Saturday, August 8, 2020

TwK: Lighthouse- Goldberg and Sims

"Margaret Sims is an anarcho-communist, an anarchist, a firebrand, murderess, spitfire, diagnosed as insane, prison and asylum escapee and a nymphomaniac, but not necessarily in that order.

But Goldberg is worse."

- Author Unknown

All of these are words used to describe Evalynne Goldberg and Maybelline Sims, two understudies currently on a whirlwind tour of the Western World.  They are a pair of social revolutionaries on a quest to spread the Gospel of Witchcraft to every corner of the world. 

Goldberg is a revolutionary, dedicated to the overthrow of the current order.  She believes that the information blackout, unofficially known as The Masquerade or the Burlesque, is unjust and the knowledge of magic and the existence of non-human intelligences (e.g. monsters) should be shared with the Normals. 

Furthermore, she believes just about every other institution and its leaders must be destroyed, to be replaced with something more pleasing or by nothing.  The State, Church, and Family are first on these lists, but she has an extensive list of things she plans on abolishing- should her plans ever come to fruition.  She will also hand out packets of her diatribes, largely hand-written pamphlets that are well written and professional looking, the only shocking thing being their contents.

But first and foremost among her grievances with society is the ideas of monogamy and sexual mores in general.  Goldberg is depraved and intensely sexual.  She will pursue anyone she fancies and if that person happens to be an enemy, she will still try to sleep with them.  If the target of her affections refuses her, she continues pursuing them anyway and is not above trying to rape her target.  In fact, sometimes she prefers it. 

Goldberg is not a member of Lighthouse, but she is aware of them.  She also has extensive connections with the criminal underworld, normal and occult.  She also has a surprising amount of connections to important men in important positions in politics, media and the entertainment industry.

Appearance - A light-skinned woman with a prominent nose and otherwise average features, appears to be somewhere in her mid-30s.
Manner - Forthright and bold, she seems conceals nothing.
Wants - To topple the State, To destroy the Church, To battle the forces of law and decency, To engage in sexual debauchery
Morality - 'Do as thou wilt' shall be the whole of the law. 
Secret - She produces and consumes a magical elixir that prevents her from aging and keeps her young.  However, the elixir is starting to become less effective on her.  She is becoming increasingly aware of Father Time's disapproving eyes and Death's fast approaching shadow. 

Goldberg doesn't look it, but she is old.  She was young in the 1920s and participated in many of the acts of violence and terror that happened in that era, first as an anarchist, then a socialist, then a Bolshevik, then as a member of the New Left.  Somewhere during that time she discovered Downworld and the power of sorcery, along with the fact that she was quite talented at it. 

But upon realizing the massive disparity of power between those with knowledge of Downworld and those without, she immediately switched targets from her old enemies in the Church and State to the secret governors of the world.  She wants to tear down their curtain and reveal the truth for what it is.  And she doesn't care how many bodies she has to stack up in the process to do so.

Goldberg's latest tactic is to set up cults of Witches.  She recruits among the local population of wherever she is, seeking out those with any magical talent and putting them through a crash course.  Not all survive her intense training, with many being mutated, transformed or worse by the process.  Those few with the necessary will or malleability to survive emerge as magic users.  These become Goldberg's tools to assassinate government officials, stir up trouble and do whatever else she needs them to do.  Unfortunately for most of these Witches, the majority of these tasks are very dangerous as Goldberg almost universally believes them to be expendable, though she would never admit that, and would sacrifice them in a second if she thought it was necessary to achieve victory. 

There is perhaps, one exception to that rule: one Maybelline Sims.

Appearance - A woman with a square, broad nose, otherwise attractive, but her face lets her down
Manner - Polite and composed, except when emotional
Wants - To fulfill her mistress' wishes
Morality - 'Do as thou wilt' shall be the whole of the law
Secret - She is becoming increasingly concerned that her Mistress is insane and that her increasingly erratic behavior is signs of a deteriorating mental state.

Maybelline Sims was the first and most successful of Garfunkel's experiments in teaching and granting sorcerous power to a Normal.  Sims is almost indistinguishable from a genuine caster.  She is also a dutiful student and an eager adherent to Goldberg's radical political and social views.

Like her mistress, Sims is sexually liberated, openly promiscuous and rather amoral.  She hates those who have denied humanity in general access to Magic and seeks to expose it to them.  However, while Goldberg can be thought of as someone who is doing this largely for the benefits she herself with accrue, Sims seems motivated by a higher purpose. 

If you talk to her, Sims will tell you of her dream: a world where everyone has access to the unlimited power of magic.  In such a world, there would be no more toil, as spells could be cast to produce food and instantly grow crops.  Spirits could be bound in service or magical constructs could do all the hard, tedious or dangerous work.  Sorcery could also improve humans, extending lifespans, healing wounds, regenerating lost limbs, wiping away pain and filth.  She imagines a race of shining immortals, living forever in bliss until the end of time. 

The one catch is that not all will be welcome in Sims' future utopia.  She is of a firm belief that all those not suitable for her utopia be wiped away before it comes, indeed, they may have to for it to come at all.  The list of who will not belong in her new world is long and exhaustive, and you're probably on it somewhere.  A few potential examples are people who possess certain mental illnesses, those who cannot care for themselves who are not children and those with low IQs.

from Sin City


1- Goldberg needs access to a secure facility.  She and Sims will provide a distraction will you break in and retrieve the item for her.  Alternatively, you can provide the distraction. 
2- A gang specializing in the sale of occult artifacts has something Goldberg wants.  But they won't sell, or at least, not to her.  If she and Sims went, a fight would probably start.  Go and retrieve the artifact, any way you can or want to.
3- A local group of extremists [1= Fascists/Neo-Nazis; 2= Black Nationalists/Separatists; 3= Communists; 4= Radical Environmentalists; 5= Religious Fundamentalists (of your preferred flavor); 6= Anti-Veil] are wasting time when they could be stirring up trouble.  Go and vet them for potential recruits that aren't total screwballs or born losers and bring the good stock back.
4- A local powerful man needs a favor from Goldberg.  She's willing to let you do it, provided you won't screw it up.  He needs a... [1d6]
    1- Rival Humiliated
    2- A blackmailer silenced, the incriminating information recovered
    3- Evidence of a crime destroyed
    4- A whistleblower to be silenced
    5- Evidence to be fabricated for a frame-job
    6- Tragedy to hide some inconvenient fact
5- A local person spurned her, refused her offer or otherwise did something that irritated Goldberg.  Find them and make them pay, or bring them back here.  There is a chance the person is just a Normal, but they could be something much more. 
6- Goldberg's usual contact in the area hasn't gotten back to her for some reason.  Go find him/her/it and see what's up. 

Insight Buys:

One Night Stand (I-1).  Goldberg can remove diseases, curses or other magical effects from someone.  She claims she needs to sleep with the person to do so, but this just might be because she wants to.   

Your Five o'Clock is Here (G-1). 
Goldberg can get you in to talk to a politician, high-ranking bureaucrat, CEO or member of the criminal underworld.  This applies to the Normal and Occult worlds.  The person you're sent to meet will listen, out of respect/fear of Goldberg, but he won't necessarily help you. 

Stamina Pills (I-2).  The pills make anyone who takes one immune to pain and fear, a +1 bonus to all saving throws but COG and a +1 damage bonus for 1d12 hours.  She can provide you with a small bottle of 1d10+2.  The effects stack, but if you take more than one you have a 1d10% chance (equal to the number of extra pills) of suffering an overdose after 1d6 hours.  

Revolutionary Manifesto (G-3).
  Goldberg gives you a pamphlet she's been working on.  The pamphlet is enchanted.  Reading the pamphlet aloud to any organized group with a formal hierarchy or otherwise transmitting it to all members (E-mail, through the company group chat, etc) will cause an immediate insurrection/revolt.  The inferiors will find some grievance, real or imagined, and rise up against their superiors.  There is a 50% this revolt is violent, while otherwise it is peaceful, largely.  A violent one would be the soldiers in a division taking their commanders hostage, while a peaceful one would be the a large majority of the employees of a company all quitting en masse in the middle of the work day. 

Shards of Primal Rage (I-3). 
Sims gives you some fragments of a broken mirror.  Stabbing these into someone will drive that person temporarily mad and cause them to fly into a psychotic rage, where they will attack everything in sight until killed or otherwise incapacitated.  When they wake up they will have no memories past the point where you stabbed them.  Sims will give you 1d4 mirror fragments.  Each one vanishes upon being used. 

Curse Dust (I-5). Goldberg gives you a bag of powder that contains one of the diseases, curses or undesirable effects she took from someone.  If someone breathes it in, ingests it or it enters their body in another way, they gain that effect.

Purity Spiral (I-10).  Goldberg gives you one of her prized possessions, a magical revolver called Purity Spiral.  The Revolver has the power where 3/Day it fires a bullet that instead of doing damage, it forces the person it would have damaged to save.  On a failure, that person vanishes in a flurry of snow and is never seen or heard from again.  If that person succeeds on their save, he instead vanishes for 1d6 rounds and then returns, malnourished with all the items he was carrying missing.  However, the Revolver is cursed.  Each time it's special ability is used it has a 1-in-12 chance of banishing the shooter to the same awful place.  The shooter, if sent away by this, receives no save to return.  The revolver is also never sent away, but simply falls onto the ground.    

Major Goals:

Kill Paladin.

Goldberg hates the man in the hood only known by that alias.  He's interfered with her plans too many times and nearly killed her once or twice.  Her last cult was almost entirely destroyed by him, though he did have help that time.  She will need help to find out what his weaknesses are and if he's still human.  She suspects he is not, but she needs confirmation before she attempts anything.

Find a New Way to Stay Alive.

Goldberg's elixirs of life and becoming less and less effective.  She has currently set aside the majority of her hell-raising and terroristic activities to pursue leads on how to magically extend her life.  So far, she has found nothing useful and is getting increasingly creative, and desperate. 

Make Contact with Revere, the Dragon of Stripes and Stars. 

Rumored to be the last* dragon born in the world, Revere was born sometimes in the 1700s in the New World.  Compared to other Dragons, the majority of who are in hibernation or self-exile, Revere was fairly liberal and cosmopolitan.  He had the power to shapeshift and walked among humans.  He collected silver items, teas and artifacts from the Founding of America.  He is rumored to be dead, having died in 1967 when he went to Vietnam to aid his** country in the war and bit off more than he can chew.  However, someone using one of his aliases has resurfaced recently and Godlberg is sure it's him.  She desperately needs to talk to the dragon, but so far he, or the person pretending to be him, has been extremely elusive.

*The last one that humans know of, at least.

**His country as in he considers it his property.  

from Sin City

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