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Aoiroo

Dresden Files Roleplay

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Hey, this is the thread for discussing a possible Dresden RPG. I've volunteered to GM one called Savanah Nights (Savanah, Georgia). I have some setting notes here too.

*Please keep in mind that this is set after Changes, and they have spoilers as the setting reveals some spoilers from the book.

Themes and Threats

Themes

Haunted As Hell

Savanah has a bloody history, and that history runs deep and makes the barrier between the NeverNever and the mortal realm much thinner in a lot of places which are very often tourist destinations.

Faces

Madam Morell (Mona Parker)

Francise Welts

Tourist Trap

Savanah is a tourist destination, it's a place people frequent with the intent of siteseeing as well as barhopping and clubbing. Naturally, both very dangerous for tourist groups, it's not uncommon to see students going down to the beaches for Spring Break and never coming back, or someone wandering off from the tours and disappearing.

Faces

Mark Parker(Husband to Jessica Parker), Black Cat

Devin Family (Owners of Major Hotel Chain)

Jasmine Devin, Hair Dresser at a High End Salon

Threats

Power Vaccum

Because of the Tourist Trap theme, this place used to be lowsy with Red Court Vampires who own several tourist businesses and 'hire' people to be their living live stock. The 'I Got A Job' on vacation thing meant that most people visiting would probably move into the city away from most friends and relatives who would be unlikely to notice a change after they've been addictive. However, with the recent extermination of the Red Court, dozens of very influencial businesses including several clubs and stores are dying. Most people blame it on the recession. Anyway, the fact that the Red Court threat is no longer there means that several other nasties are zooming in to try and fill the position they held, most particularly a branch of the white court which had only recently regained it's footing after the recent massacre.

Faces

Quinn Family (White Court Vampires)

Stanley Morgan Up and Coming Politician

Fomor

Grey on Darker Grey

Because of the power vaccum and recent rash of disappearances magical creatures have seperated out as factions and groups and they are uber terriotorial. It's also the vanilla mortals being scared, the Creepers are the biggest group so far to stake claim to an area trying to protect their own, the cops have become more and more fractured within their own ranks because of increasing pressure on them to fix a problem they don't understand as well as outside pressure to ignore it. Add all that up with the Summer Courts increasing influence which is evident if by nothing else the weather, and it's a stirring pot for trouble.

Faces

Mark Parker(Husband to Jessica Parker), Black Cat

Whitney Turner

Faces

Madam Morell

Is the Face of

Haunted As Hell

With The High Concept

Fake Psychic

And Modivation

Quick and easy money from tourists.

With These Relationships

Mark Parker (Husband)

Francise Welts

Is The Face of

Haunted As Hell

With The High Concept

Minor Talent, Owner of Haunted Trolley Tours

And Modivation

Finds the best locations to give tourists the supernatural scare they're looking for.

With These Relationships

Rebecca Glenn (Girlfriend)

Martha Welts (Elderly Mother)

Whitney Turner

Is The Face of

Haunted As Hell

With The High Concept

Gang Leader to the Creepers

And Modivation

To find guard his own little section from the things that goes dark in the night.

With These Relationships

Sarah and Frank Turner (Parents), Creepers Gang

Mark Parker

Is The Face of

Tourist Trap

Grey on Darker Grey

With The High Concept

Officer of the Special Investigations Unit

And Modivation

To protect this town and it's inhabitants, especially his wife.

With These Relationships

Madam Morell (Mona Parker)

Anthony and Rachal Devin

Is The Face of

Tourist Trap

With The High Concept

Wealthy hotel tycoons and investors in local business.

And Modivation

To bring the town up from the recession and to make it safer for their daughter.

With These Relationships

Jasmine Devin (Adoptive Daughter)

Jasmine Devin

Is The Face of

Tourist Trap

With The High Concept

Hairdresser at a very high end beauty salon.

And Modivation

To live a happy and productive life and make other people beautiful.

With These Relationships

Anthony and Rachal Devin (Adoptive Parents)

Walter Devin (Deceased Pathernal Great Grandfather, very close)

Quinn Family

Is The Face of

Power Vaccum

With The High Concept

Rejects of the White Court, banned together as a 'family'.

And Modivation

To grab power now that the Red Court's influence is gone.

With These Relationships

Stanley Morgan

Is The Face of

Power Vaccum

With The High Concept

Politician Up For Election

And Modivation

To clean the streets and make them safer by cutting down on crime and prostitution

With These Relationships

Monica Morgan (Wife)

Milestones

Milestone Rules

Okay, the game uses milestones, now I have to say this is something I want to introduce slowly. So he's how I think the set up's going to go.

Minor Milestone

Awarded Every Story

Signifigant Milestone

Awarded Every 3 Stories (Can replace three minor milestones)

Major Milestone

Awarded Every 6 Stories (Replaces all previous milestones)

This set up is so that if you want to build up character, that the things you're building up make sense. It is mostly giving you a chance to properly test out your character's build, than changing things to suit your needs, BUT you have to use the same character for a good while before you can do anything major.

Refresh Score

Refresh Score

The starting refresh score for this game is 6, so the available archetypes to start at least are,

Pure Mortal +2

Changeling -0

Emmissary of Power -1

Focused Practioner -2

Minor Talent -2

Lycanthrope -4

Minor Talent -1

True Believer -2

Were-Form -3

White Court Virgin -2

*Note that this is the minimum Refresh score for these characters, you can and probably should add more powers or customizations to these characters and everything but a pure mortal can have access to magic, -5 is the limit though you might want to try and stay a few points lower since they are essentually the hero points of this game.

Now every couple of stories (3-6 give or take), the refresh will increase by 1 point giving characters more to work with. Which means, if you want to become a more powerful archetype you HAVE to play through a couple of games first. Also know that the change HAS TO MAKE SENSE. Like for examples, no other archetype except a White Court Virgin can become a full White Court Vampire because it is hereditary.

Skills

Skill packages, for this game, I'm setting it at twenty. Why? Because while they may not be powerful, the characters can and should be least good at what they do. If you want more skill points you can use a significant milestone to buy them.

PC Ideas

Thomas Gabriel Huntsman

Born in the mid-60s, Thomas Gabriel Huntsman grew up in Cincinatti, Ohio, to his parents James and Bernice. He grew up having a bog standard child hood, going to school, playing with friends, and eventually graduating with somewhat poor grades in the important subjects. But he loved photography, having spent a lot of his youth playing and tinkering with cameras. So he went off to community college to study photography, hoping to make a living that way.

But that all went downhill when he'd been struggling along for a few years, mainly making a little money selling photographs at art exhibitions or doing wedding pictures. At an exhibition, he came across a tall man with skin as pale as snow terrorizing a small child, and seemingly being genuinely pleased at the horrified responses. Without hesitation ("Friend To All Children"), he rushed over and tried to punch out the man... only to get thrown across the room with inhuman strength. In horror, he watched as one of the more prominent arts patrons lumbered into the room. And threw a lightning bolt at the pale skinned man.

In the confusion, Thomas grabbed the terrified child and made a run for it... only to be caught up later on and told he had some magical potential. And thus, was recruited as an apprentice wizard. His teacher, the rotund Wizard Damien van der Schnee, instructed him in many arts over months and months of boring lessons. Over time, it was found that while Thomas lacked much real talent for evocation, he was a very skilled man when it came to veils and subtler effects ("Subtle Trumps Powerful").

Then the Vampire War started, and the fledgling wizard was alarmed that he was likely going to be recruited, and asked to fight. When in fact, he'd done nothing wrong other than happen to have magical talent, and somehow had to fight in a war some asshole had started? ("I Look Out For Number One"). Well, as soon as his master began to be called out on missions, he left. He left Wizard van der Schnee a note explaining why he'd left, as he did respect the man a lot. But he just walked, and didn't stop until he'd got on several buses and trains, finally reaching Savanah, Georgia. ("Flunked Out Of White Council Training").

So he set up a new life for himself, donning a suit ("Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit") and took up photography again, specializing in an "authentic, antique approach to the art", so he didn't have to use new digital cameras which would break near his magical aura. And, keeping his head down and not trying to keep him head in the wizarding game... he just kept up with a normal life, finding his powers and knowledge slowly receding even now to less than they were. However, in his heart of hearts, he knows he's still a wizard. And he keeps getting dragged back into the world he walked away from.

[floatl]Huntsman.jpg[/floatl]High Concept: Photomantic Photographer

Trouble: I Can't Escape Magic, It Always Finds Me

Aspects: Nothing Suits Me Like A Suit; Friend To All Children; Subtle Trumps Powerful; Flunked Out Of White Council Training; I Look Out For Number One

Skills:

Alertness: Fair (+2)

Athletics: Average (+1)

Conviction: Fair (+2)

Deceit: Average (+1)

Craftsmanship: Fair (+2)

Discipline: Great (+4)

Endurance: Average (+1)

Lore: Good (+3)

Presence: Average (+1)

Rapport: Fair (+2)

Resources: Average (+1)

Powers:

Channeling (spirit) [-2]

Rituals (photomancy) [-2]

The Sight [-1]

Soulgaze [-0, discount from The Sight]

Wizard's Constitution [-0]

Rote Spells:

"Aurelius!" (Spirit attack, 2 shifts, one stress): directs a tight beam of light and heat at a single target, acting as a Weapon: 2 attack. Requires the umbrella, and so is executed with Superb (+5) control.

"Veilamentum" (Spirit block, 2 shifts, one stress): conjures up a quick and dirty veil around Thomas, opposed by Alertness against a Fair (+2) result. Requires the umbrella, and so is executed with Superb (+5) control.

One rote slot left free in case any improvised spells become 'signature' spells.

Focus Items:

Umbrella: +1 Defensive Control (spirit), +1 Offensive Control (spirit) (uses the two slots granted by Channeling)

Rune-Rimmed Spectacles: +1 Control (photomancy) [uses one of the slots granted by Rituals, the other traded in for two Enchanted Item slots]

Enchanted Items:

Runed Iron Ring: Once per adventure, releases an illusory cloud of inky blackness (3 shifts, 2 of which go into a Fair (+2) Block vs Alertness, the third shift goes into making the cloud last for 2 exchanges).

One slot left open for potions.

Stress:

Mental 000, Social 000, Physical 000

Refresh Rate:

1 (from -5 Refresh cost)

Important notes on his magic: As per the sidebar on blind spots on p179, Subtle Trumps Powerful can be used as a compel to get rid of some or the baggage of Spirit evocations that a photomancer should by all logic suck at. Namely, everything involving kinetic energy.

Secondly, yes, that evocation Veil sucks. For a proper veil, he'd most likely use a ritual.

His Lore lets him go to Good (+3) complexity off the bat, and he can invoke the Photomantic Photographer aspect to get a max of Superb (+5) complexity without preparations of any shape or form. He is able to just blow through those 5 shifts in one roll with his glasses, granting him Superb (+5) control over the spell... only it'd cost 3 stress to do so, and leave him one spell away from unconsciousness. This would actually be acceptable if the party had to, say, flee a scene, or if there were consequences to burn to do it.

But normally, he'd take 3 exchanges, just channeling 2 shifts in each one, which he can do easily unless he rolls -4 to his Control roll (a 1 in 81 chance of doing so), and end up with 5 shifts of veil! The default for this would probably be about one scene by default, and mean that viewers would need to beat a +5 to see Thomas. Alternately, he could split this up between a small group of people, which'd only be a Good (+3) veil.

But wait, there's more! Additionally, if he had a second Fate point to burn, he could also invoke his Subtle Trumps Power aspect for a spell with a complexity of 7 shifts. It'd take him 4 exchanges, not 3, when it came to casting it, but it'd make his veil impenetrable to anyone without at least Good Alertness, and only those with Epic Alertness would manage to spot him without rolling above a 0. He could also spread that among the group again, and have a Superb veil.

Potential Potions

Night Vision Potion: based on the Scentless Trail example potion, should give the aspect Sees In The Dark for an hour.

Sunburst in a Handkerchief: Weapon:3, but only against creatures weak against sunlight.

Character: Alacoque Smith

Template: True Believer

High Concept: Bookshop Preacher

Trouble: Insatiable Curiosity

Other Aspects:

Old Family Cross

“Faith Manages, Faith Manages…â€

Off The Beaten Track Bookstore

Fat Black Bibliocat

“I Think I Read This Somewhere!â€

Powers/Stunts:

Bless This House [-1]

Guide My Hand [-1]

Item Of Power (Family Cross) [+1] -Righteousness [-2]

Holy Touch [-1] (Requires Item Of Power /w Righteousness)

Skills:

Athletics: Average (+1)

Conviction: Great (+4)

Contacts: Average (+1)

Investigation: Fair (+2)

Discipline: Good (+3)

Lore: Good (+3)

Resources: Fair (+2)

Scholarship: Great (+4)

Stress:

Mental OOOO, Social OO, Physical OO

Refresh Rate:

2 (From -4 Refresh Cost)

Background:

Old Family Cross – Alacoque Smith came from a small family of preachers in Alabama, growing up with the expectation he’d enter into the clergy. Like any teenager with expectations on their shoulders, he resented it more than a little bit, and decided to focus more on his education, rather than any ecclesiarchal ideas. While his parents disapproved, they ultimately let him go to university, sending with him something he’d have inherited should he have become a preacher; an old Spanish cross that had been in the Smith family for years. Their gift to him, hoping it’d keep him safe, and that he’d keep the faith.

“Faith Manages, Faith Manages…†– Eventually, he graduated from university with honors, but found himself adrift in a world where he really had no idea what to do. He’d rebelled against his family instead of going into the clergy, but other than that and his degree in English and in History, he couldn’t see himself as a teacher. After trying job after job, he found himself outside of an old run-down church, where a reverend had just closed the doors for the night. Smith was about to just walk by, when, out of the blue, he stopped. The young man turned and approached the priest, striking up a conversation, and the two just sat on the steps, talking into the night. Alacoque talked about his troubles, that he felt perhaps he'd let God go by going out from under his family's expectations. That he didn't really know what to do. The priest smiled, and offered some words of advice; that God was with you no matter where you went, that the Big Guy Upstairs would guide you to what you wanted to do, what would make you happy, not what others wanted you to do. Where Alacoque had gone was his choice, after all. No matter what, if he really did keep the faith (the priest pointed to the cross Smith still wore around his neck, and winked), then things'd turn around eventually. Alacoque nodded and left, pondering the words the old man had said. In a week's time, he found himself on the road to Savannah, Georgia; this time deciding to just trust to faith.

Off The Beaten Track Bookstore – Oddly enough, his faith was rewarded; although to some perspectives it could have been plain luck. As he sat sipping on a coffee and munching on a piece of apple pie, he opened up a local newspaper intending to apply for the first ad he saw. Whether by luck or an invisible hand, the first thing his eyes alighted on was that a local storeowner was having a going out of business sale; a bookstore was closing. Smith tilted his head, then shrugged and said a silent thank-you to whoever was above. A few weeks later, after spending what few savings he had buying the place from the bored storeowner (who was moving away with a significant other), and making some local connections, Alacoque Smith became the proud owner of a slightly dingy back-alley bookstore in the middle of the downtown area. Rubbing the back of his head and looking at the run-down old shop, he looked up at the sky and raised an eyebrow.

Fat Black Bibliocat – Unfortunately, reality then ensued, and after a month of regular difficulties (to which Smith approached with a renewed sense of faith, and a considerably reduced bank account), he found himself still working to get the place open, and a balance dipping dangerously close to the red. Smith worked hard to come up with eye-catching ads in the local papers, personally spending three days straight cleaning the place and turning into something presentable; the poor young man worked to the bone to get the place respectable, but it still missed something. That something happened the day before the opening, as he was about to troop upstairs from the shop to his apartment. There was a meow at the door. He turned around, to see a rather rotund black cat sitting on his front doorstep, pawing at the glass. He walked over; the cat meowed at him in a very imperious manner, highly reminiscent of “Let me in!â€. Alacoque opened the door. The cat sat there for a moment, sniffing at the door jamb, then simply walked in like he owned the place. Smith named him Arthur; he wasn’t sure why. Then he stepped out and bought some cat food. The two’ve been inseparable ever since.

“I Think I’ve Read This Somewhere!†– Amazingly (Al actually suspects the adorable furball he now quasi-owns), the opening went off without a hitch. A lot of the locals found themselves wandering in for some strange reason, and stayed to poke around the shelves and pet the cat. Smith was overjoyed, and spent his day walking around and talking to the customers, as well as ringing up purchases. By the end of the day, he’d accumulated a healthy amount of cash, as well as a number of stories told about some curious happenings in Savannah. Several people had asked him why he’d moved into town, and if he’d heard about these urban legends; Alacoque’s interest was piqued. Since then, he’s lived quietly in his small bookstore, selling and buying…and reading, learning about his new home’s history, and a lot of the local legends and folklore. He’s found in himself a curious affinity for the esoteric, digging up knowledge in old tomes that sometimes he never even knew he had. One of these days, that knowledge might get him into trouble; and that day’s coming up awfully fast…

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Just to get my name down, I'm up for playing. Preferably as some form of magical practitioner (my current thought was, if the game is low-powered, either an apprentice wizard or a minor Sorcerer too weak to get on the White Council)

Also, for venues, I'm... well, anyone have suggestions, because we can't play here.

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I'm looking at the rules and planning to build a half-satyr con man. As for a venue, well, I'd suggest Myth-Weavers. It's got a lot of built-in tools for games.

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I don't know any venues myself, but I'd like for anybody interested to post some outlines for possible characters. Refresh for the first adventure is 6, so keep that in mind.

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John Smith was once an young apprentice wizard to the White Council. He was somewhat adept in the art of photomancy, using it to cast veils and project heat. The problem was, when it came down to it, he knew that if he ever graduated to full Wizard, he'd just get dragged into Council politics.

So, without breaking any Laws of Magic (so the Wardens had no reason to look for him), he ran away, to Georgia. While there, he took up a job as a cameraman, using old manuallly developed photography instead of digital cameras (to avoid blowing up technology). Luckily, with the advent of the digital age, this was seen as 'retro' rather than 'dumb' and so he was capable of making a living off it.

Unfortunately, despite his limited abilities and lack of training, he could see and do enough that every time he had to sit by and not do anything about the supernatural, it was a bit of a chore, progressively more so each and every time it happened... Eventually he was going to have to do something about it.

Game mechanic wise, he's a Focused Practitioner with a little bit of wizard ability (namely, the Sight, Soulgaze and Constitution). Other than that, they're limited to Channeling (fire/heat) and Rituals (photomancy), and thus are very limited in what they can do, the most obvious being photomancy allows tracking spells based on images, not blood, toenail clippings, hair, etc etc. They'd also have lower Discipline, Conviction and Lore than a full Wizard, obviously because he's not meant to be a focused practitioner who is very good in his chosen field as the book suggests, he's a failed Wizard.

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I might be interested in this too.

No clue on a concept yet...will need to dig up the books somewhere.

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OK, with the new Refresh rates in place, I'm dropping out, I've little interest in a low-powered mortals/quasi-mortals game.

Yeah, sorry, I added that before I saw your concept, and I have to say I love the idea. It seems realistic that someone might not want to be dragged into the White Council's rule, so I edited.

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Right, here's the thing.

In this game, 1 skill point means quite a bit. Hell, 4 skill points at this level will max out a skill.

I don't see how, by having the skill points alloted to R10 characters, and restricting everyone to R6, you're actually going for low powered.

Because Refresh doesn't affect how powerful you are, when all your skills are really high. In a fist fight, your Refresh abilities might not actually matter much unless you buy 1-2 Stunts in Fists or Athletics. Someone with Great Fists (+4), the recommended skill cap until Refresh 8, can roll 4 minuses, and still have the same total on their roll as someone with Mediocre skill and average rolling. In short, 20 skill points, actually goes really, really, really far in this game, because a +1-+2 bonus means a lot more than in most games. Hell, beating a roll by only 1 or 2 in combat wipes out half of someone's physical health track.

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Okay so you want me to lower the skill set up, is there any more suggestions for the games set up you have?

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Well, not so much a theme as a question.

The game assumes that the players have all met before (ergo, the Aspect generation part where you write blurbs for "casefiles"), although it gives guideline for situations when that's not the case. Are we assuming the former or the latter?

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Okay, this greatly depends on how many players we do get and their backgrounds. The first casefile is going to be a kidnapping of one of the cities faces. This might be a good chance for some of the main characters too meet, you're character from what I see might be contacted by Mark Parker who may of met him in a previous case file and though he can't pay your character asks for advice from time to time. Other characters might be bribed by a reward set by another face to find the first one.

Edit: Actually there are three possible first case files.

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OK, p135 of Our World. It's a pity they hid it in what's essentially the Monster Manual, but it's the best description of milestones ever in the context of how the books progress.

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Huh, I guess I'll switch things up, you get a minor milestone every story, and a significant one every three with a major every six. Basically at the end of every story you can adjust your character, every three stories we gain a refresh point, and every six you can possibly switch archetypes.

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Jim Butcher gave us a Wizard Private Detective of the White Council, and a Knight of the Cross Wielding Excalibur.

We're got a failed Photomancer photographer and a book store owner.

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Let's be fair, they will not be fighting a murderous Warlock, the ghost of a murderous warlock or nickleheads the first few stories. Heck, after three stories your photomancer can upgrade to secret wizard (if he wants to avoid the White Council), and book store owner can become a champion of god. Also, Raveled wants to play a former member of St. Giles. SO, that makes three guys so far for this RPG.

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Specifically, I'm doing a former Red Court Infectee who's kinda going Punisher now that there's, you know, no more St. Giles.

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True, but there's lots of stuff you guys will be going against in six stories. In particular, ghetto white court vampires, minor talent gang members and ghosts, lots of ghosts, Savanah is really freaking haunted.

Punisher to who?

Also, I have the five stories, the order doesn't have to be exact, except that Hotel Hell and Your Little Dog too have to be set after Save the Princess. So which one sounds good to you and I'll give you some details so you can try and think up how you're character will be involved in this story.

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Punisher to who?

Supernatural bad guys. I figure he was a cop before 'it' happened, so he basically hangs around bars and reads papers, looking for the patterns that show something not-normal is going on. Then he looks into it. With a shotgun, if necessary.

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And our Only Sane Man True Believer with the Old Family Cross around his neck sits in the centre of his Off The Beaten Track Bookstore, his Fat Black Bibliocat in his lap, and palms his face, mumbling "Faith Manages, Faith Manages..."

Still working on a name for him, but I'm thinking something akin to a paranormal hobbyist; he's middle-aged, and he deals in private libraries and book collections, as well as the handling of rare books, so he's probably seen some pretty esoteric tomes in his time (Die Lied der Erlking, anyone?). He knows there are strange things out there, and while he goes about his buisness he also quietly keeps a door open for anyone who might need it, trusting in his knowledge to aid them, and his Faith to preserve and guide them.

Who knows, maybe One Day He'll Write A Book.

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Btw Quinn, the little get out of my house thing is either Bless This House (which adds to a threshold), or Holy Touch (the bit Micheal does in Grave Peril where he burns up the Red Court when they touch his gauntlet.).

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