Angel Explains: The Heroes
Heroes are an odd lot. While most people live their lives in peace, trying not to stand out or get too far outside their comfort zones, heroes are different. Heroes work to excel. Heroes look for danger. Heroes think nothing of risking their lives for the greater good.
In short, heroes are idiots.
During my years on Earth I spent a lot of time with many different heroes; a number of them I would call friends. Here, then, are some ruminations on my friends and adventuring buddies.
Darkmoon (although his real name is Herschel), is a vampire. However, unlike the vampires we discussed prior, Darkmoon is what is classically called "a good vampire" or "just plain messed up" depending upon who is doing the describing. You see, Darkmoon has a soul. It was given to him by gypsies, who also took away his demonic side. It's an interesting case that I haven't really encountered since, especially not one like Darkmoon.
See, when they removed his demon, effectively they removed the dark magic that animated Darkmoon. What is classically termed the "demon" in the vampire is dark magic. It animates the vampire and gives them their special powers, which, depending on how long the vampire has been undead, and how the magic mutates over time, can manifest in a variety of ways.
Darkmoon isn't animated by dark magic anymore -- he's is animated by his own soul. He's still undead, mind you, and many of the residual effects of being a vampire carry over. He can't enter a church or be near holy items -- he's not alive, and for whatever reason the holy energy doesn't like the not-living-yet-still-living. Interestingly, though, he can go out in the sunlight. It's an odd balance, sure, but one of those quirks of magic. Nothing ever goes the way you'd expect.
Regardless, Darkmoon is a fine hero... if you use the term loosely. He certainly won't let the innocent die needlessly, and at times he has evidenced some sort of heart in his chest. It doesn't beat, but it is there... somewhere.
On the field, Darkmoon is somewhere between a magic-user and a warrior. Not powerful in either category, but decent as both. His edge comes from the few vampire powers he has left, and how he mixes them up with the magic he's learned over time.
From what I've gleaned of her past, Katrina comes from a long line of magic-users. These are real magic-users, mind you, and not the accused witches they burn at the stake. Trust me, real magic-users aren't stupid enough to do magic around the Inquisition, let alone allow themselves to be caught by petty mortals.
No, Katrina's ancestors were the true spell casters, sorcerers and sorceresses of the highest orders who could make the earth tremble at their commands. Sometime in the preceding centuries, though, their magical line of blood died out, leaving their successors as pretty normal humans... at least until Katrina came along.
I've never been able to garner her full story. She never liked talking about her past from before she entered into the magic academy. Really, before she became half cat, her story is rather fuzzy. Beyond being chased out of town for her ability to use magic, Katrina's back-story is her own business.
What I do know for certain is that Katrina is a wild mage. You hear stories about them (and many a table-top RPG has used them as a flaw). A real wild-mage has unpredictable, overly-strong power. Usually, these wild powers will manifest themselves in times of high stress. Often times it's an odd little twist to an intended spell (like snow appearing along with an ice spell), although upon occasion a wild mage could be casting a fireball and end up incinerating half a village (how do you think Pompeii actually happened?).
For those of you paying attention to the stories of the group's travels, you'll note that Katrina became a cat-person precisely because of her wild-mage powers. Her powers got out of control, and the sorcerer that was training her set a curse upon her. "Do good deeds and the curse will slowly lift, making you more and more human over time. Do bad deeds and you'll become more and more cat like." Presumably, by a certain point, if enough bad deeds are done, the curse would become permanent, although Katrina hasn't proven that to be true.
Although, now that I think about it, I haven't seen her change much in either direction during my time with the party, so I'm not certain just how good the deeds really have to be to effect her... or maybe it was just Darkmoon's influence keeping her in a perpetual neutral state.
Of course, having detailed her erratically powerful magic, it comes as no surprise that I rate Katrina as the strongest magic-user in the group... when she can control it. I've never seen her fail at casting a spell. They just happen to be more powerful than she'd like.
On the purely physical front, Katrina doesn't have much of an attack, nor does she have much for defense. Being a magic-user, wearing real armor is too constricting, so all she has is her normal adventuring gear.
Alec is one of two true humans in the group -- considering the makeup of the party, this is a feat in and of itself. Alec is also a holy warrior, a Knight of God, a Defender of the Faith... as it so happens, though, the faith he defends has become, more and more, his own thing.
Expelled from the church under questionable circumstances (not Alec's, but the church's -- Alec is a pure soul), Alec was sent to find his own way in the world. As one of the few innocents, Alec took his religion as law and tried to spread the good "word" to the people he came across.
Sadly, one of the first people he came across was Darkmoon, and, as you can imagine, that was an eye-opening experience. His faith was further shaken when he received a message from God via God's messenger Damaris. Then Alec fell in love with the much-less-religiously inclined Princess, and has tried, ever since, to reconcile what he believes with the evidence that seems to contradict it.
Really, it's a crisis every holy man goes through from time to time. Having met an angel, though, Alec is at least sure there is a God (even if he is a sarcastic, video game playing, shiftless layabout).
Alec's holy powers are the strongest in the group. He can command his magics through faith and create stronger attacks than even Katrina. However, his magic is limited. As a holy man, he uses only Light magic, effectively shunning all other magical affinities.
With a sword Alec is also a tough combatant, being the strongest in the group in hand-to-hand, armed combat. There are few people I have met that are better with a sword.
Princess is an interesting case: she didn't become a hero so much as heroing chose her. When she was kidnapped by a dragon (as dragons are want to do with princesses), her home country went through a period of governmental upheaval. By the time she got home, her family was no longer in power and she had to find a new lot in life. Taking this as the opportunity it was, Princess joined back up with the heroes who had rescued her (our plucky band of misfits and miscreants) and set off on a new life of adventure.
Had the government held together, basically, she probably would have stayed home, become queen, and ushered the land into a new golden age... which, really, sounds better than mucking about with our lot.
During her time at court, Princess was trained in the ways of hand-to-hand and light-weapon combat. Most of this was for defense, though, not offense -- a lady never attacks, only defends. As such, when attacked, Princess is one of the most formidable opponents, but she's still mastering the art of the offensive attack.
Her magical abilities are lacking, though. She has been known to cast the occasional offensive spell, but she's much better with her fists than her fireballs.
Of myself, there is so much I could say. I'm a saint, one of the best angels ever, a true example of how to act and behave. All the other angels love me. I'm a favored subject of God himself (and the pluralized Gods when they all existed -- damn monotheism).
Of course, if you believe all that, I have a bridge to sell you...
I've been around far longer than any mortal could even grasp. Angels don't normally die -- it takes extreme circumstances -- and we never age. Add to that the fact that Angels are multi-dimensional beings with the potential to travel through time and space at will (when we remember to), and you have a creature that can be at any where and any when, over and over again. I've long since lost any idea of how old I am.
I fought in the crusades. I battled the Mongolian horde. Interestingly a few years later, I battled with the Mongolian horde (great food and good benefits). I secreted away books from the Library at Alexandria. I've seen villages become cities, cities become sprawling behemoths, and whole countries crumble away to dust, stories, and legends.
Also, I once found this place that served the best Philly Cheese Steaks ever. Really wish I could remember where that was.
As an Angel, my greatest power is my holy magic. I, like Alec, can channel my beliefs into magic, creating awesome displays of holy magic. Interestingly, Alec is more powerful than I am; he truly believes, while I've seen God playing Pac-Man in his boxers... it sorta shakes one's beliefs to their core.
My physical attacks are also quite powerful, especially when coupled with my flight. The extra momentum from a diving attack is handy, plus few warriors are truly skilled at fighting an enemy that's not only armed but floating above them.
Golems are interesting creatures -- not really alive, and yet animated; not ensouled, and yet some of the most "feeling" creatures around. Golems are creatures of inert matter (such as clay, stone, iron, or clockwork, as a few examples) who are animated by magical words in or on their heads. Commonly the symbols and words that animated them are written on their foreheads -- wipe away the words and the Golem goes back to being a statue. In rarer circumstances, as with our Golem, the words are written on a little scroll or tablet (called a chem) and placed in the Golem's head (makes it harder to remove).
Our Golem is a good guy, freed by his circumstances to find his own lot in life. When those that owned and controlled him all died off, Golem was left without a master, without duties to perform or people to guard. Golems are very much about their duties. As a species, they were created to act as animated servants, doing the deeds no one else wanted to do (like magical slaves). When those duties are over, or when there's no one left to command them, what you have left are very bored statues with very powerful, very immortal minds. Boredom is bad enough without having to experience it for centuries.
When Golem met our band of heroes, they explained that, having nothing better to do, the Golem should go live his life. After a little thought, he elected to figure out what that meant, and eventually settled on becoming a hero (cause, you know, all the cool kids were doing it).
As a physical combatant, Golem is quite strong, although he's much more comfortable with his hands than fighting with any actual weapon (when you can bend a sword into a knot it's hard to see the benefit in wielding one). He has discovered, though, the ability to shift his form into any substance he has upon him, giving his body (temporarily) the benefits of these newer substances. It's an interesting power, and something that could greatly benefit him as he learns to control it.
- Using the student next to you, create a vampire with a soul, just like Darkmoon, but attempt to make him more heroic and less spineless. This is a practical, so you will be graded on your use of the scientific method. Points will be deducted if your partner dies or bites and drains you before you finish the assignment.
- If Katrina never becomes a fully-human being again, could you sell her body to science for a tidy profit? Explain your answer. Bonus points for cutting me in for a piece of the action.
- Attempt to receive a message from God. This must be done through faith. Bribery will disqualify you from the testing process. Bonus points for using a dead religion (or a fictional one).
- Pretend you are a princess and your government has been overthrown. Stage a bloody coup and reclaim your homelands. You have a budget of $500 for equipment and mercenaries.
- Golems are helpful servants. Could you make one from the laboratory equipment provided in question 1? Golems will be raced after class for extra credit.
- If angels are pan-dimensional and can travel through all points of time and space, did you really think I wouldn't notice you copying off your partner's test answers?