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The Mortui Liber Magistri

The Mortui Liber Magistri (“the Book of the Master of the Dead” or, perhaps, “the Book of
the Dead Master”) is based upon an earlier lost work by a coven of Flemish occultists who
flourished in the sixteenth century.

Among its contents, the Liber purports to explain and instruct in the creation of golems
(“Prometheans”)—beings constructed from one or more dismembered and reassembled
corpses, given the semblance of new life by what Mendocino describes as “Azoth,” a form
of “Pyros,” the Divine Fire.

It was reputedly written by Juan Emilio Medina de Borbón y Merovinxa Concepción-Vargas,


Marquès de Mendocino (1704? - 1797), an 18th century libertine, necromancer and sorcerer.
Among other associations, Mendocino is believed by some occultists to have been the
secret patron of the enigmatic Roman composer Benevento Chieti Bordighera (1746 - 1771),
who wrote Massa Di Requiem Per Shuggay (or, Requiem for Shaggai), a lengthy and bizarre
opera about the alien Insects from Shaggai, their plight, and subsequent exodus into the
black gulfs of space.

The Liber’s purported association with the creation of golems (“Prometheans”) makes it a
highly unusual and highly sought manual.

Pyros permeates the entire physical world in small quantities, wherever humans (and other
beings) plan, act on impulse, build, tear down, create, and destroy. Demiurges steal the
Divine Fire to create Prometheans. Alchemists bottle it in their experiments. Pandorans feast
upon it. The Created burn it into Azoth like messy reactors. Far from simple magical fuel,
though, Pyros reacts. It forms its own agenda — its own Principle — and coalesces into its
own agents and advocates.

Azoth is the amount of purified Pyros a Promethean has within her. It is what animates her
and gives her the potential (the promise) of becoming mortal, or truly alive; when a
Promethean experiences a milestone, her Azoth produces Vitriol, the substance which
prepares her for the transformation into a human. As Azoth increases, a
Promethean's Azothic radiance expands. Azoth is often associated with the alchemical
principle of coagulation.

The Divine Fire comes in many forms. While Prometheans do not entirely understand its
mysteries, they have identified certain states in which it can occur. The most important of
those states is Azoth, which they define as refined or purified Pyros. Azoth burns within
every Promethean; it is what gives him his artificial life. Mere fluid Pyros alone can’t achieve
the amazing feat of creating life from death. Only Pyros in its most rarefied form can do that.
That form is Azoth.

Azoth is associated with the alchemical themes of unification, coagulation and stability, but
also as catalyst to transform something into its purer form. In these senses, it is sometimes
conceived as being a polar opposite of Flux, the chaotic aspect of Pyros that breaks things
down. This conception isn’t exactly accurate, just as steam and ice are not opposite versions
of water. Yet, this idea does reveal something of the tension between dissolution and
coagulation in alchemy, an ongoing (but interwoven) process throughout the entire
operation.

Azoth does seem to have a teleological goal, a result for which it always strives, regardless
of its promethean’s cooperation. This end is Mortality, the purest state. The force that
seems to drive this urge toward purity is not Azoth itself but Elpis, an aspect of Pyros that is
rarely manifest, showing itself more as a guiding principle or promise from the future. Elpis is
more a conjecture about the Pyros than an actual force that can be wielded. All a
Promethean really knows is that something spurs his Azoth toward ever-higher
temperatures.

Prometheans begin life with one dot of Azoth, bequeathed to them by their maker.
Additional dots may be acquired with the expenditure of experience points, or initial Merit
dots can be spent to add extra Azoth (see p. 84).

Effects of Azoth

Azoth is a trait rated from one to 10 dots. As the measure of a Promethean’s Inner Fire,
Azoth has the following game effects;
 Azoth affects a Promethean’s ability to quickly muster the fl uid Pyros within his
corpus, governing how many points of Pyros a player can spend in a single turn.
Azoth also limits how much Pyros a Promethean can hold within his corpus. The
higher his Azoth is, the more Pyros he can store. See the “Effects of Azoth” chart.
 Prometheans with Azoth 6 or higher can increase their Attributes and Skills past fi ve
dots. The catalyst of the refi ned Fire increases his body’s and his mind’s capabilities
beyond the mundane, allowing him to bolster his Mental, Physical and Social
capabilities to inhuman degrees.
 Azoth calls to Azoth. Prometheans can vaguely sense the presence of other Azoths,
depending on the strength of their radiance. See the “Effects of Azoth” chart for
how great an area a Promethean’s radiance covers based on his Azoth. The players of
other Prometheans within the affected area can make a reflexive Wits + Azoth roll to
detect its faint tingling. With a successful roll, the characters cannot pinpoint its
source, but they do know it is present. Since Prometheans can see other
Prometheans’ disfigurements, it is usually no problem to single the source out from
among a crowd of mortals.
 Dampening the Fire. A Promethean can intentionally diminish the amount of radiance
his Azoth gives off. He might do so to stymie Pandorans who are searching for him or
to keep other Prometheans away, for a dampened Azoth is repulsive to other
Created. Once a Promethean dampens the Inner Fire thus, he cannot reverse it for 24
hours. He suffers a -3 dice pool penalty on all rolled social interactions with other
Prometheans during that time, but he causes Pandorans to suffer a -3 penalty to
tracking rolls when searching for him. (See the “Hunting” sidebar on p. 224.)

Drawbacks of Azoth
 The higher a Promethean’s Azoth is, the harder it becomes for mortals to resist the
Disquiet he exudes. Whenever a mortal’s player would make a Resolve + Composure
roll to resist Disquiet, the Promethean’s player also makes a roll, using his Azoth as
the dice pool. His successes are contested against the mortal’s, so that the mortal is
unaffected only if his character rolls more successes than the Promethean’s does.
See “The Disquiet Vector” (p. 168) for full details.
 A Promethean’s Azothic radiance precedes him. The higher his Azoth is, the greater
the vicinity in which its radiance spreads around him. Since this radiance is what
awakens Pandorans from their Dormancy, it can prove to be very dangerous for the
Promethean, as it awakens creatures well beyond his immediate senses. See “Azothic
Radiance” (p. 222).