are a very real danger to people who troll them on the web.
- Troll: They justify their elitist ideology by the presence of online jerks; this may lead to a case of He Who Fights Monsters.
Programs of Note
Formalists (Ten Thousand Fans)The independent Geniuses of Asia. Rebelling against Lemurian hegemony, they have risen to prominence as Lemuria grew weak. Today, the Fans are a united organization as powerful as any one of the Five Foundations.
- All Asians Know Martial Arts: If they didn't know it already, their Exelixi can make it so.
- Appropriated Appellation: "Ten Thousand Fans" was originally a Lemurian catch-all term for any non-Lemurian Program in Asia, as the dissenters fanned the flames of heterodoxy. The independent Geniuses of Asia apparently decided not to let such an unintentionally awesome epithet go to waste.
- Asian and Nerdy: They are Asian Mad Scientists after all.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: For about a minute per point of Mania expended. Mania is kind of like air, right?
- Bollywood Nerd: Fewer, because of the Lemurian presence in India, but they do study ancient Indian mathematics.
- Far East: They are the Peerage equivalent of this zone.
- Implacable Man: Their Grant and specialization in Exelixi makes this a definite possibility.
- La Résistance: Asia is principally Lemurian territory. These guys are a minority, but they're still fighting.
- Sixth Ranger: Members of the Peerage who know of the Ten Thousand Fans look at them with interest as a potential sixth Foundation.
Thule Society (Revanchists)A faction of Nazi Geniuses, sorcerers and manes created following the fall of the Third Reich. Most of them hide in the Hollow Earth.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Neatly averted, since Manes in this universe are created when the theory they were based on is discredited; if the majority of Germans really had faith in Nazi ideology, then these Manes wouldn't exist.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Their science runs on it; their main way to recover Mania is by capturing and torturing people in their labs.
- Evil Is Sexy: Bred to be good-looking, among other things.
- Ghostapo: Their occultists.
- Good Powers, Bad People: They study Exelixi, an Axiom conceived to fix and heal.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: As Nazi mad scientists, they look down on the "lesser races".
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: They are Nazi Mad Scientists.
- Those Wacky Nazis: Pretty much the definition of this group.
- Ubermenschen: They don't fit the trope, but like the mundane Nazis, they inaccurately cite Nietzsche's work and call themselves Ubermenschen.
Elders of the Third Law
Elders of the Third LawFollowers of Leonardo da Vinci.
- Clock Punk: Their favored aesthetic, based off the works of da Vinci himself. They range from clockwork brains and spring-loaded swords to ornithopters and dirigibles.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: They may look primitive, but they're also passionate hunters of the Illuminated.
- New Technology Is Evil: Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, and leery of the trappings of modern technology. They consider steam power to be newfangled devil technology. They like gunpowder, though.
- Team Switzerland: They're one of the only Fellowships that accepts both Lemurians and Peers as members, preferring to focus on threats like the Illuminated rather than ideological struggles.
Hermetic Order of the 28 Spheres
Hermetic Order of the 28 SpheresPost-modern Geniuses who style their Wonders as magic, challenging people to prove them wrong.
Phantom FoundationGhost-hunting Geniuses. The Foundation was once part of a bigger independent Program, but is now just a Fellowship. Nonetheless, their resources and cultural resonance have allowed them to survive and even prosper.
Perfected Vision Institute
Perfected Vision Institute
- Psychic Powers: The Institute started out researching telepathy but have expanded into other areas of this trope.
Iridium SentinelsA Fellowship of do-gooders seeking to safeguard the innocent and fight crime, the Iridium Sentinels' trademark is their formidable suits of Powered Armor.
- Knight Templar: The fringe of the Iridium Sentinels is occupied by Geniuses devoted to ideas of "purification" and more unhinged inventors who create military-grade hardware to use against street-level crime.
- Powered Armor: Every member of the Sentinels owns a suit of armor, ranging from simple jobs to elaborate battle-suits.
- Superhero: The Sentinels are Iron Man-style heroes who use technology fight crime.
Malcolm T. Washington Fellowship
Malcolm T. Washington FellowshipA Fellowship made up of African-American and African-Canadian Geniuses who specialize in the creation of giant insects.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The main theme of their Wonders.
- Black and Nerdy: To be accepted into this Fellowship, one must be an American or Canadian mad scientist of African descent who specializes in creating giant insects. Despite the narrowness of the requirements, there are quite a lot of members— turns out there are a lot of black mad scientists who like working with giant bugs.
- Overly Narrow Superlative: Moochava stated that this Fellowship is based off of college scholarships with ridiculously specific qualifications—in this case, being an African-American entomologist.
Nine Vertex Devils Club
Nine Vertex Devils Club
Resurrection ConsortiumA consortium dealing with resurrection.
- Immortality Immorality: To join the foundation, you need an Obligation of 6 or below.
Historical Geniuses of Note
Leonardo di ser Piero
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: He is Nikola Tesla in a game about Mad Science, so this was to be expected.
- Historical Villain Upgrade: He was a member of Lemuria. Back then, it was a choice between joining them or having no resources at all. And it must have been nice to have found a group that actually appreciated his ideas.
Seattle of Tomorrow
Dr. Vienna/Yancy Wolfgang BorcowitzThe leader of Seattle's Peerage, Dr. Vienna catalyzed at the age of eighteen and headed for Seattle, where an encounter with Megiddo's electronic minions pushed him into forming "Those Fools at the Institute" with Gracie Calabash, Screaming Sam Paluxy, and several other Geniuses to fight against the mad supercomputer's forces. Today, he is synonymous with the New Peers of Seattle, and a respected figure.
- Big Good: Dr. Vienna is respected by the Peers of Seattle as an artist, theorist, and implacable foe of Atomic Lemuria and Megiddo's machine empire.
- Creepy Crows: He owns a maliciously literal-minded corvid automaton.
- Non-Action Guy: Much to Sam's disgust, Dr. Vienna prefers to keep his hands clean and stay out of direct confrontation. While it keeps his Obligation high, his approach appears to be costing the New Peers ground.
- Reality Warper: Unknown to most, the good doctor has recently gone Unmada. He tries to combat this by using logic... which, since he's a Genius, doesn't work.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In the process of mental decay, sadly.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The calm, logical, non-combative Blue to Screaming Sam Paluxy's Red.
- Steam Punk: Dr. Vienna favors this aesthetic, and dresses like a Victorian gentleman to match.
Gracie CalabashOne of the three founders of Those Fools at the Institute, Calabash now manages the New Peers as Dr. Vienna slips even further into his fantasy world.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Calabash has the unenviable job of sorting out disputes between the various clashing factions of Seattle's Inspired community.
- Big Good: In some ways she might be closer to this trope than the now increasingly-addled Dr. Vienna.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The most stable of the senior New Peers, Calabash takes the Peerage's duty to help others out seriously. She is most likely the first powerful Genius a new mad scientist meets in Seattle.
Screaming Sam PaluxyA rocker Genius and one of the three founders of Those Fools at the Institute, Screaming Sam has a love-hate relationship with Dr. Vienna.
- All Love Is Unrequited: His unceasingly unstable love/hate feelings with Dr. Vienna might not be romantic, but if they are Sam is in for a long wait. Dr. Vienna is mentioned to have previously been in a fifteen year heterosexual relationship, and there are no hints that he could be bisexual.
- Instrument of Murder: One of his Wonders is an electric guitar that lets him fire off blasts of destructive sound.
- Love Potion: One of his Wonders, appropriately called the "Fuck Switch", does this to the user. Its actual purpose, though, is people puppetry.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The passionate, aggressive Red to Dr. Vienna's Blue.
- Really Gets Around: He goes through college-age boyfriends every few weeks or so.
Captain Joe CalazziA racist Genius who appeared in the wake of the World Trade Center attacks and quickly established a following, he is now leader of a vigilante army opposing the Pacific Gauntlet.
- Face of an Angel, Mind of a Demon: Captain Joe is a clean, fit, well-dressed fellow with the face of a young Julius Caesar, but he holds incredibly hateful views.
- General Ripper: On a smaller scale than most, but he's real serious with the hate crimes, and has a posse.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Captain Joe hates Asians, women, homosexuals, and anything else that annoys him; and he doesn't hesitate in making his views known.
- Reality Warper: Joe is an Unmada with a horrible racist philosophy, who is also incredibly close to going Illuminated.
Devon OguraA man in his early 60s, Ogura is the leader of the Pacific Gauntlet, an Inspired criminal syndicate from Asia.
- Cool Sub: The "Sea Monkey", his personal ride. It's shaped like a giant metal monkey.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Devon Ogura views the entire Gauntlet, including himself, as a tool to be used for maximum financial gain.
- Cyber Punk: In sharp contrast to the Gauntlet's Clock Punk look, Ogura's favored aesthetic is "Digital Chrome", which involves a lot of cool neon hues, white plastic, and titanium.
- The Don: He's a respected (and dreaded) leader of the Pacific Gauntlet.
- Freudian Excuse: Ogura grew up as The Unfavorite, knowing his destiny was to become a faceless mook. Not hard to see why he snapped.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He was originally slated to become Beholden.
- The Red Baron: They call him the Ogre.
Melantha C. Dranias
Melantha C. DraniasOgura's right hand, and a dangerous Genius in her own right.
- Body Horror: Combined with Clock Punk. It's every bit as bad as it sounds: for starters, she surgically replaced her uterus with a clockwork contraption.
- The Dragon: She serves Ogura by cranking out equipment for the Pacific Gauntlet's army of Beholden.
- Elite Mooks: Thirty-two of them, with a nautical theme, no less.
- Even Evil Has Standards: She actually managed to Squick out the Demiurges, and the Oracles had misgivings about recruiting her.
- Fat Bastard: Dranias is morbidly obese and a villainous Genius who listens to the whispers of the Illuminated.
- Hidden Agenda Villain: Unknown to Ogura, Dranias is not fully loyal to his vision, but dreams of giving birth to a race of monsters that would devour all things.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: Not yet, but she has plans...
- Spider Tank: The Clattering Crab. Also a Cool Sub.
Erin Out-Of-TimeThe last survivor of an alternate timeline, Erin now resides in Seattle and keeps her head low, fearing the rogue Time Police that killed off the rest of her kind.
- Alternate Universe: What if mankind had no metal, but managed to invent modern technology anyways?
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Even more so than most examples—she's not just in the wrong time, but in the wrong timeline
- Last of Her Kind: She's the only remaining native of her timeline, a "Solitaire". All the others have been hunted down by rogue Time Police, and Erin fears she's next.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Her attempts at reaching out to Argentine St. Croix for help have alienated the Peerage, particularly Dr. Vienna.
- Time Police: Erin is an officer of the Guardians of Forever, and one of the few who remained loyal to their mission when their bosses, the Terminals, disappeared.
- Like a Duck Takes to Water: Justified; being a Genius makes any technology easy to understand. She has a blog.
Detective Alice Gotti
Detective Alice GottiA Beholden working for Dr. Vienna.
- Hollywood Atheist: Subverted; she didn't lose her faith because of her many hardships, she just can't sustain religious convictions as a Beholden.
- Trauma Conga Line: Let's see... through bad luck, she lost her shot at the Ivy League, and her parents want nothing to do with her. She recovered from that and became a police officer. Then she got pregnant and her husband abandoned her. Then she discovered that her superiors were on the Pacific Gauntlet's payroll. Then she was made into a Beholden by Dr. Vienna. Life has not been kind to Detective Gotti, but she's taken everything it's thrown at her.
Hook-Man/David Islington WhittlesworthA superhero who likes using hooks as weapons.
- Hooks and Crooks: Unsurprisingly, his equipment is mostly hook-themed, including a few actual hooks.
- Grappling-Hook Pistol: His suit has one mounted on the shoulder.
- Sophisticated as Hell: "Hook-Man is here for to put your ass on a hook!"
- Superhero: Hook-Man defends Seattle from villainous geniuses and mundane crime and has a themed set of equipment, including a Tropemobile.
- Thememobile: His "Hook-Craft", a hovercar.
MegiddoA super powerful computer dedicated to amassing even more power.
- Master Computer: Rules over his own private Bardo, and desires more power every day.
- Milkman Conspiracy: The mail-order denture business funds an evil computer mastermind.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast/Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Who names a sentient being "Megiddo" and expects it to be nice? Mad scientists, that's who.
- The Patriarch: Megiddo is very fond of this archetype, and sometimes holographically manifests as various father figures.
- Robotic Psychopath: Not only is Megiddo sadistic and power-hungry, it also has an Obligation of 0, making it essentially Illuminated.
- Villainous Breakdown: It started decades ago, and may be ongoing. That doesn't make it any less dangerous.
Argentine St. Croix
Argentine St. CroixA powerful and dangerous Genius who is nonetheless on her way out.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The leader of Atomic Lemuria loves her sons.
- Jerkass Woobie: As her bio says:St. Croix is a bitter, tired woman, touched by sadness at the disappointments in her life. While insane and, when the mood takes her, tremendously cruel, hers is the small, weak kind of human cruelty that encourages as much pity as loathing.
- Tragic Dream: She wants to create a utopia. Normally this would be hard enough. The fact she genuinely believe a "fascist police state governed by all-seeing technology" would be utopia makes her dream fundamentally unachievable.
- Raygun Gothic: Her favored aesthetic. A statue of her in Atomic Lemuria's HQ shows her with the skin-tight suit and fishbowl helmet of [50s] sci-fi.
- White-Dwarf Starlet: In-universe, St. Croix is a Genius of somewhat low importance, despite her family name.
Belinda CzdenkA disrespected Neid Genius.
- Butt Monkey: Even as a Genius, she gets no respect.
- Character Filibuster: Like many Neids, Belinda is prone to bitter ranting.
- Disproportionate Retribution: She once killed a man for revealing her love of machinery.
Erwin TychoA relatively sane member of the Klondike Geniuses, Tycho is one of the most prominent critics of the New Peers, whom he views as intruders.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Tycho is a member of the Klondikes, a faction of Geniuses who scavenge for orphaned Wonders, Larvae, and other wondrous things in the Seattle of Tomorrow.
- Hellish Horse: Given his "Western Gothic" aesthetic, it's probably safe to infer that his Skafoi Wonder "Bony Tess" looks like a skeletal horse.
- Only Sane Man: Compared to the rest of the Klondikes, he's much less paranoid and territorial.
- Unfazed Everyman: Mikey and Randolph, the two Beholden that accompany him on his expeditions. They think their adventures are way cooler than playing video games or fixing up cars.
Rapata/"Mr. Shark"A Genius dedicated to preserving the timeline.
- Carry a Big Stick: His "Taiaha of Temporal Distortion", which causes objects he hits to disintegrate.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: Averted most of the time: he actually prefers to dress as befits the time period he's in. If he's in a hurry, though, he'll just appear, brandishing his big club and bellowing the names of whoever's pissed him off.
- Good Is Not Nice: He's abrasive and demanding, and not above intimidating Geniuses into working for him, but it's all for the sake of preserving the timeline.
- Power Tattoo: He has a couple of them: the "Transformation Ta Moko" lets him shapeshift, and the "Titan Ta Moko" allows him to grow to a giant size.
- Time Police: Like Erin Out-of-Time, he's one of the Guardians of Forever who remained loyal when the Terminals disappeared.
Prof. Partridge Crown
Prof. Partridge CrownA Genius who believes he is essentially Satan. He's not.
- A God Am I: More like A Godlike Devil Am I.
- Crystal Dragon Jesus: Believes he's the "Self-Eating Fire", opposing the Crystal Dragon Jesus figure called the "Metal Peacock God".
Arturo BangerA Genius descended from a long line of cranks, Arturo seemed perfectly fine until he began switched majors and began writing about how modern medicine and the germ theory of disease was false.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Arturo believes the germ theory of disease to be incorrect and a scam, and that he knows the truth about medicine.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: His theories mingle racist conspiracy theories with paranoid fantasies of ancient "germ scholars" and persecutory beliefs. Per his sample quote:"The germ theory of disease is a lie propagated by International Jewry and Afrocentrists at UCLA. Of course, everyone knows this. What people don't know is how the Freemasons and College Football are in league to hide the truth of the metabio fields."
Dr. Keiko Takamori
Dr. Keiko TakamoriA tattooed Genius with serious depression issues.
Dr. Ilsa Hauser
Dr. Ilsa Hauser
- The Baroness: Hauser is a tall, striking woman with an iron will, a sadistic streak, and an absolute dedication to the principles of the Thule Society.
Walking-Man, Peripatetic Dreamkiller
Walking-Man, Peripatetic DreamkillerOne of the few forces that all Geniuses fear, known for brainwashed cults and all-around invulnerability.
- Carry a Big Stick: His walking stick.
- The Dreaded: Just the rumor of his arrival is enough to cause most Geniuses to flee the area, as Walking-Man destroys any community he sets foot in.
- Evil Luddite: He doesn't believe in any technology, and doesn't care about the human costs of destroying it.
- Humanoid Abomination: Possibly. He's described as "less a person now than an elementary force."
- Hypocrite: Walking-Man hates all technology, yet carries a rifle and has contacts with Lemuria.
- Lean and Mean: Lean and frighteningly mean.
- Made of Iron: Even putting aside his immunity to technological weapons, he is ridiculously resilient, with a Health of 10, a Stamina of 5, and the Quick Healer Merit on top of it, which allows him to heal faster than the average human. Even a vampire or a werewolf could potentially have a hard time taking him down.
- Mass Hypnosis: If you want to fight him, you'll have to get past his entire cult first.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: As noted above, he is very lean and skinny. Yet not only is he Made of Iron, he has a Strength of 4, which is twice as strong as the average human.
- Narcissist: One of Walking-Man's derangements is narcissism.
- Nigh Invulnerable: He's immune to all non-natural weapons, including clubs, rocks, and fire.
- Science Is Bad: He really, really believes it.
- Sinister Minister: Has disguised himself as a Protestant preacher, a Catholic priest, and even a New Age cult leader.
- Torches and Pitchforks: He usually induces this among local townsfolk.
- Villain Team-Up: He may or may not work with the Phenomenologists.
- Walking Techbane: Walking-Man is this for wonders, manes and any technology produced since about 1850.
- Weapon of Choice: His trusty Remington rifle, which he's never seen without.