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The Characters

All of the PCs began the campaign as humans.  The Essex Syndrome began to change them as they were exposed to magic in greater quantities, until their outer forms reflected the people they were inside.  They are still discovering the extent of their new powers and abilities as they explore the changing world around them.  Their caution is warranted, since the only unchanging rule in the new world is this:

Life is a state of mind.

Jazz - TN Gold Elf female, Cleric 13 (Correlon Larethian)
Theme Song: Lord, is it Mine by Supertramp

Born December 12, 1972, Jacinta Marie Hughes was the second child and daughter to Scott and Theresa Hughes.  She was first dubbed “Jazz” when her big sister, 5-year-old Julie, had some difficulty pronouncing “Jacinta”.

Jazz lost her family when a drunk driver swerved across a double yellow line and hit the Hughes family car head on, killing everyone involved.  8-month-old Jazz had been left with her paternal grandmother for the evening, a situation that became permanent after the courts determined that there were, indeed, no other family members.

Jazz and her grandmother became a close and loving family.  Grandmother Hughes was a Mass attending, but not particularly strict, Catholic and raised Jazz in the teachings of the Church.

Tragedy struck again when Jazz was 10 years old. Grandmother Hughes died after suffering a massive heart attack. With no remaining family members, Jazz was placed into the foster care system.

The first family she was placed with was the Wagners, a strict Southern Baptist family. There was great conflict within the house when the Wagners would frequently make anti-Catholic remarks and statements. Jazz refused to believe all the horrible things that were being said could apply to her beloved grandmother.  Eventually the conflict became too much to handle and Jazz ran away from her foster family.

After being picked up by the officials, Jazz was placed in a series of homes, often ending in similar results. Finally, she was placed with and older couple, Matthew and Patti Owens. This was a match that seemed to be made in Foster Care Heaven. The Owens were a pair of loving and open-minded Lutherans, who encouraged Jazz to attend whichever type of church service she found comfortable. They often allowed her to attend services of different types and denominations with her school friends, even accompanying her on occasion.

The match with the Owens stuck and Jazz stayed with them until she reached the age of 18. It was then that Jazz discovered that a trust fund had been set up in her name, using insurance money from her parent’s death. Using this money, she attended Regis University, majoring in Communications with a minor in Religious Studies.

It was during her time at Regis that Jazz met people who were active in the SCA. After attending her first event, she was hooked, adopting the persona of Siobhan O’Connor. She became quite adept at sewing period clothing, and usually was able to make enough money sewing for others to cover her own expenses. When they learned of her interest in the SCA, the Owens gave her a lap harp for Christmas.  Siobhan began to split her time at events. She still sewed, but also began spending time with the musicians, learning to play her new harp.

On her 21st birthday, Jazz surprised the Owens, by having her name legally changed to Jacinta Marie Owens-Hughes, to honor them for all that they had done for her.

After receiving her degree, Jazz went to work at the United Way, coordinating corporate sponsorship, writing grant proposals, and organizing fundraising events.

After a long stretch of work with no vacations, Jazz was looking forward to meeting Olivia, Michael and other SCA friends for the drive down to Phoenix for the Estrella War.

Michael - LG Sylvan Elf male Ranger 9 (Retired)

Like so many of the changed, Michael doesn't like to talk about his past. He has a gift for story telling but prefers tales of adventures in the new world to discussions of his family history. Most people respect his wish not to discuss his past. Still, he does sometimes speak of the old world among his closer pre-change friends, Jazz and Olivia. Based on those statements, the Kingdom scribes have assembled the following information:

Michael Ryan Connors was born on April 1st, 1976, the 6th of 9 children, and raised on his family's farm. His mother, Martha Ellen Connors, died following the birth of his twin 10th and 11th siblings, who also died within days. Michael was 11. His father suffered greatly from the incident and was unable to continue caring for his children. The family was split up and the children were sent to foster homes with close relatives.

Michael spent the next 4 years with his Aunt Rose Marie, going to school and helping out in her salvage yard. His father, James contracted pneumonia while on a hunting trip with Michael and his older brother James Jr. He died on the first day of winter, 1992. James was subsequently declared his legal guardian and Michael returned to the farm under his supervision. Broken family life often lead to a disturbed youth - Michael had several run-ins with the law and ran away on many occasions, sometimes spending weeks at a time in nearby wilderness areas.

As an adult, Michael held a series of seasonal construction-related jobs, a route sales position with Coors, and continued participating in the family farming corporation until it was repossessed in 1996. After that, he drifted, occasionally working as a roadhouse bouncer. He traveled, whenever feasible, to foreign lands, working his way as a farm laborer, fisherman or ESL tutor for migrant workers.

Michael joined the SCA while attending a technical college in Boulder, Colorado. He assumed the persona of Niall Mac Illand and finally, at age 23, began to get his life together. The Code of Chivalry, the Dream, and the companionship of the Society restored a sense of order, purpose and family to Michael's life. He began sculpting in metal, welding chrome bumpers and iron gears into magnificent works of art. Michael's favorite subjects were clockwork knights and mythical beasts, either alone or locked in combat. This provided a nice financial boost and, more importantly, a much-needed creative outlet. He was viewed as a staunch fighter and excellent craftsman but never vied for a leadership position. He was recognized by the Society for his proficiency as a blacksmith, armorer and weapon smith. He made and sold heavy weapons armor, and even now several knights wear suits of fine armor that Michael crafted.

Michael frequently attended SCA and Mountain Man events as a merchant, but made most of his income selling ¼ scale replicas of his more popular works on his Internet site. He began taking lengthy wilderness survival trips, often alone. He continued his travels abroad, sometimes to SCA events and sometimes to transport one of his full-size sculptures to a new owner. Michael became involved with a high-country rescue team and met survival expert Papa Bear in 1999. He quickly became a protégé and was leading advanced classes and expeditions within a year.

In loving memory of his father, Michael legally changed his surname to Winterfield in 2000. Soon after, he purchased the old family farm, renaming it Winter Fields and beginning a restoration that included transforming a section of the property into event grounds for the Outlands. None of his siblings accepted his invitations to return.

Michael was attending the Estrella War with Jazz and Olivia when the Change hit. He volunteered to become a scout for the kingdom. Once the populace was secure in their new home, he turned his skills to crafting armor and weapons for the new kingdom's defenders.

Michael designed and forged the Kingblade Malcolm wields; the sword is the first known magical weapon to have been created since the Change. The exotic composition of the blade includes depleted uranium, cold iron and Thunderbird blood. Although he did not enchant the blade himself, he was slain with the rest of the party and pleaded with the powers in the spirit world for the enchantment of the blade.

The second magic weapon Michael forged is his own betleH. Comprised of folded molybdenum steel and virgin cold iron, it was empowered to slay the undead (Michael's primary species enemy) by Baron Samedi, the Voudoun loa of death. It is a sentient blade and is prone to urging him into battle whenever undead or those who seek to cheat death are encountered.

Michael and Vesta met on the road to Durango. They grew close through survival and companionship. They share a spirit bond, which sometimes crosses into the dream world. They were married shortly after the coronation of Malcolm and live in the Sylvan community near Durango.

He often quotes a Hindustani proverb that says, "There is nothing noble about being superior to some other men. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self."

Update: Michael and Vesta have retired to the Sylvan elf enclve in the Kingdom to await the birth of their first child.

Olivia - CN  Drow Elf female  Mage/Cleric 7/5 (Crom)
Theme Songs: In or Out by Ani DeFranco and I Will Not Go Quietly by Don Henley

Olivia Mitchell was born an army brat in Cleveland, Ohio on January 2nd, 1973 to Robert and Elizabeth Mitchell.  She joined an older sister, Cordelia, and was shortly followed by a younger brother, Leonardo.  Her father was regular army, a NONCOM for life, while her mother was a traditional army wife.  Elizabeth’s classical literature degree gathered dust in a box in the garage; Robert's only acknowledgement of her education was indulging her in the naming of the children.   

Cordelia was 12, Olivia 7, and Leo 3 when their beloved mother died of a viral infection.  Robert dealt with his grief by retreating further into his work, leaving Cordelia to raise her younger brother and sister.  Olivia spent her childhood escaping into fantasy gaming, rebelling against authority through her characters in the way she was never allowed to rebel against their father.  Her favorite characters were always the drow elves – dark and dangerous and not taking shit from anyone.  Leo spent his childhood blowing things up – especially anything of Olivia’s that he could get his grubby little hands on.  Robert’s main influence was to insist that his children be tough.  “Only babies cry.” And he made sure they all knew safety and use of firearms.

Once the younger Mitchell children were old enough, Cordelia went west, attending Stanford before entering nursing school.  Olivia went to the University of Colorado at Boulder and received a degree in political science.  Leo enlisted as soon as he turned 18, and is currently a navy SEAL. 

Robert died 2 years ago of a massive coronary.  The funeral was the last time the Mitchell children were all together.  While Olivia remained close to Cordelia, she was just as glad never to see Leo again.  The only way she knows where he’s currently stationed is by the postmark on the obligatory holiday cards.

It was at college that Olivia learned about alternative religions and ceremonial magic from her roommate Lisa.  While she was intrigued by the teachings of Wicca, she found the religion that truly called her on-line.  The god was called Crom, and he stood for strength and self-reliance – exactly what Robert had taught his children to value. 

Lisa also introduced Olivia to the joys of the SCA.  Olivia took the society name of Branwen ip Conyn.  There, Olivia learned to enjoy participating in archery competitions.  Out of necessity, she learned sewing so that she could create her own garb. 

While both Lisa and Olivia had planned to attend Estrella War together, at the last minute Lisa was unable to get off work.  Olivia promised to bring back lots of pictures, and then set off to meet Jazz and Michael for the caravan to the event.

Rodrick - Human male fighter
Theme Song:

Boo-yah!!!Rodrick Morgan was born in San Diego, heir to a proud Navy tradition. His father was Captain of a destroyer during the Vietnam War and his mother was a full-time housewife. After the war hisfather retired and the family moved to Denver. Rodrick was raised in Westminster, a small but growing suburb on the northwest side of the city. He learned to camp, hunt and fish, just as many children did, but his father taught him something more than that: how to use all types of weapons. Rodrick became very good at putting dinner on the table. When he graduated high school, he was accepted into Naval Academy, where he received a BA with a major in Engineering and a minor in Architecture.

Before he started his career after school, he had to make a decision as to what he wanted to be and do in the Navy. While all of the departments of the Navy gave the graduates a little pep talk, extolling the virtues of their different departments, he was only interested in the SEAL teams. When it was time to sign his letter of intent, he placed the SEALs as his number one pick. He soon received his orders to report to Coranado.

He doesn't talk much about what he went through during Hell Week; as he sees it, you can never understand it unless you have been there. He survived, and evolved, and achieved his goal.

Rodrick was a SEAL for 10 years, and achieved the rank of lieutenant. Eventually, though, he began to feel that the military was not going in the directions that he had wanted to pursue. Therefore, he put in his decommission paperwork after only ten years of distinguished military service. Once he had mustered out, he started his own mercenary company and invited a lot of the men he had met during his days as a SEAL to join him.

In the past few years, he has lost several of his men, including a number of good friends. He had just concluded a long and exhausting contract and was settling down for some R&R in San Francisco when the Change hit. His company survived mostly intact, and for a time he continued working as a mercenary. He has recently taken a leave from that life, and has taken up service to the New Kingdom of the Outlands.

Sierra - Human female Technomancer 5 (Retired)

Sierra was a hacker/housewife in Las Vegas prior to the Change.  Her husband worked on a classified DOD project at Groom Lake, while she homeschooled their two children.

The day of the Change, she had left her children with a babysitter while she took a quick trip to the mall.  She became concerned when she saw the first signs of the CDC roadblocks.  When she heard on the radio that Nellis was under lockdown, her concern turned to fear.

She rushed to the babysitter's house, only to find that the children had been taken by CDC officials.  They had told the babysitter that Sierra's husband might have exposed the family to a virulent pathogen and that they needed to be taken to a medical facility immediately.

Sierra tried to contact her husband, to no avail.  His cell phone was also unresponsive.  She got online to see if there was any news about what was happening, only to find every news source she tried heavily censored.

Using every trick she knew, she tried to get through the layers of monitoring and deception she was finding on the Net.  She became so intent on what she was doing that she didn't notice that she wasn't typing anymore. Her hands had melded into the keyboard.  Her thoughts and intentions were being translated directly into electronic communication.  She was interfacing directly with the Net.

When she emerged, a profound change had taken place.  The world she had known was revealed as an illusion, a hallucination conceived and controlled by consent of the masses.  This was not an objective reality; it was a consensus created by a committee of the whole.  It was nothing more than a simulation, one that she could control and change by force of will.

Sierra resolved to find her family, and to punish those who had taken her children from her.  She joined the party for a time, but has recently decided that her search must take her beyond the Kingdom.  She is back on the road now, looking for answers.

Update: Sierra returned to Las Vegas to begin searching for answers at Area 51, but was unable to penetrate the security of the facility - the Fear was still active at that time. She then tried to appeal to McCarran for information and was told to return when she had money to buy that information from him.

McCarran, of course, is a Gray. He passed the information on Sierra's search to Charlie, who raised her family and had them transported back to the family home early the next morning. Sierra awoke to find her family fixing breakfast and there was a tearful reunion. The family has since moved east to the Kansas Coalition territories.

Yasai - Saiyan male Monk (Fist of the Weave) 12
Quote: "I really think you should crawl back home and practice some more. Then we can do this again when you're better prepared."
Theme Song: Magic Carpet Ride (Steir's Mix), Philip Steir and Steppenwolf; Song 2, Blur

Taliesin Cole was born to wealthy parents in St. Joseph, MO. His father was a doctor and his mother was a lawyer. Despite making lots of money, Dr. Cole and Ms. Brakhage were very liberal thinkers. Dr. Cole often worked with the local Planned Parenthood clinics and Ms. Brakhage often did pro bono work. They were atheists and members of the local chapter of the American Humanists Association. They were also members of Green Peace, the Sierra Club, The National Wildlife Fund, the National Space Society, the ACLU, and Amnesty International. They spent a great deal of time volunteering for these organizations. As a result, Taliesin and his two younger sisters were raised by a succession of nannies carefully chosen by his parents. He has pleasant memories of childhood vacations with his parents and occasional weekend fishing or skiing with his father, but he wasn't necessarily close to any of his family. He did absorb many of their liberal and humanist values, though.

He was enrolled in martial arts classes when he was six in an endeavor to bleed off some of his excess energy. He possessed a natural dexterity and, being a competitive kid, he excelled at Tae Kwon Do. He was still competing at the national level before the world fell apart. In his teens he discovered skateboarding and began competing at 14. On a ski trip with his father he discovered snowboarding and a new interest was born. He was intelligent enough for school to be easy for him, but not so bright that social interaction was difficult. Television and video games held most of his attention unless he was at the dojo. His father bought him comic books when he was five in order to help him learn to read, and they became another life-long love. He's still pissed off about the loss of his comic collection.

He had friends and, post-puberty, girlfriends, but nothing serious or long lasting. He hung out at the mall, went to raves, played fantasy role-playing games, and generally drifted through the social aspects of life.

In his teens, someone introduced him to anime and for him it was a natural extension of comics and video games. He fell in love with a show called Dragonball Z. It epitomized his lifestyle choices. All of the characters spent their time practicing fighting or saving the world. They didn't have to do anything except fight. No one expected them to grow up and become doctors or lawyers or any other boring profession. People in the Dragonball universe were judged based on their skills. Being strong and fast in that world meant you could actually do something for yourself and other people.

Upon graduating from high school, he chose to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder, mainly because it was close to the ski resorts. When the world fell apart in the beginning of the second semester of his freshmen year, he still hadn't declared a major; in fact, he wasn't even in Boulder. He was in a rented condo in Vail with a bunch of guys he didn't know, snowbording and mashing moguls. The other guys split and headed home when they realized things were getting strange. Taliesin stayed. And then the Change hit.

He was meditating on the 20th and fell into a deep trance. When he came out of it, he was a Saiyan, a member of the race of super-fighter space aliens from Dragonball Z. Life was good.

He was much stronger and faster. He already had excellent control over his ki through years of practice, but after the change the control really meant something. As he travelled the new world, he began to experiment with powering up his ki, using it to form a defensive shield, or throwing around balls of energy. It took him a year, but he figured out how to fly and throw really big ki balls. He developed the ability to heal himself, and all sorts of other tricks of the fantasy martial arts world or film, video games and anime.

For Taliesin it was all a dream come true. Even the fact that his family got nuked into nothingness didn't effect his cheery outlook. He took the name Yasai, the Japanese word for vegetables, since the word 'Saiyan' a play on the word 'yasai'. Akira Toriyama, Dragonball's creator, was fond of wordplay and all of the Saiyan characters were named after vegetables. Yasai thought the new name fit quite nicely, seeing as how it was a joke, it was Japanese, and it was a play on Saiyan.

Since the Change he has spent his time wandering around the West, honing his skills and doing good deeds when the opportunity presents itself.