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The pursuit of power burns even those used to playing with fire.
Being a Sterno is tough sometimes. Especially if your attachment to your own personal posessions makes you a poor Sterno. Because it means you have to get your kicks from burning other people's stuff... and that begins to get expensive if you get fined one too many times for vandalism and pay your medical bills from one too many beatings.
So what better way to destroy personal posessions than to get a lot of money and burn things en masse? That, at least, was Jake Norton's plan. After much research (and the burning of a few important things... his son's comic book collection, his wife's heirloom jewelry), he came across a ritual that would provide him with the wealth he needed. The ritual would create a hexed wallet that, when empty, would generate an exact copy of the last piece of paper put into it.
Jake prepared the ritual exactly, with a hundred-dollar bill next to him, ready to place inside it once the ritual was done. But the Plutomancer who traded the ritual to Jake had a sick sense of humor. He added two steps to the ritual... one to the begining, one to the end. The total seperation from all living family was required before the ritual began... and the final step was to place a picture of those you most loved inside the wallet with a five-dollar bill and then chanting "This is who I sacrificed for this."
Jake failed his Self check when he realized the only thing the wallet gave him was picture after picture of his ex-wife and son. It was the last straw... he cared so much for what his magic cost him, he lost the mindset that allowed it to work. Now, Jake sits at a lonely corner of a bar, ordering cheap drinks from a bartender who also has an ex-wife, and chain-smoking his way through life. The wallet performs better than expected... after the first time, it started giving him fives along with the pictures. But Jake doesn't care. All the fives do are buy his drinks and he makes his own cigarettes, tobacco weed inside pictures of those he loved, rolled tight and lit with a zippo lighter.
Jake prays with every one he makes that burning the picture of his loved ones will give him just a hint of that power he used to have. It would mean that he really cares about them. But time after time, he feels nothing. This is the cost for those who seek power foolishly. If the haggard middle-aged man in the corner hears you talking about risking it all, he might just try to talk sense into you. And you just might find out he knows what he's talking about.
Personality: Taurus. He's relentless in the pursuit of the things he wants, even going so far as to avoid common sense to do so. Of course, he only wants one thing now, and he can't have his family back.
Obsession: Regaining what he's lost. There's no way to get your family back... but jump at the chance. There's no way you'll get your power back, but keep lighting those pictures. It's not that you care about them... how can you, after what you've done... but deep down inside, maybe you do... and if you get it back, it's proof you still care...
Rage Stimulus: Not much gets Jake going anymore, but the best way to try is to remind him of the price he's paid.
Fear Stimulus: (Self) The idea that he could sacrifice so much scares Jake greatly. Annihilomancy was about burning for others... finding the ability to burn his own things was terrifying.
Noble Stimulus: Stopping others before they sacrifice something they'll miss later.
Body: 35 (beer belly)
General Athletics 15% -- Brawl 20% -- Break and Enter 35%
Speed: 35 (smoker's lungs)
Dodge: 25% -- Drive 15% -- Run Like Hell 30%
Mind: 55 (conniving)
General Education: 15% -- Notice: 20% -- Detect Passion: 50% -- Firestarting 45% -- Research 35%
Soul: 30 (burned-out)
Sob Story (charm): 25% -- Annihilomancy: 0% -- Talk to the Right People: 30%
Violence: 1failed / 1hardened
Unnatural: 1failed / 5hardened
Isolation: 1failed / 1hardened
Helplesness: 2failed / 6hardened
Self: 5failed / 6hardened
Mental Abberations: Addiction (booze, tobacco)
Detect Passion: With five minutes of study (of a person or of their home) and a successful role, Jake can determin one of the person's passions... useful for figuring out what the person cares about. He did quite a bit of damage in his burning days.
Firestarting: Not what they teach in the Boy Scouts. A successful skill roll lets him discern the best way to burn an object or small area (say, a room) for maximum destruction in a short period of time. See the above note about causing quite a bit of damage in the past.
Talk to the Right People: Treat it as a Streetwise or Contacts style of skill. Make the roll, you can find the guy you need to talk to.
InfinityWpi | profile | Nov 13, 02 | 10:44 pm
For Detect Passion, I'd raise the time it takes to determine a person's Passion to 30 minutes or so. Five minutes seems really short to me.
I like this guy, who can act as a warning to the PCs about what they're getting into. It shouldn't be hard to work him into various plots, either.
Nick Wedig | profile | Nov 20, 02 | 2:17 pm
Maybe the Plutomancer didn't have a sick sense of humor... maybe there's just a laughing Sterno somewhere enjoying the fruits of the major charge he reaped from completely destroying Jake Norton.
...Until he gets told who that man is, of course.
Mr Unlucky | profile | Jul 17, 03 | 5:18 am