"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.
"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.
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.