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Characters / Twig: Nobles and the Academies

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Tropes relating to the Nobles, the Academies, and Crown experiments. For other characters in Twig, see here.

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Crown Nobles

A family of enhanced humans who control the Crown States, an empire that spans a significant fraction of the globe, and rules over the Academies.


     In General 

  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Every noble we see is utterly sociopathic and willing to ruin lives at a mere whim.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The nobility is really, really messed up.
  • Dark Secret: There's something terrible on Gamaorah Island the really high muckity-mucks don't want getting out. The fact that many, if not all, of the nobles are actually created from graded child and tween specimens taken from the general population... and sold on to either be enhanced as a noble, or used in experimentation.
  • Large and in Charge: One common enhancement is increased height, making them more than seven feet tall on average.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: As the rulers of the Crown, they get every top of the line enhancement the Acadamy can offer to make them harder to kill.
  • Not So Different: To the Lambs. Both are groups of Academy-designed experiments with a strong sociological and/or political twist to them. The main difference is that the Lambs know themselves to be linked experiments, and are widely treated as such (pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole). Most of the Nobles don't really know what they are (although more than a few suspect) and aren't treated as experiments at all by wider society. Yet, all depend on the Academic system just to exist.

    The Duke of Francis 

“The Crown wins. It is a constant in this universe, understand?“

A nobleman and warleader who takes over the Radham Academy after Doctor Briggs is ousted.

  • Anti-Villain: The Duke is about as close to being a moral, responsible leader as it is possible for someone of his nature and upbringing to be. That's still not very close however.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Oh, yes. When he enters the room, everyone is so terrified of what he'll do that they daren't move a muscle.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He's powerfully enhanced as a result of his position and nigh-impossible to kill.
  • Badass Baritone: One of his enhancements-he speaks in a deep, commanding voice all the time, so that people know instantly who is speaking.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: With Fray, whom he fights against, he drives many of the story's atrocities. While he seems fond of the Lambs, he ultimately considers them expendable.
  • Blood Knight: When he discovers that Avis has set up a trap specifically to kill him, his response is eager anticipation that it will be a good contest.
  • Blue Blood: He's a significant figure in the Crown States, and is in line for the throne. His family is the reason the world of Twig is so utterly messed up.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Mauer has him shot in the head with his new rifles.
  • The Caligula: The Duke is competent and dangerous, but everyone around him is very careful to tell him what they think he wants to hear, since he can destroy them with a few words.
  • Clean Cut: He at one point beheads four stitched at once with his sword.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Sy notes that the Duke's eyes remind him of the completely mad. He never loses control.
  • The Dreaded: Even Sy is too scared to attempt mouthing off to him like he does everyone else, and every character responds to his presence with immediate, abject submission.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Superficially kind, polite, respectful of the abilities of his subordinates, and is a psychotic Blood Knight who demands absolute submission at the price of horrific punishments.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He walks in, and everyone goes silent and does whatever he asks.
  • Evil Gloating: His indulging in this when facing Mauer leaves him vulnerable to the unpleasant discovery that the rebels have developed sniper rifles and hollowpoint rounds designed to bypass his subdermal armor.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He goes out fighting the Infante to give the lambs a chance to get away.
  • Implacable Man: The Ghosts stab him no less than thirteen times, each of which would kill a normal man. He's mildly inconvenienced.
  • It's All About Me: It's not that he doesn't understand that other people are thinking, intelligent beings, it's just that he doesn't consider them worthy of more than passing attention and rearranges their lives as a matter of personal enjoyment.
  • Not Quite Dead: Being shot in the head doesn't kill him, but it leaves him a few ounces of grey matter away from being a vegetable.
  • Quick Draw: He often fires from the hip, often not bothering to remove his pistol from its holster.
  • Royal Brat: He's been given everything since the moment he was born, including top of the line biomedical enhancements, and everyone around him accommodates his desires. When he decides he likes Helen, Hayle immediately begins making preparations to have her lobotomized and removed from the Lambs to stay with him.
  • The Sociopath: However he thinks, it's not baseline, middle-of-the-psycosocial-curve human. So, he can easily be interpreted as this.
  • Super Reflexes: He explains that his reaction times stem from not just his advanced strength, but also modifications made to his brain that essentially mean he can switch in and out of Bullet Time as he pleases.
  • Sword and Gun: His weapons of choice.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: He nearly removes Mauer's head before Mauer's rifles save him.
  • 'Tis Only a Bullet in the Brain: Sy watches him get shot in the head and doesn't believe for a moment that he's really dead. While he didn't physically die, it's revealed that he was rendered near brain-dead by the shot.
  • Uncanny Valley: The Duke is firmly ensconced here: in-universe his skin is described as the wrong shade of pale, his looks too perfect, his voice too pleasant to listen to and his poise is just too good to be true. And, none of it disguises just how dangerous and other he is. He's practically into Fair Folk levels of alarm-bell chiming wrongness.
  • Villainous Rescue: Having Dr. Briggs executed likely saved the Lambs from getting tested to destruction as per his original plans.
  • You Have Failed Me: Has Dr. Briggs executed after learning of his inability to catch a spy in his midst.
  • You Got Spunk: Despite Sy's moments of defiance, he finds him extremely interesting.

    Baron Richmond 

“I’m not one of those fanatics who put far too much stock in Wallace’s Law or anything of the sort. I’m not going to say that I’m creating better people by doing what I do to them. I simply like to see people suffer, to see how it unfolds, what it reveals about them. And I like to see what it lacks, compared to the suffering that goes hand in hand with greatness.“

A low-ranking noble who still holds considerable power in the Crown States, known for his sadism and casual brutality.

  • Bad Boss: About on a par with a cranky Joker. He's so bad, Mauer agrees to not assassinate him on the grounds that his insane sadism will only help the rebel cause.
  • The Caligula: Tortures people for fun and pleasure on a horrifyingly massive scale. The entire town of Warrick is composed of people he's collected to be his victims of convenience.
  • The Dragon: Serves as this to the Duke.
  • Dragon Ascendant: After the Duke gets his head perforated by Mauer's new rifles, he takes his place of leadership.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even the other nobles don't like the Baron Richmond's particular brand of madness. As evidenced by the fact that whenever one comes across outsiders' plots to off the guy, they invariably choose to passively enable them if they decide said plots aren't aimed more widely at the rest of the nobility.
  • Evil Is Petty: If he can't torture someone he'll settle for causing them pain in any way he can. When he's bound by his agreement with Mauer not to harm the Lambs, he settles for ruining Lillian's academic career and having her professors badmouth Sy to her parents.
  • Hope Crusher: There are churches in Warrick. They're empty and unstaffed, all religious symbols have been defaced. Their sole purpose is to tempt the people of Warrick into attempting to get spiritual comfort so that the Baron can use it against them.
  • It's Personal: It appears to be this way after the Lambs kill three of his sisters, but when Sy comes to kill him the Baron doesn't really care that much.
  • Karmic Death: When he and Sy first meet he ends up stabbing Sy in the eye. In In Sheep's Clothing 10.18 Sy kills him by first using poison stored within that very same eye to paralyze him, before giving him an overdose of Wyvern via an injection right through the eye.
  • Sadist: Even by the standards of the nobles seen beforehand, he's a bit much in terms of his love of making people suffer.
  • Smug Snake: He's quite open about his sadism and insanity, fully aware that nobody else can do anything about it due to his rank.

     The Twins 

The twin sisters of the Baron Richmond, they are equally monstrous but lack his direct power due to their bastard origin.

  • Angsty Surviving Twin: After the Lambs kill three of them in the battle of Lugh.
  • Bastard Bastard: Very much so. Oddly, their title is stated to be "Lady Baronet," rather than the more accurate "Baronetess" to describe a female holder of an honorary title.
  • Conjoined Twins: Not naturally. Each twin is a life support system for the younger set of twins.
  • Single-Minded Twins: It's quite impossible to tell them apart, through looks or actions.

     Lord Infante 

A morbidly obese noble many times the size of a normal man. He's in the top ten next in line for the Crown, with all the accompanying danger and power that implies.

  • Adipose Rex: His design is intended to evoke this deliberately.
  • Big Bad: Though not for the entire story, he's the biggest and longest lasting overarching threat
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Cheerfully lets Sy go on to kill the Baron Richmond when Sy points out that there is literally nobody alive who would be upset if he died. Subsequently informs Lanie, who Sy forced to help him at gunpoint, that he intends to severely punish her for assisting in the death of one of her "betters."
  • Character Death: Dies in the final arc after Helen crawls into his mouth and suffocates him.
  • Cooldown Hug: He breaks Sy emotionally with words and a hug, admitting that there's nothing he can do to punish Sy that would be worse than what Sy's already done to himself.
  • Fat Bastard: As to be expected from a member of the nobility.
  • Faux Affably Evil: As is par for the course with the nobility, he's genial, friendly, and has absolutely no care for the life of anyone who isn't a noble.
  • Photographic Memory: His memory is so good, he's able to recognize Lanie from a meeting they had from when she was a baby.
  • Sherlock Scan: Half a second's glance at Sy is enough to pick out a dozen details that betray his disguise to the Infante.
  • Stout Strength: He looks fat because he wants to look fat, and he's hardly physically weak.

     The Falconer 

A noble described as a tall, raven haired woman dressed in a white silk shirt covered with black leather encountered by Sy in New Amsterdam, who works with a giant falcon. She's one of the Infante's wards.

  • Determinator: Even when blinded and outnumbered, she cuts a bloody swath through Mauer's men.
  • Eye Scream: Jamie blinds her eye with a strike from his rifle's bayonet.
  • Feathered Fiend: The large falcon she fights with, who's pretty dangerous even after Sy manages to break its wings.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In Thicker than Water 14.18 one of Mauer's men throws an incendiary device at her, but Sy can't see the result because he's blocked by the rebels in front of him.
  • Lady of War: Sy describes her as being as elegant as she is deadly in battle.
  • Not So Different: Comparing her to the Lambs' Mary shows that they have a lot in common in terms of clothing and fighting styles.
  • The Reveal: Thicker than Water 14.17 reveals that she's the original Mary Coburn, who Mr. Percy had sold after having her replaced by the Mary we're familiar with. Apparently she'd gotten converted into a noble.
  • Simple, yet Opulent: Compared to the more ostentatious apparel of other nobles, her decorations focus on etching in the leather and stitching in the silk that serve to attract people.

     The Ogre 

The Ogre/Augustus

A very tall, very strong noble. He's one of the Infante's wards.
  • Batman Gambit: He offers Mauer the chance to shoot him in the head, standing perfectly still. The offer is given knowing that Mauer won't turn down the chance to kill a noble, as well as that Mauer will flinch when Augustus snaps the jaw of the rebel he's holding. The result is that Mauer missed, cracking his men's faith in him.

     Lord King Adam 

The king of the Crown Empire. Is implied to be the original Frankenstein's monster.

  • Greater-Scope Villain: All the nobles ultimately answer to him, but he's a distant figure to the Lambs until he shows up in the final epilogue chapter.
  • Humanoid Abomination: He's described as basically human in shape alone, since he long discarded his own humanity.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Compared to the other nobles we see in the story, his mindset is closer to that of a regular person's and he's less prone to wanton cruelty for the sake of it as a result, at least from what we see in his only appearance.
  • Remote Body: When he visits the Crown States he mentions that the body he's using is merely a remote one.


The Academies

Radham Acadamy

    In General 
A respected Academy of the Crown States of America, which conducts dangerous research. Academy politics drive most of the serial's plot.

  • Academy of Evil: It's a school that makes bioweapons and occasionally summarily executes people who threaten its information monopoly.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • The Academy is a fundamentally amoral organization in service to a conquering, imperialist power that unleashes horrific bioweapons as a matter of course, but they do have very strict rules about ethics and how much danger they can expose the public to, even if basic human rights can be individually suspended on their whim. Arc 6 reveals that they don't even regularly prey upon the street children in Radham, who one might otherwise see as a convenient source of raw materials. Nope, they insist on sticking to documented, legal means of resource collection: convicts, indentured servants, debtors and slaves... whatever their ages. You can be literally sold into Science. Better or worse; you decide.
    • One of their most important "ethical" rules is no creating new, completely novel intelligent life. Their fear is that it will become an Omnicidal Maniac Grey Goo that ends all human life on the planet...and they're not far from the truth...
  • Explosive Leash: Those of their experiments that are produced for use by the Academy in Radham itself are rendered chemically dependent upon a substance fed into the water supply and carried by the constant rain, without which they will rapidly sicken and die within a matter of hours.
  • Grey Goo: At one point, creating the biological equivalent of "primodials" was a sought-after goal. It... basically went rather too well on a few too many occasions. Now, they outright forbid experimentation in this area and will go to extreme means to eradicate any rogue labs dabbling in it they even get hints about. Arguably, these are justifiably extreme means.
  • Interservice Rivalry: The various departments of the Academy compete with one another for funding.
  • Lack of Empathy: Although not all of the staff go into all-out situational sociopathy, there's a strong tendency for all Academies, not just Radham, to stress a form of scientific neutrality we would consider highly unethical today. However, go back about a century and take a long, hard look at the medical and social sciences of the time... and it's pretty much Truth in Television.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Once every couple of weeks, there's an escaped experiment in the Bowels. Standard procedure is to seal off the area with giant stone blocks, send in Gorger, and purge it with fire. If you didn't make it out in time, too bad.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Appears to be standard procedure, with The Academy deploying the prototypes in combat and only employing a new version once they've been tested to destruction.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Esprit de Corpse reveals that they have no issue turning children into Stitched.

Doctors, Students, and Other Staff

     Mr. Hayle 

The creator of the Lambsbridge Gang, Professor Hayle heads the Tower, the Academy division tasked with mental research.

  • Character Death: Sy kills him in the final arc as revenge for his manipulations.
  • Dragon Ascendant: By virtue of several of the other options being dead and the success of the Lambs project during the civil war, he's able to become Headmaster of Radham.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: His rationale behind creating the Lambsbridge Gang as a long term gestalt, rather than a short-term project with impressive immediate results, hints at this worldview.
  • Mad Doctor: Granted, some of it probably comes from living in a world where creating your own team of superspy children is a reasonable plan that will get funding...
  • Manipulative Bastard: As is to be expected from Sy's creator. He's been shown to casually outmaneuver Sy's own planning, not that Sy can't occasionally (even accidentally, if you believe Sy) throw a wrench into his own plans.
  • Mean Boss: He does not approve of failure in his servants.
  • Pet the Dog: When he figures out that Lillian has a crush on Sy he's mostly supportive even as he points out the issues.

     Professor Ibott 

The head of Project Galatea.

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: His specialty is in giant monsters. Helen was basically made after Hayle dared him to create something just as deadly as his other creations, but in a far tinier package.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: He's spared at the end of the series because they still need him to maintain Helen, but in the epilogue she's definitely the one in control, unlike before.
  • Dirty Old Man: Fully intended to have sex with Helen, but he never got to, thankfully. Everyone knew it.
  • Jerkass: He's a bit of a dick, to say the least.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gets several notable examples from Helen: once when she tells him she would never try to murder him because she doesn't see him as strong or a threat, and another when she tells him how pathetic he is and how little everyone thinks of him.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The text constantly switches between 'Ibott' and 'Ibbot'.


A student who acts as one of Sy's handlers, her empathy and kindness are roundly rebuffed by him.

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Sy successfully talked her out of being his handler, only to have another scheme of his bring her back as "adult supervision" for the Lambs on missions. It's hard to say who was less pleased, as it's not like either had much say.
  • Confound Them with Kindness: She does this to Sylvester, who is unwilling to accept it, seeing it as hypocritical on her part.
  • Moral Dissonance: Sy hits her with one of these, noting her friendliness while she's one of the people metaphorically holding a gun to his head. It shocks her enough that she agrees to resign as his handler, not that it lasts.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Thanks to being contrasted with Cecil, Sy (and most of the others) may well be warming up to Lacey's less annoyingly dense style. She might not be on their level of Street Smart, but she isn't all text book, either.

    Gladys Shipman 

One of the researchers at the Academy and the niece of Sub-Rosa's creator.

  • The Paralyzer: She specializes in creating insect swarms which do this.
  • Rescue Romance: Briefly has this with Gordon, before she realizes that she can't be a party to what the Lambs do regularly.
  • Teen Genius: She's about sixteen years old and an apprentice researcher.

     Dr. Willard D. 

A black man who happens to be one of the very few nonwhites at Radham Academy.

  • The Medic: Sy surmises that he was likely one during the war who was promoted to Academy work due to his knowledge of the human body.
  • Nice Guy: Compared to many of the scientists he seems to actually care about other human beings.

     Avis Pardoe 

A woman who manages Radham Academy's communications via phones and more secure bird messengers. Secretly a revolutionary.

  • And I Must Scream: She spends three seasons unable to move, even to blink, with her perception of time dilated, as the Duke tortures her for everything she knows.
  • Animal Motif: Birds, and correspondingly flight.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Avis doesn't object to the scientific excesses of the Academy, since as often as not they result in measurable progress. What she hates is the meaningless debauchery of the Crown.
  • Feathered Fiend: Bitter Pill reveals that she has a number of attack birds for self-defense.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: The Duke has her brain modified so that this will happen in a matter of days so as to more efficiently torture her. Has the side effect of a Heel–Face Turn as she comes to realize what Sy meant about the kids she used: some transformations are worse than death, especially without consent.
  • Instant Messenger Pigeon: Her modified birds always deliver their messages, unless of course she doesn't want them too.
  • I Will Fight No More Forever: She decides this after she makes her escape from the Academy, unable to stomach hurting people any longer.
  • Meaningful Name: "Avis" meaning "bird" in Latin, and "Pardoe," which sounds like "perdu", meaning "lost" in French.
  • The Mole: For the revolutionary cabal.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Reacts to Sy's proclamations about why he works for the Academy by telling him he's just a naive child.
  • The Symbiote: She has one that mimics a set of four angelic wings.
  • Technical Pacifist: She takes a combat drug when she needs to fight her way out of a situation, specifically designed to wipe the memories of her actions under its influence. She can't still call herself a pacifist otherwise.
  • Uncertain Doom: The last we see of her is when she defected from Frey over experiments with primordials. It's unclear if she managed to get into a protected city or get out of the Crown States in order to escape the Blackwood and Red Plague.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: She considered bringing down the Crown to be a worthy goal, even if the cost was measured in the lives of children.


     The Lambs 

The group of main characters. See their page here

    Sub Rosa 

Originally the creator of the Bowels underneath Radham Academy and its security, including Gorger, following her death she was revived by Gladys' uncle and turned into an experiment, only to escape. The antagonist of the third arc.

  • And I Must Scream: Following her revival, Gladys' uncle kept her trapped with her mouth shut, eyes closed, and with her brain mostly intact.
  • Asshole Victim: Gladys considers her this due to her Lack of Empathy towards others.
  • The Assimilator: Once Gorger makes his appearance, she integrates the convicts working with her into her membrane to use the electrified spikes attached to them as close quarters weapons against Gorger. It's suggested that they're alive, conscious, and in horrific agony.
  • Disney Villain Death: Helen and Sy manage to make her fall into the depths of the Bowels.
  • Implacable Man: She's essentially covered in some kind of membrane which keeps her heart pumping and her brain working while sealing off fatal injuries.
  • It Can Think: Appears to have lost very little if any of her intelligence, as she has an intuitive knowledge of the very security system she created.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Ultimately, she was right to be scathingly critical of Radham's safety and security "protocols". If they had constantly tested, evalated and updated them as often as she had suggested they do (to everybody's irritation), she wouldn't have got as far as she did years after being made into Sub Rosa. Add the number of other inside and outside saboteurs who turn up in the story, and... Yeah. Bad Radham: your security, however flashy you think it, sucks due to complacency.
  • Lack of Empathy: Back when she was human the only thing she cared about was results, and was willing to replace anyone who couldn't make results for any reason.
  • Pet the Dog: Despite seriously injuring Jamie, for unknown reasons she decides to spare his life.
  • Revenge: Both she and the convicts freed by her want revenge on the Academy in general, and in the case of Sub-Rosa her creator in particular.
  • Super Strength: In Lips Sealed 3.4 she crushes Gladys' uncle's skull with one hand, and she casually bypasses the powerful defensive doors the Bowels uses with pure strength.
  • Villainous Legacy: Her actions are responsible for the worst excesses of the Academy as of the time of the story.
  • Was Once a Man: Was once the creator of the Bowels before dying and being turned into an experiment by Gladys' uncle.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Well, the convicts certainly would, their leader in particular stabbing Sy below the eye, and Sub-Rosa herself attempts to crack his skull against the wall.
  • Written by the Winners: Most of what we find out about her is through what Gladys recalls of what her unclenote  has told her and only occasionally anchored to outside sources Jaime could find: all official Academy bylines. In short: we don't get her point of view, unless you count things Sy deduces. And, he has his biases.

     Dog and Catcher 

The most well-known of Radham's experiments, Dog and Catcher are trackers who hunt down information leaks.

  • AB Negative: Catcher is a universal donor.
  • Affably Evil: Both of them are rather social, laid-back people when not on the job and in the company of people who don't treat them like things. On the job? Unholy terrors to anybody they're tailing and all polite-ish efficiency to bosses.
  • Badass Longcoat: Catcher wears one along with a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Beast with a Human Face: Dog is a four-legged creature larger than a man, covered in tubing and metal, but his face is recognizably human, with long dark hair obscuring his features.
  • Big Brother Mentor: To the Lambs. They keep the Lambs' secrets and respect them as capable fellow experiments, even giving advice when the Lambs need it.
  • Bounty Hunter: What they become after defecting.
  • Boxed Crook: Of a sort. While not actually imprisoned, after they defect Dog's Restraining Bolt means they're forced to take Academy bounties despite being wanted by the Crown themselves in exchange for the knowledge needed to maintain him.
  • Consummate Professional: Well, being built for what they do does help, but both give the impression that doing their jobs to the best of their abilities is as much out of a sense of pride in a job well done as it is anything else. Both are also willing to talk shop. Or, grunt-and-sign, in the case of Dog.
  • Cyborg: Unusually for the Academy, which tends to favor Frankenstein-type creatures such as the stiched or biological monstrosities, Dog has had metal grafted over much of his flesh to conceal and protect the various tubes pumping fluids through his body. Percy's narration suggests that this is a crude, mechanical attempt at repairing Dog's flawed design.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: They defect to Fray's side during the Brechwell siege.
  • Friendly Enemy: They agree to get lunch with Sy and Jamie before taking them in while the latter two are on the run.
  • Hidden Depths: Dog is apparently the one to talk to about romantic troubles, and the one who pushes Sy and Jamie to open their hearts to each other.
  • Improbable Weapon User: In addition to Catcher's mancatcher, he also has what can only be described as a bear trap on a chain that he throws at people.
  • In a Single Bound: Dog is easily capable of jumping buildings.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: They get on surprisingly well with the Lambs, and Dog even has something of a rapport going with Gordon.
  • Mistaken for Paedophile: On their bounty posters, it claims they prefer to select children as their quarry for reasons we don't get to hear, heavily implied to be this. Based on their reactions, Sylvester was responsible for that addition to set up a stumbling block for their pursuit.
  • The Mole: For Genevieve Fray during the Brechwell siege.
  • The Nose Knows: They both have a fantastic sense of smell.
  • Restraining Bolt: Dog's poor biological design seems to act as this for both of them, since it means he needs constant maintenance. While someone with the right knowledge can keep him going in the short term, small errors made without intricate knowledge of how he was created will build up and kill him within a few years.
  • Retired Monster: What they'd like to be. They don't want the hunt to be the beginning, end, and middle of their existence and defect to Fray in the hopes that they'll at least be able to give a peaceful life a shot.
  • The Speechless: Though he has at least human-level intelligence, Dog is incapable of intelligible speech due to his jaw being a wreck of twisted metal. However, this doesn't stop him snarking when he so chooses to.
  • Those Two Guys: So very much. Sure, Catcher does the actual talking, but they constantly exchange comfortable, teasing banter with each other both on and off the job. It's abundantly clear they don't just stick together because they have to.
  • That Mysterious Thing: We don't know what half of Catcher's equipment actually does beyond look intimidating. According to Dog, he doesn't either.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Even though Dog is The Speechless, he still manages to convey his sarcastic commentary on Catcher's attempts to look badass in front of the Lambs.
  • Weapon of Choice: Catcher prefers his mancatcher, which has several interchangeable heads he uses for different purposes.
  • Uncertain Doom: Apparently they were seen trying to get to a ship out of the States, but it's unknown if they escaped.
  • Would Hurt a Child: They're willing to condemn Sy and Jamie to death or a Fate Worse than Death for the sake of keeping Dog alive — although, they're both rather more apologetic-yet-determined than thrilled about the whole situation.
  • X on a Stick: Catcher's main weapon is a mancatcher, essentially a set of spring-loaded metal jaws on a long pole. He swaps out bladed variants as needed.


An experiment used primarily for sealing off quarantined areas originally created by Sub-Rosa prior to her death and revival in her current state.

  • Achilles' Heel: Electricity is just about the only thing that can harm him. Not damage, mind you, but it hits his nerves and all the reinforcement in the world can't make that painless.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Specifically made to counter this. Weak points were removed entirely if possible and buried deep within his body if not. His eyes are one of the only weak points he couldn't do without, and those were relocated to the sides of his head and disguised so people would attack his decoy eyes instead.
  • Back for the Finale: He shows back up again to fight the Infante.
  • Just Eat Him: He can swallow experiments whole to contain them, with his stomach acting as a crusher for the smaller ones and a prison for those more durable.
  • Made of Iron: He can be superficially harmed, but it's incredibly difficult to truly damage him. Even a cannon might not do the job.
  • No-Sell: His skin can stop bullets and is both fire and chemical-proof, plus he's immune to disease.
  • Stout Strength: Looking at him you may mistake him for a massive, obese man. That mistake can cost you, as he's meant to be that big in order to serve as a living wall to seal off tunnels in the Bowels, which doesn't affect his strength in the slightest.
  • The Voiceless: Apart from grunts Gorger can't talk.


A minor Academy experiment specializing in assassination.

  • Body Horror: Godwin's description of the Hangman is thus:
    The man’s skin had been flayed away and reattached, overlapping strips, like the weave of a basket, head to toe, leaving every feature masked, but for a space for a toothless, tongueless mouth and two milky white eyes. The flesh around the edges of each strip of skin was scarred and flaky.
  • Ceiling Cling: One of its preferred methods of infiltration. Between its long limbs and light body, it can brace itself against walls and crawl over the heads of guards and security systems alike.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: All the better to wrap around your neck.
  • Meaningful Name: The Hangman happens to be an executioner that attacks by snapping necks.
  • Mummy: Godwin describes it as looking like a mummy wrapped in its own flesh.
  • Neck Snap: Kills Godwin by wringing his neck so far up that it snaps.
  • Stealth Expert: Its light weight and thin body allow it to easily sneak around unnoticed and assassinate people with none being the wiser.


A Experiment that Reverend Mauer used in an attempt to turn Radham against The Academy. A headless, four-legged beast covered in thin white spines.

  • Attack Animal: Mauer uses it as this.
  • Horror Hunger: It has no mouth, so it can only eat people by grinding itself against them to eat them through its skin. This is a horrendously inefficient process, deliberately so as it means that it has to eat very often.
  • Monster Progenitor: Served as the inspiration for The Ghosts.
  • Restraining Bolt: Mauer blew different tones and a special whistle to command and control Whiskers.
  • Super Senses: Had superhuman hearing that allowed it to be controlled via a whistle from great distances.


Small pack creatures used to hunt down fugitives.

  • Extreme Omnivore: They'll feed on anything that gives them caloric fuel, with the exception of humans that aren't their target.
  • Zerg Rush: A lone whelp is about as dangerous as a feral cat and will shy away from a fight. Problem is, you'll never fight just one. They'll lurk around their target, feeding as much as they can to increase their numbers before attacking in a swarm.

Other Academies


     The Wry Man 

An old experiment who's been serving his local academy for decades. Needs more description.


A fellow experiment of The Wry Man's.

  • Acrofatic: Appears fairly out of shape and is noticeably short of breath after running around for a few minutes. Doesn't stop them from following the Lambs from roof to roof when allied with them.
  • Aerith and Bob: The Wry Man, The Engineer, The Beast and... Petey.
  • Body Horror: The body entitled "Petey" is not Petey. Petey is the spider-fetus thing that crawls into a female corpse's womb and pilots it from there.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Petey doesn't sound like the name of a deadly academy experiment.
  • Hazy Feel Turn: They defect to Fray's side during the Brechwell siege.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: They vacate their current body part-way through, in order to take control of a Ghost.

     The Engineer 

An experiment clad in heavy armour. Colleague of The Wry Man and Petey.

  • Adaptive Armour: According to Sy, Everytime a piece of the armour is broken or a part of The Engineer breaks more armour is added to compensate.
  • Body Horror: If Sy is correct, then the majority of that armour is meant to replace damaged parts of The Engineer and as a result they need constant doses of painkiller.
  • Cyborg: Much like Dog, The Engineer has had multiple pieces of machinery grafted to him.
  • Mighty Glacier: Not very fast, but strong enough to crush a Ghost with ease.


     The Brechwell Beast 

Brechwell Academy's superweapon, typically kept tranquilized and imprisoned underground.

  • Breath Weapon: Toxic gas that it can ignite to cause explosions. It's a handy way to clear out crevices and buildings it can't get into.
  • Godzilla Threshold: When the threshold is crossed, the Beast is Brechwell's solution.
  • Kaiju: It's three stories tall at the shoulder and broad enough to crush anyone unfortunate enough to still be in the street when it goes by.
  • Nigh Invulnerable: Throughout its rampage, nothing does more than superficial damage to it. It shrugs off exorcist rifles, cannons, and explosions at point blank in its face.
  • Ramming Always Works: Its primary method of dealing with problems is to simply bulldoze over them. The design of the city is actually made to facilitate this, with curving streets rather than right angle corners to stop it from loosing momentum when unleashed and a portcullis system to control its route.

     Nephilim One 
An experiment resembling a giant human, created by Ibott.
  • Action Bomb: He's deployed with a belly full of Black Wood spores that explode out of him when he's wounded enough.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Ibott is well aware of this tactic and included a number of redundancies, defenses, and countermeasures to prevent this. Harming him requires making your own weakpoint, concentration cannon fire on a particular point until it breaches his defenses.
  • Bizarre Alien Senses: What looks like eyes and ears are just decoys. His body hair is his actual method of sensory input, millions of tendrils meant to pick up scent.
  • Gag Penis: A giant made for war, yet he's... equipped. Sy and Helen make no shortage of jokes about this.
  • Kaiju: Taller than any building and the third largest land-based experiment in the world.

     The Gossamer Creature 
A superweapon created by Moraga Academy, a smaller academy in the Californias.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Sy describes it as a jellyfish minus the jelly, a creature made of millions of threads all arranged into a ghostly shape.
  • Combat Tentacles: Pretty much all it's made of.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Its primary method of attack is to intertwine many of its tentacles together and then skewer a building with it. If its targets don't get killed by that, it does its best to finish the job by untwining the tentacles within the building and slashing apart everything they can reach.
  • Kaiju: It's even bigger than Nephilim, though with only a fraction of the mass.
  • The Last Dance: Exploited by Sylvester. Its water supply is poisoned, leaving it a limited time before it expires. This ends up backfiring when its handlers discover this, leading it to play this straight and do as much damage as it can before it dies rather than expend the last of its strength without knowing it.
  • No Name Given: It's never named, hence the appellation.
  • Razor Floss: The "threads" that make up its body can be stiffened, either entirely or in parts, allowing it to shear through softer materials and leave gouges even in stone and metal.

     Harvesters and Tangles 
A two part superweapon meant to capitalize on Radham's constant rain. The harvesters are small swarming creatures that fuse corpses together and puppeteer them. The tangles are the resulting creations, shambling creatures made of anything between two bodies to an entire army's worth of corpses.
  • Hostile Weather: Exploited as part of their design. Radham already rains almost constantly by design, and when the harvesters are deployed additional chemicals are released to turn it into acid rain. The result is that anyone caught out in the open becomes a casualty, while the melting flesh is more easily shaped and fused by the harvesters.

     Hag Nerve 
A superweapon deployed by Radham.
  • Blob Monster: What it looks like. The Hag Nerve itself is actually pretty small, just a few gelatinous organs capable of producing mucus webs. But put those in water and it'll quickly create enough webs to pull together all of the water it can find into a semi-liquid body.
  • Killer Water: 99% of it is water, held together by mucus webs.
  • Home Field Advantage: Radham is always raining, which means plenty of water to form into a body.
  • Weak Sauce Weakness: Certain chemicals can break down the mucus it uses to hold itself together, leaving it nothing more than a particularly slimy puddle. This wouldn't mean much, except one of those chemicals is salt. Given the danger posed if the Hag nerve could get into and absorb the ocean, this is probably by design.

     The Golden Calf 
The Infante's personal superweapon, a monster derived from Primordials.
  • The Assimilator: Capable of eating bodies to increase its own mass. Considering its origins, there's probably some safeguards meant to ensure it doesn't truly assimilate what it eats.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Though it may be the Infante's pet, the professors who created it can overrule his commands and do so during the siege on Radham.
  • The Faceless: It opens its mask to feed, but none of the viewpoint characters ever get a glance at what's underneath.
  • Humanoid Abomination: It's roughly humanoid, but it's far from being human. Everything from its bones to its muscle structure to its skin are Primordial designed and are only coincidentally recognizable as something like a person.
  • Malevolent Masked Man: Far from being a man, but it wears a metal mask that hides its face.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In-universe. The design of its mask, its goat-like legs, and other features of its body are meant to by symbolic of a devil. In a setting where the nobility has outlawed religion, it's telling that a noble chose to make his pet look like that.
  • Tripod Terror: It has three legs when encountered in Radham.

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