Fugue: A Character Writeup


Days go by
And they just keep going by endlessly
Pulling you
Into the future.

Laurie Anderson, "White Lily", Home of the Brave

Description and Notes

This is an incomplete writeup, which I mostly did to explore a few possibilities. As such, it's incomplete, with no mention of attributes or skills. Due to the nature of the character, she's unlikely to get more than NPC play.

A woman is walking down a beach on the firm sand just above the tideline. The sands are unmarred beneath her feet, but behind her, starting at about fifty feet or so, is a line of footprints. Those watching closely can see the footprints form behind her; it's almost eerie, as if she's being dogged by a ghost.

She stoops and picks up a shell. The shell remains behind in the unmarred sand, though there is something like a shell in her hand, also: like it in shape but a featureless white in color. After a bit the footprints reach the shell, fingermarks appear in the sand and the shell -- vanishes. And the shell in her hand gains color.

She tosses the shell. Perhaps she sees it fall, but anyone else sees it turn a featureless white as it leaves her hand. It hangs there in the air, and if you touched it you could feel it but your fingers would pass right through. Disquieting.

The line of footprints paces to the shell, and it flies through the air, thrown. It lands in the ocean with a splash.

She picks up another shell, and it again turns white in her hand, leaving a shell behind. This time someone or something picks it up behind her, moves it elsewhere. The line of footprints paces to where the shell had been... and nothing happens. The shell in her hand fades as if it had never been.


Lilian isn't a paranormal so much as someone with an incurable disease. She woke up one morning seeing funny, feeling sick. After some odd experiences she went to the hospital.

The doctors couldn't figure out what had gone wrong, except that she interacted oddly with the environment and that it was extremely difficult to do any tests on her, even drawing blood. She didn't show up to X-rays unless she was standing still, in which case her bones appeared blurred. Cameras couldn't see her. She couldn't be taped or talk on the phone, or if she could all that could be heard was a weird blur, almost too faint to hear.

The physicists found out what was happening. Somehow the last 10 or so seconds of Lilian's existence were compressed into the present; instead of a point on the time axis she was a line segment. She could affect the world -- but in a delayed way, and if anyone messed with the continuity it was as if it had never happened.

People could see her for some reason, even though she was more of a "worm" of instants/humans than a person. They looked confusedly at the whole of her and decided that the "her" was the leading edge; their brains couldn't handle the reality so they pattern-matched until they saw something that made sense, like a Rorschach inkblot.

She makes many animals nervous, though probably not the smarter primates.

Machines can't see this: to them she moves incredibly quickly, incredibly slowly, and isn't in one place at once. If she is still long enough for the trailing edge to overlap with the leading edge of herself, they can catch a glimpse.


Game mechanics: she's written up with about 159 points of powers, including desolid, a body drain/transform complex with interrelating limits, invisibility (to machines), TK, various chrome powers, and only moderate amounts of handwaving.

Social mechanics: she's probably written up in Phys. Rev. Letters, etc. and some medical journals, but doesn't have to be terribly well known, since she's not exactly photogenic. She has trouble interacting physically with people because if she touches them (or they touch her) for long her powers try to suck them into the time loop, they resist (automatically) and the result is pretty disorienting.

Physical quirks: she's always dusted with extremely small white specks or sparkles (though they have no inherent luminosity) which are the result of air and dust particles and such interacting with her loop. These never photograph (neither do any of the other "white" effects that people see.)


159 Powers
23 Elementral Control: Temporal Fugue Powers, 80 active points;
-3/4: variable limit (-1 1/2)
16 Desolidification, affected by Mental Powers and partially by everything else (similar to damage reduction)
+1: zero end, persistant;
-1/2: always on, -1/2: not through solid or sealed objects or locked doors, etc., -1/2 the damage reduction 'benefits' scale down the longer she remains still, up to no damage reduction after a full turn of immobility.
Notes: This is the main power. She is really a "worm," existing in more than one place at a time, but people, with a clearly defined way of seeing time, see her at her leading edge position. However, she's not really there. You can touch her, and feel her, even, but she's somehow hard to hold; she feels normal, but simultaneously as if she's not really there. (Combine this with the pins and needles and disorienting feeling of interacting with her time loop.)
If she stays still, more of her is there, so more of her is able to be felt; she feels more solid. If she waves an arm, keeping the rest of herself still, just the arm goes insubstantial.
She has a scent, but it's diffuse.
14 Invisibility to sound, sight group, and mental group
+1: zero end persistant;
-1/2: always on, -3/4: not against anything with a mind (only vs. cameras/tech/etc.), -1/2: must move at least once per turn or she becomes more visible.
Notes: Although people can see and hear her, machines can't; they don't define time and causality the way humans do, and can't do the right kind of pattern-matching. If she's moving quickly, film shows a blur. If she stands still, she can be photographed, but all of the small movements of ten-twelve seconds combine to make the photograph rather blurry, still, especially around the edges. If she stands still and moves an arm while the photograph is being taken, it produces a reasonably good picture of all of her but the arm, which is unseen (moved quickly) or a blur (moved slowly).
On tape or telephone her voice is a diffuse blur. (Think the teacher on the Peanuts cartoons but much softer and harder to understand.)
Machines can't fully react to her immediately; she would have to stand in front of grocery store doors for ten-twelve seconds before they would open. (She could also walk in front of them; ten-twelve seconds later they would register and open, and then she could walk in.)
If she walked across a minefield the mines would explode ten-twelve seconds later.
28 10 STR Telekinesis with fine manipulation
+1: zero end persistant, +2 affects solid;
-1/2: always on, +1: invisible, -1 1/2: completely preprogrammed path which is negated if someone breaks the continuity
Notes: If she moves something but does not keep it, it is moved by the TK, which opens doors, etc. If she goes through a door and someone locks it immediately thereafter, her TK doesn't open the door.
20 2d6 Ego Blast
+1: zero end, persistant, +2: affects solid, +1/2: damage shield;
-1/2: always on, -3/4: must touch for at least a personal phase (4 seconds) to activate, -1/4: not against time controllers, certain mindsets (by special effect), thick padding, etc.
Notes: This is a dizzying and pins and needles feeling caused by the resistance of whomever is touching her from entering her loop; they automatically resist and it hurts. (The loop jamming hurts her, as well.) Particularly meditative people or people without a true time sense wouldn't be affected, because they wouldn't feel a paradox. (They would also see her as she truly is: her last ten-twelve seconds of existence compressed into the present.) If you're wearing padding equivalent to about a windbreaker (very heavily padded gloves, etc.) you won't feel it enough to seriously discommode, or there will be a delayed effect. (Her field will try to incorporate the padding, so if you touch for long enough for that to happen you could possibly take some stun.)
14 2d6 Minor Transformation
+2: create anything, +1/2: cumulative, +1: zero end, persistant;
-1/2: always on, -1/2: zero range, -1: only to duplicate objects, -1/2: can't duplicate anything living
Notes: This is to simulate the turn of double existence that objects she picks up possess; she makes a copy. (Actually, it is the same object existing in two places at once.) Her copy goes away if continuity is broken.
17 1 1/2d6 Drain, Body
+2: zero end, constant, persistant, +2: affects solid, +1: fully invisible;
-1: only on objects created with transform, -1/2:delay for a turn, -1/2:doesn't affect things that have had continuity broken, etc. (object disappears a turn after she picks it up.)
Notes: This is to simulate the end of the double existence: it gets rid of the original. If continuity is broken the copy disappears instead.
27 Clairsentience: sight, sound, smell/taste
+1: zero end, persistant, +1: fully invisible, +1: area effect (hexes);
-1/2: always on, -1: viewpoint only from where she has been before, -1/2: sliding scale perception minuses with duration (fuzzy hindsight)
Notes: She can see from the point of view of anywhere she's looked in the last turn. (So if she turned in a circle for a turn she could see in all directions.) It degrades at: 1-3 seconds old: -1, 4-6 seconds old: -2, 7-9 seconds old: -3, 10-12 seconds old: -4 to perception.
70 Disadvantages
20 Distinctive Features, always noticed, not concealable
These white sparkles/flecks aren't luminescent or properly reflective, just a flat clear white color; extremely small sparkles (from dust motes and air interacting with her loop) all over her, her hair, her clothes, etc. They don't take on the color of lights shone on them, but remain white. Seen from the other side, if she put her hand against a sheet of glass, the glass would be white where her palm is touching it. (Unless it was incorporated, in which case it would be solid white, then turn transparent after a turn.)
20 Normal Characteristic Maxima
20 Physical Limitation: all the time, greatly
Fugued: not being able to drive a car, interact easily with machinery and the world, etc., can cause severe problems.
5 Susceptibility: 1d6, uncommon
takes half the damage others take from her ego blast. She takes half the damage they take, rather than 1d6. (i.e. if they have mental defense, she takes none, but she has the potential to take more than 6 points of damage.)
5 Reputation: 8-
As appropriate, among scientists/doctors

0 Characteristics
0 Skills
159 Powers
100 Base
70 Disadvantages

159 Total
11 Unspent

Lacking skills and attributes, there's no clear total. However, the character could easily be raised to a balanced 200 or 250 points, if there were actually a use for this sort of character.

RPGs Fugue Meadhbh
Gretchen MUDs
Flick Games Horde

Fugue: A Character Writeup / Gretchen / Flick / © 1995-1996 The Other Gretchen
contact: gretchen@flick.com / last modified: April 23, 1997