I’ve been working behind the scenes on a lot of material for a game program for my library. I’ll be throwing up more of the material in the upcoming weeks as I’ve gotten the bulk of the rules ironed out. The rest of the zones for the Fate game will consume most of the development time and, who knows, I might have enough to release it as a product using the SRD material for Venture City as the springboard. In that vein, here’s the first full write-up for one of the setting’s villains.
Dr. Christopher Hernandez, like most villains, didn’t set out to become what he is. He’s a brilliant psychologist who approached his studies the way he did life: he fought for them. Dr. Hernandez wasn’t born well-off, but his perseverance and tenacity paid off. Growing up in Angelwood meant having to deal with the normal problems of adolescence combined with the flak he caught for being a bit scrawny and so studious.
Dr. Hernandez devoted a significant part of his time to helping out people in his old neighborhood because he understood the problems the community faced. There were a handful of particularly tough cases that he tried to crack so his patients could move on with their lives, but underlying issues proved too difficult. He threw himself into the problem and desperately wanted to help his patients find relief. Up until that point, Dr. Hernandez hadn’t experienced failure, only setbacks. The more he worked, though, the more the answers eluded him until he suffered a mental breakdown.
Christopher Hernandez still runs his practice, but isn’t like other psychologists. He isn’t interested in helping you recover. Once, maybe, but not now. The doctor’s mind didn’t heal the way he hoped. Something in the research or the intensity of his search awoke a sleeping portion of his brain. When he came to, he found that he had reached a height other psychologists only dreamt of: the ability to know exactly what others were thinking.
Dr. Hernandez can’t escape the thoughts and got more than he wanted since what he found is that most people’s thoughts are horrible and those who’ve suffered psychological trauma are worse. The constant amongst all the minds he’s encountered: pain. In his broken condition, this has led him to adopt the persona Catharsis.
As Catharsis, Dr. Hernandez has turned to helping end his patients’ suffering through reinforcing not just their pain, but preparing them to embrace a final exit.
Aspects: Psychologist by Trade, Manipulator by Choice; Well-versed in Psychoses; Nondescript Appearance; Driven to Prove Himself; Observes What Others Don’t
||Will, Contacts, Lore
||Resources, Deceive, Notice, Provoke
||Drive, Burglary, Athletics, Crafts, Stealth
Face in the Crowd (Fate Core, page 126)
Best Foot Forward (Fate Core, page 121)
Psychologist (Fate Core, page 109)
Suppression of Will: Catharsis is a master manipulator because of how intimately he knows what people are thinking through Telepathy using Investigate rolls. He uses this to read opponents and dominate them by attacking their minds with a +4 to Rapport to get them to do what he wants and he gets a +2 to Deceive to ensure they are none the wiser that it’s his choice and not theirs.
o Master Influence
- Telepathy (Investigate)
- Intensive Training
Special Effects: Mental Recovery, Inflict Condition
Drawback: Deeply Haunted by Living Nightmares
Collateral Damage Effect: Catharsis can create havoc not through affecting a mass of people, but by selecting one victim and truly preying on her fears. He does this by getting the character to relive their worst psychic traumas all over again. Anyone witnessing this display makes a Will roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to avoid one mental stress. The victim makes a Will roll against a Good (+3) obstacle to prevent inflicting a fatal wound. Success means the victim takes a moderate physical consequence and a mild mental consequence. Catharsis takes a mild mental consequence for using this ability.
Mental Shield: Catharsis has learned to ward his own mind from the manipulations of others. He can use his Investigate skill to defend against mental attacks. Catharsis has no defense against physical attacks as a result.
- Telepathy (Investigate)
Special Effects: Extra Movement, Extra Action
Drawback: Psychologically Distant
Collateral Damage Effect: Catharsis has the ability to create a sense of pure disquiet in a zone up to one zone away where everyone feels completely isolated from the rest of the universe. The effect is so unnerving that most fly into a panic attempting to escape the sense of unmitigated solitude. Nameless NPCs are taken out, while named NPCs and PCs make a Will roll against a Fair (+2) obstacle to avoid a moderate mental consequence from feeling so isolated.
Physical Stress: □□ Mental Stress: □□□□