Godfire: Choir

Choir

   Riordan Kearney was fourteen, had a touch of stage fright, and earnestly wanted to impress the audience and the judges in the finals of the music competition. He struck the opening chord and opened his mouth to sing – and faltered under the weight of all those expectant gazes. He paused a moment to work up his nerve and tried again, pushing past the his nervousness and focusing only on the music – and the sound that emerged transcended anything that the audience had ever heard.

   Polished. Resonant. Harmonic. Feeding on it’s own echoes, and in counterpoint with itself.

   Overwhelming.

   It was swiftly recognized that Talent, not practice and mortal skill underlay that performance – and some further testing soon revealed some of the effects that young Riordan could produce with his music. Far more importantly, it soon revealed that recordings of him had similar effects.

   That was invaluable. Riordan’s recordings were soon being played in factories, in hospitals, and in offices, throughout Britain. Soon enough, it was being broadcast to the troops on the lines, into other countries, and exported to the other allied powers. A library was rapidly built up – music for English Factory Workers, for Recovery Wards, for Schools, for Training Camps, and for a hundred other purposes.

   Back in Ireland, Riordan was swiftly assigned a squad of Talent bodyguards, as well as a conventional security detail; his talents were detectably augmenting the production capacity and efficiency of the Allied Nations as a whole. While taking him out wouldn’t necessarily stop that – although no one could be sure – it would at least prevent him from making any more contributions. That made him a major target – whether for death or kidnaping – and protecting him a major responsibility.

  • Attributes: Body 1, Coordination 2, Sense 2 (3), Brains 2, Command 3 (5), Cool 2 (3).
  • Skills (20):
    • Body: Athletics 1, Health 2, Run 1, Swim 1.
    • Coordination: Dodge 2.
    • Sense: Hearing 2, Sight 1.
    • Brains: Musical Composition 1, Education 1.
    • Command: Inspire 1, Leadership 1, Perform (Music) 3, Perform (Ventriloquism) 2.
    • Cool: Mental Stability 2.

   Riordan’s primary power is simply music, although his abilities in he field are far more than human. He can inspire an audience or make heavy tasks seem light, subtly shift attitudes, bring joy, plunge men into the depths of grief, and far more – all simply by incredible skill and an intuitive understanding of his intended audience. That is why his music can be recorded, and even broadcast – and, as long as the reproduction is of sufficiently high quality, his abilities will remain effective.

   Secondarily, he has some slight enhancements – perfect pitch and perception of sounds, the ability to compose himself for a performance, and the ability to somewhat project the sounds he makes – but they are all fundamentally related to his music and, in comparison with the things that other talents can do, they are of very little power.

   That does not mean that his powers are worthless. Indeed, they are invaluable: he can inspire and speed the workers in factories, soothe the pain of the injured, and focus the thoughts of commanders, without even being there.

  • Talent Basics:
    • Quirks: Naive (1), Obsessed with Music (1), Shy (1).
    • Will Base: 3 Command + 3 Cool + 7 (remainder of base 25) + 3 (quirks) = 16
  • Talent Powers (18 Will):
    • Hyper-Command (2HD, 4). Nervous habit: must be doing something musical to use this ability – humming, whistling, tapping out a beat, or some such (-1/2/4), Go Last (-2/4/8).
    • Hyper-Cool (1D, 2).
    • Hyper-Sense (1D, 2).
    • Hyperskill/Perform (Ventriloquism) (1D, 1): This ability allows the user to effectively “project” his voice and any other intentional sounds he or she creates for up (100 feet per die in the pool of this Hyperskill) without a roll or it being considered an action; making it seem like someone else is talking or doing it while drinking or gagged or some such requires a check.
    • HyperSkill/Perform (Music): All of the following variants of this HyperSkill have Selective Target (the user can decide what general group is to be affected, such as “all you young women” or some such, +2/4/8), Bypasses Language (+1/2/4), Remains effective if recorded, broadcast, etcetera – although poor-quality recordings and reproduction systems may have reduced effects (+2/4/8), and (+5/10/20) worth of other modifiers – along with the flaws of Go Last (-2/4/8), Loopy (-2/4/8), Loud (they’re all clearly audible for hundreds of yards, -1/2/4), Glow (there’s always a spotlight on him during any performance, -1/2/4), Attached to Hyper-Command (-1/2/4), Peace of Mind (user must be composed and ready to perform, -2/4/8), Required Focus (musical instrument, -2/4/8), and Nervous Habit (warming up, -1/2/4).
    • Since this is a skill, it may have power-like effects – but it’s functions are based on the effects of music and vibration on the environment and the human mind. The deaf are only affected insofar as they can feel the vibrations clearly. People in soundproof rooms are unaffected. Other loud noises diminish the user’s dice pool. People underwater will not hear it properly. It will not travel through a vacuum. On the other hand, of course, it cannot provoke a will battle. None of that is worth a modifier, since it’s inherent in the nature of a skill, rather than a power.
      • The Bardic Voice (1D, 1): Subliminal Command (the user may transmit his Hyper-Command abilities via his music, so subtly that no one will be aware of their use, +3/6/12), Lingering (the effect lasts for a several hours before it will begin to weaken normally, +1/2/4), and Echoes (targets will once again be exposed to the user’s influence at random times, when they recall or are reminded of bits of his music – essentially a form of post-hypnotic suggestion or of refreshing the command influence, +2/4/8).
      • The Heart’s Song (1D, 1): Emotional Content (the user can induce – or dampen – emotions; the strength is determined by the Width of the result, with a 6+ being outside the normal range of human experience. Targets may resist with their own Cool checks, subtracting the width of their results, +3/6/12), Lingering (the effect lasts for several hours before it will begin to weaken normally, +1/2/4),
      • The Song of Comfort (1D, 1): Removes pain and grief and soothes emotional problems, including combat fatigue (+2/4/8), once per day, those affected may regain up to two points of Shock damage to each location and one point of killing damage in any one location, however the total amount recovered may not exceed (Width) points (+2/4/8), provides +(Width/2) bonus dice on rolls to resist or recover from diseases (+1/2/4).
      • Paean of Glory (1D, 1): The Paean inspires those affected, providing them with +1D on all their actions (+2D for Width 6+, +3D at Width 10) (+4/8/16), Lingering (the effect lasts for several hours before it wears off, +1/2/4).
      • The Laborer’s Canto (1D, 1): This infectious rhythm helps people focus, work smoothly and quickly, and accomplish their tasks. When undertaking any task that requires time – whether that’s writing, fixing a car, or traveling – they may add one-half the width of the Laborer’s Canto they’re listening to to the width of their success when determining how long it takes (+3/6/12). Those affected also suffer little or no fatigue or boredom (+1/2/4). Lingering (the effect lasts for several hours before it wears off, +1/2/4).
      • The Discordant Riff (1D, 1): This chaotic performance makes it almost impossible for it’s victims to focus – generating (Width-2)/2 gobble dice to disrupt their skills and abilities. Of course, this is applied to each victim individually – an effect which can make it quite difficult for the victims to get anything done if the user is good enough (+5/20/20).
      • The Harmony of the World (1D, 1): This complex theme incorporates environmental noises into itself; the user may selectively block out some noises while emphasizing the clarity of others. Those attempting to make out blocked noises must exceed the users (Width/2) with a Hearing check to do so. Those listening for noises that the user chooses to emphasize gain a bonus of (Width/2) extra dice in their pool to do so.
      • The Immersive Theme (1D, 1): This theme can actually draw it’s audience into the performance, leaving them so fascinated and diverted that they will do nothing but listen – unaware of the passage of time – until diverted by undeniable physical needs (extreme hunger, thirst, calls of nature) or they are forcibly disturbed (+3/6/12). In addition, the user can convey the essence of some epic adventure or tale, inducing a form of lucid dreaming in which the listeners can actually experience the events firsthand – an effect which can bestow on them up to (Width/2) experience points per week – the same as any other form of intensive high-pressure training, such as the TOG commando school with it’s 60-EP, 12-Week course. +2/4/8).
      • The Lullaby of Serenity (1D, 1): This soothing, calming, theme is very simple – it induces calm, a tendency to listen to the voice of reason, and – if carried to an extreme (Width of 3+) a deep and restful slumber (targets may roll Command + Cool to reduce the user’s effective Width) (+3/6/12) and is so calm and gentle that it is almost impossible to trace back to it’s source (+2/4/8).

   Being constantly in front of appreciative audiences, and hearing their applause, is enough to build up anyone’s confidence. Riordan can be expected to build up his Will fairly rapidly – and, due to his obsession, to also build up Hyper-Command Hard – and even Wiggle – dice fairly rapidly. It would not be at all out of line to assume that – within a few months – he will have 10HD in Hyper-Command (costing 32 Will). In three or four months, that will probably be 10WD – and he’ll have built up his Hyper-Sense and Hyper-Cool to some extent as well. After that? Build up a few normal attributes most likely, as well as start preparing for a normal life.

   Now, it could be argued that making recordings and broadcasts effective deserves a much bigger modifier. It might, although it doesn’t have much impact on actually playing the character. If you feel a need to add this feature, add something to that line like “but overcoming the limitations of recording and broadcasting equipment requires additional effort”, and throw in some combination of Expensive, Backfires, Mental Strain, Requires a Soundproof Studio to work in, some variant of Shy, or whatever else seems appropriate, that only applies when he’s trying to perform for a microphone. They’d only be worth about half their usual value due to that restriction – but to a large extent, it doesn’t matter. If he’s performing for a broadcast or recording, he’d almost certainly have plenty of time to recover and – if that involved taking any damage – a healer on tap anyway.

   Riordan might not be a very interesting character to play – after all, he’s virtually certain to be carefully protected and sheltered from any possible danger – but he’s certainly an excellent responsibility to saddle a group of characters with, and a fine center for a series of adventures.

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