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Infidel (Samaritan enemy) (Astro City comics)

Infidel


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Infidel is from Kurt Busiek’s Astro City great super-hero setting. He was first seen in 2006.

He’s more or less a reality manipulator with a mostly adversarial relationship with the Superman-like figure of this world.


Background

  • Real Name: Kiyu
  • Other Aliases: Al-Abid, بیدین
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: None
  • Group Affiliation: None
  • Base Of Operations: Castle outside of time
  • Height: 6’0” Weight: 200 lbs Age: Unrevealed
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Bald Beard: Green


Powers and Abilities

Infidel has mastered the principles of astrology, the humors and the aether. Thus, he is capable of making contact with the fundamental energy of all creation when the heavens are properly aligned. This energy, in its ultimate form, can be used to travel through time by way of gateways and to make many a marvel.

The empyrean fire can be used for subtle mind-altering effects. This is a method employed for changing critical historical events in a manner of his own choosing. Since he can also travel invisibly through time, he can unweave the fabrics of reality slightly to create his own reality as desired, by manipulating individuals in ages of great tension.

However, whenever Infidel changes the time-stream both he and Samaritan remain physically unchanged. This allows Samaritan to undo any such changes.

The Infidel reads science papers

He can also use the fundamental energies of the universe to give himself great strength. This has further made him immortal, and apparently indestructible. He can also use the energy, called empyrean fire, for powerful attacks like lightning, or for moving objects around by use of energy webs.

Earlier, before becoming a living embodiment of the energy, he used it for alchemical matters.

Clearly a genius, he knows scientific and mystical secrets that modern man has only been dreaming of so far. He incorporates unknown scientific/mystical elements and principles in his plans, which along his powers, makes him a powerful enemy.


History

Kiyu was born centuries ago in a part of Nubia that corresponds to modern Kenya. From historical context, it seems likely that he was born during the XIth or XIIth century AD.

Even as a boy he craved for knowledge about the world, and he soon left his village to find answers. He travelled all the way to Zanzibar, where he was promptly reduced to slavery. He was first sold to masters in the Arab caliphates, then in Persia.

The latter was something of a blessing. Persia is one of the oldest human civilisation and a major source of scholarship. Furthermore, the rebellious Nubian boy was sold to an alchemist as a lab assistant, and learned innumerable secrets.

Often insulted as “an infidel”, the contrarian Kiyu claimed this as his name. He continued to clandestinely study the alchemist’s material, and proved himself a genius. While still in his late teens, the Infidel used his knowledge to summon the very fire of space and time within his body.

Thus, he gained energy manipulation powers. This infusion of energy also made his hair and eyes green.

بیدین

The Infidel established a compound in an isolated corner of the Middle East to resume his studies. But his taking of slaves and experimental subjects among the locals led to retributive raids he found insufferable.

He established several successive bases, including one in France during the XIVth century. But his callousness, his irreligiosity, his aloofness and his activities led to fights at each site.

The Infidel fights the Samaritan in mid-air

The Infidel’s studies led to a better understanding of space-time energies and he learned to travel through time. He left for the post-apocalyptic XXXVth century, where he established his newest headquarters.

The few human survivors in this time period were soon to be extinct. But the time traveller had a broader knowledge base than just science and could thrive even on a dead planet. The Infidel then travelled back in time to famous historical catastrophes, offering locals to save their lives in exchange for their work as slaves.

Fighting history

However, the last humans native to the XXXVth century had been working on time travel. They eventually sent a man in the past to prevent the catastrophes that would destroy the Earth. This agent successfully intervened in 1986, where he was called the Samaritan. Much like the Infidel, the Samaritan was infused by space-time energy, though he wielded it differently.

With the timeline  having changed in 1986, the XXXVth century was completely changed. Thus, the Infidel soon found himself alone in the new timeline, his fief gone. Despite his powers he was arrested and jailed as a madman. Yet he escaped and travelled back in time to find the Samaritan.

After analysing the situation, the Infidel travelled back to 1962. He manipulated the world into nuclear destruction during the Cuban Missiles Crisis, thus erasing the world of 1986. But the Samaritan was still there – just like the Infidel had remained when the XXXVth century was retconned. The Samaritan found and defeated the Infidel, then undid the 1962 manipulations.

Msamaria

The Infidel went on to create a parallel history where everything was based on his astrological discoveries. It was an entire multi-centennial culture where he was master of the world. However, he became obsessed with a woman (possibly of Iranian-American origin) in the real timeline and kidnapped her, triggering an intervention by the Samaritan.

The Infidel was defeated and the lady taken home. Furthermore, the sorcerer had to swear that he would never enslave anyone again.

The Infidel meditates while emitting energy

The Samaritan and the Infidel clashed time and again. Though the Samaritan always won in the end, the Infidel could never be imprisoned for more than a few years – which to an immortal meant little. Time and again the Infidel could escape in the timestream and come back for revenge.

He once exiled the Samaritan from reality itself, but the hero came back. The Infidel altered history several times, but the Samaritan always restored it. The Infidel eventually destroyed the entire world and only him and the Samaritan remained underneath reality.

Seeing that they would never truly defeat each other, the Samaritan and the Infidel agreed to make peace and rebuilt the world together. The Infidel then retired to his palace outside of time.

From then on it was but a cold war. The Infidel fruitlessly researched a way to erase the Samaritan from existence, and the Samaritan fruitlessly looked for ways to permanently depower the Infidel.

Since both pursuits are probably impossible, they’ve settled for having dinner together annually. During these they subtly try to convince each other of the correctness of their point of view.


Description

Infidel, a dark male in excellent shape, wears clothes that look inspired by ancient clerics. A sleeveless, black jumpsuit is covered back and front by a regal blue cape with golden trimmings.

He wears a large golden medallion that resembles a mixture of a star and the moon on his chest, a pair of golden bracelets and a pair of slippers. His bald head is adorned by his trademark green beard.

When relaxing, he can be seen lying and smoking his hookah while reading telekinetically levitated journals. His favorite manner of travel is to use a flying carpet powered by his telekinesis.

The emblem of Infidel bears striking similarities to that of his archenemy, the Samaritan. Whether by accident or design it does hint at the intense rivalry between their ways, goals and philosophies.


Personality

Infidel pities mankind for having cast away alchemy, astrology and more to embrace new ideas and new “sciences”. He has no understanding that one needs to reject one to accept another, instead of embracing it all. Because, of course, the fools could have done so much more.

He studies all the sciences, all the time. Meanwhile he enjoys his future-realm, his temple to learning and to the truth that lies under all. He sees his handiwork as paradise built by his own hand.

To regain his lost empire, Infidel battled Samaritan with everything he had. He once created a parallel reality based on astrology, which became a mighty culture, just to prove that it could be done. But he has no desire to rule the world, merely to reorder some things and to pursue the finding of more knowledge in peace. In the pursuit of knowledge everything is allowed.

After many years of battle, Samaritan and Infidel treat each like old friends. But meanwhile they look for chinks in each other’s armor, to find a way to get the upper hand over the other, and to finally grasp victory.

Victory would mean that Infidel will remake reality into the futuristic wasteland that he once ruled over as his own personal paradise. And nothing can stand in his way because he is immortal and has an eternity of time until he will regain his empire.

The Infidel vs. the Samaritan

Infidel, being truly old school, bears several outdated beliefs and ideals. He cannot conceive of human beings possibly being of equal worth. Thus, there must always be masters and servants. In particular, Infidel is misogynistic and sees women as far inferior to men, which is why they serve particularly well as slaves, cooks and home care-takers.

He will always be surrounded and attended by female slaves, or magical clones of women (i.e. homonculi) at home. Neither does Infidel believe in personal freedom other than for the strong, capable and powerful such as himself.

Other traits

As part of his deal with the Samaritan, the Infidel lives freely in an extradimensional  realm where he can pursue scholastic studies. He isn’t allowed to leave the realm, but he meets Samaritan once every year to evaluate each other. And every year he studies his foe, and looks for a way to finally defeat him.

But until that day, he is an exemplary host in his current citadel every other year, while vising the Earth at a location of Samaritan’s choice every other year.

Instead of slaves, he has homunculi, mindless replicas of humans made from urine, hair and a little more. Without saying it, he feels that Samaritan would seek to deny him everything, however little sense it makes to do so. And that the Samaritan always has, from the moment the Infidel first built his world in exile. So they play their games of pleasantries and hidden mind games.

This festers paranoid behavior in Infidel, perhaps more than is necessary. Sadly, Infidel cannot fully pursue the seeking of knowledge as he is distracted with trying to restore his lost empire. But he is not worried at all, biding his time with whatever scientific quest fancies him at the moment. He has all the time in the world!

A comparison between the two opposites is instructional. Whereas Samaritan uses his energies sparingly and only to help, Infidel uses his constantly, not just for lightning-like attacks but to do simple tasks in his home.

It has been shown that Samaritan, a modern man who owes his existence and powers to science, is uncomfortable with Infidel’s magic-based ways and old beliefs such as women being inferior to men.

Infidel enjoys a rich lifestyle. Yet he feels that no one takes delight in making a display of wealth more than one who was born to nothing. Thus he chides himself for feeling pride at peoples’ reactions to his wealth.

Given Infidel’s time-travelling abilities and analytical mind, he knows Samaritan, aka Asa Martin, extremely well. But despite their differences, Infidel does seem to hold a respect for Samaritan and seems to truly wish he will join forces someday.


Quotes

“Infidel. Unbeliever. I embrace their ignorant insult, and wear it as a badge of honor. I believe in nothing but what I see. I trust in nothing but what I can discover, what I can prove. Infidel ? Aye, call me Infidel. For you may fear it, but I do not !”

[Receiving a gift] “A Château Étranger, 1971 ! A delightful little jest, Asa. I founded those vineyards, in the 14th century. But you knew that, of course.”

“Hah ! He doesn’t realize it — doesn’t suspect, I’m sure — but he’s weakening. He’s weakening ! Attendants ! My hookah ! Let it work on you, my old enemy. Let it take root in your mind, unseen, unnoticed. I have all eternity. All eternity.”

Infidel: “Then let me ask you : are you ready to shed your pointless and regressive ethical bounds and really use your power ? Change the world ?”
Samaritan: “Thanks, but no. Are you ready to reform ? To use your great mind to serve humanity ?”

Samaritan at dinner: “Some coffee would be nice. You still serve the best in the universe. Please don’t tell me your secret, though. I’m terrified that once I know, I won’t be able to enjoy it any more.”
Infidel the host: “It’s merely the soil, the light and the air, my friend. No beetle-shells, I assure you. Nor the fingernails of dead virgins, or even that hellish stuff you call chicory. But come, come. I’ll have it served in the laboratory. I want to show you my latest achievements.”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Infidel

Dex: 05 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Seeking Knowledge
Int: 08 Wil: 13 Min: 14 Occupation: Scholar
Inf: 11 Aur: 09 Spi: 08 Resources {or Wealth}: 40
Init: 032 HP: 075

Powers:
Dimension Travel: 04, Enhanced Initiative: 08, Hypnotism: 08, Invisibility: 08, Invulnerability: 22, Lightning: 14, Telekinesis: 10, Time Travel: 40

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers are Mystic-Linked
  • Invisibility may only be used in Conjunction with Time Travel (-1)
  • Invulnerability and Time Travel are Form Function
  • Time Travel can only be used when the heavens are properly aligned (GM Call; -2)

Skills:
Artist (Cooking): 07, Gadgetry: 10, Occultist: 15, Scientist: 15

Advantages:
Connoisseur, Genius, Headquarters (Expansive extradimensional stronghold), Immortal, Languages (Farsi, Standard Arabic, Swahili and possibly another (possibly extinct) Kenyan language), Scholar (Alchemy, Astrology, History)

Connections:
None noted

Drawbacks:
CIA (Seeking Knowledge), MIA toward Misogyny

Equipment:

  • 35 APs Scientific and Mystical Laboratory
  • Flying Carpet [BODY 05 STR 04, Flight: 07, R#2, Flight is Mystic-Linked]

Chronal Resiliency

As a time traveller suffused with space-time energy, the Infidel will remain untouched when the past is altered – even if the alterations in the past make his existence paradoxical. The whole world will be retconned to a new state, but the Infidel will be mostly unchanged and keep his full memories of the previous continuities.


A kind of magic

Time Travel used to be a Time Gateway Ritual, but Infidel’s mastery has since evolved it into a full Power. Now, he cannot be prevented from always having access to the energies of the empyrean fire.

The Rituals Necessary Components were spittle, mucus and dead skin cells. These were used to get a connection between the biological and the heavenly, and since these are part of all human beings they have no Costs.

The Casting time used to be around 4 APs of Time, and the Ritual could only be cast when the heavenly bodies were properly aligned. Infidel’s use of the Ritual has evolved so that he can cast it without chance of failure, and the only Limitation with alignments remains.

Infidel is cunning enough to know in advance exactly when each proper alignment occurs. Hence it works as a Limited Power. All his abilities are derived from the energies of empyrean fire (i.e. in his case Invulnerability), and are always available for use.

Infidel also has access to numerous magic/empyrean rituals that are capable of, for example, producing food from seemingly nothingness. He has also been able to create simulations of life, and perhaps life itself, and used these as servants or henchmen.

By Dr. Peter S Piispanen and Sébastien Andrivet

Source of Character: Astro City Special 2006 – Samaritan in The Eagle and the Mountain

Helper(s): Darci, Sébastien Andrivet

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