Dorian Gray was, per the biographical account of his life written by Mr Wilde, a wealthy gentleman resident in London at some point during the Victorian Era; the exact dates of his life being lost to history although he is known to have been a contemporary of the artist Basil Hallward and a protégée of the notorious libertine Lord Henry Wootton.
According to Mr Wilde's account, Mr Gray, whilst admiring a remarkably fine portrait of himself painted by Mr Hallward, was heard to remark aloud that he considered it deeply unjust that the painting should remain forever youthful and unblemished whilst life would inevitably take its toll from him sooner or later, and that he would sell his soul for it to be otherwise.
Under the guidance of Lord Wootton, Mr Gray appears to have lead a life of significant moral turpitude - Wilde's account giving some indication of the depths of depravity to which he stooped - but was observed to retain the fresh and innocent countenance of youth, long after his contemporaries had been deeply marked by their lifestyle. Allegedly, however, the degeneration which passed Mr Gray by became all too visible on the face of his portrait, to the degree that he took to keeping it out of sight in a locked attic room.
The end came when, whether motivated by rage, remorse or the desire to destroy evidence, Mr Gray attacked the hideous picture with a knife. Roused by screams, his servants burst into the locked room to find a corpse, only identifiable as him by its jewelry, sprawled in front of a portrait depicting him in his unblemished prime.
Game and Story Use
- An interesting model for a villain - it's entirely possible that another Dorian Gray might well be immune to any attack on his person with any wounds that might have been caused appearing on the portrait instead.
- Presumably they are unlikely to be stupid enough to attack their own proxy, but someone else might be able to get to it.
- Such a proxy would also make a powerful tool of poppet magic against the subject.
- The picture seems to serve much like the phylactery of a lich - all sorts of things might serve the same role.
- More generally, the ability to transfer given negative effects - possibly including magical corruption - to a proxy might be very useful if you can manage it.
- Presumably this required power beyond that of a mortal to pull off - with his soul accepted as consideration per his offer of verbal contract.
- As an interesting moral point, Mr Gray's death might actually have been the result of his repentance - having decided to make a clean breast of his sins and accept the guilt thereof, he was able to harm his own portrait. Possibly this might be the only way that such person can actually destroy his own proxy. Doing this before the established debt becomes too much might be the only way out of the situation with both life and soul intact.