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© 1996-2010
æthereal FORGE ™

The MUD Slide

(Homo sapiens potens)
Mutants able to physically enhance their bodies.

Avg. Height: M - 6'2" F - 5'8"
Avg. Weight: M - 190# F - 160#

Hair Color: Black, gray, white
Eye Color: Reddish, black, gray

Blood Pressure: 100/70
Life Expectancy: 60 years

Dist. Marks: Large build, black skin, fangs, claws, hypertrichosis

Goths are genetically-modified beings with powerful mutative abilities. Their black skin and bad reputation only add to their mystique.

There are at least seven distinct genotypes which share some degree of genetic ancestry with the original Alpha GOTHEs. On one end of the spectrum are those that share primarily mental mutations, such as daemons, savants and psychos, while on the other end are those who share more physical mutations, including morphs, shifters, vampires and "true" goths. Though all seven of these genotypes are medically referred to as "goths," in popular culture only "true" goths maintain this nickname. Untouched by the taint of human blood, these "true" goths are the offspring of two Beta GOTHS, and possess biological structures that are almost exact mirrors of those the Alphas boasted, with a degree of specific control unmatched by any other genotype. The exact limit of their capabilities is unknown, but their ability to increase their strength and stamina, and to rapidly regenerate damage, is well documented.

Because they share the same physiological structure as their parents, having no human blood to taint the bloodline, goths tend to suffer from an inherited condition known as Porphyria. Aside from the bad side effects (discussed later), this also tends to leave them either without pigment in their skin at all, or with too much, which can lead to blistering of the skin when exposed to sunlight. Because of this, goths tend to avoid sunlight at all costs, and this and the fact that their skin tends towards dark gray or black has earned them a reputation as "children of the night." This reclusive nature has led many of the 25 to 27,000 purestrain goths alive today to devote themselves to hours of study, attempting to expand their minds. It is because of this devotion to learning that the stereotype of the big, stupid, hulking goth monster is incorrect in most cases. Goths are at least as smart as humans, and their attention to study places them amongst the upper ranks of whatever field of study they choose to pursue... if they choose to do so, of course.

However, this is not to say that goths are weakling scholars; far from it. Goths benefit from enhanced muscular, skeletal and immune systems. Goth muscles contain nearly three times as many muscle fibers as human muscles; when these extra fibers are called into action, the goth can actually increase muscle mass in a matter of minutes, enabling them to perform feats of incredible strength and endurance. Their skeletal systems also contain "extra" material which can be called upon to build thicker bones when the goth wants them, adding increased stability or allowing the goth to withstand much more trauma than normally possible. Likewise, the goth's immune system is hypercharged, and can be called into action at will to allow even instantaneous regeneration of tissue to take place.

The secret to all of this rapid change is the presence of biological nanites (as opposed to the nanotechnological robots used in modern medicine) in the goth's bloodstream, the most important gift from their parents. These microscopic additions to their systems allow them to call upon the extra tissue and bone they have inside their bodies, thus enabling them to change their shape and structure from the inside out. It is these same nanites which can call upon the extra material in the goth's bloodstream to boost regeneration, change the shape of the goth's facial features, and perform all of the other changes that goths are capable of. No other genotype can boast this range of capability: shifters use enzymes instead of nanites to produce more broad, crude changes; morphs possess more technological-based nanites and require fuel of the same type; and though vampires possess the same type of nanites as goths, their systems do not allow them to sufficiently regenerate these nanites as needed, forcing them to augment their systems with other materials.

Like other GOTH genotypes, the goth also benefits from an enhanced central nervous system (CNS hereafter), with more white matter in the spine allow faster transmission of data to and from the brain. Goth nerves are also much wider than in normal humans (though not quite so wide as in daemons), giving them boosted reflexes when it comes to muscle sense and touch-based reactions. Unlike savants and daemons, the goth brain is not significantly enhanced, meaning that most of this neural activity is devoted to nervous reactions, reflex arcs and muscular activity. Much of these reflex-level reactions are actually handled outside the brain, in the secondary "brain stem" which goths carry at the base of their spines. Because they inherited this "booster"from their Beta parents, it is little more than an extension of their nervous system, incapable of anything but reflexive reactions (albeit reflexes that are superior to those of a normal human being).

All of these biological alterations can also impact the goth's system negatively, sometimes in unpredictable ways. Their altered biology makes them very non-implant friendly, and also makes it difficult to give them standard medical treatments, many of which involve nanotech treatments that could actually kill the goth by interfering with their natural nanites. The increased number of muscular reflex arcs, and their inability to fully control their reflex actions during times of stress, often leads them to be jumpy and highly dangerous in stressful situations. Surprise a goth with a pat on the back, and he very well might rip your throat out as his body reacts to an unknown threat.

Then there is the matter of the goth's genetic condition, known as Porphyria Cutanea Tarda (PCT hereafter). This is the most common form of Porphyria, characterized primarily by either overabundance or lack of pigmentation in the skin, blistering of the skin on areas that are exposed to sunlight, and excess facial hair (hypertrichosis). Sensitivity to sunlight is also a major concern, even amongst goths with solid black skin, and though sensitivity may vary, the condition may never totally go away. As the scars and sores left as a result of such skin damage will not be regenerated by the goth's nanites, goths are best served by avoiding as much direct sunlight as possible (living in a domed city like New Aurora offers an obvious advantage) or using sunscreen.

Most of these symptoms occur after puberty, with the onset of some symptoms delayed until adulthood, but the situation is often exacerbated by the intake of excessive amounts of alcohol, which can cause iron to build up in the liver, leading to fibrosis or liver damage. Regardless of alcohol intake, however, all goths eventually suffer from this condition; the older goths get, and the more they use their abilities, the more their system mutates and is unable to repair itself, and the more the Porphyria kicks in. Without treatment, they will, quite literally, kill themselves. Treatment slows the progress, but the form of PCT that goths have is incurable. Some 20 percent of goths eventually die from liver failure due to this condition.

In part because of their medical problems, and in part because of their tremendous physical capabilities, goths are generally shunned by humans, and in some cases might find themselves subject to discrimination or even lynching. The fact that all goths have reddish eyes, small claws, fangs and hairy black skin also doesn't endear them to a population that is already afraid of and sickened by them. One can use electrolysis or a razor to shave off excess hair, but black skin is not easy to hide, and goths are the perfect direction to point an angry finger as evidence that genetic tampering will only create monsters.

Rejected by society, many goths choose to lash out at it, refusing to join what they see as a racist, biased system. Many join gangs, roaming the city streets and vandalizing property as they prey on those who are trying to "keep them down". The most militant goths go out of their way to emphasize their heritage, wearing wild clothes, dying and shaving their hair in wild patterns, and otherwise drawing attention to themselves. They turn against everything that society stands for, rewriting history to suit themselves, digging out old customs and musical styles (most notably, late 20th Century heavy metal music) and generally being anarchists. Others sink into bouts of depression, turning to drugs and alcohol as a solution to their problems; goths possess one of the highest rates of suicide amongst all genotypes, second only to psychos.

However, as was mentioned earlier, goths also have a deep affinity for study, especially in the areas of history, archaeology and religion, all of which enables them to build a history for themselves that they never really had (being, in effect, truly among the first generation of an already dying race). Since they are, in effect, making a lot of it up, some goths will name themselves after popular figures from history, or construct for themselves intricate family trees that incorporate fictional characters. Some dress in styles from earlier eras (the Victorian, 1970s Punk and 1950s "Rock Opera" looks are quite popular), while others resurrect old slang, all in an attempt to claim a piece of the past for themselves and their kind. Those who turn to the "wild side" might even go out of their way to reinforce the monster stereotype that has led to their treatment as second-class beings.

Yet despite this vast array of influences and behaviors, their particular appreciation for religion, especially the Judeo-Christian belief system, results in over 85 percent of goths becoming members of some organized religion, with some 75 percent of those being believers in Judaism or Christianity--a far higher percentage than among humans. Combined with their love of reading and study, and their search for perfection, those goths who don't allow themselves to be goaded into criminal behavior tend to make good religious figures, serving as priests, rabbis, monks and friars in their communities.


Music: Sisters of Mercy, Cure, Black Sabbath, 1980s heavy metal, black metal, death metal, symphonies, classical music, etc.

Stories: Frankenstein (Shelley's), Hunchback of Notre Dame (Hugo's)

Quote: "I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light." --Robert Frost

* Higher than average Physical Mutation.
* Below average Physical Endurance & Strength.

* Goths are able to exert the most control over their mutations.
* Goths adapt more quickly to their changes than other genotypes.
* Physiological changes allow goths to heal rapidly.

* Goths are persecuted by human society for what they are.

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