Highlander: The Gathering Second Edition

Highlander: The Gathering Second Edition

This is something I had in my archives, saved from some newsgroup or another. We used it when we integrated by Ian FLannery McKern character into the World of Darkness. Hopefully the authors won’t mind me posting it. This is from the mid-90s.

“There can be only one.”

Prologue

“No one has ever known we were among you… Until now…”

Ramirez


(Second Edition by Hank Driskill & John Gavigan)

“Sit down, lad, and listen. I know that you have many questions about what has happened to you, and, probably about me as well.
“Aye, I know all about what happened – the car crash, and how you were pronounced dead by the paramedics… Multiple internal injuries, eh? Yeah, nasty. And the worst thing is lying there, listening to them try to revive you, and eventually give u

“And, next day, your wounds are gone, as if they were never there, and you’re walking around as if nothing happened. You did the smart thing, running away like that… If you’d stayed, they’d never have left you alone, running tests and such stuff. As it is, you are officially dead. ‘Tis better that way, son, both for you and those you knew… You see, we’re not like them. You were, but you’re not anymore. Yes, I know you don’t understand! Just listen, and be still! This is hard enough to explain without you interrupting every second minute!

“Before you ‘died’, you were just like any other man… You could be wounded, you grew older every year, you needed to go see the doctor when you were sick. Just like any normal person. Except for one thing. You had inside you a spark of life bigger and brighter that anyone else’s. All that’s changed now – when you ‘died’, that spark burst into flame, and it’s power and strength cured your wounds, and brought you back to life. I know it sounds weird, but just trust me, ok? Who else you gonna listen to?

“The Quickening is the name given to that flame that burns inside of you. It could be described as your life force. Every living thing has this force inside of them, and it ties them together, healso their wounds, keeps them alive. However, it can be extinguished all too easily. When a man’s life force dies, he dies with it. When you were wounded in the car crash, your life force was pushed down to no more than a tiny spark. Then it exploded, and grew, until it was bigger than any mortal man’s. A million times more powerful. So powerful that it can heal wounds that would kill any mortal man. So powerful, it could bring you back from the very brink of death.

“Aye, I said ‘mortal man’, son. Why? For the simple reason that you are not mortal anymore, son. Neither am I. The same thing happened to me as happened to you – I was killed and re-awoke again.. Here, take this sword, and draw it across my arm. Go on! Do it! Good and deep! Don’t worry about me…

“Now see this wound? What would you normally do if you got a wound like this? Go to the hospital or some such thing, and get stitches and a massive bandage. Am I right? Well, watch… Already, the blood’s stopped flowing. In a few minutes, it’ll begin to heal, and before the end of the day, you’d never know I’d been hurt at all. Why? It’s the Quickening! The same thing would happen if I got shot, or if I was burnt. It works the same way with you as well! Your Quickening healed the wounds you sustained in the car crash.

“I don’t know why it happens. It just does… I’m not an expert – I’m just like you – I was living a normal life, until I was killed in battle against a raiding party of Vikings. Aye, Vikings, son… No, I’m not from Scandinavia, I’m from Ireland. I was born at a place called Brugh na Boinne, near the Hill of Tara, in the Kingdom of Midhe, in Ireland. I was taught all this, just as I am teaching you, by a man called Liam Mac Dara… He was well over three thousand years old by the time I met him.

“Now? He’s dead… Aye, I know I said we’re immortal, but there is one way we can die – If your head is removed from your body, you’ll die. Now, listen carefully, because this is the most important part. You asked me why I carry a sword. I’ll tell you. When one immortal kills another, by beheading his opponent, the defeated immortal’s Quickening flows into the victor, and he become more powerful. All the dead immortal’s strength, power, knowledge and experience transfers itself into the one who beheaded him. That’s what happened to Liam Mac Dara. He was killed in France, by a German immortal, who I killed two hundred years ago.
“Why’d I kill him? Well, partly to avenge Liam’s death, but there is also another reason. There is a legend, passed down from mouth to mouth over the ages which tells of a time when all living immortals will feel drawn to a particular place, to fight for the Prize. We must fight until only two immortals remain. Then, they shall duel for the Prize.

“I don’t know precisely what it is… Some say that the winner of the Prize would become a God. Some say it would mean the end of the world. One thing that is certain – the winner of the Prize would have all of the immortal Quickening that ever existed, and would be powerful beyond belief. He would have all the strength, knowledge and experience of every immortal that ever lived. So, down through the ages, immortals have been fighting each other, looking forward to the day of the Gathering, when a few of us shall remain, and we’ll come together in one place to fight each other for the Prize. The time of the Gathering draws near, and you must prepare yourself to fight other immortals, many of whom will have hundreds of years experience.

“How many of us? I don’t know… Perhaps one man in a million is born an immortal, perhaps even less. We come from every race, creed, religion, and region. The Quickening doesn’t seem to discriminate between black, white, or, indeed, any other skin-color. I have fought and killed immortals from Europe, China, and South America.

“I have also fought other creatures.

“We are not alone in being different from mortal man in this world of darkness. There are other supernatural creatures, who you shall meet in the course of your life. I have lived among the Garou a lot – Werewolves, shapeshifters… Both man and wolf, or a mix of both.. Ferocious creatures… There are other shapeshifters as well – the Corax, who could be described as were-ravens, the Bagheera, werecats, and many others… None are as common as the Garou, though, and all are mortal, and age and die naturally, although they are much more robust than mortal men, and can heal faster then normal, though not as fast as we can. But there are others who can live for as long as we can; the Kindred, for instance – Vampires, are they, undead creatures who must drink the blood of mortals to survive. They can live for many centuries. They do not age, but they can die from normal wounds, even though, like the Garou, they heal at an advanced rate. There are Magi, who wield Magick, twisting reality with their incantations and spells. There are Faeries, ghosts, Spirits and evil, horrible things from places other than this Earth of ours. You may encounter them, as you travel, and you must be prepared to combat them, and cleanse them from the face of the planet. It is truly a World of Darkness we live in, with many secrets that are hidden from mortal man. Of all these supernatural creatures, we are the least common, and, some would say, the most powerful, as all the rest can either grow old, or die normally. A two-thousand year old Vampire will still die if you burn it, whereas I have heard of an immortal, who, accused of being a witch, was burnt at the stake, and survived. Just remember that, no matter how badly wounded you are, you will always totally recover, without scars or permanent injury, but remember that if you are lying unconscious, or unable to move, it can be very easy for someone to come along and take your head. There is only one part of our bodies which will not heal totally – our neck will retain scars, if we are wounded there. This scar of mine was caused by a lucky swing by another immortal, who tried to take my head by surprise in England, back in the middle ages. Luckily, I managed to jerk my head back in time. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be her.

“Ah, whisht, lad! So many questions! You’ll get your answers in time… You’ll have to learn all you can about this world, and the creatures you’ll encounter. You’ll have to learn how to live without drawing attention to yourself. You’ll have to learn how to hide your immortality from normal people. I’ll teach you everything I can, and then I’ll have to leave you. But the most important thing you’ll ever learn is how to fight. All immortals fight using swords, although I met one who uses an axe. Aye, uses. He’s still alive, and is my friend. He saved me from a group of Hunters once. The Hunters are a group of mortals who wish to kill us all off. They capture immortals and behead them, allowing their Quickening to disperse into the ether.

“You’ll have to learn how to use a sword, for that is the only way you can defend yourself, and it’s the only way you can defeat other immortals. You can’t cut a man’s head off with the barrel of a gun, you know. I was given this sword by Liam Mac Dara. It is thousands of years old, crafted by blacksmith magicians over five thousand years ago. It’s a silver Celtic longsword, and is a part of me. Get that bundle from over there. Bring it here, lad…

“This is an English Broadsword, crafted from steel in the middle ages. I took it from an immortal I killed in London almost a hundred years ago. Take it. It’s yours. Make it part of yourself, an extension of your body. And extra limb. When you do that, it will become part of you to such an extent that your Quickening will embrace it as part of you and make it stronger. Feel it’s weight. Swing it around a bit, get used to the feel of the blade… That’s it…

“Before we start, there is one thing I must tell you. We have certain traditions – laws, if you want to call them that… No immortal will ever break them, for they are practical, and have a sound reason for existing. The Golden Rule is this: We must never fight on holy ground. If an immortal is beheaded on holy ground, his Quickening will be drawn into the ground, and will be lost forever. and holy ground means more than just churches and the like. The spiritual places of the Garou, and the sites of Mage’s magical sites have the same effect. Don’t worry, though. You’ll be able to tell when you are standing on holy ground. Much the same way as you’ll be able to know other immortals. Remember you were dizzy when you first saw me? I call that the Buzz, and it’s something that’ll happen every time you meet an immortal. You’re feeling it right now, are you not, except that it’s been suppressed because of the amount of time we’ve spent together. Well, if another immortal came near us, you’d get another buzz, and you’d know that there was one nearby.

“Well, enough talk! It’s time for you to learn something other than theory. Come on, let’s teach you the art of swordsmanship! Without it, you won’t last long. Before long, you’ll have to face immortals with hundreds, even thousands of years experience. To survive, you’ll have to defeat them in battle. If you don’t kill them, they’ll kill you. The Prize awaits one of us, and the Gathering draws near…”

Foreword

“With my sword and my head held high, Got to pass the test first time…”

Queen

Foreword to First Edition by Hank Driskill

Ever since the introduction of the World of Darkness, the idea of incorporating the immortals from the movie Highlander has seemed not only interesting and appropriate, but almost necessary. The world presented in Highlander (there should have been only one) and the series closely mimics that of the Storyteller system: a world slightly darker and more menacing than our own, with supernatural beings wandering among us. In fact, the movie Highlander is listed as an inspiration in the credits for the Storyteller games, so the introduction of these characters seems vital.

Foreword to Second Edition by John Gavigan

This is the revised and expanded edition of Hank’s original Highlander rules, including a combat system designed to support complex sword duels. It is designed as a supplement to White Wolf’s World of Darkness series of games, and is compatible with any of White Wolf’s World of Darkness Storyteller games.

These rules are copyright of Hank Driskill and John Gavigan. They are in the public domain and may be copied and distributed, as long as our names remain here. The use of the “Highlander” name and quotes from the film Highlander in these rules is not a challenge to the ownership of the rights to the Highlander movie, nor of the ownership of the rights to the Highlander television series by Rysher Entertainment.

The pictures in this supplement are from the film Highlander and the Highlander TV series, and are reproduced here without the consent of the owners of either the film or series. The Storyteller series of Roleplaying games is published by White Wolf Inc. and the use of their trademarks in these rules is without their permission.

Chapter One: Introduction

“In the end, there can be only one.”

Ramirez

Immortals seem to appear at random from the human population. One in a million perhaps, maybe less. They are born of humans, raised as human, and (to most) appear quite human. They age, living a normal life, until they first are killed. Then, they miraculously recover, and begin their lives as immortals. Immortals cannot have children. They do not age, and do not get sick. They cannot drown, or die from any conventional injury: they will always recover, no matter how severe the damage (in the series, it was mentioned that one immortal was burned at the stake, and recovered from it). The only way for them to die is to have their head removed from their body.

Down through the ages, a legend has been passed from mouth to mouth – that of the Prize. The legend says that at a time when the number of immortals in the world grows small, the remaining immortals shall feel an urge to travel to a far-away land, where they shall fight until only one remains. The final survivor shall win the Prize. No one knows exactly what this Prize is, but to win it is the goal of every immortal, as it is assumed that the person who wins it would be, in effect, a god.

The term Quickening refers to the lifeforce of an immortal. It is the sum of all his knowledge and power, all of his strength and experience. It is a life force so strong that it keeps the immortal from aging and heals his wounds at an advanced-speed. Quickening is what the immortals fight for: when they fight, they fight to literally absorb their opponent’s lifeforce into themselves, thus making themselves more powerful.

Before we can discuss the creation of immortals as characters, we must decide what Quickening means, and how to represent it in the Storyteller system. It shall be discussed in depth later on, but, for now, a simple explanation will suffice.

Quickening in the World of Darkness

“The sensation you’re feeling, is the Quickening.”

Ramirez

Quickening is the power of an immortal. In the Storyteller system, this “life force” is quite similar to the Pattern of any living thing; in immortals, this Pattern is more tightly woven than with other living beings. The Quickening is therefore also similar to Quintessence, the magical “raw power” that fuels Patterns and also is used by Mages to do their magick. Only when they die is their Quickening released (except in special circumstances, see Rules below). Mages cannot pull Quickening from an immortal, nor can they alter an immortal’s Pattern in any way. Without their Quickening, an immortal is nothing, It is what keeps them alive. The total loss of Quickening is directly related to death. When an immortal dies, it is not because his head is no longer attached to his shoulders – it is because he has lost his Quickening.

Mages hold Quintessence within their bodies because of their Avatar. To the supernaturally-trained eye, immortals will often be confused with Mages: they have an excess of raw energy within them. The Garou likewise store mystical energy within them, according to their Gnosis. Immortals are therefore occasionally mistaken for Garou as well. Unlike Garou or Mages, however, immortals do not “spend” their Quickening, it is a permanent part of them.

In the Storyteller system, we keep track of the “power” of an immortal with an attribute called (surprisingly enough) Quickening. Much like Vampiric disciplines, Garou gifts, or a Mage’s spheres, Quickening allows immortals to perform superhuman feats. The higher the immortal’s Quickening, the more abilities he has and the more powerful he becomes. Quickening is a “catch-all” attribute, and has many powers associated with it, not all of which are related (except that they all are demonstrated in the movie or series).

Gaining Quickening

“If your head comes away from your neck, it’s over.”

Ramirez

Unlike Vampires, Garou, or Mages, there is only one way for an immortal to gain Quickening: through fighting and killing another immortal. This makes it more difficult for them to increase in power, as time alone does not make them more powerful. As you will see in Chapters Two and Three, they receive compensation for this limitation.

When two immortals fight, their Quickening is mingled into an electrical lightshow around them, in direct proportion to the power of the two. When one wins the battle (by removing the other’s head), he absorbs the Quickening of the loser, gaining the loser’s power and knowledge. The rules for this are covered in Chapter Three.

When an immortal emerges victorious, slaying another, he absorbs most, but not all of his opponent’s Quickening. The excess Quickening is released into the ether, where it is, in effect, raw power. The most common manner in which power exists and is channeled on our planet is as electricity. Therefore, usually (but not always), the released Quickening will find that the easiest way for it to disperse is to transform into electricity, and disperse through conducting materials in the vicinity. This results in massive overloads, which cause the explosions, lightning, etc. associated with duels between immortals.

The Rules

“Holy ground, Highlander! Remember what Ramirez taught you!”

Kurgan

The immortals have rules of engagement: these rules are traditions, with a basis in common sense, and all immortals follow them. These rules are each based around Quickening, and the gain and loss thereof. The Golden Rule for immortals is that they must never fight on holy ground. None will violate this rule, for they have too much to lose. Thus, holy ground can become a haven or sanctuary for immortals; a place where they retreat when faced with an impossible opponent. The reason for this rule has to do with the flow of Quickening.

When two immortals battle on holy ground, the site itself is always assumed to be the victor. When the victor takes the loser’s head, the loser’s Quickening flows into the site, as does a portion of the victor’s as well. This loss of power and knowledge is sufficient to dissuade even the most vicious of enemies from attacking on holy ground.

What is “holy ground”? In Mage, there are places called Nodes, where magickal power converges. In Werewolf, these same locations are called Caerns, and are viewed as holy ground. It’s a simple stretch to assume that many churches and “holy sites” are likewise built on these locations of power: for this discussion, these places of power will be called “holy ground”. Luckily, immortals automatically sense whether they are standing on holy ground or not, as they experience a sensation similar to the buzz they experience upon encountering another immortal.

The second of the two main rules is that the immortals always fight one on one. Why is this? A pair of immortals, with their centuries of experience, could work quite effectively together to whittle down the “surplus population”, as it were. Why do they not team up? In the first episode of the series, Connor and Duncan (who are friends and even Clansmen) refused to team up to battle the decidedly evil Slan Quince…

The answer to this riddle comes from the way the Quickening transfers itself upon it’s release – If two immortals are present, and there are no other factors involved (such as being on holy ground), the Quickening will transfer into the person who actually took the dead immortal’s head. In one episode in the series, Duncan duelled with another immortal, but Amanda stepped in at the last moment and took the other immortal’s head, thus gaining the Quickening.

Thus, if two immortals battle an enemy, only one of them will receive the Quickening from the battle. Not only will they receive their own Quickening, and that of the loser, but also a fraction of their ally’s. This stealing of an ally’s knowledge and power is not a pleasant thing for the ally, to say the least, and is therefore something that no immortal desires. Hence, the rule “always fight one on one” has developed.

These are the only two real rules. Evil immortals will stop at nothing else to gain Quickening: friends and loved ones are often pulled in as pawns in the battles, as are helpless innocents who have nothing to do with the Gathering… no one is truly safe.

The Gathering

From the dawn of time we came, moving silently down through the centuries, leading many secret lives. Struggling to reach the time of the Gathering, when the few who remain, will battle to the last.

Ramirez

The legend of the Gathering has been passed down from immortal to immortal, through the ages… The Gathering is the name given to the time when but a few immortals remain. They shall feel “an irresistible pull towards a far-away land… To fight for the Prize.” In this respect, immortals are doomed to fulfill a pre-determined role. It is their destiny to battle one another until a single immortal emerges victorious. According to the series, the time of the Gathering is upon us, and the Prize is waiting to be won.

The Prize

“I know! I know everything! I am everything!”

Connor

The immortals battle for “The Prize”: either for themselves, or to keep it from falling into evil hands. Mankind would suffer an “eternity of darkness”, as the movie said, if the Prize came to an evil immortal.

What is the Prize? It’s not really necessary to define it in game terms, since the immortal who gains it will become in essence a god. The film left the subject slightly vague, except to say that Connor could read people’s thoughts if he concentrated, and could also have children, grow old and die.

This much is for sure – the winner of the Prize would possess all the Quickening from every immortal that ever walked the earth. Millennia worth of experience and knowledge, from immortals of every race, all over the world would be his. He could well be the most powerful single being in the world.

On the other hand, it may well be that the legend of the Prize is simply a tale, and that the Gathering will never take place. Perhaps, new immortals will continue to be born forever, thus ensuring that there will never be a single victor. In any case, for Immortals, the Gathering is similar in many ways to the Apocalypse for the Garou, or Gehenna for the Kindred – a fate that no one really believes in , or as some Garou might say, something that will never happen “in our lifetime”. The big difference for immortals is that a lifetime can last forever. To an immortal, it matters little whether the Prize is but a legend. He must battle on, for if he stops, he will surely lose his head.

Chapter Two: Character Creation

“I am immortal, I have inside me blood of kings…”

Queen

It may seem appealing to run an immortal in a Storyteller Chronicle, especially as it is, in ways, an extremely powerful character type. However, in my opinion, it is more difficult to create an immortal character than any of the others created so far. When you are generating a Mage, Garou or Vampire character, there are plenty of traits such as gifts, backgrounds, disciplines, spheres and so on to play with, and the mythos is already set out in the rule-book. In effect, the whole thing is presented to the player in a neat little package, and all they have to do is follow the rules, write down a few figures and they can play their character.

Immortals are different. Each one is unique. There is no pre-designed background for immortal characters. Their very nature prohibits the type of society that holds so much of the role-playing potential for Garou, Mages and Kindred. Like these characters, the immortal is a normal person who discovers that he has a special destiny. However, unlike Garou and Kindred, they can see no reason why they and not someone else, have been chosen to be immortal. In some ways, they are similar to Mages in this respect, but the one major difference between immortals and other characters is time – often, immortals discovered their heritage hundreds or even thousands of years ago. Deciding how this character spent those years, and working out the beliefs, knowledge and outlook that he has brought with him from this time.

One might argue that this has already been explored with Vampire and Mummy. In Vampire, however, one is encouraged to begin with a young vampire, so as not to unbalance the game: elder vampires, while a curiosity, do not often “adventure” with their younger brethren, but instead are embroiled in the politics of the Camarilla. They also tend to be much more powerful, and less human than their younger Kin. Likewise, although Mummies are in many ways human, their thoughts and desires are nothing like the mortals around them.

Storytellers should make it a condition that, for an immortal character to be accepted as a character in a Chronicle, their background and past should be at least summarily documented, an their character should be developed. This will often deter players who wish to play an immortal simply because he is immortal. Immortals are a very unique character class, due to their humanity: despite the centuries behind them, they are still human… alone among the mortals, hidden, but still human in mind and soul. This humanity makes them unique and interesting characters to explore.

Concept

To begin the creation process, settle on the concept for the immortal. Why have they survived? When were they born, where have they been and what have they seen throughout the centuries? Pick a strong nature, something that drives them and makes them cling to life, rather than just let go. They do not age, but without a will to survive they most certainly will lose their head…

Attributes

Immortals are shown to be in superhuman health, strong and fast, and also intelligent and perceptive. They are almost always fit, attractive, and charismatic… so, in the World of Darkness, they are far superior to the mortals in all their attributes. Give them 7 Primary, 6 Secondary, and 5 Tertiary attribute points, instead of the “normal” 7/5/3 split that Garou, Kindred and Mages all receive.

Abilities

Immortals start with 13 Primary, 9 Secondary, and 5 Tertiary abilities provided they are “young” (less than 100 years). Older immortals will have more abilities; fighting this to achieve “play balance” is a wasted effort in the Storyteller system. The storyteller is the ultimate judge; if he doesn’t want 2000 year old immortals overpowering his game, then he shouldn’t allow 2000 year old immortals at all: allowing them but restricting them to 13/9/5 is ludicrous. Also, as they age, their maximum ability score (5 for mortals) will increase, allowing scores of 6+ for various abilities. Players should be allowed to choose Abilities from any of the games, but obviously, there are restrictions. For example, it seems unlikely that an immortal would have the Primal-Urge or Rituals Abilities from Werewolf.

Players should be encouraged to think up their own abilities, thus helping make their character unique. For example, the Knowledge History might be a common one among immortals (and is in fact included on the character sheet) – remember Connor relating the significant events of 1798 to Brenda?

Use the chart below for a reasonable split of abilities based on age.

Age Primary Secondary Tertiary Max
100-25018 13 8 5
250-50023 17 11 6
500-100028 21 147
1000-150033 25 17 8

and so on…

Advantages

“You cannot die, MacLeod… accept it!”

Ramirez

The Quickening characteristic is the most important to an immortal… it defines their power, and is very useful in battles with other immortals. Beginning immortals begin with 1 Quickening; this may be increased by spending Freebie points, as discussed below.
Immortals have no “virtues” in the Vampire/Werewolf sense. Like Mages, their only characteristic is Willpower, and like Mages, they start with a base Willpower of 5.

Backgrounds

Immortals begin the game with points in Backgrounds, according to the chart below. See the section on Abilities to see the arguments regarding age vs. play balance.

Age Background Points
0-1007
100-2509
250-50010
500-100011
1000-150012

The following backgrounds are possibilities for immortal characters. See Vampire for explanations of most of these backgrounds (except for Arcane, which comes from Mage).

Allies – Friends who can be counted on to help the character out. They probably know of his immortality.

Contacts – The number of information sources the character possesses.

Fame – The character’s renown in the mortal world.

Influence – The character’s political or social sway or power in the mortal world.

Mentor – An older immortal who advises and, to a certain extent, looks after the character:

• Mentor is less than a hundred years older than you.

•• Mentor is between 100 and 300 years older than you.

••• Mentor is between 300 and 600 years older than you.

•••• Mentor is between 600 and 1000 years older than you.

••••• Mentor is between 1000 and 1200 years older than you.

•••••• Mentor is over 1500 years older than you.

Storytellers should bear in mind the possibility that an Immortal character’s mentor might be killed, unless they have “retired”.
Resources – Wealth, belongings, and monthly income.

Arcane – ( See Mage: the Ascension ) Immortals tend to have a tendency to scatter headless bodies around them, yet they don’t seem to draw attention to this fact: hence the Arcane. Also, isn’t it strange how they manage to hide such large swords inside those trenchcoats of theirs?

Finishing Touches

Immortals get 18 freebie points to spend. Again, this gives them more points in attributes and abilities than their fellow players, but this is balanced by their inability to raise Quickening except through killing other immortals. Also, their very nature makes them hunted by the Technocracy, fellow Immortals, and of course the Watchers/Hunters (these are outlined in Chapter Five).

Point Costs
Quickening7 points per dot
Attributes 5 points per dot
Abilities 2 points per dot
Willpower1 point per dot
Backgrounds 1 point per dot

Spark of Life

“Ya talk funny, Nash… where ya from?” “Lots of different places…”

Garfield & Nash

This is a very important part of character creation, and, unfortunately, one that is skipped over far too often. This is a role-playing game, and the Storyteller system is designed so that players can immerse themselves in their character. However, you cannot do this if you don’t know your character.

Background & History

Where was you character born? What was his childhood like? How did he “die”? What was the reaction to his miraculous revival? How did he find out about his immortality – Did a mentor (like Ramirez) tell him about it, or did he gradually find out for himself? Did he leave his home and family, or did he stay around and watch them grow old and die? If so, how did it affect him? Where has he been in the intervening years? Was he involved in any famous historical incidents? In the present day, where does your character live? Or is he a wanderer, moving around continuously?

Appearance

“Who cut your hair?”

“I am in disguise… this way, no one will recognize me.”

MacLeod and Kurgan

What does your immortal look like? How does he dress? Is he a classic member of the “trenchcoat brigade”, or has he settled on another method of carrying his weapon (like the Kurgan and his briefcase)? These sort of decisions help determine a look, and also are useful for game play later.

Contacts

“Hi, Brenda. I did what you asked. I spent all night going through the old deeds to Nash’s house on Hudson Street, right back to the original owner, Montague, in 1798…”

Rick

How long has your character been in his current home? What friends has he made? Unlike Vampires, Garou, or Magi, immortals live amongst the humans and (for the most part) treat them as equals. Hence, they make connections with the human race, which will come up during game play (either for help or for hostages, depending on Storyteller mood).

Outlook

“Love is for poets.”

MacLeod

What kind of personality does your immortal have? Is he dark, moody and unfriendly, or bright and extrovert? What drives them, keeps them going? Is the ambition to win the Prize the thing which consumes their lives, or do they revel in life generally? The things that have happened to an immortal down through the years can often affect his outlook on life – love and war are probably the most common ones, but other things can greatly influence the way a person views life.

Quirks

“I have something to say… It’s better to burn out, than to fade away!”

Kurgan

Immortals are often unusual individuals. Note from the series: Gregor’s tendency to put mortals into danger to get a secondary rush from it, or Amanda’s tendency to doublecross her partners. These things help define the character, and yet aren’t shown in the characteristics above. Perhaps your character has a phobia or a hatred of some particular thing. Perhaps your character is afraid of heights, and has a hatred of Vampires… Pick interesting quirks, and write them down; they will add greatly to the role-playing experience. See also the Merits and Flaws section below.

One of the most important things to remember when writing up your character’s background is that, unlike the Garou and the Kindred, (and the Mages, to a certain extent), immortals are human. They may live for extraordinary lengths of time, but they are still very human, with the very same feelings and thoughts as us.

Personality Archetypes

Vampire introduced Personality Archetypes to help define characters’ personalities. A character has two archetypes – his Nature and his Demeanor, and the key to using Archetypes effectively is understanding the difference between the two.

A character’s Nature is her true personality – that which she is, but will not necessarily reveal to other characters in the Story. People do not bare their soul to everyone they meet, and thus they develop false fronts.

A character’s Demeanor is this false front. While a character’s Nature would only change in exceptional circumstances, her Demeanor can be as consistent as their Nature, or it may change frequently. Also, if the player so chooses, a character’s Nature and Demeanor may be the same.

Personality archetypes are also a method of (re)gaining Willpower, as the Storyteller will award Willpower when a character lives up to their Nature/Demeanor.

Merits and Flaws

Vampire also introduced the Merits and Flaws system, which is a method of really making your character seem alive and individual. Merits and Flaws are purchased just before you spend your freebie points. They cost or give between one and five freebie points – ie. purchasing a five point merit would mean you had five less freebie points to spend, while taking a five point flaw would mean that you had an extra five freebie points to spend. Merits and Flaws are also tied to Willpower, but less so than the Natures and Demeanors.

The full rules for Personality Archetypes, and Merits and Flaws can be found in the Vampire and Werewolf Players Guides.

Chapter Three: Quickening

“Hey, it’s a kind of magic!”

Connor

Quickening is the force that makes the immortals “special”: that mystical energy within them, that makes them immortal and gives them their powers. In this chapter, we will discuss what Quickening means in the rules, and how immortals increase in power.

Quickening Dice

Throughout the discussion of the various powers, mention will be made of rolling Quickening to perform some feat. This behaves exactly as with Spheres of power in Mage: roll a number of dice equal to your Quickening, against a difficulty of six. Count successes to find how much benefit has been gained.

Quickening Powers

“You can’t drown, you fool! You’re immortal!”

Ramirez

The powers listed below are based off of various powers shown in the Highlander movie and TV series. They are loosely based off of various powers listed in the Mage book, and occasionally make mention of the power they were most similar to.
Next to each power is a mark of what level of Quickening is necessary to first exhibit this power.

• Sense Quickening

Some immortals gain this ability even before they suffer their first death, since they still are considered to have a Quickening of

  1. This ability is similar to the level 1 Prime spell Sense Quintessence (see Mage): using this ability, an immortal will sense another immortal nearby. No specific information on the immortal’s identity is given, nor is the location of the immortal known, merely that the immortal is near.
  2. Sense Quickening also allows the immortal to sense a Node (“holy ground”). Likewise, an immortal can sometimes sense other beings with free quintessence in them (such as Mages and Kindred), although a perception roll may be necessary for this. Usually, no roll is needed for sensing holy ground, and sensing other immortals is usually left to Storyteller’s discretion (to pick a dramatic moment.)

• Breathe Water

With this ability, immortals may survive indefinitely underwater, drawing oxygen from the water. This is not the same as not breathing: it has been shown that immortals do breathe, and that poison gas will affect them (although it cannot kill them). Total absence of air will reduce the immortal to incapacitated after acertain length of time, and he won’ recover until he can, once more, breath.

•• Empower Weapon

Often in both movie and series, the clash of swords during a battle between two immortals is accompanied by electrical discharge. Using their Quickening, immortals can enfuse their weapon with raw power, causing them to do more damage, and also causing the discharges shown. An immortal can empower any edged melee weapon in this way (axe, sword, knife). One additional damage success is scored per success rolled (see Quickening Dice above for details).

Note: The extra damage done by Empower Weapon is aggravated, although the normal damage done by the weapon is not.
Example: Duncan swings his trusty katana (difficulty 6, Strength + 5 damage), and hits. He rolls Str 3 + 5 = 8 dice for damage, difficulty 6 (using the Vampire 2nd edition rules), to determine damage. Since his katana is empowered, however, he rolls an additional 5 dice for his 5 Quickening, also against difficulty 6. Any successes scored on this roll count as aggravated damage. The defender gets one soak roll against both damages, and soaks aggravated first.

•• Heal Self

In Chapter Four, the “normal” healing chart for immortals is given. Using their Quickening, however, an immortal may choose to heal even faster from wounds received. By taking a round and rolling Quickening, an immortal may heal a number of wound levels equal to the successes rolled. Note that this is done once per wound only, the rest must heal normally. Note also that if an immortal is taken to incapacitated (or beyond) before he has a chance to heal, he must first heal to crippled, then roll his dice in Heal Self. Also, aggravated wounds may not be healed in this manner, and must heal according to the chart.
Example: Richie the new immortal gets in a fight with an unsuspecting group of gang toughs, and after finishing them off he begins to recover from his wounds. Three wounds (3/1/2 levels) for a total of six wound levels (crippled). He rolls his Quickening of 2, healing 1 from the first, healing the second, and getting no successes on the third wound, over a period of three rounds. The remaining four wound levels must heal normally (which means he’ll be fully healed in little over a half hour).

••• Empower Self

Using his Quickening, an immortal may increase his physical attributes, by one for every success rolled. The effect lasts for an entire scene, and is usually done only during challenges. After using Empower Self, an immortal will feel weak (-1 to dice pool) for an hour or more. Example: Connor squares off with Fasil, and the battle begins.

Connor rolls his Quickening of 7, gaining four successes, and puts two points into Stamina and two in Dexterity. Fasil is in trouble.

•••• Speed of the Stag

Like Empower Self, an immortal may use his Quickening to increase his actions in a turn (much like the vampiric discipline of Celerity). One extra action may be gained per success rolled, and the extra actions last for an entire scene. As with Empower Self, the immortal will feel weak for some time after using this power.

• Ignore Wounds

At this level, the immortal’s recuperative powers have become so potent that they no longer need spend time to heal. One wound level is healed each round, with no roll required (although an immortal may still take a round to heal more, using the level 2 power Heal Self). Also at this level, an immortal may heal aggravated wounds as if they were normal wounds, using Heal Self above.
Example: The Kurgan, after ending the pitiful Ramirez’s life and taking his Quickening, stops to rest. Ramirez had one lucky swing that nearly took the Kurgan’s head, doing four normal wounds and one aggravated. The four normal wound levels healed over the next four rounds, and the Kurgan takes a round to heal the aggravated wound after the battle is over. A scar is left on his throat, however, to remind him of how close Ramirez’s blade came.

The Last

The “Sense Quickening” power is related to another power, which has been dubbed the “Last”. The massive amount of Quickening present in an immortal means that they are able to “tune in” to their surroundings, and to the life forces around them, effectively giving them a sixth sense, similar to the “Danger Sense” gift from Vampire. This manifests itself in many ways. In the film, the examples we saw included MacLeod and Ramirez “tuning in” to the stag’s life force on the sea shore, Kurgan’s ability to guess Connor’s name, even though he had never seen him before, Connor’s knowledge that someone (Brenda) was following him, and the way in which he knew of the gun and the tape recorder in Brenda’s apartment. This power is one that should be administrated at the Storyteller’s discretion. At appropriate times – ie. when the Storyteller decides, not the player – the ST should do a Quickening roll, and, depending on the amount of successes the player gets, he should reveal a certain amount of information. Also, the player can decide that his character is going to tune in to a particular animal, and, in this way, he can feel what the animal feels, and, at higher levels of Quickening ( 5+ ), he may be able to catch glimpses of what the animal is actually seeing and hearing. However, the animal must be nearby.

This power is an unreliable one, and manifests itself irregularly and in strange ways. This power is designed to help negate the advantage that Garou and Kindred have, through possessing Gifts and Disciplines, and is aimed at providing the immortal character with a useful, yet erratic source of information. The Storyteller should use her discretion in the dispensing of such information.

Gaining and Losing Quickening

Immortals can only increase Quickening by taking another immortal’s head. When they have successfully finished their opponent, they gain the opponent’s level in Quickening x 2 in “Quickening Experience”. Like study points in Mage, these are spent equally with experience to increase an immortal’s Quickening. As outlined in the Experience Chart (Chapter Four), it costs Current Level x 6 to increase Quickening. This is the only way to increase Quickening.

The victor also gains one point in an ability, for each point of Quickening the loser had. These ability points come from the knowledge of the loser, and must be placed in abilities that the loser had at a higher level than the victor. If the victor has higher scores in every ability of the loser, the victor gains nothing.

Example: Frank Colt beheads Butra the assassin, and takes his Quickening. Frank has a Quickening of 2, and Butra had a Quickening of 3. Frank gets 3×2 = 6 Quickening Experience, which he uses with 6 “normal” experience to raise his Quickening to 3 (which costs 12 points). He also gains three points in abilities, one each in three areas where Butra had more skill than him.
There are two conditions under which an immortal may lose Quickening: two on one, and holy ground, as discussed in Chapter One. These are handled in a very similar manner to the normal transfer of Quickening, but will result in more than one “loser”.
If two immortals fight a third and take his head, then one of the immortals who has emerged victorious will absorb all of the Quickening from the experience: all of the loser’s and one of his partner’s. Thus, he gains (loser+1)x2 in Quickening Experience, and his partner loses one point in Quickening (if he only has one, he dies from the experience). The partner also loses one point in an ability, which also goes to the victor (the storyteller picks which ability, but it has to be one that the victor is inferior to his partner in). This loss of power and knowledge keeps even the friendliest of immortals from agreeing to be a partner.

Holy ground is a similar situation, and in fact counts as the “victor” in any contest. The Node gains (loser+1)x2 in Quickening Experience toward increasing the power of the Node, and the winner of the battle loses one point of Quickening, and also loses one point in an ability (again, the ability lost is chosen by the storyteller). Since there is never a victor in a battle on holy ground, no immortal will fight there.

Example: If Frank had beheaded Butra the assassin on holy ground (in this instance, a Node with strength 2) the Node would gain (3+1)x2 = 8 Quickening experience (almost enough to turn it into a Node of 3), and Frank would lose 1 Quickening (taking him to 1) and 1 point in some ability. Bad move for Frank.

The Side Effects of Quickening

Quickening is the lifeforce of an immortal, and can only be taken by removing his head. In the World of Darkness, there are many other ways to remove someone’s power, none of which will easily
succeed against an immortal. Some examples include:

  • Vampires gain no sustenance from drinking the blood of an immortal, and cannot kill him by doing so (although they can drive the immortal to incapacitated). The blood is worthless to them.
  • Mages cannot use Prime effects to remove Quintessence from an immortal, or to destroy it (a la Flames of Purification, Prime 4). An immortal’s pattern is immutable. The immortal gains his Quickening in automatic countermagick successes to resist any Prime effect directed against him. The one exception is when an immortal loses his head: if a Mage with talent in Prime is present, he can in fact potentially become the “victor”, stealing the loser’s Quickening as Quintessence (one point of Quintessence per point of Quickening), and gaining a point of the winner’s as well. The Mage rolls his Prime versus the winner’s Quickening in a contested roll. The Mage gains no ability from the experience, but the ‘winner’ still loses one point in some ability.
    Example: If Frank had beheaded Butra the assassin in the presence of a Mage with a score of 3 in his Prime sphere, Frank and she would contest to see who actually absorbed Butra’s Quickening. If Frank lost, the Mage would gain four points of Quintessence (three for Butra and one from Frank), while Frank would lose 1 Quickening (taking him to 1) and 1 point in some ability.
  • Likewise, Immortals are practically immune to any effects of the Life sphere, or the healing discipline of Obeah (see Mage and the Vampire Player’s Guide, respectively), whether the effect is beneficial or not. Assume their Quickening in automatic successes, to resist any effect or counter any successes rolled against them.
  • An immortal’s mind, spirit, and body are tightly held by their Quickening. Although mind effects (the Mind sphere, Dominate, or Presence) may affect the immortal, his mind cannot be pulled from his body, nor may his spirit be removed without his head being removed first. This is not a contested roll, this is automatic.

Chapter Four: Systems

“You’ve the devil in you!”

Dougal

This chapter details how immortals gain experience, and details the combat system for sword duels.

Experience

“You’ve no knowledge whatsoever of your potential!”

Ramirez

Immortals gain experience in the same way as the other characters in the Storyteller system, and so much of the chart given here is simply repetition

Trait Cost
New Ability3
Willpower current rating
Abilities current rating x 2
Attributes current rating x 4
Quickening current rating x 6*

Quickening can only be increased by an equal split of Quickening Experience and “normal” experience

Healing

“Who wants to live forever?”

Queen

Immortals recover from wounds much more rapidly than mortals. In Chapter Three, using Quickening to heal was discussed. Without the use of Quickening, however, immortals still recover from crippling wounds in a short period. Examples given in the series include immolation, falling from a cliff, being shot in the head, and others. Without the use of Quickening, immortals heal using the following chart.

Health LevelTime
BruisedOne Round
Hurt One Minute
InjuredFive Minutes
Wounded Thirty Minutes
MauledOne Hour
Crippled One Hour
Incapacitated One Hour

Combat

“Don’t lose your head!”

Ramirez

Combat is a fact of life for an immortal. Whether he or she likes it or not, unless they learn how to use a sword, and, more importantly, are prepared to use it, they will surely lose their head. You can’t run forever, and if you try hiding, you’ll eventually be found by another immortal. Only by killing your fellow immortals in combat can you hope to survive and have any chance of winning the Prize.

When two immortals meet, they sense each other through the Quickening. They don’t have to do battle, (we have seen in both the movie and the series how two immortals may become friends), but it is the time of the Gathering, and it is their destiny to battle until only one remains. They have no choice in the matter.

The normal Storyteller combat rules are basically pretty useless when it comes to staging detailed sword duels. It is desirable to be able to play out duels between immortals as detailed fights, with each combatant able to choose different tactics, moves, etc. For immortal player characters, these duels are often the climax of the story, and just running a simple combat sequence can be frustrating for the player involved. Remember that, in these duels, the player is fighting to increase his power, in a battle where he has a very real chance of dying… The player is fighting for his knowledge and power, pitting it against another to the death. Thus, we recommend that the following combat system be used for duels between immortals.

Stage One: Initiative

In normal combat, the combatants will normally try to be the first to attack, in the hope of inflicting damage first. However, in sword combat, things work a little differently. Sometimes, one combatant may elect to try and surprise the other, by ambushing them and attacking them before they have a chance to draw their weapon. In such cases, use the normal rules for Initiative and Surprise, although note that an immortal can practically never be taken completely by surprise by another immortal. The Quickening sees to that.

With sword-duels, the round takes on a new meaning – Basically, a sword combat round is the length of time it takes for one person to attack the other. This system splits sword combat up into a series of bouts. A bout is a series of rounds, during which there is no pause in combat. At the start of a round, both players roll for Initiative. Then they announce what their actions are going to be. Because sword combat is reactive – ie. you don’t know what you’re going to do until your opponent has done something – the player with the higher Initiative must announce what they intend to do first.

Normally, the player with the higher Initiative will decide to attack, and, if so, his opponent must either defend or dodge. Alternatively, the character with the higher Initiative may decide to either do some other kind of action, such as leaping onto a table, or they may decide to wait and see what their opponent is going to do. If they do either of these things, combat has basically stopped, and they must begin another bout.

A bout begins with both combatants facing each other, weapons at the ready. It is up to the players themselves who actually moves first and initiates combat. Once one of the combatants announces the at they are attacking, both players make a standard Initiative roll – Wits + Alertness, against a target number of four. However, instead of deciding who acts first (as this has already been decided), the difference between the two combatants number of successes achieved is added to the dice pool of the player with the higher Initiative.

Example: Connor and the Kurgan are facing off. They circle each other for a few minutes, before Connor makes an attack. He rolls Wits (3) + Alertness (4), and gets 6 successes. The Kurgan rolls Wits (4) + Alertness (3), getting four successes. Thus, Connor gets an extra two dice to add to his Attack roll.

After this initial round, Initiative is rolled as normal, but, its role during the bout is slightly different than the one it has in normal combat. The character with the higher Initiative gets to act first, presumably attacking, and the other person must defend. Both players make their respective attack and defense rolls and that combat round ends, and the combatants roll their Initiative for the next round. The following modifiers apply:

  • The use of the Quickening power, Speed of the Stag confers an extra three Initiative dice upon the immortal using it.
  • The person who Attacked during the last combat round gains an extra die to add to their Initiative roll for this round.
  • If a combatant successfully repelled an attack by his opponent in the last round (ie. by getting an equal or greater amount of successes on his defense roll than his opponent got on his attack roll), then he also gets an extra Initiative die.
  • For every three successes by which a combatant’s attack/defense roll exceeds his opponents roll, they gain an extra Initiative die.
    These rules may seem very complicated right now, but will become clearer later on.

Stage Two: Attack

To reflect the complexity of sword combat, and the fact that it’s not just a case of hacking at the other person until one of you dies, I have adopted the following list of standard sword-fighting maneuvers from the rules for Klaive-duelling in the Werewolf Players Guide. They are split up into two types – Attack maneuvers and Defense maneuvers. Normally, the attacker will choose an Attacking maneuver, and his opponent will choose a Defense maneuver, in an attempt to counter it, but in some cases, the nature of the Attack maneuver will only allow the defender one option. For example, if an attacker decides to try and disarm his opponent, his opponent must decide to try to hang on to his weapon. He has no other choice.

  • Normal Attack – The attacker attempts to wound his/her opponent, rolling Dexterity + Melee, with the Difficulty specified by the weapon used. Type: Attack Difficulty: Weapon Difficulty Image: The warrior simply tries to wound his opponent by dint of speed and skill.
  • Feint – The attacker rolls Manipulation + Melee for his attack roll, with a difficulty modifier of +3. This attack may not be parried – it may only be dodged. Type: Attack Difficulty: Weapon Difficulty + 3 Image: With a lightning-quick motion, the swordsman attacks first high, then low, slipping around his opponent’s guard, and moving to hit a vulnerable spot.
  • Disarm – The attacker rolls Dexterity + Melee, resisted by Dexterity + Melee from their opponent, both rolls difficulty six. If either combatant rolls three successes or more above their opponents successes, they disarm their opponent, and their weapon falls to the ground. If you botch this roll, you automatically drop your own weapon! Type: Attack Difficulty: 6 Image: With a quick movement, you catch your opponents sword and it drops out of his nerveless hand, onto the ground.
  • Great Blow – The attacker commits themselves completely to a devastating blow (but not a blow to decapitate their opponent). They roll a normal attack roll, with a +2 to difficulty. Although a Great Blow cannot be parried, it can be dodged. If the attack succeeds, the attack dice are doubled. However, the attacker’s difficulty for their Initiative the next round is 5, not 4, and they have a +2 to all Defense difficulties during the next round also. Type: Attack Difficulty: Weapon Difficulty +2 Image: You bring your sword back and fall forward, lunging at your opponent. Heedless of the danger, you throw your body forward, your sword serving as the tip of a monstrous battering ram – you.
  • Target Blow – Roll Perception + Melee, the difficulty number is your opponents Dex + Dodge. If successful, the number of successes add to the number of damage dice done by your weapon. Optionally, you may elect to target a specific area – See the table below for details of Difficulties and effects. This blow can be parried or dodged as normal and is often used to start off a bout. Type: Attack Difficulty: Opp. Dex + Dodge Image: You try to hit a specific part of your opponent’s body. You hold your blade up, and strike, attempting to bypass you opponent’s defense to strike your target.

Aimed Attack

Hands/Arms – Difficulty +3/+2, Damage: A Wounded result means the hand/arm is broken and any weapons in that hand cannot be used; if the hand is holding a sword, it is dropped. A Crippled result means that the limb is sheared off. To reattach, the limb must be recovered and held to the wound while the immortal regenerates to restore himself to at least Mauled level. The limb cannot be used until it fully heals (treat as if it has taken aggravated damage). The immortal will have a scar thereafter, showing where the limb was removed.

Legs – Difficulty +1, Damage: A Wounded result means that the limb is broken; the penalties to the Dice Pool apply to any activities requiring running. An Incapacitated result with a sharp weapon means the limb is cut off, with the same results as severing a hand or arm.

Chest/Torso – Difficulty +1, Damage: The character will have the air knocked out of his lungs on a Wounded result (stunned for the turn), and his ribs broken on a Mauled result (must make a Willpower roll, difficulty 8, each turn to keep acting). If the immortal is attacked from behind, and the result is one more than needed to Incapacitate, then the spine is broken, and his lower body is paralyzed until he regenerates to the Crippled level.

  • Parry – The combatant must roll Dexterity + Melee against their weapon’s normal difficulty. Each success on this roll subtracts from one attack success made against the parrying warrior. Type: Defense Difficulty : Weapon Difficulty Image: The swordsman brings his weapon to bear, holding it steady and catches the force of his opponent’s sword with his own.
  • Riposte – This maneuver may only be used after the one who wishes to use it has successfully parried a blow. This maneuver is a Strength + Melee roll, the weapon’s difficulty serves as an attack roll. This sort of attack may not be dodged, though it may be parried, and if successfully parried, this attack may also be riposted. Type: Attack Difficulty: Weapon Difficulty Image: You parry your opponent’s strike. Klang! With catlike speed and grace, you bring your sword around his arm, hoping to catch him off guard.
  • Caught Steel – Roll Strength + Melee versus a difficulty of your opponent’s Dexterity + Melee. If successful, you lock swords with him for a short interval, during which you struggle with him before your blade and his can be freed (he can do no damage this attack). If you receive more than three successes on your roll, you manage to put him off-balance for the following round, adding one to the difficulty of his Initiative roll. Type: Defense Difficulty: Opp. Dex + Melee Image: You lock steel with your opponent. “So, Highlander, we meet again!” You struggle for a moment, then the fight sparks again.
  • Decapitation – This is an Aimed Attack at the neck, requiring a Perception + Melee versus a difficulty of your opponent’s Dex + Dodge. To decapitate, you must reduce your opponent to one level past Incapacitated. Type: Attack Difficulty: Opp. Dex + Dodge Image: With fluid-like agility, you swing your sword around, and, before your opponent can block you, your blade slices through his neck, and his head falls to the ground. – Note that, quite often in the duels fought in Highlander, the two immortals fight until one of the combatants is disarmed and driven to their knees, admitting defeat. It is rarely a lucky shot that chops off the head, but more often a defeat of the spirit.)

This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of all the possible maneuvers, but more a guide to help Storytellers decide the types of rolls and difficulties which should be applied to various maneuvers. Ideally, combat should take the form of a semi-live action roleplay combat scene, with the players describing what their character does, and demonstrating (safely, of course) if necessary. The Storyteller then decides what rolls should be made and against what difficulties.

Dodging

On some occasions, it may be necessary to dodge a blow rather than parry it. On these occasions, the target rolls his Dexterity + Dodge against a target number of six. The successes on this roll are subtracted from the successes of the Attacker. If the attacker’s successes are eliminated, the target manages to dodge the blow.

Stage Three: Resolution

Damage is resolved as normal – The attacker rolls the Damage dice pool for that weapon, against a target number of six, each success causing the target to lose a health level. The target makes a Soak roll, rolling his Stamina (difficulty 6) and subtracting his successes from his opponent’s.

Example of Combat

Connor is squaring off against the Kurgan (See the Appendix for their respective stats). They circle each other for a few moments, Kurgan makes his first move – a normal attack. Both players roll for Initiative, Connor getting six successes, and the Kurgan gets five. Kurgan make his attack roll – Dex+Melee – getting five successes. Connor tries to parry the Kurgan’s attack, and makes his Defense roll – Dex+Melee plus an extra die, ass he got more one more success on his Initiative roll than Kurgan. Connor also rolls five successes, and manages to parry the Kurgan’s blade.

Both roll Initiative for the next round, and both have an extra die to add to their Initiative pool – The Kurgan because he attacked last round, and Connor because he managed to successfully parry Kurgan’s attack. Kurgan gets four successes, and Connor gets six, winning the Initiative, and getting two dice to add to his dice pool. Connor decides to try a Feint, and makes his roll – Manipulation + Melee plus his two Initiative dice against a target number of nine – his weapon’s normal difficulty plus three. He gets two successes. Because a feint can’t be parried, Kurgan is left with no option but to try and dodge. Rolling Dexterity + Dodge against a difficulty of six, he gets five successes – Connor’s blade slices through thin air.

The third round of combat starts, and both players roll for Initiative. The Storyteller decides that, seeing as Kurgan’s Dodge successes exceeded Connor’s Attack successes by three, Connor will be slightly off-balance at the start of this round, due to having swung his sword through thin air. Thus, Connor’s difficulty is five instead of four, to reflect this. Connor decides that he needs get working and thus uses his Quickening to get the Speed of the Stag, which gives him an extra three Initiative dice, in addition to the die he receives for having attacked last round. The Kurgan rolls his Wits + Alertness and gets five successes. Connor follows suit and gets seven successes, which means he has two dice to add to his dice pool. He decides to try to disarm the Kurgan, and rolls Dexterity + Melee against a difficulty of six, not forgetting his extra two dice, and gets a massive seven successes. Kurgan rolls Dex + Melee but gets several botches, and can only manage three successes. Connor manages to flick the Kurgan’s sword from his hand. Kurgan’s in trouble.

This is primarily an arbitrary combat system, designed to aid the Storyteller and players in Storytelling the duels which occur, rather than restricting them to a framework of rules. As ever, if you don’t like part of these rules, don’t use them. We don’t come around and inspect how you play these games. Well, not too often, anyway…

Weapons

The sword is the traditional weapon of an immortal. The reasons for this are fairly simple – the sword is the oldest weapon with which you could efficiently decapitate someone, and the first immortals would have used them. They would have passed the tradition on to the immortals who followed them. Until relatively recently, the sword was the main personal weapon. It’s only within the last few hundred years that we have begun using guns, and you can’t chop a man’s head off with a gun. In fact, not counting the battle axe, there still is no practical weapon which can be used to decapitate someone in a duel, and because immortals always learn their ways from other immortals, it is only natural that the sword has become the traditional weapon for immortals.

An immortal will often have a weapon which he has used for many centuries. Ramirez, for example had has his katana for over two millennia by the time he met Connor. To an immortal, a sword is more than just a piece of steel. It becomes an extension of their body – they keep it with them most of the time, and it becomes an old friend, in effect. There are no hard and fast rules for weapons as regards weapons difficulties and damage, etc. A rough guide is that the bigger and heavier sword is, the harder it is to use, but the more damage is inflicts. The Katanas used by Connor, Duncan and Ramirez are all Difficulty 6, Damage: Strength + 5. But the Kurgan’s two-handed sword is Difficulty 7, Damage: Strength + 6, being, as it is, both heavier and more difficult to use. Kastagir’s Saber is Difficulty 6 and Damage: Strength + 4, reflecting that it is normally used with only one hand.

It’s a good idea to describe your weapon in detail, as part of fleshing out your character. If possible, get hold of a weapons catalog, from a company like Noble Collection, for example, which sells a wide variety of swords and axes, and pick a weapon (Noble Collection is one of many distributors for Marto USA, the suppliers for the Highlander movies and TV show). An immortal’s choice of weapon helps define who they are. Connor’s Katana reflects his honor and values, and the way in which he uses skill, more than brute strength to win duels, while the Kurgan’s two-handed sword reflects his harshness and brutality. Also, how do you carry your weapon? In a long coat, like Connor, or have some other method, perhaps? All these details help to flesh out your character, and enrich the role playing experience.

Chapter Five: The World of Darkness

“Fighting to survive, in a world with the darkest powers…”

Queen

Highlander-style immortals fit perfectly into the World of Darkness. The movie Highlander is listed as one of the inspirations for the World of Darkness – a world where supernatural beings walk among us without our knowledge. However, immortals are very different from other supernatural creatures in one very important way – Unlike the Kindred, Garou and Mages, immortals don’t have their own society, for very obvious reasons. In a world where various groups such as the Sabbat and the Technocracy vie for power, immortals are wildcards – powerful individuals; mavericks who can be useful allies or dangerous enemies. They have no clearly defined role, unlike the Garou, for instance, and instead, follow their own destiny, towards the Prize.

Immortals don’t go around in groups, for very obvious reasons. Therefore, there will normally only be a single immortal player character in a Chronicle, and the other PCs will presumably be one of the other character types detailed in the Storyteller games released so far – Kindred, Garou, Mage or Wraith. This brings up the interesting topic of what the other characters actually know about the immortal character. Given that immortals are probably the rarest of all the supernatural beings (excepting Mummies), it’s reasonable to assume that it’s not exactly common knowledge that these guys are immortal, and can only be killed if their head is chopped off. If assessed using supernatural powers, an immortal’s aura will look very similar to a Mage’s, or perhaps a Changeling’s – They store within them a large well of power, not unlike Quintessence. However, it will soon become obvious that an immortal cannot manipulate magick, nor does he possess powers like that of a Faerie. Normally, an immortal won’t reveal his true nature to people, without a very good reason, and it is very unlikely that he will reveal the method by which he can be killed.
Although immortals are, after all, immortal, and don’t necessarily need to eat, sleep, and so on, failure to do so will result in them becoming weak, although they can never die of hunger or exposure. However, hunger and cold make immortals as uncomfortable as they do mortals, and therefore, it is desirable to have a roof over one’s head, and money, in order to make your life more comfortable. Unlike other supernatural beings, immortals don’t have Caerns, Nodes or Crypts. Instead, they will most probably live amongst mortals.

During their extended lifetimes, immortals are likely to amass huge amounts of wealth. However, like Vampires, immortals must maintain a masquerade – the illusion that there is nothing strange about them. This can be difficult, and can involve having to leave worldly assets behind. In the film, Connor used to leave his goods to children who had died whilst very young, and “die”, only to return after a suitable interval to assume the identity of the dead person and claim their inheritance. This is probably the best way of ensuring that an immortal doesn’t have to give up whatever worldly possessions he has earned when he has to move on, in order to prevent his true nature being discovered. Doubtless, there are immortals who travel around quite a bit, but it’s likely that, after several centuries of travelling, an immortal may wish to stay in one place for a while.

Obviously, if an immortal has settled down in one place, they will need to have some way of paying for their lifestyle on a day to day basis. Duncan, for instance, has extensive stock holdings, but he is also an antique dealer, as Connor was. What better job for a man who was alive when many antiques were new? Other professions which require a knowledge of the past may also attract immortals, like a history professor, for instance. Who better to describe the Civil War than someone who was actually there? Immortals’ supernatural abilities mean that they are practically perfect as soldiers, or something similar. What could be better than a soldier who isn’t just simply unafraid of dying, but is actually unable to die? Most immortals will no doubt have been involved in some sort of conflict at some point in their lives, unless they actively avoided it.

Were an immortal’s secret to become known, the results could be potentially disastrous. Imagine what would happen were a company such as Development Neogenetics Amalgamated or Pentex Inc. to discover that immortals exist – they would stop at nothing in an attempt to discover the secret of immortality. Therefore, an immortal character must be careful to guard his secret, and maintain the facade of normality.

Antagonists

“How do you fight such a savage?”

“With heart, faith, and steel…”

Connor, Ramirez

In this section we will discuss how Immortals are likely to interact with the other supernatural beings in the World of Darkness, as well as other individuals and organizations, such as the Inquisition.

Vampires

Immortals are quite likely to run up against the Kindred of any city they visit – Kindred feed off mortals, while Immortals are more likely to try and protect the them. Kindred seek to control and they will normally try to destroy that which they are unable to control. Immortals don’t often fit into their schemes, which makes them dangerous. However, as much as an immortal can be a powerful enemy, they can also be a powerful ally. It is possible that individual immortals and vampires can become friends and allies, for both have one major trait in common – both have the potential to live for an inordinate length of time. Both understand what it is like to live for much longer than mortals. Added to this is the fact that, unlike mortals, immortals have nothing to fear from Vampires – as has been stated before, immortal blood holds no sustenance for Vampires, and immortals cannot be Embraced, nor made into Ghouls. However, unlike many Kindred, Immortals are still innately human, and the bestial nature of many Kindred will repel them. If an immortal has a Vampire as a friend, it is likely that the Vampire will have a high Humanity.

Werewolves

Immortals are more likely to join the Garou than the Kindred. The Garou fight for a simpler time, a time the immortal may well remember. The Garou also fight against the desecration of Gaia, and, as PC immortals are likely to follow in the hero mold of Connor and Duncan MacLeod, it is extremely likely that Garou and Immortals would consider each other to be brothers, fighting on the same side, against the destruction of a mother earth the Immortals have watched being desecrated over the centuries. Add to this the fact that Garou Caerns are Holy Ground, and a refuge for immortals, and it becomes obvious that the Garou and Immortals are very likely allies.

However, there is a possibility that some immortals may come up against the Garou, especially if they have amassed great wealth, and control portions of man’s world which the Garou do not appreciate. Such immortals may be considered by the Garou to be agents of the Wyrm. In general, however, Immortals are much more likely to form friendly relationships and allies the Garou than anything else.

Mages

Immortals and Mages don’t mix well. This isn’t because of any direct conflict, but because Mages will often wish to acquire the immortal’s Quickening, in order to empower their own node. Also, Mages, like the Kindred, are often distrustful of that which they can’t control, an immortals’ immunity to magic of both the Prime and Life spheres makes them a danger. On the other hand, immortals make useful allies, powerful and yet not beholden to any clan or tribe. Also, the Mages’ nodes are Holy Ground, like the Caerns of the Garou. However, what immortal is likely to feel comfortable in a place surrounded by people who could gain a lot of power for themselves by beheading him?

Wraiths

It’s likely that Immortals and Wraiths do not normally interact very much, due to the simple fact that while Immortals inhabit the mundane world, Wraiths dwell in the Deep Umbra and rarely manifest themselves on Earth. It should be noted, however, that because of the manner in which the Quickening binds an immortal’s being together, Immortals cannot be possessed.

Changelings

Like the Garou, the Sidhe are likely to form strong alliances with Immortals, as they are, in many ways, kindred spirits – human, and yet wielding powers which no mortal can possess. Both Immortals and Changelings strive towards a goal which is their destiny to pursue – Immortals strive to win the Prize, while the Sidhe dream of returning to Arcadia, to join with their faerie kin. The Sidhe’s relationship with the Garou (especially the Fianna), is also likely to result in Changelings and Immortals becoming friends and allies. Certain members of the Fey may also hold clues to the origins of the Immortals…

The Wyrm

Minions of the Wyrm, such as Fomori and the Black Spiral Dancers are very likely to attempt to kill any Immortals they come across, as Immortals are likely to be considered to be of neither the Wyld nor the Weaver alone, but of both – their role as wildcards and mavericks is a trait of the Wyld, yet the Weaver holds their body and spirit together. Suffice to say that the Wyrm would consider Immortals to be enemies.

Governments

It is highly unlikely that the Government knows, or even suspects that there are immortals out there, although there may be a section of the FBI or some similar organization which is carrying out an investigation into the possibility that there is a serial killer going around, chopping people’s heads off. Witnesses of Immortal duels are likely to be given the same amount of credibility as the ex-Marine was in the movie – ie. none at all. On the other hand, Immortals are likely to have to tread carefully, and take extra care, when trying to hide their immortality from individuals in government departments, and so on. However, immortals are much more likely to run into trouble when trying to deal with the police. Particularly if they are murder suspects, like Connor was in the film. An immortal had better make sure that his cover is unshakable if he comes under investigation by the police or FBI.

The Inquisition

The Inquisition is likely to have encountered immortals during the Dark Ages, when they would have been considered to be witches, or “in league with Lucifer”, as Kate said. The punishment for such heresy was burning at the stake, and at least one immortal in the series has survived such an ordeal. It’s very unlikely that the Inquisition knows of the existence of Immortals. However, see the information on the Watchers below.

The Watchers

The Watchers are a group which predates the that Arcanum, and, although they have links with the Arcanum, the Arcanum proper is unaware of the existence of Immortals. The Watchers are. They have spent centuries studying the immortals, chronicling their exploits, but not interfering. They keep accurate records of all new immortals, who has taken who’s head, and (like the immortals themselves) wonder as to who will gain the Prize, and what this Prize is. Watchers are mortals, and are chosen for their “normalness”. They don’t stand out in a crowd, they blend. They don’t trigger the immortal’s senses, and are trained to observe. Their only distinguishing feature is a tattoo on their wrists, a circle with a holy symbol of their order within. This allows them to easily recognize one another, and to remind them of their mission.

The Hunters

In recent years, a rogue branch of the Watchers has formed. This group has links with the Inquisition. Fueled by paranoia, it’s members have decided that they cannot wait and hope that the immortal who gains the Prize is a good person. They actively hunt and kill immortals, removing their heads and allowing their knowledge and power to be lost to the Ether. In this way, they seek to stop any immortal from achieving the power of the Prize. These “Hunters” view immortals as the greatest danger ever to face mankind… both the Watchers and the Hunters are detailed in the series, and some of the main characters in the second season are members of these groups. Although the other supernatural beings, such as Werewolves and Vampires aren’t mentioned in the series, it’s possible that in the World of Darkness their mission may have expanded to include Vampires, Magi, and any other beings they perceive to be a danger.

Storytelling

Running a Chronicle with a group with an immortal is something of a challenge. Physically, Immortals are among the most powerful characters in the Storytelling system, but there are disadvantages to playing an immortal, when compared to a Vampire, a Werewolf, or a Mage. All three possess powers which an Immortal cannot match. Many Vampiric Disciplines and Garou Gifts bestow advantages which the Quickening is unable to match, and the Magick wielded by Mages, while Immortals are immune to the effects of the Life and Prime spheres, can be very dangerous indeed. Another major difference is that Immortals are bound to the mundane world, and cannot pierce the Gauntlet to travel to the Umbral Spirit World.

The Last is designed to help even out these differences, and the Storyteller should actively be thinking about what an immortal may sense through the Last throughout a Story. Note that an immortal player character should not have to ask whether he senses anything through the Last – it is designed to be a random way of giving the Immortal knowledge which he couldn’t normally know, and isn’t an ability or a Gift to be activated at will. Consider the various instances in the film where an immortal knew something he really shouldn’t have – Connor finding Brenda’s gun and tape recorder; Kurgan knowing that “there is one among them named Connor”; Connor sensing Rachel’s presence and asking what she was looking at; and so on.

It is also necessary to keep in mind the aims and desires of the various characters in a group – obviously, the aims of a Garou, for example are different from that of a Vampire. The Werewolf may wish to increase his Renown by combatting the Wyrm, while the Vampire might want to extend his power and influence. However, an immortal has but one aim – to win the Prize. The only way of doing this is to kill other immortals and take their Quickening. The Storyteller should always make sure that there is a reason for the Immortal character’s presence in the group, and for him aiding the other characters. The Mages and the Garou may have teamed up to thwart the Technocracy’s plans, as it is in both their interests, but, a player with an Immortal character could quickly discover that he is just riding along in this situation, with no advantage to his character being readily apparent. It is important to ensure that the actions of the group as a whole don’t conflict with the aims of any of it’s individual members.

It can be advantageous if the Immortal character has ties to other members of the group, instead of just being an extra member of the team, whom no one really knows. He might be kin to a Garou, or an ally of a Vampire or a Mage. What is important is that he is actually part of the team, and not just an add-on.

Hopefully, this supplement will bring a new dimension to your World of Darkness games, and will provide even more enjoyment for both Storyteller and players.

Appendix: Immortals

“He is immortal, and he is not alone.”

Dawson

These are simply the author’s interpretations of the immortals from the movie and series. If you disagree with part or all of it, change it.

Connor MacLeod (circa 1985) – Played by Christopher Lambert

“I am Connor MacLeod of the Clan MacLeod. I was born in 1518 in the village of Glenfinnan on the shores of Loch Shiel. And I am immortal.”

Connor

Strength 3 Dexterity 4 Stamina 4 Charisma 4 Manipulation 4 Appearance 3 Perception 4, Intelligence 4, Wits 4

Talents:

Alertness 3, Awareness 4, Athletics 3, Brawl 3, Dodge 4, Intimidation 3, Intuition 3, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 4 Skills: Drive 1, Etiquette 3, Firearms 2, Leadership 1, Melee 6, Stealth 4, Survival 3 Knowledges: Bureaucracy 2, Computer 1, Finance 3, History 5, Investigation 2, Law 3, Linguistics 3, Medicine 2, Occult 1, Politics 2, Science 2

Backgrounds:

Allies 1, Arcane 1, Contacts 2, Resources 5 Quickening 7 Willpower 7

Weapon

Katana (difficulty 6, Str+5=8 dice)

Ramirez (circa 1541) -Played by Sean Connery

“I am Juan Sanchez Villa Lobos Ramirez, chief metallurgist to King Charles V of Spain. And I am at your service.”

Ramirez

Strength 3 Dexterity 3 Stamina 4 Charisma 5 Manipulation 4 Appearance 3 Perception 5 Intelligence 5 Wits 4

Talents:

Acting 3, Alertness 4, Awareness 5, Athletics 2, Brawl 3, Dodge 3, Empathy 2, Intimidation 3, Intuition 4, Streetwise 3, Subterfuge 4 Skills: Etiquette 4, Leadership 4, Melee 7, Music 3, Repair 2, Stealth 3, Survival 5 Knowledges: Finance 4, Investigation 5, Law 4, Linguistics 6, Medicine 4, Occult 3, Politics 4, Science 3

Backgrounds:

Arcane 3, Resources 5 Quickening 6 Willpower 9

Weapon

Katana (difficulty 6, Str+5=8 dice)

The Kurgan (circa 1985) – Played by Clancy Brown

“The Kurgans were an ancient people from the steppes of Russia. For amusement they tossed children into pits with hungry dogs to fight for meat. Ah, the Kurgan… he is the strongest of all the immortals. He is the perfect warrior.”

Ramirez

Strength 5 Dexterity 4 Stamina 5 Charisma 2 Manipulation 4 Appearance 2 Perception 4 Intelligence 3 Wits 4

Talents:

Alertness 3, Awareness 4, Athletics 3, Brawl 7, Dodge 5, Intimidation 6, Leadership 4, Streetwise 5, Subterfuge 2 Skills: Drive 4, Firearms 5, Melee 8, Repair 4, Stealth 2, Survival 6 Knowledges: Computer 1, Finance 3, Investigation 2, Law 3, Linguistics 5, Medicine 2, Occult 4, Politics 3, Science 2

Backgrounds:

Arcane 3, Contacts 2, Fame 1, Resources 3 Quickening 8 Willpower 8

Weapon

Two Handed Sword (difficulty 7, Str+6=11 dice)

Duncan MacLeod (circa 1993) – Played by Adrian Paul

“I am Duncan MacLeod born 400 years ago in the Highlands of Scotland.I am immortal, and I am not alone.”

Duncan

Strength 3 Dexterity 5 Stamina 4 Charisma 4 Manipulation 3 Appearance 4 Perception 4 Intelligence 3 Wits 4

Talents:

Acting 2, Alertness 1, Awareness 3, Athletics 4, Brawl 6, Dodge 3, Intimidation 2, Intuition 2, Leadership 2, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 3 Skills: Drive 3, Etiquette 1, Firearms 3, Melee 6, Repair 1, Stealth 3, Survival 4 Knowledges: Computer 2, Finance 2, Investigation 3, Law 1, Linguistics 4, Medicine 1, Occult 1, Politics 1, Science 1

Backgrounds:

Allies 2, Arcane 2, Contacts 1, Mentor 4, Resources 4 Quickening 5 Willpower 8

Weapon

Katana (difficulty 6, Str+5=8 dice)

Richie Ryan (circa 1994) – Played by Stan Kirsch

“You’re one of us now.”

Duncan

Strength 3 Dexterity 3 Stamina 4 Charisma 3 Manipulation 2 Appearance 3 Perception 4 Intelligence 3 Wits 2

Talents:

Acting 2, Alertness 1, Athletics 2, Brawl 2, Dodge 2, Streetwise 3, Subterfuge 1 Skills: Drive 4, Firearms 1, Melee 3, Repair 2, Security 3, Stealth 1 Knowledges: Computer 1, Finance 1, Investigation 1, Law 2

Backgrounds:

Contacts 2, Mentor 3, Resources 2 Quickening 2 Willpower 6

Weapon

Saber (difficulty 6, Str+4=7 dice)

Last Words

“Now it ends.”

Kurgan

John: I loved Highlander from the first time I saw it – It remains one of my favorite films to this day. Everything about it appealed to me, from the story to the music. When I discovered Hank’s rules for running a Highlander character in the World of Darkness one night while browsing through the now-defunct soda.berkeley.edu Storyteller ftp site, I pounced on them immediately. The prospect of playing an immortal in the World of Darkness had never occurred to me, but I was sold from the start. Using Hank’s rules, I ran an immortal in a friend’s Storyteller Chronicle, in a fairly large group with Vampires, Garou and Magi player characters.

Diarmuid Mac Aonghusa, as I called the character, was an Irish immortal, and kin to the Garou Fianna tribe. The other players, exasperated with the, in their opinion, unpronounceable name I chose for the character, dubbed him “DeDannan”, after the ancient Celtic race, the Tuatha De Dannan, and referred to him as “The Celt”. The first time DeDannan fought another immortal, one of the major deficiencies of both the Storyteller system and Hank’s rules became quickly apparent – the lack of rules for Storytelling detailed sword-duels. I designed a crude system of sword-fighting rules, and later adopted the rules for Glaive duelling from the Werewolf Players Guide.

As time went by, other small deficiencies cropped up, and various ideas occurred to me. I’ve never really been happy simply as a player of role-playing games; I’ve always preferred designing games to actually playing or GMing
Eventually, as my ideas mounted up, I gave in to temptation, and embark on a revision of Hank’s rules. Not a complete re-writing, but some additions, and a fair bit of editing. To my relief, Hank liked the ideas I had, and we made it a joint effort. Thus, Highlander: The Gathering Second Edition was born.

Unlike Hank, I’m not exactly a Highlander fanatic. I’ve never really been that impressed by the series, preferring the film both for it’s mood and atmosphere, and because I like both Christopher Lambert and the character of Connor Mac Leod more than I do Adrian Paul or Duncan. However, I am fanatical about the film, and I’ve seen it more times than I can count.
My credentials as far as game design go are slightly better. As well as being a manic roleplayer and a World of Darkness fanatic, I’m also a freelance game designer, and I’ve been involved in the development of the Storyteller series, particularly Werewolf: The Apocalypse.

Just to reiterate – while these rules are copyright of us, their authors, we do not dispute the ownership of the rights to the Highlander film and series by the writers and producers of the respective productions. This is not an official Highlander roleplaying game. We do believe that Epitaph studios are currently developing the Official Highlander roleplaying game. The Storytelling roleplaying system and the World of Darkness setting were developed by and are copyright of White Wolf Inc. By copyrighting these rules, we do not dispute the ownership of any of these trademarks. We simply wish to see that our efforts in putting together these rules aren’t exploited by anyone else.

Just one last thing – Always remember that, although there are plenty of “rule”s to be found in these pages, there really is only one important rule to be considered when you are using the Storyteller system, no matter whether you’re playing a Werewolf, an Immortal or a Mage – There are no rules. What is contained in these pages are mine and Hank’s ideas – our suggestions for playing an immortal in the World of Darkness. Admittedly, I’d like to think that I’m a good enough game designer to have put together something that will suit and appeal to most people, but I doubt if I’m that good…
At the moment, my email address of csc086@cent1.lancs.ac.uk is looking as though it might change, so, if you have any comments on these rules, Hank would be the best person to send them to.

Don’t lose your head,
John

Hank: Wow. When I sat down to write the first edition Highlander rules, my hope was that someone out on the net would eventually read them, and maybe even like what they read…

I’ve had over 300 people personally request the Highlander rules, independent of who knows how many have gotten them off the ftp sites or mosaic pages they live on now. Like I said, Wow… thanks!

I gave my credentials in the first edition rules, so this is just a recap. I started roleplaying when my dad bought D&D the week it came out, in the mid-70’s (I was 8). I’ve since played and/or gamemastered in over a hundred campaigns, lasting from a few weeks to several years. I’ve always been a Highlander fan, and between Duncan’s katana and the movie poster on the wall most people who enter my home guess that pretty quickly.

A lot has changed the past nine months, since the first edition came out. I’m finishing my PhD this summer, and in September 1994 I begin work at Digital Domain in Venice, CA, doing computer effects for Jim Cameron (y’know, the T2/Aliens/Abyss guy. He owns the company) and others. My life is changing so quickly… I’d just like to thank John for having so many things to contribute that it warranted a new version, and my wife (of almost five years now… and she still likes me… another Wow!) for putting up with me staying up nights to bounce e-mail ideas and editing/layout ideas with this guy in the UK…

For awhile still, people can reach me at driskill@cs.utah.edu. This address will forward to my DD account in September… as before, my only “payment” for these rules is that you send us mail, and tell us what you think: good or bad, ideas help. Who knows, we may make you write the third edition…{center smiley here}. PS: To subscribe to the Highlander mailing list, send mail to listserv@psuvm.psu.edu with a message body that says simply sub highla-l yourname@yoursite. Likewise, you can subscribe to the vampire mailing list, vampire-l, by sending mail to listserv@wizards.com, the same way. There is also a werewolf-l and mage-l, at the same address. For more info on the Highlander mailing list, contact the list admin, Debbie_Douglass@DL5000.bc.edu.


Josh Karabin

Highlander Episode Guide
July 06, 1993

Original by Bill Reeves

Additions by Obie Slotterbeck

Roderick Lee

Jonathan Blum

Dave Romas

Lee Whiteside

Additional information gratuitously plagiarized from the Net.

Regular Cast

Adrian Paul as Duncan Macleod

Alexandra Vandernoot as Tessa Noel

Stan Kirsch as Richie Ryan

Text from the beginning of each episode

First form (6 episodes)

I am Duncan Macleod, born 400 years ago in the highlands of Scotland.
I am Immortal, and I am not alone. For centuries we have waited for
the time of the Gathering, when the stroke of a sword and the fall of
a head will release the power of the Quickening. In the end, there can
be only one.

Second form

I was born 400 years ago in the highlands of Scotland. I am Immortal,
and I am not alone. Now is the time of the Gathering, when the stroke
of a sword will release the power of the Quickening. In the end, there
can be only one.

Short Episode Listing

01 The Gathering
02 Innocent Man
03 Road Not Taken
04 Bad Day in Building A
05 Free Fall
06 Deadly Medicine
07 Mountain Men
08 Revenge is Sweet
01R The Gathering (repeat)
09 The Sea Witch
10 Eyewitness
11 Family Tree
02R Innocent Man (repeat)
07R Mountain Men (repeat)
05R Free Fall (repeat)
03R Road Not Taken (repeat)
04R Bad Day in Building A (repeat)
06R Deadly Medicine (repeat)
12 See No Evil
13 Band of Brothers
14 For Evil’s Sake
15 For Tomorrow We Die
16 The Beast Below
17 Saving Grace
09R The Sea Witch (repeat)
11R Family Tree (repeat)
10R Eyewitness (repeat)
12R See No Evil (repeat)
08R Revenge is Sweet (repeat)
18 The Lady and the Tiger
19 Avenging Angel
20 Eye of the Beholder
21 Nowhere to Run
22 The Hunters
15R For Tomorrow We Die (repeat)
14R For Evil’s Sake (repeat)
01R The Gathering (repeat)
07R Mountain Men (repeat)
09R The Sea Witch (repeat)
10R Eyewitness (repeat)
12R See No Evil (repeat)
16R The Beast Below (repeat)
17R Saving Grace (repeat)
13R Band of Brothers (repeat)
18R The Lady and the Tiger (repeat)
14R For Evil’s Sake (repeat)
21R Nowhere to Run (repeat)
20R Eye of the Beholder (repeat)
08R Revenge is Sweet (repeat)
15R For Tomorrow We Die (repeat)
19R Avenging Angel (repeat)
22R The Hunters (repeat)

Episode Details (SPOILERS)

FormatTitle Production number

Written by writer, directed by director
Guest star actor as character
Semi-regular actor as character
Short plot summary

01) The Gathering 92102-1
Written by Dan Gordon, directed by Thomas J. Wright
Christopher Lambert as Connor Macleod
Richard Moll as Slan Quince
Wendell Wright as Sgt. Powell
Connor Macleod comes to town to visit his kinsman Duncan, and together
they fight the evil Slan Quince.

02) Innocent Man 92103-4
Written by Dan Gordon, directed by Jorge Montesi
John Novack as Sheriff Howard Crowley
Victor Young as Lucas Desiree
Vincent Schiavelli as Leo Atkins
Amanda Wyss as Randi McFarland
Wendell Wright as Sgt. Powell
Duncan’s old friend Lucas Desiree is killed, and Vietnam vet Leo Atkins
is framed for the murder. Duncan must protect Leo and track down the
real killer.

03) Road Not Taken 92108-3
Written by Terry Nelson, directed by Thomas J. Wright
Dustin Nguyen as Chu Lin
Soon-teck Oh as Kiem Sun
Wendell Wright as Sgt. Powell
Christianne Hirt as Angie
A friend of Richie’s is killed by a mind control drug, and Duncan
suspects an old friend could be behind it.

04) Bad Day in Building A 92107-6
Written by Kevin Droney, directed by Jorge Montesi
Andrew Divoff as Bryan Slade
Amanda Wyss as Randi McFarland
Jay Brazeau as Comissioner Comanski
Terrorists take over a courthouse and take Duncan, Tessa, and Richie
as hostages. When they decide to execute a hostage, they choose the
wrong one…

05) Free Fall 92101-5
Written by Philip John Taylor, directed by Thomas J. Wright
Joan Jett as Felicia Martins
Eli Gabay as Devereux
Jay Brazeau as Comissioner Comanski
An evil immortal pretends to be innocent in order to gain Duncan’s
trust, and endangers Tessa and Richie.

06) Deadly Medicine 92111-8
Written by Robert L. McCullough, directed by Ray Austin
Joe Pantoliano as Doctor Wilder
Amanda Wyss as Randi McFarland
Duncan is critically injured in an auto accident — when he makes a
miraculous recovery, his E/R doctor takes an unhealthy interest in him.

07) Mountain Men 92110-7
Written by Marie-Chantal Droney, directed by Thomas J. Wright
Marc Singer as Caleb
Wes Studi as Sheriff Benson
John Dennis Johnston as Carl the Hermit
Duncan must rescue Tessa, who’s been taken captive by an immortal who has
been hiding in the wilderness for years.

08) Revenge is Sweet 92109-10
Written by Loraine Despres, directed by Ray Austin
Vanity as Rebecca Lord
Christoph Ohrt as Walter Reinhardt
Christianne Hirt as Angie
Tim Reid as Sgt. Bennett
An old enemy of Duncan’s uses his former girlfriend as a tool to get
Duncan’s head.

09) The Sea Witch 92112-9
Written by David Tynan, directed by Thomas J. Wright
Stephen Macht as Alexei Voshin
Johannah Newmarch as Nikki
One of Richie’s friends from the old neighborhood is involved in a
drug deal gone bad, with one of Duncan’s old enemies behind the deal.

10) Eyewitness 92115-12
Written by David Tynan, directed by Ray Austin
Tom Butler as Andrew BalliN
Amanda Wyss as Randi McFarland
Tim Reid as Sgt. Bennett
Tessa witnesses a murder and becomes the target of an immortal crooked
cop.

11) Family Tree 92106-2
Written by Kevin Droney, directed by Jorge Montesi
J.E. Freeman as Joe Scanlon
Peter Deluise as Clinch
Tamsin Kelsey as Mrs. Gustavson
Matthew Walker as Duncan’s father
While trying to help Richie find his father, Duncan has painful memories
of his own past.

12) See No Evil 92114-11
Written by Brian Clemens, directed by Thomas J. Wright
John Hertzler as Marcus Korolus
Dee McCafferty as the Scalper
Moira Walley as Natalie Ward
Amanda Wyss as Randi McFarland
Tim Reid as Sgt. Bennett
Duncan becomes involved in a series of murders which are similar to
several he witnessed in the 1920’s.

13) Band of Brothers 92118-13
Written by Marie-Chantal Droney, directed by Rene Manzor
Werner Stocker as Darius
James Horan as Grayson
Earl Pastko as Victor Paulus
Amanda Wyss as Randi McFarland
Duncan must protect a world-famous philanthropist from assassination by
an ancient evil immortal.

14) For Evil’s Sake 92117-14
Written by David Abramowitz and Fabrice Ziolkowski, directed by Ray Austin
Peter Howitt as Kuyler
Hugues Leforestier as Inspector Lebrun
An immortal assassin strikes in modern-day Paris, and the police officer
in charge of the investigation believes Duncan is involved.

15) For Tomorrow We Die 92116-15
Written by Philip John Taylor, directed by Robin Davis
Roland Gift as Xavier St Cloud
Werner Stocker as Darius
Hugues Leforestier as Inspector Lebrun
Duncan must stop an immortal thief and murderer who targets Tessa’s art
fundraiser with a nerve gas time bomb.

16) The Beast Below 92123-16
Written by Marie-Chantal Droney, directed by Daniel Vigne
Christian Van Acker as Ursa
Dee Dee Bridgewater as Carolyn
Werner Stocker as Darius
An immortal who lives in the sewers underneath Paris falls under the spell
of an opera singer, who asks him to kill for her.

17) Saving Grace 92120-17
Written by Elizabeth Baxter and Martin Broussellet, directed by Ray Austin
Julia Stemberger as Grace
Georges Corraface as Carlos Cendero
Werner Stocker as Darius
Duncan protects an old flame (and we do mean old) from her possessive
immortal lover.

18) The Lady and the Tiger 92121-18
Written by Philip John Taylor, directed by Robin Davis
Elizabeth Gracen as Amanda
Jason Isaacs as Zachary Blaine
An immortal femme-fatale is planning a major robbery, but must contend with
both Duncan and her former partner, who wants her head.

19) Avenging Angel 92122-20
Written by Fabrice Ziolkowski, directed by Paolo Barzman
Martin Kemp as Alfred Cahill
Sandra Nelson as Elaine
When a man survives a fatal stabbing, he believes that he has been chosen
by God to cleanse Paris of evil.

20) Eye of the Beholder 92124-19
Written by Christian Bouveron and Larry Shore, directed by Dennis Berry
Nigel Terry as Garbiel Piton
Katia Douvalian as Maya
An old friend of Duncan’s kills a model, and Richie is determined to stop
him from doing it again.

21) Nowhere to Run 92125-21
Written by David Abramowitz, directed by Dennis Berry
Peter Guinness as Colonel Everett Bellian
Anthony Head as Allan Rothwood
Jason Riddington as Mark Rothwood
Marion Cotillard as Lori Bellian
The step-daughter of an immortal mercenary is raped by the son of a
diplomat, and Duncan must protect Tessa, Richie, and the guilty young
man from the mercenary’s vengeance.

22) The Hunters 92126-22
Written by Kevin Droney, directed by Paolo Barzman
Roger Daltrey as Hugh Fitzcairn
Werner Stocker as Darius
Peter Hudson as Horton
Duncan teams up with another immortal to find out why their immortal
friends are disappearing without a trace — including Darius.

List of Immortals


Duncan Macleod
Connor Macleod (1)
Slan Quince (1) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Lucas Desiree (2) (deceased, killed by Howard Cromley)
Howard Crowley (2) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Kiem Sun (3)
Felicia Martins (5)
Devereux (5) (deceased, killed by Felicia Martins)
Caleb (7) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Carl the Hermit (7) (deceased, killed by Caleb)
(there is some debate as to Carl’s immortality)
Walter Reinhardt (8) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Alexei Voshin (9) (deceased, killed by his ship’s propellors)
Andrew Ballin (10) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Marcus Korolus (12) (deceased, killed by Duncan in the 1920’s)
Grayson (13) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Darius (13,15-17,22) (deceased, killed by mortals)
Kuyler (14) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Xavier St Cloud (15) (dis-armed by Duncan)
Ursa (16)
Grace (17)
Carlos Cendero (17) (deceased, beheaded by subway train)
Amanda (18)
Zachary Blaine (18) (deceased, killed by Amanda)
Alfred Cahill (19) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Gabriel Piton (20) (deceased, killed by Duncan)
Col. Everett Bellian (21)
Hugh Fitzcairn (22)

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