The Great Scientist - ROM, 08/Oct/05

The god known as The Great Scientist, or occasionally Tegus, is the ultimate experimenter, and mad scientist, with no care for ethics, morals, or even sanity. Many say that self-preservation is ignored as well, and it is clear that a major focus for the god is finding the answer to the question "What will happen if...".

Tegus is usually represented as a neatly dressed, average build, short-dark-haired and moustached, caucasian man, in a white smock or lab coat, which if encountered at the wrong time might have some nasty stains on it. Those who have seen him, and are in any condition afterwards to report, say that there is something wrong about his face, almost as if it is a mask, with something hideous just out of sight behind it.

There are tales and stories of 'great heroes' meeting a person resembling this description. Unfortunately, many appear to have lost their minds, and could only relate the terrible experiments that were described by this man. Some of them even had experimental work done on them. It is said that a hero known as "Hrun the Barbarian" is one such person.

Some legends say that The Great Scientist experimented on himself, or something went really wrong, and in consequence, when he is being social, he wears an almost life-like mask, of his original appearance. Of quite what happened there is no clear story. It is also claimed that he is driven to restore to life his wife, an unnamed dead goddess (Virginia?), who is his one true love. But, that he has been cursed so that he will never succeed, while the universe lasts (he does not believe this), though he is often accompanied by a beautiful, highly skilled, but mute, construct, who closely resembles her.

Many believe this construct to be the original robot/homonculus/simulacrum/mannequin etc. It is believed, by some, that this wonderful device is actually buried somewhere, where adventurers might be able to find it. However, not that many are known to have looked and, as far as is known, no-one has succeeded.

Tegus is also noted for being vengeful, though usually only if there is a major and significant (to him) reason; trivial things like deadly insults and attempts on his life are not enough. Insults to his wife on the other hand... Or to the quality of his work... His cunning and elaborate plots are said to strike fear into the hearts of quite a few gods, and their worshippers, and it is said that one of his greatest (though very rarely used) powers is to slay mortals and gods, so that there is no way to restore them to life, within the same universe (except possibly by him...).

Again, it is known that priests of The Great Scientist often have several complicated plots on the go, at once. The reason, it is thought, that they do not pose a greater threat is because they over-complicate things. A priest who was completely concentrating on one plot...

In the universe of Tim Deacon's "Gods" campaign, the adventurer Fibes (Erasmus Phibes, a relative of Anton) became the god called "The Great Scientist", and is believed by some to have invented this divine role. Fibes was quite clearly not altogether sane, and appeared to be an assassin who mixed together the magical, alchemical and technological arts, to produce worrying, and often very nasty, results. In this campaign he is generally considered the evil face of the gods of technology and construction. It is not clear if he has a dead loved one that he is attempting to restore to life, and if anyone ever found out, they don't appear to have survived to report back.

It is difficult to predict how the powers of The Great Scientist or his minions will manifest themselves. His interests span social engineering, through engineered diseases, to (induced) abnormal psychology and mutation. His servants may seem quite normal people, but the disappearance of animals, children and those living alone, may be traced back to their need for "experimental subjects", for the glory of their god. They are often armed with strange weapons, alchemical dusts, or perversely enchanted weapons (such as the weilder injures themselves, so as to inflict harm on their opponent), and may well have strange, mutant, abilities, as well as (hidden) deformities.

Many of their powers are poorly controlled, and it is possible that the highly random nature of their results is in some way pleasing to their God. However, it is more likely that their increasing insanity is to be blamed. Thus, as a priest rises in power within the temple their sanity tends to decrease. In fact, if a High Priest was to emerge who was sane and rational, then the world might well be in very serious trouble.

Even more difficult to predict can be the servants used by followers of The Great Scientist, as they tend to be subject to experimentation, to 'improve' them. Some of the most terrifying are the monstrous blobs, each of which weighs several tons, is hideously strong (frost-fire giant STR on average, cloud at best), and are probably originally based on some sort of Ooze or Trapper. The only good side to these is that they are nearly mindless, only move a quarter of the speed of an unladen man, and while their normal vaguelly humanoid form is highly resistant to blunt weapons, it is almost impossible for the priests to direct them in a precise way. All attempts to give these a more useful level of intelligence have so far failed.

Clockwork automata, more normally used for distraction and colour rather than offense, are another possibility, as are flesh golems (but most priests consider them too easy); the highly varied results of 'experiments' (e.g. a 'hydra' with the heads of many different sort of creatures) are most likely. Most dangerous are likely the custom 'specials', made by high priests, which might look like perfectly normal creatures, even humans, but in fact have all sorts of interesting abilities, like those of a Blink Dog or a Phase Spider or a Troll (or all three, and more) - fortunately almost all of these are not too (mentally) stable.

Priests of The Great Scientist, particularly powerful ones, tend to be quite uncommon, outside their hidden temple-laboratories. They are almost always ... changed in some way, though this may be concealable, and the changes are more extreme the more powerful that they are. Some hide behind remotely operated constructs, such as simulacra, homonculi or robots, and are never seen except by other priests. It is said that not all the priests are evil, and some even believe that they are working for the overall good of mankind, or even all beings. Though most priests are male, a female one might be possible.

It should be noted, though, that temple-laboratories will be abandoned without a second thought if it becomes necessary, and all have at least one very well concealed emergency exit method, and often a self-destruct mechanism. It is said that the greater miracles of the god allow quick construction of new temple-laboratories, and on occasion a secret backup may already exist, in a very carefully unused state.

Though many consider priests of The Great Scientist just to be self-made inhuman monsters, they follow their god in having an interest in the finer things in life. These include music, dancing and gourmet food. Many are fine musicians, in particular in playing the pipe-organ, skilled dancers, and brilliant cooks. Though, on occasion, the uses they find for these skills may be considered a little strange, or even macabre.

Asking a priest for the honour of a final meal cooked by their hand might be a good delaying tactic, but the consequences if you are still around for the feast... It is important to realise that the priests will act as gentlemen, with style, politeness and savoir-faire, while subjecting you to the most hideous death, all in the name of scientific experimentation, or, revenge.

Note: see the film "The Abominable Doctor Phibes" (1971), and "Doctor Phibes Rises Again" (1972), starring Vincent Price. There are no other known sources.

(c) Rory O. McLean, 1980 - Feb. 2006
    Permission granted to use for non-profit making purposes