"Justice is the constant and perpetual will to allot to every man his due.." - Domitus Ulpian (100 AD - 228 AD)
Issa was born as Harold Eadric Tourblanc to parents, Joseph & Eliza on December 6, 1983 under the vigil of his grandmother, known to outsiders only as Auctorita. Born into a Silver Ladder sponsored Proximus family (that had secretly been subverted to Seer loyalty by Auctorita) that lived in a commune cleverly disguised as a subdivision, he was homeschooled by family teachers, where he was taught general academics, occult studies & Seer dogma & theology. His mother, being an outsider that did not agree with the Seer theology, secretly urged her son against the teachings and prompted him to flee the commune when he turned 18. He moved to New York, became Peter Black, and attended college where he met his friend Rai, who he would marry to get her nationalized & his lover Jelani. He later dropped out of school & followed Jelani to Africa where he became involved in anti-poacher eco-terrorism. Then he underwent his Awakening, found his familiar Kesho & became Issa. He was lured back to LA by a family plot to capture him & discovered that his mother had died a year earlier, most likely murdered by his father. He escaped the family & revealed them all to the Guardians of the Veil as Seer agents led by his Seer grandmother. Some were captured, most escaped, including his grandmother. Now he hunts them as they also hunt him. He discovered in his hunt that his grandmother had adopted an alias surname of Fox, so he became Peter Hound. Issa joined the Guardians of the Veil and has spent two years hunting Seers and the Tourblanc. Most recently he has spent time in Portland where his search for Auctorita had led him before going cold.
- Attributes: Intelligence 2, Wits 3, Resolve 3; Strength 3, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3; Presence 2, Manipulation 2, Composure 2
- Abilities: Academics 2, Crafts 2, Investigation 1, Occult 2 (alchemy), Athletics 1, Brawl 4 (boxing), Stealth 2, Survival 4, Animal Ken 1 (canines), Expression 2, Intimidation 1, Subterfuge 1
- Merits: Giant 3, Familiar 4, Occultation 3, Fighting Style: Boxing 3, High Speech 1, Rank: Guardians 1 (discount: occultation), Umthakathi 5, Laboratory 2, Ritual Improv 1
- Flaws: Ward (Tanya, Ophelia, Mitchell, Dany, Jelani, Rai, Kesho), Revealed True Name, Hunted
- Advantages: Health 9, Willpower 5, Wisdom 5, Size 6, Speed 10, Defense 2 (Armor -), Initiative 4
- Magic: Gnosis 5; Space 4, Matter 2, Mind 3, Life 1
- Body Blow (•): If Brawl successes exceed target Size, target loses next turn.
- Duck and Weave (••): Use highest of Dexterity or Wits to determine Defense against Brawl.
- Combination Blows (•••): Make two Brawl attacks vs. one target; 2nd attack at -1. Lose Defense.
- Hiding the Hidden World: "Counterspell (Space)", Space •, Wits+Stealth+Space; Nil
- Vision Salve: "Spatial Awareness", Space •, Wits + Crafts + Space; Applying vision ointment to target +[rating of Laboratory Merit, max. 3] (Ointment is crafted at a Lab purchased with this Merit; Resources 1 expenditure, creating one dose per success on a Wits + Crafts + Lab roll); Tradition Rote: Ointment must be used to be considered a Tradition Rote.
- The World Provides: "Apportation", Space ••, Wits + Survival + Space; In the wilderness +1, Item to be apported is made of some material found in environment +1; Tradition Rote: Must be performed while in wilderness to be considered Tradition Rote
- Heartbeat of the World: "Multispatial Perception", Space •••, Resolve + Expression + Space; While drumming +1, while drumming for at least one minute +2; Tradition Rote: Must be performed while drumming to be considered a Tradition Rote.
Umthakathi Higher Mysteries
- Thaka Muthi (•••): From the Zulu words meaning "making medicine," the tagati may craft Gross Materials using the Matter Arcanum at one dot lower than the normal requirements for such materials, both in the Matter Arcanum and in conjunctional Arcana. Additionally, tagati may spend Arcane Experience to purchase the Laboratory Merit (though no more than half the cost of the Merit may come from Arcane Experience). Only those with this Merit may craft Gross Materia from such a Laboratory, however.
- Evil-Eater (••••): If a tagati has a Familiar, that spirit-creature can assist him in working dangerous magics. While his familiar is in physical contact, the mage with this Mystery may have the spirit spend a point of its Essence to reduce his Paradox dice pools. Additionally, when the tagati chooses to absorb Paradox successes as damage rather than allowing a manifestation, he may split the damage between himself and his familiar (with his familiar receiving the first point of damage).
- Familiar Harbinger (•••••): The animal-spirits of the tagati arrive in a place to see his magics done from afar. The serpent brings death, the hare fertility, the heron good fortune, the rat disease. If an animal of the appropriate theme is in the sensory area of a target of sympathetic magic, the tagati is considered to have an Intimate sympathetic link with that target. Additionally, this alleviates the Mana cost of casting sympathetic magic. The tagati can, of course, arrange to put the animal there himself.
- Seal of Galileo: "Ward", Space ••, Intelligence+Subterfuge+Space; Marking walls of warded area with Greek polyglyphs used in Galileo's shorthand (10 minutes per Area Factor) +2
- Castigation: "Repel", Space •••, Presence+Intimidation+Space
- Legacy: Reality Stalker; 1st — Gazing Through the Cracks, 2nd — Cracking Open the Flaws, 3rd — X
- Gazing Through the Cracks
The Sneak can perceive distortions in reality in a manner identical to the spell “Spatial Awareness” (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 233) and also learns to peer through the secret spaces of the Fallen World that are hidden even from Mage Sight. As a result, members of this Legacy can also observe distant locations as if they were using the “Scrying” spell (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 235). However, the Sneak must scry through known flaws and cracks in reality and so must have seen the location he wishes to scry at least once before. As long as the mage has seen the location in person or in a high-quality photograph or video image of the location, he can scry there. To peer through the cracks in the world and observe the desired location (i.e., to open a scrying window), the mage’s player makes a Wits + Stealth + Space roll as an instant action, modified by sympathetic connections, as normal. After he has established the window, a reflexive action is required to view through it. If the mage also possesses Mind 2, he can affect the flaws and discontinuities in minds of others just as effectively as he can manipulate cracks in reality. The mage can cause others to view him as being an unexceptional person unworthy of notice, in a manner similar to the “Incognito Presence” spell (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 208). Becoming inconspicuous requires the mage make a Manipulation + Subterfuge + Mind roll.
- Cracking Open the Flaws
The mage can now briefly pry open one of these cracks in the world, creating an opening similar to the “Portal” spell (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 238). The mage can either walk through this portal, or she can use it in a manner similar to the “Apportation” spell (see Mage: The Awakening, p. 234), and reach through the remove or replace an object in the distant location. When this Attainment is used in the second fashion, the character can move anything up to Size 5 either way through the portal. To briefly pry open the cracks in the world and move herself or an object to or from this location, the mage’s player rolls Dexterity + Investigation + Space as an instant action, modified by sympathy. This portal is invisible to anyone who cannot perceive magic and remains open for only one turn.
- Nimbus: X
- Possessions: messenger bag, iPhone, laptop, 8-ball & cue-ball, pack of Sharpie pens, "sympathy bag", Eos' journal, sunglasses, lighter, cigarettes, water bottle, large hip flask, djembe+3, duster+3, mojo-bag, magical tools & general common personal items (purse, wallet, keys, etc).
- Magical Items: Regina Security Glasses (Eyes of the Building & Alarm (perpetula/hotel & grounds)), Sanctuary Ring (teleport to hotel infirmary upon unconsciousness & spell shield; 12 mana), Anklet of OMGWIN (8-agains; roll personal gnosis+3 dice), Accelerations; 12 mana)
- Magical Tools: iron & leather wand (Path); personal diary (Mind), tattoo (Life), metal ruler (Space), necklace w/ isotope cylinder (Matter)
- Weapons: brass knuckles (+3 & 9-agains (9 times each) enchantment from Sera - recharged weekly)
- Sympathy Bag: Kesho hair, Rai hair, Jelani hair, Valentina hair, African cairn stone, Abbey stone, Tourblanc cul-de-sac (LA) stone, Chicago Tribune payphone receiver, secret tomb marble chip, New Orleans brick chip, Callaway Gardens in GA sidewalk chip,
- Fox-Tokens: Malachite, Rasayana, Serafina, Autumn, Ophelia, Mitchell, Tanya, Dany, Jelani, Rai, Valentina, Casey, Esmer,
- Horse-Tokens: African cairn, old cabal sanctuary, New York pizza restaurant cellar, Hotel Regina, Ophelia's home, LoneStar in SanFran, gym restroom, Casey & Esmer's home,
- Residence: Issa lives in a small suite on the second floor of the Hotel Regina
- Other Notes: X
These questions must be answered as part of character creation.
- Describe your character’s physical appearance. Issa is a very large man, standing at 7’ 4” and weighing around 450 pounds. He wears custom tailored shorts & pants, but is also very fond of kilts, sarongs & skirts as well as simple nudity. If he is wearing a top at all, it’s generally a brightly colored tee shirt, polo or wife-beater. He wears an assortment of trinkets & tribal jewelry around his neck as well as a heavy chain & cylinder casing and has a serpent tattoo along the entire left side of his body from toe to thumb. He has brown hair & brown eyes. He generally has a beard or goatee & keeps his hair short & easy to maintain. He is always carrying a messenger bag, plus a smaller "mojo bag" and djembe on his hip & sometimes a duffel bag as well. Even though he should be a very memorable character, people tend to have a difficult time remembering much about him once he’s gone, if they remember him at all, much less the large…dog (??) that is almost always with him.
- Describe what it looks like when your character’s Nimbus manifests to those with Mage Sight. What does it look like when it bleeds over into mortal perceptions? (The Nimbus can be quite impressive to Mage Sight, but is always subtle to mortal perceptions.) Reality seems to take on a two-dimensional quality closest to Issa when his nimbus manifests. As if he is standing amongst flat props on a stage while he remains fully three-dimensional. This visual sensation is usually accompanied by a static-like white noise & strong odor similar to hot fudge. To mortals this tends to come across only as a contrast between Issa & his surroundings so subtle as not to be noticed, but naturally causing the eye to be drawn toward him, a slight white noise in their ears and the smell of hot fudge on the air.
- Describe your character’s preferred Magical Tool, either a Path Tool or an Order Tool. If your character uses any Arcana Tools, describe those as well. Is there a background or back story to this item? Issa’s path tool is a long, twisted spiral of blackened iron with leather cord wrapped around the base as a grip. Issa crafted this wand himself through remedial forge work and use of his matter arcanum to perfect the shape to his liking. Issa’s life arcanum tool consists of a complex series of runic tattoos that cover the entire left side of his body and flow in a serpentine manner from the tip of his big toe up his leg & torso to his shoulder & then down to the tip of his thumb. Issa wears a heavy steel link chain around his neck that holds a steel cylinder. Within the cylinder is a uranium-shielded core of plutonium-239 isotope (this is his matter focus tool). Like his grandmother, he uses an old leather journal cover that he purchased at a Renaissance Festival that can hold composition books as his mind tool (though unlike his grandmother he does not horde these & once a journal is full he burns it a page at a time while drinking heavily). Issa’s space arcane tool is a simple metal ruler that he purchased at a Staples store & dedicated in their bathroom.
- When your character’s Unseen Senses trigger, what kind of sensation does your character experience? (This tends to be individual from mage to mage; some examples include a slight headache, a raising of the hairs on the back of the neck, goosebumps, a sudden change in temperature sensation, etc.) An itchy sensation on the back of his eyeballs that causes him to squint & blink frequently & the smell of hot fudge. This smell also manifests whenever he manifests his nimbus. He’s never understood the relevance of this odor, but has come to associate it with magic.
- Describe how your character most often interacts with her Virtue. Protect the innocent, the weak & the good from those who would do them ill. If some rules need to be broken in order to achieve this, then so be it.
- Describe how your character most often interacts with his Vice. Punish the wicked. Hunt them down & take them. Some need only be taught a lesson, some given permanent reminders & some must be stopped.
- Describe your character’s Mentor, from her perspective. This is the person (not necessarily of the same Path) who brought you into the Order, and taught you the Order’s magical Praxis. His mentor was hard & strict. He constantly drove Issa to improving himself & his abilities. As a person, he was good natured & kind. As a teacher, he was humorless & harsh. Issa, though frequently frustrated, greatly respected his mentor. His mentor was dedicated to helping others achieve their true potential, as well as focused in his specialty of hunting down Seers and their agents, experience he happily shared with Issa.
- Choose the Mage Sight your character uses most often. Describe to me how your character interprets the occult information granted by that spell; for instance, some mages perceive various Mage Sights as strains of music, strange smells, memory flashbacks from their own lives relevant to the information gained, physical sensations or other similar sensory input. Each form of Mage Sight usually has its own set of sensory symbols, often in line with aspects of the character’s personality, occult praxis or background. Issa primarily uses Spatial Awareness as his mage sight of choice. He was always confused, and a little embarrassed to explain it to his mentor, how he perceived things with his mage sight. Issa smells auras and spatial magic more than he actively sees it. There is a vast plethora of scents & odor cues he has come to understand as clearly as a menu of information hovering over the head of someone he is studying. Active use of spatial magic comes across immediately and strongly smells of cinnamon & nutmeg. Real smells and aura smells used to confuse him, but with his mentors help he had learned to be able to differentiate the two.
- Choose a song that you think might serve as your character's "theme song."
- Does your character have any family? Issa’s biological family is the Tourblanc’s, an ancient Silver Ladder sponsored Proxiumus family that has been largely inbreeding for centuries. In recent decades they had been located in a communal community located in south LA suburbia and led by an awakened mage commonly known only as Auctorita. Issa’s father was married to an outside sleepwalker as was custom every so often to keep the bloodline from stagnating. Issa’s father was very much part of The Family, but his mother never accepted their ways and was blamed for putting foolish ideas into the boys head. He was an only child due to complications during his birth leading to his mother having to receive an emergency hysterectomy. Issa lived and was home schooled within the commune community (tastefully disguised as a lovely subdivision). The fact that their leader Auctorita was a Seer of the Throne was evident in the teachings, but the family was dedicated to her and their Exarch gods. Following his mothers urging, he fled the commune when he was 18 and attended college in New York, majoring in environmental studies. Within a year, he married his closest friend Rai in order to get her citizenship status, then dropped out of school & chased his lover Jelani to Africa where he lived for a few years as a poacher hunting eco-vigilante. It was while he was in Africa that he Awoke and gained his familiar Kesho. Soon after his Awakening a letter somehow found him from his father stating that his mother was very ill & wished to see him. He opened a portal to the LA commune to see her and was caught in an ambush led by his grandmother who somehow knew he had Awoken. He escaped, but not before discovering that his mother had died when their house had mysteriously caught fire a year earlier. His father was amongst those who had tried to capture him & had strongly suggested that the fire was not so much an accident as a punishment. Issa was enraged. He had avoided the mage orders since his Awakening for fear of being drawn back into the world his mother had urged him to escape, but it was clear that was no longer an option to him. He went to the Guardians and turned his grandmother & entire family in as Seer and Seer agents & allies. Some of the family was caught, but most of them, including his grandmother escaped. The Tourblanc are not his family. Only his mother was ever family to him. His only family now is Rai, Jelani and Kesho.
- Your character has, at some point in his life, had something to do with the Hotel Regina. It has been out of business since the 1940s, so you won’t have visited it while it was in business. Your character doesn’t even have to had any kind of major interaction at the location — you simply have to have a moment in your character’s history where the Hotel Regina played some role, even if it was just as a backdrop. Perhaps an uncle was a photographer that loved buildings from the Thirties, or your mother had a framed print of the building in the living room over the hearth. Tell me what the Hotel means to your character. His mother would have dreams of the Hotel Regina, though she did not know it’s name then. She drew pictures of it, even built a model of it with popsicle sticks & colored paper. It was a common specter in her dreams, though she always said that it felt good. He remembered his grandmother visiting once & taking an interest in the model & the drawings. His mother had seen something in the old woman’s gaze. The next day, she disposed of the pictures & model and she no longer spoke of the dreams. Issa never knew about the existence of the hotel until the day he stormed into it with his Guardian brothers in an attempt to capture his grandmother. He nearly fell over himself when he first saw it. It was his mother’s special dream place made real. And that bitch of a hag was desecrating it with her presence within.
The following questions can be answered as part of further development for the character once play begins. No more than two questions may be answered in between game sessions, and for every two questions answered the PC gains +1 point of Development Experience.
- Where did your character grow up? Briefly describe his childhood and adolescence. Issa’s childhood was one of strict rules and discipline from the family hierarchy. Only his mother was a source of light & joy, whispering secrets to him, slipping him banned literature to read in his bed & stressing the importance of free will. He was home schooled by Tourblanc teachers who instructed him and other children in general academia as well as occult studies and Seer dogma & theology. When his homosexuality was discovered, his secret lover having ousted him from the closet, he was punished & forced to undergo years of corrective therapy from a Tourblanc psychiatrist (which of course failed to do more than make him better at hiding the truth). When Issa turned 18 he secretly received his GED per his mothers urgings and fled the Tourblanc commune in the night, heading to New York where he’d been accepted into college.
- What part(s) of the character's childhood most influenced the person he/she is today? Describe an important lesson your character learned as a child. His mother was his greatest influence as a child. She taught him the importance of free will & the power over the world he could have by simply taking an active role vs. a passive role as too many people did. That he was his own authority and that no one else could every rule him unless he allowed them to.
- When the character was a child, what did he/she want to be when grown up? He wanted to be a pastry chef. His mother had taught him to cook & he grew up to be a pretty fair cook, but nothing spectacular. He delights in sweets, baked goods & pastries, whether of his own creation or purchased from a bakery. Sugary goodness always take him to a simple & more peaceful place in his mind.
- What was your character's first, or most memorable, love affair? It can be anything from a pre-teen crush to a memorable love affair. Be sure to describe the object of your character's affection, along with the changes that your character went through in terms of feelings and thoughts about that person. Did it start out as maddening hatred? Instant love? Who fell for whom first? Was love a surprise? Assuming it has, how did it all end? How do all involved (your character, your lover, rivals, observers, etc.) feel about it now? His first crush was another Tourblanc boy, his cousin Theo. They had become secret lovers until one day Theo had been moved to another section of the commune and Issa was condemned for his sins & forced to attend years of corrective therapy. He eventually learned that Theo had admitted to his parents of their sexual relationship. Save for a few flings in college, he did not have another relationship until he met Jelani, became lovers & followed him to Africa. Jelani was present for the start of Issa’s Awakening, though he did not understand all that had happened. He knows there is something strange about his friend & lover that cannot be explained. He knows that Issa vanishes for long periods of time and will sometimes reappear mysteriously to join him in his bed at night. Issa never explains. Jelani never asks. They make love, hold each other until the sun rises & then Issa leaves.
- Assume your character is seeking companionship, and has the opportunity to write a detailed personal ad for an internet dating service (and was willing to do so, without fear of security risks or anything like that). Write the ad. Where would be the character's idea of a good place to take a date? "Giant gay bear. Billiards & video game nerd. Enjoys watching and/or participating in boxing & wrestling. Loves animals. Loves to cook. Loves camping & the outdoors. Travels a lot, so not looking for anything long term, just good companionship.
- What is your character’s most precious pre-Awakening memory? His college friends putting together an absurd & colorful wedding ceremony for him and Rai, with his lover Jelani as both his best man & Rai’s maid of honor in a tuxedo-dress amalgamation. This was the short & perfect in-between time for him. After he had escaped his childhood, and before he had become lost in righteous blood & vengeance. And before he had Awoken and become Issa. He keeps a photo of this day in a bank vault with one of his mother. He has digital scans of the picture on his phone & laptop.
- What is your character’s most traumatic or grief-inducing pre-Awakening memory? Riding away from the Tourblanc commune toward freedom and looking back one last time & catching sight of his mother standing in the dimly lit doorway of their house watching her beloved child leave forever.
Personality & Habits
- Name five things your character likes to do that have absolutely nothing to do with being a mage. Issa likes RTS & FPS games. He enjoys bars, beer & likes to play pool & darts, but isn’t particularly amazing at either. He likes wrestling & boxing & loves a good sparring session, whether with an equal, as a student or as a teacher. He loves caring for animals & delights in finding them good homes or restoring them to their natural habitat. He takes a dark delight in hunting down humans who mistreat the weak (including animals & humans), capturing them & punishing them, though he is working to keep this in check more since his Awakening, focusing & channeling that energy into cautionary measures & protection. He also loves cooking & cooking shows, especially baking & pastries.
- Is the character sentimental about anything? If so,what? If not, why not? Issa is sentimental about very few physical objects & tends to keep few possessions save for useful mundane & magical tools. He does have two framed photographs stored in a safety deposit box in a NY bank, one of his mother & one of his wedding day. He also has a digital copy of these on his phone & laptop, but the originals he keeps safe.
- What's your idea of getting "dressed up?" A kick ass suit with a lively colored shirt, preferably pink.
- Does the character have any catch phrases, nervous tics, or personal habits that would identify him/her? He fidgets with the chain around his neck when unnerved. He sleeps with a hyena. When bored or idle he rolls around a pair of pool balls (an 8 ball & a cue ball) in his hand like Chinese meditation balls. Eating sweets, guzzling coffee & smoking.
- Does your character believe in true love? Elaborate. Aye definitely, but it’s never as simple as Disney would have you believe. It’s real; it’s fiery & passionate & chaotic & exciting. It’s also terribly complicated & terrifying & full of doubt & pain. But it’s worth it. And it can happen with more than one person & transcends sexuality. True love does not fit in a neat little box.
- Describe three public places that your character enjoys spending time at. Bars (pool table and/or darts a must). Volunteering at animal shelters or visiting dog parks to play frisby with Kesho. Sitting naked on a couch with a game controller in his hand. Oh, public places. At the gym arena for a bout of sparring. He also enjoys pagan festivals & events where he can waltz around shirtless in a skirt & participate in drum circles to the wee hours.
- Describe your personal bedroom space. What might someone poking about find, both in terms of actual things and in terms of what the space says about you? His room tends to be somewhat Spartan. A couch before the television & game systems. A refrigerator stocked with food, soda & liquor. A bed on the floor without a frame (they just break eventually). A keurig coffee maker next to the bed. Some duffel bags at the foot of the bed with clothes & other possessions within them. A big ass water & food bowl for Kesho. That generally suffices quite nicely for him. If he has a kitchen available to him, he will generally stock it with all sorts of cooking & baking supplies for making sweets & meals. He is always happy to cook for others.
- What moves your characters to anger or violence? Witnessing abuse of an animal or person he deems as weak or innocent. Anything to do with his biological family.
- What moves your character to tears? Not much. Really sad mother-centric movies perhaps.
- What makes your character very happy? Camaraderie with others. Rai, Jelani & Kesho. Pastries. Happy, healthy animals. Well behaved children. A good game of pool or darts or a challenging sparring match. An uncomplicated hookup.
- What makes your character depressed or hopeless? When events occur that make him feel powerless or ineffective to improve things. Aimlessness or lacking in a course of action.
- What sorts of situations make the character feel awkward or ill-at-ease? Mean or rude children. If they were adults he could kick their ass. He’s not quite sure how best to teach children. You’re not supposed to hit or shake them.
- What's the best way to persuade the character to do something? Sugary baked goods, play the helpless damsel in distress card or sometimes simply dare him.
- Choose five adjectives to describe the character. Big. Impulsive. Hungry. Passionate. A bit paranoid.
- Give me some reasons why someone might reasonably dislike your character on first impression. Why might someone come to hate them in the long term? Upon first impression he often comes across as a tactless & dismissive thug. Over time it becomes pretty clear that he is simply honestly blunt, quick to cast judgment & stubborn in what he thinks is right, though often doesn’t think things through entirely. He can become very focused & obsessive on certain matters & neglect other things around him. He prefers to take action rather than sit around planning for long periods of time. He likes simple & direct means of resolution over complicated schemes. He ranks animals above human beings.
- How would your character react if he or she was publicly humiliated by a total stranger? What if it was a private humiliation? What if it was a friend and not a stranger? A) Punch the stranger. B) Punch the stranger then drop kick him through a portal to New Mexico. C) Punch his friend, then carry him to the ER.
- If your character could have one object for himself or herself (and not to turn around and sell), regardless of price, what would it be? A complete illustrated family tree with all the names crossed out in red sharpie.
- What kind of music does your character like? Does he or she like different kinds of music in different circumstances? In the past he primarily listened to metal, industrial & goth. These days he tends to listen to a lot of tribal drum music. It keeps his mood swings better regulated.
- What is the character's favorite food? Sushi.
- What's your character's favorite color? Any particular reason? Pink. Real men wear pink. It’s bright & just has a good energy to it.
- What is your character's routine when he or she is not tending to Awakened business/crises? Wake up early & take care of his business. Perform daily ritual of cleaning up all potentially sympathetic materials from his area & severing links to his possessions. Perform daily web & scrying investigations on escaped family members, making calls as necessary. Get breakfast & exercise with Kesho. Go to the gym & spar, go do volunteer work at the animal shelter or attend to any potential leads his investigations may have turned up. Go home, make lunch, play video games. Take Kesho out for a walk. Then either hunt down & punish the wicked (including family leads) when necessary or else go to the bar & play pool and/or darts, then take someone home to sleep with & kick them out before going to bed or the next morning if he likes them.
- Assuming they could speak, what would each of your character's parents (separately) say about him/her? His father would preach about what a disappointment & failure he was & blame it all on his mother & her meddling. His mother would be immensely proud of him (well, so long as she didn’t know about the entire tromping around Africa murdering people part) & support his choice to adopt the role of protector.
- Who are you important to? Why? Issa is important to his friends Rai & Jelani, who he keeps distant in order to keep them safe & his familiar, Kesho. He is also important to his grandmother & family in a negative way, because they want his hide removed from his body for his betrayal.
- Assume your character is plagued with a recurring nightmare that awakens him or her in a cold sweat every time. Describe the dream. (This will not necessarily be the case, though many people do have frightening, recurring dreams.) His mother standing in the doorway of the house, just as he remembered her, watching him leave. But the house is on fire. His grandmother & father are there laughing. His mother does not flee. She simply watches after him, smiling as the flames creep toward her & then being to burn her. She is consumed & turns to ash. His grandmother & father with a horde of family members chase after him and he runs, but he keeps slipping in pools of blood, the blood of his own victims slowing him down. He slips & falls & falls again, sinking into the slick blood like trying to flee through a bog, knowing they are gaining on him, hearing his grandmother’s terrible cackle encircling him like a cage.
- What aspect of him/herself is the character most uncomfortable with? What aspect of him/herself is the character most satisfied with? He may justify it, but he knows he has a dark appetite for vengeance & that what he has done in the past and what he will do again in the future, is wrong. He can justify it, it may be for the greater good, but in the end, his hands are those of a murderer. He is satisfied with his new clarity & chosen role as a protector. He believes that he possesses a great skill set to do good and help others.
- Is the character an introvert or an extrovert? How does the character behave in group settings? How does the character behave around someone in whom he/she is interested romantically? He is an extrovert. In group settings he tries to keep the ball rolling & attempts to keep spirits high or from becoming too steeped in their own seriousness as that is when avenues of dark though are most likely to present themselves as he knows from experience. He wants to be helpful & actively working towards something, though he often fixates on one goal & doesn’t listen to new information. He tends to be pretty direct towards those he has romantic and/or sexual interest in. Openly informing & explaining what he would like to do with them. If they’re interested, awesome. If not, then he accepts their disinterest & moves on.
Awakening & Beyond
- Describe your character’s Awakening. The cliff notes version is that Issa had been becoming more & more distant, obsessed with hunting down & punishing poachers. At first he had called it justice. But it had become a vengeful bloodlust that he had begun to revel in. His lover Jelani was trying to reach him when it happened. He was suddenly & violently pulled into Pandemonium and greeted by his own demon vice manifested. It reveled in his deeds & rejoiced in showing him around the hellish realm that was to be his home for all eternity. He fled a cackling, twisted vision of his grandmother and mad twisted caricatures of his family with Cheshire cat grins & magpie claws reaching out after him, chased down illusions of his mother in flames, and was finally led to the Watchtower by a friendly hyena-thing that was not an animal at all in the corners of his vision. Once there he did what seemed unavoidable & clawed his name in his own blood right under that of his damnable grandmother. He awoke three days later lying amongst a cairn of stones near the village where he lived. His familiar spirit, Kesho, was there in the guise of a hyena. He returned to the village. He never knew what Jelani had seen. But something had changed & he was strange now to his lover. Jelani never spoke of it & Issa never asked. But it was Jelani that gave him his shadowname. When he first appeared in the door of their home after his Awakening, Jelani looked up to him and said the word & has only called him by that since. Issa knows that he must do what he can to escape hell within his lifetime if he still can.
- How has the Awakening changed your character, other than the obvious kewl powerz? Issa’s Awakening drew him out of a downward spiral into becoming a monster. He had become obsessed with a lust for vengeance, the hunt, capture & punishment of those he deemed wicked. It was consuming him. His Awakening was a wake up call & allowed him to see himself clearly. There was a balance he was meant to maintain. On one side was punishment and on the other was protection. He had forsaken one side for only the other. Now he had been given new tools that he could use to protect others, not only seek out vengeance for those who had wronged them. He could prevent the wrong from ever having happened. And so he became Issa. He would create sanctuary & he would protect. Sometimes he may have to punish still, but it would not be what he was anymore.
- Why did your character choose the Shadow Name s/he did? Issa is an African male name & means protection & salvation. Issa emerged from his Awakening to find he had also awoken from a dark & bloody abyss he’d fallen into, having become obsessed with his role as a punisher over that of a protector. While both sides are part of a balance within him, he chooses now to try & focus more on preventative protection so that there will be less of a need for vengeful punishments to be handed out.
- Name and describe three non-supernatural individuals that your character interacts with on a regular basis (such as a neighbor, best friend, co-worker, and the like). If you have any Contacts or Allies, these can be part of those Merits. Issa’s fag-hag & wife, Rai. Rai is a Japanese born art graduate who he agreed to marry so that she could get US citizenship (her mother is American, her father Japanese). She is now owner of a chain of ramen bars in New England. Rai & Issa (who she knows better as Pete) communicate by phone, text & e-mail frequently. He only visits her occasionally so as not to raise suspicion to his means of travel as she is terribly nosy. Then there is his friend & college lover, Jelani; an African born man who majored in biology. After graduation he returned to Africa and Issa followed him. They remain close friends, though they speak little now. Jelani watched what Issa had become when he started hunting poachers in Africa. Then he watched Issa as the Awakening took hold of him. It frightened him & he does not understand, but he knows his friend had changed yet again and become far stranger than he could understand. Issa will appear mysteriously at his door sometimes. They will make love & hold each other until the morning and then Issa will leave again, going to his strange & unknowable life. Save for his familiar, Kesho, Issa doesn’t really have any other non-mage people in his life anymore. He hasn’t roots anywhere to get to know people & he’s afraid if he tries, they will be burned out from under him when his family find him inattentive. He has to capture or kill them all before they get to him first. Then maybe he can have a life one day.
Kesho is not really a hyena, although if you happen to actually make a point to notice & look at him, he certainly looks like one. But for a brief second when you had first become aware of him at the edge of your vision, you were pretty sure it was anything but some natural creature from this world. Your heart shuddered at the maddening terror sitting so near to you, but then you turn your head quickly...and it's...a hyena. A really big ass hyena that you had somehow not noticed until a moment ago, although you're pretty sure it's been sitting there only a few feet away watching you intently for some time now. Why is he staring so intently? Is he laughing? Of course he is. He's a hyena...isn't he? Did you leave the oven on? Hm. No....perhaps? Why does everyone hate you? Wait? What? I don't think that! Maybe I should check on that oven after all... Perhaps I should toss myself off a building while I'm checking. Why is the giant hyena thing still staring & laughing at me?!?!?
- Attributes: Power 3, Finesse 2, Resistance 3
- Advantages: Willpower 6, Essence 10, Initiative 5, Defense 3, Speed 12, Size 5, Corpus 8
- Influence: Madness 2
- Numina: Innocuous (pp. 321-322), Claim (hyenas only)
- Attributes: Intelligence 3, Wits 4, Resolve 4; Strength 5, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5; Presence 4, Manipulation 2, Composure 4
- Abilities: Athletics (running) 4, Brawl 3, Intimidate 3, Stealth 2, Survival (tracking) 4
- Advantages: Health 10, Willpower 6, Size 5, Speed 16 (species factor 7), Defense 5, Initiative 8
Traits: Each of the spirit’s dots in Power, Finesse and Resistance are distributed among the appropriate traits in the host body, potentially boosting them above normal human maximums. The dots transfer at the rate of one dot per week since the claiming. The Claimed’s Speed and Defense are equal to those of the old body, with appropriate modifications for the trait increases. The Claimed retains all Abilities, Influences and Merits from its host and rider.
Essence: The spirit’s Essence can be used to reinforce the host body by healing wounds at the rate of one point of Essence to heal one point of lethal damage or two points of bashing damage. The healing takes one turn to complete in either case. The spirit can take other actions while healing.
Stepping Sideways: As creatures of both worlds, the Claimed can step sideways in the area of influence of a locus with an Intelligence + Presence roll.
Influence: Influence can be used across the Gauntlet, if the spirit is in the area of effect of a locus of compatible resonance. Otherwise, the spirit must use the Reaching Numen to influence the physical world while it remains in the Shadow. Each use of an Influence requires a Power + Finesse roll and the expenditure of one (or more) Essence. When a spirit attempts to use an Influence to affect the emotions or thoughts of a sentient being (mortal, werewolf, vampire or the like), the roll is contested. Mortals roll Resolve or Composure, whichever is higher, to resist. Supernatural beings, which are harder to affect with simple Influences, may resist with Resolve or Composure + the appropriate trait (Primal Urge for werewolves, Blood Potency for vampires, and so on).
• Strengthen The spirit can enhance its sphere of influence: make an emotion stronger, an animal or plant healthier or an object more robust (gaining an extra point of Health or Structure per Rank of the spirit, for example). These changes last for one minute per success. The cost is one Essence.
•• Manipulate The spirit can make minor changes within its sphere of influence: slightly change the nature or target of an emotion, or make minor changes to an animal’s actions, a plant’s growth or an object’s functioning. These changes last for up to 10 minutes per success. The cost is two Essence.
Spent: 178+56a; Unspent: 23+20a