Full-time flight attendant, part time sorceress, with gypsy blood and a remarkable ability to stay sane under even the most bizarre circumstances. She accepts all comers without judgment and takes life as it comes.
Amanda Sefton was born Jemaine Szardos, daughter of Margali Szardos, a powerful Gypsy sorceress and the owner of Szardos Family Circus in Bavaria. She had one brother by blood, Stefan, and a de facto foster brother by choice in the person of Kurt Wagner (a.k.a. Nightcrawler), whom Margali took in after finding as a babe abandoned in the wilderness. The trio grew up as part of the circus, learning the ways of travelling performers and acrobats. Theirs was a fairly carefree existence, an attitude Amanda still embraces today, until a Texas millionaire took over the circus and the family moved on in different directions.
Stefan went on a killing rampage in rural Bavaria. He was stopped by Kurt, his neck unintentionally broken, killing him. (Stefan had, in fact, asked Kurt to kill him if his own thirst for blood ever got too out of hand, which it had.) Consequently, the fuzzy blue elf fled to America to join the X-Men. Jemaine, unwilling to believe Kurt had intentionally turned on Stefan, transformed herself from a swarthy, dark-haired gypsy girl into a blonde, blue-eyed English-woman and followed him.
Since then, she has taken a job as a flight attendant, leaving much of her magical heritage behind -- though none of it is forgotten, and made her home in New York City, not so far from where she knows Kurt now resides.
Amanda started out life as a circus acrobat. Her agility is remarkable and her flexibility even more so. She can perform feats and twist her body into positions most people wouldn't even think about. She's also extremely adept at tight-rope walking, trapeze flying, and other similar tricks. This makes her very light on her feet and allows her to traverse spans that would otherwise be exceptionally difficult to negotiate.
While Amanda's acrobatic abilities can and do augment her combat abilities, she is only an average combatant when compared to most other X-men or related agents.
Amanda's skill in combat is almost entirely from on-the-ground experience. She has some formal training, and can thus hold her own. She won't, however, be competing in (never mind winning) any MMA tournaments any time soon. Her style of fighting is defensive in nature, concentrating on dodging and using her opponents' own momentum against them.
Where most of Amanda's other powers come from her witch and gypsy heritage, her ability to hypnotize people is entirely a gift of the mutant x-gene. She can bend people to her will with her own force of will and convince them to do things for her they wouldn't normally do.
For stat purposes, Amanda's hypnotic abilities are tied to her Willpower, and so default to that stat.
Amanda can't make people do things that are entirely out of character for them. So, she can't make someone kill or commit suicide via hypnosis -- except in those rare cases where the target was already predisposed to such actions. Similarly, she can't make an honest person commit a crime, though she may be able to get them to justify a misdemeanor or social faux-pas. (Thus, while they might lend her their key, seeing it as a favour for a friend, but they won't steal the files themselves.)
OOC NOTE:This power will always be limited by player consent and discussion.
Power:Illusion (7 (6-8))
Amanda has the ability to create realistic illusions that can trap or deceive her targets. The complexity of these illusions is limited by her familiarity with the image and environment she's attempting to mimic as well as the amount of power she has at her disposal. Projecting a single-sense illusion (especially sight or sound) is relatively simple and costs only a small amount of energy. Each sense added to the first, however, causes a greater strain and gives a higher chance that the target will detect it. Also complicating the casting is the distance she is from the target. The greater the distance, the more difficult it is to maintain the illusion. She requires a line-of-sight for all but the simplest illusions.
Amanda's illusions can be broken by an act of will, if the target becomes aware of it. Generally, this happens only if the target is sensitive to magic or is otherwise jarred by a mistake in the sensory information being projected.
Power:Magic Bolts (7 (6-8))
Amanda can shoot bolts of mystical energy at her targets, causing them damage. The maximum strength of these bolts is dependent on the strength of her energies according to the cycle of the Winding Way.
Amanda must have line-of-sight to her target.
Amanda's maximum range is about 1 mile.
The stat attached to this ability is an average. At the height of her energy cycle, she is more likely to fire at strength 8, while at the low ebb of her cycle she is more likely to fire at strength 6.
Power:Shape Changing (N/A)
This ability is actually a sophisticated, specialized bit of spellcraft. Amanda can change her appearance or shape by casting a spell on herself. Once the spell has been cast it will last until either she or a more powerful magic user dispels it.
While Amanda can cast an illusion on someone else to make them appear different than they really are, she cannot transform their shape as she can her own.
She must be very clear about the details of the shape she wants in order to assume it, which makes it exceptionally difficult for her to mimic someone else's appearance.
Power:Teleportation (6 (9))
Amanda can teleport from one spot to another using a spell she's learned to cast. The stat associated with this ability represents the average maximum distance with which she's comfortable vs. the maximum distance of which she's actually capable.
While Amanda can take passengers with her when she teleports, her distance in such cases is reduced. The greater the number of people she takes with her, the shorter the distance she can reasonably handle. (Figure that each additional person takes down about one rank on the Distance Scale, to a minimum of 2 -- about 10 city blocks.)
The further the distance she must go, the more power she uses to accomplish it. Any distance greater than about 100 miles will leave her at least partially drained, and thus somewhat vulnerable until she has recovered her strength. Consequently, while she can potentially teleport half a world away, doing so would leave her at half-strength, at best, for several hours.
As a student of magic, Amanda has a fairly healthy arsenal of spells at her command. Most of them, however, are defensive in nature -- things like healing spells, summoning spells, simple shielding, and astral projection. She can also create simple potions of limited duration or affect.
Amanda draws her spellcasting energy from her surrounding environment. She is particularly attuned to urban environments, and thus performs much better amidst concrete and steel than she does flowers and trees. However, she requires a certain level of familiarity with the environment from which she pulls her energy. The more unfamiliar she is, the more likely her spells are to fail or to have horribly unpredictable effects.
The strength of her spells, even in a familiar environment, are also partially dependent on the waxing and waning of the energies associated with The Winding Way, since that discipline forms the core of her mystical ability.
She can only channel so much power at any given time. The more complex or powerful the spell, the faster it drains her. If a spell is particularly difficult to cast, she may end up doing serious injury to herself. At the very least, she can expect a massive headache, the occasional nose bleed, and severe fatigue.
Any potions she makes take time to mix and require a certain amount of spellcasting to work. Thus, their production is entirely subject to the same limitations as her regular spellcasting. Further, the more complex the effect of the potion is, the shorter its duration is.
The stat attached to this ability is an average. At the height of her energy cycle, she is more likely to cast at strength 8, while at the low ebb of her cycle she is more likely to cast at strength 6.
Amanda has an exceptionally level head and, thus, is very hard to fluster as a matter of course. This is more important as a magic user, who's inclined to encounter all sorts of bizarre and unmentionable things, than anything else. It allows her to stay sane amidst the madness that magic usually brings and hold on to her reason when other magic users have gone off the deep end.
Amanda's not afraid of the spotlight. She spent her formative, adolescent, and early-adult years a circus acrobat. She knows how to put on a show, how to read a crowd, and how to manipulate their emotions by playing to them just right.
Amanada speaks several different languages, including English, French, German, several dead or antique languages, and a variety of magical, demonic, and celestial tongues. Additionally, she learns new languages quickly, simply because she has such a broad pre-existing lexicon to draw from for similar examples.
When in a familiar urban environment, Amanda can draw upon the city's energy to help power her spells or replenish her magical energies. Doing so, however, risks adversely affecting the area she's in and -- more importantly -- the people within that area, if she's not careful. If Amanda is in an unfamiliar urban environment, she can't draw more than 25 of the amount of power she normally might until she takes the time to attune herself to the new environment -- a process which requires deep meditation over a period of two or three days at the very least. Because what she's doing is essentially drawing life energy from the area, if something goes amiss, people can end up hospitalized or worse. Further, she can only attune to urban environments, not wilderness areas. Thus, even were she in an industrial complex somewhere, if it's sat in the middle of farm country or the hinterland, rather than a big city, she's sweet outta luck.
This is probably a greater difficulty for others than Amanda herself, but the fact remains: She has a very complicated family. Her mother, Margali, is a power-hungry witch whose ambition is to become the foremost magic user along the Winding Way and who'll do anything -- including betraying her own daughter -- to accomplish that goal. Her brother, Stefan, was killed by her adopted brother Kurt (a.k.a. Nightcrawler), who's a completely other issue entirely. Amanda is fiercely loyal to her family and their competing goals can sometimes create conflict to her. She wants to help them, but she also doesn't want to put innocents at risk. So, sometimes (particularly where her mother's concerned) it's a delicate balancing act.
Amanda's primary ability is her facility with magic, a gift of her gypsy heritage. The magical discipline she studies is called the Winding Way, or Winding Road, its practices handed down generation by generation from her matrilineal Romani ancestors through her mother down to her, today. The strength of its mystical energies are cyclical, waxing and waning much like the moon -- although they're not governed by the moon in any way. Because of this, the levels of Amanda's magical energies fluctuate with the vagaries of the "Road". Consequently, she's sometimes much weaker than normal, while at other times much more powerful. This affects every single one of her mystical abilities and, thus, she's inclined to reserve herself during the low ebb, withdrawing from situations that may require magic in order to preserve her energies and keep herself from becoming a liability to any team mates.
Amanda needs to actually be able to speak to cast spells. It also helps if she can gesture appropriately, but not being able to gesture isn't nearly as debilitating as not being able to speak.
This flaw is added as a logical extrapolation of the art of spellcasting, not because there's any canonical evidence for it.
Although Amanda knows her mother is the sorceress Margali, she's not so sure who her father is. Rumours abound, back in Germany in the area where she was born, but there's nothing conclusive. Some of those rumours even claim her father was a demon, though there's no real evidence to support this. When questioned, not even Margali could give Amanda a clear answer as to who he really was.
Technically, in comics canon, Amanda's father is Azazel -- Kurt's father. I've chosen to suppress/ignore that fact in this incarnation, however, in order to make that relationship just a little easier to play. Future players may choose to change that, but I prefer to leave her father as unknown for now.