|_magichands (_magichands) wrote,|
@ 2016-01-10 15:06:00
Name: Stephen Strange
Aliases/Nicknames: Dr Strange
Age/Date of Birth: 40 / November 9, 1976
Place of Birth: Omaha, Nebraska
Current Residence: Sanctum Sanctorum, Greenwich, New York City
Occupation: Consulting Sorcerer
PB: Benedict Cumberbatch
Tall and lean, Stephen Strange has brown hair, graying at the temples in spite of his general youth, and a tidy beard, and exceptionally keen gray eyes. He prefers old-fashioned, more formal clothes, with a particular fondness for waistcoats that sometime are brocaded. When working as a mage, he wears a sweeping red cloak as well that moves about him whether there is a wind or not. In casual or formal wear, mundane or magical, he wears gloves to hide the scars and occasional tremors of his hands.
Stephen Strange is a sorcerer, able to see and work the currents of energy that it’s simplest to call “magic”. He is also, half by enthusiastic study and practice and half by natural talent, one of the best currently in the world. His magic is worked primarily through incantations, and while it works best with certain rituals, he does have a demonstrative ability to cast spells on the fly, particularly when they are tied to a magical device.
Magic spells being what they are, if he knows the spell, he can warp reality and the laws of physics around him: everything from levitation to shielding to binding an opponent to dispelling magic. These spells usually involve an invocation of one of the Vishanti, the closest thing to gods that magic acknowledges.
Some of his more common spells, which he has mastered and can cast on the fly, include:
The Bands of Cyttorak: crimson mystical bands to bind an opponent to keep them from attacking
Shield of the Seraphim: from the Book of the Vishanti, a book containing defensive spells (reportedly every defensive spell, but being a magical book, it’s hard to tell), this spell encloses the caster in a protective bubble.
Bolts of Balthakk: an offensive spell, striking the attacker with mystical energy.
Telekinesis: Just like mutant telekinetics can do, but with some glowing lights for flare
Astral Projection: The spirit leaves the body, and traverses either the plane of magic - a place of swirling colors and energies, coalescing around portals between dimensions - or invisibly and intangibly through the mundane world to see places and people.
Though his Sanctum Sanctorum almost serves as a warehouse for magical items (visitors are instructed not to touch or talk to anything), most of these are at the Sanctum so that their whereabouts are known, so that they cannot be used for evil; their properties are generally known enough to know that using them casually would be a very bad idea. There are exceptions, of course, and two of those are the two enchanted items most often with Stephen: the Cloak of Levitation, and the Eye of Agamotto.
The Cloak of Levitation is a crimson cape, trimmed in golden embroidery, with a high collar that sweeps the floor, or would if it wasn’t constantly moving in a wind that doesn’t exactly exist. It allows him to hover, and to fly at a fairly respectable jogging speed. It also seems to be at least somewhat sentient; when not slung over Stephen’s shoulders, if not firmly hung up, it will follow along after him, swirling around him like a breeze, as if asking to be used.
The Eye of Agamotto, an item received from the hands of the Ancient One, is a truly powerful magical item, one who’s secrets Stephen is still learning. A gaudy gold amulet hanging on a chain around his neck, it can reveal the true nature of things beneath an enchantment or spell, and can serve to amplify his scrying spells. There does seem to more to the amulet then he has discovered, as the eye at the center of the golden amulet, once fully closed, is now only half-open, and it emits a golden light as it's being used that seems to have dark spells cringing away from it - but as no magical tome he has yet encountered has described the Eye, study of it is slow going.
While he is by no means a Master of the Martial Arts, part of learning magic was meditation, including the meditation that can come through those martial arts. He won’t be winning any tournaments anytime soon, but he’s got a very solid kick and punch.
Stephen is also a doctor. While his hands are no longer capable of surgery, he is able to diagnose, bandage wounds, and even stitch up more severe wounds, as long as the recipient doesn’t mind that the stitches aren’t the tiny ones Stephen used to be able to do...and that all the while he’s giving First Aid, Stephen will grumble about how patching up people like a sawbones trauma surgeon is a waste of his medical gifts.
Magic is wonderful, at least in that it contains a power that can warp the world. Perhaps because of that, magic can be difficult; often, the greatest spells take equipment and preparation to cast. Those that don’t, that require only an incantation, still take focus and energy to cast successfully; a tired mage who can’t will a spell into being, or who mispronounces a word, is generally then a dead mage either through losing his battle, or through his own spell backfiring on him and consuming him.
To cast a spell, a mage must also learn a spell, and (true) spellbooks are not available on Amazon. Once found, the spells inside those books take study and care to learn. Stephen has an extensive library, but most works on mage are primarily theoretical in nature, and contain perhaps one spell, or two, with the rest of the book being filled with the explanation behind and preparation for the spell in question. There are other books - such as the Book of the Vishanti - that seem to reveal spells only as the mage grows in knowledge and wisdom. Strange is a skilled mage, but he still has much to learn.
Personally, magic also requires gestures, and on a good day, Stephen can manage them. On a bad day, when he’s done too much or the weather has turned just right, he can’t even hold a teacup, much less curl the fingers necessary to conjure a spell. He knows that the damage done to his hands is permanent; he is only now just learning what it means to live with the damage for the rest of his life.
Furthermore, though he keeps himself in shape and has magical defenses, Stephen is absolutely human, and can be surprised, wounded, or just come down with an illness.
By far, Stephen Strange’s greatest weakness is the same character flaw that set him on the path to becoming a sorcerer; the Ancient One helped him tamp it down, but he will always be an arrogant man, sure he knows the right thing in every situation. He also is generally more inclined to act than to let a situation develop, a surgeon’s instinct to cut deep and excise a flaw, even when it would be better to at least have more information about something before acting. But he is a gifted sorcerer, and used to be a surgeon, and so he delights in casting spells, even if a spell would actually make things worse.
Stephen’s greatest strength and weakness is that the great talents he has for various prestigious skills - medicine and magic - leads him quite naturally into arrogance, assuming that just because he understands much, he understands everything and the world should pay heed to his words and jump to follow his advice. The fact that he can, in fact, be wrong, and doesn’t know everything, doesn’t occur to him until he is faced with a mess entirely of his own making and is forced to admit that he has no idea how to fix things. It’s a credit to him that he does have considerable skills, and will admit when he’s wrong and focus all his abilities on putting right when he broke in the first place: he is quite determined not to accept “no” for an answer.
It’s also a credit to him that all of his arrogance comes not only from having exceptional abilities and skills, but also from a place of compassion. Though he often has a hard time showing it, Stephen does look to do not only what is right, but what is best for an individual and the world in general. It’s often a surgeon and a sorcerer’s broader-view of what is necessary, and as such, often comes across coldly, with little tact to softening hard choices or bad news, but it still springs from a desire to heal and to save, and he’ll fight very hard for that.
Perhaps his other most notable characteristic is his curiosity; an intelligent man, Stephen found a natural home in the puzzles and challenges of medicine and medical scholarship, both of which has transferred well to a magical field. Indeed, magical scholarship contains as much esoteric language as most medical journals, differing only in the actual jargon used. He delves into such works, eager to learn more, seeking out magical works and items for their own sake instead of the power they might promise. His curiosity can lead him straight into trouble by poking at things that should require cautious handling, and while he focuses on his study, it is often to the exclusion of everything else around him, even at times when he should be much more aware of his surroundings; he is fundamentally incapable of leaving a puzzle unsolved, even if that means he turns an already solitary nature into an outright hermitage for weeks while he works on something.
If not outright aloof, Stephen is certainly a dignified man. He always was - certainly when doing his consultation and walking the halls of his ward, and after hours the rigid dignity chipped away only a little. No matter where he stood, in a hospital or at an elegant party, he was quite sure that he was better than everyone in the room. He’s gotten a bit more humility knocked back into him, but he still has a purpose and a calling, and his ward is the world. He’s serious and focused and has no time for frivolity or fun, not with so many magical problems that can bubble up in New York at the drop of a hat and no one to handle them but him. He’s not necessarily the best in the room, but he’s certainly the best mage.
Though sometimes he does sometimes have a very wry sense of humor, he usually thinks - and admonishes - that it’s neither the time nor place. Given his usual work environment, he’s not entirely wrong, but as a consummate workaholic, he leaves no time for the lighter side of life. Though he does appreciate beauty - including beautiful women - where he finds it, his interest is usually as intellectual as he is rather than physical.
Born in Nebraska to very ordinary parents, Stephen Strange always had a longing for more in his life than cornfields and Middle America; he found his calling in medicine when his younger sister, Donna, fell from a tree and broke her arm, leading the entire Strange family to take a trip to the emergency room, where ten-year-old Stephen watched doctors in sweeping white coats help his sister, and those who were hurt far worse than she was.
A passing comment from the general practitioner who set his sister’s arm - that they were fortunate there was no nerve damage - even nudged him towards his specialization in med school. It also didn’t hurt that neurosurgery was fascinating, offering him a glimpse at some of the more important and mysterious workings of the human body, with room for further study, promising a life-long puzzle for him to unravel. All the interest in the world wouldn’t have mattered if he wasn’t talented as well, and he was extraordinarily talented, enough that he finished his medical degree in record time, and moved on to a prestigious residency.
That was a turning point not only in his career, but in his life as well; with a week’s vacation before starting his residency, he returned home to Nebraska to celebrate with his family, and especially with his beloved sister Donna. For her, he tolerated the slower country life, even if that meant swimming in local swimming holes instead of going out to what passed for culture in Nebraska. Later, he was assured that it never could have been predicted: while swimming, his sister had a massive aneurysm, and drowned before he could save her. All comforting words aside, Stephen swore that he would become the best neurosurgeon in the country so that others would not suffer the same grief that he did, even while inwardly, he was pulling back from the world, unable to bear the thought of being hurt this much again as well.
He at least started his medical career, then, dedicated to saving lives, but he remained cold and aloof, and that made it very easy for him to fall into a surgeon’s common flaw of seeing the body on his table as only the medical problem to be solved, not as a person. That, combined with his peers’ recognition of his godlike successes and pioneering contributions to a very exclusive field, corrupted him further to seeing his patients not even as only medical problems, but as paychecks. As his colleagues talked about him in reverent tones for what he could do, Stephen grew to see himself as above them - above the world - and completely justified in limiting his clients to those who could pay: he was, after all, the best, and had earned the right exult in the glory and rewards of his position.
Fate and karma conspired to bite him.
One wet night, he left the hospital early - almost being waylaid by a trauma surgeon who had a patient who needed ‘the god of all neuros’, but as said patient couldn’t pay and was not even an interesting surgery to compensate, Stephen brushed it off and took off into the night. He drove too fast on a wet road, and, almost inevitably, flipped his car down an embankment until a tree stopped it.
He ended up back in the hospital, this time as a patient, and was informed that most of his injuries would heal, except the most serious ones: he’d broken many bones in his hands, and unlike his sister so long ago, there was nerve damage as well. He was faced with a simple problem: perhaps ‘the god of all neuros’ could have repaired the damage, but he could not operate on himself. In fact, it increasingly became clear that he lacked the dexterity to operate on anyone ever again.
He could have made a successful career as a consultant, but Stephen refused to accept a lesser position; he left the hospital on an extended leave of absence, and started chasing promises of miracle cures - legitimate trials led to experimental procedures, and when those were ineffective, an increasingly desperate Strange turned to more alternative medical practices, throwing his considerable wealth at anything that promised him a restoration of his hands, traveling across the globe to various practitioners.
He ran out of money and time just as he heard rumors of a man in Tibet that could heal the dead. Hope being the only thing remaining to him, he made his way to Tibet the old fashioned way, almost as if he was walking a pilgrimage, though with a few additional security checkpoints along the way. There was even a journey up to a forgotten temple on a mountaintop, though when he finally reached the being known only as The Ancient One, he was promptly told that the damage to his hands couldn’t be healed.
However, The Ancient One saw something else in Stephen, and offered him knowledge of something that would be more than just a mere consulting surgeon. It took awhile, but The Ancient One had sufficiently intrigued him with leading comments on the nature of energy and reality, and even if Stephen didn’t quite understand the Zen he was being taught, he went with it. After all, with no money and no career, he had nowhere else to be, and there was something going on at this temple, he could just about sense it, and that was enough to keep him and actually have him listen.
Slowly, he found an inner peace, and even more slowly, a patience for the Zen - and, the moment he actually listened, his Third Eye opened, and a latent ability to use magic became an actual ability to use magic. Once The Ancient One convinced him that he wasn’t hallucinating the colors but that magic was indeed real, he found that there was an entirely new field for him to learn and study, one that promised not wealth, but constant challenges and puzzles.
He became the Ancient One’s greatest student, a natural. And The Ancient One favored him, not just for the magical skill he was showing, but for how he was changing as a person, almost returning to the better person he had been: dedicating himself to something greater than him, losing the arrogance for quieter justified pride at his skill, and the need to give that skill to the world, because it was needed, without thought for repayment.
This favoring, naturally, lead to resentment from other pupils of The Ancient One, most notably Mordo, called “Baron Mordo.” Though he’d been a student of The Ancient One for far longer, Baron Mordo didn’t have the raw natural talent Stephen did, or the dedication and curiosity that served well in this new field; Baron Mordo grew jealous, and sought an easy path to power, thinking that would return him to his master’s favor. In magic, an “easy path” generally means the one that Baron Mordo ultimately took: a pact with dark magic, power used for inherently selfish purposes.
It was Stephen who sensed the dark magic seeping into The Ancient One’s mystical temple first - familiar with the taste of such arrogance, even if he hadn’t previously experienced its expression in dark magic - and traced it to its ultimate source. Confronting his fellow pupil with only his nascent skills and the conviction that he was going to right this wrong was absolutely the arrogant thing to do, and so, naturally, Stephen cornered Baron Mordo, and found himself in a wizard’s-duel with someone far more experienced at casting spells under pressure.
The miracle is that with his supreme confidence in his abilities and raw talent, Stephen was not killed outright, and the interesting lightshow that they produced was more than enough to draw The Ancient One’s attention to the matter. What Stephen lacked in experience, The Ancient One had, and promptly stopped the duel and banished Baron Mordo.
Stephen hadn’t succeeded, but he had shown an inclination to fight against dark magic, and it was perhaps the inclination more than the result that, at the final end of his training, The Ancient One gifted him with two powerful magical artifacts - the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto - and directed him to return to New York, to the magical sanctuary in Greenwich known as the Sanctum Sanctorum, and guard what amounted the enter Eastern Seaboard against dark magic from natural ley lines interacting with the world, thin places between dimension letting some very nasty creatures through portals to be attracted to the dreamers of New York, and mages like Baron Mordo casting dark magics.
He’s the only Consulting Sorcerer in the phone book, and he makes house calls.
Journal Name: _magichands
Did you read the rules? Yes
What's the character limit? 7, 8 if one is a villain
What would you like to do with the character? This is a Stephen Strange at the relative beginning of his career: he knows enough magic to be useful, but he by no means has the knowledge or wisdom to be the Sorcerer Supreme - yet. This is a Stephen who wants to get involved with anything magical on the Eastern Seaboard, to learn and to make sure that everything’s under control, more a street-level hero.
How do you think the character can be integrated with the other universe?
Anyone with powers, or generally anything that’s mystical or unexplained by usual means and therefore has the potential to be rogue magic, is of interest to him - especially time-jumpers and people from alternate realities/futures/dimensions. Maybe he gathers together a group of friends who are sensitive to mystical things as well to defend the streets from all sorts of weird stuff?
Stephen Strange saw the moment the spell went wrong; the humming potential of the hovering runes in the Working Circle took on a cicada-sharpness, jarring, as their colors tipped like food going off, and there was even a similar sour scent to the incense. His hands froze, and his mind raced over the past few words: was it actually Raggadorr, not Raggadaar, after all?
Under the circumstances, it didn’t really matter. With a grimace, Stephen flexed his fingers, and with a gesture, broke the spell. Incomplete, it lingered a moment, the edges turning blurry, and then it dissolved into smoke and true scent. To the Third Eye, however, the residual magic from the awry spell still reeked.
He stepped back from the Working Circle, the great bronze-inlaid circle beneath the window with its protective rune, and shrugged out of the Cloak of Levitation and very firmly hung it on the coakhook. It was a fifty-fifty chance it would end up coiled around the washing machine anyways, but he at least tried to keep everything with magical residue on it contained in his workroom. Changing out of the blue tunic with its own protective rune and into a normal shirt, he was at least comforted that that would stay in the basket at the top of the stairs. He even peeled out of his gloves, though with another grimace, and he certainly couldn’t look at his hands as he headed downstairs.
However it was pronounced, or if the gesture had been wrong instead, he was sure the answer lay somewhere in the library of the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Not terribly much later, he looked over to the library door, and arched an eyebrow as Wong stepped just inside the threshold, a small cedar box in his hand. What Stephen was to magic, Wong was to alchemy, and specialized in creating agents that neutralized such magical residue. “Out of curiosity, what was that spell?” Wong asked mildly.
Stephen pivoted on his hovering cushion in mid-air, idly waving the three books floating around him aside. “When performed correctly, it is reported to conjure a sphere of healing and strength.”
Wong responded with an arched eyebrow of his own, and tipped the box idly back and forth. “Haven’t given up hope yet?” he asked in precisely the same tones.
Stephen turned back to his books, and his hands twitched just enough, and fortunately in the right way, to have one of the books riffling its pages to another chapter as it floated closer to him. The medical journals all told him the same thing; after this many years, he was out of options save spontaneous regeneration. But the magical equivalent where much more nebulous, and that was enough for him to keep chasing it...on the grounds that such a spell would have practical uses beyond his own hands, of course.