Avatar Spotlight: Talbot Leyland (City of Mist TTRPG)
In our last video, we delved into the research facilities of Helix Labs to give you a glimpse of the incredible innovations–and abominations–that are created within the institute. But there’s only so much we can reveal about this clandestine organization without talking about the man behind it all.
Back by popular demand, this week’s video is another Avatar Spotlight! If you’ve seen our videos on Anatoli Vidales or Monte Wolfe, then you know the drill by now. There are worldbuilding spoilers ahead, so only proceed if you truly wish to know the man, the myth, the legend behind Helix Labs.
Who is Talbot Leyland?
Talbot Leyland was born in the lap of luxury. His family was made wealthy by the incredible inventions of a genius ancestor. But rather than burning their inherited wealth on luxury and leisure, the Leyland family strived to follow in their ancestor’s footsteps. It was this drive that led Talbot’s mom to become a world leader in physics and chemistry, and it was this same drive that pushed Talbot to earn his first PhD at age 12.
Talbot had his life all set up. But during a fateful traffic jam, Talbot’s driver drove past an underfunded medical clinic, with lines of miserable people out the door. This glimpse of the real world outside his privileged bubble gave Dr. Leyland a new perspective. Someone needed to help these people. Someone needed to help the entire City! And to Dr. Leyland, there was only one mind brilliant enough to achieve this.
And so, Dr. Leyland abandoned his previous work and set out to build something new. Something that would bring a better tomorrow to the City of Mist through the power of science! Dr. Leyland soon established Helix Labs, an organization ostensibly created for the betterment of all mankind. This ambitious institute would soon collect other subsidiaries and investments, all working toward the same goal of uplifting the City.
Dr. Leyland’s Agenda
In this pursuit, Dr. Leyland also awoke to the powers of innovation within himself. His discoveries would sometimes break the laws of physics, yet his work would go on to change the City. A fire of ambition had ignited within Dr. Leyland. And as he devoted more and more of himself to his utopian future, that fire would soon consume his mundane identity. The mortal Talbot Leyland was no more. In his place rose the Rift of Prometheus, the Greek Titan who gave fire to mankind.
Like Prometheus, Dr. Leyland’s ultimate goal is to give the “fire” of creativity to every citizen. He hopes that through technological breakthroughs, he can give humanity the tools they need to discover new things and shape their reality in every aspect of their lives. This is an incredibly benevolent goal, especially compared to the more selfish agendas of other Avatars.
Unfortunately for Dr. Leyland, his utopia would soon face resistance. No matter how hard he worked or how many patents he sold, he couldn’t turn the City into the tomorrowland of his dreams. Politicians are corrupt, people are petty, and forces far outside Leyland’s comprehension were already working against him. If he truly wished to change the City, Dr. Leyland would have to delve even deeper into a world his science couldn’t explain.
That realization pushed Dr. Leyland to become an Avatar. With the idea that understanding magic would lead to understanding the world, Helix Labs soon became the top researcher of Rifts. But as Dr. Leyland came closer to his goal, he moved farther away from the ethics that he felt held him back.
Dr. Leyland’s Iceberg
Today, Dr. Leyland’s operation extends throughout almost every scientific organization within the City. Through countless hedge funds, a small army of talent scouts, and the Leyland Foundation Tech Accelerator Center, Dr. Leyland raises a new generation of innovators while making sure his influence steers them in the right direction.
For the very few who say no to this amazing offer, Helix Labs employs Headhunters who take their jobs very literally. If a brilliant mind is found to be integral to Helix Labs, these Headhunters will approach the individual for one last offer to join. If they refuse, the Headhunters cut off their heads and preserve their minds with magic, all in the name of progress.
Dr. Leyland is also the founder of Pandaloria Healthcare, which seeks to revolutionize the healthcare industry through artificial intelligence. While Pandaloria Healthcare has helped many within the City, financial issues and certain other Avatars have impeded its progress.
These public-facing organizations all serve to hide the real work being done at Helix Labs R&D. In these secret facilities, scientists examine Rifts and Relics in the hopes of a breakthrough. They also design and develop technology that utilizes the powers of others, including the Rift-tech that allows Helix Labs Black Ops to go toe-to-toe with other Rifts. These experiments are naturally hidden from the public with the understanding that any rule can be thrown away for the sake of science.
Facing Dr. Leyland
If you want to pit your crew against Helix Labs, then they’ll inevitably have to face off against Dr. Leyland. But as an Avatar, Dr. Leyland is virtually unstoppable. With a flick of his wrist, he could engulf an entire block in flames or extinguish the light of ambition in someone’s soul. Worse yet, Dr. Leyland has made contact with other Avatars, so he has very powerful friends.
But even if we gloss over the incredible magical power at his disposal, Dr. Leyland is also one of the smartest men in the City, if not THE smartest. Any plan made against him, he’ll have a workaround. Any tech used against him, he’ll have a killswitch. Fighting Dr. Leyland would be like fighting Reed Richards and the kid from Home Alone rolled into one.
But there are rumors of a secret facility that Dr. Leyland allows no one but himself to access. This facility lies far outside of town in the middle of the desert and supposedly contains a great secret that rests at the core of Helix Lab’s progress. Perhaps your crew could one day find this facility in the hopes of uncovering this secret and stopping Dr. Leyland once and for all.
That is, if they still want to stop him after discovering the truth.
If you’d like to know more about Dr. Talbot Leyland and Helix Labs, be sure to pick up the City of Mist expansion Shadows & Showdowns. Go to cityofmist.co or click the link in the description to get it today.
What City of Mist character would you like to hear about next? Let us know in the comments, on social media, or on the City of Mist Discord. Until then, have fun!