"Inside each of us, there is the seed of both good and evil. It's a constant struggle as to which one will win. And one cannot exist without the other." - Eric Burdon ASCENSION It started with a blast. They say that people in Sydney could hear it clearly, like a car backfiring, even though the actual explosion happened well over the center of the Atlantic. Too many people went deaf from what they heard in New York and Madrid. Lord knows what happened to those poor bastards actually near the blast zone. The shockwave sent up tsunamis that ravaged the coasts of the Old and New Worlds for weeks, the aftermath enough to tax most relief organizations to the breaking point. The boom itself, strangely enough, didn't hurt anyone. Some people saw it, those close enough to the origin. Most of them are dead now. But the ones that lived long enough to speak described it in vivid detail: A torrent of color, a mushroom of pure radiance, shrouded in a black cloud so dark it could only be described as sheer nothingness. A few mentioned what looked like hundreds of shining lines spreading away from the explosion. No one really knew what to think of it. Most were too wrapped up to even see what was happening to some of the people around them. Only days after the blast, people began exhibiting strange powers out of the blue. Some went to work helping with the disaster relief, while others sat back and tried to control what they didn't understand. And then there were those who took advantage of the chaos, carving their own criminal empires out of the waterlogged ruins. No one ever figured out where the powers came from. It's not like you can walk up to a superhero and ask them to submit to an autopsy. And the corpses of heroes or villains felled in combat never displayed anything out of the ordinary. In fact, they were almost too human. In the end, only the heroes know the truth. That they weren't born with these powers. They were given them. The blast was the final death rattles of two gods, the only gods that the world would ever know. And both heroes and villains alike gained their powers from fractured corpses of divinity. Both sides hold a Shard of a god, a piece of their power and, as a byproduct, their personality. Villains gained their evil nature through a Shard of the dark god, and heroes from the divine light. But a darker secret lies in their midst. A secret that those who know of it swore to protect. At all costs... Mechanics The writing above describes the basic plot of this RP. Superheroes and villains were created in the death throes of two warring gods, representing the struggle between Order, Light, and Good versus Chaos, Darkness, and Evil. Villains were made villains either through the amplification of their own evil nature, or simply by dumb luck of receiving their Dark Shard. Heroes have undergone the same process, with obviously opposite effects because of their Light shard. However, what few know is that whenever a villain successfully kills a hero, or vice versa, if the Shard of the fallen is compatible with the Shard of the victor (the personalities won't automatically reject each other on contact), the Shard can be absorbed. If not, it is released back into the atmosphere to find a new host. When Shards compound, their personalities become one, gradually becoming more human (in the sense that their moral compasses begin to be less black and white). The obvious goal of power seekers is to gain as many Shards as possible. Those individuals that fall into this category are called Collectors (or, as some have come to derogatorily call them, Fracturethieves), and generally aren't villains or heroes, as they possess both Light and Dark shard(s). NO CHARACTER MAY START OUT WITH MORE THAN ONE SHARD. The basics of this brand of superhumans are simple: The Shard received by the individual reflects their powers, and how they'll be affected mentally and physically. If the Shard is particularly large and/or powerful (size can matter, but is not necessarily a deciding factor), the individual is changed on a mental and often physical level. The bearers of the Dark Shard Hatred often burn so deeply with their irrational hate of the things around them that they literally burst into flames, which they then manipulate. On the downside, they are so consumed with their rage that they can barely be kept from attacking everything in sight. This applies to many of the other Shards. Some are so small that they barely even give a power, leaving it up to someone possessing a Shard of their own to find them. Most Shards often make themselves manifest to their holder as a voice in their head, louder or quieter depending on the nature and size of the Shard. As the tags suggest, characters will die in this RP, but only at the hands of another player. With every death, the other character grows stronger. Battles will be decided by dice roll (once I find the right thing for it). A list of Shards will be placed below, along with the powers associated with them. Rules Obey the GM, rules, and Co-GMs (should they exist). Obey the laws of physics, for they rule us all. Be nice to others on the OOC (trash talk is fine, so long as it stays playful and not hurtful). Since this is likely to evolve into a more Adult RP, Teens aren't allowed. No harassment. Stick to the limits of your character. Some battles can't be won with sheer force, and some can't be won at all. STAY ACTIVE. I cannot stress this enough. It's good to have a life and other RPs, but make sure to post on the OOC, have discussions, and enjoy your character on the IC! The writing level here is Intermediate-Adept. If I see that your CS is terribly written, I'll reject you on the spot unless you can fix it and maintain that standard throughout your time here. Delete the parentheses if you copy the skeleton onto your post. CS Name: Alias: (We still have those) Appearance: (Give me a picture without a costume, and then describe the costume itself. Please keep it simple, we don't want anything over-the-top. Those who are really messed up by their Shard don't have a costume, so they just need an image.) Shard: (Choose one from the list.) Time Spent With Shard: Original Personality: (While most tend to be shaped by their Shards, even the most warped of heroes and villains retain some shred of humanity.) List of Shards Keep in mind that personalities and appearances change on the time spent with the Shard, which is up to the player. Dark Shards Greed: Telekinesis. Often develops multiple arms, while the skin darkens. Personality devolves into a state of wanting everything it considers of value. Compatible with Growth, Focus, Conservation, Envy, Hatred, and Lust. Lust: Physical illusions; bearers of Lust often, as the name suggests, create the illusions based on feelings of intense carnal desire, which are then used to kill the victims. This Shard exaggerates the sexual features of the bearer, making them more desirable. This form often changes to suit the desires of a specific target, giving them partial shapeshifting. Develops strong carnal urges, which often end in the partner's death. Compatible with Liberation, Envy, Greed, and Valor. Melancholy: Augmentation of negative emotions. While the most frequent M.O. is rendering victims suicidal with depression, Melancholy can also induce any number of negative (and sometimes violent) emotions. The body often slacks, muscle mass decreases, and skin begins to hang loosely. Loses most desire to do anything more than wallow in misery. Compatible with Conservation, Entropy, and Hatred. Envy: Shapeshifting; The body can be shaped to the bearers desire, and can even shapeshift into other people or things. However, it loses any form of it's own, reverting to a primordial ooze held in form by the will of the bearer. Develops an irrational want for anything directly possessed by others. Compatible with Greed, Lust, Valor, Hatred, and Focus. Hatred: Absolute pyrokinesis. Users often burst into flames, turning into a flaming skeleton with perhaps some remnant of charred flesh. Develops an irrational hate of everything around it. Compatible with Valor, Envy, Growth, and Greed. Mania: Perhaps one of the most dangerous shards, Mania emits a constant aura of chaos, the very environment changing around the bearer, allowing them to perform often impossible feats, while at the same time proving extremely dangerous to those around them. The body remains the same as the original bearer, though the bearer often sees itself in increasingly insane forms. The mind practically dissolves, rendering the bearer utterly mad. Compatible with all Shards. Entropy: Decay and rot. Can accelerate age, rot away organic tissue, or even weather stone. The body becomes emaciated, giving the bearer the look of near-death. They develop a nihilistic view of the world, which they then proceed to tear apart, piece by piece. Compatible with Melancholy and Liberation. Isolation: Allows for shifting into an alternate dimension, causing one to go unseen by normal humans. In the alternate dimension, natural laws are virtually nonexistent, allowing one to do virtually anything that they can imagine, from walking through walls to defiance of gravity. However, even in the alternate dimension wielders of Isolation can be seen by other Shardholders, and anything they do in their alternate dimension will not translate over to reality. Bearers gradually distance themselves from those around them, developing a nearly depressing state of loneliness. Physically, the bearer seems to fade the longer they hold the Shard. Compatible with Entropy, Mania, Melancholy, Focus, and Liberation. Vanity: Allows for cloning of self. Clones share a psyche; pain is felt across all clones, and all clones have a closed circuit of telepathy. The body does not change, and all clones look exactly the same. The user becomes virtually obsessed with themselves, the perfect narcissist. Compatible with Lust, Envy, Greed, Conservation, Focus, and Duty. Light Shards Valor: Bearer develops incredible strength, speed, and bravery. The body changes very little besides growing more muscle and developing more powerful organs, which can still belie the abilities of the bearer. The mind adopts a far more courageous attitude, sometimes to insane (though well-meaning) levels. Compatible with Duty, Hatred, Love, Lust, and Envy. Love: Vitakinesis. The bearer's eyes glow pure white, and the body grows feathered wings. The bearer becomes far more caring, and is pained to see others in pain. Compatible with Valor, Duty, Growth, and Liberation. Duty: Nigh-invincibility. While not as strong as Valor bearers, Duty also gives great capacity for strength by allowing the bearer to take unnatural levels of physical punishment. The skin becomes crystalline in appearance and composition, and is almost impenetrable. The mind becomes dedicated to the protection of innocence. Compatible with Love, Valor, and Conservation. Growth: Grants control over plants, and how the plants grow. Far more useful than it sounds, Growth bearers can create new toxins and living weapons as easily as they can create organic cures and cultivate crops. The bearer's skin develops a green color, and becomes capable of photosynthesis. Mentally, Growth bearers become nearly obsessed with maintaining the natural order of things, becoming very environmental in their actions (which can be deadly when the order is disrupted). Compatible with Duty, Love, Conservation, Hatred, Greed, and Liberation. Focus: Telepathy, which can be powerfully used on individuals, or more weakly extended over many people. The body does not change. The mind becomes far sharper, but otherwise remains intact. Compatible with Duty, Greed, and Envy. Conservation: Energy absorption and expulsion. Draws in a type of energy, releases it in equal amounts. Some limits to the power do exist, and the body can overload. The body gains some property of the energy held at the time. The mind becomes more focused on the protection of others, similarly to Duty. Compatible with Focus, Duty, Melancholy, and Greed. Liberation: Absolute aerokinesis. The body becomes wispier and fragile. The mind becomes more erratic, and far less focused then normal, but can be directed on things when the need arises. Compatible with Growth, Lust, Love, Entropy, and Mania.