About Machaera Selanna
Elf Magus (Hexcrafter) 3 / Wizard (Primalist, transmuter) 1
Magus Spells Prepared (CL 3; concentration +8)
1st- burning hands (DC 16), chill touch (DC 16), colour spray (DC 16), frostbite, shield
Magus Spells Known:
1st- blend, burning hands, chill touch, coin shot, colour spray, enlarge person, frostbite, ill omen, illusion of calm, longshot, monkey fish, Serren's swift girding, shield, shocking grasp, stone fist
Wizard Spells Prepared (CL 1; concentration +6)
1st- abundant ammunition, ear-piercing scream, identify, snapdragon fireworks
Wizard Spells Known (Opposition schools: enchantment, necromancy) *=Transmutation spells:
1st-abundant ammunition, charm person, *crafter’s fortune, ear-piercing scream, endure elements, *fabricate bullets, *gravity bow, heightened awareness, identify, *lucky number, mage armour, peace bond, *polypurpose panacea, protection from evil, protection from law, *snapdragon fireworks
Combat Gear masterwork chain shirt, masterwork rapier, composite longbow (+2 Str) and 20 arrows, quarterstaff, masterwork dagger pistol (both “ends”), 10 alchemical cartridges, 8 bullets and doses of powder, spell component pouch, wand of magic missile (28 charges), scroll of sleep; Alchemical tricks acid, tanglefoot bag, thunderstone (x2), shard gel, liquid blade, starcandle, banshee ballerina, and flame fountain fireworks ; Other Gear Backpack, scholar's outfit, courtier's outfit, gunsmith's kit, powder horn, spellbook, bedroll, mess kit, 5 days' trail rations, flint and steel, hooded lantern and 2 pints oil, whetstone, sewing needle, soap, scroll case, potion vial, 1 oz. ink and pen, wooden holy symbol of Yuelral, 3 candles, 3 sheets parchment, waterskin, materials for 1 dose troll styptic, 851 gp, 1 sp, 4 cp
Treasure Magically preserved (necromantic stasis) compsognathus egg, vial of sand from the Spellscar Desert (worn on a necklace), scandalous ivory statuette (600 gp), unmatched ring and earrings in silver with green semi-precious stones (50 gp total), Leaves from a Dark Wood (focus for Ritual Hex feat), 287 gp
Party resources, pooled or to be divided:
scrolls of mirror image, protection from law, forbid action, doom (x2)
CG Tiny magical beast (Compsognathus familiar, valet)
Init +6 Senses low-light vision, scent; Perception +4
Arcane Pool (Su):(6/6 points)
At 1st level, the magus gains a reservoir of mystical arcane energy that she can draw upon to fuel her powers and enhance her weapon. This arcane pool has a number of points equal to 1/2 her magus level (minimum 1) + her Intelligence modifier. The pool refreshes once per day when the magus prepares her spells.
At 1st level, a magus can expend 1 point from her arcane pool as a swift action to grant any weapon she is holding a +1 enhancement bonus for 1 minute. For every four levels beyond 1st, the weapon gains another +1 enhancement bonus, to a maximum of +5 at 17th level. These bonuses can be added to the weapon, stacking with existing weapon enhancement to a maximum of +5. Multiple uses of this ability do not stack with themselves.
At 5th level, these bonuses can be used to add any of the following weapon properties: dancing, flaming, flaming burst, frost, icy burst, keen, shock, shocking burst, speed, or vorpal. Adding these properties consumes an amount of bonus equal to the property's base price modifier. These properties are added to any the weapon already has, but duplicates do not stack. If the weapon is not magical, at least a +1 enhancement bonus must be added before any other properties can be added. These bonuses and properties are decided when the arcane pool point is spent and cannot be changed until the next time the magus uses this ability. These bonuses do not function if the weapon is wielded by anyone other than the magus.
Spell Combat (Ex):
At 1st level, a magus learns to cast spells and wield her weapons at the same time. This functions much like two-weapon fighting, but the off-hand weapon is a spell that is being cast. To use this ability, the magus must have one hand free (even if the spell being cast does not have somatic components), while wielding a light or one-handed melee weapon in the other hand. As a full-round action, she can make all of her attacks with her melee weapon at a –2 penalty and can also cast any spell from the magus spell list with a casting time of 1 standard action (any attack roll made as part of this spell also takes this penalty). If she casts this spell defensively, she can decide to take an additional penalty on her attack rolls, up to her Intelligence bonus, and add the same amount as a circumstance bonus on her concentration check. If the check fails, the spell is wasted, but the attacks still take the penalty. A magus can choose to cast the spell first or make the weapon attacks first, but if she has more than one attack, she cannot cast the spell between weapon attacks.
At 8th level, the magus's ability to cast spells and make melee attacks improves. When using the spell combat ability, the magus receives a +2 circumstance bonus on concentration checks, in addition to any bonus granted by taking an additional penalty on the attack roll.
At 14th level, the magus gains the ability to seamlessly cast spells and make melee attacks. Whenever she uses the spell combat ability, her concentration check bonus equals double the amount of the attack penalty taken.
At 2nd level, whenever a magus casts a spell with a range of “touch” from the magus spell list, she can deliver the spell through any weapon she is wielding as part of a melee attack. Instead of the free melee touch attack normally allowed to deliver the spell, she can make one free melee attack with her weapon (at her highest base attack bonus) as part of casting this spell. If successful, this melee attack deals its normal damage as well as the effects of the spell. If the skirnir makes this attack in concert with spell combat, this melee attack takes all the penalties accrued by spell combat melee attacks. This attack uses the weapon's critical range (20, 19–20, or 18–20 and modified by the keen weapon property or similar effects), but the spell effect only deals ×2 damage on a successful critical hit, while the weapon damage uses its own critical modifier.
A hexcrafter magus adds the following spells to her magus spell list: bestow curse, major curse, and all other spells of 6th level or lower that have the curse descriptor.
Physical Enhancement (Su):(Currently: Str)
You gain a +1 enhancement bonus to one physical ability score (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution). This bonus increases by +1 for every five wizard levels you possess to a maximum of +5 at 20th level. You can change this bonus to a new ability score when you prepare spells. At 20th level, this bonus applies to two physical ability scores of your choice.
Telekinetic Fist (Sp):(8/8 uses)
As a standard action you can strike with a telekinetic fist, targeting any foe within 30 feet as a ranged touch attack. The telekinetic fist deals 1d4 points of bludgeoning damage + 1 for every two wizard levels you possess. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Intelligence modifier.
Primal Magic (Su):
At 1st level, a primalist may attempt to channel primal magic as a swift action to cast a prepared spell without losing that spell from its spell slot. Essentially, a primalist is forcing primal magic into the world and attempting to shape it into a specific spell effect. To use this ability, she casts the spell as she would normally, but as the spell’s effects take place, she makes a concentration check (DC 20 + double the spell’s level). If she fails this check, she expends the spell normally as if she had cast it, but its actual effects are replaced by a primal magic event with a CR equal to her caster level and she is staggered for 1 round per level of the spell she was attempting to cast. If she makes this check, she casts the spell normally and it is not expended from her prepared spell slot, allowing her to cast that spell again at a later point.
You may use primal magic in this manner once per day. This ability replaces arcane bond. At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, you can use it an additional time per day.
At first glance, Machaera seems to be a typical elven adventurer, moving through the world with grace and quiet confidence, keeping her own fair counsel. A closer look, however, discovers that her eyes are haunted, and folk who spend any time with her soon conclude that something in her past has left Machaera quite fey: her moods are often sombre, though as mercurial as those of any of her people, and while her softly-ringing laughter comes as easily and pleasantly as that of most young elves, there can be an edge to it that unnerves the listener, and it can rise unexpectedly, as if at a private joke that Machaera is unable to explain.
If questioned, by either the curious or the impatient, she replies not entirely evasively, but certainly selectively, spinning extravagant tales of an unthinkable journey through the lands surrounding the Inner Sea, including an unexpected detour through the far south of Garund. Improbably enough, though, Machaera’s stories are all true. The daughter of instructors at the Tower of Stars, the elven magical academy in Varisia’s Mierani Forest, Machaera was expected to follow in their footsteps, and shortly after she came of age was sent off on a grand tour of the centres of learning and lore around the Inner Sea, from which she was expecting to return a fully cultured, well-rounded mage. All was well while she travelled along the coast of Varisia, from the Mordant Spire to the Cyphermages of Riddleport, the golem-crafters of Magnimar, and the conjurers of Korvosa, but disaster struck as she was sailing to Garund, where she had planned to travel to Osirion, pausing in Thuvia to catch up on the latest developments in alchemy. She never made it through the Arch of Aroden. Blown off course in a savage storm, Machaera’s ship broke up, perhaps mercifully, before the winds swept it into the Eye of Abendego. By sheer determination, a willingness to chance the opportunities fortune might see fit to provide, and more luck than she herself can quite credit, she eventually reached as far south as Droon and Holomog, before returning through Geb, Alkenstar, and points north until she reached the Inner Sea again. Although she had been shaken - to say nothing of irrevocably changed - by her experiences, she bravely resumed her tour, and slowly started her way back home.
Machaera made it as far as Korvosa again before catching envious fortune’s malevolent attention again. On this very last leg of her journey, she had only planned to stay for a few weeks, catch up with acquaintances from her first visit, trade for a few new spells – and at first, things went well. She had put enough distance from the worst of her past behind her to start to enjoy herself, and discovered that Korvosa’s more adventurous nobles could find a taste for wild stories, a pointer here or there on swordplay, and a use for a creative alchemist’s pyrotechnics for their parties – or her remedies for their heads the morning after. She was on her way to becoming something of a fixture in the Heights and South Shore, a fashionable eccentric, when someone she never knew got murdered, and, unbelievably, she got the blame.
Almost instantly, doors began to close in Machaera’s face, from various patrons, the ostentatious Acadamae, through to the humble Theumanexus College. Folk started remembering the stories she wouldn’t tell, and, well, who knew what the bizarre elf might have learned from foreign parts? Eventually, it came to light that the supposed eyewitness had been coerced into giving false evidence – only to be silenced permanently after the inconvenient revelation – but it was too late for Machaera’s reputation. A few patrons continued to stand by her, as well as the elven embassy from the Mierani, but it is a brave person now who is willing to be seen with Machaera long enough for gossip to start. Despite this, Machaera is unwilling to leave the city just yet. She could just go – in fact, her parents would probably be able to arrange her teleportation the rest of the way home, or almost anywhere else she might wish, but her independent spirit rankles at the thought. Besides, a cunning murderer is still at large, one who might be lucky enough to pick a suitable scapegoat next time, one without her resources and privileges. Though her warmest devotion is not to Calistria, Machaera is an elf too, and there is the personal matter of the wrong done her by the false accusation. Above all, though, she has crossed two continents walking away, and this time – this time, no more.
Some quirks of personality:
Tactical: Although Machaera was brought up to be a wizard, the dangers of the unintended route she took through Garund on the first half of her grand tour ultimately set her on the path of the magus. She is still struggling to cope with the violence she has seen and all the other experiences she has been forced to cram into less than the last decade of her life. She is not proud of what she has sometimes had to do to survive, and answers questions as to how she managed to travel so far briefly, her tone discouraging further inquiry: “You move, quietly, and, no matter what happens, you keep moving.” That side of her still takes over when danger threatens, her mind trained to identify any possible advantage ruthlessly.
Genteel: However, she remains the daughter of respected academic mages, and though she has seen her share of hardships, Machaera never forgot her heritage, and clings to the finer side of social interaction. Even if she never made much study of it, for a harrowing period of her recent life, it was all the luxury she could afford.
Shy, but friendly: Machaera is accordingly somewhat diffident, though eager to show that she means well. She has seen far too much for her age, including things she fears could turn anyone who learns too much of them against her.
Nervous: On that same note, she is nervous and easily distracted, so that though her eyesight is keen, she often misses the details she might be looking for. Unless she is currently faced with a task that demands stillness, she is also prone to fidgeting, pacing, or obsessively taking notes on whatever new idea might demand attention or offer a distraction. She is aware of this weakness, and avoids taking on leadership roles as a result, fearing that she might impulsively lead where others can not or should not follow.
Inquisitively acquisitive: Machaera’s restlessness extends to her intellectual pursuits. While there is some magic that she will never be able, or in some cases willing to use, there is none that she is not interested in. She may not want to know how to do it, but she will certainly want to know how it is done, so to speak, in case she should ever have, at worst, to undo it. Similarly, while she might not want to add a specimen of every weapon she comes across to her arsenal, there are few that she would not want to at least get a feel for in her hand.
Machaera is tall (at 6’1”) and lean even for an elf, years of unforgiving travel with scarcely a pause through thousands of miles of wilderness leaving her sharp and strong as wire, a circumstance which only heightens the angularity of her features. These are softened somewhat by the cool gaze of her grey eyes, their irises flecked with amethyst, and the loose mass of her ash blonde hair. Nonetheless, after spending enough time in humid, trackless jungles to last her life, Machaera keeps her hair trimmed to just a couple of inches below the line of her shoulders, and what she’s seen in her travels has left her eyes nervous and restless, as also her movements. Unless she is in a place that she is sure is safe, she tends to keep moving, exploring the limits of the space from various angles. After wearing through more than one set of pitifully battered leathers suitable for exploring in the course of her travels, Machaera prefers light robes for daily wear (and an easy pace!), but in territory where she may expect trouble she resigns herself to wearing armour regularly, which tends to make her look a bit bigger than she is, but accentuates her skittishness.
Longer bit of background, in character: a fragment of an abandoned letter:
…I was never meant to be what I have become. I’m not trying to convince you; I can’t blame you if you don’t want to come with me, and that’s not why I’m writing. It’s just – I have to tell it over again, if only, as if, to convince myself. What can one do when all one can see when she closes her eyes is a sword? When she weighs every position, everything she touches, for its potential as a weapon?
Where can I begin? There are so many names, and worse, names that have been forgotten. Shall I try to describe the feeling of shipwreck, of a storm that has lasted a century? The decision that one cannot risk blundering into an ambush by trying to rescue one’s fellow survivors as they are picked off, one by one, with choked screams, by things one cannot see from the streaming limits of vision in the unending rain? We could guess, of course, that they were boggards, but they could bide their time, while we had lost almost everything, and if we fought them off for a day or a night, the eternal wet did nothing to keep our wounds clean. There were two dozen of us at first, but half that and few unwounded by the time we escaped their territory.
We would never have managed if we hadn’t chanced upon a group of human cultists, or pirates, or both, who were less interested in our lives than anything else they could get from us, from the poor purses we might have escaped with, to sodden finery and the cheapest copper ring on a finger. They helped us punch through, and it was then that I was first instructed in ruthlessness. The boggard patrol that returned to harry us was unprepared for our reinforcements, and eventually broke. Rather than slip away, though, the leader of our unlikely saviours snarled and threatened us into pursuit while the advantage was ours. I can still remember the first time my sword cut into a fleeing back, and then the next and the next, until a dilute stream of blood joined the rain dripping from my arm. I was meant to be studying wizardry, and here I was performing a pirate’s butchery.
Nonetheless, hundreds of miles from any hope of home, many of our survivors threw in their lot with one band or another as we continued south, and it became apparent that the pirates were not a unified expedition. I had no intention of joining them, and was scornfully met with the offer, “Guess you’ll be wanting the lizards, then?”
I had no idea what it meant at the time, but I negotiated for passage – on condition that I pull my own weight to make sure we got there in one piece - to the lands of the Terwa Lords, aggressive, but honourable, lizardfolk kingdoms. It was not an uneventful journey, and between rival bands of cultists and more boggards, I found myself preparing the same spells I had learned for defence over and over again, and burning through scrolls I had meant to study more carefully. I might as well have used them for tinder, only – there was one spell, to call a spark of magic to a weapon. I was never able to learn it properly, but somehow some part of it never left my mind. Perhaps I first called upon it in a desperate moment, but something like it came easily to me, and day by day, for longer and longer, thereafter.
But I ramble. In the hope of bringing this to some conclusion soon, let me hurry through what happened next, and the years that followed. A shrewd lizardfolk warrior and trader among the Terwa saw some possibility in a bedraggled northern elf and relieved my escort of me. Sharahsk was planning an expedition south, and had use of a guard with even a pittance of skill in the arcane. He was impressed with the woodcraft I had acquired in my girlhood, reinforced by magic, that let me blend in among the trees, with a bit of patience, but he taught me to know better new forests than those I had grown up in, and secured training for me in magic to move more easily in water and in the forest canopy. This was hardly out of the mere kindness of his heart, as I discovered when he explained just how far he meant to travel, with me as his companion. On the way to Sharahsk’s cousins in Droon, he taught me that sometimes it was expedient to strike first and without warning, and I wonder if he may have been right. We slipped, not without bloodshed, past the head-hunting halflings of the Kaava lands, and passed me off as a slave to get through the Bekyar demon-worshippers without attracting too much attention. The shame of it, and knowing that I could not realistically do anything for the true slaves, stills haunts me. Worse still, in the depths of those jungles, staring into the faces of sinister effigies and bloody boundary markers, something stirred within me, some magic that forced me to admit, I could do that. I banished the thought then, but it comes back to me like a curse.
At last though, Droon, and then Holomog. I can hardly keep from getting ahead of myself. Nothing could have prepared me for them, and nothing I say here can do them justice. Droon was to the Terwa Lords as the greatest human empires now to the most squalid of their barbarian tribes, and Sharahsk knew it. It occurred to me that I was a prestige token, a sign of sophistication to bolster his standing among distant kin that represented the heights of lizardfolk cultures. And then, after he had concluded his business, we parted amicably, with his indication that a warmblood like me might find Holomog more to her liking. Holomog! Have you ever heard, much less been part of a dinosaur hunt? And the warriors! Something about the tale I was able to tell them convinced them to take me in, at least while I travelled through their lands, and they are like no other warriors I have ever met. Though friendly, they pushed and tested me, teasing out “what I thought I could do” with my little bit of magic. Those women first showed me that I could use spell and weapon together, and named me, in their own way, sword-witch. It was a moment like no other in my life and study of magic.
You know the rest, of course. How I came to Alkenstar, through the eerie silence of the petrified Field of Maidens and through Geb. You know I was disgusted by the price I had to pay for safe passage. Even now, I cannot describe how unclean it made me feel. To pass by living souls kept as chattel to feed their undying masters, and know that the least of those could likely overpower me easily, to have my exotic blood extorted for security and ambiguous favours for me to one day call upon. Even the gentlest, or most businesslike vampire’s embrace is – I cannot say it. One day, if you ask, if you will even want to speak to me again, I will try to tell you. And yet, from what you tell me of your official liege-lords in Nex, those are little better. They pursue their own interests and experiments without check or care for the ordinary citizen. I do not blame you for mistrusting mages, even without the tortured history of your own countryside.
I do not know what you saw in me to be so generous with your friendship, or why I thought I might encourage you to travel to Kyonin to take up the study of wizardry there. I suppose, and I mean this in all earnest, that I was afraid you would end up something like me, your talents wasted and skewed to violence. You deserve better than staring across the desert for monsters and taking pot shots with the ridiculous contraptions you use here, no matter how exciting they are. I would swear you are a natural, Iri, and you can still become the mage that I will never be. But it is not my place…
The letter is unfinished, and even a cursory glance reveals that both pages of it have been struck through with a long stroke of the pen, as if the writer thought better of writing, before the paper was torn in half.