5787 in-depth character profiles from comics, games, movies

Nicholas Scratch (Marvel Comics)

Nicholas Scratch


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game

Context

Nicholas Scratch (no relation to the homonymous DC Comics character) is an eeeevviill witch who primarily fought the Fantastic Four and Hellcat.

He first appeared in 1977. And he is, it must be said, a really handy magical villain. It’s odd that he didn’t appear more.

As I brush up this profile I realise that it uses a *lot* of concepts from the Marvel Universe. About magic, dimensions, demons, etc.. So it may not be the best read ever if you’re not familiar with comics. *And* it also uses complex notions from RPGs, such as “dimensional distance”.


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Background

  • Real Name: “Nicholas Scratch” is presumably an alias, since those two terms are euphemisms for the Devil. His actual family name might be Harkness — but then we don’t know anything about the naming conventions of New Salem. And I don’t get the impression Agatha Harkness was actually married.
  • Other Aliases: The Most High, Agatha Harkness, Mayor Nicholas, Doctor Stephen Strange.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Agatha Harkness (estranged mother), Salem’s Seven (children).
  • Group Affiliation: Former member of the witches of New Salem, former master of the Salem’s Seven.
  • Base Of Operations: Formerly New Salem, later the Dark Realm, later Centerville, later the Dark Dimension, later Mephisto’s Hell, later Agatha Harkness’s former house in Whisper Hill.
  • Height: 6’3” Weight: 220 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black w/white streaks.


Powers and Abilities

Nicholas Scratch is a male witch (but not a witchalok ). He further acquired considerable magical puissance from otherdimensional sources, making him a potent and flexible spellcaster.

The Satan Staff of New Salem

His main asset as the mayor of New Salem was the Satan-Staff. This is an extensively enchanted artefact that can channel the might of the population of New Salem.


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To achieve this effect, the locals must clasp hands and join in ritual chanting. As they do so the eyes of all concerned, including Scratch, start blazing a red, unearthly fire.

When it channels the power of the entire burg, the Staff is so potent that even the Fantastic Four are powerless against it.

New Salem is apparently mutable. In later appearances it was less Gothic and dusky than before, and looked more like a quaint, antiquated small Colorado town. Whether the town itself changes, or the witches use illusions, is unrevealed and arguably irrelevant.

Like any good Gothic Horror town, New Salem counts numerous gargoyles on its roofs. All are enchanted, and can be animated by the wielder of the Satan-Staff to attack intruders. There is a lot of them. A goods core were brought to bear against the FF.

Other assets

In Centerville, “Mayor Nicholas” conjured a group of red-skinned, horned, mystical enforcers to capture Patsy Walker. Since they seemed affiliated with Dormammu, and carried medieval Japanese weapons, I’ll arbitrarily call them the “kobudo demons” in this entry.

The "kobudo demons" summoned by Nicholas Scratch

There were six of them. Their normal MO is to suddenly phase  through the walls, mystically entangle their target and keep witnesses at bay with their weapons.


The Dark Realm

Scratch was banished for a long while to the Dark Realm. Here are explanations and DC Heroes RPG data about this prison dimension .

General properties

It is barren badlands of black stone, with the occasional mountain. The perpetual night and irregular, silent lightning storms make it difficult to estimate the passage of time. Scratch did not seem to need any nourishment and does not mention conjuring food or water. All in all, it is likely that the Dark Realm is a Limbo  dimension where time does not pass in the conventional sense.

Banishing someone to the Dark Realm is difficult, and getting out even more so. Yet the place does not seem to be dimensionally remote, so it presumably has other properties making Dimension Travel difficult. The OV/RV to get in is 18/18, to get out is 20/20. Then the Dimension Travel part proper can take place, against the Travel Distance.

Scratch seemed to travel on foot over the terrible terrain rather than, say, use wizardry to fly. My hypothesis is that the place’s properties impeding Dimensional Travel actually hinder all magical movement. Once you’re inside, any such spell will be hit by a Neutralize (ML): 20 effect whenever one tries to conjure one up.

Loci

There exists naturally occurring dimensional loci that can be sensed through sorcerous mental probes. However, those are exceedingly rare. Finding a locus requires tremendous luck plus Magic Sense. Activating a locus is done using Occultist (Rituals) against an OV/RV of 09/09. An activated locus lowers OV/RV to get out to 10/10.

Getting out means ending up in some random dimension about 15 APs away from one’s home dimension. Therefore, orienting oneself and getting home can be quite an adventure even after one leaves.

Scratch cleverly cast his spells through one such locus, and affected people on Earth from there. Those spells took a shortcut through the Negative Zone . This feat likely was made possible by Scratch’s superior knowledge of dimensional typology.

One may conclude that the Dark Realm is but a few APs of dimensional distance away from the Negative Zone. From there the distance between the Zone and Earth was effectively zero since Scratch used Richards’ Negative Zone Portal as a conduit. Scratch exploited the fact that the security measures of the portal did not include mystical defenses.

He apparently could only cast spells of communication and possession through the locus, though. But then it is possible those were the only things he could do without components.

Cloaking

None of the dimensional agents of Harkness could determine the source of Scratch’s possession magics. Therefore, I suspect the properties of the Dark Realm also include a high resistance to magical scrying. In DC Heroes RPG terms, Obscure (ML) and/or Mind Blank (ML) affecting the entire dimension, quite possibly in the 18-20 APs range.

Scratch’s Magic Sense worked *inside* the Dark Realm. Therefore, this cloaking effect is likely only applicable for transdimensional  effects.

This is but an hypothesis, though. Perhaps Harkness’ contacts simply did not monitor the Negative Zone, which does not seem to have lots of mystic stuff going on. On the other hand, banishing people into dimensions that cannot be scryed into makes ample sense.


History

Scratch is a native of New Salem, a small town lost in the Colorado Rockies. The place was secretly founded by witches who escaped persecution after the famous 1692 events in Salem .

Over time the small group was joined by various supernatural beings. Such as seers, warlocks, immortals and even a succubus or two. The secretive New Salemites had policies punishing contact with outsiders by death. They designed the Eliminators — strange blends of robotics and enchantments — to deal with security breaches.

Mayor to the mystic

It was presumably during the XXth Century that one “Nicholas Scratch” became the Mayor. This is a position of some mystic importance, since the Mayor of New Salem conducts the collective rituals  and is allowed to wield the powerful Satan-Staff.

The Gargoyles of New Salem animated by Nicholas Scratch

It was perhaps during this era that he had a number of children with New Salem women. Those would grow up to become his faithful allies and enforcers as the Salem’s Seven.

Ruthless, ambitious and charismatic, Scratch saw mayorship as but one step in his rise to power. Therefore, he wanted to preemptively eliminate those who might oppose him. The most powerful such witch was his own mother, the elderly and mild-mannered Agatha Harkness.

Would-be matricide

Ms. Harkness was at that point living outside of New Salem. The old laws about secrecy and isolation were not really enforced anymore. Mayor Scratch campaigned to have these regulations recover their bite. He eventually succeeded in making his case.

But Harkness sensed that the witches of New Salem were about to eliminate her as a security risk. She went to see the child whom she had cared for in the past, Franklin Richards. Her hope was that Franklin’s enormous psionic  powers could be used to solve the situation. But as it turned out Franklin no longer had access to these abilities.

Franklin’s former governess’s visit only resulted in both her and the kid being captured. The New Salemites then sent an Eliminator to erase all traces of Harkness’s life in the outside world.

This job of thorough elimination meant murdering Harkness’s former employers the Fantastic Four. But the FF destroyed the Eliminator and started investigating to recover Franklin.

The day strangers came into town

Analysing the metal of the Eliminator’s delivery pod, the FF determined the area where it had been mined in. Flying over the perimeter, they eventually spotted a small town not on the map. It was hidden between peaks and surrounded by a perpetual howling wind.

Coming in incognito to check the town’s mining operations records, they noticed various oddities. Such as the wind stopping sharply at the city limits or the absence of automobiles.

Not finding anything special in the quaint and charming burg, the FF were about to leave. But Harkness, from her cell, managed to conjure up a wall of flame to stop them. Assuming that this was the Human Torch’s doing, the New Salemites dropped the illusion.

The perpetual dusk reestablished itself, the architecture recovered its Gothic and sinister aspect. And the quaintly dressed folks now all wore green robes with shadows-filled hoods. Scratch, now in full regalia, cleft through the crowd and came to challenge the FF.

Challenging the fantastic

The usual measure — unleashing the gargoyles — did not work. Therefore, the Mayor channelled the power of the entire chanting population through the Satan-Staff. Even the FF were felled by such a magnitude of mystical malevolence, and ended in the same gaol as Ms. Harkness and little Franklin.

A bailiff then came to read Harkness’s death sentence. Scratch magicked Franklin away to ensure that the Fantastic Four wouldn’t rebel.

Yet the ever-resourceful FF escaped. The Salem’s Seven, enchanted by Scratch to have powers that could counter the Fantastic Four’s, also failed. When it was revealed that Reed Richards was using prostheses to simulate his missing powers, their empowering enchantment petered out.

The Great Banishment

The Four interrupted the execution ceremony. In a forceful speech Reed Richards revealed that Harkness had never spoken a word about New Salem, and asserted that the current security disaster was all the result of Scratch’s rash actions.

The temperamental Scratch exploded with rage, denying everything and striking down an inquisitive New Salemite with an eldritch bolt. He quickly realized his mistake, but he was too late. The ominous, silent crowd clasped hands and started chanting the ritual of the Great Banishment.

Desperate, Scrath petitioned his mother for protection. But she turned him down and the erstwhile mayor was banished to the Dark Realm. Ms. Harkness left with Franklin and the FF. Once they were gone the New Salemites performed another collective ritual that apparently switched their town into another dimension.

The Ceremony of Renewal

The New Salemites made Agatha Harkness into the new Mayor. However, she didn’t see the point of governing the town. She let the population handle their own business as she continued to live in the outside world. Her responsibilities, to everyone’s apparent satisfaction, were limited to conducting major collective rituals. Such as the annual Ceremony of Renewal.

During one such Ceremony, Harkness invited the FF to visit. She hoped to consolidate an alliance between the Four and New Salem. Franklin, attached to his former governess and loving the idea of touring a town full of witches, convinced the adults and Johnny to go.

However, Scratch retained a small group of supporters in town – the enforcers of the Salem’s Seven. They sabotaged the Ceremony, hacking the magical power the locals were pouring into Harkness.

They used this energy to allow Scratch to manifest on Earth as a wraith of flame, plunging all mystics present into a trance. Scratch reempowered the Seven (allegedly with three times the power they had before) so the could vanquish the Fantastic Four. He prepared to use the hacked power to exterminate the outside world so his followers could rule over the ruins.

However, Franklin Richards managed to flee as the Seven beat the Four.

Ye done messed with the wrong people, boyo

Hours later, he sneaked back into town to ask “auntie Agatha” to help. But she and all other witches were still transfixed. Franklin started to panic. At this point, he could subconsciously access his powers. Thus, a storm of cosmic energy manifested, breaking Scratch’s spell and freeing Harkness and her constituents.

Meanwhile, the Seven prepared to sacrifice the Four on top of the Baxter Building. With this, Scratch would be able to cross over then steal the magical energy of New Salem’s Ceremony of Renewal. The expanding, crimson force field brought forth by the ritual proved impenetrable even to the Avengers, the Defenders or the Army, and access to New York City was thus cut.

Scratch could now manifest as a gigantic visage over Manhattan, and cast major spells within the crimson force field’s perimeter. However, old lady Agatha decided she would have none of this nonsense.

Carrying Franklin in her arms to calm him, she :

  • Teleported into Manhattan.
  • Sheared through the force circles.
  • Had eldritch lightning batter the Seven.
  • Swatted aside the offensive spells they hurled at her.
  • Walked through the gigantic storms of hail and fire unleashed by her son.
  • Entered the Baxter Building.
    • There, Franklin reflexively broke the spell keeping his family enthralled.

      The wrathful Ms. Harkness then resumed her march. She :

      1. Exorcized the Seven’s superhuman powers.
      2. Erased all memories of the incident from the entire population of New York City.
      3. Repaired the damage inflicted by the storms sent against her.
      4. Teleported the relevant individuals back to New Salem.
      5. Tore the stolen puissance from her wayward son.
      6. Banished him back to the Dark Realm.
      7. Made some tea.

    The possession of Franklin Richards

    In 1980, Scratch found and unlocked a dimensional locus within the Dark Realm. He then managed transdimensional wizardry potent enough to affect people on Earth while he was still in the Dark Realm, casting through the locus.

    The vengeful Scratch possessed Franklin Richards. He simulated a full-on demonic possession  with burning red eyes, levitation, eldritch energy and violent poltergeist effects. The harrowed FF managed to sedate Franklin, but Dr. Strange wasn’t on Earth and even Agatha Harkness couldn’t locate the source of the possession.

    An onlooker, Gabriel the Devil-Hunter, offered to perform an old-fashioned exorcism. The exorcism revealed Scratch, who then closed the loci. But Franklin remain possessed. The FF and Harkness were stuck, and had no choice but to go to New Salem to open a gate to the Dark Realm, which had been Scratch’s plan all along.

    Meanwhile, Gabriel continued the exorcism to neutralise the possessed Franklin.

    Back to life, back to reality

    As the FF, Harkness and Gabriel flew to Colorado, Scratch freed the Seven from New Salem’s prison by possessing a guard. The Seven ambushed and defeated our heroes, allowing Scratch to possess Franklin again when Thornn knocked Gabriel out.

    Scratch then used Franklin’s psionic abilities to weaken the frontier between the Dark Realm and Earth. His plan was to have the two merge and use the altered state of reality to reign supreme. Soon, the local frontier was diffuse enough that Scratch just stepped in back to Earth.

    Yet Scratch was once again foiled by his mother. With Gabriel as her ritual assistant, Ms. Harkness turned her sorcerous might and lifeforce into a slowly-advancing eldritch bolt that would consume both herself and her son. Witnessing the old woman’s stone-cold determination, Scratch chickened out at the last moment. He broke his enchantments off.

    Ms. Harkness then deprived him of his spellcasting abilities. She announced that she would now remain in New Salem.

    Not a Buffy episode

    By the year 2000, Scratch had somehow stolen the Satan-Staff. Using his imposing figure and charisma, he became the mayor of the small Californian town of Centerville, best known as the hometown of comic books star Patsy Walker. “Mayor Nicholas” allied with Hedy Wolfe, formerly Patsy Walker’s rival. Wolfe was was now working to revitalise Centerville.

    The two community leaders turned the place into a town-sized theme park. It simulated a mythical 1950s America reminiscent of the old Patsy Walker comics or Happy Days, with white picket fences, a simple and hearty life, and related fantasies. This seemed successful.

    Meanwhile, “Mayor Nicholas” learned to wield different magics, unrelated to his heritage as a witch. At first, these seemed connected to either the Elder God Set or the Heliopolitan god Seth. He resurrected the Salem Seven, and disguised them as Centerville locals.

    From there, Scrath allied with the local cell of the xenophobic militia the Sons of the Serpent. He had them gradually kidnap many locals and tourists so Scratch could have them possessed by serpentine demons. These may have been the spirits of Serpent-Men .

    Cheese and crackers !

    Things went wrong when Patsy Walker, who had recently escaped from Hell, returned to town as part of a nostalgia TV show. As Hellcat, Walker determined that something was rotten in Centerville. She summoned the Avengers as backup. A short time later, Walker and her friends stormed the Sons of the Serpent’s base.

    Scratch’s pawn and Wolfe’s chief administrator, Russell Daboia, then revealed himself as a Serpent-Man sorcerer, and his acolytes as the Salem Seven. The motley crew of Avengers was first beaten back by Daboia, the Seven and the Sons of the Serpent, but soon turned the tide.

    After Hedy Wolfe tipped over Daboia’s summoning concoction, the Salem’s Seven and Daboia’s summoned demons were banished.

    Scratch, however had been careful not to be seen. Thus, the heroes thought that Daboia was the mastermind and the plot was over.

    Cat Scratch fever

    Walker decided to reestablish herself in Centerville. Her paranormal senses soon confirmed that “Mayor Nicholas” also was a dark magician.

    Scratch soon joined the ranks of those who underestimated Hellcat. The fierce Walker thrashed the “kobudo demons” he sent after her, then made a beeline for his hideout. She dodged his security lasers grid, interrupted the ritual he was conducting, and beat him up.

    Hellcat then discovered that the serpent motif of Scratch’s previous plot was misdirection. His true master was Dormammu rather than Seth or Set.

    The dread Dormammu

    Scratch was serving Dormammu in exchange for a promise of power. He was helping the Faltine in his plot to take over a number of hell-like afterlife dimensions.

    What Scratch was bringing to the table in his dealings with Dormammu remains unclear. My No-Prize Hypothesis  is that it had to with Scratch’s apparently unique knowledge of dimensional mechanics, demonstrated during his escape from the Dark Realm.

    Dormammu banished Hellcat to a prison dimension to get her out of Scratch’s hair. He then launched his big surprise attack against the assembled Hell-Lords, with Satannish revealing himself as Dormammu’s secret ally. Scratch and Satannish soon stood at the sides of the triumphant Dormammu. One of the main Hell-Lords, Mephisto, was banished to a prison dimension.

    However, Hellcat had again been underestimated. She he brokered deals with the various Hell-Lords. She also conducted a clever plan in covert alliance with Umar, resulting in Dormammu being overthrown and losing the Flame of the Faltine.

    Dormammu and Scratch desperately joined forces to flee in the nick of time, while Satannish was blasted apart by Mephisto.

    Things man was not meant to know

    Scratch parted ways with Dormammu. Yet the Faltine apparently honoured their deal and restored his human ally’s sorcerous powers. While he was away, Scratch came up with a plan to summon the dark god Shuma-Gorath (He Who Sleeps But Shall Awaken) to Earth.

    By 2006, the aftershocks of the Scarlet Witch’s rewriting of reality freed the Salem’s Seven from extradimensional banishment. This apparently was the impetus for Scratch’s return to Earth.

    Knowing that the mostly-amnesiac Seven would congregate in Agatha Harkness’s old Whisper Hill home, Scratch went there. He mystically assumed the guise of his mother, and enlisted the Seven in a plot supposedly intended to bring Nicholas Scratch back.

    Isn’t dead that which shall awaken

    With the Seven’s mystical help, Scratch-as-Harkness performed most steps of his Ritual to summon Shuma-Gorath. He then ambushed Doctor Strange, imprisoned him into a mirror dimension, and prepared to impersonate him.

    Scratch then repeated one of his classic performances. He possessed Franklin’s younger sister Valeria and had her utter death threats against the Fantastic Four.

    The Four went to “Strange” for assistance with Valeria. Scratch-as-Harkness-as-Strange had them drink mystical tea that could neutralise their powers on demand. He then gave them a scroll with a supposed counterspell to be read by Sue, as it needed a person with a pure heart to be cast.

    Everything apparently went fine. The Four left for Whisper Hill, overtook the Seven, and confronted “Harkness”. Sue then read the scroll with the “counterspell” to stop “Harkness”’s plot. Of course, the scroll actually was was the last step of the Ritual to summon Shuma-Gorath,

    Triumphant, Scratch cast aside his Harkness glamour . He triggered the magical effect of the tea, robbing the FF of their powers. Meanwhile, Shuma-Gorath started breaching in and pouring onto Whisper Hill.

    Plans within plans within plans

    However, the FF were wise to Scratch’s plot. Reed Richards had realised that something was wrong with “Strange” back when they consulted about Valeria. Unequipped to deal with matters mystical, he had discreetly contacted their old foe Diablo the Alchemist. Reed freed him from his place of imprisonment in return for his help.

    Diablo fished Strange out of the prison dimension Scratch had cast him into. He then teamed up with the Sorcerer Supreme to prepare for a confrontation with Shuma-Gorath. The Master of the Mystic Arts and the Alchemist thus unexpectedly appeared in Whisper Hill. Strange took Shuma-Gorath to Stonehenge, where he had banished the dark god during their previous confrontation.

    As to Diablo, he reverse-engineered the scroll that had been given to Sue Storm-Richards to produce a banishing spell. The Alchemist fulfilled the purity of heart requirement by having Franklin and Valeria Richards read it.

    As the two mystics dealt with the dark god, Reed Richards negotiated with the Salem’s Seven. He pointed out that Scratch wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice them to He Who Sleeps But Shall Awaken. Scratch’s children agreed with Richards when Scratch refused to help free one of them from Shuma-Gorath’s tentacles. They allied with the Four to take down their father.

    Banished again

    Scratch was banished along with Shuma-Gorath. Finding himself in Hell, the fuming Scratch swore to escape ASAP.

    But within minutes was greeted by Mephisto. The Hell-Lord offered to recruit him as a warrior for a dawning war among the Hell dimensions. Given how their previous meeting had taken place, Scratch had little choice but to agree.

    He hasn’t been seen since.


    Description

    Like all New Salemites, Scratch has a faint golden red glow in his eyes, which lights up when he uses his power.

    During the execution of Harkness’ death sentence, Scratch wore a ceremonial helmet. As “Mayor Nicholas” he wore a dark business suit.


    Personality

    Nicholas Scratch is a powerful, subtle, overbearing warlock. He harbours but scorn toward mundane folks. Len Wein  gave him Stan Lee-style grandiose villain dialogue.

    While Scratch’s plans and imprecations are complicated, his personality and goals are straightforward. He lusts after power. He has no loyalty toward anything, not even his own kin. And if he’s thwarted in his quest for power he will explode in murderous rage.

    Tremendously proud and arrogant, he’s huge on gaining revenge on anybody who opposes him. Scratch will nurse grudges for decades. The more he’s vanquished, the grander his plan for revenge will be.

    Scratch has little honour. He will reliably strike at the weakest spot of his adversaries (such as children), and routinely use underhanded tactics. Note from the History section the constant use of duplicity, manipulation, blackmail and decoys.


    Quotes

    “I beg to differ, Reed Richards ! I will get away with whatever I please — so long as I hold your child and his governess my captives !”

    “Fools ! You have reckoned without my power ! The power of the SATAN-STAFF ! By the spell of flame and bell ! By the place where demons sing ! Hear my cry ! Turn black the sky ! Let the beasts of stone take wing !! Fly my children — fly !! Destroy the Fantastic Four !” (animates a throng of gargoyles)

    “Your stamina is truly amazing, Benjamin Grimm ! Anyone else would have fallen long ago ! But not all the stamina in the world can save you from this, fool — the fury of the ARCANE ARTS !” (blasts the Thing)

    “You and your companions were all fools, Thing… for thinking you could ever hope to defy our power ! After all, what chance could any mortal being stand against a city ruled by… WITCHES !”

    (To Agatha Harkness) “Keep moving, old woman — you have no friends here to help you now. And justice awaits you at the top of those stairs !”

    “By the seven-sided circle ! What manner of madness is this !”

    “No ! He’s lying ! But my Satan-Staff will soon still his tongue !”

    “Impudent fool ! You dare deny my wishes when, with but the slightest gesture, I can destroy you ?”

    “Look at you foolish humans… cowering like whipped dogs ! This day should have occurred centuries ago ! We witches were destined to rule this world !”

    “In the new underworld order, I’ll be the Sorcerer Supreme.”

    “Arise and come forth, Shuma-Gorath ! He Who Sleeps But Shall Awaken… Who feasted on the bones and the flesh and the blood of humankind’s ancestors… One of the Dark Gods, Reed Richards. The incantation that freed Shuma-Gorath needed to have been read by a person pure of heart… And yes, fool, I banished Strange and took his place.”


    DC Universe History

    Nicholas Scratch actually works fine as somebody who routinely operates both in the DCU and MU. He would use unique loci discovered in the Dark Realms to commute between the two and bring the Salem’s Seven with him.

    In the DCU he might have connections with the pre-dead and a vendetta against the former members of Infinity, Inc. due to previous defeats.


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    Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

    Tell me more about the game stats

    Nicholas Scratch

    Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 04 Motivation: Power Lust
    Int: 06 Wil: 08 Min: 09 Occupation: Sorcerer, former mayor
    Inf: 08 Aur: 09 Spi: 11 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
    Init: 018 HP: 060

    Powers:
    Air walking: 02, Magic sense: 06, Sorcery: 12

    Skills:
    Artist (Actor): 05, Occultist: 10

    Advantages:
    Area Knowledge (Multidimensional topology, New Salem).

    Connections:
    New Salem (Low), Salem’s Seven (high).

    Drawbacks:
    SIA toward Power Lust, Creepy Appearance (Large beard, white streaks in hair, deep and distinctive voice), MIA toward overconfidence.

    Equipment:

    • Drugged tea [BODY 01, Hypnotism: 14, Ammo: 05, Limitations: the tea must be willingly drunk by the target ; Hypnotism can only implant the suggestion “your superhuman powers are no longer working”, and this effect will only become active when announced by the person who brewed the tea and heard by the drinkers].
    • Satan-Staff [BODY 12 SPI 12, Sorcery: 10
      • Note: Sorcery only acts as its own AV when 18 or more APs active — otherwise the wielder uses their most relevant Action Attribute.
      • Misc.: The range of Sorcery spells that can be cast using the Staff when one is not Mayor of New Salem is much narrower. Conservatively assume that Sorcery can only produce Energy Blast (ML) if the wielder isn’t the Mayor.
      • Misc.: The Satan-Staff has a powerful enchantment that allows the New Salemites to lend their sorcerous might to the wielder as long as they concentrate. This is resolved using the Multiplier Table – check the number of New Salem witches on the lower line, and add twice the corresponding APs to all of the Staff’s Attributes and Powers.
        The full population of New Salem (about 300-350 people, I would say) thus adds 18 APs, while a single helper adds 2 APs. Technically, this is considered a Gradual Power Loss Limitation tied to not having the New Salemite witches backing the Staff.]

    Rituals:

    • Calling the beasts of stone
      Effect: N.A. – activates other enchantments.
      Casting time: One Phase.
      Nec. components: Satan-Staff, being in New Salem, presence of enchanted gargoyles.
      This simple ritual activates the enchantments placed on the gargoyles infesting New Salem.

    • Contacting Dormammu
      Effect: N.A. – requests communication with a specific otherdimensional being, though it may also ensure a better Attitude on its part than normal.
      Casting time: Unrevealed, likely hours.
      Nec. components: Skulls, glowing globes, red paint for pentagrams, a golden cauldron with snake/tentacle motifs, and a green-ish boiling mixture. Most of this is likely intricate and hard to procure.
      This involved ritual allows one to contact a major demon, usually to negotiate some deal.

    • Calling the kobudo demons
      Effect: Dimension travel (Summoning): 06
      Casting time: Unrevealed, likely hours.
      Nec. components: Unrevealed, but rounding up the Components for the first casting is probably a sizeable project.
      This Ritual was used off-panel  to conjure the “kobudo demons”, who have their own section below.

    • Calling the outer darkness
      Effect: Dimension travel (Conjuring): 14
      Casting time: Days.
      Nec. components: The documented part is the following sacrifices, which have to be done on consecutive days:

      • Wounding a man inside the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Sorcerer Supreme and painting glyphs on him in his own blood.
      • Ritually sacrificing a beautiful young woman whose initials are all the letter S, then throwing her from a building a specific distance away from the Sanctum Sanctorum (an eligible spot was in the meatpacking district).
      • Smash the heads of one’s greatest enemies. Scratch cheated and vandalised Alicia Masters’ latest sculpture of the Fantastic Four ; it worked.
      • Kill exactly 666 butterflies, all at once.
      • Dig up seven recent corpses from their graves and sit them around a table with pentagrams painted on it, in blood. The corpses likely had to present certain characteristics.

      This Ritual’s goal was apparently to summon Shuma-Gorath to Earth.


    Early Scratch

    In his initial appearances, before being depowered by Agatha Harkness, Scratch had a small range of magical Powers at his command. He didn’t have the Powers listed in the stats block yet.

    What he actually did was Energy blast (ML): 09, Personality transfer (ML): 12 and Super-ventriloquism (ML): 10 (Ventriloquism also projected a wraith-like manifestation of Scratch’s visage). Personality transfer may have Limitations.

    Neither did he have the listed Rituals. He knew Rituals, but these were all lengthy group projects, such as the eight-persons one that granted powers to the Salem’s Seven to counter the powers of the Fantastic Four. His key asset back then was the Satan-Staff, which allowed him to use full-blown Sorcery as long as he was the mayor.


    Centerville Scratch

    When he came to Centerville, Scratch didn’t have any Powers and his Rituals were the same as in the paragraph above, plus the Contact Dormammu one.

    Scratch wielded the Satan-Staff, though it wasn’t as powerful since he was no longer Mayor of New Salem or backed by the witches there.

    When he came back from his alliance with Dormammu, Nicholas Scratch had the full Sorcery Power noted above.


    How to serve man

    Like any good Gothic Horror town, New Salem counts numerous gargoyles on its roofs. All are enchanted, and can be animated by the wielder of the Satan-Staff to attack intruders. Although they thankfully do not Team Attack, there is a lot of them – about 18 to 24 were brought to bear against the FF. The gargoyles have the following stats:

    New Salem gargoyles

    Dex: 04 Str: 05 Bod: 04 Motivation: N.A.
    Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: NA Occupation: Statue
    Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}: N.A.
    Init: 009 HP: 000

    Powers:
    Flight: 06, Skin armour: 01


    Hi oni, I’m home

    In Centerville, “Mayor Nicholas” conjured a group of red-skinned, horned, mystical enforcers to capture Patsy Walker. Since they were likely affiliated with Dormammu, and carried medieval Japanese weapons, I’ll call them the “kobudo demons”.

    There were six of them, and their normal MO is to suddenly phase through the walls, cast the Snare on their target and keep witnesses at bay with their weapons.

    Kobudo demons
    “You must not resist, girl !”

    Dex: 04 Str: 04 Bod: 04 Motivation: Mercenary
    Int: 03 Wil: 02 Min: 04 Occupation: Enforcer
    Inf: 03 Aur: 02 Spi: 04 Resources {or Wealth}:  ?
    Init: 010 HP: 010

    Powers:
    Air-Walking: 01, Dispersal: 06

    Bonuses and Limitations:

    • Air-Walking only while Dispersed (-1).
    • Dispersal only allows the Demons to pass through normal construction material. It doesn’t provide protection or allow for phasing through exotic matter or energy.

    Skills:
    Weaponry (Traditional Japanese melee and thrown weapons): 05

    Equipment:

    • Assorted Melee Weapons [BODY 06, EV 04 (05 w/STR). They tend to have a different weapon each ; in this case there was one katana, one nunchaku, something likely supposed to be a bisento, and an aiguichi].
    • Shuriken (x9) [BODY 04, EV 03, Grenade Drawback. One of the two guys without melee weapons carries shuriken].
    • The last guy does not carry any weapon — he has several one-shot Rituals ready instead. The first such Ritual has a Snare (ML): 06 Effect, and the Snare gets to be its own AV ; the second one-shot does Energy blast (ML): 08 and is also its own AV.
      This Kobudo Demon likely has to read the demonic equivalent of an ofuda so he can insta-cast later, or maybe it’s an old-school D&D spell-like 1/day power.

    By Sébastien Andrivet.

    Source of Character: Marvel Universe (chiefly Fantastic Four comics).

    Helper(s): Kal-El el Vigilante, Frank Murdock, Darci.

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