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James Marvel (DC Heroes RPG)

James Marvel


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 2014 Halloween themed character creation contest.


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Background

  • Real Name: James Donagh Ahearn (originally Maceachthighearna, meaning son of the horse lord in Irish).
  • Other Aliases: James Marvel (his nom de scène), The Sorcerer of the Celebrities, The World’s Greatest Stage Magician.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Duncan Maceachthighearna (father, deceased), Maira Gallchobhar (mother, believed deceased; name means “helper of strangers” in Irish), two unnamed brothers and one sister (that he doesn’t know about). Also all the members of an old Irish clan tree.
  • Group Affiliation: Informal member of Earth’s mystical community.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 155 lbs. Age: Around 30.
  • Eyes: Green Hair: Blond


Powers & Abilities

James is a tremendously powerful natural magician due to an affinity arisen from Fairie blood and experience living a magic life. He is a natural genius at understanding occult forces at work and can easily bring control of magic energies and constructs much further than anyone else.

This is shown not only in the rare feats of ritual magic he casts or creates, but also in the enormous potential of his most common spells.

His abilities include, but are not limited, to:

  • Manipulation of gravity.
  • Healing.
  • Enlarging or shrinking objects and people.
  • Rendering things invisible.
  • Reading minds as well as protecting minds against unwanted intruders.

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Other abilities

Further, he can actually peek at the future at will and intuition, but it’s a very taxing ability.

He has been known to create mystical artefacts.

Ever the flamboyant showman he has developed true showmanship and skills at persuasion and trickery. In addition to performing popular stage magic shows, he “consults” the spirits for information and predictions for the rich and famous. This has given him the nickname of the Sorcerer of the Celebrities in the tabloids.

All he actually does is he reads the targets’ minds, gleaming their dreams, desires and personal information, and then designs his “predictions” and “communications” as to what the target wants to hear. While he can read the future and its trends it’s very rarely done.

Igor !

Igor the assistant is tall and slender and surprisingly strong. Despite his (by James given) cliché name is not only brawn, but also brains. He likes money, and in particular gold, and so he works not only as James’ show assistant, but also as his accountant… and being a great swindler himself he takes most of the money that they make!

He has to endure an insufferable boss, humiliation and pain, but as long as there is money in it he’s in for the long run!

Little does he realize the truth about himself being a Leprechaun. James actually guards over him until he can restore him to his former self one day (therefore also allowing the obvious swindling).

During his stay on Earth he has learned a lot of useful physical skills, and given an uncanny interest in Fairy tales, he has memorized all of their tales too, which he himself considers very unmanly.

He uses weapons imbued by mystical energy by his “master” James, and despite not being himself he does enjoy everything that the Earth has to offer and the grand adventures.

Saturday night live show !

The magic of James is very real, but everyone thinks it’s pure illusion and trickery. On stage he has displayed astounding world-famous trickery, most commonly (key words for DC Heroes in parentheses):

  • Levitate objects into the air and making them just disappear (Gravity Decrease, Invisibility).
  • Making light-weight objects impossible for target audience to move, until he moves it himself at the mere flick of a finger (Gravity Increase).
  • Disappearing and reappearing cascades of objects, such as balls, thrown into the air, just floating there, crashing harder than they should or flying through the roof! (Invisibility, Gravity Increase, Gravity Decrease).
  • Appearing to create live miniature people from his hat and pockets or just from thin air onto his hand (which usually is at least his assistant pre-shrunk using Diminution and made Invisible), which are then displayed using a magnifying glass and a camera for the astounded public (are these real fairies and elfs come to visit!?).
  • Remake miniature toy animals into real animals on stage (pre-Shrunk “mechanical” animals made their normal live size; careful, he doens’t know much about how to handle animals!).
  • Mentalist trickery where he “guesses” the occupation, names of every family member and friend, and, h-ck, even bank account number of a target, and he truly knows how to spin the words (Mind Probe, Gift of Gab).
  • Allowing his assistant to cut himself open with a live weapon or shooting himself only to have him soon again rise up completely unharmed (Damage Transference; the mental fatigue following this concentrated effort is not faked though and neither is the assistant’s supposedly faked pain. This is rarely performed due to the actual brutality, but hey, if they pay well enough!).

Embiggening magic

There is but one ability he has never shown on stage in any form, namely the ability that makes him a truly fabulous sorcerer of the ages: the unlimited ability to grow objects and people to any size!

This potentially devastating ability, which in early trials almost led to his own demise, has only been used to fight major mystical creatures, invasions, monsters, deities, demons in utter secrecy (yes, his assistant Igor has been the target of enlargement and then expected to fight monsters!).

This ability in particular is also what makes him an asset in the Earth’s mystical community (he could give the Spectre a run for his money) despite his grand flair for public showmanship and grand theft and general swindlery.

Given an old prophecy that will fling him fast towards his unwanted destiny when he uses this ability he is extremely reluctant to use it (and has to pay 5 Hero Points  for every combat scene he employs it).

His membership in this informal community is a great secret and he would never admit to having anything to do with those nutcases if confronted with the fact. Still, the community remains at relatively good terms with him although they are not privy to share their greatest secrets with him, with him still being something of a wild card.


History

James grew up on the Irish moor to traditional farming Irishmen. Howbeit his skill at the Irish languages is poor – since most everyone for miles around them spoke English – unlike his parents who fluently spoke both Irish and English.

The father’s side belongs to an old Irish clan, while there is secretly Fairie blood from one branch on his mother’s side. She could, in fact, weave simple nature spells, which he observed from the crib innately feeling the energies being used.

Pixies

When still a child in the fields of green he very naturally weaved spells of every type even far beyond those of his mother’s abilities. His marvelous effects were observed by pixies who, amused, instructed him further and played with him. They communicated mentally, a skill he soon learned as well along the ability to block his thoughts from others.

His mother cautiously watched his mystical growth, urging him to play with neighboring kids instead, which he did. But he always returned to the fields for more magic. Then one day tragedy struck. At age 10 joined a visiting delegation of elves and with them crossed over to the land of Fairies, as if his blood had been asking for it.

They soon left him erroneously assuming that he know what he was doing since he had so effortlessly joined them. In Fairyland he journeyed far and abroad, not knowing how to get home, and seemingly did nobody else either. He grew in use and power of his abilities and so he met Titania, the Fairy Queen, and her king, sharing tales of Earth with them.

He traversed fields so green, so lush and so large that they could seemingly span a continent. And he fell asleep under a talking tree after eating of its forbidden fruit off the usual walking path. When he woke up he was visibly older in his teens and soon noticed that he was even more adept at magic than before.

Back from the Otherworld

He earned a keep at a marketplace where all manners of creatures met by performing magic tricks. He had many a wonderful adventure in the lands around and finally met a Leprechaun that had been to Earth a long time ago. Of course, he had to beat him at a game of cards before agreeing to bring him home.

Finally getting back to the Earth plane, far away from his old home, James was now physically around 20 years old. The Leprechaun was pretty exhausted after the trip. And so they both took rest in a cheap tavern and paying with pure gold snatched from the air.

However, people were reacting to the small, 3-feet tall weird green-clad fellow, and so, while in their room, James decided to fix the problem by magically growing the Leprechaun to adult size.

Am I my leprechaun’s keeper?

However, James was still very unused to this ability and found the Leprechaun’s own arcane energies mixing up and disturbing the process vastly enhancing it. As enlargement energies fed back into James in a loop the Leprechaun grew far too fast and broke through the roof bringing down the entire tavern.

The crash was so fast that the Leprechaun suffered a head injury while James barely got out before it all crashed down.

Panicking, James quickly tried to shrink the Leprechaun again, but succeeded only partly in that he size was now that of a tall adult male. They quickly made their way from town with James running and levitating an unconscious former Leprechaun in invisible form.

Unfortunately, the Leprechaun was dying from his head wounds, but James managed to save him using magic. Still, there was amnesia which was beyond his abilities to cure. Feeling deeply guilty for what he had caused, James took the now human adult-looking Leprechaun into his care, intending to one day restore him to his former self.

The Leprechaun still had his sense of adventure, and eventually grow into James’ close aid and partner.

Study time

James’ former home was now abandoned. His father’s grave could be found in their yard, with no sign of the mother. There had been a fire in which the father had been killed. Most other villagers believed his mother to also have perished with the fire.

But instead she had escaped that night with the three children she had gotten after James had disappeared. They are all still alive to this day.

Looking through the ruins, James found an old cache of magic books belonging to his mother. He learned a lot about magic during those days. He also had to improve his Irish since that’s the tongue his mother had used in the writings.

All this while the Leprechaun, whom James now had named Igor for fun, watched television. He learned about life on Earth and just enjoyed Earth culture and concepts.

Knowing little else but magic, James decided to earn his living using stage magic under the name of James Marvel. Just like he had done at the markets in Fairyland.

The show must go on

Starting out in Dublin, then moving on to London and finally to New York, he soon became a celebrity. His tricks appeared impossible, which was because it was real magic. Igor also followed him all the way around the world. The two are close buddies, sharing a sense of adventure. James is glad that he can offer Igor a life of adventure in compensation.

Igor’s origin, however, is never to be known until James can rectify his earlier error and get him back home. Also part of his destiny is to one day meet his missing family members again.

He soon became known in occult circles. Marvel has joined forces with several magicians, wizards and occultists over the years. His greatest weapon against major threats is his enlargement power, to which Igor is usually the recipient (maybe it could fix him this time around?).

He has written books about magic and spell-casting for fun, not being a naturally good author. But he hasn’t written a single word of truth or included any rituals that actually work!

He keeps seances, reads fortunes and other such matters for money. Some of it is true, while most of it is fake. Nowadays, James Marvel regularly keeps shows at Broadway while enjoying money, alcohol, women, traveling and, now and then, magic adventures!


Description

James is an healthy man with blond hair and green eyes. He can afford to dress quite well and on stage is often seen in a black suit with a top hat and magic wand. These are the clothes to which he changes from normal clothes on stage in a magic flash as part of the act.

In his spare time he dresses more casually in jeans and t-shirt. It’s not unusual for him to further carry his family crest, mystic or Irish symbols symbols as motifs on his clothes.

He naturally speaks English with an Irish accent, which has gotten even more pronounced during his Fairy Land stay and it gives him a folksy charm on stage.


Personality

James is still a bit misplaced in a world of which he was not a part of for so very long. He is used to living in magic lands. He continues doing so on Earth as well while everybody believes it’s mere trickery. And he never corrects them either of course.

Having a basically decent heart, he feels compelled to help out other magicians against mystic threats.

He always brings Igor along everywhere, repaying a guilt for ruining his life, and they are best buddies despite Igor’s tendency to steal and trick at every opportunity. He simply puts a blind eye to these faults. And who says one cannot have fun while doing the right thing?

And better yet, if fun also brings some money as his stage magic act does! Both James and Igor love gold and everything one can do with it!

Other traits

James does have a great destiny to fulfill. But he’s not really willing to tackle this yet. He knows this destiny because he, surprised, saw himself in one of his mother’s old prophetic books. Therein he was enlarging combatants – his strongest ability since the feedback incident – in a magic war against some magic creatures or gods.

However, the story did not end well for him, a tragic tale. As such, he is vary of using his enlarging spells for two reasons: guilt and avoidance of destiny.

Still, knowing well the world of magic, he realizes that destiny will one day pull him into all of the magic crap anyway whether he wants it or not. And so he is slowly growing more accepting of his role in the Earth’s mystical community.

So far, though, he tries to live the good life of showmanship, money, women and alcohol, all along with Igor. But time is running short…


Quotes

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to a night of the thrilling, astonishing and unbelievable ! Enter a world of magic and wonders and marvel – welcome to this year’s Halloweeeen Shooooww !!”

Marvel: “Look, Spectre, I won’t do it. There is no money in it, I’ve got a hangover, my assistant is feeling surly tonight and I’ve got a grand show in a few hours. Somebody else can save the world this time around !”
Spectre: “It’s the Cult of the Blood Red Moon, James, summoning a triumvirate of Yog-Sothoth the All-in-One, Trigon the Terrible and Marduk the God of War tonight. You are needed.”
Marvel: “… H-ck, no world no show. Igor, we, eh, you are needed to combat the forces of evil in the night ! Pack our bags, and wipe your chin, we are going hunting demon blood.”


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James Marvel

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure, Mercenary
Int: 06 Wil: 04 Min: 04 Occupation: Con Artist, Stage Magician, Secret Occult Hero
Inf: 06 Aur: 03 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 004
Init: 017 HP: 005

Powers:
Damage Transference: 04, Diminution: 10, Enlarge: 12, Gravity Increase: 06, Gravity Decrease: 04, Invisibility: 10, Mind Field: 05, Mind Probe: 10

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • All Powers are Mystic-linked.
  • Target’s STR and Weight are increased by the APs of Enlarge he/she is affected by (+3).
  • Enlarge is Regretful (-2).
  • Invisibility can only be cast upon others (incl. objects) (-1).

Skills:
Occultist 06

Advantages
Confidant (Igor the assistant), Familiarity (Nature Magic, Showmanship, Sleight of hand, the Irish language), Genius, Gift of Gab.

Connections:
Mystic Community (Low).

Drawbacks:
Public Identity.

Equipment:

  • Top hat, a black suit and a “magic” wand.
  • Com-Radio [BODY 01, Radio Communications: 06, R#0, Note: He uses this to communicate with Igor in the field during adventures.]

Igor the assistant

Dex: 03 Str: 04 Bod: 03 Motivation: Thrill of Adventure/Mercenary
Int: 03 Wil: 03 Min: 03 Occupation: Magician’s assistant, swindler, chaffeur, bodyguard
Inf: 03 Aur: 05 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 006
Init: 011 HP: 001

Skills:
Martial Artist: 04, Thief (Pickpocketing): 04, Vehicles (Land): 03, Weaponry (Firearms): 04

Advantages
Familiarity (Accounting, Fairy Tales, Gambling, Stage magic), Luck, Magic Background.

Drawbacks:
Forced Exile (Fairyland), MPI (amnesia), MIA (money & gold).

Equipment:

  • Magda the exorcizer gun [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 04, Ammo: 15, R#03, Bonus: Projectile Weapons is Mystic-Linked, Notes: This little piece of work serves as a persuading tool or for simple self-protection.]
  • Mike the demolishing rifle [BODY 04, Projectile weapons: 06, Ammo: 10, R#02, Advantage : Autofire, Bonus: Projectile Weapons is Mystic-Linked, Notes: This powerful rifle is ready, available and in use against more powerful opponents.]
  • Holy assistant’s armor [BODY 05, Radio communication: 06, Shade: 02, Skin armour: 02, Bonus: Skin armour works against energy attacks, Drawback: Real armour, Bonus: All Powers are Mystic-Linked. Notes: Igor will wear this in the field during normal intelligence gathering work. Whenever he is enlarged by James to combat a threat the armor is also enlarged providing him with further protection. It’s unclear if the armor actually has any holy properties, but at least James claims so.]

Igor notes

Igor the Leprechaun actually has the Dimension Travel power at 06 APs. But being amnesiac about his true self he knows not how to use it either or even that he has it. The Leprechaun form had 02 APs of Shrinking (Always On). Now, when fighting in 12 APs enlarged form during a magical crisis situation, his STR is 16 APs and his BODY is 15 APs.

He has actually come to enjoy that huge form and the abilities it gives him. His equipment is also enlarged during the process making it all available for his use; the armor will have a BODY of 17 APs while providing him Skin Armor of 02 APs for a total Physical RV of 17, practically rendering him invulnerable.


Generator results

The character is a magic wielder with all energies and four powers (one of which was a mastery among the dimensional energies!). All the abilities and details just fell into place by themselves. I got a string of truly astounding rolls with this one with the Powers, and I would be very happy to play the character myself!

Happy Halloween 2014!


Alternate stats

While the rules of the contest did not allow for heavy modifications of the results my wishlist for this character, should he ever become a player character would include:

  • The Guilt Drawback; The business with Igor and losing his family weights heavy on his heart.
  • Higher AURA score, like 07 APs, since the Fairie blood in him should provide this!
  • His standard HPs while adventuring should be around 45-50 HPs.
  • He should have the full Language (Irish) advantage instead of a mere Familiarity.
  • Likewise James should have a full Expertise in Nature Magic.
  • Igor should have the Dimension Travel power of 06 APs in his stats, with it being completely up to GM’s whim and Uncontrollable as long as his amnesia lasts.
  • There should be Guilt Subplots where Igor temporarily regains his memory after another knock to his head.
  • James would also benefit from a number of simple Nature Magic Rituals among his inventory, as he would have learned this during his long stay in the Fairy Land.
  • James should also have the Insta-Change advantage, allowing him to change from normal clothing to, for example, his scene clothes (see Equipment) in a flash

By Dr. Peter S. Piispanen.

Source of Character: Homemade – Halloween Character Contest 2014 using the System for Magic DC Character Creation.

Helper(s): Darci.

Writeup completed on the 24th of October, 2014.

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