Zapata Singh

Mathemagical Riot Grrrl



  • Zapata is 33 years old, and lives in Georgetown in a work-loft down the street from the Calamity Jane bar, which she shares with her dog, Lisbeth, a gentle giant of a mutt
    • the first floor is her art studio, though she doesn’t care if anyone ever buys anything. It’s there for her to work on stuff with her hands while she’s trying to unravel a puzzle with her brain
    • she also has some bad-ass computer-driven manufacturing tools — injection molding, 3D printer, etc — where she makes her magical-potential items
  • Pandora Station: The Gits, 7 Year Bitch, Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney
  • when her funds run low, she’ll take a short-term computer consulting gig — ideally only if the problem is interesting, but sometimes just for the money.
  • Zapata is not ‘office material’ and while capable of playing well with others, prefers not to
  • Zapata’s extended family still lives near Lake Sammamish, in a close knit community mostly from India but also other South-Asian sub-communities that share certain cultural, religious or culinary passions
    • her father is a teacher at a high-school
    • her mother keeps the household, and volunteers in the community
    • her older brother is a Doctor at Swedish in Ballard, married with 3 kids
      • his oldest, a 12 year old daughter, worships Zapata, which is a source of contention between the siblings
    • and her younger sister is stay-at-home mom in Bellevue, also 3 kids already, oldest is 9
      • her husband is a mid-level sys-admin bouncing around from tech-company to tech-company
  • visiting her family is not something she relishes
    • Zapata used to make a game of timing how long it will take her father and brother to ask her when she’s going to settle down and get married, but they’ve long since given up
    • her in-laws, however, definitely don’t understand her
      • while her older brother’s wife mostly just doesn’t want her daughter to grow up to be like her
      • her younger sister’s husband is very traditional and actively offended by Zapata’s lifestyle


Rights & Wrongs
  • Authority: “authority can bite me” — Zapata has zero patience for official authority and its patriarchal underpinnings
  • The Law: “he started it, I finished it” — Zapata’s criminal record attests to her loose attitude towards the line between self-defense and assault — good thing they don’t know just how deadly her smart phone is
  • Lying: “you wouldn’t believe me if I told you” — lying is unnecessary, the blunt truth is what is hard enough for people to swallow
  • Habits:
  • Other People:
  • Magic/White Council: “just another group of old, white men, I bet” — the whole idea reeks of patriarchal repression
  • Killing: “some people, the world is better off without” — sounds good on paper, but taking a life is what the oppressors do, she wants to be better than that
  • Cheating: “cheating is defined by those who have already rigged the game” — Zapata prefers to challenge the assumption that rules must be followed
Friends and Foes
  • Mundane Ally: Carrie Stone, bartender at Calamity Jane
  • Magical Ally: [name], local chapter head of Paranet
  • Mundane Enemy: [name], beat cop downtown
  • Magial Enemy: [name], someone at Psion
  • Ongoing:
    • protect the Paranet
    • protect today’s versions of the Riot Grrrls
  • Short term:
    • improve enchanted item shop
    • investigate the fog
  • Medium term:
    • Understand where Mathemagics fits into the broader magical world
    • Investigate Psion
  • Long term:
    • Investigate what she saw on the other side of the Impossible Algorithm


High Concept: “Mathemagical Riot Grrrl”

Re: Mathemagical

  • Focused Practitioner who crafts magic items using mathemagical techniques
  • she is part of a new wave of practitioners that have the White Council a bit befuddled
    • the deduction of ‘magic’ through ‘science’ by way of advanced mathematics
    • and the brute force processing of these formulas via technology
  • unlike many magic users, they have no adverse affects on technology
  • in fact, their techniques overtly depend on / make use of technology

Angus: Just some things to think about: You might be creating effects that work in a similar way to magic, and have similar restrictions, but if those things are based on technology (e.g. a phone that has an app on it or whatever), the magic that OTHER people are doing may still negatively impact it. Kind of like putting a piece of fancy electronics next to a power substation.

Re: Riot Grrrl

  • Zapatta definitely has a rebellious streak, going back to her formative teenage years sneaking off to the city to stay out all night at punk rock concerts
  • the Riot Grrrl culture took her in, gave her friends and a sense of place — something her own community at home was actively NOT providing
  • it also inspired in her a protectiveness towards other girls who were being oppressed and held back, or even abused and mistreated
  • and gives her higher purpose for what she wants to do with her Gift
  • this extra label definitely sets her apart from any other ‘Mathemagical Crafters’ in terms of making it a complete High Concept

Trouble Aspect: “The Forbidden Fruit is Sweetest”
  • Zapata’s parents learned the hard way that forbidding something to her was guaranteed to make her want it all the more
  • while a child, this simply resulting in frustration and misbehavior, as a teenager it blossomed into full on rebellion (sex, drugs and rock-and-roll pretty much)
  • this didn’t step Zapata from excelling in school — in fact, it amused her to no end to defy others’ expectations: how can this odd girl with the brightly colored hair, inappropriate piercings and outlandish clothing ALSO be so damn smart
  • Zapata especially enjoyed poking her way into scholastic topics where she felt the most unwelcome, like computer science and math
    • while she did enjoy art classes, she was annoyingly welcome there.
  • but this attitude also got her into trouble, and continues to do so
  • case in point, the events with the UW Computer Science department (see Rising Conflict aspect below)
  • she’s been burned enough by nosing her way into trouble, but she just can’t seem to back down when something new and interesting and off-limits crosses her path

Scenarios where it might be invoked or compelled:

  1. lorem ipsum dolor
  2. lorem ipsum dolor
  3. lorem ipsum dolor

Background: “This is Happening Without Your Permission”

originally: “Patriarchy Can Suck My Left One”, but can’t really say that one out loud when we’re playing at Ando’s place. ;)

  • Zapata’s birth name is Suhasini… but she legally changed it when she turned 18
    • she named herself after the lead singer of one of her favorite band as a teenager, The Gits, Mia Zapata was raped and murdered in 1993. the local punk rock scene took it hard and some formed a anti-violence and self-defence organisation, Home Alive.
  • Zapata’s grandparents are originally from India, by way of England, but came to the Northwest since the late 40s
    • she remembers her grandmother once saying that an English ancestor was originally from the Northwest U.S., but that was long ago
  • Zapata grew up in Issaquah, back before it was more suburban, and it should have been a comfortable but certainly simple life
    • the close-knit Indian community is very traditional and patriarchal
    • they even have a local Khap Panchayat, an all-male, unelected village council to adjudicate cultural norms and enforce conformity
    • yeah, that didn’t go over too well with the young Suhasini
    • on several occasions, she brought shame to her family by causing the Khap Panchayats to pass judgements on her behavior and attempt to force her parents to bring her in line
    • fortunately, the worst of it was late in High School and then she was off to College at the UW and ‘out of sight, out of mind’
  • while her father is very traditional, her mother recognized that the rules are different in America
    • she would often play games with Zapata, logic games and puzzles and the like — pretty much the best thing from Zapata’s childhood
    • while Zapata’s academic successes in computer science and math were lauded by her scholastically minded family, they expected it would be yet another ‘phase’ and that she’d meet a nice Indian boy at University and settle down
    • nope. not to be.

Scenarios where it might be invoked or compelled:

  1. lorem ipsum dolor
  2. lorem ipsum dolor
  3. lorem ipsum dolor

Rising Conflict: “Haunted by Curiosity”
  • The horrible program problem
  • a glimpse of the abyss, and it gazes back

_Angus: What’s your relationship to Dr Fred Wazcowski _

  • a particularly ‘impossible’ programming challenge
  • she couldn’t NOT solve it and wrestled with it day and night for weeks
  • even though she essentially figured out the answer she thought he was expecting fairly quickly, it was the solution that she saw lurking under the surface that plagued her imagiation
  • the end result: her first mathemagical construct — and her first contact with the things that still occasionally haunt her dreams
  • Zapata blames Dr. Fred for what happened, whether through maliciousness or incompetence, she does not know
  • after this event, though, she stopped excelling in class, purposefully coasting through to the end of her degree, with a good solid “C average”
    • but in her spare time, she kept digging away at the new powers she’d discovered

Scenarios where it might be invoked or compelled:

  1. lorem ipsum dolor
  2. lorem ipsum dolor
  3. lorem ipsum dolor

The Story (First adventure): “Justice is a Patient Motherfucker”
  • Jesus Mezquia was convicted of murdering Mia Zapata, the lead singer of The Gits, a Seattle punk rock bad in the 90’s — and Zapata’s name sake
  • all this in 2004, nearly 11 years after Mia’s murder
  • trying to figure out if Zapata could have a magic item of the ‘finding people’ variety, and Russ’ character helped her out by providing access to the cold-case materials — like the DNA that ultimately convicted Mezuia in real life
  • the idea being that she helped find him (probably totally stumbled across him ’cause her little app that has been running in the background for years suddenly goes “PING” one day), that kind of thing)
  • OR through a magical item that she’s been using to try to find the killer, she’s convinced that Mezquia isn’t actually the one that killed Mia Zapata
  • but he’s total scum and deserves to be in prison, so she stays quiet
  • plus not like her ‘evidence’ is admissible in court
  • this could hook into the story threat that we didn’t end up pursuing, namely that the Northwest sure does have a lot of serial killers . . .

Scenarios where it might be invoked or compelled:

  1. lorem ipsum dolor
  2. lorem ipsum dolor
  3. lorem ipsum dolor

Guest Star: “Standing up for the Underdog”
  • attending a Paranet meetup
  • Joe ends up in confrontation with another practitioner
  • she’s focused on making sure the female Paranet members get out safely
  • but she also gives Joe a hand, as he seems to be the one that’s being taken advantage of
  • and maybe the oppression of the Native Americans strikes a chord in her as well

Scenarios where it might be invoked or compelled:

  1. lorem ipsum dolor
  2. lorem ipsum dolor
  3. lorem ipsum dolor

* Guest Star Redux: “For the Society”
  • gasworks park
  • Loren ipsum dolor

Scenarios where it might be invoked or compelled:

  1. lorem ipsum dolor
  2. lorem ipsum dolor
  3. lorem ipsum dolor

REFRESH (9 pts)

  • Ritual (-2)
    • magic item crafting
    • 4 enchanted item slots
  • Refinement (-1)
    • 4 more enchanted item slots
  • Math is Beautiful
    • Mortal Stunt (-1)
    • skill: Scholarship
    • similar to: Junkyard Artiste
    • effect: use Scholarship (Computer Use) instead of Performance (Composition) to create works of art
  • “You Think I Give a Shit What You Say?”
    • Mortal Stunt (-1)
    • skill: Presence
    • book name: Teflon Personality
    • effect: you gain Armor: 1 against social attacks
  • Self Defense Training
    • Mortal Stunt (-1)
    • skill: Fists
    • effect: use Fists for Combat Initiative instead of Alertness
  • Home Alive
    • Mortal Stunt (-1)
    • skill: Contacts
    • book name: Ear to the Ground
    • effect: difficulty of Getting the Tip Off roll reduced by two
    • story: Home Alive is a women’s self defense organization that helps young women get “home alive”, and was started as response to Mia Zapata’s murder
    • in addition, to the ‘normal’ organization, Zapata also applies this to her Paranet connections, they know that she’s on call to step in if they’re feeling in danger of a supernatural kind
  • Total Refresh: 2


  • Ritual comes with 4 Enchanted Item slots
  • Refinement (-1 refresh) adds 4 more Enchanted Item slots


  • how to handle The Catch of an item being hexable
  • using as reference: The Catch rules that apply to the Toughness supernatural power…
  • it would add up to a 2 pt adjustment (magical people being rare, and then also that it’s easy enough to know and exploit)
  • so if a specific Item has this Catch, it has 2 extra shifts to work with


  • Studded Bracelets
    • something to make her fist attacks do some real damage
    • 3 shifts for wpn power
      • weapon 3
    • 2 shifts: +2 uses per day
    • non-techie item
    • use Fists to target
    • one extra slot: +2 more uses
  • Fractal Armor
    • something to help protect multiple allies in her zone, set up as Armor
    • 4 shifts for armor: 2 pts if armor
    • 2 shifts to cover allies in a zone
    • 1 shift duration: plus 1 exchange
    • techie item
  • Hex Ward Charm
    • something that can provide a little protection to her techie gadgets from hostile hexing
    • 2 shifts duration: a few min >> a half hour
    • 3 shifts Block
    • non-techie item: sculpture / charm
    • one extra slot: +2 more uses
  • Hyper-Awareness
    • boost to awareness, focused on ‘hostile intent’
    • 3 shifts for effect
      • +3 dice roll in the bank for Alertness = 4 Great
    • 2 shifts duration: a few min >> a half hour
    • or +2 rounds if in combat time
    • non-techie item:
  • Skeleton Key
    • hack electronic security
    • 3 shifts: maneuver for Aspect
      • +2 burglary vs tech
      • burglary (2) +1 scholarship +2 aspect: 5 base roll
    • 4 shifts: +4 uses per day
    • techie item
  • Fear My Wrath
    • a fear spell to scare away mooks and thugs
    • 3 shifts: maneuver
      • aspect on target: afraid
      • 2 shifts duration: 2 extra rounds
    • targeting: discipline roll
      • +2 to roll to overcome resistance
    • techie item

comments about Magic Items…

  • crafted items can replicate most anything that can be done with Evocation (though more restrictive, obviously, and may be a bit less powerful)
  • can invest points in having MORE ITEMS, or items that DO MORE things, or have MORE USES
  • very dependent on LORE, not even sure whether Conviction or Discipline matter for crafting
  • plenty of room mundane skills and Mortal Stunts

SKILLS (35 pts)

  • 1 Superb (+5)
    • Lore
  • 2 Great (+4)
    • Fists
    • Scholarship
  • 3 Good (+3)
    • Conviction
    • Resources
    • Presence
  • 4 Fair (+2)
    • Burglary
    • Contacts
    • Craftsmanship
    • Empathy
  • 5 Average (+1)
    • Alertness
    • Athletics
    • Deceit
    • Discipline
    • Driving
    • Endurance
  • Mediocre (+0)
    • Intimidation
    • Investigation
    • Guns
    • Might
    • Performance
    • Rapport
    • Stealth
    • Survival
    • Weapons

comments about Resources…

  • On page 140, it has this table related to Resources and ‘workspaces’.
  • Within this character concept I have 3 competing potential categories of work:
    • ‘Scholarship’ for computer research
    • ‘Craftsmanship’ for art projects
    • and ‘Ritual’ crafting for magic items
  • first, Ritual doesn’t need a lab to make magic items. but it could use a lab for ‘big thaumaturgic projects’. so since she doesn’t have the broader Thaumaturgy, that would be unnecessary right now
  • with the “Math is Beautiful” Stunt above, I’m using my Scholarship for art projects… which means that I can just have the lab focused on Craftsmanship
  • it would just mean that the computer side of the lab isn’t for ‘research’

Zapata Singh

Rain City Morphix InspectorHound