13 December 2015

Eidolon: The Hidden

Eidolon: The Hidden

"Thou shall not make unto thee any graven image"

The ancient proscription against making semblances of human form bears secret wisdom, for an image bears sympathetic connection to the nature of the imagined. Make a statue of a man and other will think of it as of man, and it will attract what makes one a man. If the thoughts of many focus enough on the image, if the unseen powers flowing through the world fill the image enough, the image will become like a human, an independent entity with its own thoughts and desires. It might not be a common, but sometimes, when placed in the right place, at the right time, an anthropomorphic creation can become self-aware being. Despite their resemblance, eidolons are not true humans, nor do they think of themselves as such—there is only so much that the sympathetic connection of the outer form can give to a newly awakened being. Usually, the awakening process is slow, with tides of the unseen powers, mortal thoughts, and mystical conjunctions slowly bathing the inanimate shape for months, years, or even centuries before enough of the ambient life force gathers to bring the eidolon to life. Yet, through all that time, the unawakened eidolon is expose to the events passing by, etched in its psyche to be as a vague memories of the local past. That sense of place, of passage of time and of timeless existence at the same time shapes the eidolons and sets them apart from mortal beings. A timeless patience, psychological inertia, and a lifetime of being hidden from mortals in plain sight makes them slow to take direct actions, especially when they could reveal them to others. They are also creatures of habit and natural voyeurs watching the life around them—some my be driven to action to protect status quo, while others my be actually motivated by curiosity.

A playable eidolon should belong to one of the four major forms: Idols, Grotesques, Toys, and Mannequins, and to one of the four habits: Watcher, Keeper, Guardian, Pretenders. The form is defined by their creator's original purpose for their anthropomorphic shape:

Idols are those eidolons whose human-like form was intended to impress mortals, to be adored, even worshiped like a figure in the gallery or a statue at the market square.

Grotesques might be the least human, but still anthropomorphic enough to incite fear, revulsion, and darker impression in mortal minds.

Toys purpose is to bring joy and love and sense of safety.

Mannequins anthropomorphic shape was planned as utilitarian—literal mannequin in the shop or a crash test dummy for example.

The lines between the forms are not clear-cut, though. A scarecrow could be a grotesque because purpose of its form is to bring fear, or mannequin, as it is an utilitarian creation after all; many shop mannequins are utilitarian in nature but shaped in ways that are supposed to impress the onlookers.

Beyond the four major forms there are other less common forms: Accidentals, whose anthropomorphic shape wasn't intended as such; Abstracts, whose shape is not actually human-like and yet, they are easily confused because they were made to bring the impression of anthropomorphic shape to those who would look on it; and Pictures, who are more or less flat images and are bound to the surface they live on.

While the form is the innate division among the eidolons, the habit is mostly the matter of choice, representing the eidolon's expectations and desires, and helping them regain energies:

Watchers are those among eidolons whose main purpose in their awakened life is voyeurism—watching the lives of mortals (and possibly other supernatural beings). This might be actual curiosity, this might be feeding the habit of repetition, the need for observance of small daily rituals...

Keepers form deeper bond with their neighborhoods, the zones where they roam. They protect the place from threats, often opposing change and maintaining status quo, with some rare keepers taking actions to make places they consider home better—in whatever way they consider better for the place.

Guardians differ from keepers in that they focus not on places but on people. They might appoint themselves protectors of a specific individual, a family, or any other group they will feel special affinity to. A guardian shop mannequin might take care of the salespeople for example, while a statue of a hospital founder might defend the patients from abuse.

Pretenders are invigorated by meshing with the mortals, hiding among their ranks, or simply mimicking their actions and recreating their society among themselves. A group of toys might replay a tea party every evening.

Eidolons construction influences their abilities—strength and toughness that can reach superhuman levels, wings that allow gravity-defying flight, beauty that can daze and charm onlookers. The form and the habit influence the affinity for more subtle powers—often allowing influencing and altering the local neighborhood, inspire or suppress specific activities and emotions, ward off other supernatural influences. In addition, all the eidolons have an ability to remain motionless for indefinite amount of time, return to the same position every time, and sense when a mortal being is close to noticing them, warning the eidolon before someone actually looks upon them. They can also slumber to replenish their energies and repair their artificial bodies. Not being alive (in medical sense) makes them resistant to many mundane hazards and completely immune to biological threats.

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