Val CHA Cost Roll Notes 8 STR -2 11- Lift 75 kg; 1 1/2d6 HTH Damage 13 DEX 9 12- OCV: 4 /DCV: 4 13 CON 6 12- 10 BODY 0 11- 18 INT 8 13- PER Roll: 13- 14 EGO 8 12- ECV: 5 15 PRE 5 12- PRE Attack: 3d6 16 COM 3 3 PD 1 Total PD: 3 (0 rPD) 3 ED 0 Total ED: 3 (0 rED) 3 SPD 7 Phases: 4, 8, 12 5 REC 0 30 END 2 21 STUN 0 Total Characteristics Cost: 47 Movement: Running: 6"/12" Swimming: 2"/4" Cost Powers & Skills 40 Witchcraft: Variable Power Pool (Magic Pool), 40 base + 20 control cost; Requires a Magic Skill Roll (-1/2), Side Effects (-1/2) 5 Telekinesis: Telekinesis (5 STR); Requires a Magic Skill Roll (-1/2) Skills 10 Don't Get Hit: +2 DCV 7 Computer Programming 15- 3 Concealment 13- 3 Deduction 13- 3 Electronics 13- 3 Forensics 13- 11 Magic Skill 17- 3 Mechanics 13- 3 Paramedics 13- 3 Persuasion 12- 3 Spell Research (Inventor) 13- 3 Stealth 12- 3 Shadowing 13- 2 WF: Knives, Thrown Knives 3 Scholar: 1 1) KS: Herb Lore 11- 1 2) KS: Occult Lore 11- 1 3) KS: Wicca 11- 3 Scientist: 1 1) SS: Biology 11- 1 2) SS: Botany 11- 2 3) SS: Chemistry 13- 1 4) SS: Mathematics 11- 119 Total Powers & Skills Cost 166 Total Character Cost 75+ Disadvantages 15 Hunted: By Random Villains (MoPow) 8- 10 Psychological Limitation: Curious About Magic (Moderate) 15 Psychological Limitation: Loyal To Friends (Common, Strong) 51 Experience 166 Total Disadvantage Points
Background/History: Willow Rosenberg started out as a student at Sunnydale High School, along with her best friend and childhood crush, Xander Harris, with both of them being among the "nerds" who were picked upon by popular students like Cordelia Chase. Things started to change when Buffy Summers became a Sunnydale High student, with Willow and Buffy quickly becoming best friends—despite Xander's own crush on Buffy. And when Xander discovered that Buffy was the Vampire Slayer, the two of them rescued Willow from a vampire attack, and Willow offered to help Buffy by using her computer skills to find the sewer systems and other structures where the local undead were hiding. Thus, the three formed the nucleus of "the Scooby Gang" along with the reformed vampire Angel, Buffy's Watcher (and school librarian) Giles, and Giles" sometime girlfriend, Jenny Calendar, a computer science teacher who seemed to know a good deal about the occult.
In the first year or so of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the dynamic centered on Buffy and Angel, with Xander in unrequited love with Buffy, not realizing that Willow was in unrequited love with him. In Season 2, Willow attracted the attention of another Sunnydale student called "Oz?, and the two of them became a very charming couple. However their relationship was complicated by two factors: One, Oz contracted lycanthropy, and he had to confine himself on the full moon to keep "the wolf" from running amok; two, Willow found out that Xander had been dating Cordelia, their mutual enemy. Despite her own feelings for Oz, Willow was very distraught over Xander. Eventually, though, Cordelia started hanging out with the Scooby Gang openly and Willow mostly got over her feelings.
The most important events of this period were due to the fallout from Buffy and Angel's affair. When Angel and Buffy consummated their love, this accidentally broke the Gypsy curse that gave Angel a human soul, causing Angelus to revert to his serial-killer persona. Miss Calendar, who turned out to be a descendant of the Gypsy tribe, tried to set things right by researching the curse in order to bring Angel back. Angelus got wind of this, broke Jenny's computer and snapped her neck, but didn't realize that Jenny had put her research files on backup disk. Willow's academic status was so high that Principal Snyder actually appointed her to teach Jenny's computer science class until a permanent replacement could be appointed. It was thus that Willow got access to Jenny's occult library on file—and accidentally found the backup disk with the Gypsy curse.
When she realized what she had, Willow was eager to try the spell, given that the only other choice was for Buffy to kill Angel. Buffy and the others relucatantly agreed, and they set up the ritual in the school library with most of the gang standing guard. Angel's vampire goons broke in, kidnapped Giles, injured Xander and put Willow into a temporary coma—a brush with death that caused Xander to realize his true feelings for Willow. Buffy, having been distracted by Angel, concluded that the only way she could save Giles and stop Angel's plans was for her to confront and kill her boyfriend. But after Buffy went off, Willow woke up and told her friends that she wanted to try the spell again. Watched by Oz and Cordelia, Willow began the ritual in her hospital bed, and at one point seemed too exhausted to continue, but then she started chanting with greater strength, almost as if some thing had taken over, and the spell was enforced.
After this incident, Willow started taking her magical potential seriously, despite the concerns of Giles. Raised Jewish, Willow started identifying herself as a "Wicca" and attending ceremonies with other neopagans. But despite her good relationship with Oz—and a détente with Cordelia—Willow started falling for Xander all over again when he confessed his feelings. They tried to stay away from each other, but at one point, the vampire Spike had taken Xander hostage in order to make Willow perform a spell for him, and then ended up abandoning both of them in an a deserted factory. Thinking they were both about to die, Willow and Xander started making out at exactly the point when Oz and Cordelia showed up to rescue them. This scene stunned both Oz and Cordelia, and while Cordy broke up with Xander immediately, Oz backed away, forcing Willow to recognize her guilt in the situation so she couldn't resolve it too easily. But over a few weeks, Oz came to Willow and the two of them agreed that their relationship was too important to throw away.
While Season 3 was a very intense time for Buffy and some other characters, it was a fairly happy period for Willow, as she came to make pivotal decisions in her life. She realized that she wanted to spend her life fighting evil, like Buffy, but using her own abilities. Thus even though she had the grades to go to any college she wanted, she decided to stay in Sunnydale with her friends and attend the local university. And Willow and Oz rebuilt their trust, and actually consummated their relationship shortly before graduating high school. That fall, Willow attended UC Sunnydale with Buffy and Oz. She became Buffy's dorm mate shortly after the start of the semester, and Willow and Oz were more in love than ever.
However, Oz was being stalked by a strange young girl named Veruca who sang with one of the bands that Oz met during his music gigs. It turned out that Veruca was a werewolf like Oz, but one who completely accepted her bestial nature and tried to goad Oz into turning his back on humanity. One evening during the full moon cycle, Oz ended up sleeping with Veruca in order to keep her from running loose, but in the morning Willow saw the two of them together. For the first time, Willow contemplated using black magic for revenge, but thought better of it at the last minute. However, Veruca still decided that she needed to eliminate her rival. Oz showed up to stop Veruca from killing Willow, but at that point, night fell, and the two werewolves reverted to beast form, tearing into each other, with Oz winning the battle by ripping out Veruca's throat.
After this shocking event, Oz realized that "the wolf? was closer to the surface than he thought, and that until he learned to control it, it wasn't safe for him to be around Willow or anyone else. So against Willow's own tearful objections, he packed up his van and left Sunnydale, telling no one where he was going.
The departure of Oz completely devastated Willow, and she thought the pain would be too much to bear. Thus she decided to "fix" her problem by using a spell to enforce her will so that she could purge her negative emotions. However, she didn't consider that those very emotions affected her casting, altering the spell so that any casual statement she made became literally true. This had such horrific consequences (among them, the engagement of Buffy and Spike) that it attracted the Archdemon D'Hoffryn, who politely offered to make Willow one of his Vengeance Demons. Willow just as politely refused, and once she realized what was happening, ended the spell.
The incident was—or should have been—a clear lesson in the danger of using magic for trivial purposes. However, Willow chose to see her spell botch not as a problem with intent so much as being due to a lack of skill. Trying to improve her abilities, Willow sought out a Wiccan support group on campus, but was distressed to find that the girls were only concerned with ecological and feminist issues, and the only one of the "wanna-Blessed-Be's" who had any real interest in or potential for spellcasting was a painfully withdrawn student named Tara. But when the two girls were pursued by monsters, Willow and Tara discovered that they could combine their magic to achieve stronger effects than either could accomplish alone. After escaping the threat, they talked and Tara revealed that she inherited her Witch powers from her mother's side of the family, and saw a similar potential in Willow. Fascinated, and desiring the chance to learn from another spellcaster, Willow started spending more and more time in Tara's dorm room (and away from Buffy), practicing new spells. Tara's motives in this were somewhat more complex—she was in love with Willow. At first Willow didn't realize her new friend was gay, but by the time Tara confessed her feelings, the two girls had become so close that the friendship developed naturally into an affair.
It was only after Willow and Tara consummated their relationship that Willow started introducing Tara to the other Scoobies, but even then she didn't reveal that she and Tara were involved. It might not have been such a big deal to Willow, but it became an issue when Oz suddenly returned to town after having found some method to control his lycanthropy. Willow was overjoyed for him, but she knew that going back to Oz would mean losing Tara. Unsure what to do, Willow confessed her feelings to Buffy, and while Buffy was at first "freaked" to realize her best friend was gay, she quickly became supportive, reminding Willow that it was inevitable for someone to get hurt, and it would only be fair for Willow to make the choice one way or the other.
Ultimately the choice was taken out of Willow's hands when Oz deduced that Tara had been sleeping with her. He spontaneously reverted to wolf form and had to be rescued from monster hunters by the Scooby Gang. Even then, he almost changed back to wolf upon seeing Willow, and Oz realized that his "cure" didn't work when he was upset—and the situation with Tara meant that he was always going to be upset over Willow. Oz decided to leave town again—this time for good—which left Willow free to stay with Tara.
Personality/Motivation: Willow merits an even longer write-up than Buffy herself, because of all the characters in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series, Willow is by far the most radically changed from her original conception. And not necessarily for the better.
To begin with, Willow is a serious nerd. The sort of person who would berate herself for only scoring 740 on her verbal SAT, Willow is very committed to intellectual excellence and has a strong affinity for those (like Giles) with similar priorities. Of course, this focus caused Willow to disregard her social skills, such that she became an easy target for "beautiful" types like Cordelia. This in turn caused her to withdraw even further, such that Willow was deeply shy at the start of the series (with her awkward manner of speech being a prime contributor to the show's unique take on the English language). Willow did become much better socialized by the time she graduated high school, but that background is still very much part of her.
This background also made Willow a defender of the underdog, with a very strong sense of right and wrong. This helps explain why she and Buffy became best friends. It also explains Willow's commitment to the Scooby Gang. Willow is very passionate about the causes and people she believes in, and has even been known to be auxiliary leader of the Gang in Buffy's absence (while she lacks Buffy's natural charisma, Willow can be surprisingly forceful when motivated).
It could be that Willow's virtues—her ambition for excellence, her need to do the right thing—were actually the motives for her magic abuse. Once she discovered her potential as a witch, Willow started pursuing the craft in order to help Buffy and Giles, and because she was fascinated by her unique abilities. And she did accomplish a great deal of good. However, during Season 5, Willow's quest for perfection in magic became an end in itself, and during this time her Psychological Limitations shift priority (thus "Loyal to Friends" becomes Moderate commitment and "Curious About Magic" becomes "Obsessed With Magic" at Strong commitment). Once the most moral of the Scoobies, Willow became increasingly prone to rationalize her actions ("It's not stealing! It's just using something without paying for it—in what twisted dictionary is that "stealing"?). Her self-confidence increased, but only with regard to magic use, and Willow got defensive whenever Giles or Tara warned her to be careful. Worse, because she met Tara over a shared interest in magic, Willow acted as though magic was the only thing keeping them together, even when Tara was the one begging her to stop using spells.
This hubris led Willow to a shattering downfall even before the midpoint of Season 6, and for the rest of that season (and especially in its aftermath) Willow's "Obsessed With Magic" Psych Limit in turn becomes "Fear of Using Magic" (common, strong). In Season 7, Giles tries to rehabilitate Willow, knowing that she will eventually be called upon to use her powers for Good. However, Willow is still shellshocked and afraid of losing control again.
Quote: "That's me as a vampire? But I'm so evil and skanky and I think I'm kinda gay."
Powers/Tactics: Willow is easily the smartest kid in Sunnydale, and is arguably smarter than Giles. An ace computer hacker, she also has effectively professional skill in several sciences, specializing in Chemistry. The write-up above, minus all the magical skills and 2 points each of EGO, PRE and COM, suffices for Willow in the first season and a half of the BUFFY series- Willow already has very high non-combat skills for a high school student, and the only reason they aren't higher is because she doesn't have professional training.
After Season 2, Willow started developing her magical potential, and in Season 3, she became a capable Witch with a wide range of spells. Given the rather vague nature of magic in the series, and the fact that most spells are only good for a single purpose and are never used again, I represented Willow's abilities as a Variable Power Pool. In addition, Willow has practiced the Telekinesis spell often enough that she can use it without any spellcasting props (i.e. the spell is bought outside the Power Pool Framework). While Willow often uses spells with long rituals and exotic components like other magicians, her prodigal ability means that she is often able to cast spells with no procedures at all (although they are still subject to random Side Effects if the spell goes wrong). About the only consistent limitation that the writers place on Willow's abilities is that since she is channeling magic directly, all her spells require personal energy (read: END) to work. At first this was no big deal, because Willow wasn't very powerful in Seasons 3 and 4, and she used magic sparingly. But as Willow became more obsessed with gaining magical ability, she started practicing more and more and eventually started using spells for the most trivial reasons. This was the cause of Willow's downward spiral in Season 6—eventually she burned out her reserves and temporarily lost the ability to do spells. Refusing to accept this, Willow started seeking out alternate sources of "juice." By the end of the season, Willow had become something of a magic vampire, draining the life energy of other magicians in order to keep using spells.
The write-up above reflects Willow at the mid-point of Season 4, when she had reached a plateau in her magical abilities, and just before she met Tara. To make Willow more powerful, simply add more points to her Power Pool and Magic Skill. Note that her other abilities don't necessarily increase—again, her skills are already very high for a person her age, and as Willow became more fixated on magic, she neglected her mundane abilities.
Even at her most powerful, Willow rarely initiates combat, as she knows she isn't nearly as tough as Buffy, for one thing. Most of the time, she sticks to her specialty in the Scooby Gang, which is gathering information using the Internet (or sometimes divination spells). However, if someone she cares for is hurt (especially Tara) Willow may get into the fight.
Appearance: Willow is a short, slim elfin girl with blue-green eyes and bright red hair. Not model-beautiful like Buffy or Cordelia, she first comes off as "cute", an impression that changes to "really attractive, once you get to know her." Willow's taste in fashion is frankly atrocious, and in high school she wore ensembles like striped shirts with overalls that only served to make her look even more childlike than she naturally was. It was only when Willow started college that she started wearing dress outfits that were modest yet still complemented her figure.
[BUFFY characters created by Joss Whedon, HERO System writeup by James Gillen]
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