Spirit of the Century: Cardinal Carvaux and the Secret Masters

Here’s another character I’ve assembled for use in the “Spirit of the Century” game. Let me tell you, I love building characters for this. Unlike so many other role-playing games, SotC lets you come up with the concept first and then meld the rules around them.

Using the “Fudge” role-playing game system, SotC went one step beyond the basics of that ruleset by introducing “Aspects,” these are simple descriptive phrases that the character-builder comes up with on his own. In the game, a player activates an Aspect to earn extra points on his dice role. The game referee can also use the same player character’s Aspects to hinder the PC.  

It is truly a revolutionary idea, and I’ve had fun in my game using it.

Cardinal Carvaux

When Didier Carvaux fought alongside his fellow Frenchmen in the Great War, he saw something beyond the battlefield carnage. He saw visions of vile, boneless beasts devouring the dead and parasitically riding on the necks of every soldier.

These visions haunted him for the entire conflict. When he talked to his superiors, the laughed his “crazy talk” off. They told him he wasn’t going home and he had to get back on the lines and fight.
Didier did just that. He fought and he watched the creatures. Eventually, he even began to understand their habits, needs and even their language.
He discovered the creatures were emotional leeches that fed off psychic energies of those around them. Knowing their vile diet, Didier resolved to never fall victim to the creatures. To do so, he found himself bound in servitude to the creatures.
They became his master as he struggled to help them find new prey. (Aspect 1: Cephalapod masters)He found that the creatures (again, monsters that only he could see) fed off the extreme emotions of humans. Any emotion would do, just as long as it was intense. With this knowledge, Carvaux began to focus on the delivery of pleasure. (Aspect 2: Vice is nice) Vice of all kinds became his currency. He delivered drugs, prostitution, gambling, alcohol and the like to anyone who would pay.
With the war over, he found that his services were welcome the world over (Aspect 5 — “War weary? Why worry!”), and he became rich, powerful and well-connected (Aspect 8 — Many tentacles).
At the same time, he forged dozens of secret alliances (Aspect 7) with the world’s elite. He became their go-to man. He could deliver anything they wanted, and the strangest “wants” were something they certainly wanted to stay secret. As a trade off, he used those debts to further his agenda: the continued corruption of humanity in service of his unseen masters. (Aspect 4 — The Corrupting War)
Still, the fact that he’s the only one to truly acknowlege and fear his overlords has worn on him, and much of his own resources are spent on proving their existence (Aspect 6 — Dimensional Theories). Those studies, and the minor, yet ambigious, successes he’s had of proving their link to this world, have allowed him to gather a cadre of followers. The group, known as the Order of the Ebon Tide (Aspect 9), is a small cult who worship him as the only person deemed worthy enough to communicate with the world’s secret overlords. As such, the cult administers to his every whim.
His strange theories and religion have earned him a certain status among the world’s occultists and scientists where he is considered to be preaching a dangerous mix of science, occultism and religion. They don’t know if they should characterize him as a kook, a showman, a preacher or a scientist, when in fact he’s all four.
Known to the public at large as Cardinal Carvaux (pronounced Carve-o), he’s rarely without his war-time pistol, which he calls the “The Black Ink”(Aspect 3),” and it’s often visibly holstered at his side.
When making public appearances, he comes across as showy and melodramatic as he wears odd and intricate jewelry and a long orange robe decorated with a black octopus motif. (Aspect 10 – “My public awaits”) Much of the fascination the public has with Cardinal Carvaux is the audacity and delusional nature of his claims, and while most dismiss his writings on the extradimensional invasion, they are enthralled by his message that permits the embracing of life’s most sordid pleasures.
As for the reality of his cephalapod masters, Carvaux certainly believes they exist and steadfastly defends his belief, but most who’ve explored his claims quickly dismiss them as delusions.


1. Cephalapod masters
2. Vice is nice
3. The Black Ink at his side
4. Corrupting war
5. “War weary? Why worry!”
6. Dimensional theories
7. Secret alliances
8. Many tentacles
9. Order of the Ebon Tide
10. “My public awaits”

Superb — Resolve
Great — Mysteries, Guns
Good — Leadership, Contacting, Resources
Fair — Science, Rapport, Deceit, Engineering
Average — Academics, Fists, Pilot, Drive, Stealth

Resolve — Smooth Recovery, Unflappable, Right Place – Right Time
Contacting — Big Man in the Occult
Guns — Trickshot



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