Scion: Deus ex Nihilo
A tall and painfully handsome vision of Haitian health with a smile that could melt the coldest heart. He wears a deep purple button-up shirt, a white vest, his veve embroidered on it in white, black slacks and loafers, and a black trenchcoat.
Also Known As: Lazare Bonfil, Baron Wednesday, Saint Lazarus
Associated Abilities (Proposed): Empathy, Fortitude, Integrity, Medicine, Occult, Presence
Associated Epic Attributes (Proposed): Charisma
Associated Purviews (Proposed): Psychopomp
A newly minted loa, Baron Mekredi, the son of Baron Samedi, is the god of second chances, of those who have died and been returned to life. He guides them through all the new insights provided beyond the veil of death: visions, second sights, and the desire and motivation to turn one’s life around, to maintain good health and pursue spiritual fulfillment unfalteringly — because death comes for us all and no one gets a third chance. Though he is a generally happy and fun-loving fellow, he is a far more sober figure than his father, especially when Mardi Gras ends and Ash Wednesday begins.
Baron Mekredi and Mami Wata
Parent: Baron Samedi
Dodge DV: 18/23 (UO)
Join Battle: 8+11
Move: 17 yards
Dash: 34 yards
Jump: 8 yards
Lift: 300 pounds
Throw: 100 yards
Perceive: 8 (see 60 yards; hear 60 yards; smell 30 yards)
Clinch: Accuracy 6, Damage 3+2B, Parry DV —, Speed 6
Unarmed, Heavy: Accuracy 5, Damage 6+2B, Parry DV 3, Speed 5
Unarmed, Light: Accuracy 7, Damage 3+2B, Parry DV 6, Speed 4
LEGEND ••••••••• (72/81)
Legend Flares: 9/9
WILLPOWER •••••••••• (8/10)
Endurance ••••• Harmony ••• Order ••• Piety •
Worn Travel Guide (Relic 2—Psychopomp, Earth)
Govi (Relic 3—Death, Prophecy)
Maman Brigitte (Guide 5)
Gris-gris (Relic 2—Darkness, Health)
Purviews and Boons
Inventory: Mead of Inspiration (when imbibed, provides max Epic Manip), Una Voodoo Doll, Glepnir Garrote (Speed 3, Accuracy 0, Damage +2L, Defense +0; it can used in a clinch, and when clinching, you can spend a point of legend to make its next damage roll do aggrivated damage)
EXP: 590 total; 565 spent
Charisma 6 → 24 xp
Inspirational Figure → 5 xp
Epic Strength → 5 xp
(Stalwart Cling → Free)
Charisma 7 → 28 xp
Water 1 → 5 xp
Integrity 7 → 13 xp
(Image by Mellie)
As Aimee Bonfil returned home from the New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration, the black rooster’s crow sounded horrid, as if it had rung up from the depths of the underworld. It attacked the poor young woman, inflicting minor but painful wounds. Though she was reluctant to kill it, Evette, Aimee’s mother, wrung the wretched creature’s neck. That was merely the start, however—to the daughter of an old-world mambo, it was undoubtedly an omen.
Later that evening, Evette consulted her govi in an attempt to determine what the omen entailed. What she saw was that selfsame black rooster making a wide gash in her daughter’s abdomen, causing blood to gush out until she finally died. Shaken by the vision, Evette set her govi aside. Unfortunately, there was little she could do except wait and see.
Aimee, of course, remained blithe to any omen (though she did, from that point onward, avoid the chicken coop). However, a couple weeks later she discovered she was pregnant. She left a message for the man she’d been seeing for the past few months, but the number she’d called hadn’t been assigned to any phone—even though it had worked before. Evette marked that second odd thing in her mental log.
After much contemplation and soul-searching, Aimee decided she would keep the child. Evette, though supportive of her daughter’s decision, felt a sense of dread that only grew as Aimee came to full term.
Lazare was born on October 31st at 0313, a healthy 7 lb 10 oz. Aimee died on October 31st at 0333, from uncontrollable internal hemorrhaging.
Lazare was a gregarious, chatty child, with an easy charm that made him quite popular with the ladies—indeed, his grandmother was perhaps the only woman who could resist his smile. Having raised one child already, perhaps it was no surprise that Evette raised Lazare to temper his popularity with noblesse oblige.
He took especially well to what his grandmother had to say about voudou. The stories of the rituals and the loa fascinated him. All that culminated to the intense curiosity he experienced when he first discovered Evette’s govi. In his childish innocence, he tapped into the govi (far too easily for one so inexperienced) and saw a vision of a large, black rooster defecating on his grandmother’s cigarettes. Concerned by what he’d seen, he tried to warn Evette. Though the portent frightened her and caused her to try to quit, she ultimately couldn’t control her addiction to nicotine and resumed smoking regularly.
As such, Lazare never had a chance to enter the rebellious phase of adolescence. His grandmother was diagnosed with lung cancer when he was 15. It was a tough few years, but it had taught him a lot, not the least of which being the true value of family. Towards the end of his high school years, the chemotherapy seemed to have driven off the cancer—however, it left his grandmother a shadow of her former self. He felt that there had to be another way, another solution to cancer that didn’t take such a toll on a person.
That thought was what made him decide to work towards med school. With the help of financial aid and scholarships, Lazare enrolled in a pre-med program at the nearby university. Evette was very proud of him indeed.
Unfortunately, the cancer returned with a vengeance. As his grandmother declined, Lazare had to divide his attentions between schoolwork and family, causing his grades to drop. Though they were still passing grades, he knew it would severely hurt his chances of getting into med school. But his grandmother had no one but him, so he took care of her as best he could.
She died a couple of days before Mardi Gras. For 24 hours afterwards, Lazare found himself in a strange, zombie-like stupor—he did not attend class, nor did he even sleep. When Mardi Gras came about, he found himself alone in his room with several bottles of rum. Without reservation, he began to drink.
A kick brought him back to the waking world, causing him to cough up the vomit that had settled in his lungs. Squinting, he looked up at the man who had kicked him: a tall, dark, handsome fellow wearing a sharp suit and a top hat. This was none other than Baron Samedi, who chastised him for not giving his grandmother a better send-off. He then proceeded to take Lazare out on the town, hitting up various bars and clubs.
However, Lazare was hardly in a mood to celebrate. His dour (or grim, one might say) behavior eventually got to the Baron himself. Eventually the Baron took him outside to an alley and gave the obviously short version of the speech he’d been building up to all night: that Lazare was his son and that he was going to take part in the family business. Into Lazare’s hands Baron Samedi shoved a well-worn travel guide to both the under- and over-world and Evette’s govi as tokens of his good intentions. He then left his son in a huff.
Having sobered up and working on a sizable hangover, Lazare began to shuffle home, not looking forward to cleaning up the mess that was his place. On his way home, however, he came across a large black rooster that approached him and rested its head on his leg. When he stooped to pet it, it dashed away and stopped a few paces from him, eyeing him expectantly.
He followed it to a weathered Irish church featuring stained-glass windows of various saints. Underneath the glass-stained glow of moonlight he found a young, blonde, white woman lounging on one of the worn pews, flipping idly through a bible. When he approached, she smiled broadly and drew him into a long embrace and pinched his cheeks, commenting on how much he had grown.
Once more, he was well aware of who this was coming from: Maman Brigitte, the Baron’s divine wife. She proceeded to tell him how bad she felt for leaving him without a mother figure and had decided that she wouldn’t do what his father had (which is to say, abandon him without explaining very much). She promised to help guide Lazare, to properly teach him how to use his gifts.
She started by having Lazare open up the travel guide. He did, and saw the wonders of the worlds of the living and the dead. As he flipped through the guide, his own internal world changed. Louisiana was suddenly so small, stiflingly so, even—even more so now that his grandmother’s death weighed on him.
Before the night was through, she taught him how to create a gris-gris to his specifications, which he created to help him heal others. Somehow, the gris-gris felt better, more real than med school, causing him to question his life’s plans.
After his grandmother’s funeral, he simply could not stay. He took a year off to travel, backpacking for months at a time in various locales, immersing himself as best he could in the culture and people. When he returned to the United States, he decided that he would share that experience with others and began pursuing a career as a travel agent.
[6:37:30 PM] ST: So.
[6:37:33 PM] ST: Lazare.
[6:38:00 PM] ST: You leapt into the water, with forethought, and the blessing of Fate.
[6:38:11 PM] ST: Your road was the Drowned Road.
[6:38:27 PM] ST: And Fate has lead you to your dark, painful, crushing death.
[6:40:01 PM] ST: And in that moment of Death, there is an existential panic. Samedi is also in the Road with you. And as your soul leaves your body, it has no guide…
[6:41:41 PM] ST: But, rather than some finality, this transformation creates instead a sense of freedom. The spirit world opens to you, and you see Samedi, being dragged down into the depths by grasping drowned souls.
[6:43:09 PM] ST: You are without form. And you realize, instinctually, that this realm hungers for the living and the dead, and you need a form to resist it. Not only to save Samedi, but to resist the abrasive, consuming power of the Titan you are within.
[6:44:18 PM] Nut Meg: (( That my cue? ))
[6:44:22 PM] ST: (Indeed.)
[6:54:15 PM] Nut Meg: Even the guides need to be guided sometimes. And this, this place of drowned sorrows, was not his father’s realm. But Lazare… Lazare knows this place, the crushing emptiness, the bottom of a rum bottle. He’s been here before, if only figuratively, and endured… So, channelling that, focusing that, Lazare gathers himself, spirit, mind, and finally body. It’s very much like the moments a star goes supernova: the intense compression, the melding of elements into a whorling mass of ichor… and then the final explosion of energy, light, and life that ripples out into the universe.
Monday’s child is fair of face…
Nothing like death to make one feel truly alive. Blood pumping, heart beating, lungs breathing, even in these waters… every muscle filled with vigor and the longing to use it. His dark skin almost glows with the vitality barely contained within. Though still slender he is by no means gaunt — which is most noticeable in his face. Perhaps it’s the divine health that’s filled him out a little more, or perhaps it’s the well-groomed goatee that softens his face. Either way, he is the very picture of natural health at its best.
Tuesday’s child is full of grace…
Serpentine lines, curling and uncurling, graceful and lively — at the center of it all is the ouroborous, the path of the hero’s journey, the cycle of life and death: thus marks his veve, embroidered in white on his vest. Not at all like the hard angles of the cross and the grave that summons his father. He’s sharply dressed: a deep purple button-up shirt with the top button undone, a white vest, black slacks, and a black trenchcoat that stops just below mid-thigh. His movements are more fluid than before, as if everything he does is part of some sort of dance.
Wednesday’s child is full of woe…
Born in his mother’s deathblood… witness to the last weak breath that his grandmother’s tainted lungs would allow… so too did Lazare die, the air denied from his lungs by Mami Wata’s realm… and now it was his task to save his father from being trapped forever in the oppressive clutches of the primordial waters, the original womb of the world. Wednesday, the day of ashes, the day of solemnity following the wild celebrations of Mardi Gras, is his inheritance and his legacy. So it came to pass: Lazare Bonfil died and Baron Mekredi — Lord Wednesday — was born.
Player’s Note: This was prompted by the GM asking all us players to talk about how we came up with our characters. I knew it would be a longer response… I never expected it to turn into a full-on essay. Anyway, it’s posted up here by request.
I had no immediate concepts spring to mind when I first started brainstorming, so I looked at the party makeup. Since I’d never played any sort of White Wolf game system before, I used the D&D paradigm as my lens — and it looked like the party had heavy combat leanings so they needed a healer and talker.
(Of course, I didn’t know then that nobody would actually ever get hurt outside of plot-related happenings.)
But that wasn’t enough to spark anything, so I decided to play my favorite game of “Find the Irony!” Namely, my goal was to seek which patron reflects the opposite of healing. I didn’t want to go with a member of the Dodekatheon, Aesir, or Amatsukami because those shoes were filled. Nor did I want to look into the supplemental works because I was brand new and wanted to stick with the basics. So that left the Aztlanti, Pesedjet, and Loa. At the time, the Loa struck me as the most interesting — probably because they were the most foreign to me. Baron Samedi obviously stood out in the “lens” I was using, being the loa of the dead. Moreover, he gave access to the Health Purview and Epic Charisma, which made him a perfect fit with my initial concept. Not a complete irony, but that’s okay — what I was mainly aiming for was to get the gears moving.
So along the lines of “Find the Irony!” I decided to make my character the opposite of his father. Not a complete opposite — if they were complete opposites, they simply wouldn’t relate to each other and there would be absolutely no connection. I wanted him to share enough traits with his father so as to show the familial resemblance and be a basis for tension between them (the classic tale of a son’s internal struggles being projected onto his father, etc).
With all that in mind, I started in on Lazare’s bio because my pretentious ass loves subtext.
I started by researching the loa — specifically the Ghede family, since the Baron’s the head of that. It was there I encountered Maman Brigitte, who sparked the most ideas for me.
It occurred to me that she — being the Baron’s divine wife and an Irishwoman and existing in a pantheon whose rules-bestowed virtues include Vengeance — wouldn’t take too kindly to the Baron messing around. Moreover, he’s got access to the Health Purview, which means that any conceptions by him are intentional. Normally it would be fine, since the loa can and do take any number of mortal spouses… but it would be quite a pointed message if he impregnated a mortal woman out of wedlock. Why he would send that message I figured would be best left to the GM.
On the other hand, Maman Brigitte is clearly somewhat motherly and compassionate — she and the Baron adopted Nibo after he died, after all, and she’s syncretized with Saint Brigit, who was patron of babies and children (of unmarried parents, no less!). So she’d exact her vengeance not on the child (the poor thing didn’t ask for any of this) but on the mother, thereby sending a message to the Baron. Having Lazare’s mother die in childbirth was perfect for that message. Also the mortal woman’s death was symbolic of Lazare’s heritage and I figured it would effectively foreshadow his eventual break with the mortal world.
But he was raised mortal, which either means he was an orphan or was raised by another family member. I’m sick of orphans, and it’s not likely that either the Baron or MB would abandon him as the Baron’s described as a “family man” in the Scion text and, as established before, MB is the motherly sort. So instead I decided that he’d been raised by his grandma (thereby bringing in the classic symbolic triad of maiden, matron, crone). This provided a firm grounding in the mortal realm and a good basis for Laz’s more thoughtful and reserved nature. I also decided that she had some connection to the mystical realm (essentially like Oracle from the Matrix) that he inherits (namely in the form of prophetic visions), which would provide a good jumping-off point for Laz’s eventual Visitation.
However, I didn’t want him to have any ties that would make him outright refuse the call to adventure. So grandma had to die. But I didn’t want her to die just for the sake of dying. Luckily the brain juices were flowing at this point.
Suppose Maman Brigitte didn’t just kill Laz’s mother out of nowhere? Suppose she sent a message to the mother first in the form of an omen? MB’s symbolic animal is a black rooster, and roosters’ talons can get dangerously sharp. So let’s say she sent a black rooster to attack Laz’s mother, right in front of grandma. Grandma, whose daughter was being threatened, acted without thinking, killing the black rooster… but in an undignified way and without any respect or reverence. No plea of ignorance would avail the grandmother, either, since she’s already familiar with the loa, spirits, and omens. That should piss off Maman Brigitte enough to invite the grandma’s doom. With Laz’s mom it was a message, but with Laz’s grandma it was personal; therefore MB would opt for a slow, agonizing death.
I decided then that Laz’s grandma smokes like a chimney (again, evocative of Oracle from the Matrix, but also a handy reference to the Ghede, who all invariably seem to smoke cigars). After all, cancer is a pretty slow, agonizing death, not to mention subtle enough not to draw attention to MB. Moreover, it provides a basis for Laz’s background in medicine — during his formative years he had to witness his grandmother suffer and so naturally matured fast and decided to do what he could to prevent others from experiencing the same fate. But going to medical school wouldn’t be viable if his last known family member requires care. So I decided that the cancer went into remission, allowing Laz to pursue medicine. Of course, the cancer comes back aggressively in the middle of his studies, killing his grandmother and his promising career in one fell swoop — making the last two ties to the mortal realm effectively severed.
(I threw in a vision that Laz gets when he’s younger of a black rooster defecating on his grandma’s cigarettes. It’s in keeping with the vulgar humor of the Ghede, sets a precedent for Laz’s prophetic abilities — something NOT granted by his father — and provides just enough of a seed of doubt for what I was hoping would be the eventual reveal of MB’s involvement in his mortal family’s deaths.)
I also felt, in keeping with his heritage of death, he’d have his Visitation on the verge of death himself (which is also quite symbolic just on its own). Since there was already a reference to the Ghede’s heavy smoking, all that was left was their heavy drinking. So Mardi Gras rolls around (a symbolic holiday in its own right) and somehow Laz finds himself with several bottles of rum (another Ghede-relevant symbol). He drinks it all in an attempt to drown out the pain, passes out, vomits, and ends up drowning in his own puke instead. That’s when the Baron comes around, denies his death, kicks him awake, lets Laz cough up all the upchuck, and fills him in. Laz, of course, in his listless zombie-like state (more Voodoo references!), proves not to be very open to fun — something I imagined the Baron would get fed up with pretty quickly, enough to leave Laz alone. Of course, with no common ground with mortals and with no common ground with his divine father, he’s lost, alone, and an outsider to everything.
Maman Brigitte, noticing that Laz is nothing like his father (and no stranger to feeling like an outsider herself, being the only white loa of the lot), decides that she’ll make him an ally of hers (sticking it to the Baron even further). The timing is perfect too — there’s a void of a motherly figure in Laz’s life due to his grandmother’s recent death, a void she can easily fill. So she takes Laz under her wing, becoming his 5-dot guide and making sure to validate his less Baron Samedi-like qualities. Of course, she’s not completely heartless and vindictive — though she feels justified in regards to what she did (even to where we are currently ingame), she still has compassion for Laz’s unfortunate circumstances and has come to feel like she’s truly his foster mother.
The time in between Laz’s intial Visitation and his joining the party I left unwritten so that the GM could have room to make some hooks. Or, failing that, it would leave me room to expand in case I had more inspiration. Naturally, it’s during this time that he gets to know his divine family better, meeting Nibo, Papa Ghede, etc.
The whole travel agent thing — which I’d hoped would tie in with the psychopomp theme — turned out to be a piddly and dead-end thread. Which is fine, because it seems to have come to represent Laz’s failed attempt to connect once more to his mortal life. Obviously this is something he’s long since abandoned.
(As an aside, his last name, Bonfil, is an Anglicization of Bonfils, which literally means “good child” in French. His name, Lazare, is the French version of Lazarus, who was brought back from the dead by Jesus, thereby alluding to Voodoo’s syncretic nature and the story of Laz’s Visitation in one fell swoop. I chose French names because Haiti, from which Voodoo originated, was a French colony and its language is a mix of French and various African dialects.)
Laz: Vanilla Scion Edition
Birthrights, Knacks, and Boons
|Worn Travel Guide (Relic 2—Psychopomp, Earth)
Govi (Relic 3—Death, Prophecy)
Maman Brigitte (Guide 5)
Gris-gris (Relic 2—Darkness, Health)
|Dex: Cat’s Grace, Escape Artist [0-1L], Untouchable Opponent [1L]
Stam: Divine Fortitude (Sleep), Holy Fortitude, Self-Healing [1L]
Cha: Benefit of the Doubt [1L], Charmer [1L], Crowd Control [1L + 1W], Unimpeachable Reference [1L]
Manip: Gods’ Honest [1L], Blurt It Out [1L], Overt Order [1W]
App: Come Hither [1L]
Per: Environmental Awareness, Subliminal Warning, Unfailing Recognition [0-1W]
Int: Fast Learner
Wits: Meditative Focus, Rabbit Reflexes
|Night Eyes (Darkness 1)
Death Senses (Death 1)
Assess Health (Health 1)
Unerring Orientation (Psychopomp 1)
Euthanasia (Death 2)
Where Are You? (Psychopomp 2)
Shadow Refuge (Darkness 3)
Heal/Infect (Health 3)
Unbarred Entry (Psychopomp 3)
Shadow Step (Darkness 4)
Come Along (Psychopomp 4)
Restore/Wither (Health 6)
Rainbow Bridge (Psychopomp 7)
Willpower: ••••••••• (9/9 points)
Legend: 8—64/64 LP
Legend Flares: 8/8
Join Battle: 8 + 2
Dodge DV: 12/16/24 (Normal/Untouchable/Rabbit)
Unarmored Soak: 3A, 7L, 9B
Current Armored Soak: 3A, 12L, 17B
(dwarfcraft fireproof raider armor—provides Fire Immunity; mobility penalty -2, fatigue 2)
Move: 8 yards
Dash: 14 yards
Exp: 475 total; 463 spent
(Guide 5: Maman Brigitte [7 BP]; Relic 2: Gris-Gris [2 BP]; Integrity 3 → 5 [2 BP]; Medicine 2 → 3 [2 BP]; Stealth 3 → 4 [2 BP])
Legend 2 → 3 (16 XP)
Epic Dex 1 (10 XP)
Knack: Untouchable Opponent (Free)
Boon: Prophecy 1 → 2 (5 XP)
Epic Manip 1 → 2 (5 XP)
Knack: Gods’ Honest (Free)
Epic Cha 1 → 2 (4 XP)
Knack: Benefit of the Doubt (Free)
Epic Stam 1 → 2 (5 XP)
Knack: Divine Fortitude [Sleep] (Free)
Epic Wits 1 → 2 (5 XP)
Knack: Rabbit Reflexes (Free)
Willpower 7 → 8 (14 XP)
Willpower 8 → 9 (16 XP)
Boon: Psychopomp 2 (8 XP)
Boon: Death 2 (8 XP)
Legend 3 → 4 (24 XP)
Boon: Psychopomp 3 (12 XP)
Boon: Health 3 (12 XP)
Occult 2 → 3 (3 XP)
Stealth 4 → 5 (8 XP)
Boon: Prophecy 2 → 3 (10 XP)
Boon: Darkness 3 (12 XP)
Legend 4 → 5 (32 XP)
(Legend 5 → 6 [7 BP]; Boon: Psychopomp 4 [4 BP]; Boon: Darkness 4 [4 BP])
Dex 3 → 4 (12 XP)
Stam 3 → 4 (12 XP)
Stam 4 → 5 (16 XP)
Wits 4 → 5 (16 XP)
Epic Int 1 (10 XP)
Knack: Fast Learner (Free)
Legend 6 → 7 (48 XP)
Epic Dex 2 → 3 (10 XP)
Knack: Cat’s Grace (Free)
Epic Stam 2 → 3 (10 XP)
Knack: Self-Healing (Free)
Boon: Health 6 (24 XP)
Epic Cha 3 → 4 (12 XP)
Knack: Crowd Control (Free)
Legend 7 → 8 (56 XP)
Boon: Rainbow Bridge (28 XP)