I don’t really have anything for background this week so I’ll roll some random tables for a new character and build them. That should be interesting?
Type – Magic, Mystically Bestowed
Appearance – Tall, overweight
Disposition – Self-reliant, tough
Age – Elderly
Origin – Europe, non-English speaking, large city
Background – Wealthy
Powers manifested – Recently
Other – Physical limitations
Abilities – Spellcasting
In this context, mystically bestowed is a power source like Shazam, you speak the magic word or drink your magic tea and you’re transformed from whatever, in this case an old man with physical ailments, to a young strong alternate self. Who in this case also knows magic. Which is a little weird, seems like if you knew magic, you’d just know it no matter what.
I’ll say this guy is from Italy. The only big city that I know of in Italy is Rome, but that seems too on the nose. Internet says Milan is the second biggest city in Italy, so we’ll go with that. So we have a wealthy old man in Milan.
What was going on in Italy in this alternate timeline? The Great War (aka WW1) was pretty much the same. If this guy is old in 1973, he was probably the right age to be in the mix in 1914. As a rich man who fancies himself a tough guy, he was likely an officer in the Italian army. I don’t know a ton about WW1, but I think Italy fought a bunch of battles against Austria and lots of people died and it was all kind of pointless. Which is more or less WW1 in a nutshell.
I should probably give this guy a name, I’ll go with Dino Fossella, which I think is the name of one of the kidnappers in Man on Fire. The novel. The movie was in Mexico instead of Italy. Sidenote – I love that movie and I don’t care what anyone says about it.
Dino was embittered by his experience in the war, he expected to come home and be a big hero and get a parade but instead, no really cared because they didn’t get all the sweet Austrian booty they were after. (note to self, register domain name sweetAustrianbooty) But old Dino wasn’t going to be denied his fame so easily. Let’s say he was a big-time piano man and after the war, his goal was to become a celebrated concert pianist.
He was good, but he wasn’t that good. But, as a pretty good pianist with a boatload of cash, he managed to get his name out there at the expense of other, better pianists. So he spends a good decade being a man about town and having concerts that are really just parties for his rich pals.
I’ve established that there was no WW2 as we know it, just “another war in Europe”. Without an expansionist Germany and a more laid-back USSR, what was going on? I’m no historian, so I don’t know the roots of Italian fascism – but let’s say the march on Rome in ‘22 still happened. So we have France and Britain fighting the Empire of Japan in the east while Germany and Russia are playing it cool. That probably leaves Italy free to attack the Balkans like they always wanted.
So we have Italy at war again. Dino once again wants to be an officer but they say he’s too old – go back to your piano, old man. Dino doesn’t like that. He likes it even less when his villa is bombed by Greek and Yugoslavian operatives. Dino survives but his legs and hands are damaged, no more piano for him, also now he can’t get around so well.
If you thought Dino was embittered before, oh man, watch out now. But what sparks Dino’s interest in the occult? Perhaps one of the operatives was mystically inclined. One of the bombers supernaturally clouded the minds of Dino’s men and walked right in with the bomb. Dino saw his guards standing there like statues while a dude just rolls up and plants a bomb. He becomes obsessed with finding out more about it.
He spends the next thirty years or so frittering away all his money on raiding Egyptian tombs and whatnot looking for magic. I don’t know much about Italian folklore, but google told me there’s a tale of a 7-headed dragon that was causing a ruckus in Bergamo province and a big army went to fight it. The battle was a draw and the dragon retreated into the river. Folklorists say there was a “maga” – a sorceress – involved somehow but that part of the story is lost. Here’s the deal, the sorceress was the dragon, transformation style.
And check this shit out, Milan is in Bergamo! So old lady 7-heads is injured and she goes into the river to sleep it off for a couple centuries and when she wakes up and looks around she’s like “da fuck? Where’s all the old timey shit I know?” She goes to the first place she sees, the now empty villa of Dino, where he sits alone and broke being old and bitter. Probably it would be hard for them to communicate, the Italian language surely changed some in a thousand years, but she’s magic so she figures it out.
She asks Dino what’s up. He says give me the magic power and I’ll tell you. She’s all like “sure” and he wigs out because he’s been after magic forever and now it just falls into his lap. Dino speaks the word of magic power she bestows upon him, “Drago” and suddenly he’s a young strong able-bodied man that has a little magic of his own.
But why can he only do magic when transformed? Let’s say that this form of magic is physically taxing and in his old broken body he can’t manage it. Dino says “thanks, old time Italian sorceress! Now I shall have the fame and coolness I deserve, by being a supervillain!” And she’s like, whatever floats your boat man.
I like duos (of people, not the gum, although the gum is okay) so he’ll probably have a partner but this post is already long so maybe I’ll do that next week.