Barnaby Clay, the mysterious investigator of the bizarre known to the world in general as Sir Tophat, is in fact a Voodoo Houngan. This means that he has a couple special magic powers that are not understood by modern science, abilities that he uses to help others when all other means fail. He is a disciple in such magic, though as hard as he works at it, he's likely to become an adept in no time...
Schooling: Disciple / Voodoo Magic: Barnaby is something of an expert on occult affairs, making him a vital addition to the ranks of Agency 13. To date, he has demonstrated a level of mystical mastery that would paint him a disciple of the Voodoo arts, and he is a distinguished Houngan who stands out in communities who practice his beliefs.
Voodoo is a curious form of magic, indeed, in that it is subject to the beliefs of those it would be used upon and those watching it in action. This is why Voodoo Houngans and Mambos wear such garish, intimidating costumes - to make sure their magics work. If folks actually believe Barnaby to be powerful, all of his mystic actions are made at one difficulty level lower than usual.
On the other hand, should an opponent make Barnaby look foolish, stupid, or weak somehow, his power against the people involved will drop dramatically. In fact, against such persons (and the people that witnessed such an event), the difficulty of any mystic action Barnaby attempts will be increased by one difficulty level. As such, he goes out of his way to appear potent and wizened beyond his years.
To date, Barnaby has demonstrated these magical capabilities:
Vodun (s) (w): this spell, intrinsic and vital to the Voodoo school of magic, allows Barnaby to perform a special ceremony that invites a Loa, a sort of spiritual entity, to inhabit his body and 'ride' it for a time. While in this possessed state, Barnaby may manifest special abilities based on the nature of the Loa 'riding' him, determined on a case by case basis. This is an intensity 13 spell.
Now, if Barnaby performs this ceremony for a mere exchange, it's likely he'll just attract a random Loa to 'ride' him for a time. In order to grab a specific Loa's attentions, Barnaby must pass an 'impossible' difficulty vodun action, though each exchange spent performing the ceremony reduces this difficulty by one difficulty level. Or, he can learn specific entreaties in order to guarantee his success.
Eldritch Wave / Insects (u) (i): with fluid motions of his magic wand, Barnaby can summon forth a wave of stinging, biting insects, and command them to attack the target of his choice. Collectively, these bugs can inflict an intensity 10 assault upon Barnaby's foes, but if said opponent has body armor or a force field, he is completely immune to this attack (save for the gross-out factor).
Individual Shield (p) (i): by spreading a special, magical dust he has concocted in front of his person, Barnaby can create a powerful defensive shield. Though it only protects him from frontal assault, this is an intensity 10 shield, adding such (or his Strength or Willpower +2) protection to Barnaby's basic defenses. It can only protect against one attack at a given point in an exchange's initiative.
Paralysis (u) (w): another magical dust he has concocted, Barnaby can throw this at an opponent, causing him to slip into uncontrollable fits of sneezing. Functioning at intensity 11, this spell is particularly effective in dealing with 'thugs' and 'minions', as it immobilizes folks who Barnaby can pass an easy difficulty Paralysis (willpower) action against, doing so for an aura duration before the effect wears off.
Sympathetic Magic (s) (w): in the event that Barnaby can procure some part of a person, such as a nail clipping, tuft of hair, smattering of blood, or even one of their beloved possessions, he can perform certain magical feats concerning said person. This intensity 12 magic, practically the oldest magic in the world, can be used by Barnaby in the following ways:
* Augury (p) (w): with the possession of a part of another, Barnaby can perform an augury on them, allowing him to determine information about their basic nature. This power stunt can be used to determine who (or what) the person under scrutiny is, just what they are doing, and even why. Furthermore, it can answer one question about his immediate future, though Narrators may be justifiably cryptic in such matters.
* Illusion (u) (w): with the possession of a part of another, Barnaby can wield a specialized form of the illusion spell. By powdering the sample of his target, and waving the resultant dust into the air, Barnaby can cause an image of said person to appear within the dust, which will last for approximately one exchange. This is primarily useful for identifying the subject of Barnaby's typically forensic work.
* Telelocation (p) (w): with the possession of a part of another, Barnaby can perform a special ceremony, taking anywhere from five to sixty minutes, that will allow him to determine precisely where (and even when, if necessary) said person is. Once the ceremony is complete, Barnaby must light a candle, and he will know where his target is until the candle has been extinguished or otherwise burns out.
Hindrances / Augmentations:
Lantern (w): this magical object, typically stored within Barnaby's top hat, sheds light as does any ordinary lantern - that is, as long as it has some oil in it, and the wick is lit. However, it has a special mystic property, in that it wields the nonapparent vision power, allowing folks to see through any illusion the light is shined on with intensity 10 ability.
History / America (i): while he knows a lot about the magical community in general, Barnaby is quite the expert on happenings in America, his home. As such, he likely knows just about anything of significance concerning this nation and its history, and is a useful font for such information, should anybody think to ask him for it; after all, he doesn't go out of his way to make himself known to the world.
Linguistics (i): in his many travels, Barnaby's quest for spiritual fulfillment has taken him to the farthest corners of the earth. Having been to many nations and having met countless interesting folks, Barnaby has managed to pick up quite a large array of languages. He is known to speak Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Spanish, Portuguese, and Russian, though he undoubtedly knows more tongues.
Lore (i): a Voodoo Houngan, Barnaby naturally has extensive knowledge concerning the occult. For instance, he knows all sorts of things about magic items, history, and most current magical 'secret' societies. Any Intellect actions made in this area of expertise should be attempted at a reduced difficulty, as the man is a veritable walking encyclopedia of the occult.
Manipulation (w): the very nature of his magic practically requires that Barnaby have this skill as a general matter of course. You see, if he can't convince people that he's powerful, he won't be on a given encounter; as such, he must confuse their perceptions and trick them into thinking that he is quite the powerful master of the unknown, and this skill helps him do so.
Martial Arts (a): though he prefers not to engage in mere fisticuffs, or any conflict for that matter, Barnaby has found during his time as an Agency man that sometimes he has no choice but to fight. As such, he has gained proper training in the marital arts, and can use his Agility instead of Strength in melee combat (even for trumps), and can make an average difficulty Agility action to catch weapons thrown at him.
Explorer: a true delver into mysteries, Barnaby is a prime example of an explorer at heart. He has gone to great lengths in order to find his place in the world, and this place seems to continually involve his getting mixed up in all kinds of occult horror stories. However, he perseveres to the very end, as finding out what is behind any given monstrosity makes his life (and job) worthwhile.
In order to impress upon those around him that he is, in fact, a terribly dangerous Voodoo Houngan, Barnaby has taken to wearing a suitable costume for such in the United States. He exclusively wears an incredibly expensive tuxedo while on the job, one that is complemented with black leather shoes, virgin white gloves, and a black, foot tall top hat (large enough to store his lantern).
Barnaby has deep feelings for his fellow Agency 13 investigators, as he has come to look upon them as his family. However, in order to remain 'in character', and thus keep his magic powers functioning properly, he continually maintains a calm, unfazed exterior, no matter how deeply events around him shake his resolve. If he ever falters in his cool speech even for a second - be worried.
Real Name: Barnaby Clay
Occupation: investigator of the bizarre, Voodoo Houngan
Legal Status: American citizen with no known criminal record
Marital Status: single
Alias(es), if any: none
Group Affiliation: Agency 13
Height: 6' 6"
Eyes: icy blue
Weight: 180 lbs
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: Barnaby has a sort of elongated look to his face.
Barnaby grew up in what you could only call a bizarre family. His mom was a new age, pagan vegan, his father was in an insane asylum, and his siblings were all either self-declared Frankologists or Roman Catholics. Of course, they say that crazy runs in the family, and though Barnaby was spared this terrible state of affairs, you could definitely say that his home life was a little touched.
All of these extreme views on religion only spurred Barnaby towards finding his own, unique place in the world, and as he turned twenty, he left his home forever, hoping to search the world until he found what he was looking for. He walked across Europe and Asia, despite rather hostile national borders, and after a year or so, found himself in Haiti with a twenty dollar bill and his last set of clothes.
Working odd jobs for a few months, Barnaby eventually came to the attention of a local Mambo, a Voodoo priestess who sensed his innate openness to new ideas and driving quest for both identity and purpose. Introducing herself, the woman explained what she was and what she did and, intrigued, Barnaby went along with her designs for him for about two years, while he decided whether or not she was a joke.
His attitude was abruptly changed one fateful night when he met (and was 'rode' by) his very first Loa. He found the experience indescribable, and felt a true connection to the world for the very first time. Truly intrigued that there was more to the world than what met the eye, Barnaby was hooked, and studied with his beloved Mambo for several more years, until she sent him home.
Feeling he could do much, much more in the land of his birth, his Mambo told him to find his place in America, and to use his powers for the good of his home. In his late twenties, Barnaby then spent three intensive years in college, learning everything that New York State had to offer about American history. Once he was finished, Barnaby left to wander the States, looking for occult wrongs to right.
Spending two years doing just that, generally appeasing local spirits that had been disturbed and helping individuals who'd fallen on hard times, Barnaby had drawn the attention of one Mike 013, who needed an expert on the occult to help him in the various paranormal investigations he perpetrated with his Agency 13 outfit. Liking the idea, as it'd allow him to help more folks at once, Barnaby accepted Mike's job offer.
Since hooking up with the Agency, Barnaby has assumed the heroic code-name Sir Tophat, as it was a) indicative of his Houngan costume, and b) he didn't want to use his real name while 'on the job' with these people, lest some nasty critter overhear and use it against his family. After all, some supernatural entities are quite malicious, and think nothing of hurting the innocent to get revenge...
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