Shadows of The City
Name: Valentina Sophia Gisela Romano
High Concept Aspect: Wizard for Hire
Other Aspects: Family Complicates Everything; Nothing Lasts Forever; When in Doubt, Improvise; A Little Firepower Never Hurts; Dirty Jobs Done Dirt Cheap
Stress: Physical 4; Mental 4; Social 3
Adjusted Refresh: 1
Languages: Italian, Latin, English
Evocation – 3 (Fire, Air, Spirit/Force)
Thaumaturgy – 3
The Sight – 1
Soulgaze – 0
Wizard’s Constitution – 0
Conviction – 4
Deceit – 3
Endurance – 3
Discipline – 3
Contacts – 2
Presence – 2
Resources – 2
Rapport – 2
Weapons – 1
Investigation – 1
Stealth – 1
Scholarship – 1
Alertness – 1
Valentina comes from a respected wizarding family, and is the fifth generation of Romanos to take a seat on the White Council.
Her mother, Elizabetha is obsessed with her work, but an urge to sow her wild oats when she turned 65 led her to a whirlwind romance with Malcolm Wright, a famed Hollywood-style mentalist and medium.
Malcolm is a con artist who never tires of the thrill that comes with taking advantage of a mark. Elizabetha had real power, power he could never have, and he soon grew jealous and possessive. They divorced when Valentina was an infant.
Val was taken to Rome to be raised by her mother, but Elizabetha finds her research to be far more interesting than her children. Val grew up bouncing between her parents and various relatives, and had to learn early on to rely on herself.
When she exhibited Talent, her mother took her on as an apprentice. Elizabetha was a stern but capable teacher, and Valentina’s powers developed quickly. The summer she was sixteen, Elizabetha left for South America to take care of a matter for the White Council, sending Val to Los Angeles to stay with her father. At the time, Malcolm had gotten involved with the Russian Mafia, acting as the producer of a low-budget horror flick that the the mob was using to launder money.
The deal went bad and the picture fell apart. Dozens of people lost their jobs. Malcolm begged Val to use her powers to help him with the mobsters. At first she agreed — he was her father, and she loved him. But after she saw all the damage his schemes had done, and all of the people who had been hurt, she realized that he had to accept the consequences of his actions. Mal went on the run, and relations between father and daughter have been strained ever since.
Val also has two younger half siblings, both of whom complicate her life on a regular basis. Maria is a Changeling resulting from her mother’s rebound affair with a Summer Court noble. Elizabetha is quite disappointed that the girl shows much more affinity for her father’s talents than for magic, and has let her run wild. She’s barely nineteen but is a part of every party scene from Rome to Los Angeles.
Simon is the child of Mal’s third or fourth wife, or maybe the girlfriend in between — Val can never remember, and doesn’t think it matters much anyway. He’s been arrested multiple times for drug possession and petty crimes, and has a talent for falling in with the wrong people. He loves attention and girls and boys and always has a scheme, just like his father. As of yet, Val or Malcolm have always been able to rescue him when things go wrong, and Simon hasn’t learned how to stay out of trouble.
After Val completed her Trial and became a full wizard, Elizabetha wanted her to stay on as her research assistant. Wanting to live her own life free from her family (until they show up), Val packed up and moved to San Francisco, a city where she spent a few happy times with Malcolm as a child.
She has taken over both apartments in the attic of a North Beach Victorian with a spectacular view of the Bay and a rooftop deck. The apartments were damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake and considered unrentable, but Val convinced the owners that she was very concerned about her carbon footprint and didn’t need electricity or internet access anyway.
She’s painted over the damaged woodwork, put in an old icebox that uses actual ice and a small gas stove and restored the fireplace to working order, hanging vintage posters she collected in Rome and furniture from flea markets in Paris and London — very chic in a midcentury\bohemian way. One apartment is her living space — the other studio is now only accessible by a door in a bookcase in her bedroom. It has become her very neat, organized laboratory, with a copper summoning circle set in the floor.
Val bills herself as a “consultant,” and gets her clients either through word-of-mouth or from the plain white business cards that have no information other than a name and phone number that connects to an old-fashioned answering service. She meets clients either at City Lights or another public location. (She’s addicted to double espressos and very fond of San Francisco’s many coffee shops.) Some of her clients think she specializes in debunking frauds. Others know there’s something more. All realize she’s effective.
Val is very selective on the jobs she takes, and has turned down lucrative offers that she considers morally ambiguious. She charges on what people can afford — the couple from Napa who wanted someone to investigate the strange events at their new vineyard paid for her beloved 1964 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible. Jose Gonzales, owner of the Super Burrito down the street from Val’s apartment, was deseperate to get his granddaughter away from what he thought was a deadbeat mom. Val retrieved the girl before she could be used as a blood sacrifice and now her lunches are free.
Val makes a point of dressing well, and tends more to dresses in vintage styles or tailored seperates than the old T-shirts and beat-up dusters favored by some other wizards. When she trades the kitten heels and cashmere for jeans and comfortable shoes, it’s usually because she’s expecting a fight.