Tales of the Red Way
A woman of mystery and magic.
Witch 8/Bard 1/Fabled Witch 1
Strength: 14 (2)
Dexterity 16 (3)
Constitution 14 (2)
Intelligence 18 (4)
Wisdom 13 (1)
Charisma 22 (6)
Max Hit Points: 72
Can cast any spell known without preparing ahead of time.
0 Level: (DC 14) (4 per day but can be used over and over)
Feats: Bardic Knowledge, Bardic Performance, Cantrips, Familiar, Deceitful, Extra Hex (x4), Dodge, Brew Potion, Iron Will, Craft Wand, Leadership (15 points), Combat Casting, Forge Ring
Traits: World Traveler, Charming, Ear for Music, Bardic Society
Hexes: Cauldron, Evil Eye, Fortune, Feral Speech, Healing, Ward
The life and times of Vecca Vex begin in the ancient Valarian cities but she was taken from the majestic and advanced society when she was very young, being brought to the Grand Carnival when she was a teenager. Of her years before the Grand Carnival she does not speak, preferring to keep those stories shrouded in mystery as is the style of an entertainer. But there are those who would seek out Valarians for ill purposes, wishing to uncover their secrets.
The people she met in the Grand Carnival were exciting and freakish. Whether it was Platla, the Mule Faced Woman, Uthang, the armless goblin fiddler, Lucia the Woman of 1000 Knives or Peppin the Aquatic Sea Druid (who lived in a giant tank of water), they were mystifying and strange, at first, but eventually she found them to be her new family.
Vecca took to the lifestyle very well. Traveling to a new place every few weeks, meeting new people, living the late nights (and late mornings) were like one big party. Meeting other people her age – especially love-smitten boys from town to town – made her feel like she had a new boyfriend every week. The fact that she was growing more attractive and more curvy (and less boyish) was also a plus.
Meanwhile, Vecca learned more and more. Lucia taught her how to use knives and a rapier – and do so with flash and panache. Corpus, the hedge mage, taught her some sleight of hand magic tricks. Jo-Do, the Merry Dwarf taught her how to sing and play the flute. Salome the Seductress taught her to use her natural beauty and charm for the art of seduction. Most importantly, however, Madam Ava taught her to read Tarot cards and how to sell herself through showmanship. By 16, Vecca was handling some of Madam Ava’s readings as the old woman retired early for the evening. Whereas Madam Ava played the role of the old wizened fortune teller, Vecca played the role of the young, nubile, flesh-showing, sexy sorceress. By 17 she was appearing in magic shows several nights a week. By 18 she was handling both, essentially taking over for Madam Ava, taking care of the old woman in her golden years.
It was during this time that Madam Ava really opened up to her and told Vecca that she (Vecca) may actually posses true talent for The Craft. By trying a few mental exercises and experimenting with some small ceremonies, Madam Ava was pleased with how natural magic seemed to come to Vecca. Obviously, Vecca was pleased, too. Further, Madam Ava told her about the secret of the Valerans – The People of the Mythical Empire. This was a topic that until now, Vecca had limited knowledge.
The Valerans were known as a race of people from a hidden empire of wizards, sorcerers, witches and warlocks. They were an alluring and beautiful race that existed in storybooks and were the stuff of legend. Often explorers mounted expeditions to find the hidden city but were never able to. Valarens, rarely seen in public, were never of any help. In fact, most died before revealing the secrets of their homeland even under pain of torture.
As far as The Craft was concerned, Madam Ava also revealed that in order for the magic powers and the ability to tap into an ancient arcane lore to be sustained, a pact had to be formed with an ancient entity. Vecca, pleased with the idea of raw power, increased sensuality and the potential to be one of the Grand Carnival’s greatest entertainers was enough for her to sign on even though she did not really understand what it meant. Madam Ava had Vecca sign her name in blood on ancient parchment, then burn it with some incantations and agreed to gradually reveal more about the arcane history of The Craft. In addition, since Madam Ava was getting far too old to use her caldron to produce magic potions she gave her ward a simple – yet potent – magic pot to her for use in travels towards The Craft. But all this came with a warning. Those who traveled the way of The Craft (or similar roads of witchcraft such as The Path or The Code) were often ostracized by society as being unlucky, in league with demons or murderous baby snatchers (yet for some reason the eccentric sorcerers and college trained wizards got a pass). Vecca would have to keep her knowledge secret and find a cover for her lifestyle.
By this time, Vecca was well on her way to being the headliner for the Grand Carnival. She was armed with weapons of stage magic, use of rapiers and daggers, seduction singing, dancing and showmanship. The money was coming in, flowers sent to her by admirers and numerous fans in every locale. Even proposals of marriage were coming in, giving Vecca a massive ego.
A new face appeared at the Grand Carnival – a man looking for escape and apparently a haunted past. Hoo, the avian beast-man from the Great Northern Woods, appeared one night, friendless. Vecca took an instant linking to him, helped him get acclimated to the Grand Carnival and they quickly remained friends. From Vecca’s perspective, Hoo had some deep philosophical insight and wisdom – something she lacked. Hoo and Vecca became close friends with Hoo acting as a good counter-balance of maturity and wisdom to Vecca’s increasingly wild lifestyle. In fact, with Hoo’s guidance and advice, Vecca began writing, penning some plays the Grand Carnival could perform. The plays seemed to go over well but they were brief comedies and bawdy bodice-rippers that appealed to a fairly base audience. Vecca liked writing them but wanted to start something more substantial. And with Hoo’s help, she was able to tap into an inner wisdom she possessed.
Eventually, with Vecca’s star rising higher and higher with the Grand Carnival, she began to see more and more things around her which she found disturbing. Shady characters – shadier than normal – coming and going at all hours of the night to the Carnival-Master’s caravan, as well as tales of murder and betrayal, made Vecca start to take notice. But with her being so busy with the plays, her act, taking care of Madam Ava and her growing friendship with Hoo, it all prevented her from really looking into it.
Further, Prickly Pete, one of the members of the Bully Boys, roustabouts for the Grand Carnival, seemed to take a liking to Vecca. This was hardly unusual as Vecca had the eye of many young men. What made this different was that Prickly Pete was an ‘insider’ roguish good looks and always seemed to bring her gifts. Vecca and Prickly Pete became an item and whereas she didn’t have the time she wanted to dedicate to him, she was clearly sweet on him. The only hint of anything unusual at the time were his jealous gazes at some of the attendees who tried too far to get her attention. Every once in awhile things came to blows between Prickly Pete and some overzealous fans but Vecca did not think much of it. The member of the Bully Boys who truly terrified Vecca was Jollo, the deranged jester who seemed more at home bringing terror than merriment.
While her phenomenal charisma, showmanship and sexual allure were all part of her popularity and charm, she remained simple. She found she needed true companionship. She liked Prickly Pete and even considered a future with him but in her heart she knew it would not be a long term affair. Madam Ava, seeing her pain and inner loneliness, showed her to conjure a familiar. Within a few nights, Vecca had called Ghost, a talking fox. Ghost ended up being high maintenance and a bit of a snob, but he was her true soul mate and loyal friend. Further, Madam Ava encouraged her to write – especially plays. Madam Ava even revealed that she was a playwright of some great renown, using the pen name, ‘Mobian,’ a name that was well known throughout the land. Clearly Madam Ava had not only talents, but many secrets as well.
By 19 Vecca was on top – arguably at this point the biggest draw with the Grand Carnival. Magic, tarot readings, singing, dancing, acting and writing made her the Queen of the Carnival – and at such a young age, she was in great demand. But one night, after one of her more serious plays was performed, something curious happened. A play with themes of fame and fortune actually led to some of the players involved getting actual fame and fortune. Then the same happened for next month’s play and then the month after. People began to notice. Vecca suddenly stopped writing the murderous tragedy, A Murder of Crows, for fear of it coming true.
During this time is when Vecca met Sushalla, a mysterious girl with whom Vecca became fast friends. Sushalla, always the prankster and merry maker joined the Grand Carnival for a year, traveling with them as a singer. Often Vecca and Sushalla would sing together or Sushalla would aid in the conjuring acts as Vecca’s lovely assistant. And in time the two became lovers. What was at this point that Sushalla revealed was, in fact, a water nymph. This revelation brought them closer as Vecca knew that such a mythical and mysterious creature would only reveal deep secrets such as these to someone with whom they truly trusted. Sushalla regaled Vecca with tales of her adventures, including how she once had a long relationship with a frost giant king named Uniir but who was now imprisoned in a grove to the west for a slight he had made against her. However, it was only two months after this that Sushalla would leave, answering a calling she had elsewhere but promised they would meet again.
After a late performance with themes of magic, music and sexual overtones, Lockley Ast, a wealthy merchant from the Silver Wheel Trading Company threw a massive after-party as thanks for a wonderful show. Heavy drinking and dancing resulted in debauchery. Prickly Pete, increasingly frustrated at the lack of attention he felt, decided he would make moves Vecca was not in the mood for. After needling persistence on his part became physical threats which turned into insane accusations on his part and revelations that he was involved with some of the more sinister aspects of the Grand Carnival, Prickly Pete began to beat her with a closed fist in his drunken rage. Stunned into submission at first at her boyfriend abusing her, she froze in confusion until he began to rape her. That snapped her out of her stupor and she fought back.
Her sensual nature hid a physical strength that she possessed. She defended herself by grabbing whatever was nearby and fighting him. Her fury and anger as well as his drunken state contributed to her beating him senseless. In the end, they were both bloody and scratched but he fared far worse, having lost teeth and use of one of his eyes. When the Bully Boys came for their fallen member, they hurled all kinds of threats which caused Vecca to scream back angered insults. The entire altercation became so ugly and heated that it took other members of the Grand Carnival to keep them apart. Nonetheless, Prickly Pete and the Bully Boys vowed bloody angry revenge. Prickly Pete’s once good looks ruined and the Bully Boys enraged, there was bad blood ready to boil over.
Vecca tried to put the incident behind her but within a few days Madam Ava was found dead under mysterious circumstances. Most of the Grand Carnival wanted to sweep it under the rug and say it was natural causes. It was then that everything came together. The Bully Boys. Rumors of assassins running the Grand Carnival. Strange characters coming and going. Vecca decided enough was enough. The Grand Carnival was right outside the bustling city of Crooklake and she knew it would offer opportunities. Vecca went to Hoo, and he agreed to leave with her. After getting Ghost, a few items and some coins, she left the Grand Carnival. However, in her haste she had forgotten to take some of Madam Ava’s personal tomes and treasures that she had left Vecca. Of course, she barely had time to consider the fact that Madam Ava had never truly revealed the nature of the pact she had formed with the strange unknown entity. Perhaps there were clues in the books she had left behind.
Fortunately, it was not too hard to find employment in Crooklake. She had been there before and remembered The Velvet Corset in the Manor District, fondly. She was willing to work in any entertainment venue but she landed a job at the Velvet Corset as their resident stage magician but has agreed to also become one of their playwrights, in addition to some singing, dancing and burlesque appearances. But upon moving into one of the rooms of the Velvet Corset, Vecca noticed something unusual. Strange magic auras seemed to linger, as if stored up for decades, waiting to break loose. And upon finding the history of the building, involving the insane nobles of Valger Manor – the former name of The Velvet Corset – it was evident that sinister magic once took place there.
Crooklake has an unusual amount of crime, and suspicious characters. Whereas Vecca is used to dealing with roguish types, organized criminals and assassins is a different story entirely. Further, witchcraft is grounds for execution in Crooklake as it is throughout the rest of the lands. (And still Vecca ponders the difference between ‘witches’ and ‘wizards’ and what the real difference is.) As a result, she hides the fact that she is a follower of The Path in plain sight. Attributing her abilities to bardic training and stage magic, she is fairly certain she can keep it well hidden. But still, one of the Sextons in Crooklake, Sexton Luglos, in his zeal to clean up the city has targeted The Velvet Corset and Vecca in particular.
Currently, Vecca wants to bask in her successes, start over from her bad feelings about the Grand Carnival and find a place to settle down – at least for a few years. But her adventurer and explorer spirit will no doubt have her going out and seeing more of the world, raiding dungeons and really getting to see what the world has to offer. Her direct immediate goals are, however, getting a new room – not one in the basement where her neighbors are escorts. But she has never had problems making new friends. With Hoo nearby and with Ghost always at her side, she does not have any pressing worries.
Vecca has been the author of several popular plays, including Ghost of a Chance, The King of Merchants,The Goblins of Wyvern Mountain, Day of Fire, and her most popular play, Hopelessly in Love. It is Hopelessly in Love which has been her greatest success as well as the play which has given her the most grief as Master Pim, the man who originally financed it, began changing small details and showing it in other cities, giving Vecca no residuals whatsoever.
The constant antics, lies and disrespect from Thoven Shadowhand is the closest thing to trying Vecca’s patience, especially since his tendency to erupt with rude comments and obscenities often comes out of nowhere. However, she stands by him and will defend him time and time again. The most recent display of this would be her decision to assist him with seeking out Lady Firebaugh’s diadem from Mt Sin.
Vecca, Hoo, and Thoven have joint ownership of a house in Chateau which has been a base of operations for the adventuring party. They have been able stock the home with a variety of treasures, fine items and the loot they have uncovered from their adventures.
The relationship between Vecca and Sushalla has strengthened to the point where Sushalla has become Vecca’s muse, being the subject of several poems, songs and plays.