the Acrimonious Apostate
Ethel Rhea, the Acrimonious Apostate, is a former priestess of Hercules, and retains the clerical magic she learned while a part of his Church. However, she's since become a Frankologist, and thus possesses minor, belief-based psionics.
Believer Psionics (Theonic Powers):
Theonic Invisibility (s) (i): Frankologists who aren't simply posers, such as Ethel, possess this power. Wielding it at intensity 14, Ethel can perform missions against deific beings or their many agents without readily being detected by their ascendant senses.
Schooling: Disciple / Clerical magic (Hercules):
Before she was betrayed by the Church of Hercules, Ethel was a high ranking member of that organization. Truly faithful until that fateful day, she had mastered a wide array of priestly spells - magic which she still retains. Her known spells include the following:
Ability Boost (p) (w): Ethel has learned how to greatly enhance her physical attributes (the spell is weakly limited). She can reliably raise her Strength or Agility up to intensity 13 once per encounter, or less reliably when used more often.
Alteration (g) (i): this intensity 9 spell gives Ethel access to either Contact Absorption, Growth / Self, Healing / Self, Invisibility / Self, or Shrinking / Self. She may only use one of these effects per day, chosen when the spell is first cast.
Armor (p) (s): when invoked, this spell encases Ethel within a translucent, slightly luminous mystical construct that vaguely resembles the armor of ancient Greek warriors. Functioning at intensity 8, it provides her like (or +2, if higher) protection from attack.
Flexibility (s) (a): due to the nature of her former faith, Ethel had access to this physiomantic spell. It makes her flexible and pliable such that she can squeeze through an opening only eight inches in diameter, and receives a reduced difficulty on all wrestling maneuvers.
Hindrances / Augmentations:
Nemesis / Organized Religion: as a Frankologist, Ethel naturally earns the ire of most religious groups as soon as she reveals her beliefs to them. These groups will actively oppose Ethel's efforts, no matter how justified they may seem, simply to ensure their own survival.
Nemesis / the Church of Hercules: her violent split with the Church of Hercules has not gone unpunished, and that group has retaliated against Ethel repeatedly over the years. Of course, Ethel gives as good as she gets, and has done considerable damage to the Church as well.
Lightning Mace (s): this minor mystical artifact from times long past is made from a material that resembles brass, but is of m.s. 18 In combat, its possessor can generally wield it to inflict their Strength +3 in bashing damage.
However, the lightning mace is equipped with a magical spell. With the eldritch palm spell woven into its construction, this weapon can be used, on contact, to inflict intensity 12 stunning energy damage in a powerful electrical discharge.
Boxing (s): Ethel is an excellent hand-to-hand combatant - even without her sorcery to back her up. She can divide her pre-card play action score between two unarmed melee attacks, the last of which will occur as a contingent action.
First Aid (i): Ethel has the ability to stabilize critically wounded individuals. She can restore a card of lost Health to any character who fell unconscious in the previous exchange, and has the ability to stop the critically wounded from dying.
Philosophy: after she left the Church to (eventually) join the Scientific College of Frankology, Ethel began to study an alternate way of thinking. She makes Intellect actions in all philosophical matters, particularly in the rebuking of religion, at a reduced difficulty.
Theology: having spent many years within the Church of Hercules, Ethel is well versed in the general practices of religious orders overall. Ethel makes Intellect actions in such matters at a reduced difficulty, due to both study and personal experience.
Wrestling (s): as a member of the Church of Hercules, Ethel is a potent wrestler. If she inflicts damage with a wrestling attack, she may attempt an average difficulty Strength (strength) action to hold on. Each exchange thereafter that she can pass this action, she inflicts identical damage.
Ethel can draw upon the Scientific College of Frankology as a contact, after a fashion. The fact that she still retains priestly magic puts off many members of the organization though, so the reliability of the group to her overall is occasionally a bit lacking.
On the other hand, she can definitely rely upon Professor Frankowitz himself, should the need arise. He went out of his way to personally recruit her into the College, after all - and not just to use her exceptional talents to help train his students in self-defense!
Peace of Mind: Ethel Rhea enjoys pushing herself to new levels of physical perfection. Unlike most Frankologists, she's not in the group to 'get back' at people of faith (the Church of Hercules notwithstanding), so much as to warn others about the folly of organized religion.
These days, Ethel wears a relatively simple 'uniform'. It consists of a red one-piece Spandex ™ body suit lacking sleeves, over which she wears a short black skirt, a cut-off black T-shirt, two thin white belts, and red and white Converse ™ sneakers.
Ethel generally comes across as a pleasant woman. She's usually got something good to say about everyone - unless, of course, they've done her wrong. It normally takes a whole lot to rile her up, but when she gets angry she speaks with her actions, not mere words.
And Ethel rarely goes for direct physical violence unless necessary. No, she prefers to nurse her grudges, and will often plot at great length to make her enemies suffer in the most inconvenient manner possible. There's more than one way to skin a cat, after all...!
Real Name: Ethel Rhea
Occupation: fitness / self-defense instructor
Legal Status: citizen of the United States with no known criminal record
Marital Status: single
Alias(es), if any: none
Group Affiliation: the Scientific College of Frankology, former member of the Church of Hercules
Height: 6' 3"
Hair: strawberry blonde
Weight: 260 lbs
Other Distinguishing Characteristics: Ethel is a big woman. She's about as strong as a person can be, which requires a heroic amount of muscle.
Ethel Rhea grew up as a particularly athletic young woman. Throughout high school, she was an avid weight lifter and did quite well on the wrestling team. She'd always intended to go to college but this goal was derailed by a lucrative offer to model for a fitness magazine.
This worked out better than Ethel would have imagined, and in time she found that she could make money just by doing what she enjoyed - physical competition. And Ethel did just that for several years, making quite a name for herself in such circles.
In time, Ethel was introduced to a representative of the Church of Hercules by one of her power lifting cohorts. Taken in by the group's dogma, Ethel eventually signed up as a member herself, and did well as one of their clergy - as she does with everything else, really.
Continuing her body building competitions while simultaneously working hard for the Church, Ethel began to develop several faith-based magical abilities - abilities which her Church took to mean that their patron was looking quite fondly upon Ethel.
And that is where it all went wrong.
Elevated to a position of great authority within the Church of Hercules, Ethel became privy to most of the group's doings... in particular the shady activities of its leader: Lance Holcomb. Questioning Holcomb about these deeds, Ethel was physically assaulted by the man!
Throwing him out a third story window for this act, Ethel was subsequently declared an apostate, and Holcomb implored his subordinates to 'deal' with her, though this proved a whole lot easier said than done when you get down to it. Ethel's quite powerful, you know!
Thus, Ethel left the church proper, and even stole an artifact from the building on her way out. This magical mace, imbued with the power of lightning, was a prize of the Church's for several hundred years. Ethel considered it proper payment for all the work she did for the Church.
The Church has tried to get it back several times, and to of course kill her on Holcomb's orders, but have failed each time. Her faith may have evaporated in the face of Holcomb's stupidity, but Ethel still retains her lightning mace - as well as her priestly spells!
Which makes her a very tough nut to crack.
Having learned about her plight through his various contacts, Professor Frankowitz paid Ethel a visit one night, explaining who he was and the group he represents: the Scientific College of Frankology. He then told Ethel why he wanted her to join his little operation.
You see, Frankowitz has a mad-on for all organized religions - as well as the deific beings who occasionally benefit from them. Instead of seeing Ethel drift into another faith, following Nike or even Thor, he wanted her to consider another path entirely.
Though wary at first, Ethel was still so steamed over her treatment by Holcomb that she at least gave Frankowitz the benefit of the doubt. Subsequently, she studied philosophy with him and his proteges at the College for quite a while... eventually deciding she liked their ideas.
Thus, she joined up officially. In time, she even developed the curious, belief-based power that all true Frankologists manifest as a rejection of the divine. She even works for the College full time, serving as one of their most notable self-defense instructors.
She believes in fitness of the body as well as the mind, after all.
Though she's pulling in a hefty salary from the College for this work, Ethel still competes now and then on the bodybuilding circuit. However, this invariably leads to her getting grief from followers of Hercules who, though they can't act in the open, still hate her.
Whenever this gets to be too much for Ethel, she coordinates with a few of her fellow Frankologists to do something horrible to the Church. She typically aims to inflict the maximum possible damage to the Church with these actions, to shut them up for a while.
One notorious example of Ethel's revenge was when she somehow stashed about a ton of steroids in the Church's gym. Open to the public, this facility was touting its 'natural' muscle building solutions to the media at the time, and the discovery of the stash was quite the embarrassment.
Another was her ultimate revenge against Holcomb. Detailing what she knew to Professor F, the man was able to hire enough private investigators to dig up the dirt required to ultimately (after several anonymous calls to the I.R.S.) see Holcomb jailed for tax evasion.
The Church of Hercules is slowly learning that they need to leave Ethel alone. Slowly.
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