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Diwata


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
  • Because it’s fun

“My home is the center of the universe, home of the spirits, and for those worthy, the resting place for their souls. I will not see it desecrated by you.”


Context

This character is an original creation. We often call these “homemades” or “homebrewed” – think home cooking or craft beer.

Many of these characters were created to take part in tabletop role-playing game sessions. Others were invented as a creative writing exercise, often as part of a community event.

This specific character was part of our Spring of 2015 Random Magical Character Creation event.


Background

  • Real Name: Diwa Buhain
  • Other Aliases: Diwa Ampon, Maria Pinatubo
  • Marital Status: Single
  • Known Relatives: Apo Namalyari (God of Moon and Mt. Pinatubo, possible ancestor), Unnamed moon (Presumed Mother, deceased), Lola Malaya (informally adopted grandmother)
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile ; currently Mt. Pinatubo
  • Height: 5’6” Weight: 100 lbs
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: Black
  • Other Distinguishing Features: Her philtrum is less pronounced, giving her a smoother upper lip. She has distinctive tribal tattoos down her right arm resembling scales or the pattern of a fishing net.


Powers & Abilities

Born literally in the fires of a volcano, Diwa has found that fires of man and similar energies have little effect on her. Lola Malaya always believed this allowed her to survive at her birth.

Legends persist of those who move through a Diwata’s realm without permission getting lost, encountering unpassable vegetation, fog, storms or other effects. While those who please the Diwata may be rewarded with some nothing that has far more value than it appears (like ginger which turns to gold).

Diwa has the ability to alter mortal’s perceptions about the world around them, creating such effects. While just illusory, often by changing people’s perceptions, she can create lasting effects, even if it’s just the moral lessons about conservationism.

But particularly vile men might find that the path they were walking actually went off a cliff, into a fissure of volcanic steam, or right over a hill of fire ants.

Diwa can also hide herself from psychics, and other mental detection; which when combined with her glamours can make her incredibly difficult to find unless she allows it.

Her training with the Babaylan Lola Malaya has given her broad knowledge of the gods and goddesses of the Philippines and the tribal magic within. She can craft agimat and anting-anting and understands the meanings of the ancient mystical tattoos of the tribes. She can sense the magical beings of the Underworld and their spells.

There are many legends of how supernatural creatures, including the Diwata, are harmed by salt. While Diwa has never experienced physical discomfort and can eat salty food, she has experienced terror at the thought of crossing a line of rock salt which she cannot explain.


History

The Babaylan

Pain shot through Diwa’s arm as the needle pierced her. Like electricity it raced along her nerves as the needle repeated the motion. ”Should I tell the story of your birth?” the old lady asked as she dipped the bone needle in ink and readied her small hammer to tap away embedding ink with each tiny thrust.

Diwa winced. ”You’ve told me that story a thousand times, and each time it’s different, it’s not real” she snapped as her world once again seemed to be contained in the prick of that needle.

The older woman eyes twinkled as she continued to etch a pattern into the younger woman’s skin. She chortled, “Ha! I may be a Babaylan who the spirits still whisper to, but even they don’t know everything. Sometimes you have to feel what is real more than know it. Fine this time I will tell just what I know without my feelings on what is true… “You were born in 1991 when the mountain exploded.”

“How do you know that? You weren’t there, Lola Malaya,” Diwa twisted her sable curls in a fist of her free hand while Lola Malaya continued the pattern down her other arm. ”You don’t even know who my parents are.”

“Oh, I know Apo Namalyari was angry and caused Pinatubo to spew fire into the sky, and I know your birth was tied to it. The spirits whisper different reasons why, but on this, they agree. You were found by rescuers, a newborn amongst the flames, untouched. A daughter of the mountain-”

“You said you would speak only truth,” Diwa muttered through her gritted teeth.

“But this, I know. Of which mountain, I am uncertain. Apo Namalyari may have been jealous of his brother Sinukuan and his daughters, or perhaps loved your mother who may have come to harm… but I know the blood of a Diwata when I see it, child.” The old woman wiped the blood from her needle as if to punctuate her words before dipping it in ink once again. ”What do the spirits say to you? Feel the needle as it pulls your tale to surface. What does it tell you?”

Diwa’s Vision

Diwa was blind with pain. She felt as if she was sinking and all her nerves were burning. She felt herself adrift in this pain like a wave on the ocean. She saw the moon rising, but not the moon she knew- a smaller and darker moon, hidden in the sky like an eternal new moon. It was one of many moons in the sky she could see rising above the dark sea taking shape from her pain.

As she admired the beautiful glow of each of the moons, she saw a shadow rise from the ocean of pain in her mind. A great serpentine form slithered through the sky, and opening its great maw, swallowed the warmest of the sister-moons, before sinking below the waves, the glow still visible in the reflections of its brilliant scales.

But the glow faded beneath the waves, and once again it rose, consuming one of the glowing moons… and again… and again… until only one moon remained.

This time when the great serpent appeared, she heard her own voice screaming a warning. Before the serpent could take its prize, the Sky God Bathala appeared and cast the serpent back into the depth, leaving one glowing moon in the sky. The smaller moon had hidden away behind the mountain, and Apo Nalyari took her into his protection. Each morning when the glowing moon set, she would join her sister behind the mountain, keeping them safe from the serpent for many centuries.

But one day, the serpent, which they called Bakunawa, slithered onto land, awakened by the sound of drills in the mountain as the moon rose from behind it. He slithered into a dark cave near where the moon would set, preparing to ambush her.

Much to his surprise, he came across the dark moon in the cave, where she had been hidden from his view. Her glow was so weak, she would hardly be a snack, but he was delighted to find any morsel he could take as he awaited the return of the glowing moon. What’s more, she was weak as she held her own newborn babe!

Bakunawa gobbled her up before she regained her strength. As he swallowed her, the baby began to cry. Her wail roused the attention of Namalyari, who came to the cave and smited the serpent. Their battle lasted days as Namalyari threw fire and earth at the wyrm. In desperation, he called for help from the other Diwata. Hearing his cries, the other gods and enchanters leant him aid.

The old enchanter Sinukuan (sometimes friend and sometimes rival of Namalyari) called forth his daughters. Together they summoned a massive storm whose winds and rain channeled the earth and fire and cast the wyrm into the great sea.

The mass of mud and stone buried the great wyrm on the ocean floor but destroyed much of the land in the process, with devastation in its wake across the island of Luzon

Gasping, Diwa heard Lola Malaya’s voice again, “All done child.” Diwa admired the woman’s handiwork, as a lattice of tribal patterns resembling scales or a fishing net covered her arm. ”What did you see, child?”

Diwa answered simply, “I must return to my mountain and bring spring there once again.”

Childhood

There are many conflicting stories about Diwa’s birth, even in her visions. In some an old enchanter is her father and the moon is her mother. In some, her father is the guardian God of the moon, Namalyari (sometimes called Mallari). In yet others, her father is the old enchanter Sinukuan (who is a rival of Nalmalyari’s and sometimes thought to be a sun god).

But one thing is certain, her birth (and her mother’s death) was related to the eruption of Pinotubo and Typhoon Yunya, which accompanied it.

Rescuers found the girl, whom they called Ampon, after the eruption. She spent a large portion of her youth in an orphanage. Popular amongst the other kids and those who ran the orphanage, she came to understand the plight of the street children. She often would greet do-gooders who would visit, encouraging more donations and adoptions of the other kids.

Diwa was eventually taken in by a kindly older lady, Lola Malaya. Malaya immediately recognized the girl for what she was, a Diwata. Calling her Diwa She taught her the old ways of many tribes, and did what she could to honor the girl’s unusual heritage.

Lola Malya’s one frustration with the girl was her inability to discern the girl’s true heritage. She has come over time to accept it as a riddle only the girl herself can unravel and perhaps only with the help of the gods, themselves.

Return to Pinatubo

Upon reaching adulthood, Diwa underwent a ritual conducted by Lola Malaya and got her first tribal tattoo at the hands of the old Babaylan. She decided after this ritual to return to Pinatubo. In part this was to try to help restore the people of the mountain and to repair some of the damage caused to the area by the eruption and miners. In truth, it was also her hope to encounter Apo Namalyari to answer her questions about her birth.

While there, she found the cave of her birth and took up residence nearby. She found a small vein of gold within the cave, which she would sometimes trade for food and money. This boon brought her great financial resources for the area.

During her residence on the mountain, miners came to rue her. They would often find mysterious damage to roads to the mines. Upon repair, they would realize they weren’t the roads to the mines, but roads to a poor village.

Trucks would get lost trying to take equipment to the mountain, or materials away. Food supplies would find their way to the poorest villages, rather than the mines, with the drivers swearing they had turned the supplies over to their superiors at the mine.

Villagers began to spread stories of the beautiful young woman who would sometimes gift ginger to good hearted people which would turn to gold once they got home. Some called her “Mariang Pinatubo” in the same way other local mountains had their famous “Maria” Diwatas.

Travel

Not having seen Apo Namalyari, Diwa began to travel to mystical locations in the Philippines, seeking others of her kind. In most locations, she found little to no sign of them.

On occasion, she would find that a young woman had died recently in the area… strangled to death in ritualistic fashion with an egg in their mouth. She has gotten an overwhelmingly strong sensation that there is magic tied to these murders.

Over time, she came to realize there was a madman or cult at large trying to resurrect the great serpent Bakunawa by killing anyone with ties to the old ways. Certainly he or they will eventually come for her and she has begun to prepare herself as she continues to track him.


Description

Diwata is a beautiful Filipina with black curly hair down to her ankles. She usually keeps her slim figure swathed in light dresses for the summer heat. When she travels, she often ties her hair up and dresses like a bohemian backpacker and if often mistaken for a half-Filipina foreigner visiting her ancestral home.


Personality

Diwata is kind, but temperamental. She has a particular soft spot for the poor, orphans, and the tribes who still follow the old ways. As long as people are respectful of the land, she can be extraordinarily generous.

Her ire can be quickly roused when she witnesses greed and cruelty, however. If she witnesses people harming the land for the sake of profit, or abusing those whom they believe are beneath them, she is quick to action.

Usually, a harsh word and a clap of lightning (or the ground rumbling beneath their feet) is all it takes to convince the abusers to change their way.


DC Universe History

She would fit well in the Vertigo-verse. On her wondering quest to find others like her, she could begin to build ties with the greater DC Mystical Community. It would also be interesting to see her encounters with the minions of the Endless or with them directly.

In a more straight super-hero universe, she might have ties to Aquaman’s Atlantis since their magical practitioners and the amount of water around the Philippines would certainly make it likely for them to encounter one another.

She might entreat Aquaman for help in facing the Bakunawa. Ocean Master or Black Manta might have found a way of controlling the Bakunawa and with her knowledge of the creature, Diwata would be a useful ally to Aquaman.


Marvel Universe History

Diwata would almost certainly be a member of Triumph Division and could easily have been recruited or volunteered after the first group was killed by Stane.


Trese universe History

Diwata would certainly know Trese, and would seek her help in finding out more about her lineage.


Quotes

“I have had enough. You will leave my mountain… NOW !”

“You poor dear… drink from this spring, it has healing properties. Have some fruit to restore your strength. Feel free to take this ginger home to your family. But leave your axes behind. You will not chop the trees here.”

“The gods grew tired of the greed and hate of humanity and pulled away. We must show them that people are worthy of their blessings. Will you help me ?”

“I know this might sound crazy, but have you ever seen Maria Makiling ? Can you show me where ? I think I may be her sister… or daughter… or something !”

“Under the sea, only Magwayan knows for sure.”

“Bathala na !”


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Diwata

Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 05 Motivation: Upholding the Good
Int: 05 Wil: 06 Min: 05 Occupation: Mountain Guardian
Inf: 08 Aur: 07 Spi: 05 Resources {or Wealth}: 008
Init: 017 HP: 005

Powers:
Illusion: 10, Mind Blank: 10, Energy Absorption: 05, Magic Sense: 07

Bonuses and Limitations:
Illusion does not affect Diwata and represents environmental glamour effects.

Skills:
Occultist: 06

Advantages
Confined Headquarters (A nipa hut on the mountain which sometimes appears to be a tree, or a cave or a large stone), Sharp Eye, Attractive, Scholar: (Filipino Diwata Pantheon magic)

Connections:
Lola Malaya, High

Drawbacks:
Minor Irrational Fear: Rock salt


Design notes

This was a randomly generated character. Had she been built entirely on the concept, I likely would have given her Weather Control and/or Earth Control to give some of her illusions some teeth and to show her control over the elements of her realm. These powers could be bought in the future, perhaps as rituals or part of Artifacts.

Another option might be to expand her “glamour” to herself, taking the limitation from her Illusion or perhaps giving her Invisibility. A possible substitute limitation for her Illusion would be that it would not affect those who have turned their clothes inside out and mean no harm to her forest and mountain since this is common to Filipino mythology.

Also, since she grew up an orphan, she would have likely grown up on the street and likely would have developed some Charisma and Thief skills (especially stealth). Artist (Tattoo and Dance) could also be potential skills since they are common in Filipino magic. She really should also have several language scholars for the varying Filipino dialects.

Finally, an economy of points could easily be had by trading out her Energy Absorption for higher APs of Flame Immunity. The former could be bought up through character growth and gives some other interesting possibilities about her potential heritage.


By Adam Fuqua

Source of Character: Spring Character Contest

Helper(s): Created with Dr. Peter’s random mystic character generator

Writeup completed on the 26th of April, 2015.

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