Referring back a bit to this, a nifty hair dresser with psychic abilities, and the power of belief.
“How am I doing?” – Ed Koch
Tulpas are free-floating concentrations of psychic energy that for some reason coalesce and take on human form. The twisted atmosphere of South Florida somehow encourages this. Little is known about this process because tulpas are, like most secret races, extremely, eh, well, secretive.
Tulpas, in a sense, become physical embodiments of the mental projections of those they encounter. A tulpa in its early formative stages is just a vague light or shadow materializing in a corner or alcove. It must wait until a human (or other sentient being?) encounters it. The tulpa will then physically change to match whatever the sentient imagines it to be. The longer one individual looks at it and thinks about who they’re seeing, the more detailed the persona the tulpa will adopt. The tulpa will then travel about, gaining details (physical appearance, imaginary life history, habits, speech patterns, etc.) as they bump into more and more people who form impressions of them.
For example, a tulpa begins to materialize behind the beat-up piano in Ted’s Hideaway* off Second Street. The first person to see its shadowy form is a worried tourist who feels women are always preying on him. The tulpa then becomes the predatory gorgeous woman he is thinking about, and approaches him. Frightened by the reputation of the bar, the tourist further assumes she’ll be violent and heavily-armed, so she becomes such. A bouncer approaches her, and assumes she’d have to be insane or dangerous or both to cause trouble there, so she becomes both. This particular tulpa is not going to be a good citizen, but depending on who the person had expected to run into, the result could also have been a shrimpy aging accountant, a naive fellow tourist, or Wayne Newton.
Tulpas know they are tulpas, but try to forget this, and would never admit this shame to anyone, even on pain of death. Like Pinocchio, they want nothing more in the world to be human. A tulpa can sense other tulpas, and avoid each other like the plague. The reason for this is if two tulpas meet, since each knows the other’s true form, both tend to lose all the carefully accrued details of humanity they’ve built up, possibly over years. Only a tulpa stricken with self-loathing for the persona they’ve built up will seek out other tulpas, hoping to lose a few layers of identity that they can then replace with something more likeable. The other tulpa, however, will likely try to flee in this case.
Anyone you encounter could be a tulpa. That homeless guy over there, that bartender, a bouncer, a police officer… Say, doesn’t your boss act just how everyone expects him to?
Story Idea –
A friendly associate who’s been helping a pair of detectives is a blessing to have around. The longer they’ve worked with her, the more helpful and useful she’s become (conforming to what they at first wanted, and now expect). Then she starts acting paranoid, as if someone is after her. When she shows up the next day, she has a tattoo on her forehead, a slightly different voice, strange clothes, and a vicious temperament. Her personality has, in one day, taken a dramatic turn for the worse, and she no longer remembers the detectives. Another tulpa, trying to rid himself of accrued evil attributes, has hunted her down and trapped her, forcing close contact until both lost several years’ worth of traits. She wound up with the wrong crowd, and is now a different person. The continued attention and faith of the detectives may slowly bring her around, but only solving the mysteries of the tulpas will the detectives be able to develop a coherent strategy for helping her. Of course, once they know who she really is, they must never see her again, as their presence would destroy her just as that of another tulpa’s would.
124 Second Street, between Ocean Drive & Collins Avenue, South Beach (no phone)
Bus H, W. Open 8am-5am daily. No credit cards.
Ted’s reeks of stale beer (at least you hope that’s what it reeks of). No telephone. Horrible food. And a two-for-one happy hour from 2-4am. It takes guts to remain a quintessential dive bar when all around you court the trendy, the upscale, the youthful: Ted’s doesn’t give a dang and that’s what makes it special.
– via the On The Edge RPG