In the universe of Last Res0rt, the soul is not some ephemeral theory, but a reality that is commonly known and understood, at least in a general sense. There are 9 spiritual states - Celeste, Touched, Sterling, Light Child, Vampires, Djinn, Efreet, Zombie and Reaper. Most of the Beings living in this universe are Sterling. Also, Sterlings are the only type that may change - becoming a Shattered of some type (under certain conditions).
Below, each Spiritual Nature is covered in further depth, including what sorts of powers and abilities they grant.
From the law-abiding citizen to the badass normals, Sterlings have kept their soul shells intact. Of course, any Sterling could decide to Shatter and become a Dead Inside (or be driven to it), but sometimes, there are advantages to refusing to play the Celeste’s game...Sterling have 8 Soul Pieces.
- Nothing to See Here
- Sterlings are almost always overlooked by Celeste, which means that in cases where a Sterling’s aura is visible (while the rest of the Sterling is hidden and not in motion), they will be ignored and treated as invisible.
- Soul Battery
- Creativity may be a fickle mistress, but Sterlings are guaranteed at least [Charisma] good ideas every day (24 hours / 1000 beats). Executing on those ideas is the tough part, of course...
- These Bright Ideas may have many possible effects: aiding in checks, allowing GMs to make suggestions in a difficult situation, or letting a player to become aware of certain facts or have an accurate first impression. The limits of what a Bright Idea can do are up to each GM on an individual and situational basis. They should, however, be limited to make sense for the character having it - a social character might get a Bright Idea about the exactly right way to negotiate in a hostage situation. A combative one might get an Idea for taking the same criminals out with carefully placed explosives. On the other hand, a Bright Idea may prove useful, but not immediately pertinent - knowing who is likely responsible for a dangerous situation might eventually be useful, but it doesn't really help a character survive the danger. The only other limit is that a character must still act to capitalize on the Idea - finding a hidden door does not automatically open it, or knowing the best way to make a jump does not mean you automatically succeed (though you may get a bonus to try).
A long time ago, in a galaxy that feels a lot farther away than it ought to be, Celeste were the true saviors of the galaxy, bravely fighting against the Otherworlders who would’ve devoured our worlds... ... and we haven’t heard the end of it YET!
As the divinely chosen, these cross-species hybrids are everything you've come to know of angels and demons all in one package -- beautiful, powerful, and terrifying to behold. They thrive on power, and are eager to take it by whatever means necessary. They start with 11 + d6/2 (round-up; explosive on a 6, roll no more than 3 times) Soul Pieces. This ignores Messiah class Celeste, as such characters tend to be overly powerful.
- Celeste can, and on a personal basis, sometimes do, mate with just about anything - not easily, mind you, but there are no barriers. In any case where a pregnancy would normally be possible, roll a d6. A confirmed critical failure means there is now a baby on the way. Further, this mixed heritage means that the child bears the hallmarks of 2 or 3 races in the main, and has access to all of their traits (Players may choose any 2 main species and use all of thier traits and racial benifits; thier apperance must show both sets of heritage. A player may choose to add a third species to affect thier appearance, but do not get any traits from doing so). All normal Celeste have 2 or 3 sets of wings - depending on size and placement, they may or may not convey a benefit (see your GM; true unassisted flight is unusual).
- Mixed Heritage
- Any Celeste can (and does!) learn how to give orders that MUST be obeyed -- even if the orders involve telling the target to commit suicide! It doesn't work on everybody, though: When dealing with other Celeste, Touched, Anyr, Talmi, or Light Children, run a Charisma Check to see if it takes hold. Also, resistance stacks (so if you have an Anyr Light Child on your hands, you’ll have to run the check twice)
Any Celeste Hybrids that don’t manage to be born as actual Celeste end up as Touched -- an overall weaker variation on Celeste, with only a tiny pair of wings to their name. Typically, this means they’ll end up resembling only one species or the other physically, except their wings will still be of their other species. Touched have a few Celeste abilities, but are overall weaker (some of them can still fly!), and typically only tolerated because they breed other Celeste. Touched start with 10+ d6/2 (round down) Soul Pieces. Most Touched have 1 pair of wings - this pair is often underdeveloped compared to thier body size.
- Tone Resistance
- Touched may not be able to Tone like their Celeste brethren, but they’re not as susceptible either. Touched receive an automatic attempt to resist any Celeste Tone command.
The “special” stepchild of the Spectrum, Light Children were born naturally without soul shells, and typically possess a little more or less than the usual Sterling’s worth of soul... Even though these children weren’t born as Celeste Hybrids, and indeed, lack the wings of the Celeste and the Touched, they can be just as powerful. Given the right training through a Celeste school, Light Children can do anything a Celeste can -- but finding such a school willing to teach a Light Child is a real problem, and so most Light Children end up “suffering” from powers they barely comprehend, and end up diagnosed with various mental maladies. Of course, there’s always teaching yourself...
Most Light Children have some form of difficulty drawn from their uncontrolled and unmitigated magic - many are misdiagnosed for mental illnesses, or have minor maladies exacerbated. Some can limit or negate these issues as they gain control of their magic, or by using technical assistance (such as Auti-glasses or Cybee assistance), while other will always suffer from them. Touched start with either 7 or 9 Soul Pieces. We suggest starting player characters with 9, but either works.
- Tone Resistance
- Light Children can learn to tone, but almost all learn to resist. Light Children receive an automatic attempt to resist any Celeste Tone command.
Screw Celeste! It sucks not being “born lucky”, and the rest of us have to either stay Sterlings and take it... or else find a way to make some nifty powers of our own. That’s where the Dead Inside (Also known as the Djinn-si) come into play. Never said it was easy, though.
First, a Dead Inside must Shatter their soul in some way. Vampires have a slightly more involved process (with their Embrace), and Reapers may avoid the initial pain by finding ways to “tunnel” through their shell as opposed to completely destroying it, but the process is still similar - that shell has to be dealt with somehow, and it often ends up being the most painful way possible. Most folks who become Djinn Shatter by accident, typically by being traumatized beyond belief. Once the soul is accessible, though, Dead Inside can begin using the same magic abilities and skills Celeste do -- provided they know how to! The Shattered are fresh bodies, a proto-Djinn that must learn quickly if it wants to become a proper Djinn... Or for that matter, survive! They don’t have any special skills at this point, but time IS of the essence... Especially since they’re quite vulnerable to Celeste at this stage! The main tell-tale sign of a Dead Inside are their Dead Eyes -- red irises with blackened “whites” -- although Vampires only show these eyes when they’re forced to, and Reapers don’t have them at all.
It is not recommended that a player start as a Shattered - they have all the disadvantages of being Dead Inside, and no benefits. However, Sterlings can Shatter during the game, and a newly Shattered will need to get their spiritual house in order to get out of this awkward state, before some one takes them out of it, as either a corpse or Zombie. Please see the section on becoming a Djinn. If you do start as a Shattered, you start out having 8 Soul Pieces.
A Shattered who fails to realize their full potential will pay the price in death -- along with whatever unlucky stiffs are in the area when it happens. Zombies come from Shattered that failed to become Djinn before they died. When they come back, they’re often dead set on finishing whatever job they’ve got in mind, even if it kills them -- again! Zombies have an effective Soul Piece count of 0, though most agree they probably actually have the 8 they started with.
- All Zombies suffer destructive urges, usually in relation to how they were killed. In most cases, this plays out as an Adept strength Rage with a trigger (if not several). While pursuing a target or trigger of a Zombie's Rage, the character gains +2 to Force and Speed. Zombies have twice the difficulty resisting their Rages. A Zombie without anything left to Rage at (usually because the Zombie has destroyed what angered them) will settle into a Trainee Rage against the living until they can find a new focus for their anger.
^This Trait is currently under consideration.^
- Ignored Damage
- What does a little pain matter? You’re already dead! Unless someone manages to blow a limb off (requiring at least three times the normal amount of damage), Zombies won’t even notice there’s a rather important muscle that’s just been hacked into...
This makes them effectively "immune" to most forms of damage, unless it is substantial or is unusual (setting a Zombie on fire is as effective as normal, for example, as are acids). In game terms, a Zombie's Health is only reduced when it receives at least 3 wounds of normal damage. This also allows them to ignore the pain of poisons and low-medium level radiation, though they are affected by them.
This does not actually make them immune to damage - having a leg hacked up will slow a Zombie down, and sufficient incidental damage will eventual cause a Zombie to fail, unless they can get their unliving body mended by magic (Zombies are still treated by Brawn spells); this is made worse because they can't heal naturally. It is generally up to the GM to say when damage begins to wear down a Zombie, based on how badly they have treated themselves and what they've "lived" through. A Zombie player should always have extensive warning when they are getting close to their breaking point.
The majority of the Dead Inside, Djinn are folks with just enough knowledge to be dangerous. In addition to ordinary Djinn, there are also two major subclasses of Djinn: Efreet , which are what ordinary Djinn turn into if they’re powerful enough, and Vampires , which take a divergent path to evolution but forego the ability to become Efreet. Djinn start with 5+1d6 Soul Pieces.
- Improved Hardiness
- A Djinn’s Health and Hardiness stats are combined to be one and the same. In short: much healthier, and able to take a lot more damage for the trouble.
As Djinn progress towards becoming Efreet, they gradually (somehow) replace their bodies with inorganic material, much like fossilization. This process not only accounts for for the unique coloration of Djinn skin (see Alice and Jason's Mother), but also makes a Djinn's body more resilient to damage. It's possibly the difference between being composed of 60% water, or 60% iron. This rule is a blanket attempt to gamify the more resilient physiology of Djinn, setting aside more character-specific nuances.
- Flexible Soul
- Djinn can gain soul fragments just as easily as they can lose them! Given the right training, it could make a Djinn as much of a match as any Celeste out there ... Assuming they live long enough, of course. When near a dead or dying body, a Djinn may make a check to take a Soul Piece from the departed. If done in combat, this is the only action the Djinn can take. Further, the process takes a number of additional rounds equal to the strength of the taken piece, during which the Djinn is flatfooted, and has an effective agility of 0. The check is d6+Soul vs 2+number of Soul Pieces already owned. A dying being may make a gift of a Piece to a Djinn - this check is much easier, having a bonus of 3 to the roll. A Djinn may have no more than 11 Pieces.
When a Djinn suffers sufficient trauma (running out of either Health or Psyche) they must make a number of checks - one for each Piece. The check is made at Soul+d6 vs the strength of the piece+the number of successfully held pieces, with the player deciding which pieces to try and hold onto first.
A Djinn may freely expel a Piece through a meditation check - but the meditation session lasts for a number of hours equal to the strength of the Piece, and can not be interrupted. The Piece is lost at the end of the session.
^the process of Piece acquisition and loss are currently being debated.^
What every non-Vampire Djinn wants to be when they grow up. Efreet are basically more powerful Djinn, having shed most of their original mortal bodies in exchange for raw power and energy. To see how a Djinn can become an Efreet, go here. An Efreet starts with 5+1d6 Soul Pieces
- Djinn Inheritance
- Efreet have all Djinn traits. However, instead of adding Health to Hardiness for resisting Wounds, an Efreet adds their Health to their Armor. This stacks with any worn armor, and means that an Efreet is never unarmored.
^The adjustment to Djinn Inheritance is being considered.^
- In order to become an Efreet, it requires sacrificing significant portions of their mortal bodies to become this powerful. Let’s leave it at that.
- Energy doesn’t need much room. An Efreet can be packed into a small, enclosed space (like a lamp, or a flask) indefinitely without much concern. This also means that most Efreet do not worry about things like eating or breathing while so contained. Efreet do need some form of energy infusion regularly to maintain themselves, but this can vary greatly from Efreet to Efreet, and can be affected by whether they are compressed or not. Food can be used to get energy for some Efreet, though thier sense of taste (and what qualifies as edible) may change dramatically. All Efreet do still sleep.
Also known as Life Djinn, Vampires can hide their Dead Eyes (most of the time), and otherwise appear to be ordinary, living Sterlings. This is thanks to the Embrace, a transformation ritual which avoids the trauma of shattering through death at the hands of another Vampire, and being immediately brought back to life through their blood. Only humans can be vampires.* Because of this, many folks believe that ALL humans are secretly vampires...A misconception that plenty of humans are willing to exploit. Vampires start with 5+1d6 Soul Pieces.
- Djinn Inheritance
- Vampires have all Djinn traits.
- In the Blood
- A vampire can survive on a pint of blood a day, which means the typical vampire will feed about once a week. A vampire can also use use their blood as a second “health pool”.
Second Form - Zombie
- Starved and gravely injured Vampires will transform into a Zombie-like form that will ignore all but structural damage, and is single-minded in focus. However, the vampire MUST feed to recover at least one pint of blood to transform back... and if they stay in their Zombie form for more than an hour (roughly 40 beats), the vampire will deteriorate to the point of self-destruction.
*Yes, Jigsaw’s a Vampire Talmi, but she’s the exception to the rule. It’s theoretically possible that more furry vampires could show up, but this is the freebie edition, so don’t be a special snowflake, please.
Undetectable by ordinary aura-reading methods, Reapers are the Celeste’s worst nightmare, combining the unassuming stature of a Sterling with the powers of a Dead Inside. Reapers accomplish this task through the help of another Djinn, working together to craft a focal artifact which they can use to harm/kill others (a scythe, a doll, a notebook) in order to power its artifact and maintain the connection to their soul. Reapers have 8 Soul Pieces.
- Nothing to See Here
- Sterlings are almost always overlooked by Celeste, which means that in cases where a Sterling’s aura is visible (while the rest of the Sterling is hidden and not in motion), they will be ignored and treated as invisible. Reapers also receive this protection, but are also apparent when casting or concentrating on a spell.
- Focal Artifact
- With the help of another Dead Inside, Reapers can construct a small item that allows them to remotely cause harm or otherwise render an object cursed. This item can be as simple as a voodoo doll or as complex as a smartphone, so long as the Reaper knows how to use it to target exactly who they have in mind. This artifact is still just as prone to damage as a similar, non-cursed item would be -- and if it’s successfully destroyed, the reaper loses her powers and becomes an ordinary Shattered. With all the associated trauma.
For information on crafting a Focal Artifact, go here.
For information on making a Reaper, go here.
- Destructive Tendencies
- A Reaper's magic is always destructive. How destructive may be debated, but entropy always takes it's pound of flesh. A Reaper's Focal Artifact draws on this entropy to power the next spell, and the recharge cost is built into each spell. For example, a Reaper couldn't heal a wound, but could steal vitality, healing slightly less damage than they dealt. They cannot flat out create new things, or repair them. They can, on the other hand, rip a chunk of matter out of reality to make a smaller object, or twist objects into new forms to suit their purpose. When in doubt, ask the GM - most of the time, there is a way to do something while satisfying this requirement (and conversely, some spells that may look beneficial can come with hidden dangers, risks and damages).
- Limited Scope
- A Reaper may only activate spells of a single Piece-type chosen when they became a Reaper. However, thanks to the artificial nature of their magic channel, all of their pieces are effectively of that type for the purposes of casting.