The Prolongers

Also known as: The Cheaters, The Deathless

Keeping Out of the Dead-Book’s an Art

Symbol of the Prolongers

“How long have I been alive? Well, let’s just say I knew your great-great-grandparents. They were good people, and I loved them both very much—and that’s the only reason I’m grantin’ you this interview, berk.

“Anyway, you wanted to know about me and the group known as the Prolongers? Well, start with the questions, then.

“Well, we Prolongers know the dark of it all. That’s why we spend so much time tryin’ to give the Grim Reaper the laugh. Only the most skilled and most intelligent bloods can keep out of the way of Death’s scythe. That’s why our group is so small. I’d have to estimate that, oh, 95% of the sods that try to peel Death fail within the first fifty years. That’s why our little association is so select—only the most talented cutters are considered ‘true’ Cheaters.

“Yes, I did say that the Prolongers know the dark of Death. Okay, we don’t know it per se, but we know a whole lot more than most of the ignorant sods that exist in the planes. Think about it this way: Does anyone really know what happens when you die? Sure, the priests say that your spirit becomes one with the plane that most suits your personality. What’s so bad about that?! Are you barmy, berk? Do you want to spend the next eternity working for some power? Or performing drills on Avernus for some pit fiend? How about living as a rock in Pandemonium for the few eons? I know I don’t want to spend forever being grass for some cow in Elysium or what-have-you.

“And the worst part is no one’s even sure if that’s what really happens. There’s no rhyme or reason to this stuff, berk. The priests’re just preachin’ what their deities are tellin’ them to preach. What if you die, and on the way to your final resting plane, there’s a slip-up and you wind up in the Abyss? Wanna clean some Abyssal Lord’s toilets for the next five hundred centuries? Yeah, I didn’t think so.”

—Interview with Gavin St. Argis, Prolonger bard

Sect History: The Prolongers have been around for a very, very long time. So long, in fact, that no one can really remember the exact number of years. Most people guess it must be at least a few thousand, however. It’s not because the Prolongers are such a popular group, in that they receive thousands of new members a year, but rather because their members just don’t die. Well, they do, but very, very rarely.

No person or group of persons can really claim responsibility for forming the group called the Prolongers. The Cheaters have always existed in one form or another. Now, many berks have opinions on how the Cheaters got their life-extending power (you know what I’m talking about)—but let me tell you something, no one really knows what happens to Prolongers. Not even the Prolongers know what happens to them.

The Cheaters do know of a few specific requirements that must be met before someone suddenly wakes up one day and can drain the life outta some worthless berk. First, the Prolonger-to-be must have already found some means of extending their life, and they must have already prolonged their existence an additional fifty years. Huh? Is that it? Berk, there is another requirement you know—if there wasn’t every high-up on the planes would be a Prolonger by now! The other requirement is, as much as I hate to admit it, fear of Death. Yup, that’s death with a capital “D”. The day that the Prolonger-wannabe realises they’re terrified of Death, and they’ve met the other requirement, they suddenly undergo a transformation. They falls asleep that night, and they awaken the next day with the power (and the very strong desire) to drain people of their life forces so as to supplement their own.

“Oh, sure, I could be undead instead…
but who wants to wander round with flesh
hanging off their faces and smelling of carrion?
For eternity?
Not this body, and that’s a cert!”

– Fathervold, Prolonger Psionicist

No one’s really sure how this happens, but it does, and because of this, the Prolongers aren’t very organised. It’s not like they need to seek out a future candidate and train him in the ways of eternal life. And, since the Prolongers are so disorganised, they don’t even really qualify for “sect” status. They’re more of an informal brotherhood, if you will. They know that others of their kind exist, and that’s about it. There are no meetings to discuss “sect” policies and no leader. Each Prolonger basically goes on “living” their life, usually never meeting another of their kind. Such is the way of life everlasting, apparently.

Lucital Fireblast, ancient Prolonger

The Sectol: Actually, the Prolongers don’t have a sectol, ’cause they’re not really a sect. There is one woman, Lucital Fireblast (planar human wizard [she/her] / Prolongers / NE) who is the oldest known Prolonger…ever. Anybody who knows of the Prolongers knows about her, and all the Prolongers recognise her as “the best of the best”. Lucital has been alive longer than anyone can remember—the chant goes that she has seen the first battles of the Blood War, and she’s seen Sigil being formed. But that’s just the chant, and it ain’t too reliable. The only problem is, no one knows her background. She’s been around so long that no one can give first-hand knowledge of her history, except her, and she’s not talking about it. Make no mistake about it, though, Lucital is not the leader of the Prolongers. She is merely the oldest Prolonger around, and because of this she is the most respected (among the Cheaters, that is).

Sect Headquarters: None to speak of, since the Cheaters are a group of individuals without much contact between each other.

Role-playing the Prolongers: Be edgy. Be paranoid. Constantly be thinking of your next victim, and always size up berks based on how long their life force will prolong yours. Most Cheaters have been around long enough to amass a mound of jink large enough to make a Merkhant jealous. Thus, a goodly portion of the Prolongers have more bodyguards and spell-slingers than your average factol.

Although a Prolonger’s primary goal is to live forever, they’re not stupid enough to simply limit themselves to that. A Prolonger will go out of their way (or pay a huge amount of jink) to acquire magical items that provide protection. Your average Prolonger will have more rings of protections or bracers of defence then you can shake a wand at, and they’ll be sure to have either a charmed or really well-paid cleric on hand to cast resurrection if something goes wrong. A Cheater will go to any length to get their greedy hands on something that will grant wishes. A Cheater’s primary wish is to either make themself invulnerable or to grant themself eternal life—without having to kill others for it.

Membership: The requirements listed in the History section are the only requirements needed to “get membership” to the Prolongers. Other Prolongers won’t consider “new members” to be “true” Cheaters until they have escaped Death’s grasp for at least one hundred years.

Allies & Enemies: The Prolongers don’t have too many allies. A Prolonger can expect some aid from members of the Athar, who point to them as perfect of examples that the so-called “gods” are not all powerful. If they were, the Defiers say, why haven’t they just destroyed the Cheaters?

The Bleak Cabal is on neutral terms with Cheaters, not really caring what the berks do to stay alive. The Fated have a twisted form of respect for the Prolongers, considering them the epitome of the faction’s ideals.

On the other hand, the Heralds of Dust loathe the Cheaters — so much so that they’ve even established a small cadre of fighters and mages that hunt the Prolongers down and put ’em in the dead book. The Dead consider what the Prolongers do an abomination, and simply cannot understand why anyone would want to spend eternity suffering through “life”.

The Mercykillers, Harmonium and Believers of the Source also hate the Prolongers, not such much for who they are but what they do. The Believers don’t think anyone should have their lives cut short so some other unworthy berk can live forever. The Mercykillers and the Harmonium just don’t like the Prolongers killing people.

Advantages & Disadvantages: Hmmm…advantages. Let me think. Oh, I’ve got one. Maybe the fact that the Prolongers live forever. If you don’t consider life everlasting a good benefit, you’ve got some issues to deal with. The Cheaters also have the bizarre power to drain people’s life forces, similar to the energy drain ability of some undead. This energy drain can be performed once a week, and all that is needed for it to take effect is contact with the victim. Once contact is established, the victim loses one level of experience for every round of continuous contact. Each level drained decreases the age of the Prolonger in question by one year.

The main disadvantage to being a Prolonger is that they age ten-times fast then the average mortal—which means a Prolonger needs to drain someone’s life force once every four weeks or so if he wishes to no longer age.

Current Chant: There is hardly any new chant concerning the Prolongers. Ever. The only long-lasting chant that floats around is that people believe the Prolongers have a weird contract with the Grim Reaper. Most people who know anything about the Cheaters believe they attribute their strange energy draining powers to either Death or some fiend, who, in return for eternal life, asks for other people’s lives in return.

The Dark: The Prolongers really do get their powers from Death. When they begin fearing Death, Death senses it. When the Prolonger-to-be reaches a certain level of paranoia, Death steps in and grants them the energy draining power. The lives that the Prolonger extinguishes go to Death. In return, Death doesn’t collect on the Prolonger’s soul. Presumably, the additional death caused by the Prolongers’ draining of mortals to sustain themselves more than makes up for the fact that the Prolongers themselves won’t die. At least in the eyes of the Grim Reaper.

The moral of this story, cutters: sometimes the chant is right. And in cases like this, it is.

Canonical Source: The Prolongers were introduced in the Planescape Monstrous Compendium II, p72. This piece of homebrew adds to their lore.

Source: Brant Casavant

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