The Quickening

The Highlander LARP System
By B Watson, HTML by Daniel Utecht for Brevard Beastiary

Preface by B. Watson:
This game is an interpretation from the game made by Hank Driskill and John Gavigan. It is for use in the LARP systems, a Minds Eye theater, instead of the table top version Hank and John came up with. (Thanks John and Hank, great game...) This is just one of several supplements I have planned. Others include a supplement for Watcher characters (with background and abilities), rules for the Hunters (probably the two Watchers/Hunters will be joined), rules for sword dueling (instead of the hack and slash method) and a couple of other smaller supplements.

Character Generation:

One of the things that intrigued me about a Highlander LARP was that the Immortals are individuals. Every Immortal has his own reasons for what he does, he doesn't have the clan or tribe restrictions other character types have. Even the overwhelming drive for the Prize can be resisted (as seen by the character Darius). Whatever your Immortal character may have as beliefs should be well documented. Obviously an Immortal can be as chaotic as any character can get (more so than even Malkavians). Because of this the Storyteller might require the Immortal have a set of beliefs that the character would not break even under the most difficult circumstances (a Bushido, like that of Conner and Duncan MacLeod).

Beginning Traits

Quickening Trait PoolMax QuickeningQuickening LevelWillpowerQuickening AbilitiesAbilitiesAge

Attributes:7/ 6 / 5
Influence:4 Traits
Status / Rank:None
Derangements: None (May be used as Negative Traits; No more than 2, and no Immortal Terror or Hunger)

Equipment: Storyteller discretion, but MUST have 1 large, bladed weapon, usually a sword. Immortals will typically be wealthy, having amassed a large sum of stocks, Swiss Bank accounts, and souvenirs from their travels.

Creation Costs:

CategoryTrait Cost
New Positive Trait:1
Negative Trait:-1
Ability or Influence:1
New Quickening Ability:3
Ancient Quickening Ability (At Storyteller's Discretion):10 XP / 5 Quickening
Raise Quickening Level:10 xp / 10 Quickening

As you can see from these rules, Immortals have many disadvantages compared to the other character types. They have almost no mental abilities, magic rituals like the Garou, Magi or Tremere, and they can't enter the Umbra. This is balanced by an obvious fact from the first movie, Immortals are true War Horses. They are quite possibly the most dangerous in physical confrontations, especially when armed with their chosen empowered weapon.

As a balance to the power Immortals have, Immortals can never be Garou (for they are separate species) or Magi (Storytellers may opt for a certain bit of 'hedge-magic'). They also can not become Kindred or have Gypsy heritage or be Mummies. (Essentially, Immortals can ONLY be Immortals, nothing else.)

Game Mechanics

Health levels

Obviously, Immortals can't be killed except if their head is removed from their shoulders. As Ramirez said, "If your head comes away from your neck, it's over." But since it would be a bit unbalanced for a character that can't be killed, this system has been developed. These wound levels are based both on the series and the first film. With this system Immortals can take a great deal of damage, but even the human body has physical limitations. Once the fifth level of damage has been taken, the body is considered so mangled that the Immortal can't possibly continue until healing has taken place. The moment the fifth level of damage is taken a countdown begins. After the time has passed the Immortal's body has healed to the minimum level necessary to support life. At this point the Immortal is free to use healing abilities if they are available.

Health LevelsModifiers
HealthyNo injuries, no modifiers
BruisedSlight injuries.
InjuredSlight injuries. (Must bid 1 extra trait)
HurtModerate injuries (Must bid 2 traits)
SeepingHeavily wounded (Must bid 2 traits, loses ties)
DeathIncapacitated (Can do nothing, but is aware of surroundings)
Must wait until healed to Seeping before he/she can use abilities

Note: More Health Levels than Masquerade Vampires. Immortals just can't die.


Immortals do not need to eat, drink, or sleep to survive. However, by going without either for extended amounts of time will weaken them and generally make them uncomfortable. For every day (past 3 days) gone without any food, water, or sleep Immortals lose one trait in Mental, Physical and Social attributes. (They can never go below one trait) Likewise, Immortals (after first death) never get ill and can not 'die' from exposure to the elements. (But similar penalties apply, determined by extent of exposure) To recover the attributes lost (the Immortal must first receive food and water if necessary), an Immortal can either rest for two hours, or rest for an hour and expend a Quickening Trait by using Heal Self. During this period of rest the Immortal cannot enter any Physical, Mental or Social contest. If the Immortal does, he regains no traits from the rest and must begin another hour of rest.

Drugs and poisons have been shown to affect Immortals, but the effects won't drive them to "Death," only Mauled (with additional loss of either Physical, Mental or Social traits where applicable). Immortals are also immune to all forms of disease.

Immortals have often been shown to carry on in battle after receiving wounds that would drive them to "Death." The Immortal can spend a Willpower trait to carry on in battle for an extra round after receiving wounds that would put them at "Death." The Immortal can run, fight or do any action EXCEPT heal himself. The damage has already been done, and only by sheer determination does the Immortal carry on. After using up all his Willpower traits, an Immortal immediately slips into "Death," and begins the twenty minute countdown. An Immortal can use this as long as he has the Willpower traits to use.

Much like drowning, if an Immortal is buried alive with no source of oxygen, the Immortal will be driven to "Death." The Immortal will immediately recover, however, once exposed to fresh air.

Health levelTimeTime with
Ignore Wounds
10 Min
20 Min
30 Min
40 Min
20 Min
5 Min
10 Min
15 Min
20 Min
10 Min

Note: Healing times are cumulative, i.e. if I take 2 levels of wounds, and do not have the Heal self power, I will take 30 minutes to heal fully. If I have Ignore wounds, the time would be only 15 minutes. Recovery from "Death" has been shown to be rather erratic. Some instances have involved hours before recovery, some less than a minute. These times are only meant to be a general listing. A Storyteller can modify them to represent extensive damages (falling from a cliff, jumping off a building, being burnt to death, etc). In order to heal aggravated wound levels the time on the healing chart is tripled. Immortals heal completely, leaving no scars or traces of ever being wounded. The only time when scarring occurs is when the wound to the neck (from an empowered sword), or in the result of dismemberment of an arm or leg (which can be reattached, but will leave an ugly scar, with no loss to mobility).

Mage's Life Effects, the Garou gift of Mother's Touch, and the Vampire discipline Obeah will have no effect on Immortals.

Immortals do not generally regenerate lost limbs. However, if an Immortal has the ability Heal Self, he can spend the Quickening traits and Quickening Experience to regenerate the limbs. If an Immortal has Ignore Wounds, then the cost in Quickening Traits is half the cost though the time is the same.
Lost LimbQuickening TraitsQuickening Exp.Time for Regen
1 per day
4 per day
4 per day
6 per day
2 xp
3 xp
4 xp
3 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks

Character Development:

CategoryXP Cost
New Physical / Mental / Social Trait:1
Buying off a Negative Trait:2
Ability or Influence:1
New Quickening Ability:3 per level
Ancient Quickening Ability (At Storyteller's Discretion):12 XP / 5 Quickening
Raise Quickening Level:10 xp / 10 Quickening

Quickening Abilities

Beginning Abilities -
All Immortals possess these abilities, gained at First Death
They don't count against Quickening abilities

Sense Immortal - A static challenge (using your quickening traits) is made. Difficulty is based on the distance to nearest Immortal :

          Same Room     : 0  (Automatic)
          Same Building : 1
          Same Block    : 2
          1 Mile        : 5
          Small City    : 7
          Medium City   : 10
          Larger        : Impossible

Note: This ability can also be used for sensing whether an area is considered Holy Ground or not. This simple test chart applies

Breath Water - In essence, Immortals aren't truly breathing the water. Due to the extreme amount of life force they carry, in the form of Quickening, they are able to draw out the oxygen in the water. This is, however, limited in duration. The stress drains the immortal of 1 Quickening trait per 15 minutes of submersion. If the Immortal uses up all of his Quickening Traits, the Immortal 'dies' until exposed to fresh air. This ability will not allow an Immortal to breath in a vacuum.

The Last : This ability is less defined than the others. It is an ability that allows Immortals to simply know things he otherwise wouldn't. (Such as how Connor knew of the tape recorder, the gun; How the Kurgan knew of Connor, etc) The ability is a erratic source of information and should be used carefully by the Storyteller. My suggestion is a series of envelopes, with information in them. They should be marked on the front with directions. The Immortal should open the envelopes when the directions say to (such as meeting a NPC or PC, entering a location, observing an action) An Immortal should not depend on this information, since it is reflected upon his\her Quickening as it constantly waxes and wanes. The higher the Immortal's Quickening level, the more information and more frequently it should manifest itself. It is rumored this ability is but a hint of what the final Immortal will attain from the Prize, omniscience.


Lower Level Abilities
Minimum Quickening Level : 2

Know Languages : With this ability, an Immortal may tap the mind of a mortal and learn language of the particular area. The knowledge imparted is permanent, and the Immortal need only use this ability once for any particular language. The ability can not be used to learn anything about the culture, history, or written language, it only imparts the spoken language. The cost is 2 Quickening Traits.

Empower Weapon : The Immortal is so in tune with his\her weapon that he\she may channel his\her Quickening into it. For every Quickening Trait spent in this manner, the weapon (which MUST be bladed) will get an extra trait to bid in combat for the rest of the scene. In addition, if the Immortal wins the challenge, an additional level of aggravated damage per trait is done to the opponent. The maximum amount of Quickening Traits that can be channeled is the character's Quickening Level divided by two, rounded down. An additional effect is that the weapon empowered, is altered on a level not understood, increasing the strength, hardness and toughness. After six times of empowering, the weapon is nearly indestructible (except, of course, by something FAR more powerful than the Immortal, perhaps a God)

Heal Self : By spending a Quickening Trait, the Immortal may heal one wound level, rather than using the normal healing chart for Immortals. This cannot be used for aggravated wounds.

Speed of the Stag : As the Vampire power, Celerity

Strength of Ages : As the Vampire power, Potence

Fortitude : As the Vampire power


Intermediate Abilities
Minimum Quickening Level : 3

Heightened Sense : As the Vampire power

Cloaking of the Blade : Because the Immortal puts his life behind his weapon, he can choose one weapon of extreme quality, which he can permanently infuse with one of his social traits. The Immortal's weapon is now treated as if it were Obfuscated while it is sheathed.
Prerequisite: Empower Weapon

Rapidity : As the Vampire Power

Vigor : As the Vampire Power

Resilience : As the Vampire power.
Prerequisite: Strength of Ages and Fortitude


Advanced Abilities
Minimum Quickening Level : 4

Sense the Unnatural : This is used just as Sense Immortal, but will also detect other supernatural entities as well. In order to differentiate different supernatural 'signatures,' the user must spend a mental trait, 'sorting them out.' The difficulty level is based on the size of the area the Immortal wishes to search and the number of supernatural entities present:

          Same Room      : 0-1
          Same Building  : 1-3
          Same Block     : 2-5
          1 Mile         : 3-7
          Small City     : 5-10
          Medium City    : 10-17
          Larger         : Impossible

Note: Cannot be used to 'track' a specific creature, merely will tell whether something is present and not natural.
Prerequisite: Heightened Senses

Ignore Wounds : Using this power, the Immortal is virtually unstoppable. The Immortal now heals at twice the normal rate for an Immortal, and may use Heal Self, to heal aggravated wounds.
Prerequisite: Vigor, Resilience, and Heal Self

Calling of the Blade : By the time the Immortal has gained this level of experience, they are so in tune with their weapon that it can be called forth in a moment of need. The Immortal spends a Quickening Trait and the weapon that was prepared for Cloaking of the Blade will appear in the Immortal's hand from whatever hiding place it was kept in. This power can be used at any distance, though the weapon must be on the same plane as the Immortal. It can also be used to reclaim a weapon taken by a foe, so long as the weapon is the Immortal's chosen weapon.
Prerequisite : Empower weapon, Cloaking of the Blade

Fleetness : As the Vampire power.

Puissance : As the Vampire power.


Ancient Abilities
Minimum Quickening Level : 6

These are abilities that for the most part, only exist in rumors. It is said an Immortal must seek out an Ancient Immortal in order to be taught these abilities. (The Storyteller may allow them to be bought at higher costs, such as 10 regular experience and 5 Quickening experience for the new ability.)

Teleportation : With this ability, an Immortal can instantly transport himself over any distance with no chance of error. The Immortal need not actually know of the place, just minimal information on the area (a particular Immortal is there, etc). The more information the more precise the teleportation will be. An Immortal can only teleport once an hour, due to the stresses incurred by the teleportation. The cost of the teleportation is 3 Quickening Traits.

The Chimera : This is the power of illusion. The mythos of the Immortals speaks of a wizard who could alter his appearance and fool the minds of other Immortals and mortals. It is believed this ability was lost when the wizard was slain, but there may be a few who still know this form of Magick. The cost of the ability varies with the complexity of the illusion.

Shadows : This is not an Ancient ability, per se, but a rare one indeed. The ability allows an Immortal to project thought images and feelings to another Immortal, perhaps as a short message or as an attack. If used as an attack (to disorientate or confuse), the two Immortals must enter a simple test. If the Immortal attacked fails the test, he/she loses 1 Mental, 1 Social, and 1 Physical trait, for the rest of the game. The ability can be used any number of times during a game, as long as the Immortals has the Quickening traits to bid. The cost of this ability is 2-4 Quickening Traits, depending on the complexity, duration, etc. The range of the ability can extend beyond the range of automatic detection of an Immortal.

Rules Concerning Interaction of Character types

Effects of the Quickening -

Quickening Traits are regained at the rate of one trait per hour, until the entire trait pool is full.

Increasing Quickening Level
Unlike Vampires, who grow more powerful simply with age, Immortals can only increase their Quickening Level by killing another Immortal. When an Immortal kills another Immortal, the winner gains the loser's Quickening level in Quickening experience. By spending 10 regular experience and 10 Quickening experience, the Immortal may raise his Quickening level by 1.

The Quickening -

The occurrence of the Quickening is a very violent maelstrom of energy. This begins a few seconds after beheading of an Immortal. Anything electronic in the immediate vicinity is likely to be destroyed and all glass is certain to be shattered. Another side effect is that any Kindred in the vicinity may be immolated by the Quickening (the Quickening being life energy, the Kindred undead). A simple test is made on the Kindred and 5 Physical traits must be bid or the Kindred bursts into flames and begins to take aggravated damage. Also due to the sudden influx of life energy, any wounds the Immortal currently has, including aggravated wounds, is instantly healed and the Immortal's Quickening Traits are instantly returned along with any mental and social traits lost. Due to the violent forces an Immortal is put through, he regains half his physical traits he currently has, rounded up. After an hour of rest he will regain the rest of the lost traits.

The Quickening echoes on all levels of the Umbra, and often draws spirits to the site of the battles of Immortals. The walls between the worlds is very thin for a period of time after the Quickening (One hour per Quickening Level of the loser). This allows easy access to the Umbra (stepping sideways is automatic).

During the transference, there is some chance that an ability, knowledge, or Quickening Ability the winning Immortal doesn't have (that the loser does have) may be transferred to the winner. However, this is not usually the case.

For some reason, all Immortals are sterile, and can not produce children. This is never in doubt, and can never be changed through any ritual, ability or event.

The Rules of the "Game"

There can be only One.
This is the prevailing theme of the Highlander saga. Immortals will not typically travel in groups, and can only form limited partnerships. Even the closest of friends can be driven insane by the endless killing and the loss of mortal loved ones. Thus an Immortal will always be concerned for his head when around other Immortals.

If two or more Immortals engage a single one in combat, only the Immortal who actually takes the head of the fallen one will take the Quickening, along with two Quickening points of his ally. The other Immortal involved in combat loses Two Quickening levels and gains nothing from the loser, needless to say this is very unpleasant and is avoided (Immortals can only be reduced to a Quickening Level 1).

Holy Ground
No Immortal will fight another Immortal on Holy Ground (sparring is allowed, but to the Death is forbidden). Whatever force drives the Immortals and created the game will not allow this, it will take whatever steps it feels necessary to stop combat. The Force may simply destroy the Immortal who actively chooses to disobey the rule or may take other steps. One effect this the Force might use is that at the beheading of an Immortal, the Quickening released will be absorbed by the Holy Ground and increase it's power. Also the Quickening traits of the winner will be drained and his Quickening level will be reduce by half, PERMANENTLY. At this point the Immortal must regain his original level through the taking of more heads (at TWICE the cost). Any abilities that require a certain Quickening Level (that the Immortal is below) are lost, and must be relearned through experience. Luckily an Immortal will ALWAYS know if he stands on Holy Ground or not, this is based on the power, Sense Immortal.

This rule only applies to Immortals fighting other Immortals, however, many Immortals fearing repercussions will not fight anything on Holy Ground, including mortals, Kindred, Garou, etc.

Types of Holy Ground: A Garou Cairn, the Node of a Mage and Changeling freeholds are considered Holy Ground, as are other kinds such as consecrated ground of the Church or any other area the Storyteller feels fit. The Kindred's Elysium is not automatically Holy Ground..

The Prize
Nothing must interfere with the Game. The Prize must be won. Immortals cannot reveal their existence to mortals, except in the rarest cases. This is the Masquerade for Immortals, it must be kept up even if it means leaving the place the Immortal lives, to protect his secret "condition." They must also NEVER battle where there are mortal witnesses (unless they can be trusted, such as a Watcher or close friend). Rules of Combat Actually there are few rules of combat, the only one being that combat is one-on-one. However, most Immortals don't use weapons other than swords or axes when dueling. Some Immortals (the most evil) have on occasion used guns, poison and other methods of 'softening' up another Immortal before entering combat. This is frowned on by most Immortals, since the combat is more than fighting but a matter of honor. If an Immortal constantly uses methods to kill others, other Immortals may choose to hunt him down and eliminate him.

The Mythos of the Immortals

Several myths permeate the history of the Immortals, several may be true, none of them or all of them.

The Crystal of Immortality
It has been said that once there was a Crystal, a source of power for Immortals. An Immortal captured it in battle and shattered it. She then took the shards of the Crystal and gave a piece to each of her students. There were rumored to be eight such shards, and if they were to be reassembled they would give an Immortal immense power. It is said the Crystal would double the power of an Immortal, making him the most skillful and dangerous Immortal in existence.

There have been many Ancient Immortals through history, most now dead. There is a myth of an Immortal who exists today, who existed more than 5000 years ago. He is rumored to be the FIRST Immortal, and know many things. His name is Methos, and little is known of him, other than he is most likely just a myth.

The Origin of Immortals
Some say the Immortals have existed since the beginning of time. Some say the Immortals are from the stars, this highly unlikely. Others have put forth another, more feasible theory. Immortals are always Foundlings, never knowing their true parents. In human myths there are stories of the Changelings. These Changelings are supernatural creatures who are from a realm known as Arcadia. It is rumored that the Immortals are brothers of the Changelings, though this cannot be proven.

The Prize
The Prize itself is a myth. No Immortal can say for certain what the Prize will be, or if it even exists. One theory is that the Immortal will become Omniscient, having full capability with the power, The Last. However, with more Immortals being 'born,' it may never come down to one Immortal. But one thing is for sure, if it comes down to one Immortal, he or she will have the power of countless Immortals. With such power, nothing can stop the Immortal, and the world will either suffer for it, or be lead to another Golden Age.

Disclaimer: This system is, in my hope, an accurate translation from the Highlander movies (I and III) and the Highlander series. The abilities, history, and myths of the Immortals are either taken directly from the series or based on extensions of the abilities shown. This isn't meant to challenge the ownership of any Highlander trademarks or any White Wolf copyrights. I expect no money for this, only that you use it in it's entirety and you give some credit to me (and John Gavigan, Hank Driskill, and Lief for their inspiration).