Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Blackthorne: The Original Prestigio

David Winston, a.k.a. The Prestigio
circa 2011 (by Dan Houser)
For those of you who purchased Adamant Entertainment's ICONS: Hero Pack 2, you may be familiar with one of my character contributions to that product, a young magician and newly minted hero named David Winston a.k.a. The Prestigio. The Prestigio is a hereditary title passed down from one magician to another through an ancient magical device known as the Wand of Zoroaster. In exchange for fame, fortune, and the right to call oneself the World's Greatest Magician, the Prestigio must use the gifts of the Wand of Zoroaster to right wrongs, defend the helpless, and bring the guilty to justice. Before David Winston acquired the Wand and the Prestigio title, however, it was held for many years by his elderly mentor, Harry Blackthorne.

Harry Blackthorne, a.k.a. The Prestigio
circa 1975 (by Joe Bardales/HeroMachine)
In 1961, Harry Blackthorne inherited the Prestigio title and the Wand of Zoroaster (along with the associated responsibilities) from the world famous Italian stage magician, The Great Mezzannotti, who was ready to retire after a long, successful career that spanned decades. Shortly after passing on the Wand, Mezzannotti was murdered and Blackthorne vowed to avenge his mentor and friend. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Blackthorne performed his magic act all across the world, encountering many mysteries and solving crimes in dangerous and exotic locales along the way. At first he seemed to stumble into these situations, but as word of his exploits spread, people soon began to seek him out for help, and he never refused anyone in need. He was frequently harassed by his sometimes arch enemy, sometimes lover, the beautiful yet villainous Mistress Zara, who possessed great mental powers. Many years later, he discovered it was Mistress Zara who had murdered The Great Mezzannotti because she felt that she was the rightful heir to the Wand of Zoroaster and was furious when she was passed up for Blackthorne. Overcoming the overwhelming emotions and anger raging through him, Harry Blackthorne was finally able to bring Mistress Zara to justice and a cell in the ward for the criminally insane at Ravenswood Asylum. It is rumored that Harry still visits her there once every week. 

BLACKTHORNE
The Prestigio
Origin: Trained
Real Name: Harry Blackthorne

ABILITIES
Prowess  4
Coordination  6
Strength  4
Intellect  5
Awareness  4
Willpower  6

Stamina  10
Determination  2

SPECIALTIES
  • Investigation Expert
  • Performance Master (Stage Magic)
  • Sleight of Hand Master
POWERS
  • Wizardry Device 6 [Magic (Willpower)] - The Wand of Zoroaster:
    • Illusion
    • Animation
    • Teleportation
    • Invisibility
QUALITIES
  • Catchphrase : ABRACADABRA!
  • Epithet : The World's Greatest Magician
  • Extremely wealthy
CHALLENGES
  • Weakness : Loses powers without the Wand of Zoroaster
  • Social : International celebrity recognized everywhere
  • Enemy : Mistress Zara
Using Blackthorne and The Prestigio in Grimm City
After many years of great stage performances and adventure, Harry Blackthorne decided to retire to his home town of Grimm City and set up a small magic shop in Cottage Gardens. The store barely turns a profit, but the retired international celebrity hardly needs the money, and he takes great delight in entertaining the children who come to the store to visit. In 2010, he discovered a talented young street magician performing in Foley Park named David Winston and instantly recognized him as a worthy successor to the Prestigio title. After passing the Wand of Zoroaster on to David, Harry continued to serve as his mentor and conscience guide. Now an international celebrity himself, David Winston maintains a luxury penthouse apartment in Grimm City on Park Avenue, a far cry from his humble roots in working class Northside.

Final Thoughts
Having a mentor is a great plot device when developing your PC hero's origin and background story and linking them to the campaign world in a tangible way, especially if that mentor NPC once held the mantle the PC now holds. For more information, see the entry for the Descendent hero archetype in The Field Guide to Superheroes Volume 2 by Dr. Jason Tondro from Vigilance Press.

Thanks for reading!

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