Zatanna Zatara is one of the greatest stage magicians currently. Thanks to her homo-magi heritage, her magical acts are more than just sleight of hand parlor tricks.
Zatanna was born the daughter of the famous magician Giovanni "John" Zatara and his homo magi wife, Sindella. Sindella, however, vanished when she was very young...and is presumed to be dead. Zatara did not teach his daughter true magic at first, perhaps seeking to protect her from the risk of the same fate. What he did teach her was the illusions of the stage. The tricks of sleight of hand and escape.
Intelligent, she did well in school, but better at her apprenticeship. By her mid teens, she was working with her father in his show...not as a 'beautiful assistant', but as a magician in her own right. By the time she graduated from high school, her career was already taking off. She began to work on her own...then her father disappeared.
First of all, Zatanna gives an impression to all who meet her of supreme confidence and utter flair. She is a showman, and it shows in everything she does, in what she wears (even when she is not wearing her magician's outfit, she is seldom seen in boring clothing). She is flirtatious, sometimes giving the impression of thinking too much about certain things...and gives an impression that the pursuit of handsome males is, at times, simply a game for her.
Despite this, she possesses a certain emotional fragility. She can be defensive, and she has strong issues regarding her father...something those who know her know not to bring up. True strength is something that comes and goes for her and that confidence can be dented, even broken. Not taking life too seriously is, in part, a defense mechanism for her, protection of the fragile parts of herself. She is a little shy of making full and final commitment to anything or anyone.
Zatanna is emphatically one of the good guys, but on occasion, she will let the end justify the means...and jeopardize alliances and friendships by using methods that are less than ethical. In a direct fight, though, she is mostly known for her flamboyant style...which has its weaknesses, too. She is, of course, not a killer...but teaching somebody a lesson is something she is far from above.
Zatanna has something of an appreciation for the finer things in life...she is more likely to go for wine than beer, French food than a hamburger. She is capable of moving in the highest circles of society and blending in with ease. Some might think she is shallow...but, of course, she is an intelligent, skilled individual She does not make close friends easily, but tends to be quite likable...it often takes a while before she will really trust anyone. She is, though, good, for the most part, at moving on from a fight or an argument...and is more likely to blame herself than the other party, which has been known to lead her into depression.
Zatanna is an extremely powerful magic user...with an extremely strong limitation.As a member of the homo magi race, she has access to power written into her very genetic code. However, her magic requires a focus. She can only cast a spell by speaking the effect she wants to create. Backwards.
Naturally, her power is far from infinite. Although she has kept up with the likes of Doctor Strange, she cannot do literally anything. She is best at magic that involves commanding the four basic elements, excellent at illusions, and also very good at transportation magic...capable of planetary range teleportation. She has been seen to possess telepathic abilities, including memory erasure. She can fly, she can use magic to shield herself from physical and magical attack...even mental attack. It might seem she can do anything she can imagine...however, there are definite downsides.
There are three major limitations. The first is the amount of energy available to her, which is affected most strongly by how much she has cast recently. Opening a locked door requires very little energy, teleporting a six person super team to the other side of the planet, however... There is an absolute limit to the power she has. She could not, for example, teleport the Empire State building (she might manage a house, if well rested), or, say, put out a major wildfire without some help. She can teleport anywhere on the planet, but not to Mars. She can teleport a group, but the larger the group, the shorter her range and she is struggling if the group gets bigger than ten. She can create enough water to fill a swimming pool, *maybe* a small lake, but not a lake of any size in one go. These are, of course, examples. It is also possible for her to become tired out magically and unable to cast anything until she has rested and eaten. She seldom has more than one magical effect active at once...for example, if she is flying, she is flying, and does not also have a force field.
The second limitation is that she has to be able to speak the spell backwards. The more complicated the effect, the more words are needed to define it, and thus, the longer it takes to cast the spell. Spells that require longer and more difficult words to pronounce are, thus, harder. 'Open door' is easier than 'Television on'. If she mispronounces a word, the spell might not work or generate an unexpected effect. Additionally, if the words used are vague, the spell might drift away from her intent...a common problem in combat when casting in a hurry. For example, if she casts a spell to teleport herself to Paris, but does not specify where in Paris, she might end up anywhere in Paris...most likely close to where she intended, but possibly not. An extremely complicated spell, like one to erase a person's memory of an incident, to teleport to an exact location, or to create a complicated object might require minutes, on occasion hours, of speaking.
Her third limitation is the requirement of concentration. If her concentration is broken in the middle of a spell, it is likely to fail...under some circumstances with random effects happening instead of the intent. Mental fatigue is another issue she has to deal with, especially for longer spells or when casting many spells in quick succession. Although she is practiced at keeping her concentration, even she can be affected by her surroundings...it's harder to cast in a noisy environment with a lot of distractions than it is in her quiet work room. Very complicated spells, if possible, are best cast in a controlled environment.
As further examples of specific limitations on commonly used spells: Zatanna can fly at a few hundred miles per hour. She can create a shield that can block bullets...but not, say a grenade launcher...or cause projectiles to miss her. She can increase her strength to several tons. She can create fire that can burn any commonly flammable object, ice that is a little colder than the coldest natural ice. She can transform inanimate objects up to about the size of a tree. Anything beyond this or equivalent limitations (noting that her teleport range is 'anywhere on Earth') will require actual thought and time to achieve and therefore will not be done on the fly in a scene. She can create detailed illusions...as long as she can describe the object quickly. Mental spells and telepathy will be used rarely and never on PCs without express consent. Due to her personality and sense of flair, there is a tendency for her spells and their results to resemble stage magic in style and feel. Any spells that create an effect, alter living beings or don't put something into a normal state have a duration. For example, if she unlocks a door, it will stay unlocked until somebody locks it. If she creates fire, or the like it will last only as long as she concentrates,, although anything set on fire will continue to burn until extinguished. Any spell that directly affects a PC (example, giving somebody a cold, turning their hair blue) in means that cannot normally be resisted or dodged will be used only if consent is given and will wear off when the player wants it to.%r%tAdditionally, Zatanna is highly sensitive to magic. She is capable of identifying artifacts and other magic users with essentially no effort within a block or so. To extend that range or to find out more than 'it's magic' requires concentration, to extend it considerably does require an actual spell. She can, though, determine the power level and something of the type of magic with concentration.
- Stage magic: Zatanna is an expertly skilled stage magician, one of the best despite her relative youth. After all, half of the fun of a good magic show is working out how the magician did it. She also knows how to look good on stage, how to move well, etc.
- Speaking backwards: Zatanna is practiced at saying things backwards (although even she can stumble over a word here and there).
- Voice projection: Speaking correctly is a skill. Both in performance and in magic, Zatanna can speak clearly enough to be understood by a small audience outside without a mike.
- Occult Knowledge: Zatanna has possession of a large occult library, and also has good knowledge off the top of her head. She can identify kinds of demons, she knows a lot about what *not* to do magically. She is quite capable of either knowing or finding out almost anything...including details about some, but not all, artifacts and individuals.
- Spanish: Zatanna speaks reasonably fluent Spanish. She is capable of getting by and having a civil conversation in the language.
- Hand to hand: Although she seldom uses it, Zatanna is competent at hand to hand...it is a last resort for her, if magic does not work. She can hold her own against small groups of street thugs and the like, or extricate herself from a bad situation, but is far from an expert like Batman.
- Meditation: Zatanna is skilled in various techniques of meditation and concentration. It is far from perfect, but she is better able than most people to concentrate in difficult situations. She can still have her concentration wrecked or broken by such things as physical attacks, excessive noise in her ears, or particularly bad situations. and many more skills!
- Homo Magi: Zatanna is homo magi. There is magic literally in her DNA. This allows her to cast spells with a simple focus.
- Shadowcrest: Shadowcrest is Zatanna's home, a mansion that contains many books and artifacts and which exists in another dimension. It is often visible outside Gotham. Accessing Shadowcrest requires Zatanna's permission, or the ability to get into another dimension and through wards. (Note: Artifact use requires specific plot permission).
- Occult Library: Shadowcrest contains a library of occult and magickal texts. These contain many rituals and much magical knowledge, sufficient for almost any situation.
- Reputation: Zatanna is already developing something of a reputation in the occult community. She also has the reputation of her father. Her last name can open a lot of doors. Her reputation as a performer is also useful at times.
- Magical Contacts: Zatanna is known in the mystical community. She is in contact with, and can potentially call on, some of the strongest magicians.
- Show: Zatanna has established her own show, which she puts on in various cities. This is, of course, her primary source of income. She also has roadies to help her with her stuff, set up equipment, etcetera.
- Must be able to speak clearly: If Zatanna cannot speak, clearly (backwards), she cannot cast. If she is prevented from doing so, be it by being gagged, injured, or otherwise silenced, she cannot cast. If she mispronounces a word, the spell will fail.
- Concentration: In addition to being able to speak, Zee needs to be able to concentrate. She can handle most normal situations and fairly tough combats. However, more extreme things such as injury, emotional trauma or certain attacks can break her concentration..
- Magical aura: Zatanna has a constantly active magical aura...she can be detected as a magic user by anyone with sensitivity to such.
- Flamboyant: Zatanna was a stage magician before she was a real magician. She tends to do everything as if she was on stage. Sometimes this means she will waste time looking good instead of being effective.
- Fatigue: Zatanna has a limited amount of magical energy. Also, she has to concentrate and she has to speak. All of this means that there is a very real risk of her eventually tiring, either magically, mentally, or physically.
- Father issues: First of all he didn't tell her about her magical heritage. Then he disappeared. Then he got himself killed saving her life. And his soul isn't in a good place. AND she's 'Giovanni Zatara's daughter' to a lot of people. Sigh.
- Confidence: Magic requires a certain amount of belief in oneself. Zee is a confident person, but if she makes mistakes, subsequent spells can be harder. She has lost confidence to the degree of losing her powers in the past.
- Weirdness Magnet: One of the prices of being a magic user often seems to be...weird things happen. The strangest things happen to Zatanna, at the strangest times. Mostly they're not good.
Logs Including ZatannaEdit
- Sidewalk Attentions - Diana encounters Zatanna giving a brief sidewalk display of her less arcane magical talents. The two talk, then go to dinner and talk more.
- 2010-08-19: Tracking Hound - Logan is trying to track down a leader of the FoH and asks Zatanna for help.
- 2010-08-21: You had a point?
- Mechanical Marionette - Central Park in late summer. Carol and Jen are jogging and discussing legal matters. Richard is girl-watching. Laura is people-watching. Melody is taking a stroll after work. And Zatanna is just enjoying the park. Then a magical mechanical menace appears and starts terrorizing, and an impromptu super-team assembles to handle the crisis. Emitting by Ms. Marvel
- Golem in the Back Yard - Following the encounter with the mechanical marrionette, Carol drops by Shadowcrest to see Zatanna and find out what the magicienne may have learned.
- 2010-08-24: Martians and Magicians - In which J’onn tracks down an expert in an unfamiliar field, and Zatanna shines as a hostess