The word avatar has several uses in the world of MK2K.
In a general sense, it refers to a being with a living, physical, flesh-and-blood
body who possesses a high degree of supernatural power. Avatars are distinguished
from powerful mages in that their power is internal,
and does not depend on the use of arcane magic.
They are also distinct from powerful psis, in that
their abilities do not come from any special mental power or force of will.
An avatar's power is divine or cosmic in origin, and defies easy
Three specific categories of beings have been referred to as avatars:
1.) The gods and daedra lords of the fallen pantheon,
who have been forced to walk the Earth in mortal form since the
Great Fall, and the former mortals who have replaced some of them.
2.) Certain chosen servants of Majestrix Kyia, who
have been invested with a portion of the power she gained in the Great Fall.
3.) Yahshua Onequion, the Redeemer of Creation according to the Follower religions,
is considered the avatar of the Creator-God Iluvatar by the Meraist
Yahshua was a unique historical figure, whose powers cannot be subjected to
experimental test; as such, it is unknown whether his nature was essentially
similar to that of the modern avatars or something altogether different. The
rest of this article will be concerned only with the first two types of avatar.
Powers & Abilities
All avatars share certain common characteristics:
- A limited energy supply. An avatar cannot use his or her supernatural
abilities endlessly; if this energy supply is ever depleted, the avatar must
find the means to replenish it before these abilities can be used again. The
amount of power an avatar commands is vast, but they rarely use more than
a tiny fraction of it, lest they make themselves vulnerable to their enemies.
- Supernatural health and vitality. An avatar will never age, never
get sick, and never die of "natural" causes. They are also immune
to poison and chemical or biological weapons.
- Supernatural durability. Avatars are immune to injury by most mundane
weapons, such as bullets, knives, bombs, fire, and onrushing trains. Their
internal energy stores either instantaneously heal any wounds caused by such
implements, or simply prevent such weapons from harming them in the first
place. It takes something special to harm an avatar (see below).
- Spell resistance. While they are not immune to harm from magic, avatars
can take a lot of punishment from arcane spells before they go down.
Only a high master wizard would have much chance
of taking out an avatar in a one-on-one fight, and then only if he was lucky,
sneaky, or both.
- The ability to reproduce with mortals. This may seem like a relatively
unimportant matter, but the dalliances of the pantheon have led to large numbers
of Earthbound celestials and Plane-touched
mortals in the present-day mortal population, as a portion of their supernatural
essence is passed down to their descendants. Kyia's avatars can also have
children, but they are born as normal representatives of their species --
the power is not passed on.
In addition to these abilities, the ex-deities of the pantheon have the following
- A sphere of influence. This is an aspect of reality or a philosophical
concept that the avatar is mystically bound to. The spell-like abilities manifested
by such an avatar will be related to his or her sphere of influence -- so,
for example, only Yajiit has fire-based powers, and only Samekkh and Nocturna
can see the future. An avatar's sphere of influence also limits how he or
she can draw power from mortals: Rickkter gains power when people display
honor and valor in warfare, but he cannot gain power from people who heal
the wounded, or from burnt sacrifices. An avatar can draw power from any mortal
that she witnesses acting in accordance with her sphere of influence, but
the avatar must be able to see or hear the mortal at the time the act is
performed. The mortal, however, need not be aware that the avatar is witnessing
the action, nor even be performing the action with the intent to provide energy
to the avatar. The spheres of influence in which each of the avatars operate
are listed by their names on the pantheon page.
- A variety of spell-like abilities, as determined by the avatar's
sphere of influence. These abilities resemble arcane spells (hence the name),
but they draw on the avatar's own internal energy supply. An avatar can use
spell-like abilities comparable in strength to the spells of a high
- The ability to apotheosize a mortal being. By investing a large amount
of his internal energy supply, the avatar is able to grant a mortal many of
the traits of the avatar himself -- chiefly supernatural health, vitality
and durability. In doing so, the avatar can create a consort capable
of living through the centuries at his side, without growing old and dying
as humans do. The process is taxing and costly, and each avatar is generally
only capable of creating one consort -- though if that consort decides to
give up immortality, the avatar may accept the energy back and give it to
Avatars created by Kyia have these traits:
- The ability to cast proxy spells. These are spells that draw on Kyia's
own energy supply, but which are invoked by the avatar at his or her discretion.
Kyia determines which proxy spells an avatar has access to, and may revoke
or extend that access as she sees fit. Kyia could theoretically replicate
any of the spell-like abilities of any of the members of the pantheon, since
she received power that was taken from all of them; however, in practice,
she only grants proxy spells that are used to protect, heal, or
strengthen the avatar and his allies, or to harmlessly pacify
or contain enemies. Kyia will not allow her power to be used
to cripple or kill.
- A long-range telepathic link to Kyia. This link is not always open,
since it draws on the avatar's internal energy reserves, but it can be used
to report in directly to Kyia from anywhere in the world. The farther away
the avatar is, the more energy expenditure is required to maintain the link.
The avatar can use the link to speak to Kyia and to show her anything he can
perceive with his own senses.
An avatar's weaknesses are few. Nevertheless, it is possible to harm and even
kill them, if the proper techniques are used.
- Magic is capable of harming avatars, provided it is strong enough
to break through their natural resistance. While no case of it exists on record,
it is theoretically plausible that certain psionic
powers could harm an avatar as well.
- All supernatural beings are vulnerable to mithril, a rare and precious
metal that is imbued with the essence of magic. Weapons forged from mithril
and invested with powerful enchantments can do great damage to even the most
fearsome avatar. Such weapons have been rare throughout Earth's history, however,
as few possess the requisite skill to forge them. Most of the world's mithril
is held in government vaults or the stockpiles of Talia's
vampire syndicate, which has its own reasons for wanting to keep mithril out
of circulation. The largest portion in active use is in the hands of the Lothanasi,
who use it to craft enchanted weapons for use against supernatural threats.
- It is believed that nuclear weapons would release enough heat and
radiation to simply overwhelm the regenerative capabilities of an avatar,
blasting it into atoms before the body had a chance to begin healing itself.
Fortunately, this has never been tested. The one exception to this rule is
Yajiit, whose essence is mystically bound to elemental Fire and to
the sun -- which is essentially an enormous nuclear reactor. It has been theorized
that a nuclear blast would actually strengthen Yajiit, but she is (understandably)
hesitant to test this notion.
- Historically, the most effective way of disposing of avatars has been to
simply wear them down. As an avatar is forced to expend his internal
energy supply, he becomes more and more human -- slower, weaker, and more
vulnerable to injury. Dokorath, Revonos, and the many heirs of the Revonos
power were all killed simply because a long succession of moderately powerful
opponents kept battering away at them, forcing them to expend more and more
energy until they had nothing left to give. A lot of enemy wizards and warriors
died in the process, but if you're going to try to take out a demigod, you
have to be prepared for a few sacrifices...
- Another tactic, so far used successfully only once, is to get a bigger
stick. When Talia went up against Lilith, she brought with her the Ankh
of Lilith, a mystical artifact that had been taken from one of Lilith's mortal
generals centuries before and sealed up within the Vault of the Lightbringers
at Metamor Keep. After the Great Fall, the Ankh
held more of Lilith's power than did Lilith herself, and Talia was simply
able to turn Lilith's own unholy servants against her. There are still other
such artifacts hidden in the depths of the Citadel, but after Lilith's death
Kyia decided to keep a much closer watch on them. Another item that
could be considered a "bigger stick", the Spark
of Life, remains concealed inside the body of the automaton called Omega.
Avatars in Government
Kyia uses avatars as key figures in the executive branch of the Empire: Cabinet
members, provincial governors, and mayors of key cities. Most of these are avatars
whom she has empowered herself -- including Thomas X,
the current mayor of Metamor City -- but a handful are members of the pantheon:
and Rickkter all have positions in Kyia's
Cabinet, while Dvalin, Oblineth
and Samekkh are viceroys in charge
of specific provinces.
An avatar is Kyia's eyes, ears, and mouthpiece in the part of the Empire in
which he or she serves -- one part chief executive, one part ambassador, and
one part superhero. Avatars are not only leaders, but also guardians; when a
severe threat arises in a city or province, such as a natural disaster or a
terrorist attack, the avatar is usually the first one on the scene, providing
aid and defending the helpless. Because Kyia does not usually grant proxy spells
that could be used to injure or kill, the avatars are not usually the ones to
take out big monsters or rampaging demons that slip out of the Dreamlands;
that job is left to the Lothanasi, who are better-equipped
and trained in the fine art of fighting supernatural enemies. Avatars also generally
don't go after mundane criminals, instead trusting the police to do their job.
Kyia is a big believer in letting mortals do what they're able to do, and not
taking away the dignity of self-reliance just because she or her avatars might
be able to do something more efficiently.
The truth of the matter is, Kyia could never make enough avatars to police
the whole Empire, anyway. Criminal activity is so widespread, and varies so
much in scope, that there's no way that the avatars could keep track of it all.
The avatars deliberately avoid intervening in situations that mortals can handle
because, if they intervened, mortals might think their efforts weren't needed
and just stop trying to police themselves. The system will never work
if mortals don't take responsibility to do the good they can, whenever they
can -- so most of the time, an avatar's power lies untapped, waiting for the
emergency when it's really needed.
Author's Note: In addition to the in-story benefits, this
self-restraint on the part of Kyia and her avatars also keeps MK2K from
devolving into a superpowered slugfest between demigods. The fact that the mortal
characters can't count on avatars to save the day means that their actions actually
mean something. It gives them the chance to be heroes, even in a world where
they stand in the shadow of some very powerful beings.
The same principle applies to the ex-deities of the pantheon. Most of the
time, they're not going to be using all that power they possess -- it would
deplete their reserves and make them vulnerable to attack. Most of the time
it's more practical to employ mortals to do the dirty work, either by recruiting
them straight out or by manipulating them from a distance. Even after living
so long among mortals, the ex-deities can't quite give up their habit of using
humans as pawns in their never-ending chess games. This means that the heroes'
actions often have far-reaching consequences: not only are they accomplishing
their own goals, but in the process they're probably helping along three or
four different schemes they don't even know about. Our protagonists may become
indignant when they find out that the gods are using them as playing pieces
instead of doing the dirty work for themselves, but the truth is, it's better
than the alternative -- for all concerned.