Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sisters of Paradox

Sisters of Paradox

Note: This one is for my friend Robert Black. He was one of the ones that got me into Charmed, Hex and renewed my love for Doctor Who. He is also an unabashed Willow and Tara fan and fellow Kitten. Bob is now a successful novelist and I proudly own an autographed copy of his first book Liberty Girl. Paradox Willow was his idea originally and I am gleefully stealing her for this. Paradox Phoebe is my own, but I am sure he would have developed it too. 

Faction Paradox

The Doctor Who novels and audio plays featuring the 8th Doctor introduced a new enemy to the Doctors rogues gallery, Faction Paradox. This voodoo cult/criminal organization delights in causing temporal paradoxes, including replacing people with their alternates or who they could have been born as. A person and their alternatives are entirely different people, they can look different and act different but are not evil twins. Genetically they are siblings. For this reason, I call them Paradox Siblings.

Using Paradox Siblings in Your Game

Paradox Siblings, even if you never use Faction Paradox, can bring an interesting twist to a game. They are not evil twins or alternate-universe versions of the character. They are this universes version, different at the moment of conception. They are different yes, but not alternates (say from The Wish or Centennial Charmed). Thus the paradox.

They can be used to cause confusion, erase someone from history, or even supplant someone with nefarious means. Think of the ultimate version of The Manchurian Candidate or the situation Spock faced in Yesteryear from the Star Trek Animated Series. This is especially useful when you need a character replaced for a brief period of time (say due to the absence of a player) or removing someone when killing them outright will not serve the purpose (as with Willow and Phoebe in Semi-Charmed Life). Paradox siblings are also useful if someone needed something that only a particular genetic code or family line good provide. Cant get the hero to give up her blood and she has no living relatives? No problem, yank one out of time and you are good to go.

Ok, so you have you nice new Paradox sibling, what do you do with her? You can go one of two ways. First, everyone but the Paradox Sibling remembers things are they were (are) and can go about their business, the Paradox Sibling remembers something completely different and is the confused one. This the method used by Robert Black in his Sisters of Paradox. The other characters except for the original sibling have vague memories that are the same as the Paradox Sibling. This can be their clue as to what is going on. Directors could apply a Perception Test (maybe Perception + Willpower) to determine what is going on. Characters with Eidetic or Photographic Memory would have two complete and conflicting set of memories. Directors might have them go into some sort of psychogenic fugue state for dramatic purposes.

Another possibility (and I think the more fun one!) is to have the Paradox Sibling replace the original sibling/character and everyone thinks they are the normal one (with altered memories) and the original one is the one that is the outsider. In Semi-Charmed Life it was Tara that finally discovered the difference when Paradox Willow was revealed to be straight.

Paradox Willow and Paradox Phoebe
Canon note: Screw canon. These characters all came from my alternate 8th Season (Season 1 of Willow and Tara the Series: Season of the Witch) adventure Semi-Charmed Life which is as you can guess a Charmed-crossover.

Synopsis: DHoffryn goes to Kira the Seer to gain knowledge on how to become the next Source. Kira tells him the only way to do it is to neutralize the Charmed Ones. Adding to his complications Willow and Tara are visiting San Francisco and are looking forward to meeting the Charmed Ones (Leo and Tara know each other). Knowing he cant out right kill them, he manipulates time to remove one of the Charmed Ones and one of the anamchara witches from history. With the girls connections to their powers lost DHoffryn claims his prize.

First off, why Willow and Phoebe? Easy, both have something in common other than being witches. Both were originally played by different actresses in their respective shows pilots. Willow was originally played by Riff Regan and Phoebe by Lori Rom. For their Paradox versions I have used these actresses and removed their spellcasting ability. That was the key in breaking the characters powers. Willow and Tara are stronger together than separate unless of course Willow doesnt have magic or love for Tara. The Charmed Ones are much more powerful together, and in Something Wicca this Way Comes it is Phoebe that discovers their magical heritage. Remove those elements and we have some seriously de-powered witches. In the Charmed universe rules if Phoebe had been killed, then Paradox Phoebe could have claimed her powers (again in Centennial Charmed Paige did something similar), which would not have removed the problem only displaced it and pissed off the Charmed Ones in the process (a mistake the former Source had made, only once). So for a temporal demon like DHoffryn, removing someone from a time stream and replacing them with a Paradox Sibling is easy, wellmuch easier than killing them.

Paradox Willow

This is the Original Willow. Thats right, this is the Willow (the girl with brown curly hair) that happened first, but the world was changed to allow the other Willow (the one with straight red hair and likes girls) to exist. So in a way the Willow we all know is really Paradox Willow. But for the sake of argument lets continue calling this girl Paradox Willow.

Use Willow's stats from Season 5. Drop the magic completely, Paradox Willow has no magical ability. Increase her Art and Computers and give her the Artist Quality. Paradox Willow is a very fine hacker but an even better Jazz singer. She plays and sings in Ozs band and dated Jonathan before he was killed by Cordelia the Vampire. She looks a lot like her mother's sister Esther. Paradox Willow is played by Riff Regan.

Willow Rosenberg

Character Type: Mundane Human White Hat (with lots of experience)
Life Points: 30
Drama Points: 5

Strength 2
Dexterity 2
Constitution 3
Intelligence 6
Perception 3
Willpower 5

Artist (Singer and Keyboards)

Adversary (Assorted, Vampire Cordy and wicked Witch Amy in particular) (4)
Love-Tragic (Jonathan)
Minority (Jewish)

Acrobatics 3
Art 5
Computers 7
Crime 1
Doctor 2
Driving 0
Kung Fu 3
Getting Medieval 1
Gun Fu 0
Knowledge 6
Languages 4
Mr. Fix-It 4
Notice 4
Influence 2
Occultism 4
Science 6
Sports 0
Wild Card 0

Maneuver Bonus Base Damage Notes
Dodge 5 None Defensive Move
Punch 4 4
Stake 3 4

Paradox Phoebe
This is a true Paradox. Phoebe was never supposed to be born in the first place. All of Patty's doctors told her she would never have children again. In fact she was having marriage troubles with Victor (played James Read) and he was not really around enough to conceive another child (he did of course; make-up sex maybe after one of their fights). How was this change brought about? In this case the change came with not replacing Phoebe but replacing her father at the right moment. A Paradox Victor was created (played by Tony Denison) to conceive Paradox Phoebe. This Phoebe had no magic from her mother (thus paving the way for Pru, Piper and Paige to be the Charmed Ones, except Pru was killed before Paige was found).

Paradox Phoebe was then not a witch and was more dedicated to her career in New York. She is more financially secure and mature and thus consider herself to be the serious sister (a role Pru played in the normal continuity). She frequently distanced herself from her mother and sisters, preferring to live with her father. She even went as far as to use her fathers name instead of her mothers like her other sisters. Phoebe Bennett is now a successful writer for a fashion magazine. She continued the martial arts training she had in high school, but only to stay in shape.

Paradox Phoebe is played by Lori Rom and her father Paradox Victor is played by Tony Denison. (as opposed to Allysa Milano and James Read)

Phoebe Bennett

Character Type: Mundane Human
Life Points: 30
Drama Points: 5

Strength 2
Dexterity 4
Constitution 3
Intelligence 3
Perception 3
Willpower 2

Attractiveness +2
Resources 5

Addiction (Mild) Smoking
Covetous (Mild) Greed

Acrobatics 3
Art 1
Computers 1
Crime 0
Doctor 0
Driving 2
Getting Medieval 0
Gun Fu 0
Influence 4
Knowledge 2
Kung Fu 4
Languages 0
Mr. Fix-It 0
Notice 2
Occultism 0
Science 1
Sports 0
Wild Card (Fashion) 4

Maneuver Bonus Base Damage Notes
Dodge 9 None Defensive Move
Punch 8 4


Tim Knight said...

Excellent piece, Tim - simply bubbling over with ideas (which I intend to swipe at some stage).

More Faction Paradox!

Timothy S. Brannan said...

I thought you might like this.

I have to think of something good to use FP for again.

Curufea said...

I've been tracking down resources for the FP now that a new Doctor Who RPG has come out.

You may be interested to know that I've mirrored the original FP website (http://www.factionparadox.co.uk) here-