Natalie Schwan

The Prodigious Friend

Background

You were born in Russia, and it was cold, and it was harsh. You trained to survive the brutal winters, you studied at the most difficult schools. You became a prodigy, an amazing legend worth whispering about. And then the world died, and Russia died, and your father took you in a boat to Town. He met a woman there, and fell in love, and took her name, and you joined her family and took her son as a brother. You came to Town, and it was quiet, and strange, but you liked it. And you met a boy - a funny boy, just a little bit younger than you. You beat him in a soapbox derby, and you became the best of friends. You didn't have many (any) other friends, but you didn't need them. Life was, basically, good.

But then the boy showed you his wish-granting Engine, and you remembered.

You aren't real. A perfect, incredible prodigy? Impossible. Russia? No such place, you're pretty sure. It sounds kind of ridiculous when you stop to think about it, frankly. Your father - you don't know. He's also from Russia, so he's probably not real either. Melancholy and Laodemus Schwan - they might be real, but they're both a little odd. Your whole life is a lie, created because Chuubo needed a best friend, and you were the best friend that he could have. Unstoppable! Incredible! Just a little bit older than him! So cool. And so FAKE.

The knowledge is tearing you up inside. Chuubo doesn't know - how could he? You aren't sure whether to keep doing what you're doing, or whether enough training and focus might turn you real. You faintly remember not being real, and that was awful, so you don't want to do it again. You worry that bits of you shook free when you found out, and turned into a giant snake that's stalking the rooftops, filled with all of your sense of betrayal and despair. You've broken inside, just a little, and you need to put yourself back together, but you aren't quite sure what back together is going to look like.

You're just going to have to buckle down and figure it out, you guess. No one's going to do it for you.

Skills and Arc

Arc: Become Somebody 3
Current Arc: Become Somebody 3+
Emotion XP: Awww

Skills

  • Martial Arts 3: You can fight anyone!
  • Know Stuff 2: You know all sorts of things!
  • Exist 2: You're pretty good at existing.
  • Cool 1: You are pretty cool.
  • Ordinary -1: You are embarassingly bad at being a normal girl.

Perks

  • Connection (Chuubo) 4: You are Chuubo's best friend, by universal law.
  • Bond (Chuubo's Best Friend): Your Calling makes you the best friend Chuubo could have…
  • Affliction (Frozen Heart): … but your Sickness shields you from anyone else.

Miraculous Powers: Become Somebody

You are a pretty impressive person You used to think that this was just because of all the time you've spent training, but lately you're starting to wonder. Maybe you're actually just this good because you were meant to be? You aren't sure what all this means, aside from that you are not actually a real person. But if you work hard enough, and train well enough, and focus strongly enough, maybe you can become a real person. After all, a Prodigy overcomes adversity, and there's not much more adversity than a critical failure to properly exist.

Frantic

As long as you're staying on the Become Somebody Arc, you are Frantic! You tend to get in trouble, and it nets you a lot of MP. (Note that if you decide to advance along the Ace instead, you still have Frantic as your Arc power.)

Natalie-Sense

You are a prodigy, able to accomplish any task. As a result, you have a keen sense for whether or not a task can actually be accomplished. With a single moment of consideration, you can tell whether any task is possible to accomplish without miraculous action, and how much effort it would take you to accomplish it - even if factors you aren't aware of would make the task easier or harder.

Sum You Up

Your ability to sense what is possible extends to the abilities of others. You have a natural ability to size up the skills and talents of the people around you, just by watching the way that they move and behave. With a single glance, you can generally tell how good people are at anything mundane. Figuring out how skilled they are at Magical or Superior skills generally requires actually seeing them do those things.

People who have magic that specifically disguises how good they are need a miracle with 3+ Strike to block your ability to sum them up.

Canonical History

You have a history which cannot be contravened. It currently includes the following statements:

- You grew up in Russia
- You utterly dominated everyone in that legendary soapbox derby a few years back.

No mundane or magical action can undo these truths, and any miracle needs to overcome an Autocritas 3.

The Prodigy

No matter what you put your hand to, you are able to become astonishingly skilled at it. Whenever you sustain an action, you develop the following benefits:

- A +1 Tool bonus to the action (remember, this doesn't stack with The Ace)
- A Level 3 Connection to the environment in which the Intention is taking place
- A series of minor coincidences and inspiration that make your action look more impressive
- A tendency to forget that you haven't trained extensively in this area of expertise

You tend to use this particular ability a lot.

Perfect Technique

When you are acting as an impressive, prodigious person, you don't generally mess up. You may activate this power at a cost of 1 MP when undertaking any impressive Intention to make people aware that you are doing this action perfectly, and that opposing you is useless. If anyone tries to spot a flaw in your technique or a weakness they can exploit to undermine your action, they face a Level 3 Obstacle (or Auctoritas) to doing so. You're simply too prodigious, too much of a perfectly trained person.

Legendary Master

While your Perfect Technique is active, you can go beyond your own perfection, and show others how it's done! You demonstrate a new form to them, force them into intensive training regimens, and constantly remind them that this is not how it was done in Russia.

This is really hard on a person, but it has pretty powerful effects. You can give them a Wound that mimics the training you received, giving them temporary benefits as per usual Wounds in line with Incredible Perfection. (PCs might transform these wounds into potential Perks for finishing quests, if appropriate.) It only takes a few seconds to improve someone's posture or yell math lessons into them, but real training (i.e. serious wounds) takes a short training montage, and impressive results (i.e. deadly wounds) require hours of intensive training.

Just Give Up

You can also insult someone, declare that they will never be a success, and just… give up on them. This costs 2 MP, but it's pretty serious stuff. You can use it in a little way, to declare that some technique isn't a true, proper technique, and by doing so transform it into mere imposture. Or you could actually use this on a person, undermining their skills and making them better only at failing. This works like Legendary Master, but instead of training someone you need to ostentatiously and disdainfully turn away or ignore them. It can take a lot of ignoring to really shatter someone's confidence.

Touchstone

You do have one other ability - you can size someone up completely, understand everything that drives them, and adapt yourself to be their teacher, friend or champion. You don't actually use this ability very often, because they always reach a point where they don't need you anymore, and letting them go hurts (it hurts enough to sometimes qualify as Suffering Trauma, giving you Sickness to power your Frozen Heart, in fact). Forging this connection costs 4 MP, and it only lasts as long as you sustain a related Intention.

Anime Moment

Sometimes, you are up against an impossible challenge. "There's no way she could do that!" people cry. "She's doomed!"

And then you kick reason to the curb. You just… succeed.

Spend a total of 4 MP on your Perfect Technique to trigger an Anime Moment. The world goes weird. Reality distorts, and you become a stylized, symbolic representation of yourself. You can run on water, leap from cherry blossom to cherry blossom, eat forty cakes - whatever it takes, as long as you are representing a faultless, astonishing prodigy. This doesn't technically provide benefits - you still need to put an Intention together - but it provides whatever ridiculous special effects and incredible feats you need to impress upon all onlookers that you are Just. That. Good. And whatever you declare - it really happens. It's not a dream. Not a vision. It's real.

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