Saturday, September 20, 2014

City of Curses: Icons: Archwitch

The Archwitch

Possible Aspects*: Indebted For a Wish?; The Archwitch Always Pays Her Debts; Savior of the Tieflings
Quote: "Anything is Possible, everything comes with a Price."
Crux Region: The Wish Quarter

The Archwitch is the matron of the Demon's Orphans and she is the leading Priestess of the Church of Shraxes, the Caged One.  The Archwitch can grant any wish- as long as you are willing to pay the price.  Her "wishes" are tied to the whims and power of the Demon's Orphans.  Criminals of all kinds, the Demon's Orphans are loyal to the Archwitch- helping her to complete her many "wishes."

Common Knowledge
To most, the kind Head Priestess of Shraxes is also head of the most prominent charities in Crux.  She runs Orphanages and Poor houses in the Wish Quarter.  And of course, she is the voice that begins the start of every Wish Festival every year.  That annual holiday alone colors what most think of when they think of the Archwitch.

But she also gains her power from a variety of sources.  Some of these are dark powers, others
unconfirmed rumors.  Her magic and skill at performing wishes isn't a thing born of her worship to
Shraxes, but instead a thing of Witchcraft.  In a former age, she'd have been cast out for such a thing.

 But in Ith, she is a considered a prominent citizen, with accusations of her ties to the Demon's
Orphans seen as slander to some, or as an encouragement to others.

Adventurers
The Archwitch always seeks special individuals, often because only those sort can perform the kinds of tasks her clientele ask her for.  The Demon's Orphans have skills, but sometimes she needs something beyond their capabilities.  Such adventurers always are welcome in her service.

There are other adventurers who owe her a debt, too.  A wish from her allowed them to overcome something they couldn't handle alone- sometimes a curse, other times something their family needed to survive.  These debtors owe the Archwitch, and she is glad to use their services as payment.

Allies
The Archwitch is vital in that she controls the Demon's Orphans- providing a counterbalance for many against the Prince and his secretive agendas.  The Blood Barons often help the Archwitch in her schemes against the Prince, always certain she'd lose in the long run- they do so for the short term gain, which the Archwitch doesn't mind or care.  Its an advantage, and she understands manipulation far better than then the vampires think she does.

The Chancellor of Crux University has long spent efforts to hire the Archwitch for all sorts of services in his interests.  In turn, the Archwitch often finds herself in debt to the Prophet of Winds, who can call on Ninja that outperform even her best.  Perhaps her relationship with the Publisher is the most odd, one where both are always trying to convert the other to their cause.

For all her claims of seeking free will, the Archwitch actually finds the anarchy of the Revolution the
most frightening.  She uses the Publisher as often as she can, always to keep him from spiraling things too far out of hand.

Enemies
The Archwitch opposes the Prince, and both of them have long feuded for control of Crux's shadows.  She also is in direct conflict with those that would try to restrain her, especially those like the Voice, the Archbishop and the Police Commissioner.

She also strives to contain the Publisher, often because her goals as Archwitch include the preservation of the Demon's Orphans.  She acts Frenemy to the Publisher, helping him while trying to manipulate the revolutionary into making mistakes.  She worries about the possible conflict he could create, and her manipulations so far have kept his many terrorist acts contained.

History
Among those in the know, the Archwitch's position makes sense: the leader of the Church of Shraxes has always had some sort of political power in the city.  Her alliance with that of the Demon's Orphans is a recent advent, something the Archwitch cultivated herself.

The Archwitch herself is a Tiefling of interdeterminate years.  No one knows how old she actually is-
only that she wears veils, has long dark hair and a pair of ever-burning red eyes.  Her powers are a mix of various sources, but most of them are from deals she'd manipulated.  Many have claimed this includes a form of immortality or eternal youth.  Others claim that the position of the Archwitch is hereditary- with each Archwitch always leading the Church of Shraxes.

The Prince plays a critical part in all the myths and legends of the Archwitch.  The oldest stories about her say she knows how the Prince is tied to Shraxes, and that she alone lives to remember how he bound the Demon Princess.  Perhaps most disturbing is the idea that the entire Church of Shraxes might truly be the creation of the Archwitch and her descendants, if she isn't immortal.

The Demon's Orphans grew from the many orphanages that opened the Tiefling Soul had been printed.  Although the Church of the Twins managed many of them, more than a few of those orphans would find themselves alone on the streets after a certain age.  They turned to crime and formed their own gangs.  The tiefling ghettoes in the Wish Quarter spent the better part of the last century being ground zero to their wars.  The Archwitch countered that, working as a middle ground.

Today, all of the gangs that form the Demon's Orphans regard the Archwitch as their own adoptive mother, always referring to her as "Ma" or "Mother Witch."  They speak of her in hallowed tones, and her word often is all they need to be motivated.  They have come to form a devotion to her and all that she represents to them: a way to make Crux their city, as it was always meant to be.

Rumors

In Debt: Desperate folk turn to Shraxes for help.  Even more desperate people find themselves approached by the Archwitch- who is always willing to help out another for the chance of a future payment.  But sometimes the debtor tries to skip out on a payment.  And when that debtor is an Icon of Crux, then things start to spiral into conflict rather quick.  The Archwitch always find a payment- even if it means using the Demon's Orphans to steal, murder and extract that payment.  In blood as well as coin.

The Printer Mad: Should the Publisher find out that the Archwitch has been countering some of his insurgencies, things spiral out of balance between the two.  Without her constraints on him, the Archwitch finds herself facing a war she truly can't handle: a public relations war.  Such a conflict would also stall her efforts to contain the Publisher, leading to more of the Revolution coming out into the open, while protests form against the Demon's Orphans.  War between icons can be tense in Crux, and a PR war between these two might tip the balance of Crux toward anarchy.

Witchdeath: The Archwitch goes missing or is found dead.  Many worry about the old infighting coming back should that happen in the Wish Quarter.  But those who know the Demon's Orphans know better.  If the Archwitch goes out, then they know who did the dirty deed.  No Orphan would let the Prince get away with it- not without burning down the City of Curses in retaliation.

New Flaw: If you take the following flaw, you get the option to start the game with one additional trait of your choice.

Indebted To the Archwitch: You poor soul.  You struck a deal with the Archwitch, getting a wish in the process.  Whatever the outcome of that wish, it saved you.  It fixed a problem, and now you are alive because of that.  The Archwitch knows this, and you owe her.  Once per session the GM can have a representative of the Archwitch appear and ask the PC to do something they wouldn't otherwise do.  Your debt to the Archwitch never really goes away, as you can't really put a price on how much life you've gotten out of the deal.  But sometimes, it can put you in a real bind...

*****

*If using Fate.  Otherwise, ignore.