Characters: Genius: The Transgression

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Catalysts

    Grimm 

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."

Defined 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.

    Hoffnung 

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."

Defined 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.

    Klagen 

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."

Defined 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.
  • 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.

    Neid 

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."

Defined 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.

    Staunen 

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."

Defined 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.
  • Forgets to Eat: Considering how obsessive they are, this happens a lot. Their peers usually have to drag them out of this.
  • Super OCD: With the emphasis on "obsessive".

Foundations, Baramins and Programms

    The Peerage 

Peerage

The Foundations as a whole. The "good guys" (in theory), they were originally founded to fight evil snake-people ruling from Lemuria.
  • 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.
  • I'm Not a Hero, I'm... a Mad Scientist: The Peerage encourages it's members to distance themselves for humanity, in their view a mad scientist trying to help is just a disaster waiting to happen.
  • 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: 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.

    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 Peerages 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.

    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.
  • Mildly Military: While still possessed of military trappings, formal organization and protocol have been relaxed in recent years.

    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).

    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.
  • 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

    Lemuria 

Lemuria

The "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.
  • Insane Equals Violent: It's pointed out that not all Lemurians do evil, but their insanity makes it so easy.

    Atomists 

Atomists

"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...
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Etherites 

Etherites

"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 are people who care more about "proving" their pet theories than actual science, mixed in with some of the worse cultural attitudes from the Victorian era.

    Mechanists 

Mechanists

"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 are fatalists who take no responsibility for their actions. Word of God says they don't have any overarching theme, they are merely cool.
  • 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.

    Oracles 

Oracles

"No. No. This is absolutely wrong. Look, just let me fix it. All of it."

The oracles represent moral fundamentalism and often dress and act like priests of obscure or antiquated philosophies.

    Phenomenologists 

Phenomenologists

"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.
  • Consummate Liar: And how! 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.
    • Not all of them do, though. For example, Belinda Czdenk (who is not highly regarded by other Phenomenologists) doesn't so much disbelieve in objective truth as believe that it's irrelevant and/or unknowable. So, while she may reject common reality, she can't substitute it with her own, much to her frustration. Yes, that logic is shot, but remember who we're dealing with.
    • Because of this the other Phenomenologists consider Belinda to be a phony.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: They're in charge of Lemuria's intelligence operations.

    Dharmists 

Dharmists

An extinct foundation.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Unlike the Directors, these guys were only good at manipulating beings touched by Inspiration.

    Numericals 

Numericals (ascendant)

Lemurian Geniuses with very odd views on the internet.

Programs of Note

    Formalists 

Formalists (Ten Thousand Fans)

The independent Geniuses of Asia.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Thule Society 

Thule Society (Revanchists)

Nazi Geniuses.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Neatly averted; if the majority of Germans really had faith in Nazi ideology, then these Manes wouldn't exist.
  • 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.

Fellowships

    Elders of the Third Law 

Elders of the Third Law

Followers of Leonardo da Vinci.

    Hermetic Order of the 28 Spheres 

Hermetic Order of the 28 Spheres

Post-modern Geniuses who style their Wonders as magic, challenging people to prove them wrong.

    Phantom Foundation 

Phantom Foundation

Ghost-hunting Geniuses.

    Malcolm T. Washington Fellowship 

Malcolm T. Washington Fellowship

African-American and African-Canadian Geniuses who specialize in 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.

    Resurrection Consortium 

Resurrection Consortium

A consortium dealing with resurrection.

Historical Geniuses of Note

    Leonardo di ser Piero 

Leonardo di ser Piero

Leonardo DaVinci himself, one of the most well-known Geniuses.
  • Evil Twin: Don't worry, he's got it covered.

    Nikola Tesla 

Nikola Tesla

The archetypical Mad Scientist.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Back then, it was a choice between joining Lemuria 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 

Dr. Vienna/Yancy Wolfgang Borcowitz

An Unmada trying to fight back with logic.

    Sam Paluxy 

Screaming Sam Paluxy

An unstable Genius in love 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.

    Captain Calazzi 

Captain Joe Calazzi

A racist Genius of a small band of thugs at his side.

    Devon Ogura 

Devon Ogura

Leader of the Pacific Gauntlet.

    Melantha C. Dranias 

Melantha C. Dranias

Ogura's Dragon, and a dangerous Genius in her own right.

    Erin Out-Of-Time 

Erin Out-Of-Time

The last survivor of an alternate timeline.
  • Last of Her Kind: She's the only remaining native of her timeline, a "Solitaire".

    Detective Alice Gotti 

Detective Alice Gotti

A 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.
  • Iron Woobie: 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 

Hook-Man/David Islington Whittlesworth

A superhero who likes using hooks as weapons.

    Megiddo 

Megiddo

A super powerful computer dedicated to amassing even more power.
  • Villainous Breakdown: It started decades ago, and may be ongoing. That doesn't make it any less dangerous

    Argentine St. Croix 

Argentine St. Croix

A powerful and dangerous Genius who is nonetheless on her way out.

    Belinda Czdenk 

Belinda Czdenk

A disrespected Neid Genius.
  • Wrench Wench: Would've loved to be one, but was afraid (rightly) of her snobbish friends' reaction.

    Erwin Tycho 

Erwin Tycho

A relatively sane Genius.
  • 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.
  • Unfazed Everyman: The two Beholden that accompany him on his expeditions.

Other

    Rapata 

Rapata/"Mr. Shark"

A Genius dedicated to preserving the timeline.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: If he's in a hurry, otherwise averted.
  • 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.

    Prof. Partridge Crown 

Prof. Partridge Crown

A Genius who believes he is essentially Satan. He's not.

    Dr. Keiko Takamori 

Dr. Keiko Takamori

A tattooed Genius with serious depression issues.

    Walking-Man, Peripatetic Dreamkiller 

Walking-Man, Peripatetic Dreamkiller

One of the few forces that all Geniuses fear, known for brainwashed cults and all-around invulnerability.
  • The Dreaded: Just the rumor of his arrival is enough to send most geniuses to flee the area.