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[Mutants & Masterminds] A World Less Magical But No Less Fantastic

Davies

Adventurer
Jack Dore
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When the Department of Defense began to organize the Joint Special Operations Task Force in late 1982, one of their first candidates for the organization's overall commander was Lieutenant John 'Jack' Dore, an officer with a proven history of leadership ability and tactical brilliance. He was ultimately not chosen for that role, in favor of Lieutenant Commander Stephen Waverly of the Navy SEALs. Dore was still recruited for the program, ultimately succeeding Waverly as the Task Force's overall commander following the former's death in combat in 1987, and proceeding to lead JSOT to its ultimate victory. He remained in the Army after the fall of Delphi, served in Syria, and had earned a Colonel's rank by the time he died coordinating the defense of Cheyenne Mountain in 2001.

Those are the bare facts of Jack Dore's life. There was much more to the story, however. Born in 1949, he was the oldest son of Captain Joseph Dore, commander of the Army's notorious Grim Brigade in both World War II and Korea, and later the leader of a similarly-named group while working for the Office of Scientific Investigations. He was twelve years old when his father died, and the incident, and his father's absence, shaped his character more than any other factor. Three years later, he and his younger brother William were orphaned when their mother died in an automobile accident, and taken in by one of her cousins.

It was fortunate for all involved that Jack was only in this house for about two and a half years, as his trial for murder would have put a damper on his admittance into West Point. He generally despised his so-called uncle, specifically despised the man's blatant contempt and disdain for Captain Dore, and later blamed him for the fact that William rejected the army. (Most of the time, at least; at other times, he believed that William's own personal flaws had led to that.) Regardless, he focused completely on his career after this, acting as though he neither had nor needed any living family. He was also left with a decided bias against civilian life in the aftermath, which colored many of his attitudes.

Somewhat to his annoyance, his own talents meant that he was not given an immediate combat assignment after graduating from the Point, but rather was sent to Washington to work in the Pentagon. Not until 1972 would he be sent to Vietnam, after the worst was over. Despite this, he soon earned a reputation as a competent (though sometimes harsh) commander during the reconstruction of the country. This episode, along with what he'd discovered in old records concerning his father's last mission for the Office, increased his distrust of the superpowers. He was able to work with the superpower allies of the Taskforce during the Insurgency, and came to respect some on a personal level, but he encouraged those who had more problems (such as Blake Rogers) to remain vigilant and wary. He might have regretted this, given time.

After his discovery that Delphi had exactly predicted the moment of her death, twenty year earlier, many of Dore's prior certainties were shattered. He began to suspect that his life, that every life, was being manipulated for the sadistic amusement of unimaginable entities. After some time to recover, though not before his relationship with Shannon Hazzard was broken beyond repair, he came to a somewhat existential viewpoint -- if that was true, then nothing was under his personal control except his own emotions, and so he would accept what life brought him with a calm heart. And it seems he managed to do that in the time that remained to him.

Jack Dore/Raptor -- PL 6

Abilities:
STR
2 | STA 3 | AGL 2 | DEX 3 | FGT 5 | INT 1 | AWE 1 | PRE 3

Advantages:
All-out Attack, Assessment, Benefit (military rank), Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Equipment 5, Evasion, Improved Aim, Improved Critical (rifle), Improved Grab, Improved Hold, Inspire, Leadership, Move-by Action, Prone Fighting, Ranged Attack 2, Set-Up, Teamwork.

Equipment:
Assault Rifle (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5), Frag Grenades (Ranged Burst Area Damage 5), Combat Knife (Strength-based Damage 1, Improved Critical), commlink, 7 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+6), Athletics 5 (+7), Close Combat: Knife 2 (+7), Deception 2 (+5), Expertise: Current Events 4 (+5), Expertise: Military 7 (+8), Expertise: Streetwise 3 (+4), Insight 4 (+5), Intimidation 6 (+9), Investigation 6 (+7), Perception 6 (+7), Persuasion 2 (+5), Ranged Combat: Guns 2 (+5), Stealth 4 (+6), Technology 2 (+3), Treatment 2 (+3), Vehicles 3 (+6).

Offense:
Initiative +2
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 2)
Combat Knife +7 (Close Damage 3, Crit 19-20)
Assault Rifle +7 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5, Crit 19-20)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 7, Fortitude 5, Toughness 5/3, Will 6.

Totals:
Abilities 40 + Advantages 23 + Skills 30 + Defenses 13 = 106 points

Complications:
Patriotism--Motivation. Burden of Leadership. Intolerance
(civilians.)

Note: After 1988, he is issued a Blaster Rifle (Ranged Damage 8), his Ranged Attack improves to 3 ranks, and he becomes PL 7.
 

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Davies

Adventurer
Edward Mackenzie
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By 1984, the operators of the Joint Special Operations Task Force were starting to think that they'd seen everything that the Pythons could possibly throw against him. Invariably, thoughts of this nature are an invitation to disaster, and a number of casualties were incurred by the team who were sent to investigate reports of suspicious activity at a dilapidated manor house in the Hancock Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, and so had JSOT's first encounter with Dr. Vincent Frankenstein, a relatively recent recruit to the opposition. However, they did successful interrupt the experimentation that he was conducting, though rescuing the victims of same permitted the scientist to escape.

While some of the surviving victims had suffered only minor violations of their anatomy, and were treated in conventional hospitals, one of them had suffered far greater trauma. While articulate, he claimed to have no memory of any prior existence. It seemed likely that this amnesia was psychological in nature, as while parts of his body had been replaced and augmented, his head and torso were unaltered, strongly suggesting that he was not actually a surgically reanimated corpse. He eventually accepted the name 'Edward Mackenzie', the name of a missing person from elsewhere in Los Angeles whom he somewhat resembled, though he came to prefer his code name -- 'Frank'.

Unable and unwilling to return to Edward Mackenzie's life, 'Frank' volunteered to serve as a member of JSOT. The brass was not enthusiastic about this notion, as there were some who suspected that this whole affair had been a set-up to insert a programmed double agent into the Task Force. After a mind-reader borrowed from the RCMP confirmed a complete lack of any such programming, however, 'Frank' was given permission to undertake JSOT's rigorous training program, and exceeded all expectations. He was granted an honorary lance corporal's rank in the USMC, and became the first openly superpower member of JSOT.

Needless to say, this did not win him many friends, nor did his demonstrated obsession with hunting Dr. Frankenstein, becoming somewhat unmanageable when he was rumored to be in the area. His stated goal was to prevent what had happened to him from happening to anyone else, but most accounts of these incidents portrayed Frank as entirely motivated by a desire for personal vengeance. This tendency was quickly identified by the Pythons and employed as psychological warfare against him, with the fortunate result that he learned his lesson and developed some restraint in the matter. Despite everything, he was a frequent asset to the Task Force, as often commended as reprimanded.

During the invasion of Delphi, his obsession with Dr. Frankenstein overpowered all considerations, and he went on a rampage to find him. During the cleanup, he was discovered standing over the scientist's corpse. Despite the initial impression, it did not seem that Frank had actually killed his target -- the doctor's cause of death had been poison, rather than blunt force trauma, blaster impact or gunshot wounds. However, Frank proved completely unresponsive to conversation when he was discovered, and had to be carried back to base. He never spoke again after this, nor gave any other sign of awareness, and was committed to a psychiatric hospital in Massachusetts following his medical discharge. He remained there until 2001, when the facility was destroyed during Cerebron's assault, causing his death.

In 2011, new research suggested that the actual Edward Mackenzie had actually relocated from Los Angeles to Portland, changing his name to Richard Thomas and living, without any knowledge of the individual assumed to be him, until 1987 when he died of a drug overdose. This renewed the question of the actual identity of 'Frank', but after nearly forty years and the deaths of nearly all involved, it is a mystery unlikely to be resolved.

Edward Mackenzie/Frank -- PL 7

Abilities:
STR
5/3 | STA 5 | AGL 3 | DEX 3 | FGT 7 | INT 1 | AWE 2 | PRE 1

Powers:
Fury of the Damned:
Linked Enhanced Advantages 3 (Close Attack 2, Improved Initiative); Linked Enhanced Strength 2; Linked Sustained Immunity 5 (Interaction Skills) - 10 points
Recovery Factor: Immunity 2 (disease, poison); Regeneration 10 - 12 points

Advantages:
Chokehold, Diehard, Equipment 4, Great Endurance, Improved Grab, Improved Hold, Power Attack, Takedown

Equipment:
Assault Rifle (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5), Frag Grenades (Ranged Burst Area Damage 5), Commlink and 3 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Athletics 6 (+9), Expertise: Military 6 (+7), Insight 4 (+6), Intimidation 6 (+7), Perception 6 (+8), Ranged Combat: Guns 4 (+7), Stealth 4 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +7/+3
Unarmed +7 (Close Damage 3)
Fury of the Damned +9 (Close Damage 5)
Assault Rifle +7 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5)
Frag Grenade -- (Ranged Burst Area Damage 5)

Defense:
Dodge 5, Parry 7, Fortitude 7, Toughness 5, Will 5

Totals:
Abilities 50 + Powers 22 + Advantages 11 + Skills 18 + Defenses 7 = 108 points

Complications:
Revenge--Motivation. Grim and Humorless. Unnatural Appearance.


Note: After 1988, he is equipped with a Blaster Rifle (Ranged Damage 8) and gains Ranged Attack 1.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Caroline Swensen
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Caroline
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Her tank

By 1985, when the Pythonian Insurgency had lasted three years, the commanders of the Joint Special Operations Taskforce began to consider more radical options in answering the threat they posed. One of these, perhaps the most famous, was a program designed by Wisconsin-born roboticist Gunter Swensen, which he claimed would be able to automate most of the functions of a tank or other armored fighting vehicle so that it could be operated by a single driver, a critical consideration for the relatively small number of personnel who qualified for JSOT. His proof of concept vehicle, demonstrated for the brass, was a prototype Porsche Wiesel AWC.

The demonstration impressed the observers with the modified vehicle's mobility and reaction time. After the test operation concluded, the observers were further startled when the driver was revealed to be Swensen's 19-year old daughter Caroline, who had enlisted in the Army and was scheduled to report for basic training a week after the demonstration. Their overall opinion was that it had been a stunt intended to demonstrate that the vehicle had been easily operated with Swensen's modifications, but Commander Waverly quietly held a different opinion, and resolved to keep an eye on Ms. Swensen.

While the Swensen system was implemented on a number of US tankettes for use by JSOT, their service usage did not in the main live up to expectations that the demonstration had created; the official operators reported that the vehicles were unusually cramped, even for a tank, and found it hard to adjust to its different demands. Waverly's opinion, that the new form of vehicle demanded an operator who wasn't limited by the preconceptions about how it 'ought' to work, seemed to have been borne out. He contacted Private Swensen's superiors and arranged for her to be transferred to the JSOT training program. She managed to pass by the skin of her teeth, and was assigned to supervise the armored unit, training a new generation of drivers to operate according to the new paradigm.

Under the codename Max Factor, Corporal Swensen did just that for the remaining seven years of the war with the Pythons. While her unit was somewhat notorious for the amount of collateral damage that occurred in the course of their operations, it was generally held that by the time they took the field, most of the damage had already been inflicted by the opposition forces. Swensen and her teammates were some of the first units sent into battle during the assault on Delphi, and the survivors, including Caroline herself, were officially commended in the aftermath.

Unfortunately, Sergeant Swensen's post-Insurgency career was tragically short. She remained with the Army and was sent into battle in Syria, fighting against insurgents who'd learned from the experience of the Pythons. Her vehicle was critically damaged by anti-tank weapons, and she was killed in action in 1995, less than ten years after the demonstration that started it all.

Caroline Swensen/Max Factor -- PL 7

Abilities:
STR
1 | STA 1 | AGL 1 | DEX 2 | FGT 3 | INT 1 | AWE 2 | PRE 2

Advantages:
Assessment, Defensive Roll, Equipment 12, Improved Initiative, Leadership, Ranged Attack 2.

Equipment:
Heavy Pistol (Ranged Damage 4), Commlink and 4 points of equipment as needed.
Mini-Tank: Size Huge; Strength 10; Speed 6 (ground); Defense 7; Toughness 12; Powers: Armor (Impervious Toughness 8), Cannon (Ranged Damage 10, Burst Area 6), Mini-gun (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5) - 47 points

Skills:
Athletics 4 (+5), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+5), Expertise: Military 4 (+5), Insight 4 (+6), Intimidation 3 (+5), Investigation 4 (+5), Perception 4 (+6), Ranged Attack: Guns 2 (+4), Vehicles 5 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +5
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 1)
Pistol +6 (Ranged Damage 3)
Cannon +4 (Ranged Damage 10, Ranged Burst Area Damage 6)
Mini-Gun +6 (Ranged Damage 5)

Defense:
Dodge 5, Parry 5, Fortitude 5, Toughness 3/1, Will 5.

Totals:
Abilities 26 + Powers 0 + Advantages 18 + Skills 16 + Defenses 12 = 72 points

Complications:
Patriotism--Motivation. Accident/Logical Consequences of the Use of Heavy Artillery in an Urban Environment.


Note: From 1988 onwards, she's equipped with a Blaster Pistol (Ranged Damage 5) instead.
 
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Davies

Adventurer
John Maddox
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One of the most senior of the field operators of the Task Force, the circumstances of Maddox's recruitment also made him one of the most famous, to the point where his code name ("Striker") was rarely used, especially after the film made about them was released three years later. He was known to be ambivalent about this, despite recognizing the importance of the propaganda the film represented at a time when the United States was facing an unprecedented crisis, particularly because of the way that it featured his daughter, Virginia, as a character, while she was still recovering from the trauma she'd endured during the real life events that inspired the film.

John Maddox was born in Malibu, California in 1942, and lived a fairly carefree and happy life there, as a member of several rock-and-roll bands, a surfer, beachcomber, and body builder. In 1966, however, something made him completely change his way of life, and he enlisted in the Army. He never discussed this episode; some have claimed that a former Army Ranger saved his life, or that of a friend, but when told about this, his only response was laughter. He demonstrated considerable proficiency in Basic Training, and wound up assigned to Ranger School himself, serving with distinction during the last years of the Vietnam War and surviving its apocalyptic climax, notably saving the lives of several other troopers in the process.

The latter episode brought the young Staff Sergeant to the attention of Colonel Jefferson Churchward, who recruited him for the special operations unit that he was founding, unofficially dubbed C-Team, one of the predecessors of JSOT. While initially enthusiastic, Maddox gradually came to uncomfortable with the activities C-Team engaged in. He'd hoped to be part of a rescue operation, not a hit squad. He nevertheless remained with the group until 1978, and their mission in Iran, where matters finally came to a head after one of his colleagues, Darcy, went decidedly off-book. While Darcy was dishonorably discharged, Maddox had finally had enough, and took early retirement.

Another factor that contributed to this decision was the loss of his wife, Sofia, in 1977. They'd met and married in 1970, and had their only daughter within a year, but had rarely had much time together in the interval. After her sudden death from illness, Virginia was initially left in the care of her aunt Alyssa, but Maddox decided that he needed to take a much more active role in caring for her. Something of a culture clash ensued, but by 1982 they'd settled into a happy relationship.

And then the world began to end. The assassinations that he heard about on the news were bad enough, but then Churchward contacted him with the news that other former members of C-Team had also been successfully targeted, and that he was likely to come under fire as well. Ironically, the assassins of the unit were not connected to the Pythonian Insurgency -- though a connection was manufactured in the film -- but rather the personal operatives of a South American dictator that the C-Team had helped to overthrow. He intended to take revenge by forcing Maddox to commit assassinations on his behalf, threatening Virginia's life if he refused.

The results are too well-documented to be repeated here, though most of the names were changed. In the aftermath, Churchward convinced Maddox to return to active duty, and he became one of the first recruited operators for JSOT. Virginia was placed in a special school with other dependents of the Task Force, and declared her intention to eventually follow her father into the "family business". Maddox was not too thrilled about that, but hoped that the Insurgency would end before it became an issue. It didn't, and Virginia became a JSOT trooper under the code name Vendetta in 1991, notably taking part in the Mars operation while her father remained on Earth. (For some reason, the notion of going to Mars made him very uncomfortable, as though he had bad memories concerning it.)

Tragically, John Maddox was one of the highest profile fatalities of the raid on Delphi, killed in action while saving the lives of his teammates. Virginia Maddox remained in the Army until 1996, after which she was recruited by Argus. Retiring from field work after in 2006, she is currently the Chief Administrator of the company's Los Angeles field office.

John Maddox -- PL 6

Abilities:
STR
3 | STA 4 | AGL 2 | DEX 3 | FGT 5 | INT 1 | AWE 2 | PRE 1

Advantages:
All-out Attack, Benefit (rank), Close Attack, Defensive Roll, Diehard, Equipment 6, Evasion, Fast Grab, Fearless 2, Great Endurance, Improved Grab, Improved Hold, Improved Initiative, Improvised Weapon, Move-by Action, Power Attack, Set-Up, Teamwork.

Equipment:
Light Machine Gun (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5), Commlink and 14 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Athletics 6 (+9), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+7), Deception 4 (+5), Expertise: Current Events 3 (+4), Expertise: Military 6 (+7), Expertise: Performance 2 (+3), Expertise: Survival 7 (+8), Intimidation 8 (+9), Insight 5 (+7), Investigation 4 (+5), Perception 6 (+8), Persuasion 2 (+3), Ranged Combat: Guns 4 (+7), Stealth 4 (+6), Technology 2 (+3), Treatment 2 (+3), Vehicles 3 (+6).

Offense:
Initiative +6
Unarmed +7 (Close Damage 3)
Light Machine Gun +7 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 5, Fortitude 6, Toughness 6/4, Will 5.

Totals:
Abilities 42 + Advantages 24 + Skills 35 + Defenses 9 = 110 points

Complications:
Duty--Motivation. Family
(daughter). Sarcastic as Heck.

Note: After 1998, he is issued an Autoblaster (Ranged Multiattack Damage 8, Accurate), Body Armor (Protection 2) and has Ranged Attack 1, becoming PL 7.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Ken Griffin
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Born in Belgium to American citizens, educated (in a conventional manner) in the United Kingdom, and frequently accompanying his parents -- both soldiers of fortune -- wherever they were deployed in any given month; such was the life of Kenneth Griffin (1953-1992). To their credit, Robert and Katherine Griffin hoped that their only child wouldn't follow them into their profession. But by his early adolescence it was clear that the mercenary life was calling to him, as he patiently learned more from his parent's associates than he ever did from from his schoolmasters.

Some of those associates were superpowers; by Ken's late adolescence, he'd started to develop certain psychic gifts of his own, making him into a hand-to-hand fighting machine. As this allowed him to charge more for his services, even if he generally fought with conventional weapons, it was clearly a good thing. The full story of his activities in the early and mid-70s, after he parted ways with his parents (shortly before their own partnership dissolved), has never been fully told. He was active in South East Asia for much of this period, and is known to have crossed paths with Hazard on at least two different occasions, as an ally and as an enemy (and beneficiary of the man's mercurial humor.)

In 1978, while Ken was passing through Argentina on other business, he chanced to run into his father, who attempted to persuade him to sign up with the new outfit he'd joined. The offer sounded intriguing enough, but something about the man accompanying his father set Ken's teeth on edge, mostly the way that he kept glaring at him as though Ken's very existence was an offense. When Ken finally turned down the offer, he had the distinct feeling that the only reason he was allowed to walk out of the bar alive was his father's presence. That was the first time he ever encountered General Estrella, and the last time he saw his father alive.

Four years later, the Pythonian Insurgency burst out onto the world. It created a lot of work for mercenaries, training various private armies to defend against them -- or occasionally to be recruited by them. Ken found the latter work to be distasteful, but he wasn't in a position to turn it down when it came his way. Not even the report of his father's death in battle really moved him; such was the nature of a mercenary's business, and it made no sense to take such things personally.

And then, in 1984, he had his first direct confrontation with his nemesis, leading a small group of Burmese soldiers against a much larger force of Pythons led by General Estrella. Single combat between champions was something that belonged to a prior age of warfare, and yet that was how it worked out on that day as well, with the two of them clashing heedless of the fighting around them. It was a draw, ultimately, and they were separated before either of them could press onward to bring matters to a conclusion. But Ken realized that he had made an enemy that would pursue him until one of them died.

If he was an enemy to one of the senior members of the Pythonian Insurgency, it simply made sense to find allies among their enemies. He briefly worked with the United Kingdom's Active Force, but found that its commanders were (with one major exception) unwilling to take the fight to the enemy's door. So he started attempts to persuade the American JSOT to accept him instead, a process complicated by his history of mercenary activity, a good chunk of which had involved activities against American interests. Swallowing his pride, Ken managed to convince enough of the group's leadership that his actions had always been intended to support such interests -- a ruse, in other words. It seems likely that this was the source of his code name when he was finally accepted into the Task Force as a Lieutenant, and the group's second openly superpower soldier.

He had the support he needed, and would challenge General Estrella many times in the next few years, though never managing to bring matters to a decisive end, one way or another. Their final confrontation would come on Mars, in a fight that sent them out through the walls of the pyramid-like structure that the Pythonians had inhabited, out onto the Martian landscape. There they fought, and Ken was able to prevent his enemy from escaping back into shelter until he finally expired from lack of oxygen.

Ken took a moment to consider his circumstances. While seriously injured, he could probably make it back to the others and receive medical treatment on the way back to Earth. But he'd been exposed to the radioactive material that covered the Martian landscape, and so the odds seemed good that he'd only be extending his pain if he did that, and the medical personnel would probably do better to help those who could still be helped. The truth was, he realized with a faint smile on his face, that he was already dead. He lay down to let the process complete itself, and in a few moments, it was all over.

Ken Griffin/Ruse -- PL 8

Abilities:
STR
3 | STA 3 | AGL 5 | DEX 5 | FGT 8 | INT 1 | AWE 4 | PRE 3

Powers:
Martial Power:
Array (3 points)
  • Projected Strength: Line Area Damage 6, Distracting, Tiring - 3 points
  • Striking Strength: Strength-based Damage 3 - 1 points
Meditation: Sustained Immunity 4 (need for sleep, starvation & thirst, suffocation) - 4 points
Sense Those of Comparable Power: Senses 3 (acute tracking psychic awareness) - 3 points
Weightless Step: Leaping 3 (60 feet); Movement 1 (trackless) - 5 points

Advantages:
Accurate Attack, All-out Attack, Benefit (military rank) Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll, Equipment 4, Extraordinary Effort, Fast Grab, Grabbing Finesse, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Improved Trip, Language 2 (French, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish), Move-by Action, Power Attack, Taunt

Equipment:
Assault Rifle (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5), Commlink, 4 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+9), Athletics 6 (+9), Close Combat: Unarmed 2 (+10), Deception 6 (+9), Expertise: Military 6 (+7), Insight 4 (+8), Perception 4 (+8), Ranged Combat: Guns 4 (+9), Stealth 4 (+9), Vehicles 4 (+9)

Offense:
Initiative +9
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 6)
Assault Rifle +9 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 5)
Projected Strength -- (Line Area Damage 6)

Defense:
Dodge 9, Parry 11, Fortitude 7, Toughness 5/3, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 64 + Powers 16 + Advantages 19 + Skills 22 + Defenses 14 = 135 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Nemesis
(General Estrella.) Responsibility (soldiers under his command.) Won't Use The Same Attack Twice in Succession.

Note: After 1988, he is equipped with a Blaster Rifle (Ranged Damage 8) and has Ranged Attack 1.
 

Davies

Adventurer
The Void Specter
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From a holographic perspective, the Enigma Sector, as it's called by Technate astronomers, doesn't look like it should be anything extraordinary. Located coreward of the Technate's home stars, it has seen a few colonization attempts over the last century, which have established three permanent settlements with a total population of around three million Technate citizens. But then you start noticing the space warps, and the star system where dozens of different variations of the Hive are battling each other for supremacy, and the world in that system where the Hive presence was exterminated by an even more virulent ecology, and the dozens of worlds dotted with ruins of the Old Ones, and the Olympians, and the Albadine. And then you find out about what Terrans might call a Dyson sphere around one particular star, and the home world (or a home world) of the Gardeners, and -- if you know more than you should know about certain things -- the Pillars of Eternity.

And if you know all this -- or even most of it -- then it probably starts to make sense to you that this region of space has a guardian, one who bears the Power Prism and wields it openly and with great skill. The Gynesians, who had explored the region before the rise of the Technate, claim that the Void Specter had been keeping the peace there when they first ventured there, and that it's been the same individual all this time. More sober historians suggest that it's a lineage of individuals, with the title of the Void Specter passing from parent to child to create an illusion of immortality.

They're almost right. The Void Specter is an identity passed down, but not from a parent to a child, but technically between siblings. Some two hundred years* ago, a certain Power Prism-wielder -- their personal name has long been forgotten, and it's not clear if they were agender as their descendants are -- discovered some of the strangeness of this region of space, and, after consulting with the Gardeners, decided to become this region's protector. But they were already an elderly Chiraben by the time that they began this vigil, and knew that they could not maintain the task for very long. So they cloned themselves, trained the younger clone to take their place, then committed a ritual suicide. This transfer of the identity has happened a total of twelve times over the last two centuries.

The Void Specter has no real life outside of their work. They have a number of cover identities on the Technate worlds that have grown up in the last century, but these are simply false names that they use to conduct their investigation with a measure of discretion. They avoid making personal connections, in particular romance. The closest that they come to friendship is with other wielders of the Power Prism. The breadth of their experience has made them famous among this small community, prompting others to seek them out to serve as a mentor, which they're happy to do, within reason. Even these individuals rarely see them without their mask on, and simply refer to them as the Specter.

Currently, the Void Specter works alone. That will likely change if they receive word that some old business has come home. Three decades* ago, the immediate predecessor of the current Void Specter encountered an individual who had acquired a Power Prism under somewhat dubious circumstances. As this happens fairly frequently, the only noteworthy aspect of the situation was the way that this person refused to use the instrumentality appropriately or learn how to do so, which resulted in a conflict neither of them wanted. The opposition escaped, but the Void Specter reported the incident to Aperion. Quite recently, reports of that particular Prism being used reached them, and the Council dispatched someone to investigate. Events didn't work out in that individual's favor, but when the Terran known as O Homen de Oro reaches Aperion, the Void Specter will likely be consulted on the situation ...

The Void Specter -- PL 12

Abilities:
STR
2 | STA 3 | AGL 4 | DEX 4 | FGT 6 | INT 3 | AWE 6 | PRE 2

Powers:
"A Trick or Two":
Feature 1 (can hide Power Prism within his body but cannot use it in in this state.) - 1 point
Power Prism: Removable (-22 points)
  • Force Field: Linked Sustained Impervious Protection 12; Linked Sustained Immunity 10 (life support) - 34 points
  • Offensive Applications: Array (27 points)
    • Basic Blast: Ranged Damage 13, Affects Insubstantial - 27 points
    • Exo-Armor: Enhanced Advantage 3 (Close Attack 3); Enhanced Strength 12 - 1 point
    • Ghost Blast: Ranged Damage 9, Affects Substantial - 1 point
    • Hallucinator: Illusion 9 (all senses), Limited to One Subject, Resistable by Will - 1 point
    • Stun Blast: Ranged Affliction 13 (Resisted by Will; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated), Affects Insubstantial - 1 point
    • Tractor-Presser Beam: Move Object 13, Precise - 1 point
  • Phased Flight: Flight 11 (4000 MPH), Aquatic; Insubstantial 3; Movement 3 (environmental adaptation [zero-g], space flight 2) - 44 points
Advantages:
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Equipment 10, Improved Initiative, Language 5 (many, though none used on Earth), Move-by Action, Power Attack, Skill Mastery (Investigation).

Equipment:
Space Cruiser: Size Colossal; Strength 14; Speed 13 (air/space); Defense 5; Toughness 13; Powers Ghost Field (Concealment 6 [visual, radio]), Star Drive (Movement 2 [space travel 2]) - 49 points

Skills:
Deception 8 (+10), Expertise: Galactic 9 (+12), Expertise History 6 (+9), Expertise: Science 6 (+9), Insight 6 (+12), Intimidation 7 (+9), Investigation 9 (+12), Perception 5 (+11), Ranged Combat: Power Prism 7 (+11), Stealth 5 (+9), Technology 6 (+9), Vehicles 6 (+10).

Offense:
Initiative +8
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 2)
Exo-Armor +9 (Close Damage 14)
Basic Blast +11 (Ranged Damage 13)
Ghost Blast +11 (Ranged Damage 9)
Stun Blast +11 (Ranged Will 13)

Defense:
Dodge 9, Parry 9, Fortitude 6, Toughness 15/3, Will 14

Totals:
Abilities 60 + Powers 98 + Advantages 21 + Skills 40 + Defenses 18 = 237 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Secret Identity. Total Commitment to Job.
 
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Davies

Adventurer
Deleh Massovy
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Art source unknown, I discovered this image months ago and haven't been able to find it again since.

The Gynesian people had 'only' discovered the warp drive and begun exploring their local stellar neighborhood for a few centuries, having a few minor clashes with the nearby Hazlan nations, when the Technate quite abruptly established itself, entirely too close for comfort to Aganesh. Observing the conflicts that the Technate fought with the Hazlan, much larger wars than the Gynesians had ever fought since the establishment of their unified world government, convinced the Gynesian authorities that they did not want a war with these new neightbors. But the Gynesians were well aware that the Technate had a culture of fear for those who had innate powers, such as the Gynesians' innate psychic abilities, and feared that a war was inevitable. Fortunately, they were able to negotiate an entry into the Technate on peaceful terms, but at the cost of becoming a somewhat isolationist society. Very few Gynesians have ever become famous within Technate society.

Deleh Massovy -- properly C'shn D'leh G'ati -- is the great exception, and she would have been regardless of the path she chose. In every generation, a handful of Gynesians are born without the species' innate psychic abilities, and are instead immune and invisible to mental powers. Of course, such talents are not at all indicative of any flaw or lack of personal worth in the person, and should receive all the love and care that any child of the people receives -- or at least, such is the official word. In practice, the child who would be Deleh was abandoned by her parents and ignored by her society, likely to have died young, had she not come into the care of a Technate Space Agency officer, Itel Massovy, who adopted her as a daughter.

Deleh naturally followed her mother into the agency when she matured, and served in the science and medical departments of several vessels, before her assignment to the TSV Adventure under the command of Commander Arlan Hayez. The voyages that they undertook vaulted her into the ranks of the living legends of the Technate, as well as creating the greatest friendship she would ever know. When the Adventure was finally decommissioned, she was offered a number of posts within the TSA, as well as being contacted by the Gynesian Authority and offered a high-ranking position within their government, in recognition of her remarkable accomplishments despite being a -- and that was as far as the Gynesian making the offer got before Deleh slapped them across the face in public.

Deleh has never returned to Aganesh, and probably never will. Her official residence is on Muraddin, in a house that she shares with Arlan Hayez, though she's there no more often than he is. Her official position is the Surgeon-General of the TSA Homeworld Fleet, but this is largely an administrative fiction. In practice, her activities could best be described as those of a roaming trouble-shooter, somewhere between an ambassador and a spy. Currently, her solitary voyages have brought her to Aperion, as there are rumors that its council is developing an alliance with the Last Men Standing. It is not desirable for that resistance group to have closer ties to the source of the Power Prisms than the Technate enjoys, and so Deleh is striving to strengthen the Technate's ties ... ideally without damaging either group's relationship with the Lasters, but if needs must ...

In her youth, Deleh often deliberately strove for a very cold and ultra-rational demeanor. She's matured since then, and while she still values logic and reason, she is perfectly willing to express herself emotionally. Her greatest personal weakness is her scientific curiosity, which can distract her from the more immediate and pragmatic goals that she's expected to pursue. This makes her current assignment especially dangerous, as the Council of Aperion does not look at all fondly on anyone who tries to discover the secret of how the Prisms are manufactured. And that is practically dangling bait in front of her ...

Deleh Massovy-- PL 7

Abilities:
STR
2 | STA 2 | AGL 3 | DEX 3 | FGT 4 | INT 7 | AWE 4 | PRE 3

Powers:
Psychic Null:
Permanent Concealment 2 (mental); Immunity 20 (mental effects) - 24 points

Advantages:
Attractive, Defensive Attack, Equipment 5, Evasion 2, Fearless 2, Improved Disarm, Jack-of-all-Trades, Speed of Thought, Well-Informed.

Equipment:
Blaster Pistol (Ranged Damage 5, AE: Ranged Affliction 5 [Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated]), Commlink, Protective Uniform (Protection 4, Subtle), and 8 points of equipment as needed.

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+7), Athletics 2 (+4), Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+8), Deception 4 (+7), Expertise: Galactic 4 (+11), Expertise: Medicine 2 (+9), Expertise: Science 4 (+11), Insight 5 (+9), Intimidation 2 (+5), Investigation 2 (+9), Persuasion 2 (+5), Ranged Combat: Blaster 4 (+7), Sleight of Hand 3 (+6), Stealth 2 (+5), Technology 3 (+10), Treatment 2 (+9), Vehicles 3 (+6).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed +8 (Close Damage 2)
Blast Setting +7 (Ranged Damage 5)
Stun setting +7 (Ranged Fortitude 5)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 8, Fortitude 3, Toughness 6/2, Will 7.

Totals:
Abilities 58 + Powers 24 + Advantages 15 + Skills 26 + Defenses 15 = 138 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Curiosity. Relationship
(Arlan Hayez.) Secret (covert operations.)
 
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Davies

Adventurer
Giant Space Tardigrade
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Art by Ramul

The Technate Standard word for them is 'zuzgwang', itself a loanword from a long-dead Chirab language where it meant, apparently, 'space bear'. If legend is to be believed, they were once fairly common in the space around Chirab, and a large group of them are reputed to have bombarded the planet at one point. Centuries later, though, they've become all but unknown in those regions, while an occasional menace in the sectors claimed by the Technate. They also appear to be quite common in the Vaask Hegemony, but it's believed that the numbers there are dwindling, as the Vaask hunt them for both their meat -- a frequent appetizer in their food culture -- and for the natural hyperfuels that number among their bodily fluids.

The intelligence of these colossal creatures is a hotly debated topic. They do not appear to communicate with each other, much less with any other species, but demonstrate enough problem-solving abilities to recognize and avoid situations that are dangerous even to creatures of their size, such as meteor showers, whether naturally occurring or artificially induced. Their reproduction appears to be parthenogenic, with females of the species being slightly larger -- on the order of tens of meters of greater length. While able to consume biological matter, they also possess an ability similar to photosynthesis that converts most forms of electromagnetic energy into chemical energy, and can go for extended periods without feeding.

On detecting an energy source -- such as the output of a starship's thrusters and scanning mechanisms -- though their own extremely sophisticated sensory system, a zuzgwang will begin moving towards it, intending to feed. The creature will gorge itself until it can no longer detect any energy signature, and then drift off. For a vessel to avoid destruction in this process will normally require that it shut down all systems, including those required for life support. Only a handful of incidents have had such a positive outcome, and it is believed that many other vessels believed to have fallen victim to their attacks attempted to shut down but were too badly damaged to reactivate crucial systems in the aftermath.

Despite this, public opinion in the Technate is against trying to kill the creatures, in large part because of wide-spread repugnance for the Vaask's hunting of them. More humane methods of eliminating the threat that they propose are generally preferred. For example, when one particularly large zuzgwang attacked a colony on the Vaask Fringe, Captain Mystic managed to trick the creature into following a remotely operated starship out of the system, while the colony shut down anything that could attract the creature's senses. Once the zuzgwang caught up to and destroyed the bait ship, they returned to a somnolent state and drifted further away from the colony. It's unclear if such methods will suffice if a large number of the creatures ever attack a Technate settlement ...

Giant Space Tardigrade -- PL 15

Abilities:
STR
16 | STA 18 | AGL 3 | DEX 0 | FGT 6 | INT -2 | AWE 3 | PRE -2

Powers:
Colossal Size:
Permanent Growth 16 (Strength +16, Stamina +16, Intimidation +8, Dodge -8, Parry -8, Stealth -16); Impervious Toughness 12 - 60 points
Energy Beam: Ranged Damage 18, Extended Range 4 - 40 points
Energy Detection: Senses 12 (hyper-extended 4 accurate tracking energy awareness) - 12 points
Space Worthy: Flight 12 (8000 MPH), Aquatic; Immunity 30 (life support, mental effects); Immunity 20 (energy effects), Limited to half effect; Movement 2 (space travel 2) - 69 points

Advantages:
None.

Skills:
Perception 10 (+13), Ranged Combat: Energy Beam 12 (+12).

Offense:
Initiative +3
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 16, Reach 3)
Energy Beam +12 (Ranged Damage 18)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 6, Fortitude 18, Toughness 18, Will 6.

Total:
Abilities 24 + Powers 181 + Advantages 0 + Skills 11 + Defenses 24 = 240 points

Complications:
Hunger--Motivation. No Ground Movement. Not Really Conscious of Other Life Forms.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Manguai
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The amphibious filter-feeding entities known as the Manguai are known to have one of the longest recorded histories in charted space, dating back some four thousand years. That history, originally inscribed in stone blocks on the Manguai home world of Bavelon, begins with a recording of religious holidays, but very quickly turns secular with an increasing focus on exacting and precise details about the gifts exchanged in these ceremonies, somewhat presaging the Manguai's focus on commercial exchange. It would be more than two thousand years before they developed space travel and the warp drive and became interstellar merchant princes, however.

Once they'd done so, however, they quickly became the dominant force in the regions of space that would later become the Imperium, with the Augrah, the Dhakamites, and the Gebela as their clients -- all cultures that bought their warp drive from the Manguai, and typically much of the rest of their technological basis as well. Their only real rivals were the Seshai and the Vautaro, and the whole history of the next millennium was basically a long sequence of alliances between and against these powers, punctuated by occasional civil wars and rebellions. The arrival of the Chiraben in this region of space eventually led to the formation of the Imperium, which the Manguai are fond of claiming as their own idea.

While the Manguai were involved in the development of technomancy -- their ethical flexibility kept them from much success with the Starlight path of mysticism, but their lack of cruelty typically limited their access to the Nightmare path -- they found the results of the civil war that these discoveries provoked to be sufficiently sickening that the majority of their kind foreswore its use in the aftermath. A small number did not, and accompanied the Armada when it departed, becoming the ancestors of the small number of Manguai who reside in the Technate. As these Manguai found Muraddin's environment somewhat unsatisfactory -- it lacks oceans -- they were some of the major sponsors of the polity's first wave of colonial expansion, fortunately discovering a number of water worlds orbiting nearby stars. (It is also reported that a Manguai cyberneticist was a leading member of the team which created the Minds, meaning that both the major stellar civilizations have their origins with the Manguai.)

The Manguai have found the Crimson Imperium to be somewhat displeasing to their sensibilities. While they have ample opportunities for commercial ventures, and those few who have made merchant contacts within the Yusei Star Kingdom are doing quite well for themselves, the gradual impoverishment of their customers within the Imperium is not at all to their liking. A number of the Manguai have responded to this by becoming covert supporters of the Insurgency, though none have joined the fighting as yet.

When and if the Manguai learn about the cultures of the Sol System, they will be initially excited to discover a new market, which will cool off quite a bit when they realize that most of the local civilizations don't have any resources that the Manguai can't get somewhere else. This will in turn transform to horror when they learn about the Atlanteans on Earth (and Venus.) Their oldest myths claim that they were frequently hunted by aquatic humanoids who are a fairly close match to them, and the notion that their old enemies have survived is likely to upset them quite a bit ...

Manguai Magnate -- PL 9

Abilities:
STR
6 | STA 8 | AGL 1 | DEX 0 | FGT 5 | INT 4 | AWE 3 | PRE 3

Powers:
Aquatic:
Immunity 3 (drowning, pressure, cold); Swimming 6 (16 MPH) - 9 points
Large Size: Permanent Growth 6 (+6 Strength, +6 Stamina, +3 Intimidation, -3 Dodge, -3 Parry, -6 Stealth), Innate; Protection 1 - 20 points
Natural Senses: Senses 8 (acute extended 2 tracking scent, acute ranged detect electrical signals, low-light vision) - 8 points
Species-Specific Telepathy: Mental Communication 4, Limited to other Manguai - 12 points
Tentacles: Extra Limbs 2; Elongation 2, Limited to Extra Limbs - 4 points

Advantages:
Beginner's Luck, Benefit 4 (multi-millionaire), Chokehold, Connected, Eidetic Memory, Fast Grab, Improved Hold, Jack-of-all-trades, Well-Informed.

Skills:
Expertise: Business 6 (+10), Expertise: History 4 (+8), Insight 6 (+9), Intimidation 5 (+11), Perception 8 (+11), Persuasion 8 (+11), Stealth 9 (+7).

Offense:
Initiative +1
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 6, Reach 3)

Defense:
Dodge 5, Parry 6, Fortitude 9, Toughness 9, Will 9

Totals:
Abilities 36 + Powers 53 + Advantages 12 + Skills 23 + Defenses 18 = 142 points

Complications:
Profit--Motivation. Enlightened Self-Interest. Weakness
(must be immersed in water for at least one hour in every six.)

Note: There are not as many Manguai with billionaire levels of wealth as you might expect, but they do exist, and generally have higher levels of Expertise: Business.
 

Davies

Adventurer
The Gardeners
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It's not known what they call themselves. Like many species who have well-developed telepathic abilities, they usually use their voices only to communicate with other peoples who aren't so gifted, employing the others' languages to that end. When doing so, those who have learned of the name by which they are known have usually indicated that it seems fitting. They do seek to care for plant life (as well as fungal and moneral life) and to catalog and study it, the better to care for it, and so they are, indeed, the gardeners of the universe.

The largest concentration of their settlements can be found on a planet in what's called the Enigma Sector. Again, it's not known if this world is the world on which their people evolved, or if it is one that they settled as they spread throughout space. It's not even clear when they did that; the Albadine claim to have been mentored by them, long ago, though the two peoples rarely have much to do with each other. If it is true that the Albadine once ruled an empire in the regions of space which are now the Technate, some fifteen hundred years* in the past, it seems likely that they did so despite the Gardeners' teachings, rather than because of them.

The Gardeners prefer to avoid interacting with other sapient life as much as possible. When visiting the worlds of other peoples, they do so covertly, limiting their contact as much as possible so as to avoid any possible conflict. That said, they will engage with others when necessary; many voyagers stranded on alien worlds, or on damaged space vehicles, have been rescued by the Gardeners and transported to safer circumstances. Even when this occurs, though, there will be very little interaction between their passenger and themselves. Some believe that they fear the consequences of contact, either for themselves or for others. Or it could be a shyness that is almost pathological.

The Gardeners are known to practice a form of mysticism that is unlike either of the well-known schools of thought known in the Imperium, though some of what is known about the Yusei practice is similar. It is known that they refer to this as 'the greenbond', and that it involves sharing energy between examples of plant life in a way that can revitalize and even heal the injuries of other forms of life, as well as using them as a medium to receive sensory impressions, animating plants to serve as allies, and -- most spectacularly -- drawing on that energy to perform feats of telekinesis. They generally prefer to use these abilities to escape from conflicts rather than prolong them.

Apparently, they have visited the Sol System (specifically Venus, Earth and Mars) many times in the past, most recently in the early 1960s, but seem to have satisfied themselves with the knowledge that they gained in those previous expeditions rather than embarking on new ones. Whether, as Captain Mystic speculated, they were the inspiration for the 'grey aliens' of Earthly folklore is not known, though they do not generally act in the callous and cruel manner that such creatures are reputed to do ... unless they are hiding the existence of renegades who pursue a very different agenda than the rest of their species.

Adult Gardener -- PL 9

Abilities:
STR
-1 | STA 3 | AGL 2 | DEX 0 | FGT 3 | INT 5 | AWE 3 | PRE 3

Powers:
Greenbond:
Array (36 points)
  • Aura of Vitality: Burst Area Energizing Healing 10, Affects Objects (Limited to Inanimate Plants), Others Only - 1 point
  • Green Network: Remote Sensing 12 (visual, auditory, tactile), Medium (Plants) - 1 point
  • Mind Over Matter: Perception-Ranged Move Object 12 - 1 point
  • Natural Allies: Summon Animated Plants 9, Controlled, General Type - 36 points
Shielded Thoughts: Impervious Will 10, Limited to mental effects - 5 points
Small Size: Permanent Shrinking 4 (+2 Dodge, +2 Parry, +4 Stealth, -1 Strength) - 2 points
Species-Specific Telepathy: Mental Communication 4, Limited to Gardeners - 12 points

Advantages:
Animal Empathy, Defensive Roll, Improved Defense.

Skills:
Expertise: Science 6 (+11), Insight 8 (+11), Investigation 4 (+9), Perception 6 (+9), Persuasion 6 (+9), Stealth 4 (+10), Technology 4 (+9), Treatment 4 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +2
Unarmed +3 (Close Damage -1)*

Defense:
Dodge 4, Parry 3, Fortitude 5, Toughness 5/2, Will 13.

Totals:
Abilities 38 + Powers 55 + Advantages 3 + Skills 21 + Defenses 14 = 131 points

Complications:
Discovery--Motivation. Pacifism. Power Loss
(Greenbond, while in areas without plant life.) Weakness (environmental damage.)

* Included solely for completeness; it is difficult to imagine any Gardener resorting to this.

Note: Younger examples of the Gardeners will have a weaker Greenbond (28 points), which removes Burst Area from their Healing and restricts their Green Network, Mind Over Matter and Natural Allies powers to 9, 9 rand 7 ranks, respectively. Elder examples will have stronger Greenbonds, and may be Medium-sized creatures. It is almost unknown for a Gardener to be able to remove the Others Only limitation from a power stunted version of their Healing; those who have accomplished this are regarded by their peers as having performed a miracle.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Sir Ashuha
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For most of the Imperium's history, little was known about the stellar nation location on the trailing coreward border of the Imperium's territorial claims beyond the fact that there was a polity there, and those who inhabited welcomed neither trade nor exploration. The few who traveled there and returned did so with their personal memories erased, along with blanked recording devices and wiped computer banks; neither did any documented voyagers come from there. After a fleet of military vessels came back in that blanked condition following an attempt to determine the fate of an earlier scouting mission, the Senate decided to issue commands forbidding travel in that direction, and await future developments.

Those developments came after the end of the Schism Wars and the departure of the Armada. Within a week, a vessel emerged from hyperspace in the adjoining sector and contacted the local governor, claiming to be an emissary from the Yusei Star Kingdom sent to establish relations with the Imperium. This was quickly accomplished, a treaty was signed, and a limited amount of trade began between the two nations, along with some contact between the mystics of the Imperium and their counterparts among the Yusei. Over the century that followed, two more emissaries were sent from the Star Kingdom to continue to maintain diplomatic ties.

Sir Ashuha was the last of these, arriving in the Imperium not long after the defeat of Galactor and present throughout the Imperium's slow transformation. In the immediate aftermath, the Crimson King informed him that he was no longer welcome in the Crimson Imperium, likely expecting that the emissary would return to his homeland. This led to one of the few times the Crimson King has been surprised, for Sir Ashuha promptly responded to his dismissal by volunteering his services to the fleet of exiles who were planning to depart, guiding them safely to the Technate and protecting them against attacks by pirates and space monsters along the way.

In delivering this fleet to the Technate, Sir Ashuha created a difficult problem for his new hosts. On the one hand, the Technate neither had nor wanted diplomatic relations with the incredibly distant Yusei Star Kingdom, and their emissary was a mystic and thus a monster in their eyes. However, it would be incredibly bad optics for the Technate to turn away the hero of a second Armada. The matter was finally resolved by granting Sir Ashuha a provisional diplomatic charter, to be revoked at the discretion of any Technate authority.

Ever since then, he has remained within the Technate's borders, quietly learning about this state and offering his assistance when he sees fit. His motive, he will frankly admit, is to amuse himself, but he strives to uphold the good name of his homeland, and perhaps to ease some of the fears that the populace of the Technate feels about persons with powers. To that latter end, he has sometimes found himself allied with Captain Mystic, and finds her somewhat fascinating, though their relationship has only ever been friendly despite what some gossips would suggest.

Ashuha's powers are similar to those of the mystics, but the philosophy behind them is very different; rejecting both the asceticism of the Starlight Path and the sadism of the Nightmare Path, his way is much more of the world, a strong regard for the natural and an acceptance of the weaknesses of the living. He also wields a different sort of weapon, a physical blade jacketed by the same sort of force field that he can generate around his own person. Beyond this, his strength, stamina, and reaction speed are all well-above Chiraben norms, which would seem to support the Yusei claim that, despite being humanoid, they are not Chiraben in origin.

The emissary travels aboard a Yusei spacecraft unlike any ship found in the Technate, making him instantly recognizable. It is crewed by artificial intelligences who frequently download themselves into robotic bodies in order to perform physical labor aboard the ship. As this is incredibly illegal under Technate law, they make themselves scarce while visitors are aboard, with the notable exception of the ship's guiding intelligence, who sometimes uses an android body to pose as Ashuha's (nonexsistent) younger sister, Shisame.

Sir Ashuha -- PL 10

Abilities:
STR
5 | STA 6 | AGL 6 | DEX 6 | FGT 11 | INT 3 | AWE 4 | PRE 3

Powers:
Bonded Starsword:
Damage 6, Penetrating 6, Accurate; Easily Removable (-5 points) - 8 points
Defensive Shielding: Immunity 10 (life support), Quirk (limited to approximately 30 minutes); Sustained Protection 2, Impervious 6 - 17 points
Longevity: Immunity 1 (aging) - 1 point
Touched by the Essence: Senses 4 (danger sense, acute extended mystical awareness) - 4 points
Translator Circuit: Comprehend Languages 2 (speak and understand all languages) - 6 points

Equipment:
Space Frigate: Size Gargantuan; Strength 12; Speed 14 (air/space); Defense 6; Toughness 11; Features: Living Quarters, Personnel; Powers: Blaster Cannons (Ranged Damage 10), Warp Drive (Movement 3 [space travel]).

Advantages:
All-Out Attack, Attractive, Diehard, Equipment 12, Fearless, Great Endurance, Improved Critical (Laser Sword), Improved Defense, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Ranged Attack 4, Ritualist, Takedown, Uncanny Dodge

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+10), Athletics 6 (+11), Close Combat: Laser Sword 1 (+12), Expertise: Galactic 8 (+11), Expertise: Magic 6 (+9), Insight 6 (+10), Perception 6 (+10), Persuasion 8 (+11), Vehicles 3 (+9)

Offense:
Initiative +10
Unarmed +11 (Close Damage 5)
Starsword +14 (Close Damage 6, Crit 19-20)

Defense:
Dodge 10, Parry 12, Fortitude 6, Toughness 8/6, Will 12

Totals:
Abilities 80 + Powers 36 + Advantages 29 + Skills 24 + Defenses 14 = 183 points

Complications:
Thrills--Motivation. Fame. Honor
(uphold the good name of the Star Kingdom.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Kazino Asaru, Lady Fuurin
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Generally speaking, the arrival of a new Ascendant at the gates of Pandiomon -- the great city that some call Heaven -- does not come as much of a surprise to any of the immortals there. While the Ascendants are not all-knowing, there is little that they do not see in the world which they are sworn to protect and guide, and so they are generally well aware of those who might earn their burden of glorious purpose. Even beyond the great deeds that every Ascendant accomplishes in order to become worthy of the mantle of immortality, every one of them has a patron who has been guiding those deeds -- and usually talking their candidate up as much as possible while doing so, basking in their reflected glory.

So when Kazino Asaru of the land of Teyangu, known to her followers as Lady Fuurin, considered the Incarnation of the Minister of Winds and Rain, arrived at those gates as the newest Initiate of the Sphere of Time, it was a double surprise. Not only had she no great deeds to her name, as her post as the Incarnation was a politically decided one, but no one had spoken of the possibility of her Ascension. And she herself was in no position to explain anything, as she initially believed that this entire episode was a somewhat confusing dream, and not until she found that she could not wake up did the reality of her situation dawn upon her.

Nothing in Asaru's life had prepared her for any of this. When her mother died only a few years after she was born, and her father remarried another woman with daughters of her own, she was sent to reside with the mountain priests of the Temple of Winds and Rain, as her father was not cruel enough to let his only daughter become a servant for his new family. Within the temple, she demonstrated a genuine gift for the wind magic that was their blessing, but proved to be a trial to her mentors in nearly every area. She was a poor student, a clumsy martial artist, and possessed of highly visible emotions instead of the serenity that she was expected to cultivate.

As she reached adulthood, Asaru's mentors began to despair. How were they to solve a problem like her? She was, despite everything, very popular within the temple for her kindness and sweet nature, but what sort of role could she be expected to play in their work? The notion of installing her as the new Incarnate began as a joke, but swiftly took on a life of its own. She would have only ceremonial duties that she could be coached into not fouling up, and largely be separated from anyone who might realize what an embarrassment she was. The former Incarnation was happy to retire and go get married, and so Asaru found herself installed in the role, as the current Lady Fuurin. Faintly bewildered by this development, she lay down that very night to sleep and found herself on the highway to Heaven.

It was soon discovered that Asaru did have a patron, but this discovery raised more questions than answers. She had apparently been granted Ascension by Celune, an Empyreal of the Sphere of Time who had been fascinated by the moon. But Celune had disappeared centuries earlier, with most having assumed that she merged with the substance of her home plane or been consumed by one of the Eaters of Worlds. She didn't respond to any attempts to communicate with her now, either. The Hierarch of the Sphere of Time, Khoronus, took charge of Asaru's education in Celune's place.

As the most senior -- by a few weeks, but that counts -- of the small group of Ascendants who have recently joined the struggles of the cosmos, and as the pupil of one of the Hierarchs, Asaru has found herself in the unenviable position of the group's leader. While this doesn't sit well with some of the other members of the group, Asaru has avoided making any serious errors in the few years since she began her vigil. She is probably closest to her fellow of the Time Sphere, Arkadiyye, who is also someone she knew when she was just a child, but she genuinely wants to be everyone's friend. How well she can balance being everyone's friend and being their boss remains to be seen.

So far, the majority of the group's assignments have seen them active in the Dragon Empire of Atelaine, frequently running into a very annoying rogue called Ezra Blake. So far, he hasn't yet figured out that the young women who keep crossing his path at odd intervals are Ascendants, which is good. Not so good is the fact that he doesn't take Asaru all that seriously, and keeps calling her 'Saru' -- "Monkey". The lack of respect, for an Incarnation (who is dodging her duties and letting one of her Servitors pose as her) and one of the Princesses of the Universe (whose existence he's not supposed to know about), is unbelievably frustrating, especially coming from someone who is not at all handsome or charming! And his stupid cat is even worse!

Meanwhile, Khoronus, as a time traveller from the far future of the World More Sorcerous, believes that most of the mysteries surrounding Asaru can be explained by her being the product of someone's manipulations of the timeline. As no one other than him is supposed to be manipulating the timeline, he intends to get to the bottom of this, and hopes that this isn't going to be another case where it turns out that he did it himself. Regardless, he suspects that at least a part of her strangeness comes from the fact that her mother came to this world from a land known as Japan ...

Kazino Asaru, Lady Fuurin -- PL 10

Abilities:
STR
1 | STA 3 | AGL 3 | DEX 2 | FGT 5 | INT 1 | AWE 4 | PRE 4

Powers:
Ascendant:
Immortality 5 (one day); Immunity 1 (aging); Movement 1 (dimensional travel to home plane), Reaction (death); Movement 2 (dimensional travel to planes of the Sphere of Time), Standard Action - 15 points
Sense Immortal: Senses 2 (ranged detect immortal) - 2 points
Wind Magic: Array (18 points)
  • Air Bubble: Sustained Immunity 4 (pressure, suffocation, vacuum), Affects Self and Others in Cloud Area, Dynamic - 2 points
  • Blinding Gust: Ranged Cumulative Affliction 9 (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome by Fortitude; Impaired, Disabled, Unaware), Limited to Vision - 1 point
  • Lifting Winds: Move Object 9 - 18 points
  • Summoned Wind: Summon Air Creature 6, Independent - 1 point
  • Whispering Wind: Communication 4 (auditory, air), Subtle - 1 point.
  • Wind Burst: Ranged Burst Area Affliction 6 (Resisted and Overcome by Fortitude; Dazed, Stunned, Incapacitated) - 1 point
  • Wind Lash: Ranged Damage 9 - 1 point
Wind-Riding: Linked Flight 8 (500 MPH); Linked Sustained Protection 9, Impervious 6 - 31 points

Advantages:
Benefit (Incarnation), Connected, Equipment 4, Evasion, Extraordinary Effort, Language 3 (Akelo, Atelane, Koine, others [Teyango is native]), Ranged Attack 3, Ritualist.

Equipment:
Home Plane: Size Huge; Toughness 10; Features Communications, Concealed, Defense System, Grounds, Infirmary, Isolated, Living Space, Power System, Personnel, Security System - 15 points.

Skills:
Acrobatics 5 (+8), Expertise: Magic 8 (+12), Expertise: Religion 8 (+9), Expertise: Society 8 (+9), Insight 8 (+12), Intimidation 5 (+9), Persuasion 7 (+11), Ranged Attack: Wind Magic 6 (+8), Perception 8 (+12), Treatment 5 (+6).

Offense:
Initiative +3
Unarmed +5 (Close Damage 1)
Wind Lash +11 (Ranged Damage 9)
Blinding Gust +11 (Ranged Affliction 9, Resisted by Dodge)
Wind Burst -- (Ranged Burst Area Fortitude 6)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 7, Fortitude 6, Toughness 12/3, Will 12

Totals:
Abilities 46 + Powers 71 + Advantages 15 + Skills 34 + Defenses 18 = 184 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. A Bit Clumsy and A Bit of a Crybaby. Secret
(immortality.) Vexing Person Who Is Not At All Cute (Ezra Blake.)

Air Creature -- PL 6

Abilities:
STR
1 | STA 2 | AGL 1 | DEX 2 | FGT 4 | INT 0 | AWE 3 | PRE 1

Powers:
Air Control:
Array (16 points)
  • Wind Blast: Ranged Damage 8 - 16 points
  • Wind Binding: Ranged Affliction 8 (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome by Strength; Hindered and Vulnerable, Immobile and Defenseless), Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 1 point
  • Wind Lift: Move Object 8 - 1 point
Elemental Constitution: Immunity 10 (life support) - 10 points
Gaseous Form: Flight 1 (10 MPH); Visual Concealment 4, Partial; Insubstantial 2, Permanent - 14 points

Advantages:
Defensive Roll, Favored Environment (Flight), Improved Initiative

Skills:
Expertise: Planar 4 (+4), Ranged Combat: Air Control 2 (+4), Deception 2 (+3)

Offense:
Initiative +5
Unarmed +4 (Close Damage 1)
Wind Blast +4 (Ranged Damage 8)
Wind Binding +4 (Ranged Affliction 8, Resisted by Dodge)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 6, Fortitude 3, Toughness 4, Will 4

Totals:
Abilities 28 + Powers 44 + Advantages 3 + Skills 4 + Defenses 11 = 90 points
 
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Davies

Adventurer
Phosta
phosta-S.jpg


Born in one of the many petty kingdoms of the Far North, Loran Phosta was unfortunate enough to be born a sorcerer in a time and place where it was taken for granted that any such individual had made dark pacts for their power. Knowing that she could not maintain the deception for very long, she ran away from home when she was sixteen, traveling south to lands that seemed more sane. She followed many paths in the years that followed, sometimes a sage, sometimes a soldier, but most often an adventuring mage, testing her power against opponents.

As she grew older, Phosta increasingly took comfort in her belief that her power, far from being the product of the Ruinous Powers, derived from the Sun Prince, who was born from light before there even was a dawn. Yet it seemed to her that there was more to the light of the sun than met the eye. Through experimentation and study, she discovered the existence of the sorts of light that would be dubbed 'infrared' and 'ultraviolet' by the scholars of another world, and strove to master these sorts of light as well.

After long years of study, she achieved her goals ... and collapsed, for her achievement really had taken everything she had, and death drew near. Yet she heard a voice urging her that this was far from all that she was meant to do, and Ascended as an Initiate of the Sphere of Power, finding herself on the road to Pandiomon, and running towards its gates with the enthusiasm (and, she was pleased to note, the body) of the young girl she hadn't been in quite some time, certain that she was about to meet with the Sun Prince.

Well, she did, eventually, but Phosta was rather startled to find out that he was not her patron. Instead, she had been guided, all her life it seemed, by Valerias, the Patron of Love and Romance -- two things that had she had never had any time for! When she babbled out her lack of understanding, Valerias had said something nonsensical about faith being the belief that all power can't be seen, and then something a bit more plausible about how all her life had been consumed by her love for her magic. Still bewildered, Phosta yielded to her patron's guidance and joined forces with the other Initiates who'd arrived around the same time as herself.

Out of all of them, Phosta is probably closest with Gebure, even though she thinks that they couldn't be more opposite. Their spheres are opposed, and where Phosta is a sorcerer who struggled to become a soldier, Gebure is a soldier who stumbled into sorcery. Yet the two of them work rather well together, much as their respective patrons do. Not just like them, though. While Phosta is coming to understand how much of her life was (in Valerias' opinion) wasted because she never sought romance, she's much more interested in finding an everlasting love instead of her Patron's constant hopping from relationship to relationship. Most of the time, at least.

Of all of the Princesses, Phosta is probably the most concerned about events on the continent, specifically those in Galantri, where she lived for much of her mortal life. She hopes that they'll be able to do something about the madness that has lately engulfed the land, and is consequently somewhat impatient to be done with their adventures in the the Dragon Empire. That Valerias, of all people, keeps urging her to be patient is almost more irony than she can stand. It doesn't help that her identity as one of the Ascendants has been exposed to a vampir who's also come here from Galantri, one Ethan Grimaldi, who seems to be interfering with her activities out of petty spite. That he apparently became a vampir through making dark pacts is just the cream of the jest.

Phosta -- PL 10

Abilities:
STR
2 | STA 3 | AGL 3 | DEX 3 | FGT 3 | INT 2 | AWE 2 | PRE 5

Powers:
Ascendant:
Immortality 5 (one day); Immunity 1 (aging); Movement 1 (dimensional travel to home plane), Reaction (death); Movement 2 (dimensional travel to planes of the Sphere of Power), Standard Action - 15 points
Enchanted Breastplate: Impervious Protection 5; Removable (-2 points) - 8 points
"I Walk With the Light, and the Light With Me": Environment 1 (Bright Light) - 2 points
Light Magic: Array (21 points)
  • Blast of Light: Ranged Damage 10, Accurate - 21 points
  • Blast of Unseen Light: Ranged Damage 10, Subtle - 1 point
  • Blinding Burst: Perception Area Cumulative Affliction 10 (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome by Fortitude; Visually Impaired, Visually Disabled, Visually Unaware), Limited to Vision - 1 point
  • Burst of Light: Ranged Burst Area Damage 7 - 1 point
  • Ghostbane Burst: Ranged Burst Area Damage 9, Affects Insubstantial 2, Limited to undead enemies - 1 point
  • Light of Healing: Ranged Energizing Healing 5 - 1 point
Sense Immortal: Senses 2 (ranged detect immortal) - 2 points
Speed of Light: Enhanced Defenses 10 (Dodge 5, Parry 5); Flight 7 (250 MPH) - 24 points

Advantages:
All-out Attack, Attractive, Equipment 4, Fearless 2, Improved Initiative, Language 2 (Alven, Galantrian, Koine, Zwergen, [Dannic is native]), Power Attack, Ritualist, Taunt.

Equipment:
Staff (Strength-based Damage 2, Reach 1.)
Home Plane: Size Huge; Toughness 10; Features Communications, Concealed, Defense System, Grounds, Gym, Isolated, Library, Living Space, Power System, Personnel, Security System - 16 points.

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+7), Athletics 4 (+6), Close Combat: Staff 4 (+10), Deception 7 (+12), Expertise: Magic 6 (+11), Insight 4 (+6), Persuasion 4 (+9), Ranged Combat: Light Magic 5 (+8), Sleight of Hand 6 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed +3 (Close Damage 2)
Staff +10 (Close Damage 4, Reach 1)
Blast of Light +10 (Ranged Damage 10)
Blast of Unseen Light +8 (Ranged Damage 10)
Blinding Burst -- (Perception Area Afflction 10, Resisted by Dodge)
Burst of Light -- (Ranged Burst Area Damage 7)
Ghostbane Burst -- (Ranged Burst Area Damage 9)

Defense:
Dodge 12/7, Parry 11/6, Fortitude 4, Toughness 8/3, Will 10

Totals:
Abilities 52 + Powers 77 + Advantages 12 + Skills 22 + Defenses 13 = 176 points

Complications:
Upholding Good--Motivation. Easily Distracted by Romance. Nemesis
(Ethan Grimaldi.) Patron (Valerias.) Secret (immortality.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Gebure
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In her youth in Al'Aram, Nehi Maschif was told, by her old grandfather, that she was the last of a family whose roots stretched back to the time when the land had been ruled from the lost city of Umbar, and indeed been ruled by the founders of her family. She generally considered that this was the least likely of the claims that the old pervert made when he was in his cups, since everyone knew that the people of Umbar had had horns and hooves, as their descendants did, and were not to be trusted. Still, she strove to carry herself as the heir to something great, even though her family was only slightly less desperate than most within the Emirates, barely holding onto their lands.

As she grew older, Nehi found herself increasingly aware that the Emir and his court were increasingly squeezing not only the poor and the merchant classes, but also the lower orders of the aristocracy, such as her family, for all they were worth. If they had been using that wealth to spread the word of the Way of the Desert Rose, that dream of gardens in the desert sand, that would have been one thing, but they were largely expending it on their own luxuries. Angered at this, and remembering the legends her grandfather had told her, she determined that she had a duty to do something about it.

So she became a bandit, under the name Gebure ("severity") and soon found herself commanding a band of desperate folk. They robbed from the rich to feed the poor -- themselves among them -- and thwarted the schemes of those who sought personal advantage within the Emir's court. She obtained the enchanted scimitars which were and are her trademark during this time, and sought to master them. All the while, she feared that her small army were nothing more than a nuisance to the Emir.

Perhaps that's why, when a grand melee was proclaimed, where fighters from across the Emirates would come to compete to determine the finest among them, with the victor to be granted their heart's desire, Gebure decided to enter. Ostensibly, there was a truce on so that anyone, even a bandit, might take part in this competition, but she chose not to fall into that rather blatant trap. Instead, she disguised her scimitars and entered under her real name.

Pushing her skills to the utmost, Nehi found herself surviving encounter after encounter, but also found herself feeling weaker and weaker with each moment that the fight lasted. When it was over and she found herself the last woman standing, she was honestly stunned, then horrified as she realized that the healing that had been promised to those who took part was nowhere to be seen. Instead, those who had fought had been left to die of their wounds, their life essences stolen by the woman who had organized this atrocity, now revealed as some sort of serpent woman who was using them to empower a weird circle of fire.

There was no time for thought, no time for clever plans. Nehi flung herself into the circle of fire, using her scimitars to smash the ruby red gem within it, fully expecting to die but hoping that her life might save at least one of the others who'd fought in that battle. There was a roar of flame and the scream of the serpent woman ... and then Gebure found herself somewhere else, in the presence of a mighty figure who was looking down on her with a skeptical eye. He congratulated her on her victory, pyrrhic though it was, and on her Ascension as an Initiate of the Sphere of Matter, under the patronage of Tempus, Patron of Battle. "That's me," he added.

Dizzy at the notion that the deaths of all those people had been arranged so that one of them might possibly survive, thwart the scheme, and earn Ascension, Gebure nevertheless accepted her new situation. Being immortal was not the greatest change that she'd endured, for the flames had twisted her so that she was no longer a Helasian woman but rather of the Flamen people of the Dragon Empire, and blessed with their fiery sorcery. She has striven to master this talent, though she prefers to fight hand-to-hand whenever possible.

As an experienced war-leader, Gebure was disturbed and angered to be placed under the command of an untried and untested figurehead like Lady Fuujin. She was not shy about expressing this dissatisfaction, and finally the other Ascendant offered to give Gebure the chance to demonstrate that she could, in fact, do the job better. The result was almost a disaster -- while Gebure was a talented commander of soldiers, only one of the other Princesses had ever been a soldier, and their obedience to her commands was hesitant and often half-hearted. Further, she didn't know their capabilities as well as she thought she did, and found herself asking things that they weren't able to do. Lady Fuujin saved the operation by taking over and demonstrating a better understanding of their logistical and strategic situation than Gebure expected, but the mission was only a marginal success.

Since that time, Gebure has confined herself to muttering about the situation and making smart aleck comments, but only when they're not actually engaged in battle. In that situation, she uses her talents to conduct activities with complete deference to Lady Fuujin. There may come a day when she is ready to challenge her for leadership once again, but for now she's going to just wait and watch. She definitely doesn't like the other Ascendant. Not even a little bit. Anyone who thinks that is crazy. She definitely doesn't watch her at all times, especially not when she doesn't think the other woman is looking at her. Nope.

Regardless, she recently learned that the serpent woman who was involved in her ascension, despite failing on that occasion,recently managed to ascend as part of the Sphere of Entropy, and definitely wants revenge. As Gebure has a fairly strong desire to hold her old foe accountable for all those deaths (even if they were apparently part of her own patron's scheme, something she doesn't like to think about) having a nemesis is just fine by her ...

Gebure -- PL 10

Abilities:
STR
2 | STA 2 | AGL 4 | DEX 4 | FGT 6 | INT 2 | AWE 2 | PRE 1

Powers:
Ascendant:
Immortality 5 (one day); Immunity 1 (aging); Movement 1 (dimensional travel to home plane), Reaction (death); Movement 2 (dimensional travel to planes of the Sphere of Matter), Standard Action - 15 points
Enchanted Scimitars: Strength-based Damage 3, Accurate, Affects Insubstantial, Split Attack; Easily Removed (-2 points) - 4 points
Fire Magic: Array (18 points)
  • Flame Arrow: Ranged Damage 9 - 18 points
  • Flame Breath: Cone Area Damage 9 - 1 point
  • Flame Shapes: Ranged Shapeable Area Fire Damage 3, Concentration Duration, Selective - 1 point
Heat of the Moment: Enivronment 2 (intense heat, light) - 2 points
Sense Immortal: Senses 2 (ranged detect immortal) - 2 points
Touched by No Lesser Flame: Immunity 11 (cold, fire effects) - 11 points
Wings of the Phoenix: Enhanced Defenses 4 (Dodge 2, Parry 2); Flight 6 (125 MPH) - 16 points

Advantages:
Agile Feint, All-out Attack, Assessment, Benefit (ambidexterity), Defensive Attack, Defensive Roll 2, Diehard, Equipment 4, Improved Critical (scimitar), Inspire, Language 2 (Atelane, Koine, others [Helasian is native]), Leadership, Skill Mastery (Intimidation).

Equipment:
Home Plane: Size Huge; Toughness 12; Features Combat Simulator, Communications, Concealed, Defense System, Grounds, Gym, Isolated, Living Space, Power System, Personnel, Security System - 18 points.

Skills:
Acrobatics 5 (+9), Athletics 5 (+7), Close Combat: Sword 4 (+10), Expertise: Military 6 (+8), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+8), Ranged Combat: Fire Magic 7 (+11), Insight 6 (+8), Intimidation 8 (+9), Persuasion 5 (+6), Stealth 6 (+10)

Offense:
Initiative +4
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 2)
Scimitars +12 (Close Damage 5)
Flame Arrow +11 (Ranged Damage 9)
Flame Breath -- (Cone Area Damage 9)

Defense:
Dodge 10/8, Parry 12/10, Fortitude 4, Toughness 7/2, Will 8

Totals:
Abilities 46 + Powers 70 + Advantages 18 + Skills 29 + Defenses 16 = 179 points

Complications:
Justice--Motivation. Nemesis
(Lady Hiuchus.) Not-Relationship (she does not care about Lady Fuujin, got it?) Patron (Tempus.) Secret (immortality). Temper.
 

Davies

Adventurer
Arkadiyye
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Though the island of Teyango was long a province of the Empire of Troas, the Troatians generally left it to itself, content to treat it as one of the breadbaskets of their empire and making no attempt to impose their own culture on the Teyanjin. Over the centuries, a handful of Troatians settled there, generally operating self-sustaining estates that lasted no more than a few generations before the descendants of the founders returned to their homeland for whatever reason. But that only addresses the humans of Troas, and they were not the only ones who investigated the land.

Arkadiyye (ar-KAY-dui-e) was born in the forests of Zrchev in the western parts of Troas some three hundred years ago. She will not argue with those who refer to her as a dryad, though she has never had anything to do with oak trees, and prefers the term ' napaead'. Despite human paranoia, she was not born from any romantic encounters that her mother might have had with males of their kind, but from a union between two napaeae whose roots intertwined. Hidden in the valley where she awoke for the first time, she did not see humans until she was well into her second century.

She was less than impressed by what she saw. By that point, the wood elves of Zrchev had stopped fighting human expansion into their homeland and started trying to gradually make an elf-like human culture of the immigrants. Most of the fey spirits at least passively accepted this program, and some supported it as best they could. Arkadiyye, young for one of her people, found it harder to do this, and her mother encouraged her to travel a bit and gain some perspective.

So she did, learning just how much worse things could get for the fey in other parts of the Empire, which regarded the wilderness as something to be feared, subdued and possibly destroyed. She was starting to hear the wisdom of her ancestors, but then her wandering ways brought her to the sea, and she heard its siren song, choosing not to go back but to keep traveling. And so she came to Teyango.

Here, the people treated their wilderness with greater respect than they did in the mainland, but with no less fear. Despite this, Arkadiyye felt a comforting presence here, especially among the cherry trees, and so decided to remain for a time. She even tried to communicate with the local humans, learning their language, but they regarded her as a spirit to be propitiated, not one with whom they could ever become comfortable. She slowly got used to the idea that she would always be viewed as a dangerous being, something to be feared.

And then a four year-old girl challenged that belief, when she and Arkadiyye met as the child wandered further into the forest outside her father's estate than she should have. Asaru seemed to regard her new friend as just a different kind of person than anyone she had met up until that point, and treated her with all the kindness that she expressed to everyone who did not annoy her. Arkadiyye did not have a heart, as such, but parts of her emotional landscape that had been cold and dreary grew warm and cheerful in Asaru's presence.

When at last they were separated, with Asaru packed off to live in a temple, Arkadiyye decided that the time had come to move on as well. Yet where she had been wandering aimlessly for so long, now she had a plan and purpose. She would become the immortal and transcendent being that people imagined her to be, and teach others the lessons that she had learned in the process. Where most of her comrades stumbled into Ascendance without really knowing what they were getting into, Arkadiyye pursued it with deliberation and forethought.

Like them, though, she was a bit surprised when she met her patron, whom she assumed would be one of the other fey who had won Ascendance in the past. In fact, Petra, one of the founders of the civic religion of Troas, had been a very human woman, and her followers had often fought against the fey as threats to humanity. But immortality had broadened her perspective, and she approved of Arkadiyye's ambitions and wished to support them. Arkadiyye is still not sure what to make of this, but welcomes Petra's aid and tries to serve her interests as best she can, while serving among the Princesses, among whom is her first and truest friend. She backs Lady Fuurin to the hilt, but isn't above teasing her leader for her more childish moments.

More troublingly, she has also acquired a nemesis, in the form of Baba Suten, a fiendish entity who claims to have been an oni in mortal life, and to have fought against the human invaders of Teyango in a time two thousand years in the past. That causes Arkadiyye a certain amount of moral discomfort, for she recognizes that situation as not unlike her own dissatisfaction with the human invasion of her homeland. But Baba Suten is a cruel and vicious being, and whatever similarities Arkadiyye might see, she will not let the oni's bloodstained path continue any longer than she has to.

Arkadiyye - PL 10

Abilities:
STR
9 | STA 4 | AGL 1 | DEX 1 | FGT 6 | INT 0 | AWE 3 | PRE 1

Powers:
Ascendant:
Immortality 5 (one day); Immunity 1 (aging); Movement 1 (dimensional travel to home plane), Reaction (death); Movement 2 (dimensional travel to planes of the Sphere of Time), Standard Action - 15 points
Human Disguise: Morph 1 (human form) - 5 points
Plant Creature: Immunity 3 (need for sleep, starvation, suffocation); Impervious Protection 8, Noticeable; Regeneration 10; Visual Concealment 4, Limited to while in vegetation - 32 points
Plant Powers: Array (20 points)
  • Green Network: Remote Sensing 5 (all senses), Medium (plants) - 20 points
  • Pollen Cloud: Cloud Area Affliction 10 (Resisted by Fortitude; Fatigued, Exhuasted, Incapacitated) - 1 point
  • Root Transport: Teleport 10, Extended, Medium (plants) - 1 point
  • Tanglevines: Burst Area Cumulative Affliction 10 (Resisted by Dodge, Overcome by Damage; Hindered and Vulnerable, Defenseless and Immobile), Extra Condition, Limited to Two Degrees, Requires Ambient Plant-life - 1 point
Sense Immortal: Senses 2 (ranged detect immortal) - 2 points
Speak For And With The Trees: Comprehend Plants 2; Senses 4 (postcognition), Limited to while in vegetation - 8 points

Advantages:
Daze (Intimidation), Equipment 4, Language 3 (Atelane, Koine, Nuhari, Teyango, others [Akelo is native]), Power Attack, Startle

Equipment:
Home Plane: Size Huge; Toughness 10; Features Communications, Concealed, Defense System, Grounds, Habitat, Isolated, Living Space, Power System, Personnel, Security System 2 - 18 points.

Skills:
Close Combat: Unarmed 4 (+10), Expertise: Nature 8 (+8), Intimidation 8 (+9), Perception 4 (+7).

Offense:
Initative +1
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 9)
Entanglement -- (Burst Area Affliction 10, Resisted by Dodge)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 8, Fortitude 6, Toughness 12, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 50 + Powers 85 + Advantages 14 + Skills 12 + Defenses 15 = 178 points

Complications:
Responsibility--Motivation. Alien Perspective, Inhuman Appearance. Nemesis
(Baba Suten.) Patron (Petra.) Secret (immortality).
 

Davies

Adventurer
Rassa
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The dwarves of Felsenheim do not, as a general rule, like magic. (The blessings granted those among them who work for the sanctified priesthood of Kagyar are, of course, not magic, and it would be an unforgivable faux pas to refer to them in such a matter.) Those among them who develop sorcery typically end up outcast and exiled, and they don't even try to maintain any lore about the subject. Magic is for other peoples, not them.

Which is part of the reason that Rassafrassa Herrjim (usually just Rassa) was such an oddity in their culture. There are plenty of dwarves who are more interested in the theoretical rather than the practical, and during her initial education she seemed likely to become a great scholar. But she was fascinated by what little she was able to learn about the magic of the human, elves and even the gargun peoples, and wanted to know more. She believed that it could become a tool for the dwarven people which would enhance their lives in many ways. And all this was despite not having a drop of magical talent herself.

Eventually, she had to leave Felsenheim in order to continue her studies, but she will insist that she wasn't exiled, but left voluntarily. Rassa became an assistant to several human sorcerers, with a preference for those who engaged in adventures rather than solitary study. She learned much of what she wanted to know, but there was always more to be discovered. Eventually, her experiments in creating items that contained and channeled magical energy started to succeed more often than they failed, and she became known as a talented crafter.

While accompanying a group of human adventurers on a quest, Rassa discovered a horrific artifact that drained magical energy from the world, converting it into a strange form of sickening energy. Her friends all died from this emanation, and Rossa felt an unaccustomed anger. For the first time, she found herself working out how to destroy something instead of build it. She fully expected to die in the conflagration she unleashed, and was stunned when she found that she'd Ascended instead.

And doubly stunned to find out that her patron was Ithas! Ithas, the Great Trickster! Ithas, who stole fire from heaven! Ithas, who featured in every single cautionary story about the dangers of magic that Rassa had ever heard! She'd always dismissed those stories as nonsense, and now here she was meeting the source of them, and suddenly they made a lot more sense.Regardless, Rassa cheerfully lent her talents as a warrior and sage to the (somewhat bewilderingly named) Princesses of the Universe, and has helped them out of several jams with her inventions. (And has only gotten them into one with them once so far.)

If there's a major source of unhappiness in her life, other than the fact that she routinely has to do the bidding of a complete jerk, it's that she's in a rivalry with one of the other Immortals of the Sphere of Mind, one Skuravati, an Initiate who's probably going to be promoted to Temporal status soon. Skuravati is a sweet, kind, and gentle being, who has worked tirelessly in the defense of life and the living ... and she is also completely convinced that Rassa, and the approach she has to magic, will doom the world. And the fact that Rassa works for Ithas means that she can't quite dismiss the possibility that Skuravati is right about this ...

Rassa -- PL 10

Abilities:
STR
5 | STA 6 | AGL 3 | DEX 3 | FGT 8 | INT 7 | AWE 4 | PRE 1

Powers:
Ascendant:
Immortality 5 (one day); Immunity 1 (aging); Movement 1 (dimensional travel to home plane), Reaction (death); Movement 2 (dimensional travel to planes of the Sphere of Mind), Standard Action - 15 points
Hammer of Smiting: Linked Strength-based Damage 3 and Cumulative Affliction 8 (Resisted by Fortitude; Vulnerable, Defenseless), Limited Degree, Accurate, Affects Insubstantial; Easily Removable (-4 points) - 10 points
Sense Immortal: Senses 2 (ranged detect immortal) - 2 points
Seven-League Boots: Speed 12 (8000 MPH); Removable (-2 points) - 10 points
Superior Toughness: Immunity 2 (disease, poison); Impervious Protection 6 - 14 points

Advantages:
All-out Attack, Close Attack 2, Diehard, Equipment 4, Evasion, Fearless, Great Endurance, Improved Initiative, Improvised Tools, Inventor, Instant Up, Jack-of-all-Trades, Language 2 (Atelane, Dannic, Gargun, Koine, [Zwergen is native]), Move-by Action, Ultimate Effort (Toughness checks).

Equipment:
Home Plane: Size Huge; Toughness 12; Features Communications, Concealed, Defense System, Grounds, Isolated, Living Space, Power System, Personnel, Security System, Workshop - 17 points.

Skills:
Athletics 4 (+9), Close Combat: Hammer 2 (+10), Deception 7 (+8), Expertise: History 4 (+11), Expertise: Magic (INT-based) 5 (+12), Insight 8 (+12), Intimidation 8 (+9), Technology 6 (+13).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed +10 (Close Damage 5)
Hammer +12 (Close Damage 8 and Fortitude 8)

Defense:
Dodge 6, Parry 8, Fortitude 8, Toughness 12, Will 9.

Totals:
Abilities 74 + Powers 50 + Advantages 20 + Skills 22 + Defenses 10 = 176 points

Complications:
Discovery--Motivation. Reputation
(eccentric, possibly mad.) Patron (Ithas.) Rival (Skuravati.) Secret (immortality.)
 

Davies

Adventurer
Ezra Blake
AV-N4_01-M.jpg

Ezra
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Nekoshee (Art by beekakkee.)

By rights, Ezra Blake have lived the life and one day died the death of an anonymous peasant in the dimly lit streets of Sunnswall, capital city of the Dragon Empire. He was born of ordinary human ancestry and without any sort of sorcery, and so started life with two strikes against him, then earned the third at fifteen when his father and mother's restaurant offended the Guild of Hospitality. The Guild expressed their displeasure by hiring a sorcerer to burn the building to the ground, who then threw in burning his parents in the street when they had the audacity to escape. Ezra only escaped the conflagration by virtue of visiting his grandmother, a housekeeper for one of the city's temples to the Minister of Winds and Rains.

Of course, his grandmother could not take him in, which left him no real option except to join one of Sunnswall's gangs and begin descending through the ranks of the underworld. He was a talented thief, but the anger he felt over the fate of his family often led him to take risks in order to do greater injury, whether material or physical, to members of the fifteen Guilds. This attracted more heat than most of his fellows wanted, and so Ezra found himself increasingly isolated even within the supposed family of crime.

And then, two years after his family's death, while engaged in what was supposed to a confidence game in which he posed as a witch in order to extort money from some noble half-wit, the strangeness began. What was supposed to happen was that he'd say some sort of mumbo jumbo and one of his partners would bring about the miraculous appearance of some sort of phantasmal creature (faked up, of course.) What did happen was that Ezra said the mumbo jumbo, felt a sudden heat in the middle of his head, and then saw, where the 'phantasmal creature' was supposed to appear, some sort of cat appear from nowhere -- then look around in abject confusion, then say, in oddly accented Atelane, "What in the world just happened?"

The cat, whose name was apparently Nekoshee, had somehow been called from one of the Upper Planes by whatever it was that Ezra had done, and was now bound to his service. He was less than enthused about this situation, and became even more unenthused as he found out that Ezra was not a good-hearted sorcerer, as most of those who called upon his services had been, but a rather callous rogue and ne'er-do-well. Since Ezra had no way of sending him back whence he'd come, Nekoshee thus found himself somewhat forced into a role as the young man's moral adviser, trying to steer him onto a better path.

It's actually working. Ezra has started to confine his depredations to those members of Sunnswall's society, whether guilded or not, who have committed serious offenses against others, rather than just those who annoy him. The downside is that he was glimpsed by a keen-eyed witness, who was able to describe him well to a sketch-artist employed by a rather clever thief-taker, and so now there's a bounty on his head and his face is well known. He's responded by going out in disguise, generally, and has also been taking more and more jobs outside of Sunnswall, where the lawmen aren't quite so well-organized.

Ezra's powers are as much of a mystery to him as they are to anyone else. Things just happen, generally to his benefit, but sometimes in a way that hinders him. He can't count on them, and so he's focused on training his skills as a thief and swordfighter rather than exploring the limits of this strange power. Understandably, the thought that he's some new type of sorcerer really disturbs him.

It's not that he hates sorcerers; that would be stupid. He's gotten a lot of help from those five sorceresses who keep showing up at odd moments, and quite enjoys their company. (Especially the one who calls herself Gebure; when he talked about how his family had ended, he thinks he saw her regarding him with, and wonders whether she might have gone through something similar.) Of course, they are all way, way, way out of his league, and so he doesn't have any sort of romantic ideas about them. Or at least Nekoshee keeps telling him not to get any sort of romantic ideas about them, and he tries to follow his cat's advice. Not all that well, sometimes.

Other than them and Nekoshee, Ezra's closest tie is still with his grandmother, now very elderly and semi-retired as a housekeeper. She has some idea about what he does for a living, and doesn't really approve, but also thinks that he's started to go back to being the sweet-natured child he was before her son and daughter-in-law died. The cat probably has something to do with it, though she doesn't know that Nekoshee is more than just a cat.

(Nekoshee, as it happens, has more or less figured out who these young ladies are, and is absolutely petrified at the thought that the Ascendants are showing this much interest in a simple mortal boy like Ezra. Which would suggest that he's not all that simple or possibly not all that mortal ...)

Ezra Blake -- PL 8

Abilities:
STR
3 | STA 3 | AGL 3 | DEX 4 | FGT 6 | INT 3 |AWE 2 | PRE 2

Powers:
HOW-DID-YOU-DO-THAT?:
Variable 5, Uncontrolled - 30 points

Default:
Odd Coincidence: Perception Range Damage 8, Subtle - 25 points

Advantages:
Equipment 2, Improved Disarm, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Sidekick 24, Uncanny Dodge.

Equipment:
Sword (Strength-based Damage 3), Throwing Daggers (Ranged Multiattack Damage 1), Armor (Protection 3).

Skills:
Acrobatics 4 (+7), Athletics 6 (+9), Close Combat: Sword 4 (+10), Deception 6 (+8), Expertise: Criminal 6 (+9), Expertise: Magic (INT-based) 4 (+7), Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+9), Perception 6 (+8), Ranged Combat: Throwing 4 (+8), Sleight of Hand 4 (+8), Stealth 6 (+9).

Offense:
Initiative +7
Unarmed +6 (Close Damage 3)
Sword +10 (Close Damage 6)
Throwing Daggers +8 (Ranged Multiattack Damage 1)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 10, Fortitude 5, Toughness 6/3, Will 7.

Totals:
Abilities 60 + Powers 25 + Advantages 30 + Skills 27 + Defenses 15 = 157 points

Complications:
Thrills--Motivation. Family
(grandmother.) Sarcastic. Wanted Criminal.

Nekoshee -- PL 8

Abilities:
STR
-2 | STA 2 | AGL 4 | DEX 1 | FGT 5 | INT 2 | AWE 3 | PRE 2

Powers:
Claws and Teeth:
Strength-based Damage 2 - 2 points
Exalted: Immunity 11 (aging, life support) - 11 points
Gaseous Form: Linked Flight 5 (60 MPH); Linked Insubstantial 3 - 25 points
"Not All Who Wander are Lost": Senses 1 (direction sense) - 1 point
Speak with Animals: Comprehend Animals 2 - 6 points
Tiny Size: Permanent Shrinking 8 (Dodge +4, Parry +4, Stealth +8, Strength -2, Speed -1); Speed 0 - 9 points

Advantages:
Acrobatic Feint, Defensive Roll 2, Evasion, Jack-of-all-Trades, Move-by Action, Set-up, Uncanny Dodge.

Skills:
Acrobatics 3 (+7), Close Combat: Claws and Teeth 3 (+8), Expertise: Magic 7 (+9), Insight 5 (+8), Perception 5 (+8), Stealth 3 (+15).

Offense:
Initiative +4
Claws & Teeth +8 (Close Damage 0)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 9, Fortitude 5, Toughness 7/2, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 38 + Powers 54 + Advantages 8 + Skills 13 + Defenses 7 = 120 points

Complications:
Benevolence--Motivation. Friendship
(Ezra.) Sarcastic.
 
Last edited:

Davies

Adventurer
The Brotherhood of the Wolf
the_wolfen_by_tonygcampagna_d7h9kxx-fullview-S.jpg

(Art by Tony G. Campagna)

In 1992, a group of West German college and high school students, numbering thirteen, came together to perform a mystical ritual that one of them had discovered in a copy of the Book of the Great Scorpion -- or so he claimed. Amazingly, none of them were killed, and the process succeeded in transforming them into creatures similar, in many ways, to the legendary werewolves. With their new powers, this newborn 'Brotherhood of the Wolf' (der Wölfespakt) committed many crimes in their homeland and neighboring countries, initially in support of the faltering Pythonian Insurgency, and later out of greed, bloodlust, and a desire for power.

While the group has endured the past quarter of a century, with the magic that transformed them slowing their aging, they have suffered many losses. Two members quit, with one fleeing to East Asia and disappearing completely, and the other returning to Australia and being shot by a rancher who took him for a thylacine wolf. Four of the members have been killed by police or other security agencies. (While the official report on the various 'animal attacks' that have been committed in this part of the world is that they are the work of animal-controlling superpowers, enough officers have an understanding about what's actually going on to be able to respond appropriately.) And two others, including the group's founder, have been murdered by the group's current leader.

Josef Ferdinand Kemp -- he only answers to the name Fenris, or the title Fuhrer, now -- was seventeen years old when he became a werewolf, two years after his earliest known murder. Inordinately pleased that his transformation resulted in him becoming a wolf with white fur, he sought to learn more about the magic that had facilitated this, taking it for granted that it had to result from the runic magic of his forebears. Disgusted to learn that the Book of the Great Scorpion was apparently of Turkish origin, he promptly began undermining the group's original leader, eventually killing him in 2005, after winning a duel to determine who should run the Brotherhood. His greatest ambition would be for the group to commit terrorist murders in Israel, Russia or the United States.

Rudi Schulze, aka Glasgeher, is the group's technical expert. Initially, he was simply the only member of the Brotherhood who wasn't completely computer illiterate, but he has kept pace with developments and now views himself as being one of the most adept hackers in the world. (He's not even remotely, but none of these people are all that humble about their accomplishments.) Alone among the group, he has realized that the Hong Kong-based superpower known as Dú Láng is probably their former teammate, but has chosen not to reveal that datum to Fenris as yet. Unlike most of his teammates, he is only interested in money, and has no particular liking for murder or assault.

Arvin Böhm, aka Knochennäher, is regarded as an embarrassment by most of the group. While almost all of them could be considered spendthrifts (only Glasgeher has invested his share of their profits) Knochennäher deliberately lives as one of the homeless. Partially, this is a scheme to avoid attracting official attention, while part of it is a mildly paranoid distrust of his fellows. If they don't know where he's sleeping, they can't kill him in his sleep, after all. In the meanwhile, Knochennäher has probably the most extensive group of street contacts of any member of the Brotherhood.

Uwe Brandt, aka Rotekralle, claims that he hasn't resumed his human form since his transformation. While that's probably not true, he is the member of the group most committed to being a werewolf, and spends most of his time haunting national parks in wolf form. Because of this, Fenris considers him the least troublesome member of the group. What Fenris does not know is that Rotekralle has been thoroughly subverted by Dracula's organization, and is just waiting to be given the order to murder the rest of his teammates. Whether he can actually accomplish this, or if he's just intended to do damage to a rival, is not clear.

Petti Kraus, aka Artemiz, aka Schwartzorn, wasn't always the only female member of the group. Originally, she worked fairly closely with Erdetochter, and claimed to share the older wiffwolf's ecological and primitivist agenda. After they had a falling out in 2007, however, she arranged for her former friend to suffer a fatal police ambush. It's since become clear to her fellows that any political goals that Schwartzorn might claim are cover for her actual goal of inflicting as much pain and suffering as possible on anyone who has the misfortune of crossing her path. She has often gotten so involved in the pleasure of hurting someone that she forgets that she's supposed to be killing them, justifying her behavior with the idea that she's been divinely appointed to do this sort of thing.

Brotherhood of the Wolf -- PL 9

Abilities:
STR
6 | STA 6 | AGL 4 | DEX 1 | FGT 9 | INT 1 | AWE 3 | PRE 1

Powers:
Loping Movement:
Enhanced Advantages 5 (Defensive Roll, Evasion, Improved Initiative 2, Uncanny Dodge); Leaping 2 (30 feet); Speed 3 (16 MPH) - 10 points
Semblances: Array (5 points)
  • Homid: Morph 1 (completely human form) - 5 points
  • Lupus: Morph 1 (wolf form) - 1 point
Song of the Wolf Pack: Auditory Perception Area Affliction 9 (Resisted by Will; Dazed and Impaired, Disabled and Stunned), Extra Condition, Limited Degree - 18 points
Thick-Skinned: Protection 3, Impervious 9 - 12 points
Wolf Senses: Senses 5 (danger sense, low-light vision, acute tracking olfactory, ultrahearing) - 5 points

Advantages:
Close Attack 2, Defensive Roll, Evasion, Improved Initiative 2, Power Attack, Uncanny Dodge.

Skills:
Deception 8 (+9), Expertise: Criminal 7 (+8), Intimidation 8 (+9), Investigation 5 (+6), Perception 4 (+7), Stealth 6 (+10).

Offense:
Initiative +12
Unarmed +11 (Close Damage 6)
Song of the Wolf Pack -- (Perception Area Will 9)

Defense:
Dodge 8, Parry 9, Fortitude 9, Toughness 9, Will 7

Totals:
Abilities 70 + Powers 53 + Advantages 7 + Skills 22 + Defenses 18 = 170 points

Complications:
Variable--Motivation. Power Loss
(Thick Skinned, against silver weaponry.) Secret Identity.

Fenris has STR 7, Expertise: Survival 6 (+7), Intimidation 10 (+11), Unfazeable (Immunity 5 [interaction skills]), Power as a Motivation and Intolerance (pretty much everybody).

Glasgeher has INT 2, Technology 6 (+8), Language 2 (Japanese, others), Nethead (make Gather Information checks with Technology), Greed as a Motivation and Delusion (I am the most 1334 of all.)

Knochennäher has Contacts, Great Endurance, Expertise: Streetwise 6 (+7), Feature (Iron stomach), Survival as a Motivation and Prejudice (homeless).

Rotekralle has All-out Attack, Close Attack 3, Improved Initiative, Expertise: Survival 6 (+7), Utter Misanthropy as a Motivation and Secret (traitor.)

Schwarzorn has Attractive, Defensive Attack, Expertise: Magic (INT-based) 6 (+7), Investigation 7 (+8), Perception 6 (+9), Sadism as a Motivation and Delusion (I am the chosen of Hecate).
 



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