Tuesday, January 2, 2024

New Salem Character #2: "Magic" Eight Ball

'Magic' Eight Ball (aka Margarette Magritte)

Pyramid Tier: 1    Experience level: 2

Affect/Gimmick: 1950's Mobster's Moll. The visual is entirely Judy Garland singing "Get Happy" in Summer Stock, but the rest of the gimmick is a cannier than you think moll with penchant for magical artifacts.

Gang?: Yes, the Lucky Breaks. Men and women both, but they are all in matching ivory/cream suits with different solid color shirts under the jacket; you won't see the pool ball effect until all 7 of them are together. 

Status: Eight Ball is a blackmailer and thief (that is to say she steals things she can use as blackmail evidence) who works for the syndicate as a numbers runner; she's small fry in the big scheme of things but given her powers she might post a threat to PC security. 

Powers: 3, with weakness

  1. Cosmic Awareness: See game mechanics notes below, but Eight-Ball can ask yes or no questions of the universe (if she were a PC, she would be asking the GM), with a % chance of success and then a % chance of getting a clear answer. She won't get a wrong answer but it will be 'answer unclear' and not 'no' or 'signs point to yes' (yes, her answers mimic the responses on the magic eight-ball toy).
  2. Special Requirement: She can only use her cosmic awareness if she has a shiny spherical object to stare into while using the power.  
  3. Heightened Senses: This has three functions. First, she has natural ability to sense magical items, and her 'inventions' between encounters will be recently stolen small use artifacts. Second, any saves for her to detect things are one level easier (d20 vs. I rather than d% vs. I*3, or D% vs I*3 rather than d% vs I) due to mild precognition. Finally, She can spend 1 point of power to get +1 accuracy on an attack, or 3 points per +1 to direct one of the Lucky Breaks attacks. 
  4. Heightened Charisma A: +13; bonus power, use her C rather than her I when using Cosmic Awareness. 
Weight: 120             Basic Hits: 3    Agi Mod: +2
S: 10        E: 15        HP: 11            
A: 17        I: 13          Pow: 55          
C: 26                        Move: 42"        
Accuracy: +2, or higher (see Heightened Senses)
Damage Mod: +1
Reactions Mod: +5
Carrying Cap: 149    HTH: 1d4

Background/Origin: Margarette Magritte lives inside the world of crime for the excitement and sexual charge of it. Moving from wherever-she-came-from, middle-of-nowhere EH 00000 to New Salem to get somewhere exciting, she became the moll for Johnny Dastardly (One of the Stagedoor Johnnies) as he ran his small gang. Bored one day and staring into a pool ball, she started asking questions... and getting answers from the universe. She's not sure why (she's 1/64th Witch-Blood, but doesn't know it), but she was able to steer Dastardly into several major scores. Then he slapped her around for being too mouthy. 

Johnny Dastardly didn't last too long after that. 

Somehow he ran right into a hail of cops bullets as a supposedly safe score went all wrong. Margarette took over the gang then, taking the name Eight Ball. The Hustler soon took her under his wing and she learned the advantages of being in charge of her own gang while having some protection via the Syndicate. 

Eight Ball has a 'day job' of running numbers for Hustler. If you're not familiar that means she runs an illegal lottery game based on outcomes at the New Salem track, Francis Circle, which borders the Bowery. This keeps her and the Lucky Breaks going while she works her bigger scores of robberies to secure magical artifacts or blackmail materials. Her Cosmic Awareness lets her figure out who she should target, and then how best to do it, but it takes time and she has to ask the right questions. 

Game Mechanics Notes: RAW, Cosmic Awareness is a mess of a power, as the character is so limited in what they can ask, then it's either pay a lot of Power or have a 50/50 chance (it says 60% but it's -10% per question to be asked) of being knocked out or damaged, and THEN you unless you have a well above average Intelligence it's a less than 50% chance to even get a correct answer; otherwise the GM is advised to lie. The juice isn't worth the squeeze. To my mind it's better that it be a clear yes/no on a success or an ambiguous answer on a failure. For a PC this means a vague hint, or riddle, or other puzzle, or direction on who else to ask. Also, RAW, Cosmic Awareness is at best a secondary power, and the more of a focus it is for the PCs the more leeway the GM should give with it. In practice I could have built Eight Ball with nothing but Cosmic Awareness augmented for a 1-power character, but like this she emphasizes how much or little oomph you can put behind any character design for the GM to interpret/Player to experiment. 

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