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Shapers are people for whom the fabric of the universe makes way. Their determination, cause, and narrative are so compelling that they are capable of accomplishing things that others cannot. Shapers begin much like other mortals, and usually realise they possess their gift – which some metaphysicists call ‘protagonessence’ - only when they attempt, and succeed at, something that is impossible.



Shapers are capable of developing techniques, technology, and rituals that far surpass what others can – often imbuing their possessions with new abilities just by being in them at the right time. This process is known as ‘shaping’, and once a shaper realises they can perform it, they can start applying this power deliberately. Prior inventions of shapers of different cultures include:

The Penitent Order

  • Hoods that allow you to blend seamlessly into any crowd, just by pulling them up
  • Necklaces that perfectly disguise your voice, as long as you speak in a croaky way
  • Clothes that allow you to hide effectively in only moderate shadow
  • A glove that subliminally prompts crowds to attack you one person at a time
  • Guns that allow you to curve the trajectories of bullets
  • Robes that do not trip you over when you run in them
  • A set of braces that make any accent convincing

The People’s Combine

  • Jackets that make you completely immune to heat radiation, as long as you walk with measured precision in the other direction
  • Small calibre guns that, when shot at vehicles, make them explode
  • Boots that absorb a fall from any distance with a forward roll
  • Chemistry equipment that allows any organic matter to be turned into fuel or tasty gruel
  • Lubricant that, with one spray, can restart any jammed mechanism
  • Boots that allow you to outrun explosions
  • Gloves that allow you to catch a falling comrade with one hand without breaking their arm
  • Duct tape that can attach anything to anything else

The Valtarian Kingdoms

  • Keepsakes which, when worn over the heart, are impervious to any projectile
  • Swords which are able to cleanly cut armoured people in half
  • Clothing that is only ever damaged in aesthetically appealling ways
  • Rituals for instilling inanimate or dead matter with sentience and lifelike movement
  • An oil that keeps one’s hair immaculately styled regardless of activity
  • A circlet that keeps one’s hair constantly waved in the wind
  • Outfits that protect you from extreme heat and cold despite limited body coverage

The Visions of Opportunity

  • An eyepiece that allows you to guess access codes and passwords accurately within three tries
  • Automatic weapons which can be fired in one hand, with pinpoint precision, without looking in the direction of fire
  • Cosmetic biomancy that allows you to replace flesh with carefully sculpted plastic
  • Intoxicants that can be consumed in extraordinary volumes without side effects
  • Vehicle controls that are instantly familiar to anyone who attempts to use them

The Walkers

  • A symbiote that allows you to ‘walk off’ abdominal wounds
  • Weapons that allow you to cut someone and have them explosively exsanguinate
  • A symbiote that allows you to recover from being knocked unconscious without ill effect
  • A technique for turning any object into bulletproof cover
  • Ritual song that allows you to communicate with animals
  • A symbiote that makes you quick enough to dodge bullets

You are encouraged to think about what impossible feats you have accomplished, and come up with new ones not listed here.


The apparent age of a shaper is linked strongly to how old is right for them - shapers considered "old souls" by their peers will age until their appearance befits their mein, and youthful-minded shapers will remain young-looking. Their apparent age remains until the relentless procession of life's joys and tragedies wearies their minds. This does not grant them immortality, but it does make them potentially very long-lived.

You may choose to play a shaper that is anywhere between 18 and 180, regardless of your real-life age. If you are playing a young shaper, the four great cultures are all you will know of the world. If you are playing an older one, you may remember the broiling swarm of savage civilisations that pre-dated them: you are encouraged to invent details and tales of these.


When a shaper discovers their gift, their Affinity suddenly blooms: suddenly, a great field of mortal endeavour becomes intuitive in a speed and depth that before would seem impossible. Affinities change, sometimes, as a shaper turns their hand to new arts; you may change your Affinity between events by emailing us at