Character Genes and Subtypes
This page will hold the information for our specific genes, subtypes and traits characters may be; this includes the Xaeri-gifted Anima, the shapeshifting gene, and the enigmatic ghosts.
An Anima is, simply, an animal ability. This can include the senses of a specific animal, like the hearing and night-sight of a cat, or physical skills, such as the wings of an eagle or the claws of a bear or the gills and fins of a fish. It is widely believed that the three gods of Xaeri gift humanoids with these abilities when they need a power to survive. There are many unknowns about Animan, but a few things are concrete.
The Anima ability, firstly, is given most often to one near death or in mortal peril, and only then - it does not pass to offspring even if both parents are Animan. Also, not everyone near death can receive an Anima.
Secondly, the Anima gifted depends on the situation; for example, if one were drowning they would receive a fish or water-type Anima and not the Anima of a land or sky creature.
Each Anima has a special marking, tattoo-like in appearance, specific to that animal - the markings are fairly simple and not very detailed, and oftentimes transform into the animal feature in Anima form. For example, the star-and-spiral pattern on the falcon Anima`s shoulders change into arm-feathers and wings.
There has never been a record of either anyone losing an Anima power or having more than one.
Animan may change into full animal form, but this requires intense concentration and training that few can manage; it is not a common ability.
The only Anima that can be gifted are those of "natural" animals - in other words, magical creatures such as kamine, dragons, unicorns, gryphons, and such cannot be Anima affinities.
Demonic Reapers are a unique subtype created by the Death Kingdom long ago; though they are not as rare as the Reapers (of demon blood), they are nevertheless are quite rare themselves, acting as very strong and deadly weapons in the Death Kingdom's military. Those with freedom who have escaped the bonds of Death are rarer still, as all are subject to the whims of the current reigning Lord.
These Demonic Reapers can be of any species, humanoid or animalistic, that have a soul strong enough to sustain the joining with another, demonic spirit, and the transition between subsisting only on physical food to having a diet interspersed with both the souls of the living and the dead. After the change, they change in appearance greatly - all lose their original coloration, instead gaining patterns of white, black and red in varying shades, usually consisting of stark markings with little blending in-between. Their eyes can be of any color, though red is most common, and they often glow fiercely both in light and dark. Due to the influence of the demon soul joining with the spirit of another species, other mutations may occur, such as extra horns, fangs, extra tails or wings, etc.
All can be marked not only by their unusual colors and markings, but also by their double souls. Their normal spirit, and that of the demon Reaper, will be intricately intertwined, often unable to be severed without the death of one or both. Each soul is its own entity, as well; the host's soul, most often in power, and the demon's soul, that once belonged to a Reaper before they were slain. They will also have both reiatsu colors, intertwined like that of their spirits; both of the tainted host's (which usually falls in color to something very dark, and/or muted), and that of the demon's.
The original Reaper - the demon soul bonded to them - can take control either if the Demonic Reaper wills them to, or they take over by force. The Demonic's appearance will then reverse (white to black or black to white, though red generally stays the same) and they may gain a variety of other features, such as ethereal, ghostlike qualities, longer and sharper claws/fangs/horns, a wilder physical appearance, or almost anything else. They are much more powerful, and almost completely uncontrollable. However, they cannot hold such a form for very long.
To sustain themselves and the soul they are paired with, Demonic Reapers must devour either the spirits of the living or the dead, with the average being at least a single sentient soul a week. If they do not reap such souls, their own will begin to severely degrade, either to the point of the original Reaper coming out to hunt on his or her own, or the death of both entities, as well as the body of the host. Madness may set in after too long without a meal, especially if the host is actively trying to starve themselves of a spiritual meal.
Do note that devouring reiatsu will not be enough to sustain a Demonic Reaper for long; an entire soul, living or dead, must be consumed, lest they face death and starvation themselves.
The druid is much like both the Anima and shifter in that it isn't restricted to a single species, but is open to all humanoid species, most common in elves of various types. They are thought to be native to Evylon, near Heartwood, where the Felnovian god Balion gave a subset of elves a powerful gift and a bond to various types of animals.
Most often, druids are not aware of their abilities until they come of age in their species - when they first find their ability to shift, it is often mistaken for a simple shifting gene. However, druids have a unique and powerful connection to nature, and can speak with plants and animals both. Some have the ability to 'sing' plantlife into growing in a way that they will it to, much like the fauns that they hold great kinship with. Rarely, older druids will be able to combine with the earth in such a way to avoid detection, at the risk of it becoming very permanent, leading to their eventual death. A druid will be bound to a single animal spirit, and once they know what they are, most wear some sort of trinket or insignia depicting what their animal affinity is.
Unlike the Xaeri-gifted Anima, a druid may be able to shift into any sort of species, with any sort of coloration; however, they lack a demi-form of any kind, and may only switch between the humanoid form and their single animal one. Some are prone to having plants grow on their animals, becoming more and more common with age.
Druids who have formed groups to live in are generally led by a patriarchal society, strictly governed and very attuned to nature. They often travel, and settle closest in heavily wooded areas near elves, halflings, and fauns, shunning the more destructive species like humans, demons, and dwarves. They live off of the land, and replace whatever they take, holding the spirits of all living things above their own.
Much like the druid, shifter, and Anima, the Empyrean can be of any species, humanoid or non-humanoid. Their origins are shrouded in mystery, but it is claimed that the original Empyreans were dragons. They are believed to have originated on Millirand, in the Darklands.
Empyreans are not born. Rather, they are created through an alchemical process that involved replacing their blood with the black oil-like ichor of Kurdan, Death's fallen champion. The next step in becoming a full Empyrean often involves replacing limbs or other parts of the body with enchanted metal replacements, superior in strength and durability. While some Empyreans still resemble their original forms, superficially as it may be, others lose much of their resemblance to their original species. The process often results in interfering in elemental magics, typically weakening or removing such altogether.
The majority of Empyreans follow the teachings of Cylene Slithersteel, the First Empyrean, generally referring to themselves collectively as Slithersteel. They live in hidden cities beneath the Darklands on Millirand, and are very rarely spotted as a result.
The Empyrean process can be reversed, although it is a difficult, painful process to excise the ichor from the body. Former Empyreans often bear physical and mental scars as a result.
Ghosts and Spirits
Spirits and ghosts in BTACD play a very large part in multiple plots. Unlike the ghosts of Earthrealm, and the stories of the ancient humans, ghosts throughout the Realms are incredibly diverse and very different from the norm. Though there are ghosts much like those we are used to, the greater majority are quite different. Below, we will explore the various types of ghost, how rare they are, and what may mark them apart from other spirits. From the faded, Ancient souls to the masterful Greater Ghosts, these will be explained in as much detail as our scholars can manage!
Ancient and powerful souls that have lost their personalities and bodies, appearing as ethereal, floating orbs with long, multi-hued tails of light. Generally, they are found in the Spirit Realm alone, wandering in loose groups, as well as in splinter Realms split from the Soulplane. They can be interacted with, but barely - should one bring about their ire, it spells doom for any living thing in their way. Most are peaceful, and radiate calm, though there are a few that shine black with meaningless malice against all who live. They are known to be ancient spirits who have been forgotten by the living, but so powerful that they continue their existence in a state of constant being, despite losing who and what they are.
Faded spirits are known to be one of the most dangerous things in all of the Realms, as their ancient power - pure, condensed energy, coalesced over thousands upon thousands of years - is so volatile and chaotic. It scorches the spiritual energy of the living, and can burn through an entire city within moments. Few know how to stop a rampaging faded soul if one is brought to the Living Realms and released, and so both study and use of them is outlawed by all facets of the mage and knight Orders due to the danger in their use. Use of these souls generally marks some sort of cataclysmic event, such as the Cataclysm that broke the north of Alubria and turned the island of Nau'katu into the great sky-continent of Stroen'na.
These are ghosts who have lost much of what they were, and leave an imprint of their souls, personalities, and selves upon a particular place in the Living Realms. Though not nearly as powerful as faded souls, they have the ability to haunt a specific location, and communicate with the living through various indirect means. They cannot assume a corporeal form, nor communicate with any except those with the rare ability to sense and talk to such spirits. They are invisible, and mute, to all normal beings.
Most often, these ghosts will leave small trinkets - such as a single piece of jaden - in a spot where it will easily be found, or flicker gemlights or torches. Louder ghosts may bang doors or window shutters, knock things over, or break objects. Vengeful, stronger residuals will consistently break things, make a home very cold or very hot, lock the occupants in or out, and other less desirable things.
Lesser ghosts, unlike residual ghosts, are those who have retained their sense of self and are left in the world of the living for a variety of reasons. Some may be trapped here by stronger, vengeful spirits. Others might not know they have died, or may seek justice for some wrong that happened in their life. Others might stay to watch a family member or relative, protective and guiding, such as a father who seeks his children's success in life.
Most lesser ghosts, like residual ghosts, cannot take a corporeal form, though some are able to be visible in flashes or surges of energy, or laying in wait for a lion period of time to gather enough to become visible for a short period of time. All other interactions are much like the residual ghosts, in that they must communicate indirectly. Most lesser ghosts are peaceful in nature, as poltergeists are often purged by spiritwalkers for their malicious hauntings.
Neutral Ghosts/True Spirits
Primarily beings who exist either in the Spirit Realm or Ghost Realm, with a few being found in Hell or other splinter Realms. If a ghost wishes to live as it once did, yet doesn't wish to 'live' in the Living Realms as a Greater Ghost (or if they are not strong enough to do so), Linath may guide that spirit to the Ghost Realm where it may live in relative peace without the color-bleached surroundings of the vast Spirit Realm.
True spirits and neutral ghosts often take the appearance of when they were most comfortable in their life. Most often, this is a point just before their death, though elderly dead may appear much younger. Rarely, a spirit will appear with the wounds that they died with, being malicious of heart or jealous of the living. In the spiritual Realms, they will appear exactly as they did when living, however when crossing over into the Living Realms, they may gain an ethereal, translucent quality. Many appear bluish, silvery or white, and glow with varying degrees of brightness.
Most spirits, when appearing for a short time in the Living Realms as a neutral ghost, can only hold their forms for a certain period of time, then they must cross back over. In this time, they can be seen and heard (rarely felt) by the living, and may communicate in whatever way they wish. Most are unable to handle objects or become corporeal enough to touch things, and instead often phase through whatever may be in their way, should they not pay attention.
Neutral ghosts and true spirits are often thought responsible for most dreams having to do with the dead; malicious ghosts bring nightmares in their brief time among the living.
Unique are those strong enough in spirit to take a fully physical form. Called Greater Ghosts for their ability to blend almost seamlessly into the world of the living, these are the beloved of Linath, who go on as they did in life usually for some form or purpose. This can be anything from a sense of duty to family, and more; most remain to protect the loved ones they would leave behind, or keep the news of their death from reaching the ears of those they care for.
They may stay corporeal for an indefinite period of time, and are fully physical for all intents and purposes. Though unable to eat, drink, get sick or reproduce, they are capable of feeling both pain and pleasure, touch things, and handle objects. They may change their body's density to 'walk through walls' and become translucent, and are subject to being destroyed (or at least sent back to the Ghost Realm or Soulplane) by various physical and spiritual attacks. They also are subject to weariness and mental fatigue.
In battle, they are able to retain most of their abilities in life. However, using reiatsu may drain them of the energy they need to stay completely corporeal, and they may be forced to return to either the Ghost Realm or Spirit Realm to recover enough to come back. They can suffer from physical injuries that take spiritual energy to heal, which may also drain the ability to masquerade as alive. A select few are able to see these ghosts for what they are, as they emanate an invisible aura, and will often appear to 'glow' to these individuals. Some may leave afterimages as they move to those with the ability to see them.
Moryen'n are, or were, sentient animals from across the Realms, infected by a powerful curse, doomed to become twisted, immortal mockeries of what they once were, too mutated to tell what they might once have been, and filled with an insatiable hunger for the flesh of other creatures. The curse is spread like a disease: coming in contact with the blood of the infected, being bitten, or scratched by their claws all have a chance of infecting the one they have come across.
Long ago, before the Dark Five were imprisoned and sealed away, one of Lithmor's machinations to ensure he escaped imprisonment was foiled by a coalition of Vystrian lions and wolves, together with a herd of unicorns, and several basilisks, gryphons, pegasi. Knowing his gambit had failed, and likely doomed his chances to escape being sealed away, Lithmor decided to 'reward' their courage, and cursed them. They would be gifted with terrible strength and great resistance to injury, immortality, and immunity from disease, but at the cost of their bodies twisting and mutating until they no longer resembled what they once were.
Collectively known as Moryen'n, Corruption-Touched, any who show signs of this infection are driven from their homes, if not killed, left to wander alone. Many who survive long enough tend to find homes in remote places with others of their kind, and often give rise to legends of haunted or cursed locations.
Wendigos were first created when Pestilence Mages, at the behest of their Lord, who was inspired by the tales of the Moryen'n, secretly captured some of the humanoid slaves used as 'cattle' by their Death and War rivals, and infected them with an altered form of the Moryen'n curse in the form of an oily black blood. They were then released back into Death and War territory, where they were initially successful in corrupting the slave population, driven for their insatiable hunger for humanoid flesh.
However, most of this first generation was eradicated by Death and War demons, and for a time, it was believed all of them were killed. This was not the case, as several had managed to escape, and found their way off of Kurai, whereupon they spread across the Realms.
Wendigos initially appear to be pale, emaciated, ghoulish humanoids, often mistaken for undead, although they are still living creatures. While freshly infected wendigos are only marginally stronger than their original species, they continually evolve as time passes, growing steadily stronger and more bestial, as well as more resistant to conventional weapons. Their skull structure undergoes the most radical change, growing to resemble a fanged deer skull, complete with branching antlers, while their bodies grow a covering of fur, and long, sharp claws sprout from their fingers and toes.
A fully evolved wendigo walks as easily on two limbs as on four, is fast enough to run down a horse, and strong enough to fight a full-grown ogre on even footing. They are capable of shrugging off even grievous wounds without slowing, and the only way to be sure they are dead is to completely destroy their bodies, as they are no longer susceptible to age or disease.
While most victims of wendigo attack wind up dead, anyone unfortunate to fall victim to one and survive runs a high risk of getting infected, and becoming a wendigo in turn. Exposure to the oily black ichor that serves as wendigo blood can likewise cause infection. It is also said that some demon royalbloods are immune to the effects of the wendigo infection, with the only sign being that they then have the black blood for the rest of their lives.
The shapeshifter in the Realms is not a species; unlike the mimic, who have no true form, a shapeshifter can be any species and always has a 'true form'. This is an ability gained from an inherited gene, or other ways listed below.
Species that cannot be considered are werewolves, werecats, xeriin and the Anima; though they have more than a single form, they are not shapeshifters, as their shifting is controlled by other means than a specific power. The Faded concept, however, may still be applied to them. More on that farther down.
While many species cannot shift naturally like the were breeds, there is a rare shifting gene that can be inherited from nearly any species. Most of this ability is found in imps, and all descendants of Kazule hold this gene to varying degrees. Other dragons, however, tend not to have inherited this ability, and cannot shift. Many species, such as elves, deathcats, terravyrns, gryphons and the like, cannot hold the gene effectively, and the ability is rarer than most. Oftentimes of these species, the urge to shift will drive them insane, and some will get caught in an in-between form before eventual death, though this occurrence is currently unrecorded in Felnovian history.
Species who can easily inherit the shifter gene include unicorns, dwarves, imps, goblins; and most of the custom species. Exception to the customs are thus- dawn and dusk dragons, the basilisk, the vystrian wolf, the kamine, the hellwolf, the deathcat, the kitsune, and the dreameater. These, if the gene is inherited, will often succumb to the shifter-madness if they find their power. Oftentimes, they won't realize it's there.
Demons of the royal lines inherit this power, usually one or rarely, two to every generation; except for the War-line, as this line was bred specifically to be dragonhunters, nearly ever royal War demon can shapeshift. Demons are generally bound to the line they are born to; War-lines may shift into dragons, Pestilence to hawks, Death to wolves, and Famine to lions. Other than royal-bloods, N`vaen demons can rarely inherit the power, with a much more free range of what they may transform into. A subtype of Lethaos known as the Deceivers can and do shapeshift to fool their enemies and their predators; often the transformations are not entirely perfect, however.
Hybrids of any species may get the gene, and some trinkets or spells may steal the ability from another and grant it to the user; these are few and far between, and can be very dangerous to use.
Death via madness from a dominant shifter gene hasn't been recorded in Felnova as stated before, but runs rampant in Evylon, usually affected by the Realm's high atmospheric reiatsu. Millirand and the Shadowrealm have reported cases of these as well.
Due to their rarity, shifters are a limited store gene; please do not make one unless bought. Thank you!
Fadeds are creatures that almost always begin as shifters, but in some cases may have been werewolves, werecats, cursed, etc. In all cases, they must have had a second form. Fading occurs when the order of primary and secondary forms switch, leaving the animal/mythological beast as the everyday and the humanoid an occassional form.
After this occurs, the humanoid form begins to gain animal characteristics. The eyes, hair, nails, teeth, and skin are usually the most affected - the severity depends on how long the shift has lasted. Personalities and memory may follow. A Faded eventually loses recollection of their humanoid life and even loses the knowledge of how to shift. They eventually become nothing more than an everyday member of their species.
Reasons for fading hold many variations. It is usually caused by a tragedy or traumatizing event, such as a loved one dying or torture. For some it is merely that they feel more comfortable in this form and would like to devote themselves to it entirely.
In some cases, a Faded may eventually recall how to shift back or be driven to it subconciously by instinct or desperation. They may never regain the memories of their life, however, and they will never lose the features they have gained from the time they spent in their other form. The Faded wear the marks of their decision permanently.