|Origins||Unknown, but likely ancient|
Marken, Soul Marked, God Marked or God Cursed, is an Alorian-based Affliction that has plagued rare individuals and even some families for centuries. Marken and the God Cursed have for centuries been hunted down and killed due to a lack of understanding about their condition, and fear over the violence and killing that usually goes in their wake. Marken are normally very mundane individuals who suffer a condition that causes them to violently change during certain specific conditions that may vary from person to person into mangled, more beast-like versions of themselves. The reason why Marken are often also called God Marked or God Cursed is because this Affliction frequently occurs at the hands of a divine entity or some sort of God belonging to a religion. In recent centuries, Marken were victims of the Darkwald Order in the Regalian Empire, targeted for their similarities to Cahal, despite being an entirely distinct Affliction; some scholars have even indicated that Cahal may be an Exist-based imitation of the Marken. Understanding of the Marken has grown in recent times alongside a sense of sympathy, though wariness surrounding them has never diminished; the God Cursed pose a constant, considerable, and incurable risk to society that often incarcerates them for life
Playing a Marken in Regalia
To be a Marken in Regalia is to be a risk to society and even loved ones. Marken have no agency over their actions when they are bestial, and attack anyone on sight regardless of their relationship to them prior transformation. They also have only vague awareness or memories of their actions as Marken, and as such, the Regalian State Metropolitan is commanded by the government to arrest and imprison them permanently. The Marken exist in lore to provide a more true-to-pop-culture alternative to playing a Werebeast that isn’t Cahal, but it also comes with its own inherent risks. Marken are incurable, and if one is caught and imprisoned, they are imprisoned permanently; although opportunities to break out may appear, they should never be hoped for. A long-term prison area exists for imprisoned characters to RP, though opportunities to interact with the outside world are incredibly limited. The Marken exist specifically for narrative and storytelling purposes, and should not be used for the purposes of CRP or conflict. Marken characters are recommended to have a set criteria of conditions that cause forcible changing, but are also recommended to keep this criteria as well-hidden from the State Metropolitan as they can; once a character is warranted and caught, they will be permanently incarcerated
Infection can occur in a wide variety of ways, but nonetheless occurs very rarely overall. While Cahal are more widespread over the world, meeting a known Marken is very rare as most try to keep their affliction secret and are not compelled to feed dangerous cravings like Vampires and Cahal. The following methods of infection exist:
- The most common form of infection is for a person to meet another Marken out in the city or in the wilderness, and survive the attack while being bitten. This will guarantee an infection of the individual. (For consent reasons, bites in roleplay like these may only occur with the consent of the other person, since this Affliction is incurable).
- A less common form of infection is to simply be born in a family where one of the parents is Marken, as the Marken or God Curse is hereditary and passes from parent to child. However, Marken have an extremely low birth rate, to the point that only single children are produced from Marken parents, if any are born at all. As a result, Marken children never have siblings, and Marken families are tiny as well.
- A less common form of infection is cannibalism. Cannibalism is reviled in every Religion, Culture, and Race, and happens next to never around the world. However, in some instances, individuals have no choice. There are plenty of stories about miners being trapped in caves, having to resort to cannibalism to survive. Cannibalism is guaranteed to cause a person to become afflicted with the God Curse, but because this is well understood, cannibalism happens next to never, and as a result, very few Marken are created from this infection source except in the direst circumstances.
- A very rare form of infection is to actually be directly God Cursed. This involves some manifestation, avatar, or appearance of a divine entity (for example a God Emperor from Unionism), cursing the individual in the wake of some sort of unholy reprehensible or offensive and blasphemous act. Old Gods, Unionism (Any denomination), Void Worship and Dragon Worship are all religions that have been known to appear and God Curse an individual. No other religion has been recorded creating a God Curse, however. For Old Gods, Bard, King of Bears appears as a giant before a person who has committed high treason against the Old Gods to curse them. For Unionism, God Emperors or Empresses have been known to appear, especially God Emperor Almar to curse them. For Void Worship, a Beast-Champion of Xor the Untamed appears to grant the gift, while also directing the affected to spend time at the Moon Lake of Desvach. For Dragon Worship, Dragon Matrons and Dragons themselves have been known to God Curse individuals; however, Dragons have been dead for the past 300 years, so a more recent God Curse because of Dragons is not possible, though a God Curse from before Cataclysm passed down generations from Dragons is possible. The current Central Matron is also not capable of God Cursing, as she was never taught this by the Dragons. Any of these incidents may be written into a backstory for crimes as insignificant as the murder of a priest to as heinous as the genocide of a village, but the crime committed should always have some sort of religious meaning or undertone of blasphemy or heresy to that religion.
- Another very rare form of infection is being a Godborn of Halfvel, the Father of Demigods, though the form of Markenism he grants his children is unique. For more information on this form of infection, click HERE.
- The rarest of infection methods is by the ingestion of God Blood. God Blood as a substance can only be gained in Progressions, or through the actual blood letting of divine entities in Regalia (some hidden Old Gods and Dragons may exist in Regalia, both of which qualify as Gods). Ingesting God Blood is guaranteed to cause an immediate infection and violent transformation. Because God Blood is probably the rarest substance in the world, there are currently no known individuals who have turned this way, or even inheritors of those who did centuries ago. Still, there are those who believe that being Marken is a blessing, not a curse, and that God Blood is thus a substance of great power that they must seek out. It is also known to instantly cure Vampirism or Cahalism that has infected the host in the process.
Being Marken does not cause any particular mental changes in the host. Their mundane self remains mundane, they get no extra Abilities or Specials, and their condition remains roughly the same. However, a Marken will eventually have to live with the fact that there are vast parts of their memories where they cannot recall what they did, the guilt of their actions, and the fact that they cannot control themselves. While Marken itself does not change the host, very few Marken remain the same personality wise because of their infection. Some become guilt ridden and remorseful, others become prideful and overconfident. Some see it as a religious calling, and others see it as a reason to fall out of faith. The mental changes are highly varied but affect any and all Marken to some degree, all because the condition is incurable, and the implications of a life-long curse is too much for some to bear.
There are several Types of Marken, each belonging more traditionally to some religious iconography. Types of Marken are always consistent across religions and cultures. For example, even if a Velheim person is not religious, they are still part of the greater Old Gods Community, and as such would default to such a Marken if they committed cannibalism. Parent Marken always pass their exact Type down to their offspring, and Marken of a particular Type always infect their victims, who escape after being bitten with the same Type as they are. The following types exist:
- The Wolf Marken is one based out of the Old Gods and Unionist God Curses. The Wolf Marken is humanoid in stature, though has longer limbs and a long furred tail. Their entire body is covered in raven-black fur, though white stripes and patterns are on occasion possible. Their hands still have opposable thumbs, but their fingers are long and clawed, while their head is distinctly a wolf-head, with a pair of glowing purple eyes.
- The Bear Marken is one based out of the Old Gods and Mussaktu God Curses. The Bear Marken is humanoid in stature, though has a more stocky build and is beefier than their un-transformed self. Their entire body is either covered in raven-black or snow-white fur, with patterns of white or black on occasion being possible. Their hands still have opposable thumbs, but their fingers are thick and clawed, while their head is distinctly a bear-head, with a pair of glowing purple eyes.
- The Draken Marken is one based out of Mussaktu and Dragon Worship Curses. The Draken Marken is humanoid in stature, though has a more slender and athletic build. Their neck is set deep on their shoulders, covered in black Dragon-like scales. These scales also occur on their forearms, thighs, tail, and spine, but the rest of their body becomes smooth black leathery skin. Occasionally their scales may have white patterning, but otherwise they appear completely black. Draken Marken also have glowing purple eyes, and large canines that stick out of their mouths, as well as long backwards pointing ears. Draken Marken look like a combination of a wolf and a scaled armadillo, with claws and spikes all around.
Because of a lack of Abilities and Specials, this Affliction has a couple of Mechanics that are simply explained in text format. Some of these have creative liberties where clarified, and some of them are strict to canon. If you have any questions or requests for alteration from the mechanics described here, please send in a ticket to the Rp Community Discord. Generally speaking, none of the mechanics confer any combat advantages or buffs to a Character. In roleplay, the people you are roleplaying with may consent to lend your Character more combat functionality than is actually afforded to them, but Marken are not intended to be a main CRP tool. The transformations should primarily be treated as a vehicle for storytelling.
Turning to a beast-form for Marken can trigger due to a variety of circumstances. Which of these circumstances the player chooses to use and which one the player leaves be, is up to the player.
- A Marken may turn at the sight or smell of blood.
- A Marken may turn due to intense anger or grief or fear.
- A Marken may turn during a specific time of the day.
- A Marken may turn due to the specific lunar phase.
- A Marken may turn on specific days of the week.
- A Marken may turn due to being exposed to the God that infected them.
- A Marken may turn due to some overwhelming emotional state.
- A Marken may turn due to hate or disgust of a particular person.
- A Marken may turn due to self doubt or loathing, or self hate.
Additionally, a number of potential signals can be provided while turning, or threatening to turn, which can signal to others. These signals are not consistent between Marken however, so they are optional.
- A Marken may signal their turning with their hair on their arms and neck standing up.
- A Marken may signal their turning with their eyes turning purple shortly before changing.
- A Marken may signal their turning with sudden onset of aggressive hair growth.
- A Marken may signal their turning with a sudden deepening of the voice and changing.
- A Marken may signal their turning with bodily changes like more visible veins.
- A Marken may signal their turning with involuntary spasms or seizures.
- A Marken’s turning may be painless and quick, or painful and slow.
Marken may experience a number of Bodily Changes that are optional to their Curse. They usually occur after the individual has been infected.
- After infection, a Marken in their mundane form may experience increased hair growth.
- After infection, a Marken in their mundane form may experience increased musculature.
- After infection, a Marken in their mundane form may experience increased facial hair.
- After infection, a Marken may experience their hair turning snow white or raven black.
- After infection, a Marken may experience heightened aggression or loss of patience.
- After infection, a Marken may experience more temperamental behavior and impulsiveness.
- After infection, a Marken may experience moments of lack of focus or concentration.
- After infection, a Marken may experience sensitivity to loud sounds or bright lights.
- After infection, a Marken may experience irrational fear of religious buildings and icons.
There exist different forms. After all, the person is normally Mundane, but the shift to Marken beast is not usually binary, but rather a gradient. For example, it is possible for a Mundane to shift halfway to a Marken beast, resulting in aggressive body hair all over their body, but not a full fur cover. They may still have a humanoid face, but find its anatomy slightly altered to look more bestial and snarling. Their nails may be replaced with claws, and they may have grown a tail or digitigrade legs. Regardless of the circumstances, when a Marken transforms, their eyes always start glowing purple. In both forms also, the Marken will lose control over themselves and start hunting any living being nearby for the kill. They may be able to remember what they did, only part of it through the lens of foggy memories, or remember nothing at all. They are unable to speak, wield weapons, use items, or even do simple things like open door handles, preferring to try and smash through them. In all manners of the way, Marken are beasts, and usually don’t stop until some predetermined time or situation (depending on how they turned to begin with), or until they are subdued.
Learning to Live with It
Most Marken never learn to live with their condition and hide away from the world. Many of them build secured basements or attics and hide in times when they can predict their situation, or quickly try to self-isolate when they feel they are about to turn (which they usually can). There are ways to make being a Marken more tolerable. For example, especially among Marken who have embraced their condition, and those born in families with knowledge of the curse, it is possible for them to learn to manually trigger a shift. If a shift is triggered manually by the Marken, they actually remain in control of their own actions (they still cannot speak or wield weapons), and retain all their memories. Still, the curse remains a curse, and just because they are able to control themselves on a manual transformation does not mean they will on a forced transformation. If for any other reason than a manual transformation the Marken shifts, they still lose control and go on a murderous rampage. There are rumors among the Anglian Witches and the Dragon Faithful that Dragons can undo the Soul Curse, and that there are also ways of restoring a person’s soul by recovering the crime of blasphemy committed, for example by re-dedicating to the faith that cursed them, and acting in good virtue to that faith, though these have only ever been rumors and never strictly confirmed.
- Many people think a Bear Marken turns a person into an actual bear. Don’t be like that. It’s just a humanoid body with bear-like hands and feet, and a bear-head. It remains Humanoid in every other way.
- Arken have in the past also given Arken Pacts, gifts, and curses to people that they called Marken or Marked. These have never been the same as actual Marken or God Cursed, and more often than not was just Arken being uncreative and mimicking pre-existing Afflictions.
- Opiates and alcohol work as a depressant to a degree. Because many Marken involuntarily transform due to emotional distress or anger, opiates and alcohol are able to numb those preconditions. As a result, many Marken end up addicted to either substance to try and cope.