Riddle

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The Hound of Olric
Clay_Riddle.Fate.jpg

Hound of Olric. He Who Walks Behind. The Chained Hunter. The Midnight Man. Stalking Shadow. Scar That Steals. The Mournful Highwayman. Blade in the Dark. The Bound Seeker.

Call him what you will. Name him, constrain him, invoke gods and powers against him. It will do you no good. If Olric the Rapacious covets something that belongs to you, it belongs to you no more. Olric will send his Hound, and once the Hound has a scent, he cannot be stopped. There is nowhere you can run that he cannot find you. There is no tower tall enough, no wall thick enough, no magic strong enough to protect what you cherish. Oh, you may pity the Hound as he pities you, but his will is not his own, and his pity has no power to sway him. So you mark my words, young braggart. Be proud if you must, but make it a quiet pride. Do not boast. Because the only way you are safe from the Hound of Olric is if his Master never hears of you.


Riddle's History


Contents

[edit] Aspects

[edit] Skills

  • Great (+4): Notice
  • Good (+3): Fight, Physique
  • Fair (+2): Athletics, Travel, Will
  • Average (+1): Burglary, Empathy, Shoot, Stealth

[edit] Stress

  • Physical: 4
  • Mental: 3

[edit] Refresh

  • 2

[edit] Aspects

  • The Hound of Olric: High Concept
  • My Own Man: Low Concept
  • Marked by Magic: Trouble
  • "I've Had Worse": From the Theft of the Music Box, with Jack
  • The Strong Should Protect the Weak: From the Rescue of Helhet, part II, Inside the Prison
  • Seething Cauldron of Rage: From the Tale of the Swanmay, with Corby

[edit] The Hound of Olric

Clay spent most of his life bound into service to Sorcerer-King Olric. He was forced to use his inborn talent to steal unique magicks from rich and poor alike, to abduct those unfortunate souls whose natural magic caught Olric’s covetous eye, and occasionally to act as assassin when Vorarl’s coffers ran low or Olric wanted to ingratiate himself to one of those few he considered allies.

Invoke: This aspect can be invoked to give Clay a bonus to intimidate, if he leverages his legend as a boogey-man of sorts. Or he might reassure, if he uses his reputation to offer hope of finding that which seems irrevocably lost. This aspect could also aid Clay in understanding and navigating the culture of whatever Realm he’s in. He traveled extensively throughout the Tapestry while in Olric’s thrall, though his knowledge may be out of date.

  • “Don’t take that.”
    “She said it was a gift!”
    “It is, but you can’t accept it yet. You have to refuse a gift three times.”
    “Pfft, that’s ridiculous.”
    “Yes, but it’s the custom in this Realm. If you don’t do it, you’ll insult her, and we really need to stay on her good side.”
  • “You’ve heard of me, haven’t you?"
    “Yes. You are He Who Walks Behind.”
    “Then you know what I can do. You know there is nothing and no one I cannot Find. So when I tell you I will bring your son home to you, you know I speak true.”

Compel: This aspect can be compelled if Clay encounters someone he wronged at Olric’s behest. There are those who won’t care that Clay was magically enslaved; it was his hands that did the deed, his face that they remember. Also, Clay’s guilt over his past can be used to manipulate him. In his desperation to atone for his crimes, he may throw caution to the wind.

  • “You! You are Stalking Shadow. You stole my foremother’s enchanted sabre! For six generations, my family has suffered that shame. But no more. I will take your head and restore honor to all the mothers and sisters of my line.”
    “Please, I...I had no choice. I was under another’s thrall when I--”
    “Silence, villain! Defend yourself!”
  • “Clay, this guy is playing you. Trust me, I know a con when I see one.”
    “And if he isn’t? I caused this problem. I need to make it right.”
    “Ack! You aren’t responsible. Olric was responsible. You were just his weapon.”
    “That’s not good enough for me. The blood is still on my hands.”

Applicability: This aspect applies primarily in scenarios where someone recognizes Clay as the Hound of Olric or has heard his legend. His knowledge of the various civilizations of the Tapestry, if still accurate, would be only the sort of shallow, basic information that a tourist might know.

[edit] My Own Man

Being a Seeker has caused Clay nothing but pain, but he cannot shake the belief that it is a gift, a calling, one that was thwarted by Olric and his greed. Even while under Olric’s thrall, he used his Seeking power to help people when he could, when it didn’t contradict Olric’s orders. Now that Clay is free of Olric, free of the Prison, he means to stay that way. Not only because his greatest fear is to be captured and imprisoned again, but also because he wants to find a way to reclaim the destiny that was stolen from him.

Invoke: This aspect can be invoked to aid Clay in evading capture. He will not be a prisoner again. It can also be invoked when Clay feels obligated to use his Seeker abilities to help someone in need.

  • “I-I can’t believe you made it. No one can make a jump like that.”
    “All you really need is the right motivation.” Pant, pant. “Being chased by Knights of the Lock and Key definitely qualifies.”
  • “Okay, I admit it. I’m impressed. I didn’t want to get involved in this mess, but the way you bluffed your way into that bandit camp...well, I couldn’t have done it better myself.”
    “I just did what I had to do. That boy and his mother were counting on me. It wasn’t enough to just Find him; I had to bring him home.”

Compel: This aspect can be compelled to make Clay compromise himself in order to maintain his freedom. (Keeping company with the other PCs, for example.) It scares Clay to think what he’d be capable of to avoid recapture. This aspect could also compel Clay to keep pushing his damaged Seeking power until it causes him debilitating pain or injury.

  • “I didn’t expect you to go along with this plan, Clay. Framing an innocent, however temporarily, to divert attention from our escape...well, I’m just surprised, is all.”
    “Yeah. Me, too.”
  • “You have to stop.”
    “No. Can’t. Lost...out there.”
    “You can’t help him if your brain leaks out of your nose. You’re like a faucet. An awful, gory faucet.”
    “You...exaggerate.”
    “He doesn’t, so much, not this time. Your eyes are beginning to turn red from burst vessels. Stop a while. Rest. We will pick up the trail in a few hours.”
    “No...cn’t...I....”
    “Did he just pass out?”
    “Mercifully, yes. Cover him with a blanket, would you?”

Applicability: This aspect applies only when Clay’s freedom is directly threatened or his perceived duties as a Seeker are in play.

[edit] Marked by Magic

Clay has a multifaceted relationship with magic. He was marked by magic at birth when he was born a Seeker, gifted with unique magical abilities. He was marked by Olric when the sorcerer-king enhanced and bound him, though he wouldn't learn until the Prison that the magicks Olric cast on him left his own inborn magic damaged and painful to use. He was marked literally by the arcane scars left on his face and body after Olric's rituals and the strange way those symbols react in the presence of magic. Clay had a facility with magic that in some ways rivaled Olric's—not in raw power, but in finesse. Even now, diminished as he is, magic responds to Clay like it knows him.

Invoke: This aspect can be invoked to allow Clay to boost a spell he's using or magicks being used near him. It could also aid him in understanding magical texts, learning new spells, or figuring out how to activate a magical object.

  • “You can read that?”
    “Well, no, not exactly.”
    “But you know what it says?”
    “Yes."
    “How?”
    “I’m...not sure.”
  • “Whew. For a second there, I thought I was dead. Thank you.”
    “You’re welcome. Though I admit the spell worked rather better than expected. That seems to be the case often when you’re around.”
    “Just lucky, I guess.”

Compel: This aspect can be compelled to make it difficult for Clay to hide or remain anonymous. Anyone who sees his scars flare with eldritch light will know they're witnessing magic and respond with anything from fascination to fear. Even if magic doesn't give him away, Clay's scarred face is very memorable. Some may recognize the nature of the symbols, while others might remember that detail from the legends of the Hound.

  • “There! That light, do you see it? The demon’s there!”
    “When did you become a damned glow bug, Clay?”
    “Shut up and run!”
    “And this was such a good hiding place, too.”
  • “Excuse me, I hate to disturb your luncheon, but I would love to know where you acquired those tatt--oh! They’re not tattoos, are they? They’re brands. How strange. And fascinating. Could I ask--”
    “Look, m’lady, I don’t want to be rude, but my companions and I would just like to eat our meal in peace.”
    “Oh, well, of course. But...would you mind if I sketched you? My colleagues at the Bright College will be quite envious if I bring back such a prize! Magical sigils like these haven’t been seen in, oh, let me think...”
    “Maybe we should have this food wrapped to go.”

Applicability: This aspect applies primarily to situations involving magic.

[edit] "I've Had Worse"

Clay stole a unique music box from Jack, unaware that Jack had changed its song into a bawdy tavern ballad mocking Olric. Olric sent Clay to Melchior to pay the price for failing to deliver the box intact. Clay might have been angry at Jack for his trickery and its consequences, but he'd suffered such punishments many times before, sometimes for lesser offenses.

Clay has suffered a great deal of pain in the past, both physical and psychological. He can endure or ignore injuries that would incapacitate others, but he can also be overwhelmed by fear or horror if confronted with something that triggers his more traumatic memories.

Invoke: This aspect can be invoked to allow Clay to withstand dangers and threats that others might balk at.

  • “You call this torture?” Slightly manic laughter. “You can’t even throw a decent punch.”
  • “We should stop. You’re hurt.”
    “If we stop, we’re dead. Don’t worry, I can make it. I've had worse."

Compel: This aspect can be compelled to make it difficult or impossible for Clay to face a task or image that too closely recalls a horror from his past. It can also cause him to overreact to a threat, real or perceived, that mirrors an old hurt.

  • “What’s wrong?”
    “N-nothing. It’s just...that smell... I-I’m sorry, I can’t, I can’t go in there...”
  • “Clay, ah, don’t you think that was a little extreme?”
    “He put his hands on me.”
    “He was just--”
    “I don’t like to be touched.”

Applicability: This Aspect applies only in instances of extreme mental or physical duress that echo something Clay has already experienced.

[edit] Seething Cauldron of Rage

Corby, who seemed to think that his and Olric's back-and-forth abductions of the swan maiden Wasiya were some sort of damned game, eventually tormented Clay by snatching up his sister, Summer Riddle, and offering Clay a choice between her and the swan maiden. Being under Olric's thrall, Clay didn't actually have a choice in the matter. His rage as he left Mistyholt with Wasiya was palpable.

Clay has witnessed and experienced a great deal of injustice in his life, and it makes him angry. Very angry. Especially since he so rarely sees those who perpetrate injustice get punished for it.

Invoke: This aspect can be invoked to give Clay the advantage in a physical conflict against someone he’s trying to bring to justice. It can also give him a psychological edge to cow a villain into submission, or even repentance.

  • “I still can’t believe you beat that beast. He was huge.”
    Shrug. “I was angry.”
  • “I’ll be good, I swear, from now until the day I die. I swear, I swear...”
    “You’d better. If I hear differently, you know I can always Find you.”

Compel: This aspect can be compelled to get Clay to make dangerous choices, his rage overcoming his common sense. He might also take the law into his own hands and do...questionable things to the guilty.

  • “Ow!”
    “We told you to not to get involved. We told you you’d get hurt.”
    “Was I just supposed to--ah! Careful! Those ribs are broken.”
    “Serves you right.”
  • “Oh, sweet stars, Clay. Wh-what have you done?”
    “He deserved it.”
    “That may well be, but--warp and weft! Is he still alive?”
    “Of course. If I killed him, his penance would be over, wouldn’t it?”

Applicability: This aspect applies only when Clay is angry over a crime that has gone unpunished.

[edit] The Strong Should Protect the Weak

Inside the Prison, Clay intervened on behalf of Helhet to keep him from being tormented and beaten by more aggressive inmates. During their incarceration, Clay often let other prisoners believe that Helhet "belonged" to him in order to keep Helhet safe.

Clay isn’t sure if he’s a good person anymore, considering the things he’s done, however unwilling. But he believes the strong have a responsibility to look out for those weaker than them, rather than taking advantage. The fact that most of his experiences run counter to this belief only makes him cling to it harder.

Invoke: This belief can be invoked to give Clay an advantage in any conflict where he’s protecting someone who can’t protect himself. He could also use it to exhort others to stand up to a bully on behalf of the underdog.

  • “Hey, you. Yeah, you, the one who smells like he bathed in horse piss this morning. Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”
  • “Don’t just stand there gawping, you sheep! Do something! You bow your heads and watch as he steals from the fishmonger, just relieved that it’s not you. But tomorrow it will be you! Tomorrow he’ll be stealing your apples or your bread or your finely made daggers. He steals the fruits of your labor, coin from your pockets, food from the mouths of your children. And you let him! There are twenty of you and only one of him. If you stand your ground, all of you together, what hope does he have against you?”

Compel: This belief can be compelled to make Clay act against his own best interests or that of his companions:

  • “Clay, that is a minotaur, and you’re still recovering from being nearly disemboweled last week.”
    “You heard the same thing I did. That girl thinks he’s charming, but he means to kidnap and rape her. Maybe even kill her.”
    “This town has a constabulary. We will inform them, and they will take care of it.”
    “And what if they don’t believe us? What if they’re too slow? I’m staying. You go find a constable.”
    “Clay...”
    “Damn, they’re slipping out the side door. I’m going.”
    “Clay! Stop, curse you! Clay!”
  • “Two Knights of the Lock and Key are in the tavern as we speak. We have to leave. Now.
    “Then go. I’m not stopping you.”
    “You are, actually. We need you to Find us a new Thread into Beldenshire.”
    “You have at least two days travel first. I’ll catch up to you. I can’t leave now. I have to Find that boy. He’ll freeze to death out there.”
    “That boy was missing for two days before we even arrived. He’s probably dead already. You don’t know if you’re being pulled toward a living person or a body, do you?”
    “No, but--” Crack. Thud.
    “He’s really not going to appreciate that when he wakes up.”
    “Had to be done. Otherwise he’d have argued with you until until the Tapestry unravels. Now help me get him up on the horse.”

Applicability: This Aspect applies only when Clay is trying to protect someone weaker or less capable than him.

[edit] Stunts

[edit] Seeking

1 Rules Exception - Riddle can Find anything if he knows its full, true name; has seen it with his own eyes; or is asked to find it by its rightful owner. Once he is Finding something, he can check the direction that it lies once per scene. He can also hold open his Finding sense, reading it like a compass, rather than simply checking it occasionally, but it hurts him to do so -- it costs him one mild consequence (or a moderate or severe if a lower-level consequence is not available). For a Fate Point (spent at the initiating of the Finding), Riddle can apply this to less specific concepts, such as "a one-armed man," which will lead him to nearest such specimen available. This latter ability can also be applied to finding threads between realms (e.g., "Find the nearest thread" or "Find the shortest way to Northern Sarbenia.") While actively Finding, Riddle is easier to scry, but he is otherwise more difficult to find. +1 bonus to rolls to scry him while he has an active object of his Seeking, -1 otherwise.

[edit] Heal

1 Rules Exception - With the expenditure of a Fate Point, Riddle can downgrade the severity of a consequence by one step (if the lesser consequence slot is open), or immediately remove a mild consequence entirely. This assumes that he has the time to cast the healing spell (i.e., are not under time duress).

[edit] Mage Armor

1 Action Bonus - Riddle knows a Word of Power that will summon a magical shield, giving him the equivalent of Armor: 2 (see the entry on Weapon and Armor Ratings on p. 277 of Fate Core) against one attack per conflict (using the word of power is draining and requires him to rest a bit before speaking it again). This can be applied after the hit has been rolled.

[edit] Summon Tools

1 Rules Exception - Assuming the time needed to cast the spell is available (essentially assuming that time pressure is not a factor -- we can be fiddly about the actual amount of time required), Riddle always has access to any simple, non-mechanical tools he might need and in said circumstance does not need to roll to find them.


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