Sunday, January 7, 2024

New Salem Character #7: The Cormorant

the Cormorant (Xavier Hollander)

Pyramid Tier: 1    Experience level: 7

Affect/Gimmick: Slender older man, religious affect - a Mackintosh coat/cloak that is almost a priest's cassock, cane, spectacles - who is very disappointed that your life choices brought him to this. Bird based devices that all share that vaguely Christian/religious look. 

Gang?: Yes, the sometimes called the Saints or the Sea-Ravens, they share his look, but not his size, all being recruited stevedores and longshoreman in Mackintoshs with bowlers. 

Status: Cormorant used to be a much bigger deal, running protection and drug smuggling in the Harbor Park and Bowery areas, before the Havana Mob moved in. Cormorant survived, but is reduced to running numbers and non-drug smuggling in Harbor. He is deeply bitter about this, but won't retire: Cormorants are also symbols of greed... and vengeance.

Powers: 2

  1. Animal/Plant Powers Device - Avian: This is a handful of separate devices that mimic a Cormorant's abilities. It also comes with limits: the -2 S and E from Avian powers are the remnants of the thrashing Sawshark gave him. While he has his +3 Agility still, he's not as strong as he was. 
    1. Wings: This is a complex gilder/ornithopter rig that collapses into his cassock/coat. It gives the standard +3 to Agility, and he can fly at 735" per turn (167 mph).
    2. Special: The wings rig is waterproof; not only does he have no issues flying in fog/rain/thunderstorm conditions, he can dive underwater, stay down there for 12 minutes, and then surface and regain the air. 
    3. Diminished Senses: OK, not a device, but we did roll this on the table so... He is 63. He wears round lensed spectacles that convert to goggles when he's under water. But without them he is very farsighted. Does it take them off and clean them when he's disappointed in you? YES HE DOES!
    4. Avian Control: did you know Cormorants can be trained? He has a flock of (3d8 roll is 10, +4 for level after 1st) 34 HP of trained Cormorants. Use s stats for Falcon/Hawk, so that's 11 Cormorants. One action per turn to command them,
    5. Natural Weaponry: This is his sword cane, which vaguely resembles a Cormorants beak, with which he is +3 to hit, +1d8 damage. (see game mechanics notes) 
  2. Weather Control Item: In a pouch around his neck he has a knucklebone of St. Clement, the patron saint of travelers who offers protection from the weather. With one action he automatically summons Clear, Cloudy, Rain, or Thunderstorm conditions as he extends or denies the blessings of St. Clement on the area. The Item has 13 charges per day. Changed weather lasts 6 turns (unless he extends it with another action) and he can spend an action/charge to use it as an attack. He doesn't use this often out of fear for his immortal soul, but it's not a 'weakness' - he will use it whenever tactically smart to do so. 
Weight: 140             Basic Hits: 3    Agi Mod: +0
S: 10        E: 12        HP: 12
A: 21        I: 15          Pow: 58          
C: 18                        Move: 43" (or 735")
Accuracy: +4 or +3 with sword cane
Damage Mod: +3
Reactions Mod: +3
Carrying Cap: 154    HTH: 1d4
Inventions: His Sea-Ravens all wear Bulletproof Mackintoshes that let them roll with double the normal amount vs. firearms and similar impacts (but not HTH). Each has a Cormorant Whistle that acts as 3 HP worth of Avian Control. Cormorant has a couple of Submerged Safehouses that he can escape to in the Harbor area that are watertight small residences that he can spend up to a week in. 

Background/Origin: Xavier Hollander was a good Dutch-Irish boy working for the mobs on the docks as a scout and mule for their smuggling operations when not attending church, but he was also fascinated by the cormorants of New Salem's harbor. This led to his developing the Cormorant gear, adopting the identity, and eventually taking over all the smuggling and protection rackets in Harbor Park. Along the way he stumbled across the knucklebone of St. Clement and knew just enough to figure out how to operate it (and enough to keep it secret!). 

He was a big deal. Wealthy. Respected. 

And then his side lost the battles that installed the Havana Mob in New Salem's syndicate infrastructure. Hollander was too well connected to kill, but was insultingly demoted to convince the old guy to just retire already. But like Satan transforming into a cormorant to spy on and cover Adam and Eve's status, Hollander can't let go until he gets back what was his. So he runs numbers and light smuggling in Harbor Park, making his payments up the chain while making his plans. 

Game Mechanics Notes: Natural Weaponry is, in theory, meant to make martial arts or inborn weapons equal to regular weaponry. The problem is that while both give +1 to +3 accuracy bonuses, weapons give added dice of damages and Natural Weaponry gives flat bonuses. You can squint and say that the +2/+4 level of natural weaponry is on par with a sword, but the +3/+6 level is just better than ANYTHING - it's disadvantageous for Bruce to ever pick up the nunchucks. And the +6 guaranteed damage is probably too high. So for our purposes the power gives +1 to hit/+1d4 damage; +2/+1d6 or +3/+1d8. It's still better than the weapons listed but not so much better. To rebalance the power I also give it a 40% chance of a bonus power, not 20%. 

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