Agiotage: The Wicked Bargain

The Agiotage…contacted numerous Syrne beings, and were drawing strength from beyond the Barrier. Their power soon stretched through almost every nation in the world, and their Syrneth abilities had begun to corrupt the world around them.

~Sophia’s Daughters, p. 23

The end of the fourteenth century saw the specter of Legion worship raise its ugly head in Vodacce. The long-reviled Lorenzo family, whose bloodline continued in the guise of the Biancos, seemed to have struck a Bargain with Legion. Stories circulated of terrifying acts and bloody rituals conducted at their estates.

~Church of the Prophets, p. 20

The history of Théah is peppered with reports of evil men wielding dark powers: powers beyond the scope of known Sorceries, fearsome in aspect and horrible in effect. The most dramatic display of these powers occurred in AV 1400, during the battle between the Legion-worshipping Bianco family and the forces of the Vaticine Church, led by the ambitious Vestini family and aided by the “White Knight” Andare del Casigula Rosa. Similar powers have been sought by various groups throughout the decades; the deviant Vaticine priests who comprised La Caldera leap immediately to mind.

But no group has been quite so persistent as the Agiotage.

Longtime enemies of the Church and the various organizations that defend them, the Agiotage had pledged themselves to Legion (sometimes in the guise of the Syrne), working towards his emergence on Terra and planning to rule at his side. They studied ancient texts and sought out means to contact the Bargainers, with limited success. Nevertheless, they pursued their secret agendas and persevered, despite numerous outbreaks of the White Plague which periodically decimated their ranks. Eventually, fate turned against them and their machinations were uncovered by their enemies, who acted decisively to end the threat of the secret organization.

As far as they knew.

To this day, however, the legacy of the Agiotage lingers. Tomes of forbidden knowledge lay forgotten in dusty vaults, waiting for the wicked (or the foolish) to find them. Survivors of the White Plague may have escaped notice: it is known that at least one fell in among La Caldera, adding his own brand of venom to the corruption brewing there, but who is to say they weren’t more? It is rumored that servants of Legion continue to stalk the Vodacce night; is it possible that they include a new breed of Agiotage among their number?

Remnants of evil continue to lurk in the dark, shadowy corners of Théah. It would take little more than a twist of fate to bring them together and resurrect one of the greatest threats Théah has ever known…

Advantage: Agiotage (15 Points; Henchmen or Villains only)

This character has made an unspeakable pact with Legion, offering a portion of his soul (and a degree of his physical well-being) in exchange for power and the commitment to work towards Legion’s release on Théah.

Infused with supernatural energies (possibly the very essence of Legion), the character’s body develops some degree of resistance to physical damage: even as wounds are inflicted, they will begin to knit shut before an astonished opponent’s very eyes. All damage dealt to a character with this Advantage is reduced by five Flesh Wounds per strike (i.e., if an attack inflicts twenty-two Flesh Wounds upon a member of the Agiotage, it is reduced to seventeen Flesh Wounds before the character records them on his character sheet and makes a Wound Check). The character also develops an inhuman resistance to normal diseases. Furthermore, characters with the Miracle Worker Advantage cannot use any Miracle Dice directly against a member of the Agiotage (Drama Dice granted by the Advantage may not be used against the Agiotage member, he cannot be made to automatically miss, and he is immune to any direct effects of Athnan Sorcery).

There are a number of important exceptions to these benefits. First, any opponent with the Faith Advantage does not roll for damage when striking the character, instead inflicting one Dramatic Wound automatically. Second, while the character cannot be harmed by normal diseases, the White Plague is especially dangerous to him. He will automatically contract the disease if exposed to it, and it will invariably prove lethal. Finally, if a Miracle Die is used by an opponent to heal Dramatic Wounds inflicted by this character, it automatically heals all of them, not just two (it will not heal wounds inflicted by other sources, however).

As a side effect of the Bargain made with Legion, this character is constantly pale, sickly, and sweating (even when he is cold), and plagued by a persistent, untreatable cough. In effect, this gives the character the Unnerving Countenance (Below Average) Advantage (with all that entails). In addition, the character may select from the following abilities, paying the listed Hero Point costs in addition to the standard fifteen. A character may only select a number of abilities equal to or less than his Rank in Resolve.

Aura (3 or 6 Points). The dark nature of the character’s Bargain surrounds him like a cloak at all times, giving him a Fear Rating of one (for three points) or two (for six points). However, the palpable aura of malice that surrounds the character unsettles animals and young children. Babies begin to whimper and cry when he is around, and animals shy away from him unless goaded to approach by a trainer. No horse will ever consent to be ridden by the character.

Beast Form: Bat (2 Points). Once per day, you can change into a large, sinister-looking bat as if you were a Pyeryem Sorcerer. The change is automatic, but no clothing or equipment changes with you, and you have no way of changing back. The transformation lasts until the next sunrise or sunset, whichever comes first. Boons: Armor (+5 TN to be hit), Brawn -3, Finesse +2, Flight, Keen Hearing, Night Vision, No Fine Manipulation.

Beast Form: Cat (6 Points). Once per day, you can change into a jet-black panther as if you were a Pyeryem Sorcerer. The change is automatic, but no clothing or equipment changes with you, and you have no way of changing back. The transformation lasts until the next sunrise or sunset, whichever comes first. Boons: Attack (Bite 0k2), Attack (Claws 0k2), Brawn +1, Climb, Falling, Finesse +1, Keen Hearing, Leaping, Night Vision, Speed, Silence.

Beast Form: Wolf (4 Points). Once per day, you can change into a massive, dire wolf as if you were a Pyeryem Sorcerer. The change is automatic, but no clothing or equipment changes with you, and you have no way of changing back. The transformation lasts until the next sunrise or sunset, whichever comes first. Boons: Attack (0k2 Bite), Brawn +1, Howl, Keen Hearing, Keen Smell, No Grasping Limbs, Silence, Warmth.

Claws & Fangs (1 Point). The character’s fingernails toughen and lengthen into claws, and his eyeteeth grow into fangs. Barehanded damage increases by an additional kept die (+1k1), but there is no good way to disguise the character’s altered features (the claws will eventually poke through anything short of a metal gauntlet or Panzerhand, and the fangs are in plain view whenever the character opens his mouth).

Cloak of Shadows (2 Points). Once per Scene, in a dark or dimly-lit place, the character may command the shadows to wrap around him and cloak him from sight. While cloaked, he gains four Free Raises on Stealth and Shadowing rolls. The character also develops extreme sensitivity to light, suffering a penalty of one Unkept Die (-1k0) on all actions when he is in direct sunlight.

Corrupting Touch (3 Points). The character’s touch spreads a mild contagion. Plants he touches with his bare hands will sicken and die. Animals will develop a sickness that leaves them lethargic and feverish for a day. Characters must make a Resolve Roll vs. a TN of twenty or lose their next Action due to a wave of nausea. If they have no further Actions this Round, they roll and keep one less Action Die in the next Round. The character smells vaguely like a rotting corpse, and may attract flies and other vermin, especially in hot weather.

Dark Fate (3 Points). The character has “Legion’s own luck” and may spend a Drama Die to re-roll the use of any Knack. A re-roll may only be attempted once per roll, and the character must keep the new result, even if it is worse. However, what goes around tends to come around: every time this ability is used one Drama Die is placed in a special pool, usable by any PC, but only against the character in question. This pool does not refresh between adventures; all the Dice within carry over until used.

Fire Resistance (2 Points). The character takes no damage from normal fire. This protection is extended to anything the character holds in his hands, but not to anything he is wearing. On the other hand, the character’s skin dries out and takes on a scaled appearance, visible upon close inspection.

Infernal Might (2 Points). The character is particularly tough, and increases by one the number of Dramatic Wounds he can take before being Crippled or Knocked Out. The character’s blood thickens and grows dark, a fact which will be revealed by virtually any Dramatic Wound.

Longevity (1 Point). The character divides his age in half and rounds down for Aging purposes. However, Legion has a “special” plan for the character when he eventually dies, and does not let its hold on the character go easily. The character can no longer heal Dramatic Wounds automatically via rest; they must be removed via the use of the Surgery Knack or through some mystical means (e.g., the use of a Laerdom Extract). Either way, the character’s wounds leave vicious scars when healed.

Night Vision (2 Points). This has the same effect as the Night Trained Advantage from the Montaigne Sourcebook, and if the character has that Advantage as well as this ability, he suffers no penalty for operating in Dim Lighting or Total Darkness. The character’s pupils elongate slightly, and his eyes reflect light like a cat’s.

Poison Blood (2 Points). The character’s blood is mildly toxic (2 Flesh Wounds / 2 phases / 20 phases) and unsafe for others to touch. By cutting himself (and inflicting damage which he does not reduce with his damage reduction ability) with the appropriate weapon, the character may coat three arrowheads or one small weapon (like a knife) for 1 Flesh Wound, a medium-sized weapon like a rapier for 2 Flesh Wounds, and a large weapon like a claymore for 3 Flesh Wounds. The venom is wiped off after one successful strike, though it may be renewed if the character takes another action (and inflicts further damage on himself) to do so. An opponent will also become exposed to this poison by touching the character after he has suffered a Dramatic Wound (unless the opponent spends a Drama Die to specifically avoid the poison). The character’s pupils elongate slightly; if combined with the Night Vision benefit, they are now completely cat-like.

Undetectable Lie (1 Point). The character receives four Free Raises on Sincerity, Oratory, and similar rolls when telling a falsehood. His tongue is now forked; it will become evident to anyone paying close attention while he is talking that there is something unusual about his tongue.

Unholy Strength (2 Points). The character’s maximum Brawn is raised to 6 (this is not cumulative with any other Advantage that increases Brawn), but the muscle growth is not normal, leaving his body deformed and misshapen. The character’s maximum Finesse is decreased to 4, though it can be raised in the usual ways (i.e., through Advantages or Swordsman Schools).