- Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 2, Resolve 3; Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3; Presence 2, Manipulation 1, Composure 3
- Abilities: Academics 2, Enigmas 1, Crafts 3 (Specialty Self-repair), Medicine 2, Occult 2, Science 2; Athletics 1, Brawl 1 (Specialty Mechanical Muscle), Stealth 1, Weaponry 1 (Specialty Fencing); Empathy 2, Expression 1, Socialize 1, Subterfuge 2
- Merits: Resources 1
- Advantages: Health 8, Willpower 6, Morality 7, Size 5, Speed 9, Defense 2, Initiative 5
- Flaws: Hunted, Mistaken Identity, Emotionally Limited
The Bloodworth Wonder
Talos' artificial origins provide him an interesting array of differences from that of mortal men.
- Skin of the Living: Under normal circumstances, Talos looks perfectly human. To all but medical examinations (and possibly the explorations of a particularly insightful lover), he is indistinguishable from human.
- The more damage he takes, however, the more readily this is noticed, as he does not bleed the way normal men do (in fact, he leaks certain industrial liquids). Once he has taken Lethal Damage, there is a chance someone might notice his true nature. Starting with his first point of Lethal damage, it requires a Wits + Composure/Medicine roll (at a penalty of -6 to the roll) to notice that he is not human. This penalty drops by one point for each additional point of Lethal damage Talos takes, or two points for points of Aggravated damage.
- Internal Engine: Talos needs only to eat to maintain the living skin that covers him. As such, he is able to consume only one-quarter the food that other men need. He needs must also fuel his internal mechanisms, however, requiring to eat a like amount of wood chips, newspaper pulp or coal.
- Additionally, though his internal workings require the stoking of oxygen, he requires only a small amount of air at any one time. In essence, when applying the rules for holding breath (World of Darkness, p.49), Talos doubles the base amount of time, and each additional success grants two minutes (rather than the normal thirty seconds). Additionally, Talos does not differentiate between combat and normal situations when holding his breath - he always holds it for the non-combat lengths of time.
- Mechanistic Awareness: As a machine, Talos is always aware of the time.
- Perfect Senses: When rolling Perception rolls of any kind, Talos gains the 9-Again benefit to those rolls, due to the acuity of his artificial senses. This benefit is for mundane rolls, however, not rolls that are based on sensing supernatural phenomenon. This does, however, apply to piercing supernatural phenomena with normal senses.
- Artificial Framework: His musculature and body frame are made up of metal and other strange artificial compounds, allowing Talos to demonstrate incredible power. Talos does not ever suffer from wound penalties - he is immune to the pain mortal men experience, though he is aware of his damage.
- Surge of Power: By spending a point of Willpower, Talos can gain the 9-Again benefit on any Strength, Dexterity or Stamina roll.
The following are transformations to his essential nature:
- Biokinesis 3
- Psychometry 3
- Telemechanics 3
- Aura Sight 1
- Grounding 1
The Curious Origin of Adam Talos
Margaret Bloodworth and her husband Stephen were brilliant scientists, known world-wide for their contributions to the fields of engineering, mathematics, and biology. Margaret was the true genius of the two, and she had a driving ambition—to create the first sentient automaton, a being capable of independent thought and action that could meet, or perhaps exceed, human capabilities. Stephen did not entirely approve of his wife's goal, but he encouraged her nonetheless, because he loved to see the energy and enthusiasm she threw into a project that excited her. He didn't object when she moved him and their young son Jonathan from London to a large estate in rural New York so she could continue her research in secret. He didn't even object when she began to accept funding from military sources; he simply hid his uneasiness from her.
Because her military sponsors wanted quick results, Margaret initially attempted to create a human replica from readily available organic components, using a combination of modern scientific knowledge, European alchemy, and Asian mysticism. Her efforts were met with limited success. She was able to reanimate several small animals, including a cat that Jonathan promptly named “Stitches” and claimed as his own. However, Margaret's attempts at human reanimation were . . . unfortunate, at best. She soon decided the process was too inefficient to pursue any further.
Margaret had always been a better engineer than a biologist, so her next few creations were more successful, but disappointingly primitive. They were humanoid but still clearly mechanical, and while they could follow simple commands, they had no initiative or will of their own. Margaret spent several years refining her designs and techniques, but though her automata grew more sophisticated, they still only mimicked life. She finally began to add in some of the organic and alchemical components she'd used in her earlier research; she found that the combination of mechanical, mystical, and biological was far more promising than any one alone.
Margaret felt that she was close to uncovering the key that would give her creations true intelligence when disaster struck. While on a lecture tour, her husband Stephen fell ill. He returned home immediately, thinking he had simply contracted influenza, but whatever the disease was, it was far more exotic and aggressive. Neither he nor Margaret could identify it, and while some of the treatments they devised slowed it down, none cured it.
Jonathan, now a young man and a scientist himself, came home to help fight his father's illness. He consulted with physicians all over the world while his mother shut herself in her laboratory and worked frantically to find a cure. When Stephen's organs began to fail, Margaret replaced them using techniques she'd perfected working on her automata. She was determined to keep her husband alive until she could cure the disease that was ravaging him.
Jonathan watched with growing horror as his mother replaced his father piece by piece. They began to quarrel viciously, Margaret insisting that her methods would save Stephen and Jonathan saying that she was only robbing him of his humanity in her attempt to stave off the inevitable. Jonathan did not realize that his mother's belief in the rightness of her actions was not born of arrogance or pride, but of desperation and near-madness. And when the inevitable finally came, when the mysterious disease reached Stephen's brain, Margaret slipped over the edge into true madness.
Margaret had not allowed herself to contemplate even the possibility of failure. And if failure was impossible, it therefore follows that she did not fail. She was not aware of replacing her dead husband's brain with one of the artificial ones she'd built. She was aware only of him rising from his sick bed, folding her awkwardly in his arms, and telling her he loved her in his metallic . . . no, no, his melodic voice.
When Jonathan saw the clumsy abomination his mother had made of his father's corpse, he was livid, sick with anger and grief. He stormed out of his family home, vowing never to return. Margaret knew that couldn't be right. She had saved Stephen; what did Jonathan have to be angry about? He couldn't be gone forever . . .
She needn't have worried. A little over a year later, Jonathan came back to her. He blinked up at her from her worktable, and she assured him it was perfectly normal for him to be confused after such a terrible accident. She felt certain his memory would come back in time, but until then, she would take good care of him.
Jonathan was very grateful to his mother. His memories of the first twenty-odd years of his life never did return, but Margaret helped him relearn who he was, introduced him to all his old friends, taught him everything he used to know. They lived quite happily together for nearly seven years, Jonathan and Margaret and Stitches and Stephen (who had also suffered a terrible accident, but had not recovered quite so well as Jonathan). Life in the Bloodworth household would have gone on swimmingly if the real Jonathan had not come home.
Margaret's biological son had reluctantly returned to his family estate upon receiving word of an imposter masquerading as him who had somehow gained access to his accounts. He was stunned to find said imposter—a perfect duplicate of him—sitting in the front parlor drinking tea with his mother. Jonathan was amazed by his mother's accomplishment, appalled at this irrefutable evidence of her madness, and ashamed that he had not seen it all those years ago.
Confronted by her two sons—artificial and biological—Margaret broke down, sobbing and and gibbering and begging them both for forgiveness. Amidst her incoherent ramblings were fragments of fact, and in this way the mechanical Jonathan learned the truth of his existence. He was dismayed and angry, but not as much as he should have been. He often wonders if that was because of his artificial nature or because some part of him knew all along.
The biological Jonathan quietly arranged for Margaret to be committed to an asylum, then staged Stephen's “death” so his father's remains could finally be laid to rest. He was uncertain of what he should do with his artificial twin. Unlike his mother's other creations, his duplicate was clearly intelligent, sensitive, independent, sentient—in short, a person. Jonathan could not help but view him as a brother of sorts, yet part of him was repulsed by the automaton.
Jonathan took to calling his double Talos, after the bronze man of Greek myth. Together, he and Talos went through Margaret's laboratory, reading her notes and journals, examining her diagrams and charts. They learned a great deal about Talos's inner workings—his clockwork joints, his biochemical power source, his impossibly living skin and eyes, his quasi-mystical connection to his biological twin. They did not, however, find the secret to his sentience; that discovery was lost to Margaret's grief-induced madness.
After a few months, Jonathan decided to establish an identity for Talos. He took Talos to social and academic functions, making certain they were seen together and telling people that Talos was his uncanny lookalike cousin. He established several bank accounts for his twin under the name Adam Talos, as Adam was what Margaret had originally planned to call her first sentient automaton. Unfortunately, the lookalike “cousins” caught the attention of people who had not forgotten that they once funded a scientific genius named Margaret Bloodworth.
Unpleasant men in uniforms (or dark suits that might as well have been uniforms) began to visit the Bloodworth home, demanding their property—the human replica they had been promised. Jonathan and Talos protested ignorance and managed to fool some of these unwelcome visitors with demonstrations of Talos's “biological” nature. But too many others were not fooled, and as the demands turned to threats, Talos knew he would have to flee.
Jonathan objected, telling Talos that he would and could protect him, but Talos refused to risk his freedom or the safety of his biological brother. He fled one night while Jonathan slept, unwillingly accompanied by Stitches, who refused to be left behind despite Talos's attempts to dissuade her.
Talos bought passage on a ship bound for London, and as the vessel sailed further and further from American shores, he noticed a curious thing: his appearance changed with each passing day. He still looked like Jonathan, but his face grew progressively younger, until he looked as he had when he'd first awakened on his mother's worktable nearly eight years before. It was odd, but Talos was grateful for it, because it would make his connection to Jonathan less obvious.
And so Talos found himself standing in a city foreign to him, with no connections, no family, and no friends save a stubborn cat, wondering how he was going to make his way in the world.