Monday, June 22, 2015

Today's NPC: Magda Berlioz, CPA

Magda Berlioz, CPA

SYSTEM: Any


Magda first comes to the attention of the PCs because she's a tax accountant, working for a firm hired either by one of the PCs (in secret or hero identity) or for the team, if there is a team. Magda is young, unmarried (to the displeasure of her father), and has a bright future ahead of her. She's built rather like an Olympic shot-putter, but she has a cheerful disposition, and she's pretty sure her boyfriend will propose very soon.

And she's just been handed the job of handling the taxes of the PC|team, now that old Mr. Courtemanche is retiring.Things are looking good for Magda.

The PCs soon get to know the way that Magda is frustrated by their inability to keep proper receipts, and their tendency to claim things like "extradimensional mileage--work expenses" (if she's the accountant for a hero identity or identities). Magda is very happy when her boyfriend proposes (he's an insurance underwriter). They might even get to know that her mom was a serious granola-crunching hippy who raised Magda on a commune after she split with Magda's father, and cast "good luck" spells on her every full moon. But they certainly know that she's a good accountant who finds every allowable deduction for them.

That's when Magda gets possessed.

It probably happens on a trip to the hero HQ to discuss some deductions, triggered by accidentally brushing against some mystic object, but it might happen when she shakes hands with a magical hero or, frankly, the stars might just be right.

She becomes temporary housing to a powerful extraplanar deity, maybe one that calls itself a god, maybe an Elder Thing, but one with a mission of conquest.

I'm sure that the heroes can defeat the entity and send it back to its home dimension; that's what heroes do.

Except that Magda isn't really the same after that. Not that her personality has changed, but her fiance breaks it off for fear that some night he'll be sharing the bed with Czernobog, and she's put on notice by her company. Yes, possession is one of the risks of associating with superheroes, but it never happened to Mr. Courtemanche.

Magda can probably rebuild...except that first possession has wrought one more change: it's given her the Quality "transient housing for the incorporeal". If there's an entity in search of a body, it will probably get Magda, which means that the PCs will see her outside of tax season.

Magda tries to make this work...she puts the heroes on speed dial, except of course that once she's possessed she doesn't want to dial. Proactive heroes probably have her on a list. "Weird clouds over city? Check Magda and other usual suspects." She gets fired, tries to open her own business. She probably has the heroes as clients, maybe other exceptional individuals. ("Well, I think that as a werewolf, you can reasonably deduct the cage and manacles. Can we get some kind of affadavit from a recognized sorcerer?")

The Quality cuts both ways. If someone else is possessed, the players can try to encourage a helpful spirit into Magda. However, they might get something inimical. Also, if she's possessed by something relatively weak, like a revenant with unfinished business, it might get ousted halfway through by Zargox, Eater of Souls, which would mean that the current fight against Earl of Evil over there just got to be a fight on two fronts.

It's possible that one use of the Quality is that she retains bits and pieces of the god like abilities of the possessors. That will be handy when Paul is trying to kill her.

Paul, you see, is one of the previous hosts and possessors of the Quality. But he's old now (it would awful but telling if his last name were Courtemanche), and powerful extraplanar entities no longer try to possess him. (He's the shabby and dilapidated motel when compared to the bright new building that is Magda.) Paul's thing is that after he gets possessed, he feels better. A little of that life force gets left behind, and sure, he might die sooner, but he feels better. His joints don't ache, he can sleep better, and he can work small bits of magic.

The PCs can get involved with Magda through their taxes, the incidents created by one of Magda's "tenants", through the police catching Magda as she's possessed and creating an incident, or through the death attempts that Paul makes. She's a gateway to get them involved in the unfinished business of a revenant, and possibly a romantic interest for a character.

Here's how she might be written up in ICONS as the PCs first meet her:

Magda Berlioz

Prowess2Coordination3Strength4
Intellect4Awareness3Willpower3
DeterminationStamina7
SpecialtiesBusiness Expert
PowersNone (yet)
Qualities
  • Darn good tax accountant and CPA
  • Dad's traditional, mom's a granola flake, I don't want to be like either of them
  • Transient housing for the incorporeal