Silver Insanity

Precious, Valuable Madness
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 Post subject: Kirsten Hadrifax
PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 2:45 pm 
Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2278
Yes, Master; I am ready. I know the seven lesser mysteries by heart; I have found and mastered each of the thirteen greater secrets. My dedication to the cause is without question! Show me the final secrets of the Shadow Rising!


This is it? A copy of Dumont Morris' "Shadow Pacts"? Probably stolen from the Cult of Icy Darkness. Oh, yes, you've re-bound it with your own cover and title page. How clever. I should've known you people were a waste of time. I'll just be on my way, then.
What's this? You're trying to cast Dumont's Frozen Lifeblood? Typical. Look, you should really try something that casts a bit faster, like a shadowflame burst. Here, let me demonstrate. Really, if this old book is your "final secret", there's nothing you've got that I can't counter...

Oh. An actual shadow beast? ...Right then. Running away now.

Kirsten is probably one of the most valuable people to walk the realms of the Core. She's wanted by Oberon's elite shadow hunters for her involvement in a dozen different cults. She's wanted by most of those cults (all the ones that still exist, at least) for waltzing in, stealing their secrets, and then waltzing back out again. Numerous lesser law enforcement groups are after her on charges ranging from grand theft airship to mass murder.

In game terms, if you find a shadow cult, it's a safe bet that Kirsten is in it somewhere; perhaps one of the lowly acolytes standing guard in the main ritual chamber; perhaps the priestess-in-training who's standing behind the cult leader (with a knife ready to stab him and a glib story prepared should any inconvenient "heroes" come knocking); perhaps just a darker patch of shadows hiding in a corner and watching. Conversely, if you find Kirsten, it's a safe bet that there's a shadow cult around somewhere - she has a knack for locating them.

It is also worth noting that Kirsten isn't exactly what you'd call a good person. She doesn't go in for mayhem just for the sake of mayhem, so she's at least one step above someone like Dupree from the Girl Genius comic - but she doesn't have any real moral qualms about, say, killing people to test some shiny new magical ritual, or to "prove" her loyalty to some new cult.

She does, however, have a healthy respect for actual sparks - they do stuff that she doesn't understand, and that's enough to make them qualify as interesting (or dangerous) rather than mere cannon fodder.

 Post subject: Re: Kirsten Hadrifax
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:27 am 
Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2278
Kirsten Hadrifax grew up in the gas-lamped shadows of Balcone, raised (somewhat haphazardly) by her grandfather. Her mother had died in childbirth, and her father had vanished some nine months earlier leaving behind only a name: Hadrifax. Her grandfather, as a retired explorer of some notable skill, was able to afford to send her to a private school, but she was always A Step Apart from the other children; uninterested in their petty friendships and rivalries. At home, she spent most of her time reading - about her grandfather's exploits, as well as other explorers, sparks, frauds, mystics, etc.

Phase one aspects:
A Step Apart: Kirsten always seems a little bit… disconnected… from the world around her. Sometimes, particularly with mystic phenomenon, this gives her perspective that others would lack. On the flip side, it can, particularly in social situations, cause her to lack perspective that others would have.
Bookworm: Specifically focused on ruins and mystic phenomenon, this aspect can be used for declarations: "I've read about something like this…" Or it can be compelled to get her to spend time looking through a private library when she ought to be leaving before security catches up. (For some examples.)

When Kirsten was twelve, her grandfather died quietly in his sleep. For a month and a half, she lost herself in books, reading and re-reading everything in her grandfather's rambling old house, until she came upon an unlabeled tome, buried in the far corners of the attic. Within its aged covers she found descriptions of dark rituals… including one for recalling the spirits of the departed. The search for the needed components drove her into the darkest corners of Balcone, where she made deals with shadow cultists and worse. But, unlike many who have fallen prey to such dealings, Kirsten had read the tales of Faust and Suleman and Alhazred. And so, where others might have accidentally traded away their mind or will or soul, Kirsten offered rituals of power, blood sacrifices, and the like - and lost nothing of her own freedom.
By the time she was fifteen, she was known as The Shadow Witch, a figure of whispered fears and eldritch power. And yet, for all the cantrips and thaumaturgy she had amassed, she was little closer to her goal; the components had all been collected, but the knowledge she had acquired along the way told her that the ritual was flawed. She tried it anyway, and the backlash left an entire city block shattered by the fury of the unseen.

Phase two aspects:
The Shadow Witch: Kirsten's power as a thaumaturge focuses on shadows (note the lower case 's') and darkness. Most of the time this can be dismissed as mere tricks of the light, but when she works with powers, lights dim, and darkness dances around the edge of vision.
Those Who Dwell In Darkness: Kirsten has a knack for finding shadow cults, necromancers, undead, and other things that go bump in the night. Of course, any such entity will have its own agenda, and sometimes, those who dwell in darkness will instead seek out Kirsten...

Having exhausted the knowledge and resources available in Balcone, Kirsten hitched a ride with the next group of traders from the Nexus. She found it easy enough to establish new contacts, and soon had set herself up as an assistant librarian in Castle Barkelos, an ancient mansion on Astaria. Here, in a hidden room, she found new (to her) texts that addressed the secrets of death (and taxes, but those parts were boring.) Seeking further revelations, she took advantage of recent renovations to open a sealed section of the castle's catacombs... and inadvertently released an ancient vampire from its centuries-long slumber.

Phase three aspects:
(( to be determined ))

 Post subject: Re: Kirsten Hadrifax
PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:28 am 
Prismatic Pangolin

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:50 pm
Posts: 2278
5: mysteries
4: resolve, powers
3: stealth, academics, alertness
2: burglary, athletics, endurance, deceit
1: contacting, intimidation, pilot, sleight of hand, survival

artificer : can make mystic artifacts
smooth recovery : one additional moderate social / mental consequence
unflappable : +2 to resolve vs fear
shadowguard : may use her powers skill for defense in combat (when appropriate - for example, you can't use shadowguard to defend against a deceit attempt in social "combat".)
psychic : use mysteries in place of investigation or alertness for supernatural stuff
voices from beyond : use mysteries to call up spirits - typically (sans spin), these are only capable of speaking through Kirsten.
hide in plain sight
master of shadows : can move while hiding (including in plain sight), albeit slowly or with penalties.

Extra stunts, bought at -1 permanent fate point each, leaving her with a total fate point refresh of six.
reckless evocation : can choose to make powers checks at -1, gaining two extra shifts of effect if (and only if) that penalized roll is successful.
death defiance : if "killed" off screen, gets to pay half her fate points (round up) to miraculously survive.
shadow mending : uses mysteries instead of science for medical rolls (first aid, etc.)
rare artifact : like the universal gadget stunt - except that the item comes with with an automatic compel against its mystic origin (Kirsten can buy this compel off as normal if she's got the fate points to spend, though.)

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