Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Noteworthy NPCs - Lady Calaxa

    Here is another Noteworthy NPC for your Numenera or other weird science-fantasy game. I'm still playing with the format a bit, so bear with me. The last one was Jalliford the Soundsmith, and this one is:

The Lady Calaxa

    Lady Calaxa is a decorated military veteran and minor noblewoman of one of the Steadfast's many kingdoms. She appears as a tall, thin woman of indeterminate age, either dressed in finery or in the fitted clothing of a dance instructor. She possesses a few striking, non-human features, such as cold, deathly pale skin, faintly glowing red eyes, and shoulder-length hair that glows in bands of varying intensity, making it look like a curtain of lava.
    That she is not human is common knowledge, but few know the truth of her background. Calaxa is an extraterrestrial, engineered to serve as a living weapon by a more advanced race of aliens. Thousands of years ago, Calaxa was able to circumvent her obedience programming and desert her post. She has spent the time since then traveling across the Orion Arm of the galaxy, laying low and avoiding her brethren.
    Her last bolt-hole was discovered, on a floating world orbiting Canopus, and she fled to Earth. A shapeshifter, she adopted a semblance of humanity and offered her services as a mercenary to ingratiate herself to the local authorities. Calaxa's intervention won many battles, and she became a decorated knight and adviser to the rulers of her adopted land.
    Calaxa, however, detests violence, as it is a constant reminder of the horrible life of slavery she left behind. She only fights when absolutely necessary, and to support her true passion: dance.

Lady Calaxa's Universuum of Dance

    On the floating world of Canopus, Calaxa discovered a passion for the art of dance, as she found it simulated the coordination and technique of battle without the violence she abhors. In her early years on Earth, she fought for her adopted kingdom to win herself a fortune and a small land grant, with which she founded her dance school.
    Lady Calaxa's Universuum of Dance is a large, manor-like building in a major city in the Steadfast, one with a large opera house or theater. Lady Calaxa's students live here and undergo daily classes and rehearsals. Most of her students are the spoiled children of wealthy businessmen, nobility, and politicians, and Lady Calaxa's demanding curriculum and short patience for laziness mean there is a large turnover.
    The Universuum also houses a lab and library where Calaxa spends most of her time when not training students, performing at the opera house, or attending an obligatory social event. Calaxa has little interest in numenera itself, but she collects and maintains a vast array of monitoring devices and weapons, all in preparation for the dark day when, Calaxa fears, her comrades will discover her location and she will have to flee again. The devices do not just detect Calaxa's brethren: if anything of potentially national or planetary importance should develop, chances are good that Calaxa will know about it, even if all she does is warn her government contacts.

Using Lady Calaxa in Your Game

    The first thing to decide when using Lady Calaxa is where exactly she is located. The kingdom and city that hosts the Universuum is deliberately left ambiguous, but ideally it should a major city and a known cultural center. Charmonde, in Navarene, is a good choice, as is Qi, in Draolis. Wherever it is, it must also have a large opera house and/or theater scene. Calaxa is pragmatic enough to know that nobody would attend her school without an opportunity to become a professional dancer.

Adventure Hooks

  • A great danger threatens thousands of lives, and the PCs are commissioned to seek out the aid of Lady Calaxa in resolving the issue. She will not be happy to see them, and in fact will likely run them off if they directly ask her to fight for a cause.
  • The PCs need to know where to find a particular piece of numenera. When an artifact dealer cannot supply the item, he informs the PCs that one of his clients is a wealthy dame who buys almost nothing but monitoring and scanning equipment.
  • A pair of androgynous, pale humanoids with glowing red eyes and hair have been travelling from town to town asking around for a person matching Calaxa's description. These are indeed members of Calaxa's species, come to collect her. Calaxa would pay dearly to have someone either kill them or trick them into thinking that she is not here.
  • A local chapter of Angulan Knights has recently begun calling for Calaxa's execution, as she is openly a non-human. The truth is, an unscrupulous Aeon Priest is manipulating the Knights for a chance to examine Calaxa's remains, which he believes should contain valuable numenera. As the Knights are locally venerated by the public, Calaxa needs somebody with no connection to her to find a solution, through violence or otherwise.


Lady Calaxa
Level: 6 (18)
Motive: Desires peace
Environment: In the Universuum of Dance, in a major city
Health: 30 hp
Damage Inflicted: 8 points melee, 6 points ranged
Armor: 3
Movement: Long, walking, flying, or swimming
Modifications: Military tactics, cosmology, history, numenera, dance and Speed tasks as level 8; pleasant social interaction, lying as level 4
Combat: Lady Calaxa detests violence, but when sufficiently pressed, she is swift and deadly on the battlefield. She is capable of moving, flying or walking, long range in a full action or a short range as part of another action.
    Calaxa's primary weapon is a yard-long retractable monoblade concealed in her index finger. This weapon is virtually unnoticeable retracted or extended, and deals 8 points of damage.
    She also has the ability to project bolts of energy from her eyes. These bolts have a long range and deal 6 points of damage.
    Calaxa is a shapeshifter, and can assume any conceivable form larger than a cat or smaller than an elephant. This does not grant her any additional special abilities, but this can give her an asset in certain situations, such as stealth, or disguise. She cannot, however, conceal her glowing red eyes or hair. Changing shape is an action for her.
    As an engineered being, Calaxa does not require food, drink, air, or sleep, but she is also unaffected by chemicals, including healing cyphers.
    Calaxa is also capable of unaided spaceflight. This requires her to fly out of the planet's atmosphere, and spend a few minutes shapeshifting and optimizing her form. She is capable of spaceflight at roughly 5 light years per hour.

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