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Advice regarding character concept: Circe from The Odyssey


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Hey all. I have a prospective player who - influenced by Madeline Miller's Circe - wants to make a character like the titular sorceress. My initial idea is to encourage her to make an assistant priestess of Ernalda, who's also a lay worshipper of Babeester Gor (to cover the defense of women vs nasty men/revenge on nasty men angle). How to model the whole permanently turning men into pigs (or any other animals, for that matter) side of things though? I don't see any spells in the main rules that would cover this. Does anyone have any suggestions? 

 

 

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There are, by default, no spells that precisely match the classical Circe abilities. The two that come closest are Alter Creature (adjusted so that it can affect non-Praxians, is definitely reversible, and can turn people into a wider range of animals. Probably also given a different Rune than Man) and Become (Other Shape) (adjusted so that it affects a target other than the caster, with again probably a different Rune than Illusion.) Which one to modify depends on the emphasis you want to play up- do the transformed men have cognizance of their state (Become (other shape)) or are they totally unaware (Alter Creature)? 

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Some unsolicited advice: don't try to stay too close to the inspirational character.  I've run lots of, perhaps too many, characters "inspired" by books, TV shows or movies.  I ran a "Femme Nikita", a "Josie Wales", a time traveling "Leopold" (Kate and Leopold), a "Meg Coburn" (Replacement Killers) and am now running a Lagertha (Vikings TV).  Use the background for ideas, perhaps a few key personality points.  For example, my Lagertha won't put up with any polygamous marriage arrangements for her.  But I'm not going to force the campaign to take us into raiding England and sacrificing cattle.  🙂

They must be ready to move, at least slightly, away from the original inspiration into a character of their own.  Best for them, GMs, and the other players.

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3 hours ago, Beoferret said:

My initial idea is to encourage her to make an assistant priestess of Ernalda, who's also a lay worshipper of Babeester Gor (to cover the defense of women vs nasty men/revenge on nasty men angle). How to model the whole permanently turning men into pigs (or any other animals, for that matter) side of things though? I don't see any spells in the main rules that would cover this. Does anyone have any suggestions? 

You might choose Maran Gor as your target deity as she represents the dark side of the Earth.  

I'd model a relevant spell on the Become Hawk model in Red Book of Magic.  So if you want Become Swine, then it's a 4 pt. Rune spell and castable with the Earth Rune (since pigs are associated with the Earth).  However, that spell is non-stackable.  If you want a permanent effect, you would either need to make it stackable and add Extension, or perhaps bump up to a 5 pt. Rune spell (kind of like putting together Become (Other) and Alter Creature).  Not cheap, of course, but this is powerful magic.  

I'd also probably make the spell as something found at one specific shrine - perhaps it comes from an unusual Maran Gor shrine found within a larger Ernalda temple?   

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8 hours ago, Beoferret said:

Hey all. I have a prospective player who - influenced by Madeline Miller's Circe - wants to make a character like the titular sorceress. My initial idea is to encourage her to make an assistant priestess of Ernalda, who's also a lay worshipper of Babeester Gor (to cover the defense of women vs nasty men/revenge on nasty men angle). 

Looks like an interesting concept.

8 hours ago, Beoferret said:

How to model the whole permanently turning men into pigs (or any other animals, for that matter) side of things though? I don't see any spells in the main rules that would cover this. Does anyone have any suggestions? 

The Red Book of Magic has Become (Other), so you could use that to change someone into a pig, using Become (Pig). In the rules it is self but you could have a version cast on someone else.

You could have a new Rune spell that makes a spell's effects permanent.

 

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If this magic is going to imitate the magic of the Odyssey version of Circe, it should be an enchantment on herbs or similar that need to be ingested to cause the transformation, rather than an attack spell.

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6 hours ago, Rodney Dangerduck said:

Some unsolicited advice: don't try to stay too close to the inspirational character

Absolutly

 

I don't see a less powerful Circe-bis (with the same passion than Circe but pc level character) following an official cult.

Then I see 2 possibilities :

become a sorcerer, and create the spells to do what the player imagine

create a custom cult  :

     maybe some goddess who was Waha slave and concubine . One day, Waha saw a big saw and decided to hunt her. The saw, to flee the hunter, transformed herself several time in human to climb (become other shape), in sow to run but didn't succeed. Waha was seduced and, rather than using his butcher capacity, he decided to have a new concubine. But the goddess wasn't happy and after a -no time in godtime- period, she succeed to escape, stealing a Waha power (Alter creature). Becaused she was abused by a man, she hates all men.

a 'Circe' inititate must be a woman, enslaved abused by a man and succeesfully  escaped .

she may choose a passion between "hate men" and "dominate male"

she may hate Waha and any mysogynist cultists. she may like Bab's cultists

 

 

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Why not establish the ability to turn men onto pigs the goal of a heroquest or campaign which as FDW said about could initiate the creation of a cult. This would be in interesting campaign in itself as you the GM set up the various challenges that establishes her hatred of chauvinists 

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6 minutes ago, pachristian said:

I think that in your shoes, I would find out from the player what they expected to be able to do with a "Circe-like" character. Make sure that their expectations will fit into the game.

Good point.  Circe from the book (great book BTW) did a lot more interesting things than turn men into pigs.  I'd focus on those aspects more.

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Thanks for the input everyone! I think the player in question mainly liked the idea of someone who defends or avenges women, but primarily through magic instead of bright, sharp bronze. I will remind her about the potential to use herbs/concoctions for effect. I haven't read the Miller book and haven't read the Odyssey in awhile (The Iliad is a little more present in my mind at the moment.) Thanks again, all.

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