"All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension. Transuranic, heavy elements may not be used where there is life. Medium atomic weights are available: Gold, Lead, Copper, Jet, Diamond, Radium, Sapphire, Silver and Steel. Sapphire and Steel have been assigned."
— "Sapphire and Steel," introduction
A new breed of metaphysical has shown up on Earth since the Breakdown, the Elemental Knights, the Knights of the Periodic Table. Each is a personification of one of the elements – Carbon, Iron, Helium, Neon, etc. Like the Courtiers of Order and Chaos, these personifications have existed since the dawn of time, and have even been active on Earth, off an on, but only since the Breakdown have Courtiers been encountering them on Earth in human form.
Sort of human.
Earth, of course, is not the only planet, and the Knights may be active on many more worlds, in many other forms, at the same time they are working on Earth. But that won't concern us under normal circumastances.
Sort of normal.
Each Knight's body is a single atom of their element, complexly blown up to a high energy-state. Therefore their bodies are basically weightless, and avoid being buoyant like a helium balloon, but worse, only by being porous to air. They simulate weight using valency (see below); that is, they can stick to things, including the ground.
They do not need to sleep, rest, eat, drink, or breathe. In fact, they cannot eat, drink or breathe. In many ways, their simulation of humanity is much rougher than that of the Courtiers. They can't spit or bleed, either, and if their skin is cut, they "bleed" light of a characteristic color dependent on the element.
Light is their one physical need. If fatigued or injured, Knights recover at one point per day, but can speed this up by exposure to light of their characteristic color. Each Knight can have one to three characteristic colors, but the more colors they have, the more closely defined is the hue.
In general, the player can pick the colors for their Knight arbitrarily, but some elements just demand certain colors – yellow for Gold, orange or green for Copper, red for Neon, for instance.
Colors in the infrared, ultraviolet, etc., are allowed, but may be tricky to get. And no fair basking in white light just because all the individual colors are mixed into it. Knights must use unmixed colors.
Unless otherwise specified, Knights have the strength and senses of humans.
Knights cannot detect when the Right- or Left-hand Paths are blocked in the ordinary way, and they cannot do anything directly to unblock the paths.
Unlike Courtiers, they cannot change shape or become invisible, though they can alter their costuming, given a few minutes to think about it.
Unlike Courtiers, they have a set capacity for psi points (or power points, or whatever the mechanic calls them; the Knights were made up with FuRPiG and Endeavour in mind).
But Knights have their own particular abilities. All have five abilities in common:
They can detect anomalies in the course of nature, which the Courtiers cannot. They can feel them anywhere on the planet (or in cislunar space). If they are a continent away, they can only give a rough bearing, like "northwest," but they can home in as they get closer. This perception does not give them any information about the nature of the anomaly.
They can control their adhesion to things. This routinely includes sticking to the ground or floor, in lieu of weight. It also lets them walk walls or ceilings and hang onto objects. It works through their clothes, too, since these are basically glamour anyway. And they can always let go and drift away on drafts.
They can control their tangibility and walk or reach through walls. Most of the time, they quietly coexist with the circumambient air.
A Knight is capable of second sight to as many as N specified locations, can specify up to N possessions they can summon to themselves at any time, and can prepare up to N atoms of their element for quantum teleportation (see next item), where N is their valence (or 1 for a noble gas).
To claim a location, object, or atom for entanglement, the Knight must be within arm's reach of it, though it is not necessary to touch it. Of course, if they have N items entangled already, they must pick one to drop before they can pick up a new one.
The summonable objects must be light enough for the Knight to pick up, and there must be room enough for the object to arrive in.
They can swap positions with pre-entangled atoms of their element. For instance, Gold can entangle an atom of gold in someone's ring and appear there at will. That means Gold, in humanoid form, appears overlapping the person's ring in space, possibly along with the person's hand, etc. Good thing Gold can be impalpable.
When you teleport, you do not bring along any cargo, such as wallets, guns, cell phones, or other characters, unless the cargo was one of your entangled and summonable objects. You bring along your clothes, but these are just part of the generally immaterial package that is the Knight's appearance.
Beyond the four common abilities, each Knight has their Vibe – their peculiar talents. In terms of the Endeavor mechanics, the Vibe is described in two to four Traits. In terms of FuRPiG mechanics, the Vibe is described in terms of the character skills.
The Vibe should be appropriate to the Knight's element. Thus Gold might have skills and powers relating to jewelry, finance, mining, or even social status. Iron might relate to things industrial and mechanical, and be super-strong. Carbon has a confusing range of choices. The exact crafting of the Vibe is up to the player.
Knights can run out of resources in fatigue or injury, just as normal human characters do (unless specified otherwise by their Vibe). They can recover in four ways:
If a Knight is injured enough, they "die," just as a human character would, and their form instantly vanishes. But since they are the personification of an element, that is not necessarily the end of them. If the player wants to continue playing the Knight, they can reappear 2d6 days later, at some random spot on the globe chosen by the GM. They will have lost all their entanglements, so getting back to the other characters may be difficult.
More importantly, the player should make up a new physical appearance for the Knight, and write up a new Vibe. The Knight's return is thus like the regeneration of a Time Lord in "Doctor Who?" There is continuity of memory and identity, but it is still a major and irreversible change of life.
So what does it mean to be the personification of an element? What is your relationship to all the individual atoms of your element?
You own them.
They are more intimately yours than the house a human owns and grew up in, that has been in the family for generations, time out of mind. They are not, perhaps, as utterly yours as a human's body is the human's, but they are at least as much yours as the human's hair.
Exactly how that ownership shows up in power and knowledge depends on how you compose your Vibe. But the ownership is strong. Any agency that could successfully contest it would have to be at least halfway up the hierarchy of Heaven.
Here are some eccentricities a Knight might have:
The descriptions of Knights given here are not meant to preclude other descriptions. If you want to make up your own version of Silver, for instance, with a different history, personality, and Vibe, go right ahead. (Only the valence is non-negotiable!)
Colors: red, pure blue.
Oxygen really didn't tune in to the social aspects of Earth. She exhibits both Naïvety and Cosmic allusions from the preceeding list. She has no particular opinion of humanity one way or the other, and has taken no role in human society, but appears as a young Oriental woman, with surprising deep blue eyes.
Her Vibe, having no human aspect, is more a bundle of oxygen-related powers:
With so mant traits, her trait levels average only 33%, but she can boost them by spending Psi points, and she can recoup Psi points readily, since every trait except Stone includes ways of generating Psi quickly.
Colors: scarlet, pure orange, indigo-blue.
Iron doesn't have a lot of use for the human race. He is frustrated by their lack of strength and endurance, but he knows they can't help that; what provokes his contempt is their weakness of will, or the way their strongest wills are linked to insane motives. He knows more about human culture than some Knights, but he hasn't wanted to resonnate it in depth.
Iron appears as a very large, very muscular Caucasian man with gray eyes and dark red hair. His Vibe is straightforward:
Valence: 1 (by courtesy).
Neon is new to Earth, but he did tune in well on the local culture, as his Vibe shows. Think about the kind of places neon shows up on Earth.
Neon appears as a skinny, hyperactive young man with flaming red hair and startling green eyes. Unlike most other Knights, Neon has assumed a role in human society as a lightning technician in various big studios and is in danger of becoming famous in show business, which would be inconvenient. But he is enjoying Earth a lot.
Click here for a complete example character sheet for Neon.
Colors: blue-indigo, aqua.
This version of Silver is a highly experienced one, best taken as an NPC resource or an example of a long-term goal for a Knightly character, unless you want to run a high-powered campaign.
The personification of Silver appeared on Earth at the request of the Principalities, the guardian angels of nations, to help guide human development, as it relates, of course, to silver.
Silver first appeared in ancient Egypt, in the guise of a tall, slender woman. She acquired a position as a craftswoman of unknown background, bucking the male bias of the era after enough time, and eventually acquiring apprentices, both in silversmithing and in the earliest versions of alchemy, helping people grope toward an understanding of materials without just handing them the answers. She also helped angels and other agents of the Dominations, guardian angels of nature, in repelling assaults on the natural order by malign supernaturals. It was in such a conflict that she "died" and did not return for some centuries.
In this incarnation, Silver's Vibe featured:
Silver returned in the High Middle Ages, in Europe, as a silver-haired middle-aged man. This time, his Vibe tuned in more on silver as treasure. Silver became a merchant and trader, trying to help the Principalities by promoting fair dealing, probity, and prosperity – uphill work. He worked for centuries on the sea-lanes around Europe, the Near East, and India, but "died" in a sea-battle against pirates, surprising many combatants when he disappeared in a blaze of blue light.
In this incarnation, Silver's Vibe featured:
Nowadays, Silver tunes in on the fact that he is the best conductor among the elements, short of going superconducting. He appears as a young man with "platinum"-blond hair and pale gray eyes, a literal electronics wizard, supplying technical support and customized gadgets to fellow elements, Courtiers, or anyone else involved in the great work of mending the Breakdown.
In this incarnation, Silver's Vibe features:
Silver can do his Mad Science without any expenditure of Nerve points, or the necessity of pretending it's all mundane, or risk of mental or psychic injury.