The Ruins of New York: Ollivander Ellis

In another life, Ollivander Ellis might have been a physicist or astronomer, but instead he grew up in the world of the Serpentfall. It’s lead him to dedicate his life to understanding its arcane secrets … and fighting them when they’re unleashed upon the world. He’s battled latter-day Nazi mystics in Argentina, negotiated with the dwarves lurking in the Alps, and even ventured into the corpse of the World Serpent itself in his quest for knowledge. His quests have left deep wounds in his body and mind, but he refuses to stop because he knows that his opponents – those who embrace the horrors of Serpentfall – will never stop.

He’s technically a professor at Rhodes University, and he maintains and office at that institution. He’s only on campus for three months out of every 12, spending most of the rest of the time conducting field research or special operations for the British Empire.

Design Notes

As I mentioned in my playtest notes, my goal with Ollivander was to demonstrate the dire cost of using magic in the Day After Ragnarok setting. To that end, I kicked things up a notch: instead of just paying two Edges to get the arcane background, I also had his character make Vigor checks when he successfully case a spell. Failure would result in a shaken condition, or even a Wound (if already shaken).

While Ollivander’s player never missed a roll in the game, I think it still served its purpose in ratcheting up the tension associated with casting a spell. We’ll see if it holds up as well during the actual convention game.


Nationality: British, Concept: British Occultist, Inspiration: a young Trevor Bruttenholm, Hellboy, Ollivander, the wand-maker from Harry Potter

Attributes: Agility d4, Smarts d10, Strength d4, Spirit d10, Vigor d6, Charisma: 0, Pace: 4” (1d4 run), Parry: 2, Toughness: 5, Bennies: 3

Skills Guts (Spi) d8, Healing (Spi) d4, Investigation(Sma) d4, Know. Occult(Sma) d8+2, Know. Ophi (Sma) d8+2, Notice(Sma) d6, Spellcasting(Sma) d12, Shooting(Agi) d4

Hindrances: Bad Leg (major), Bad Eyes (minor), Snakebit (minor)

Edges: Background (Arcane), Power Surge, Scholar

Weapons: Colt .45, Range: 12/24/48, Dmg: 2d6+1, RoF: 1, Shots: 7, Special: AP 1, Semi-Auto; Swordcane, Dmg: Str+d4

Magic Spells – Power Points: 10 Ellis has mastered a portion of the arcane energy unleashed by the Serpentfall, but it’s come at a terrible cost. His leg was warped and ruined by a spell gone horribly wrong during his apprenticeship, and he carries the effects of that disaster with him to this day.

Casting a spell costs a certain number of power points, as specified by the spell. However, there is a danger in doing so – if he casts a spell, he must make a Vigor check or risk becoming Shaken. If he gets a raise on the check, he must make a second Vigor check (so failing two such checks could yield a wound).

  • Elemental Manipulation (water)
  • Bolt of Ghostfire
  • Steadfast Barrier


  • Spellbook of Ilster: This spell book features a battered, leather cover inlaid and worn silver ruins. Inside the book are Oleander’s precious spells, as well as a life time of arcane and mystical notes, hand-written in a near-microscopic lettering.
  • Silver Cross of the Holy Order of Mystra: A cross blessed by the post-Serpentfall Roman Catholic order charged with investigating supernatural events.

Major Simon Cartwright is part of Nuketown’s “The Week After Ragnarok” feature.