Bitter

“I don’t care if I live or if I die, so long as I take a hundred of the enemy with me.”

Your first life ended in failure. Whether you faced impossible odds or lacked the skills you needed, your death accomplished nothing. You’re driven by anger and regret, and that rage gives you power…and the more you’re hurt, the stronger you become.

The Bitter Phoenix is driven by wild recklessness and fury. Your pain increases the power of your attacks, and you are at your best when on the very edge of death. Odds are good you’ll be the first Phoenix to die in any mission, but you’ll leave a bloody path in your wake. As you increase in rank, you have stranger and darker Lessons. Will you learn how to animate your own corpse or to feed on the energy of the Wing? Your powers make you a force to be feared by your enemies, but even your allies may be wary around you.

The origin of Bitter Phoenixes is a mystery. There’s no record of any Bitter Phoenixes in the Dawn Legion or the Phoenix Imperium; it seems the first Bitter Phoenix appeared after the Civil War. Some scholars fear that Bitter Phoenixes represent some sort of corruption of the Phoenix Flames; others believe the Phoenixes of the past were simply so arrogant they never saw themselves as failures. One aspect of this is that many Bitter Phoenixes don’t have Mentors in the Crucible; they have to solve their trials without guidance. This is a question for you to answer when you make a Bitter Phoenix: Do you have a Mentor? If so, is your Mentor a respected ally or a cruel taskmaster? Does your Mentor hunt you to make you stronger? Some fear Bitter Phoenixes will become monsters. Does your Mentor help you channel your rage, or are they an example of what you fear you could become?

SKILL SPECIALTIES

Athletics, Death, Fear, and Shadows. You are strong and fast, and you can take on almost any Athletic challenge. You are comfortable in darkness, and your Specialty with Shadows helps you when you wish to hide from others or fight without light. Likewise, you understand all aspects of Fear. You can inspire it when you wish to intimidate your enemies; but you can also resist it or aid an ally who’s been paralyzed by terror. You are equally familiar with Death in all its forms…including the undead.

SPECIAL ATTRIBUTES

Bitter Phoenixes inspire fear in mortal creatures. It’s a subtle effect, unless harnessed and channeled using the Fear Specialty; but both humans and animals can sense your predatory nature. Beyond this, one of your greatest assets is how your strength increases as you’re injured. How does this manifest? Do you actually swell in size as you’re hurt? Does your blood form runic patterns? Or do you simply strike with greater speed and precision despite your fearsome wounds?

BITTER ARCHETYPES

  • The Barbarian. You’ve been dead for a long time. In your first life, you were the warlord of a clan of Skavi nomads, or the chieftain of a Grimwald tribe. You may have been a brutal raider, or you may have fought to defend your people from Fallen or other unnatural threats. The world has changed since you died, but your people still need you. The Empire is weak and corrupt; you will show them what a true warrior can do. Endless Rage is a good Lesson, increasing the power of your attacks. You may be Terrifying and Crude but Effective, but you might also be a capable Commander and even Inspiring; in your day, you were a great leader.
  • The Avenger. You didn’t die alone. Your loved ones were butchered, and you were powerless to stop it. The Crucible gave you power, and you’re going to see your enemies pay. The challenge with the Avenger is your missions will involve fighting the Dread; you can’t go and pursue a mortal vendetta. The simplest option is to have your vendetta be against the Dread or a specific aspect of it: You are determine to destroy the Chant once and for all or to defeat the Bone Legion that has overrun your homeland. Alternately, you could be watching for a threat: Your family was killed by careless Phoenixes, and you’re going to make sure no other Phoenix allows such collateral damage…and any who do will answer to you. You are surely Vengeful, and you might well be Ruthless. The skills of a Hunter could help you track your prey, and you’ll Never Give Up until your enemy is defeated.  
  • The Quest for Redemption. You are haunted by the actions of your first life. You may have been corrupt or cruel. Perhaps you set some aspect of the Dread in motion, or made a foolish deal with one of the Fallen. Whatever you did, the Crucible has given you a chance to redeem yourself…but is redemption possible for one such as you? You may be Reckless, or hiding a secret Death Wish; perhaps your misdeeds are related to your Misspent Youth. Do you reveal your crimes to your Wing, or is it a secret burden you carry alone?

WHY PLAY A BITTER?

As a Bitter, you are at your best when you’re close to death. In many ways, this lets you fully embrace the unique aspects of Phoenix; you want to take risks and charge into certain death. As a Bitter you won’t live long, but you have the ability to inflict tremendous amounts of damage on your foes. The Bitter is also the darkest of the Schools in its tone. If you enjoy being an antihero, Bitter may be the School for you.